About zefiart

Blogger, DIY-er, poodle lover, graphic designer, dog groomer, recycler, artist, wonder woman in my spare time.

walking around parikia

I love the island when its quiet. When the only people here are those that live here. The streets are quiet and its a pleasure to walk around town. Some shops are already being renovated for summer but only those that remain open all year round are open at this time.

Later on, Easter and afterwards, there will be more happening with store owners preparing to open for the season. At that time the island begins to come alive. Its an exciting time – Its spring, the weather is better, people who’ve been away for winter come back to open up their shops… As the weather warms the beach bars start to put out their umbrellas and sun beds. Its a nice time..

Till summer really hits. The island fills up with tourists and visitors. The ferries start backing up in the port spewing out black smoke waiting to disgorge the masses. Cars jam the roads, the traffic becomes unbearable. The quiet beaches are quiet now more with blarring music and packed bodies, parking becomes impossible and all I want to do is hide at home. Or better yet, leave for a quieter place. Last summer I wasn’t working full time and was able to escape to Denmark for 10 days. This year I won’t be so lucky.

I am not sure what I’ll be doing regarding work for this summer yet, I have a few irons in the fire. Let’s see what comes of them… Meanwhile enjoy some quiet little moments of Parikia in winter, before the spring spruce up.

I do love my chippy doors and rust. And I love the little plants which come up in cracks on doorsteps and in corners.

I’ve needed a bit of beauty this week. Its been one bad week. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Well, ok. I did have one good thing come along this week. I took Lainee in for a wellness check and she’s all good. Needs to lose weight, but all good otherwise.

As for the rest… I’ve had computer problems: I couldn’t log on to my email for a few days, then it came right somehow and I’m not sure what I did or didn’t do which fixed it. My keyboard stopped working. My monitor became disconnected somehow. It all got sorted, almost without me doing anything but it was like I was jinxed or something.

Banking was another issue. I was having trouble logging onto my bank, then when I did I found my account was frozen… cause I wasn’t in Australia to provide all the necessary documentation for identification. That took some sorting and a couple of phone conversations with them. Now thats sorted too thankfully.

I’ve had a dodgey front screen door since I moved in and it finally gave up the ghost at the beginning of the week by totally coming off its track and off the wall. No mending it this time. The back screen has had a rip in it for about a year so it was time to get that fixed too. I called a guy and he came round and gave me a quote. More than I wanted to spend on anything right now, but I need fly screens… He installed them today (really good quick service!) and I have lovely new screendoors. The front screendoor is now on the RIGHT way so that it now opens in the same direction as the front door making it so much easier to go in and out. Obviously this wasn’t the case before. What on earth was the person who installed the first one thinking? Anyway, the back screen was a pull down sash type, was replaced by a sliding one as well. Now I can go out and close it behind me! Thus not let the 1,000,023 mosquitos in the back patio into my bedroom every time I go out. Seriously. There are so many mosquitos in that area and they all just buzz around waiting for me to open the screen! I have a back patio I rarely used in summer due to my mosquito phobia.

The air conditioner control began playing up and only worked intermittently, just enough so that while randomly hitting buttons to wake it up I managed to change the mode to cold air and not be able to change it back. I put in new batteries and it made no difference. Next day I bought newer new batteries and it works fine now. Go figure.

I swear… it just wasn’t my week.

z

changed view

The other day I woke up to find the council workers outside my place chopping away at the eucalyptus trees on the road.

I am a bit upset about it, I might admit. They really lopped them. I mean, I know eucalyptus trees have a tendency to drop branches and even fall over in strong winds, but this seems a bit drastic…

It feels a little naked around here without the trees. They were a barrier between our building and the busy road below. Now we’re more exposed to the noise and wind than we were before.

On the other hand, the view is better…

I no longer have to dodge leafy branches in order to see the sea (hahaha), which is probably a good thing… but I miss the trees. Its gonna be a lot hotter this summer without them blocking the late afternoon sun.

z

my new spice cabinet

Thought I’d share a little project I finished recently. Of course there are no ‘before’ photos. I didn’t even think of taking one till I had already given the little cabinet 2 coats of paint!

Dad had bought this little spice cabinet way back in the late 70s. It was all dark wood and contained 12 glass bottles and labels so you could organise your spices nicely.

I was once the kind of person who would do that – put all my spices into clear glass uniform jars and label them lovingly… Now I’m more of a ‘just buy the stuff and stick it in the cabinet’ kind of person.

It has sat, unused, for years in mom’s kitchen – most bottles empty and some with very sad, old spices still in them. While I was sorting out stuff in mom’s house in Athens I mostly ignored it, then at the last minute I tossed it into my car to bring to Paros. I’m rather glad I did. I had some leftover chalk paint which I tinted into a darker version of my favourite green – and voila! New spice cabinet for me.

Sure, it might take up a bit of bench space, but it frees up space in one of the upper cupboards and makes it easier to find the spices I want.

