i did something – lockdown 2 day 70 & 71

Yesterday was a washout in creative terms. I was out all day, playing taxi driver to mom and aunts, then had mom and one aunt come over to my place for a catch up.

Today, however, I had a plan. I’d go to my aunt’s unit (and my temporary workspace), I’d build a table for the stray cat food* then do a last coat of paint on one bedside table and the kitchen cabinet I’m working on. Get them finished finally. Ditto the cat house I’ve been making.

*There are a ton of stray cats living around the bins near the beach just down the road from the family place on Paros. People put food out for the cats daily but the 2 guts dogs my aunts own rush down there every morning to eat as much cat food as they can. People have tried to stop the dogs, unsuccessfully, a few times so I decided to have a shot at it myself..

Well, I made the cat food table. With a shelter inside. But no painting. It was freezing outside – snow weather. 3 degrees C. There was snow on the mountains this morning and a killer wind. Yikes. By the time I’d finished the cat table I was frozen solid.

Not a great day to work outside but I had a bee in my bonnet. Someone had put together a really poor shelter for the stray cats and I was insulted. It has no back, no front, just sides and top and a bit of foam mattress in the bottom. Pitiful for this weather. I had to act.

I saw my uncle George and told him my plan, he said I could help myself to as much wood as I wanted to from the scrap heap in the garage. (His dog is the worst culprit). So I took a load of wood down to the unit and starting making it up as I went along.

Not a bad result considering I used scrap wood of various types and had no real plan to follow. I measured, cut, screwed together bits, added bits, got more wood when I ran out… and this is the result. It looks like a work bench. Makes me think I should build myself a work bench! (Once I have a regular workspace of course!)

Its got a wide top to hold the metal tray the volunteers use as a food tray. Three full sides to keep the inside protected from the weather. Partly opened front so cats can get in. A shelf inside and a cut up piece of foam for a bed inside. Its not really big but it will house 3 or 4 cats if they don’t mind sharing. Not nearly enough, I know, but its something.

I got one of my aunts to help me carry it down and put it behind the bins, a sort of protected area between the bins and the wall, with trees overhead. Its like I’d measured the tray as its the perfect size. (I didn’t measure, I’m not that organised!)

I put the opening at the back, facing the wall for better protection from wind and rain. You can see the pathetic shelter behind mine. I added that crate to the back of it to close up at least part of the open back.

I’m pleased with it. One cat was already having a snack as I was leaving. I really hope the dogs will leave the food alone now.

Lainee and I were sure glad to get home and get warm! Sheesh. Who’s brilliant idea was it to work outside in this weather?

z

just a peek – lockdown 2 day 69

Here you go. Just a peek at a couple of the dog figures I’m working on currently. I’ve been working on my sculpture all day on and off, but now everything is drying again.

Had a bit of adventure. Those of you who follow me on FB already know we had a wild storm today. A typical Paros storm which hits suddenly and disappears after a few wild minutes of wreaking havoc.

The day started out looking fine. I took Lainee out for a pee at 8.30am and it wasn’t even cold. It was overcast but fine, no wind, just nice. But as the morning wore on the day got darker and darker till I made the executive decision to not go furniture painting today. At 12.30pm I took Lainee out for a bit and soon as we walked back into the house the wind kicked up into a tornado. I looked at the trees outside and was amazed none of them blew over. I’d never seen wind like that before.

Well, not here. It gets really windy, but this was something else.

Then the rain started. And the hail. Thunder and lightning. And the water started coming in under my front door. I kicked the rug I had to the door to catch the water and ran over to pull the couch from the wall under the window seconds before the water started gushing in through the bottom of the window pane.

These windows are decent, but they’re not watertight as I discovered in summer when I decided the best way to clean the flyscreen was the hose it down…

No serious damage. It was over fast but not before soaking a few towels and small rugs. The wall under the window has moisture damage. Not sure how bad it is till I can look at it properly. For now I’m waiting and hoping it doesn’t happen again. A few more days of storms are predicted. Hopefully tamer ones than that!

There’s been snow in Athens. I’m sorry to have missed that. Though I’m pretty sure I saw a snowflake on the wind when I went out to sweep away the hailstones.

