Summer, Vacation and Crafting

artistic life
Summertime beverages

It is once again summer, the girls are out of school and we’re getting ready to go to the United States for awhile. I never get excited about these trips until I’m actually there and I see my family and friends. There’s so much to do to prepare and in my mind, my work continues even if I’m not sitting here doing it. When I’m traveling, I’m always thinking about what great photos I can capture and how to use them and what cool things or people might inspire me and what’s new out there in the crafting and art world. I’m planning on packing some special crafting supplies I’ve collected and some felting supplies so I can work in my “down time”. Yeah, I know that vacation is supposed to be all about down time, but our trips to the United States seam anything but. We travel to several states to visit various family and friends and we seem to be constantly on the go-5 weeks of that is tiring. This year will be my 30th high school reunion in Indiana, so I’m especially looking forward to that.

laura lee burch
Summer flowers in bloom

It seems that eating is one of our main activities when we go home (which I hate) but Doron and I plan to eat every meal possible at a Mexican restaurant, and we plan on washing all that Mexican food down with salty Margaritas (Mexican food is one food that is sorely missing here in Israel and it’s my favorite!) We’ll be meeting my oldest and best friends in Michigan again this trip, we’ve rented a giant house that we’ll all stay in for a week and hang out on Lake Michigan. The big house is called the asylum because it used to be a mental institution many years ago; I believe we’ll get a few spooky adventures from this as all the kids (5 teenagers and 5 little kids) have watched way too many scary movies and they’re planning some sort of spook-fest!

crafting
So much to do in the summer

The last two years since I closed my store here (A.S.-after store) have been a time of finding my artistic self and deciding exactly what I want to do. Without the employees and the big space, I didn’t want to try to recreate what I made at the store by myself but I kept making toys (by needle felting) because I just never stopped doing this. My needle felting work keeps evolving, I developed more techniques and taught more classes and I continue to sell my toys and costume accessories on my Etsy site. I’ve also been planning some large, needle felted work and will I’m veering towards exhibiting my work and all that that entails.

crafting
Summer stroll

BUT, when I was in Rome a month ago, my crafting buddy Tiffany called me and suggested we start a new company. WHAM (I’m visualizing a cartoony, Roy Lichtenstein image here!)  Her idea was to start a subscription DIY craft kit company, based on our combined love of crafts, my designs and artistic skills and her business and marketing skills. Finally, the like minded partner that I always knew that I needed had come up with a GREAT idea. And so it began, phone calls and umpteen e-mails back and forth from New York to Tel Aviv and vice a versa. Ideas have been racing across the world and have been evolving and materializing on my computer screen. It’s pretty hard to believe what we’ve put together in the last month and I’m looking forward to the development in the upcoming months! You’ll still find needle felting based posts here on my Laura Lee Burch site, but you can see my craft inspired posts on the lullubee blog: here. The site will officially launch in the fall, so I’m very pleased to announce to you dear readers, my new site:

http://www.lullubee.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Lullubee

http://pinterest.com/lullubee/

crafting

lullubee is a crafting company, we sell monthly craft kit subscriptions, craft kits for adults and kids are always available for purchase. The kits come with great, easy to follow tutorials and links to video tutorials by Moi! We offer kits for birthday parties, patterns and tutorials in case you have your own materials and one of a kind artist pieces. What makes lullubee different from other craft sites is that you can choose your kits (no surprises) and we offer more than just assembly in a box. Our kits offer high quality and sometimes hard to find materials and you’ll never find a store bought pom-pom included in a kit box but you will find yarn and instructions for how to make your own big, fluffy pom-pom. We offer a diverse range of kits, from beautiful and elegant, beaded crowns for birthdays, bat mitzvahs, weddings and other special occasions to classic sock monkeys. So, Craft to it!

lullubee
Beaded crown on lullubee

 

Sock Monkey Kit on lullubee

I want to let you know about another beautiful and crafty site that I like: Silver White Winters by Caroline Froberg. I’ve been following her for awhile and especially like her “wooly” articles. I think our two environments are exact opposites because I’m in hot, sandy Israel and Caroline is in cold, snowy and friendly Denmark (the friendliest country I’ve EVER visited!) She’s having a give-away, a chance to win some crafting supplies, please take a look! http://silverwhitewinters.com/2012/06/16/competitiongive-away-20/

