meet patch

As promised, here’s Patch. He’s the first ever dog sculpture I made – this time using the same system for the armature but hand sewing the body for the finish.

He turned out great and I love him. He’s about twice the size of my usual dog sculptures and he took way longer to make due to the hand sewing. I want to make more like him but they are very time consuming, and I also love the glued fabric look… hm… Then again I love the hand sewn patched look as well… Oh the dilema!

Whatever. I’m really surprised I couldn’t find him on my blog yesterday. I was sure I’d shared him. Obviously not. Either that or I called him/the post something totally unrelated so he didn’t come up in my search.

Odd.

z

a little donkey

I thought I’d try something other than dogs a while back and just finished this little guy the other day.

This is how he started – newspapers, DIY paper pulp, foil, toilet paper rolls, cardboard and tons of masking tape.

And this is him finished. Air dry clay for the details, fabric and a bit of colour to finish him off. He’s a very solid little guy, not heavy but chunky.

This guy is actually bigger than the dogs, about twice the size. More the size of my first fabric dog. I can’t find the post he’s in so here’s a pic.

Ok… I think I never shared this guy… I can’t find him on the blog anywhere… so I’ll have to share him soon!

Other than that, its back to work tomorrow for a few weeks. No idea for how long, we’ll see. Summer is more than halfway over now. Time flies.

The island is full. Traffic is horrendous. We have one main road that runs across the back of the old town and getting from one end to the other can take almost an hour when ferries are in the port (which is almost all the time from about 10am till mid afternoon). Meanwhile if you want to get to the other side of town you best go by 9am cause traffic starts to build by then… People drive like total idiots. They overtake on bends and on double lines. One guy went around me at an intersection, then cut in front of me as I turned!!!! Ambulances rush around the island picking up people off the road where they’ve crashed their motorbikes or 4 wheelers. Its constant. And yet our powers that be in their infinite wisdom think bring MORE tourism to a small island via an international airport is more important than building a hospital or shoring up the infrastructure that already can’t cope with the swelling population of the summer months.

Enough of my whining. I have to live with this shit since I chose to live on an island/tourist destination which is growing and being plugged as the party island thanks to the German reality TV series shot here…

But enough.

Winter will be here soon and with it the calmness of only people who live here driving like idiots.

z

lamp resurrected

A friend of mine sent me a photo of his lamp. He’d knocked it over and wondered if I could do anything with it, since we both belong to groups about recycling and not buying new.

I said bring it over and I’ll have a look.

I had envisaged a japanese gold fix KintsugiĀ but more than halfway through glueing pieces I discovered there a couple of large pieces missing.

I had to rethink it. I had to make up the missing pieces somehow. I used air dry clay but it looked awful. So, I started to play with it. And this is what I came up with.

An octopus is now holding the lamp together. You can’t actually see him cause he’s inside, but his tentacles come out of the ‘holes’ and wrap around the base.

I hope he likes it when he sees it!

Meanwhile Lainee is doing great but the news isn’t good. The lump they removed in Syros at the vet hospital was malignant. I don’t have the details yet, what type of cancer it was, but they recommend I let her recouperate from this surgery completely and take her back to remove the entire row on mammary glands on the other side too. There are lumps there as well. Tiny ones, but since the big one was malignant they don’t think I should take the chance of leaving and watching them.

I guess I wait to get the full biopsy report and do some research. I want her happy and healthy and if that means another surgery, then I’ll do it. I’d rather do it now, before she gets any older… She’s 12 now and if any of the other lumps begin to go ‘bad’ she won’t have to face surgery at 13 or 14. I want her to live to be a very old lady.

Meanwhile I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor in Athens regarding my stent removal. And waiting to hear about my job this summer. And generally just waiting. Seems lately there’s a lot of waiting involved in life.

z

monkey boy – lockdown 2 day 158

Meet Monkey Boy. Well, its a dog with his toy monkey. The dog is one of my papier mache, fabric and clay dogs and I needle felted the monkey.

My first toy poodle, Timmy, had a rag doll I’d made years before I got him and he loved that long limbed thing. It was so much bigger than him but he dragged it around everywhere with him. He inspired Monkey Boy.

Other than that, Lainee’s growth more or less opened up to a crater the other night and when I checked it in the morning it looked like a volcano. Awful. And stenchy as hell.

So I took her to vet to get it cleaned out and to get her antibiotics. While there we did the blood work in preparation for surgery on Monday.

