behind the front door – lockdown 2 day 23

(Struggling to type with a kitten on my chest, forcing me to lean back on my chair so he won’t use his claws to hold on… The trade off is purring at my neck.)

I was thinking that I needed something to hang a leash, coat, scarf, keys, flashlight, whatever on behind the front door. You know, a handy spot for those things you grab on the way out.

About 2 weeks ago I began thinking of what I could use to make this and picked among the driftwood I’ve collected. I chose this piece cause Iove the worn shape on the end.

I sanded it back to reveal the fresh wood colour, removed nails but left the holes, and then just let it sit cause the next step involved a mandala stencil I couldn’t find.

I bought a set of mandala stencils on ebay a few months ago and put them ‘somewhere safe’… out of the way. Permanently it seems. I’ve searched everywhere I might have put them, all the likely spots in the house and even the most unlikely. Nothing. Maybe I threw them out by mistake? I sure hope not.

Behind the door. Bad lighting and poor quality photos as is the norm lately. Ugh.

After searching and then not searching but hoping they would pop up as I went about life (as things usually do when you stop looking for them) I decided to leave the mandala idea and just get on with it.

Instead I used one of my industrial stencils from Australia. I’ve used these to make various other projects over the years, you can see one here, and here. And here are a couple more I never posted about:

Anyhow… back to the current coat rack…

The hooks were some I bought here on Paros from a second hand dealer a few years ago. Rusty and just gorgeous.

The nails are copper nails I found somewhere along the way… they came over from Australia along with a whole lot of other handy things I brought. Cause unlike most normal people, I brought my clothes and personal items, my tools, my art supplies, a ton of fabric and a whole heap of odds and ends for things I plan to make. Like the coffee table legs for the table I made for my living room.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?


paros day 39: driftwood towel holder

So, I’ve been lazy and a day late again.

I haven’t really been totally lazy, I’ve just been distracted. For one thing, I finished my first full length podcast Rockabilly Rebel show – click on the image below to listen.

I’m told there are some streaming issues. Gaps between music and speaking… On my end it sounds fine, no long gaps so I have no idea how to fix that. Maybe its the platform. Who knows. If I stick with this music thing I’ll probably have to move to a different/better app and buy a microphone… For now this will have to do. I’m too poor to go spending money on new stuff right now.

Though I did order a doggie backpack for Lainee so I can take her on longer walks.

What else did I do? I went shopping. Thats a big deal these days since its like the only time we go out and see people. And no, I don’t get dressed up for it. I go shopping looking as ratty as I look when I’m at home. Who can be bothered?

I cooked rogan josh for dinner for something different. You get tired of the same things. I did some art, cleaned the kitchen and I decided I really hated seeing the roll of hand towel sitting on the bench and had to do something about it.

I used to keep it in a cupboard but that was a pain – even though I didn’t use it all the time. I tend to use one of the millions of tea towels I have to wipe my hands (washable, reusable, less waste) But I use hand towel rolls for things like wiping up spills on the floor, sopping up excess oil on things like papadams which needed to be fried, not microwaved etc.

So, after thinking about it for 5 seconds I came up with this little driftwood and string holder.

I didn’t have any hooks so I used a couple of those little electric cord nail thingies which I had a pack of. Use what you have I say.

I had the string, Its a paper 2-toned twine, a bit stiff for most things but works great for this.

And of course I had a few bits of driftwood lying around so I just picked one the right size.

Its easy to change rolls, just slip the string off, load a new roll and hang it back up. Its off the benchtop, and voila. Job done.

In the top pic you can also see the little caddy I made to hold my hand and dishwashing liquids. I never put them under the sink like some organised people, so I needed them to look ‘pretty’. Eventually I’ll find nice glass bottles to put them in like I did in Australia, but for now this will do.

Other than that what exciting stuff have I got to share?

