Purim Season Again

laura lee burch costumes
Emili is "working it" for the camera, she's been my most expressive model.

I wanted to write a blog post about the new costumes I’ve been making, but it’s Purim season and everybody has once again asked me at the last moment for costumes and I haven’t had time to photograph any of them yet.  I’m not sewing the costumes these days because I don’t have a studio space with which to work; I’m needle felting costume accessories because 1) I love to needle felt and 2)needle felting doesn’t take up very much room. I took most of the photos of my costumes and my girls were usually the models. Emili and Elli did most of the modeling because they liked it, Lili was such a diva about modeling for me that she usually only shows up in the early costume photos. So in the spirit of Purim, let’s reminisce over the last five years at my store and the costumes adventures and fun that my girls  and I have had….

laura lee burch
The ever-popular mermaid costumes

We made several types of religious children’s costumes for the Institute of Notre Dame in Jerusalem; Emili was appropriately somber and pious looking for the photo shoot where she modeled the monk costume and then…

costumes for children
(A) The Monk

…she started to dance and I couldn’t stop laughing!

laura burch sews costumes for children
(B) Full of "the spirit"

We had a hard time getting that “Renaissance seriousness” back into her expressions during that photo shoot.

angel costume for children
Happy Angel

 

fairies
Emili the fairy

 

Halloween and Purim
Pipi Longstocking

 

purim costumes
The Fish

 

muskateer costume
Musketeer costume

 

purim costumes
Beautiful clown

 

costumes for kids
Hippy

Many times we recruited the girls’ friends to help model for certain events…

pirates and elves
Elli and Stephan at the Fashion Show

 

laura lee burch costumes
The girls hurrying to the Costume Fashion Show

 

friends and costumes
Friends and costumes

 

purim costumes
My models for the Fashion Show

 

costumes for kids
Mysterious Vampire

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 256th Birthday

sewing costumes
Elli posing as MaryAnn Mozart to celebrate her brother Wolfgang Amadeus' 256th birthday.

Elli was asked by her school music teacher Tatiana to help celebrate the 256th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Elli would be his sister MaryAnn. So two days before the school celebration, Elli asked me to make her a dress, not just any dress, but a time period dress of the eighteenth century! I looked up at her without a smile on my face because I wasn’t sure how I felt about this task. On the one hand, I haven’t been into sewing lately and this was going to be a lot of work but on the other hand, I love creating costumes and I didn’t want to miss a chance to be “a good mom”.  I squinted my eyes at Elli and gave her a “we’ll see” response, a non-commital-I’ll try, but don’t get angry if it doesn’t happen answer.

time period dress
Handing out candy at the Mozart birthday celebration

I tried to get into the mood to sew a  gown from the 1700’s, so I turned the radio to a  classical music station, looked up costumes from the 1700’s  and I cleaned up my studio so that I could find everything I needed. I vowed not to buy one single thing to make the dress since I have so many supplies left over from my store; I also decided to break the job up into two parts so it didn’t feel like such a big endeavor. I had made a wig that fit the time period from a previous project and I had an petticoat sewn together already, two important pieces that I didn’t need to make! The first day, I slid the plastic covered metal boning into the grooves of the petticoat; this made the dress “poof” out. I dug out a roll of fabric and other sewing supplies to make the dress. I made a pattern to fit Elli and I cut out the pattern pieces from the fabric. I basted it all together so I could fit it to Elli when she got home from school in the evening. I was having fun designing and sewing the Mozart dress, I guess I had missed this work more than I thought.

costumes
Cinched, back detail of the Mozart dress.

