art ~ jewelry ~ interfaith devotions ~ peace to you...


in my studio: favorite beaded wrap prayer bracelets

I first shared my beaded prayer bracelet design about a year ago and they have been well liked in the Baha'i community here in Israel. This time I've gathered my favorite color combinations in a collage below to show my latest completed bracelets.

To read more about these bracelets please see my original post "Beaded Wrap Prayer Bracelets".


return to blog land

I had no idea when I stepped away from blogging for a few weeks in June that the time would actually stretch into a few months. I also didn't realize that I was suffering from burn out, not just from blogging, but Facebook, Pinterest and so on. The whole internet "circuit". I didn't even have the energy to use my camera. I'm back on a more casual basis than ever to post photos, art projects or recipes as they evolve, without a plan. My focus is finding the balance...and no obligations.

Granddaughter and daughter (photo by Anthony)

During my (mostly) unplugged break a lot has happened - a wildfire burnt down a dear friend's home; then three, not one, but three major floods devastated my home state of Colorado and affected friends and family members, as well as demolished the home my children grew up in. I flew to Seattle for my daughter's wedding and met my Canadian granddaughter after almost ten years apart and for the first time met my "new to me" sister-in-law and niece, who moved from the Philippines to the states to marry my brother, whose wedding I missed while living in Israel.

Niece and granddaughter

Come next Spring I'll be returning to the states permanently. With my term winding down there is much to do to prepare for departure from Israel and transition to Colorado, where many of my family members live. One of the most important lessons I've learned from living overseas (and there are many) is the need to be a direct participate in the lives of my loved ones, especially my grandchildren! Skype and email are all very well, but it will never replace being able to touch my little granddaughter's cheek or brush her soft hair. Or hug my grandson while telling him what a fabulous football player he is!



kicking back a while...

I took a few days off from the computer and it's turned into a few weeks and counting! Although I miss being in touch with my bloggy friends and readers, it does feel good to have a bit of a respite. I look forward to coming back to blog and share photos soon!

Two ships, at least I think they are ships, are just visible in the background, on Haifa Bay.


focus on life: reminisce - week 21

Sally at The Studio Sublime takes us back...far back in my our childhood for this weeks photography series "Focus on Life" prompt:

"Have you ever been in the middle of a busy day and all of a sudden you run across a certain baked good, candy, flower or an object catches your attention and you are sent right back to your childhood?

This week capture what takes you back to moments past and reminisce a little."

I'm living far away from my early years in Wisconsin, so most of the week I struggled with context in regards to childhood memories and my surroundings. Nothing triggered a thought until this morning when I reached for apple!

Next to cheese, apples are a pretty big deal in Wisconsin, at least as I remember it. We had a few apple trees in our backyard that stood in as a jungle gym. The apples were really yummy too.

I remember caramel apples as a special treat; bobbing for apples at the annual neighborhood Halloween party and pink applesauce that my Mom made by stirring cinnamon red hots in the applesauce while heating it on the stove. She served it along side juicy pork chops and scalloped potatoes.

And my very favorite memory was learning how to make apple pie from scratch, pie crust and all, in sixth grade, in our 1830's country kitchen in a house that used to be a stagecoach inn. Perfect for five kids, a sheep dog and a goose! Happy memories for sure!

Read more memories of the past at The Studio Sublime.


market day dish: vegetarian cold plate

I don't know about you, but I get lazy when the weather gets hot. What to do? Make a salad or two ahead of time and have it waiting for you after a hard day at work. I put together two salads (the weekend is a good time), then cut up fresh carrots and red bell peppers and bought a small container of fresh baby mozzarella balls. I store the cut veggies in fresh water in the fridge. Dinner is on...or lunch!

Cannellini Bean and Herb Salad, center. Lemon Cumin Potato Salad, upper right.

 Lemon Cumin Potato Salad doesn't show the fresh cilantro leaves because I didn't have any! I added a bit more cumin and crushed red chili pepper than what the recipe called for.

 Warm Cannellini Bean and Herb Salad tastes great cold too. I did not add the shrimp or olives listed in the recipe. Yew!


single snapshot: times five

I got carried away. Here's five versions of a single snapshot - after editing in Pixlr. Something about this photo caught my imagination. I'm standing in the early morning glow of a sunrise. I had just woken up.

Snapshot: Popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Common snapshot subjects include events of everyday life.

original shot - my wall paint is soft white in normal daylight.

