Enjoying Weeks of Sunshine and Warm Weather!

I am loving the mild winter we’ve been having here on Crete. A noticeable indication of just how much sunshine we’ve been enjoying shows visibly on the mountains, where almost all the snow has melted. The fact that we’re still in lockdown is frustrating but is nowhere near as limiting as it is in the UK. I have been making the most of the hours of sunshine and warm weather by getting out and about on walks, because there is always somewhere close by to explore on foot.

On the craggy cliffs of Plaka's coastline

On the craggy cliffs of Plaka’s coastline

Last week a friend showed me the wonderful cliffs with the salt pools along Plaka’s coastline – right on my doorstep! In some parts it was quite rough going along the edges and ledges, but hey – it was a great workout! On another day we walked through and around the outskirts of local old Greek villages and then along the craggy banks of a river in Georgioupoli. Always taking a picnic lunch with us, we can’t help but appreciate the endless beautiful scenery. I am so fortunate to be living on this beautiful Island and there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be during lockdown.

Where we had our picnic lunch on Plaka's beautiful coastline

Where we had our picnic lunch on Plaka’s beautiful coastline

Because the weather has been so wonderful this winter, I have been keeping up with my power walks around Almyrida and Plaka. These walks have had the added benefit of seeing other people I know along the way… everybody wanting to take advantage of the warm sunshine. Although this hasn’t appealed to me so far – I have seen many locals and expats swimming in the sea, which is bracingly cold in the wintertime.

Where the river meets the sea at Georgioupoli

Where the river meets the sea at Georgioupoli

The only clouds on our idyllic horizon have come in the form of powerfully strong south winds. Last week these kept me awake all night and I was almost afraid to see what damage they had caused the following morning. The two enormous tied-to-the-railings yucca plants, which are on the two south-facing corners of my wrap-around balcony – were all over the place! I opened up my bedroom shutters and was faced with a yucca plant on its side, several meters away from where it should be. Over the years I have grown accustomed to these wild and powerful south winds and I was convinced I’d secured both giant Yuccas as much as it was possible. But I have to remind myself that I should never underestimate the power of nature.

Santorini Scene in Seashell Mosaic Collage - 25 x 50cms - Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

Santorini Scene in Seashell Mosaic Collage – 25 x 50cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

Not being able to travel further afield to enjoy the usual beachcombing I do during the winter months is a total bummer! There are shells I need to restock on for ongoing commissions or new designs. Talking of new designs I finally attempted a Santorini scene. Like the cats – for many years I had dismissed the idea as being unachievable in my style of Art. The seashells are always the biggest problem. In this case would I have enough grey-tinted seashells for all the different shades of the white buildings? I know now, that until I can source more wedge-shaped Donax or Coquina, I will not be able to repeat this design. It was a huge challenge and involved many hours of sorting through thousands of seashells to get the right shades. In all my designs I prefer to use the seashells’ natural colours and only have to paint them occasionally as is the case when I need Santorini blues!

Little Mermaid - 13 x 18cms - Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

Little Mermaid – 13 x 18cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

Another design I have only ever done once, is a mermaid. About 10 years ago I was commissioned to do one for a little girl and so I chose Ariel and painted her face. I never do faces in seashell mosaic because they just don’t work in small scale. So I never made another mermaid even though over the years I’ve been asked if I do them.

Although I can do variations on existing designs I am sort of running out of new subject matter and so I decided to try a mermaid again. The two designs I’ve come up with were really enjoyable to create.  I decided to paint the shells of the mermaid’s tail and I added a glaze to enhance the scales.  When viewed in sunlight or other lighting, the mermaid’s tail is really eye-catching.  Both, including the Santorini Scene are available to purchase from my Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/seashellbeautyinart/

Today it is 23 degrees with abundant sunshine again and I’ve been writing this post on my beautiful balcony overlooking the sea and the mountains.  It’s no surprise that I should feel so lucky to be here.  I couldn’t resist posting this photo of my sunset here a few days ago.  Change is on the horizon from Sunday and temperatures are set to plummet to 8 degrees, with strong northerly winds and very heavy rain for the following days.

Another Awesome Sunset from my balcony.

Another Awesome Sunset from my balcony.

My Big Birthday Bash on Crete!

I am writing up this post on my wonderful balcony, on this cloudy day in November. We’ve just come out of a prolonged period of fine, sunny and warm weather and now we are getting rain and thunderstorms. But right now it is not raining and I can hear the sea and see the waves rolling onto the shoreline all around Almyrida Bay. Vasili’s sheep are in my garden below again and so I hear the tinkling of the ‘main’ sheep’s bell and the odd almost baby-sounding bleats coming from the little ones. They seem to lamb all year round on Crete. It must be our wonderful climate! Continue reading

Emma and Ash’s Wonderful Wedding on Crete!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks that I shall cherish for always.  I have been happier than I ever could have imagined and it’s all because of Emma and Ash’s wonderful wedding! Prepare yourselves for an epic posting!

For me it started just over two weeks before the wedding when Emma, Ash and my gorgeous Grandson, Ralph arrived in Crete on Tuesday 17th May. From that moment on we were all in ‘wedding mode’… although I was in ‘Ralph mode’ for quite a lot of the time! Well what did you expect? After all, I am his doting Yaya – the Greek word for Gran or Nana. In all, I had over three weeks of blissful time, playing with and helping to look after Ralph. Continue reading

Now it’s all about Weddings!

I’m sitting on my windswept balcony, on the sofa while I write this. It’s the best spot on the balcony, giving more shelter in the corner from the wind. It’s really only the gusts that are sometimes a little scary but they can disappear as quickly as they arrived and now and again you get a little lull and all is calm for a time… before it returns in earnest and you never know what’s coming next! Continue reading

How I love to be a Tourist on Sundays!

Sales of my unique Seashell Mosaics and Collages have been truly mega in August. Reaching a record level again – I have been rushed off my feet work-wise! Among the poplular choices this year have been my little Greek Donkey and small Sailboat designs and, as always, the Baby Turtles Race for the sea. Continue reading

All Things Beach.

Down by the beach in Almyrida it is hot, hot, hot! But selling conditions couldn’t be better and for the last month or so the breeze coming off the sea has been just perfect for keeping me cool whilst I work on my seashell mosaics. My summer office is quite idyllic and if I do get overheated then I just put up my ‘Back in 10 Minutes’ sign, grab my towel and go for a quick swim in the sea – how wonderful is that?! Continue reading

Rich in My Quality of Life

These past few weeks The Greek Crisis has been the topic of everyone’s conversations when you meet them. All the Greeks and Ex-Pats who live here on Crete are naturally concerned about all the changes Greece is facing and all the changes the Greek people must make to survive bankruptcy and who knows what else?! Continue reading

Happily Planning for a Big Family Wedding in Crete!

There’s been so much I’ve wanted to write about – but no time in which to do it! My life is always so full anyway but right now it’s all about family. I have exciting news to impart which you will already have gathered from my heading of this post and I shall go into more detail about it later… Continue reading

Almyrida Flooded After Big Storm Hits!

After Nick went back, at first the weather was settled and warm so I returned to my winter job of painting and decorating – all outside work. This time (unfortunately) I did two days of painting awful black railings. However, about ten days ago it all changed and we had horrendous storms that heavy rains and gusty winds had whipped up. Continue reading