Yesterday I was suddenly overtaken with a desire to be more Christmassy.
I’d had this little chest for a while. It was a plain brown little thing, ugly really, which came with a gift in it 2 years ago. I always thought I’d do something with it. I painted it white and planned to line it with some faux fur as a tiny jewelry box or something.
Anyway, while searching for the fairy lights I found I still had these tiny Christmas trees from last year and decided I’d use them to create a pretty ‘snowy forest in a box’.
I used hot glued the trees into the back of the lid. I cut a toilet roll to create a hill in the foreground and hot glued trees to that. I topped it all off with some ‘just add water’ snow cause the dry snow would just blow off everywhere. This should last till after Christmas… Next year I’ll upcycle it again.
I also made this little wreath. I’d already started this one day at the beach. Those trees that grow by the sea have lots of very fine roots close to the surface that sometimes stick out of the sand. They’re thin and flexible so I’d pulled up a few and wrapped them into a ring using a bit of gold wire to secure them.
On our walk yesterday I found some much finer strands of roots and brought them home, adding them to the ring I’d made, in a much looser fashion to give the wreath more bulk.
I used more gold wire to secure it and a bit of paper string for the bow. I finished it off by dribbling some glue on it and dipping it into some sparkly styrofoam balls I had from last Christmas.
Since I’m not hanging it I’m using a flower frog as its ‘stand’.
This is what my little Christmas corner looks like now.
I’ve had a bit of a lazy day today. Well, a lot lazy. I didn’t do much of anything at all. One thing I DID do was finish something I’ve had on my To Do list for a a long time. I finished a memory box for mom and dad. Something similar to the one I made for my grandparents.
I’d found this glass fronted display box at a second hand store last year and had always planned to use it to do this, I just never really got around to it. I did give it a coat of paint but sort then sort of got stuck…
Mainly on what to use as a background. I knew I wanted something romantic looking and about a month ago I ordered some pretty rice paper I found when shopping for art supplies online. Once I finally put the paper in the boxit was easy to sort through prints of old photos of mom and dad courting and on their wedding day and pick the ones I would use. There are so many photos it was hard to pick, and mom was so gorgeous…
You can click on the images below to see the steps and close ups of the photos I chose.
I wanted it to be romantic so I picked some lace to include, a rose and a lovely old bracelet of mom’s for a bit of bling.
It was still missing something so I found a rusty bit of wire and twisted it into a heart – perfect! Painted shabby wood, pretty paper, vintage lace, old photos, bling and rust. Can’t get better than that.
I’ve hung it by the door in my bedroom, on the same wall as the box for my grandparents and the photos of dad displayed in the old radio face.
It occurs to me I have the perfect white, lacy, shabby, romantic girly bedroom. Finally. After so many years of black furniture and dark colours. Funny isn’t it?
Enjoy a pretty picture of my cousin’s pink corner.
I love it. In fact I want it.
But that’s not what I planned to post about today. Today I wanted to post about being brain dead.
Seriously. My brain is stuffed. Or its leaking like a sieve… I’m not sure which. I’ve had to make calls today and I keep making mistakes. I mean, I’m not dialling wrong. I’m dialling one place and asking something unrelated to where I called. For instance I called the accountant and asked about travel to Australia. I called the council and asked details about my unemployment status. Next I’ll ask the Australian embassy about cutting down a dead tree on the road outside my place…
Brain dead. As I said.
So, having established that, here is a photo of the next two dogs I’m working on next to the rag dog I’ve already finished.
I think I’ll end it here for now. There are just too many things going on in my mind to actually make sense. And I have a few more calls to make. Hopefully the right info to the right people this time…
The other day I finally got around to making up some labels for the little boxes and cubblies I store odds and ends in. You may remember the hotel key box I made little drawers for, and the little boxes I bought from a bargain store in Athens. The idea being that I’d get my bits and pieces out of the suitcases in my bedroom and into spots that I could get at them easily (without having to lug suitcases out and dig through tons of stuff).
I basically wanted something similar to the cheap little cubby drawers I had in Australia. They were SO handy, so cute. Its one of the things I regret not keeping, but at the time I thought “they’re just chipboard and cardboard… why ship them to Greece?” … Well… cause you can’t get them here, that’s why! sigh…
The idea was great, till I realised I now have too many little drawers to memorise where things were. Its pretty time consuming to open every single little drawer to find what I’m looking for.
