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

back to strict restrictions – lockdown 2 day 56

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.

Its frustrating.

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.

z

moving right along – lockdown 2 day 52

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:

My bougainvillea which obviously thinks its spring and has begun flowering for the first time. The little chrysanthemum to the right of it has the right idea: its winter so die.
The hibiscus I’m babysitting for a neighbour, also a little confused I think. Its been flowering since November.
This was a gift for Christmas and is the only one which is flowering at the right time.

That’s about it for now. Things to do, people to talk to on the phone since I can’t go out.

z

hot dog! lockdown 2 day 51

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.

Anyway, I’m off to get some work done!

z

now panic – lockdown 2 day 45 & 46

Its the day before the day before Christmas.

And I planned to do tons today.

I was going to bake shortbread cookies, work on my sculptures and make a little bag for my mom to carry her phone and flashlight in for her Christmas present. But somewhere along the line I got sidetracked and now its panic time.

This morning I cleaned the house and baked cookies and ate lunch then watched a Christmas movie and fell asleep on the couch and worked on my fish sculpture and started a new dog and cooked Lainee’s food and tomorrow I have errands to run for mom in town and Lainee and Rosie and Spitha to wash and dinner to eat with the family and now its 9pm and I haven’t even started the bag!!!!

And I don’t even remember if this is yesterday’s post or today’s… Is it day 45 or day 46 today? I think its day 46 and yesterday was day 45… I think I’m one day behind cause most days I leave it too late to post so I post the next morning and sometimes morning turns into afternoon and right now its night…

So… in the spirit of posting about every day during lockdown, yesterday I pretty much did the same thing, except I worked on the fish and dogs and made chicken and corn chowder and invited my cousin over for dinner. And I didn’t clean the house. I’m not crazy enough to do that every day. So maybe not exactly the same…

Lainee is not impressed with this ‘ignore Lainee streak cause I’m too busy’ streak I’m going through.

Eric is way more pushy. He’ll jump onto my lap as often as he likes and will sit in my chair if I get off it for a second.

Here is a preview of the newest dog…

Anyway….

I got stuff to do. I can’t sit here blogging all night!

z

making dogs – lockdown 2 day 44

I’m still creating, between doing things like seeing mom and family, cooking and preparing for Christmas. On Paros this year with the family instead of in Athens.

To be honest I prefer being here.

I bet Eric prefers me being here too. Next year if I have to go to Athens for Christmas I’m sure he’ll be ok with my neighbours caring for him, but this year he’s too young to leave outside even with a warm kennel to sleep in with his best friend Selina.

I took Selina to the vet again yesterday. Her respiratory infection is better but hasn’t cleared up so we gave her another round of antibiotics. If this doesn’t clear it up its basically become chronic and she will have to live with it her entire life. I’m hoping this will do the trick and I can get her vaccinated and spayed.

Meanwhile I’ve been working on my dog sculptures. Here are some previews. None of these are finished yet as I work on each one a little at a time then let it dry. I’ll start another before I finish any of these so I can keep working on things. Plus I’m still working on that fish…

You can see where I’ve gone over the first coat of rough DIY papier mache pulp with air dry clay to mould features and details and smooth the surface in preparation for whatever finish I decide to give each dog.

I should have something finished to share in the next few days although with Christmas and family obligations, who knows…

z

all quiet on the island front – lockdown 2 day 39

Eric says Hi. He’s generally a great kitten, he has his insane moments but thankfully they’re not too bad. He enjoys his ‘playstation’ so I’m not getting claws and pounces too much. I’m waiting for the teens to strike though. I’ve been warned about them. Hopefully he’ll survive them in one piece. He already knows the look and sound of the spray water bottle!

Lainee has had her xray (all clear) and a second opinion. I’m probably going to have to do another test for her heart, but the first vet said it was simply a riskier surgery due to her murmur which the second said she could barely hear. So its up to me basically. If I’m willing to risk it either vet will do surgery. I’ve risked it before on my dogs and I will again cause this has to be done. I won’t risk her getting cancer from these growths. So its just a matter of deciding on vet 1 (who removed her teeth) or vet 2 (that my friend swears is the best) and booking it. I will decide tomorrow and make the appointment.

