not too much of a good thing

There’s one thing you can definitely say about my blog – I never flood you with posts!

I’m a considerate blogger. I don’t bury my followers in post after post, making it hard for them to keep up with all the things happening in my life while they let things in their lives slide.

Yeah right.

More like I just don’t always have interesting things to share. I mean, do you really care that I recently remembered that I know the words to La Marseillaise but didn’t actually know what they meant till I googled it? (Pretty bloody actually.) That I can pledge allegiance to the American flag when I’m not American? That I can quote entire scenes from Monty Python movies?

My brain is full of trivia and stuff.

Not all of it useful.

One of my workmates said she’d really like to look inside my head sometimes, but I’m sure not everyone feels that way… according to Wayne its like an explosion in an op shop in there, and he should know. He has to live with me.

There’s a million ideas and plans in there, all in a jumble. Kinda like a hard drive which saves bits of files here, there and everywhere. The main problem is finding and sorting the bits into some order, then putting realistic timeframes on them. It overwhelms me.

I’m not really good at that.

I’m great at collecting things (thank you Pinterest for giving me a backup for my brain), but not good at prioritizing.

I work in spits and spurts. I get an idea and do it. I get another idea and it remains locked in my head for years till I do something about it, if ever.

Eg: the chests of drawers I did recently which I lived with for years till I felt the need to work on them. The wardrobe (will share soon) is the same. The kitchen shelves… still in my head.

Yet sometimes I’ll get a sudden rush of blood to the head and I’ll hare off and start cutting wood and pounding nails.

And usually these spur of the moment jobs are ones that weren’t even on the To Do list.

So, since I have nothing much to say of value right now, I thought I’d share some pretty photos of the garden before things hibernate for winter.

Succulents in a rusty galvanised bucket.

Armeria in a rusty ammo box with a metal poodle.

A rusty seat with some succulents I tossed a corner near the garage.

A rusty bin with succulents.
A steamer pot with an interesting succulent. 
Have you noticed I have a lot of succulents? They’re the only things that survive the hot sun on the porch. One project on the muddled To Do list in the hard drive that is my brain is a shelf outside the kitchen window for my succulent collection…
Ok. That sentence actually made sense inside my head…
The cute timber shed garden patch is beginning to look like it was meant to be there.

I’m inordinately proud of my delphiniums. I got the seeds and when nothing happened I tossed the pot into the garden. A year later I got flowers!

Another surprise was the nigella which appeared near the garage this year though I never had it before.

The old wood heater from the shed is now a home for many succulents, on top and inside.

Our yard might not be the prettiest one around, with the weeds in the lawn and the bald spots where I poisoned them, but I love my flowers and the little pockets of rusty pieces I’ve created.
I enjoy my garden.
z

oil painting the cheat way – photoshop filter

I’ve always been good at using Photoshop to manipulate images – notice my new banner? I created that using a photo I took of the old typewriter on the porch, type and 2 vintage poodle images.

I’ve always been able to play with pictures to create all kinds of things, from simple alterations like removing or adding a person, taking liberties with colours, or creating something entirely fictional. I enjoy doing it and, if I was to be completely honest, I also enjoyed the knowledge that not everyone can do that kind of stuff.

Then I found picmonkey and it was so easy to adjust colours and add effects, I kind of forgot about Photoshop for a while. All I did was resize, crop and add the occasional effect to images for a long time.

That is, till recently when I got Adobe CS6 on my laptop. Now I’ve started doing stuff with PS again and remembering why I loved it. Like the Christmas and New Year’s cards. Those were quick and easy, removing type and creating backgrounds where I needed them… but doing something like the banner, that’s way more fun.

I used to do a lot of that type of thing for websites, but I don’t design websites for people any more. Here’s one I designed for my poodle website years ago, using 4 separate images: a photograph of a drawing I’d done of my first standard poodle (Pagan), some pastels, a background and a photo I took of Pagan at a show.

But I digress. I was posting to share an amazing effect I found in Photoshop that I’d never known before. Its called Oil Paint and its under Filters.

Here are some pics I played with – the mist in the hills opposite our place on a hot rainy day. Before:

After:

I really love the way it interprets the trees. I want to paint like that!
Here’s another one, a portrait of Montana, before:

After:

Ok, pretty good but definitely not its strong point.

