Not Your Kid’s Hanukkah Countdown! L’Chaim!

sealedbagswm-copy

If you look around at all of the Advent calendars out there, there are just as many designed for adults as there are for kids. But, in the land of Hanukkah decor, it seems that most of the designers seem to think only little kids celebrate Hanukkah. So last year I decided to make my husband his very own Hanukkah Countdown for each night of Hanukkah.

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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!

A Very Jewish Summer Day 3: Camp Care Packages With Love

Welcome to Day 3 of A Very Jewish Summer! I know for many people summer evokes memories of Jewish summer camp and specifically sleep-away camp, your first adventure away from home.  Growing up in Southern Oregon, I never got to experience Jewish summer camp but having gone to college 3,000 miles from home, I know firsthand how much care packages from home mean.  My little one has a way to go before he heads off to camp by himself (though I am very excited we’ll be heading to Jewish family camp at the end of the summer!).  So, since I have several close friends whose kids will be at camp this year I decided to put together a combo of DIY and store-bought goodies to send them a little love from Mamaleh.

Personalized Camp Stationery

First, a little something to send some love back home (and maybe a thank you note to yours truly) : personalized stationery.  I realize we live in the era of email and text but I think there is nothing better than an old-fashioned letter or card.  I decided to give this a Jewish twist by including both English and Hebrew names on the cards.  Using Microsoft Publisher, I created my own custom A2 size (4.25″x5.5″) template and then created a text block at the top, inserting a little symbol in between the English and Hebrew.  (If you need help using hebrew fonts on your computer, or are looking for some stylish ones, check out my earlier post on the subject.) Then I printed these out on a variety of nice cardstock and cut the cards (by making them A2 size, you get 4 cards per 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of cardstock).  I even rounded the corners on some for a little something extra.

DIY Personalized Stationery

To finish off these sets, I paired them with basic A2 envelopes, cute kid-friendly stamps and matching little folders cut from this folder template using Silhouette Chipboard, layered with cardstock and then stamped and embellished with a little glitter glue.  A tip for the folders – be sure to let the glue set after gluing down the tabs on the sides by putting some pressure on it – I used binder clips which worked really well to hold it in place until it dried.  Last, I punched holes and tied them shut with a little piece of ribbon.

Personalized Stationery Set

Besides personalized stationery, I had visions of glow-in-the-dark kippahs for Shabbat and Havdallah under the night sky. This proved a bit trickier than I’d envisioned.  I started with some grey suede kippahs from bestkippah.com (I found this was one of the few places that allowed me to order a single dozen versus the several dozen often ordered for weddings and other mitzvahs).  My original plan was to try some glow-in-the-dark heat transfer vinyl  but it wouldn’t stick to the suede so using my Silhouette  for something more intricate was out.

DIY kippah

Next, I tried a glow in the dark fabric marker – it worked on my first test kippah (above) but when I went to try it again the next day, it didn’t want to write on the suede, not exactly sure why, it was almost as if the nap of the suede prevented it from writing properly.  Besides, it didn’t have the same glow factor as my third choice: glow-in-the-dark dimensional fabric paint.  This is a bit tricky to apply because you may get a few bubbles or globs as you are squeezing it but if you go slow, it’s not too bad.  Here are the kippahs I came up with (and yes, one is for a girl, gotta be egalitarian):

DIY glow-in-the-dark kippahs

The result isn’t exactly what I was hoping for but I think it’s still fun and I am planning to go back over some areas to fill them in a bit more.  I know from experience that putting too thick a layer of dimensional paint can prevent it from properly drying so going back over it after it’s completely dry is definitely the way to go.  I also may keep my eye out for other colors of glow-paint to add a touch of color before I send these off.  Most importantly though, they definitely glow in the dark (I tried to get a photo of this but it proved way too difficult), so hopefully they will be a hit with these kiddos!

Finally, I did a lot of searching for just the right store-bought additions to these care packages, a little bit of something for everyone:

Camp Care Packages Mini Camp Bunk Box of Questions for some late night chit-chat fun; Girls World of Doodles – I must admit that I kinda wish I could keep this for myself just to spur my own creativity; Mr. Sketch Markers to use for doodling; Finger flashlights for late night reading or silliness, enough to share with the whole cabin; Mad Libs – these were one of my faves on long car trips so I figured they’d be great for camp as well: Lego Star Wars Mad Libs and Summer Fun Mad Libs Junior and finally the yiddish-named build-a-bagel card game Schmear which looks like a lot of fun!

