Back home. Finally. And SO glad to be back. The moment I stepped off the ferry and smelled that sea air I was happy.
Of course, you go away for a week and come home and it looks like you’ve been gone for months. Piles of pine needles all over the place, everything is dusty… but I’m home!
Anyway, I finished this little gem before I left for Athens and never got a chance to share it. Its made entirely of rope pieces I found while walking on beaches near home. Art from trash basically.
Its only small, about 15cm at the widest point. I love art that’s also functional. Lets face it -not many people have the money to spend on art these days, but I know I’d buy something beautiful/interesting/unique if it was functional as well. Hence, most of my creations are both.
So… news… I have some. I just haven’t felt like posting about it. I will. Let’s just say I’m not a happy camper with the ‘finished’ work in the bathroom, but that’s a long story for when I have more time and feel up to talking about it.
Healthwise I’m better, Lainee is looking a bit better but her treatment continues. I feel so horrible for her. Right now she’s staying home when I go out cause I feel safer keeping her contained right now.
Spartacus is much better. He only has one bald patch at the base of his tail left and even that is starting to grow hair. He’s turned into a wild child… all scratchy bitey when you reach out to pat him. And fearless. Then again, what do you expect when you have a kitten you can’t handle for ages? sigh… Hopefully once he’s cleared and can begin to hang out more he’ll calm down. He’s like a cat on speed right now… speed and red cordial. ugh.
Both of them have another appointment at the vet in a week. Sparky’s last shot and Lainee’s second.
I’ve started working back at the ceramics studio and love being back in such a creative atmosphere. Even though I’m painting all day, I feel inspired to do more when I’m home. Not that I have as yet. I haven’t had much time. I need to clear off the kitchen table (my painting studio) so I can work, but the desire is there which is good. With the heat in Athens, the headaches of all the stuff I had to organise and us all being sick, I just didn’t want to do a thing.
Hopefully things will get back to some kind of normal soon.
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.
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
Yes. A day late again. But I have a great excuse this time.
The weather was great so Lainee and I walked to my uncle’s place and took his dog with us for a walk on the beach where I’ve always collected sea glass and have now (once again) began collecting rope debris to make a basket.
On the way back I noticed something in the rubbish that wasn’t there before… This old stand. Its in bad condition. Rusty and bent, but it was love at first sight.
Ok, maybe not love, but it was the answer to my prayers. Sort of. See, my back ‘yard’ is a tiny cobblestone area where I grow some plants, hang my washing and store a few things in a plastic cupboard and plastic containers. Its not a lovely place to hang out at the moment.
This is how it looked till yesterday afternoon. Pots on the ground, you can see the plastic covering my seedlings in the far right, my plastic cupboard, ladder, buckets, etc. That was the view from my bedroom door. Not exactly inspiring.
I’d been thinking about moving that cupboard and putting plants in that little alcove so I’d have something pretty to look at. Maybe put a table and a couple of chairs out so I could sit when the weather was too windy out front… Maybe even the old Parian couch I’m supposedly renovating…
I was building shelves out of found materials in my mind to put plants on, but had no real plan. When I went to my uncle’s yesterday I had thought I’d look around his scrap pile for anything I could use. Then of course I found the stand!
This was the view from the other side, my area is basically from that slanted rock wall to the bamboo fence. My workbench (which houses and protects my plastic containers) actually goes into the neighbouring yard.
Notice the shopping trolley on the left, against the retaining wall? Another found object. Found rusting away in my uncle’s garage, wheels falling off, useless. Now it a new home for sweet peas.
This is the neighbouring yard. A much nicer square shaped yard than mine, with a tall brick wall on one side (illegally built by the far neighbour). The apartment next to mine has been empty since way before I bought my place. Its apparently been seized by the bank due to money owed. I’ve tried to find out about it but no one seems to know whats going on with it.
I really wish the entire yard was mine. And the apartment. I would have so much more space, I could even have a studio and workshop!
Anyway… since its empty and I’ve been cleaning the yard since I moved here, no one lives there… I figured I’d go ahead and use it till I’m told otherwise. Ask forgiveness not permission sort of thing.
So yesterday, instead of creating art, I created a better view for myself.
I brought home the rusty stand and filled it with the plants I’m babying along. These are cuttings I’m propagating and my seedlings which grew enough to put potted up. I moved the cupboard to the space on the other side of the slanted rock wall, leaving enough room for the ladder to fit in nicely beside it. Further over are my plastic tubs and potting mixes.
