Switch off

Commentary

Today I’m not going to drink more than three cups of tea, no matter how much I convince myself that my throat hurts or I have that craving. I will drink more water and I will make a mental tally of the liters I down by night time. It will be close to the big two and I will feel a sense of achievement for doing something that should be part of my mundane routine anyway.

I will not spend hours getting tangled up in website links and referrals and e-mails and replies. I don’t have to update my facebook status or tweet that I’m drinking water for the day because it is not important. I will not open photoshop to edit any one of my candidate photos for flickr. I won’t even browse other photographs for inspiration and I most definitely will not log in on tumblr. All that inspiration and clicks can be downright distracting, especially if it leads me to etsy. I cannot allow myself to go on etsy, or any other online shop for that matter, because today of all days, there will be no window shopping. Even my metaphorical wallet is empty.

I will make the bed in the morning, and I will actually eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day I persistently choose to forget. I will call my mom to see how she is because I will remember to reach out across the telephone line that separates the measly distance between us. If I’m ambitious, I will also make the 10-minute drive to see my grandmother, who speaks in television language because that is all the company she has. I will make her day by sitting down next to her and listening to all the episodes I missed during the week. I will call my friends for a casual coffee drink of water and I will make the effort to be more than a Facebook friend.

Today, I will set aside time to read my book, even if I’ve forgotten its title from the time it’s been to hold it. I will not do this before I sleep because I want to read more than just a couple of sentences. I will write in my real journal, not my blog, about the thoughts in my mind, the things I most wish for, the quotidien that saturates my minutes. I will think of friends abroad and actually call them. Or better yet, I will sit down and write them a letter, not an e-mail. I will play songs I’ve forgotten about and I will sing along fearlessly. I will take a walk on the beach and I will write a poem. I will jot down my ideas on actual paper that is inside a thought notebook, not a post-it note.

Today, I’m changing everything. It all starts today.

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The coolest spot in town

Commentary

You know you’ve come across a real treasure when there’s a sign on the window reading: “This must be the place”. The phrase sneaks up on you unsuspectingly as you walk up the stairs of a building that seems to have given up on life. Eyes focused on the marble mosaic steps, you glance up to check if you’re on the right floor — the floor that houses the gallery, that is. And then you see the epigraph like a divine sign. Why yes, this must be the place, you realize as you look beyond the glass window into a vast room jammed packed with creativity.

An invitation to enter

And then the confusion sets in. Is it someone’s house? (Maybe, but the door is wide open.) Is it open to the public? (It could be since there’s a small Menu  sign hanging outside.) Does it really serve coffee? (It looks like a shop.) And then you notice the coffee gear behind the tall counter and you sigh with relief because you really want to go in and chill out. And pretend it’s your home. I sure did.

The perfect reading corner

It’s not often that I come across something I don’t want to vent about. But this etsy-in-a-box shop by far caught me by surprise. And the coffee was just an added bonus!

The official name of the place is The House of Larimeloon and you can find out more about it here. If you’re in Nicosia and you are looking for something different, check it out. It’s a true breath of fresh air right in the middle of the city.

But be warned: you’ll fall in love with half the things there; be it retro sunnies, refurbished chairs or my personal favorite: handmade stuffed animals. I guarantee you’ll leave with a list of things you want to add to your budget for next time. But hands off the stuffed penguin — it’s got my name written all over it!

I leave you with some photos and a promise to see you there.

Hard to choose only one

Having a good browse

Colorfully playful

Our table number

Feeling "at home" with a friend

Hmm what to wear?

We were amused with the inscribed message on sugar packets. It reads: "My sweet sugar".

Reads: "Sugar as a sweet as our love"

See you all for coffee!

All photos taken by ssj_george

House, Haus, Chaos

Jewelry, Musings

Replace the word home with chaos, which sounds like “house” with a foreign accent, and welcome to my world. Coming through the door is still a struggle as there are various boxes and the like blocking the view. My mental sanity? In shreds, packed away in bubblewrap somewhere.

The other day, with all the cleaning and whatnot, we managed to lose the dog. Lose the dog in an apartment, mind you. There are only so many places it could go:

  • under bed? CHECK
  • under chair? CHECK
  • next to the couch by the wall? CHECK
  • the veranda? CHECK
  • squeezed by the laundry basket? CHECK

I was running out of places and she wouldn’t answer to her name. Then I stumbled onto this:

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?

She found her way into the wardrobe and thought it looked nice and cosy. She made her own little version of “Do not disturb”.

