Thursday, May 31, 2012

Take Shelter

Village of Archanes:

Welcome back!

For almost three years now my country of residence has been the subject of much criticism due to its political turmoil and fiery financial mess. To say that Greece has made international headlines lately is an understatement.  The country is dealing with a severe government debt crisis, fear of bankruptcy and extremely high levels of unemployment among many other critical matters that threaten its ability to remain in the Eurozone and any further repercussions that may arise if it fails to do so. There is a constant feeling of insecurity, anxiety and despair that continues to plague its people with each new day. Not surprisingly, this is difficult for Greeks, who are commonly characterized as vivacious and generally cheerful folks.

Overwhelmed by afflictive austerity measures, they have had to reassess their budgets with respect to more serious necessities like food and shelter, in addition to less pressing, but equally important matters like social outlets, namely entertainment, fashion and travel. In the process, many have acquired a newfound respect for the simple things in life that bring people joy and satisfaction; something their genuinely wise ancestors before them truly understood and appreciated.

And so, many modern Greeks today have permanently taken to the old-fashioned traditions of the countryside to put into practice their newly adapted philosophies of the simple life and what that entails. An increasingly large amount have started growing their own produce, some are relocating to little hamlets to try their hand at farming professionally, while others are downsizing in general.

 But amidst all this chaos and change there is one aspect of Greece and its people that remains constant, and that is the security and comfort of home. Whether this is perceived as one’s own private residence, a relative’s house, or a friend’s hideaway, it is a place that provides shelter from any threatening forces, be they the erratic emotions of the elements or the heavy strains of everyday existence.

Definition: Shelter

1. A structure that provides privacy and protection from danger.[Wordnet] 

2. Protective covering that provides protection from the weather.[Wordnet] 

3. The condition of being protected.[Wordnet] 

4. A way of organizing business to reduce the taxes it must pay on current earnings.[Wordnet] 

5. Temporary housing for homeless or displaced persons.[Wordnet] 

6. That which covers or defends from injury or annoyance; a protection; a screen.[Websters] 

7. One who protects; a guardian; a defender.[Websters] 

8. The state of being covered and protected; protection; security.[Websters]

The images that follow are a collection of structures that all have the ability to provide us with what we usually refer to as ‘shelter’.  Many are also considered places of prayer, safe retreats from danger, resources of energy or venues for work.  From exploring labyrinth-like caves and resting under  florally blanketed cafes, to the solace felt in secluded churches or the security attained from hard-working windmills,  all the featured images are of Crete, my adopted home land, my rural respite from the confines of the capital, an island steeped in 5000 years of history. A magical place, where mythical creatures roamed in and out of reality, discovering truths that mortals still believe in today!

Crete: A Country Quilt: From far left: Our neighbouring village:, Psiloriti Mountains:, Oustide Anogeia:

 Far left and right: Vosakou Monastery:, churches literally everywhere! Left:, Right:

Port at Chania:

From left: Chania, old town:, Village Kafeneion:, Archanes:

An eclectic means of shade and shelter from the midday sun:

The Palace of Knossos, Heraklion. From left:,,

From left: A mitato, used for protection against the elements when making cheese or tending to the herd:, lighthouse:, windmills of Lasithi:

Caves at Matala:, Venetian Port, Heraklion:, Frangokastello: dreamstime, Spinalonga:

Hope you enjoyed your visit today.  Time for a characteristically cozy, Cretan catnap in the quiet of the afternoon calm. 

Thanks for visiting.

Talk to you soon!