I’m now watching Homeland on Netflix. Love it. That has quite a few seasons so it should keep me busy for a while. I caught up with the latest Outlander episode. Not much else to report…

Stay tuned for many more exciting episodes in the daily life of me.


paros day 33: a planter box from scraps

Yes, before you say anything… I’m a day late again. But I have a great excuse. Yesterday was a stunning day. The sun was shining, it was warm and beautiful… I took Lainee down to town to pick up some marble scraps and walked her along the sea front and through the deserted streets of town. On the way back we stopped at my uncle’s place so I could make a planter box. And it literally wiped me out. I got home too exhausted to do much of anything but shower, eat and go to bed early.

I wanted something big so I could plant my new hydrangea. The one that seems to be dying already. I don’t have the money to spend on a huge pot so I figured I’d make one out of what I could scrounge. I had some bits and pieces of old timber at my uncle’s place I knew I could make work. The box is about 45cm x 45cm. It’ll be really heavy to move once its full.

Wayne always used to say I should buy dead plants, sort of cut out the middle man… Since I was going to kill them anyway.

It doesn’t stop me from trying though. I’m no quitter.

Anyhow… I went to the nursery the other day to pick up some seedlings for my uncle’s vegetable patch and fell in love with this hydrangea. Its BLUE. And yeah, I know its the soil that dictates pink or blue, but its BLUE, alright!

I’ve had white before but never pink or blue. And I’ve never had much luck with really healthy hydrangeas but I always longed for them. Given I have a big pine tree shading my front porch for most of the day I hope it will like it here. In the heat of summer it should be protected most of the day as the sun is high in the sky. I do know they prefer morning sun to afternoon sun, but I don’t get morning sun. At the back I get late morning and early afternoon sun, in front I get afternoon sun. Where the box is now it gets a bit of late afternoon sun, but hey, if it looks like its getting hot I’ll put an umbrella over it. I’ve done that before and I’m not afraid to look stupid!

I’ve never made a big box/crate before. I made this one up as I went along cause, ha, who needs to follow instructions? I had an idea of how it would fit together and just went ahead and made it. Hardly any mistakes either! I did have to do a little patchwork cause I didn’t have enough of the blue coloured timber, but hey, I made it work.

I’m more a ‘don’t do what I do’ type of woodworker than a ‘follow my instructions’ one.

It took me way longer than I thought it would. I worked on it all afternoon. Then I brought it home and thought putting a sheet of plastic down the bottom with holes in it would serve well to hold in the soil.

I discovered two things:

One is not so much discovered but later thought better of – a sheet of plastic, even with holes in it might make it too wet when it rains, even though hydrangeas like to be kept moist… I’m going to have to line it with weed matting (I dont have any) or burlap (which I have) to be safer.

Two – I’m gonna need a s@#$ load of soil to fill this sucker.

Cost of box: 0
Cost to till it: 12,343,235.00. Or thereabouts.

This morning I’m off to the nursery to buy soil.

Meanwhile, I found this latern at the rubbish the other day and picked it up. After a little wash it came up pretty good. I’ve put rocks in the bottom to stop the wind from blowing it away and found an ice cream container that fit into the top. While on our walk yesterday I picked up some cuttings of a pretty pink and orange pigface I’ve never seen before. The idea is for it to grow out and over and down. If its not too averse to the shade. If it is I’ll have to move it elsewhere.

Come to think of it, it might do well on the buttress-like retaining wall bits. They dont go all the way to the top of the big wall behind my place so they create a ledge… hm… maybe it will end up there, allowing the pigface to grow downwards over the wall. That would be pretty…

But that’s for another day. Right now I need to get on with this one!

See ya’ll tomorrow.


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paros day 31: a little green door

You know how ugly those electric power panels are… In Greece they’re usually in their own little cupboard with a textured glass door. I don’t have any before pics of mine but you can see a bit in the top left corner of the pic below. I often forget to do before pics till I’m at least halfway through a project.

I found that little panel unattractive. And since its right opposite my bedroom door, I also didn’t enjoy the red lights looking at me all night either.

To start with I just hung a vintage lace pillow case over the panel and that helped, but I wanted something better. In fact, what I wanted was to mount one of my chalkboards there on hinges… but then I couldn’t remove the door and I found some thin timber offcuts and decided to simply make a panel I could glue to the existing door. Much quicker and easier since hardware stores are closed and I haven’t got access to hinges.

