It’s time to talk about costumes again; one of my favorite topics! I haven’t made many full costumes lately, but a friend of mine Sara Rabinovich is a master seamstress and is creating some wonderful Halloween/Holiday get ups! The wonderful thing about Sara’s pieces is that she designs them, makes the pattern for each piece and sews them together with finesse. I used to buy store-bought patterns for sewing, until I moved to Israel I was unfamiliar with the pattern-making process. If you can make your own patterns (as well as sew your own costumes) your creative possibilities double! Two of my favorite costume accessories are the crown and the Ruff. Sara’s black crown is based on the Gothic style: tall and pointed; this crown works well for a Halloween Goth princess but I also think it could be worn by the Evil Queen for an Alice and Wonderland themed costume. A Ruff (short for ruffle) is a piece to cover the tops of the gathered shirts worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sara’s Elizabethan ruff sits like a cloud around the neck; it’s made from black organza trimmed in exquisite lace. The ruff is adorned with hand-sewn white beads and the neck band is made from satin, so as not to irritate the skin. You can see many more of Sara’s fine handmade ruffs on her Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CostumeRenaissance?section_id=12065759.
The rest of this handmade costume make it suitable for a Goth Princess, a masquerade ball as well as elegant Vampire attire! The skirt is made from organza with layers of tulle to give the skirt a “lift”.
See more of Sara’s creations at Costume Renaissance: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CostumeRenaissance?section_id=12065759
I’ve been super busy the last year….crafting. I guess you could call crafting for a living one of the best jobs ever; I think of a craft project, design it, photograph the tutorial steps, lay it out in a design program to make the tutorial and photograph the product photographs. Tiffany and I have been developing our company Lullubee , adding craft of the month categories for pattern kits, needle felting kits, dolls and puppet kits and teddy bear kits. We’ve been working on marketing the business and getting the word out about Lullubee, sourcing cool craft materials and making product videos and video tutorials.
We’re focusing on the teen and adult market, including seniors. We know that adult children are looking for activities for their elderly parents and we believe crafting is a great outlet for everyone.
It’s difficult to juggle a start-up business and our daily mother jobs, Tiffany and I often hear complaints of “Mom, we have no clean clothes” or “there’s no food in the house!” We clean Nutella off of shower doors, pick up clothes and shoes that have been left all over the floor, feed and walk our pets as part of our morning routines to prepare for “work”: a day of post office runs, packing kit boxes, meetings and internet work. We often work strange hours to be able to do both jobs; I work late and Tiffany works early and we often work the same hours even though we’re in two different countries! Did I mention that Tiffany runs our business from NYC and I do my thing from Tel Aviv? Take a look at our social media sites and some of our new products and if you’d share our information with your own networks, it would really help us out:) Thanks!
The ancient, Biblical port city of Jaffa
One of my newest artistic projects is restoring, designing and furnishing an 150 year old-historical piece of vernacular, Ottoman architecture. Basically, we bought a fixer-upper! We’re moving “down the street” from Neve Tzedek to Jaffa (a 15 minute walk) where we will adjust to the very different sea-side city, it’s inhabitants and all Jaffa has to offer. I’ll be documenting the 2nd floor, one story residence through it’s restoration. We’ve hired the architects Paritsky and Liani because we like their clean, modern style; together we will design the house to highlight the original shapes and materials of the structure and combine modern architectural elements that will blend with the ancient. After a brief history of what best illustrates Ottoman architecture, you will see the interior of our new-old house before any work has started.
Turkey ruled the area that is now Israel from the earyly 16th century to 1922; we can see numerous example of vernacular Ottoman architecture throughout Israel. Ottoman architecture can be recognized by a few basic characteristics common to the style: vaulted ceilings, domed ceilings, semi domes, pointed arches, columns, inner and outer courtyards and ornate tile decorations. Ottoman period courtyards were influenced by the Paradise of the Koran; so the garden (courtyard) or Earthly Paradise was designed to represent heaven, a serene place. Decorative motifs were based on nature. Vernacular Ottoman architecture retains the basic Ottoman style but the residential architecture is built with native building materials, forms, and spatial arrangements.
