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.


old houses

So, I’m back on Paros for the Paros Festival again this year. Three days of tours, dancing, bands, performances and open houses.

Last year I just managed to scrape in a visit to a couple of houses, an exhibition and a tour of the old church. This year so far its just been old houses… I absolutely love old houses.

These old places are old mansions belonging to the aristocratic island families of the past. They are either lived in and kept more or less in original condition, or left empty and are slowly falling apart cause the owners can no longer afford to maintain them.

They contain original collectables and furniture and are more like museums than homes.

They’re beautiful old places, and man, would I love to have the money to buy and restore one… sigh… not in this lifetime!

Meanwhile life goes on at a breakneck pace… whereas things crawled along for ages, a while lotta stuff happened all at once this last week.

For one thing, I now have wifi at home! Which is great cause I had my new 50in TV for a week with no internet access…

I also now have a bamboo screen, a clothes line and a sail in my back patio area. And 4 new plants…

My Ikea shelving unit (aka the bookcase) has been fixed to the wall and most of the stuff sitting on my kitchen bench have gone back to living on shelves… till I sort them out…

I have a washing machine (…maybe… long story…) but no connections for it AND it won’t fit under the kitchen bench… sigh…

There have been broken pipe incidents all over the place at the little community I live in. Apparently, they tell me, when the desalination plant went operational and we were connected to the service, pipes began to burst all over the place. Two reasons for this…. up till now the water was always pumped into a tank and the water ran on gravity feed. Plus they’re old pipes. They couldn’t take the new whiz bang mains pressure. Ugh. The first pipe to burst was next door above me. I came home to no water as they worked to fix that till late evening. Next was a place up the hill from me. And yesterday the place on the corner of my floor had a leaking ceiling cause the unoccupied place above was flooded. That was particularly bad as it wasn’t an outside leak, this one has done more damage.

I have a plumber coming today to put in the necessary plumbing for a washing machine and I was told to ask him to put some kind of pressure limiting gadget on my water line.

Ah… adventures….

Other than that, things move at their usual rushed pace. Get up early to walk Lainee and go to work each morning. Hurry home then to the beach or a grooming appointment. Go home for a shower and change to go out with friends or meet family.

Where is that slow paced life people talk about on a Greek island?


cluttered easter sideboard

I don’t usually do special things for Easter. In fact, I barely do special things for Christmas… I mean, who remembers the chalkboard Christmas tree when I was too lazy to make a real one? Or the book stack tree? Even when I did make an effort, it was minimal.

Well, this Easter, inspired by the anti-bunnies I’ve been making for my Etsy shop, and finding a rusty rubbish bin in my stash, I’ve gone all out.

Working on the theory of more is more, and the design principle of clutter is good, I’ve decorated our sideboard with a mix of vintage, rusty, junk and food.

I like it.

Of course, unless the hot cross buns get eaten soon they’ll have to be covered, ditto the chocolate, but hey, for one day it looks great. When the food is gone I’ll just add a few other things to maintain the cluttered look.

Its not like I don’t have a lot of junk.

So, what’s taking up space on my sideboard today?

Starting on the left, a couple of empty frames I’ve moved from one house to another and never got around to filling ‘frame’ (hahah) an antique vent I found at a tip shop. Just had to have it. I mean, could you resist that shape? Sure, its not exactly your average sideboard decor…

A couple of funnels add the necessary (in my life) rust factor. And a couple of anti-bunnies sit back and enjoy the view.

What are anti-bunnies you might ask? Well, they’re scrappy monster bunnies, kind of the opposite of cute Easter bunnies. Not that they aren’t cute. These guys are cute as. They’re made of a mix of recycled and vintage fabrics. I recycled bits of fabric out of an antique armchair the poodles pulled apart. Turns out it was stuffed with fabric scraps. Who knew.

