AA Jump Rings Back In Stock By End Of February, Early March

Five Million Anodized Aluminum Rings Plus Additional Base Metal Rings, Findings and HyperLynks Kits To Be Restocked!

We’ve started our final production run! We’re in the process of having 5 million jump rings sent to our Anodizer. We’ve also tallied up our other base metal rings and findings needs and will be tackling those. We expect to have everything that we are restocking available around the end of February or early March. Our HyperLynks kits should be here by mid-February.

Anodized Aluminum Details

enameled copper jump ringsWe will NOT be restocking any of our color mixes. As the color mixes run out, they are gone for good. (If you have a backorder of a mix, we WILL definitely fill those; we’re just not making any additional mixes). We’ll publish a blog post soon with our “recipes” for our anodized mixes so that you can purchase solid color packs to make your own mixes.

Below is a complete list of the sizes, colors and quantities in our final production run. Because the batches are anodized by weight, you’ll notice there are far fewer rings being anodized in the thicker gauges. If you see that a ring you want is limited, be sure to sign up of for back-in-stock notifications on our anodized aluminum jump rings page so you can snag what you need when we mark it back in stock! If you don’t see a color listed below, then it likely means you can buy those rings now because we have enough in stock, but once that stock runs out, that color will be gone forever. We will also not be anodizing any more of our faux gold specialty sizes (we will only anodize the standard sizes listed below), so whatever is left on our faux gold page is it for this product line!

AA-ringsD20 – 20 AWG (0.8 mm) 1/8″ (3.2 mm)
120,000 rings per color:
* black
* gold
* iridescent gunmetal
* pink

F20 – 20 AWG (0.8 mm) 5/32″ (4.0 mm)
100,000 rings per color:
* black
* green
* iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* red
* turquoise
* violet

F18 – 18 SWG (1.2 mm) 5/32″ (4.0 mm)
40,000 rings (*) or 88,000 rings (**)
** black
** blue
** brown
** gold
* green
** iridescent gunmetal
* lime
** orange
** pink
** purple
** red
** turquoise
** violet

H18 – 18 SWG (1.2 mm) 3/16″ (4.8 mm)
75,000 rings each color
* black
* blue
* brown
* gold
* green
* iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* orange
* pink
* purple
* red
* turquoise
* violet

H16 – 16 SWG (1.6 mm) 3/16″ (4.8 mm)
20,000 rings each color
* gold
* iridescent gunmetal
* purple
* red
* violet

L18 – 18 SWG (1.2 mm) 3/16″ (4.8 mm)
58,000 rings each color
* black
* blue
* brown
* gold
* green
* iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* orange
* pink
* purple
* red
* turquoise
* violet

L16 – 16 SWG (1.6 mm) 3/16″ (4.8 mm)
16,000 rings(*) or 33,000 rings (**)
** black
** blue
** brown
* gold
** green
** iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* pink
** purple
** red
** turquoise
* violet

P16 – 16 SWG (1.6 mm) 5/16″ (7.9 mm)
27,000 rings
* gold
* iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* pink
* purple
* turquoise

T16 – 16 SWG (1.6 mm) 5/16″ (7.9 mm)
11,000 rings each color
* black
* blue
* brown
* gold
* green
* iridescent gunmetal
* lime
* orange
* pink
* purple
* red
* turquoise
* violet
* yellow

T14 – 14 SWG (2.0 mm) 3/8″ (9.5 mm)
7,000 rings each color
* pink
* turquoise
* violet

X12 – 12 SWG (2.6 mm) 7/16″ (11.1 mm)
3,000 rings each color
* gold

AA-rings-2

Learn To Make Chainmaille Jewelry in Chicago

Expert Chainmaille Designers Offer Private and Small-Group DIY Jewelry Lessons in the Chicagoland area

Even though Blue Buddha is winding down our operations, our expert designers and instructors remain available to teach you how to make chain mail jewelry. Whether you’d like to set up a private session to tackle a specific project or if you’d like to schedule a crafty “Girls Night Out” for a small group of friends, or if you want to create memorable, fun and unusual kids’ birthday parties, these instructors can help you succeed in making something beautiful.

