About zefiart

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

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

exercising with a cat – lockdown 2 day 59

Exercising with a cat is possible, in fact it increases the intensity level of some of the exercises. Just remember to move slowly and with control when reaching down to scoop a cat out of the way in the middle of a stretch, to pluck him off your legs when doing squats, and to not jump up suddenly when you return a body part to the groud and hear a yowling sound from beneath it.

I’ve tried putting him outside for the duration of exerise (or breakfast which is like ‘sip coffee, put cat on floor, bite of toast, put cat on floor, repeat’) but the racket he makes interferes with keeping a clear mind.

I left him outside for most of the day today. Not intentionally. Well, sort of intentionally. I was getting ready to go out and he slipped out the door and evaded being caught like a egg white in an egg separator.

So, I drove off and left him outside. After all, he goes out for short periods all the time… and he needs to learn to be out for longer periods… and the weather was fine. So I left.

When I got home I remembered I’d left him outside and had been gone for hours. Yikes. He was nowhere to be seen so I had to go looking for him, calling his name and picturing a squashed kitten on the main road below us. Thankfully he was up the top of the hill where we walk daily and came running at the sound of my voice. He was so worn out that he cuddled and slept like a baby for the rest of the day.

(Note to self: put Eric outside most of the day every day…)

My day was derailed yesterday but I did achieve something. I didn’t realise it was a public holiday so even the ‘partly opened’ shops were closed. Even supermarkets. I did find a few things I wanted in a deli however. And I did go see my aunts to drop off and pick up stuff for mom (naturally).

Then I went to my uncle’s garage to find him and his pet Albanian working in there so I left. I went down to my aunts place and worked out a deal. I’ll use the tiny unit I lived in for a couple of months when I arrived on Paros 2 years ago, with its outdoor area, to work. The unit is undergoing renovation so its not all pretty and precious right now. The outdoor area is not waterproof but I can store my stuff inside, paint furniture inside and work outside when the weather is good. There is an outdoor table I can use as a work table and a built in bench I can put my drop saw on. Yipee. I’ve got a place to work! FOr a while at least.

In return I’m also painting a few things for my aunt. Good swap.

I’ve taken the tools I had at my uncle’s down to the unit and need to begin sorting and collecting stuff from around the house that I’ll need in order to set up a proper work space down there.

I’m so excited!

z

minor slip ups – lockdown 2 day 58

Well that was another busy, yet unproductive, day. And when I say unproductive, I mean in a creative way. I took Selina (the stray kitten) to the vet for a checkup. Thankfully she’s much better, she’s even put on weight. We gave her an antibiotic for the respiratory thing she has and I need to keep an eye on her as sometimes the vaccine can have an adverse effect apparently. In a month, all going well, we can spay her. Then that’s no longer a worry. I got flea stuff for her and Eric while I was there. He’s old enough for spot-on stuff now.

Next the supermarket. Which meant two supermarkets as the first didn’t have everything on my list. And of courseI forgot to put a few things on my list so I have to go back tomorrow. sigh.

Spent time hunting down the right kind of paint for a project. Couldn’t find exactly what I wanted but think I found something that will work. We are so lucky on Paros where shops are officially closed but you can at least go to the door and chat to the people inside about what you might use. Athens is in full lockdown. Nothing is open.

Spent time talking with friends and cousins (great) and the solicitor (good) and the tenant (horrible). That last was enough to ruin my day completely.

By the time I was through with all that I was pretty much not in the mood to do any work. Fixing up Eric’s playhouse is the extent of work I did.

I always beat myself up about being non productive when I dont do something creative. I mean, its not like I have a deadline or a paying job right? Its because I expect more of myself. I have lists, both written and mental, of the things I’d like to accomplish today/tomorrow/this week/this lifetime and I get disappointed with myself when I don’t stick to them. Currently I have 4 dog figures and one fish more than halfway done. I have another 3 things I need to photograph. I have the dresser makeover I want to get on with (had a brainwave on that one last night when I couldn’t sleep) and 7 pieces of furniture to paint for my cousins. I also think I found a way to create an easy photobooth for taking photos, but in order to set it up I have to go through my suitcases of fabric..

