Sunday, 30 May 2010

Little Bird

I know that my blogging has been a little sporadic lately. Between birthday celebrations and my Dad visiting from the UK, my work routine, including a little blog writing, has been out-of-sync. Dad is going back home tonight and, come tomorrow morning, I will be back at my desk, hard at work!Having said all that, there has been a tiny little bit of crafting going on here. My lovely sister-in-law in the UK recently celebrated a birthday and the above card, with a sweet little bird on it, was popped in the post, along with a far more exciting package including some funky Israeli-designed Lalo resin jewellery. Like many fellow crafters and bloggers, I have always enjoyed creating designs with birds on them and remember well a lino-printed piece of fabric I made at art college with several types of birds on it. The bird on this card is a little more pared-down and simple but sweet all the same.
Though I have been somewhat laid back in my recent crafting, I have been fortunate to have had several of my pieces appear in a good few Etsy Treasuries! I will show you more in my next few posts but for now you can see my Monkey Papercut Picture, above, bottom row on the right, and my Purple Cupcake Notebook, below, bottom row, in the centre, as they appeared in some gorgeous collections. Both items are available in my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Dumb... er, Wedding Bells

So, my 40th birthday has been and gone. The various celebrations are over - my very special weekend away with my husband, a guided tour of The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo on my actual birthday and then a lovely party with good friends in the back garden at the end of last week. Now it is time for others to celebrate and today a sweet couple in Melbourne, Australia are getting married. How do I know this? Because I was commissioned to make them a very special card of course!
The groom is the brother of a good friend of mine and therefore I was able to glean a little information about the couple to make their card extra special. He owns his own gym so I showed him wearing a sports vest with the actual logo of the gym on it and working out a little too, with a dumbbell in his hand. Because he is getting married I added a little bow tie to make his informal attire more suitable for the wedding!
The bride loves to travel and Paris in particular. She is also into a brand of clothing called Zadig & Voltaire. Therefore I found the logo of the clothing company and pinned it onto her wedding dress, while a little illustration of the Eiffel Tower can just be seen amongst the flowers of her wedding bouquet.
My friend is obviously still in Australia for the big event, but e-mailed me to tell me that "they loved your card. Appreciated it's uniqueness and V. was so surprised that I had included her favourite designer. Thanks again for all your effort."

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Art Appreciation

In my last post I described the wonderful little zimmer in the Lower Galilee where we were lucky enough to spend last weekend. I promised more photos from our few days away and here they are!We last visited the town of Zikhron Yaakov not so very long ago, during the recent Passover holidays. However, with two boys in tow, I wasn't able to enjoy the boutique shops selling locally-made crafts, jewellery and antiques as much as I would have liked! This time my husband showed endless patience and gave me plenty of time to wander along the picturesque and historic main street, Derekh HaYayin ("Path of the Wine"), to appreciate the many beautiful items I saw there.
After a delicious lunch in a local restaurant - rather than our usual picnic - we went to meet our Glasgow-born guide at the Carmel-Mizrahi Winery, located right in the centre of the town. Zikhron Ya'akov was founded in 1882 when 100 Jewish pioneers from Romania purchased some land in the area. The difficulty of working the rocky soil and an outbreak of malaria led many of the settlers to leave before the year was up but shortly afterwards Baron Edmond James de Rothschild became the patron of the settlement and drew up plans for its residential layout and agricultural economy. He renamed the settlement in memory of his father, James (Ya'akov) Mayer de Rothschild. In 1885 Rothschild helped to establish the first winery in Israel, the Carmel Winery, which was an economic success and soon began to flourish. Today the winery remains in action and we enjoyed our tour in the cool cellars and the session in the specialist tasting room that was part of it!Our second day was spent in the ancient city of Safed, a small town located in Northern Israel, 900 meters above sea level, in the mountains of the Upper Galilee. Safed is considered one of Judaism's four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias and today is considered to be the centre of Jewish mysticism. It has also become known as Israel's art capital, my main reason for visiting there. The artists colony established in Safed's Old City is a hub of creativity. The narrow cobblestone alleys reveal some modest artists' studios together with some of Israel's leading art galleries and this time my husband began to enjoy, and even appreciate, some of the little galleries and studios that we visited. Me? I was in heaven! With plenty of time to look around and relish the nooks and crannies around me, and time to stop and appreciate the art - both indoors and out - I couldn't have asked for a better birthday getaway!

Sunday, 9 May 2010


I have a big birthday coming up very soon - okay, it's my 40th - and this last weekend my husband really came up trumps and organised a wonderful 'birthday weekend' away, tailored to all my wishes and desires! I knew that he had planned for us to go away but had no idea where we were going or what we were going to be doing. The kids were lucky enough to be invited to friends for three whole days and so Thursday morning came around and we set off for our short break together - something we have not had the opportunity to do for many years.
I took so many photographs over the three days that I have decided to split my post up into two parts. This first post is bursting with photographs of the magical little zimmer (the Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer - German for room) where we stayed.'Hemdatya', with roots in the word 'delight', can be found at Moshav Ilaniya in the Lower Galilee. As you can see from my photos, the place was more than a 'delight', it was a dream! I don't think I have ever stayed in a place where so much attention has been paid to every single little detail.
The stone houses where we slept and ate our delicious breakfast were originally farmers' homes, from the time when Ilaniya was a pioneer farm, worked by settlers of the Second Aliyah, among them the young David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister. They have been restored to perfection and are both environmentally friendly (though I can't say that the composting toilet really appealed to me!) and equipped with modern facilities. We managed to catch the results of the British election whilst relaxing in this little piece of paradise in northern Israel!
While each house has it's own delightful little porch, all the rooms are situated in a beautiful courtyard, surrounded by an ancient stone wall. Lush green and blooming plants, a small vineyard, stunning flower beds and vegetable patches which provided us with some of the ingredients for our delicious breakfast fill the area.
Breakfast was a whole nother story. Frankly, the longer we sat and enjoyed both the food and the area around us, the more food our friendly proprietor brought us! This culminated in a quick shot of some sort of homemade cherry liqueur on our second day there, at 10'o'clock in the morning! As I have already mentioned, much of the food we ate was homegrown and used in mouthwatering jams, pastries and salads. We saw deep purple eggplants growing in the vegetable patch, next to huge cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbages.
In my next post I plan to tell you what we got up to during our days in the Galilee area, but what I will tell you now is that we did manage to squeeze in a dip in the beautiful stone pool and to while away quite some time in the hammock hanging between the olive trees. The little frog, in the photo above, along with his friends, kept us amused with his constant croaking, both day and night. It didn't bother us in the slightest. We just felt so privileged to be able to spend quality time in such a beautiful location.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Colours Of The Rainbow

I often post photographs of stunning flowers growing in the wild, yet whilst doing a little outdoor tidying up last week, I couldn't resist photographing the colourful blooms growing right here in my own front garden. Though we have had a couple of surprising nighttime downpours during the last week, something always very much welcomed here because Israel's water resources remain perilously depleted, spring is very much here and it is wonderful to see the bright colours all around me. The season doesn't last long, quickly moving on to a long, hot and dry summer, so I intend to enjoy it while it lasts!It seems that others are enjoying the seasonal changes too. Linda, a teammate on Etsy Chai, created a beautiful treasury called 'EtsyChai Colours'. She kindly included my set of Happy Birthday and Thank You Cards, seen above, middle row, on the left. I was also delighted to discover, quite by chance, that my Penguin Papercut Picture made a treasury appearance this week too, below, once again, middle row, on the left. The picture was placed in a sweet collection, titled 'Zoo' and my penguin was in great company, next to many other bright and colourful animals.