Sunday, March 28, 2010

HAPPY PASSOVER - חג שמח

Where ever you are, where ever you celebrate - I wish you a happy, joyous and peaceful Passover!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DESERT BROOMRAPE - יחנוק

Two weeks ago I posted some photos and information about a very interesting plant growing here in the desert, by the Hebrew name of Yachnuk יחנוק. (Scroll down to see it!) 
Yesterday we found a wonderful video clip by Mori Chen about this plant. I got permission from Mori to put the link to his video here. It is in Hebrew, but even if you don't understand Hebrew it is worth while to watch it. Thank you Mori!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1GAbeusU6Y

WILD ORCHIDS IN ISRAEL - סחלבים

About thirty different kinds of wild orchids are blooming in Israel in their various seasons. They come in many colors and shapes and are all beautiful and lovely. My favorites are the bee orchids.
My husband found and photographed most of them. Here is a small selection. If you would like to see them all, open the link he prepared to his orchid album. 

Enjoy this splendid gift of nature!




http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=uri.eshkar&target=ALBUM&id=5450432035571009217&authkey=Gv1sRgCNKCr9uJkc6zrQE&feat=email

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A STORY FROM MY CHILDHOOD

One day, when I was a child, maybe nine or so, my mother was in a good mood and told us a story, which sounded so unbelievable that my sister made her swear that it was true!
There was this custom in the small farming village in North Germany where my mother grew up, that older people cared about how they would be buried after passing away. Whoever could afford it, ordered in his life time a wooden casket from the local carpenter, which was simple but done very well and closed hermetically. They would store it in the barn, till it was needed.
The villagers raised cows there for the milk and meat and cultivated wheat and cornfields. They had chicken, pigs and rabbits. Dogs and cats roamed the farms. Their pride was small fruit orchards with apple, pear, apricot, plum and cherry trees. I was taken to visit two times there when I was a child, and I can still see the picture in my mind. It was a beautiful place!

After harvesting the fruit, it would be preserved for winter in different ways. One way was to slice the apples and pears and to dry them. Those people were very practical and they discovered that the wooden caskets were the perfect place to store the dried fruit. And so they did.


There was this old couple, they had two caskets in the barn, one for him and one for her. They used one casket for storing their dried fruit and then the husband died and was put in the empty casket. There was this other custom once in Germany, and this I still remember, because it was the same in South Germany where I grew up and I saw it done with both my paternal grandparents, who also were farmers. The body would be put in the casket and they would set it up in the barn (or in the house) for three days. It would be left open during day time and people could come and say their good byes. After three days the funeral would take place.

So it was done with this old farmer. People visited him in his casket in the barn, after three days the casket was closed and taken away to the cemetery. This was  usually done on a cart or carried by men, with the family and half the village people following it by foot.
Oh, what can I tell you! I think you all can guess what happened. After some time the widow went into the barn to open the other casket and take some dried fruit out of it - and she found her dead husband lying in there. Yes, they had buried the fruit!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BAGS WITH VINTAGE BEDOUIN EMBROIDERY

I made those two bags a while ago and sold them to nice people. Sometimes if you love very much what you created it is hard to part with it, even if you get paid a decent price. So I am always glad the photos stay with me and I can look at them and remember my work! Zoom in to see the details.

 

TRANCEFORMERS


Our son Yaron hosts at his college a weekly radio show, named 'Tranceformers . He is into Trance Music since the age of fifteen/sixteen and creates electronic music also by himself.
Here is one of his pieces:

Faxi Nadu - Sakura Saku (Love Hina Theme Remix)
I know Trance Music is not of every ones taste, feel free to have a peek or not!

This is the advertising site of 'Tranceformers':
 

'Tranceformers is the psytrance radio-magazine of Radio Kol Aher, of the College of Ariel, Israel.
WE PLAY GOA
The Crew:
Yaron Eshkar (Faxi Nadu), Tal Livne, Itai Dahari
Past Crew:
Shiran Atuar, Erez Netaneli, Rei Maddoc
LIVE - Wednesdays at 22.00 (Israel time), 20.00 (GMT time)
Download Our Past Shows HERE
Listen to us online from anywhere on the globe at http://radio106.fm
As well as through 106FM on your FM dial in the area of Ariel, Israel
Join us on Facebook'

Here is one of their recordings: (it takes about fifteen minutes to download)
http://postunder.net/tranceformers/shows/tranceformers_-_december_16_2009_hosting_afgin.mp3


This is one where Yaron interviews a guest Trance artist from Spain (and plays his music), so it is in English:
tranceformers_-_october_28_2009_hosting_juan_verdera.mp3

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BEAUTY QUEENS - OLALA

The Golan Heights are exploding with spring flowers right now and we went this weekend in time to  enjoy them, because with all this hot hamsin days and no rain in sight, they won't last too long! It is so beautiful there! The yellow and blue colors are celebrating, with the red still in charge and purple and pink mixed in, and everything is tucked into lush green! It is all about texture, shape and color. The sun is shining, the sky is turquoise, the landscape is wonderful, you are just happy up there, you forget about all your troubles and it lasts a long while after it!