The only fabric that I had enough of at home was a pretty cotton print with tiny pink roses and grey stripes. I think the cotton fabric made the costume more of a day dress rather than a fancy “occation” dress.

ruffled bodice detail
The ruffled bodice detail of the Mozart dress

On the second day, I made alterations to the bodice, I made the bodice lining and sewed all the pieces together. I had Elli try on the dress again after she got home from school……it fit! In the evening, the day before the event, I sewed lace around the neck, sleeves and along the bottom of the petticoat I sewed the ruffles on by hand because the metal boning (rods) prevented me from sewing it on the sewing machine. One of the harder parts of finishing the dress was ironing it; it consisted of 6.5 yards of cotton that the cat tried to pounce on every time I adjusted the dress on the ironing board. Voila, it was finished.

sewing
cotton and ruffles

The morning of the event, as the girls were getting ready for school, I was organizing everything to go.  I was planning on going to school to help Elli into the costume and wig and to “of course” photograph everything. My oldest daughter asked me what I thought I was doing, she tried to pursuade me not to come to school to help Elli. “But why not?” I innocently asked her, knowing full well that a parental presence at school was taboo, an unimaginable embarrassment to all teenagers. “Don’t worry” I told her, “I’ll wear one of my felted masks and no one will know it’s me!” “Oh Gawwwwd Mama, she whined.

sewing costumes
Elli is acting the part

I continued to gather everything we needed for the Mozart event. I had the wig, the ruff (fancy neck-piece) for Mozart himself, Elli’s shoes to go with the costume, the petticoat, my camera….I asked Elli where the dress was. “I put it in my bag” she said. She had stuffed the giant dress, all 6.5 yards of cotton and lace into a  4″ x 12″ bag. I screamed, Oh my God get the dress out of the bag NOW! I pulled it out quickly and thankfully it hadn’t been in the bag long enough to wrinkle too badly, I lovingly placed it in a garment bag. I was now ready to drive to school to help Elli get ready, document the Mozart event and embarrass my girls to death!!!

reading at Mozart event
Mozart (Nir) and his sister MaryAnn (Elli) reading in French and Hebrew at the Mozart birthday celebration.

At the Lycee Franco Israelien school, my girls pretended not to know me as I photograph the short but cute celebration. I’m glad that the school’s music teacher Tatiana Potapeiko is so passionate about music and makes the effort to try to pass on her enthusiasm and knowledge to the students! Merci Tatiana!

sewing costumes
MaryAnn Mozart handing candy to Lili Levitas.

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , born in Salzburg, Austria (part of the Holy Roman Empire at the time) (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a composer of symphonies, concerts, chamber, opera and choral music of the classical era.  Talented from an early age, he entertained royalty and composed over 600 pieces; his work was very influential to Western music.

celebrating Mozart's birthday
France Bessis (the director) thanks Tatiana Potapeiko (the music teacher), Elli Levitas (MaryAnn Mozart) and Nir Kaner (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) for the Mozart birthday celebration.

Gnome Watch

gnome art
Emili made gnome art with lyrics for me

I have in the last few years been introduced to Scandinavian-European style gnomes; coming from the United States, my gnome exposure has been limited to the garden gnome variety that came into being after WWII. I’ve made quite a few of these friendly fellows and gals in the last few years, I’m not sure what it is about these magical, diminutive friends of all animals that makes them so likable.  I’ve started seeing gnomes everywhere!

handmade gnome accessories
The gnome beard that his mother made with my instructions

I received an e-mail asking how I made my gnome costume beards and this was Erin’s result, a very creative mother! Erin made her children’s gnome costumes and trick or treat bags; the big gnome’s owl is a trick or treat bag and the little girl gnome’s mushroom is a trick or treat bag, an inch worm is the handle! The gnome baby cracks me up!

gnomes are everywhere
Gnome children (for Halloween) by Erin from Inkberry Designs

I found gnome candles, gnome spoons and wine stoppers.

gnome watch
Little gnome candles

I found gnomes hanging out at the mall; there’s a magical fairy store in Tel Aviv with gnome and fairy figurines.

gnome on a mushroom
Gnome waiting at the mall (probably while his wife shops)

Here are garden gnomes at the flower stand. I always think of England when I think of garden gnomes and I always think of my friend Liz when I think of England, just saying!

