recovering the kitchen chairs

My work here seems to have come to a grinding halt. Its not that there’s not a ton left to do, its that in a way my hands are tied. I can’t work on the upstairs house while mom is still living in it, and until we have natural gas connected to the house downstairs mom can’t move down there.

So I’m at the floundering stage where I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve sorted out most closets and cabinets, donated a ton of stuff, thrown some out, packed away some stuff of sentimental value and stored it where it will be safe… and now the upstairs house looks like a cyclone went through it and the downstairs house is waiting.

All downstairs needs of course is the gas connection and radiators installed for mom to be able to move in. But I’m told that could take another month or two – they are so behind in applications. And its just our luck that right when we opt to switch, the price of gas has more than doubled. sigh. I never seem to win when it comes to money spent.

Whatever. I won’t dwell.

I finished a small project last week just so I could feel like I was doing something. I recovered mom’s old kitchen chairs. This is what they looked lke originally…

Plain cream weaved fabric. Very dirty from years of use. Grey metal frame. Plain and simple. This is how mom had them to hide the stains…

Ok, too yucky for me in her new home. So I decided to recover them using something bright and cheerful. It was easy to take them apart as the top was simply screwed in place on the frame.

The frames are in good condition, though I need an allen key to give them a bit of a tighten. They were mostly missing all their ‘feet’ so I ended up buying some rubber stoppers for them so they wouldn’t scrape on the tile floor.

I was planning to buy some nice waterproof fabric from a local store but while going through mom’s stuff I found this pretty tablecloth and decided to make do.

I didnt’ have my staple gun with me so I had to use hot glue to secure the fabric to the bottom of the chairs. Hopefully it will last long enough… If not, well… I’ll have to redo them. No problem. This is how they came up. Much better.

For now mom has a table and ‘happy’ chairs for her new kitchen. They will do.

Now I’m waiting for good weather so I can return to my home on Paros for a while. I may as well be in my own home while I wait for the gas installation. I’ll have to return to Athens to be here when that’s happening and to finally finish moving mom downstairs. At that stage I can get some removalists (ie burly men) to take down the fridge, washing machine and couch plus any other boxes I pack up for her.

To be honest I need the break… A couple of days ago I carried some boxes to the stairwell for collection and pulled a muscle in my back. Ugh. No more carrying for a few days.


Shared at: Funky Junk

a small key rack

Well, since I had the paint and the stencils out, I figured I’d knock something up for mom’s new place. She’s always had a key rack by the back door in the house upstairs but that wouldn’t fit next to the front door in the downstairs place. I needed something taller and narrower instead of long and narrow.

This little guy will sit behind the front door so that mom can hang her keys in a safe place away from the open door.

Its nothing special, just a piece of old plywood I had lying around. But it will do the job.

There’s been a lot of trouble with the radiators in Athens. Mom left here on Sunday and she was only able to get heat on last night. Lots of calls to the plumber who’d replaced the water tank on the roof (holds heated water for the radiators). Lots of waiting for the plumber to come to take a look. A couple of visits from the plumber’s partner which didn’t fix the problem.

And me on Paros, with no knowledge of how radiators work, how to check the furnace, what to do other than get frustrated, worried for mom and make calls. There’s not much else I can do when I’m so far away – plus (as I kept telling mom) I couldn’t help even if I was there. If you showed me a donkey and a furnace and asked ‘which is the furnace?’ I wouldn’t have a clue.

Well, ok. I would. But only cause I know what a donkey looks like!


Anyway, seems its sorted now, but I’m reconsidering waiting till next week to leave for Athens again. I’ve already started getting my stuff together in order to go on Friday.

We’ll see…


revisiting colours

I’m still obsessed with shades of mint green. As if you didn’t notice… And the darker, greener green which appears on vintage pieces.

The little cabinet I just shared under the electric board door I shared months ago:

The green cupboard I just shared:

The chalkboard visible behind the sea rope basket which also lived in my kitchen in Tasmania:

Almost everything in my kitchen in Tasmania… The doors, the chalkboard…

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My kitchen doors and a chalkboard in pale minty green.

