paros day 19 – the bulldog takes shape

Lainee met the bulldog for the first time this morning. I mean, she’s seen this amorphous thing on the kitchen table but had no idea it was a dog till this morning when I put him down in front of the dehumidifier to help speed up the drying process.

I mean he has a face now. 

He still gets stints of time on his back as I fixed the back legs and his tummy…

He now has hocks for instance, something that was sorely missing till today.

Most of the time today he’s been on the floor drying out before the next attack. That’s the thing with papier mache… you need to dry layers. And nothing will air dry fast today.

I think I sorted how to get the details of the face and jowls. I’m using a mix of plaster, glue and toilet paper. Some fabric too. I have to work fast cause the plaster dries fast but it seems to be working.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Meanwhile, its been an overcast drizzly day and the forecast says days of wind and rain ahead. Not doing our walks any good as I tend to hibernate when the weather isn’t nice. Still, at least I’m doing stuff inside and that counts for a lot. I’m really enjoying this stage of the bulldog. He’s getting a face and personality now. I may even give him a name… I’m leaning towards Winston but that might be a bit too obvious. 

Ideas?

I’m also discovering how much I actually love sculpture. I’ve done some in the past and know I love working both additively and subtractively. If that’s a thing (haha), it means I like to add material as well as carve to create the shape I want. I really do want to get my hands on clay at some stage and start making things with it. Most likely figures and animals I think but who knows…

At this point in time I need to use what I have on hand and not buy any new supplies unless I need them specifically to finish projects I’m already invested in. Like the glue I had to buy. I have heaps of stuff I can use without buying anything new. I just gotta think outside the box…

I’m even starting to look at websites on zero waste and how to make things using every day items that will save buying and wasting the way we do in the world today. One step closer to creating a better world. 

You can be sure I’ll share anything new I find and try out. Like it or not. 

z

 

paros day 18 – sewing table make-over

The sewing table make over is finally complete and its back home where it belongs.

I can’t find any good before photos so these will have to do…

The top wasn’t in bad condition but I put some thick plastic over it originally to keep anything I sewed clean. Since I also painted on the table when I lived at my grandmother’s house I didn’t want to get paint on it either.

It was basically a pretty boring brown table with lots of chew damage on 2 of its legs. It was given to me by a good friend (the one who owns the dog who eats table legs). You can just see some of the damage on the right hand side in the above photo.

Anyway, I’ve had it for about a year and it was time to repaint and finish it. I’ve shared some during pics somewhere in the blog but (again) can’t find them right now so you’ll have to trust me. It was pretty bad. It took a lot of wood filler to make the legs look NOT  like a dog toy. But I managed more or less. I could have done more filler but a few imperfections are ok with me.

I sanded and  re-finished the top using an oil based gloss to give it a really good shine.

I used DIY chalk paint to do the legs. It wasn’t my best paint, I’m still not quite used to what I can and can’t buy in Greece. Still, I made it work. No wax on it so far, but that’s ok. I love the look of it as it is.

I kept the original tiny plastic drawer pulls as they’re too cute to replace. Not to mention I don’t have a big collection of handles and pulls like I did in my workshop in Tasmania…

Lainee had a little trim today and is resting on the cowhide rug as I type this. She’s also happy the sewing table is home and thinks its a successful make-over. 

Other than that I’ve been working on the bulldog, took Lainee out for a couple of walks and made semolina pudding. Yum. For once it worked out ok. Yay for me.

Today was a great day!

z

paros day 17 – i’m back

Yes, another day late post, but I had a good day yesterday. I didn’t do an awful lot creative wise, but I spent time outdoors which was great. Its spring here now and the fields are blooming and that’s always a pleasure.

I took Lainee out for 3 long walks yesterday, one by the sea, one in the country and one in town. Parikia is deserted. Its like the middle of winter, not a soul to be seen, not a single shop open except the bakery.

At this time of year people usually start freshening up the paint on the streets.

Leo, the market street cat, rests on the cobblestones probably wondering why its so quiet. This time of year is normally really busy with people getting their shops ready for summer. A lot also open for Easter at the end of this month, but I doubt we’ll be having much of an Easter this year. As far as I could see only one building was being renovated, the rest are all closed and waiting.

