Calendar time!

After spending time at my synagogue board retreat yesterday and with my little one on the verge of starting kindergarten, it is all too apparent that fall is about to sneak up on me.  Last year’s Jewish calendar that functions as our family calendar in the kitchen is about to become obsolete and I haven’t even ordered a new one yet so it’s time to shop!  So in Mamaleh-tradition, here is my round-up of this year’s calendar picks.

This year we have a little breathing room since Rosh Hashanah doesn’t start until the evening of September 24th!  For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars these days try to include the Jewish holidays, they often only include the major ones and often confuse when they actually start and end.  So, I like to have at least one Jewish calendar in the house so that I always know when the holidays are. Some even provide details like candle-lighting and Torah portions. Ours hangs in the kitchen for daily reference and use as a family calendar.  There also happen to be some gorgeous ones out there that add a nice little Judaic flare to your wall. You can also give one as a fabulous Rosh Hashanah hostess gift if you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you! So, once again, I am sharing with you my picks for a 5775 Jewish calendar:

My yearly pick hasn’t changed from last year (shockingly) and will probably always be the Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie Caspi.  You can see each piece of artwork featured on Caspi’s website.  I LOVE Mickie Caspi.  She sort of reminds me of a Jewish Mary Engelbreit in terms of the warmth and cheer of her art.  We gave both sets of parents her parents’ gifts when we got married and her artwork is simply beautiful.

I was holding out hope that they would have an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar like the one we bought a couple of years ago for my son.  But, alas they don’t, so if you are looking for a Jewish calendar specifically geared towards kids, the pickings are slim.  There is  My Very Own Jewish Calendar which might work for you but it doesn’t really jump out at me.  The art in the Malcah Zeldis Celebrations calendar seems equally appealing to both kids and adults so it might be a good family pick and frankly may give my standard pick a run for its money this year.

 

If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar.  I got this one last year for blog scheduling purposes and sadly did not follow-through as much as I would have liked but may give it another go.  It has good daily space for writing.

Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although it does have a decent amount of room inside to visualize a month at a time and take it to board or committee meetings.

For something totally different, check out this gorgeous tea towel calendar by Barbara Shaw – if you had a place big enough to hang it, it could be a really cool calendar alternative.  It’s so cool, I’m sort of wondering where I could make it work!  Modern Tribe also has a couple of other gorgeous Israeli-designed one-page calendars that are worth taking a look at as well.

Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little!  Have you seen any other great calendars out there?  Please share if you have!  And if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year, you can always check out these Shana Tova printables from 2013 and 2012.  And be sure to check back tomorrow – it’s my double-chai birthday so I’ve got a little present for a lucky reader out there to help me celebrate!

Shabbat Shalom!

A Harvey Wallbanger Shabbat

Harvey Wallbanger Cake Star of David Bundt

Ever heard of a Harvey Wallbanger?  I hadn’t either until I was introduced to a recipe by way of my brother’s mother-in-law (Thanks Jane!).  But apparently it was a very popular drink in the 70s which would explain why I’ve never actually imbibed one myself seeing as how I wasn’t born until 1978.  Though I won’t be ordering one at the bar anytime soon (I prefer a good Cosmo), I am here to tell you that it lends itself to the most amazing bundt cake you have ever had.

Star of David Harvey Wallbanger

It has become my go-to recipe for potlucks and celebrations.  And every time I make it, I am asked for the recipe.   The bundt cake is always so effortlessly chic, especially if you take it up a notch and use a Star-of-David Bundt pan which I like to save for special occasions like this Rosh Hashanah honey cake.  I know I’ve been a bit MIA this summer and it’s just been a busy one for us with lots going on.   I have just joined our synagogue’s Board of Trustees and will be chairing our annual Gala as well.  And in the midst of that, we just welcomed a wonderful new rabbi this past Shabbat with a Board sponsored oneg.  So, what’s a good mamaleh to do but BAKE! And what else than the deliciously moist and yummy Harvey Wallbanger cake, MOT style!  I can’t take credit for the recipe – it made its way to Jane from someone in the Macy’s kitchen department but OMG, you will love it!  It was practically gone by the time I got inside the social hall after services!  And don’t worry, the alcohol burns off  so it’s okay to share it with your kiddos (or not)!  Enjoy!

