reno 2 update

I’ve been back in Athens for almost a week now and I’ve been organising things for the apartment downstairs. I did post about getting rid of the deadbeat tenant and the condition of the place after he left it. That post is here.

So for the last week I’ve been talking to the guy doing the reno work, choosing tiles for the floor throughout and the bathroom walls, picking a vanity and rearranging the kitchen and bathroom layouts to make it all better and compromising where things didn’t need to be as complicated or expensive.

I’m pretty happy with how things are going and feel confident with the guy I gave the job to. I’ll do one more run through today before I leave for Paros to make sure I didn’t forget anything or want any more power points. Cause you can never have too many power points but too few is definitely a thing!

Here are some pics of the progress so far: most demo has been done, old wardrobes and kitchen ripped out, electrical cables in place.

The balcony door from the new kitchen.
The cute balcony which opens up to the small garden – the main reason I loved the kitchen to the front of the house.
The wardrobe recess which I am including in the kitchen to take advantage of a bit of extra space.
The living room.
The main bedroom.
My floor tile choices – I’m going with the bigger/lighter floor tile throughout and the matt white wall tiles in the bathroom.
This is the vanity/sink I like. I like the green but it will be rather limiting in accessory colours.
My first choice is the dark grey. Very classy. I think white would be too stark with the pale grey tiles and the white walls.

I can order things like taps and shower heads online, maybe even the cooktop, oven and rangehood. But I may be back in Athens to choose those in person, who knows? I have no idea from week to week how things will pan out. I think that’s the major stress everyone has in these COVID times.

Posting on the tablet is a pain in the butt, the app is slow to repond and drives me crazy. I’m going to publish this now so forgive any typos as I’m not wasting time trying to read and correct stuff!

z

leave me alone, i’m on holiday!

Yeah. I’ve gone and disappeared again as I do periodically. But in my defense… I was lazy.

Ok, ok, I was busy.

My boss told me I had 2 weeks of work then a week off work (which turned into 2 or maybe 4) so I said fine, I’ll go on that trip to Denmark that I’d been putting off for over a year.

So, I packed my bags (well, one tiny carry on bag) and went off on a Viking adventure.

And I loved Denmark. I visited a friend who lives there and spent time with him and two teenage daughters (an adventure in itself!), visited some museums and interesting places, some second hand stores, walked around Copenhagen lots, saw the countryside, and generally found I loved Denmark.

In fact it reminded me quite a lot of Melbourne and Tasmania: “If you don’t like the weather, give it 10 minutes”. It would be beautiful and sunny, then suddenly pour rain without warning, then the sun would come out, then it would drizzle for a while, then it might get windy and cold… Just like home!

Since I’ve been back I’ve caught up on sleep and am now spending time with my oldest friend – I’ve known her since 6th grade. That’s way more years than I’d like to specify. Anyway, she has a house on Paros and comes every year except last year (thanks COVID) so I’m being a bit of a tourist with her, spending hours on the beach.

Hey. Its hard work. And very tiring.

That’s why I haven’t been posting. I put all my Denmark photos on FB but if anyone wants me to share them on here I will… and sooner or later I’ll get back to sharing projects.

z

meet patch

As promised, here’s Patch. He’s the first ever dog sculpture I made – this time using the same system for the armature but hand sewing the body for the finish.

He turned out great and I love him. He’s about twice the size of my usual dog sculptures and he took way longer to make due to the hand sewing. I want to make more like him but they are very time consuming, and I also love the glued fabric look… hm… Then again I love the hand sewn patched look as well… Oh the dilema!

Whatever. I’m really surprised I couldn’t find him on my blog yesterday. I was sure I’d shared him. Obviously not. Either that or I called him/the post something totally unrelated so he didn’t come up in my search.

Odd.

z

a little donkey

I thought I’d try something other than dogs a while back and just finished this little guy the other day.

This is how he started – newspapers, DIY paper pulp, foil, toilet paper rolls, cardboard and tons of masking tape.

And this is him finished. Air dry clay for the details, fabric and a bit of colour to finish him off. He’s a very solid little guy, not heavy but chunky.

This guy is actually bigger than the dogs, about twice the size. More the size of my first fabric dog. I can’t find the post he’s in so here’s a pic.

Ok… I think I never shared this guy… I can’t find him on the blog anywhere… so I’ll have to share him soon!

Other than that, its back to work tomorrow for a few weeks. No idea for how long, we’ll see. Summer is more than halfway over now. Time flies.

The island is full. Traffic is horrendous. We have one main road that runs across the back of the old town and getting from one end to the other can take almost an hour when ferries are in the port (which is almost all the time from about 10am till mid afternoon). Meanwhile if you want to get to the other side of town you best go by 9am cause traffic starts to build by then… People drive like total idiots. They overtake on bends and on double lines. One guy went around me at an intersection, then cut in front of me as I turned!!!! Ambulances rush around the island picking up people off the road where they’ve crashed their motorbikes or 4 wheelers. Its constant. And yet our powers that be in their infinite wisdom think bring MORE tourism to a small island via an international airport is more important than building a hospital or shoring up the infrastructure that already can’t cope with the swelling population of the summer months.