Luckily, most of the spice jars I own fit inside and the taller ones fit on top. For now it also holds vanilla essence and a few non spice items. Eh. Its my spice cabinet and I can put anything in it I want!

z

pet hair removal – fail

Have you seen these things advertised on FB and Instagram? They keep coming up on my feeds so one day I thought “why not?”

I groom dogs, and till its hot enough to wear shorts in summer, I groom in leggings which get covered in hair. Not to mention any long sleeve Tshirts I might wear… I figured these might be the answer to the problem of dog hair making its way onto everything I own!

Not.

I’ve only used them once only, to be fair, on a load of black and dark clothes, but the clothes came out just as hairy as they went in while the green ‘hair collectors’ remained as bald and sticky as a billiard ball rubbed in toffee.

So much for that.

z

framed photos – small things ticked off the list

A few years ago (…quite a few years ago…) I began this photo display of my dad and his friend as youngsters, dressed up as cowboys for the carnival. I love the photo. I had a lot of old vinyl at the time and decided one of the inner sleeves would make a great mat for it. This is far as I got. (Lumpy and bumpy, I didn’t quite have decoupage under control back then.)

Today I was inspired to get a few things ticked off my arm-long to do list (and out of the way since I tend to leave things that need doing soon on every surface of my small house) so I decided to use a frame I owned and finally get it on the wall and off the bookcase. Of course I didn’t have a frame for the entire thing so had to cut it down, but I’m quite happy with it anyway. It looks nice in my tiny hall.

The frame was a cheapie I’d bought a few months ago, with a light timber look, so I gave it a single coat of chalk paint to let some of the wood show through. The white dot on the picture is a reflection.

I also had this vintage frame that belonged to my aunt. I’d given it a coat of white paint and wax while I was in Athens. I decided this would hold photos of my mom before she met dad.

I chose two photos I really liked, trimmed them to fit in the frame together and used a vintage music sheet from my collection as background.

Since I’m always rearranging things I don’t know if this is its forever home, but I love the look of it over the very chippy shelf/coat rack I was gifted.

Other than that I haven’t done a whole lot of creative stuff. I’ve been more concerned about what job I’ll find to get me through the season and how I can spread the little savings I have to achieve the things I want to achieve… It’s a challenge. I need a whole lot more money than I have to build the house and studio/workshop I dream of… sigh… And I was so excited to make that my goal this year: to start on that project. I can already see me in my new home and studio… getting there is the hard part.

z

lace curtain feline makeover…

Remember the beautiful lace curtain I made during the first lockdown?

This is what it looks like now…

Yep. In tatters.

All that work… took me days to make it. A cat destroyed it in a couple of hours.

Did I mention kitten-gate? When a cat got locked in my house accidentally?

Well, it could have been way worse. It could have been locked in for days and I could have come home to a dead cat. Ugh. I think I should consider myself lucky the only casualty was the curtain. I have more doilies and lace. I can make another.

Lainee is quite relaxed about it. In fact she and her teddy bear are both taking it all in stride.

z

faith necklace

Just quickly sharing a little textile necklace I made a couple of weeks ago for a friend. This was made in her favourite colours – pink and black – and the word faith which is what she wanted. She would have preferred a gold loop and cross but I had to use what I had – so I added this cute mother of pearl cross and a silver jump ring.

I used a piece of pale pink linen I had for the ‘body’ and added a scrap of vintage lace to the front and a bit black lace flower detail for a little punch.

The close up pics aren’t the best but I no longer have it to take better photos.

She loved it. That’s all that counts.

z

safety pin brooch and new shop

I forgot to share this little baby when I made it. I was putting away my crafty sewy stuff in preparation for going back home to Paros and got side-tracked – as you do.

I found a few baby safety pins I had in my collection and suddenly got the urge to make a brooch out of one of them. I’m actually really pleased with the result.

I also spent some time the last few days trialling a new shop on ecwid. You can visit it here.

I’m only on the free plan to see how it goes and that only allows 10 products at a time so I concentrated on a Valentines theme, but the paid versions promise big things like linking the shop to instagram and FB. It sounds good, but I’m reluctant to pay for a shop I dont know will do well.

I still have my etsy shop here and my CafePress shop here but neither of those are setting the world on fire. With Etsy I pay a small amount per year to have the shop opened and a percentage on sales. The CafePress shop only gives me a commission on sales. Its been a long time since I updated or added new products to either store.

Over the years I’ve successfully sold on ebay but it just got too expensive and compicated (postage has always been my downfall!) – however they do have a huge audience so I may give it another go one day. When I lived in Tasmania I also sold a lot of stuff on the local FB buy/sell pages, here I’m not sure how well that would go. Then again, in Tasmania I did the occasional market and sold things there so there was always a bit of extra $$ coming in.

My problem (I think) is that I don’t stick to one thing and dedicate myself to that. I see people who paint and who dedicate themselves to doing that and do well. I see people who make jewellery and do well. Or macrame. Or crochet. They pick something they enjoy and are good at and work hard at it.

