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Gearing up for Hanukkah – a few of my favorite things
[Disclosure: This post contains some Amazon affiliate links.]
Ugh! Halloween is over and it appears as though Christmas has settled in to stay – it is EVERYWHERE already! And I am not even going into it having had a nice solid dose of the Jewish holidays to sustain me since I spent Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah with pneumonia (and I am not talking just take a Z-pack and be okay pneumonia, we’re talking hospitalized for a couple days, out of the office for five weeks pneumonia – but don’t worry I am finally on the mend). Anyway, Christmas is exploding already and so my natural response is to start thinking about Hanukkah. My son and I went to JoAnn on Saturday to pick up some craft supplies and were very sad to not find a single Hanukkah thing amidst all of the Christmas stuff. In addition, as we were checking out the checker commented on my pretty blue glitter cardstock and then proceeded to ask what color our Christmas tree was. While I really wanted to be like WTF?! and ask why that even seemed like a sensible question, all I said was “Oh, we celebrate Hanukkah, this is the perfect color for that.” Then she was either too scared to say anything else or was trying to wrap her head around the fact I didn’t celebrate Christmas.
Despite this experience, there is some fabulous Hanukkah stuff out there already which is the inspiration for today’s post. It can go quickly so no time like the present to start your Hanukkah planning and shopping!resw
Not Your Kid’s Hanukkah Countdown! L’Chaim!
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.
First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamalehs out there! Second, sorry I have been MIA for a while but I’ve just busy with work and life. I am trying to remember that a little creativity helps keep me going. I have this print hanging in my craft room/office and it is the darn truth!
I have been missing my creative mojo lately, so I needed a little inspiration to kick my butt into gear and get the wheels turning again. Having seen so many watercolor projects in the online papercrafting scene lately, I decided to sign up for Watercolor for Cardmakers with Online Card Classes.
The quantity and quality of instructional material has really surprised and impressed me – each day there are 3-4 fantastic videos as well as printable step-by-step instructions and detailed supply lists linking to all of the materials. In addition, there is an online gallery to share your creations and a forum to ask questions. One cool thing about this format is that you can go at your own pace; the other day I started a video, got interrupted by my son and just went back to it later. Another day I didn’t even have time to watch so just doubled up the next day. The ability to do it on my schedule has been fantastic. And you have access to the videos when class is no longer in-session so you can always go back and watch them again. For $25 it is seriously a ton of information and really fun!
There have been so many amazing techniques on display this week swirling around in my head. So, yesterday a friend, who I convinced to take the class with me, came over and we just played around. Now I have even more ideas! Here’s what the craft table looked like when we were finished:
First up is my take on the very first card from class which utilizes a technique involving watercolors and a stencil. I am pretty happy with the result and plan to make more variations of this.
Supplies used: Paper Source Peacock Cover, Amuse Studio Happy Birthday To You (from Birthday Greetings), Versafine Majestic Blue, Fabriano Cold Press Studio Watercolor Paper, Memory Box Disperse stencil, Angora watercolors, foam tape, ribbon, Silhouette tag file
Next up I decided to try the technique that involved placing color directly on a stamp with a dye marker and then spritzing with water before stamping. At first glance, I didn’t think I could do this technique since I don’t have any Distress markers but then it got me thinking about my neglected Le Plumes so I decided to give those a try and was so happy with the result, I ended up doing a color chart (as you can see in the mess photo above).
Supplies used: Bazzill Basics Cardstock in Midnight, Flower stamp – Silhouette 3 by Impression Obsession, Sentiment by Savvy, Delicata Golden Glitz ink, Marvy Le Plume II markers, Wink of Stella Clear brush pen, foam tape.
I loved this result so much I decided to make a gift set using Fabriano 3×5 notecards which are really gorgeous cards with a lovely deckled edge. I used a mix of Le Plume colors and did both first and second impressions (not reinking but just spraying again). For a few, I subbed Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz for water and it may just be my new favorite product ever. It’s like a fairy just landed on your paper and sprinkled it with fine fairy dust. I must confess, I do have a bit of a sparkle obsession.
Supplies used: Fabriano cards, Marvy Le Plume markers, Wink of Stella Pen, Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz.
Then I wrapped it up with a little twine bow and tag (retired Amuse sentiment in Delicata gold) all ready for my aunt’s bday (a tad late but made with love).
I am having so much fun with these techniques so don’t be surprised if I pop back later with a few more to share in the class galleries!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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:
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!
Mini Mishloach Manot
It’s time for Purim and we are really celebrating in our house this year! We are kicking off things off with my son’s preschool parade (he goes to the JCC) today, then we’ve got our synagogue megillah reading (complete with super-hero theme) Saturday night and finally to top it all off our big temple carnival on Sunday! I have one very excited 3 1/2 year old boy who’s been gearing up all week working on a grogger, hamantaschen and mishloach manot.
Now, as you know from my previous posts, I don’t have an issue with Jews choosing to celebrate Valentine’s Day and I myself love it. But, I will admit that I was a bit surprised to find so many valentines in my child’s cubby at the JCC since the past couple of years it hasn’t really made an appearance and isn’t something the school recognizes. I suspect this year’s increase was a combination of older sibs in public school, keeping up with peers and just a general desire to celebrate. So, I decided that rather than join this trend, we’d give everyone a little something for Purim since, after all, it’s one of the holiday’s mitzvot to give gifts of food to friends.
