cluttercore – well there you go!

I am vindicated.

Seems the new fashion is clutter! I’m way ahead of my time…

As you know, I live in a small apartment of 50m2 with one bedroom, kitchen/living room and bathroom and two small outdoor spaces. Uncovered, so useless for doing any work.

So, my home is a studio. I live, cook, and eat amongst my ‘stuff’.

A couple of weeks ago, in my efforts to get my art mojo back, I put away things I don’t plan on using again soon – ie all my sewing, textile and bead stuff. I still need to finish that job as there are still things around I can do without having at my fingertips. Plus, I’ll probably still need this and that again. Story of my life.

Anyway, all I want out at this time is my painting stuff: canvases, paints, pastels, easel, paper, marble pieces, rocks, etc. Anything I can paint on… or with.

The rest can all go in the wardrobe and outside in weatherproof boxes.

I really need more space… I sound like a broken record.

Anyway, my mojo is back. Where all I did for a couple of months after I got home from work or dog grooming was to lie on the couch and watch Netflix, now I come home and paint while listening to audiobooks (or watching Netflix). A much better use of my time.

I not only have my mojo back, but its a strong one. I WANT to paint. I love this feeling.

Also, its healthier… When I lie on the couch like a sack of potatoes all I want to do is eat and nibble… Not good. I’d lost so much weight after my surgery February last year I feel horrible about gaining half it back. Time to get serious about NOT nibbling.

So, I have stuff to begin sharing again now, its just a matter of starting to post again. Finding the time and energy between layers of paint or working.

Meanwhile, in the vein of a general life update, I’ve begun a new job… this isn’t what I really wanted, but its all year round so that’s good. Its an office job in a real estate agency.

The pros: They’re dog people and love Lainee, so she can come to work with me every day. I meet new people. Its a pleasant environment and I really like the other office girl. The boss is nice and his wife is nicer. Its airconditoned so I won’t melt in summer and its close to home. Plus its a steady income all year round. Its 9-3 every day except Sunday (having only one day off is a bummer), but then again, even most office jobs in Greece tend to be 6 days a week.

The cons: I really didn’t want an office job. Again. I’ve spent so much of my life behind a desk and in front of a computer. Oh well. A few more years… The pay sucks. I mean really sucks. But I’m meant to get a small percentage of the commission when a property sells, so let’s see how that works out.

And I have plans. Or dreams. Call them what you will, but I’m focussed on them right now. And hopefully, as Kevin Costner said, “build it and they will come”. We’ll see.

I’m putting it out there, envisioning what I want and if the universe hears me, it will happen!

z

walking around parikia

I love the island when its quiet. When the only people here are those that live here. The streets are quiet and its a pleasure to walk around town. Some shops are already being renovated for summer but only those that remain open all year round are open at this time.

Later on, Easter and afterwards, there will be more happening with store owners preparing to open for the season. At that time the island begins to come alive. Its an exciting time – Its spring, the weather is better, people who’ve been away for winter come back to open up their shops… As the weather warms the beach bars start to put out their umbrellas and sun beds. Its a nice time..

Till summer really hits. The island fills up with tourists and visitors. The ferries start backing up in the port spewing out black smoke waiting to disgorge the masses. Cars jam the roads, the traffic becomes unbearable. The quiet beaches are quiet now more with blarring music and packed bodies, parking becomes impossible and all I want to do is hide at home. Or better yet, leave for a quieter place. Last summer I wasn’t working full time and was able to escape to Denmark for 10 days. This year I won’t be so lucky.

I am not sure what I’ll be doing regarding work for this summer yet, I have a few irons in the fire. Let’s see what comes of them… Meanwhile enjoy some quiet little moments of Parikia in winter, before the spring spruce up.

I do love my chippy doors and rust. And I love the little plants which come up in cracks on doorsteps and in corners.

