natural items
Ma'Asia shop in Jaffa is full of interesting, natural, handmade pieces

I set out for inspiration the other day; I wandered into Jaffa, my favorite place to be inspired. I was strolling around the flea market area and  I went into a shop called Ma’Asiya (Ma’Asiya in Hebrew means “makers” ). The store’s owner is Puaa Ladizinsky, she’s filled the store with beautiful, natural and handmade pieces from around the world. As I looked at all the interesting clothes, scarves, toys and curiosities in the shop, the shop keeper asked me if I wanted to hear the story of how the store came about. Oh! A friendly shop keeper-I was definitly  interested, so she proceeded to explain to me who the “makers” of the shop are. 

natural, handmade
Puaa and an artist of toy elephants

Pua works with special groups of people who make handmade, natural items; the special pieces are made by retarded adults, mentally exhausted people, refugees, single mothers, old Russian grandmothers, local artisans and others. Pua told me that “people are special” and I believe the store and the pieces inside are as well.

knitted dresses
Russian grandmothers knit wool dresses for Ma'Asiya

The shopkeeper continued with her story, in the corner is a rack of brightly colored jackets. These jackets are made from old pique blankets that were very popular here in Israel in the 1950’s. All the kindergartens used the blankets for nap time because they were cotton and light weight and most Israeli’s are familiar with the fabric; the blankets and now the jackets bring back fond memories for Israeli’s. The jackets are 2 layers thick and made in Israel.

pique jackets
Pique jackets from 1950's blankets
Israeli jackets
My favorite jacket!

I particularly liked that I could find unique things in the store from far away places; I love boutiques with one of a kind pieces and things I’ve never seen before. The pieces in the store are made from a wide array of natural materials such as cotton, bamboo fiber, hemp, goat’s hair, linen, felt and wool. And of course you can find treasures from the Jaffa, Shuk ha Pish Pisheem Fleamarket, in which the shop is located.

flea market tins
Antique German tins
Re-purposed books-old books made into notebooks
flea market items
Flea market furniture add character to Ma'Asiya


Hemp bag to carry your veggies and groceries


Tiny "gnome-sized" knife from India


Decorations made from candy wrappers from India


Tibetan prayer tool, you spin the center piece with your finger to keep yourself humble before you pray.


masia shop in jaffa
Decorative South African pods look like smooth pine cones.


Intricately, knitted flowers from Turkey are used as trim. Amazing!


Wonderfully fragrant soaps made by artist in Neve Tzedek, Israel


Purchases are presented to you in a re-purposed sheet bag



Rabi Yohanan 3 St. Flea Market-Jaffa TLV 68138

Needle Felted Rudolph Ornament Tutorial

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Why does Rudolph have this expression?
Afraid to fly!
fear of flying

 Hohoho! Once again, it’s the time of year to make Christmas tree ornaments! Last year I made a gnome ornament tutorial that was very well received, you can see that here. This Rudolph ornament is based on the same  idea of transforming one simple shape into an ornament.

Continue reading “Needle Felted Rudolph Ornament Tutorial”

Attack of the Needle Felted Alligators!

needle felted puppets
Just when you thought it was safe.....

Moments before the alligator attack, Kitty and I were sitting in the kitchen minding our own business….

wool toys
imagine the du-da-du-da-du-da suspenseful, foreboding "Jaws" music

….and BAM, the needle felted alligator puppet jumped off the table and attacked Kitty!

wool toys
but don't worry, Kitty was victorious!

…oh, I was just daydreaming! I started making some puppets the other day, I intended to make a dragon like this one:

needle felted dragon puppet
Needle felted dragon puppet

….but at one point it started looking like an alligator, so I “followed the shapes”. The simple puppet I set out to make became more complicated, with fairly sharp fimo teeth and finger slots to put your hand so the alligators mouth can be opened and closed. This isn’t s step-by-step tutorial, but I did shoot a few of the creation stages, have a look!

needle felted alligator hand puppet
needle felted alligator hand puppet

I made the alligator’s top jaw first, his lower jaw second and the body sleeve last. I inserted glass doll eyes into the sides of his head. I connected the two jaws with a thick, flat piece of wool that acts as a hinge.

handmade toys
mouth hinge

The tricky part of making the finger holes in the jaws is making them deep enough for your hands so you have real control over the motion of the jaws. I used a pair of scissors to cut deep holes in the top and bottom jaws, I pulled out as much wool as I could so that it was still snug when I put my hands inside the holes. I felted the holes as best as I could to make them smoother.

alligator handpuppet
finger and thumb holes for the alligator puppet


making a hand puppet
My hand fits snugly in the finger holes

Here is the gator without any teeth, he looks pretty pitiful. I made the alligator teeth from off- white fimo (the photo shows an example of the teeth placement).

wool toys
toothless alligator puppet

I shaped the alligator’s teeth so that they’re slightly rounded, those are shark’s teeth at the top of the photo, for a future project. I baked the teeth at a low temperature for about 7 minutes, then took them out to cool and harden.

fimo alligator teeth
fimo alligator and shark teeth

With scissors, I cut deep slits in the jaws (following a photo of a real alligator with his mouth open) and glued each tooth in with fabric glue.

handmade toys
teeth placement

I needle felted a sheath to cover my arm; I wrapped the sheet of needle felted wool around the end of the alligator’s head and needle felted it on.

wool toys
Flat felted sheath to cover your arm
needle felted hand puppet
Felting the sheath onto the head

Now I have a fairly realistic alligator puppet with which I can use to help tell fairy tales or stories, use as a conversation piece at dinner parties or chase the cat around the house with!

handmade hand puppet
Needle felted alligator hand puppet