This is the story of my life. So much to do, so little time … and I’m easily distracted by people and rusty things.

As I say, I do better with a deadline cause then I have to get something done and I will work till its delivered on time. Many a late night has been spent in the past working on things that needed delivering now. These vague ‘whenever you get to it’ deadlines or ‘by Easter’ don’t work well for me.

As for giving up sugar, I had a couple of slip ups. One of my aunts gave me melomakarona, and hers are the best in the world. How could I not eat some of them? I still have 4… ugh. I can’t bring myself to throw them out. Then, while throwing out sweets I had in the house, I ate something else I found. Mind you, it was a pie and I had to bake it in order to eat it… so minus points scored there. At least I threw out half of it…

So back to it tomorrow. At least my mindset is ok: I go into the supermarket or a cafe and, even if i look at the sweets, I don’t find myself wanting them. Point scored for that.

z

LAZY struck again – lockdown 2 day 57

It started great. I got up, walked the dog and cat, fed the dog and cat and myself, did some stretches, loaded the tools in the car and went to my uncle’s house to use his garage to do some work.

On the windiest day so far.

Always remembering that my uncle’s garage is full of his stuff, junk, and a very large boat. Not to mention (often) my uncles and the odd Albanian worker. But the previous days the peanut gallery had been gathered around the area my cousin was having paved: sitting, watching, drinking coffee, telling the crew what to do, what they were doing wrong, making suggestions cause they know better, and – get this! – they even accused my cousin of not having any taste! The uncles whose tastes remain firmly stuck in the 70s and run to kitch paintings of dolphins, sail boats and blue painted ceramic pots.

You gotta laugh.

Anyway… I picked the worst day in the season to start a project up there cause not only was it too windy for the uncle’s to sit outside, it was so windy I couldn’t keep the door to the garage open either. Plus the crew wasn’t working on the paved area cause they’d run out of supplies, so a truck arrived to deliver all that. Then a man arrived to service the boat.

So two uncles, one cousin, a mechanic and me (and two dogs) trying to do things in a squeezy garage.

I called it a day early and went to glue a leg on a dresser for my aunt down the road and went home where I promptly did nothing for the rest of the day but nap and practice for the Netflix olympics. (I’ve now finished Fargo and am back onto the newest season of Vikings.)

This is the project I was working on. I found two bedside tables in the rubbish pile a couple of days ago. In bad condition, but they’re solid timber so totally usable.

One was missing legs and was a mess so I pulled that apart thinking I’ll re-use the legs and doors. I love the doors. They’d make a fantastic bathroom cabinet for instance. Or kitchen spice cabinet…

The other one was intact. Well, the box at least. I began thinking of ways to use it. I could have possibly just fixed it up, put the legs and doors back on and made it into a bedside table again, or a side table without the doors, just a shelf, would be nice… Or a cat bed.

I began to think cat bed was the way to go… I sanded the flaky paint off. I love flaky paint but this was too far gone. Its almost in perfect condition except for a tiny bit of chipped off laminated wood on the top at the back which I puttied up.

My idea is to put very short blocky legs on it to keep it off the ground, put a solid front with a cat door in it and put it on my front patio so I have two cat houses out there, at least one of which is pretty (the other being a bought dog kennel type, ie pretty unattractive). The main problem with that however is that I don’t have any undercover areas so it would be exposed to the weather which seems such a shame. Plus it would need lining inside to keep it from getting wet.

Maybe I need to stop thinking of making everything for me and think of selling it to someone with an undercover area and a need for an outside cat bed.

So now its been sanded and its ready to fix. I found two thick marine ply pieces I can use as doors to the front, I can probably re-use the old hinges – very thin piano hinges… There will be some fiddly work involved in putting it all together in a practical way, but it should be a fun project.