Technically, the idea is to give food so that everyone has enough for a Purim feast but in essence, the idea is to share love and harmony and we are talking preschoolers here. So, I decided to come up with my own mini mishloach manot (think class valentines meet Purim) that we could put in everyone’s cubby. Now, I realize hamantaschen are the traditional Purim food and I do love me some tasty hamantaschen – for my fave recipe, check out Martha’s hamantaschen dough and add your favorite jams, lemon curd or cherry pie filling. But, for this project I decided on bright, cheerful mini Unicorn pops.
A while ago, I bought this great clear set from Amuse Art Stamps that just said Purim parade to me (note: the line is now discontinued, sorry). I used these stamped simply in black ink on a variety of 3 1/2 x5 colored cardstock, wrote “Happy Purim!”, made a slit with my Exacto and then taped the lollipop to the card, making it look like the noisemaker being sounded by the little boy. The perfect mini preschool mishloach manot! Happy Purim!
Valentine’s Day: Mamaleh-style
We’ve said Happy New Year to the trees and are now contemplating Purim costumes but before we get there, it’s time for the red and pink heart-filled holiday of Valentine’s Day. I realize in some Jewish circles celebrating (St.) Valentine’s Day is a no-no and even if it’s not, there are those who simply refuse to buy into a totally commercial holiday. I fall into neither camp – to me, it’s just a nice excuse to remind folks we love ’em, combat the winter blahs with a little color and of course it’s a great excuse for a little card-making and/or shopping. Some of my earliest memories are gluing down doilies and applying foiled red heart stickers to family valentines.
It is only fitting that throughout this post you will see the Hebrew word for love: ahava(אהבה). Stay tuned for some homemade Valentine cards with this in mind as well. But for now, in case you want to give your Valentine’s Day a little bit of a MOT twist, here are a few gift ideas (so just forward this link to the loves in your life if something strikes your fancy).
- Keeping with the theme of Ahava, you could literally get some AHAVA, some of the best skin-care, straight from the Dead Sea. Their hand cream is my fave! They even have a nice men’s line for the guys in your life.
- I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again…one of my favorite Judaica artists is Emily Rosenfeld. I love how modern and simple her pieces are. We have the Noah’s Ark mezuzah for my son’s room. I suggested it for Mother’s Day but it’d be just awesome for Valentine’s Day – the Tiny Heart Necklace with initials in Hebrew (either for your kids or you and your beloved) is so so sweet. She’s also got a bunch of other sweet hearts with different symbols.
- I also think this ahava ring bowl available at Modern Tribe is so lovely and could be a lovely engagement present too!
- And for your friends still looking for their funny Valentine, you can always go with this from Modern Tribe. 🙂
Hopefully you now have a few unique MOT Valentine’s ideas for whoever you want to share a little love with (including yourself!)Note: I was not compensated for this post in any way. I don’t think any of these companies even know I exist (except for past purchases from some). This is all just stuff I like and hope you do too 🙂
Father’s Day Mamaleh-style
Ack! It’s June 2nd! And, in case you haven’t looked at your calendar yet, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17th. If you’re like me and haven’t yet decided what you’re going to give your dad or husband this year, and want a little something with some jew-ish flair, I thought I’d offer a few suggestions for the hip MOT pop:
- A fun kippah for those casual Shabbat dinners at home. I found some fun sports ones at maybesew, SewingCircleBoutique and RachelTreasures. I am not into sports at all, sorry, but this one’s for the Packers fans out there, you know who you are:
- Or how about a “mensch” money clip from one of my favorite Judaica sites, Modern Tribe
- Does your dad
exist ondrink coffee (or tea)? How about a nice handmade “Aba”(“dad” in Hebrew) or “Saba” (“grandfather”) mug for him from AgruArtsCeramics.
Here’s a fun one, a Super Jew T, another fun find at Modern Tribe
Hopefully you now have a few unique MOT Father’s Day ideas for your dad or your husband. Happy Father’s Day!Note: I was not compensated for this post in any way. I don’t think any of these companies even know I exist. This is all just stuff I like and hope you do too 🙂
Mother’s Day Mamaleh-style
May is creeping up on us and in case you haven’t noticed, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th. If you’re like me and haven’t yet decided what you’re going to give your mamaleh this year, I thought I’d offer a few suggestions for the chic MOT momma:
- A fun “Challah Back” apron from Pamela Fugate Designs. They also have it in a cute tote as well. My apron helps me make challah in style.
- Last year, my husband and son got me my “Mamaleh” necklace from Rabbi’s Daughters which helped inspire the name for this blog. You can’t go wrong with jewelry especially something as fun and cute as this. Really, everything on their site is cute so I’m sure you’ll find lots of other ideas too (for your mom or yourself).
- One of my favorite Judaica artisits is Emily Rosenfeld. I love how modern and simple her pieces are. We have the Noah’s Ark mezuzah for my son’s room. A great mother’s day choice would be the Tiny Heart Necklace with each child’s initials in Hebrew (either for their English or Hebrew names).
- If you’ve ever been to Israel (or maybe Vegas), you probably know who Michal Negrin is. If not, just think sparkly Swarovski crystals meet retro meet Judaica classics. Here’s a sweet hamsa that’d be perfect for Mother’s Day:
- Does your mom
exist ondrink coffee (or tea)? How about a gorgeous handmade “Ima”(“mom” in Hebrew) mug for her from AgruArtsCeramics.
Hopefully you now have a few unique MOT Mother’s Day ideas for your mom or yourself (just be sure to forward this to whoever needs to know). Happy Mother’s Day!Note: I was not compensated for this post in any way. I don’t think any of these companies even know I exist (except for past purchases from some). This is all just stuff I like and hope you do too 🙂