Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Duyvken asked me (in my commentbox) about:

"that Hebrew word for when something that would be so wonderful happens unexpectedly at a moment when you are not where you normally would be to enjoy it? I'm thinking of when I was at my sister-in-law's and Mr Duyvken came home early from work."

Duyvken was thinking of the word DAVKA.

I know! From all the Hebrew words Duyvken could have asked about, davka she asked about one which sounds almost exactly like her own blogname!

So...that's one way to use the word "davka." In that sentence it gives a meaning of "precisely...in a surprising way," it's hard to translate, as you can see.

But when D and I originally discussed the word "davka," I was thinking of a slightly different use of the word. This use is still slightly humorous and refers to a surprising occurrence, but it also has the added hint of IRRITABILITY associated with it. For example:

"For the last three evenings Duyvken hoped that Mr. D might come home early. By the fourth evening she decided that he was clearly too busy this week and therefore went over to her sister-in-law's for some company. DAVKA on that night, Mr. D came home early to surprise her."

Get it?

Now...before you get too smug about understanding that, I should point out that "davka" has an additional use which takes that same definition but multiplies the irritability and annoyance factor, while minimising the humour (it's all in the context and the intonation used). Let me give you an example:

"Eleanor is sitting at the dining table eating a big piece of chocolate cake. Mr. Commentbox walks into the room and asks 'Did you go for your jog this morning?' Eleanor responds 'Davka NOW you have to ask me this question?'

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tinniegirl to the rescue

You may remember that I received a wonderful box of luckies from Tinniegirl a couple of weeks ago. I have kept that box on my desk, looking through it every day, and every day I notice something different about its contents.

Tonight, feeling restless, I looked through it once again and decided to finally get my act together and write a poem using some of the items as my inspiration. Thanks Tinniegirl, Mrs. Mills is working her magic still.


Two of diamonds
Eight of hearts,
Longest day
Of far-fetched love.

All my knights
Have fled the house,
Castled, queened
And kinged at last.

Funds divided,
Lessons learned,
The job
Which must be done.

So why do I
When darkness falls,
Want only
Far to run?

Do I now sprint?
Or just retreat?
These patterns
Oft repeat.

Yet here I sit,
With darkness linked,
To bed-made
Sad sing-song.

**Here are the objects which I used:

Thanks Tinniegirl xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, March 27, 2009

1974 revisited (believe me, it's worth it) (you'll thank me)

It occurred to me tonight that there is one more song which my father loves to take out of his vinyl record collection every so often...and I started humming that tune and wondering if it too was...perhaps...a Eurovision song.

Well, wouldn't you know it, it is indeed. It apparently came 3rd that year, you know...that year that ABBA won for Waterloo. So I was just about to post the song for your listening pleasure (and believe me, I GUARANTEE laughter) when I thought, "Hmmm...but which song came 2nd?" Well, wouldn't you know it, ITALY...Paola's Italy. So I look up the Italian '74 song and lo and behold it is actually quite beautiful, and there are comments from a mere week or two ago showing that people are STILL, NOW, in 2009, STILL upset that it didn't win first place.

So I present you with the Italian "Si":

Lovely, no?

What, are you still holding out hope to get a glimpse of the '74 3rd place?

You want a good laugh, don't you? I know I do......

But be warned.

If you thought that "Kisses for me" song was addictive, you ain't heard nothing yet:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eleanor proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is way past her bedtime:

My final Eurovision dedication goes out to dear Alice in England. "Save all your kisses for me" is considered an absolute CLASSIC in my family, and my father often sings it to me on special occasions. You will immediately note the crazy-cool dance moves as well!

Getting completely carried away now...

This is dedicated to Eurolush. Perhaps your next little video will feature a song and dance?!

I was seven years old when I watched this.

I definitely see a sing-off in our future E, featuring this little beauty. I think we might need a beer or two to get us started.

Blogging cheers me up!

If you look at the first post of the day (this is my all-time record for number of posts published in one day) you will see that I was in a somewhat melancholy mood.

A few commentboxes later, and look at me! I'm giggling at the thought of my blogging buddies all over the world watching classic Eurovision videos. You cheered me up!!

This one is dedicated to Anna, my Swedish blogging buddy. I was 5 years old when I watched this on our little black and white television in our apartment in Israel. You, Anna, were probably sitting beside your grandma and singing along while sewing or knitting or crocheting...no?