Check out these three artisans in the Chicago area, and stay tuned for future blog posts to find out about instructors in Milwaukee and Los Angeles!

Please contact the instructor directly for rates, current availability and more information.

Sky Cubacub chainmaille artist and teacherSky Cubacub

Skycubacub.com
etsy.com/shop/skycubacub
Contact: Rebirth.garments@gmail.com

Sky is available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and weekends at their studio in Roscoe Village (contact for details). They are available for kids’ birthday parties, too.

Sky Cubacub, a native Chicagoan, first took a chainmaille class from Rebeca Mojica when they were 13 years old. In June 2010, Sky showed Repetitive Motions, a debut collection of eighteen garments.  They used materials such as scissors, aluminum sheet metal, wax, bicycle inner tubes, paper and their first love, chainmaille, with astonishing skill that is a result of obsessive repetitive practice. Their designs are couture in the truest sense of the word, for they create every piece by hand for specific individuals to wear in calculated combinations, an overall vision that is a “portrait” of that individual’s personality. “My interest lies in using the form of the body to hold art. My work is sculpture over fashion”, says Sky. Their current focus is on Rebirth Garments, their line of custom made clothing for the full spectrum of gender, size and ability.

Metamorphing Metamaille

Artist statement:
Everyday is a performance where I bring my body as a kinetic sculpture into the consciousness of the people I interact with in passing and on a daily basis. In my practice, the intensive handwork makes the process the most important part and gives me inspiration. Chainmaille has been the catalyst to every other medium that I excel in; all of the mediums I enjoy are obsessive and have repetitive patterns. Through chainmaille, I have found my patience.

I was always interested in the strength that chainmaille suggests. I have been building myself this armor or protection, not against harm exactly, but as a way to give me courage. I am an introvert, but it has given me the strength to be social. I never have to go up to people; they will always come up to me. My chainmaille is prosthesis for the communication of my inner world. My body, my identity and my prosthesis are one cohesive being.

Byzantine Web Pants with scalemaille

 

Deborah Sacks chain mail teacherDeborah Sacks

etsy.com/shop/TalespunMaille
Contact: sacks.deborah@gmail.com.

Deborah is available evenings and weekends on the north side of Chicago. She also does kids’ birthday parties in Chicago.

Deborah Sacks discovered chainmaille in 2013 and immediately fell head over heels in love. She delights in learning new weaves and techniques, new color combinations and compositions. As an elementary school teacher, it wasn’t long before she combined her two passions, first teaching chainmaille to kids in summer camp and then starting a chainmaille club for the young people at her school. She firmly believes that you’re never too young nor too old to discover something new, and she is eager for the chance to prove it to you.

Orbital Odyssey chainmail bracelet
Kat Wisniewski chainmaille instructor

Kat Wisniewski

ElementalArtJewelry.com
Contact: elementalartjewelry.com/contact

Kat is available some weekday evenings and weekends; she requests a minimum of one week advance notification to schedule your lesson).

Since perfecting her chainmaille skills in 2008, Kat Wisniewski has become a nationally known expert in the field, with multiple project publications and an endless amount of teaching opportunities at various Chicagoland locations. Students and customers who buy her tutorials and finished jewelry, always wonder, “How did you come up with that design?” Kat says, “It’s a process of trial and error, and that I start with ideas that I already know work well and then figure out a way to make them look very different!”

byzantine bracelet chainmaille on wrists from chainmaille class in ChicagoHer company, Elemental Art Jewelry, specializes in creating Czech pressed glass chainmaille jewelry and fashion designs featured in various artisan shows.

glass-caterpillar-chainmaille

Maillers’ Choice Subscribers

JMPSTRT-MCC-03M-DEC12-300pxIf you subscribed to our monthly Maillers’ Choice kit, by now you should have received an email with your credit amount for your remaining months.

If you did NOT receive this email, please contact customercare@bluebuddhaboutique.com so we can get you squared away! (Be sure to check your spam folders first as our “customercare” email sometimes gets filtered out!)

Thanks so much for your support, and we hope you find some great goodies with your store credit!

 

What the heck is going on with my order?

