shutters – lockdown 2 day 16

Day 16 and counting. First they said it was going to be a 3-week lockdown but nobody really believed that. Now it will be extended but when and for how much longer I don’t know. As it is, we never get truthful info on just how many cases of COVID 19 there are on Paros… Last I heard the free testing day resulted in 12 cases being diagnosed. No idea how many more there might be which haven’t been tested.

Yet my days are busier than ever with mom and mom-related activities.

Meanwhile this is me right now:

Not easy to type with a kitten wanting to be hugged all the time. When he isn’t typing for me he’s climbing all over me and yowling if I put him on the ground. sigh. Worst still is he’s learned to climb up my legs (ouch) to get up onto my lap.

What’s really wierd is that this little guy is getting under my skin. Maybe its the way he just sits and stares at me, or the fact that he wants to be on me all the time, purring and rubbing against me. Maybe its that he even made my mother (who hates cats and who swore at me for taking in Spartacus who gave us all ringworm) laugh with his cute face and antics with an empty paper bag.

This morning he played with the paper bag and ran around a while then went quiet. I looked for him everywhere as I wanted to put him in the bathroom when I went out and couldn’t find him. Thought he’d gotten under the couch again. The paper bag was in the middle of the floor so as I passed it I scooted it out of the way with my foot. Odd… heavier than usual. Turns out the little ratbag was asleep IN the paper bag!

I’ve always loved all animals and can’t resist helping any animal in need. Yet so far I’ve managed to resist keeping a cat. I’ve thought about it but always managed to say NO. I’m not sure if I actually want to give this boy up. Maybe logic will prevail if I can find him a good home.

Ya think?

Still, at least I managed to do something different today. My cousin asked me to paint the shutters in his ‘attic’ room… This is what I did.

The paint dribbles started accidentally cause the surface wouldn’t hold the watered down paint, but I loved the broken up look of the paint where it didn’t hold on the surface properly so I kept going. A thicker layer of paint held but I liked the result. I love accidents. Sometimes the best bits are the unexpected bits.

I’m not sure my cousin feels the same way. It might be too ‘arty’ for him, but that’s ok, I’m happy to redo if so.After all, he’s the one paying (in coffee…). I’ve been wanting to do octopus tentacles on his living room wall or on the ‘aloni’ (a cemented threshing circle in the yard) for years, at least I got a chance to do them SOMEWHERE in his house!

I really am missing working steadily without interruption. Today was a great day, but I only got to be creative for a very short time, the rest of the day being spent with other people, albeit happily. Tomorrow looks like the entire morning is blown… but I intend to put my foot down about Tuesday. I’m going NOWHERE. In the words of Alan Jackson:

I parked my car ’round back
I’ve got the shades pulled down
I told everybody including my mama
I was leaving town…

I’m just a rockabilly country hillbilly r’n’r dancing greek australian arty creative dog cat and animal loving (especially poodle loving) Netflix addicted home renovator book reading dog grooming blogger living on Paros in a tiny house surrounded by things I love and a serious case of garden envy.

That’s all she wrote folks!

See ya tomorrow!

z

bone charm – lockdown 2 day 15

Sharing a little charm I made for a bit of leftover air dry clay the other day. A lady I know has the most gorgeous silver bone charm on a chain around her neck and I really wanted one. So… not finding one, I made my own.

It might not be as fine or silver, but I still like it. It’ll be fun to wear in summer.

I made this a few days ago but finished it yesterday afternoon with a couple of coats of varnish and a large jump ring.

This post is a day late (again) cause I got busy with mom last night. Yeah, curfew is at 9pm so I had to be home by then, but I made the mistake of starting to watch Messiah on Netflix and I got hooked. I couldn’t get off till my eyes started to close around 12.30am.

Eric the kitten is starting to settle in a little. He doesn’t always run and hide when I walk close to him (like he did yesterday when I spent about 15min trying to get him out from under the couch). He’s using the litter tray reliably, cuddled while watching Netflix with me last night, and even started to approach Lainee for friendship. She continues to not be impressed and told him so, but she’s gentle. I think she’ll come around. I still don’t want a cat, but he has something special. Even mom was saying how cute he was and laughing at his antics. And she dislikes ‘filthy cats’!