Overlay:  darn, I forgot which one.  Border: none

Overlay: Flame - gap. Border - none

Overlay: grunge - blocked. Borders: old and perga. This one is my favorite.

Overlays: paper - butterflies, dotted, skirt. vignette - uneven. Border - cracked


focus on life: looking up - week 20

This week let’s change our perspective and look up!

There is a whole world above us that we sometimes miss seeing because we simply forget to look up.

Sally's prompt is "Looking Up" for week 20 of the year long photography series "Focus on Life" at The Studio Sublime. I've been looking up all week in the hopes of seeing a fab photo op, but no such luck!

It was on the last day this week when I stood outside the main entrance to the International Teaching Centre building (where I serve) and found what I was looking for. Clouds. I am enjoying the most expressive skies, during my stay in Israel, that I have ever seen. The cloud formations are amazing. I wonder if it has to do with being located on the coast? Maybe that huge body of water called the Mediterranean Sea influences the nature of the clouds.

Every time I look out at Haifa Bay, where the water meets the sky, my eyes, my heart and my body sigh with pleasure. This is my daily view, morning and evening, while walking to work and back to the flat, but only in portions, as the view is far more sweeping than what my camera can capture in one picture.

Just in case the bay photos aren't considered "looking up", lol, I looked above me and got a shot of another favorite thing, columns with clouds!

Speaking of looking up, you can see the sun setting over the Mediterranean in my birthday post Chocolate Mousse and Sunsets from earlier in the week. :-)

 I joined this blog group at week 8, (monochromatic experiment) in February, and I've had a blast ever since. I missed last week's prompt, "Hope", due to very long work days including the weekend! I'm back and can't wait to see all the fab eye candy photography over at Sally's blog The Studio Sublime


single snapshot

Snapshot: Popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Common snapshot subjects include events of everyday life.

For this snapshot, I'm riding on a local bus in Haifa and while the bus momentarily stopped, I snapped a quick shot of an Arab woman and Jewish man waiting for a city bus. The camera caught my route map reflected in the window, as well as a bit of the blue bus seat on the left.


around israel: chocolate mousse and mediterranean sunsets

This week I turned 55. Tonight I spent the evening watching the sunset, sitting on the Mediterranean coast in Haifa Israel with good friends, good food and laughter. I shot the photos below, all from the same spot, and then it rained so we dashed inside the cafe for hot chocolate and dessert. The waiters sang "Happy Birthday" in English. Chocolate mousse melted in my mouth. It was a pretty great day.

“When the ship approached the equator, I stopped going out on deck in the daytime. The sun burned like a flame. The days had shortened and night came swiftly. One moment it was light, the next it was dark. The sun did not set but fell into the water like a meteor."
                                                                    - Isaac Bashevis Singer
"How fine has the day been! How bright was the sun, How lovely and joyful the course that he run! Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun, And there followed some droppings of rain: But now the fair traveller's come to the west, His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best; He paints the skies gay as he sinks to his rest, And foretells a bright rising again."
                                                                               - Isaac Watts

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday where you can find lots of wonderful bloggers sharing their corner of the world as they see it!


single snapshot

Snapshot: Popularly defined as a photograph that is shot spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Common snapshot subjects include events of everyday life.

The sunrise one morning this week, from my bedroom window.


around israel: a garden nursery

Last month a friend invited me along on a shopping trip to a garden nursery knowing I would like a few plants for my balcony. Me being car-less and not to excited about riding the bus home with plants in tow, I jumped at the chance.

I wish I would have thought to ask the owner the shop name in English.

I would like to mention it's not easy to shop in Israel. All Jewish owned businesses close about 2 pm on Fridays and all of Saturday, the Sabbath. And guess when days off from work are? Yes, the same days — Fridays and Saturdays. As Israel is a Jewish state that pretty much covers most establishments and even transportation. No train, no sherut and no city bus to get around.

But there is a small population of Christian Arabs with shops who are open on Fridays and Saturdays, but closed on Sundays. And this nursery is one of them. I was impressed with the variety of flowers and landscaping plants available, and even recognized some of the flowers such as marigolds, pansies and geraniums. There were many unknown but wonderful flowers, and they remain unknown since I can't read labels in Hebrew. :-)

Hand painted dishes like these are one of my favorite things.

 Israeli has perfect climate for orchids!

I chose a simple flower box and they planted my selected flowers. All I had to do was water when I got it home! This is the newly planted photo.

My flower box today. Hoping the marigolds will come back. Trailing geranium on the right. Sweet pea going up.

