Sunday, 19 August 2018

Thank You

I belong to the Facebook group IWEN (Israeli Women Entrepreneurs' Network). Once a week we are allowed to advertise on a thread in the group and one of those weeks a lovely lady contacted me about making thank you cards for her. She organises private tours of Israel and wanted some cards to thank her customers for choosing her business.
My new customer had spotted this card on my Facebook business page and decided that she liked the idea of a papercut card with Thank You as the text. She wanted the cards to be large because she wanted them to make a statement. She also me to line the cards with a blue paper inlay which would make them blue and white - the colours of the flag of Israel.
This was a fun project to work on. Occasional repetitive work like this can be quite relaxing and doesn't require too much thought, once I have come up with the initial design.
"Thanks again for the super quick turnaround - I really do appreciate it." she wrote to me. I hope her customers like their handcut papercut cards.
* This post has been shared on All Seasons, {nifty thrifty sunday}, Happiness is Homemade
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Thursday, 16 August 2018

My Brother Jack

A regular customer of mine asked me to create a 21st birthday card for her niece, Sophie. She wanted me to show the birthday girl on the card, along with a big 21. I was also asked to include the badge of the university she is studying at.
Sophie's brother Jack was turning 19 (get it? My Brother Jack). Their auntie requested a Thailand theme for this card, since he was going to be there on his birthday. I went to town with this, adding the Golden Buddha (a gold statue located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok, Thailand), an elephant (the Thai elephant is the official national animal of Thailand), a pineapple (Thailand is the world's largest pineapple producer and exporter who accounts for about 50% of the world's pineapples market), some flip-flops and a big orange sun.
Finally, this beach scene card, below, is a design that I have made several times before, but I enjoy recreating it every now and then. It's that time of the year when many people are on holiday and spending time on the beach. I like to think that this card conveys "that summer feeling" perfectly.
Easy Peasy Pleasy

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Jessie and Shiri

Jessie's mum asked me to make a special card for her daughter’s 18th birthday back in June. "She loves our puppy and cat" mum told me. She also said that Jessie hasn't eaten chocolate for years, but has found the caramel-flavoured bar Caramac a good substitute. She rather likes shortbread biscuits as well. She is very into photography and film making. Jessie is also involved in FZY (the Federation of Zionist Youth), Britain's oldest Jewish, Zionist, pluralist youth movement. She enjoys the media services provider Netflix. I added a paper portrait of Jessie to the list and a big number 18 to mark her age too!
Jessie's mum was delighted to receive her daughter's birthday card. "The card arrived - it’s amazing, I love it. Thank you so much." she wrote to me. "You captured her perfectly." Then, on Jessie's birthday, she sent me this super photo of the birthday girl, above, and told me that "Jessie absolutely loves her card."
Shiri was turning 16. Her mum asked me to create a Hebrew card for her (the card opens in the Hebrew direction, from the right, because the Hebrew language is read from right to left instead of left to right like English) but wanted it to say "Sweet 16" somewhere on the card. She also asked me to show Shiri with her long dark hair and many ear piercings. I cut out the word "Sweet" in pink letters and added a big bold number 16, along with some hearts and flowers.
Grandma asked me for a card as well, below. To make them different, I placed the number 16 in the centre of the card and added some bunting, balloons and flowers. Bunting is perfect for any happy occasion!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Bridge at Nesher Park and Rosh Hanikra