A pretty gated courtyard in Archanes:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Dreams

"The Cake Enthusiast" by Janet Hill

Welcome back,

Firstly, I’d like to thank Brenda at Cozy Little House once again for featuring Poppy View on her Welcome Wagon post last Friday. It was a very sweet gesture and it gave me the opportunity to make  some new friends who share similar hobbies. In your comments, some of you expressed that you would like to see more pictures of my kitchen, so today I’d like to extend my hospitality and show you around.
No, the gorgeous painting above is not of my kitchen! This whimsical little cubbyhole of a corner can be found in the brilliant imagination of Canadian artist, Janet Hill. I’m sure many of you have heard of her by now. I discovered her last year and when I did, I was delighted with disbelief at her charming and nostalgic images, reminiscent of simpler, romantic times. Her choice of subject matter, the richness of her colour palette and a stucco-like brush effect give her a unique signature style that evokes lingering feelings of merriment and bliss.

Okay, wake up! The dream is over. Reality rings! For now, here are a few figments of my imagination that managed to make it to the real world. So, help yourself to a strong cup of your favourite caffeine boost, 'cause I dream in COLOUR!

Thanks for dropping by. Always nice to see you!

Talk to you soon!


Friday, May 25, 2012

My Red & White Romance: Part 2

my kitchen

Welcome back!

Let's move into the kitchen, shall we? If you haven't already noticed, the chickens have fled their coop and decided to plump themselves cozily in front of the pastries! I have to admit that I wasn't the least bit hesitant about letting them keep me company... me and half the female population. Cliché or not, I love these gals and they can hang out with me anytime.

But back to my romance with red and white! As you can see, I am deeply involved, illicit, to the point of displaying this passion in red gingham table runners, checkered teacups and jam jars, red crested roosters and plaid tea towels, all red and all within a 3 foot radius!

And speaking of passion, it would be a huge oversight on my part if this brilliant colour's contribution was not mentioned with respect to Valentine's Day. I remember my very first Valentine's day celebration in primary school. Mr. Smith, my grade four teacher always threw his class a party and presented us with the most delicious delicacies prepared by his wife. I never met Mrs. Smith, but I always pictured her to be a sweet and gentle woman who spent her days in a charming little kitchen baking the most perfectly frosted little cakes for her husband's boys and girls. I can still taste their heavenly richness, characteristic of homemade goodies.

Of course just as prominent a position does red and white take with yet another holiday. Christmas characterized by red and white, in decorative terms, is a joy in itself. From candy canes to candles, stockings, snow, Santa's suit and beard, red and white puts the ''merry'' into this festive season with warmth, fun and tradition. And let's not forget Rudolph, without whose glowy red nose none of this would be possible! 


This little memoir of me and red today just wouldn't be complete without noting my nostalgic attachment to my native land. Canada remains my country of birth, the beautiful place I hold dear to my heart, the country that taught me to honour and respect all nationalities and cultures, indeed to celebrate them. It instilled in me a deep sense of devotion to heritage, be it my own or my neighbour's, and today I choose to celebrate a most worthy one, the Canadian: many heritages in one! Red and white in all its glory.

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Red & White Romance: Part 1

Welcome back!

Come on in and make yourself at home. Today I'm in the mood for a cozy tête-à-tête. I'd like to tell you something about me: I'm deeply devoted to the colour red. In fact, I, myself, only became aware of this a short while ago. As far as fashion is concerned, I realized that red repeatedly shows up in my choice of clothing, shoes and accessories, mostly making solid appearances, whereas in decorating, I tend to lean towards the pretty perfection of pattern.


I smile at the thought of gingham, checks, stripes and plaid and how they have the power to magically revitalize a tired old armchair or add whimsy to a weary window frame. I'm not afraid to let these elements take centre stage and I often group them together to let them share the limelight, either against a backdrop of solid red or happily let them co-exist and complement each other.  For me, the combination of red and white, whether it appears in patterns of polka dots or plaid is pleasing to the eye and happy for the heart!

via country living
It seems that this connection to the colour red goes back to my childhood. The first memory I have of me and Red (sounds like my sidekick!) is actually captured in a photo. I'm about two, wearing a red and white one piece bathing suit and dancing on the couch between my dad and grandfather who are applauding me with cheers of "Opa!", which is a celebratory Greek affirmation. I wanted to show you this picture but couldn't find it; it is probably nestled among hundreds of others in ratty cardboard boxes that sadly haven't been appreciated in a very long time due to the pressing business of daily life. Anyway, a few years later and another red and white bathing suit and red flip flops to match, I remember the very first time I lost something.