I’ve needed a bit of beauty this week. Its been one bad week. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Well, ok. I did have one good thing come along this week. I took Lainee in for a wellness check and she’s all good. Needs to lose weight, but all good otherwise.

As for the rest… I’ve had computer problems: I couldn’t log on to my email for a few days, then it came right somehow and I’m not sure what I did or didn’t do which fixed it. My keyboard stopped working. My monitor became disconnected somehow. It all got sorted, almost without me doing anything but it was like I was jinxed or something.

Banking was another issue. I was having trouble logging onto my bank, then when I did I found my account was frozen… cause I wasn’t in Australia to provide all the necessary documentation for identification. That took some sorting and a couple of phone conversations with them. Now thats sorted too thankfully.

I’ve had a dodgey front screen door since I moved in and it finally gave up the ghost at the beginning of the week by totally coming off its track and off the wall. No mending it this time. The back screen has had a rip in it for about a year so it was time to get that fixed too. I called a guy and he came round and gave me a quote. More than I wanted to spend on anything right now, but I need fly screens… He installed them today (really good quick service!) and I have lovely new screendoors. The front screendoor is now on the RIGHT way so that it now opens in the same direction as the front door making it so much easier to go in and out. Obviously this wasn’t the case before. What on earth was the person who installed the first one thinking? Anyway, the back screen was a pull down sash type, was replaced by a sliding one as well. Now I can go out and close it behind me! Thus not let the 1,000,023 mosquitos in the back patio into my bedroom every time I go out. Seriously. There are so many mosquitos in that area and they all just buzz around waiting for me to open the screen! I have a back patio I rarely used in summer due to my mosquito phobia.

The air conditioner control began playing up and only worked intermittently, just enough so that while randomly hitting buttons to wake it up I managed to change the mode to cold air and not be able to change it back. I put in new batteries and it made no difference. Next day I bought newer new batteries and it works fine now. Go figure.

I swear… it just wasn’t my week.

z

changed view

The other day I woke up to find the council workers outside my place chopping away at the eucalyptus trees on the road.

I am a bit upset about it, I might admit. They really lopped them. I mean, I know eucalyptus trees have a tendency to drop branches and even fall over in strong winds, but this seems a bit drastic…

It feels a little naked around here without the trees. They were a barrier between our building and the busy road below. Now we’re more exposed to the noise and wind than we were before.

On the other hand, the view is better…

I no longer have to dodge leafy branches in order to see the sea (hahaha), which is probably a good thing… but I miss the trees. Its gonna be a lot hotter this summer without them blocking the late afternoon sun.

z

safety pin brooch and new shop

I forgot to share this little baby when I made it. I was putting away my crafty sewy stuff in preparation for going back home to Paros and got side-tracked – as you do.

I found a few baby safety pins I had in my collection and suddenly got the urge to make a brooch out of one of them. I’m actually really pleased with the result.

I also spent some time the last few days trialling a new shop on ecwid. You can visit it here.

I’m only on the free plan to see how it goes and that only allows 10 products at a time so I concentrated on a Valentines theme, but the paid versions promise big things like linking the shop to instagram and FB. It sounds good, but I’m reluctant to pay for a shop I dont know will do well.

I still have my etsy shop here and my CafePress shop here but neither of those are setting the world on fire. With Etsy I pay a small amount per year to have the shop opened and a percentage on sales. The CafePress shop only gives me a commission on sales. Its been a long time since I updated or added new products to either store.

Over the years I’ve successfully sold on ebay but it just got too expensive and compicated (postage has always been my downfall!) – however they do have a huge audience so I may give it another go one day. When I lived in Tasmania I also sold a lot of stuff on the local FB buy/sell pages, here I’m not sure how well that would go. Then again, in Tasmania I did the occasional market and sold things there so there was always a bit of extra $$ coming in.

My problem (I think) is that I don’t stick to one thing and dedicate myself to that. I see people who paint and who dedicate themselves to doing that and do well. I see people who make jewellery and do well. Or macrame. Or crochet. They pick something they enjoy and are good at and work hard at it.

