On 26

Commentary

Dear 26-year-old self,

To be clear, this is a letter of goodbye. You and I are being held together by nothing more than a cobweb string of a hours that separate us from the new and cool 27. You see, it’s still OK to look forward to the next self, there are no drops of perspiration as I extend my hand to meet my new older persona. We need to part, and I’m ready for it.

I’m sure going to miss you though, fool. Remember that time you decided to get a new piercing on the wrong side of your face? You kept walking around trying to convince yourself that it looked like the kind of thing you would do — the kind of thing you had expected even! Until your sister pointed out that there’s too much metal on the left side of you face, so you took the earring out just like that.

You were always a restless one though. You considered staying too long in one place the way to rot your brain and curiosity. It’s no wonder that you moved locations 3 times without blinking about it. And you loved the packing, the unpacking — the excitement of possibility. You moved fluidly between borders, you travelled mentally and literally and there was never a dull minute with you holding my hand. Remember Paris? Remember Berlin? I would have never gone ahead if it weren’t for your impulsiveness, your endless drilling. Let’s face it – you would never stop until you got your way. It worked to my advantage. Most times.

It’s normal, I guess, to have ups and downs, but your ups and downs were intense roller coaster rides. You went from deliriously happy to grimly morose in the flash of a second. I had to choose my words carefully when I talked about life, about love, about what it means to be free. This issue really kept you sleepless. You wanted to choose wisely, surely, independently. You wanted to be free but would talk endlessly about your fear that love cripples your freedom. And it pained you to place these two ideals as polar opposites, to force yourself to choose between such lofty ideals. You let love win every time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a defeat you secretly welcomed gladly. You were a true contradiction, as such.

And then my dear old 26-year-old self, you had a bright idea. You needed some direction, even though you didn’t even know it then. You were a little lost but you had convinced yourself you were right on track, as always. It came in the form of a small box with an air balloon on it. Inside there was a bag of beads, and you were confused. Until you started to toy with the idea of using them. And overnight, awoke a new streak of creativity that lay dormant just below your fingertips. And then, you gave the act of creating, a name, and attached a blog to it. For that I thank you old self. Because of you I am here now and I am writing to tell the rest of the world what happens next.

I will miss you,

plain bananas x

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Mad Night

Musings

Tonight was Mad Men night.  A friend of mine has yet to catch on to the series, so I had the bright idea of starting a Mad Men night every Friday to indulge in the girl fun (while drooling over dresses we wish we owned). I came home all ready for this, even contemplated making some bites to spoil ourselves, but it seems the first Mad Men Friday is postponed.

So here I am, drinking coffee from one of my new glass mugs (photos forthcoming), and feeling slightly guilty to be out of the blog loop. There have been too many things going on job-wise. Too many opportunities have come my way, and I, being myself, decided to take up all of them. But thankfully it’s the weekend and so I have a chance to catch my breath.

As regards the renovation, still no big changes, though the space is finally empty of stuff. I’m currently making do with whatever furniture was already in my possession, and will slowly start buying stuff for the home as the renovation begins and ends. It feels very much like my early college years. That’s a lie. Maybe the first couple of days of my college career, because after that (thanks to Target etc) I managed to acquire an assortment of homely things. That’s not going to happen now, as I’m determined to pace myself and find the right thing at the right time.

Let me share what the apartment looks like at the moment:

The living room: the bare necessities

The living room: the bare necessities

My workspace: Where all the homework happens

My workspace: Where all the homework happens

Bedroom stacks: More books and bits

Bedroom stacks: More books and bits

These are all temporary solutions that for now, have done the trick. I’m heading over to IKEA tomorrow for some storage and kitchen supplies. I need something for all my beads because right now they are at a state of chaos on a table and I can’t stand this lack of organization! It’s no wonder I haven’t made anything in ages — I don’t know where anything is!

But I’m not complaining. Not even about the cancelled Mad Men night. I’ve got Project Runway: Season 4 to keep me busy and I’ve been restraining myself to make the pleasure of watching it last longer.

Feel free to join me. I have limited seating but a lot of floor!

Are you in?

Just mental

Jewelry

I’m happy to announce: I’m back.