Is it just me or do others feel guilty when getting a second opinion?

Anyway, today has been a very low key day. Its been blowing a gale out there since yesterday which makes being outdoors rather unpleasant so I’ve stuck inside and done a few bits of clay work. I was longing for a day spent at home. For some reason I’ve been really tired and even fell asleep on the couch while watching TV. Probably cause I’m going to bed later and later and Eric insists on waking me up at 7.30 every morning.

The big flat thing to the left will be a fish eventually (once I decide what the scales will be made of) and the dog in the back is on the last stretch. Right now his ears are drying.

I put together 2 of the small houses I made to hold tea lights. They’re crooked as all getout, but I like ’em. Now to make one more and set them up to live on my coffee table or bookcase or somewhere, if I can find the room…

I’ve been putting off painting though I’ve been thinking about it. I have some boards prepared and some paintings I started that need finishing. I really should get onto that but I need to build up to it. Meanwhile I ordered more clay online. I’m on my last block. Air dry again of course. For the time being.

Now the big question remains… What should I have for dinner? I made some pasta sauce with a bit of bacon and tomato for lunch/dinner last night. I can make more pasta and have the leftover sauce. Or I can have a salad before the cucumber I bought goes entirely rotten*…

Oh such big decisions!

z

*What are vegetables? They’re those things we select carefully, squeezing and inspecting each one in order to chose the best ones, then let them slowly die in our refridgerator.

chewie – lockdown 2 day 34

The latest finished dog sculpture. I call this one Chewie for obvious reasons. He was inspired by my friend who just bought her dog a new rope toy.

This little fellow is made slightly differently to the previous dogs cause he was made using air dry clay. I started with a cardboard and wire armature to get the shape, then worked on building him up with clay.

Since the clay is already white I opted for not painting him or covering him with anything. Just letting the clay speak for itself.

Ooops. I forgot to give him a scrappy bandana like I did the others. Must get onto that.

Anyway, he’s finished and its time to move onto another dog or two.

Some more dishes or clay objects.

I need to sew some more masks. And a new bed for Lainee…

Tidy and organise my house. Again. Its a constant job that one.

It never ends.

This morning I helped a friend catch another 4 stray cats to be neutered on the council bill. They were not happy about it! One was a big old tom cat. We really wanted to catch the huge mean tom that hangs around but he’s way too clever for me. I think we need an elephant tranquilizer dart to catch him.

Don’t look at me. I’m a really bad shot.

Had lunch at Aunt 2’s house with mom and Aunt 3 and got caught in a wild rain storm on the way to the car. We were both soaked to the skin. Its funny how it comes on suddenly like that on Paros. One moment its quiet and overcast. Next minute it starts pelting down, thunder and lightning, gusts of wind blowing the rain into your face in sheets. Rivers form in the narrow streets instantly to make sure you get soaked from top and bottom simultaneously.

5-10 minutes later its all quiet, no more rain. No more wind. No more crashing thunder.

The only way you can tell it happened at all is that the rivers form lakes in the narrow streets in town and on the side of the roads which last a while. Drainage isn’t a ‘thing’ on greek islands.

Z

fun with clay – lockdown 2 day 33

I’ve been working on the odd little bowl or dish for a while now, making some with the different air dry clays I bought, letting a them dry so I can move them from my drying spot (under the air conditioner) to make space for another lot.

Time to share the finished ones. Starting with a few I stamped writing onto.

Life is like a box of chocolates.
I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance – Garth Brooks “The Dance”.

One I stamped and painted on:

Plenty of fish – comes with a little fish. You can’t really tell in the photo but this is a cement coloured clay.

Something more ‘arty’ and weird:

A nose, cause, well… why not?

Something I just painted on.

A little pocket to hang from the wall to hold… something.

And something a bit different.

A mended heart.

Its been fun working with clay. Trying different things. Air dry clay is nothing like the fired stuff, but its still fun to work with and its so much easier all round. If (when) I decide to work with ‘real’ clay I’ll have to buy it in a big bag, buy some glazes and then find a place willing to fire my work for me.

Let’s not think about the mess of working clay in my living room!

Its a lot more work than bashing something up on the kitchen table and letting it dry on the bookcase.

Anyway, time to get back to my dogs…

z