It really comes into its own when you do something like this – the trellis in the yard with rusty chains, the birdhouse I made and an old lantern. Before:

After:

I love this one especially. Amazing isn’t it? Like professional illustrations.
This one’s great too – the old kid’s bike near the trellis. Before:

And after:

I don’t know whether to be thrilled or depressed about this discovery. I LOVE the effect. I love the pop arty colours and the swirliness of it. I love the curly leaves and way everything looks spot on perfect.

But I’m depressed too. Cause why would anyone need to paint any more when you can do this type of thing to your photos with a filter?

Sigh.

z

the masked avenger rides again

Its been raining on and off for about a week now. More on that off. However the sun is still sending out those UV rays, so Cass and her pink nose needs all the protection she can get.

The idea of running around behind her in the paddock with a tube of sunscreen twice a day like a Greek mother chasing a kid in the park to get it to eat its lunch… well, I wasn’t interested.

I just bought her some sun protection gear. Here she is modelling her new fly veil with nose flap and her light summer rug.

The really does look like the masked avenger!

The rug isn’t so white any more either…

Today was the first sunny day in ages and they say it’ll be warm and sunny all weekend. Great. The lawn is growing an inch a day at the moment. I need to get out there and attack it with the mower and brushcutter.

My back is much better. My new exercises call for a long rubber cord and somewhere to tie it. Who knew the pole in the middle of the living room would actually come in handy for anything other than pole dancing?

I just need to blow up the exercise ball (yes, I found it in the casita). Unlike a lot of other things I can’t find. Like my glasses. I’ve been looking for them for about a week now. I took them out of the car (my first mistake) and haven’t been able to find them since.

Then again, I did find Wayne’s passport. He’d been looking for that for 3 years. He thought I’d hidden it so I wouldn’t take him to Greece with me. (I hadn’t, but it was handy.)

I’ve been busy lately with organising stuff for 2 markets I’m doing. The Shabby Market next weekend and Lazy May’s Market the week after. There’s tons to do and I’m all over the place. I really do need to make things every week, regularly. That way I can avoid this madness.

When I’m away from home I can think of exactly what I have to do. I write lists of things I need to do, sketch ideas, make notes. Then I come home and even when I look at the lists I can’t seem to get stuck into it.

I blame spring. The lawn. The plants. The seedlings I planted and look at every day to see how they’re going. Somehow the good weather and the garden weasel their way to the forefront and sitting in front of a sewing machine or using power tools and paint brushes just can’t compete.

It won’t last. Soon as the weather gets hot I avoid the outdoors like the plague. That’s when I’ll get stuck into more art as well.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Just for fun, here’s a gorgeous photo of the sky one morning last week.


z

hanging baskets – prettying up the boring side

You may remember when I put the crates on the driveway side of the house as window boxes. I love them there. That side of the house was really plain and boring, kind of a wasteland with no plants and just blank walls. The window boxes give it some character and colour.
Although I found that its not a great spot for most plants. In winter the frost almost killed all the plants so I had to move them onto the porch. In summer it gets so hot that I will have to stick to succulents in the boxes. But that’s ok. I have lots of succulents, all I need is some more of the creeping kind which might grow and hang out of the boxes. That’d be pretty.
You can barely see it, but the second box has a little bird in it. Its a wire jumble bird that Wayne made for the Salvaged Art competition. He’s gorgeous. This is the only photo I have of him right now, remind me to get a photo of him in the window box.
 Anyway, back to the side of the house… the long wall behind the mud room is the bathroom and office wall. Other than one window it was blank and boring. I was thinking of going all wild with baskets and signs and all kinds of things but I now wonder if that might look a bit tacky… For now I’ve just done a few simple things… first I bought a punnet of snapdragon seedlings. They’re doing great. Flowering for the first time now. That should create a nice garden alongside the house where there was just bare pebbles before.
Then I hung a few baskets I’d collected from tip shops so they have that old worn look. I added the rusty wire wreath I made from some old wire I found buried in the paddock and the barbed wire flower Wayne made me (never say the man isn’t romantic!). I had to buy hanging hooks for the hanging baskets but I hung one from an old scale thingy I found in a tip shop. Love it.
So far the flowers I’ve put in there seem to like it there. Fingers crossed.
On the corner I hung a very old rusty wind chime from an old rusty bracket (also from a tip shop – I do a lot of shopping at tip shops). In that spot the wind doesn’t get it too often so we’re not tempted to rip it off the wall.
You may have noticed a small tree in the photo… I bought 2 plants from a little old lady down the road and she threw in one more. So I have 3 new pots, all with more than one plant in them! These will all eventually go in a new bed I’m planning (but not actually doing myself!) between the washing line and the water tanks.
I can’t remember the name of all the plants, but one is a hellebore, the tree is some kind of orange blossom, and there is a lupin and about 3 other plants in the pots. It’ll be a surprise when they flower.
I told you I’ve become addicted to my garden. 
Spring has that effect.
z

