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. . .one flake at a time.

Allow me to digress:  I had modified my rolling laptop table to attach a plug strip to the bottom of it, but I had attached it in such a way that the part that tilted couldn’t tilt.   So I backed off and took another run at it.  I broke out my trusty tools to drill pilot holes for the screws and hooks, and then relocate the screws.Now I’ve got the screws relocated.  Here you can see what the screws are for:  The plug strip has keyhole shaped openings on the bottom to allow it to be mounted onto a flat surface.

The large bit of the keyhole slips over the head of the screw, then you slide the plug strip to the left so the screw shank goes down into the narrow bit, securing it to the table.  This is not a permanent arrangement.  The plug strip can be easily removed by sliding it to the right and pulling it off over the screw head.Now to control the cord with a couple of cup hooks.  They are not lined up, but staggered, and the hooks are turned inward toward the cord.  Having to snake the cord between the hooks like that helps keep the cord in the hooks.  All set now.  A setup like this allows you to charge your laptop while you use it.  Or simultaneously use and charge some other device such as a Kindle Fire or use some device that has to be plugged in, such as a little desk lamp or, with the kind of weather we’ve been having, a desktop fan.  This particular plug strip has a 12-foot cord. Now.  Back to the snowflakes.  Several years ago, I crocheted some snowflake Christmas ornaments using motifs from old crochet pattern books of the 1930′s and 1940′s.  Those were pattern books for making tablecloths, runners, place mats, bedspreads, dresser scarves, etc., by crocheting X number of motifs and then joining them together, like you would assemble quilt blocks into a quilt top.  There were a large number of motifs to choose from, but only the motifs that are round and “snowflakey” looking will work. I had made a set of flakes, but sent them to my little second cousin after Phred, my pet tree, died. But recently I found out that a certain author I like loves snowflake Christmas ornaments, so I hunted down my books, the appropriate size crochet hook and thread, my Squeezebox Radio and my newly modified laptop table and decamped to the living room.

The Squeezebox Radio is a WiFi device that allows you to stream music from  internet radio stations such as my favorite SomaFM,  music services like Rhapsody or Pandora, or music from your computer’s hard drive anywhere you can get a WiFi  signal — Like in the living room next to a comfy chair.  I chose one of my Rhapsody playlists and settled down to work.

I chose a motif called “Fantasy Medallion” — that’s it in the picture on the right, which shows four motifs assembled into a block — because it is a very snowflakey looking motif.   (When I’m doing knitting or crocheting that requires following a pattern, I always use a “sticky note” to mark my place in the pattern without having to make marks on the book.  Since the sticky note sticks to the page, it holds my place even when I close the book.  Also, if there is a particular pattern that calls for a special stitch or stitch combination, I can note the instructions for it on the sticky note so that when the pattern calls for it, I don’t have to go back and find the instructions.)

So far, so good.

(NB: Once I’ve finished a flake I will update the below with pictures)

Once you’ve finished crocheting the “flake,” then you have to pin it out and use some type of fabric stiffener on it so it will hold its shape.  There are several brands  of fabric stiffeners out there; I happen to use this kind.

I put a large sheet of plastic wrap on top of my ironing board and pin the “flake” out on top of it with straight pins. (It is important to use pins that won’t rust, as rust will stain the cotton crochet thread.).  I stick the pins through the plastic wrap right into my ironing board cover to secure the flake in the proper shape.  Then I take a brush or sponge stick and thoroughly soak the flake with stiffener until it is completely saturated, and let it dry.

Once it is dry, I unpin it from the ironing board and thread a loop of narrow white satin ribbon through one of the points for a hanger.

et voilà!  A nondenominational, nonsectarian, bipartisan, gender-neutral, organic, nonviolent (unless you accidentally stab yourself with the crochet hook!), not-tested-on-animals, vegan, environmentally friendly, biodegradable decoration that is irreproachably politically correct for display during that  period of the astronomical year associated climatologically with cold weather and commonly referred to as “winter.”