When I’m not looking for dogs or fighting my way past the entrance, I’m busy in more ways than one. I recently got a big job that’s exciting but will keep me very very busy. Right now I’m finally back on normal full schedule and this is totally catching up with me. Despite all this, I managed to make a new pair of earrings that I have yet to photograph for Etsy because I’m always working at the time when I like the light the most. Maybe this Saturday…

plain buttoned up

plain buttoned up

This should be listed in my shop soon. I will start working feverishly for some new stuff because I’ll be taking part in a crafters’ fair that’s taking place around Halloween. It’s going to be my first fair so I’m very excited about it, and I have all sorts of ideas about new plain bananas items. Be patient, will you?

Speaking of bananas, I was ecstatic to discover that I made the front page on Sunday! This totally made my day and I’d like to thank palepink for this. Here it is:

plain africa in the spotlight!

plain africa in the spotlight!

Hope you’re enjoying your week. Soon, some photos of my chaos. And I’m not messing with you.

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

plain bananas has friendsIt’s Friday and I made it just in time! The days have been speeding past me like the Roadrunner and I hear that all familiar “beep beep” entirely too late. School starts this week and so this Friday could be the last one with my sanity all intact. Things are bound to get a little hectic (a little is my favorite denial word at the moment), but why should I care about this when I can have a feast of color, style and fabric. Hold tight, because my friend today will make you want to get dressed up in your favorite girly heels and venture out  á la Sex and the City.

Meet Carol whose creative hands bring to us the wonderful items of yorktownroad.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

Right now, Carol is exactly where she’d like to be. Ok, ok, if you’re thinking she’s behind the computer monitor like you and me, then you’re partly right. She does tend to spend a lot of time on the web (who doesn’t?). But, no, I meant that she’s doing something she’s always wanted. Her background in business operations, finance and management in the clothing industry, was well-suited to her natural progression to opening her own Etsy shop.

Despite being a popular seller on Etsy in her two-year online presence, Carol loves to spend time with her kids, enjoys taking random photos and keeping fit. She has my kind of schedule: She doesn’t do mornings, preferring to work late into the night instead. Late at night, inspiration always comes right?

Carol, had a few things to share with you. Ready?

Raised line clutch - darkest pink

Raised line clutch - darkest pink

My name is…Carol Gilbert

I make… accessories for women and the home using hand-dyed linens and repurposed leathers.

I’m inspired by… the unexpected. I never know what will spark my imagination. Sometimes it is the way my daughter Audrey describes the shape of a cloud or sometimes a broken twig I find on the ground. It can be a song or eyes that are so sparkling and blue.

Petite zip - starburst pleat

Petite zip - starburst pleat

I cannot live without… my family.

An item I’ve made that was hard to let go… was a scarf, I kept it and wear it every winter.

I create because… It allows me to express who I am without using words. I’m not very good with words. Or, as my daughter once told her friends, “my mom makes things, it’s just what she does”.

Wavy pleat zip

Wavy pleat zip

If I could learn another art it would be… graffiti art / street art (without breaking the law of course). I am often amazed at how incredible these artists are… there is a bold sense of freedom and movement in their work and I would love to express in that way. Or sculpture.

My website is… http://www.yorktownroad.com and will soon have an entire new look. I also have a yorktown road page on facebook.

I blog because… I don’t, I’m not very good with words but I do keep a photoblog on flickr.

The gorgeous fabrics Carol works with

The gorgeous fabrics Carol works with

One day… I used to start many sentences with that phrase. Now I’m trying to focus more on the reality of “today” and to make today the best it can be.

I started… refurbishing our home 3 years ago. It’s taking far too long and I don’t know if we will ever get it done.

I always…daydream.

If I were a color I would be…grey – it’s very subtle and nondescript at first glance yet when you look closely, it has a lot of depth.

Patched zip

Patched zip

My full-time job… not sure how I would describe it but my titles seem to be “mom” and “hon”. Truthfully, my full time job is making all the aspects of my life work together. Family, business and personal. There are months where it can be difficult but it usually works out fine.

In a nutshell…I love what I do

In a bigger nutshell…I do what I love and try to enjoy each day.

You can find yorktownroad here:

Etsy: http://www.yorktownroad.etsy.com

Website: http://www.yorktownroad.com

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yorktownroad/

Or you can become a fan of her work on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/yorktown-road/40048936447

I leave you with some more of her stunning work. Dress up and go out — that’s what I feel like doing after browsing all these enviable clutch bags. Have a great weekend!

Zip - black - repurposed leather

Zip - black - repurposed leather

Petite zip - 8 line

Petite zip - 8 line

Pillow slip - grass

Pillow slip - grass

Mum tote - grey

Mum tote - grey

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)

Math Monday

math monday

mathsbananas

I’m getting better with the days. Granted it’s 1 a.m. (sort of) but for my purposes it’s still Monday night. I just managed to steal some minutes at the end of a rather longish day, and now it’s time to do the math.