The Golan Irises were in full bloom yesterday and their beauty is breathtaking, you get silent and thankful and calm viewing them! You wish to bow to them, like to Queens! Zoom in and enjoy!





At this link you can find more pictures, photographed by Uri yesterday.
 http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=uri.eshkar&target=ALBUM&id=5448216120332762241&authkey=Gv1sRgCOny3My97b-xvQE&feat=emai

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SARA NISSIM - ARTIST

This current exhibition, curated by Haim Maor, at the Open University in Raanana is - I would say - a Must-See! People will have very different opinions and feelings about it, from wonder to shock! Sara Nissim is a very special artist, I would say Fiber Artist, but that does not include her whole spectrum. How do you call what you see? Grandiose? Fantastic? Crazy? Obsessive? Incredible? Breathtaking? Outstanding? Shocking? All of it? What is it? Quilts? Mixed Media? Fiber Art? All of it? If you love her work or not - there is no doubt that Sara Nissim is a great artist, with a spectacular sense of color and design. She will evoke feelings in you and response! You will think and talk about her art - it will do something to you, this way or the other. Isn't that what art is all about? To get you FEEL something?

Sara gives birth to her creations! There is no color under the sky and in the rainbow she will not use. She recycles and reuses. She collects, and she will work EVERYTHING into her wall hangings, her dolls, her lamps and her costumes. The tops and bottoms of plastic bottles, bottle caps, thousands of them, soda can opener rings, watches, keys, little mirrors, lace, ribbons, fabric, ANY fabric, ANY color, embroidery - old, new, traditional, modern, antic even - beads, buttons, millions of them, dolls, toys, ANY toys from ANY material, old kitchen utensils, tea kettles, old meat grinding devices, I am sure I forgot to mention more. And she does it skillfully and to perfection and with a great amount of diligence and technical knowledge!

We visited the exhibition two weeks ago and we loved and admired it and felt its glorious magic! Here are a few pictures, zoom in, you HAVE to see the details. If you like to see more, open the link below and enjoy! (All photographs by my husband Uri.) The exhibition is still open - go to visit!




SPECTACULAR SUNSET OVER HADERA

One day, already some years ago, while we were driving home from Haifa to Tel Aviv I was lucky having the camera in my lap! This was one of the most gorgeous sunsets I experienced (I remember one over Zuger See in Switzerland and one at Yellowstone Park, they have been similarly  fantastic). People stopped their cars on the side of the road to watch - the sky was on fire and the colors changed every moment! It was so marvelous and spectacular, there have been pictures all over the newspapers the next day! I always wanted to share those photos, so here they are - enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VERED SKOLNIK - VEROQUE.ETSY.COM

Some of my artist friends have Internet shops at Etsy.com and I would like to introduce them over time one by one, because I think they create really artful beautiful items. I started with glass artist Cecilia Cohen, and today I would like to continue with my friend Vered Skolnik, who designs and produces gorgeous, one-of-a-kind bead woven jewelry. She is very skilled, her workmanship is perfect, and she has a wonderful sense for delineation and execution. Her color choices are always superb and her pieces are suitable for everyday use and for festive events as well.

This is the link to her shop: 


Please watch her lovely video and enjoy!    
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9lR9O9GKHQ

Monday, March 8, 2010

APPLE OF SODOM - YELLOW BROOMRAPE - two very special plants in the desert

The Apple of Sodom, Calotropis procera, Tapuach Sdom, תפוח שדום in Hebrew,  Al Oshar in Arabic, is a relatively small tree, native to the Dead Sea and Sodom, which can also be found in Egypt and Yemen. 

The plant is poisonous and raises only to a height of two to six meters.  Its fruit contains a milky bitter liquid and its big long leaves and its rind are used for medical remedies.  

The tree blooms in spring in a very beautiful way and the blossoms grow into hollow green fruit, filled with air, which due to their round shape appear to be similar to apples and look pretty and inviting. But if you stomp on the ripe fruit, it will release a very ugly black dust. I found at Wikipedia a quote from Josephus Flavius on it: "...as well as the ashes growing in their fruits; which fruits have a color as if they were fit to be eaten, but if you pluck them with your hands, they dissolve into smoke and ashes."

Here is a photo taken of the blossoms in the Negev desert at En Gedi this weekend and the photo of the ripe fruit is from last September also in En Gedi, it might as well be the same tree.

 

 

If you are driving down to the Dead Sea from Arad at this time of the year you can spot along the road The Yellow Broomrape or Desert Broomrape, Cistanche tubulosa lutea. It is called Yachnuk יחנוק in Hebrew, which comes from the roots of the word chonek, which means to strangle. Lutea is the Latin word for yellow-orange and this is the color of the blossom of this plant. 

It is a parasite without leaves, growing only in the desert and blooming in March/April. It attaches its roots to the roots of a neighboring plant, mostly to broom plants, which can be near or even two or three meters away from it and 'strangles' or 'rapes' it, therefore its name. It is a beautiful sunny golden flower, standing erect like a candle.