The middle section is the serious section – ie the food section. Since I sold all my cake stands and haven’t made any more (yet) I’ve had to improvise using one of my retro kitchen scales and an antique serving dish. The dish holds eggs of both kinds: real and chocolate. I bet you know which I’ll be going for…

You can’t have Easter without hot cross buns, and naturally you need butter for those. I don’t have a butter curler so I’ve had to make do. The napkins are vintage ones I’ve collected over the years from different places. One on the right under the side dishes was given to me by my aunt Marissa in Greece – it used to belong to my grandmother.

On the right its ‘help yourself’ with a stack of smaller plates and knives. But it can’t be too practical… Old timber cogs, old books and a couple of sets of salt and pepper shakers, topped off by a wooden duck finish the look… Cause what sideboard is complete without a duck?

Above it all hangs the masterpiece. A rusty galvanised bin lid I scrounged from somewhere years ago. Does anyone remember my previous bin lid projects? I love rusty bin lids. This one holds more anti-bunnies and a couple of vintage Easter greeting cards I found online. The cards are held in place by vintage earring magnets (also for sale in my Etsy shop).

This rusty lid has little hooks on the side so I tied a bit of hemp rope to hang it with. I placed a few of those floor protector felt pads on the back to stop it from marking the wall.

The sideboard itself is something I acquired via barter. Barter = good. A friend of mine had a sideboard I’d admired and he admired the oriental cabinet I used to have my TV on. We swapped. Everyone is happy.

The sideboard is a very heavy solid tassie oak piece, made in Tasmania. It holds all kinds of useful things and doubles as our bar. Its very useful and very pretty.

Speaking of sideboards and cabinets, I saw this one in my online browsing and fell in love. I want it. Its nothing like the oriental – or ‘ming’ cabinet I had my TV on and swapped for my sideboard (ie it has the same ‘locks’ on the doors)… its way better!

Anyway, back to reality, you know what its like with these vintage cabinets – they have keys and if you lose them you’re in trouble. I think I have one key to share between 3 bits of furniture – including the small cupboard in my office.

In order to make this key less prone to being misplaced, I’ve added a tassel I made of jute string. It was okay, but a bit too plain. I thought the sideboard needed a bit of bling so I steampunked it up a bit with bits of chain, crystals and other bits from an old necklace.

Much better.

There you go. Our sideboard is finally all dressed up.

Now… what else can I decorate…?


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i picked up a whale

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 
I know.
It’s been ages since I posted. I have the best of intentions, then things happen. I get busy, distracted, lazy, sick, tired, out, whatever. You know… LIFE.
I had meant to post last weekend, or was it the one before that? Wayne and I went out for the day so we wouldn’t be tempted to spend the day working on ‘things’ around the place. We wanted to just ‘be’, spend time together, have lunch out…
We drove up to Oatlands and Ross in Tasmania’s midlands… visited some antique shops, had coffee in Oatlands lunch in Ross. It was a lovely day.
Oatlands is a beautiful town, famous for its working windmill, sandstone buildings and dry stone walls. I could happily live in Oatlands… a fact I mentioned to Wayne a few times on our walk through town.
Ross is a little further north, a little further from Hobart, but just as touristy. I love the old take away shop. 
Wayne told me the story of the Four Corners of Ross. What a great story:

The Four Corners of Ross

The town is centred on the crossroads of Church and Bridge Streets with a field gun from the Boer War and a war memorial as a central part of the intersection. The crossroads area is humorously referred to as the “Four Corners of Ross” with each corner having a label:
Ross also had the best antique store – it went on forever… In one corner we found a suit of armour!
With a cute little reindeer made of wood and real antlers sitting below him. His trusty steed perhaps…?
There were tons of things in that shop that wanted to come home with me, but I was tough. I said no. I had no room, no need, no money. But then I saw this:

Its a whale! A glass and aluminium whale. 
Ribbed glass, hollow with an open mouthed aluminium head. What on earth could this have been used for? Its not an ashtray, there’s nowhere to rest a cigarette. It’s not a sugar dispenser, the mouth is too big. Its not a decanter, it sits on is stomach and won’t hold liquid. The store owner had no idea, so I’m asking you. Has anyone seen anything like this before? If so, what on earth was it used for?