I will paint it with enamel paint. I have a mistint light blue aqua enamel I bought a while ago cause you never know when you’ll need that sort of thing. That should do fine.

Add a fluffy home made cushion and it will make some cat very happy!

Now if I can only get over working in an area which isn’t mine and where I have an audience… sigh.

z

back to strict restrictions – lockdown 2 day 56

Apparently we’re back in strict lockdown. Once again.

I didn’t know we’d relaxed… Okay, actually I did notice some shops which had been closed were open again but with very strict limits on numbers in the store etc etc. And curfew went from 9pm to 10pm. Now its back to 9pm curfews and everything closed. Again.

You know, I really don’t get this bulls$%t. I mean are all governments as stupid as this one or is it just Greece?

We seem to be doing a bang up job of the whole COVID19 thing, bouncing around from lockdown to free for all ‘come here for your holidays cause we’re safe’ then back to total lockdown, from restrictions to curfews to whatever.

***(added later cause I knew I’d forgotten something and it came to me late last night): Schools are to open, restricted hours of course, but kids are going to school while shops are to close again from Monday 4 January. These measures are in force till mid January when they’ll look at the situation again. How does that make sense? This yoyo-ing back and forth like we’re playing ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ and restricted opening hours? Obviously corona virus is only contagious between certain hours of the day…

In the first phase of COVID19 Greece was the shining example of what to do in a pandemic. The greek government put the country in strict lockdown, all but necessary business were shut, where possible people worked from home or else didn’t work and the government promised assistance (whether it did or not, I don’t know, I’m still waiting for unemployment benefits since I stopped working), schools were shut down and online schooling was introduced. No curfew but bars and restaurants were closed so there was nowhere to go. And the country had incredibly low COVID19 cases… although, to be fair, not many tests were being done either. Still, very few deaths, especially when you compared Greece to neighbouring countries.

Then, in all its wisdom, the government decided to open borders in order to rescue the economy. So they said they’d allow only people travelling from other green countries to enter Greece. With tests done at the border plus quarantine. Then it was a free for all, everyone could come to Greece for a holiday it seemed, barely any testing or quarantine to be seen. Over summer no businesses did well, everyone struggled, lots chose to stay closed as the cost of being open was more than they would make…

Why open borders at all? Make Greece a shining example of what not to do in a pandemic. Sigh. If they’d just kept borders closed for a full year it would have been so much smarter. Then they wouldn’t have had to lock us down again. Business could have opened and stayed open, people could have gone about their lives with restrictions and care. Is it really better to open places up then shut them down than to keep them open but keep borders closed?

I understand why the curfew – when shops and cafes closed at 10pm in summer everyone would go hang out in large groups in parks and have house parties. So they introduced curfew to stop that. Then we went into full lockdown and all movements have to be announced via sms again, with the appropriate reason for the outing otherwise you just stay home.

Its frustrating.

As you know, I don’t mind it. I don’t go out much anyway though I do miss meeting a friend for a coffee now and then or a drink once a fortnight at a cafe. I’m mostly fine with lockdown, barely even inconvenienced. I have my interests and I live on an island so I can walk on the beach every day. This just seems so fruitless.

Anyway, this has been on my mind today cause I took mom to Parikia to see her sisters and walked and made calls in order to stave off boredom. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: Why open borders which was always only going to lead to another lockdown? And I felt frustrated for people locked in apartments in big cities, those with health issues who daren’t risk going out, stuck within 4 walls with nothing to occupy them cause not everyone has creative hobbies like I do.

But enough depressing thoughts. Here is progress on my fish project…

I must confess (so you don’t think I’m a genius all the time – I’m only a genius most of the time) I had planned to paint the fish with colours… soft washes of colour like I do on the marble paintings… but it looked hideous so I went with a flat grey colour. I’m ok with that.

