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.

Chai to Hanukkah {Free Printable}

Printable Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

Part of the fun of any holiday or special event is the anticipation of it.  This was abundantly clear to me in October as my 3-year old son came home each and every day ready to check his Halloween countdown calendar for a treat.  He was so sad when it was over and the calendar was all done.  Luckily as we head into the winter holidays, there are some great Hanukkah calendars out there; we have two, one from Pottery Barn Kids and one from Land of Nod:

They are both adorable calendars and my son loves them. BUT they only count the actual days of Hanukkah, not the excitement and anticipation of the days leading up to it.  So I decided it was time to make my own calendar and to give it a true Jewish slant.  I thought we’d count down the 18 (chai) days before Hanukkah as well as the days of Hanukkah themselves.  Using Microsoft Publisher and some great graphics I purchased from Maree Truelove on etsy, I created a printable Chai to Hanukkah Countdown Calendar for 2012 to share with all of you!  Speaking of the graphics, Maree Truelove has some really cute Hanukkah graphics if you need some for a project – it’s so hard to find non-cheesy Hanukkah graphics and hers fit the bill.

Printable Chai to Hanukkah Calendar 2012

Click on the image above to download your own printable PDF Chai to Hanukkah Countdown Calendar. For personal use only. © Made by Mamaleh 2012

I printed mine on good quality white cardstock and then printed the stickers, below, on a sheet of sticker paper and cut them out using the paper cutter (scissors would work fine too – I gave you gridlines to make it easy!).  But you could also print on paper and use tape, a glue stick or even print on magnet paper.  My intention was that you start with the “Chai to Hanukkah” sticker and then use the numbered stickers for each of the 8 nights, but really you can do whatever you (or your kids) feel like.

Printable Chai to Hanukkah Countdown Stickers

Click on the image above to download your own printable PDF of the Chai to Hanukkah Countdown Calendar stickers. For personal use only. © Made by Mamaleh 2012

Hope you are as excited to countdown to Hanukkah as we are in my house!

Hanukkah is Coming: Cards and a Giveaway!

Hanukkah starts at sundown on Saturday, December 8th so less than a month to go and I’m just gearing up.  We just picked out our pics from our recent family photo session with the fabulous Jennifer Tai.  Now the next step is to pick a card.  And yes, I order my cards since my holiday card list is just too long to think about making them myself.

This always feels like quite the task – getting just the right combo of picture(s), design and sentiment.  I often go with a New Years card so as to be holiday neutral (and let’s be honest, it buys me more time).  But, I’m really feeling like Hanukkah cards this year.  After all we get plenty of Christmas cards even though we don’t celebrate Christmas so I don’t see why all those folks can’t get Hanukkah cards even though they don’t celebrate Hanukkah, right?  Besides, it’s all about peace and light and that applies to everyone.  I have a series of sites I generally go to in search of the perfect card.  But before I share those with you, I have a very special treat…

Hanukkah baby onesie

Still need to take a good Hanukkah picture to show off your little cutie?  How about a Hanukkah onesie from IMA Design?  One lucky reader will win a “Nes Gadol Haya Po” onesie, (translation: A Great Miracle Happened Here) from IMA Design in your choice of size: newborn, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months so you can make the cutest Hanukkah card ever!  To win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what you are doing to get ready for Hanukkah.  Want additional entries?  One additional entry for each of the following: 1) Like Made by Mamaleh on Facebook; 2) Share this post on Facebook; 3) Subscribe to Made by Mamaleh via email.  Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each one so you get each entry you deserve!  Entries must be posted by 11pm PST on Sunday, November 18th.

If you want to buy your own or maybe think ahead to Pesach with a Baby’s First Passover Organic onesie  or even thinking about next Rosh Hashanah with a Sweet Like Honey Hebrew onesie, IMA Design is offering Made by Mamaleh readers a special 20% discount for order placed on their site until December 31st.  Just enter coupon code: Mamaleh.

And now, without further ado, some of my favorite places to shop for personalized photo cards:

  • Shutterfly

    Shutterfly generally has a really nice selection of Hanukkah cards with varying price points and they have great customer service.  A couple of my faves this year:

  • Tiny Prints

    Tiny Prints does cards well whether it be holiday cards, baby announcements, birthday invites, you name it.  Their  Hanukkah card collection is no different.  I love that this year they have some really cute cards for families that celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

  • Minted

    Minted is on the spendier side but their products are gorgeous with modern sophisticated styles.  This year’s selection of Hanukkah cards is simply lovely.

  • Snapfish

    Snapfish has a nice selection of reasonably priced Hanukkah cards with a variety of layouts.

Oh so many choices!  Maybe I’ll work on my card list so I know how many I actually need…

What about you?  Are you sending cards this year?  Are they Hanukkah specific?

Don’t forget to enter to win the Hanukkah onesie from IMA Design!  And stay tuned for lots of fun Hanukkah happenings – gift ideas, giveaways, product reviews and of course, projects made by Mamaleh!

Note: many of the cards featured here are no longer available and links have been removed.  Sorry.