a big fish called mitso

Finally. My big fish is finished!

I began this guy back in the first lockdown but got sidetracked with other projects. He did take a long time to make, but it didn’t have to be two years!

He began as bits of scrunched up newspaper, lots of masking tape and cardboard. Then came home-made paper pulp (with drying time) and air dry clay (more drying time). Then came the paint (yet more drying time). Then came the seaweed scales which meant collecting seaweed from the beach, washing it, drying it (still more drying time), cutting it into scale size and finally gluing them on one at a time with hot glue (at the cost of a few fingerprints).

Lastly came the base.

That was a hard one. Originally I wanted him on a block of wood but didn’t have anything suitable. Then I decided to hang him on the wall where he spent a while, not looking quite right.

Then one day while walking Lainee on the beach, I found the perfect piece of driftwood! Complete with nails and bits of paint. Perfect.

(Lesson 1: walk Lainee on the beach more often. Lesson 2: never leave behind anything which might come in useful one day.)

I already had some rusty bits of rebar (I mean, who doesn’t?) which became the official fish ‘holder uppers’. A bit of drilling, a bit more gluing et voila! Done.

I’m calling him ‘Mitso’. A good greek name. Mitso the fish is now sitting in Cecelia’s Art Gallery in Parikia, along with some of my painted marble. He’s waiting for his forever home if anyone is interested!

I must say, I feel a sense of accomplishment having finally finished him and moved him off my kitchen table!

z

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radio face photo display

This is something I finished a while ago, but it started back in Australia when I found this old Philco radio face in a tip shop. Soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to display photos of my dad in it.

I brought all the way it to Greece with me, I was that sure of what I wanted it to be.

Somewhere along the line I printed out the photos of dad I wanted to display, photos taken from the age of 14 to about 23 going left to right.

In order to finish it I needed knobs. I couldn’t find anything like that here. Perhaps I’d have had better luck in Australia where such things are tip shops and op shops abound, but here… not to lucky.

I ended up buying some new knobs off ebay. No idea what they’re supposed to be used for, I got them for the cream colour more than anything. I glued them in place and now the radio face is in my bedroom on what will ultimately become my gallery wall.

Here you can see where it is, next to the tea bag dress I made for the Art From Trash competion in Australia a few years ago, and above the memory box I made for my grandparents. On the other side is the memory box I made for mom and dad.

I want to make more of these – I have the clothes from my baptism and think a display box with them and photos from the day would be nice, plus one with childhood photos of myself and my brother growing up in Griffith NSW… I’ll get to them one day!

For now I’m just pottering along, living and creating!

z

upcycled cabinet door

Well, I finally finished another painting. I’ve been spending more time on handy work than on painting lately… Not that I’ve done any handy work at all on my two re-do cabinets…

This piece is a sort of natural progression from the fish I painted on old wood a couple of weeks ago. While looking for old wood to paint on I found this cabinet door just sitting around doing nothing, begging to be made use of.

Yes, there is a hole in the large urchin. Came in handy!

I had planned to paint mostly white on white and shades of white, but in the end I put in more colour. Not sure what I’ll do with this but I have time to decide.

I’m planning/hoping to have an exhibition this summer and almost all my work will be recycled and art from trash type of works… (dog sculptures, plastic bottle naked ladies, sea rope baskets etc) This fits in with that so maybe it will be included… or maybe I’ll list it for sale on Facebook. Who knows…

z

folding stool upcycle

I found this little folding stool in Aunt 1’s store room. Cute huh? I couldn’t resist it. Then again, I have no need of a little stool like that.

What I do have use for is a beach bed for Lainee…

Lainee is too much of a person to lie on the sand when at the beach. Till now she uses my beach chair when I’m in the water and then has a towel on the sand or the second beach chair I got for her…

She’s also been known to use my beach bag as a bed…

Last night I made a new top for the little stool out of an old pair of jeans. Making the top longer so that it would be lower to the ground as well.

I wish I could have re-used the fabric on the stool but I couldn’t think of a way to do it… there is no way to get the stool itself under the sewing needle in order to sew the fabric onto the metal frame.

I used laces from the jeans themselves (at the waist and legs) as ties for the back cause there was no other way to fit the top to the stool. This makes it more likely to loosen with use, but thats ok. I can retighten the laces as needed.

Not sure Lainee likes it yet. I put her on it for a bit last night and she was off it and back to the couch in a flash. However I will try it on the beach. I bet she likes it there.

z

PS. She likes it!

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!

lacecurtain1

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.

lacecurtain2

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.

lacecurtain4

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.

lacecurtain5

But I love my new curtain.

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

So, remember this cute little tap?

curtaintieback2

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.

detail1

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!

corner1

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