paros day 43: sea rope basket

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!

z

paros day 42: keeping busy

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!

z

*Power tools. Tools in general. Best gifts ever. Hint hint.

paros day 32: spreading the love with wire hearts

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!

z

paros day 26: tinned fish

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?

sigh.

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.

Providing my creative mojo stays strong.

z

paros day 23: winston is finished

Today has been another productive day, and to be honest I really hope this feeling continues. I’ve been painting all day and I feel great. I feel I’ve earned my Netflix tonight. I’m making some bolognese and will sit on the couch and watch Season 7 of Sons of Anarchy.

I gotta be honest here, my attention began to waver in Season 6. They were going downhill so badly, everything that happened lead to death and disaster… I could tell where this was going to end. But I’m not quitter. Plus I do want to know how it all ends. Badly. I know.

Anyway, here is Winston. Finished now except for his coat of spray sealant.

Winston was made using cardboard, toilet paper rolls,newspaper and a whole lotta masking tape to create the basic shape. And craft glue. The details were created using air dry clay, a mix of plaster with glue and water on fabric or toilet paper. And a bit more air dry clay. He was painted using artist acrylic paint.

To be honest I love the look of him from behind or the side, he looks more real from there. Still, over the last few days I’ve tripped over him a few times thinking he was a dog that just wasn’t getting of the way!

Not bad for papier mache though…

Hope he likes his new job guarding a tattoo parlour.

That’s all for today. The pasta is already cooking!

z

paros day 21: crafting again

Today was a much better day. I got up early and Lainee and I went for a long walk despite the strong wind and the threat of rain. That’s always a good way to start the day. Good thing too cause I spent the rest of the day up to my elbows in craft stuff. Poor Lainee had to cross her legs!

This time we walked towards Ag. Irini but it was too windy to go all the way to the sea. We did meet some friends along the way though…

And noticed some gorgeous flowers among the weeds. I’ve never seen one of these before…

Back at home I went back to work on Winston the bulldog for quite a bit. He’s drying at the moment. I’ll update on him tomorrow.

Meanwhile I didn’t waste the day like I have tended to do lately. After putting Winston aside I did some painting which I’ll share when I take good photos. I also tried my hand at some ‘zero waste’ wash cloths.

I was looking at websites about cutting down on waste and thought these little things looked cute. The basic idea is to make your own wash cloths for doing dishes or wiping down benches using scraps you already have instead of buying sponges you throw away. When these get dirty you toss them in the washing machine.

I made these as scrubby washcloths – the back is microfibre and the front is a double layer of burlap I had in my fabric stash. As you can see I had pink in both! It was meant to be… The idea is that the burlap is stiff enough to scrub and the microfibre soft enough to wash. We shall see.

It wasn’t till after I finished them that I wondered why you need to make your own when you can, basically, just wash and re-use the ones you buy…? Whatever. I made these now so I’ll give them a try.

Tomorrow I might make myself some makeup remover pads using some soft cotton if I can find any in my stash.

You have a lot of time to think when you’re at home creating on your own… I’ve been thinking about this whole situation we find ourselves in and I wonder how and when things will get back to normal. The greek government has just extended the isolation restrictions till the end of April. A lot of people are thinking that things will go back to normal after that. Or by summer.

I don’t know… but I very much doubt it.

I mean… just think about this: Greece shut down quickly and has been pretty successful in slowing the rate of infection. So, what’s the plan now? We keep isolating and minimizing exposure and limit the spread till the ‘curve flattens’. Does that mean we keep this up till there are no more new cases? Or till there are under 10 new cases a day? How does that work? If we simply have less cases and we go back to normal, we’re back to square one again in a very short time.