As you know from my recent post, Mister Handmade in Israel recently celebrated his birthday. He is truly impossible to buy gifts for. He really doesn't want anything (whereas I always have half of Etsy on my gift list!). I decided to arrange a mini getaway for him instead. Of course I got to join in on it as well!
We started off our weekend at Nesher Park in the town of Nesher, a city in the Haifa District of Israel. Nesher Park covers an area of 200 dunams (200,000 square metres) and is located on the northern side of the Carmel Mountain. The main feature of the park is two suspension bridges, about 70 metres in length, spanning a ravine cut by a seasonal winter river, Nahal Katia. The bridges are constructed from steel ropes and beams and sway as people walk across them.
A marked trail for the bridges crosses the river on one bridge and returns via the second bridge. We reached the first bridge by an easy, unpaved path along the northern bank of the stream. Crossing the bridge was a bit daunting at first (I am not great with heights) but I geared up for the occasion and it was well worth it. The views of the park below were wonderful! The only negative was that there was quite a lot of rubbish lying around areas of the park. Why can't people clean up after themselves?
From the bridges we took in a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, including the slope beneath the University of Haifa, which is entirely covered by a natural, well-developed forest, and views down towards the Zevulun Valley. The forest has Israeli oak, pine, Greek strawberry trees, carob, and terebinth trees. Hiking trails lead through the forest and down into the riverbed and, in addition to the trails and the suspension bridges, the park has picnic tables and a playground.
It was a lovely place to visit for a short hike and some nice views.
We stayed in the port city of Acre overnight, which I intend to write about in another post. On the second day of our trip, after exploring the old city, we made our way further north to Rosh Hanikra, which we last visited back in 2013.
Rosh Hanikra, which literally means "Head of the Grottoes", is a geologic formation on the border between Israel and Lebanon. It is a white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottoes and is the only cliff in Israel that descends straight into the sea. Geologists have revealed that its bottom layer is made of hard limestone, the middle is soft chalk embedded with flint, and the top layer is hard, porous dolomite.
At the base of the cliff  are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments. In the past the only access to them was from the sea and experienced divers were the only ones capable of visiting. Today a cable car takes visitors down to see the grottoes, though Mister Handmade in Israel and I didn't go into the grottoes on this occasion. Instead we chose to go down to the shore at Rosh Hanikra Sea Reserve, after first admiring the picture-perfect views from the top, of Achziv beach with its pedestrian promenade stretching south though Nahariya to Haifa.
People usually associate crystal clear water with Greece, but this area of Israel's coastline looks very similar. Mister Handmade in Israel and I spent quite some time simply watching the waves from the Mediterranean sea crashing onto the rocks and observing the military ship which was patrolling the area, since Rosh Hanikra is so close to the Lebanon border. Though we didn't notice it, in the water you can apparently see a line of buoys separating Israel from Lebanon, one of which is a sonobuoy to detect any surface or underwater activity. We could easily see the so-called "Elephant's Leg", a natural formation created in the cliff by the seawater, which looks like a trunk or a leg. Afterwards we enjoyed walking along the rocky beach, admiring the clear water, the ponds and the outstanding rock formations.
Rosh Hanikra once served as a passage point for trade caravans and armies between Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Africa. In 1943 a tunnel was built by the British to connect the local and Lebanese rail networks and to establish a continuous rail route from Egypt via Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey to Europe for troops and supplies. Part of the Ha'apala (Illegal immigration) fleeing from the Nazis made use of this tunnel to find haven in The Land of Israel.
The bridge and tunnels were all constructed by engineering units of the British Army from South Africa and New Zealand. A sign of the date of the construction can be seen above the entrance to the tunnel, below. The inscription "40th Coy SAEC" (South African Engineering Corp, company 40) is the name of the South African survey unit that designed and constructed the railway, together with the New Zealand engineering unit.
The railway bridge at Rosh Hanikra was spared by the Haganah during the 1946 Night of the Bridges operation. The aim of Operation Markolet - known as "Night of the Bridges" - was to destroy 8 bridges linking British Mandatory Palestine to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, in order to cut off British Army transportation. However, in February 1948, following a late-1947 British announcement that they would withdraw from Palestine months ahead of schedule, the western end of the bridge at Rosh Hanikra was destroyed by Jewish underground fighters, under the noses of the British soldiers. The aim was to prevent Lebanese arms being smuggled into the newly founded State of Israel. As repairs to the bridge were prohibitively expensive, the tunnels were later completely sealed.
The Lebanese railways have been largely dismantled while the Coastal Railway in Israel currently ends near Nahariya, several kilometres to the south. No train will arrive at Rosh Hanikra until there will be peace between Lebanon and Israel.
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