 

“It’s so hot outside”, we all moaned together!

summer
sunset on the Tel Aviv beach

Summer is grinding on at our house; toys, Barbies, crayons and swimming goggles are flying around my head as I sit at my sewing machine, my kids are whining I’m bored and I’m trying to think creatively to keep them busy.

summer
flip flop feet

The girls’ new game while we’re driving around town is waving at everyone that will look at them! Most people ignore their weird, friendly greetings and some smile. I just shrug my shoulders and shake my head as I drive because I can’t pretend they belong to someone else like I usually do. Even though their frantic waving at stangers is fairly embarassing, the belly laughs I hear from the back seat make me chuckle too.

summer activities
summer swimming

I’ve been concentrating on tidying up the house (which was ignored the last 5 years that I had my store). The girls and I have been washing walls, organizing drawers, cleaning everything, making new bed curtains and table cloths, dusting things that haven’t been dusted for 5 years and throwing out piles of junk. The downstairs-storeroom (which I called the troll hole) was filled from with boxes, sewing machines and fabric from the store; it has finally been turned back into a useable playroom again. Really, this is a huge achievement because you used to have to climb over things to get to the couch to watch the t.v. which was framed by “stuff”, you could barely walk down there after we unloaded everything left from the store. I was supposed to tidy up this area a long time ago so I could work downstairs, but I couldn’t bring myself to work without a window and lots of light, so I took over the kitchen table as my little work space. 

messing storeroom
(Before) storeroom/family room

I wanted to get all this done before we take off for our vacation in August. The trip in August should supply me with endless photo opportunities at which time you’ll see where we are when I post some of the photos on my blog.

emili
Emili in the pool

Creative summer kid activities include:
1. The girls and I planted our baren window boxes that were filled with dead plants and twigs with herbs and flowers.
2. I painted a small wall in the kitchen with chalk board paint which has proved to be a new “fun” place in the house. I was worried about the dark green paint being “too much”, but with all the art covering it, it’s o.k.
3. The girls and I attempted to make our own sushi one evening with a kit. I’ve been watching the Japanese sushi makers at the restauant down the street and thought “that looks like fun, and much easier than one would think”. We were deliciously successful!
4. Trips to the pool and the beach in the evening (armed with a bottle of vinegar to combat the jellyfish stings.)

fun for kids
kitchen wall chalkboard

We have seen quite a few visiting friends and relatives we haven’t seen in a while, that’s always fun! Stay tuned for photos of our vacation, followed by new needle felting tutorials of some cute (Waldorf style) toys.

summer in Tel Aviv
sprinkler park in Tel Aviv

 

Summer

Elli jumping into the lake at Lois and Hal's

When I was a kid, I remember how long the summers seemed to be. Trips to the family farm in Lexington Indiana were special to us; my grandpa Perk was born there in a little cabin in the woods that fell down long ago.  We stayed in my Aunt’s house, where my grandpa also stayed when he was working on the farm.The two story house was white with a front porch and of course an old hound dog named Duke, sleeping by the front door. My sister and I slept on a feather bed that enveloped us; I can’t imagine what sleeping on that bed would do to my back today. We slept in pitch black (no street lamps) and listened to a symphony of crickets and bull frogs outside. My grandpa would get up at dawn and so would my sister, they would check the cows, then go fishing in the pond by the house. I always slept late, but when I finally got up I would go out and look at my aunt Lee’s horses. By the lake, we swam, played in the fishing boats, and walked around the property. I helped my dad clean the fish that we spent the day catching and my mom and grandma would fry them in a skillet on the fire.

I’ve been so busy working on projects for my store, that I haven’t had time for summer. I’m taking time out right now to reflect on what summer should be.

Greenfield geese
Indiana State Fair pigs-I just love pigs!
The waterfall in Millinium Park, Chicago
Lili smelling the lilies
fishing with Tye
a big green yard to jump around it
driving with Grandpa Herb in the parking lot
Riding ponies at the Renaissance Fair