I mean, obviously, apart from looking pretty. Cause it sure does that well.
I love my whale.
Oh and the shop is for sale. 
I was tempted.

I forgot to mention… In Tunbridge, Wayne fell in love with a property. It was empty, the garden was overgrown, the fences in bad need of repair, but it had such character. I think the fact that it was opposite the only pub in town might have helped.


finds at the car show

Today we went to a car show.
I love car shows.
I’m such a boy.
Mainly its cause I spent years and years living in the 50s… not literally! I danced rock’n’roll both for pleasure and for competition, and vintage cars and r’n’r go hand in hand. 
I used to dream of owning one of these:


But right now, I’d love one of these:

Or these:

Or these… not so much in the fin department, but the wider, flatter, bigger cars. So cool.

Mind you, I wouldn’t knock back one of these:

Or one of these:

So cute.
But I have a thing about trucks now too… like this:

Or this…. drool.
This one was for sale. Only $32k. I gave Wayne permission to buy it. 
Sometimes I’m such a boy!
Anyway, we didn’t buy the truck, but I still managed to spend my money (and some of Wayne’s!… ok, all of mine and all of Wayne’s…)
I got this cute sign which will find a spot in my workshop.

And these cute rusty items, cause you know how much I love rust!

What about that light globe!!! Isn’t it adorable? I don’t care if it doesn’t work (which I doubt it does)… I’m going to hang it over my desk and just admire it!

These little tins (full of old greasy stuff) were intended for Wayne’s garage but for now…

They’re sitting on top of one of the ‘shelves’ I put in my workshop.

Last but not least are these wonderful foundry molds/cogs. They’re solid timber and I love them! Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry but you get the idea.

All in all I’d say it was a good day!

chalkboards with spoon chalk holders

Long ago while going through a mad chalkboard phase. I made these two chalkboards from the doors to an old cabinet I trashed. They were the only solid timber parts so they were worth keeping. 
I’d forgotten about them and failed to share, so here goes…
…’cause its been too quiet on the creative side lately!
I used milk paint on both of these doors for the surround and water based chalkboard paint for the middle. I bought the milk paint on ebay in powder form from a seller who makes his own and uses it on the rustic furniture he makes.

I love the colours. I bought 5 of them… but I find it hard to work with. Actually I am pretty sure I’m not using them properly yet..,.

Still, the results are pretty good. Especially since I doubt I’m doing it right.

The bluey green is called lichen. Nice name as well as nice colour.

Given they’re doors and basically the same design flipped, I gave them the same chalk holder – a bent spoon.

I mean… why not?

I finished them off with DIY rusted eyelets and wire for hanging.

Kinda cute, even if I do say so myself.

I’m sure you’ll agree.


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a kettle collection and an old cupboard

I love my depression cupboard.

Wayne and I bought it on a spending spree when we bought the farm. Up till yesterday it lived in the guest room holding linen.

It wasn’t very good for holding linen and I didn’t like it in there so I decided to replace it and put it where I can see it and enjoy it.

Its actually not in great condition. The top bit needs to be re-attached properly (right now its got huge nails that’ve been hammered in randomly but have come loose) and the base has rotted away in parts… it probably spent a lot of time in someone’s damp shed. Thankfully its not musty.

And it still has the remnants of the sold sticker on it cause I never saw it often enough that it would bother me enough to get out the eucalyptus oil to remove it.

I love it cause its made of old crates. When you open it up inside you can see them. During the depression a lot of furniture was made from crates cause they were easily available. Back then stuff came in real wood boxes, not cardboard and polystyrene.

Today old crates cost almost as much as a new lounge suite.

So, the old cupboard is now on the front  porch, in the enclosed area protected from the weather, and it holds the broom, steam mop and vacuum cleaner, as well as all kinds of stuff which don’t need to be in the pantry: cleaning products, light globes, etc.

And the top now holds my collection of old kettles and some of my succulents.

Of course, where it is it covers the bottom half of the window, but I don’t mind that. I love the way the light comes in over the kettles.