I just love that image.

For Kim, because I can't resist showing her that my mind REALLY does work this way:

So Kim mentioned in her commentbox on my latest post that she would never in a million years have believed that I could draw a connection between our road trip to Mary's home and an Israeli song (and the Eurovision no less!).

I know! I know! Mr. Commentbox can often be found staring at me and shaking his head in wonder as I describe my thought processes.

Of course, now I have to post about what song I was humming on my way back from visiting YOU, dear Kim. Also Israeli, and I think the composer and singer (Achinoam Nini) did sing in a Eurovision or too. Here is her song "Uri," the lyrics are a poem by the great Rachel Bluwstein, a wondrous poet whose book was sent to me by my grandfather among the many boxes of his library.

In our crazy world, full of the rushing rushing rushing, it often helps me to ground myself in such poetry and music. Seeing you with your beautiful boys I couldn't help but feel Rachel smiling from far away, so very happy for you.

I am also attaching a rough translation I found of the poem, which is far more beautiful in its original Hebrew, of course.


If only I had a son, a little child, bright, with black curls,
To hold his hand and to walk slowly,
Down the paths of the garden,
A child.
A little one.

I would call him Uri, my Uri,
The short name is soft and pure,
A fragment of brightness,
I'll call out to my dark little boy,

I will yet become as bitter as the mother Rachel.
I will still pray like Hannah at Shilo.
I will yet long
For him.

By the way...and you'll LOVE this...as I was listening to this song just now my son (working on the computer next to me) turned to me and said "Could you please make it lower? What IS that song???!!! Ugh..."

Second childhood

I drove up with Duyvken to the mountains on Moday to visit Mary. I sat in the front of Duyvken's van and listened to her three children talking, singing, crying, arguing, explaining, asking, giggling, laughing and much much more. They are a special cache of jewels that Duyvken gang. Still haven't met Garnet (she's at school these days), but Gem, Charm and Jewel certainly kept me entertained.

After a hug with Mary and a cup of tea in her beautiful home Kim arrived with her two youngest lovies - Jasper and Grover. A couple of dimpled darlings those boys are, scrumptious vanilla puddings. Yum.

Being surrounded by these little ones made me reminisce about my own children's earlier days, and also about my own childhood. I had a very happy childhood, and many of my best memories are from the years I spent in Israel (until I was 8 years old). I had the good luck to have been a child during the years that Ehud Manor was writing songs for and about his own children. In fact, most of the greatest popular Israeli musicians of the 1970s wrote for children as well as for adults, without bright colours or branding or cutesy names, they simply wrote and performed from their heart and captured the essence of childhood, thereby entertaining young and old alike. I had an extraordinarily innocent childhood.

Ehud Manor wrote many songs about his daughters and son - Gali, Libby and Yehuda. I couldn't find many of my favourites, but I did find this one titled "Son." This was a song which I remember loving and singing when I was probably under 10 years old, and yet now I listen to the words and I marvel at the adult beauty of the lyrics. The song is sung directly by a parent to his/her son, who is up in the middle of the night, explaining to him why he mustn't wake the girls up and why he must understand that he won't always be able to get his own way, and then giving up and saying "All right, let's go look at the sunrise together." Ehud Manor wrote "Ben" for his son decades ago, and yet it is still such a beautiful part of my parenting psyche.

Anybody still watch the Eurovision? Well...I clearly remember a time when the Eurivision was the highlight of my year, when the songs spoke to me and made me happy...even as a young girl. Ehud Manor wrote this song ("Abanibi") and I think it may have won that year. The chorus is made up of a type of Hebrew pig latin and means "I love you." That was my favourite song for an entire year.

Ehud Manor was also famous for his collaboration with another Israeli musician - Matti Caspi. Many of the most-loved songs of the 70s and 80s were a combination of Caspi's music and Manor's lyrics. "Binyamina" is a song which I found myself humming on the way back home from the mountains on Monday. Binyamina is the village where Ehud Manor grew up, and the song is a love song to his "barefoot days" there - where people said hello, where a friend was a friend, where someone would invite you in to taste some of their home-made jam (hello Kim!). In this clip I think Caspi was overseas so he sang the song for Manor long-distance. These two men wrote this song together, and here one is performing it for the other. I think that the look on Manor's face sums up everything I feel about the magic of childhood and the hold it has on one's adult life.