Enough of my whining. I have to live with this shit since I chose to live on an island/tourist destination which is growing and being plugged as the party island thanks to the German reality TV series shot here…

But enough.

Winter will be here soon and with it the calmness of only people who live here driving like idiots.

z

marble paintings

As I said, I’ve been busy using my non-work time to do some of my own work and finish some projects I’ve had sitting around the house in various degrees of incompletedness. (Ok, I don’t know if that’s actually a word but its working for me.)

Here are some of the paintings on marble that I’ve done over the last week.

Its been really windy lately. And I mean so windy there are no mosquitos or flies outside when I open doors. I love that. The wind, not so much when its this strong. However, I’m not complaining. Its been so much cooler with the wind to cool us down. I hear we’re heading for another heatwave this week – just in time for me to head back to work. Wonderful.

My back has been killing me for the last few days. I think it might have been sitting at the computer for long hours to get some work done. Ugh. Hopefully that will heal itself before I have to head back to work. A heatwave and a sore back won’t be fun.

I’ve been loving having this time to myself though, to be able to get stuck into my own work and my own home. I even mopped the floor! A useless exercise as with this wind everything is covered in a fine layer of dust the minute you finish. Oh well. Such is life. At least mom can’t complain that I didn’t make an effort.

Lainee has been much happier in the cooler weather, jumping around and playing when we go out for pees. I love that. She never used to do that when I first got her, nor did she cuddle in bed. Now every morning she wakes me up with kisses and demands belly rubs and cuddles. I love her.

Well, back to work. Can’t sit here and chat all day!

z

another sea rope basket

I am loving these guys. They take ages to make but its very satisfying to see them come together. Problem is that during summer there isn’t quite as much rubbish on the beaches as there is in winter so the pickings are slim. I’m almost out of rope bits I collected in winter now so once I use them up I’ll have to get creative to make more baskets.

I’ve had some of my baskets placed in a local gallery now (1 sold already!) so I’m afraid I can’t list and sell any on Facebook till the season is over. Ditto with my marble paintings. I have opened my FB shop to see how it goes and I may re-open my Etsy shop as well. Every little bit helps!

I’m still only working part time (ie I work full time for a bit, then stop for a bit…) great for having fun in the sun, not great for the wallet.

So, Lainee and I have had some fun times. Here she is having a fancy dinner at a beach bar.

And here at a beach side restaurant.

And enjoying a sleep in at home.

I’ve had a lot more time to myself this last week as I wasn’t working, but I used a lot of it at the beach. However, I did use some to finish projects I hadn’t touched in ages, just to be able to set them aside, put them in a gallery, or whatever.

So. That’s my news for now. More later as I share projects finally finished.

z

days in the sun

Lately I’ve just been so tired.

I think I’m in love with my bed… I don’t want to leave it. Well, I do leave it for the bigger TV in the living room and the couch, but I love my bed. And I love sleeping…

What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m just tired after work, but that’s not a real excuse. Or maybe its the heat, though the last few days have been blissfully windy after days of sweltering nothingness. I spend the day with creative thoughts in my head – ‘when I get home I’ll do this and this and this…’ – eager to work, then I get home and plant myself in front of Netflix and do boneless cat immitations.

There are days I’m sure I will never blog again. It just seems so pointless when I’m tired or feel like I have nothing new to share or say. Times like those I toss up the whole social media presence, is it really necessary, who cares what I do anyway? What was I thinking offering to do a radio show online? Like I have so much time I need to fill!

Then there are days when I love sharing something I’ve just made or painted cause, frankly, I’m just a show off… If I look back at my life I think I did a lot of things cause I love to show off: rock’n’roll dance competitions (wow! you’re such a great dancer!), selling my stuff at markets (oooh, you’re so talented!) etc.

I’m impossible really.

Anyway, so what’s been going on? Well… the hand-held shower thingy in my bath broke. The tube sprung more leaks than a wicker canoe. Given its my only shower option, its a kinda necessary thing. So I bought a replacement tube. Didn’t have a wrench… (the one tool I didn’t have!). Bought one. Got home and promptly broke the old hose where it screwed into the tap… Been using a bucket to shower for the last 3 days. And the plumber never showed up today so its looking like another day or three before that issue is remedied…

But on Sunday I gave myself a break. Zefi, her family and I spent the day at the beach. My all time favourite beach which I hadn’t visited once this year so far. We put in a good solid 7 hours of hard beach time. It was great. Just like the old days.

Lainee came with us since the breeze was cool enough. Here she is waiting for our lunch to arrive…

And here she is after lunch was finished.

And while I’m on the subject of Lainee, here she is first thing in the morning.

If that face doesn’t make you wanna kiss it nothing will!

Anyway, I gotta go. Things to do since the plumber didn’t show.

z

finally, a cool breeze

We’ve had a heatwave here for the last week. Today a cool breeze has picked up and I feel like I can finally breathe again.

