Art du Jour 37

imageThis was time-consuming and labour intensive.  But also fun, except maybe for all the glue and paint and paper scraps everywhere.  Now I have a greater appreciation for artistic people who put these things together.  In case you don’t notice it on your own, I would like to point out that the main part of the house is strips of paper in basket weave.  That’s how it started.

Yes, I do have a lot of time on my hands and I’m trying many new things to make a dent in using up all the massive amounts of paper I purchased having very few clues at the time about what I would ever do with all of them.  When I take pictures of these finished products,  I set them on my easel so they are leaning back slightly, and the upper left hand corner always looks blurry.  Although maybe the fact that I used a lot of water on this board and it warped a bit could be a factor as well.  Life is full of mysteries.

So, bonus day.  Here’s how it looks on my yellow wall.  Beside something equally strange and in different light.  Why does my wall not look yellow??

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The paint on my art room walls is called Elephant Grass and in real life is much nicer than this looks.

Before embarking on this project I watched an artist on YouTube put together an art journal page using paint and paper and stencils with a drawing of a partial face looking rather ghostly and emerging from the background.  She had a whole book full of stencils and took half the video choosing the ones she wanted to use.  With all the stopping and starting and talking and pausing and speeding up and waiting for things to dry, it’s a wonder I learned anything, other than knowing I am not ready to make a video of my own any time soon.  Mine would include too much profanity and hand washing.

I’m happy with this result, even though I don’t think it’s something I’d want hanging over my dining room table.  Good thing I don’t have a dining room table.  It might be nice in a kids room.  I don’t have one of those either any more.

Well, for someone who thought she didn’t have anything much to say today, I’ve managed to write a lot of words, as well as post two pictures of the same thing.  This blogging thing is so easy.  And you can do it most days without glue.

Dear House

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Ever felt like writing a thank you letter to something you take for granted?  I mean without someone prompting you to do it?  Nope, me neither. (Because, duh, taking it for granted….)

Well this is not how I wanted to start a letter to my house, so let’s begin again.

Just like I don’t understand the need for ridiculous extravagance when you marry somebody, I don’t get it when it comes to building yourself a crazy-ass mansion to live in, with thousands of square feet that you love to look at and admire but rarely use.  There are many people in my life who have gorgeous new homes, or homes that are old but have been renovated to look like gorgeous new homes.  This is obviously important to them and makes them happy and that’s all good.  My house is not new, not renovated, and not gorgeous.  And that’s okay.

Dear House,

Hello.  Just wanted to let you know I love and appreciate you and I’m sorry for taking twenty-eight years to tell you this.

I don’t know how you felt about your builders way back in 1973,  or your first owners or your second.   But I’m pretty sure you loved us when we moved in all those years ago, right?  Because three’s a charm.  We were lucky to find you at a great price, and thankful that you didn’t need too many changes right away.  However, we wasted no time taking down those gawd-awful green drapes in your living room and getting rid of the brown leafy wall paper, a crappy carpet in one of your bedrooms and your ugly kitchen linoleum.  You’re welcome.  Eventually we got around to painting everywhere.  I hope you like the colors.  Or should I just say I hope you love yellow.  We promised you we would finish the unfinished room in the basement and put in another bathroom downstairs.

Yes, I know you’re still waiting.  But your attic needed new insulation, and your roof now has excellent shingles, and there’s the new kitchen counter and the beautiful new floor that looks like real wood and a new furnace to keep us both warm.  We do try to keep you clean and presentable.  Maybe gorgeous just isn’t in the cards for us.

Hey, we could have abandoned you and moved on and let somebody new fix you up properly, and that’s still a possibility for some bright day in the future.   I know I’ve used it as an excuse to delay the things that should be done, saying ‘what’s the point, whoever buys this house will probably change it anyway.’

Did that scare you, hearing me say it all the time?  I’m sure it’s gotten so old and repetitive now that you don’t pay attention to it anymore.

We no longer need the unfinished room to be finished, and the time when we really needed that extra bathroom has come and gone.  I AM promising you a renovated main bathroom before we leave,  because I think both of us are just completely sick and tired of purple in that seventies style.  A few more years and it will be an amazing retro feature – except that bathroom fixtures (even annoyingly durable purple ones) don’t last forever.

And right now you are beautifully functional and you suit us just fine.  Every one of your rooms holds wonderful memories of growth and change.  I look at the little bedrooms and remember who used to occupy them and how those teenagers grew up and left home and came back and left again.  And then how they brought their own little people here so that we needed the unfinished room to morph into a playroom.  And the downstairs bedroom to accommodate two beds and mattresses on the floor and the library to double as a guest room.  One of these days we won’t need all that.  We won’t be able to so easily go up and down your stairs or shovel your driveway or paint your ceilings.  You will be too big for us, and you’ll start longing for another family to fill your rooms with noise and laughter.

