Bon Voyage Helene

childhood friends
friends at the beach

Yesterday was Emili’s last day to play with her best friend Helene; Helene and her family are moving back to France. The girl friends from their school class spent a poingant day with Helene at the beach.

fun at the beach
making childhood memories

The girls were very busy building sand castles and  laughing and splashing one another!

ouch, jelly fish
jellatenous globs of jelly fish

We found jelly fish washed up on the beach; these are very small compared to previous years.

dolls
Forget me not

As a going away present for Helene and Emili, I needle felted two dolls, one for each girl. Emili the girl received Helene the doll and Helene the girl received Emili the doll.

Helene and Emili dolls
Needle felted Helen and Emili dolls

 Helene and Emili have been in school together since the first grade; I am still friends with my best friend from the first grade!

needle felted dolls
needle felted friends

We all tried to be brave and not cry, but Emili and Helene’s last parting hug broke me. We now have a great reason to travel to France!

Mexican Bean Salad-Super Yummy!

summer food
This salad is delicious!

One of the things I miss about home the most is Mexican food: nachos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas and really good margaritas. I try to make a reasonable facsimile of these dishes here in Israel, but they don’t always end up tasting authentic. This salad fits into my organic/vegetarian criterian and even my kids will eat it; I’ll have to say that it was really good, a little spicy and choked full of many different complimentary flavors. Make sure to have something ready to drink, as this salad can be  really spicy if you add enough hot pepper sauce to the dressing and the dressing makes the salad. As a meal in itself or a side dish, this fast, easy and delicious dish is worth trying!

Mexican Bean Salad Recipe:

1 can (15 oz.) of each of the following beans: black, kidney, cannellini (rinse the beans)
1 can (or frozen) corn kernels
1 red onion-chopped
5 scallions-chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 red bell pepper-chopped
1 green bell pepper-chopped

Mix all the beans, vegetables and cilantro together.

Mexican Bean Salad Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce to taste
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin black pepper, hot sauce and chili powder. Pour over beans and vegetables and mix well.  Bon Appetit!

Summer in Tel Aviv

summer landscape
Jaffa palm trees

It’s nearly July and it just dawned on me that I should be making things to put in my website shop and Etsy shop for the Christmas season NOW. How am I going to get in the Christmas/Santa/Reindeer/Snowman mood while hiding from the summer heat, indoors in the air-conditioning?

Jaffa port
Boats in the Jaffa port

I’m not a summer person, I love the fall, although fall in Israel is just like summer at home, so here I look forward to the winter, which is the most like fall in the mid-west! Did you understand that?! For me summer is a problem, I avoid the sun so much, I end up having to take vitamin D for a deficiency and the air conditioning wreaks havoc with my lungs; I come out in the evening (like a vampire) to go to the beach and watch the sunset. This year, we haven’t seen any jellyfish, but we’re not going into the water because it’s contaminated again by a sewage leak! This happens a lot here and it grosses me out so much, I rarely go into the sea. So we make do at Grandma’s pool.

grandma's pool
Emili swimming in grandma's pool

We’re working on finding a little summer get away this year in which I hope to find some great photo ops-more to come. I’m working on several projects that I can’t show you yet, I’ve entered a few felting contests; the pieces will be unveiled in September. I’m looking into new projects to expand my horizons. I continue to felt natural toys and my little dog sculptures during the days. Since I closed the store, I’ve started cooking a lot, I believe that I could write a vegetarian cookbook soon. The girls and I will eat almost anything, but my husband won’t eat meat, pasta or bread and he insists his food be organic; this poses a meal puzzle for me nearly everyday. It takes a lot of creativity to find something that everyone will eat, I very often end up making several organic, vegetarian  dishes so the family can choose.

peonies
My favorite summer flowers are peonies

I’m off to the “organic” market at the Old Train Station to look for my favorite summer flowers, peonies; I hope I find them today. Asparagus, cilantro, goat’s cheese, Caesar lettuce, avocados and potatoes are on my shopping list, they will be part of the ingredients for this evening’s meal-Yum:)

Friends-needle felted dogs

needle felted dogs
best friends

I took a photo of these two dogs (the original, real live dogs) in India. They were sleeping at the base of a monument, one was using the other’s rear end as a pillow and they were the most raggedy dogs I’d ever seen…but they looked happy.

doggy friends
Let sleeping dogs lie.

It took me a week to make this sculpture, working on and off between the girls’ end of the school year activities. I find these two dogs sweet, I think the black and white cow patterned dog is much older than the blond dog, maybe she’s the mother. My girls look at the original photo and tell me that “everyone needs a butt for a pillow”, oh silly girls!

sleeping dogs
May I use your butt as a pillow?

As I felted these dogs, I thought about friendship and how a few very good friends are a gift and that the simple things in life are the best.  These dogs brought many nice things to  mind as I felt, felt, felted away.

everyone needs a butt for a pillow
sleeping dogs detail