Some painting – lockdown 2 day 160

So… I hear that everything (cafes and restaurants) are to open from May 3rd. But till then, not much joy for greeks wanting to visit families in their village or their island. From this coming Monday travelling from one municipality to another is forbidden.

Yep. That makes sense.

Apparently, tourists can arrive in Greece, state where they are going and are only allowed to visit that one place on their trip. Not going from one municipality to another. Yeah, sure, that’s gonna happen.

Idiocy.

At least after Easter we can go out and have coffee at an outdoor cafe, or a drink and watch the sun set.

Whatever. I try to not listen to it all too much. I have enough on my own plate to worry about. I’m preparing to take Lainee to Syros for surgery and have my paperwork in order, hotel booked, will mask up and be as safe as I can.

Meanwhile here are two of the things I painted for my cousin Mina’s AirBnB unit. We chose a dark dark blue which wasn’t quite dark enough so I added black to make it look the way we pictured it. The room is still bare but its getting there.

She had a plate display rack made for the space over the kitchenette.

And had a built-in wardrobe put in and the mirror is already on the wall…

She’s updated the bathroom and bought new bedside tables. I’ll get photos once the place is finished. It will be really cute.

One of my commissions is artwork for the wall over the bed. Better get to it.

z

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

gee time flies – lockdown 2 day 28

Almost a whole month of lockdown already.

Its become the new normal. I don’t think we question it much any more.

Sure, the 9pm curfew is a bummer but given you shouldn’t actually visit people, and there’s nowhere to ‘go’, what does it matter? I’d like to be able to drop in on a friend (and I do occasionally), and since I like being at home the curfew doesn’t bother me much. In fact, it means I have the evening to myself – I’m selfish that way!

Today I thought I’d share an experiment with marble, decoupage and paint. I was trying a new way of decoupage (when I did the mom and dad memory box) and while I was at it I decoupaged a few pieces of marble to see how they would turn out. Nicely as it turns out. I decided to try painting on one of them so I had an image with a background. A different background. I love the marble though, so I may not do a lot of this. It was something different. To be honest I kinda like the marble with just the decoupaged image on it too, just as I like the painting on its own.

Yesterday I received the pots I ordered for the front porch. It was looking a little too redneck out there with the assortment of different pots so I wanted to make it look a little classier. Here is a photo, still messy out there as I have a ton of pots on the ground behind the wall to protect them from the nasty wind till spring. And the rug I put out for cats to sun themselves on, plus bags of potting mix still to be used… But the uniform planters each with a mix of succulents in them are looking good.

You can’t really see it in the picture, but the last planter has 2 african daisies, a white and a pink. They will hopefully do alright in any weather conditions here as they did in Australia and spread everywhere. I may have to move them to another spot later, but I love them for their resilicance and colours.

I love playing with dirt and plants, as you know… All you have to do is look at photos of my garden in Tasmania to see that. Like here, and here… not to mention here, and while we’re at it, a bit of nostalgia… here.

There’s so much to miss about that farm, that garden, that house, that life… sigh.

Meanwhile I try to fit all my interests into this tiny apartment with a view of the sea and the fresh air of Paros.

One of my aunts gave me this little ‘side of the road’ gem so I did a bit of rearranging in the bedroom.

That ‘s where I had all my suitcases before.

At the time I had the foam from the antique Paros couch under the bed taking up room. I decided that since I wanted soft and cushy for the couch if I ever finish and use it (cause I have no room in this place) I got rid of the foam and I put the suitcases under the bed for storage. Much smarter idea. I can now pull the suitcase I want out like I would a drawer.

And I put the little table in the corner to shove things that need storing under. Like paper supplies, mom’s old sewing machine (which needs a tweak to work) and some card for painting on. I was thinking of making a rack for shoes to hide under it, and maybe I will one day, but for now I just put this stuff in there to hide it away.

In order to make it less ‘i just had to stick this somewhere’ visible, I used the lace pillow cover as a curtain. It had a small rust mark on it so I cut that away and stitched a small round doily over the hole. Works for me.

You may remember this is how my bedroom looks. A great friend gave me this gorgeous mosquito net and (like any girl) I’ve always loved the romantic look of a mosquito net over the bed. Even if its just me and Lainee sharing the bed.

The dilema now is this: I have a beautiful painting (a nude) of myself done by a friend and great artist. I had it hanging over the bed in Tasmania and I forgot to take it to Athens for storage when I went last Christmas. Its been in its box in the bedroom since then. Just waiting.

Here it is, in the bedroom in Tassie:

Now I’m wondering if I should remove the mosquito net and put the painting on the wall over the bed.

Decisions decisions. I love the painting. I love the net. I’ve used the net a few times, so its handy as well as gorgeous.

I have no other big wall to hang the painting on unless it goes over the couch in the living room.

… but is that a good spot for a nude of myself?