Meanwhile, we will continue to love you and look after you in our hap-hazard fashion and appreciate you until the time is right to let you go.  I don’t think there will be any new red walls in your immediate future, and I am trying really hard to stop hanging strange things on the ones you already have.  You may not be gorgeous, but wow, you have character and you are able to hold an amazing amount of junk.   You are warm and cozy in the winter and bright and breezy in the summer.  We are blessed to have you.

Thank you house, for being our very fine house.

Sincerely,

Charming Owners Number Three

(who love their home, have dubious interior decorating skills, but very big hearts.)

My Big Fat Greek Holiday (Crete)

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This is my last big fat Greek holiday post.  Probably for this lifetime, because I can’t imagine going back, or even flying across the ocean again.  With three days left in our HOE-liday (at one of the little shops someone had painted on the parking area ‘Enjoy your stay, Happy Hoeliday) I bought a hat.  It’s a white visor with ‘Santorini/Greece’ written all over it in silver, with a brim about ten times bigger than an old-fashioned little girls bonnet.  And there’s a ribbon tie at the back.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  So if you know anyone who needs a good hoeliday hat, I could be persuaded to part with it.

We arrived at the Albatross Spa and Resort Hotel in Heraklion, Crete, after nine o’clock at night following our last long ferry trip and about a thirty minute bus ride.  The rooms here lacked Greek-ness.  They could have been anywhere, really.  There was a shortage of hot water and loud live entertainment in the courtyard until well after eleven at night.  See how you can tell it’s all winding down by how whiney I’ve become?  If we had arrived in Crete first I probably would have loved it more.

On Saturday my nieces opted for a relaxing pool day and a walk to the beach, and the rest of us braved the public transport system and got ourselves to Knossos.  The first thing we did there was sit down at a street-side restaurant for lunch.  By now this will not come as a surprise to anyone since 80% of our trip appears to have been spent sitting down and eating.  Then we paid six euros entrance admission per person to this bronze age archeological site and once through the gates were strongly urged to pay another ten euros per person for a guided tour.  We decided to wander around on our own and learn as little as possible.  There were a lot of rocks and ruins.  We saw a peacock.  The sun was really hot.  We congratulated ourselves on six euros well spent and hit the gift shops.

This is where I bought a cute little chess set.  I don’t even play chess.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t admire the cuteness of Zeus and Athena and the Spartan warriors. There are some very persuasive shop owners in this country.

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Sunday, the 25th of May we were up early to catch yet another bus, this one taking us to the Imbros Gorge.  Here’s what the brochure says.

This gentle walk lasts about 2 hours and takes you through the captivating countryside, passing mountain villages and the impressive White Mountains.  At the end of the Gorge is Komitades village, where you will have free time for lunch.  Afterwards, drive to Frangokastelo, an old Venetian castle, where your guide will tell you all about its interesting past before you go for a swim in the Libyan Sea. 

Here’s what actually happened.  Our guide told us the eight kilometre walk was not an easy one, down hill over very rocky terrain.  She made it sound sufficiently horrendous that when I was given the option to ride down the hill with two French-speaking ladies (one of them had a cane) I completely chickened out and got back on the bus.  The others all did it in a little over two hours while I sat around drinking water and lemonade.  I regret this not one little bit.  Because when the walk was over my family informed me that I would not have enjoyed that at all.  Which I took to mean I would have been a complaining pain in the ass all the way down and they had a much better time without me.

I don’t remember any castle.  Did we see a castle?  And I wasn’t out in the sun for eight km either.  I do remember some crazy Libyan Sea swimmers, but I wasn’t one of them either.  I was impressed by some interesting washroom doors though, so the trip certainly wasn’t wasted on me.

On the 26th we were homeward bound.  Bus at five a.m. to get to the airport, one hour flight from Crete to Athens.  About a three-hour wait to board the Transat flight from Athens to Toronto.  Nine or so hours in the air watching movies and tv shows and playing games on a touch television screen.  I never even thought about sleeping.  Our flight arrived 45 minutes early in Toronto.  That meant almost a six-hour wait for my next flight, but I was able to change it to an earlier one.  Thank you WestJet.  Then there was another three-hour flight home.  With nine hours mysteriously added to the day.  A cab ride home I barely remember.  And then sleep consumed me.

I had one day to deal with jet lag and then it was back to work for four days, one day off, and three more days of work.  And here I am, still alive and in relatively good humor.  Amazing.

I’m glad I went on this trip and I know I’m lucky and blessed and privileged to have been there and done that and gotten back home safe and sound.  Now can I just stay at home forever and never go anywhere again?  Except for our trip to Ontario this summer of course;  that doesn’t count.  I mean flying across oceans.  I think I’d like to be done with ocean crossing and messing around with time zones and figuring out other country’s plumbing.

Thank you for listening and commenting and looking at my photos.  I’m off now to reply to comments that are so old you’ve forgotten you made them.