sea rope basket

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Things have been a bit all over the place lately, which is my excuse for not posting more often. I thought I’d post while I was on Syros while Lainee had her second operation, but I just couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm for it.

Lainee is doing fine though. She was hungry one hour after waking from her surgery the vet said, and had the staff wrapped around her little paw the whole time she was there. She came out raring to go. The only thing that slows her down is the heat. She really doesn’t do well in the heat. The vet said that’s cause of her heart murmur. So I keep her out of the heat as much as possible. I’ll have to start carrying her back from work when its hot so she doesn’t become tired or overheated.

Meanwhile I started work, in a way. I only had 5 days worth of work to do, then I have to wait for more stuff to do. I hope my job becomes regular soon as I need the income naturally. Though I must admit, I love being a lady of leisure in summer.

So, taking advantage of the not working times I have been working on the tons of projects I have that need finishing (or starting!). I finished the little green cabinet I shared yesterday and have been working on the bigger cupboard I got. That should be finished and back home today if the guy who’s helping me with it can bring it.

Today I thought I’d share the latest finished sea rope basket. I wanted this one to be a bit bigger than the last ones which I made to hold smaller stuff like keys or glasses. This one I’m currently using to hold fruit on my kitchen counter.

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These baskets are easy to do, they just take a lot of time. I have a callus on my thumb to prove that. First I have to collect bits of rope from the beach (usually over winter)… most of the pieces I find are only small, between 2-5 inches long. I bring them home, wash and dry them, then put them in a bag near the couch. I pull out the bits I want as I work on a basket. I work on the couch while I watch something on Netflix. Stops me from wanting to snack all the time.

I’ve already started another one, totally different this time cause its from roadside rope. I will share that one soon as its finished. I enjoy doing them. I like having something for my hands to do.

z

lainee – my baby girl

Just missing my baby girl so I thought I’d share some photos of her.

She adores my cousin Zefi. The next two are taken at her house on Paros. Lainee will always chose to sit on the couch with Zefi rather than me… the little traitor!

Its especially funny since Zefi isn’t really a dog person. But she’s getting used to Lainee rubbing her Lainee-ness all over her couches. Even sitting in her handbag!

That one really cracked me up.

Anyway, here’s looking forward to many years ahead with my girl.

I’m in a nostalgic mood. I spent ages yesterday looking at photos and videos of Eric, missing him, sad that I lost him. I’m so tempted when I see kittens looking for a home but I refuse to get another one. I’m always looking after one cat or another, I can’t help myself. But I don’t want the responsibility of a cat that’s mine. Not again. Not when I’m most likely going to be spending a lot of next winter in Athens. Its too hard to travel with two pets and no way will I have a pet I have to leave outside for hours again.

z

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syros. once again…

Back again. For Lainee, another surgery.

This year has just sucked so far – and we all thought 2020 was bad. 2021 has been way worse for me. It started with a visit to the hospital on Syros with Aunt 1 for a week in January. Then back for myself a couple of days later which turned into a month of hospitalization. Then back to Syros for Lainee’s first surgery. Now for another one. This time its hopefully prophylactic surgery – to keep the cancer from returning any time soon. Or ever.

I just spoke to the vet. Lainee was operated on yesterday and she’s doing well, is awake, ate, the wound is looking good and she’s not bothering it, she seems in a good mood. They want to keep her in one more night so I’ll stay till tomorrow.

Lucky there is another ferry tomorrow cause usually there’s only one every couple of days. Miss one and you have to add another two days to your stay most of the time.

I just want my girlie to be ok so that’s all that matters. That she’s well and gets to live a healthy long life from here on, so them keeping her one more night is good.

For now enjoy some photos… Firstly a plant that apparently grows wild on the hills here with huge white blooms. I haven’t seen this on Paros.

I took the bus to Kini Beach, a beach I’d only seen in passing when I was on Syros a few years ago. Unfortunately the day was windy and not hot enough to make me want to swim so I spent time relaxing on the beach till a group of twenty-somethings arrived with loud voices, loud music and cigarettes. Ugh.

Basically this is what I looked at most of the time on the beach:

So while here I’ve had a pedicure, walked around town, ate out and did some shopping. Its great to be ‘on holiday’ alone but it can get a bit boring when you’re just waiting. I’ve already shopped more than I planned to – but I’m cheap so I haven’t spent much. I got some bargain basement shorts and a top plus 3 nose rings cause they’re easy to lose. Those cost a whopping 1.5 euro each. Big spender.