Mind you, its a tasteful nude. All you can see are my hip and my breasts (which were pretty small at the time as I was a lot thinner than I am now). Its in muted tonal colours which suit the decor here… I’m not sure what to do. I think I’ll just leave it in the back of my mind for a while, It will come to me.

z

mom & dad memory box – lockdown 2 day 10

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?

z

marble paintings & more – lockdown 2 day 7

Time to share some marble paintings I made the other day and forgot about. How do you forget about stuff you made? Well, you set it aside to photograph, then forget about it. Easy.

No need to adjust the screen. These ones are free-er and more watercolour-ey than my usual work which is a little more detailed. I like them though.

So, other than that what have I been doing? More errands with mom. And more errands for mom who forgot her walking stick in a store so I had to go back for it, and forgot to get some pills so I have to go back this evening to get them. Oh while I’m in town for the pills, I may as well swing by yet another supermarket to get something else she forgot she needed.

I had forgotten my shopping list when I went out this morning so didn’t get things I wanted, so figured thats ok, I’ll get them this evening. Then I’ll stay in all day tomorrow and not go anywhere AT ALL except to walk Lainee.

Then I remembered mom wants to go see her sister.

Sigh…………………………………………………

I miss being lonely…

Meanwhile, when I was making the bed yesterday I found an old sheet or something which was given to me as a gift a few years ago. It has the best embroidery on one end and I was going to make it into a curtain for my bedroom. No more visibility when I have the light on.

However I decided it would look just as good, if not better, as a temporary bed skirt to hide the suitcases I keep under the bed for storage. I plan to paint them all white when I get painting stuff out, but till then this works nicely.

Nice. Even a small change like that can make my day.

Note: I love my suitcases, but all white would look better.

The wild little kitten I took to the vet a few weeks ago with a severe respiratory infection is back. She was always very wild but she got so sick she let me pick her up! The couple in the end house cared for her till she got better and she hung around their place as they continued feeding her. She’d been living somewhere up the hill and disappeared when the couple returned to Athens. Thankfully she’s back and today ate some dry food I put out for her at the feeding station outside my place. Hopefully she’ll come down here to eat from now on and not disappear again. And hopefully she’ll learn to trust me so I can touch her and take her to the vet when she needs spaying.

Another cat without a name… though this one looks like a lemur with her striped tail so a good lemur name will be ideal. In the cartoon movie Madagascar one lemur is Julien but that’s wrong for a girl kitty… maybe Julia. Aye Aye is cute though… Any thoughts? I need two names that suit greeks too. One for the fluffy kitty and one for the kitten.

And I made another friend… How cute is this little guy?

z

paros day 15: the curtain unveiled!

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I’ve finally finished the curtain!

I’m so pleased with it. I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw one on Pinterest years ago.

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In the end, I decided a pocket would do, no rings, no tabs, no bows. Just a simple pocket. Partly cause I was too lazy to make tabs or bows, but mainly cause it would hang too low if I added those things.

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The couch sits under the window. Its not ideal, but its a small place and I have an L shaped lounge suite, part of which sits on that wall, under the window. I love having a big corner lounge suite, but getting to the window to open, shut or clean it can be a total pain in the butt, having to climb onto the couch to do anything.

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But I love my new curtain.

The house is still a mess, but the curtain looks darn good!

So, remember this cute little tap?

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Mystery solved. Its my curtain tieback.  Well, actually I can simply toss the curtain over the tap to hold it back, or I can use the hemp string tassle I made back in Tasmania to hold it back. I’m going with the tassle for now.

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I also did a few bits and pieces today – while the couch was out of the way so I could sort out the curtain, I took the opportunity to drill holes to put up my rustic chalkboard (which you can see on my porch in Tasmania here) and the fish mobile Wayne made me. I love that corner now. Its me!

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The cubbies are almost finished. I still have to find the patience to make another 16 little boxes, then I need to find some kind of knobs for them so I can get them out! Its not easy making little cardboard boxes… I’ll get there.

Today has been a good day. I got up at 8am as I said I would. I did morning wake-up yoga, then was out the door by 10am. I did the first coat of paint on the sewing table and the second coat of varnish on the top. Its getting there.

I also asked the guys at the transport company just down the road if I could have a couple of pallets. They said no…

Then Lainee and I walked all the way into town cause it was a nice day. I collected some plant cuttings along the way and put them in some soil when I got home. Fingers crossed on those.

The seeds I planted are apparently doing well. I spoke to my friend who’s been babysitting them since I went to Athens. I haven’t seen her to pick them up due to quarantine, but I got a photo of the lavatera which is going great.