Me, on the other hand – I do a little bit of everything. I have ADHD when it comes to creativity. I’ll be inspired to make textile jewellery and will do that for a while. Then I’ll get bored and move on to fixing up a piece of furniture. Or painting. Or sewing little zombie dolls or monster critters. Or make a curtain out of doilies. I love variety. And I love trying new things.

In the end I think markets and selling online through local channels worked for me cause the stuff I made in Tasmania was something people were into there. Here, I haven’t quite yet found my ‘niche’ creatively speaking.

Since coming to Greece I have made and sold paintings on stone and marble, spring wreaths and other decor, pet portraits on commission, textile items… so it hasn’t been a complete failure, but its not quite ‘there’ for me yet.

I wish I could afford to open a shop of my own. A place to work and sell whatever it is I get inspired to create.

Ah dream on…

z

nostalgia – 1995

I was going through a ton of photos that belonged to mom, my aunt, my brother and me – trying to sort them out and put them in some sort of order. I think I mentioned mom has so many photos in frames of all sizes, on walls and on every surface in the house. I needed to contain them somehow, keep her memories while limiting the need for wall space.

I spent two days on that project alone, finishing it this afternoon. Its not really finished either. There are still too many framed photos to decide what to do with. And I’m sure I’ll come across more in my sorting and packing.

I have 4 albums I’ve been putting photos in, divided more or less: one with very old photos of mom and dad’s family, their wedding, our early life in Australia. Another with my brother and his first family, Another with my brother’s yougest son, another for me and other random pics. They’re not in perfect date order either as that’s a nightmare in itself, but at least mom can now pic and album knowing what she’ll find in it.

I bought 2 pretty frames that hold 8 photos each, one has a small corkboard on the side so mom can pin up new photos when she gets them. I plan to buy a piece of cork to put in another frame to do the same, perhaps even adapt the Christmas frame with wire and pegs so mom has plenty of places to show new photos.

Anyway, while doing this I found a couple of small albums of my own. Most of my photos are in storage already, but I found these in the attic above the hallway. They’re from 1995 when I was leaving Australia the first time to be with my father who was sick. At the time it was like now: I came for dad and had no idea when, or if, I would return to Australia.

Looking back brings so many great memories, and I look at my younger, gorgeous self and wonder how I could ever have thought I was fat! I was perfect.

Before I left I had a couple of goodbye nights out – one with one of my favourite Melbourne country bands, Rough Cut and my cowboy hat wearing, two steppin’ friends:

With the singer of the band, always a groupie.
With my rocker, non-cowboy hat wearing boyfriend.

The other night was with my most favourite Melbourne rockabilly band The Straight 8s.

With the boys in the band.
Me and my best friend Jamie.
My boyfriend in his element. Too cool to dance though…
Rock’n’Roll with Jamie.
Who said you can’t twostep to a rockabilly band?

A few pics from a holiday in Queensland, where I met up with some line dancing friends.

Loved them boots!
Love affair with Syvester at Movie World on the Gold Coast.
Trm and roller blading fit!

Some random rockabilly event pics…

With his pride and joy, a ’52 Chevy.
Where else would we be? At a car show. Wearing my two tone dancing shoes. I still have the pencil skirt I made – its impossibly tiny.

Oh boy. Its bittersweet. I miss that girl. I realise I’ll never be her again, but I miss the slimness, the fitness, the lifestyle: the dancing mostly. I guess I could have that in Athens, more or less, as there’s a swing/jive thing happening here, but without a dance partner and with COVID… eh.

At least I have these wonderful memories.

z

grade school autographs

One of the best (and worst) things about packing up a house you/your family has lived in for 50 years is finding things you held onto, thinking you’d value them so you couldn’t get rid of them.

Well, I’ve found a ton of stuff. Some mine, some my brother’s, a ton of mom’s. Not so many of Dad’s things.