So I made up labels in an old typewriter font on my computer, printed them on plain white paper… glued the paper onto a thin sheet of cardboard, stained them with a used tea bag, then cut them into small tags. I then used a single hole punch to enable me to hang them off the drawers. I needed to be able to change tags when/if I changed contents of a drawer, but also didn’t want to hide the old magazines glued on the little cubby drawers.
I’m liking my little dangly tags. I put them on everything. Well, ok, not everything, there are still some drawers with nothing in them and some without tags cause I forgot to make a tag for that particular drawer…
But I’m getting there. That’s the take away I’m holding onto for this. I did something constructive.
Cause lord knows I needed to feel I achieved something some days. Every time I try to do something most of the time I get knocked back to square one. For instance:
I went to get money out of the bank for mom and discovered I hadn’t activated the card I got for her. Back to the start on that. A visit to the bank is necessary.
I went to pay my rates and found I need to change my PIN. All very well and thankyouverymuch greek bank for forcing people to change their pins every month… but when you can’t get it done easily on your phone using the app cause you need to go into a bank, log onto web banking (but haven’t set it up) or whatever… yep. Back to the drawing board on that too. A visit to the bank necessary.
I went to apply for a new greek passport. I need stuff I haven’t got. Still waiting on getting all that sorted.
I went to book a new ticket to Denmark (the trip that seems will never happen) cause they cancelled my flight, only to discover I needed to apply for a voucher. Did that. Got it. Now I’m not sure I’m going, or if I am, when…
This time I decided to tackle something a little bigger, more practical in size. I began with a piece of rope which was longer than the 5-6 inch pieces I normally find on the beach. I was lucky a couple of months ago to find two longer lengths of grey, so I began this one with one of those pieces to create the bottom of the basket.
By doing a little every night while watching Netflix I continued to build up the basket, adding in my small pieces as I went, adding colour as each piece was different.
The predominant colours are usually blues and greens, but you never know what you’ll find buried in the sand.
This time I’d been lucky enough to find some netting as well, which I decided to add to the top of the basket to add that whimsical feel.
Its not a huge basket. about 22cm diameter, but its about the same size as the first basket I ever made out of new cotton rope… (which I can’t seem to find on the blog, which means I probably never shared it… hm… must fix that.)
Its a handy size, I’ve used my first one to hold sunnies, makeup, all kinds of odds and ends. Only difference is this one is stiffer as this rope is harder than the cotton rope. Holds its shape better.
I’m actually very pleased with it. This little fella will be going into the art exhibition I’m planning/hoping to have next summer. A mix of art from trash, recycling and mixed media art. I’m excited by the idea of it and actually very eager to start working on ideas that keep me awake at night.
(If only my buzzing mind translated into more action…)
So. Other than this little creation, what have I been doing lately?
Well some small artworks on stone and marble by commission. Day to day living. Working. Swimming. Attempting to keep my home neat and tidy for when mom visits and failing miserably.
I’m currently watching Salvation – just started last night. I like end of the world type stuff, call me crazy…
I watched The Glitch (wierd and sort of unsatisfying in its conclusion), The Code (which I enjoyed) and The Let Down (loved it). These three are Australian series and maybe part of the reason I loved them so much was that they’re Australian and I got to wallow in aussie accents and sense of humour again for a while. The Let Down is hilarious and SO Australian!
I watched Away (enjoyed), Snowpiercer (yep, end of the world stuff) and…
I know there were more since I last blogged about my Netflix habit… but right now my mind is blank. Aren’t you glad?
I was given this little salt pig, or container or whatever you want to call it, by my french neighbours complete with natural sea salt they collected themselves here on Paros. Cute huh?
Only thing is, I didn’t really like the colour of the wood. So… I painted it grey.
The grey isn’t totally perfect with the cream, beige and brass fittings in my kitchen, but its one of my favourite colours. I have throws for the couch in grey… Plus I had it already mixed up in chalk paint for the wreaths I made for my cousin early in the summer.
And since I had the paint out, and I had some wooden spoons which were really plain and I love the painted handle look, I went ahead and painted them.
Much better don’t you think? Some of the wooden spoons are very old. Can you tell?
Of course now the problem becomes how do you store these in a way that shows off the painted bits? Without cluttering up the entire kitchen (which is cluttered enough already with a stack of marble waiting to be painted and my iron and a towel which acts as my ironing board).
