Thursday, December 29, 2011

Keeping An Open Mind

There was this Saturday on which i felt adventurous. Like going to places we don't usually go to, and find fun things. Alas, we had many things to do on that particular Saturday, so i had to wait patiently for all those tasks to end. Home chores, family obligations. The day was running out, and my adventurousness grew (patiently!) wider and wider.

Tasks at last behind us, we decided to go to this field of anemones, a place i went to years ago and remembered to be lovely.

Navigating from memory and trying to beat the clock, we got there close to dusk. But as we got closer, we discovered the anemones weren't there anymore! They're all gone, and now there's just an empty field!

But the adventure!!! There was very little time before darkness, but we couldn't just give up and go home. We decided to keep an open mind, and, feeling lame and stupid, we drove on a little, to look for adventures in the next forsaken empty field. and this is what we found there:

Huge pipes laying around and looking very much like dinosaurs (well, to a worked up adventurous mind they did, anyway). When the sun was setting, it really became a joy -

Lots of copper-orange-ochre round things with beautiful textures. We ran around like a couple of frantic weirdos, pointing out stuff, taking pics and trying to catch the light in its last moments.

The next day I woke up needing to make something orange and roundish. I needed to feel and watch an orange thread on my left hand, rounding up to orange limbs of an orange creature on my right hand. It is weird to explain, but it was completely physical.

It finally became this creature. You can see it, too, keeps an open mind (it doesn't look very adventurous though. It's more of an indoors homey creature).

Another thing keeping an open mind around here is this valentine bird:

I had to take that photo, because its expression reminded me those of Sandra Monat's wonderful Marie Antoinette bead heads.

The problem is, they skip this open-mind phase quickly. This valentine bird is all grown up now, with a firmly closed head and a hanger to hang from.

Have a happy, colorful, adventurous and open-minded 2012!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blue Moose. Moon? Mood!

I was gonna write some clever sarcastic post about my blue moose, with lots of puns and shiny words with the help of  my beloved good friend here - BUT this has been the most perfect weekend, and I'm feeling lazy and content and forgiving. So:

1. First of all - you can play this in the background - Billie Holiday singing exactly to match my mood, and hopefully yours, too.

2. Last Saturday was my nephew's 2nd birthday, and he threw a party. His big brother  (4.5!) was wearing a cool T Shirt with a moose on it. That moose looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both knew it had to happen. It was just a matter of time. A few days later Moose here joined the team:

 The next morning, however, he was sent under cover to a secret mission in foreign lands, more suitable to Meese than Israel, the 25-degrees-average home of the Camel.

Hope he gets there safely and leads a full, happy life.

There are so many creatures i want to try and crochet, but I can hardly manage a couple of creatures a week. I would like another pair of hands. And eyes. Better still - I would like a rewind button i could press and relive my week doing different things each day.

Aaaaah Billie.

And the universe is listening and echoing, for in these moments a lunar eclipse can be seen from my balcony. Sorry i can't take decent pics of it.

Word of the Day was gonna be the word describing the sounds a moose in love makes, but i can't remember it. If the person telling me about it is reading this, please come forward (quietly, so as not to scare the meese).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bird Weekend

I love Ireland. I've been to Ireland several times, saw most parts of it, and loved nearly all of them. All those shades of green and blue, and the water everywhere, and the people - don't think I ever encountered an Irish person who wasn't nice to me and nice in general. Of course, there's always the possibility I didn't understand what they were saying.

In the middle of my second trip to Ireland, on a Saturday, we got to a place called Clonmel - a nice, peaceful, quiet town. It was the end of the day, and we were going to spend the night there, so we started looking for a B&B the regular way - i was driving the car in circles, and my brave zillion-languages-speaking friend A was on the communicative role of asking B&B people whether they had a spare room for us. The first few attempts were unfruitful - the places were full, but we didn't worry because up till then we hadn't had difficulty in spontaneously finding a place to stay. So we continued searching. But one after the other, every place we tried was full, full, full. It was beginning to get late, and we were beginning to worry, and drove in bigger and bigger circles, so that eventually we were desperately going through the surrounding fields. Then, not far off on the right side of the road, we saw a woman walking sprightly. She seemed promisingly optimistic, so I drove up to her. Being Irish (and therefore extremely nice), she heard us coming and knew we would need help, so she waited for us, and when I rolled down the window she smiled at me very warmly and expectantly, and waited for my question.

I said, "Hello, we're looking for a B&B for ages now, and can't find one. Do you happen to know any B&B's around?"

The lady wore an understanding-but-grave expression, and replied, "Yes, this is a very bird weekend for a B&B".

well she's expecting some kind of communication. What could I do?

"Sorry, a Bird Weekend? What's that? Is there some Bird watching activity around?" (they do have some very weird popular activities there, you know. Hurling, for instance)

The (very nice lovely kind) lady stared at me, considered the situation, and then spoke very slowly:
"IT IS A   B A D  WEEKEND to look for a bed and breakfast.  B A D ."

She went on to explain why it was bad (can't remember, probably some county Hurling match or a bird-watching festival) and where we should go try our luck (which we later did, and really found a bed for the night!), while i was trying to become very small and hide under the driver's seat.

Love Ireland. And Irish Gaelic (And Welsh, while we're at it. But Gaelic better!).

So. This has certainly been a bird weekend for me here:

I've wanted to make birds for so long, made some attempts, but all of them were awful. Lately I came up with this, which is really very simple and i can't understand why it took me so long. The main issue about these birds are the legs, which have been my major problem - couldn't figure them out. Until I remembered this technique i used a year ago for some other project, and it clicked. Not to say "kicked".

The legs are Tunisian crochet - just two rows of it, which i finished off and then sewed into tubes. It can be made to look neat, but i wanted the rough bumpy look - it reminds me of chicken legs.

