To-do or not to-do.

Jewelry

To-do. To-do. To-do. Almost sounds like a beat, doesn’t it? Day in, day out I’m drumming to my own beat as defined by my ever-expanding to-do list. Yes, post-its used to cut it, but no, now I need to jot things down in a special to-do notebook. The pleasure of crossing things off is hardly a secret; all you have to do is flip through pages and pages of messy, lines almost carved into the page. Such satisfaction, such sense of achievement.

Of course, I have recurrent items in this list. One of these that keeps creeping up on me is a classic: Spend less time online, more time in real life. This one is hardly ever crossed off, but it serves as a kind reminder. Until yesterday, that is.

The night before I diligently added this on my to-do list, and woke up into the set of any basic Christmas movie — my wish had been granted: I had neither a phone line nor internet. Sure I was exasperated, but first things first: I got a pen, and crossed this haunting bullet point off without any restraint.

So a day without internet (yes, it only lasted one day), suddenly gave me a lot of free time. In fact, it was enough free time to do another little something I’ve had on my list for days — change the plain banana look. It’s only appropriate to show you a “before” picture:

Old bananas

Old bananas

More old bananas

More old bananas

So yesterday, stuck without internet, I finally started on the project to revamp my shop with some more cohesive photos. I loved using different backgrounds and textures for my photos, but after some reflection, I decided that the general look was all over the place and there were too many things to focus on at once. So, with this in mind, I wanted to take some fresh photos that tied the bananas jewelry together as a good cluster of fresh items.

What do you think?

Some fresh bananas

Some fresh bananas

Some more fresh bananas

Some more fresh bananas

Your feedback will be appreciated! Please tell me what you think of the new plain bananas. Personally, I’m liking the fresh look of cohesion. Thank you failing internet!

Of course, Internet was reinstated today and so I was able to slave away all day in front of my monitor to renovate the shop’s look. It was a perfect dose of withdrawal and I got to scratch out two things from my to-do list.

Next up, get the phone working. Tech support claims to be working on it, but who believes them? There wasn’t meant to be a phone / internet cut to begin with, but here we are now. A new look and no phone.

You can’t always win.

Let there be light

Jewelry

Project du-jour: How to make a cost-effective (read: no cost) lightbox for great photos of your jewelry.

I found various how-tos online and ended up making two lightboxes (using the same box — after all, the point is to be cost-effective). In my general excitement I clearly equated lightbox to photo perfection.

Lightbox #1 brought no such thing. Lightbox #2 ditto.

There I was, sitting on the floor as though meditating — an oxymoron of sorts, given my exasperated expression and sweaty brow, because let me tell you, having those lights around the lightbox is no laughing matter. It’s definitely not you’re average “don’t sweat it” project at all. Add to that the fact that I was leaning and craning my neck over the box while sitting on the floor until my brittle sense of logic  turned me toward the table and you have yourself the iconic sign of blondness. I can stand AND take photos? My, what luxury!

Here’s what the homemade version of a light-box looks like (well, my home-made version, anyway):

In the spotlight

In the spotlight

And just when I started getting the hang of things, my camera battery died. At least that gave me a chance to cool off and take a photographic break.

Tomorrow, this lightbox is my new toy and I’m just going to play with it. Also, planning a major revamp of shop, which will hopefully happen tomorrow. Till then, stay away from the spotlight — it makes you all icky.

Summertime and the living is easy

Jewelry, Musings

Ok, so it’s technically not summer yet — we’re still a week or so away from entering the summer month triad. Yeah, sure, go ahead and convince me that with 30 ℃ there’s still a week left until summer. I won’t buy that. It’s here — I can smell it, feel it and even sweat it. Out come the sandals and dresses, the summer hats and sunscreens and bring on the ice, will you please? It’s boiling out here.

But out here, is where I want to be. I find it hard staying indoors when the weather is treating me to this abundance of sunlight. Cleaning our relatively big veranda was a task we’ve been postponing for a few weeks, but with mercury rising, Saturday had us doing the unavoidable. And today, I’ve been doing nothing more than laze around outside, drinking my coffee, reading my book and enjoying the evening breeze.

My summer table

On the veranda, where I pretend I'm at a coffee shop

I couldn’t even bring myself to stay indoors and work on my little beading corner, even though I really wanted to create today. Solution: move the beads outside and create to my heart’s content.

Last night, on a walk down Chania’s old harbor, I suddenly realized how buzzing every place was — so many tourists, so many locals out for a drink in the cool breeze of these early summer nights. The island is dressed in its summery persona already and I felt lucky to be living the island life, so close by the sea.

Inspired by these realizations, you won’t be surprised to see that the result of my beading efforts led me to island colors and beachy themes. Sea-shells definitely couldn’t be absent from these leg bracelets I made:

She wears seashells by the seashore

She wears seashells by the seashore

I will be listing these on Etsy as soon as I take some more photos on a beach location near me. I have to say, I’m in love with the colors, and I’m so glad it’s summer.

On a different note, the first plain bananas package has safely arrived at its destination. I will be mapping the plain bananas’ journey across the globe (though after much frustration, I’m still looking for a map to do this online – open to suggestions) with buyers’ pictures. It’s an open invitation to help me with the project and already the first item has been mapped. Thank you Gigi for the love and the photo. Plain Bananas loves you too.