This little project is something I did a couple of weeks ago but only just getting around to sharing. Its one of the few creative things I did for myself in a while. But it always feels good to do creative things, even small ones like this.
Being creative is good for my soul.
I am so looking forward to some creative time. Both for my home and art. Tons of ideas. Not enough time to do it all.
(Well there might be enough time if I didn’t laze around on the couch eating ice cream in the evenings.)
I’ve had a quiet but productive day today. In a low key kinda way.
I spent the morning working on the poodle portrait and so far so good. It looks like a poodle.
At lunchtime I did some odds and ends around the place, and took Lainee for a walk in the afternoon. Along the way I collected a couple of cuttings from this geranium which was really leggy and unruly, but had the most vibrant red balls of blooms. I thought it was worth collecting. I can probably keep it from getting leggy by pruning it.
I also came across the biggest dandelion I’ve ever seen. Well, I took a photo of the biggest dandelion I’ve ever seen, cause I have seen them before. Isn’t it amazing?
Oh, wait. You need to see my hand so you can get the size!
See? I told you its big!
Tonight I’m working on a basket using bits of rope I found while walking on the beach. Its kinda fun. A craft project I can work on while watching Homeland even! No wasting time tonight.
I’ve now used up all the bits of rope I had and am left with pieces of net. I’m no sure how I’ll incorporate them into the basket, if and how I’ll weave them in, or what shape the basket will end up being. Its one of those things that just develops as you work on it. I’ll just keep going and it will keep growing till I feel its finished.
I think I need more rope. I may need to walk on the beach again… Oh such hard work!
Meanwhile it must be spring. Its warm, the mosquitoes are out in force and I’m itchy all over. That happens when bugs land on me. I’m allergic to pollen so I think that any bug that’s walked through pollen and lands on me makes me itchy. Its my theory anyway. Ugh. I need a shower!!! Better turn on the hot water boiler!
On that note I think its time to say bye, till next time!
That’s Cinnamon. Cino to his friends. A lab x chow. The sweetest natured dog ever. Very lab looking once he’s clipped but he has a blue tongue. He and Lainee had a nice catch up. He’s so loving and sweet, didn’t want us to go so he came to the car to say one last goodbye. Lainee is a bit too much of a lady to make such brash exhibitions of emotion. She sat back and acknowledged his love and just accepted it gracefully.
Meanwhile I’m still watching Homeland. Halfway through Season 3 at the moment. It really is keeping me quite on the edge of the couch. I start watching in the evenings when I rest and eat dinner and end up watching way beyond what I would have planned as my bedtime. Then I get up a little later than planned the next morning. Great show. I recommend it.
So, what did I do on day 42? After messing about with my Dremel Moto-Saw (a Christmas present from Wayne a few years ago*) and not being able to find the clamps or blades I know I have, ordering new blades from a store in Athens and finally getting them, I took it to a friend’s workshop and used some of his scrap plywood to cut out shapes.
I cut out heaps of hearts, fish and starfish and began sanding them with different grit sandpaper to give them a nice finish. I did that for a few hours and got tired, my left hand was sore from clamping the bits to sand and my back was aching. I gave it up and came home to nap.
I love this greek habit of napping in the afternoon… I don’t always do it, most of the time I work straight through the day, but its nice to know that if I’m tired I can always lie down and nap and no one will think its strange!
These shapes are mainly being made to decorate the wreaths I’m making for my cousin’s rental units. She bought them and some ribbon before lockdown began, planning to open at Easter. I did finish two of the large wreaths for her for the units she had booked, but the rest are still sitting on my couch waiting to be worked on.
Now I have more time to finish them but neither of us has money to spare for decorations so I have to make them myself. Not that its a problem. Its more hand made that way, not just a matter of assembling bought odds and ends. They’ll be way more unique.
More work for me of course. But hey, what else have I got to do?
Well… a commissioned portrait for one. Tomorrow is the day I start on that. I have to. I have a deadline on that one. Then in the afternoon I’ll sit outside in the gorgeous weather and sand some more. Probably.
No wonder I never have nice nails like all the greek women!
*Power tools. Tools in general. Best gifts ever. Hint hint.
A day late again but who’s keeping track. One day is like another right now.
Today is a wonderful spring day. The wind that nearly blew us off the face of this rock called Paros yesterday has turned to a gentle breeze restoring life back everything you’d imagine it would be on a greek island.
