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.

box2

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.

box1

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:

allumettes1

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.

bch1

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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gloss black cake stand

cakestand3

So… one day someone posted on Facebook about wanting to buy a large wooden cake stand.

I contacted her as I had a couple I’d made using recycled bits and pieces. Wooden platters, lamp bases, whatever. This is one of them.

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Yeah, I decided to try copper coloured paint instead of my usual pastel chalk paint. Not sure if I like it…

Anyway, back to the lady and the Facebook post.

Turned out she wanted an extra large cake stand. 36cm across. I didn’t have anything that big so I cut the circle out of some MDF. I cut it at 38cm. A bit of breathing room for the cake….

But it was boring. Just plain MDF… BO-RING. meh.

I could do better.

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What do you think? Can you tell what I did? I used small wooden beads I ordered on ebay. I got those little suckers and glued them to the bottom of the circle. I love them. They add a bit of fancy to the cake stand.

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Its going to be used for a black & white themed 21st birthday party, so the lady wanted it gloss black. I gave it 2 coats of black after giving it a coat of sealer. Done. Just like a bought one.

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Very darn cute. Those little beads just make me smile.

A fun project and a happy customer. What more could I want?

z

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power plug business card holder

bcholder1

This is one of those little projects that just came together, like, well, something that came together so easily, it was just like, meant to be.

I bought a vintage iron off a lady on Facebook the other day, and unlike most old electrical appliances which come with a cut cord, this one was intact. It had the loveliest bakelite power plug on the end of a very thick cord I almost didn’t cut it off.

But cut it did, cause I’m using the iron as my front door stop (of course!). I looked at the cute plug and thought “hey, I can do something with that!”

iron

Please ignore the dirty floor… who on earth thought black and white tiled lino would be a good idea on a farm with dogs and mud and men who don’t take off their boots?

So I had this plug and I thought, “this would make a great business card holder!”

bcholder4

Into the casita* I went, to look through my collection of wooden bits. I have a shelf full of all kinds of wooden things waiting to be used to make other wooden things. Among my collection I had a lot of these small mounting plates – used in old houses to hold light switches.

Perfect.

I undid the plug, removed the wiring, used a bolt and butterfly nut underneath to secure the plug to the mounting plate, and voila! The cutest business card holder this side of creation.

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It’s the perfect thing for a junky creator like myself. Why have a simple box for your cards when you can have this?

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I think I’ll enjoy this little guy a while then list him in my Etsy shop for sale. He’s just so darn cute!

z

*casita = the old house on the property, our shed, my workshop

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