Elul and Gratitude

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Gratitude Confetti

It’s the month of Elul, the end of the Jewish Year 5779. We prepare to enter 5780 and dip apples in honey for a sweet year ahead. Elul is a time of contemplation and return as we prepare to enter the high holy days. I feel guilt for my poor neglected blog, perhaps an unanswered email or two to mamaleh, a lack of intentionality in my content. But, beyond that guilt I also feel immense gratitude. If you are reading this right now, that gratitude goes to you for despite my lack of posts on the blog itself, you are still here, reading, commenting, sharing, fueling my creative outlet. Continue reading

A touch of Hiddur Mitzvah

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I am back!  Well truly I haven’t gone anywhere but I have been far too busy mamaleh-ing to be blogging. That’s just the truth. I craft and create but adding the layer of writing and photographing (especially in the mess that is my craftroom) has just exceeded my daily allotment of quiet hours. Two year olds are busy bees and they want to do whatever mom is doing!  So, it’s currently nap time in my house, or rather was until a minute ago, and I have a few minutes to share a simple and sweet creation with you.

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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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Pretty pomegranates

pomegranate decor

I am still here, really. Just a bit sleep deprived and in that new baby daze. You know what feels like a super fun outing with a new baby? A trip to Target! With my baby napping away in the carrier, I was able to browse just a little and guess what I found? The perfect vignette for mantle or table for the High Holidays. Pomegranates have special symbolism in Judaism and are often associated with the new year in particular. Now I had hoped to get this posted in time that maybe you could have used it for Sukkot but alas, baby mode got in the way.  But don’t let that stop you, these are still available at Target and would still look great for fall, Tu B’Shevat or to be set aside for 5777.

pomegranate decor

The contrasting textures of the ceramic pomegranate (which has a small opening so you can put a single stem in some water), the solid red one and the wood grain are really fun.  And thanks to my slowness in posting, they are now on clearance so be quick in your shopping!  I just spotted some similar figs (also a very Jewish symbol) on sale too so maybe I’ll have to honor Tu B’Shevat a bit more this year with some decor. Hope to be back again soon (pray for some good napping) with some extreme baby cuteness and a tutorial on how to add a little Hebrew to your birth announcements!  Stay tuned!

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

It’s Time for A New Jewish Calendar, Again!

I can’t believe that Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of September 4th!  It’s coming up so quickly and I have so many projects still floating around in my head and we’ve been dealing with a bunch of, well, life. At least one thing I can take care of pretty easily is ordering my new Jewish calendar to help myself enter the new year organized!

For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars have tried to be more inclusive of 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 5774 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 am super bummed that there is not an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar.  We ordered one for my son last year and it has been fantastic with great monthly projects/stories.  The only saving grace is that the 5773 version actually goes through the end of secular 2013 so I guess we can hold off but I am still bummed nonetheless.

My Very Own Jewish Calendar is seemingly kid-friendly but it’s certainly no Sammy Spider.  But, could be worth a try.

The art featured in Jewish Celebrations: Paintings by Malcah Zeldis offers a lot of vibrant, family imagery that kids and adults alike would enjoy.

If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar.  I am contemplating this one for blog planning purposes especially.

Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although maybe it’s great inside.  Who knows?  Has anyone tried it?

Well, there you have it.  I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of kid options since I think the calendar is a great place to add a little daily dose of Judaism.  Maybe I’ll have to get a head start on next year and start designing a kids’ DIY Jewish calendar (I remember buying one of those for myself in college and loving it – it came with stickers and everything!).  Oh the wheels in my brain are a turnin’…

Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little!  You can always check out last year’s free printables if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year.  Or check out what I think is the Best Honey Cake Recipe Ever!  And stay tuned for more  new year’s sweetness in the coming weeks!

Coming soon…A Very Jewish Summer

Shabbat Shalom!  Sorry to have disappeared for a bit.  In short, I’ve just been busy dealing with life. Just the way it is sometimes. Among other things, on Mother’s Day, just six weeks after we lost his brother, Smokey Bear, we said goodbye to our almost 14-year old dog Teddy Bear.  The house has been way too quiet and it’s been a big adjustment for all of us and to be honest, I just haven’t felt all that crafty.  We miss our bears.

Teddy Bear & Smokey Bear

But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait and  if you are reading this it means you’ve stuck around and didn’t give up on me which I greatly appreciate.  And it also means that you are the first to hear about the very exciting blogging party that is going to be happening the week of June 17th featuring none other than moi and four other fabulous up and coming Jewish bloggers.

I am looking forward to it and have some fun things in store (as do all of these fab bloggers) and hope you will join us!  In the meantime, stay tuned!

A Winner!

It’s been really busy around here lately so sorry for being so slow to post a winner to the Ima Design Store Passover onesie giveaway. Using a random.org, the winner is #1 dkny who has a brand new grandson who I bet is going to look absolutely adorable in his new onesie.

I am hoping for some crafting this weekend and some Passover projects to share (even if they are oldies to me but new to you!),  if nothing else maybe a little recap from the super fun sewing bootcamp a friend and I are taking at Made Sewing Studio in Seattle.   We started a couple of weeks ago and it’s just a fabulous local spot with a great teacher. 🙂

Candy Filled Martini Glass centerpiece

For now, I will leave you with one of the centerpieces I did with a friend for our big synagogue auction last Sunday.  The theme was a BIG celebration of us.  So, we got these fabulous giant martini glasses and then filled them with a little clear cellophane for height before filling them with a variety of purple and orange candies, some wrapped, some not.  We tried to keep each one to a single color profile for that trendy candy buffet look.  My favorite looks-wise were the ones we filled with rock candy pops because they had a really cool shadow effect on the tables (though not as exciting to eat as chocolate).  Also, to have it look more full and have a bit more height, it needed a bit more than just the pops so we used orange m&ms and grape jelly beans at the base to cover the cellophane.  They were a lot of fun!  Finally to finish out the tables, the centerpieces were surrounded by a variety of Glassy Baby candles (which not only looked fantastic but which offer a great deal for non-profits).  It meant I finally got a glassy baby which I have been wanting for forever!

More soon!  Shabbat Shalom!