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I bumped into my stained glass instructor, of many years ago, Mrs. Rachel Bissette, at a garage sale.  Rachel is a talented stained glass artist, a good, dedicated teacher, and a beautiful human being. Not only has she been a good instructor, with loads of patience, good advice, and humor, but she would also make sure the class have plenty of glass scraps to work with, always an extra soldering iron or anything else that’s needed (and we always needed something), coffee and cookies, and… class trips to glass factories,  which is the equivalent of Disney World for a kid. Not less.

After we had our laughs, and brought up shared memories, I made up my mind to go back to her class next Fall. I got that stained glass itch again…

Meanwhile, here are some of my stained glass creations. Nothing grand, but certainly fun. I gave some as gifts, and did not have the sense to photograph beforehand.

Enjoy.

Bzzzz

Bzzzz

Put on your dancing shoes

Put on your dancing shoes

The very hungry caterpillar

The very hungry caterpillar

Fall Leaf

Fall Leaf

Tiny Fairy

Tiny Fairy

Coffee Jar covered with mosaic

Coffee Jar covered with mosaic

Colored Feathered Bird

A lighted Chanukia, for Chanukah

and… a  lit Chanukia

Mr. Owl

Mr. Owl

Mosaic at my (then) kitchen window

Mosaic at my (then) kitchen window

Sea Scene- given as a gift to my neighbor

Window Sea Scene- given as a gift to my neighbor

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I had the opportunity to spend some time in NYC with my hubby. Alone. Sans kids. So in no particular order, and certainly without any pretension, here are a few gems we ran into, worth checking out.

Grand Central Terminal

Thousands of people pass by and through the train terminal everyday without knowing or appreciating it’s history, architecture and small secrets that hide in different nooks and crannies of this magnificent complex. The terminal, at it’s location, was officially opened on February 1913, thus celebrating 100 years this year.

Grand Central Terminal- the big hall

Up until the end of 2012, free tours were offered in Grand Central, but beginning in 2013, you could either take a guided tour offered by MAS (The Municipal Art Society of New York), or get an Audio tour, or a smartphone app. I strongly suggest the MAS tours, even if it’s not free anymore. You connect with other people, and you get to ask the tour guide questions. It’s worth it.

Grand Central Terminal

Not only will one find great food, market, and grandeur sights of the architecture and fun facts about it’s history, but will also celebrate Grand Central’s Centennial with lots of events throughout the year.

Shoe Shiners in Grand Central Terminal

While in the neighborhood, if you want to sip good coffee and enjoy a cozy, shabby chic atmosphere, allow yourself to enjoy in Piccolo Cafe on 238 Madison Ave, a short walk from Grand Central.

Piccolo Cafe on Madison Ave.

The Museum at Eldridge Street

Thanks to my friend Laurel, who told me about this place. Smack in the middle of Chinatown, rises a beautiful architectural façade, magnificent and proud, of a synagogue from 1887.  Yet the outside is just a hint to the gorgeous interiors, depicting beautiful stained glass windows, brass fixtures, and intricate carved wood, among other things.

Eldridge

Eldridge Street Synagogue was New York’s first congregation built by Eastern European Jews. It now serves both as a museum, with tours offered every hour, and a synagogue.

Eldridge Synagogue stained Glass

If you arrived here, you must have made your way through Chinatown. No need to describe Chinatown, right? Just remember to walk around and open your eyes in the less crowded streets of Chinatown. It’s always interesting.

shoe repairer, Chinatown

The Tenement Museum

Staying in the area of the Lower East Side, I would recommend the Tenement Museum, that follows the history and lives of immigrants who came to America, beginning in the 19th century, and who worked their way to immerse and become Americans. The museum has a visitor center and an interesting shop, yet the guided tours in the restored apartments of past residents as well as tours of the neighborhood are most impressive.

After all that walking, a nice lunch would be in Cocoron Soba, for a tasty Japanese Soba dish. 61 Delancey St (between Allen St & Eldridge St).