And now I have to go. I got stuff to do! Can’t sit around on the computer all day!

z

brienne of tarth – lockdown 2 day 13

Hey, finally a project to share.

One you’ve already seen a preview of.

Brienne of Tarth, that big strapping woman made out of a skinny big-headed Bratz doll. Sort of the opposite of the real Brienne – here is the real Brienne:

And here is my Brienne:

And her armour and sword:

Ok, so the pictures suck. I haven’t yet found that sweet spot to set up my lightbox. Or any spot for that matter. (sigh). I’m doing what I can with what I have but turns out the best photos are those taken outside on overcast days when there isn’t a storm on outside.

Today is not that day. Rain all day, cold, intensely windy, and just downright unpleasant. I can’t find Lainee’s raincoat so she had to wear a knitted jumper. Warm but not waterproof. Poor girl. The things she has to put up with…

Anyway, here are some in progress pics of Brienne – who I began back in Tasmania…

Step 1 in Brienne’s costume.
Working on Brienne and Cersei at the same time – doing hair.

I always start with the hair first – detangling and fixing, cutting or replacing if necessary. Then I work on the face, going on to the costume, but the final setting of the hair has to be done after I’m done man-handling the doll. Hence the naked ladies above. It does look odd when I have various naked dolls around the house in different stages of work. Like some kind of serial killer in training.

Ok. Time to find something to eat. Its been another on and off creative day. Time to give up and relax.

z

previews – lockdown 2 day 12

Yep. You got it. I got lazy busy again and didn’t do the hero shots I mentioned yesterday so I can’t share a couple of finished projects.

What I can share though is a couple of previews to give you a hint of what’s coming up over the next few days.

Well here goes: I cooked up some chicken and vegetables for Lainee, oh, and I progressed on my playing dog sculpture. (This is what happens when your studio is also your kitchen.)

I already mentioned finishing my Brienne doll, so here’s a preview of her armour.

So. What has been keeping me so busy that I forget to take photos?

I ran errands again. I groomed a dog. I visited mom. I worked on the dog sculpture. I answered emails. I browsed online for a vacuum cleaner (did I mention I have a new rug?). I read up about how to make my own papier mache clay so I don’t have to keep buying it. Now I have to find where I can buy ready mixed joint compount in GREEK… during a lockdown…

On the plus side, I did order 2 types of air dry clay to try out and it arrived so I can begin working with that. I have marble waiting to be painted on. I have boards ready to paint on. I have a million dolls in the basement store room waiting for their chance to be re-made. Not to mention timber pieces ready to make into coat and key racks if I can find my bloody mandala stencils…

Its not like I dont have things I can go on with!

z

doll house envy – lockdown 2 day 11

I’m not sharing a project today. Mainly cause I need to take better ‘hero’ pics of a couple of finished projects.

But something’s been eating at me since I decided to finish my Brienne doll (from my Game of Thrones series of dolls)…

Since I was already in sculpture mode I decided to finally make Brienne’s armour out of polymer clay. I’d tried making stuff with it before with mixed success, but over the last couple of days I’ve finally finished Brienne. It only took me 3 years… It reminded me how much I love working with dolls… Aaaaaaanyway….

What I want to discuss today is this serious case of dollhouse envy I have. Its a chronic condition, I’ve had it since I was a little girl when I would make doll houses out of shoe boxes for my tiny teddy.

This is what my Tiny Ted is (not my actual TT) – a shuco bear perfume bottle. Only I never knew about the perfume bottle till I googled him much much later in life. He’s only about 2in tall. Ideal for a shoe box doll house.

Anyway, I grew up but my fascination for miniatures and doll houses never left. I still look at them longingly when I see them anywhere. And there are so many of them online…

My dream was always that one day I would make my own doll house from scratch. From the design to the building of the house itself, to the making of all its fittings and furniture. It was something I pictured myself working on slowly over years…

In a way my doll display boxes kind of led from my love of creating those small spaces, but I’ve never built a real doll house. Just these display boxes for some of my remade dolls.

Why? Well… time for one thing. Space to keep a doll house is another. And finally, chosing a way to go. There are so many great ways people have made doll houses on Pinterest, upcycling things they already have.