I gotta get going now. Eric is using my forearm as a bed and its making typing into a weight workout for my arm.

z

another gorgeous day – lockdown 2 day 55

Lainee has been a little put out lately. I mean, not only has she been forced to share her home with an uppity kitten who thinks her tail is something to be batted at or her curly coat a nice rug to sleep on, but she’s had to share the spotlight with him too! She demands equal blog time. So here she is, at mom’s place in a very ‘greek’ setting of crochet mats and throws covering every surface.

We had a lovely walk to the beach again today, no kittens present, so she’s feeling pretty good about herself. She also had some of my pasta with pesto for dinner and she’s pretty happy about that too. (Don’t tell her, but Eric had some too.)

I’ve been working on stuff as usual. This afternoon while some things were drying I decided to cut up some seaweed I’d collected. I think I’ll need a ton more. Maybe I’ll just go sit on the beach and cut it up there rather than carrying it home to cut. Tedious work… maybe it’ll be more pleasant on the beach in the sun…

So, I finished 2 more dog figures today( photos to come) and worked on the fish. I began another dog and progressed 2 more. There’s definitely a build-up of dogs here right now.

I needed extra shelf space for them to live on, so I finally put my clock on the wall above the storage cubbies. Now I don’t have to try to see the time between dogs. I have to get out the drill and put the fish which were hanging in that spot on the other wall above the coat rack.

No rush. It’ll be done when the urge to hold a drill gets too much to resist.

I had approximately 2 teaspoons of sugar this morning in the guise of the slice of panettone I had for breakfast (? its not as sweet as cake)…. but I was good the rest of the day. Lunch was roast eggplant with potatoes and cabbage and carrot salad (thanks mom) and dinner was pasta with pesto. Not home made and I didn’t read the label for sugar content but I’m going to go with ‘there was no sugar in it’ and I’m okay with that. After all, I actually cooked something to eat so I wouldn’t resort junk.

Now I just have to get through the evening without succumbing to temptation. Cause I can resist anything but temptation. The only way to do that is to keep busy. Mainly keep my hands busy. Seems my hands and my mouth are connected: busy hands means I forget I have a mouth. Idle hands mean busy mouth.

I better go see what I can work on while watching series 3 of Fargo on Netflix.

z

2021 here we come! lockdown 2 days 53 & 54

Been a busy couple of days. Mostly spent my time up at the family ‘compound’ with mom and my aunts and uncles. New Year’s Eve I had breakfast there, came home for a few hours then went back for dinner. New Year’s Day I walked over and tried to fix everyone’s mobile phone issues, then stayed for lunch before walking home.

Then we found out aunt #2 was in (what passes for a) hospital, having got a nosebleed at 4am. She got the nosebleed, probably due to the meds she’s on for her heart, and didn’t think to call emergency, but waited till it was a reasonable hour to call someone for help. By the time she got to emergency in the morning she’d lost a ton of blood so they kept her in all day. She’s 91 and a bit vague. This is the third time this has happened over the last few months. You’d think the cardiologist would take it as a hint that the meds might need looking at. Sheesh. Mom got a lift down to stay with her a while as the hospital was pretty much deserted and I picked her up later.

So, other than eating I haven’t done an awful lot over the last couple of days. Thank goodness I didn’t like much of what was on offer or I’d be lying on the couch groaning right now. As it is, I probably ate more junk at home after. (Bad!!!)

I keep saying this, but this time I’m actually going to do it. I will cut out sugar. Again. I’m sick of feeling the way I do. No more buying sweets. I’ve tossed out some stuff so I won’t eat it. I will learn to say ‘no, thanks, I don’t eat sugar’ when offered sweets. I want to go back to the way I felt about 2.5 years ago when I began my ‘get healthy’ kick – which has since gone by the wayside.

I look at photos of myself back when mom visited us and I can’t believe how fat I was. Then, having been inspired to cut sugar from my diet I began to feel better, have more energy etc even though at the time I wasn’t yet exercising. That came later, as did losing excess weight. Now I’m dangerously close to where I used to be. That is not good.