HARVEY WALLBANGER CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding (small package)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ¼ cup Galliano liqueur
  • ¾ cup orange juice

SNOWY GLAZE

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a  Bundt pan using Baker’s Joy or Pam with flour added to it (you can also grease and flour the pan but the sprays will give you the best coverage and best release from the pan)
  2. Mix all the cake ingredients together and beat for 4 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 5-10 minutes before turning cake over.  Run a knife around the edges and middle before you flip it to make sure nothing sticks.
  5. As the cake begins to cool, whisk together the ingredients for the snowy glaze in a small bowl.
  6. While the cake is still slightly warm, using a pastry brush, brush the snowy glaze over the cake.  Do not let the cake cool completely or the glaze will not apply easily.
  7. I’ve also made this recipe into mini bundts but you have to do several batches and adjust the time accordingly, about 10 minutes per pan if I remember correctly.

A Method to My Madness: Rubber Stamp Organization

Stamp organization madebymamaleh.com

Serious Crafters have hoarder-like tendencies when it comes to their supplies.  The latest rubber stamp, paper, ribbon, or obscure gadget, will simply call to you and you have no choice but to add it to your stash. I used to think I was alone. Now I know better.

Stamp storage madebymamaleh.com

When I first started stamping as a child, my collection of stamps fit nicely in a shoebox but now I am sort of embarrassed to admit the amount of real estate they take up in my craft room.  I was lucky enough to inherit the same steel drawer unit my grandmother used to store her stamps which is now home to all my stamps and various stamping accessories.  It’s one of those things that makes you say “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” with its sturdy (i.e. insanely heavy) steel frame and 30 little drawers.  The original color was “industrial office furniture putty” which you can still see showing through where I have yet to put labels.  The bulk of it I spray painted to go along with my white and green craft room. If/when my craft room is tidy, I still owe you a tour.

The steel drawers help with all of my wood-mounted rubber stamps,  but in this era, I certainly have my share of clear and cling stamps as well.  I store these types of stamps in a series of cute binders using either baseball card sheet protectors for the smallest ones, 5×7 sheet protectors for medium ones and full size sheet protectors for the rest.

Clear stamp storage madebymamaleh.com

So I am doing pretty well on storage, but what I started realizing was that it was still hard to keep track of all the different stamps, especially sentiments and I could never find exactly what I was looking for or at least not quickly. On several occasions I accidentally purchased duplicates or items that were quite similar.  I discovered I wasn’t the only one with this problem.  I devised a way to catalog all of my stamps that would give me flexibility when I got new ones but be easy to look through and scope out my latest project.  Enter my own personal stamp catalog.

rubber stamp organization madebymamaleh.com

I cut a good size stack of white cardstock to 8.5″ x5.5″ to fit a binder of the same size (small enough to tote with me to the stamp store).  The binder is great because it has a little pocket for storing extra tabs or a mini ruler.  I even created a little card size guide to keep at the front for easy reference.  Click here to download your own.

stamp organization binder madebymamaleh.com

Matching page protectors mean I can slip the sheets in and out when I have a new stamp to add to the collection.  I used removable adhesive tabs to create the categories (which correspond to the labels on the drawers)- the ability to move these around is great in the event you realize you’ve suddenly amassed a whole new category of stamps.  I recommend using a fine point Sharpie to write on them so it doesn’t smear.  And then I got to stamping – for fast drying and good definition, I used Versafine Onyx Black to stamp each image.  Underneath each one I wrote the manufacturer as well as the name of the stamp (if it has one) and if it is clear or cling, I put a little “c” in parentheses so I know to check my binders.

rubber stamp organization madebymamaleh.com

stamp binder madebymamaleh.com

ink organization madebymamaleh.comIt took a long time to get everything in but once I did, it has made using my stamps so much more enjoyable.  I can hold images up next to each other to see how they look together or hold them up next to a card or die.  And I can’t tell you how many times I have saved myself from buying something I already had!  I decided to include ink, embossing powder and stickles too since I have the same trouble with all of these.  It’s like shopping in my craft room every time I pull it out and is just so satisfying especially since it is totally neat and tidy while my desk is a crafty disaster.  I had it with me on Saturday when I took two fabulous card classes at Impress with the amazing Julie Ebersole and had a few admirers so figured it was time to share with the world (I took the pictures like a year ago and just hadn’t gotten around to writing out all the details)!  Hope it inspires you to organize your stash!

Ten Commandments Scavenger Hunt for Shavuot

As I may have mentioned before, I was a founder and chair of our synagogue’s Young Families group over the last several years.  Last year we had a big Shavuot event with PJ Library where we read stories, made butter, had ice cream and waited two hours for a goat to arrive (don’t get me started).  This year we wanted to do something low-key but also educational and fun.

Shavuot Scavenger Hunt madebymamaleh.com Continue reading

Runway Inspired Challenge #60: Calla (aka the chow chow challenge)

It has been forever since I played along with the Runway Inspired Challenge.  None of the fashions spoke to me but then came this one and holy moly, it was made for me!

