I’m thinking about pets today, how fun they are, how much they make us laugh, how much responsibility they are and how sad it is when they die. My daughter’s pet rat died today, he was 3 years old, that’s as old as rats get. He lived a very pampered life, she cared for him like a child; talking to him, feeding him, hanging out with him, caring for him when he became sick. We bought her the rat 3 years ago when she needed a friend (her best friend had just moved away). Bibbel (the rat’s name) was a sweet rat and he knew Elli, he was calmer with her and he came to her when she called him, he was sort of like a little dog (if you use your imagination). In the 3 years that she had Bibbel, I’ve watched her care for this animal and I’ve learned a lot about her loving nature and I believe that she has learned the same thing about herself. This evening has been about remembering “the good times”, about consoling her and trying to find the right things to say to her. Good-bye Bibbel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rabi Yohanan 3 St. Flea Market-Jaffa TLV 68138
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…
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…
We had Ghoulish guests…
We had an evil hostess…
And most importantly, we had horrible ambiance…
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.
All in all, the kids rated this party a success!
For many people who are living in another country, far from home, I believe it becomes important to bring a little big of the “old home” into the “new home”. Sometimes a little familiarity makes you feel more grounded, puts you in a better mood or just makes you happy. I’m inspired by my Dutch friend Patricia’s home in Israel, by how she has made it warm and friendly, beautiful and very Dutch by decorating it from her heart!
The kitchen is the heart of her home; here we gathered for a light lunch before we headed for the beach.
You can always find interesting doo-dads in Patricia’s house from boutiques and flea markets. You’ll find oodles of donkeys and hearts hanging and sitting around because she collects these and the colors turquoise blue with accents of red are characteristic of her special decorating sense.
Laura asks Patricia: “What did your home look like growing up?”
Patricia says: “I grew up in a home with a huge garden and lots of animals. My home had enough room for my four brothers and two sisters. The house was kept very clean and organized, everything had it’s place, but sometimes my mom liked to change the colors of the walls or curtains. We lived mostly in the kitchen, everything happened around the circular kitchen table.
Laura asks Patricia: “How important is it to you that your children have a sense of their Dutch side as they grow up in Israel. Do you feel that the look of your home contributes to this at all?”
Patricia answers: The children mostly have a sense of their Dutch heritage from our visits to Holland and of course the Dutch language which they also speak. It is important to me that my children feel connected to Holland, my Dutch “ways” contribute to every level in our lives, it’s just there without trying. I’ve always liked to be out of Holland and then explore what I like about being Dutch. I do feel that our home contributes to “feeling Dutch” because of all the flea-market treasure that I’ve brought back from Holland.
Laura asks Patricia: “What is your favorite room in the house and why?”
Patricia says: “My favorite room in the house in the kitchen/dining room. I like to cook and sit around the kitchen table with the kids while we talk, do homework, have tea or bake cookies. I also love to be outside, so my favorite patio (we have 3) is the one off the salon where the view of the dunes is the best and you can feel the sea breeze.
Laura asks Patricia: “What’s your definition of a comfortable home?”|
Patricia says: “To me, a comfortable home is one that allows a certain privacy for all members of the family; also light, a nice view, easy to clean and room enough to move the furniture around so the rooms are still spacious; all this is important. Also, a comfortable home is easy to entertain in.”
Laura asks Patricia: “What would you add to your home if you could?”
Patricia says: “I’d probably add a swimming pool if I could.”
Laura asks Patricia: You have a lot of outdoor space now, what do you intend to do with it?
Patricia says: “I’d like to have a nice garden and some chickens. By next summer I’d like to plant big sunflowers all along one outside wall.”
Laura asks Patricia: “What do you think is most important about your home to your children? To your husband?”
Patricia says: “For the two little ones, it’s important that they have spacious surroundings and a yard to play in. For the two bigger kids, their room are important to them. My husband likes our bedroom because it’s separate from all the others and he likes having his own shower! I think it’s important to all of us that the house is very family oriented and you can be together or apart if we wish.
Laura asks Patricia: “Have your homes always had the Dutch look to them?” “If someone wanted to also decorate their home Dutch, what tips would you give them?”
Patricia says: “My friends have always told me that my homes, past and present feel/look Dutch. I would recommend that people decorate following their hearts and roots, with things that they like, from their own backgrounds. All the personal items in your home make it special and really yours.”
Laura asks Patricia: “What are your favorite home magazines to browse through?”
Patricia says: “I like the Dutch magazine Home and Garden, but honestly I like to get ideas everywhere I go. I like the site Eclectic Gipsyland and flea markets are always a must-visit!”
Laura asks Patricia: “What more do you have planned for your home in terms of decorating?”
Patricia says: “I still have some ideas about renovating some old cupboards, painting in some nice colors and working in the garden…”