For instance, making a dollhouse out of a cabinet.

Or out of a bookcase.

Or, more along the lines of my display boxes, create a different room in each box and hang them on the wall together to create a whole house… Not something you can play with since each box is covered in perspex, but rather rooms you can look into. Dioramas basically.

Right now I have a few frames I could use or I can just make boxes as I’ve always done. Sure, its not a proper house… but doll houses can be BIG and take up so much space. Space I don’t have.

Maybe I should stick with the idea of making my diorama rooms for each of my dolls and get my doll house fix that way.

But really… should I be making stuff for MY dolls* when I really would love to actually earn some money from the things I make?

Oh its hard to let go of the doll house desire.

z

*I have a small collection of original 1960s Barbies I want to put in their own display boxes one day. My uncle was right. I’m a grown women who still plays with dolls!

dog with ball – lockdown 2 day 14

Before I say anything else, let me apologise for the pitiful photos. As I mentioned, I still haven’t found a good spot/setup for inside photography, even when using the camera instead of my phone.

Its been really cold, wet and windy here lately so going outside isn’t happening, and inside is just not well lit enough to take decent pics.

Anyhow, here is a finished dog sculpture: dog with ball. He was made the same way as the others – starting with cardboard, wire and foil, then papier mache and papier mache clay for the details. This little man was finished using fabric decoupaged on, not stitched like the first dog – Stitch. (yep, that’s his name!)

As I said, the photos are pathetic. Sigh. I really hope I get this right soon.

Here is the step by step gallery:

I love working with paper mache clay and now I’ve used all the bought stuff I’m going to have a go at making my own. I’ll keep you informed on how that goes… (or doesn’t).

So… looking for opinions. Do you like the finish? Better or worse than Stitch? Fabric or no fabric? Natural clay colour or paint?

I kinda like the old frayed fabric on the face…

Meanwhile at home things are not quiet… this cat (below) has decided she lives in my house and has been coming to my bedroom door/window every night and scratching at the flyscreen to be let in. My back yard (courtyard) is a cat-free zone so I don’t appreciate her digging up and pooping in my pots. I’ve put skewers in them now, but hopefully she won’t get into the yard any more cause today my neighbour had had enough of her pooping in HIS pots and he put up some wire where she was getting in. Clever girl was jumping through a small gap in his side fence and then leaping up and squeezing past my very unsturdy bamboo divider fence.

I’ve been calling her Fluffy, yeah real imaginative, I know. But I had to be able to differentiate her from Bob who looks similar but has a short coat and I really can’t think of another name!

Up till now every night when I hear her scratching at the flyscreen I’d been getting up and letting her in, then scooting her out the front door. When it got really cold I let her sleep in the bathroom one night. But that’s it. No cats in my house (she says… hmph)

I’m not a monster. Its cold out there. I’ve been running around the neighbourhood providing boxes, old drawers and plastic crates lined with cardboard and mats for cats to sleep in. I put them in undercover areas where they’ll be protected from the wind and rain. And today, to top it off, I went and bought a small dog kennel for the silver kitten (who I’m calling Selina as she’s the colour of moonlight) and Fluffy to share on my front porch since they are friends. I have no undercover areas at all.

And then… this morning… I heard a pitiful cry outside and found him!

Eric. A small kitty, bigger and healthier than Spartacus who gave me ringworm or staph or something. This boy is about 2 months old and healthy except for the fact that he’s had diarhea from his new food and I don’t know how to deal with it… He uses the kitty litter but didn’t make it last time and did it on my new rug (NO!!!!! HORRORS!!!) so he’s locked in the bathroom close to the litter box till tomorrow. Fingers crossed his tummy settles…

He really is sweet and gorgeous but I’m not a cat person. I have a low grade allergy to cats and cuddling him all afternoon hasn’t agreed with my skin which is now itchy… I know I can/will develop some kind of resistance, but hopefully I’ll find him a great home or soon as he’s big enough to stand his ground he will move out and share the dog kennel with Fluffy and Selina.