If all goes well we’ll have your lavatera growing on a greek island Ginny!

z

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social commentary and a lamp

I’m currently reading a book where the main character made a comment about manners… like how it was so important for a man to treat a woman like she was a precious gem… holding doors open, being polite, buying flowers, etc. But, she said, his mama would have taught him all that…

It struck me as funny in a sad “that’s how it might be in the south (of the USA) but this is Greece” way…

The difference being that southern mothers do/did instill in their sons a code of chivalrous behavior towards women. By contrast, all most greek mothers seem to do is spoil their sons and raise entitled spoilt brats who expect some woman to treat them like their mother did…

Okay… not all greek mothers are like that, nor all greek men.

Just the majority.

And I’m allowed to ‘greek-bash’ cause I’m greek.

So there.

It reminded me of a story mom told me. She said that, when we first moved back to Greece eons ago, my father would help her wash the clothes when we were on Paros. Back then there was no running water to the house (let alone a washing machine!) so washing was done by hand at the well on the side of a hill. In full view of the entire countryside. Buckets of water would be poured into wash tubs in the morning and left in the sun to heat up so clothes could be washed in warm water in the afternoon. Buckets of cold water would be brought up to rinse them and they would be hung on the dry stone walks to dry. Dad always helped mom. It was a hard job – ever washed sheets or towels by hand? Even with running water you didn’t have to pull up from a well yourself?

Anyway, dad’s mother was shocked. And embarrassed. What would people think – my mom had dad doing the washing! It was a disgrace.

Anyway, enough about greek men and how we spent years ‘showering’ by bucket in our bathers in full view of the neighbours…

I wanted to share a small project of mine. I saw a floor lamp advertised on the local buy/swap/sell Facebook page and jumped at it. The shade was broken but the base was sturdy and since when has a broken thing ever stopped me before?

Photo of the lamp shade, broken.

Same photo panned out a bit so you can see Lainee overseeing the project. Just goes to show how effective cropping can be. LOL

Anyway, I collected the lamp and thought about how I could fix it, change the shade etc. There were tons of possibilities but the easiest was to simply mend the existing shade and use rope to update it. I had the rope after all… and the hot glue…

So that’s what I did. I used a wide old ribbon to reconnect the shade to the wire support and make it secure. Then I simply hot glued the rope to the shade. Instant update. Instant gratification. New lamp for reading or crafting on the couch.

Excellent way to spend an afternoon.

z

the next installment

First up, a work in progress photo of the Ikea bookcase. Love the Ivar system. So easy and adaptable.

This is where I had planned to put the bookcase. Notice the powerpoint I had added on the wall where I thought I needed it… See the light fittings. Now look at how things are now:

Ok, maybe its not that easy to see. Basically I first bought a 32in TV thinking I didn’t need anything bigger… I got it home and from the couch it was like “where is the TV?”… so I had to swape it for a larger one. 50in. Much better.

Of course that lead to a lot of changes. The TV needed to be opposite the couch, so I had to move the whole bookcase down. Not to mention the bigger TV wouldn’t fit in the bookcase as it was. I needed to cut the bookcase to adapt it to fit a larger TV. I did that by cutting the front upright in the middle section. I have a bracket I plan to put there for added support for the shelves above. I’ll do that when I start painting the bookcase as I dont really want to be moving the TV twice.

I had planned on adding a narrow section to the end near the door, now I added it to the end by the wall. That meant I had to move the power point as it was now in the way. That was one of those 5 minute jobs that took 2 weeks cause I kept forgetting to buy the right drill bit with the right screws and plastic sleevey things. THEN it took 5 minutes to do.

The bookcase is all secured to the wall at the to so there’s no moving it now.

I ordered my narrow section and realised I forgot to get the little black feet… and didn’t order enough shelves… so now I wait to get those bits to finish the bookcase.

You can see I’ve got one section set up as my laptop station. I’m still not sure if I’ll extend that with a fold down section for a keyboard… We’ll see.

Meanwhile its just a general storage area till I get myself sorted. But there are pockets of pretty. Like this one with the little cactuses I bought a couple of weeks ago. Real ones!

The little stool is something I picked up at an antique store. They are something every greek house on the island had in various sizes – my grandfather made 3 of them for his grandkids. This was a dark green which I painted white. Of course. Its so Paros.

And this is me, right? Brushes and tools, the industrial light fitting, an antique photo frame…

The little table Barbara gave me (thanks again) is my sewing table while it waits for its makeover. It will always be my sewing table, but it will be painted and mended where Petey (her dog) snacked on it.

Another Zefi touch is the covered shoe (and other) boxes. I mean I couldn’t just have ugly boxes holding stuff on my shelves. I used brown paper bags from shops to cover those 3 and an old table cloth to temporarily cover the large one. The bigger shoe box holds the power cables cause who wants to see those?

