paros day 10: a day late

Turns out I’m better off doing my posts in the middle of the day instead of in the evening when laziness takes over and the call to Netflix becomes too strong to resist.

So this is yesterday’s post. 

Yesterday was overcast but still lovely so Lainee and I went for a long walk up the back of here, to the top of the hill to look over the valley to the sea.

We also walked past the most beautifully kept farm on all of Paros.

And saw tons of these wildflowers blooming… Not sure what they are but they look like a native/wild lupin.

So… I did continue my work on the current projects but nothing is finished yet. Everything seems to take so much longer than you think between cutting, gluing, drying, painting, drying…

However I realised yesterday that I hadn’t shared my new coffee table! Its is one of the first things I made once I got my groove back.

Firstly, some pics of the before: This is the coffee table I inherited when I bought the house. Lovely table but just too big for my tiny space.

One of the things I brought with me when I came from Australia was the legs off an old 50s table I loved. I mean I loved the legs, not the formica top. I always knew I wanted to make my own top for it and a round table to go into the living room here seemed the best solution.

This is the finished product…

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the hows, here goes. I was looking for old timber and found some in the bin at the timber shop back when life was normal. I glued it together as the first step using my table clamps (cause ever girl should have those!).

Then I realised that one of the pieces of timber I had used had termites so I had to treat the whole thing and let it dry before drawing a circle and using the jigsaw to cut it out.

Naturally disaster hit about then as I left it where water leaked and the table split down the middle… one of the glued bits didn’t hold.  I knew I’d have to strengthen the joins anyway so I reglued and cut out some ply pieces to attach underneath to act as a sort of binding, plus to give the legs something more substantial to screw into.

I used a combination of dark brown wood filler and a light coloured one to give the wood more interest.

Then I used my power plane and sander to create a nice smooth top and edges. I love the look of raw wood.

Last I attached the legs. Love those legs!

Et voila! A gorgeous round coffee table made by moi!

And here is it in the living room. Small enough to get around. Big enough to hold the necessities (but not big enough to become yet another crafting surface!), and oh so pretty.

I’ll end this post with a preview of another little project… Can you guess what it will be?

Oh, and a Baileys of course… It helps me sleep!

z

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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

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:

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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

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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suncatchers and teapots

pot1b

Its been one of those days. You know the kind, where all good plans go astray? It began when I got up especially early to mow the lawn (weeds) and work in the garden. I got to the ride on and found it had a flat tyre. So I started up the compressor, found the attachment and got ready to pump up the tyre. Only to find the battery was flat.

So much for that plan.

I spent a bit of time in the garden weeding, cutting back dead bits on plants, collecting seeds and generally trying to make it look like someone cares. Then the sun came out.

I don’t do sun.

Maybe it’ll hide again soon and I can get more done.

Anyway…. I thought I’d share a few of my teapot suncatchers… or just blinged up teapots… Whatever you want to call them. I’ve always collected pretty old teapots and jugs and usually make them into something you can display. These are my most recent ones.

The one above is sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen. I couldn’t give it up.

This one is in a new home. I love the blue chandelier crystals on fishing swivels!

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I love the coffee pot on this one, again blue chandelier crystals and faux pearls.

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This one didn’t have a lid so I improvised, making a lid from a Fowler preserve jar lid and a vintage cupboard knob. This one is decorated with black beads I salvaged from a broken necklace. The black handle, knob and beads just fit well together and I like the contrast of the gold and silver.

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This one is my favourite. It too was missing a lid so I used a shinier preserve jar lid and one of my crystal knobs. This one actually opens and shuts properly with the little hinge. The heavy chandelier crystals compliment the knob. Very fancy!

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Lastly, a simple little milk jug, or hot water jug, with its salvaged beads and chips of white shell.

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Yep, I do like my teapots.

I’m not sure if I’ll list these in my Etsy shop due to the awkward size for packing and shipping, but they will be for sale on Facebook and at the local market if they last that long. I’m taking a break for the month of January. Too much to do and I really need to rest a bit!

z

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hiding the gas bottles

Does anyone remember this?