Let’s say the plan is that we lift restrictions once no new cases are reported for a period of time. Say a month. No new cases in a month anywhere in Greece. What then? We all go back to our normal lives cause there are no more carriers or sick people to spread the virus, right? But if one person gets the virus we’re basically back in the same boat again. Do we go back to normal but keep the borders closed till the entire world has no new cases for a month? How does this work? More importantly, how long does that take? And how do we know? Not everyone in the world is tested, and even if they are, doesn’t mean they’re clear forever… they could get it tomorrow or next month. Is there an end to this?

These are the things that keep me up at night.

I need to sleep… Last night I gave up and watched Netflix till 2.30am cause my mind just would not stop.

I hope I have better luck tonight.

z

paros day 20: bulldog update

Its been a pretty blah day. There’s a really strong wind and its been raining on and off so its been an indoor day today. Only pee breaks outside (for Lainee, not me. I can use the indoor toilet!)

So after doing the usual time wasting stuff around breakfast I got stuck into Winston. Yeah… the name suits him and I basically just started thinking of him as that…

He’s pretty much done now. All the basics are done and he only needs fine tuning. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more carving and adding, it just means the main shape is now done. I worked with plaster and strips of fabric today, the odd bit of toilet paper soaked in the mixture to fill gaps.

Man plaster dries fast… I had to make it in small batches or it became impossible to work with.

I added his feet today. Not sure how the nails are going to hold… I made the mistake of adding them on, I should have carved them out… I reinforced them with some hot glue so lets just hope they hold. He’s pretty sturdy otherwise.

He’s going to spend at least the rest of today in front of the dehumidifier, maybe most of tomorrow as well. I’ll see when I look at him tomorrow. I want him totally dry before I start painting but he still needs some tweaking. His feet may be ‘on’ but they’re not perfect yet. And his face might need a bit more work. I’m not totally happy with it.

Other than that, I have done little today. After I put Winston down to dry I had lunch and watched a bit of Netflix and felt really sleepy… so I had a nap. A long one. Ugh.

My cousin Zefi is exercising and doing her gym class online. I’m a vegetable. She admires my work, I admire her will to not give up and turn into Jabba the Hutt.

I think about exercising then sit down and let the feeling pass. I think about what I can cook, I wash some dishes, tidy a bit now and then… I look at projects and get all excited about them, then I sit down and let that feeling pass too. I don’t get it. I love being at home. Usually when the weather is bad I’m happy cause I have an excuse to stay in and do my own stuff…

I guess having to do it instead of choosing to do it is the difference.

At least when the weather is nice I get out and walk and feel like I’m doing something!

z

Oh man. I just took a mouthful of coffee and had to sneeze. Word of advice: Don’t do it.

paros day 19 – the bulldog takes shape

Lainee met the bulldog for the first time this morning. I mean, she’s seen this amorphous thing on the kitchen table but had no idea it was a dog till this morning when I put him down in front of the dehumidifier to help speed up the drying process.

I mean he has a face now. 

He still gets stints of time on his back as I fixed the back legs and his tummy…

He now has hocks for instance, something that was sorely missing till today.

Most of the time today he’s been on the floor drying out before the next attack. That’s the thing with papier mache… you need to dry layers. And nothing will air dry fast today.

I think I sorted how to get the details of the face and jowls. I’m using a mix of plaster, glue and toilet paper. Some fabric too. I have to work fast cause the plaster dries fast but it seems to be working.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Meanwhile, its been an overcast drizzly day and the forecast says days of wind and rain ahead. Not doing our walks any good as I tend to hibernate when the weather isn’t nice. Still, at least I’m doing stuff inside and that counts for a lot. I’m really enjoying this stage of the bulldog. He’s getting a face and personality now. I may even give him a name… I’m leaning towards Winston but that might be a bit too obvious. 

Ideas?

