Feeling Springy!

Since my #4 stainless steel crochet hook was already out from being used to pry the keys off my laptop keyboard (https://theprocess123.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/why-you-shouldnt-dump-a-bowl-of-cheerios-on-your-laptop/) I decided to use it for what it was originally intended.

I’ve been experimenting with different types of ring-shaped objects to crochet around.  The following photo shows two of the ideas I recently finished and listed:

Crochet Jewelry by Kristy at Catalina Inspired on Etsy

Crochet Jewelry by Kristy at Catalina Inspired on Etsy

This beautiful Summery weather has me going a little flower crazy.  So far I’ve crocheted some in off-white, pale lemon yellow, garnet red and aqua.  There will be many more colors to come.Crochet Flowers by Kristy at Catalina Inspired on Etsy

Yesterday I crocheted this sunny summery necklace using brass jump rings for the centers and cotton embroidery floss for the flowers.  I crocheted nine flowers in descending sizes and sewed them together.  I’m excited to try the same pattern with some blues and purples!

Crochet Floral Choker in Tangerine, Lemon Yellow & Gold

Crochet Floral Choker in Tangerine, Lemon Yellow & Gold

Crochet Flower Choker in Lemon Yellow, Tangerine & Gold

Crochet Flower Choker in Lemon Yellow, Tangerine & Gold

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Why You Shouldn’t Dump a Bowl of Cheerios on Your Laptop

My Keyless Laptop

My poor keyless laptop

Yesterday I found a whole new use for my tiny #4 stainless steel crochet hook.  It works great for prying off laptop keys.

My poor baby!  I’ve done it before but yesterday, my current laptop (a little over a year old and the first brand new, non-refurbished one I’ve owned) had its overdue baptism.  Rather than a full glass of chardonnay, this time it was a bowl of Cheerios complete with about a half cup of soy milk that splattered down through the keys.  If you’ve ever done it, you know that feeling of terror as you watch the spill in what seems like slow motion.  It’s not unlike the feeling you get when you see your toddler turn toward a busy street and pull their hand away from yours just as you grab the hood of their sweatshirt.

I instinctively pulled the power cord and turned the laptop upside down (with no thought to the couch or carpet) and it immediately started screeching at me.  My husband, who was in the kitchen at the time, ran in to the living room yelling “What is that?”.  Not being as big a fan of electronics as I, he was relieved to find it was only my laptop and not a fire alarm or something more serious.  I ran for towels and my hair dryer in an attempt to keep the soy milk from reaching the mother board or, god forbid, the hard drive.

The chardonnay incident four or five years ago had not ended well.  Almost the moment the liquid hit the keyboard of the Dell laptop, it gave a loud beeping death knell, the screen went blank and it never booted up again.  I was insanely lucky, that time.  I’d bought the laptop refurbished on eBay without even realizing it was under full warranty!  I received a brand new one in about three days.

I knew this laptop was no longer under warranty and hoped and prayed its fate wouldn’t be that of its predecessor.  I sopped up as much of the liquid as I could and turned my hairdryer on its cool setting, aiming it at the still upside down keyboard.  After a couple of minutes with the hair dryer, I couldn’t wait any longer (although I should have) and flipped it over to discover the damage.  To my overwhelming relief it started to boot up but quickly started screeching again.  I punched at keys thinking something was stuck and finally it stopped beeping and booted up.  It looked like the hard drive and mother board had survived intact but something was definitely not right.  Some keys didn’t work at all and it seemed as though the scroll keys were stuck, endlessly scrolling down, down down.  I restarted it and again the loud beeping started immediately.  When the keyboard backlight was on, I could see the soy milk squishing around as I pressed keys.

I powered it down and took out the battery.  I went to the grocery store to get some rubbing alcohol and started prying the keys and little  plastic springs off (enter, #4 stainless steel crochet hook).  I cleaned under all the keys but could still see the soy milk one layer down.  My beautiful Toshiba laptop doesn’t have one screw showing, so I started prying panels off to find them.  I finally found the screws for the keyboard and pulled it out.  I disconnected it and took it apart.  I cleaned it out to the best of my ability but when I put it all back together and started it up, the screeching started right up again.  To make a short story long, I took it apart a couple more times without any success.

I wrote the part number down before I put the screws back in and went online to find a new keyboard.  I used my wireless mouse and since the keys were still off, typing anything was very difficult and in some cases impossible.  The scroll down key kept getting stuck so the screen would start blinking like a disco strobe.  I finally found the part online and ordered it.  It was $100 including two-day shipping.  No problem, I could wait that long.

Later in the day I received an email saying that the part (keyboard) was no longer available and my order was being cancelled.  I took a deep breath and headed for our local Radio Shack.  I found an external keyboard for $20 and brought it home.  Incidentally, I had donated the exact brand/model of keyboard not six months ago to the thrift shop.  I got the keyboard home, put the driver disc into the drive and an error immediately popped up.  It wasn’t compatible with Windows 7.

I took another deep breath, choked back tears of utter frustration and headed back to Radio Shack.  This time I got a “plug-and-play” wireless model made by Logitech and – miracle of all miracles – it worked!!

So, I’m typing this blog on my new keyboard that I have to carry around with my laptop.  I shouldn’t complain.  Thank goodness my hard drive and mother board survived!

The moral of the story (which I should know really well by now) – don’t eat or drink around your laptop.  Let’s see how long it takes me to forget that rule this time!

On to the Next Thing…

I’m still working with the “pile of sticks” but, as usual, I’ve been distracted by another project.  I was replacing all the old brochures in the hotel office with new ones and I ended up with a pile of colorful, glossy paper to throw in the recycling bin.