Hope I’ve inspired you to be crafty and creative with your summer camp care packages this year.  If you aren’t feeling crafty or if you’re short on time, you can always opt to send one from somewhere that specializes in camp care packages like The Wrinkled Egg or Sealed With a Kiss.  One final thought, be sure to check what your camp’s care package policies are before sending – most don’t allow food and as a result will open things that are not obvious, hence I am not doing any sort of wrapping.  I can’t wait to pack up all of these goodies and send them off!  What about you? Are you planning on sending any care packages this summer?  What are you including?

That wraps up Day 3 of a A Very Jewish Summer, hope you are enjoying the party so far!  If you are just joining us for this blogging party, be sure to check out what you’ve missed so far –  we started out with the lovely dinosaur cookies by Yenta Mamas for a prehistoric Shabbat treat followed by a lovely Shabbat Alfresco tablescape by Chai & Home and tomorrow we’ll be treated to a yummy recipe from Busy in Brooklyn.  So stay tuned as a Very Jewish Summer continues!

A little bit of this, a little bit of that…a card, a winner and another giveaway!

And with that title, I am now singing “Anatevka” in my head and finding myself a bit distracted from getting down to writing.  Oh, how I love the soundtrack from Fiddler on the Roof!

In any event, here I am, finally!  Sorry it’s been way too long between posts but LIFE has just been way too busy lately.

First off, the winner of the handmade chevron and crystal mezuzah…comment #1 Dena from the fabulous Jewish style blog, Chai & Home.

L'Chaim Jewish Birthday card

Second, I just have a to share a fun card I made yesterday for a friend’s birthday.  It was my first attempt at a “shaker” card where the glitter or confetti actually shakes inside a window.  My base is none other than my favorite Curious Metallics White Gold cardstock.  I then cut out this fun wine bottle shape, which I modified with a window, from Curious Metallics Gold Leaf using my Silhouette.  Then I adhered window plastic to the bottle, arranged foam squares around the edge to make a frame, filled it with metallic confetti and adhered it to the card.  I will say that the confetti did sort of stick around the edges so not sure how to avoid that but overall I am quite pleased with the result.  For the sentiment I stamped the fun “L’Chaim” stamp I found on ebay and then embossed it with black sparkle embossing powder.

Jewish Craft Supply Giveaway madebymamaleh.com

Finally, I promised you at least one more giveaway for my blogoversary and since April isn’t over yet, there is still time for one final celebration of the fact I have been blogging for an entire year! I am so excited about this I can hardly type!  The lovely Lauree at 1-800-Dreidel put together the most fabulous box of goodies valued at just over $55 to send to one of you, my dear readers.  There are stickers, cupcake toppers, ribbon, cookie cutters, a paper punch, beads and more!  It’s so fun!  You’ve heard me mention 1-800-Dreidel before – they are one of the few places that cater to Jewish crafters and have a great selection – it’s my go-to source for wine charms and the customer service is fantastic!  Check them out!  And as another special treat, you can get 10% off your entire first order by entering “Mamaleh” in the customer comment box.

Okay, ready to win this fabulous box of goodies?!  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what you’d do with all of these crafting goodies (or just saying hello) AND then click the link below to go to the giveaway on my Facebook page where you can then enter to win, with bonus entries for FB fans and Twitter followers:

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Remember, you must click-through after leaving a comment for your entry to be counted.  Not on FB, you can enter here. Good luck and thanks for helping me celebrate a year of blogging!

Happy Blogoversary To Me!

Shalom and sorry for being so quiet lately.  Hope you had a lovely Passover!  We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks in our house that included saying a sudden goodbye to our beloved dog, Smokey Bear.  So, amidst all of that, I just haven’t felt all that crafty or articulate enough to write about some of the projects I’ve been waiting to share. But, a year ago today is when I welcomed you with my very first Made by Mamaleh post so I couldn’t let today pass without a little crafty goodness.