When Ehud Manor died 4 years ago he was buried in Binyamina and his fellow musicians played his songs for him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A bird in the library

It's exactly a week since I returned home from Melbourne, and I am now officially a crafty-bloggers groupie. My plan is to follow all of my beloved crafty bloggers from Show to Show, holding their needles and threads, running back and forth with coffees and slushies, and staring adoringly at their patterns, colours and textures.

Ahem. Now, where was I?

Oh, yes....So one of the things I brought back from the Melbourne Craft Show was one of Jodie's birds. But it was a FLAT bird...it was a bird which needed to be CRAFTED into life. I opened the little envelope and found some printed material, thread, a black loop and a bit of plastic (for the bottom of the cage, don't you know).

People. People!!!!!!!! I DID IT!!!!!!! I CRAFTED MY VERY OWN BIRD, THAT'S HOW GREAT JODIE'S INSTRUCTIONS WERE!!!! It was easier than putting together an Ikea bookcase and TONS more fun.

My bird immediately took up residence in the library:

This is where I found her this evening:

Look at the ORIGINAL DETAIL I added to my precious one. See her little wings? See the little beads? Miss Commentbox has what crafters call "A Stash," and she let me rummage through it until I found the beads.

This is what the other side of my precious looks like. See how I made her sleepy? Even her wings are not as perky and ruffled. Actually....that was all an accident...the eye just didn't work out and I lost a bit of patience with matching the wings to the other side, but I IMPROVISED and now it's even better than if it was perfect.

And I named her too:



My grandfather and I had to say goodbye a lot. Ever since I can remember Grandpa lived in a different country from me, which meant that we visited each other and parted from each other many times. Grandpa always had a crisp white handkerchief in his pocket, and when he would be leaving me (usually at the airport, about to walk through to passport control) he'd take it out and wave it. Then, because he liked to be funny and make me laugh (and, yes, embarrass me) he might pretend to cry and wipe his eyes melodramatically. Sometimes he also proclaimed in a booming voice "Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."

So, naturally, when I visited Suse and last week and found myself saying goodbye to her and Muppinstuff at the train station I quickly rummaged through my bag, found an old tissue and made them laugh. Thanks Muppinstuff for capturing that moment so perfectly, it makes me laugh out loud and it reminds me of how much Grandpa loved to laugh as well.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This post is a commentbox

Dear reader,

Once in a while blogger acts up and plays around with my comments option. It looks to me like the post I just published has no commentbox, and I can't seem to fix the problem.

In any case, you are welcome to leave any comments here, I am always inspired by your words.

Wild Swans

Thank you for your comforting words, your commentboxes mean the world to me.

Here is a piece composed and performed by Elena Kats-Chernin. It is 'Eliza's Aria' from "Wild Swans" - Kats-Chernin's collaboration for the Australian Ballet with choreographer Meryl Tankard, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen.

Page 125 of Grandpa's book:
"Crush the nettles with your feet and you will have flax, which you must spin and weave into eleven shirts of mail with long sleeves. Once you throw these over the eleven wild swans, the spell over them is broken. But keep this in mind! From the moment you undertake this task until it is done, even though it lasts for years, you must not speak. The first word you say will strike your brothers' hearts like a deadly knife. Their lives are at the mercy of your tongue. Now, remember what I told you!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One more letter

Dear readers,

I have some sad news to share with you. My grandfather died early this morning. Grandpa died peacefully, in his sleep, in his home in New York.

It is tremendously comforting to know that I was able to share some of Grandpa's wonderful personality with you during the past year. It may also make you happy to learn that during his last few weeks he found great pleasure in reading my posts (and all of your comments!!!) about his magnificent library.

Only two days ago I was giggling on the phone with Grandpa as he was looking at the pictures of me belly dancing in Melbourne at the bloggers' dinner. He was amazed at the way modern technology can bring so much happiness, and can open so many doors to so many new worlds.

When we heard the news about Grandpa this morning, Miss Commentbox said "No more letters now." My children have been so very blessed to be in constant communication with their great-grandfather. Grandpa loved letter-writing and there would be something in our mailbox from him several times a week.

This afternoon, Miss Commentbox turned to me and said, "I was wrong, there's one more letter." Sure enough...there in our mailbox...was a small package with Grandpa's ornate handwriting on it.

