Summer’s End

living in Israel
beach at Ein Ha Yam

The girls and I spent our last day of summer exploring new places; my friend is moving back to Israel and she’s living in a small community a half an hour out of Tel Aviv call Ein Ha Yam. Down the street from her house, we entered a wild beach through grass-covered dunes that looked like Cape Cod to me and we explored the big rocks. The girls collected sea shells and chased baby crabs across the beach; they were hard to see because they were the exact same color as the sand on the beach. This particular beach is the destination of nesting sea turtles.

living in Israel
cliffs of Ein Ha Yam

This desolate, wild beach felt so different to me than the sardine-packed beaches of Tel Aviv. I marveled at the beauty of the nature, the big fluffy clouds, the razor sharp cliffs that dotted the coast and my good fortune that my dear friend is again living near by.

living in Israel
sea spray

Tomorrow, two of my girls will start school; they’ll be entering junior high and high school. My little one will start school on Monday and I’m hopeful for a new year for them filled with new friends, old friends, new activities, new challenges and a lot of good old fashioned learning! The daily grind will begin again, but I’ll be happy to have a schedule so that I can finally get some work done!

living in Israel
rocky shores of Ein Ha Yam

Waldorf style Marie Antoinette Doll

needle felting
Marie Antoinette doll

 After we returned home from Paris, all my inspiration I had gathered there vanished. I guess living in a small apartment with my three, shreiking kids, husband and my mother-in-law for two weeks will zap the creativity from even the most creative soul! (oh, I’m just kidding –wink-or am I?)

I saw three movies on vacation:

  • Super 8 (very cute)
  • Brides’ Maids (gross, but very funny)
  • Bad Teacher (o.k.) 

I read 4 books on my i-phone (I think reading books on my i-phone is WONDERFUL):

  • Water for Elephants
  • Before I Go to Sleep
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Big, Little Life

Apparently, reading a lot and seeing movies is also a recipe for losing your creative spark; I rarely do either of these things, except on vacation. Before we went on our trip, I was full of creativity, partly because my friend/muse Tiffany came to visit me from New York and we worked on lots of projects together. She’s always full of good ideas and enthusiasm, which helps me a lot! I need a full-time muse.

Rivoli mosaic
Art Deco building decoration on Rue Rivoli

The week since I’ve been back have been spent cleaning, doing laundry and fretting about how I would find a renewed, creative spark.  Trying to revive my Joie d’Art, I tried eating copious amounts of cheese, eating a ham sandwich on a bagette, drinking Champagne instead of wine and using all the French words that I know-all to no avail. The one thing that I can usually find the patience and enthusiasm to create is a doll, so before I really get down to business, I made a Waldorf-style Marie Antoinette doll, in honor of our trip to France.

wool, cotton
Marie Antoinette, cotton face, wool hair, taffeta and tulle dress

 I’ve had a fascination with Marie Antoinette’s style and look for a long time. I’ve made many costumes and dolls based on this 18th century French queen. She is needle felted, but because she is so small (8″ tall), it was hard to put the detail that I wanted into her face, at least in a reasonable amount of time, so I covered her wool face with cotton tricot and embroidered her facial features. The hair is made from curly, silver/white wool. The rest of Marie is made of wool wrapped/needle felted around  a pipe cleaner armiture. I sewed her dress from taffeta, tulle and lace. I’ll soon be putting a kit for sale and posting a tutorial on how to make a smaller (5.5″ tall), slightly simpler version of pipe cleaner dolls and clothes, so stay tuned.

My other Marie Antoinette inspired projects:

Marie Antoinette
My Marie Antoinette puppet, child's costume and wigMy felt Marie Antoinette wig
Marie Antoinette, child's costume in my store

The Waldorf-style pipe cleaner dolls are easy and fast to make plus they can be made to be more attractive to older children (8-12 years old), less “babyish” than the stout Waldorf dolls.

Rue Rivoli Art Deco building decoration

Bon Jour!

red cafe umbrellas on the Champs Ellysee

So we’re in Paris for our summer vacation! There’s a never ending panorama of beautiful sights, but this last week has been a photographic challenge as the weather has been grey and rainy. We are thrilled with the cool, rainy weather (so opposite from Tel Aviv right now, it’s a wonderful break for us) but photographically, much more difficult to achieve great photos. Most of the old buildings are a cream color, lending themselves to black and white or sepia tone, but I’ve found a few colorful subjects in this wonderland of neutrals.

the metro
Paris metro sign

I really wanted to bring the girls to Paris so they could practice their French and experience France as French speakers; I think it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They all three study in a French school in Tel Aviv, they’re fluent in French, Hebrew and English; I felt that they should have the real French experience. BUT, it seems they are not the least bit interested in seeing the monuments, museums or touristy sights, all they want to do it SHOP! To the girls’ credit, the only museum that I remember visiting as a young child was the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (I was probably 10 or 11 years old); I remember that my brother, sister and I loved dropping coins into the wax mold machines, watching the souvenir machine make wax molds of an Abraham Lincoln bust, then the mold dropped out still warm for us to take home and I remember the lake Michigan beach that was nearby. I don’t remember one thing from the museum, but I do remember the experience with my family and I think that’s the most important part.

Rue Boubourg, Paris

 I will have to say that shopping here is vastly different than shopping in Tel Aviv, there’s so much more to choose from! I’ve tried to strike a compromise, a little shopping, a little Eiffel tower, a little shopping, a little Louvre, a little shopping, a little Notre Dame….I’m hoping one day they’re appreciate the experience a little more than they seem to now.

My experience with children on vacation: 
We were in the Pompidou Center,
Emili (9 years old)-shortly after we arrive: “Can we leave now, I’m tired and bored.”
my husband: “We’re all tired and bored, that’s the price you pay for culture.”

Paris France
The Eiffel Tower, Paris

When I visit a new place, my goals are to take some great photos AND I like to collect accessories like shoes or eye glasses; I search for these special things as I wonder foreign places. These accessories become my souvnenirs from the places I visit. I haven’t found anything here that strikes my fancy yet.

little dove outside my window

I’m shoving the girls out the door now, we’re going to the Louvre. I hope that as we roam the galleries of the Louvre,  my enthusiasm for art will rub off on them a little and the recitation of my art history lessons that I remember will entertain them for as long as it takes to drag them past some of the most famous art in the world. I’ll promise them creme brule if they finish the tour without driving me crazy!