I've been in a bird frenzy all week, making them at home, at school and in coffee shops. They're so easy to make. What gets me every time is the moment I'm done sewing the eyes in place and securing their threads - the moment it turns from a lump of crocheted yarn into something that's looking back at me. That's the moment they get their personality. Until that moment, i have no idea what sort of bird it would be.

Have a lovely and GOOD Bird Weekend!

Word of the Day
The "mel" in Clonmel is Gaelic for "Honey". It comes from Latin, and appears (with small variations) in many other languages, like Spanish, French and also in Rumanian, which i happen to speak a little. Since that trip to Clonmel, Rumanian honey became oddly associated in my head with birds.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"I'm a Dragon! Aaaaargh!!!"

There are several writers that I adore. Not too many, but there are some, and one of them is Michael Ende. I discovered his children's books when i was no longer a child, but loved them nonetheless, especially the Jim Knopf books. I love his characters, his choices of where to focus a story, and the detailed elaborations of those focal points. I love his humor, his points of view, his delicate, uncondescending morals, and, of course, his language, which - luckily for me, as i don't speak German - was magnificently translated into Hebrew by the late Landa Matalon, a gifted translator who managed to create sentences which are simultaneously old Hebrew, modern Hebrew, German and pure Magic.

In the first of the two books, Jim and Lukas come across a half-dragon - a young creature of mixed origin, a fact that gives him a hard time among his neighborhood's pure-blood dragons. His name is Nepomuk. His mother was a hippopotamus, he himself is half hippo, and that would normally call for a lush green forest with riverbanks and flowing water, but instead he's stuck in this crappy desert place crawling with scary monstrous bullies, and has to act tough. He's a comic, sad, brave and optimistic character.

This morning i finished making this, put it aside, inspected it and became aware of a dusty corner in my mind, with a blinking label on it, saying "Nepomuk".

Now, i know it is pink, and that's supposed to be a girl-color, but (a) When was that made an official law?! and (b) This dino feels definitely like a He, not a She. To me, at least.

I will add him to my Etsy shop soon. Hope he gets a warm, friendly home.

Word of the Day

The word Dragon comes from Greek for a large serpent, and depending on the context, may mean "the devil".

I can't think of a context that would make this pink dragon-pup become a devil.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It has been raining here as if we were in Brussels or London, not close to Tel-Aviv. In one week we got a third (!) of the average yearly amount of rain.

The Lupins found that quite refreshing:

So did the Anemones and the old Cyclamen - 

Just look at the droplets on the Lupin leaves. I watched it for a long time, those perfect beads of water, and wondered what happens in the scale that's just under visibility.

Those Lupins are new here. I got their seeds from a friend last summer. I don't know whether they will be blue or pink. The Anemones, however, are old timers: this is their fifth year! They got here together with the grandma-Cyclamen, i bought them on a whim in the supermarket. They have already produced several new generations.

This is such a thrill for me. Every morning i climb to the balcony upstairs, to check for new Cyclamen buds or another Lupin waking up and stretching out of the ground. I talk to them, hoping my neighbors aren't watching. Sometimes i catch a snail in mid-action. I used to like snails, until i found out they liked my Lupins. For breakfast. So they're not allowed in the balcony anymore, and anyway i can't figure out how they get to that balcony - it seems too whacky for them to trudge up 3 stories. Those Lupins must be really delicious.

So, after that daily trip to the balcony i'm back at my desk, working away, bitching about how cold and rainy and cold it is. If i gather enough bitching volume, and if i do my work, and if it stops raining for five seconds, i might decide to go down to the coffee shop to compensate myself for the weather.

This is what i found on my last trip to the coffee shop:

Someone's Bougonvilleas, on someone else's mattress, in the rain.

Of course, the next morning i had an inexplicable itch to work with pink and red yarn.

Word of the Day

Oh my. I looked up Cyclamen, and this is what Century Dictionary says: "...They are low herbs with very handsome flowers, and are favorite greenhouse-plants. The fleshy tubers, though acrid, are greedily sought after by swine; hence the vulgar name sowbread".

And i was complaining about snails.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting Hooked

A couple of years ago I found myself at home, bored. I was done reading my book, done chatting with some similarly bored online friends, done doing my chores and anyway it was too cold to do anything that required getting up from my computer. After a short consideration of my unattractive options, I went back to idle chatting. Then a friend, who is much less idle than I, sent me some links in hope to keep me occupied and shut me up. One of those links was to Lucy's Blog.

I went nuts over the color. I could feel the texture of the cotton thread through the pictures. I got a physical itch to try it, and her instructions made it all jump out of the screen and look so Possible, that I hoped even I, widely known for my awful handwriting and complete lack of technical artsy skills, would be able to produce something. So, sitting there freezing, I read and re-read the illustrated instructions, trying to get familiar with the terminology: hooks, yarns, stitch types. It all looked fairly uncomplicated. The next morning I went out and bought a hook and some yarn, sat determinedly to practice, and in a matter of a few hours' struggle produced an amorphic knot which I proudly (and brazenly) declared as "A Flower".

Well, two years later, I sometimes manage to produce items that are a bit more intelligible. It took hours and hours of watching youtube tutorials, browsing through Howto instructions, and of course following an endless trail of trials, errors and amorphic knots. What fascinated me all along the way, and still does, is the fact that it takes merely a length of thread and a hooked stick to create something that is completely new - it looks like magic. And there are so many possibilities for that thread! So many techniques, so much to achieve with the simplest, most basic stitches. I find it spellbinding to this day.

Word of the Day
The Word of the Day is Yarn. Suitable for this post, don't you think? Now, according to Century Dictionary, one definition of Yarn is "A story; a tale: often implying the marvelous".

I think that's a very true definition. Don't you?