Meanwhile, back at home I did a bit more work on the bulldog and a lot of thinking of how to proceed. I didn’t sleep too well the other night trying to work out how to do the face. My mind wouldn’t stop niggling at it. Its not easy to do with paper, all those wrinkles which need molding… I think I’ve come up with some ideas. We’ll see when I tackle it today.

I also gave the table its last coat of DIY chalk paint on the legs and will be going to my uncle’s place today to bring it home this afternoon. I don’t have any wax to treat it with and I hope that will be ok. I really don’t want to spend the $$ they’re charging for stuff like that right now. Worse comes to worse, I’ll live with it as it is and give it another coat of paint and wax once I have some income.

I love the top though. I gave it three coats of gloss oil based varnish and its like glass. Good for a sewing table!

Of course bringing it home means I have to empty the spot where it lives… that spot has become a storage area for anything and everything I don’t have a spot for. Ugh. But I’ll be happy to have my sewing table back so I can do some sewing projects again.

Better go and get on with the day. I have things to do, places to go and people to see (not really!) I’m already halfway through Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy, so I can consider them friends to see… 🙂

z

paros day 16: laziness struck…

Yesterday was one of those days…

It started off fine. Got up at 8am, Fed the cat, took Lainee for a quick walk, did some yoga, had breakfast, walked to the garage to do another coat on the table.

Then I came home to begin doing something. Anything.

I did another coat of paper on the bulldog, but had no inspiration to start forming the head.

I gave in to the couch and Netflix.

And I ate.

This happens to me now and then. I have bursts of energy which I put into making things, then I crash and can’t motivate myself to wash the dishes.

I struggle with some sort of depression. I just know that ever since I can remember I’ve felt different. I’d get these feelings and put them down to the fact that I questioned life while those around me sort of just went on with it, living the life they were expected to live. For instance, my female cousins all went to school and thought about the day they would marry and have children of their own. I wanted more from life. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew there had to be more to life than that for me.

I put it down to thinking too much. I thought it was cause they didn’t think beyond the everyday and truly believed they were happier than I was – they didn’t seem to struggle with any feelings of dissatisfaction or question their place in life like I did.

There were things that happened in my life at that time which may have been the reason I felt like that, but then again, maybe it was always there, in me.

When I was 10 we moved from Australia to Greece, leaving everything I knew and everyone I loved behind. I was 10. Up till then I never saw anyone who lived in Greece. I thought I’d never see the people I loved again. It was devastating.

I hated Greece. I hated everything about it (a feeling that’s hard to get rid of entirely). I went to American, then English, schools. I was greek but I thought in English and was educated in English. My parents expected me to act like the greek girls next door (good greek girls) when I had nothing in common with them. This just made the feeling of not belonging anywhere much stronger. Till I found my people in the punk world – greek kids who rebelled against society’s expectations.

The worst time for me was during art school when I actually went through a phase of not being able to get out of bed during the day and unable to sleep at night. I found I would cry a lot and would feel: ‘I don’t know why I’m so miserable. My life is good, I’m not unhappy, why do I feel like this?’

These were feelings I’ve often had in my life. The tears being just below the surface, or anger… yet nothing was really wrong.

My doctor back then recommended therapy and said it was a hormonal imbalance that could be corrected with pills. I’ve been on ‘happy pills’ for years. I only need a tiny dose, enough to maintain the level of energy I like to have most of the time. But sometimes this low breaks through.

In general, as long as I take my daily dose of happy I’m good. I sometimes have low days but they’re not rock bottom low where I cry for no reason. I maintain a sort of balance where most of the time I’m content and inspired to do things. Just sometimes the call of wallowing on the couch becomes too strong to resist. Hence this post is a day late.

I try not to feel guilty about wasting time but its hard to not beat myself up about it. Its different to days where I chose to take it easy and sit on the porch and read or have a nap, its more of a destructive type of wallowing where I eat junk cause I dislike myself.

It has nothing to do with the lockdown. I love being home, surrounded by things I love. I love doing my own thing. Yes, I’m very social so I do miss having a coffee with friends, but its not the be all and end all of my life and I still talk to friends every day.

I just have to find a way to never let this feeling go beyond one afternoon. Its not how I want to live or who I want to be.

Its 9.30am. Time to get up and get out for a walk, give the table another coat of paint, start working on something, anything.