The High Line

On the western side of Manhattan, high above, lies a unique park. Built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan, a fun walk is guaranteed: green public space, little corners, cool views, and public arts at display. The High Line runs between Gansevoort Street and West 34th Street, mostly between 10th and 11th Ave.

colorful corner seen from the high line

you can hop on, and get off, at several location along the park, back to street level.

High Line

If you’re hungry, you can climb down on 23rd or 20th street, and head 1 block to Le Grainne Cafe on 183 9 Ave. and 21st street. We had a very good brunch, and felt a bit french with the crêpes and Salade Nicoise. Yumm yumm

Food adventure – in Queens

Again, what would I do without good friends? This time, my friend Naomi, a foodie, knowledgeable, and a fun person, took us under her wings, and revealed the delicious corners of Queens. Well, it may not be in Manhattan, but one train ride (the 7 line) will take you all the way to the very last stop- Main Street, Flushing, and that’s where we started. Flushing, around the train station, is also known as the Queens’ Chinatown. This one is a little different- culinary diversity from other places in Asia, not just Chinese. Spotted, were Malaysian, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and of course- Chinese. You’ll find stretched noodles made from scratch, lots of dim-sum joints, neat bakeries,  and different street food-carts, each looks and smells more appetizing than the other. It’s a real treat to just wonder around, especially with friends, and take bites from many different vendors.

Noodle Stretcher, Flushing Queens

click on the photo, for a short clip

By the time we left Flushing, with bellies full of dumplings, pastries, soup, little chunks of lamb on skewers, and even a black sesame panna cotta (Iris Tea & Bakery), all from different places around Main Street, we didn’t think we had any more space for further tastings. Yet, we were already here, so we hopped back on the 7 Line, and back to the street in Jackson Heights. We found ourselves in the middle of Mexico and Central America, with restaurants serving Colombian,  Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Cuban, Argentinian, and of course- Mexican cuisine. Also, lots of shops and ethnic grocery stores. We just had to taste the Alfajores at Buenos Aires Bakery .

Alfajores, Jackson Heights

As one goes further towards 74th Street, the scenery changes into Pakistani, Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan eateries, food carts, and grocery stores. We ended our day on the R train, back to Manhattan, with a momo dumpling in our mouths. Irresistible. Delicious.

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For a long time I’ve been planning to write about Tel-Aviv. Traveling to Israel, my heart fills with joy every time I return to Tel Aviv, the bustling city in the center of Israel. All five senses blend together and work over-time in the 100+ years old city. In 1950 Jaffa, one of the oldest cities in the world, became part of Tel Aviv, thus adding an even more unique taste to the general aroma one gets while visiting.

A must place to visit, is Shuk HaCarmel, a main market in Tel Aviv, and to my opinion – one of the liveliest in the world. Everything from shoe laces, to food, to pictures and clothes.

Pomegranate in the market

Pomegranate, or Rimon, makes a tasty refreshing juice

challa in the market

Challa heap, for Shabat dinner

loofa

loofa- make you skin squeaky clean- click for more info

cheese in the market

cheese from all over the world

rainbow of spices

candy in the market

candy, always a favorite

After strolling in the market, we usually head to Neve Tzedek, a tres chic neighborhood, where you’d find art, jewelery and fashionable dashing clothing from small designers to top of the line. Look around at the small houses to find hints for the beginning of urban Tel-Aviv.

stylish display window with stylish jewels

surprises in Neve Tzedek, a house covered with sea shells

a few miles south, we walk on the sea-line from Tel-Aviv and arrive at Jaffa. Jews, Muslims and Christians live together (not without tensions) but with the same interest in mind- live peacefully, eat well and sell. Jaffa’s flea market is one of the best for antiques as well as for its small eateries, coffee houses, pastries and pita breads and Sahlab.  There’s nothing like a warm Jaffa Sahlab on a cool night. White thick starchy sweet drink, topped with rose-water, chopped nuts, cinnamon and raisins.

graffiti on the way to Jaffa

graffiti on the way to Jaffa

leaving Tel-Aviv beach behind

arriving to Jaffa

Jaffa's famous pastries, pita, bagels, baklava, cakes

Sahlab, ho Sahlab

Jaffans playing SHesh Besh. click

typical Jaffa street

But Tel-Aviv does not end with that. Lots and lots of shops, Rothschild Boulevard, world-renowned buildings of the Bauhaus 1930’s trend (acknowledged by UNESCO as a world heritage site), museums, galleries, great food,  endless night life, and the latest fashion modes and craze.

