paros day 45: art and cages

I’ve finished the poodle portrait I’ve been working on and tomorrow it will be on its way to its new owner.

I have to admit I was really nervous about this one because the last poodle portrait I worked on the owner hated. I’d sent her a picture of it ‘in progress’ and she was really rude about it, totally ignoring my explanation that it was unfinished, so my confidence was quite low. To be honest I’m not sure I’ll ever finish that one…

Anyway, today I put up the bird cages. They’ve only got starter plants in them for now but I got them up on the wall. Only one minor incident to report: one cage came off the hook and landed on my head covering me in potting mix… But all good now.

I had some mossy stuff I’d bought to do craft projects with (real moss) so I lined the bottom of the cages with that. The idea being that the moss will be alive and also hold in some potting mix for the succulents to grow in. Two birds.

At least that’s my theory.

Now all I gotta do is get a couple of droopy succulents and wait for them to grow.

z

paros day 44: just thinking…

As promised, here is a photo of the two bird cages I found rubbish bin adjacent. Great find! I’m still working on how and where I’ll use them. I think I need a couple more fine ‘leafed’ dangly succulents for them. I’m picturing them on the rock wall behind my place with succulents trailing out of them…

Other than that I had a busy yet non-productive day. I took Lainee and Spitha (my uncle’s dog) for a long walk on the beach. I went for a long drive. I visited a nursery where I bought this pretty succulent for the one of the little nooks in the rock wall:

I also bought another basil plant. This time I went for a much bigger specimen and hope it survives. I’m not re-potting it yet to be sure. I also put it in the shade of the pine tree in case it doesn’t do well in the sun.

Its getting hotter now. Much more like summer is on the way. Walks are best in the early morning or late afternoon.

Its time to take the summer clothes out and put away the winter woollies. That’s something I never really did in Australia. Here in Greece its a bi-annual thing. Its kinda nice cause you see clothes you haven’t seen for 6 months and its almost like you have a new wardrobe.

I’m doing spring cleaning now, a bit of work in the house, a bit in the potted garden.

I was really tired so I took a nice long nap. Again. I don’t think I bounced back after that sleepless night and getting up at 7am the next morning.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about this situation we find ourselves in. Specifically I’ve been thinking about how COVID 19 compares to the Spanish Flu of 1918. The thing is, no matter how much research I do there are no definitive answers or numbers… There’s a huge disagreement on the number of fatalities from the 1918 flu and the deaths attributed to the flu itself or the bad treatment of the disease (aspirin given in deadly doses). Which in turn brings into question the fatality rate… its somewhere between 1-2% depending on who you believe as to the number of deaths all over the world – ie similar to COVID 19…

There’s also the fact that there was a war on in 1918, the disease was spread by soldiers and there were a lot of people living in cramped conditions with poor hygience.

On the other hand we have airplanes and more people travel these days enabling the spread of the virus to all parts of the world much quicker.

If COVID 19 had hit then, would it had killed at the same rate? More? Less? If we had the Spanish Flu now, how would that have affected the world in spread rate and death toll? Would it be similar, better or worse?

Both spread fast. Both can kill. Both are novel so there is no immunity in the population. We still have large populations living in cramped conditions with poor hygience…

One killed young healthy people, the other mainly kills older people or those with underlying issues. One is a flu the other is a sort of pneumonia.

Is it really that different or is the world different?

Its a really interesting subject and one I’m not in the least qualified to answer. I’d love to see experts talk on this subject cause right now, in 2020, we had information on the virus and its DNA mapped within weeks of learning of its existence. We know about personal hygiene and how to keep safe, We know how it spreads and most governments put into effect social distancing, cancelling large group events, shutting down businesses etc in order to slow the spread. We are in a much better position than the world was in in 1918.

If we’d done nothing and just let the virus spread naturally, infecting almost the entire population, overwhelming the health care systems of the world, would we be in the same position as 1918, with tens of millions dead?

I’m not a paranoid type, but I do think about things like that. I know that it can kill, but I’m not overly worried. I figure most of us will get it and recover unless a vaccine is found to stop it.

Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep some nights.

Then other times I’m just too busy building things in my mind to sleep.

z

paros day 43: sea rope basket

I’ve had a quiet but productive day today. In a low key kinda way.

