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

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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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Counting Down to Hanukkah (with a new twist)

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There is a Yiddish proverb that says “Man plans and G-d laughs.”  This sort of sums up life over the last several months as our family has dealt with some unexpected health challenges and stress.  But we are hanging in there and our kids still want to countdown to Hanukkah (and some of you who haven’t given up on me have emailed and do too).  So, without further ado, this year’s Made by Mamaleh Hanukkah Countdown Calendar.

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Counting Down the Days until…Hanukkah!

Printable Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

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.

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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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From Cheap to Chic

I’m back!  Not sure where the time has gone but it’s been way too long since I’ve posted and I do apologize.  If you’ve stuck around despite my absence, thank you ever so much!  I can’t believe that November is here and that Hanukkah is right around the corner.  It starts the evening of November 27th which means it is just over 3 weeks away!  So time to start shopping and/or crafting some gifts!  Today’s project is one that would be perfect for Hanukkah or really any gift-worthy occasion.

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Hanukkah in September!

Please excuse the interruption in the regularly scheduled high holiday programming but there was a challenge over at Moxie Fab World that I just needed to enter and it required me to think of Hanukkah while in the midst of Rosh Hashanah prep.  OY!  So, over in the Moxie Fab World, there was a Holiday Gift Tag ChallengeAnd yes, even though Rosh Hashanah is a clearly a much bigger holiday than Hanukkah, the challenge was for the winter holidays, namely Christmas but since Hanukkah doesn’t appear to be getting much love, I decided I better throw my hat in the ring.  Continue reading

Dreidel Spin Art Thank You Notes

Dreidel Spin Art by Kiwi Crate

Ack!  Where has the time gone?  It’s already January 13th and we still haven’t finished our holiday thank yous (and Hanukkah was so early, it’s even worse)!  Oh well, I figure as long as they get ’em before Valentine’s Day, we’re in good shape and better late than never, right?  I was taught from a young age the importance of writing a nice note of thanks for a gift and I am trying to install the same in my son, Avi, even at age 3 1/2. One thing that I think helps make the process a bit more fun is to make the cards yourselves.  If you recall, we had a lot of fun doing the dreidel spin art from our Hanukkah Kiwi Crate back in December.  I saved all of those little paintings thinking they’d come in handy for something like thank you notes and sure enough they did.

Hanukkah thank you note

The process was simple and kid-friendly.  Starting with some nice colored A2 notecards from Memory Box (I get all mine at Impress in Seattle), Avi and I used a glue stick to glue down the paintings.  After gluing them we put them under a stack of books to help them lay flat.  Meanwhile we stamped “thank you” on some scrap white cardstock in turquoise and trimmed it up into cute little squares -I realized just how great my mini guillotine  paper cutter is for little hands (with adult help of course!)  Then we attached these using my favorite adhesive and finished off the look with some scattered star sequins glued on.  And to explain the art like any good artist’s print, I put a little handwritten “Dreidel Spin Art by Avi” under each of the paintings.  Absolutely perfect kid thank yous!

Hanukkah thank you notes from dreidel spin art

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!