Ready for the off…

Days 4 and 5 of the Summer project

We’re off again soon, on our way to a Greek island again. (Crete, in fact.)  Knowing that wifi is a bit erratic, well, FREE wifi can be and I’m too cheap to consider paying for it, I thought I’d write a post in advance so that, while we are away, all I have to do is my Challenge tile, pop it in and post it. (Not quite that simple, of course. Being less than skilled with the internet and blogging, I have to get my daughter back in the UK to attach it to the linky thing on the Diva website/blog, as I’ve never worked out how to do that bit from my tablet.)

We’ve been there before and it is so lovely that we are going back. We will be staying in the small village of Piskopiano. I translated this from the Greek as musical fish but apparently that’s not the case. Shame really, it has a whimsical charm. This is what I found out about the place:

traditional house in piskopiano

Piskopiano and its history

Piskopiano seems to have been founded in the Middle Ages, when pirate raids drove people away from the coast to seek the safety of the hills, far from the sea.

The first mention of the village was in 1379, when it was part of the bishopric of Hersonissos (casale Piscopiano de Chersonisso). In 1583 it appears again as a small village of 111 inhabitants.

Later the Turks succeeded the Venetians, and in the first census they held, in 1671, the village had 15 taxable Christian families. This information is drawn from the historian Stergios Spanakis, whom everybody plagiarises but almost nobody acknowledges.

Today Piskopiano belongs to Hersonissos Municipality and has 450 inhabitants. The wave of tourism that spread out from the coast from the 1950s onwards has brought about great changes to all the villages. Old buildings have been restored and turned into hotels, not always in the traditional style, and the inhabitants have abandoned farming for tourism.

Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to discover any other information on the development of the village through the ages. Piskopiano, here for so many centuries, must have its own history. We hope that in future we will find the right sources or meet the right people to tell us more about it.

Sights in Piskopiano

The most important sight in Piskopiano is the village itself. Leave the main street and wander round the narrow streets, looking for the old houses still standing. If you see a sign to the Piskopiano Museum, ignore it because the Museum is no longer there (there is information that it will reopen in 2010).

I wonder if the museum did reopen…

We stayed in the next village last time we were there, a slightly bigger place than Piskopiano called Koutouloufari. It took me all week to be able to pronounce it. It’s up the hill from the seaside resort of Hersonissos, with glorious views out to sea. Now, although we will spend a fair amount of time on the beach and in the sea – or by the pool- we will spend each evening strolling through the three local villages, carefully selecting which taverna to eat in and breathing in the lovely herbal smells that drift through the air.

We also intend to visit Elounda and Spinalonga this time, if we can. The island of Spinalonga was, until not that long ago, a leper colony and its story, well, that of its inhabitants really, is heartrending.

The island was subsequently used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. It is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. The last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962. 

Not my own photo but I’m reliably informed this is what it looks like.

There were two entrances to Spinalonga, one being the lepers’ entrance, a tunnel known as “Dante‘s Gate”. This was so named because the patients did not know what was going to happen to them once they arrived. However, once on the island they received food, water, medical attention and social security payments. Previously, such amenities had been unavailable to Crete’s leprosy patients, as they mostly lived in the area’s caves, away from civilization.

There are books about it, both fact and fiction and none of them make for a happy read, as you can imagine, but they do reflect the strength and resilience of the human spirit.  So Spinalonga is on the list. We’ve done Knossos in the past and it is fascinating but annoying too. It’s fascinating for all the reasons you might expect and is an amazing glimpse into the Bronze Age and before. There is evidence to suggest that legends like that of the Minotaur had elements of truth before becoming Greek myths. But the man who excavated the site was a tad individualistic in his methods, restoring what he thought it would probably have looked like rather than always supporting it with real evidence. Nevertheless, it’s truly fascinating and well worth a visit. BUT, if you go, go in the morning. Temperatures soar as the day wears on and there is no shade, none, zero, nothing. And take water with you too, if you want to survive the visit.

Days 6 and 7. You will note that I went for a simpler background this time

There are other glorious sites to visit on the island, but whether we see them this time or not will depend on the heat and how tempted we are by the sea and the joys of snorkelling.

I’ve been keeping up with the tangling for the Summer Project so far, although I had a laugh at my own expense. I had deliberately chosen bijou tiles because they are small and I didn’t want to take on something that would prove to be too much. So why, I ask myself, did I start doing acres of patterning on the pages themselves?  ‘Cos I’m daft, that’s why.

Anyway, I’m trying to get myself under control and frame the tiles with something a bit simpler from now on. Doh!

So the Diva Challenge is next  and this week she asks us to use the tangle Dansk, by Margaret Bremner. It coincides with the need for a floral tile for the Summer Project, so I’ve combined the two. It’s on a bijou tile, so very small. 

So that’s all for now. The case is all but packed, the passports and tickets have been checked and double checked. Wheeeee!

Until I speak to you from across the water, be good world. (Well, as always, good-ish)


It’s not where you start….

Travelling Tangles starter 1. Can’t remember the name of this one

I suddenly have several new projects on the go at the same time. (It’s not a new thing, I do tend to be a bit all or nothing, not to mention obsessive and addicted too.) Fortunately, my addictions tend to be to crafts rather than substances, although I occasionally wonder if cocaine would be cheaper! I do spend rather a lot on pens, paper, card, paints, inks, stamps and stamp pads, dies and embossing folders and I simply cannot, I mean CANNOT walk past a stationery shop. No, not a shop that doesn’t move, a shop with pens and so on. It’s as if I have a sort of bungee chord attached and I just bounce right back on in there.