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I made this box to hide our gas bottles – the ones that we use for our cooker. The idea was to create something which would hide the ugliness while looking pretty and being useful. The doors are hinged to the sides so you can open them and slide the bottles in, no need to lift them over the top. The top had a hook to hold it up so you could work without having to hold the top up at the same time.

The box hides two gas bottles and a bin where we put our household rubbish till we take it down to the large bin for collection. It was perfect – hid the gas bottles and kept critters out of the rubbish.

You can read about it here.

Well… louvre doors aren’t made to sit outside in all weather. This year the top began to fall apart, till one day I lifted the top and was left with 2 bits of timber as the louvre slats clanked around me.

Luckily the bottom and sides are holding up well but it was time to create a new top.

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This time I decided to skip the slanted hinged top. I just made a flat top with bits of timber I had lying around in my workshop. I added a nice strong handle so you can lift it up, and if you need to keep it up you just lean it against the wall.

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I actually love the new top. Its rustic and the two different coloured timbers is a nice touch.

I also love that I can no longer see the rubbish!

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Another ‘little job’ ticked off the to-do list.

z

fairy lights and a quick wreath

I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit lately.  Over the last couple of days I’ve put up some fairy lights outside, on the porch. Not enough, but hey… its all I got what I got so I’m using them!

I had bought some fairy lights to use at the Etsy Makers Market last month so I decided it was time to make use of them. Firstly, I put the quick Christmas tree I’d made to hang my felt and lace ornaments from at the market. I put it in the grooming room to give it a bit of festive spirit. Of course, since I’m selling the ornaments, I had to find another way to decorate the tree… Use what you have I say, so I used grooming bows!

GRtree

In the house I just lit up the Christmas tree I made out of crib slats a couple of years ago. I mean, when you have perfection why mess with it? I love this tree so I’m sticking with it.

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I had one more sting of lights which I’d earmarked for a wreath.

So I went looking in my shed, to find the right item as the basis for my wreath. What I found was a galvanised tray. A bit rusty in parts cause I’d had pot plants on it.

I like the rusty look.

Obviously.

My middle name is rust. Well, it could be…

All I did was wrap some wire I’ve had for a long time – no idea what you’d call it, but it looks like dried vine. Then I wrapped all 10 metres of the copper wire with lights around it as well.

I printed out a retro Christmas card for the center and its done.

For now its sitting on our sideboard in the living room. Once I figure out how to hang it and hide the battery operated controller I’ll hang it on our front door. Here it is unlit…

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And here it is lit up.

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So pretty.

I love fairy lights. I think we should have them everywhere all year round.

I need more fairy lights…

z

 

 

very distressed turquoise coffee table

I had planned to post every day this week. Well, more often than once a week anyway. But, as most plans, that one went astray. Not cause I didn’t have things to share, just that for one reason or another I got busy. Or forgot. Or was just too plain tired.

So, without further ado, here is my very distressed coffee table.

What’s it distressed about you might ask. Well… it started life as a brown coffee table. Then it was painted white with a little distressing. Then a puppy or two chewed on its corners. It was stuck in the shed for ages. It was used as a step stool while I built my new grooming room. Then it was shunted into a corner of the shed again… Not much of a good life for a coffee table. You’d be very distressed too!

At some stage I decided I really missed having a coffee table in front of the couch. All this time I’d been using a footstool with a timber tray on it when I wanted to put something in front of the couch. But without a coffee table to fill up with crafty stuff I was being lazy every evening.
Surely you understand that!

So, I went shopping my sheds to find a coffee table for the living room. I can’t say for sure this is it, but this was a quick small table that would fit my needs …for now.

First I had to fix the puppy tooth damage. Then I had to choose a colour. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I went with a colour I had – which I’d used in the guest room. Plus I’d just bought myself a throw from Kmart in that colour…

After painting it turquoise I wasn’t sure I liked it. Too much is sometimes too much… so I hit it with the sander. I took a lot more off on the top than on the sides and I’m loving the look.

Its like a work of art. Or like a work surface. Pity I’ll cover it with work…

I’m still finding my style for this house, so its a bit all over the place. So much to do. Still. But for now, I have a coffee table I can fill with craft odd and ends to work on while I watch TV. 
That’s gotta be good.
z

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