And by back, I mean back to the beading fun. Last night before going to bed I really felt the urge to make a set of earrings, which I shared with you yesterday. They are now available at my shop. The same feeling greeted me in the morning, and I made another set while having my dose of Vitamin C in the sun. The nutrients worked, because look:

Indulging in my girly persona

Indulging in my girly persona

And in general I’ve been on the hyper side of things. Just thinking about all the changes that my apartment will undergo — this major face lift — really makes me lose sleep at night. Not from worry or stress, but excitement. I think about the major changes, and pepper those thoughts with a lot of great accessories I come across on Etsy and interior design blogs and magazines and oh my, I’m in mental heaven! If only mental money could work as well in reality as it does in my head, where budget is a word that is foreign and utterly meaningless. But that’s in my head — and as regards most things in there — pretty useless to the real world.

But I promised a little view of the kitchen plans. In the absence of a scanner, I photographed the catalog. I think it gives you the overall idea:

Be my guests!

Be my guests!

And lastly, all your crossed fingers did the trick! My sister got the job and now it’s time for celebration. Bring out the wine and some food because I’m famished. But before I go, here’s a view from my balcony along with my little friend. Enjoy!

The beach waits for you (and me)

The beach waits for you (and me)

Stuck in a rut

Musings

OK, I’ll come right out and say it: I’m going through a creative funk, a fruitless (indeed) spell, a narrow long tunnel of je ne sais quoi. My fingers are pretty much paralyzed, my imagination is stuck like a needle to an LP. The repetitive sound: Plain, plain, plain, plain. Where are the bananas?

Every day I go to my little workspace, play around with a few beads, and then resigned to the idea that I’m the jewelry version of Midas, I stop all efforts whatsoever. And to be honest, the weather, my often-cited culprit, has nothing to do with it.

Maybe it’s just a pause. Time for a deep breath. Time to imagine that I have the money to splurge on Etsy items I don’t just heart — I heart²! This is one little such number I wouldn’t mind in my wardrobe by CreoleCollection.

Ponchatoula Memories 6

Go ahead and buy me this as a present!

*Sigh*

At least my fingers are somewhat magnetized to the keyboard and like scooping out words and words and words. With all this time in front of my ibook I stumbled onto a pleasant surprise from Sam (matouenpeluche).

great read

Thanks so much Sam! I just love this image — it’s so playful. In turn, I’d like to pass on this sexy nerdy award to:

And now, back to that imaginary shopping cart. Hopefully inspiration will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

[Hold tight for an awesome new artist for tomorrow’s Plain Bananas Has Friends!]

Technically speaking

Jewelry

Just when I was convinced that phone / internet companies were truly incompetent and would never actually get the technical problems sorted, I got a surprise.

I had come to terms with my indefinite absence from the online community, and had moved on to other things that made my days more colorful: beads! I was sitting in my little corner, inspired by hot pink and blue and had jazzy music in the background, when I suddenly get a text message. It read: Your technical problem has now been resolved. We are at your service, should you have any other problem.

A text message! Internet! Whoaaaaa!

But the past few days without it snapped me into shape. I briefly checked Etsy and my e-mails and then promptly closed the laptop and finished the necklace. First things, have now reclaimed their order and must come first again.

Here is the new necklace:

Plain tribal

Plain tribal

What followed, was of course a celebration that came in the sweet form of strawberry cupcakes. Incognito cupcakes, that is. Why? Well have a look at them yourself and see if you can spot what’s wrong:

Straight out of the oven

Straight out of the oven

Still can’t see it? Well, how about now?

Adding some color

Adding some color

Well, the whole mixture made 6 mega-cupcakes. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, cupcakes come in small, pretty shapes. Well, not in Greece, they don’t — because apparently, in Chania at least, there are no cupcake paper cases in sight. Only some gigantic aluminum ones, that look so wrong. But better than nothing.  At least I had this huge sweet pink delight to satisfy my evening craving.

This had my name all over it.

This had my name all over it.

So cyber world, hello. I’m back and it’s sweet to see you again.

Stranded

Musings

You all know the classic hypothetical situation: If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 items (or one if we want to be strict about it) would you take with you?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because to be honest, it feels like I’m stranded on this desert island for a week now. A desert island of no communication.