And stop eating junk.

z

 

paros day 15: the curtain unveiled!

lacecurtain1

I’ve finally finished the curtain!

I’m so pleased with it. I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw one on Pinterest years ago.

lacecurtain2

In the end, I decided a pocket would do, no rings, no tabs, no bows. Just a simple pocket. Partly cause I was too lazy to make tabs or bows, but mainly cause it would hang too low if I added those things.

lacecurtain4

The couch sits under the window. Its not ideal, but its a small place and I have an L shaped lounge suite, part of which sits on that wall, under the window. I love having a big corner lounge suite, but getting to the window to open, shut or clean it can be a total pain in the butt, having to climb onto the couch to do anything.

lacecurtain5

But I love my new curtain.

The house is still a mess, but the curtain looks darn good!

So, remember this cute little tap?

curtaintieback2

Mystery solved. Its my curtain tieback.  Well, actually I can simply toss the curtain over the tap to hold it back, or I can use the hemp string tassle I made back in Tasmania to hold it back. I’m going with the tassle for now.

detail1

I also did a few bits and pieces today – while the couch was out of the way so I could sort out the curtain, I took the opportunity to drill holes to put up my rustic chalkboard (which you can see on my porch in Tasmania here) and the fish mobile Wayne made me. I love that corner now. Its me!

corner1

The cubbies are almost finished. I still have to find the patience to make another 16 little boxes, then I need to find some kind of knobs for them so I can get them out! Its not easy making little cardboard boxes… I’ll get there.

Today has been a good day. I got up at 8am as I said I would. I did morning wake-up yoga, then was out the door by 10am. I did the first coat of paint on the sewing table and the second coat of varnish on the top. Its getting there.

I also asked the guys at the transport company just down the road if I could have a couple of pallets. They said no…

Then Lainee and I walked all the way into town cause it was a nice day. I collected some plant cuttings along the way and put them in some soil when I got home. Fingers crossed on those.

The seeds I planted are apparently doing well. I spoke to my friend who’s been babysitting them since I went to Athens. I haven’t seen her to pick them up due to quarantine, but I got a photo of the lavatera which is going great.

If all goes well we’ll have your lavatera growing on a greek island Ginny!

z

 

paros day 14: a wire wreath

Today was one of those glorious days you get in spring. Warm but not hot, a breeze but no strong wind. I ventured down into the storage room in the basement to bring up the outdoor table and chairs so I can sit outside and enjoy days like this.

And let me tell you, it took bravery to venture down there! Its full of rat and mice s%$t and none of the rat poison blocks I put down there have been so much as nibbled on. We have smart rats here on Paros…

Anyway, I brought out some boxes of stuff. To be honest its not all the stuff I thought I had down there, but at least now I have a clearer picture of what I do and don’t have.

So, having braved the rat infested dungeon, I earned a frappe and some time in the sun working on something relaxing and listening to some stand-up.

Last week I’d picked up a vine on one of my walks and twisted it into a wreath. Today I used some rusty wire bits and some beads to create this wreath.

As I mentioned, the wreath is made of rusty wire pieces and the vine. I collect any bits of rusty wire I find on my walks. Basically I never met a piece of rusty wire (or metal) I didn’t love. A lot of the time once I pick up a piece I make it into a heart as I walk, then bring it home and hang it above my sink. Today I used two of those hearts as part of my wreath.

I used some of my very fine gold coloured wire to hold the whole thing together and added beads for a bit of colour and bling.

I think it turned out pretty okay. I’ll most likely put it on Facebook for sale. Maybe someone will fall in love with it.

Other than that I didn’t get a lot done today. The bare minimum of housework and I thought about sewing the curtain tabs but haven’t managed to do that yet. I think I’ll tackle that tomorrow afternoon. Its meant to rain so I will still walk to the garage in the morning to do more on the sewing table. All I did there this morning was one coat of varnish on the top and drawers. I figure I can get a coat of paint on the legs tomorrow and another coat of varnish on the top. Providing I don’t have to do more gap filling.

Tonight I think I’ll go to bed early as I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and get some real structure into my days. That means setting my alarm for 8am. Its all very well to wake up late, take a walk, work on whatever I feel like, watch Netflix etc. But maybe I need to actually have some kind of schedule. I don’t like wasting this precious time I have.