I’m also discovering how much I actually love sculpture. I’ve done some in the past and know I love working both additively and subtractively. If that’s a thing (haha), it means I like to add material as well as carve to create the shape I want. I really do want to get my hands on clay at some stage and start making things with it. Most likely figures and animals I think but who knows…

At this point in time I need to use what I have on hand and not buy any new supplies unless I need them specifically to finish projects I’m already invested in. Like the glue I had to buy. I have heaps of stuff I can use without buying anything new. I just gotta think outside the box…

I’m even starting to look at websites on zero waste and how to make things using every day items that will save buying and wasting the way we do in the world today. One step closer to creating a better world. 

You can be sure I’ll share anything new I find and try out. Like it or not. 

z

 

paros day 14: a wire wreath

Today was one of those glorious days you get in spring. Warm but not hot, a breeze but no strong wind. I ventured down into the storage room in the basement to bring up the outdoor table and chairs so I can sit outside and enjoy days like this.

And let me tell you, it took bravery to venture down there! Its full of rat and mice s%$t and none of the rat poison blocks I put down there have been so much as nibbled on. We have smart rats here on Paros…

Anyway, I brought out some boxes of stuff. To be honest its not all the stuff I thought I had down there, but at least now I have a clearer picture of what I do and don’t have.

So, having braved the rat infested dungeon, I earned a frappe and some time in the sun working on something relaxing and listening to some stand-up.

Last week I’d picked up a vine on one of my walks and twisted it into a wreath. Today I used some rusty wire bits and some beads to create this wreath.

As I mentioned, the wreath is made of rusty wire pieces and the vine. I collect any bits of rusty wire I find on my walks. Basically I never met a piece of rusty wire (or metal) I didn’t love. A lot of the time once I pick up a piece I make it into a heart as I walk, then bring it home and hang it above my sink. Today I used two of those hearts as part of my wreath.

I used some of my very fine gold coloured wire to hold the whole thing together and added beads for a bit of colour and bling.

I think it turned out pretty okay. I’ll most likely put it on Facebook for sale. Maybe someone will fall in love with it.

Other than that I didn’t get a lot done today. The bare minimum of housework and I thought about sewing the curtain tabs but haven’t managed to do that yet. I think I’ll tackle that tomorrow afternoon. Its meant to rain so I will still walk to the garage in the morning to do more on the sewing table. All I did there this morning was one coat of varnish on the top and drawers. I figure I can get a coat of paint on the legs tomorrow and another coat of varnish on the top. Providing I don’t have to do more gap filling.

Tonight I think I’ll go to bed early as I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and get some real structure into my days. That means setting my alarm for 8am. Its all very well to wake up late, take a walk, work on whatever I feel like, watch Netflix etc. But maybe I need to actually have some kind of schedule. I don’t like wasting this precious time I have.

I’ll let you know how I go with it. (hahaha!)

z

paros day 13: air dry clay bits

Today my washing finally dried! Yay. There is pleasure in the simple things…

I started on the sewing table but got delayed. I took it to the garage to start sanding, gap filled some more and planned to do the first coat of varnish on the top. But while sanding I broke a sliver off the top so had to glue that back in place. So instead of doing a coat of varnish today I’ll be doing that tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will stay away and we can walk there tomorrow.

While the sun was out I took Lainee and Spitha for a walk to the beach and collected some cuttings to pot up along the way. Also added to my collection of sea glass. I’ll have to start making stuff with it soon as its getting pretty big.

Once back home I continued work on the bulldog. I made his paws, nose and eyeballs out of some air dry clay I had. Once they’re dry (or mostly dry) I’ll add detail. For now they are just drying slowly…

bulldogfeet

I also added a few bits to the boy. He’s been neutered so there will be no balls, however he now has his other boy bits (hahaha!) and the beginnings of a head.

bulldoghead1

Once this layer of paper is dry I’ll continue building on the head to get it right. Not exactly sure how I’ll do it yet but I have some thoughts…

Anyway, another nice day working creatively at home this time listening to stand up comedy on Youtube. I have home made potato wedges in the oven for dinner and I think I’ve earned some netflix.

Tomorrow is another day to be filled with creativity.

z