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!
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…
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.
*An ankle warmer is like a leg warmer, only smaller. I had a couple…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Apparently we’re back in strict lockdown. Once again.
I didn’t know we’d relaxed… Okay, actually I did notice some shops which had been closed were open again but with very strict limits on numbers in the store etc etc. And curfew went from 9pm to 10pm. Now its back to 9pm curfews and everything closed. Again.
You know, I really don’t get this bulls$%t. I mean are all governments as stupid as this one or is it just Greece?
We seem to be doing a bang up job of the whole COVID19 thing, bouncing around from lockdown to free for all ‘come here for your holidays cause we’re safe’ then back to total lockdown, from restrictions to curfews to whatever.
***(added later cause I knew I’d forgotten something and it came to me late last night): Schools are to open, restricted hours of course, but kids are going to school while shops are to close again from Monday 4 January. These measures are in force till mid January when they’ll look at the situation again. How does that make sense? This yoyo-ing back and forth like we’re playing ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ and restricted opening hours? Obviously corona virus is only contagious between certain hours of the day…
In the first phase of COVID19 Greece was the shining example of what to do in a pandemic. The greek government put the country in strict lockdown, all but necessary business were shut, where possible people worked from home or else didn’t work and the government promised assistance (whether it did or not, I don’t know, I’m still waiting for unemployment benefits since I stopped working), schools were shut down and online schooling was introduced. No curfew but bars and restaurants were closed so there was nowhere to go. And the country had incredibly low COVID19 cases… although, to be fair, not many tests were being done either. Still, very few deaths, especially when you compared Greece to neighbouring countries.
Then, in all its wisdom, the government decided to open borders in order to rescue the economy. So they said they’d allow only people travelling from other green countries to enter Greece. With tests done at the border plus quarantine. Then it was a free for all, everyone could come to Greece for a holiday it seemed, barely any testing or quarantine to be seen. Over summer no businesses did well, everyone struggled, lots chose to stay closed as the cost of being open was more than they would make…
Why open borders at all? Make Greece a shining example of what not to do in a pandemic. Sigh. If they’d just kept borders closed for a full year it would have been so much smarter. Then they wouldn’t have had to lock us down again. Business could have opened and stayed open, people could have gone about their lives with restrictions and care. Is it really better to open places up then shut them down than to keep them open but keep borders closed?
I understand why the curfew – when shops and cafes closed at 10pm in summer everyone would go hang out in large groups in parks and have house parties. So they introduced curfew to stop that. Then we went into full lockdown and all movements have to be announced via sms again, with the appropriate reason for the outing otherwise you just stay home.
As you know, I don’t mind it. I don’t go out much anyway though I do miss meeting a friend for a coffee now and then or a drink once a fortnight at a cafe. I’m mostly fine with lockdown, barely even inconvenienced. I have my interests and I live on an island so I can walk on the beach every day. This just seems so fruitless.
Anyway, this has been on my mind today cause I took mom to Parikia to see her sisters and walked and made calls in order to stave off boredom. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: Why open borders which was always only going to lead to another lockdown? And I felt frustrated for people locked in apartments in big cities, those with health issues who daren’t risk going out, stuck within 4 walls with nothing to occupy them cause not everyone has creative hobbies like I do.
But enough depressing thoughts. Here is progress on my fish project…
I must confess (so you don’t think I’m a genius all the time – I’m only a genius most of the time) I had planned to paint the fish with colours… soft washes of colour like I do on the marble paintings… but it looked hideous so I went with a flat grey colour. I’m ok with that.
I gotta get going now. Eric is using my forearm as a bed and its making typing into a weight workout for my arm.
This is to prove that I have been doing SOME work. Not a ton, but some.
I’ve cleaned and tidied though… and made another apple cake. Mainly cause I had a friend come over for the first time today and another is coming over for breakfast tomorrow and I’ve run out of Christmas sweets. I either gave them away or ate them…. Plus I needed to clear the table of projects so I put things away. Not entirely organised as I’d like, but thats a project I’ll have to get onto soon..
The recipe for the apple cake is here in a very old post. I no longer put the apples in the middle of the cake, I cut them up smaller and mix them in through and I like it much better. It might look complicated cause the list seems long, but its really easy.
Meanwhile there’s a lot of colour around my place at the moment. Mainly from these three plants:
That’s about it for now. Things to do, people to talk to on the phone since I can’t go out.
We’re still in lockdown, though some things have opened again. With restrictions of course. Some stores you can’t go into at all, you have to order online and collect only. Others, smaller ones, you just go to the door and ask for what you want. Still others may allow you in after sneaking a quick look around. I think this is in response to people needing to buy things other than food and medicine, but also to keep the economy ticking over even at a snail’s pace.
Meanwhile I tried to get photos of the latest finished dog sculpture. These are the photos I got:
Eventually they lost interest in the new object and moved on so I got these. Not the best background for this particular dog I’m afraid.
This little fellow is made the usual way with toilet paper rolls, cardboard, wire, newspaper, masking tape, air dry clay, DIY paper pulp. Then he was finished with decoupage using lovely scrap booking papers a friend gave me. Oh, and a little newsprint, cause, why not.
The photos don’t do him justice.
I’m loving my doggie shelf meanwhile…
Not nearly enough for an exhibition of course. Not yet. Loads more work to do. Never enough time.
Well, not when I spend lazy days napping in the afternoon.
Sheesh. I need more structure in my life again. A schedule. A timetable. Deadlines. I work well with deadlines.