Oh, I also bought some local honey from the lady who did my pedicure. Her father is a bee keeper here on Syros and I can’t resist pure honey. That almost cost more than the shorts and top together.

If I run into an audio shop on my way round town today I’ll look at microphones… see if I can find a good economically priced one for my foray into podcast/radio shows… who knows… Its on my ‘want’ list anyway.

Ok, this post is getting boring. I’ll end it here and go wander around town a bit. I was expecting to pick up Lainee today so I find myself at a bit of a loss now.

z

a little green cabinet

Remember long ago I mentioned I’d bought a glass fronted cabinet and a cupboard? Well, I’m finally sharing one of those projects. About bloody time too. I’ve been letting myself get really lazy when it comes to working on the computer and blogging has suffered.

Anyhow… I found this cute little cabinet at a local antique shop a few months ago and had to have it. It was missing one side glass panel, both inner shelves and bascially needed a bit of TLC.

Ok. Maybe a lot of TLC. But that kind of thing never scares me.

My uncle had given me a couple of these old parian couch decorations which he’d salvaged from a burn pile. It came from some very old broken couches from an old hotel. He asked if I wanted them. Of course I wanted them!

I picked this one, deciding it would add that little something extra to my cabinet.

The entire remake took ages to complete. Mainly cause I just let the cabinet sit in my house for ages before I even began, then I only worked on it in spits and spurts.

First order of business was to remove the remaining glass on the side and replace it with flyscreen. The whole idea was to make this little cabinet into towel storage to fit right outside my bathroom. Boy I’m glad I have tools. The staple gun came in really handy for putting in the flyscreen.

Once that was done and it was all cleaned up I began painting it with a ready made chalk paint. I say that cause most of the time I mix up my own paint colours and make my own chalk paint.

I used clear wax to finish it off, tinting some of it to create the old look where necessary as I went.

So here it is. Finished, in its place in the tiny hallway to the bathroom. I made a shelf in the top to hold hand towels, the bottom holds my bath towels. I put an old lace pillow case I was given in the window. This is a very traditional look: in the old houses here on Paros there were window cabinets cut into the thick stone walls. The women would put lace curtains in them to decorate them and hide what was inside. They weren’t usually used as display cabinets but for every day storage. I love the way this turned out.

Till I can find a better place for them, my cowboy boots sit underneath it, sort of on display too. And the paint colour I chose almost matches the little door I made to hide the electricity panel.

z

on my way home

Yes! Back home to Paros.

Athens in fine in small doses. Though with COVID19 my time in Athens is pretty boring. I simply don’t go anywhere outside the neighbourhood. I avoid buses and the metro so I don’t go into the center. I avoid anywhere there are too many people (again: the center of Athens).

And I don’t go ‘out’. I visit friends and do errands locally, all pretty much within walking distance. Boring. I did buy some more shorts though. I never ever wore shorts till I got some last year. It was so hot I wore them all the time. Now I have more to chose from. I don’t care what I look like any more.

Ahh the joys of getting older.

I noticed the National Art Gallery is opened again after its renovation but I forgot about it and didn’t go. I guess next time I’m in Athens I must make a point to visit.

Meanwhile I’m trying to take a step back and breathe about the whole reno thing. Its just so much I need to decide and think about and organise that I’ve been unable to sleep well in days with my mind going a million miles an hour.

So basically I do this:

And my favourite:

Hope you enjoyed the stuff I found online when I should have been sleeping. Maybe I’ll sleep better once I’m back home with my Lainee next to me.

z

still in athens

Current layout.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though.

Sort of.

At least I’m going home on Friday – even though I’ll have to come back again soon I’m sure. There’s so much to organise for the renovation in the house.

I’m so confused right now. I have meetings with tradespeople every day and I mix them up, who does what. I’m making notes, but sheesh. So much to do, so much to decide, so much to pull together.

The house basically needs all new electricals, new plumbing, connecting to natural gas which is now right outside the door, all new bathroom, all new kitchen, new floors, new windows, new front and back security doors, new wardrobes, painting throughout inside and out…

Tons to be done. Even if all I did was update the spaces as they are now…

That’s not counting if I want to make a couple of changes to the layout of the place to make it more current and more practical. You gotta remember this house was built in the late 50s when they made tiny rooms, as many as they could fit. That means unnecessary hallways, too many doorways and cramped spaces.