The paper towel holder…

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My paper roll holder made using a beautiful old bracket I found.

The drawer I upcycled into a charging station…

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The roadside find trolley I fixed as my coffee cart…

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Don’t get me wrong. I love old things and I love the antique colours they come in. I love other colours too – light blue, creamy white, pale yellow, dusty pink, light grey. But vintage greens never fail to catch my eye.

I think the first piece I ever had in green was a meat safe like this one.

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Isn’t it just the perfect colour? Greeny blue with a nice dose of rust.

These days a paler version is in fashion: a softer, more pastel, more 50s colour. Since I mostly mix up my own colours I find something I like and try to match the colour. That means I get close but not identical each time I paint something. Suits me fine. I’ve never been hung up on perfection. Old things are not perfect… its that worn and used look that makes them perfect to me.

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Here are a few examples of things I painted in variations of that minty greeny colour.

A small wall mounted bookshelf (sorry, no finished photo):

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A wall mounted shelf I made over.

The bottom of an old wardrobe I converted into shoe storage for our porch in Tasmania. The drawer was broken so I kept the front in its original colour and hinged it from the bottom.

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The bottom part of an old wardrobe which I made into shoe storage for the porch. I kept the drawer the original colour cause the handles were painted.

Not the best photo, but the most distressed look I ever attempted on a small men’s wardrobe I used for craft supply storage in my office. I painted this in pale yellow and pink then topped it off with minty green before sanding and scraping back.

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An experiment in extreme distressing for storage in my office.

A greener green colour for a small vintage meatsafe I upcycled for towel storage in my grooming room.

I have an old timber couch I plan to sand back and paint next but I think I should stick to antique white for that cause then I can pick any colours I want for the cushions. Painting it green will limit my choices…


green cupboard

Well whaddayaknow? Another green cupboard…

I found this gorgeous cupboard in an online store on Facebook and feel in love. So I bought it before even figuring out where I’d put it. Turns out it fit perfectly in my bedroom.

I didn’t take any good before photos, but the guys from the shop were kind enough to send me the one above from their listing. You can see it has a nice shape in the display area, no doors, no drawers and a dish rack inside the top part.

I basically let it sit there, wrapped in plastic, for a couple of months before I started working on it. The only thing I did was expose the hinges. I’ve never seen hinges placed on a piece of furniture like this before. I measured them and went looking to see if I could find hinges to fit so I wouldn’t have to mess with removing and replacing. I got lucky and found some in brass (which I painted naturally!). They’re great actually as I can easily remove the doors if I want to move it around, making it much lighter.

It needed a major overhaul obviously. I sanded it back to remove the old paint (and dirt. Lots of dirt). I removed the dish rack cause I wasn’t going to use it in the kitchen. I made doors out of plywood. I made drawers out of whatever I had on hand, with plywood fronts. I got some simple white ceramic knobs.

I mixed up paint to match the original colours cause I liked them. A more yellowish green than the minty green I usually like. You can’t see it in the wrapped pic but the inner part in the middle was blue and the insides unpainted. I painted the insides blue.

My plan was always to put it in the bedroom for linen up top and shoes down the bottom. Hence the holes in the doors: to allow air to circulate. Bonus that it looks cute.

The naked ladies, being mostly white, are ideal for display purposes. Mind you, its also a handy spot to store them till I decide what to do with them. And till I find what belongs in that spot.

So another project finished and shared!


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water bottle storage

Ever since I moved here I thought it would be handy to have a pull out shelf drawer cabinet thingy (what are those things called anyway?) to hide away the bottled water. The water here is meant to be great quality but you know, once you get into the habit of drinking bottled water…

Anyway, till recently I would buy a six pack of 1.5 litre bottles and put them in the corner next to the washing machine, then toss the empties on top… given the washing machine still sticks out of the kitchen bench and I still need to finish that ‘end’ of the kitchen, its not a pretty sight even without the bottles.

So while I was up at my uncle’s garage remaking the cupboard I figured I’d use the opportunity to try my hand at making my thingy.