Poor Lainee. At least she no longer stinks, though it still weeps. I think I found a better solution though… baby onesies!!! Maybe she’s not so obsessed with licking it now the pus is gone, but at least she’s leaving it well enough alone. I think I’ll go buy another one or two onesies so I have a change for her. She’ll need to wear them to protect the stitches after surgery anyway.

She seems so much happier now the pus has gone. Fingers crossed for a non-eventful surgery!

z

dalmatian – lockdown 2 day 157

Another day of sharing something I finished a couple of months ago. Maybe even three months now…

Anyway, meet my frisbee catching dalmatian!

Complete with a rolled leather collar. Mr Fancy Pants.

So, what’s been happening? Lainee managed to get at her growth again today and made it bleed so now she’s got a gauze bandage over it (hmph, nothing sticks to curly hair) and an ankle warmer* around her waist as a bandage. I hope it works. Its bigger than any bandage I’ve tried in the past but those didn’t work, so what the hey. And its firm… so HOPEFULLY she won’t be able to get past it to lick…

I hope.

Everything in the house is stained with pus and goop coming off that growth right now. Its awful and smells disgusting. But the worst of it is poor Lainee who seems miserable.

At least histology came back that its a benign mammary tumour, but they can turn cancerous and it has to be removed. Especially now given the state its in.

Meanwhile I found that the vet clinic on Syros has an ultrasound machine and can u/s her heart. Plus the vet that I used to take her to here now works there so she knows Lainee and her history. I’ve made an appointment for Monday morning.

I’ve mentioned before how stupid it is that Syros, the capital of this group of islands and only across from here – I see it from my window – an hour away by ferry, only has ferries going to it twice a week. What that means is that if you want to go to Syros for anything at all (court, hospital, any business requiring local government) you have to go to Syros for a couple of nights. In summer they have more ferries of course, but even then most of the time you need to stay over for one night.

My cousin Zefi will come with me for moral support and we’ll go on Sunday and return Tuesday night.

Fingers crossed for my girl.

z

*An ankle warmer is like a leg warmer, only smaller. I had a couple…

decoupaged dachie – lockdown 2 day 156

Getting around to sharing a dog sculpture I made a few months ago. I have more to share, some from before I got sick and others I finished since I’ve been back home.

This is a little dachie I finished with paper given to me by a friend.

As usual, he was started with toilet paper rolls, cardboard, wire, alfoil and tons of masking tape.

I build on the frame using a paper mache pulp mix and air dry clay for the details like the face and feet.

Looking at him again I’m thinking I need to do more with paper. Its different to the fabric ones. Effective and fun.

So, other than sharing another dog sculpture, what’s been going on?

Well, I made a spinach pie today (spanakopita) and its already finished cause I shared it with mom and the rest of the family. Must make another. Yum.

I also tried making the semolina pudding I love with Stevia instead of sugar. Everyone always says its sweeter than sugar so I put in less and its basically totally unsweetened. I may as well include a recipe for anyone who wants to try it.

Semolina pudding

This is a basic 1-2-3-4 recipe. The full recipe will make a bunt cake shape so its too much for me so I make half the amount.

  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 cups semolina (coarse)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Crushed almonds (optional but I love them)
  • Cinammon stick and cinammon powder for on top

Put the water, sugar and cinammon stick in a pot and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the suger.

Brown the semolina in the oil. It will seem like it takes forever to begin to brown and then will look like its going to burn suddenly. Just use your judgement.

Remove pot from heat and add the water carefully. It will bubble and spit. You’ve been warned. Stir constantly. Once all the water is added, add the nuts and put back on the heat. Its ready when it begins to pull away from the sides and separates when you pull the wooden spoon through it.

At this stage you can put it in a mould and let it cool and set. Or just plop it in a bowl and dish it up by the spoonful like I do. Sprinkle cinammon on top when serving.

Notes:

I always use less sugar. If the recipe calls for 3 cups, I usually use 2. Making half the recipe I use 1 cup of sugar instead of 1.5. I’m trying to cut sugar out of my diet but I have a sweet tooth so I need SOME sugar.

If you’ re a visual person, you can find a recipe on Youtube to follow.

Enjoy.

z

sneak peek – lockdown 2 day 153

As you know, I’ve been finding it hard to get on with my art. I work on it in spits and spurts. Mostly I get inspired to do something when I can’t – like when I’m out or when I’m lying in bed in the middle of the night cursing the mosquito that keeps dive bombing me and won’t let me sleep.

But I started something new yesterday and thought I’d share a sneak peek. Its not a dog this time, its a donkey!

He’s a bit bigger than the dogs but not by a lot. And right now he still needs a lot of work. But at least I started!

