Hi! I’m still here, busier than ever even though you haven’t heard from me. I’ve been itching to do some felting but I’ve been working on my lullubee craft kits site (www.lullubee.com) , trying to prepare projects at least 6 months in advance. I flew to NYC last week to do a little business and to present lullubee on a morning t.v. show in Dayton, Ohio. When I returned to Israel, I had to continue with our annual Halloween party plans (jet-lagged) and finish my daughter’s costume for the party; she was the Corpse Bride. The party went well (according to the kids); there were many more kids this year because Elli wanted to invite both sides of her class (Israeli and French). Just remember, when decorating for Halloween, everything is scarier with lot of spiders and rats sprinkled over it. Here are a few highlights from the party:
I picked up a few Styrofoam tomb stones at a Halloween super store in NYC; I thought they worked nicely in the “garden”.
Once you enter, all the furniture has been covered in white sheets to give it that haunted house look. With the addition of a few black lights and a little eerie music, the illusion worked really well.
I like to add a lot of little details like this “horrible” bloody utensil garland, spiders, crows, cobwebs, changing portraits and dripping blood.
I picked up these changing portraits at Michaels Crafts. It appears to be a normal portrait, till you look at it in a different angle-Love it!
I didn’t have time to make the Halloween treats like last years, but we had a few things on the table that I think you’d think twice about eating or drinking…
The drink labels we put on the soft drinks were pretty funny, but I’m afraid most of the humor was lost to Hebrew and French speakers.
I put some of the props we have into glass jars filled with water and food coloring for a most “unappetizing” table of treats!
The brain jello mold is one of my favorite tools for Halloween food (it’s mostly a prop because no one eats it); those darned kids couldn’t keep their fingers out of it! I serve it with the desert saw.
I made a box shaped like a coffin and filled it with Halloween candy.
We all love Halloween around my house, but Elli and I love it the most! I love the creativity in the decorating and costumes and Elli likes the drama of it all and doing scary make-up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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…..
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.
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.
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.
This mask and pose make Elli look like a young celebrity elephant posing for a photo shoot in Elephants Today.
The Rat Masks were made as an ode to my girls’ pet rats: Bibbl and Harry. Check out the fimo teeth!
And last but not least, the very pink lounge singer, the elegant Ms. Flamingo…