paros day 27: my upcycled view

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?

z

paros day 15: the curtain unveiled!

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I’ve finally finished the curtain!

I’m so pleased with it. I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw one on Pinterest years ago.

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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.

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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.

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But I love my new curtain.

The house is still a mess, but the curtain looks darn good!

So, remember this cute little tap?

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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.

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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!

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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!

z

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paros day 3: keeping busy

I haven’t yet worked on the curtain today other than to decide how I want to hang it and work out what I have and what I need to make it work. I think I got it now…

I also went around and looked at all the house projects I want/need to do and made lists of what they are and how to do them, putting stuff on the shopping list where needed.

I’m waiting for the weather to stop being so insultingly windy so I can venture into the store room in the basement (a nightmare*) and bring boxes out to search through them for all kinds of goodies I will need for current and future projects.

*The basement is a pit of must and dampness. Everything I put in there has been stored in plastic tubs and double bagged. That’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that there is currently no electricity down there and therefore no lights. Ugh. And there are rats and mice in residence… Thus a certain reluctance to go down there…

My plan (hahaha, heard that joke before!) is to buy a good flashlight and go down wearing full protective gear, bring my boxes up to a non windy area and sort through what I need to re-pack and store and what I want to bring out.

Till then I make do and work on what I can with what I have handy…

Today so far I’ve hung a fruit label on my wall, decided not to hang the rest of them, did a load of washing, wrote a ton of lists and planned projects (ie worked out what I need to find/make/buy for each) and dug out a few odds and ends from the boxes I have within reach.

I walked Lainee up to one of the local roadside vegetable stores for some fresh vegies and made a red lentil soup for dinner. Its still early in the day so I have tons of work hours left to work on whatever I decide to do.

Meanwhile I made another bunny. This one is from new socks I bought while in Athens. Slightly different from the others, but its all about trying new ways to do things.

Sometimes I love small hand sewn or felted projects cause I can work and watch TV in the evenings.

Keeping myself to myself and being creative.

z

paros day 2: curtain in progress

I’ve always wanted to make one of these doily curtains since I saw them on Pinterest a couple of years ago.

So firstly the inspiration…

(Clicking on the images will take you to my Pinterest page and you can follow the links to the original source.)

Anyway, I loved the idea of them, how old fashioned and romantic they looked… I began collecting doilies for the last few years in Tasmania and I brought them all with me to Greece cause I still planned to make that curtain… and with things the way they are, now seems as good a time as any to start.

I mean… what else am I gonna do, right?

I began today and I’m about halfway through. Mostly cause I’m working slowly, I stopped for lunch and took Lainee for a walk, and then the sewing machine went haywire.

…I was working on mom’s old singer and things were going fine… then while I was at the table piecing together doilies when suddenly the machine went bezerk. It began running full pelt on its own! I tried to stop it but it just kept going. I had to pull the plug. The thread all got tangled and broke, the foot plate wasn’t jammed… It was totally possessed!

Luckily I still have my old sewing machine here so I can continue working on it. Imagine if I’d already taken that to Athens! Disaster!

Stay tuned for progress pics. I still need to finish the sewing and then work out how to best hang it… I know I’m looking forward to seeing how I do that!

z

one person’s trash…

One of the great things about Greece (given its lack of tip shops) is that people put all kinds of stuff out near bins for rubbish collection.

That’s where this little beauty came from. I was parking in a town carpark when I spotted it. I don’t know for sure what it is, probably an icebox of some sort given it has a tap in front an no wiring. This is what it looks like inside:

Its pretty much of a mess. Rusty and painted over badly… but I just couldn’t pass it up!

I loaded into my little car and took it home to go over it with some sand paper to get rid of the worst of the rust. It still needs a coat of rust stopping stuff and a coat of varnish to protect it, but I love the way it looks.

For now its sitting outside my place as a kind of side table and a spot to put a plant. A nice little spot to sit on a lovely day.