Looking at the pile, that same old nagging thought kicked in…”These must be useful for something.  I can’t just throw them away”.  The gears start slowly churning and, of course, whatever I’m doing at the time gets pushed to the side while I ponder this newest problem.

I’ve made notecards with recycled paper before, but this paper was of a heavier stock.

I finally found my trusty paper shredder, pushed some of the brochures through it and they were transformed into 1/4″ wide strips.  Some of the brochures had old sepia toned photos and colorful landscapes.  When shredded, the original image is unrecognizable and you’re left with pure colors and tones.

I used a glue stick to adhere the paper to some blank notecards and the strips created nice contrasting vertical stripes.  After they dried, I used a mixture of white glue and water to add a translucent layer of recycled tissue paper on top that gives the cards a matte finish and beautiful texture.

I printed out four different ornate letter “O”s on some recycled paper and mounted them on brown craft paper that came as padding in a package I received. 

I glued the mounted letter to the card.  When I finish the rest of them to the other note cards I’ll have a set of four completely unique note cards.

Here’s a photo of some letter “T” cards I made with the sepia toned photos in the brochures.  Click on the photo to see the listing in my shop.  When I finish the “O” cards I’ll post those as well.

Still Playing With Sticks

Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt

Anyone who’s familiar with my artistic inclinations, knows how erratic they can be.  For example, one moment I’m crocheting jewelry and the next I’m pouring resin on my handmade tile pendants while the next week, I’m shredding recycled paper to create notecards.  Like so many other aspects of my life, my creativity runs, hops and skips in every direction, all at once.  Maybe it’s ADD?  All I know is that I usually have several very different projects going on at the same time, which can be frustrating for those I cohabit with in our very small apartment.

After I finished the tea light holder made with branches, hemp cord and wood beads, I felt some momentum to continue down that path.  I dug through my “pile of sticks” and chose one with a particularly unique shape.  I began wrapping the branches with the same hemp cord I used in the previous project.  I’m not exactly sure where this is going but ideas of a “family tree” are buzzing around in my head.

I’ve been watching Finding Your Roots on PBS with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and really getting into it.  I would love to have my DNA tested, although I think the result would be predictable.  My mom’s done quite a bit of genealogical research on our family and it seems that everyone hails from Scandinavia or the British Isles.  Who knows though…there may be a surprise in there and  I’d love to know about it.

Anyway, we’ll have to see where this family tree idea goes.  I have a lot of material to work with, both physically and intellectually.  It could get interesting.

How a Pile of Sticks Becomes a Rustic Tea Light Holder

Me prunning shrubbery in the garden. Last Summer I spent quite a few afternoons pruning shrubs in the garden that had grown completely out of control during the worst of my illness.  I didn’t use an electric pruner because they’re loud and leave shrubbery looking “shaved” and unnatural.  Instead, I got out my hand pruning shears and loper for larger branches.  The process probably took ten times longer than it should have (and it’s not officially finished).  I found it very therapeutic, although I won’t spend too much time pondering why I find wielding sharp objects and chopping branches relaxing.

As I chopped away, I began looking at the branches as I threw them in the compost bin and noticing the beautiful shapes some of them made.  As with many things, I thought they were too beautiful to throw away, so I threw them into a broken plastic planter under the stairs, sure I’d find something useful to do with them.

My bucket of "sticks"

Every time I walked up the stairs to my apartment, I glanced at the pile hoping an idea would materialize.  A few days ago, one finally did.  I had just washed out an empty glass salsa jar and voila – the idea was born!  I love homey feel of the rustic style and I think this piece would fit right in.

I already had a big spool of natural colored hemp twine that I’d used to string beads, so I used it to wrap the branches together.  I found some large wooden beads that weren’t much use for jewelry making (the hole was too large) so I strung them on with the twine.  It took me some time to figure out the best way to achieve the results I wanted, so I had to rewrap many of the branches before I got it right.  Hopefully, the next time I make a similar tea light holder, it’ll go a little faster since I know what I’m doing now (yeah right).

Here is the finished product.  I’m pretty happy with how it came out.  Next time I’d like to try a taller jar so I’ll be able to use some of the more uniquely shaped branches. Rustic Tea Light Holder  Click the photo below to see the listing in my Catalina Inspired Etsy shop.

Introduction to “The Process 1, 2, 3”

Kristy ThrondsonHello and welcome to “The Process 1, 2, 3”!  I’ve created this blog to share my creative process and the “stuff” that eventually hatches from it.

My personal creative process has been accurately described as “all over the place”.  I attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA ) in Baltimore, MD from 1991 – 1996 where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting.  Although I was formally trained in classical oil painting and it remains one of my great loves to this day, I have experimented with a huge variety of media and continue to do so.

I grew up in Central New Jersey but have lived on Catalina Island off the southern coast of California for the last 8 years.  Catalina is a beautiful place to live and is endlessly inspiring.  I feel very lucky to be here.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with ME/Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  Though I still struggle with the disability these diseases have imposed upon my life, I remain hopeful that I’ll be well again.  For anyone who is interested in this topic, I’ve been writing a blog called Fibromyalgia??? for the last year and a half that goes into much more detail about this aspect of my life.  I would like to keep that topic within that venue but I apologize if it rears its ugly head from time to time.

Environmental issues are very important to me and I try to use repurposed, recycled or sustainable materials in my artwork and craftwork when ever I can.  I currently have a shop on Etsy called Catalina Inspired where I showcase some of my creations.

In the future, I’ll be posting about the process behind many of my works and sometimes before they are listed in my shop.  I’ll also be writing about living a simple life and leaving a small footprint on the environment.

I welcome feedback and comments and I hope you will stop by again soon!