Outside the front things happened for a while… My uncle and his buddies came over to install a sail for me. A nice big rectangle one. To keep the resin off the pine tree off any furniture I put out the front. They also did a few things out the back for me. The triangle sail to stop the hot afternoon sun from coming into my bedroom and provide some privacy, a washing line (no one seems to have those here… like, what? there is only so much you can fit onto a clothes airer!) And they put up a bamboo screen to the yard next door which does get occupied at times.

Well, in theory the front sail was a great idea. Till the wind grabbed it and ripped the post out of the wall.

Back to square one on that…. Now I’m thinking I’ll put the small triangle sail out the front and see how that goes and move the big rectangle one to the back where its protected from the wind. And next year, before things get busy, I’ll organise to build a pergola for the front. A real one. Built from timber. The wind shouldn’t take that one!

Meanwhile the coffee table is a craft station. I still haven’t recovered the dark brown cushions, I want to cheer the place up a bit. I did make the round cushion cover removable using fabric scraps I had on hand so it can be washed.

And Lainee keeps me company no matter what I’m doing. She’s settled in really well. Still very shy around people but loves other dogs and gets so excited when she sees one.

She’s begun to wag her tail for me, not often, and play short bursts of happy poodle. But the moment I try to join the game she stops… Its so sad. I don’t know why she’s like that. She doesn’t seem to get playing. She’s glued to me like a siamese twin, yet if I call her she will cower at my feet. And if anyone approaches her she just looks really worried.

Still… she’s improving all the time and I’m so glad to have her. She is the sweetest dog in the world and she’s helped to heal my aching heart from losing Montana and Romeo. And not being there when Montana died. She was such a special girl and I adored her. And Romeo was my boy from the day he took his first breath. Leaving them was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life. But they both found amazing homes with people who adore them. Its all I could want for them. It was just unfortunate that Montana only had a few months to enjoy the love of her new family.

Enough of that. It will make me cry.

I’m off to work now. No rest for the wicked. I hope that come off season I can get into a better routine and start making things again. Then I’ll have more stuff to share.

z

the blind – a win and a fail

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I really hated the blinds the house had when we bought it. They were all like this above: cheap and salmon. Eek.

I made curtains for the other windows but never got around to doing it for this small window in the corner of the living room. Not only was it ugly and cold in winter, but to add insult to injury the blind broke so wouldn’t go up and down and would actually fall on you if you tried to raise it.

It was time it went.

Actually it’d been time it went about 7 years ago, but hey… I was busy, ok!

My idea was to make a padded blind, inspired by something I saw on the Ikea website in their ideas section. My plan was to use a dropcloth (I love the natural colour) and get some batting for the inner layer. I kept putting it off cause I’d have to buy the batting…

Then Romeo decided to help me out. When Montana began having continence issues I bought some cheap single bed doonas from Kmart and use those as dog beds. I fold them up and put them into covers and voila – instant, easy to wash and dry dog beds.

Well, when Romeo gets bored he loves to attack his bed… He ripped a hole in the cover and tore a whole section of doona, leaving me just enough for the blind! He wasn’t being naughty. He was being helpful!

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This is the corner now, much better without the salmon blind. The pics aren’t the best but hey, I did the best I could. Don’t complain.

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The whole thing wasn’t as easy as I thought. The doona made it quite unwieldy to sew and I can’t sew a straight line if my life depends on it.

I also made a couple of mistakes. The idea was that I’d use large hooks and put rings on the blind so you could chose how much you wanted it gathered. You know… halfway, three quarters, all the way, etc.

First mistake was in calculating the length, I didn’t take into consideration the hooks, so the blind is a big too long. Even when I replaced the hooks I planned to use with smaller ones.

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The other error was where I put my rings. I put them on every crooked line when they only needed to go on every second one, and i needed one at the bottom which I missed. Oh well.

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So, I have a very crookedly sewn, nice thick and warm blind which is helping keep the house warmer in the cold. Its a win… even if there are a few failures involved.

z

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my new butter dish

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I had this longing for a butter dish. Well… when I did the Easter sideboard display I wanted a butter dish. Badly. I thought it’d look really nice with the fresh hot cross buns.

I didn’t have one. Obviously. Otherwise I’d have used it. So I looked around for a bit. Didn’t find any I liked. Not in my price range anyway. My price range is narrow…

Anyway, a post on Facebook reminded me that I desperately needed a butter dish in order for my life to make sense, so I started looking again. On ebay of course… I wanted vintage. And found this!

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This is the butter dish of my dreams! I saw it and knew I wanted to hold it and love it and call it my very own!

When I saw it I thought the bottom was bakelite and I love bakelite. But its not. Its glass, and somehow that’s even better!

And I’m using way too many exclamation marks!!

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How do you like my new butter dish? I love it. As you may have noticed. It’s the perfect colour for my kitchen too. It was made for me. It was fate. That’s why I couldn’t find the right one at Easter… cause I was meant to have this one.

To quote Garrison Keillor – “isn’t it nice when things just work?”

z