Among my things was a little autograph book from when I finished Junior High – Ursuline School in Athens.

The poor little book was falling apart but I photographed the autographs for posterity. A lot of these people I don’t remember or have lost touch with over the years, some I’m lucky enough to still have in my life.

One thing I always say is that I never win things. As in luck. I have won lots in my life, but always for work I’ve done. This was the second thing I won in my life – an essay competition.

That same year I won a drawing competition for an animal welfare society with a poster showing a puppy who just wanted a loving home. We never got the poster back. Mom still laments its loss.

The stack in my old bedroom.

Today was another day of packing and stacking. Well emptying cupboards and piling up things for mom to sort through. I am trying to be ruthless but you know mothers… I have to make sure I’m not giving away anything she wants to keep. So I piles tuff for her to check out. And only toss out what is obviously not worth keeping.

z

a little christmas

Somewhere among all the sorting and searching and packing and getting rid of stuff, I took the time to make a little Christmas display for mom. I’d seen this on Pinterest and though mine is nothing like it, not vintage, just cheap dollar store decorations, it inspired me to make my version.

This is how the frame looked before I painted it white. Too gold for me. Now you can only see bits of gold.

I added two photos of the grandkid/great grandkid for mom and voila, a little Christmas in our 70s kitchen.

The little trees and little house light up.
In my clearing out of old drawers I found this key. No idea what it’s from but I love it!

The beauty of this frame is that it can be used for anything, any time of the year. All you need is imagination.

Meanwhile I’m working out daily. Up and down 2 flights of stairs countless times. With weights (bags and boxes). I’ll have a body to die for come spring. And no gym fees!

Today I went up and pretty much finished the laundry phase of the tidy up. My theory is that once the laundry is empty of stuff that’s been in there for decades, there will be room for newer stuff mom can’t bring herself to get rid of.

Actually, I’m still storing old stuff in there – stuff I brought from Australia that don’t fit in my little house, old photo albums and sentimental stuff my brother and I both left years ago etc. The only stuff I’m getting rid of is the stacks and stacks of old clothes, linen, towels and bags etc. Things which were stuck in there and forgotten. Some of the stuff is still in its original wrappers.

My pile of stuff to donate is growing. The pile of stuff for mom to sort through is growing. And I’m listing the odd thing on Facebook. A lot of stuff would sell well in a garage sale, but we don’t have those here, and FB isn’t a good place to sell things worth little money. Athens is too big for someone to drive to pick up something unless its worth it.

If the weather is good tomorrow I’ll have another go at the ivy. Well, after I finish up upstairs, photographing and listing.

For today I’m done. Tired. Sore. Worn out. But satisfied that things are happening.

z

Update:

I found some old baubles so I was able to give the frame a more vintage look after all!

…paros and lainee – photos to enjoy

I’m so tired. I’ve been battling various organisations and government agencies on the phone for days and I’ve just had it. Time to take a break. So I thought I’d just share some photos on here that I’ve already shared on Facebook for my friends who haven’t seen them.

Starting with a photo of a collapsed Lainee on ‘her cushion’ on the couch. And below, a bored Lainee when a friend and I talked and talked at a coffee shop and ignored her.

Then there’s a series of photos I took while walking in Parikia one evening and early one morning. Below is the same street both at night and in the morning.

I didn’t walk all the exact same streets so first enjoy the night shots…

Then the photos of an early morning walk on my way to work. I love it when its so quiet.

I think I needed that just to calm my mind.

z

days in the sun

Lately I’ve just been so tired.

I think I’m in love with my bed… I don’t want to leave it. Well, I do leave it for the bigger TV in the living room and the couch, but I love my bed. And I love sleeping…

What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m just tired after work, but that’s not a real excuse. Or maybe its the heat, though the last few days have been blissfully windy after days of sweltering nothingness. I spend the day with creative thoughts in my head – ‘when I get home I’ll do this and this and this…’ – eager to work, then I get home and plant myself in front of Netflix and do boneless cat immitations.