I did the cutting up at my uncle’s house but then brought the little door home to work on it outside since the weather was so great. This is my outdoor area out the front. Its a lovely spot.

Of course Lainee was there to keep me company and oversee the project. She does like to make sure I don’t stuff things up.

So, as I said, no before pics, but this is the back of the door. My timber offcuts weren’t actually the right size so I had to do a little patchwork to make it work. I also didn’t have any tiny nails so I had to make do with what I had… hammering them through and out the other side, bending them, then grinding them down so they lay flat with the timber.

I cut out a small section where the handle of the existing door is. The handle was only a shallow thing in the metal door frame and I planned to add something on top of the door to hide it. This is how the front looked after one coat of white paint. Notice that the timber offcuts aren’t all exactly the same thickness or width… I liked that.

I mixed up some minty green using my artist acrylics and some white paint. Its really funny how often I make up this colour and always get the same shade even when I don’t have a reference!

I cut a heart shape out of a scrap bit of MDF to act as the new handle and glued it in place before painting the door front mint green. The back remains white so it looks neat through the glass when you open the door.

The minty green paint was great but was too clean and new looking… so I gave it a bit of a glaze using some burnt umber acrylic paint to give it that grimy look I so like.

I glued and clamped my new door panel to the front of the existing door till it dried.

And here’s the finished project. Not too bad I think. Once I make the linen cupboard I plan to make to sit underneath the panel this will be a cute little corner. No more red lights staring me in the face when I’m in bed, and now when I turn the boiler on I simply leave the door open to remind me to turn it off again!

Other than that, today was a pretty good day. In the morning I went to the nursery to buy some plants. A couple of spring days and I’m itching to garden! I got some lavender, a couple of gauras, a basil and some coriander seeds. And a blue hydrangea. I adore hydrangeas and never had a blue one. I really want this one to do well and given I have a huge pine tree creating more shade out the front than most plants can handle, I hope the hydrangea is happy there. I spent a bit of time outside playing with dirt. I love it.

Of course then the weather turned… we’d had a southerly wind all morning which was windy but warm. Then it turned southerly and cold and looks like its going to rain. I hope those plants survive the wind.


paros day 12: still not finished

I’m getting plenty of sleep. Please tell me why I’m waking up with a full set of luggage under my eyes every morning. And not top of the line luggage either, more like the cheap made in China stuff you get at places like the Reject Shop.

Today has been a more or less productive day without anything finishing anything…

After a morning walk with Lainee I cleaned a bit, put some things away, moved other things a little further over so they wouldn’t be in the way. I flipped over the sewing table which has been lying on its back in the middle of my ‘living room’, glued the top down cause it was coming off and placed everything heavy I had on the floor on top of it (I’ll count that as clearing stuff away).

I also moved the couch around. Its in two parts, a corner unit. I basically pulled it out of the way to put up the curtain rod, cause with the couch where it lives (the only place it can live) I couldn’t reach the window. When I put it back I tried putting it back differently, the longer part of the couch on the kitchen wall, the shorter one under the window so I can reach the window but it doesnt work so well… I’ll have to move it all back tomorrow.

But I mentioned putting up the curtain rod. Here is a preview of the new rod:


No curtain on it yet – with the crap piled high on the sewing table I can’t really use the sewing machine. Sure, I could use it on the kitchen table, but that’s currently the papier mache station… I’m building a lifesize bulldog as a gift for a friend who owns a tattoo parlour called – you guessed it – Bulldogs).

Here he is, headless and lying on his back.


I really enjoy making animal sculptures out of papier mache but it is a long process. Luckily I have time… It involves shaping cardboard, joining pieces together to create a form, cutting (carving) and adding to get the form right and slowly building it up. Stay tuned for the head. Which I haven’t even started yet.

My washing is on day 2 of not dry yet. In fact its wetter today than it was when I hung it out there yesterday morning. Maybe it’ll dry tomorrow. Today has mostly been a stay inside day except for the morning walk which necessitated Lainee get rinsed off with warm water to get rid of the mud she’d picked up on the road. Other than a couple of quick pee breaks (mine inside, her’s outside!) I’ve been working on the aforementioned stuff and watching Sons of Anarchy.