I figure this house will be renovated now and it shouldn’t need the layout changed ever again. So take the time, spend the extra bit of money on it now in order that its not just a great place for mom to live now, but also for me or my brother or a tenant in the future. To do that I need to consider a bigger brighter more inviting kitchen space, a bigger main bedroom and hopefully bathroom and an open plan look for the kitchen/living/dining.

That will mean removing a couple non-load bearing walls of course. But now is the time to do those things. Not spend money now to reno the place only to redo it in a few years.

Sure, you do need to update kitchens and bathrooms every so many years but if I get the main shape of the house right now, the changes in the future will be aesthetic only – new cabinets or benchtops for the kitchen, new accessories or tiles in the bathroom.

Whatever.

It depends on costs of course. It always comes down to costs.

Signing off with a load on my mind and shoulders.

z

just a quickie

I’m not actually blogging today, I just wanted to say I looked at my post from the other day and the photos were all mucked up. No idea why. I think I’ll leave blogging till I return to Paros and my laptop. I am a bit wary of the tablet right now.

So full updates on the weekend.

z

athens. again.

Just a couple of switches on the wall…

Nope. This is not a ghetto in India. Its our old apartment in Athens, now belonging to my Aunt 1, which she had rented to the grot of the century.

I got the keys to place back today after trying to get the tenant out for almost a full year. Firstly I let him know we wanted the apartment for mom so she didn’t have to go up and down stairs. He basically said he’d been there 29 years and had no plans on leaving. Ever.

He hadn’t paid my aunt rent for 5 months so I chased him for it. Then I took advantage of the fact that he was always late with the rent, waited till he owed us another 5 months and went to court where they ruled in our favour and we got eviction papers.

I mean, the guy is an idiot. He knew I wanted to get rid of him, why didn’t he jump over backwards to make sure never to give me a chance to kick him out and pay rent in advance?

Not only did he not pay rent before the court order, he didn’t pay after either. But I’m a decent person. I gave him extra time to find a place (till after Christmas, way more time than was required by law) and said he could keep the back rent to put towards moving.

Then we went into lockdown.

And I knew he knew I couldn’t kick him out. So I gave him a bit more time. And then more time. But in the end I was sick of it. He whined and complained constantly. He was too old (he’s my age), too afraid of COVID19 to go looking for houses, he couldn’t afford anything else, that this house wasn’t worth more than 200e a month (yeah, he’d been paying 200e a month for 29 years!!!! And got my aunt to sign another contract for 10 more years at the same price), and that he was sick with stress since the day I told him he had to move out.

In the end I told him, and my lawyer told his lawyer in no uncertain terms that I’m a very NICE person and I’ve been way more than reasonable about this, but if I had to resort to getting the court to order the police to throw him out on the street the day lockdown ended I would also go to court for the rent he owed us PLUS court costs. If he was gone before lockdown ended he could keep the 10 months rent he owed. I wasn’t giving him more warnings, I was sending the police around first chance I got. Over and out.

Even then he asked for 10 more days. And that was 5 day ago. So he managed to drag it out for another 15 days past the ‘end date’.

When I met him today to get the key, he verbally attacked me. Telling me how the house was a wreck and that he only stayed in it despite the condition it was in cause he was ‘part of the family’ and he would never forgive me for causing him such stress during a time of pandemic, that my cruelty had made him sick, and that I ruined his reputation cause he never planned on not paying rent, he was a professional and his reputation was everything, and that the house wasn’t even worth 200e a month in its condition.

Uhuh. Like… who’d lived in the house for 30 years and let it get to that stage? Did he ever once clean or open a window to let in fresh air? It was in the condition it was in cause he never wanted anyone to do any maintenance on the place and he never lifted a finger to maintain it himself. We lived in that place for 7 years and never had issues with damp and sure as hell never let it become so disgusting. Four of us in that tiny place. But then again, we opened windows now and then.

Anyway, here are some photos of the house today. Warning: Not for the squeamish.

I’ve already organised for a friend to go in and rip out the bathroom, the kitchen and all shelves and cupboards. Our family painter had a look and said he can rescue the door frames, window frames and doors and windows…

The place needs to be fumigated and disinfected and demolished and everything has to be done over. Its beyond disgusting. How anyone could live in that filth is beyond me.

