I’ve been a day behind on the blog for days now so today you get 2 posts so I can catch up. At least I think this is catching up. I may be 2 days behind… hmmm…
Anyway, I’ve been working on art sporadically but seem to have spent most of my time lately doing things other than creative work. Like cleaning up the courtyard out the back, planting seeds and other such stuff. Considering I’m planning to have an exhibition this year, I really need to get cracking on art.
One thing I began and actually finished this week was another sea rope basket. I’m now officially low on sea rope so need to go for a walk on the beach to gather more. I had to buy more thread this week too as I finished the last spool. I like to use a crochet thread in a natural colour for my baskets.
Making these little baskets is kind of zen, I can do it while sitting quietly with my thoughts (though my thoughts tend to get loud at times…) or while chatting to someone or watching TV… They take a while to make and I’m getting calluses on my thumb from pulling the needle throught, but hey, you gotta suffer for your art.
I love finishing off the edges of these little guys with loose bits of rope, in this case knots I had to cut off the bits of rope in order to make the basket. It gives them a sort of whimsical feel…
They’re not really big. I’m considering making a bigger one but it will need a whole lot more rope…
Anyway, its time for another beach scavenger walk…
I finally finished the latest sea rope basket late last night. Sometime after 12am. I’m now officially low on sea rope and need to go searching for more. Easy enough… There’s always tons washing up on the beaches near here.
I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I went to bed later than usual which should have meant easy sleep, but no. I’d been watching season 13 of Grey’s Anatomy on Stremio (the wonders of which my niece introduced me to) but could not stop my brain going flat out. I couldn’t find the off switch. I tried some deep breathing and meditation at one stage but it was like trying to hold back a tsunami with a paper towel.
Do you ever have nights like that? I do. More than once a week. Its like all the thoughts I managed to damp down during the day come back with a vengeance. Especially creative thoughts.
During those nights I often build the linen cupboard I want to make out of pallet wood for the alcove near the bathroom. Last night I added in the twist of getting a metal cabinet an uncle made for us many years ago as a shoe cabinet. Forget linen. That can stay in the bedroom wardrobe where it is now… I definitely need shoe storage! I wonder if the metal cabinet will fit? I have the measurements somewhere, I looked into that idea a while ago before deciding I wanted to build a cupboard… I must search my notebooks and see if I have it in one of them. Why do I have so many notebooks? Cause I like notebooks of course, especially pretty ones, and its useful to keep notes on stuff (like the size of the metal cabinet) instead of writing everything on bits of paper you lose. I have a diary I got last year but really never used… I can use that as my next notebook since the one I used before I now keep at home with ‘important’ stuff in it I can’t risk losing. And I can’t keep everything on my phone. If I lost my phone I’d be stuffed. I mean, phones keep so much of our lives on them as it is! I don’t remember anyone’s phone number any more. My mom, who is 88, remembers so many phone numbers. I used to. I used to know my credit card numbers off by heart too. How would I make that footstool I decided I can’t live without? Cut the timber pieces I have for legs – straight or at an angle? An angle would look best, but much harder to screw in place so its sturdy. Guess I could YouTube it… but straight would be easier for sure. Make a square frame, screw each leg on two sides in each corner. Maybe even put a screw down from the top in the middle. Then find something to cut a round top (do I have any boards I can use?)… I can’t make a square foot stool to sit next to my round coffee table. Wouldn’t look right. Then buy some foam cut to the right size/shape. Find some nice fabric. Do I have any fabric I can use… Wait, I have those small round boho style geometric black and white rugs… they’d be ideal! Get some wadding to soften the look of the foam. I have an electric staple gun. And hot glue. Man, I wish those clothes I bought online all fit. That black dress is hideous. All I need is a burkha and I would fit right in in the middle east. I can cut the sleeves… and raise the hem… but in order to make it fit decently I would probably have to open up all the seams and re-sew them to make it look decent. Could I be creative with it? Or the other things I bought? I love mending my older tops which have holes or where seams have come loose. I have the two summer overalls I ordered too… way too big, but that’s ok, they’re overalls after all, easy enough to take in down the sides. They basically just need the straps shortened. That might be enough. I’ve lost weight now and I’m loving becoming reacquainted with my rib cage. I need to keep it off now. Which means I need to start exercising again, walking at least. The doctor said only remove the tube when there was nothing coming out for a full week. There was still something coming out. Only about 10-20ml in 2 days, but that’s till something, right? Could I have fluid building up in my abdomen? What happens to it, even if it is just a little bit? Does it get absorbed? Is it going to poison me? I need to plant those sweet pea seeds I soaked in water. I want to take some to mom, put others in where they can climb up the scrap metal trellis I made out the back. They need to go in pots today. I planted the lupin seeds. I thought I have more lupins, blue and white ones… but I must have planted them and they died. I have one single flower on one of the plants, a pink one, the other surviving seeling is still small. And what about the unfinished dogs…?
