Barack - Paper - Scissors / by Susie Lubell

Jacaranda and Tel Aviv architecture
Jacaranda tree under old building, Tel Aviv

Yesterday I went on a little field mission in search of fine art printing paper. I have until now had people bring me my Canson paper from the US but I decided it was time to find a local supplier. An ETSY friend suggested I try a company in Tel Aviv where she gets her paper. I went on a Tuesday so I could also pop over to the Nahalat Binyamin craft fair and see what was new and then try to find my favorite little notions store in that area to buy some sewing supplies for my kiddos.

The gods of parking smiled upon me and I was able to find a spot not once, but TWICE in the same day. The paper store turned out to be Israel's version of Kinko's and no one understood what I was looking for. But I took some samples and continued on to the fair. There I chatted with some of the artists and met someone who until now had only known through ETSY. I recognized her jewelry immediately. Sigalit pairs red and aqua in a lot of her work and it makes me giddy. Then I walked down Sheinkin street which was once a very cool, fairly gritty hotspot with a lot of independent shops and cafes and plenty of tattooed, chain-smoking twenty-somethings to frequent them. They redid the street recently and many of the independent places have been replaced by chains. It's prettier now, but less interesting. I also strolled through the Carmel produce and random crap market. I got suckered into buying a vegetable chopper which appeared to work beautifully when the man in the shop used it and less well when I got home that night. Live and learn. By 4 o'clock I was ready to drive home and then heard on the radio that the main road connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was grizzled because Barack Obama had just arrived (in fact I think it was just John Kerry who arrived. Obama arrived today). I took it to be a sign to stay out longer since Mr. Rosen was on afternoon pick up duty and my immediate parenting services were not needed. So I went searching for the sewing store and found it! And also ran into one of my table neighbors from the art fair in Jerusalem. What are the chances? Turns out she came to Tel Aviv for the day too so we chatted and she assured me it's been tough times at the fair for everyone and not to let it get me down. Another sign.

At the notions shop I picked up some felt, embroidery floss, colorful buttons, two pairs of fabric scissors and several needles with very large eyes (I also learned that the word for eye in Hebrew, as it pertains to a needle, is KOF, which means monkey). Do you have any needles with large monkeys? Now I just need two little boxes to complete their new sewing kits and we can start on some learn as we go Passover vacation stitching projects!

From there I walked down to Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood of Tel Aviv, which has seen a renaissance in recent years. Lots of boutiques and restaurants and lots of beautifully renovated buildings. And lots of money to live there. A girl can dream though. I walked and walked and bought a book at a cute little book shop, admired treasures from around the world, sat and had coffee and read my book. Soon it was 7 o'clock and I decided I would brave the highways. By then there was no traffic and I arrived home in time to kiss three sleepy kids goodnight. Mission accomplished.

psst. Obama. Call me if you need tips for parking in Tel Aviv.

Charming stairwell
Charming stairwell - if I know Tel Aviv, that bike will soon be stolen.

Candy pharmacy concept store
Candy pharmacy

Sigalit's earrings
Sigalit's earrings - her shop

Carmel Market
Spices at Shuk HaCarmel

Favorite notions shop

Bike cozy
bike cozy

Neve Tzedek neighborhood 
Neve Tzedek

Moroccan style store 
Art Moroc

Charming book shop