Click here to read more…

Kid-Friendly Tu B’Shevat Mini Art

Tu B'Shevat Mini Canvas Art

Tu B’Shevat is one of those Jewish holidays that many of us probably don’t even realize is happening unless we are looking at our Jewish calendar or have kids in religious school.  A minor holiday, literally the 15th of the month of Shevat, Tu B’Shevat celebrates the New Year of the Trees.  (And, just a little known fact, it’s actually one of four new years observed on the Jewish calendar.  In Israel, Tu B’Shevat is much like Arbor Day in the U.S. and is marked by the planting of trees and ecological awareness.  In Jewish tradition, Tu B’Shevat is often marked with a seder (or ritual meal) where fruits and nuts symbolic of Israel are eaten.

For the first time in my life, we’re actually talking about Tu B’Shevat in our house:  My son’s Sammy Spider calendar has a nice recipe for trail mix and a picture of a tree.  His preschool class is having a seder.  We’ve been reading our PJ Library books about the holiday.  Our temple’s Young Families’ group (of which I’m co-chair) is having a special brunch.  So, with all of that going on, I felt like we needed to make a little something since what’s a holiday without a little a decoration.  I wanted something kid-friendly to make yet also polished enough to sit out on my mantel and look sharp.

A while back, during one of my craft store runs (probably Michael’s), I came across these cute mini canvases and got a couple of sizes as well as a mini easel, thinking that they’d be great for changing holidays/seasons.  So, I decided to take the 4×4 canvas and create a little mini Tu B’Shevat art with my son’s help of course.

Tu B'Shevat Kid-Friendly Art

First step was to find just the right tree in the Silhouette Online Store to cut out with my Cameo.  Now, if you don’t have a die-cutter, don’t worry, I am sure you could easily find a pre-cut tree at the craft store or you could freehand one with scissors or an exacto.   I chose this tree branch lace and then using Silhouette Studio I erased the edges and size it to fit my canvas. Next, I cut it out of Paper Trey Ink Dark Chocolate cardstock.  I then coated the mini canvas with Matte Mod Podge using a foam brush and applied the tree, trimming the edges as necessary.  Once it was all lined up, I painted more Mod Podge on top completely covering the tree and allowed it to dry.  The application of the Mod Podge is a totally kid friendly activity since there is no precision required, just make sure the canvas is covered.

TU B'Shevat Art Canvas

Shades of Green (from left to right): Martha Stewart Mint Chip Pearl, Martha Stewart Scottish Highlands High Gloss, Martha Stewart Putting Green Pearl & Folk Art Citrus Green

For the next step, I selected four different shades and finishes of acrylic paint since I wanted depth of color and texture.  To apply the leaves, rather than have my son dip his finger in the paint (and get too much on), I applied it to his finger using a foam brush and then let him fingerprint the leaves.  No special order, just mix up how often you print each color. We both took turns doing this and going all over the top of the tree as well as the top and sides of the canvas.

Kid-Friendly Tu B'Shevat Mini Canvas

Once the tree was filled in, I left this to dry for a bit as I worked on the final piece, a die-cut banner that said “Happy Tu B’Shevat!” which I created using the print and cut feature in Silhouette Studio on kraft cardstock.  I then positioned this where I wanted it using the Mod Podge and gave the whole piece a couple more coats to finish it off and ta-da: kid-friendly, yet simple and chic mini-canvas decor for Tu B’Shevat for year’s to come!

Kid-Friendly Tu B'Shevat Canvas

The last lights of Hanukkah 2012

As Hanukkah 2012 draws to a close, I want to share one final Hanukkah project with you.   As you are probably painfully aware, finding a Christmas T-shirt or pajamas (or anything) for kids is so easy but Hanukkah-wise, you’ll be lucky to find anything.  Last year, I lucked out and found a “Dreidel Champion” T-shirt by Carter’s.  This year, armed with my trusty Silhouette, I decided to make my own using simple Ts from Old Navy and a variety of vinyl.

First up is my own version of the “Dreidel Champion” for a friend’s son:

Dreidel Champion 2012 t-shirt

Now, love or hate the whole princess thing, we all know it’s popular with preschool girls.  So, I decided why not embrace it and give it a new twist by creating a Dreidel Princess!  For this shirt I used a combo of plain, glitter and flocked heat transfer vinyl as well as rhinestones of course.  Next year I may need an adult version…

DIY Hanukkah shirt for girl

I had bought some purple foil star of david ribbon on one of my 1-800-Dreidel shopping trips and couldn’t resist the chance to use it for a matching bow.  A little hot glue and a pony tail holder and I was in business.

