Sunday, 18 February 2018

I Love You Even When You Snore

Mister Handmade in Israel snores. A lot. If I go to sleep before him, then I am okay. He doesn't usually wake me. But woe betide I go to bed later than him! Let's just say I am in for a restless night. This year my Valentine's Day card for him had a snoring theme. "I love you even when you snore" it said on the card. I added some zzzz's for good measure, a moon, some stars and a little red heart in the cloud. Well, it was Valentine's Day. Truthfully, of course I love him but sometimes I want to kill him when he snores 😉. For Valentine's Day I ordered him a Snore Ring. Anything is worth a try! Fortunately Mister Handmade in Israel's Valentine's gestures were far more romantic than mine...
A good friend celebrated her birthday recently, so I made a papercut card for her too. 'D' is her first initial. She loved the card.
If you would like to order an initial card for someone special, you can do so right here.
Sunday Snap

Monday, 12 February 2018

Shoham Forest

I was wondering whether the narcissi were in bloom yet this season and decided to look online for a new place to find them. I stumbled upon the Shoham Forest Park quite by chance. Shoham is very close by and seemed like the perfect place to go and see flowers on a recent sunny winter's day.
The Shoham Forest (or the Shoham Forest Park) is a relatively young forest, located east of the town of Shoham, southeast of Tel Aviv. The rocky forest is rich in heritage sites, the most impressive of which is the Church of St. Bacchus with its recently exposed, magnificent mosaic floor. In the winter and spring, the forest is abundant with seasonal flowers.
The ancient church of St. Bacchus was discovered in 1986 while planting trees. The mosaic was covered until 2013, and was only recently exposed to the general public. This church is considered a "field church" - a church that was not located in a settlement but in an open area between communities. Surprisingly, a marble medallion 67cm in diameter of the Greek goddess Tyche, or as she is called in Latin 'Fortuna', was discovered in the church - an idolatrous element that is not accepted in Christian churches. Tyche is the pagan goddess of fortune and fate, as well as the goddess that protects cities. Finding such an artifact in a church is exceptional. The marble medallion shows the goddess surrounded by two inscriptions. The bottom inscription makes is possible to date it to the year 582-3 CE. The marble medallion is now on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
At the bottom of the steps of the church is an inscription dedicated to St. Bacchus. St. Bacchus may have been a local saint, or one of two Christian martyrs from Syria (Sergius and Bacchus) who converted to Christianity in the third century and were executed by order of Emperor Diocletian.
The floor of the church is a mosaic that combines geometric patterns and floral motifs. In the nave of the church two circles are depicted: the centre of the eastern circle is the exact centre of the church. In the middle of the western circle is the Greek inscription "This place belongs to the Lord and his only son".
A stone quarry that served as an ancient water reservoir is located north of the church, and south of the church is a lime kiln and an ancient wine press. On the western side of the church is an ancient olive press, above. Olive oil was produced in the press by the means of two installations: an olive crushing installation composed of a crushing basin and crushing stone, and a press consisting of a large wooden beam, screws and weights, a collecting vat, and a niche for baskets used to hold the olive mash. The olives brought to the press were mashed in the crushing installation and from there were transferred to baskets to be pressed in this unique installation.
In 2014, a model of the Madaba map was added to the site, above. The Madaba map is part of mosaic floor from the Byzantine period that was discovered in a 19th century in the city of Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba map is a map of the Middle East. Part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the 6th century AD. The map of Madaba mentions a settlement called "Beit Malgazis", which the archaeologists identify as Horvat Tinshemet ("Barn Owl Ruins"), where the remains of the Byzantine church of Bacchus were exposed. Other settlements mentioned on the map are Hadid (or "Iditim" on the map) and Modi'in.
In the winter the rocky areas around the church are full of flowers including Sitvanit (Steven's Meadow saffron), cyclamen, winter crocus and the narcissi (Narcissus tazetta) which I had set out to find. In January - February the bright red calaniot (anemone) bloom, along with Iris palaestina and Asphodelus ramosus, followed by CornflowerAnthemisHelmet clover and other species in March.
From the church we set off for a walk along the marked trail. It passed through the southern part of the Shoham Forest and the "Hill of Cup marks" where a lookout point is located in memory of a soldier who fell in battle in Lebanon in 1994. The name of the hill comes from a large rock located there which has various sized depressions carved into it. The small depressions are known as "cup marks" and may have been formed by cracking nutshells, and the larger ones were used to crush grains and herbs. The view from the lookout point is impressive, extending westward toward the coastal plain and eastward towards the Samaria mountains.
Returning to the main path we continued on, passing orchard trees and rocky areas. Shoham Forest Park itself is quite small. Remains of settlements from the Mishnaic period and a number of ancient caves were discovered in areas of the park. The Israel National Trail, a hiking path that crosses the entire country, crosses the park from north to south in its western part. Our own walk was a gentle one, suitable for the whole family, and was a lovely way spend a sunny afternoon.
Sundays In My City
Sunday Snap
Debs Random Writings