The view is already so much better. Just imagine how it will look once the plants grow and flower!
The pots on the stand are geranium cuttings which are starting to bud, the only lavender cutting I think might have taken, and a couple of daisies which are doing well. I love daisies, geraniums not so much, but when I see one I like I take cuttings. Lavender I think I’ll have to buy, they don’t do so well from cuttings.
The rusty trolley I took from my uncle’s holds sweet peas (seeds I ordered from England before isolation began) which will grow up the trolley and onto the rusty wire trellis (also bits I found and collected) I hung on the walls.
On the other side of the second slanting wall is a carmine bougainvillea growing on a trellis I made from cuttings at my uncle’s place. Here are the before/during/after pics of that project…
If all goes well, the bougainvillea will outgrow that trellis quickly, hence the rope to give it something to hold onto as it creeps up the wall.
Most of these plants are out the back to protect them from the strong winds out the front, plus to give them a chance to grow better than they would out the front where a large pine tree creates too much shade. Some of my plants didn’t like it out the front hence the move to the back. I’m hoping most of the geraniums will be able to move to the front once they grow. They seem like very hardy plants that can put up with a fair bit of abuse.
Some of the larger plants will move to big white pots and sit on the ground once they bush up and flower. I’ll finally have a pretty garden. At least a small oasis to look out on.
Much nicer than looking at a cupboard don’t you think?
I’m so pleased with it. I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw one on Pinterest years ago.
In the end, I decided a pocket would do, no rings, no tabs, no bows. Just a simple pocket. Partly cause I was too lazy to make tabs or bows, but mainly cause it would hang too low if I added those things.
The couch sits under the window. Its not ideal, but its a small place and I have an L shaped lounge suite, part of which sits on that wall, under the window. I love having a big corner lounge suite, but getting to the window to open, shut or clean it can be a total pain in the butt, having to climb onto the couch to do anything.
But I love my new curtain.
The house is still a mess, but the curtain looks darn good!
So, remember this cute little tap?
Mystery solved. Its my curtain tieback. Well, actually I can simply toss the curtain over the tap to hold it back, or I can use the hemp string tassle I made back in Tasmania to hold it back. I’m going with the tassle for now.
I also did a few bits and pieces today – while the couch was out of the way so I could sort out the curtain, I took the opportunity to drill holes to put up my rustic chalkboard (which you can see on my porch in Tasmania here) and the fish mobile Wayne made me. I love that corner now. Its me!
The cubbies are almost finished. I still have to find the patience to make another 16 little boxes, then I need to find some kind of knobs for them so I can get them out! Its not easy making little cardboard boxes… I’ll get there.
Today has been a good day. I got up at 8am as I said I would. I did morning wake-up yoga, then was out the door by 10am. I did the first coat of paint on the sewing table and the second coat of varnish on the top. Its getting there.
I also asked the guys at the transport company just down the road if I could have a couple of pallets. They said no…
Then Lainee and I walked all the way into town cause it was a nice day. I collected some plant cuttings along the way and put them in some soil when I got home. Fingers crossed on those.
The seeds I planted are apparently doing well. I spoke to my friend who’s been babysitting them since I went to Athens. I haven’t seen her to pick them up due to quarantine, but I got a photo of the lavatera which is going great.
If all goes well we’ll have your lavatera growing on a greek island Ginny!
Today was one of those glorious days you get in spring. Warm but not hot, a breeze but no strong wind. I ventured down into the storage room in the basement to bring up the outdoor table and chairs so I can sit outside and enjoy days like this.
And let me tell you, it took bravery to venture down there! Its full of rat and mice s%$t and none of the rat poison blocks I put down there have been so much as nibbled on. We have smart rats here on Paros…
Anyway, I brought out some boxes of stuff. To be honest its not all the stuff I thought I had down there, but at least now I have a clearer picture of what I do and don’t have.
So, having braved the rat infested dungeon, I earned a frappe and some time in the sun working on something relaxing and listening to some stand-up.
Last week I’d picked up a vine on one of my walks and twisted it into a wreath. Today I used some rusty wire bits and some beads to create this wreath.
As I mentioned, the wreath is made of rusty wire pieces and the vine. I collect any bits of rusty wire I find on my walks. Basically I never met a piece of rusty wire (or metal) I didn’t love. A lot of the time once I pick up a piece I make it into a heart as I walk, then bring it home and hang it above my sink. Today I used two of those hearts as part of my wreath.
