Shana Tova from my family to you!

It’s been way too busy with back to school and of course the high holidays.  And as luck would have it, my 8-year-old woke up sobbing with a sore throat Rosh Hashanah morning so it was a day of honey and tea instead of apples and honey. Though I did still manage to bake apple raisin round challah. So I posted on FB and Instagram that I was super excited about our new year cards that I ordered from Simply to Impress and promised I would follow-up with a reveal. It was my first time ordering from them but I decided to give them a chance since they had an amazing array of Jewish new year cards. I also really liked that you could order them in the more petite size of 4 x5.5 which I just think is a really sweet size.

So, I managed to stage my kids for a perfect fall new year pic by providing them with a couple of realistic looking toy shofars. Fair warning, they sound sort of kazoo-like which gets old pretty fast! I got my daughter this cute apple dress on sale last year at the Gap and put it away in the size I figured she’d be now. For my son, I ordered this cute button down and bow tie.  After many outakes, I got a bunch of shots and then played around with cropping.   Then I debated which of the tons of darling card options to choose and ended up settling on this one…drum roll, please… Continue reading

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A sweet and simple Shana Tova

The new year is coming and I couldn’t be more excited for a fresh start! I have been MIA for far too long. Year 38 has probably been the longest of my life.  So I mentioned back in December that we’d had health challenges – well now that they seem mostly behind us (pu pu pu), I can offer a bit more explanation.  At 38, my dear sweet husband was diagnosed with TWO kinds of cancer.  After major surgery the week of Thanksgiving, he’s spent the last nine months in a cycle of chemo and radiation, all while juggling work and life with two kids (who turned 8 and 2 this summer!)  So, you can guess where much of the day-to-day worry fell.  But I am thrilled to say that my sweet is now cancer-free!! One of my goals is to return to my craft projects, or rather sharing them with all of you; the sign in my craft room does proclaim, “Arts and Crafts Keep Me Sane” after all. I’ve still managed to sneak some projects in over the past year and will try to go back and share them over time.

But here we are at the end of the summer.  School starts next week! And the high holy days are fast approaching with Rosh Hashanah starting at sunset on the 20th.  My new calendar is well-hung in the kitchen and ready for ALL of September’s firsts to be added.  Note the magnetic chalkboard door – that is a long ago project that I have been meaning to blog for a long time!  As 2nd VP of our synagogue board, one of the things that comes with the holidays is new year greetings to members.  I am old-school and appreciate the art of the handwritten note, so I decided to make some for myself as well another board buddy.

 

So as you know, I am quite the rubber stamp collector.  I am constantly on the hunt for new additions to my collection but the most recent one is quite the standout.  It is a gorgeous pomegranate and shofar image with a handwritten Shana Tova that is so simple and elegant – perfect for a fabulous greeting card.  I found the stamp on eBay but it is by Rubber Hedgehog. Lovely craftsmanship and well worth it. 

To get the most out of simple stamps you need good paper and good ink. In this case, I used Fabriano notecards in the folded reply card size in gorgeous raw edge Italian paper with matching envelopes.  I stamped in Brilliance ink, both Pearlescent Crimson and Pearlescent Poppy.  Both look fabulous although the photos don’t quite do justice to the beautiful pearlescence that these inks provide.  Regardless of which you choose, it is a quick way to create elegant handmade Jewish new year cards.  I did dry the ink with a heat gun (aka fancy hairdryer) just to make sure it was set before I packaged them, but otherwise, easy peasy.

Are you sending any new year cards?  Any crafting plans in the next couple of weeks?  Remember, you can always enlist your kiddos too!

Also, since it’s almost the new year, my resolution is to BLOG more for all of you!  So please share any crafty, Jewish Martha topics you’d like to see covered in the coming months and I’ll see what I can do.  Shabbat Shalom and happy end of summer!

P.S. Made by Mamaleh is now on Instagram. Come follow me @madebymamaleh

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.

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!