gnome watch
Gnomes at the flower stand

Our “Epic” Halloween Party

halloween fun for kids
Zombie Elli

My daughter Elli had an “epic” Halloween party; epic is the new in word the kids are using theses days, as the word “lame” was not too long ago-FYI. The party was for the 12 year old crowd, with a few 9 year olds thrown in for good measure (Emili’s friends). It’s hard to celebrate American holidays here in Israel for a few reasons, the main one being that since American holidays aren’t celebrated here, you don’t get the day off and Halloween for example, is just another Monday. It’s difficult to have a party on a Monday night when parents have work the next day and children have school. You can’t trick or treat because Israeli’s don’t really understand what that is or really how to do it. (The American school does organize a trick or treat night in a neighboring town to Tel Aviv, but you need to be affiliated with the school or get tickets from someone in the school). About 5 or 6 years ago, some friends who had lived in America for quite a while had a children’s Halloween party. They asked a few of their neighbors to give out candy to the children in costume that would be knocking on their doors that evening. The neighbors ended up throwing the candy and pita bread at the children (?); maybe they got the whole handing out candy idea mixed up with throwing rice at a wedding! (?) Costumes are only out at Purim time in Israel and these costumes are mostly lame and poorly made and last but not least, it’s hard to find a pumpkin around here and the ones I have seen are white! Obstacles for sure, but with a little ingenuity and determination, a very scarry Halloween party can be achieved… 

horror movies
The big kids watched a horror movie and screamed and screamed and screamed

You can’t really find Halloween decorations here,   but we did found a few skulls, bones, skelatons and spiders in a junky toy shop in Florentine. We ordered a few special things from America and had my sister send them to us; we ordered cookie molds for witch fingers and bones and a jello mold for a brain. And as usual, we made many of our decorations; I made the girls’ costumes and ratty, tattered curtains that we hung on the windows and used to cover walls. I drug home several big tree branches that I found along the side of the road and put them around the front door and we scattered leaves in the front garden around the cardboard tombstones that Elli made. I spread my needle felting wool over lights and in corners and put spiders all over them, I spread white sheets over everything, dimmed the lights and played spooky music…

We had tasty treats…

halloeen decoration
Brains, Severed Heads and eerie skulls
halloween cookies
Finger and bone cookies
children's halloween party
Ghoulish candy
Horror on Halloween
Putrid Punch
halloween treats
Crunchy rat snacks

We had Ghoulish guests…

haunted house
Ghoulish guest Michal

We had an evil hostess…

halloween party for kids
Would you like a slice of brain?

And most importantly, we had horrible ambiance…

spider decorations
Creepy, crawly spiders
Halloween ambiance
haunted living room
haunted house curtains
Haunted House Curtains
skull decorations
skull lights

The kids danced in the basement (dungeon) but adults and their cameras were banned from this part of the haunted house, thus I don’t have any dancing photos:( Don’t worry, we knew what was going on down there the whole time because the 9 year old guests tattled on the 12 year old guests every chance they got!

And in one rare moment when I wasn’t cleaning, serving or monitoring the kids, Doron and I boogied to the horror of our children, then someone broke a whole glass bottle of orange juice and I had to go back to clean up duty.

halloween fun
Doron and Laura boogie

All in all, the kids rated this party a success!

Needle Felted Halloween Masks

lauraleeburch
Needle Felted Rooster Mask

I don’t know what it is about costumes and masks that get my imagination going! Emili has brought this rooster mask to life (after much complaining about having to model it); from this costume I’ve thought to make angry birds, a punk mohawk headpiece, a gladiator helmet and an owl mask-alas, there’s just not enough time.

Laura Lee Burch needle felting
Vogue Elephant

This mask and pose make Elli look like a young celebrity elephant posing for a photo shoot in Elephants Today.

masks
Needle felted Rat Mask-Where's my cheese?

  The Rat Masks were made as an ode to my girls’ pet rats: Bibbl and Harry. Check out the fimo teeth!

Hallowee, Purim, Theater masks
Rat teeth detail

And last but not least, the very pink lounge singer, the elegant Ms. Flamingo…

Halloween masks
Ms. Flamingo

See last years needle felted masks here: http://www.lauraleeburch.com/blog/2010/10/playing-and-teaching-with-needle-felted-masks/ and

 http://www.lauraleeburch.com/blog/2010/10/needle-felted-halloween-masks/

You can find this year’s mask in my shop:  here