I’ll let you know how I go with it. (hahaha!)

z

paros day 13: air dry clay bits

Today my washing finally dried! Yay. There is pleasure in the simple things…

I started on the sewing table but got delayed. I took it to the garage to start sanding, gap filled some more and planned to do the first coat of varnish on the top. But while sanding I broke a sliver off the top so had to glue that back in place. So instead of doing a coat of varnish today I’ll be doing that tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will stay away and we can walk there tomorrow.

While the sun was out I took Lainee and Spitha for a walk to the beach and collected some cuttings to pot up along the way. Also added to my collection of sea glass. I’ll have to start making stuff with it soon as its getting pretty big.

Once back home I continued work on the bulldog. I made his paws, nose and eyeballs out of some air dry clay I had. Once they’re dry (or mostly dry) I’ll add detail. For now they are just drying slowly…

bulldogfeet

I also added a few bits to the boy. He’s been neutered so there will be no balls, however he now has his other boy bits (hahaha!) and the beginnings of a head.

bulldoghead1

Once this layer of paper is dry I’ll continue building on the head to get it right. Not exactly sure how I’ll do it yet but I have some thoughts…

Anyway, another nice day working creatively at home this time listening to stand up comedy on Youtube. I have home made potato wedges in the oven for dinner and I think I’ve earned some netflix.

Tomorrow is another day to be filled with creativity.

z

paros day 12: still not finished

I’m getting plenty of sleep. Please tell me why I’m waking up with a full set of luggage under my eyes every morning. And not top of the line luggage either, more like the cheap made in China stuff you get at places like the Reject Shop.

Today has been a more or less productive day without anything finishing anything…

After a morning walk with Lainee I cleaned a bit, put some things away, moved other things a little further over so they wouldn’t be in the way. I flipped over the sewing table which has been lying on its back in the middle of my ‘living room’, glued the top down cause it was coming off and placed everything heavy I had on the floor on top of it (I’ll count that as clearing stuff away).

I also moved the couch around. Its in two parts, a corner unit. I basically pulled it out of the way to put up the curtain rod, cause with the couch where it lives (the only place it can live) I couldn’t reach the window. When I put it back I tried putting it back differently, the longer part of the couch on the kitchen wall, the shorter one under the window so I can reach the window but it doesnt work so well… I’ll have to move it all back tomorrow.

But I mentioned putting up the curtain rod. Here is a preview of the new rod:

curtainrod1

No curtain on it yet – with the crap piled high on the sewing table I can’t really use the sewing machine. Sure, I could use it on the kitchen table, but that’s currently the papier mache station… I’m building a lifesize bulldog as a gift for a friend who owns a tattoo parlour called – you guessed it – Bulldogs).

Here he is, headless and lying on his back.

bulldogbit

I really enjoy making animal sculptures out of papier mache but it is a long process. Luckily I have time… It involves shaping cardboard, joining pieces together to create a form, cutting (carving) and adding to get the form right and slowly building it up. Stay tuned for the head. Which I haven’t even started yet.

My washing is on day 2 of not dry yet. In fact its wetter today than it was when I hung it out there yesterday morning. Maybe it’ll dry tomorrow. Today has mostly been a stay inside day except for the morning walk which necessitated Lainee get rinsed off with warm water to get rid of the mud she’d picked up on the road. Other than a couple of quick pee breaks (mine inside, her’s outside!) I’ve been working on the aforementioned stuff and watching Sons of Anarchy.

Oh and I watched a great limited series called Unorthodox. I loved it, but then again I’ve always been drawn to stories about orthodox or hasidic Jews. No idea why. Ever since I read My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok I’ve been a huge fan of his books and am intrigued by their lives. Then again, I’m also intrigued by the Amish. I guess its something to do with the concept of living in the modern world but refusing to be part of it and the problems that arise…

Anyway, too deep a conversation for now. I’m off to walk Lainee and watch a bit more SOA.

curtaintieback1

So, has anyone guessed what this is going to be?

z

 

paros day 11: losing count

Lately my projects all involve glue and paper. Well, after cutting MDF and gluing boxes to decoupage onto. So, you already saw the boxes I was making, now here they are finished.

One of the things you need in a small house is tons of storage. Especially if you have tons of hobbies. And I sure do. I dreamed of making storage boxes for the bookcase, then I thought, why not make them into ‘drawers’?