Oh and I watched a great limited series called Unorthodox. I loved it, but then again I’ve always been drawn to stories about orthodox or hasidic Jews. No idea why. Ever since I read My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok I’ve been a huge fan of his books and am intrigued by their lives. Then again, I’m also intrigued by the Amish. I guess its something to do with the concept of living in the modern world but refusing to be part of it and the problems that arise…

Anyway, too deep a conversation for now. I’m off to walk Lainee and watch a bit more SOA.


So, has anyone guessed what this is going to be?



paros day 11: losing count

Lately my projects all involve glue and paper. Well, after cutting MDF and gluing boxes to decoupage onto. So, you already saw the boxes I was making, now here they are finished.

One of the things you need in a small house is tons of storage. Especially if you have tons of hobbies. And I sure do. I dreamed of making storage boxes for the bookcase, then I thought, why not make them into ‘drawers’?

Apologies for the blurry photos… I really am not batting 100 with the pics lately am I? Mostly cause they’re taken indoors in artificial light and with a mobile phone. I better get batteries for my camera… then I’ll take better pics and replace these.

Still, you get the idea. Small boxes with holes for handles, to hold anything I need to hide away but still have easy access to.

I like them. I think I might end up making more of them later on… as simple storage boxes, not drawers. Maybe using a slightly thicker plywood instead of 9mm MDF which was very hard to nail without making a mess!

Meanwhile I also made one for the bottom of the bedside table:

This one serves the purpose of hiding all those cords which we all hate but are a necessity of life.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll paint or varnish the shelves so for now they remain as they were – raw plywood.

I used the pages of some very old magazines I had (cause I brought a lot of my crafting supplies with me from Australia, I did bring some weird stuff…), using the ads cause I just love them. For these drawers I used black print ads (which have gone yellowed with age). For the little cardboard boxes in the hotel key cubby thing I have I’m using blue print ads.

Today was a supermarket day. Mainly cause I needed to buy dog food for my uncle’s dog and a few odds and ends for myself, and when I got home this is what greeted me:

That’s NMC sitting in one of my pot plants!!! I fill them all with rocks and stones to stop cats from digging and pooping in them but there he is, sitting in one like its his throne! Not impressed… I hope the baby plant in that one grows and isn’t suffocated. Grrr.

On our walk yesterday I took some cuttings off plants I like and am trying to propagate them in pots on my porch. Time will tell if any make it. I had tried other plants before without success but I always hope!

No long walk today as its been miserable weather, wet and uninspiring. Hopefully the sun will come out soon and dry my poor washing!

On returning home with the groceries I also spent time ‘cleaning’ them as per that guy’s video on Youtube. Except I still brought in my shoes and can’t leave anything outside since I don’t have any weatherproof areas out there. I’m having a couple of thoughts on that… maybe when the weather is a bit nicer I’ll work on something. I’ll let you know.


paros day 10: a day late

Turns out I’m better off doing my posts in the middle of the day instead of in the evening when laziness takes over and the call to Netflix becomes too strong to resist.

So this is yesterday’s post. 

Yesterday was overcast but still lovely so Lainee and I went for a long walk up the back of here, to the top of the hill to look over the valley to the sea.

We also walked past the most beautifully kept farm on all of Paros.

And saw tons of these wildflowers blooming… Not sure what they are but they look like a native/wild lupin.

So… I did continue my work on the current projects but nothing is finished yet. Everything seems to take so much longer than you think between cutting, gluing, drying, painting, drying…

However I realised yesterday that I hadn’t shared my new coffee table! Its is one of the first things I made once I got my groove back.

Firstly, some pics of the before: This is the coffee table I inherited when I bought the house. Lovely table but just too big for my tiny space.

One of the things I brought with me when I came from Australia was the legs off an old 50s table I loved. I mean I loved the legs, not the formica top. I always knew I wanted to make my own top for it and a round table to go into the living room here seemed the best solution.