You have some idea of what it is to live in my brain.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that not only did I finish the basket, I also stitched up one of the felt cat toys I want to give away and got back to work on a broken lamp and the naked ladies made from dishwashing bottles. Maybe starting back on my creative projects sparked this avalanche of thoughts. But you’d be wrong. This happens whether I’m being creative or not. More if I’m not creative in fact, as its like all the creativity I’ve suppressed all day breaks out at night to swarm me like a pack of mosquitos on steroids.
I’m a bit late publishing this one. I’ve been having internet connectivity issues with the laptop. Odd. Anyway, better late than never!
To be honest I’m not sure I should be calling this a lockdown any more. Schools are back in session for the most part and retails shops are open. The only things that remain closed are restaurants and cafes. We still have to send sms when we go out and wear masks and abide by the safe distance rules, no large gatherings, festivals still cancelled, limits on how many can travel in one car, still not allowed to travel from one county to another… but is it still a lock down? This seems almost like back to normal life… funny what you get used to.
Should I continue to number my posts by lockdown days?
Anyway, thought I’d share another of my projects… I’ve started making naked ladies. I’ve done something similar to this before but not the same. I’m going with a sort of greek statue-esque look. Maybe some will be more fertility goddess looking… for now this is the first one ready to share.
And for those of you who haven’t clicked yet… given I love art from trash and recycling and using everyday things to create art… Can you guess what she’s made from?
She’s made using a dishwashing liquid bottle as the base with DIY paper pulp, recycled cardboard and air dry clay.
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?
This time I decided to tackle something a little bigger, more practical in size. I began with a piece of rope which was longer than the 5-6 inch pieces I normally find on the beach. I was lucky a couple of months ago to find two longer lengths of grey, so I began this one with one of those pieces to create the bottom of the basket.
By doing a little every night while watching Netflix I continued to build up the basket, adding in my small pieces as I went, adding colour as each piece was different.
The predominant colours are usually blues and greens, but you never know what you’ll find buried in the sand.
This time I’d been lucky enough to find some netting as well, which I decided to add to the top of the basket to add that whimsical feel.
Its not a huge basket. about 22cm diameter, but its about the same size as the first basket I ever made out of new cotton rope… (which I can’t seem to find on the blog, which means I probably never shared it… hm… must fix that.)
Its a handy size, I’ve used my first one to hold sunnies, makeup, all kinds of odds and ends. Only difference is this one is stiffer as this rope is harder than the cotton rope. Holds its shape better.
I’m actually very pleased with it. This little fella will be going into the art exhibition I’m planning/hoping to have next summer. A mix of art from trash, recycling and mixed media art. I’m excited by the idea of it and actually very eager to start working on ideas that keep me awake at night.
(If only my buzzing mind translated into more action…)
So. Other than this little creation, what have I been doing lately?
Well some small artworks on stone and marble by commission. Day to day living. Working. Swimming. Attempting to keep my home neat and tidy for when mom visits and failing miserably.
I’m currently watching Salvation – just started last night. I like end of the world type stuff, call me crazy…
I watched The Glitch (wierd and sort of unsatisfying in its conclusion), The Code (which I enjoyed) and The Let Down (loved it). These three are Australian series and maybe part of the reason I loved them so much was that they’re Australian and I got to wallow in aussie accents and sense of humour again for a while. The Let Down is hilarious and SO Australian!
I watched Away (enjoyed), Snowpiercer (yep, end of the world stuff) and…
I know there were more since I last blogged about my Netflix habit… but right now my mind is blank. Aren’t you glad?
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!