Monday, June 30, 2014

My Now and Before Corridor

This stairway successfully led me to a smart 
and savvy solution this weekend, after repeatedly
 'hitting my head against a brick wall'.
 Yes, this brick wall.

Upon returning to the island, having spent 2 ½ months
in Canada, some vignettes, I felt, needed some revamping,

like this little quintet above. Of course, I had
 visions of marble topped consoles, with curvy,
 wrought iron legs, all accessorized in French accents,
 but my budget is not fluent in such decor dialect!

So, I searched the house, my very own 'mall-on-call',
and climbed the stairs to the master bedroom, 

where, a potential 'purchase' was plucked from its 
original place, nestled in a corner of my bedroom, 

to its new location, in the front entry hall, where 
it can keep company with it's fellow dweller,  

a sweet and petite antique desk, that was
 snatched from right behind those French doors.

Do you remember it?

Here's a hint of how it's been 'restocked'. 
More on this 'floor model' in a future post!

Now, let's see what what we've 'walked out' with:
(ain't that an abundance of alliteration!)

 Before                                                         After 
Before                                                   After

  I believe the '(ex)changes' are more suited to the season,


for a lighter, brighter, simpler look.

So, let's see what this 'new', 'now' corridor cost me -
let the number crunching begin:

Pretty petals, gathered from my garden.

 energy source #1
(from running  hiking up and down those stairs),
(always a good thing to spend!),
energy source #2,
that the little light bulb in my brain burned...(out!),
(before and after taxes)!!!

 Thanks for visiting!
Happy Canada Day and 4th of July,
 and a big hello to my new followers!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Stone's Throw Away

 5000 years into the future, Minoan colours are still favoured by the islanders.
Here, a stone and stucco facade in the village of Koutouloufari.

Wandering around the island, I am constantly
  amazed at the ancient Minoan hues that continue 
to colour contemporary Cretan architecture.

 Archaeological Site of Knossos, Minoan Palace, Heraklion, Crete, source

The Palace of Knossos, dating back to 1900 B.C., 
was painted in rich, bold, earthy colours that
 accent the Cretan countryside, and which are still
 'echoed' today in both modern and older dwellings.


Recently, we went to visit Maria and Alexander
who spend the entire tourist season cooking up
 ancient Greek cuisine for their guests in a hilly,
little hamlet, overlooking the Aegean Sea,
 called Koutouloufari. (koo-too-loo-fah-ree)

This cheery, aqua charmer faces the restaurant,
providing a pretty view across the lane. Such beauty
 in its simplicity, against the powdery blue sky, don't you think?

A few doors down, a burst of cherry red
demands attention from passersby, fearing
the stone wall will steal the show! How cheeky!

In contrast, this chunky, splattered wall of stucco
prefers a lower profile, generously leaving the
 applause for the dancing grapevine above.

This last gate, quiet and unassuming, spoke to me
in whispery tones, just loud enough to become 
a lovely inspiration for a future patio project,

(to be posted soon), in my own garden,
 relatively, 'a stone's throw away',
as most things are on this island,
once you find your way.
Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Peaceful Place Above the Sea

On Father's Day, we visited the 
Monastery of Panagia Pantanassa, 

meaning, (Most Holy Queen of All), 
near the village of Rogdia.

 It is a short, scenic drive from home, 
along Crete's beautiful northern coast.

 The monastery was founded in 1963 by Bishop
 Nikolaos Xenos, in dedication to the Birth of the Virgin.


It was designed to operate as a charitable foundation,
 with aspirations for an orphanage, a nursing home,
 a kindergarten, and a nursery, all on site.

Only the orphanage was realized, including
 workshops and educational facilities.

Nowadays, it is inhabited exclusively by nuns, who work 
hard to keep the grounds looking beautiful all year round.

The nunnery celebrates its 
name day on September 8th.

People come from all over, to take part
in the day's special ceremonies.