I was around eight and we had gone on a family picnic to Centre Island, which is a short ferry ride from Toronto. It had been a very eventful day with barbecues and swimming, funfair rides and cotton candy and as we were packing up our belongings in the park, I suddenly got confused and didn't know if the wet bathing suit on the picnic table was mine or the little girl's whose family had set up their gear next to us. I was too shy to ask her and so I left the bathing suit on the brown picnic table and only later when my mother asked me for it when we got home, did I realize that it was indeed mine. 


They say that a child's character is formed by the age of seven. Well, I can testify to that! Although I am considered to be extroverted and assertive, I am equally reserved and diffident. Sometimes I think of that day, and my little red and white bathing suit, quietly dripping on that wooden table in a dark empty park, and the little girl who cried for it that night.

Needless to say, since then and in my younger, no-effort skinny years, I have strutted my stuff in some sassy red and white swimsuits, several pairs of ruby red flip flops and even dabbled with daring shades of red to brighten up my lips or cover the white in my mane. So maybe, just maybe, my mania with this duo is justified!


Similarly, it is most fitting why one day out of the blue, my daughter, Liberty, decided to start calling me Poppy. She said that when she thought of me, the colour red appeared before her eyes in a delicate and dainty shape, like that of a poppy! It didn't even need to grow on me; it bloomed instantly and spread rampantly to other members of my family picking it up, some changing it up slightly depending on my mood or their mood at that moment. Thus, I am always the honoured recipient of a brilliant bouquet of sweet and affectionate endearments.

Thanks for visiting,

PS: My love affair with Red is not over....
Stay tuned for Part 2! 

Friday, May 18, 2012


First of all, I'd like to wish my beautiful daughter, Liberty, a very happy 23rd birthday. I chose to make her birthday the day I published my first post on poppy view. She has been such a great support system throughout this project, encouraging me along every step of the way with her positive comments and effective feedback. Love you lots, my love!

 Another person I'd like to mention is my sweet sister-in-law, Fay, who has given me constant pep talks on trying my hand at creative writing after our email exchanges over the past few years. She has always taken an interest in my observations on life and personal perspective on things and it was because of her infectious enthusiasm that the first step to creating this little blog was taken, namely the decision to begin!

Speaking of steps, there were many and all kinds!  There were times when I took two steps forward only to find myself taking three steps back! Sometimes, I missed a step and ended up tripping over my own two feet. It goes without saying, it took me a while to get here.

I had been travelling the blogosphere  for a while, frequenting many interesting and beautiful  sites on home decor, cooking, fashion, and the like. Then, after  accidentally 'stepping' into a house blog about a year ago, thinking it was a website, I literally couldn't move from the sheer discovery that people were happily sharing their personal decorating stories about their own homes online! Whether they were a whole photo essay of a renovation with detailed text, or a spontaneous snapshot labelled with an endearment of their beloved pet, these 'posts' were entertaining, informative, and most importantly, relatable. I was hooked. 

It wasn't long before I found myself 'dropping in' unexpectedly on several blogs a day. Being such hospitable folks, these 'bloggers' introduced me to some of their 'friends', some of whom lived in faraway places. Needless to say, travelling to all these different locations (and time zones!) took its toll on my typical daily routine, not to mention my aching feet!

 While 'recuperating' and reminiscing about all the beautiful places, the warm and friendly people and the abundance of talent out there, I was inspired to start my own little blog about my  home, situated in a tiny little village on the island of Crete. 

 So, whether you're having another dreaded decor dilemma, philosophizing the fluffy flakiness of phyllo pastry or reflecting on why time should be given a speeding ticket, I hope you'll drop by for a friendly neighbourly chat.

Thanks for visiting.

Talk to you soon.