the next best thing

My grandfather used to say the best thing about Naxos is that you can see Paros from there.

If that’s so, then the second best thing has got to be the Mojito Boys!


These guys are pure eye candy. My cousin Zefi sure knows how to run a business. Mmmm-mmm! She hires these guys to work in her bar and they hang out on the beach serving drinks and giving us more mature ladies something to look at besides the endless sand and sea.

I mean, you could get bored of this view right?

Just miles and miles of sand and blue water.

Am I making you jealous yet?

Today some of us had a long day. We chose to go on a tour of Naxos. It was a comedy of errors. Seriously. We got 3 cars and piled in, only to get to the first destination and find the fan in one was broken, the car overheating and losing water.

And that was only the beginning of the adventure!

This may well be the last Campion reunion.  It was a bit like Lord of the Flies without the brains on rock bit.

Thankfully.

Anyway, we survived – only cause we split up, each group going to do what they wanted to do. I was among the ‘go back home’ group. I went straight to the beach where I found the ‘stay behind’ group.

A cool swim and some relaxing time enjoying the view of the boys beach and I feel like a new woman.

One thing I haven’t managed to do so far on Naxos is catch up with my cousin and godson Anargyros. Pronounced sort of like Anna and gyros as in souvlaki, with a rolling ‘r’ in the middle to confuse matters.

I got his number from Niko, the head Mojito Boy. Niko approached me on the beach where I was sitting with friends, a bit of paper in his hand, handed it to me and said “My wife will be out tonight. Here’s my number.”

It was the best! 

“Yeah look at me! I can still get the spunks!”

Yeah! That’s right! (And the crowd roars)

z

on my way – sort of

I started off the day like any other: checked email, did some laundry, folded washing to put away, washed dishes, cleaned the kitchen, scooped up some poopsicles (its been really cold lately!).

I must say, I’m not sorry to be leaving when its so cold. Though I actually don’t hate the cold. I just wish we’d get some snow now and then. All we get is frost. Wake up to a white world which is frost and ice. Frozen dog bowls, ice on the dam this morning (first time ever!) and poopsicles.

It does make it more pleasant to pick up, I must admit.

Then I ran around in a panic cause I couldn’t find the track pants I planned to travel in! I looked everywhere – in the wardrobe, behind the sweaters, under the boots, in the drawers, in Wayne’s closet (he has been known to try to get into my pants!)… I even considered unpacking my bag in case it was in there. Thankfully I didn’t have to go that far!

I found them in the bottom of my legging drawer.

What, doesn’t everyone have a legging drawer?

Amanda gave me a lift to the airport, thank you Amanda! I used to be the airport driver for Merrill, and wouldn’t you know it, just when it was her turn to drive me to the airport she went and moved interstate.

I call that over-reacting.

The flight was uneventful, though I did have a small moment of concern when there was an announcement over the speakers that “Would Clarice Starling please report to the crew”… hm…

Clarice Starling? Are you kidding me? Was Hannibal Lecter on the flight as well?

So, here I am, sitting at the Melbourne Airport waiting to board the plane to Doha where I’ll take another airplane to Athens.

First leg of the journey accomplished… a 55 minute flight from Hobart to Melbourne.

Only 28 hours to go.

Sigh.

I am NOT looking forward to it.

———————————————————

Breaking news.

I’m still here. In Melbourne. At the Holiday Inn though, not on an airplane on the tarmac.

From what I gathered from others, a crew member did something when closing a door and a slide popped out almost sucking her out with it.

Not a good thing.

So after an hour delay and a further hour to come, the captain said that legally he needed 18 people to get off the plane voluntarily so they could fix the situation and fly. When he sweetened the deal with an upgrade to business class I took it.