DIY Star of David hair bow

Finally, for my own mini-mensch, I’d planned to do a collage of numbers since counting is rather popular in our house at the moment but he informed me that he wanted a menorah so a menorah he got.  Using gold glitter vinyl and several shades of blue in plain and flocked, I created this “8 Crazy Nights” shirt.

8 Crazy Nights t-shirt

He absolutely loved it (he wore it more than once!).  I just can’t resist the chance to show off his Hanukkah (and all around) cuteness.  Hope your Hanukkah was as full of sheer joy as mine!

8 Crazy Nights Hanukkah t-shirt

As Hanukkah reminds us of the miracle of light,  there are so many positive ways that we can channel our collective feelings of  sorrow surrounding the Newtown tragedy.  My heart aches for the families and I wanted to share one outlet that speaks to my creative side.  One of my favorite crafty blogs, Damask Love  has created a very special project to inspire healing through creativity.  Check it out if you are looking for a non-traditional way to help.

Shalom to the world! {& a giveaway}

Happy 4th Night of Hanukkah! It seems like there has been a lot of discussion online lately on Hanukkah trying to compete with Christmas so let me just say, no, Hanukkah is NOT the Jewish Christmas.  But, it does fall during the darkest time of year when everyone is just looking to add a little light and cheer to their life. So, why not get into the decorating spirit a bit?  Last year as I looked through the latest Pottery Barn catalog, bummed by the limited Hanukkah offerings, I noticed these cute word stocking holders spelling out “JOY” and couldn’t help but think how festive they looked.

I wondered if there a Jewish word that would look equally cute and cheerful on my mantel to add a little fun to my menorah display? And then it came to me: “SHALOM.”  Of course I had a vision for what it would look like and since that wasn’t available pre-fab, I would have to DIY.

Shalom Letters I managed to find some nice white wood letters at Joann or Michael’s that stood nicely on their own.  First, I removed all the labels – the ones I bought last year were a major pain and I had to use nail polish remover for the labels and pliers for the hang tags but the ones I got this year were much improved and the labels and tags came right off.  I tried to just go straight to the glitter paint but quickly found that coverage wasn’t the solid look I was going for.  So, next, I gave them a good coat of silver spray paint on all sides.  Once the spray paint was dry, I used a foam brush to apply 2-3 coats of Martha Stewart Antique Silver Acrylic Paint to get a nice glittery coating.   Here’s a picture of it on my mantel last Hanukkah (note the decorative glass dreidels scattered about too). This year the letters are a bit more spread out in a slightly different arrangement.

Shalom Hanukkah Mantel Decoration

Now if only I could finish a set for my best friend before Hanukkah is over!  But, even if I don’t, the beauty of the word “Shalom” though is that really you could use it for many (any?) Jewish holidays (I think it’d be  especially nice for Passover) or even all year round.  Since the letters are all separate, you can maneuver them to fit your other decor however you want!

Want to make a set for yourself?  Or maybe you’ve been inspired to make something else?  Well, as a little Hanukkah treat, I’m giving away a Michael’s gift card ($18 of course!).  Just leave a comment here and tell me what crafty supplies you’d use it for by Sunday, December 16th at 6pm PST.  Extra entries for 1) liking Made by Mamaleh on Facebook and/or 2) following the blog via email.  Just leave an additional comment for each one.  If you are already a follower then you automatically get extra entries (just be sure to leave comments for each).  This giveaway is open to US residents only – sorry to my friends abroad!

Hanukkah crafting from Kiwi Crate! Ima Design winner!

I have to admit – I’m generally not one to purchase pre-fab crafting kits; I have hoards of craft supplies so if I want to make something, I generally only need to get a couple items.  But when Kiwi Crate contacted me and asked if I’d like to try out their Handmade Hanukkah kit, I figured why not.  I’m always open to try something new.

Kiwi Crate is a children’s creativity company, targeted for kids ages 3-7.  They offer monthly subscription activity boxes as well as special projects like the Hanukkah box.  Each crate is filled with enriching & engaging kid-tested projects which cover a range of developmental areas and subjects, including art, science, and imaginative play.

