It has been forever since I have blogged. I’ll just blame it on the baby who isn’t even here yet – 8 weeks to go! But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been crafting when time has allowed. I’m back today to share with you an invitation I designed recently for a special Shabbat dinner to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Temple Beth Am‘s religious school rabbi.
Hope you all had a lovely Passover! It has been ages since I have blogged and the graphic above pretty much sums up the reason why – all of my crafting energy has gone into the little girl currently under development and due to arrive in August! So you’ll have to forgive my very intermittent crafting and blogging of late but I’m sure you all understand.
While today’s post isn’t crafty per se, it’s still focused on being chic and stylish which is really what this mamaleh tries to do via crafting. I don’t know what’s in the water but in the last two weeks, I’ve had a handful of friends all talking about Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is a fab concept: Basically, you start by taking a style quiz and providing details about your style as well as your sizing and any specific fashion needs you have. Then, for $20/fix including shipping both ways, they send you five pieces of clothing or accessories handpicked just for you. You get to try them on in the comfort of your home (and whenever works for your busy schedule). The $20 fee is applied to whatever you decide to keep and you only pay for what you keep and send the rest back. Bonus if you love all five you get 25% off the total. I was intrigued but didn’t think now would be the time to try given my current need for maternity wear. Ah but then I found out that in the past few months Stitch Fix has started doing maternity wear as well so with that, I decided to give it a go since who wouldn’t want a little fashion help to feel fabulous while preggo! I did a fair amount of online searching before committing to get an idea of what their maternity selection might be like and must admit, given how new this part of their service is, found pretty limited info. So, in the interest of helping other pregnant fashion-forward moms looking for info, today I’m sharing my first maternity Stitch Fix with you (even if these looks are not the most flattering).
First impression – the box was neatly packaged and came with a nice note from my personal stylist who had clearly taken the time to look at my pinterest style board to get a sense of what I was looking for as well as paid attention to the note I had written. I specifically said no bottoms as bottoms are hard enough when they aren’t maternity! (I am wearing my Seraphine maternity ponte seamed leggings which I LOVE).And a feature that may or may not be helpful depending on your comfort level of pairing clothing is the style card with two ideas for wearing each item.
Item#1: Loveappella Anaheim Roll Sleeve Maternity, $58
This was my favorite item in the bunch. It was a nice fabric and was definitely on point style-wise (I love stripes!). I wish it didn’t have as high a percentage of polyester as it does but it’s not 100% so I’m willing to look past it. If I had tried this on in the store, I might have tried a medium as well just to make sure I’ll have enough room as I get further along but it fits perfectly right now and is stretchy so should be just fine and will look super cute with my white maternity jeans.
Item #2: Loveappella Stelli Embellished Knit Maternity Tank, $54
While the color of this was great, overall the fabric was just too thin and clingy to work with my curves. And for me the detailing, though fun in concept, looked a bit too cheap to me. So, this one is going back.
Item #3&4: 31 Bits Nikalia Multi-Layer Beaded Necklace, $64 & LA Made Maternity Catina Maternity Cap Sleeve Dress, $84
The dress was a great color but again the fabric was just too thin to be flattering (especially in back which I am hiding with my hand on my hip ;) and I didn’t like where the empire line hit my bust. Though I have to give the stylist credit for listening to the fact that I said bonus points for items that would work well for nursing later on (as this style clearly would). Also, for the price it just wasn’t anything special. The same went for the necklace which was a bit too boho for my taste and just not my thing but I appreciate that she thought it’d go with the dress.
Item#5: Pixley Abriella Waffle Knit Cardigan, $48
I wanted to love this as it’s one of my favorite colors and was so incredibly soft not to mention, it was priced just right and is non-maternity so would have had staying power. But sadly it just hit me in the wrong place on my hips and was not flattering so back it goes.
Final verdict: 1/5 for my first box but I am intrigued and from what I’ve read, your style picks get better over time as they get your feedback and now what has worked and what hasn’t. So, with that said, I’m excited to give it a second try and see what happens. Are you a Stitch Fix fan already? If so, any pointers? If not, what do you think? Would you try it?
P.S. They also have a referral program for friends so in the interest of full disclosure, if you subscribe via my link, I will get a credit.
P.P.S. I did not forget – the winner of the aleph-bet stamp giveaway was Jamie! Jamie, I promise to send the stamps your way shortly!
I have been missing in action for quite a while now and thankfully many of you have not given up on me. In fact, some have even written to ask when I might be posting again. Well, here I am! There’s been a lot going on around here! I just finished chairing our big synagogue gala/auction this past Sunday which was a smashing success but which has been consuming much of my free time over the last several months. I can’t wait to share some of the décor elements with you but that will have to wait for a future post when I have pics back (I was too busy working to take any pics myself!)
I have been missing in action and I do apologize. Things have been insanely busy and that has meant blogging and crafting have had to take a backseat. But with Thanksgiving almost here, it’s time to start thinking about Hanukkah. Some of you have emailed to ask if I’d be doing the yearly printable countdown calendar so of course I had to oblige. Without Thanksgivukkah to spur on this year’s calendar design, I joined the Frozen-craze still going strong in my son’s world and made this year’s calendar a bit frosty, complete with star of David snowflakes.
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!
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.
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
- 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
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon warm milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 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)
- Mix all the cake ingredients together and beat for 4 minutes. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- 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.
- As the cake begins to cool, whisk together the ingredients for the snowy glaze in a small bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It 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!
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.
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:
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 :)
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.
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.
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!