I couldn't resist this sweet little bird bath to add a bit of charm.

This little balcony garden is just enough to tide me over for the next year.


focus on life: abstract - week 18

"What is abstract? The use of a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world."

I didn't quite understand the definition and no time this week for a new photo. This garden path was taken two weeks ago while cloudy and about to rain. It didn't look like this though!  :-)

"Details of the many walks I made along the crest have blurred, now, into a pleasing tapestry of grass and space and sunlight."  - Colin Fletcher

Enjoy more unique views of our world at The Studio Sublime - Week 18


single snapshot

Snapshot: Popularly defined as a photograph that is shot spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Common snapshot subjects include events of everyday life.

A baby snail. I found this little guy in the fresh mint that I was about to wash for a dinner dish. They are considered one of the smallest and slowest moving creatures in the world. Or so its says on the internet :-) He wasn't too happy being exposed; he persistently moved toward the protection of the leaves as I attempted to take this photo. Afterwards I released him into the wilds of my "backyard", which literally consists of a few bushes just beyond the kitchen window.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday
a place to visit many interesting blogs around the world! And the photography is great too!


focus on life series - week 17: colour or color

Sally says:

Whether photographing a full shot of amazing colors or small pops of color against a muted background, this week break out your camera and capture some color. Think about how the colors of the shot effect your mood, feelings, perception of your surroundings! Focus on how the colors impact your decision to take a particular shot. 

I'm not sure how much color makes a difference in where I aim the camera, but I suspect more than I realize. I do know my mood is greatly affected by light vs dark. I appreciate subtle color tones as much as vivid shades. Black and white vs a rainbow of color. I'm equally attracted to soft romantic hues (peaceful and calm) as I am to a medley of bright bolds (cheerful and upbeat). 

I love the contrast of the mono-toned city, at a lower elevation and further away, with the hot pink flowers. See the bit of orange blossom? This shot feels romantic and dreamy! How does it feel to you?

 A peaceful haven in shades of white... can you spot just the littlest bits of purple peeking through? This shot feels calm and restful. If the blossoms were rainbow shades instead, I think it would feel gay and lively.

 By chance I found an interesting page that compares our eyesight to that of a camera. 

 Visit color through the camera lens at The Studio Sublime

You may notice I'm posting larger photos this week. I'm trying it on for size, but haven't decided which format I like best. Big or small...?



Butterflies are on my mind these days, I don't know why. I found a few recent butterfly pics and a cute yellow one I shot while still in Colorado.



bokeh by chance

Bokeh:  "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light", according to Wikipedia. I was practicing using the macro setting on my camera to take this leaf with rain drops when I shot the second photo completely out of focus. I unintentionally produced one of my favorite light effects, bokeh, naturally.


focus on life - week 16: take a walk

Sally says...

 "Grab your camera, open the door and step outside into the fresh air. Take a walk! Whether you walk to your favorite chair on the porch, walk a few miles down a rural road or a busy city street take a moment to be aware of the beauty of the world and let its grandeur energize your soul, inspire your mind and jump start your creativity. Step back and look at the wide world around you and capture a shot of the landscape in front of you!"

I live just steps away from the beauty of the Baha'i gardens and the Port of Haifa which is on the Mediterranean. I feel surrounded by beauty most especially when I'm in the gardens facing the bay on a balmy day and the water is a bright ocean blue.

My neighborhood is in an older part of the city and it's acceptable for trash to be lying around and pets to leave "presents", but today I'm focusing on the more pleasant parts of the street I live on.

There is also beauty in the plants, shrubs and trees around my neighborhood. I think just about every green thing here has its own season of blooms! It's especially breathtaking right now, in the Spring. An absolute treat for me, a Colorado gal, to see so many luscious flower blossoms in every shade Mother Nature could invent.

Street entry to my building flat

Sidewalk guards

"Modern" highrise across the street. Solar water heaters on roofs in foreground.

Haifa Bay

Public stairs near my flat connects to street above. 100 plus steps!

Bahai gardens

 You are welcome to tour more of Haifa and Israel, through my lens, at "Around Israel". Otherwise please hop on over to Sally's blog, The Studio Sublime, to see more neighborhoods. I can't wait to go visiting!


single snapshot

Snapshot: Popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Common snapshot subjects include events of everyday life.

I noticed this colorful display of laundry drying while walking home from the office after a hectic and tiring day. The rainbow colors were so cheerful I had to stop and take a shot.

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