Who said its not exciting living on a small Greek island in winter?

z

gee time flies – lockdown 2 day 68

Day 67 of a second lockdown. Its become the new reality, I no longer feel its any different. I mean we went through the first strict lockdown, then things opened up with restrictions, there were places to go but it was summer and there was work and the beach which was more important to me than going out. Then back to lockdown. So what’s different? We can’t go out to eat. We can’t meet friends for a drink or coffee. We can’t shop for clothes or shoes… but for me life isn’t that different. I can still shop at the hardware store so I’m happy. I plug along, doing my art, watching Netflix, spending time with mom and family, playing with Lainee and Eric, painting furniture…

I am so glad to be on Paros for this! I’d have been ok in Tasmania too, on the farm with my dogs and horses and geese and ducks and workshop and office and studio. But if I had to be in Greece, I’m SO glad I’m not in Athens for this. I’d have gone crazy.

They’re talking of stores opening on the 18th, with an appointment system: you call and make an appointment to go in and get what you want. Stops crowding in stores apparently. Lines outside are ok. Schools have reopened. Nothing makes sense.

Dog figures are progressing. Started two nudes as well. I’m keen to work on them more tomorrow. No photographs as yet. Mainly cause when the weather was nice I never set up my outdoor ‘lightbox’. And then the weather went to hell.

Eh. It’ll happen. Just be patient.

Till then I guess I have to post more words since there are no photos. Bummer.

z

more of the same – lockdown 2 day 67

It was raining this morning and my windshield wipers decided to kick the bucket. They curled up and died. They were deceased. Shuffled off their mortal coil. They ran down the curtain and joined the bloody choir invisible. If they weren’t attached to the car they’d be pushing up daisies!

So, I took my car to the local car fixer upper and left it there, walked to my aunt’s and worked till they called pretty much. The mechanism that ran the wipers had seized up and needed an overhaul.

The painting progresses, but like everything it takes time. I also need some very small screws to attach the doors to the cat house, more paint will be needed soon and who knows what else, so another trip to the hardware store is needed.

My cousin put it best when he told me this story:

He went to the hardware store one day and said to the cute owner “I had my fortune told and apparently a blonde woman was going to spend all my money. I thought she was talking about my wife, but it turns out its you!”

Yep. I think I had the same fortune.

z

dog (& cat) day – lockdown 2 day 66

Lainee is not impressed with the cat invasion.

Today has been an interesting day. Another friend’s dog to groom. Artist friend so I got to see her studio and her work. Wonderful.

I also took Lainee to the vet for a quick check up. Her heart meds seem to be making her coughing worse but she’s fine in herself, still happy and playful as she’s been since the weather cooled down. Today I picked up another medication for her, something that has the possible effect of shrinking mammary tumours. Next week she’ll have them removed… Good but scary. I’ve never been nervous about one of my dogs undergoing surgery before but for some reason this time people are making me wary…

I also took Selina (below) and Eric to the vet. Eric needed his second vaccination but I have to wait another two months to get him neutered. He’s growing so fast! He’s already bigger than Selina.

Selina is fine. Her lungs are pretty much cactus due to her having had a respiratory infection as a kitten. She will apparently always breath short and shallow breaths and not be a very active cat. The vet said this is a sort of instinct, knowing she will have a meltdown if she expends too much energy. Poor girl. She always is so quiet and looks so sad. So different from the kitten who first appeared in the neighbourhood last summer who was too fast to catch. I bought her an insulated kennel where she sleeps at night to keep her warm. I will begin allowing her in the house, but she’s a bit nervous inside. And Eric is being a monster to her. She really needs a quiet life.

I visited a hardware store that has the Dulux colour charts and can mix up any Dulux colour I want. Only problem is, I can’t find Antique White USA anywhere on their colour swatches. It seems to be they only use codes here, not names… Its been my go-to white forever. I googled the code so I will call them and ask if they can mix it up for me…

I also wanted to buy some sanding paper for my belt sander, but of course I can’t get it here. They have to order them in, IF they are standard size. My sander is an Ozito, a brand made for Bunnings in Australia. If it was a universal brand I may have been able to order the paper in easily… so now I await news from the hardware store.

I did buy some pieces of sanding paper for my finishing sander, the one you clip the paper into. Its not a sander I use much, prefering the orbital sander for most jobs.

I also got some timber strips to make some display boxes. I should have gotten more, wider ones too for doll display boxes. I need to make some for my barbies.

I can’t get over how expensive things are here. I paid 2e each for some plain unfinished pine knobs for the kitchen cabinet I’m painting. That’s almost AU$4 each . And these are the cheapest knobs you can get. I thought I’d try custom painting them instead of buying fancy (expensive) ones.