  • 1 new listing on Etsy finally! Oh yeah, this banana has risen from the Etsy dead. I’ve managed to locate my beads, and supplies but the frames I use to take photos with the jewelry are still in the mysterious box no. 7 which is nowhere near me, right now.
Caution: not edible!

Caution: not edible!

  • 6 is the number of boxes I have unpacked. You might be wondering what’s taking so long — I keep going on and on about boxes. I should be done already, right? Well not quite. I’ve just moved to my apartment and it will soon undergo major renovation, so I’m not too quick with unpacking things that don’t need to be out of their boxes yet. It’s going to be a long while before I manage to call this place my home, but I love changes, and boy am I excited.
  • 5-digit number, which I dare not mention, is the cost of the whole renovation. I was doing the math earlier this evening along with the carpenter. I’m quite optimistically looking beyond the big sum of expenses and envisioning the big change and long-term investment. Wouldn’t you?
  • 1.5 job interviews for my sister. The .5 is for the second part of the interview which involves some hands-on creativity tomorrow with a live brief (by the way, my sister’s a graphic designer / illustrator and she designs anything plain bananas you see). I’m hoping you can cross your fingers too.
  • 1 new pair of earrings that I have yet to list. The perfect way to end a long day of numbers.
Look beyond the bad lighting

Look beyond the bad lighting

Coming soon, a photo of the kitchen I’ve chosen and my clean desk. Ok, I’ll sneak in one of the sea from my balcony too.

How was your week in numbers?

Front Page News

Jewelry

My Poster Sketch was pretty dusty since I hadn’t used it in over a month. Yesterday I was determined to catch myself a treasury, and as luck would have it, both T-Main and T-West opened at the same time. I couldn’t miss one even if I tried.

In the mini heat wave we’re going through right now, all I could think of was cooler weather. I never used to be an Autumn person, but then I grew up. I used to think that it was perfect to lay on the beach scantily clad frying, but now all I think about is skin cancer. Or my skin shriveling. Or dying of dehydration.

So Autumn, I welcome very enthusiastically. My treasury proves it.

This was the first treasury I made from home, Cyprus, and perhaps I wouldn’t have been as inspired otherwise. My mom was trying to get through the Etsy lingo as I explained what each button and purpose was, and in my secret exasperation (why doesn’t she just know this stuff?) I failed to notice the good luck she was sprinkling all over the place.

Why?

Well, check this out:
etsy fp

Oh yeah. Total surprise! I was so thrilled my 5-minute Internet browse turned into a little more than that.

So mom, thanks. Autumn, hurry up!

Enjoy your Sunday. I’ll be painting the wall of my teaching room and don’t worry, I’ll share some before and after photos!

Plain best customer ever

Jewelry

I must have mentioned that at some point in July, I got home to a wonderful surprise — Stella stumbled upon my shop and fell in love with my plain yin and yang earrings. I got a wonderful message from her that completely made my day. Recently (read: a month ago, in my recent internet past), she sent me a photo of herself wearing the earrings! One more location on the plain bananas map: Montreal.

Thank you Stella!

Thank you Stella!

You can catch more of Stella here.

Our Big Fat Greek Summer Giveaway

Jewelry

Greek Summer Giveaway

Everyone likes freebies. I’m a big sucker for the buy-one-get-one-free deal, because let’s face it: a present is a present. And giveaways are giveaways. The Etsy Greek Street Team, has put together a big giveaway that will be won by seven people! On the edge of your seat? Sit tight and read on how you can be a lucky winner!

The rules are simple: Visit the participating shops through their links, found below, make a purchase of $10 or more (excluding shipping costs) from one or more shops and enter the draw to take place on September 2, for the seven free gift packages on offer! All purchases in the month of July and August will be considered as entries.

Oh and the bonus: The more items you buy, the more entries you get in the draw.

Shops participating in the giveaway have the banner and announcement on their shop.