When Miss C opened her letter she found a small box of eyeshadows, exquisite in both colour and quality, and glowing like a cache of jewels.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's limerick time!!

Dear Suse,

I congratulate you on winning the competition, and hereby present you with your award:

Suse's Limerick

Suse knitted an acorn and gave it to me,
I planted it, hoping to soon see a tree.
A seedling did grow,
And wouldn't you know,
Its blossoms were muffins and tea.

Hope you like it. It certainly makes me happy.

Everything I bake I learned in kindergarten

A young man who is very dear to my heart is celebrating his 14th birthday today.


As you may well realise, not only am I not IN THE LEAST BIT crafty, I am also not much of a baker.

But birthdays are very special days and require special culinary feats.

So, without further ado, I present you with the ice-cream cake I made this morning:

Buy one tub of best cookies-n-cream ice cream available.
Remove from freezer and let sit on counter for a few minutes.
Place knife in hot water, then run it between ice-cream and inside of container.
Turn upside down onto plate.
Serve, with love.

The birthday boy's presents were hidden around the house. He was given 4 rhyming clues.

Candles and loud singing make Bluesy very nervous (we rescued him from the pound a year ago....and he has his little quirks), so he has to wear his anxiety wrap. He licked up all his ice-cream and went back to bed.
I wouldn't mind joining him actually.
Suse - Your limerick will soon be on its way to you. In fact, maybe I will deliver it....by hand....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Visiting The Wonderful Suse

A prize (a custom-written limerick) will be given to the first person who correctly identifies the blogger who sent me the following text messages:

This is Suse's backyard, isn't it glorious?! The marvellous Muppinstuff, the superb Suse and the....ummmmm....exoticdancer Eleanor stood near the back door and looked out at the trees and mountains while chatting. Amazing.
Thanks Suse!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A patchwork of bloggers


There was quite a gathering of crafters huddled around Aunty Cookie's stall. I pushed through and planted myself in front of Shannon and said "Hi, my name's Eleanor, I'm Mary's friend, Mary from the Blue Mountains. I'm doing a bit of a write-up on the fair for Mary...Can I ask you...how did you come up with the idea of drawing those adorable little creatures?" She responded warmly once she heard Mary's name, instant ice-breaker, phew. Apparently a couple of years ago she had been drawing some cards for her daughter's friends and she looked at the figures and thought "Well...this is a bit boring.....let's put big ears on them." Fabulous!!!!

I overheard Ellie from Red Seed Studio telling an appreciative customer that her husband creates most of the designs himself, "In fact...even now, as he is sitting and drawing with our two children, he has just come up with a new design!!"

A notice pinned up on the "For swap or sale" noticeboard:

Jodie from Ric Rac likes to shrink empty chip packets in the oven and sew them together into handbags. Her sewing machine has had to be serviced 4 times since Christmas; the man who services it is called Milton and she is secretly in love with him.

I met a woman (whose name I have forgotten) who makes the most beautiful works of art using dried, used teabags. I asked her how she first got the idea to do this and she said that she had a house-guest once who kept leaving used teabags all over the house. It drove her completely mad, until one day she stood at the kitchen counter and stared at one and thought..."I wonder what it would look like if I opened the bag and took the tea out and then dried it flat, and then used it as a tiny canvas?" I LOVE THAT so so much!

When Jodie was interviewed she was asked what advice she would give someone who was thinking of starting a blog. Her response:
"Start right now."

Suse makes knitting needles as gifts, she makes them out of a piece of doweling (I think that's right??) and then puts a big gumnut on the end. All the other crafters thought that was perfectly simple, while I thought that was SO CLEVER AND CREATIVE AND COOL!!!!

Michelle turned to me after the belly dancer at the restaurant finished dancing and said "Do you think she realises that we are all looking at her and thinking 'My god would you look at that fantastic beading on her costume, that must have taken so long...and how amazing is that fabric?!!'"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday in Melbourne

Woohoo........I just returned to the hotel after a MAMMOTH BLOGGING FESTIVAL. I am dead tired but I WILL NOT LAY DOWN MY HEAD UNTIL YOU HAVE ALL BEEN THERE TOO.

Where do I begin....ha, yes, showered, caught train to Craft Fair....that's right...