Eventually I think I’ll put my gardening stuff inside it, you know – a pair of gloves, pruning shears, empty pots, leftover potting mix….

But its main job is to look pretty and I think it does that very well, don’t you?

z

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an interactive reading lamp

While sorting out my blog I found I have a ton of old draft posts I never finished to post. I’ve decided to finish and share them now and then, at least the project related ones, even if they’re from projects I made while living in Tasmania. Projects are projects after all, no matter where you make them!

These photos are from a lamp I began early last year, planning to enter it in the Art From Trash exhibition. Needless to say I never finished it and never entered it cause moving to Greece kinda got in the way. I did sell it to a lady who appreciates wacky things though.

The idea of this lamp, the “Reading Lamp”, is that its made up of broken reading glasses in place of crystals. And the best thing about it is that you can keep adding to it. Never  waste another broken pair of reading glasses again!

My original plan for the lamp had been to paint the base a bright colour instead of the brass as it was when I found it, but to leave the pretty glass decorative bits in the middle. But as I said, it was an unfinished project when I sold it. The new owners get the pleasure of collecting old glasses and adding to the lamp shade. In a way that seems better though, makes it more personal.
And this post leads right into another floor lamp remake which is current… stay tuned.
z

catch 22

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Do I want a simple life? Do I want to be self employed? Do I want to be a full time (working, making enough money to eat) artist? Do I want to have a regular job plus a life plus another 3 part time jobs to make ends meet?

sigh.

It seems that even if I try to have a simple life, I just can’t do it. Its not in my DNA.

For instance… There are times when I feel so tired and overwhelmed by all the things I do/want to do that I don’t know where to begin or when to stop.

I thought maybe I should just concentrate on one thing this year, my first year in a new country: A job, a home, a life.

Sounds simple right?

Then I think ‘well, I have to add in a hobby’ so I add ‘make things for myself only‘. Cool. I can do that. Find and fix or make things for my own use and my own home. (Cause, hell, I’ll do that anyway, even if its not on the list!)

Then I think, but what about my art? Ok, so I add ‘make art. For myself’. Set up an easel and work on it.

Done.

Then I think of the craft supplies I accummulate and I have to add ‘make stuff when I get the urge’.

Then of course I end up with tons of stuff I’ve made which I should sell… so the equation begins looking a bit more like:

A job, a home, a life, painting, a bit of craft work, some remodelling, some sewing, selling stuff on etsy, why not re-make a doll or two cause I enjoy it, how about the odd grooming job if it comes along, a life… if I have time for that…

See? I’m impossible. I can’t just BE. I get bored if I don’t make things. So I make things. And in my defence, if I ever want to be an artist, I mean a REAL one, I have to paint. And if I ever want to make a living out of my art and crafts, I must sell. And in order for it to be a full-time job one day it has to start as a part time job now and I must dedicate hours to it now…

Catch 22

But before I go off the deep end any more, I’ll share a quickie project I just finished today, for my own use.

I found this 3 compartment box at an antique store on Paros a week ago. It was bright yellow but a bit of chalk paint fixed that quickly.

I then painted labels on the front with black chalkboard paint, and voila. An organiser.

I don’t have anywhere for it to sit in my grandmother’s old house but in my own home it will theoretically live near the door and serve as an organiser and reminder to take certain things with me when I leave the house. I always thought something like that would be really handy so here is version 1.

Sorry about the terrible photos. When its in the ‘right’ spot I’ll get better ones. For now I just hung it on the bedroom door. The idea is that every time I pick something up that I need to take with me tomorrow or the next day or later in the week I put it in the box in the right partition. Then each night I move them over accordingly.

Last thing each morning before I head out the door I make sure I have the contents of the ‘today’ box with me.

Done.

Easy.

I hope I remember to use it.

z

bedside wings

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Welcome to another ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ DIY upcycled project post.

As I pointed out before, amidst the chaos of work and preparing for my trip to Greece, I found the time to create or finish a few projects. Just to make myself feel better!