As our backlog grows, we are working as hard as we can and are committed to filling all your orders

So … you placed an order at the beginning of January, and as any reasonable person would, you’re starting to wonder what’s going on and if you’ll ever get your order.  The first part is tricky and long to explain (see below), but the short answer is YES – you will get your order! We will be restocking nearly all of our (metal) rings before we close down so that we can fill your orders.

If your order is #83424 or less and hasn’t yet shipped, it’s probably in one of these piles:

ordersThose are all the orders that are in our “problem” pile – meaning something was out of stock when we went to fill it. Aimee is going through those orders one by one to create backorders. Some might not turn into backorders; we are in the process of measuring and tumbling 135 lbs of aluminum rings (and a little bit of copper and jewelry brass) to take care of some of these problem orders. We’re not putting any of this new batch of rings back on the website until all current orders have been filled.

In the meantime, we’ve queued up production on our next batch of rings for subsequent orders. We’ve also printed a huge picklist for the next 100 orders and are in the process of prepping those.

We are committed to filling all the orders we can (as the rubber goes out of stock, those purchases will be refunded, since we are turning our rubber line over to Spiderchain.com). We’ll be receiving 5 million anodized aluminum rings in late February and will be restocking several hundred more pounds of most of our base metal sizes too.

Why is the backlog so big?

The problem (which I realize may not make a difference to your frustration level, but I figure it won’t hurt to explain) is that we do not have a complete back-end inventory system. We were hoping to set one up this year. Its a complex project due to the nature of one particular ring size/color having the potential to “exist” in many places at once. For instance, our stock of 50,000 F18 aluminum rings  could exist as part of a 50 pack, or 250 pack, or other pack sizes, or in many, many kits. We don’t pre-make our kits because we realized it tied up too much inventory that otherwise could be sold as loose packs, and plus, we like to offer the customization to you, which we can’t do if we pre-make kits.

This inventory feature is not something off-the-shelf e-commerce solutions do as part of their regular offering, so it was going to require a lot of customization and investment on our part, and we never quite had the money to spend on it.

This is a long way of saying that we don’t have a way of automatically knowing when we are out of stock of something. Normally it’s not a big deal because we have 1-2 day order processing times, so we can move items from our “backstock” area to our warehouse and then re-order or manufacture the low-stock item … but once we were swamped with orders, we just couldn’t keep up, and sometimes we received additional orders for out-of-stock items before we knew they were out of stock. :-(

Essentially, getting so many orders at once really broke our system. Now we’re working to prep all the aluminum rings for 50-100 orders at once; then the copper rings; then jewelry brass and so on. Overall this is faster than trying to pick each order one by one (or trying to tackle the entire order queue at once). It also means we spend a couple days picking and then we have a day where we ship a ton of orders at once. And then the cycle starts again. It’s not pretty, but it’s getting the job done slowly but surely.

I want to apologize deeply for the delay. We’ve been working as hard as we can, and it’s been difficult to keep up; we’re so sorry we haven’t been able to deliver the level of care our customers know and appreciate. Thank you so much for your patience through all this.

New Design Ideas Sparked by Craft & Hobby Association MEGA Show

Looking at DIY Jewelry Design With New Eyes

CHA Craft & Hobby Association logoI spent most of the last week taking classes and walking the show floor of the Craft & Hobby Association MEGA Show. The show isn’t open to the public; it’s a chance for manufacturers, retailers and designers in the craft industry to get together to learn about the industry, showcase new products and network. I’ve been attending since 2011, and this year the show took on new meaning for me, since I knew I was looking at it from the eyes of, “Oh, crap, what am I going to do with my life now that Blue Buddha is closing?!?”

Panic quickly gave way to enthusiasm. Honestly, I felt as though so many doors were opening to me–doors I would not have been able to walk through if I were still needing to run Blue Buddha. The week was full of exciting conversations and possibilities. I was able to push past the tunnel-vision box I’ve been in for the past few years and have begun to see how I might be able to impact the greater craft industry, not just the tiny chainmaille niche. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love chainmaille and my ultimate goal is still to lead people to discover chainmaille (muahahaha…. 😈), but I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone and flex my creative muscles in new and different ways.