Apologies for the blurry photos… I really am not batting 100 with the pics lately am I? Mostly cause they’re taken indoors in artificial light and with a mobile phone. I better get batteries for my camera… then I’ll take better pics and replace these.

Still, you get the idea. Small boxes with holes for handles, to hold anything I need to hide away but still have easy access to.

I like them. I think I might end up making more of them later on… as simple storage boxes, not drawers. Maybe using a slightly thicker plywood instead of 9mm MDF which was very hard to nail without making a mess!

Meanwhile I also made one for the bottom of the bedside table:

This one serves the purpose of hiding all those cords which we all hate but are a necessity of life.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll paint or varnish the shelves so for now they remain as they were – raw plywood.

I used the pages of some very old magazines I had (cause I brought a lot of my crafting supplies with me from Australia, I did bring some weird stuff…), using the ads cause I just love them. For these drawers I used black print ads (which have gone yellowed with age). For the little cardboard boxes in the hotel key cubby thing I have I’m using blue print ads.

Today was a supermarket day. Mainly cause I needed to buy dog food for my uncle’s dog and a few odds and ends for myself, and when I got home this is what greeted me:

That’s NMC sitting in one of my pot plants!!! I fill them all with rocks and stones to stop cats from digging and pooping in them but there he is, sitting in one like its his throne! Not impressed… I hope the baby plant in that one grows and isn’t suffocated. Grrr.

On our walk yesterday I took some cuttings off plants I like and am trying to propagate them in pots on my porch. Time will tell if any make it. I had tried other plants before without success but I always hope!

No long walk today as its been miserable weather, wet and uninspiring. Hopefully the sun will come out soon and dry my poor washing!

On returning home with the groceries I also spent time ‘cleaning’ them as per that guy’s video on Youtube. Except I still brought in my shoes and can’t leave anything outside since I don’t have any weatherproof areas out there. I’m having a couple of thoughts on that… maybe when the weather is a bit nicer I’ll work on something. I’ll let you know.

z

paros day 10: a day late

Turns out I’m better off doing my posts in the middle of the day instead of in the evening when laziness takes over and the call to Netflix becomes too strong to resist.

So this is yesterday’s post. 

Yesterday was overcast but still lovely so Lainee and I went for a long walk up the back of here, to the top of the hill to look over the valley to the sea.

We also walked past the most beautifully kept farm on all of Paros.

And saw tons of these wildflowers blooming… Not sure what they are but they look like a native/wild lupin.

So… I did continue my work on the current projects but nothing is finished yet. Everything seems to take so much longer than you think between cutting, gluing, drying, painting, drying…

However I realised yesterday that I hadn’t shared my new coffee table! Its is one of the first things I made once I got my groove back.

Firstly, some pics of the before: This is the coffee table I inherited when I bought the house. Lovely table but just too big for my tiny space.

One of the things I brought with me when I came from Australia was the legs off an old 50s table I loved. I mean I loved the legs, not the formica top. I always knew I wanted to make my own top for it and a round table to go into the living room here seemed the best solution.

This is the finished product…

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the hows, here goes. I was looking for old timber and found some in the bin at the timber shop back when life was normal. I glued it together as the first step using my table clamps (cause ever girl should have those!).

Then I realised that one of the pieces of timber I had used had termites so I had to treat the whole thing and let it dry before drawing a circle and using the jigsaw to cut it out.

Naturally disaster hit about then as I left it where water leaked and the table split down the middle… one of the glued bits didn’t hold.  I knew I’d have to strengthen the joins anyway so I reglued and cut out some ply pieces to attach underneath to act as a sort of binding, plus to give the legs something more substantial to screw into.

I used a combination of dark brown wood filler and a light coloured one to give the wood more interest.

Then I used my power plane and sander to create a nice smooth top and edges. I love the look of raw wood.

Last I attached the legs. Love those legs!

Et voila! A gorgeous round coffee table made by moi!

And here is it in the living room. Small enough to get around. Big enough to hold the necessities (but not big enough to become yet another crafting surface!), and oh so pretty.

I’ll end this post with a preview of another little project… Can you guess what it will be?

Oh, and a Baileys of course… It helps me sleep!

z

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