However, I don’t really like choppy seas, so today I’ll have to go searching for a beach that’s sheltered from the wind. Still, small price to pay!

The last few days I’ve had a couple of early morning swims so that I could cool down and then spend the rest of the day holed up at home with the air conditioning on. Poor Lainee… last night I’m sure she was panting in her sleep despite the fan going all night.

My ‘garden’ is still alive however. I water every evening cause I love flowers. This is currently my favourite corner. The red bougainvillea which seems to want to flower in winter, my white gaura and the gorgeous purple water hungry plant an aunt gave me. No idea what its called, but I love the vibrant purple flowers that only last one day.

There is another purple flowering plant in that corner, a burgundy and a pale pink daisy but they have yet to flower. No idea why. The seem healthy enough…

I planted sweet peas this year as well but none of them seem to be doing well. They grow but either end up looking motley or don’t flower at all. So no seeds for next year…

I have sunflowers though. Taller than me! My neighbour gave me some seeds and I have 3 very tall plants currently flowering. I’m not a fan of yellow flowers really but now and then its nice to have something different.

My weeds are doing well though. I’d put out a ton of seeds in various pots and had stuff come up that I couldn’t identify so I had to let them grow a while. Now I know they are weeds but can’t pull them all out without destroying my plants. A job for winter.

This weed however is one I planted myself. Don’t know what it is but it grows in gaps in the cobble stones in Parikia. I collected some cause I love the tiny blue flowers and have it growing at home now. What’s not to like about an easy to grow plant?

I’m currently caring for a neighbour’s hibiscus plant which is doing well despite me. Not something I’d chose myself, but it is pretty.

And the best thing ever….

Some of the aquilegia seeds I brought from Australia are FINALLY growing!

Ok, not a ton, considering I must have planted about 1000 seeds in the last 3 years, but SOMETHING. I am now praying to the gods of plants that these little guys make it, flower and produce seeds.

I don’t know if you remember, but I had a huge collection of aquilegia growing in Tasmania – all shades of purple, blue, white, pink, burgundy and red. And all variations of single, double, small and large, with spurs, without… I miss them… I want them… They are so delicate and just… just… gorgeous. (Here is a link to some pics).

Bonus: they self seed and spread. I had them coming up between cracks in the pavement, in odd corners, etc. Ditto the sweet peas. I miss that.

Sigh.

I guess I am missing the farm in Tasmania.

But I have sea breezes, the smell of the sea and the sound of cicadas to console me.

z

footstool summer look

This is a small easy update to a very wintery looking footstool I bought this winter. This is what it looks like:

Nothing fancy, just warm and furry, goes well with the faux cowhide rugs I throw over the couch in winter.

But in summer I wanted something lighter, more in keeping with the summer look of lighter throws. So I dug out the old flour bags I’d collected in Tasmania. I was going to get a friend to make a quilt out of them but never got around to unstitching them to give her. Now I have a few very old and some not so old ones I’m not sure what to do with sitting in a suitcase under my bed.

I selected a not so old one (its in kilos) to make this cover.

I don’t have progress photos cause I always sew by the seat of my pants (ie sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t though I always make them work somehow)… but basically these are the steps:

  • I cut the bag open to separate front from back.
  • I laid the front fabric upside down and placed the stool on top (also upside down) and traced the shape.
  • I cut the circle allowing plenty of seam allowance.
  • I cut the back into a strip deep enough to cover the sides and go under a bit – the length wasnt enough so I used a piece from the front (with writing on it) to make it long enough.
  • I sewed the two pieces together to form a long ‘side’ piece.
  • I hemmed the side piece with a channel to fit elastic in it.
  • I slid the side piece onto the stool inside out and placed the top piece on inside out and pinned it all together.
  • I sewed it all together, trimmed edges and zig zagged them to stop fraying.
  • I threaded elastic through the channel and voila:
  • Fitted it onto the footstool!

I didn’t bother ironing it (cause I’m basically lazy and ironing would have meant cleaning the stove top of the sundry bits and pieces its collected, putting out my ‘ironing’ towel and getting the iron out from under the sink*), so its the edges aren’t all sitting in the right spot, but you get the picture.

*My iron is only out when I’m dedicated to sewing. Naturally.

Underneath you can see the elastic holding it in place.

One small project finished!

Meanwhile I’ve been busy doing stuff, painting on marble, grooming dogs, going swimming, napping in the middle of the day when the heat gets too much for me, making baskets, watching a lot of Netflix…

I finished Orphan Black (loved it), started iZombie (loving it)…

Hey, at least most of the time I work while watching Netflix, don’t get on my case!

Gotta go groom. Later!

z

marble paintings

The last few days I got back into painting on marble. I mentioned that it sometimes takes me ages to get into something, but when I do I tend to immerse myself in it.

The downside of that, of course, is that once I immerse myself in something I can’t then easily switch my brain off. Which means sleepless nights. Ugh

So while I rub my red eyes, enjoy some marble paintings.

z