The photos of the Yachnuk have been taken this weekend on the road to the Dead Sea by my husband Uri.

PETRA - JORDAN


Petra, the capital city of the Nabataeans, with most exquisite architecture cut out of the rock, built around the 6th century BC, is a very stunning place to visit, full of surprises and a feast for the eyes! It was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a wonder surely it is! Here are some photos we took while exploring the site two years ago.

  

  

But my absolute favorite picture from this wonderful day, is this one we took while walking down from El Dir, of two beautiful Bedouin girls, sitting high up in a stone niche, playing a hand clapping game and singing and laughing - it really was a heavenly sight! Zoom in to see how pretty they are.                                                                   


Can you see why Petra is called the Rose-Red City?

Friday, March 5, 2010

THE FUTURE PERLMAN AND MISSIS CHANG THE SECOND?

Those are my lovely grandchildren Noam and Yasmin! They have been here at Purim vacation. And who knows! Anyway, I am already very proud of them!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

POMEGRANATES - RIMONIM - רימונים

I LOVE pomegranates, I love every aspect of the pomegranate. The trees flowering in spring, those lovely stars developing into a gorgeous fruit…it is beautiful, sweet and marvelous! It is really a royal fruit, fit for a king and also for the poor, symbol of fertility, bounty and eternity, mentioned throughout the centuries from Greek mythology to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. There is no bigger pleasure than to open a ripe pomegranate enjoying the sight of it and then eating the juicy kernels one after the other...so tasty!!! Many, many times I have used the pomegranate motif in my work, appliqued on bags, backpacks, clutches, potholders, place mats, fabric boxes, you name it.


Yesterday I got a gorgeous gift from my friend Cecilia. She made this glass box with a stylized pomegranate for me. I was thrilled to receive such a marvelous present! The box is beautiful, its colors vibrant with the light shining through them, just lovely! Thank you Cec, I will cherish this forever!

Cecilia Cohen is an excellent glass artist, creating stained glass, fused glass, lamp work beads, glass jewelry, glass boxes, windows, frames and all kind of commissioned glass works, including synagogue windows. You can see her wonderful creations at her internet shop and at her blog.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/glassandlight  http://www.glassandlight.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MOST YUMMY PECAN COOKIES


This is not my own cookie recipe, I got it probably out of a magazine, a long time ago. So I give credit to the creator who is unknown to me.
Those cookies are absolutely delicious and very easy to make.
300    gr.           butter, soft
1       cup            sugar
1       large          egg
1       tsp.            vanilla extract
1       tsp.            almond extract
3       cups           flour
1/2    cup            oats
1/4    tsp.            salt
1 1/2 cups          pecans, crushed (or walnuts)
Beat butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat until creamy. Add flour, oats and salt, mix, then stir in the pecans. Put tablespoons full of dough on a tray lined with baking paper, flatten it a little bit with the spoon (put an almond or a nut in the middle if you wish), and bake on 180 degrees (preheated) for 15 to 18 minutes, until edges begin to brown lightly.
How to crush the nuts? I put them between two kitchen towels and beat them with the wooden dough roller! Works perfect!

RECYCLING - REUSING

One day my friend Cochava gave me a vest she did not want to wear anymore to do with it as I please. I loved its colors and its pattern. Cutting it up carefully I got enough material to make this very beautiful bag for my daughter Tanja.

HURBAT BET LOYA - a place where you go equipped with a broom

"Ruin of the House of Lehi" is the Arabic meaning of Khirbet Lehi. This archaeological site, dating from 1160 B.C. is located at the intersection of two ancient trade roads, about 35 kilometers south west of Jerusalem, not far from Lachish.  This spot, discovered about 30 years ago, contains a large compound of housing, burial caves, wells, olive presses, water cisterns, quarries and a stable, giving proof of an ancient village - in it's vicinity according to the Bible, Samson killed the Philistines.

Although an excursion to this site as a whole is an interesting experience and very worthwhile the effort, our point of interest while visiting there one day, has been the remains of a chapel from Byzantine times, containing within it's boundary the most magnificent early christian mosaic floors. We arrived equipped with a sturdy broom. The mosaics are covered with sand to protect them, you have to sweep away the sand to expose what's beneath it (and you are asked to cover it all up again after you are done). Lovely surprises have been awaiting us!
This certainly is a wonderful place to visit with the whole family (don't forget the brooms), your children will feel like they are on a treasure hunt. They will discover ornaments, birds, bowls with fruit, vine leaves, grapes, animals, patchwork, a sailing ship, crosses, flowers, a face of a woman, fish, vessels and many inscriptions (in Greek). It will be a lot of fun, and a great opportunity for  your offspring to gather valuable knowledge about a place and it's history and beauty in their homeland.

This is just a wonderful locality to spend quality time at, and the pretty landscape surrounding the site, where a variety of grapes are grown, invites you to hike further and to have a picnic with the family under the blue sky - maybe near one of the lovely vine yards.

Here are some of my husbands photos from that day and if you wish to see more of that wonderful place here is a link that he prepared.