Sure, I have all of my material needs, I go out for walks, enjoy the sea and do all of the things I’d forgotten about before I got entangled in the world wide web, but sometimes, I really do wish I could kick my legs up, get my laptop and travel across the distance to feel like I connect with what’s beyond my four-walled room.

Yeah it’s great that this past week, I’ve read four books, I’ve had great me-timing that I’ve been neglecting, I’ve written letters and postcards, I’ve organized my workspace. I’ve even watched a couple of movies. But have I metaphorically travelled beyond my geographical location? Nope. It’s strange how caging that can feel.

It strikes me that Chania could be the desert island — all this water around me and not an internet signal near me. In fact, this is the fourth attempt to post this blog entry, and in the meantime we got our phone connected.I am now one step closer to human contact, and if you want ring me up! The sound of the phone ringing is so startling and fresh, I still get excited over it because to be honest, I’ve been convinced the phone company is secretly laughing at all these chaos its caused and was determined not to fix anything just because.

But don’t listen to me complain. Secretly I’m enjoying all of this new free time: it’s given me a new perspective on my priorities.

So back to the classic dilemma: What would I take on a desert island?

1.

A good book to read through

A good book to read through

2.

A typewriter because it doesn't need require and lets you WRITE WRITE WRITE

A typewriter because it doesn't need recharging and lets you WRITE WRITE WRITE

3.

Some beads to keep me busy and accessorized!

Some beads to keep me busy and accessorized!

What would you take?

Know your rights

Musings

As Europe rushes to the polls to cast a vote in the throes of the European election fever, I’m snuggly seated in my little bead corner, creating like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not politically indifferent at all; I just happen to be out of my home country for these elections.

And between us, maybe that’s a good thing, because leaving the house has now become a rather impossible task — to the point where people are asking my boyfriend if I’m under house arrest.

I am not. It’s all voluntary and here’s why:

In bead heaven!

In bead heaven!

That’s right! My good friend, the mailman, delivered once again! I finally got new beads of all colors and I’m back to creating new things! I’ve posted some new items in my shop, so check them out! Who knew that inspiration itself could be so carefully parceled in bubble-wrap?

In fact, one of the new earrings I made has been featured in a treasury!

Spot the banana in the treasury!

Spot the banana in the treasury!

In fact, I serendipitously logged into treasury at the right time and got a chance to make my own treasury.

Birds of a feather, flock together

Birds of a feather, flock together

Yes, I’m gradually becoming all the more addicted to Etsy, much to the general concern of my boyfriend who claims he’s also an Etsy widower. I knew I should have never forwarded that article.

As for this voting weekend, my vote has been cast. I vote for beads! How about you?

Pass the parcel

Musings

I love giving presents. I am the relentless, year-round version of Santa when it comes to getting the right presents for people I care for. I never stop looking for that which goes beyond the typical. Add to that a sprinkle of surprise and your job is done, surrogate Santa.

I don’t think I’m the only one who likes giving presents – or receiving them for that matter. Everyone likes to feel a little spoiled. Even the most mundane thing in gift wrap looks thoughtfully sweet. So keeping this in mind, I make it a point to spoil all plain bananas customers by free gift packaging and throwing in a sprinkle of magic. Two packages were shipped yesterday, and here’s a sneak peek:

Spoil yourself rotten

Spoil yourself rotten

Each package is unique and the stickers are just a little extra bananas. I’m eager to hear your feedback.

I have mentioned in other posts how much I love receiving mail (and sending it). When it arrives, it usually waits patiently on the ground floor next to various other bills and leaflets until someone checks for it. It’s never delivered to our door on the fifth floor, because for some rather bizarre reason, in Greece apartments don’t bear a number. They are just doors to a floor. So I can assure you that this is not something that happens often (make that “ever”):

Spot the package

Spot the package

First question to pop to mind when I saw this was: How did it get here? and immediately after Why is it under the doormat? After I retrieved it I could feel that inside was a book and I also noticed it was sent from France and was in my boyfriend’s name. I knew he has ordered some travel guides for our summer destinations, but then I couldn’t help but wonder if he had somehow made a mistake and bought a Paris guide in French. Meanwhile, I was somewhat paralyzed, with package in hand, and began opening it slowly as though it contained anthrax or worse. Instead, there was a receipt in French from abebooks and the book Scaphandre et le Papillon. In French. This was a book I coveted since I saw the movie and here was the very first edition snugly under my doormat! My boyfriend later confessed that he bought it for me, though he had no clue as to how it got under there.