Why do kittens keep finding me? If I see kittens near big cats I leave them be, after all, one of them is probably the mother, right? But when they’re alone and have been outside crying for over an hour or two? sigh. I can’t help myself.

z

mom & dad memory box – lockdown 2 day 10

I’ve had a bit of a lazy day today. Well, a lot lazy. I didn’t do much of anything at all. One thing I DID do was finish something I’ve had on my To Do list for a a long time. I finished a memory box for mom and dad. Something similar to the one I made for my grandparents.

I’d found this glass fronted display box at a second hand store last year and had always planned to use it to do this, I just never really got around to it. I did give it a coat of paint but sort then sort of got stuck…

Mainly on what to use as a background. I knew I wanted something romantic looking and about a month ago I ordered some pretty rice paper I found when shopping for art supplies online. Once I finally put the paper in the boxit was easy to sort through prints of old photos of mom and dad courting and on their wedding day and pick the ones I would use. There are so many photos it was hard to pick, and mom was so gorgeous…

You can click on the images below to see the steps and close ups of the photos I chose.

I wanted it to be romantic so I picked some lace to include, a rose and a lovely old bracelet of mom’s for a bit of bling.

It was still missing something so I found a rusty bit of wire and twisted it into a heart – perfect! Painted shabby wood, pretty paper, vintage lace, old photos, bling and rust. Can’t get better than that.

I’ve hung it by the door in my bedroom, on the same wall as the box for my grandparents and the photos of dad displayed in the old radio face.

It occurs to me I have the perfect white, lacy, shabby, romantic girly bedroom. Finally. After so many years of black furniture and dark colours. Funny isn’t it?

z

fat cat – lockdown 2 day 9

This is the beginning of sharing projects I’ve been working on since Lockdown 2 Day 1. As I said, things like this need time to dry so I’ve been working on them in spits and spurts, allowing for drying time, errand time, Netflix time and inspiration time.

I’m still working on new stuff so hopefully projects won’t stop coming now and I won’t have to bore you with recipes!

The idea for this was to make a Paros cat, but turns out I made a fat british shorthair instead…

Well, thats ok. I finished her in blue and white tile patterned napkin decoupage and made her pretty anyway.

Paros cats are slinkier and generally thinner. Except for Fatcat. She’s an exception. Still… I need to work on my cats. I just don’t know cats the way I know dogs so this was harder for me. I’ve been able to paint cats but not really sculpt them.

Anyway, the process was similar to the bulldog – starting with cardboard shaped and held together with masking tape. Then papier mache newsprint over the top. I then added a layer of papier mache pulp to smooth her out and create her face and paws. Lastly I decoupaged parts of her in a blue and while napkin and painted the rest to make it really white as the pulp is a pale grey naturally.

Below is a gallery of the process. If you click you can enlarge the photos.

Not entirely happy with her, as I said, but she’s ok for a first attempt at a cat.

I’ll work my way to finding ‘my’ cat…

z

weetbix slice – lockdown 2 day 8

I love crunchy cookies.

I mean, I also love the soft and chewy Mrs Field’s cookies, but crunchy is my favourite in general.

This morning on errand #2 I stopped at the bakery to buy some crunchy cookies (cause I deserved it) only to find they were out. Oh no. So I bought what I thought LOOKED crunchy – oat and cranberry – but they were disappointingly soft in a not-so-delicious-as-Mrs-Field’s way.

So I looked through my recipe book for something I could make with what I had and found this weetbix slice a lady at one of my jobs in Tasmania used to make. Its really quick and easy and its superbly crunchy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup self raising flour (though I don’t know why plain wouldn’t do)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 weetbix (crushed)
  • 6oz (170g) butter

The instructions said to melt butter and mix with dry ingredients. I softened the butter and put it all into the food processor for a minute. Viola. Ready.

Press into a baking dish and bake till brown on top at 150C.

I probably had the oven at 160C and I also didn’t have the right size square baking dish so I used a pizza pan. I couldn’t cut it into nice squares so I broke it into pieces. So basically I did everything different except the ingredients. It worked out fine.

It took next to no time to make. Quick to bake and great to eat!

z

marble paintings & more – lockdown 2 day 7

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

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

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

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

Then I remembered mom wants to go see her sister.

Sigh…………………………………………………

I miss being lonely…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

z