European Beauty and Artistry

Christmas market food
Christmas market food

I’ve just returned from Budapest, Hungary, inspired by the beauty of the city and the many creative crafts from the Christmas market. Even though Budapest is a modern, vibrant, European city, you can still experience old world artistry in everyday life there; in a way it’s like taking a trip back in a time machine! From quaint, wooden subway ticket booths, real leather hand-holds in the trains, a very large array of architectural styles throughout the city (Gothic, Baroque, Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Classicist, Modernist and Bauhaus), castles that dot the landscape and communist era statues that still stand, there is a real fairytale quality about this city.This Eastern European town gives you a glimpse of the way things used to be; a vintage patina colors surfaces, glittering snow paints the city and bells toll; during the holidays you can hear classic carols, concerts and symphonies. I saw handmade knives with carved bone handles, shadow puppets and puppet theaters designed by local artists, wool felted hats and bags to help keep out the winter cold and handmade lace for which the city is known; all crafts made with the highest quality.

Cozy tables

My family and I usually travel in the spring and summer, this was our first winter vacation so the really special aspect of this trip was that it was the first time my girls have seen snow, played in snow and built a little snowman; it’s been 13 years since I’ve been in a winter wonderland-ahhh, the brisk air! We enjoyed the experience so much we’re thinking of making a yearly tradition:)

Hungary in the winter


First snowman

The somber light reminds me of the long Chicago winters, but when you live in a place like Israel where it’s always summer, a week of grey days, rain and snow is a nice break.

2012 Hungary
2012 Christmas wreath

2012 Christmas wreathIn the winter, it gets dark around 4 p.m., there is little light on most days, but what light there is glows a magical yellow…

Gothic architecture lines the Danube river


Parliament on the Danube
Fairy tale castles-I can just see the knights on horseback and fair maidens in the windows!


Storybook landscapes…


Fresh herbs in ceramic cones….


pinecone angels..


nut nativities..


salt dough dolls…


painted eggs…


felt fairies…


wet felted hats and bags..


gingerbread houses…
fancy gingerbread cookies…


Hungarian handmade lace and embroidery…


snow angel

My inner child is happy and I’m inspired for the New Year…

Artsy Info. Caroline Froberg (from Silverwhitewinters) is starting a new blog for and by blogger artists. She writes: ” I need creative souls from everywhere, to make the most awesome blog ever” I want all types of artists, and I want to spread the creativity across the world.” The blog will feature artists’ works and tutorials; it’s for showing off, learning, sharing and meeting other artists! You can post about felting, sewing, working with beeswax, photography, crafting etc. Both tutorials, tips and tricks, from blogger to blogger, and reader to reader. I plan to post about my love of felting, come join me:) You can contact Caroline at


laura's vacation

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
― George Augustus MooreThe Brook Kerith

southern Indiana
Aunt Lee’s barn

“Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
― Lois McMaster BujoldThe Vor Game

the diner

“I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.”
― Mitch AlbomFor One More Day

manners count

“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.”
― Wallace StegnerAngle of Repose

farms iin America
I couldn’t understand what he was saying to me!

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”
― Maya AngelouLetter to My Daughter

american vacation
South Haven, Michigan

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
― William Faulkner

laura's vacation
South Haven pier

“I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.”
― Lauren Myracle

kite flying
Elli flies a kite in South Haven

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”
― Ari BerkDeath Watch

american vacation
South Haven, beach

“The heartland lies where the heart longs to be. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the true place to plant it.”
― Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

trip to America
visiting great friends

“Where we love is home,
Home that the feet may leave,
but not our hearts.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes

American vacation
American Laura

“I knew then that I wanted to go home, but I had no home to go to–and that is what adventures are all about.”
― Trina Schart HymanSelf Portrait, Trina Schart Hyman

vacation in America
Going Home

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!

Felting classes in Chicago

downtown Chicago

Getting around in downtown Chicago wasn’t very easy this year as Michigan Ave. and other streets were closed due to the shooting of the Transformers 3 movie. It was pretty wild seeing the “war zone” looking scenery and wreckage laid out all over Wacker Drive. Even though we didn’t stay in Chicago this summer as long as we usually do, I did manage to do one really interesting thing; I took a felting class with Deborah Pope, from the blog site Altered Threads. I’ve been following Deborah’s blog for a while now and I’ve always admired her felted dolls. What luck that she was in Chicago with the NIADA doll conference at the same time I was! I thought that I was signing up at the NIADA doll conference to take a needle felting class, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she doesn’t needle felt, she wet felts and is able to make these amazing dolls with the wet felt technique. I’d never wet felted before, so I learned the basics of wet felting and a few little tricks in the two classes that I took. Some really nice ladies from all over the United States and I each made our own adorable fish in the Dream Fish class and a  tiny hat in the Haute Chapeaux class. As a patient and friendly instructor, I’d highly recommend taking a class from Deborah; I thought she was a great teacher.

Deborah's Victoria doll
Deborah's Herr Hiram Rabbit doll

This rabbit is my favorite of Deborah’s dolls. She hand painted his eyes and meticulously sewed his clothes and shoes….and she made the chair he’s sitting in. I’m now thinking about how I can use my new found information and how I can combine needle felting and wet felting to make something unique!

Deborah and her Herr Hiram rabbit doll