I spent the morning working on the poodle portrait and so far so good. It looks like a poodle.

At lunchtime I did some odds and ends around the place, and took Lainee for a walk in the afternoon. Along the way I collected a couple of cuttings from this geranium which was really leggy and unruly, but had the most vibrant red balls of blooms. I thought it was worth collecting. I can probably keep it from getting leggy by pruning it.

I also came across the biggest dandelion I’ve ever seen. Well, I took a photo of the biggest dandelion I’ve ever seen, cause I have seen them before. Isn’t it amazing?

Oh, wait. You need to see my hand so you can get the size!

See? I told you its big!

Tonight I’m working on a basket using bits of rope I found while walking on the beach. Its kinda fun. A craft project I can work on while watching Homeland even! No wasting time tonight.

I’ve now used up all the bits of rope I had and am left with pieces of net. I’m no sure how I’ll incorporate them into the basket, if and how I’ll weave them in, or what shape the basket will end up being. Its one of those things that just develops as you work on it. I’ll just keep going and it will keep growing till I feel its finished.

I think I need more rope. I may need to walk on the beach again… Oh such hard work!

Meanwhile it must be spring. Its warm, the mosquitoes are out in force and I’m itchy all over. That happens when bugs land on me. I’m allergic to pollen so I think that any bug that’s walked through pollen and lands on me makes me itchy. Its my theory anyway. Ugh. I need a shower!!! Better turn on the hot water boiler!

On that note I think its time to say bye, till next time!

z

paros day 42: keeping busy

That’s Cinnamon. Cino to his friends. A lab x chow. The sweetest natured dog ever. Very lab looking once he’s clipped but he has a blue tongue. He and Lainee had a nice catch up. He’s so loving and sweet, didn’t want us to go so he came to the car to say one last goodbye. Lainee is a bit too much of a lady to make such brash exhibitions of emotion. She sat back and acknowledged his love and just accepted it gracefully.

Meanwhile I’m still watching Homeland. Halfway through Season 3 at the moment. It really is keeping me quite on the edge of the couch. I start watching in the evenings when I rest and eat dinner and end up watching way beyond what I would have planned as my bedtime. Then I get up a little later than planned the next morning. Great show. I recommend it.

So, what did I do on day 42? After messing about with my Dremel Moto-Saw (a Christmas present from Wayne a few years ago*) and not being able to find the clamps or blades I know I have, ordering new blades from a store in Athens and finally getting them, I took it to a friend’s workshop and used some of his scrap plywood to cut out shapes.

I cut out heaps of hearts, fish and starfish and began sanding them with different grit sandpaper to give them a nice finish. I did that for a few hours and got tired, my left hand was sore from clamping the bits to sand and my back was aching. I gave it up and came home to nap.

I love this greek habit of napping in the afternoon… I don’t always do it, most of the time I work straight through the day, but its nice to know that if I’m tired I can always lie down and nap and no one will think its strange!

These shapes are mainly being made to decorate the wreaths I’m making for my cousin’s rental units. She bought them and some ribbon before lockdown began, planning to open at Easter. I did finish two of the large wreaths for her for the units she had booked, but the rest are still sitting on my couch waiting to be worked on.

Now I have more time to finish them but neither of us has money to spare for decorations so I have to make them myself. Not that its a problem. Its more hand made that way, not just a matter of assembling bought odds and ends. They’ll be way more unique.

More work for me of course. But hey, what else have I got to do?

Well… a commissioned portrait for one. Tomorrow is the day I start on that. I have to. I have a deadline on that one. Then in the afternoon I’ll sit outside in the gorgeous weather and sand some more. Probably.

No wonder I never have nice nails like all the greek women!

z

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

paros day 41: rusty wire basket

Firstly, Lainee would like to say good morning.

She thinks she should feature in the blog more often. Says I’m focusing on myself too much and that’s just selfish. So here she is, freshly clipped face, feet and tail. Though between you and me she sure could use a bath. She’s a little on the nose…

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day, the wind dropped to a pleasant breeze, the sun was warm and I felt like being outdoors. I cleaned the front and back patio areas from all the pine needles and things the wind had blown in and did a general clean and tidy. It felt good to just be out with my plants. One of the good things about strong wind out the front is that often any leaves and pine needles get blown away before I have to worry about them!