Oh and the prizes? Here’s some eye-candy for you:

pack_1

1. from FLORENTINES – Leather Flip Flops / Custom made
2. from MATTAK – Handmade pendant / Silver & Bronze
3. from PLAIN BANANAS – plain Walk on the Beach — Leg bracelet / beads, shells, charms
4. from THEPRINCESSNEXTDOOR – Papier Mache earrings

pack_2

5. from TRISEVYENI – Copper earrings / Goldfilled earwires
6. from NAZOZUBUS – Handmade Rose Brooch
7. from KARMOLOGYCLINIC – Colorful Summer handbag
8. from AMORONIA– Alice in Wonderland – Rabbit / Paper Mache Brooch

pack_3

9 . from NAFSIKA – Ethnic style sterling silver earrings
10. from ARTISTICO – You are always here / Limited Edition – Print – size A4
11. from MOONSTONEJEWEL – Necklace Antique Golden Butterfly
12. from ONSTAGE69 – Summer fun shell bracelet

pack_4

13. from EVRYDIKI – Sterling Silver earrings / pearl, amethyst, red coral
14. from HEARTSHAPEDCREATIONS – Polar Bear / polymer clay 1,4” in height
15. from SIVYLLA – Dreamy Flip Flops / Custom made
16. from LACRAVATTENDUCHIEN – Multi strand necklace

pack_5

17. from THEPRINCESSNEXTDOOR – Papier Mache bracelet
18. from AMORONIA – Alice in Wonderland – Mad Hatter / Paper Mache Brooch
19. from ARTISTICO – Only Time / Limited Edition – Print – size A4
20. from NERAIDODHMIOURGIES – Blue Love – Key chain

pack_6

21. from VANTIDESIGNS – Felt Necklace / wool, beads, ribbons
22. from ANTIGONI – I like to rock… / Sterling silver earrings, Swarovski, lucite
23. from ONSTAGE69 – Lambwork Lady Bug
24. from ARTISTICO – U2 / Limited Edition – Print – size A4

pack_7

25. from ANTIGONI – Flower bracelet / Sterling Silver, Natural flower, gemstone
26. from CREATIONSBYEVE – Lipstick case
27. from POLINDIM – Adjustable ring / polymer clay, robbon, tulle, button
28. from AEGEANSEA – Six handmade batic gift cards / Blank

Those are a lot of presents waiting to be won!! If you would like some more information about the giveaway, click here. If you already have your eye on the group of prizes you’d like to win, start checking out all that wonderful Greek talent on Etsy.

Happy shopping and good luck!

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

You’re onto me, I know. You’ve checked your calendar and now I’m exposed. It’s Saturday — in fact, it’s not just any Saturday, it’s Independence Day Saturday (in the US). I should have posted this entry yesterday, but there were so many things going on that I actually ended up staying away from the laptop mostly. To my immense shock, real life hasn’t lost its charm at all and I didn’t even witness Etsy withdrawal symptoms. Gasp!

If you live in the States, or celebrate this day wherever on the globe you may be, I’m sure there are plenty of sizzling moments and mouthwatering bites to attend to. Don’t worry, this post will be just enough to wet your appetite. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and feast on the wonderful whimsyandspice!

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

My name is…Jenna Park.

I make…designs and Mark, my husband and partner, makes food.

I’m inspired by…anyone who has a lot of passion and enthusiasm for what they do.

I cannot live without…my computer (sadly) and my family.

An item I’ve made that was hard to let go…a pair of stereo speakers.

Coconut Five Spice White Chocolate cookies

Coconut Five Spice White Chocolate cookies

I create because…it’s something I’ve always done, though it has evolved from pencil and paint, to music and the piano, to computer and photography.

I wish I…had some sushi right now.

If I could learn another art it would be…another musical instrument.

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies

My website is…our lifeline and a realized dream.

I blog because…it keeps me sane.

One day…I will get more sleep.

I started…to draw a little again.

I always…take pictures.

If I were a color I would be…a dusty, purply grey.

Homemade Maple Marshmallows

Homemade Maple Marshmallows

My full-time job…consists of 3 things: design, cookies, and parenthood.

In a nutshell…I’m pretty happy with the way my life has turned out, despite it not being anything I imagined it would be.

In a bigger nutshell…I have bigger things that I want to accomplish because I still feel like something is missing creatively from my life, but I know that it’s a lifelong process as we are always growing and learning.

You can find whimsyandspice here:

shop: http://www.whimsyandspice.com

blog: http://www.sweetfineday.com

twitter: http://twitter.com/whimsyandspice

etsy: http://whimsyandspice.etsy.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating right now. I wish I had those earl grey cookies, or some divine marshmallows. Too bad you don’t ship to Europe Jenna — I would be an avid muncher.

I leave you with the whimsyandspice family, some more delicious photos and some sweet parceled thoughts to all my American friends out there. I miss all of you!

The sweet trio behing whimsyandspice

The sweet trio behing whimsyandspice

Whimsy and Spice classic sampler box

Whimsy and Spice classic sampler box

Brown Sugar Gingerspice shortbread cookies

Brown Sugar Gingerspice shortbread cookies

Rose and Black Pepper Thumbprints

Rose and Black Pepper Thumbprints

Cinnamon Chocolate Malt biscotti

Cinnamon Chocolate Malt biscotti