Today, Panagia Pantanassa is a holy retreat; 
a place where one can appreciate

the peace and tranquility of its surroundings, 
nestled between tall, protective pines,


and nourished by invigorating views of the sea. 

Thanks for visiting!
Welcome new followers,
and happy weekend to all! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Blog Writing Process: A Blog Tour

The above computer screen is not always decked out in this  fun and flirty floral. In fact, most days, it can be seen lounging around in a washed out shade of white, (its signature colour). Yes, ladies, even after Labour Day, can you believe the nerve?!

And, although science, (actually, Wikipedia), tells us that, 'white is technically produced by the combination of all the colors of the visible spectrum', in writer's terms, it is simply a screen, sans any intelligible signs of scribble, due to a severe case of writer's block. Sometimes, this can lead to other, more serious afflictions, like temporary insanity, or less threatening, but equally debilitating conditions, such as sudden numbness in the fingers, which is a scary side effect of one or more of the following:

a) Unceasingly scratching the surface of one's head in the hope of stimulating brain activity, supposedly, a 'brainstorm', of sorts, from what I've been told.

   b) Using the hand to slap knock some sense into oneself for actually accepting that dreaded deadline.

 c) Extreme anxiety over a looming deadline, especially when accompanied by prolonged panic.

And lastly, and most likely...d) a rheumatoid reaction resulting from positioning the fingers too closely over a keyboard for more than 24 hours. The logic being that, when that downpour of ideas does arrive, those dainty digits need to move fast! Kind of like the 'claw' before the storm, you might say.

Taking all the necessary precautions, (read: refraining from a manicure), one fated day, my sweet and funny friend, Amy, a.k.a. Ms. Goody Too Shoes, invited me to follow in her fabulous footsteps, and write a post on my blog writing process, which you are reading right now, (unless I lost you trying to find your way through a labyrinth of run-ons, a paragraph or so ago) - unlike Amy's blog, which is an easy-to-follow, fun adventure in travel, DIY design tutorials and delicious recipes. Amy's amazing posts always succeed in getting a real, hearty laugh out of me, the kind that has your eyes tearing and your tummy hurting from uncontrollable chuckling! Check out her own post on today's subject here and see for yourself.  Thanks for thinking of me, Amy. Hope I can hang on to that 'blog tour baton' you placed in my hand long enough to complete this post! Speaking of which, I need to answer 4 obligatory essay type questions in order to get to that finish line - oh, how I miss those multiple choice quizzes  at this moment!

#1:  What am I working on?

 A few months ago, I started my second blog called 'Poppyprosidies', a scenic space in this big virtual place, where my poems and pics reside. Alas, I have been a bad blogmother, having neglected my new baby, but I promise to feed and nourish it with some new poems and pics as soon as its older sibling, (the blog with the views), demands less of my time and energy! 

I'm very excited about another project that's in the works, but want to develop further, before I formally introduce it. I will tell you that it has to do with sound and space and a familiar face! For now, I'm in the '...Testing...Testing. 1...2...3...' stage.

Summer is a very busy season here in the Med, and we are blessed to have family and friends stay with us throughout the season. This means lots of planning, as in menus, sleeping arrangements and excursions, so, have been working on getting the house prepared to pamper our guests.

And lastly, did I mention that I'm on a mission? I turned fifty in March, and I have been summoned (by yours truly) to embrace this milestone, along with everything that it encompasses. Rumour has it that menopause, metabolism meltdown, and a host of other '50 and Fabulous' traits, are a piece of cake. How appetizing......Puh-leeze.
Every woman knows that you can't have your cake, and eat it, too, especially if you're already sporting a muffin top! But enough small talk! I'm on a mission. Remember?
I'm not going to complete my assignment, sitting here, shooting the breeze with my bloggy gals in blogland, (darn it!), now am I?!

 #2. How does my work differ
 from others in its genre?