Time for longer walks with Lainee once more. When its windy all we both want to do is get back inside where its so much more pleasant. But now, outside is nicer than inside, and by the end of the greek Easter weekend its going to be so warm I’m going to want to go swimming.
Of course, its not allowed… But maybe I can find some quiet little bay where no one will see me…
Anyhow, I wanted to share an ongoing project/idea I’ve had.
You know I always pick things up on our walks.. anything I find which I can carry home easily and which I think I can use to make something. I’ve always picked up rusty wire and bent it into hearts on walks, bringing them home to hang above my sink.
Well, lately I’ve begun to hang these hearts on people’s doors, gates, fences… I think its kind of sweet to think of someone finding a heart on their gate and wondering how it got there.
These are a couple I actually got photos of before leaving them behind.
Below are some I had hanging above my sink. This morning while photographing them I decided they would add a little something to my view, so I’ve now hung them in my window.
Imagine the window covered in hearts so that you look out through the hearts to the view…. an ongoing project!
I do love my rusty wire hearts. I’ve been making them for years out of any kind of wire or coat hanger I find, but this is the first time I’ve shared them with strangers like this.
I know some old parian redneck will probably find one and think ‘what rubbish is that on my gate’ and throw it away, but I like to think some people will be pleased with their little hearts and keep them as good luck charms.
Now I just have to start walking further and further cause I can’t just keep leaving hearts on the same houses!
Its weird that time both drags and rushes past during this surreal time of isolation. On the one hand it seems like days just fly past; suddenly its almost halfway through a month I don’t even remember starting; its almost the weekend and I barely noticed the week go by. I realise its Friday suddenly and I better go shopping before Sunday cause in Greece supermarkets are closed on Sundays.
On the other hand, time drags cause you’re home all the time, not seeing friends, not going to work, not living fast.
Actually, I rather like not living fast. I definitely like not spending a ton of money (mainly cause I don’t have it or I probably would be ordering take away food and buying stuff online all the time).
I’m not exercising as much as I told myself I would during this time. I’m rather lazy unless it comes to working on projects that I enjoy. When I’m deep into creating I forget to eat. When I’m watching Netflix or reading I tend to nibble. I enjoy nibbling. Its one of the great pleasures in life.
But I love being at home and working at my own pace on whatever I feel like making.
The wind has died down a bit today. Tomorrow is meant to be the start of another period of great weather. Tomorrow I go back to long walks every morning. I’ll go back to the garage and start on some workshop work.
Today I painted a bit but the whole morning was taken up by getting Winston to the courier, picking up more broken marble pieces, collecting my seedlings from the friend who was babysitting them while I went on the trip to Denmark that never happened, and shopping. I combined everything so I wouldn’t have to go out in the car more than once.
Some of the seedlings are doing great. Some are bashfully peeking out. Others have decided they won’t grow or maybe they’re just taking their sweet time about it. I re-potted some into larger pots and put them all out the back to nurture.
Unfortunately the labels I put on the plastic cups I used to grow the seeds have faded so now I won’t know what’s what till they grow and I can tell by looking at them.
I also visited the Post Office to enquire about anything that might have arrived for me since things shut down. No they say.
But do I believe them? Last summer a package arrived for me and they held it for 3 weeks, during which I had no idea it had arrived (and yes, they should have left a notice that I had a package), and they sent it back. I’m not happy.
I also asked about getting a post office box in the group of boxes on the nearest corner. No they say.
There are no free ones.
I suggested I might get together with a few people who live in this group of buildings all year round and see if they want to put together some letterboxes in our driveway. No they say.
In order to put out letterboxes we have to write to the council to apply for them to put a sheltered box there for us to put in letterboxes…
Ok… Is Greece the only country in the world where you need council approval for a letterbox? And for the council to actually put a box there for you to put letterboxes in?
So, having wiped myself out doing nothing much most of today and not having any finished paintings or crafts to share, I thought I’d share something I made a couple of months ago that I forgot to post about.
A long time ago I’d bought these little tin cans in Athens thinking I’d like to make fabric sardines to go in them. So while I was in sewing mood one day I some small fabric scrap fish.
I then designed and printed out the labels:
I wanted to make my tin of sardines a little different from the ones I’ve seen elsewhere – mine aren’t just fish in a tin, they’re tiny mobiles.
I only had 4 tins, so I made 4 sets. They’re in my etsy shop for sale.
I think I’ll go make something to eat and maybe even have a nap. Cause I can!
I love being at home and having nothing I NEED to do.