Spanish Tile Jewelry

My most recent jewelry supply order included some great stone chips.  I really like the look of the stone alternating with silver tube beads.  In the past I used mostly glass seed beads to string the pendants on.  Here are some of my newest experiments. 

Spanish Tile With Red Coral and Silver

Spanish Tile With Red Coral and Silver

The first one is a Barcelona Tile design on glass with shiny resin, red coral chips and silver tube beads.  Click on the picture to see the listing in my shop. 

Spanish Tile With Red Coral and Rectangular, Cream Colored, Stone Beads

Spanish Tile With Red Coral and Rectangular, Cream Colored, Stone Beads

The second necklace pictured is also a ceramic tile design from Barcelona, Spain.  I used coral in this piece as well but the chips are branch shaped and the color is more orange-red than the chips used in the first necklace.  Instead of silver tube beads, I used rectangular tube, cream-colored, translucent stone beads.  

Tile Pendant With Oval Green Stones and Silver

Tile Pendant With Oval Green Stones and Silver

The third pendant is my own tile design on brown translucent glass and also coated with a thick layer of crystal-clear, shiny resin.  Oval shaped green stone beads alternate with silver tubes.

The fourth pendant is a Barcelona tile design in pale blue and white.  The stones are clear quartz.

Spanish Tile Necklace in Pale Blue and White Wtih Clear Quartz and Silver

Spanish Tile Necklace in Pale Blue and White With Clear Quartz and Silver

New Catalina Jewelry Finally Finished!

I received the shipment of jewelry-making supplies I’d ordered and regardless of my other priorities, I just had to dig right in.  It’s like Christmas morning. 

Casino Building, Avalon, Catalina Island by Kristy Throndson

Casino Building, Avalon, Catalina Island by Kristy Throndson

I’ve been making Catalina themed jewelry based on my artwork for some time.  I’ve made pendants using miniature reproductions of a watercolor painting mounted on shell but I’ve been longing to create something new.

Catalina Island, Casino Building, Avalon, by Kristy Throndson

Catalina Island, Casino Building, Avalon, by Kristy Throndson

The new pendants I just finished use the same watercolor painting but mounted on silver this time. 

This is mounted using the same method as the original pendants.  The painting is printed on photo paper, cut to size, then encased in a thick layer of crystal-clear, shiny resin. 

The newer version is quite a bit smaller than the shell-mounted pendant at only 3/4″ x 5/8″ but I’ve had people ask for a smaller pendant.  It’s a bit small for my personal taste but I decided to give it a go.  I may try hanging the pendant on silver chain (the pendant in the picture is hanging on cotton cord).  I only wish precious metals weren’t so expensive right now.

Spring Cleaning

I just ordered a ton of new jewelry making supplies in anticipation of summer here on Catalina Island and our Catalina Festival of Art in September.  As a result I figured I should mark down some items in my shop to make way for the new.

Hand Made Crochet Choker Necklace in Ivory with Teal Beads

Hand Made Crochet Choker Necklace in Ivory with Teal Beads

Spring Cleaning Sale at Catalina Inspired on Etsy

I’ll be adding more sale items in the upcoming days and after that, some of the new stuff I’m working on including some Catalina themed jewelry in gold and silver.

Back to Sticks

New Pile of Sticks Ready to Become the Next Tea Light Holder

New Pile of Sticks Ready to Become the Next Tea Light Holder

Late yesterday afternoon, after much pestering, my daughter finally convinced me to pry myself from the computer in exchange for some fresh air.  

She has her own little, pale blue, dust pan and whisk broom and loves to follow me around the garden and sweep up any stray clippings or dead leaves that get missed.  I give her lots of “big helper” encouragement since she does such a good job cleaning up after me. 

Whenever I’m out in the garden, I undoubtedly end up at one of the many over-grown shrubs, with shears and lopper in hand.  This isn’t really a project that should be started when dusk is just around the corner, but that never stops me.  Yesterday afternoon/ evening was no different.  When I was finally at a stopping place (nowhere near finished), it was completely dark and must, I thought,  have been near my daughter’s bedtime.  I couldn’t go inside though until the patio was swept and all my tools put away, after all, this is a hotel. 

Of course, I had to go through all the branches to make sure I wasn’t throwing any “good ones” away.  Finally, twenty minutes later, my daughter and I were heading in.  

Tuesday’s are my favorite day of the week since I have the day almost entirely to myself.  My husband works during the day (he usually works afternoons & evenings) and my daughter is at pre-school.  So, whatever I had originally planned for the day was overshadowed by this beautiful new pile of sticks – go figure.  I had to break the promise to myself regarding the unfinished crochet projects.  “I’ve been so good, I deserve a change of pace” I reasoned.  I can always find a good reason to do something I would rather be doing.

Tea Light Holder #2 Made Using Recycled Glass, Tree Branches and Hemp Cord

Tea Light Holder #2 Made Using Recycled Glass, Tree Branches and Hemp Cord

 I jumped right into creating my second tea light holder, utilizing the lessons I’d learned from the first one, which took far longer to make than it should have.  This time I used white glue to hold the hemp cord to the branches as I tied each one.  The first time, I tied them all first, then ended up having to tie many of them a second time when I glued them.  This one still took longer than it probably should have, but next time I should have the process down pat (ha ha).  I also used a different sized jar which I think I like better than the first.  This jar was the same height but the mouth of the jar was one inch less in diameter, two inches, which is the perfect diameter for a tea light.  Here’s how it finally came out.

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!

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.