As for now, it’s time for a present for myself. I’m ready to buy some basic supplies for more plain bananas items. Before that, take a look at a small something I got to add life to my beading corner — I’m simply in love with it and still haven’t named it. I’m open to your suggestions.

Please name me

Please name me

Make a run for it

Musings

It’s always the case that when I opt for the flight with less layover time at the airport there is a delay with my flight. Result: I have to spend the entire duration of the flight to connecting airport huffing and puffing, fretting about whether I’m going to make my connection at all. Add to that the stress of knowing said connection is the last flight to the island and you’ve got yourself a nerve-wracking trip ahead of you.

That was me on Saturday.

I checked in on time and was informed that the plane had a 20-minute delay, at which point I had already started calculating average time it would take me to get from one gate to another in semi-running (quick pacing) mode. At Cyprus airport I also took care of my bookcrossing item and tried as much as I could to make it a surprise for the next person to discover it.

Chocolate lovers have an advantage.

Chocolate lovers have an advantage

I then waited around the gate patiently and finally boarded the plane only to hear over the speakers an announcement that the plane would have a further delay of 20 minutes. Estimated time to get from gate of arrival to gate of departure: 15 minutes. Swell.

I moved up to the first row of economy class and knew that upon landing I had to RUN. And I did. We arrived at the furthest possible gate and I raced through the entire Eleftherios Venizelos, the whole time feeling like I was re-enacting a scene from Run Lola Run. I got to the gate on the dot and managed to make it home in one piece. And breathless.

Being back to base and my beading-corner-of-a-factory feels great. Yesterday I made a lot of new earrings, which I’ll post on flickr today as well as Etsy. Gradually the shop is growing and by tonight I hope to have updated all of my items that are currently available for sale. First order goes out today and I might post a photo of it in the next entry because if anything, it’s the start of something big (or even big-small). And this leaves me breathless too.

Stick to your choices

Jewelry, Musings

A boxful of pearly beads has been eagerly waiting for me at the post office for a few days now and I managed to pick it up today. I haven’t taken any photos of the new material I have to work with but I can tell you that I’m very inspired. If I add to that the inspiration I have got from the hand-me-down beads I’ve received thus far from all my great supporting friends and family who are more than happy to see old, forgotten or hated necklaces transformed in a brand new persona, it’s enough to have me doing nothing else all day here.

But that’s pretty much impossible as anyone who’s tried to cram a few months’ worth of a visit in one tiny week knows. I have been on the go constantly, maximizing my time here and trying to see as many of the people I have missed enough to last me through the summer. My efforts have been so focused on seeing people that it wasn’t until today that I managed to venture into downtown Larnaca for the first time. I have been here for 4 days and the shop / coffee-shop magnet just hasn’t had the same draw on me. It’s no wonder with all these new beads I have, to play with.

In fact, today I actually toyed with a new set of earrings featuring buttons, which I’ll probably feature tomorrow when I finish them off. I also made a new pair of earrings for a friend — her smile and excitement was the best reward and completely empowered me. I love giving presents, especially plain good ones.

Here’s a mediocre photo of the earrings: Plain Chris. It was taken in a rush because I had to dash off to dinner, so look beyond the lighting.

Customized to her aura

Customized to her aura

The top bead is actually silver and I personally loved this pair!

In other great news, my cards are off for printing. I hope to have them this week and I will include some photos of them in a coming entry or two. It’s just plain fantastic and I’m going bananas!

And lastly, I’ll leave you with a taste of real Cyprus. For those of you lucky enough to live here or be familiar with the place, enjoy this photo. In the true spirit of the island, it celebrates free will, public disregard and political correctness all in one.

Translation on announcement: We respect the choices of people around us. We don't smoke in non-smoking areas.

Translation on announcement: We respect the choice of people around us. We don't smoke in non-smoking areas.

This was on every table, as were the two ashtrays. In Cyprus, everyone’s choice is respected for sure.