This is the finished product…

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the hows, here goes. I was looking for old timber and found some in the bin at the timber shop back when life was normal. I glued it together as the first step using my table clamps (cause ever girl should have those!).

Then I realised that one of the pieces of timber I had used had termites so I had to treat the whole thing and let it dry before drawing a circle and using the jigsaw to cut it out.

Naturally disaster hit about then as I left it where water leaked and the table split down the middle… one of the glued bits didn’t hold.  I knew I’d have to strengthen the joins anyway so I reglued and cut out some ply pieces to attach underneath to act as a sort of binding, plus to give the legs something more substantial to screw into.

I used a combination of dark brown wood filler and a light coloured one to give the wood more interest.

Then I used my power plane and sander to create a nice smooth top and edges. I love the look of raw wood.

Last I attached the legs. Love those legs!

Et voila! A gorgeous round coffee table made by moi!

And here is it in the living room. Small enough to get around. Big enough to hold the necessities (but not big enough to become yet another crafting surface!), and oh so pretty.

I’ll end this post with a preview of another little project… Can you guess what it will be?

Oh, and a Baileys of course… It helps me sleep!


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paros day 9: progress

It rained all night last night. Not heavily, but enough that this morning I gave in to Lainee and drove the car to my temporary workshop. Then the sun came out of course, but Lainee was pleased. I contented myself with a short walk to the beach with Lainee and Spitha. 

Then I got to work. I feel like I’m getting somewhere now. The boxes/drawers I made yesterday were finished…

I’m using the MDF I bought for drawing boards for art classes that never happened. I guess I’m lucky I bought it. Soon I’ll run out of wood and although I’m told pallets are easy to find here, my car is way too small to fit them. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I will soon need pallets to get with the next lot of things I want to make.

Using some more of the MDF I made the third and final draw for the bookcase and made another draw for the bottom of my new bedside table – it will hold and hide all the power cords:

I gave the curtain brackets their last coat of paint and will bring them home tomorrow (and the drill, and the drill bits, and the screws, and don’t forget the power cord with the australian plug on one end and the greek one on the other!) and hopefully will be able to put up the curtain and share pics. That will depend on whether my neighbour has finished with my ladder. Since he’s also spending time at home he’s been busy repainting his living room and needed the ladder…

Returning home I got back into my next project. There will be a detailed post on this later, but here is a preview:

This is the old key holder cubby from an old hotel I found at an antique shop. I have painted it and am now making little ‘drawers’ for it. Making those little boxes is doing my head in. We all know how great I am at measuring.

So basically, what I’m saying is that I have nothing finished to share but I do have a lot of projects in progress. And Lainee is keeping me company throughout.

Its late. I gotta get some sleep. Tomorrow is another day and I will have something finished to share!



paros day 7: being productive

It was a gorgeous overcast day today, warm, slight breeze, quiet… Just beautiful. Lainee and I walked to my uncle’s again this morning to continue work in his garage on the various projects I started. And this time I remembered to take my extension cord with the greek plug on the end so we had power!

I cut some odd bits of plywood to create shelves for this little stand thingy I got from what looks like a tip, acts like a tip shop but the owner treats like an antique store. Really. Its full of junk and he wants top euros for the crap.

Whatever. I picked this up on my last visit, it had only one half rotted basket in it, but I’m fixing it up. Details when I share the finished project, but what do you think… varnish the ply shelves or paint them? I like the look of plywood but don’t really like the edges.

I also continued with the painting. Right now everything is white as that’s pretty much the only colour I have. I can tint paint using my acrylics but am choosing to keep things simple for now.

My painting method is sloppy by design. The aim is to create a texture with the paint to make things look old, like they’ve been painted over 116 times in the last 6 decades. And treated badly to boot.

Since I had power and no curtain brackets, I made my own today. Of course I ran into problems. I always do. Sometimes its cause I don’t measure properly, can’t count, or am just a bit too carefree when I do things. As in ‘close enough is good enough’.

Let’s just say there was a bit of wastage involved. I obviously didn’t learn the lesson of measure twice, cut once. With me its more like measure twice, cut twice or more. Hopefully get it right second time. If not, sand and gap fill.