I used some of my very fine gold coloured wire to hold the whole thing together and added beads for a bit of colour and bling.
I think it turned out pretty okay. I’ll most likely put it on Facebook for sale. Maybe someone will fall in love with it.
Other than that I didn’t get a lot done today. The bare minimum of housework and I thought about sewing the curtain tabs but haven’t managed to do that yet. I think I’ll tackle that tomorrow afternoon. Its meant to rain so I will still walk to the garage in the morning to do more on the sewing table. All I did there this morning was one coat of varnish on the top and drawers. I figure I can get a coat of paint on the legs tomorrow and another coat of varnish on the top. Providing I don’t have to do more gap filling.
Tonight I think I’ll go to bed early as I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and get some real structure into my days. That means setting my alarm for 8am. Its all very well to wake up late, take a walk, work on whatever I feel like, watch Netflix etc. But maybe I need to actually have some kind of schedule. I don’t like wasting this precious time I have.
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?
(And yet this post has nothing to do with COVID 19)
You know how I’m always complaining about the stuff I can’t find in Greece, or how when I DO find it its like 3 times the price I paid for it in Australia?
Well, this is one of those things. All I wanted was plain old liquid nails. Construction glue. Yep. I did find it eventually… for approx 12-15 euros a tube! That’s like AU$24-30!!! For liquid nails! Something I used to be able to buy for AU$1.99 on sale for the cheaper brands at Bunnings!
Anyway, I found a similar glue in a tube rather than a tube, for 6.50e. The tube was so hard to squeeze though I almost busted a few ribs trying to squeeze the stuff out.
What I did end up busting was the tube. With the results you see above.
Its been a week and I am still not completely glue freee…
So, what did I want that glue for you may ask… I was making a toy lamp base for a friend. You may remember the toy cake stands and other items I shared on my blog a while ago here.
This is the only before pic I have, sorry. By the time I remembered to take before photos I already had so much glue on my hands I wasn’t going near my phone. I’d finished putting the toys onto the base and put masking tape around it to hold things in place till it dried.
This is what it looked like once the glue was dry and I had the first coat of paint on it.
Another thing I can complain about is the lack of colour choices in spray paint on Paros. I don’t know what Athens has to offer, but on Paros you can only get black, white, clear, red and maybe blue…
Since this lamp is for a little girl’s room I wanted pink. I got lucky though and got a mistint of oil paint in a lovely pastel shade of pink.
The downside of painting it with a brush and oil paint is that its not as easy as spray paint, takes way longer to dry and in the end just doesn’t have the same smooth finish. But it works.
Sorry there are no finished pics… but you can thank COVID 19 for that since the restrictions in Greece are now severe… I gave it to my friend and am not going to visit her for a while…
I had planned to work on bigger projects today, ones requiring power tools and paint, but the weather seems to have gotten on board with the whole shutdown/isolation thing. It went from absolutely beautiful to crazy windy and cold overnight.
Indoor projects seemed the way to go. I was thinking about the various sock animals I’ve seen on Pinterest lately…and I had just washed 2 pairs of socks which had lost their elasticity… so I thought why waste them? Lets try out one of the sock bunny ideas.
I kind of made it up from a combination of sock bunnies I found on Pinterest, adapting it to create one bunny out of one sock.
I am in love. They’re soft and floppy and darn cute!
Of course if I make these to sell I’ll make them using new socks, but these are made from my own socks. I have no problem with my own socks! And I’m keeping these babies.
I might use the remaining two socks to create another animal… a cat, a dog, who knows. I have two more socks and a lot of time on my hands…
Its been a long time since I shared a creative project (yeah, Christmas crafts don’t count).
This is something I’d been planning to do for ages. I started it in Australia and brought the bits with me to Greece to finish it.
Basically its a memory box type of photo display dedicated to mom’s parents.
My grandmother was a seamstress and my grandfather was a fisherman. Since I already had tons of vintage sewing bits and pieces, it was easier to work with the seamstress theme.
I printed some old photos, going back to 1932 for the first one where my grandparents only had 3 of their 7 children, then a photo of my grandmother with 5 children. I didn’t have a photo with all 7 children…
My favourite photo of my grandparents is the one below where they are mending fishing nets together. Thats how I first remember them.
I lined the back of the box with a vintage sewing pattern and added various bits and pieces from my mother’s old sewing box.
The only thing missing is the vintage little pair of sewing scissors I have… I know they’re are here somewhere but they’re obviously packed in a craft box. When I find them I will add them to the box.