I initially started this blog because I wanted to share my home and garden projects with people who also have a passion for photography and writing. Nature, architecture, the sea, and colour inspire me, it seems, to write in rhyming couplets a lot of the time. My ear is geared to melodic tones, it seems, and cacophonies just don't cut it!

Secondly, there are only so many vignettes and tablescapes I can conjure up on this country's (and thus, this household's) barely existing budget, so I head outdoors and explore whatever inspires me on my merry way, whether it is in a nearby village, a drive to the seaside, or simply outside my door. 

In the mountains of Crete, 
 myth and mystery meet,
  soaring over valleys and coasts
like whimsical ghosts
of flying folks, long ago. 
Look - if you dare!
Out there, in the sea,
a winged wraith, 
afloat, near the rocks,
on the crest of a wave -
Can it be?!

(a little nod to the island's
 first 'pilots', Daedalus and Icarus)

#3. Why do I write what I do?

Firstly, I am fascinated by the imagination and all the amazing things that inhabit it. Since I was a little girl, writing poems, plays, and stories, was my idea of fun. In grade four, I actually got the chance to direct my classmates in my first play, which was about an earthquake. I guess it was exciting because we never have earthquakes in Canada. Some serious Method acting went into that, for sure. Now, if I had grown up in Greece, a '..been there... done that' rolling of the eyes from my primary grade producers would have resulted in a very dramatic end to my aspiring career in the 'theatah'; my own modern day Greek tragedy.

Secondly, I write what I do because I'm, um, bullied into it. You see these lovelies below? You can't miss them, actually; they're always screaming for attention, what with that overpowering scent they wear all the time!

Well, don't let those pretty faces and batting eyelashes fool you! Here's a typical conversation between us, when they spot me in the garden, just as I'm scrambling to sweep up the mess before guests arrive. In a thick, southern drawl, Miss Scarlett, on the left, asks for a favour, (the fourteenth, that day, by the way!): 

 'Poppy, seeing as you are, um, 'one of us', please be a dear and plug the pale pink pansies in your next post. They're such shy, little things and we need to build up their confidence! Oh, and do mention Madame Maria's midnight jasmine, will you? The poor dear barely survived those nasty south winds yesterday. And, while you're at it, we'd really...Poppy? Poppy, where are you going? Sunny, do something! Our fashion show's this weekend, and we're short on fuchsias! Enough with the hugs, already! Grab her!'

See what I mean? So, now you know why most of my posts always include some flower or other! As the saying goes, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'.  End of story.

#4. How does your 
writing process work?
I am a visual person. What can I say, I like to stalk stare look at pretty things, so I'm always with a camera in tow, just in case I chance upon something that takes my breath away, or at least, is showing vital signs for a potential upcoming post! As I said, my inspiration comes from the world around me, but also from conversations I have, or matters that are preoccupying my mind, my heart, or my stomach! In mathematical terms, the actual process looks something like this:

So, I don't know if I would actually call it a process, but it's kind of what's been happening so far. Thus, for me, it usually starts with an image, and hopefully, words follow. I wonder... would a musician's formula read as follows:

+++++++++++++++ =

and of course, the eternal question:

Of course, it goes without saying, that you are all a part of my world, and therefore, distract inspire me every day with your gorgeous pics, wonderful words and lovely emails, which brings me to our next blogger on this tour:

Debby Ray, of the blog My Favorite Things

Debby is a southern girl, now living in Central NC, who is a wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a gifted and talented photographer! One thing we have in common is our simple, but trusty Sony Point & Shoot, which hasn't disappointed us yet! In addition to her keen photographer's eye, Debby is a true storyteller who weaves words about her charming, childhood memories, her every day experiences, and her faith, into heartfelt and intriguing prose. Won't you have a look? Here are a few of her beautifully inspiring posts:


Debby's post for the blog tour will appear 
on Monday, June 23rd. Don't miss it!


Thank you for cheering me on, 
as I stumble to the finish line 
of a well intended tour -
turned mega marathon!