Here’s where these earrings have gone:

(If you would like to see a map of this, you can always check my flickr account, which is the only place I have input this, so far).

plain bananas travels to Philadelphia

plain bananas travels to Philadelphia

The journey will continue.

Summer, welcome back.

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.

On paper

Jewelry
It's official!

It's official!

Pour the wine, let’s have a toast because plain bananas is now finally on business cards. I still can’t believe it myself, and constantly need to check the stash in my wallet, that’s patiently waiting to more from hand-to-hand.

What’s more, my earring cards and stickers are done too, and here’s a sample (and the first thing I did as soon as I returned from the printer’s).

Pick me! Pick me!

Pick me! Pick me!

This day has been positively ecstatic and unquestionably tiring and I feel like I’m ready to collapse. Flying back to base tomorrow, where I’ll post more items on my etsy shop now that I’ve taken all the necessary photos. Look out for it.

If you would like to receive plain bananas postcard mail, let me know. Also if you love plain bananas and want to support it, let me know if you’d like your stash of cards to get going on the move. Remember, the power of this verb is great so feel it and PASS IT ON.

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.

Today is the day

Jewelry

I have three words for you:

BERLIN

PARIS

ETSY

Summer plans have been set in concrete after I spent most of last night and a lot of today checking for the cheapest prices, the best routes, dates, budget and definitely paranoid about not making any mistake. That’s the problem when you have multiple destinations and multiple tabs on your navigator. Something is bound to go wrong if you’re as absent-minded as me. Thus, the paranoia. But, Berlin is calling, Paris, je t’aime and summer, I cannot wait for you.

And speaking of not being able to wait, here is something I’ve been holding my breath for:

My virtual window display

My virtual window display

The digital doors are open and more of my jewelry will soon be on display. A photo shoot awaits me tomorrow, as does updating and general sorting out of the shop. I simply cannot wait to watch this project come to full fruition.

This day has been absolutely plain bananas: plans for travel have been confirmed, as has my plan to open a shop. It really does feel that the world is my oyster today, and all it took was the persistent shifting through multiple tabs on my Safari and a little creativity.

Go ahead and mess with me

Jewelry

I’ve made a mess and I’m happy about it.

Don't move anything!

Don't move anything!

I’m back to walking around with beads in my hands, and losing sleep over new design ideas. It finally feels like my life is resuming those faint hues of routine I allow and that gives me a sense of comfort. The new task is to take photos of the new things I’ve made, which I’ve attempted today with the new big tripod my boyfriend bought. Just as I secured the camera and took a testing photo, the camera battery died. Lesson learned: No fancy photo shooting before checking the basics.

In a few days, there will be another small, welcome disruption to the routine in the form of a getaway to Cyprus. It will only be for a week and it will bring me one step closer to opening my Etsy shop since I’ll be getting my cards printed. Finally!

I’m quite looking forward to a dose of something familiar. As much as I like to deny it, I do miss it sometimes. But for now, back to the mess!

Mad Hatter celebrations

Musings

Written on the wall

Written on the wall

I have been busy all weekend with general birthday festivities. What with the recent move, the tones on Friday were low and to make up for it I chose to extend the birthday spirit across the whole stretch of the weekend. In true mad-hatter tone, I declared a celebration and yes, a very merry Unbirthday to me! Friday was low-key, Saturday was artistic and Sunday was a true celebration.

Let me start at the beginning: The real thing. On Friday, I woke up to not one but two bouquets of flowers. This was a perfect excuse to buy a vase, which we sorely needed. Little did we know that the vase we eventually chose was nothing more than an impostor vase! Just look how wonderful it looks in the photo I took in my midnight enthusiasm (at the far back is my creative beading corner) and imagine how deflated I felt in the morning when I moved it and discovered that it actually leaked onto the table.

Alstroemeria and lilies in fake vase

Alstroemeria and lilies in fake vase

Upon complaining at the shop, we were told in a very matter-of-fact, “duh” tone that the vase is meant for decoration, not water, surely! As are all other vases in that shop, apparently. Great — a vase that’s not really a vase, but an ornament. Thanks.

On Saturday, we ventured out for a photographic expedition at dusk, only to discover to my utter blondeness that I had forgotten my camera. I looked around finding all sorts of photographs I couldn’t capture, and meanwhile being devoured by mosquitoes thirsty for blood. The night ended at one of my favourite hangouts here in Chania, with a lot of wine, plenty of laughs and nuts for dinner. Yum!

The festivities culminated with cake, presents and general birthday shenanigans. A friend also had a birthday today so the celebrations were joined and run along the theme of Eddie Izzard’s Cake or Death. Appropriately, the cake combined both, so you didn’t have to choose. It was cake WITH death and it was pretty good.

I think I'll have deathcake

I think I'll have deathcake

Yum!

Yum!

The cake was so good, there is hardly any left over and that’s a good thing because there’s no more room in the fridge (or our stomachs!). I loved loved loved the Japanese presents I got: funky origami geisha to make, the coolest stationery set, green tea in a geisha tin and cherry blossom tea in the cutest packaging ever! I can’t wait to put all those presents to good use; as of tomorrow I’m getting things into gear and finishing up whatever unpacking needs to be done.

It’s time to get back on the writing track and beading. I can’t wait to make a mess of my workspace and let’s not forget that there’s still the etsy shop to open. Coming this week, and boy am I excited!

Oh and a very merry unbirthday to you!!