And I love the way you can see the crates writing through the window.

I’m thinking of making a small doily curtain for the top part of the window to finish off the quaint look.
One day, when I get around to more sewing projects.

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look what i found

I got a great email the other day from Laure,l from The North End Loft, telling me she had featured my tin crown in her Friday Finds post. Thank you Laurel!

It got me thinking. Lots of bloggers do ‘finds’ type of posts once a week and its a great way to share things with your friends and followers. Maybe I should do it…

Then again I’m a ‘fair weather’ blogger. Sometimes I post a lot, other times I disappear for weeks and my friends have been known to phone E.T. to intercede on my behalf in case if I’ve been abducted.

Its all very well to have time to do everything I try to cram into my day, then I have to find time to blog. And most of the time I’m just too tired at the end of the day to answer emails, let alone be creative and blog.

I think I will join the ‘finds’ club, but make it a random thing… you know, more like a surprise than a reliable weekly thing.

So, in the spirit of sharing interesting things I’ve seen, been inspired by or found… here is the best idea for displaying art. I found it while browsing The North End Loft. Laurel made up boards with pegs and clips up different art according to the room and the mood. Isn’t it brilliant?

I think I’m going to make some of these for myself. There is only so much wall space in this house and there is just so much I’d like to display. Changeable displays are a wonderful idea.
Here are some great finds from a garage sale up the road a week ago. I love this old fashioned bike light…  it’ll make a great something one day. And those clamps. I have ideas for those already, but you’ll see how one has already come in handy in an upcoming post. 

I also found these two old scales to add to my collection. (Anything over 3 is a collection and I now have 4 of the hanging type and 5 of the table type scales). This first is wonderfully chippy with that lovely old fashioned green on the back.

The other has a lovely patina of rust and green. They’re both hanging on the side of the house for the time being, replacing the plants I had in hanging baskets.

Most of the plants I had in pots have gone into the ground now. The garden is looking wonderful. Most of the plants I put in have grown and the place is starting to look like someone loves it. If I continue in this vein my garden will soon look like a little old lady lives here.

– You know. The older the you get the more into gardening you are… the best cottage gardens usually belong to little old ladies who’ve been gardening for 30 years.


redlands – dream garden

There’s a place just outside New Norfolk which I’ve always wanted to visit, and last weekend Wayne and I finally found the time to go and have a look around. Its called Redlands and used to be a huge farm with lots of outbuildings like its own blacksmith, bakery, distillery, etc.

It still has a distillery where they make their own whiskey and schnapps. Good stuff. Oh, and the bakery is also a going concern now – its not open for visitors but it bakes artisan bread which is sold through some local shops.

You know I’m a sucker for old signs.

And old buildings. The distillery shop is inside what looks like it may have once been a dairy, wonderful stone floors and thick stone walls. Unfortunately the photos I took inside suck.

This is part of the distillery.

Then of course there are tons of old buildings, some in better conditions that others. I’m not sure if they’re in use or not.

This is the old oast house.

This is the workers’ quarters. Amazing. There’s talk they want to restore these rooms as tourist accommodation. 

I love it all. Especially the garden. Its the kind of garden I dream of… the kind of garden I would have loved to grow up with. Its the kind of garden fairies flit around in and leprechauns live in.

There are trees with branches which hang down to the ground, creating ideal secret hiding places… love the sitting area comprised of tree stumps under these birches.

The ducks enjoy a bit of shade on a hot day.

No garden is complete without a cubby house!

And the flowers! Huge trees with hydrangeas growing happily underneath them.

Stone wall fences and more hydrangeas… old fashioned and new varieties. Beautiful. And much happier than mine in the shade of the big trees.

If I had this canopy over my garden I’d spend more time sitting in the garden reading or just relaxing.