Mid morning Lainee and I went for a short walk to share a couple of my potted plants with a friend. I brought seeds from some of my flowers in Australia with me and had a go at growing some this year. I’ve already given quite a few to one friend with a large garden. Its my backup plan: get some of my seeds growing so I can grow them again in my own garden one day.

Some of the seedlings are doing well, some struggling, others look dead. But I’ve had things come back from the dead before, so I’m not giving up just yet.

On the plus side the hydrangea looks like it will be fine, its budding up after I pruned it down severely.

An update on the status of my plants: One of the many lavender cuttings I took look like its taken. About half of the geranium cuttings are looking good. Two of them are flowering which is great, even though they’re still not more than sticks. At least I think its great. Maybe I need to cut the flowers off to encourage them to grow roots?

My new lavender and my white gaura seem like they’re doing ok. No sign of life from the coriander seeds I planted. Yet.

The basil and the pink gaura I bought died. It took the basil one day to die. The gaura took 5 days. But the good news on that is I got a piece of pink guara with some root from a garden during winter, it looked dead but something is coming up in that pot and I’m sure its the gaura.

Most of the succulents are doing great, which is to be expected. If you can’t propagate them you have a serious black thumb problem.

The daisies my aunt gave me pieces of are both doing really well. The pink one has lots of flowers, the white is taking its time but looks healthy.

I got another piece of white african daisies – the others all died, both pink and white. Hope this one takes. I envision a cascade of daisies over the rock wall…

The sweet peas look like they’re doing ok, both in the front and the back. I had to move the one in the back to the corner of the retaining wall nook so it would get more sun. It seemed to be struggling with less sun.

The bougainvillea had two flowers and now has none. But its growing so that’s good.

But back to the walk. We took the rubbish down on our way and I always love looking at what someone might have thrown ‘rubbish bin adjacent’. This time I found a piece of rusty wire mesh. And a couple of bits of rusty wire. Of course they had to come home with me.

I figured it would make a great planter basket (well, around a pot!!) so here it is. I rolled it up carefully so as not to break it and used the wire pieces to join it together with Xs. Then I plonked one of my small potted succulents in it. This particular succulent should get pretty big and fill the basket shape. How cool will that be!

I love my rusty basket.

I also found something else wonderful in another rubbish bin adjacent area. Two rusty birdcages. They will need a bit of cleaning up, removal of the ugly plastic bits in them and then who knows where I’ll put them… Stay tuned.

I made a new friend too. An old man was looking through the bins. He had the biggest bushiest sideburns I’ve ever seen in real life. And he asked me if I was married. LOL

I’ve still got it!

z

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paros day 40: paintings on marble

I really haven’t got much to say about today.

I went for a long walk in Parikia with Lainee cause I had to go down to the post office this morning. Bought farm fresh eggs off the one guy at the little market. Came home. Ate leftovers. Painted a while. Watched some Netflix. Painted a bit more. Took Lainee out a couple of times. Chatted on the phone with some cousins.

I tried to make a photo album on my Facebook page with items for sale but ran into a hiccup and gave up. Nothing like giving up at the first sign of something not working…

Really… a pretty quiet day.

So here are some paintings on marble to make up for the lack of news.

I’ve been enjoying sea life lately but I think I need to do something different next…

z

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.

z

paros day 38: dog portraits

I got a message from my friend in Athens this morning. Winston has arrived and is making himself comfortable in her home till he can take up his position as guard in her tattoo parlour.

Today I thought I’d share some dog portraits I just finished. These are an order from another friend. Her dogs. And so darn cute too!

This little teddy bear face is my favourite.

I worked from photos sent in Messenger but that’s fine for me (and cheaper than buying printer ink!). I just set the tablet up on my table and work direct from the image on that.

I’m very pleased with them. Hope she is too.

Meanwhile today has been a rather odd day. I watched some comedy on YouTube while I painted, did some washing, began working on another podcast and put some chicken in the oven to roast.