However today the problem wasn’t just with me. It was the tools.

Yeah. I know. A bad tradesperson always blames his tools, but in this case its true.

When I came over from Australia I brought all my tools… including my hole saw bits… When I was cutting a hole into the side of the kitchen cabinet to run the power cord through to the microwave, I bent the main bit which holds the round saw thingies. I did what you’d expect and rushed to the nearest hardware store and bought another set. Apparently I couldn’t just buy the drill bit holder thingy. I had the buy the whole kit.

This is what a hole saw kit looks like for those who don’t know. Except the one I have now is way thinner…

The kit I got is pathetic. I swear its made of tin. First time I used the smallest saw bit I bent it out of shape. Today I tried to cut a hole in a piece of plywood and this is what happened:

It just gnawed at the wood like a toothless beaver… Either this is the hardest ply on earth or that saw is pathetic. I’m going with the pathetic saw.

Of course I didn’t have my spade bits with me… man I miss having my own workshop where I have everything I ever needed and a lot I never did…

These are spade bits. Love spade bits… oooh yeah.

In the end I improvised. I used the jigsaw to cut out the crookedest semi circles you’d ever seen.

At least they fit the broom handle/curtain rod so I’m happy.

I mounted the brackets onto flat bits of ply so I can attach them easily to the wall, and voila. A couple of coats of paint and they’re ready to put on the wall.

Then I’ll have to figure out how to hang the curtain without rings, but I’ll work that out.

I always feel better when I’ve done stuff. Happy Zefi.


quick and easy computer station

I don’t know if any of you remember I bought an Ikea Ivar bookcase for my home. I’m all about storage since I do so much art and craft in my one room. I needed some serious storage space. You can read about the bookcase project here and here.

I love it. Its pretty and holds so much of my stuff. Nothing like being surrounded by your creative mess to make you feel at home.

Only problem was the computer ‘desk’ area…Well there were two problems – first was the fact that I need the laptop screen to be up higher but the keyboard lower for a more ergonomic workspace. I have a wireless keyboard so I can have them at different heights. I looked on ebay for a retractable keyboard shelf but decided to make my own.

Cause you know I have that insidious crafter’s syndrome:

I had a bit of scrap pine perfect for the job. After sanding, liming and varnishing the pine to match the rest of the bookcase, I joined it to the shelf with hinges underneath to be able to drop it down when I wasn’t using it. Mind you, since I made I’ve never dropped it down… Hm… At least I can if I want to, and that’s what counts!

To hold it in place when it was out yet allow for folding down, I cut two pieces of wood to act as my brackets. When I want to fold it down they swivel under the shelf.

Then the other problem… my laptop has had an issue with the screen for a long time. Its not the screen itself that’s the problem – its the wire connections. Although my laptop is so big and heavy its never really been something I open and close and carry around often, still, there’s an issue with the wires that connect it to the keyboard. Basically I’ve have to jiggle, poke and beg for the image to be clear and not all weird coloured. The reason I know its not the screen but the wires going bonkers is that when I hit the sweet spot it works perfectly. For about 2 minutes.

So a new monitor was on the cards. No reason to spend money on a new laptop since this one is still more than good enough for the stuff I do, so I bought a new monitor while in Athens over Christmas.

Of course that created another problem…

Like where to put the new monitor. How to set it up to keep the top of the laptop open and access the power button. I tried it on the shelf to the side but the cables wouldn’t reach. Time to put on the creative genius cap again.

This time I used bits of cut off legs I’d also collected (it pays to collect stuff which might come in handy one day) and a piece of MDF I had. Cause, again, I collected it…

Firstly I had to find leg bits the same height as my drop saw keeps throwing the fuse, I simple screwed them in place – I was too impatient, no time for pretty or neat here. It had to be high enough to hold the laptop underneath and allow me to slide my hand in to turn on the power. I had to cut out a section at the back to allow the screen to be raised permanently. Once I had it all fitting properly I limed it white to match the bookcase and set it up.

It might not be perfect but it works.


PS. Sorry for the bad photos… I’ve been using my phone more than my camera these days.