I love Redlands. Our garden will never look like that. But hopefully I’ll soon have a garden full of pretty flowers and interesting corners. And an area to sit and relax in the shade.

making do and interesting things

 My cousin Zefi’s house in the commune that’s known as ‘Souvlia’ used to be the boat shed and garage. It was built on a slope so the front is a couple of steps down. As a result its darker than most of the houses on Souvlia, but no cooler. In fact, being at the back of the block, with other buildings as windbreaks, it doesn’t get the full force of the wind – great when you want to sit on the porch for a drink, terrible if you want a cool breeze to cool down.

Despite that, Zefi has made it into a gorgeous place. Thanks to her mom’s fossicking, her husband’s good taste and Zefi’s practical mind, the place is pretty, traditional and totally user friendly.

I love her old island couches. I’ve tried to find this type of couch in Australia as its the ideal outdoor couch. Its not so comfy as a living room couch, but so pretty.

I love the big dresser as well, in the traditional dark timber. Zefi’s grandfather on her mom’s side used to be a carpenter and he made some beautiful pieces.

 I love the lace on the shelves inside the glass cabinets.  My aunt Dora has it in her kitchen in her house as well.

 One thing I love to do when I’m here (or anywhere for that matter) is look at shops. I love looking at shops. Sometimes I see things I want to buy, something I see things which inspire me. Whatever. I love to look at shops.

In the market street in Parikia there’s a traditional old homeware/grocery store. Its been there as long as I can remember. They now sell more stuff to tourists than to locals I’m sure, but its the only place I saw one of these:

 Its apparently a dough bowl of some sort. You put the bread dough in it to rise. I find myself needing one of these… I never make bread, but I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it.

I also love these things:

Sieves of all sizes with all different wire thicknesses… from flour sieves to lentil and bean sieves. Pretty cute.

At the other end of the shopping scale are the home decorator stores… not very different to the type of stuff I see in Australia. Still pretty displays and colours though.

Colourful outdoor cushions with jute and bling tassels and fish, naturally.

Burlap mini cushions and a jute string bowl on a lace table runner.

A beautiful simple white bowl.

A rope and sailcloth lamp.

Table centre piece of sea urchins minus spikes, shells and starfish.

I found an antique/second hand shop which has some beautiful things in it but this one was right up my alley: old windows with photos in them.


I even found a shop which sells marble things. Like a marble sink… why have a ceramic butler sink when you can have the real thing? And this slab of carved marble which you can put in your garden and run a tap through.

 A tap like this! Isn’t this a beauty?

Or, if you prefer, you can buy marble columns. Cause no house is complete without marble columns.


 Of course, there are tons of places which are done up beautifully whether they’re shops or cafes or restaurants. Sometimes its something simple like these fish at a taverna by the sea:

Sometimes its way more elaborate, like the boat/couch at this bar in Parikia.

And these door coffee tables.

There just aren’t enough door or window signs though, like this one on a closed antique shop.


And I love this sign on a cafe.

I haven’t been inside many hotels, but the couple I have been into have some interesting items in their lobbies and bars. Like this lamp …

This wooden trough is now a frame for a wooden boat.

Obviously made by the same artist, this boat wall clock at the Paros Bay Hotel.

And a ton of these fishing boats.

This is my favourite. I love the humour in the little paper sailboats.

A couple of little shops in Naoussa, a small town on the other side of Paros, have gorgeous displays. Right up my alley.


Closer to home, I found some interesting ways to deal with the small issues life throws at you. This is my uncle’s solution to the wind taking his umbrella along with the small table.

It might take up a bit of table space, but it works.

My fish bowl has a new spot among the shell collection in my aunt Flora’s kitchen.

The oven in the main house has a dodgey door, so the kokones (a name we call the aunts) have found a simple solution.

Aunt Marisa has found a cute way to cover the electricity panel in the hallway using a hand woven mat.

In her house a little down the road, my aunt Dora has a small corner where she keeps her ancient sewing maching, which she still uses, and a few items from her mother’s house.

You can always tell a greek house, cause there is always an icon somewhere in it. I now have my own icon, my very first. My aunt Xeni gave it to me. I’ll have to find a spot in my home for it when I get back. My decor will be shabby-greek…

Love the old irons with the big base to hold hot coals.