Positive elements of Ottoman architecture are:
- Thick cement walls to aid in resistance of the vaulted ceilings (arched).:
Non-combustible, low heat transfer in fires
- Does not rot, termite-proof at prescribed densities
- Non-toxic, insulating, creates a healthy micro-climate, feels warm
- Sound absorbing, neighbors cannot be heard through the walls.
I miss the black, shiny Raven that always sat on my gate; he and a few of his friends were always sitting on the gate or the phone wires or the branches of the big tree that spilled into my yard. As I entered the big metal gate to my courtyard, he would cock his head to the side and look at me, as we looked at each other I always had the feeling he watched over me. I came to look for this guardian of my “castle” as I came and went; his familiar presence gave me a peaceful feeling. We were friendly acquaintances for 13 years; I recently moved and I contemplate if he wonders where I am.
I have recently become familiar with the Steam-punk style and while searching for a subject for my first Steam-punk inspired sculpture, my friend the Raven came to mind.
Steam-punk-”Steam-punk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where STEAM POWER is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.” Wikipedia Steam-punk elements include: gears, watch-parts, watches, velvet, cameos, wings, aviator goggles, Victorian clothing, top hats, hot air balloons, locks, keys and metal parts.
The Raven is a needle felted shape, with shiny black satin quilted on top of of the wool. His eyes are a blue, blinking-doll eye and a red, glass taxidermy eye. There is a wind-up key on his back that serves as the handle to a lid, the lid covers a hidden compartment which contains the typical watch parts and gears of the Steam punk style. The Raven’s sharp talons are tiny watch hands, His pivoting neck is encircled by a thick row of black feathers and over the feathers is a stiff cardboard collar, collaged in vintage Italian train tickets. He sports a Victorian Saks-style collar that makes him appear a gentleman, as I imagine him to be. His large beak is waxed to make it very hard and a different texture than the rest of his body. The head rotates and tilts so he can be positioned as a real bird, his legs, wings and tail are poseable.
I learned a bit about watches while researching Steam-punk, like the little sapphires and rubies in the watch movements are real (also some watch crowns for winding contain real sapphires! Vintage watch hands can be very ornate and beautiful and some watch movement parts are intricately engraved.
I’ve just returned from Budapest, Hungary, inspired by the beauty of the city and the many creative crafts from the Christmas market. Even though Budapest is a modern, vibrant, European city, you can still experience old world artistry in everyday life there; in a way it’s like taking a trip back in a time machine! From quaint, wooden subway ticket booths, real leather hand-holds in the trains, a very large array of architectural styles throughout the city (Gothic, Baroque, Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Classicist, Modernist and Bauhaus), castles that dot the landscape and communist era statues that still stand, there is a real fairytale quality about this city.This Eastern European town gives you a glimpse of the way things used to be; a vintage patina colors surfaces, glittering snow paints the city and bells toll; during the holidays you can hear classic carols, concerts and symphonies. I saw handmade knives with carved bone handles, shadow puppets and puppet theaters designed by local artists, wool felted hats and bags to help keep out the winter cold and handmade lace for which the city is known; all crafts made with the highest quality.
My family and I usually travel in the spring and summer, this was our first winter vacation so the really special aspect of this trip was that it was the first time my girls have seen snow, played in snow and built a little snowman; it’s been 13 years since I’ve been in a winter wonderland-ahhh, the brisk air! We enjoyed the experience so much we’re thinking of making a yearly tradition:)
The somber light reminds me of the long Chicago winters, but when you live in a place like Israel where it’s always summer, a week of grey days, rain and snow is a nice break.
2012 Christmas wreathIn the winter, it gets dark around 4 p.m., there is little light on most days, but what light there is glows a magical yellow…
My inner child is happy and I’m inspired for the New Year…
Artsy Info. Caroline Froberg (from Silverwhitewinters) is starting a new blog for and by blogger artists. She writes: “ I need creative souls from everywhere, to make the most awesome blog ever” I want all types of artists, and I want to spread the creativity across the world.” The blog will feature artists’ works and tutorials; it’s for showing off, learning, sharing and meeting other artists! You can post about felting, sewing, working with beeswax, photography, crafting etc. Both tutorials, tips and tricks, from blogger to blogger, and reader to reader. I plan to post about my love of felting, come join me:) You can contact Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org