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Gabriel's Album

Gabriel's Mum spotted my customised albums in my Etsy shop and asked me to make one for her son's Bar Mitzvah celebration. His Bar Mitzvah was at the beginning of this month and the album was going to be used for guests at the party to sign in and leave Gabriel a message. Mum sent me all the information I needed to create the book. Gabriel's favourite colours are blue, green and red, she wrote. He loves baseball - his favourite team being the New York Yankees. He also enjoys video games, computers, music and books. He likes to eat doughnuts and also hamburgers piled high with pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard. Gabriel has brown hair and hazel eyes and wears black rim glasses. I had plenty to work with!
I have shown Gabriel on the cover of his Bar Mitzvah album with a baseball bat swung over his shoulder. He has an iced doughnut in his other hand (chocolate glaze - his favourite!). To his right are some music notes and a small pile of books, and to his left the Yankees logo, his laptop computer and a burger. I made the background bright green and his shirt blue, to match the colour scheme of his party, and added some small details in red to include that colour too. Mum asked for vibrant colours!
As well as designing the cover of Gabriel's album, I also decorated several pages inside it. The first page had a baseball theme and showed a bat, a baseball glove and ball, and the interlocking "NY" Yankees badge once again. (Interesting fact - the famous interlocking "NY" logo predates the Yankees. It first was designed by Tiffany and Co. as part of a Medal of Valor for John McDowell, an NYPD officer who was shot in the line of duty in 1877.) Next I illustrated Gabriel's laptop computer with the title of one of his favourite games, Minecraft, showing on the screen. This was followed by a page displaying a small pile of books and a shelf behind filled with books too. Another page showed a plate holding two tiny doughnuts covered in sprinkles (or hundreds and thousands as I call them) and also a burger overflowing with all of Gabriel's favourite toppings. Finally on the last page I added some colourful music notes to illustrate his love of music. Each page also features a gold Star of David
Mum was kind enough to let me know when the album had arrived in New York. "Gabriel just got home from school and the package was at our door. We were so excited to open. We love it! It looks amazing... thank you so much!!" she wrote.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Glory Glory Man United

This card was made for a grandma to give to her youngest grandson when he recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. It shows a black and white striped tallit (prayer shawl) on a dark blue background. On top of the tallit lies a Sefer Torah, which is a long scroll containing the entire text of the Five Books of Moses: the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It is rolled up around two wooden shafts attached to either end of the scroll. Below these items are a light blue kippa (skullcap), a Star of David and the number 13, to mark the age that a Jewish boy becomes Bar Mitzvah. On the first Sabbath following his 13th birthday a Bar Mitzvah boy is called up to read the weekly portion from the Torah. He wears the tallit and kippa whilst reading, my reason for including these items on this Bar Mitzvah card.
Grandma was delighted with the card and declared that it "had to be framed". (If anyone would like to order a picture from me, rather than a card, there is an option to do so in my shop.) The card opens the Hebrew way, from right to left. The Hebrew greeting says "Roey, congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah".
Roey is a big fan of Manchester United. Not only did grandma want a card for her grandson's Bar Mitzvah, but mum wanted one too! This card, which also opens from right to left, was to be football themed. Football is huge here in Israel - with basketball coming a very close second - so it was really no surprise to be asked to make a Manchester United card (the club's international fanbase is a mind-boggling 659 million!). I created a red Manchester United shirt with a big number 13 on the back and added the club crest, a football and some black football boots. Finally, I cut out the Bar Mitzvah boy's name in Hebrew letters to personalise the card.
Then his auntie wanted a card as well! This is one of my smaller cards and of my favourite Bar Mitzvah card designs. It shows a boy wearing a red kippa, with a Torah scroll open in front of him. The words Mazal Tov ("congratulations") are written on the open scroll which, I hasten to add, would actually never happen! A Torah Scroll is the holiest book within Judaism and must be written by a specially trained pious scribe called a sofer. A sofer must know more than 4,000 Judaic laws before he begins writing a Torah Scroll. The entire Torah is written by hand, each letter is inscribed and individually formed with a quill and specially prepared ink. Even a single missing or misshapen letter invalidates an entire Sefer Torah, so writing Mazal Tov on there would probably not be the best idea! It makes a cute card though.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin