Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Cupcakes and Karaoke

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and most certainly not a day for blogging. In a few days time we will begin celebrating the seven day holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. We have a Sukka (temporary dwelling) to build tonight and I have lots of plans for the week long holiday. Blogging may be a little sporadic over the next week or two, so I thought that I would catch up now and show you a couple of my latest pieces.
The Purple Cupcake Notebook, above, has recently gone into my shop. I started playing with the cupcake design here and decided that it would be good to try something new in my range and use it to embellish some lovely purple notebooks that I had sourced locally. I had some very positive feedback when I posted about the notebook in the etsy forums and hope that it may be the start of something good.I received a jpeg of this 'Karaoke Hits' background from a client in the UK and was asked to adapt it and create a Batmitzvah card around it. Apparently the Batmitzvah girl's life is performing and the card had to be very musical, including lots of microphones and singing notes. I was also asked to incorporate the the titles of Annie, Oliver, Hairspray and Mama Mia, using the typeface of the musicals. This was one of those cards when it was best not to question the copyright issue. It was a one-off - much more collage than papercut art - but my client was happy and the card was well received.
I recently received an e-mail from Stephanie of Cabbages and Kings telling me that I had won the giveaway on her blog and that my prize was a print of my choice from her shop. I chose the fabulous 'Standing Tall', which I have already received, and am delighted with it. Many thanks Stephanie, and thank you also for your kind words about my work on your blog.
Now, where did we put the wood for that Sukka...?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Let's Hear It For the Boys

My last couple of custom orders have been for boys. Yep, not a flower nor teddy bear in sight! The card above was made for a twelve year old boy who was getting an iPod touch for his birthday and has recently taken up tennis. I delivered the card via his sister, who seemed delighted with it, and remembered all the cards I had made previously for her brother's birthdays. I hope that the birthday boy liked it too. His mum tells me that her kids have come to expect a personalised 'Handmade in Israel' card every time. Good news for me!These birthday-cum-Barmitzvah cards were created for twin boys who recently turned 13, and will soon celebrate their Barmitzvahs. It was requested that I not go with a religious theme, but rather illustrate the football mad boys favourite teams. The red Liverpool shirt was easy. The stripes on the Bolton shirt required a little more attention, but I always persevere and often get carried away with all the little details. I added some long football socks to match the shirts this time as well.
Congratulations to all the boys on the happy occasion of their birthdays. I hope you enjoyed your special days.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A time for reflection

This coming weekend my family and I will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I have spent half of my morning battling the crowds at the supermarket and I think that the remainder of this week is not going to see much crafting, but rather a little cooking and some preparation for the festivities.
In general this holiday is celebrated with festive meals, prayers and self-examination. Rather than the rowdy new year celebrations of December 31st, this holiday is a time for reflection. Each person takes the time to review how they behaved in the past year during the ten days prior to Yom Kippur. During this time period there is the traditional blowing of the shofar. The shofar is a horn made from one of the horns of any kosher animal, except a cow. It is meant to remind those that hear the horn they are being examined by God for their behavior in the past year.
Family meals are filled with many symbolic foods during Rosh Hashanah. Foods like apples and honey represent the sweetness of the new year. Fish heads can be served to literally symbolize ‘the head of the new year', though I am a vegetarian so it doesn't happen in our house! Lots of fruit is served up at the meal to help symbolize a fruitful new year, and other foods that are mentioned in the bible are served as well, such as dates and pomegranates.
My Rosh Hashanah cards, featuring many of the special symbols I have mentioned above, made another treasury appearance recently in a beautiful collection called 'A New Year for Peace'. They can be seen on the bottom row, on the left. The traditional Hebrew greeting on Rosh Hashanah is שנה טובה (Shana Tova) literally meaning "A good year". That being said, I would like to wish you all a very happy and peaceful new year. May you be written down in the Book of Life for a good year.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

100 not out!

