It’s time to talk about costumes again; one of my favorite topics! I haven’t made many full costumes lately, but a friend of mine Sara Rabinovich is a master seamstress and is creating some wonderful Halloween/Holiday get ups! The wonderful thing about Sara’s pieces is that she designs them, makes the pattern for each piece and sews them together with finesse. I used to buy store-bought patterns for sewing, until I moved to Israel I was unfamiliar with the pattern-making process. If you can make your own patterns (as well as sew your own costumes) your creative possibilities double! Two of my favorite costume accessories are the crown and the Ruff. Sara’s black crown is based on the Gothic style: tall and pointed; this crown works well for a Halloween Goth princess but I also think it could be worn by the Evil Queen for an Alice and Wonderland themed costume. A Ruff (short for ruffle) is a piece to cover the tops of the gathered shirts worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sara’s Elizabethan ruff sits like a cloud around the neck; it’s made from black organza trimmed in exquisite lace. The ruff is adorned with hand-sewn white beads and the neck band is made from satin, so as not to irritate the skin. You can see many more of Sara’s fine handmade ruffs on her Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CostumeRenaissance?section_id=12065759.
The rest of this handmade costume make it suitable for a Goth Princess, a masquerade ball as well as elegant Vampire attire! The skirt is made from organza with layers of tulle to give the skirt a “lift”.
I’ve been super busy the last year….crafting. I guess you could call crafting for a living one of the best jobs ever; I think of a craft project, design it, photograph the tutorial steps, lay it out in a design program to make the tutorial and photograph the product photographs. Tiffany and I have been developing our company Lullubee , adding craft of the month categories for pattern kits, needle felting kits, dolls and puppet kits and teddy bear kits. We’ve been working on marketing the business and getting the word out about Lullubee, sourcing cool craft materials and making product videos and video tutorials.
We’re focusing on the teen and adult market, including seniors. We know that adult children are looking for activities for their elderly parents and we believe crafting is a great outlet for everyone.
It’s difficult to juggle a start-up business and our daily mother jobs, Tiffany and I often hear complaints of “Mom, we have no clean clothes” or “there’s no food in the house!” We clean Nutella off of shower doors, pick up clothes and shoes that have been left all over the floor, feed and walk our pets as part of our morning routines to prepare for “work”: a day of post office runs, packing kit boxes, meetings and internet work. We often work strange hours to be able to do both jobs; I work late and Tiffany works early and we often work the same hours even though we’re in two different countries! Did I mention that Tiffany runs our business from NYC and I do my thing from Tel Aviv? Take a look at our social media sites and some of our new products and if you’d share our information with your own networks, it would really help us out:) Thanks!
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….
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…
…she started to dance and I couldn’t stop laughing!
We had a hard time getting that “Renaissance seriousness” back into her expressions during that photo shoot.
Many times we recruited the girls’ friends to help model for certain events…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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.
Today is a day meant for a duck……and me, a dreary, rainy, chilly day in Tel Aviv. These rainy days are my favorite, I’m not a sun-goddess, thus Tel Aviv is a challenge for me, being so sunny and all. These rainy days are snugly, contemplative and they remind me of home and ducks!
As a child, my grandfather Perkinson used to bring magical things to my brother, sister and I from his farm. He brought us fruits from his persimmon tree that my mom made into persimmon pudding (delicious!), butter made from a churn, big dried gourds that he had made into bird houses or drinking cups, arrow heads he found in the ground while building fences, petrified wood he found in the streams along with lizards and turtles and one day he brought ducks to us and my life long love for these birds began!
I had a lot of pet ducks as a kid, Muscovies and Mallards mostly, they started off living in the corner of our kitchen; my mom boxed off an area where they could live till they were big enough to venture outside and fend for themselves.
They “peeped” for the first few months of their lives, fuzzy and yellow. After they were bigger and they started to resemble small ducks instead of yellow dust bunnies with legs, they moved outside into a pen that my dad built for them next to our house, but they were like loud little “watch dogs”. My ducks quacked at visitors, strangers and cars that pulled up into the driveway; eventually my dad rebuilt a bigger pen at the back of our property (far from our house) for my loud pets. I played with my ducks every day. They followed me around like a swarm of bees, if I stopped for a moment they were all over me looking for food and this made me laugh, I loved my ducks. They quacked when they saw me coming because they knew they were going to get fed; as they ate the corn and grains that I brought for them, I played in the tall grasses that grew inside of their pen. I built a fort in a corner of the duck pen and barefoot and covered in mosquito bites, I pretended for hours, my ducks being bit players in my many imaginative scenarios. These duck memories have followed me through my life and ducks have always been one of my favorite birds/pets.