Plus COVID 19 and two lockdowns have not helped at all. Going to the gym has become something I do not want to do.

What did it for me back then was watching two things: That Sugar Film and an interview with Tom Hanks where he spoke about having diabetes. For years I’d been thinking/feeling like “well, my grandparents both had diabetes, I’ll probably get it so I may as well enjoy sugar now…” Watching Tom Hanks I realised that I could be sensible now and never get diabetes and therefore be able to eat sweets for the rest of my life… just not as a main meal.

Plus I met a lady who didn’t eat sugar and she encouraged me to do it.

Cutting to the chase, it really makes sense. If you haven’t seen the film, watch it. And consider the amount of sugar we have every day without realising it. Even if we cut it down by half, its gotta be a good thing.

So, here I am. New year, decision made. I’m saying it on here so I feel some sort of responsibility to stick with it, cause I know my lack of will power… Its not a resolution cause we all know how well those go! And its not really a willpower thing. Its more a sort of decision/attitude thing I think…

Meanwhile Eric is turning into a monster. So demanding. He’s trying to swipe food out of my hand on its way to my mouth. He goes bezerk at times and scratches and bites in play. He jumps on me constantly. He wants out and is back at the door miawing to be let in 5 minutes later. He climbs on top of chairs. He scratches at everything. He’s a PIA.

Then he’ll suddenly jump up, give me a soft miaow and rub his little head on me and snuggle in and I melt.

Sigh.

He has me wrapped around his little paw.

z

moving right along – lockdown 2 day 52

This is to prove that I have been doing SOME work. Not a ton, but some.

I’ve cleaned and tidied though… and made another apple cake. Mainly cause I had a friend come over for the first time today and another is coming over for breakfast tomorrow and I’ve run out of Christmas sweets. I either gave them away or ate them…. Plus I needed to clear the table of projects so I put things away. Not entirely organised as I’d like, but thats a project I’ll have to get onto soon..

The recipe for the apple cake is here in a very old post. I no longer put the apples in the middle of the cake, I cut them up smaller and mix them in through and I like it much better. It might look complicated cause the list seems long, but its really easy.

Meanwhile there’s a lot of colour around my place at the moment. Mainly from these three plants:

My bougainvillea which obviously thinks its spring and has begun flowering for the first time. The little chrysanthemum to the right of it has the right idea: its winter so die.
The hibiscus I’m babysitting for a neighbour, also a little confused I think. Its been flowering since November.
This was a gift for Christmas and is the only one which is flowering at the right time.

That’s about it for now. Things to do, people to talk to on the phone since I can’t go out.

z

hot dog! lockdown 2 day 51

We’re still in lockdown, though some things have opened again. With restrictions of course. Some stores you can’t go into at all, you have to order online and collect only. Others, smaller ones, you just go to the door and ask for what you want. Still others may allow you in after sneaking a quick look around. I think this is in response to people needing to buy things other than food and medicine, but also to keep the economy ticking over even at a snail’s pace.

Meanwhile I tried to get photos of the latest finished dog sculpture. These are the photos I got:

Eventually they lost interest in the new object and moved on so I got these. Not the best background for this particular dog I’m afraid.

This little fellow is made the usual way with toilet paper rolls, cardboard, wire, newspaper, masking tape, air dry clay, DIY paper pulp. Then he was finished with decoupage using lovely scrap booking papers a friend gave me. Oh, and a little newsprint, cause, why not.

The photos don’t do him justice.

I’m loving my doggie shelf meanwhile…

Not nearly enough for an exhibition of course. Not yet. Loads more work to do. Never enough time.

Well, not when I spend lazy days napping in the afternoon.

Sheesh. I need more structure in my life again. A schedule. A timetable. Deadlines. I work well with deadlines.

Anyway, I’m off to get some work done!

z