After Purim-time on my hands-not really!

Purim costume
Emili is a black rose
 
I’ve just finished another successful Purim season (whewwww!) To try to explain the frenzy, as an artist, Purim for me is like Christmas craft preparation time would be in the United States. First of all I’d like to thank everyone in Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas for all the orders! I’ve been working like a donkey for a few weeks now, day and night trying to finish the orders in time for everyone’s party. Word of mouth has brought me enough to keep me busy and I usually take the special orders that involve needle felted accessories rather than sewn pieces.
 
 

Purim
Rose hat detail
 
I reconnected with some old customers which was really nice. I really didn’t let people know where I was or what I was doing after I closed the store because I needed to figure it out myself first! I decided to make toy making by needle felting my main priority but the costume gig follows me around where ever I go, which isn’t a bad thing.
 
animal costumes
Squirrel tail and ears, a needle felting engineering feat!
 
 Taking orders is a tricky business, I’m always afraid I’ll accept too many and then not be able to finish on time. I don’t accept any and all orders, I take jobs that interest me and I work with clients who appreciate the art of the costume. Many times, I ask people to call me back in a few days to see where I am and to give me time to re-evaluate my time situation. 
 
Super woman costume
Lili's "Clark Kent" version of Superwoman-I made the body suit that's under the shirt.
 
Taking special orders freaks me out a little, I always feel much better when I know that everyone (especially the kid I made the costume for) is  happy-if the kid is happy the parent is happy! I also love to receive photos of the kids in my costumes-I have a collection! I think next year, I’ll start to ask for orders in January so I can stay on top of things better.
 

costume
Marie Antoinette dress and needle felted wig
 
The problem with deciding “what you want to be” early is that kids constantly change their minds. One week they want to be a tooth fairy and the next week they want to be something completely different , therefore early decision making is risky!
 

Glee costume
Glee cheerleader costume
 
Every time I start to sew, I wish for……. a nice studio, with a window, away from my kids’ play room, and space for all my fabrics, wool, felt, tulle, tools, laces, trims, ribbons, zippers, snaps, Velcros, sponges of different thicknesses, bias tapes, metal and plastic boning, threads, iron-on fabric backings and hundreds of patterns to be organized. I wish for…….. a place for my little sewing machine, my iron and ironing board, my mannequins, my photo backdrops and lighting and hanging rack to sit and not be in anyone’s way. If I had my own organized space, creating would be so much easier!
 
masks
Needle felted deer mask
 
 After I finished the last costume order, I wandered aimlessly around the house trying to decide what to do! I decided to cook some food for my hungry family that I’d ignored for the last few weeks. I now have some new patterns to prepare for my Etsy site and special orders, I’m working on some needle felting tutorials for Craftsy and I have a fun project: to design several little boys’ kippas. So back to work…..
 
dinosaur costume
Needle felted dinosaur hat, tail and claws

 

 Customer photos:
 

rose hat
Fusia rose hat
 

costume for kids
Pink rose hat
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Rainy Day in Israel

cold rainy day in Tel Aviv
I start off my day with a "cafe afuch" or cappacino at Nina Cafe in Neve Tzedek

It’s been another “ducky” day here in Israel, cold (sweater weather) and rainy. Would you like to accompany me on my morning errands? I started off my day in my neighborhood of Neve Tzedek to do a little food shopping; first I need a large “cafe afuch”, translated from Hebrew as an “upside down coffee” or a cappuccino at Nina Cafe, a little French bistro. I continue  down Shabazi Street, the main street in Neve Tzedek for a European food shopping experience (as opposed to a middle eastern experience which I will document in a later post). I splash up the street in my farm boots to do a little shopping in Neroli, the organic food market, I love this shop because it’s like being in a rural grocery.  Neroli has worn wooden floors, wooden shelves, food displayed in baskets and hand written food signs, there’s nothing in the store that hints of a chain store.  I continue on to L’Angolo, the small deli that is filled with wines, cheeses, deli meats, egg pasta, marinated artichokes and olives. I’ve filled my bags with a few goodies for the weekend and walk back home for some homemade chocolate chip cookies and tea with my friend Sandrine. It’s pouring rain, it’s grey and my nose is cold; I’m happy!!!

hanging out on a rainy day

 

Neve Tzedek

 

Neve Tzedek

 

organic carrots

 

Neve Tzedke

 

Neve Tzedek

 

Neve Tzedek

 

Neve Tzedek Deli

 

Neve Tzedek

 

Tel Aviv on a rainy day

 

rainy day in tel aviv

Ma’Asiya=Makers

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
  
notebooks
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
Decorations made from candy wrappers from India

 

handmade
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.

 

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

 

handmade
Wonderfully fragrant soaps made by artist in Neve Tzedek, Israel

 

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

Ma’Asiya: www.maasiya.co.il

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%94-Maasiya/173264876057819?sk=info

Rabi Yohanan 3 St. Flea Market-Jaffa TLV 68138
maasiyafo@gmail.com
972-3-5187358

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!

Home Sweet Dutch/Israeli Home

laura lee burch blog
Home Sweet Home Photo Collage

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!

inspired by Dutch decorating
The kitchen is the heart of the house

The kitchen is the heart of her home; here we gathered for a light lunch before we headed for the beach.

Holland in Israel
Patricia and Roni in the kitchen
Knick Knacks and kitchen essentials

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.

Patricia's house
Yummy foods in the kitchen!

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.

kitchen is the heart of the home
looking through the kitchen to the front door

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.

home
music and song

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. 

dutch decorting
The children's bedroom

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.”

child'e room
children's toys and paintings

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.”

restful bedroom
a restful place
hearts and flowers adorn the bedroom
old armoir
old Serbian armoir in the bedroom; it was a wedding armoir, the writing reads for Maria and Joseph 1914

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.”

decorating
the living room, for resting and entertainment

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.

children's patio chairs

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.”

mini gardening tools

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!”

old sink

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…”

guard dog