The timber cost me almost $AU30 for 9 metres of skinny pine.

And some liquid nails. The cheapest ‘type’ of liquid nails (cause of course they don’t have ‘LIQUID NAILS’ here, was 5e a tube. Thats almost AU$10. For a tube of liquid nails/glue anything style glue. Unbelievable.

Man I miss Australia…

z

shush – lockdown 2 day 65

Shhhhh, don’t speak!

Not a single creative thing done today, and probaly not tomorrow either at the rate I’m going.

I spent the day doing stuff around town and with mom, groomed a friend’s dog and finally organised the suitcases under my bed.

I’ve had these suitcases for years. I love them stacked in corners to hold all kinds of things I’ve collected or saved. I had them stacked in the guest room In Tasmania.

I had them stacked in the bedroom here, with the smaller ones in the living room on the bookcase. They’re really great for storage and look pretty too.

I replaced them with a table in the bedroom now so they moved under the bed where they’re very useful as pull out drawer storage. Easier than having to move a lot of suitcases to get to the bottom one.

The main problem with them was that over the last year their contents have become rather messed up. Now I have them sorted according to type. One holds all the white and natural fabrics I use a lot of. One contains all my cotton/quilting fabric. One contains vintage fabric and lace plus some collectible stuff. Another holds fabric scraps cause I just can’t bring myself to throw out anything I might be able to use. They’re all tagged and labelled now so I don’t have to drag them all out to search for what I’m after.

Now I also have 4 bags of things to give away on the new Buy Nothing group on Paros (on FB). I already got audiobooks off that list so I’m happy.

Have you heard of the local buy nothing groups which are forming around the world? I think its a brilliant idea.

So, although I didn’t do much in the way of creativity, I did make the place a neater. Though I still can’t see my table top.

z

more of the same – lockdown 2 day 64

Today, after buying some water based paint for the kitchen cabinet, I gave it the first coat inside and out. With only minor paint on my hands. Hopefully one more coat on this should do it. I’ll just need to buy some knobs and it will be finished.

Then it will be on to the chest of drawers which is currently laminated wood in blue and timber colours.

I chose Benjamin Moore Oyster for both these items for the unit. It looks white till you see it against bright white. Its a nice, soft white.

I decided to go with the mistint pale blue paint I had in my stash for the cat house. Its had one coat of white inside and two of the blue outside. Hopefully one more coat inside and out should do it for this too.

Then I can put the doors on. Here are the doors with the cat door cut into one, now gap-less.

I’ve got the hinges but haven’t decided on the best way to keep the door closed yet. I have a couple of options so I’ll see on that. I’ll put it together and see how I feel.

Of course both the cabinet and the cat house will need a little sand before the last coat. Especially since the cabinet doors and the top of the cat house feel rough to the touch. The cat house cause it was pretty weather damaged and I sanded it back a lot. The doors on the cabinet cause they were raw plywood. I did sand of course, but seems I didn’t do it well enough…. Hm.

I also began spray painting the hardware for the bedroom furniture flat white.

The weather is meant to go from 20-21 degree days down to 12-13 days on Wednesday, so I hope I can get these finished tomorrow. Then Wednesday I either work inside or give it a break for a couple of days and work on my poor neglected dog figures…

I do need to do get back to them!

z

moving along nicely – lockdown 2 day 62 & 63

This was my outdoor work area this morning. Its been a rather busy weekend. You can see the cat house in the background, on its side. Its all undercoated now, including the back, in enamel paint as its going to be an outdoor piece.

In front is a pine cabinet for the unit which I had to sand back a bit, also with one enamel undercoat.

I finally worked out how to fix the hollow door ‘gap’ in the cat door. My cousin helped. He suggested I use the insulating styrofoam which was leftover from a reno. There were smaller pieces in the rubbish heap so I got a bit this morning and used a stanley knife to cut and shape it, put it in place and gap filled to smooth it. Perfect. Just like a bought one!

This work is all a matter of steps. Remove hardware and doors where you can,) I couldn’t remove them on the cabinet*) sand, gap fill where necessary, sand again, undercoat where necessary, then 1-3 layers of topcoat depending on the piece. All with drying periods and sometimes a light sand between coats, depending on the type of paint and piece.

*It seems every single screw in Greece is a pozi drive screw. I can’t find plain phillips screws anywhere. All I can find is these pozi screws, and I hate them. In my opinion they camout way easier than phillips. Then again, I’m probably using the wrong drivers.