Color-in New Year Cards for Kids {& A Little Giveaway}

DIY Jewish New Year Cards

One of the paper crafting blogs I follow is A Blog Named Hero.  A few weeks ago, they had an awesome post with an idea to make color-in thank you cards for kids using stamps.  I absolutely loved this idea and decided to take that and make it work for Rosh Hashanah.  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!

New Year Cards!

You know how folks typically get half-way through January guilt-ridden with having failed to send holiday cards? Well , that’s me this month of Tishrei. But, just like the fact you pretty much have all of January to say Happy New Year, the same goes for Tishrei and the entire period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Simchat Torah (and then some).

My friend Jona and I sat down with our kids well before the holidays started to make a few cards and I even managed to come home and finish mine which have now sat in a nice little stack since then.  🙂 Here was the scene in our kid-card-making chaos:

For my grown-up cards, I went with a honey theme and simple design with a little depth thanks to pop-up foam squares.  With any luck, I’ll actually get them in the mail this weekend.

Handstamped Rosh Hashanah card

Hand-stamped Rosh Hashanah Card
Honeycomb stamp by Impress; bee, beehive and L’Shanah Tova stamps by A Muse Art Stamps (retired)
Hand-stamped Rosh Hashanah Card
 Honeybear stamp by MOMR (Museum of Modern Rubber)

Did you make or send new year cards this year?  Before I go, I just have to share with you Maggie’s brilliant idea for one of her cards.

I love it!

Shanah Tova! And, Happy World Card Making Day (today)!

Best Honey Cake Ever!

Eastern European Honey Cake with Lemon Sugar Glaze

Some of you saw my honey cake on Facebook and asked about the pan and the recipe…So, truth be told, I have never been a huge fan of honey cake.  The ones I’ve had have always seemed a bit dry or too sweet.  Well, the recipe I tried yesterday from my Bundt Cake Bliss cookbook has made me a convert!  In general, I love a good Bundt cake – it comes out perfectly formed and gorgeous (assuming proper pan prep).  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a Jewish Star of David Bundt Pan to my collection, especially since it’s made by Nordic Ware, the best in the biz.  Just FYI, this particular pan holds 10 cups and the recipe calls for a 12 cup, it means that the bottom of the cake will be a bit rounded but that was a non-issue really.

Jewish Bundt Pan and Bundt cookbook

Other than giving it my own Jewish twist thanks to the pan, I highly recommend using really good honey – I used my favorite Pacific Northwest Blackberry.  Mmmmm!  I also opted for golden raisins for the look.  Oh and the author’s recommendation to pair it with some Humboldt fog cheese is simply the best thing ever.  I highly recommend trying  it, especially for a brunch.  The combo is simply divine. So, whether you tuck it away for next Rosh Hashanah, make it for your Yom Kippur break-the-fast or just give it a go whenever, thanks to the lovely folks at the Minnesota Historical Society Press (aka the publisher), I get to share this delicious recipe with all of you!  Enjoy!

Eastern European Honey Cake with Lemon Sugar Glaze

Reprinted from Bundt Cake Bliss by Susanna Short with permission of the MHS Press

SERVES 10 to 12

CAKE              

3 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg or mace

2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup honey

½ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons brandy

2/3 cup cold water

¾ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

GLAZE

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker’s Joy and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat sugar, honey, oil, eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice and brandy in large bowl on medium for 2 minutes.  Alternately add the flour mixture and the water to the honey mixture, mixing thoroughly between additions.  Beat for 2 minutes at high speed.  Fold in the nuts and raisins.  Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a serving plate.

To prepare the Lemon Sugar glaze, mix ¾ cup of sugar with 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice.  Place in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened.  Prick top of cake gently with a fork and drizzle with glaze, allowing it to soak in before adding more.

I like to serve this with nuts scattered on the platter.  It also looks elegant as a composed dessert with thinly sliced fresh figs and pears fanned around the cake.  Or try this with a soft cheese like Humboldt Fog, drunken goat, or sharp brie.  The blending of the savory and sweet with a cup of espresso is a very graceful ending to a formal dinner party.