There are days I’m sure I will never blog again. It just seems so pointless when I’m tired or feel like I have nothing new to share or say. Times like those I toss up the whole social media presence, is it really necessary, who cares what I do anyway? What was I thinking offering to do a radio show online? Like I have so much time I need to fill!

Then there are days when I love sharing something I’ve just made or painted cause, frankly, I’m just a show off… If I look back at my life I think I did a lot of things cause I love to show off: rock’n’roll dance competitions (wow! you’re such a great dancer!), selling my stuff at markets (oooh, you’re so talented!) etc.

I’m impossible really.

Anyway, so what’s been going on? Well… the hand-held shower thingy in my bath broke. The tube sprung more leaks than a wicker canoe. Given its my only shower option, its a kinda necessary thing. So I bought a replacement tube. Didn’t have a wrench… (the one tool I didn’t have!). Bought one. Got home and promptly broke the old hose where it screwed into the tap… Been using a bucket to shower for the last 3 days. And the plumber never showed up today so its looking like another day or three before that issue is remedied…

But on Sunday I gave myself a break. Zefi, her family and I spent the day at the beach. My all time favourite beach which I hadn’t visited once this year so far. We put in a good solid 7 hours of hard beach time. It was great. Just like the old days.

Lainee came with us since the breeze was cool enough. Here she is waiting for our lunch to arrive…

And here she is after lunch was finished.

And while I’m on the subject of Lainee, here she is first thing in the morning.

If that face doesn’t make you wanna kiss it nothing will!

Anyway, I gotta go. Things to do since the plumber didn’t show.

z

syros. once again…

Back again. For Lainee, another surgery.

This year has just sucked so far – and we all thought 2020 was bad. 2021 has been way worse for me. It started with a visit to the hospital on Syros with Aunt 1 for a week in January. Then back for myself a couple of days later which turned into a month of hospitalization. Then back to Syros for Lainee’s first surgery. Now for another one. This time its hopefully prophylactic surgery – to keep the cancer from returning any time soon. Or ever.

I just spoke to the vet. Lainee was operated on yesterday and she’s doing well, is awake, ate, the wound is looking good and she’s not bothering it, she seems in a good mood. They want to keep her in one more night so I’ll stay till tomorrow.

Lucky there is another ferry tomorrow cause usually there’s only one every couple of days. Miss one and you have to add another two days to your stay most of the time.

I just want my girlie to be ok so that’s all that matters. That she’s well and gets to live a healthy long life from here on, so them keeping her one more night is good.

For now enjoy some photos… Firstly a plant that apparently grows wild on the hills here with huge white blooms. I haven’t seen this on Paros.

I took the bus to Kini Beach, a beach I’d only seen in passing when I was on Syros a few years ago. Unfortunately the day was windy and not hot enough to make me want to swim so I spent time relaxing on the beach till a group of twenty-somethings arrived with loud voices, loud music and cigarettes. Ugh.

Basically this is what I looked at most of the time on the beach:

So while here I’ve had a pedicure, walked around town, ate out and did some shopping. Its great to be ‘on holiday’ alone but it can get a bit boring when you’re just waiting. I’ve already shopped more than I planned to – but I’m cheap so I haven’t spent much. I got some bargain basement shorts and a top plus 3 nose rings cause they’re easy to lose. Those cost a whopping 1.5 euro each. Big spender.

Oh, I also bought some local honey from the lady who did my pedicure. Her father is a bee keeper here on Syros and I can’t resist pure honey. That almost cost more than the shorts and top together.

If I run into an audio shop on my way round town today I’ll look at microphones… see if I can find a good economically priced one for my foray into podcast/radio shows… who knows… Its on my ‘want’ list anyway.

Ok, this post is getting boring. I’ll end it here and go wander around town a bit. I was expecting to pick up Lainee today so I find myself at a bit of a loss now.

z