Colorful Anodized Aluminum

First and foremost, though, chainmaille is where my heart is. I spent a good deal of time chatting with the folks at Weave Got Maille. And before I get into their rings, um, check out the back of their booth!

Weave Got Maille trade show booth dragon with Rebeca MojicaThey gave me a few samples of their new 100% Made-in-the-USA anodized aluminum rings, with the disclaimer of, “these are prototypes and aren’t quite ready for prime time yet!” But you know what? They are FANTASTIC. And if these aren’t quite ready, I can’t imagine what the final product is going to be like!

turquoise anodized aluminum jump ringsThey are coil-anodized as opposed to basket-anodized. This is the route that we were going to take at Blue Buddha, because the basket-anodizing was just too labor intensive on our end: to pull out all the “bad” rings (meaning rings that were different shades or were too blotchy).  Coil-anodized rings are cut after they are coiled, which leads to much greater color consistency. The trade-off is that the cuts are not anodized. I wasn’t sure I could deal with non-colored ends, after having worked with fully-anodized rings for so many years.  I’d stubbornly held off for so long in giving coiled-anodized rings the green light at Blue Buddha … but I finally did last year when I realized there was no viable way to scale up the business using basket-anodized rings. (I mean, right now, we are processing orders so slowly because we are hand-quality controlling all our premium aluminum rings, which takes oodles and oodles of time.) Ultimately the decision to move to coil-anodized rings was too late in coming to save Blue Buddha, but at least I was already warm to the idea of such rings when I encountered Weave Got Maille’s rings.

I was very pleased. All of the rings were shiny and vividly colored. I immediately went for the blue, red and black rings (since the contrast of the non-anodized cuts would show up more in dark rings) and was happy to see that the cuts are not as obvious as I thought they’d be. In fact, most people probably wouldn’t even know they were there. I’m a mailler; I look for the seams! But the average jewelry-wearer, well, they wouldn’t have any clue.

red anodized aluminum jump ringsI also tested the 20-gauge rings, as those had been the bane of my existence at B3, with color coming off easily. The WGM 20ga rings held up perfectly. No color rub-off opposite the kerf; and a much stronger color consistency than is possible with basket anodizing. I’m chomping at the bit to see what the full product line will look like once they are launched, and I’ll keep you guys in the loop.

Prototype Anodized Aluminum rings from Weave Got Maille.

Prototype Anodized Aluminum rings from Weave Got Maille. I’m looking forward to the full product line, including rings in SWG (Standard Wire Gauge) which is primarily what I use.

Colorful Pop Tabs

colorful plastic pop tabs by the BeaderyWhile walking the show floor, the new pop tab line by The Beadery caught my eye. I’ve done a bit of pop-tab jewelry work about 14 years ago, but was never motivated to take it up again. Well, that is, until last week when I saw these pop tabs! These aren’t available for purchase yet, but I am going to be stalking the company until this product line comes out!

These “pop tabs” are 100% Made-in-the-USA, and they come in a variety of colors. Because they are plastic, my first instinct was to think they looked a little cheap. I mean, I work in metal, not plastic, for a reason, right?

But then I saw this amazing corset made with their pop tabs, and was blown away.

corset made of pop tabs in pink turquiose and whiteIt got my wheels spinning, and I was excited about figuring out how to create beauty from plastic pop tabs. It certainly is a challenge, but now that I see it can be done, I’m eager to come up with some designs.  The tabs are sold in 4 different mixes, plus solid silver-color, with a total of 19 colors overall.  I didn’t get a good photo of the color palette, but here is a zoomed-in version from another photo I took of their display. I’m most excited to play with the black and white mix and the earthy-green mix, with a few of those green and turquoise pastels tossed in for good measure. :-)

colorful plastic pop tabsAnd … I’m curious. Now that I’m starting to dip my toe in some non-chainmaille projects (which I think will actually help me be more creative in chainmaille in the long run), are there any things you’d like to see me try? Are there media you’ve played around with and want me to join you? :-) It’s like a whole new world for me, and I’m excited to try out new things! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or messaging me here or on the Blue Buddha Boutique page on Facebook.