Its basically made out of odds and ends I already had on hand, but I did have to buy the wheels. The paint I mixed up to match the existing kitchen cabinets. Its basically just a box with a shelf in it, a solid back and narrow slats to hold in the bottles. Pretty easy to make. Its not perfect, but it works.

Given I make things without any real knowledge of the hows tos, I’d say it came out pretty well. Especially cause its the exact right height! And me with my mathematical disability!

PLUS I didn’t have to re-cut anything. I got everything cut the right size first time (I have been known to waste a bit of wood now and then… but that’s ok, I usually find something to do with the ‘wrong’ bits.) I’m pretty amazed at myself really.

You may have noticed, its not all bottled water. The idea was for it to hold a full six pack of water and perhaps a couple of leftover bottles from the previous pack, but I thought it was a nice spot to store my measely collection of alcohol as well. It had the room!

So there you have it. Another home improvement brought to you by Zefi. 🙂


a little green cabinet

Remember long ago I mentioned I’d bought a glass fronted cabinet and a cupboard? Well, I’m finally sharing one of those projects. About bloody time too. I’ve been letting myself get really lazy when it comes to working on the computer and blogging has suffered.

Anyhow… I found this cute little cabinet at a local antique shop a few months ago and had to have it. It was missing one side glass panel, both inner shelves and bascially needed a bit of TLC.

Ok. Maybe a lot of TLC. But that kind of thing never scares me.

My uncle had given me a couple of these old parian couch decorations which he’d salvaged from a burn pile. It came from some very old broken couches from an old hotel. He asked if I wanted them. Of course I wanted them!

I picked this one, deciding it would add that little something extra to my cabinet.

The entire remake took ages to complete. Mainly cause I just let the cabinet sit in my house for ages before I even began, then I only worked on it in spits and spurts.

First order of business was to remove the remaining glass on the side and replace it with flyscreen. The whole idea was to make this little cabinet into towel storage to fit right outside my bathroom. Boy I’m glad I have tools. The staple gun came in really handy for putting in the flyscreen.

Once that was done and it was all cleaned up I began painting it with a ready made chalk paint. I say that cause most of the time I mix up my own paint colours and make my own chalk paint.

I used clear wax to finish it off, tinting some of it to create the old look where necessary as I went.

So here it is. Finished, in its place in the tiny hallway to the bathroom. I made a shelf in the top to hold hand towels, the bottom holds my bath towels. I put an old lace pillow case I was given in the window. This is a very traditional look: in the old houses here on Paros there were window cabinets cut into the thick stone walls. The women would put lace curtains in them to decorate them and hide what was inside. They weren’t usually used as display cabinets but for every day storage. I love the way this turned out.

Till I can find a better place for them, my cowboy boots sit underneath it, sort of on display too. And the paint colour I chose almost matches the little door I made to hide the electricity panel.


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more sharing – lockdown 2 day 141

Its a pretty awful day today, gale force winds blowing pots off my front porch and all. Not fun.

Given I spent the day doing as little as possible I have nothing new to share. So I’m sharing my grooming room. I loved that room so much. I spent months creating it and then years working in it. I miss it. I miss having my own grooming room, working from home, having a workshop to make stuff…

Some things are just impossible to match here on Paros. Rents are unaffordable, places to rent are impossible to find, space is a luxury. Sigh.

So enjoy my almost finished grooming room… here.


the little princess – lockdown 2 day 137

I’m sharing two transformations today… Firstly there are the little bedside tables my cousin Zefi had in her son’s room. Gorgeous little things, with detailed legs and some pretty old and discoloured varnish. Zefi decided it was time to update them so she borrowed my detail sander and got to work.

This is what they looked like before:

This is how they looked after sanding:

And this is how they looked after waxing. Amazing difference. They still look original, but so much cleaner and smoother. In this pic we were trialing different knobs.

The most amazing transformation however, isn’t a piece of furniture. Its the transformation of my little cousin Zefi from precious little princess:

To this:

She’s already working on another cabinet as we speak.

Of course I take full credit. Or blame. Whichever way you want to see it. Up till now Zefi’s done a few hand sanding projects, but now I’ve introduced her to the joys of power tools there’s no looking back. She said she fell in love with my sander. I say wait and see how much you’ll fall in love with your own sanders and saws and drills and angle grinders!