As you may recall, we lost our two red chow boys Teddy and Smokey last spring, just six weeks apart.  We adopted a sweet and huggable black chow chow in August who we named Huckle Bear but red chows will always have a special place in my heart.  So when I read that much of this designer’s collection was inspired by her little chow chow Lilybear, who is apparently well known on the streets of Paris, I knew it was time to get busy on a card.  So, without further ado, here it is:

Runway Inspired Challenge #60

I masked the edges with thin washi tape and then used a dauber to apply Versafine in Smokey Gray.  Then I die cut the chow chow from Stardream Flame and added a few enamel dots from My Mind’s Eye.  The sentiment is an old one from A Muse embossed in Turquoise onto PTI Berry Sorbet cardstock and popped up with foam tape.

I am beary happy with the result.  And just so Huckle isn’t left out given all the focus on red chows, here is a pic of my sweet boy along with my other sweet boy :)

madebymamaleh.comShabbat Shalom!

A Few More Watercolor Cards

As I mentioned in my last couple of posts, I have been having a bunch of fun with the Watercolor for Cardmakers online class.  I haven’t had as much time to play with all of the techniques as I would like but I am so obsessed with the one I shared with you previously that uses a stencil combined with watercolors that I have revisited it a few more times. Since I am a sparkle junkie, I decided to spritz these with the Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz in Frost and Sparkle.

The first card is another variation of the one I did before except with a bolder sentiment and paper. You can just barely make out the frost shimmer atop the watercolors.

Watercolor card madebymamaleh.com

Supplies used: Bazzill Basics Midnight Cardstock, American Crafts Hello stamp Versafine Ink in Majestic Blue, Fabriano Cold Press Studio Watercolor Paper, Memory Box Disperse stencil, Angora watercolors, foam tape, baker’s twine, Silhouette tag file, Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz in Frost

Next up, I did a whimsical card using the same technique but a different color palate and created a background for this super fun stamp I picked up at Viva Las VegaStamps while I was in town for Passover.  If you are ever in Vegas, this place has a great selection of obscure stamps and you can order online too.  I tried to get a close up so you can see the sparkle spritz better but it doesn’t quite do it justice.  I left the front sentiment free and put it inside with a few accent crystals.

Ouija Board Watercolor card madebymamaleh.comOuija Board Card closeup madebymamaleh.comInside Sentiment

Supplies used: Ouija Board rubber stamp, Memory Box Disperse stencil, Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz in Sparkle, Memory Box card, Angora watercolors, Amuse sentiment (retired), foam tape, Versafine Onyx Black ink

There are so many more techniques I want to test out but since the class gallery closes tonight, I at least wanted to share these for now!

One more, for Mom!

I forgot that I had one other card to share when I posted earlier…my mother’s day card for my own mamaleh!  As I mentioned, I am taking the online class Watercolors for Cardmakers.  This card used an emboss resist technique, i.e. I embossed the stamped image with clear embossing powder and then watercolored over it using a variety of Twinkling H2Os for a rainbow effect with a bit of shimmer to it (sadly subtle shimmer is just too hard to capture in a photo!).

Watercolor Mother's Day card madebymamaleh

Supplies used: Fabriano 3×5 notecard, Impress Moroccan Tile Background stamp, Twinkling H2Os, Inkadinkado Maison Ornate Alphabet stamps, clear embossing powder, vellum paper, Versamark Ink, Brilliance Graphite Black Ink.

 

Watercolors!

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamalehs out there!  Second, sorry I have been MIA for a while but I’ve just busy with work and life.  I am trying to remember that a little creativity helps keep me going.  I have this print hanging in my craft room/office and it is the darn truth!

I have been missing my creative mojo lately, so I needed a little inspiration to kick my butt into gear and get the wheels turning again. Having seen so many watercolor projects in the online papercrafting scene lately, I decided to sign up for Watercolor for Cardmakers with Online Card Classes.

The quantity and quality of instructional material has really surprised and impressed me – each day there are 3-4 fantastic videos as well as printable step-by-step instructions and detailed supply lists linking to all of the materials.  In addition, there is an online gallery to share your creations and a forum to ask questions.  One cool thing about this format is that you can go at your own pace; the other day I started a video, got interrupted by my son and just went back to it later. Another day I didn’t even have time to watch so just doubled up the next day.  The ability to do it on my schedule has been fantastic.  And you have access to the videos when class is no longer in-session so you can always go back and watch them again. For $25 it is seriously a ton of information and really fun!