Camout (or cam-out) is a process by which a screwdriver slips out of the head of a screw being driven once the torque required to turn the screw exceeds a certain amount.

Phillips on the left, pozi on the right.

They’re meant to be better than plain phillips screws. less camout apparently and that may be so… but all my screwdrivers and drill bits are phillips… I need a whole new set of screwdrivers and drill bits. Anyway, the screws on the pine caninet hinges are all pozi screws which totally lost their thread and are impossible to remove. So I painted it as it is, with the doors on. Not ideal but I work with what I have.

You can read more about the scintillating topic of screws here.

Here are some cute photos of Eric who continues to amuse. They are fuzzy cause he was moving fast. Constantly. Hard to catch the little bugger.

More tomorrow.

z

outdoor workspace – lockdown 2 day 61

I began work in my new workspace today! It was so exciting.

I had everything I needed… almost. I made a list of a couple of things I forgot to take. Like my safety glasses (I think I left them at my uncle’s place) and WD40 (at home). I’ll take them with me tomorrow.

I filled my car with the boxes of tools I had at home, went to buy the paints I needed to start, then it was a matter of carrying all the stuff from my car to the unit. Heavy stuff. Heavy duty storage boxes with my tools. Ugh. I have a very sore back tonight.

I began with the cat house as I want to move on to painting and do all the things which need the enamel paint at the same time. I usually just buy cheap brushes and throw them out when I’m done using enamel paint. The brushes keep when wrapped in plastic so the job can be spread out over a few days.

I figured out how to make new doors for the cat house using the sides of the dresser I pulled apart. I used the drop saw to trim them down to size and ran into an unexpected problem: they’re hollow in the middle. I fixed the cut ends using strips of wood so thats fixed, but I made the cat door a mousehole shape, so now I have to somehow fill a curve!!! Once I figure that out I should be able to re-attach the doors and begin painting…

I might have to change the door shape to square in order to more easily fill the gaps… Unless I can find that spray in foam filler… hm…

After getting as far on the cat house as I could for today, I moved on to the hand trolley. I used my grinder with a sanding attachment (cause I couldn’t find my wire brush drill bit) to remove flaking paint and loose rust, then used an enamel paint which is also a rust stopper. One coat done. Finish that job tomorrow.

I also started on the first of the two dressers, the one I had to fix a broken leg on. I began by giving it a light sand cause, although I’m using chalk paint, I just didn’t think the paint would stick well given the very old finish on it. One coat today, another tomorrow and lets see how it looks. I think it will probably need 3 coats plus chalk paint sealer for the finish I want. Photos coming.

All in all, a pretty good day. Had my phone and bluetooth speaker, had Youtube music on and just worked away. Got home ravenous, tired and very dusty. And with a very sore back. Ugh.

Hopefully my back will feel better after a rest and some stretching – not having to carry heavy things will help. Look forward to doing more tomorrow. Building up to actually making a linen cupboard… one day…

z

good friends – lockdown 2 day 60

Today was a milestone. Two months of lockdown, with things getting tighter instead of loosening up from what I gather (since I don’t watch the news).

So today was different. Instead of working at home on my own, running errands or even going to my new work space, I had a friend come over here and we created, ate, created some more, talked, listened to favourite songs on YouTube and had a wonderful time.

Not my cheese and fruit board, but mine was almost as good!

She brought a lasagne, I contributed salad and made a cheese and fruit board for dessert. We worked on dog sculptures and I began another couple of greek goddess figures.

Its wonderful working with company. I love being able to chat and bounce thoughts off others in a creative space. Its been my dream to have a space where I can have groups of like minded people gather to create together.

In Tasmania one of the wool shops I visited from time to time for supplies used to have a group every Tuesday morning. The women would sit at a large table with their own projects and work, chat and drink tea. Of course I was always working so couldn’t join but I wanted to!

While in Melbourne a couple of years ago, I went to a quilting gathering where everyone brought what they were working on and there was tea and coffee and cake etc. While I’m not a quilter, I do hand stitch the odd crazy piece so it was fun.

Such communal gatherings are great as they bring people together, networking and socializing and more than anything sharing tips and expertise and knowledge. I long to have a space where I can organise something like that.

Then there’s the dream of group projects. Larger projects needing more than one person to work on them – recycling and art from trash projects, meant for public display…

Ah. Its good to have dreams.

Build it and they will come he said…

z