Welcome to the dark side cuz! Glad to have your company!


cat house finished – lockdown 2 day 72

Ok, I realise I skipped a couple of days, so I’m catching up retroactively.

The cat house is finally finished. I’d run into a snag with the door… basically it didn’t close properly so I had to go buy a different type of closer. But it works now and I’m really happy with it.

I brought it home yesterday and I love it. Eric got in and explored it already but I’m not sure which cat will choose to make it her home. I say ‘her’ of course, since all the cats out the front here are girls.

I put in one of the pet beds I’ve been making for Eric and Lainee. I buy cheap fleecy throws from the supermarket (it works out cheaper than buying the fabric) and can make 4 medium sized beds from one throw. I use stuffing from the excess cushions on my couch and from pillows. Animals aren’t fussed about the stuffing being new!

All ready to go! I’m happy, one cat will be happy, and all is good in the world.

I also donated a crate I had outside to the cat colony. I wrapped it in plastic to make it waterproof, put a ledge on the front at the top and bottom to make it cosier, and sat it on bricks. Another cat shelter. Our cat colony is getting spoilt.

I have offered to help make cat shelters for other parts of the island, but I can’t volunteer my time, my tools and my effort without some help (I have tons of stuff on my plate though I LOVE helping) – I have asked for people to donate wood, screws, nails, time and muscle to the project. The couple that runs the Buy Nothing Paros group on FB have offered to help so we’re working on collecting a few more pallets to start working on a few more boxes. This is great news!


i did something – lockdown 2 day 70 & 71

Yesterday was a washout in creative terms. I was out all day, playing taxi driver to mom and aunts, then had mom and one aunt come over to my place for a catch up.

Today, however, I had a plan. I’d go to my aunt’s unit (and my temporary workspace), I’d build a table for the stray cat food* then do a last coat of paint on one bedside table and the kitchen cabinet I’m working on. Get them finished finally. Ditto the cat house I’ve been making.

*There are a ton of stray cats living around the bins near the beach just down the road from the family place on Paros. People put food out for the cats daily but the 2 guts dogs my aunts own rush down there every morning to eat as much cat food as they can. People have tried to stop the dogs, unsuccessfully, a few times so I decided to have a shot at it myself..

Well, I made the cat food table. With a shelter inside. But no painting. It was freezing outside – snow weather. 3 degrees C. There was snow on the mountains this morning and a killer wind. Yikes. By the time I’d finished the cat table I was frozen solid.

Not a great day to work outside but I had a bee in my bonnet. Someone had put together a really poor shelter for the stray cats and I was insulted. It has no back, no front, just sides and top and a bit of foam mattress in the bottom. Pitiful for this weather. I had to act.

I saw my uncle George and told him my plan, he said I could help myself to as much wood as I wanted to from the scrap heap in the garage. (His dog is the worst culprit). So I took a load of wood down to the unit and starting making it up as I went along.

Not a bad result considering I used scrap wood of various types and had no real plan to follow. I measured, cut, screwed together bits, added bits, got more wood when I ran out… and this is the result. It looks like a work bench. Makes me think I should build myself a work bench! (Once I have a regular workspace of course!)

Its got a wide top to hold the metal tray the volunteers use as a food tray. Three full sides to keep the inside protected from the weather. Partly opened front so cats can get in. A shelf inside and a cut up piece of foam for a bed inside. Its not really big but it will house 3 or 4 cats if they don’t mind sharing. Not nearly enough, I know, but its something.

I got one of my aunts to help me carry it down and put it behind the bins, a sort of protected area between the bins and the wall, with trees overhead. Its like I’d measured the tray as its the perfect size. (I didn’t measure, I’m not that organised!)

I put the opening at the back, facing the wall for better protection from wind and rain. You can see the pathetic shelter behind mine. I added that crate to the back of it to close up at least part of the open back.

I’m pleased with it. One cat was already having a snack as I was leaving. I really hope the dogs will leave the food alone now.

Lainee and I were sure glad to get home and get warm! Sheesh. Who’s brilliant idea was it to work outside in this weather?