There have been so many amazing techniques on display this week swirling around in my head.  So, yesterday a friend, who I convinced to take the class with me, came over and we just played around.  Now I have even more ideas!  Here’s what the craft table looked like when we were finished:

Crafting mess

First up is my take on the very first card from class which utilizes a technique involving watercolors and a stencil.  I am pretty happy with the result and plan to make more variations of this.

Watercolor stencil card madebymamaleh

Supplies used: Paper Source Peacock Cover, Amuse Studio Happy Birthday To You (from Birthday Greetings), Versafine Majestic Blue, Fabriano Cold Press Studio Watercolor Paper, Memory Box Disperse stencil, Angora watercolors, foam tape, ribbon, Silhouette tag file

Next up I decided to try the technique that involved placing color directly on a stamp with a dye marker and then spritzing with water before stamping. At first glance, I didn’t think I could do this technique since I don’t have any Distress markers but then it got me thinking about my neglected Le Plumes so I decided to give those a try and was so happy with the result, I ended up doing a color chart (as you can see in the mess photo above).

Watercolor technique card madebymamalehSupplies used: Bazzill Basics Cardstock in Midnight, Flower stamp – Silhouette 3 by Impression Obsession, Sentiment by Savvy, Delicata Golden Glitz ink, Marvy Le Plume II markers, Wink of Stella Clear brush pen, foam tape.

I loved this result so much I decided to make a gift set using Fabriano 3×5 notecards which are really gorgeous cards with a lovely deckled edge. I used a mix of Le Plume colors and did both first and second impressions (not reinking but just spraying again).  For a few, I subbed Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz for water and it may just be my new favorite product ever. It’s like a fairy just landed on your paper and sprinkled it with fine fairy dust.  I must confess, I do have a bit of a sparkle obsession.

Watercolor cards madebymamalehWatecolor cards 2nd impression madebymamalehWatercolor cards 1st impression

Supplies used: Fabriano cards, Marvy Le Plume markers, Wink of Stella Pen, Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz.

Then I wrapped it up with a little twine bow and tag (retired Amuse sentiment in Delicata gold) all ready for my aunt’s bday (a tad late but made with love).

Card gift set madebymamaleh

I am having so much fun with these techniques so don’t be surprised if I pop back later with a few more to share in the class galleries!

 

Popping by to say Happy Purim!

Printable labels for Purim treats

It’s been WAAAAYYYY too long and I do apologize!  Life has simply happened and I have been busy trying to keep up.  I’m still here just not crafting as much as I’d like at the moment.  But with Purim almost here (it starts Saturday night), it’s time to think about some Purim goodies!  You might recall that last year after my son got lots of Valentine’s treats, I opted to make some fun mini mishloach manot instead.  So, I decided to do the same thing again this year and since his pre-K class is on the smaller side, I decided to treat the kids to one of my favorite (and quite novel) Israeli sweets: Elite Milk Chocolate with Popping Candies, or in other words a chocolate bar with pop rocks!  If you’ve never tried these, you are missing out!  I must confess to you that when my husband (who back then was my boyfriend) and I did Birthright back in 2005, we came back with so many of these in our suitcase, I’m pretty sure the El Al agents had a good laugh at our expense.  There are several places you can order these online but the prices are definitely higher than what you’d find in Israel or even locally.  I was so excited when I discovered our local Safeway started carrying them, especially in Seattle!

Mini Mishloach Manot for Purim

So, in order to put together these cute mini mishloach manot, I designed some simple label wraps in Publisher and printed them on vellum for a fun look (my son was very intrigued that you could see through the paper). But really any paper or light-weight cardstock would work equally well.  Each is 2.5 inches wide so you’ll get 4 per standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper – there are no cut lines just start from the left and cut every 2.5 inches.  Once they are printed and cut, address them (as you can see my son is working on writing all of his letters) and use some cute washi tape to secure them in back and you have some adorable Purim treats.  You can download the label wraps for yourself for some last-minute Purim printables.

These would also work well used as an addition to a traditional Purim basket of goodies.  If you are looking for ideas in that department, two of my favorite Jewish blogs, Chai & Home and Design Megillah each have some darling ideas!  What about you?  Are you putting together any purim goodies?

Happy Purim!

Countdown to Hanukkah 2013

Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

Ever since Halloween finally came and went last week, my four-year-old has asked me numerous times, “When is it time for Hanukkah?”  So, since last year’s printable Hanukkah countdown calendar was such a hit, I decided to make a new version for this year.  Since this year Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving, I decided to embrace the fall colors to help your little ones count down the anticipation in the days leading up to Hanukkah (or Thanksgivukkah as so many are calling it).  Unlike last year, I couldn’t make chai (18) to Hanukkah work thanks to the calendar configuration but it’s designed for you to start counting down on Sunday, November 10th.

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