The first thing I saw after some wandering around in a daze was this:

Jodie from Ric Rac has taken selvages to the next level. Unbelievable!

Then I saw a "Stitch Bar." You sit on a tool at the bar and choose a craft activity from this menu:

Naturally, I chose the librarian:
The bartenders showed me how to do the back stitch, and I did very well...but within 10 minutes I became agitated, impatient, annoyed, hot and bothered. I so much want to be crafty, but it just doesn't come easy to me.
Then I went and introduced myself to Jodie of the selvages. I fell in love with her Zipper-Mouth Monsters:

I also wanted to send this fish, immediately, to BabelBabe.

Suse arrived soon after, Suse! Suse! Hello Suse! It was a wonderful moment. Being with her is like reading her blog, only a million times better. We sat down together and chatted like old friends and watched Jodie being interviewed on stage.
This is what she did when she noticed me taking photos of her. She reminded me quite a bit of Kim, only crafty. Or, as Suse quite rightly pointed out to me, Kim is a lot like Jodie, only a gourmet cook.

Here is a photo of the 3 of us. Can you tell that I am very very happy and excited??!!

And what do we have here? It's Aunty posing with moi.

And this photo is dedicated to Eurolush who wants her entire house to be made of selvages.

We wandered around quite a bit, chatted with other bloggers and crafters, I shall give more details later (I took notes, really)....But for now, moving on....Suse, Suzie (who organised the dinner, thanks Suzie!!!), Janet and I tumbled into Sandra's car. She was going to take us to Suse's car.

Suzie is in the middle, Janet and Suse on either side of her. I will tell you all about what we talked about, but not now...too tired....

I'm really pleased with this shot. It's Suse driving, looking at me as if from a photo in her blog, but NOT, because she was REALLY THERE WITH ME. Woooo hooooo!!!!!!
Here we are at a fabulous Lebanese restaurant, not all bloggers have arrived yet, soon both tables will fill up as the sun sets outside the window.

Clockwise, from bottom left - Caroline (Stompergirl), Lisa (Frogdancer), Liz (Linoforest), Cathy (Tinniegirl) and Michelle (Quiltingmick).

Lisa and Liz:
This is a photo of Ellie from Petalplum of Red Seed Studio fame, who I first met via Anna from Sweden, and now...in person!
Everyone was asked to bring a handmade gift, and here they all are on the table:

Stompergirl received my gift, most exciting, what could it be? What could I have possibly hand made?

It's a book of a selection of my blogging poems!! I called it "Poems from the commentbox." I hope she enjoys it.

What did Frogdancer receive?

Beautiful wool from Suse, so good you can eat it for dessert!

Janet received a fab owl made by Sandra's daughter:
Suse was most excited to receive a stupendous stash from Ellie:

And this is what I received. I immediately knew it was the perfect gift for me.
Introducing...........drum-roll please...........
Sing Along with the (sometimes very naughty) Mrs. Mill. This box was hand made by Cathy from the cover of a vinyl record:

Inside I discovered an amazing collection of paper objects - old tickets, stamps, pages of books, maps. Much of it seemed to be, at first glance, in the theme of the sea (believe it or not! How perfect, huh??!!). I have promised to keep in touch with Cathy and send her pictures of a stupendous collage I can see in my future...and maybe even a poem to accompany it!!

Here is Ellie with her adorable kidlets, Suzie and also Stompergirl admiring a piece of fabric:
Cathy is on the left, and next to her is another Cathy - Miss Marzie.

Facing that Cathy is Lara of Thornberry fame, and next to her is Liz.

At the other end of the table were the young and trendy gang from Ink and Spindle, and in the red shirt on the left is Kristen.
Suse and Sandra talking over tea:

I probably muddled a few names up, please forgive me and send me a comment so I can correct it. I also know that I inadvertantly left a few bloggers out...I simply lost track of the details in the grand excitement of a most wondrous day and evening. As I sat on the tram on the way back to the hotel, clickety clacking along, I thought to myself:

"We are so lucky to have each other."

I shall post many more details tomorrow...I took notes you see....I take my job very very seriously.

Did you enjoy yourselves??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I may or may not have danced along with the restaurant's resident belly dancer. You have been warned, as photographs of a shocking nature may surface on some bloggers' posts. But not mine, because I couldn't have taken a photo of myself while belly dancing...if I had danced...hypothetically speaking, of course.