White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement. see more by clicking

Rothschild Boulevard - see a fun YouTube about it. click

For more photos, see more Tel Aviv photos page.

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Our back yard buzzes with life. We are fortunate to live so very close to nature, that we hardly need any pictures on our walls. Our windows bring into our home greens and pinks, and during the Fall, it brings those magnificent hues of red and oranges.

We learned to stop. listen. look. cherish the moment.

A few days ago, the very early morning hour summoned a turkey vulture to our yard. It sat on the old basketball post. It sat, and sat. All of the sudden, it drooped it’s scat, and flew away. “Slam, dunk”, shouted my little one. He understands.

nature in our back yard

Little birdie, little birdie, Come and sing me your song/ sung by Pete Seeger

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sound as a bell

I am so happy to have been exposed to Asaf Avidan and the mojos. It was by a mere chance that I crossed an article about them, and listened to this piece- Devil’s Dance-  where Asaf sings and plays the guitar and Hadas Kleinman plays the cello, and was blown away by his voice.

Luckily, I found out they will be performing in NYC’s City Winery on March 3rd.

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You may recall an earlier post, where I wrote with astonishment about Agata Olek’s art. Well, she did it again. She does not stop. This time we visited the open studios @ the AAI– down at the Lower East Side.

It started off at the corridor, where my kids discovered 2 crocheted figures, standing and offering toasted cheese sandwiches.

crocheted people serving stringed toast

with the artist, Agata Olek

The cheese seemed to be part of the display, being melted into a long, continued piece of (cheese)yarn. Thus, my very own little guy became part of the display by accepting (more like grabbing) that toasted sandwich, curiously gazing at the crocheted people, and munching, only to find out the sandwich is connected by (cheese)yarn to the very next sandwich, and so on. After three (!) such sandwiches, I stepped in to stop it. The reports from the battle field state that the sandwiches were yummy! Also, a passerby dog was caught eating the string (cheese).

dog enjoying the crochet display

We later stepped into Olek’s studio to find more crocheted gems.

shorthand crochet

crocheted balloons !

crocheted slide

Our magical journey continued with a musical setting, crocheted of course.

crocheted drummer

Our final surprise came as we left the building. The kids just loved the bicycle. You guessed it. It was crocheted.

crocheted bicycle

For a balanced justice, I must also bring your attention to some other talented artists that I especially liked:

Elaine Carl at her studio

Linda Byrne's recycled plastics

Tutte, oil on linen, from the Self Deceit series by Jennifer Mazza

Check out Linda Griggs interesting use of Walnut Ink she produces herself:

paintings with walnut ink- Linda Griggs

Finally, a little word about the Lower East Side. Walking the streets at that part of town is fun, lots of little stores, cafes and even galleries. A very nice place to have either lunch or dinner, with the kids, was the Noodle Bar at Stanton & Orchard. Decent sized dishes at a decent price. Kids and noodles- you can’t go wrong.

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*PLARN= plastic yarn

So, I’ve never really crochet(ed) before, but being a plastic-bag collector as I am, and following the beautiful bags and baskets that one talented Israeli artist, Arbel Eger, is creating, made me try to crochet my very own little basket. I looked online for some simple instructions, and they are out there, in cyberspace.

Here’s the first result:

my first basket crochet made of plastic bags

first plarn crochet

I was very happy and excited with what seemed to look like an actual basket, and even gave it as a gift. My friend looked pleased (she either liked it, or she was really kind to me), and she’ll be using it to collect her own plastic bags from now on.

Encouraged, I have decided to ride again on the waves of success, and created yet another basket to be given as a gift. This time I used more colors, and here it is:

crocheting basket from plarn, again

another crocheted basket

I am now hooked :). be prepared for some more photos.

For instructions on how to make PLARN, here a link to Arbel’s blog. It’s in Hebrew, but the great photo tutorial explains it all, loud and clear.

Any questions? remarks? I’d be happy to address them.

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