Not happy with these yet. More work needed. Much more!


So I’ve got my monthly swap on Artist Trading Card swap, which this month is the one where you do a bijou and attach it to a normal tile. Challenging but fun. I need to do five of these to send off round the world – well, mainly USA. These are numbers three and four out of the five I need to do.


Like this
I’ve joined these with a brad so the bijou will swing round


Then I’ve joined Travelling Tangles for the first time. A bit nervous about this one because I’ve seen what people can do and there are some extremely talented members of this group. There is a theme of flowers or floral with this swap, so I have done my five starter tiles with that in mind. I’ve done coloured backgrounds using a stamp pad and dauber, then just one motif type pattern on each one.

Pattern is Huabao by YuRu Chen
This one is called Priyanka by Smita Toke
And this is Heli, by Shazia

Like a fool I didn’t make a note of the patterns used, but they are all on my Pinterest page under How to’s and Step Outs if you feel a desperate urge to find out more! In fact, hang on a minute, I’ll go and look…..   Well, I found all but one of them.



I’ll put them in the mail tomorrow and wait with bated breath to see what people do with them.  And then there’s the Summer journal for Zentangle. I showed you the cover a couple of posts ago and now it has begun. Day 1 was to include just one word, so in spite of world events, or perhaps because of them,  I chose Peace. I’ve had John Lennon in the back of my head recently, singing “Give Peace a Chance” so that was my focus for this little bijou tile. For Day 2 it was one of these fragment/reticula things they keep going on about at Zentangle HQ but, since I can’t afford the Primer and won’t afford all the stuff on the Zentangle Mosaic App, I sort of had to guess this one.  I know the app is free but it’s then view only and every breath after that has to be paid for. I feel slightly ripped off,  so I don’t use it, even though I have it on my tablet.) And for Day 3 we were to use String 153 from And here they all are together on their page, joined with just a few ribbons – didn’t want to get over ambitious!

So I’m not unhappy with where it’s started, just hoping I can keep it up for three whole months…

Day 4 was to use purple and feel free to do with it as you will, so I did. The purple background is a bit fortuitous, as I used three shades of Promarker pens, which don’t always like water colour card. Howver, since I knew I was patterning over it, I wasn’t too worried, until the pinkiest of them turned out to be running dry and didn’t cover properly. But, if fact, I like the texture it created.


And today, Sunday, was to Dingbat. Nothing like dinging your batz on a sunny Sunday and I really enjoyed this one.


I haven’t finished designing the page for them to go on so I’ll show you that next time, I hope.

And then, today being Sunday, we had my son and his family round for Sunday lunch, and my elder daughter too. So there were five adults and a three year old and we had sort of tapas = chicken paella, albondigas, patatas bravas, pulled pork (Alright I know that isn’t tapas but it is niiiiiice.) There were olives and nachos and sliced peppers, carrots, tomatoes and we ate until out eyeballs well protruding.  Strangely, we still found room for dessert – sponge and custard, very Yorkshire and, as my Dad would have said, it filled up all those little corners. We then went out onto the back garden and played with sand with Isla until it started to rain.

So now I’m going down to watch the Manchester Arena concert and do a little crochet, while the dishwasher has a nervous breakdown in the kitchen. And, of course, tomorrow is Diva Day with another challenge. I may have bitten off more than I can chew but we’ll see. OK, Laura Harms, bring it on…


No Challenge – is it a public holiday in Canada?


Phew, just a day late, don’t panic! The Diva’s week has been a  busy one so who can blame her? And it’s been her Beads of Courage race week too, which is the subject of the Challenge, of course.  I thought it was worthwhile including a full explanation of this, for anyone who isn’t familiar with it.

Beads of Courage is an arts in medicine program that helps kids with chronic or life threatening illness tell the story of their medical journey.  Each bead represents something different.  A different procedure or appointment, or special circumstance.  For example, when seeing a doctor or getting a poke instead of getting a sticker when they leave, they are given a glass bead for each thing.  (blue for doctor, black for poke… some other beads are yellow=night in the hospital, pink=respiratory support, magenta=trip to emergent care, teal=tube insertion or removal, rainbow=therapy; physical, speech, occupational, respiratory) and every child’s string is different and unique to their story. 

I got involved with Beads of Courage 5 years ago when my friend Tara and I decided to organize a 5K Colour Fun Run to raise money for the Beads of Courage programming in Saskatchewan.  One night i said to her: “We should do a 5k run together, do you want to run with me?”  and she said: “Why would we raise money for someone else’s cause? We should just make our own run and raise money for a cause that means something to us.” and our run was born that night.  We were very lucky to have some really wonderful people come on board and our 6 person committee has come a long was from that first year when it was just Tara, Maryann and i.  

Our run is 100% volunteer run (unlike other ‘for profit’ runs like Color me Rad or The Color Run” and all the money raised goes to Beads of Courage programming.  Runners start out in white – then they run through 5 colour stations where volunteers throw colour at them to symbolize the beautiful coloured beads that kids on this program accumulate through their medical journey. 

So I’ve combined Day 6 of the Summer project with the Challenge and done a bjou tile with the pattern Myswing, coloured beads and a purple background for the Moebius Syndrome colours. It was a pleasure to do and, if it helps anyone at all, that is goooood. So that’ll do for now and until next time, be good world. (-ish)