So, I had this old chair. It had a broken back. But the seat and legs were in perfectly good order.

I did what any self respecting DIYer would do – I cut the back off.

Then I painted it many layers of different chalk paints I mixed up myself.

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Between coats I gave it a bit of a sanding, to expose the various colours and add interest.

This chair used to have a padded seat so the seat area itself was a big hole. I put in a bit of masonite cut to the right shape. My plan was to buy a thick perspex sheet cut to fit on top and fill the recess with photos and other bits and pieces.

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You know how you sometimes order things online that you think you want for a particular project only to change your mind? These glittery angel wings are one of those purchases. I had planned on putting them on my jean jacket but I’m not really a glittery girl… They were sitting in the craft room when I was making up the guest room for friends before my trip.

It was obvious they belonged on the chair/bedside table in the guest room!

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The bluey green tones of the chair suit the room perfectly and the wings are just perfect in there.

I’m loving it.

Now back to the beach.

z

another charging station

Remember when life was simpler, and not every power point and surface in your house had multiple cables connected to a myriad of devices being charged?

Ah. Those were the days…

I’m getting sick of it to be honest. I keep creating charging spaces and shelves and spots and there’s still too many things being charged on the kitchen bench.

We don’t have a huge kitchen. Our bench space is limited, and we have enough crap on it already… I don’t want phones, hearing aid controls, battery chargers and headlamps on the kitchen counter thankyouverymuch.

Not sure if you remember my upcycled drawer charging station. And here in its newest incarnation. Its still used all the time and is even better now I have one of those multiple USB charger towers inside. We use that for our phones and Kindles mainly. But there are still more things that need charging…

Which is why (given Wayne’s tendency to use the kitchen bench as a charging station) I created this little spot…

The background (without pics as I naturally forgot to take before pics!): I found this little enameled tin box somewhere along the line and had to have it cause its just so cute. Of course, it didn’t look like this when I bought it. See the blue-ish grey colour on the strip in the middle? It was that colour. And there was a bright blue unevenly painted, blurry line around all the edges. Which I discovered wasn’t waterproof as it ran when I washed it. Ugly.

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So it got a Zefi makeover. I washed it well, scrubbed off the offensive blue, then taped off the middle strip cause I wanted to keep the word. Allumettes = matches. In French. What’s not to like? Lastly it got a couple of coats of gloss antique white spray paint. I like the way it makes the blue/grey stripe stand out.

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My idea was that, since Wayne continues to use that power point on the bench to charge various small devices, I’d give him somewhere to put them. Hide the cables inside the box, place small items inside too. Sounds like a good idea, right? Yep. You’d think…

Yet, I come in the other day and see this:

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Sometimes you just can’t win…

I’ve ordered him another multiple USB charger and I’m going to make a shelf for him at his desk… what can possibly go wrong with that?

z

a quirky business card holder

What do you do with vintage electrical plugs? You make business card holders out of them of course!

Well… I do anyway.

You saw my first such offering here. It was time for more. I have more on the way, but this one is special.

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I started off with a dark brown electrical plug and a wooden mount (in old houses here in Australia light switches were mounted on wooden blocks to hide the wiring, cause wiring was usually ON the wall, not inside it). But this was a large wooden block, meant for two light switches… what to do with the extra space…?

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I rummaged in my various boxes of extra handy assorted junk that I collected cause I knew I’d find the perfect use for it one day and found this odd little clamp.

It was perfect!

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I sprayed the clamp with some varnish to seal the rusty bits (cause I love rusty bits), added a touch of oil to the bolt, then drilled a hole in the side of the block to hold it in place. The little butterfly clampy bit does a great job holding down a stack of business cards.

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You know. For extra business cards. In windy conditions. Display some on the plug, keep extras on hand under the clamp.

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How can you not love this quirky little piece? I bet no one else has a business card holder like this one!

Soon to be listed in my Etsy shop.

z

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