That last one is rather tricky as I’m not a roasting kind of gal… I’m not particularly good at it. I can cook, I can bake, but roasting seems to get the best of me most of the time. I guess I’ll see if it worked this time very soon. It smells pretty good. Though perhaps a bit heavy on the garlic… Eh. I’m not kissing anyone these days!

My Netflix viewing has now moved on to Money Heist Season 4. Love that show, its really gripping. And I love the code names. Of course I can’t watch it and work at the same time as I need to read subtitles (hence its music or comedy today), but I’m eager to get back to it tonight.

Meanwhile we haven’t taken any long walks today cause I’ve been working, but its windy again outside. We get a couple of good days and back to being blown about for a couple more at this time of year. The simple task of walking the rubbish down to the bins is an exercise in gravity vs wind resistance. Lainee doesn’t enjoy it that much. Especially when she was trying to poop…

I guess I better go check on the chicken… and work on the podcast some more.

z

paros day 37: paintings on marble

Again.

Cause its really all I feel like doing lately. Maybe its the mediums of watercolour and watercolour pencil with some acrylic or gouache thrown in for something different. Maybe its the texture of the marble… Reminds me a bit of the stone in lithography… Whatever it is, I’m loving it.

As I mentioned, however, I do have a commission to do on paper in pastel so I have to get onto that. TOMORROW. Today is already half over and I’m tired. I went for a long walk with Lainee and was seriously wiped out after. Time to get something together for dinner and relax with a bit of Netflix.

Again.

I’m currently watching (and near the end of) Lovesick. I do love british TV. The show is light and easy to watch, not especially seat of your pants or anything, just the sort of thing to watch when you feel like having a little laugh watching others stuff up their love lives.

So, here is another art on marble fix…

Still on the sea life theme.

And something completely different!

I spent a bit of time yesterday working on my first ever podcast. I used to do a radio show for a few years when I lived in Tasmania. Every Sunday for 2 hours I’d be on the airwaves as Rockabilly Rebel on the local radio station. I loved it! Even when I stuffed up. I loved sharing my favourite music, I loved listening to it. A couple of times I even forgot to turn off the microphone and sang along loudly. Ugh.

Anyway, I’ve thought about doing a show on the internet since I moved to Greece, more to stay in touch with the people who listened to my show (and I do enjoy it!). But it all looked so complicated to me. I’d need all this equipment to do a professional job yada yada. I just wanted to have some fun.

Then a friend of mine sent me his experimental show and recommended Anchor as a very easy app to podcast direct from your mobile phone. I did a trial show you can find here, and I’m hooked. Tomorrow between painting and walking I think I’ll work on my next show. A full length one this time…

Stay tuned!

z

paros day 36: cleanliness and art

Today seemed like the perfect day to do some cleaning. Its really hard to keep the place clean and tidy when I craft and make art… pretty much all the time. There are always things in bags and baskets on the floor and on every chair, unfinished projects on the couch, ‘don’t forget’ bits on the coffee table, materials to put away on the kitchen bench, and I haven’t seen the table top for weeks.

Today I decided that since lately all I want to do is paint, I may as well put away the fabric, wool, felt, sewing bits, glue and newspapers till I feel like doing that stuff again.

I picked everything up off the floor, put stuff into plastic containers that hold craft odds and ends, put things in shopping bags and hid them in the closet, took some stuff down to the storage unit – and the table top is still invisible.

I swept about a kilo of sand from the floor and mopped up and found that the tiles are actually lighter than they looked… Ok, joking, but there were plenty of drops of coffee to clean up.

I also rearranged the shelves in the bookcase to make them prettier, plus organised my art and craft stuff again.

Then I sat outside with a frappe and downloaded Anchor to try doing a podcast radio show. There are days I miss the radio show I did on TYGA FM in the Derwent Valley. I really enjoyed doing the Rockabilly Rebel show and maybe I can do something similar now and then via podcast, just for the fun of sharing the music I love to those who enjoy it too. After this I’m going to go play with the app and once I got it worked out I’ll share a link so anyone who likes my kind of music can listen.

Meanwhile, here are some marble pics to enjoy!

I’m even remembering to sign them now before I varnish them!

Hope everyone is well and not going stir crazy with isolation. I’m lucky in that I love doing my own thing in my own space. And Lainee is happy as long as she gets her walks and food!

z