I’m getting too old to fly in economy. My body just cant take that cramping any more. And when the person in front of me pushed his chair back into my face I almost became and instant claustrophobic. I had to get up and walk around. Sitting on a plane for hours is bad enough, but sitting in a plane which is not moving was just messing with my mind.

The deal is an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn with breakfast (and lunch if we opt for a later flight), a flight to Perth and then an upgrade to a flight to Doha from there to our final destination in Business Class. Guaranteed that they’d get us there to make connecting flights.

Hey. I’ll get to fly at least partway like a human being and not a pretzel.

z

PS I’m too tired to proofread so if there are typos in the above, deal with it.

a very easy project

Last night I went through the old sewing basket Merrill gave me. It used to belong to her mother. In fact, it looks exactly like the sewing basket my mom owns. When Merrill asked me if I wanted it I said yes. Of course. Not only does it remind me of the years I spent raiding mom’s supplies to make dresses for my Barbie dolls, I didn’t have a real sewing basket. I’ve been using an ugly plastic container for years.
So, last night I sorted through it, re-wrapping unravelled thread, putting aside all the old bits and pieces which I’ll want to use somehow, somewhere, one day. Then I added my own threads into it and viola. A new sewing basket.
Naturally, there were a few odd buttons in the bottom of the basket.
Aren’t there always?
And I had this tiny little memory box frame.
It just seemed right to put them together.
A small tribute to Merrill’s mom.
z




spam comments – help!

I’ve been getting emails telling me of new comments on some of my blog entries. All anonymous and all spam – they’re basically links to dubious websites. The last one I got was to a porn site.

I never click on the links, never even clicked on the link to see the actual comment on my post, thinking it was just a spam email that would unleash a vicious virus and destroy my computer if i clicked on any links in it.

But its not. Its actually a spam comment on my blog! Now I’d have to go back through all my blog posts and weed them out and delete them.

Is there any way that anyone knows to actually stop spam comments on a blog on blogger? I dont really want to resort to the verification text thing…

help!

z

the shabby market

The Shabby Market has come and gone. Some of my things came and went with it, others went away forever to new homes.
I’m actually really happy with how I went with my first market stall ever. But I learned a few things along the way too.
For one thing, I suck at setting up a stall. Sure, my stuff is all so different it makes it hard to set things up with any kind of uniformity. On the other hand, I simply suck at putting things together in a way that makes sense and displays things to their best advantage in 1.5hrs.
Another thing I learned was that the layout of the stall I chose was probably not the best. I had to set it out in a manner which allowed people access to the window where I had the suncatchers and windchimes hung. Next time I’ll make a ‘tree’ of some sort to hang them off. As it was, people had to enter and walk around my U shaped stall to see everything and when I wanted to wrap something I had to kneel on the floor struggling with paper and rummaing under tables for sticky tape and string.
Not a pretty sight.
Next time I’m going to do it differently.
I’ll be more organised. I’ll start labelling, pricing and packing the week before the market.
I’ll set up a table to wrap on and a chair to sit on that’s not in the way.
Next time I’ll find a way to display things in a way that people can see them better.
Still, all in all, I did pretty well and sold lots. Even traded a couple of things with other stall holders!
The market was a success. Lots of people came despite the fact that it was an unusually hot day for Hobart and was so windy most of the outdoor stalls had to pack up early. 
It was the first Shabby Market as well, so not its not yet well known, still we had quite a few people go through. 
The hall looked fabulous with the stalls and the banner made especially and the way it was laid out. It was a great day and I loved meeting some of the ladies I’d only ever seen on Facebook.
I’ll definitely be doing this again.
But next time I’ll be more organised.
z

an old tie hanger sparkles

I’ve had this old tie hanger for years. Since I was at art school. I think its the little black knobs that appealed to me. Plus I’ve always had a love affair with all things 50s and early 60s. That love affair predates my love affair with french provincial, shabby chic and country/rustic style.
Even though I’ve slowly gotten rid of most of my 50s-60s items and furniture over the last few years, I have retained a few favourites.
This little tie hanger somehow managed to survive my many bursts of clearing out and re-homing.
Over the years I’ve used it to hang scarves (ok if you only have thin scarves), belts (not so successful) and necklaces. Its hung on the wall as a work of art in itself.
It was time for a makeover.
Its now making music with keys and little bells every time the wind blows.
And lately the wind’s been blowing a LOT.
z