Ceiling in the bathroom.
Would you like to have a shower in here?
Bathroom window.
One of the walls in the kitchen.
Wall in the hallway.
Even the floor in the kitchen has mould where something sat for years. Sorry, no photos of the kitchen cabinets. I was too sickened to look at them for too long.
Inside one of the wardrobes.
Inside the other wardrobe.
The cigarette stained walls. The paintwork was once white. Its now all yellow and the house stinks of old cigarette smoke and mould.
Old wallpaper falling off the wall cause of the damp. This is right under one living room window but its not from water coming in. Its from damp from living in a closed up house.
The window frame and wall under the other living room window.
The surface of the built in shelves in the living room.
Even the bits which were covered by posters or whatever are yellow, just a paler shade than the rest of the walls and ceilings.

Its made me sick to my stomach but I can’t say I wasn’t expecting this. Now I start another house renovation, hopefully with better people and better results than last time.

Wish me luck.

z

walking dead dolls

I know I’ve shared a couple of my Walking Dead doll remakes, but I found I had this post in my drafts folder and it includes one previously unshared doll: Sasha.

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This is Sasha in the show:

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And this is my Sasha, complete with a high powered rifle with moving parts.

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Remaking Sasha included a total repaint of her face and a new hair style. I made her singlet top and she wears Bratz jeans. I bought her gun on ebay as I’ve bought various other accessories at times when I can’t make them myself. I already have a crossbow to make Daryl… I just have to get there.

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Let’s revisit the other girls… Firstly my all time favourite: Michonne. This is how she began, a very messy Bratz girl I bought in an op shop. That’s one thing I miss here (among other things…) No op shops. I’ve never seen dolls I can remake for sale anywhere for instance. I’m glad I brought a ton with me! When I eventually get around to re-making some again.

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This is Michonne on the show…

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And this is how my interpretation, complete with a katana and a chain to hold her pet walkind dead.

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In Michonne’s case I had to do a total overhaul. I had to remove her hair and make dredlocks by wet felting a combination of wools. I made her top, including a leather vest plus a studded belt. Her jeans are original Bratz jeans as they’re just too hard to make.

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Last but not least, Carol. This is Carol on the show:

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This is what the doll looked like before I started. A typical overdone Bratz doll with wild hair.

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And this is the finished Carol, complete with a gun, a military warrier knife and bag.

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In Carol’s case I did a repaint of the face, gave her a haircut and coloured her hair grey. I made all her clothes and made a pair of Bratz sandals into boots by painting and adding laces.

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I miss remaking dolls. Its one of the things I planned to work on in winter but never got around to it for two winters in a row. This winter I was working on sculptures and last winter who remembers… All I know is that time never seems to be enough.

And I get bouts of laziness and inspiration blocks.

I should really be working on things like this constantly but instead I spend hours doing all sorts of things instead of creating. I really work best when I have a ton of projects going at once cause then I can pick what I want to work on at any given time. Space becomes an issue in a 2 room flat.

Last night I was up till 12.30 working on one of my new (old) cabinets. I didn’t even realise what time it was till I saw it was pitch black outside.

I love it when I’m in the zone like that.

z

lamp resurrected

A friend of mine sent me a photo of his lamp. He’d knocked it over and wondered if I could do anything with it, since we both belong to groups about recycling and not buying new.

I said bring it over and I’ll have a look.

I had envisaged a japanese gold fix KintsugiĀ but more than halfway through glueing pieces I discovered there a couple of large pieces missing.

I had to rethink it. I had to make up the missing pieces somehow. I used air dry clay but it looked awful. So, I started to play with it. And this is what I came up with.

An octopus is now holding the lamp together. You can’t actually see him cause he’s inside, but his tentacles come out of the ‘holes’ and wrap around the base.

I hope he likes it when he sees it!

Meanwhile Lainee is doing great but the news isn’t good. The lump they removed in Syros at the vet hospital was malignant. I don’t have the details yet, what type of cancer it was, but they recommend I let her recouperate from this surgery completely and take her back to remove the entire row on mammary glands on the other side too. There are lumps there as well. Tiny ones, but since the big one was malignant they don’t think I should take the chance of leaving and watching them.

I guess I wait to get the full biopsy report and do some research. I want her happy and healthy and if that means another surgery, then I’ll do it. I’d rather do it now, before she gets any older… She’s 12 now and if any of the other lumps begin to go ‘bad’ she won’t have to face surgery at 13 or 14. I want her to live to be a very old lady.

Meanwhile I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor in Athens regarding my stent removal. And waiting to hear about my job this summer. And generally just waiting. Seems lately there’s a lot of waiting involved in life.

z