Me, on the other hand – I do a little bit of everything. I have ADHD when it comes to creativity. I’ll be inspired to make textile jewellery and will do that for a while. Then I’ll get bored and move on to fixing up a piece of furniture. Or painting. Or sewing little zombie dolls or monster critters. Or make a curtain out of doilies. I love variety. And I love trying new things.

In the end I think markets and selling online through local channels worked for me cause the stuff I made in Tasmania was something people were into there. Here, I haven’t quite yet found my ‘niche’ creatively speaking.

Since coming to Greece I have made and sold paintings on stone and marble, spring wreaths and other decor, pet portraits on commission, textile items… so it hasn’t been a complete failure, but its not quite ‘there’ for me yet.

I wish I could afford to open a shop of my own. A place to work and sell whatever it is I get inspired to create.

Ah dream on…

z

new soap from old soap – pinterest fail

Since I’ve been treading water for the last week+ I decided to have a go at recycling old soap bars into new soap bars. I’ve wanted to try soap making for a few years but to be honest, I can’t really see myself doing the whole lye thing… at least not till I have a proper workshop to experiment in (as opposed to my kitchen).

I’ve seen plenty of posts on Pinterest about making soap from scraps so I thought I’d try that. I went with a microwave tutorial since I didn’t really want to use mom’s saucepans for this.

I got the small bits of soap and some small hotel soaps mom had and did what it said on the Pinterest post. I chopped the soaps up, put it all into a microwave safe bowl and started melting it.

Problem was, no matter how long I melted it, it remained lumpy. I had to take it out often while heating it up and mix it or it would bubble and overflow (the microwave was a mess after this!).

In the end I gave up trying to make it smooth, added some essential oil and some dry lavender mom had and called it good. I used a tray from a packet of biscuits to set it in.

I ‘cut’ the pieces and let it dry for a few days. Its probably the worst soap I’ve ever had… its lumpy and hard and doesn’t even foam up well.

So much for that!

Here’s a photo of Lainee on our first outing in the car after being snowed in for 5 days.

The snow was the deepest I’ve ever seen in a city anywhere before. Way more than Athens has gotten previously that I know of. And Athens is full of narrow streets, hills and millions of parked cars. Most councils only cleared the main roads, leaving everyone in the side streets to fend for themselves. Took 5 days for the road outside our house to be cleared – most was done by neighbours who tried to dig themselves safe paths. The snow has still not totally melted in areas where it was piled up or where people dont walk. Pretty incredible snowfall.

I’m still in Athens obviously. My first and second attempts to return home to Paros was foiled by the snow. Now mom is holding me here. She wants to come home (from her sister’s seaside home where she’s been almost the entire time I’ve been in Athens) and spend some time with me in Athens and would actually like it if I stayed all of February cause ‘what will you do on Paros?’… Um like… BE HOME!

Hopefully next time the sea is calm I can make my escape!

z

recovering the kitchen chairs

My work here seems to have come to a grinding halt. Its not that there’s not a ton left to do, its that in a way my hands are tied. I can’t work on the upstairs house while mom is still living in it, and until we have natural gas connected to the house downstairs mom can’t move down there.

So I’m at the floundering stage where I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve sorted out most closets and cabinets, donated a ton of stuff, thrown some out, packed away some stuff of sentimental value and stored it where it will be safe… and now the upstairs house looks like a cyclone went through it and the downstairs house is waiting.

All downstairs needs of course is the gas connection and radiators installed for mom to be able to move in. But I’m told that could take another month or two – they are so behind in applications. And its just our luck that right when we opt to switch, the price of gas has more than doubled. sigh. I never seem to win when it comes to money spent.

Whatever. I won’t dwell.

I finished a small project last week just so I could feel like I was doing something. I recovered mom’s old kitchen chairs. This is what they looked lke originally…

Plain cream weaved fabric. Very dirty from years of use. Grey metal frame. Plain and simple. This is how mom had them to hide the stains…

Ok, too yucky for me in her new home. So I decided to recover them using something bright and cheerful. It was easy to take them apart as the top was simply screwed in place on the frame.

The frames are in good condition, though I need an allen key to give them a bit of a tighten. They were mostly missing all their ‘feet’ so I ended up buying some rubber stoppers for them so they wouldn’t scrape on the tile floor.

I was planning to buy some nice waterproof fabric from a local store but while going through mom’s stuff I found this pretty tablecloth and decided to make do.

I didnt’ have my staple gun with me so I had to use hot glue to secure the fabric to the bottom of the chairs. Hopefully it will last long enough… If not, well… I’ll have to redo them. No problem. This is how they came up. Much better.

For now mom has a table and ‘happy’ chairs for her new kitchen. They will do.

Now I’m waiting for good weather so I can return to my home on Paros for a while. I may as well be in my own home while I wait for the gas installation. I’ll have to return to Athens to be here when that’s happening and to finally finish moving mom downstairs. At that stage I can get some removalists (ie burly men) to take down the fridge, washing machine and couch plus any other boxes I pack up for her.

To be honest I need the break… A couple of days ago I carried some boxes to the stairwell for collection and pulled a muscle in my back. Ugh. No more carrying for a few days.

z

Shared at: Funky Junk