Thursday, 29 October 2009

An Officer and... an Artist

One of the last-minute orders that I met last week was for a young lady who turned nine. Last year she was interested in ballet, but this year her favourite hobby is art, so I showed her with her paint palette and easel at hand, creating a masterpiece. Unfortunately last year I forgot to add her little round glasses - and her Mum was nice enough not to tell me - but I remembered this year and hope that they make the little artist look like the real thing!This card, in Hebrew, was ordered by the daughter of the lady I met in the synagogue a couple of weeks ago. Apparently she spotted the card I had made for her Mum and as a result wanted me to create one for her husband's birthday. The main feature of this card, apart from the 40, was to be army boots. Her husband is a reserve officer and on his birthday was representing Tzahal - The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) - abroad. He is also an avid reader and works in computers, so, as always, I have tried to illustrate his many interests on the card. The Hebrew greeting says 'Happy 40th Birthday, Benny'.
My visiting friend has now returned to the UK and I have had a busy week with several custom card orders and cards to make for a couple of shops that needed new stock. I'll be back in a few days with more to show you. See you then!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Mountain of Wind

Just when I think the summer is really over we manage to squeeze in another wonderful day out in the countryside, enjoying the last of the sunshine. Har HaRuach Goat Farm, or 'The Mountain of Wind', is situated on the slopes of the Judean Mountains, near Jerusalem. We picnicked in the nearby woods, sampling the tastiest hard and soft cheeses I have ever had, purchased just a few minutes before at the cheese selling point at the farm. Afterwards we took a short walk around the National Park of Har HaRuach, enjoying spectacular forest views, and at 4 o'clock returned to the farm to watch the goats being milked and the kids being bottle fed. The highlight of the day for us all came as we watched a nanny-goat give birth and her newborn settled in with it's friend, born just ten minutes earlier. We had to drag the boys home at the end of the day and even they agreed that what they had witnessed that day far superseded time on the computer.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Seeing Double

Last year I made these cards for a friend's twin boys. This year I was asked to make another set of cards, this time for their third birthdays. They are a year older, their hair has grown a little longer, and they have progressed from riding tricycles to "real bikes with stabilizers". My friend told me that her kids are typical boys and love their toy mobile phones and cars, and that one boy loves his blue biking helmet, whilst the other does not. I hope that I got all the details right!Around the same time I was asked to make a card for another set of twins, this time newborns. You may have seen my new baby designs in my etsy shop. I adapted one particular design to work for twins and was delighted with the result.
My visiting friend and I have had a really fun week together. She is in Tel Aviv this evening and I am generally catching up and doing a little cooking for the weekend. I must admit that I have only made two cards this week, both last minute orders, but even I concede that a special week together with an old friend is definitely worth giving up precious card making time for!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Near and Far

I moved to Israel in 1995 but have kept in close contact with my best friend in the UK ever since and today she is flying over for a visit! I can't wait to see her and spend time with her, so expect things to be a little bit quieter on the blog front for a few days this week. Before I disappear however, I'd like to show you some recent custom-made cards, some of which have already also travelled quite some distance.
The cards for 'Shanie' and 'Yonah', above, were ordered by the visiting Mum of a Dutch friend, who sent them to the United States to her granddaughters there. Shanie plays the clarinet, which she has just started to learn, and I hope that she enjoys seeing her musical self playing on this card. The second card was for her sister, Yonah, who has just started first grade and so I depicted her reading a book, with her pencils at the ready!These cards are from my ready-made range, personalised with a birthday greeting. Some of these designs you may have seen before, but the shirt and tie is a new addition to my collection for men.Whilst in the synagogue recently, celebrating Simchat Torah, a lady came up to me and asked me if I was "The Card Lady". She told me that her son was due to celebrate his 40th birthday that coming week and asked me if I could make one of my special cards for the occasion. I was pleased to receive an e-mail from her the following day detailing his interests and hobbies, and the resulting customised card shows her son's two children, trainers illustrating his love of jogging, garden tools and a computer. My new customer seemed very happy with her card, and I was pleased with my new title too!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Family Portraits

The boys are back at school and I have had a busy couple of days working on several custom card orders. Those that I am able to show you now were made a short time ago and I am sure that both of the birthdays have been celebrated by now.
The first card, above, was requested by the customer who ordered these cards several months ago. He said they were very well received and asked me to make another in a similar vein, showing all the members of his family with his Mum (card not shown). He also wanted a slightly different card for his Dad. For this one he wanted me to illustrate Dad in the centre, surrounded by the Indian, Israel and UK flags, a newspaper, cup of tea and breakfast items. Some of my customers e-mail me photos of their family members so that I can try and get a likeness. Whilst I always stress that my cards are by no means portraits, it is always fun to play with the different hair styles and skin colours and get to know my customers a little, and this one was no exception. This fellow, celebrating his 80th birthday, obviously takes his English breakfast very seriously!The second card was also requested by a repeat customer who had been thrilled with this family grouping. This time her kids wanted a card showing themselves with Dad. In this case I know the kids well - in fact the boy wearing the kippa (skullcap) is in my youngest son's class at school - so no photographs were necessary of the children, though I did need a reminder of what Dad looked like.
Happy Birthday to both Dads! I hope that you liked your cards.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Festival Weekdays

This morning I realised that the time had finally come. We were officially "after the chagim" (Jewish Festivals) and I now have quite a long stretch of time to get down and do some work. In Israel everything seems to stop whilst we celebrate first Rosh Hashanah, then Yom Kippur, which is closely followed by the festival of Sukkot and the remaining days known as Chol HaMoed ("festival weekdays"). My husband had the week off work and we have had yet more time to explore our wonderful country.
Above you can see a sample of some of the places we visited. The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and the adjacent photo of The Western Wall might look like the real thing but were in fact models seen at Mini Israel. We saw recovering sea turtles at The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, run by the Israel Nature & Parks Authority at Mikhmoret, and picked the tastiest clementines at Shvil HaTapuzim, or The Orange Route, near Hadera. We spotted the little kingfisher at The Jerusalem Bird Observatory, located in the centre of Jerusalem near the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), and followed the Burma Road, the makeshift route built by Israeli forces during the 1948 siege of Jerusalem, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.
The weather is just a little bit cooler now, though we were still able to enjoy a day on the beach, and the colours around me seemed more autumnal. We actually enjoyed a few drops of rain whilst we were birdwatching in Jerusalem, and yesterday we prayed for yet more rain during the Shmini Atzeret (the eighth day of gathering following Sukkot’s week long festival) service in the synagogue.
Once again we have had a wonderful week discovering incredible places all over Israel, and I feel so fortunate to be living in this amazing little country.