A good friend has just left for an extended trip to Australia but before she went she asked me to make several customised cards for some family birthdays due to be celebrated whilst she is there. I love making cards for children. The subject matter really suits my style and so when she asked for a card featuring Dora the Explorer and work tools, for her two year old nephew, I had fun creating this cute card. Her one year old niece of course hasn't got any particular hobbies or favourite television programmes as yet, so a sweet, girly card was requested and I hope that this pink teddy bear will go down well.
Whilst these kids are celebrating their first and second birthdays, this post also sees me celebrating 100 blog posts! It sounds like such a huge number and such a lot of typing, yet I have enjoyed composing each and every one of my posts, and I hope that they continue to be interesting, creative and informative. I had a little giveaway not so very long ago, celebrating one whole year of blogging, so this won't be another one just yet, but watch this space as there will be more coming along in the not too distant future!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

An apple for the teacher

One of my regular customers recently asked me for a customised card for her daughter's birthday. The lady in question is an english teacher at one of the local high schools, so I had fun with the whole teacher theme. I am pretty sure that not many teachers receive apples as gifts anymore - or even if they ever really did - but I hope that maybe one of her pupils will know that it is 'teachers' birthday and write a message in english on the blackboard like on my card!I do not like to show my custom-made cards here until the birthdays have passed, just in case I spoil any surprises. This is a card I made some time back, during the summer holidays, for a fiftieth birthday. The birthday boy's mum sent me photographs of him at different stages of his life and, whilst my little illustrations are certainly not realistic portraits, I had a go at portraying him as a child and now, as a mountain bike riding 50 year old. I hope that he was not offended by the grey hair. It happens to the best of us, and I am still quite a way off fifty!
I am very lucky to have been featured in a number of Etsy Treasuries recently. The 'Countries of the World' treasury saw my Little Penguin Papercut Picture making an appearance (above) and the treasury below, 'Feasts in the Fall', displayed my Rosh Hashanah cards once again. I am always very pleased to be included in any treasury and am glad that someone likes my work enough to make room for it in their composition.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Something a little more religious...

I am settling back into routine after a busy summer and have been spending every morning at my desk.The local Judaica shop that I work with asked me to supply them with cards for Rosh Hashanah and also requested a few more wedding cards. This time they wanted something a little more religious, rather than my usual hearts and champagne glasses, and the cards above are what I created. They show the Chuppah, a canopy traditionally used in Jewish weddings, the Ketubah, a Jewish prenuptial agreement, and a cup of wine. During the wedding ceremony both the bride and groom drink from the same cup of wine, accepting life's joys, as well as responsibilities. The Hebrew greeting on the card says 'You are getting married'.I recently joined Team Etsy Chai and was delighted to see my Rosh Hashanah cards (middle row, on the right) included in a 'Friday Finds' collection on Studio 618's blog. There were some beautiful selections in her post and it was of course thrilling to see my cards amongst them.Finally, the kids and I have been baking again! This time we made chocolate chip muffins, one of Sarah's recipes at A Spoonful of Sugar. Their recipes always work so well for me. They are tasty, yet kid friendly and easy to put together, and whatever I make seems to disappear at an alarming rate!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

They Think It's All Over...

It is now. The long summer holiday has sadly ended and the kids have gone back to school today. There's finally going to be time for a little more craftwork from me. But, before I show you a few of the cards I created over the summer, I have several more photos from our last two glorious day trips around Israel that I would like you to see.
Jerusalem of Gold. The capital city of Israel. A city that I lived in for several years before I married, yet a city that never fails to excite me each and every time I visit. This time we took the kids to the City of David National Park, the actual location of the biblical City of Jerusalem captured by King David over 3,000 years ago. The tour of the City of David began at the breathtaking observation point overlooking biblical Jerusalem, then quickly headed underground to some of the newest archaeological excavations at the site and onto the most exciting part of the tour for my boys, a wade through the spring in King Hezekiah's 2,700 year old water tunnel. Not for the faint-hearted, we took our torches and water shoes with us, and enjoyed the darkness and icy spring water.
Emerging into the daylight, we took a short walk into the Old City and the boys posted wish notes into the crevices of the Western Wall, or Kotel. We then enjoyed a little people watching and devoured a pizza in one of the old city pizza parlour's, before it was time to go home and return to the 21st century after an incredible day out.The following day we were off again! This time we went for a fun morning out at nearby Kibbutz Sha'alavim. There the boys picked grapes, then crushed them by foot on an original wine press found in the fields of the kibbutz, to make grape juice for our Friday night kiddush (blessing to sanctify the Shabbat). They then moulded dough to make pittot, which were baked and smothered with olive oil, butter and herbs, before being quickly gobbled up! We toured a kibbutz field and tasted some amazing fruits and herbs, built mud bricks for an ecological structure, made tea with the herbs that we had picked in the field, then finished the day shaping clay models and weaving. I am not sure who had more fun - the boys or me!