The box arrived nicely wrapped in brown packing paper with a big Kiwi Crate logo and addressed directly to my son (which was a big hit of course).  This was a nice touch in the age of elaborate, difficult to open packaging; no box cutters were needed, so my son could open it himself.

When my son managed to rip the paper off, we found the darling little Kiwi Crate Box filled directions and the makings for two Hanukkah projects: a tissue paper covered menorah (battery operated) and dreidel spin art.

Speaking of the directions, they are fantastic!  Being a crafty mamaleh, I probably could have gotten by without them. But for those less craftily inclined, the details and pictures make the projects easy.  I imagine that they’d be great for kids of reading-age too.

We decided to start with the menorah.  The materials included candle holder, tissue paper, glittery Mod Podge with tray, foam brush, shamash holder,  foam for the shamash, and LED flicker candles.  The process itself was simple albeit a little messy.  It was my first time using glitter Mod Podge and I found myself daydreaming about what grown-up projects I might be able to use it for as it was just pure sparkly goodness.  I will say though that my three-year old’s attention span waned after about 2 candle holders so I was left to finish the rest on my own.  I do think that makes for a project which could easily be shared by multiple kids – I sort of wished we’d invited friends to do it with us.  It wasn’t until the menorah was all dry, that my son regained interest when it came time to “light” the “candles.” I must say, it’s pretty cute and fun and will be a nice, non-fire hazard menorah to use for the holiday.

Tissue Paper Battery Menorah from Kiwi Crate

Next up was the dreidel spin art and I gotta say this was super fun for both of us! But oy, was it messy!  Be sure to put on smocks and do it on a drop cloth of some sort (we used a coated tablecloth on the floor).  You use the included plain wood dreidel and pre-cut pieces of paper to do spin art in the Kiwi Crate box.  I loved how many pieces of paper were included – ample enough for 2 or 3 kids to do a bunch.  And when you’re done, there are Hebrew letter stickers included for the dreidel to restore its traditional Hanukkah role. My only wish was that the box had been a bit taller since the paint splatter definitely went over the sides (to its credit, it did wash off pretty easily).

The resulting art is really fun and unique.  Perhaps we’ll use them to create Hanukkah gift thank you notes by putting them on a notecard and adding some stamped cardstock on top to cover the hole.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the Kiwi Crate.  As an avid crafter who generally likes to do my own thing, it was sort of nice to be given direction.  Along those same lines, it was nice to not have to worry about my son destroying my own supplies to do his project. Everything we needed was included in the box which I think is excellent way to help people who feel intimidated when they go to a store like Michael’s or Joann. Even I get overwhelmed at those stores with the variety of supplies and tools available. I think Kiwi Crates are creative and fun gift ideas; I may have to order a few for friends.

Oh and I almost forgot, the winner of the Ima Design contest is #1, Jamie.  Look for an email with details!

Note: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a Hanukkah Kiwi Crate free for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my and my son’s experience.

A Bat Mitzvah Card!

If you haven’t been following on Facebook, my crafting has been on hiatus lately thanks to my craft room reno.  The reno is done and now I am slowly unpacking and organizing and getting ready for some serious holiday crafting (and some fun blog giveaways so stay tuned!)

Today I managed to squeeze in a little card since a friend was less than enthused about the bat mitzvah cards she found at the store and asked if I wanted to make one for her.  I jumped at the chance and asked her to send me the invite as inspiration for the card.  Here’s the invite:

I decided to use the glittery blue and green as a starting point but wanted something with some Jewish-ness to it too while still being youthful.  Here’s what I came up with:

I cut a tall skinny size card that is one of my favorites at the moment (3 1/4″ by 6 1/4″) out of Bazzil cardstock (can’t remember the name, sorry).  Then I stamped some Stars of David (this one is from a Jewish stamp set I bought forever ago) using VersaMagic CloudWhite.  Next I punched some lime green flowers which I glued on and accented with True Blue Stickles.  Then I cut and rounded a piece of white cardstock and stamped Mazel Tov from PTI in Grass by Fresh Ink and then gave it a little Firefly Stickles accent.  Finally I lined the inside with more of the lime green cardstock and then paired it with one of my skinny Impress envelopes.  Sorry it’s not the best pic – photographing cards is so tricky and I am still getting the hang of it  especially now that sunshine has left us but hopefully you can get a sense of it.