Good Riddance to January & February!

I haven’t had time and I haven’t felt like writing a post for what seems like ages. I seem to have been in a depressive state and it hasn’t helped that I’ve had so many time-consuming problems to deal with in January and February. But most of all… My dear Sister Leonie’s sudden passing still feels so raw. I can burst into tears at the mere drop of a hat!

Despite all this, I have ploughed on with all the important things that have been on my ‘to do’ list for too long. Work that I have been meaning to do for so many months, but which always got shoved to the bottom of my priority list. My online Etsy Shop, as I’ve mentioned before – needed much work in order to fully optimize traffic to SeashellBeautyinArt (link on menu above).  As with any online shop – it’s a long term project and because I don’t physically have the time to produce my art as well as to promote it, I enlisted the help of someone who’s professional knowledge should help boost sales of my Seashell Mosaic Collages from my Etsy Shop.

Greek Blue Door & Steps in Seashell Mosaic Collage - 25 x 30cms

Greek Blue Door & Steps in Seashell Mosaic Collage – 25 x 30cms

I never knew this, but the key to achieving this lies with Pinterest. Pinterest is THE search engine for homemade art, but it takes time. First I had to optimize all the titles and tags for each listing. Then Stiliyana, (the wonderful young lady who is currently running my Pinterest account) had to link all my work to this Pinterest account. The work involved has taken many long weeks and with daily management of this Pinterest account, we should start to see the numbers grow and the statistics increasing… resulting, we hope, in more sales.

But, oh my goodness have we had problems with this Pinterest account! Many hours have been wasted when Pinterest would suddenly suspend the account without reason and we would have to open up a new one and start all over again! I cannot remember how many times I have changed the password and the major issue with all this hassle – is the total lack of customer support from Pinterest. It would appear that Customer Service there just does not exist! After several days, sometimes a week of no response to my ‘help’ emails, I called a couple of telephone numbers listed in search engines. Only to learn that these were people that were pretending to be Pinterest Customer Support, but were only interested in gaining remote control of my laptop! I called two separate numbers and both were bogus. Having been scammed just recently (I wrote about this in my November post), I recognised the scam immediately. I emailed Pinterest about this, saying that their lack of customer support had created an opportunity for this fraudulent activity – but they appear to be unconcerned. And so they have made things extremely difficult and stressful during this whole process. Stiliyana and I are hoping that things have settled down now, fingers crossed!

Whilst all this was going on I also had problems with my company, Art on Crete Ltd. It is a very long and sorry story which gave me so much stress that I refuse to relive the misery of it by relating it in this post. The end result is that I have shut down the company because sadly, it has all been a total waste of my time these past two years.

Time is such a premium for me… so precious because I need so many hours to produce my Seashell Mosaic Collages, and I was getting more and more stressed by all the time I had lost in terms of producing my artworks. Hours and hours have gone on all these other matters that I needed to prioritize. Such is life… and these things are meant to try us!

My Star Signs were popular last summer. Here's mine - Scorpio in Seashell Mosaic on Sand - 20 x 20cms

My Star Signs were popular last summer. Here’s mine – Scorpio in Seashell Mosaic on Sand – 20 x 20cms

Finally I was able to make a start on the two commissions I received last summer. They have been a real challenge but also a welcome break amongst all the horrid stuff that has gone on. I have spent countless happy hours on these artworks and still have more to do, so they are still works in progress. The couple who commissioned me are so nice and actually first contacted me in June – through this Blog! They were researching a visit to Crete, found my Blog and then clicked on the Etsy shop link at the top of this page. They loved my work and wanted to meet me during the course of their holiday. They wanted to commission me to do a pair of artworks for the wonderful new oceanfront home they are having built in Australia. Eric and Fahimeh toured around Crete and paid me a visit at my stall in Almyrida last September. There they purchased a couple of my artworks and then gave me some details for the commissions they wanted. It was so lovely to meet them and I am grateful to this blog that they found me!

On the way back from Elafonisis - An old Greek mountain village, taken from the road above.

On the way back from Elafonisis – An old Greek mountain village, taken from the road above.

I have also made a start on building up my stock for the coming summer selling season at the beach in Almyrida. Many of my new designs were popular last summer and the Star Signs sold well along with my Greek Blue Door and Steps and the Old Greek Urn and plant.

Another ‘must do’ and a pleasure I cannot begin to describe, is beachcombing. I haven’t done nearly enough to replenish seashell stocks and I’ve had withdrawal symptoms from NOT beachcombing! We have had such a mild and pleasant winter so far here on Crete. So many warm and sun-filled days when I’ve been itching to get on a deserted beach and explore… but have been too bogged down with what I call ‘shitty stuff’ to enjoy my usual winter pastime. I was so determined to get such a day organized and finally on Friday I went to Elafonisis with my friend Nick, his girlfriend Jenny and her puppy, Gremlin! It is by far the furthest place I travel for beachcombing.

Beautiful Elafonisis

So busy picking shells I forgot to take photos of the beauty all around me! So just before we got back in the car I took this one of my mate Nick, his grilfriend Jenny and her little dog, Gremlin!

It’s at least a two hour journey which was made longer because I had a flat tyre! Nevertheless, this did not in any way spoil the day. The weather was glorious, lots of blue sky and warm sun – the perfect day for beachcombing! We took a picnic as there would be nowhere to get a drink or some food for miles. But I just spent every possible moment collecting the beautiful seashells that are to be found in such abundance here at beautiful Elafonisis. It was such a wonderful tonic for me after all the shit that’s gone on and I loved every minute I was there.

I feel as though so far this year – I have not been my normal self. I am usually so positive… yet I’ve been feeling so low down in spirit. Going to Elafonisis reminded me of why I chose to live and work in this most wonderful and unspoilt place that is Crete, and has been my home now for almost nine years. Crete will always be my sanctuary.

Just after Sunset over Almyrida Bay

Taking a quick break on my balcony, after sunset the other day… just gorgeous!

I Love Being a Yaya!

I had the most wonderful time during my recent 3 week visit in the UK. I love, love, loved every minute of it! I was based at Emma and Ash’s cosy home in Helsby near Frodsham, a beautiful rural area near Chester. I couldn’t believe how much baby Ralph had grown and all the things he can do now! And he’s just soooo cheeky! I was totally amazed by how much Ralph progressed during the weeks I helped look after him and I took some wonderful videos of him which I can watch whenever I’m missing him and can’t Skype with Emma. Continue reading