Unlike so many other things I have sitting here waiting for me to work on them. They stare me in the face every day, but obviously can’t guilt me into working on them. Maybe one day. I really need to get my mojo back.

Meanwhile poor Lainee…

I made her a soft collar to stop her from licking. Its just a piece of foam I cut and wrapped some polar fleece around instead of getting her a cone of shame. Hate those things. She looks so sad and uncomfortable. She’s such a good little dog. She just accepts it, like she accepts everything.

But she can eat and drink and, most importantly, she can no longer reach to lick the growth on her stomach. She stinks though, from the licking and the weeping, so tonight she gets a bath before she heads in for surgery tomorrow morning. It will be a while before she can have a bath after that.

Please keep her in your thoughts. She’s my best friend.

z

black dog – lockdown 2 day 75

Meet Petey. The first portrait dog sculpture I’ve made. And the first black dog!

Petey belongs to a good friend and one of his photos inspired this. He’s a newfoundland x gordon setter, ie huge, loving and drooly. He’s one of Lainee’s good friends though she regularly walks under his stomach.

I love how he turned out.

Petey was found in a dumpster. He was covered in fleas and ticks and his tail had been cut off. I’ve given him a full tail again in this sculpture. He’s the sweetest dog you’ve ever met and his colour and size scares the crap out of little old greek ladies (a bonus).

Petey (the sculpture) was made the usual way: cardboard, paper, masking tape, wire, alfoil, paper pulp, air dry clay, recycled fabric, glue, paint. 90% recycled.

So, other than finally getting around to photographing work, what have I been doing that kept me from posting? Well… A couple of great days where the sun shone and it was warm again meant a little more time spent outdoors. More work at my aunt’s unit, though its so slow progress. Another coat on this, another on that. Let’s put on the handles. Ooops, don’t have the pliers to cut the excess off the screw that goes into the knob. A coat of wax on the one finished piece…oops they gave me the wrong stuff. A trip to the hardware store to swap it. Take mom to the doctor, spend hours in town waiting for her to finish her chores. Groom a dog, meanwhile Lainee is getting hairier.

Bascially, the usual.

I took Lainee to the vet again. Most of the smaller lumps have disappeared with the treatment so thats good. The big lump remains though, and might be angrier… The vet was concerned cause I said Lainee seemed to be coughing more, not less, with her heart medication so we added a diuretic to her treatment. That seems to be working great. First thing she did was pee on a friend’s good rug. Ooops. But the coughing is definitely reduced now. Fingers crossed.

Eric is beginning to look like a cat now, no longer the cute little kitten… he’s an adolescent cat with a naughty face. But he’s still cuddly between bouts of insanity so there’s hope.

z

simple stars – lockdown 2 day 73

A quickie – just to catch up. I made these a while ago but wasn’t able to photograph them till yesterday. I’m still working on the photographic setup…

Very simple star shaped tea light holders made with air dry concrete clay.

I like the way they stack and the way they look when lit. They’d make a great little gift I think.

That’s it for now!

z

just a peek – lockdown 2 day 69

Here you go. Just a peek at a couple of the dog figures I’m working on currently. I’ve been working on my sculpture all day on and off, but now everything is drying again.

Had a bit of adventure. Those of you who follow me on FB already know we had a wild storm today. A typical Paros storm which hits suddenly and disappears after a few wild minutes of wreaking havoc.

The day started out looking fine. I took Lainee out for a pee at 8.30am and it wasn’t even cold. It was overcast but fine, no wind, just nice. But as the morning wore on the day got darker and darker till I made the executive decision to not go furniture painting today. At 12.30pm I took Lainee out for a bit and soon as we walked back into the house the wind kicked up into a tornado. I looked at the trees outside and was amazed none of them blew over. I’d never seen wind like that before.

Well, not here. It gets really windy, but this was something else.

Then the rain started. And the hail. Thunder and lightning. And the water started coming in under my front door. I kicked the rug I had to the door to catch the water and ran over to pull the couch from the wall under the window seconds before the water started gushing in through the bottom of the window pane.

These windows are decent, but they’re not watertight as I discovered in summer when I decided the best way to clean the flyscreen was the hose it down…

No serious damage. It was over fast but not before soaking a few towels and small rugs. The wall under the window has moisture damage. Not sure how bad it is till I can look at it properly. For now I’m waiting and hoping it doesn’t happen again. A few more days of storms are predicted. Hopefully tamer ones than that!

There’s been snow in Athens. I’m sorry to have missed that. Though I’m pretty sure I saw a snowflake on the wind when I went out to sweep away the hailstones.

Who said its not exciting living on a small Greek island in winter?

z