Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Leah and Ari

We are well in to the summer holidays now but it's never too late to show you some thank you cards that I made for some special teachers at the end of the school year.
The first card, above, was for a lovely lady who has taught my customer's son for six years. I was asked to illustrate the young man with his teacher, who taught him several subjects including maths and Hebrew. My customer also wanted me to somehow illustrate the young man's movement from Primary to High School so, along with the school books and maths symbols, I added two little school buildings labelled 'Primary' and 'High School' in Hebrew. The arrow is pointing in the right direction.
Now I can honestly say that I don't get asked to put Haredim (the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism) on the front of my cards very often, but this gentleman was the schoolboy's aide in school and my customer said that they had a very special bond. Ari, the aide, helped the young man throughout the time of his Bar Mitzvah and my customer was keen for me to capture their special relationship on the card.
I have shown the young man and his aide, resplendent in his dark suit with white shirt, and his head covered with a black, wide-brimmed hat. There is a pair of tefillin on the card, since the art of putting on tefillin was something that the schoolboy learned from him, along with a Siddur (a Jewish prayer book containing a set of daily prayers).
My customer returned from her son's end of year party to find the cards in her letterbox. Both she and her son loved them and she wrote to say how excited she was to give the teachers something so unique.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Girls! Girls! Girls!

My last post was devoted to the boys. This one concentrates on the girls.
Ella, above, was turning 7. Her Grandma told me that she likes gymnastics, dancing and playing the piano. Grandma sent me a photo and I matched Ella's hairstyle and spotted hairband.
This young lady was celebrating her 16th birthday by getting hair extensions. I'm told that it is quite an unusual thing for a girl of that age to do, but that's what she wanted! Her Auntie asked me to show a teenage girl with very long straight brown hair on her birthday card. I hope I got the look about right.
This card was made for an 11 year old who is into clothes, make up and dancing (erm, which 11 year old girl isn't?). I've made a similar card before but added a few items to fit the various themes. The Hebrew greeting says "Happy Birthday to my dear Granddaughter Shiri".
Finally,  a regular customer wrote to ask me for a Bat Mitzvah card for a very special young lady who loves tennis, jazz dancing and listening to music on her headphones. My customer also wanted the number 12 on the card - the age that Jewish girls traditionally celebrate their Bat Mitzvah - and told me that the Bat Mitzvah girl loves the colour purple.
My customer was nice enough to email me when she saw the card to tell me "It is lovely!". I hope that Sarit thought so too.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Let's Hear It for the Boys

Yonatan celebrated his 10th birthday last month. His Mum told me that he is into anything computerised and asked me to include some of the big computer company names and their logos on his card. She was, however, a little bit afraid that the birthday boy would think that he was getting an iPhone or laptop of his own for his birthday but in the end I don't think that there was any great confusion! I suggested adding some balloons and cake to the card to give it a birthday theme, and made to sure to match his cool hairstyle from the photo supplied by the young man himself.
Jack was turning 14. His Auntie requested a card showing a football goalkeeper wearing a dark blue kit and white boots. I put the young man in front of the football net, preventing the opposing team from scoring a goal. I hope he managed it!
Finally, birthday cards are not just for 14 year old football fans or 10 year old computer whizzes. This 'young man' was turning 80 and his daughter felt that he should have a special card on the day too. He likes doing crosswords, drinking red wine and watching rugby, and can often be seen out and about wearing his Panama hat. It all went on the card. I hope he had a wonderful day.

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Festival of Paper

Israel is really good at festivals. There are beer festivals, food festivals, music festivals, you name it. When a friend told me that she'd heard something on the radio about a paper festival in nearby Rehovot do you think I hesitated? No, I practically ran there, with the youngest son in tow. It was fabulous!
The Paper Festival was the first festival of its kind in the country. It had paper art, paper street performers, paper fashion, paper workshops for the kids and more. We saw beautifully designed furniture and a giant castle made from carton, and sat on seats made from bundles of cardboard boxes when we needed to rest our feet. The festival was also keenly promoting recycling and aimed to increase public awareness of the need to recycle materials.
There were dozens of artists exhibiting their work. My absolute favourite by far were the gorgeous paper flowers made by Tami Vardi, above. Her flowers were dotted around the park where the festival took place and her table overflowing with flowers was, in my mind, the absolute highlight of the festival. Can you tell how much I loved it? My son had to practically pull me away.
Avi Sevilya's sculptural creations were simply breathtaking. His webpage tells me that he normally works with papier-mache, combining traditional techniques and modern material. The works he displayed at the festival were created from rolled paper, above, and looked rather like alien life forms had just landed in the park. They were simply incredible.
There was plenty of papier-mache art, admittedly some better than others. These seated figures, above, using plastic garden chairs as a base, were just wonderful, as was the delicate oversized quilling, below. The youngest son and I watched in fascination as a group of actors turned themselves into utterly convincing paper monsters.
It was a truly wonderful evening, full of noise and colour, and of course paper! What more can a girl who makes papercut art need? 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Very Sleepy Sloth - Part II

Mister Handmade in Israel recently celebrated his birthday but I'm a little late in blogging about it. The kids are home for the summer you see and, although they are now big enough to amuse themselves and to let me get on with my own thing to a certain extent, I am still a little out of sync. Anyway, better late than never, right?
Now, my hubby has learnt to open his birthday card with a teeny tiny amount of trepidation. For the last few years I've been making fun of him on his cards. And this year was no different! I am really not 100% sure that I should be telling you this on my blog but Mister Handmade in Israel is a sleeper. He loves to sleep. Often. And for a long time. I, on the other hand, do not need a huge amount of sleep. I prefer to read. But my hubby is a light sleeper and says my reading light disturbs him. Thus the mask.
I have shown my hubby snuggled under the duvet with his most glamorous grey and turquoise rimmed sleep mask on. His trusty alarm clock, with the long-missing digit, is by his side, along with a pile of his preferred reading material. The football money box, bought by the kids several years ago, and his black slippers with the hole in their toes (apparently he likes them that way!) feature too.
The kids, like always, got in on the act as well. Both of them made Daddy a lovely card but the youngest son's card, on the right, made my friend Mandy snort with laughter when she saw it. He drew the top of Daddy's head with its, ahem, receding hairline. His ears are a little pink and the sun cream spray is marked as "obviously not helping". Daddy's dreadful green hat appears too.
I think I have competition.
I'm sorry if I've given too many secrets away, Mister Handmade in Israel, but at least you got cake. Happy Birthday!
This is my 400th blog post. Writing about my hubby's birthday seems like a great post for it.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Naftali's Album

A new customer wrote to me back in April. Her son's Bar Mitzvah was coming up and she had heard about my albums. A few emails back and forth and I had learned a little about the young man in question. His interests include the synagogue and prayer, cricket and Liverpool FC. His Mum told me that, by choice, he will always wear a Liverpool shirt.
I suggested that we show the Bar Mitzvah boy in his favourite shirt, with a cricket bat in one hand and a Tanakh (the Jewish Bible or Hebrew Scriptures) in the other. Mum said that we would need a football in there too. 
He is wearing tefillin in the picture. To remind yourselves what they are please go to this post. As a right-handed young man, he wears them on the bicep of his left arm, with the box facing inward towards the heart. The arm tefillin is placed at a level opposite the heart to teach that if our heart isn't in sync with our mind, our decisions will remain half-hearted and flat.
I decorated several of the pages inside the album too. A corner was devoted to each of his hobbies and covered his love of cricket, football and especially Liverpool FC, and his participation in synagogue services (illustrated by the torah scroll and pointer). I added some tefillin again too.
The young man has recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. I am assuming that he didn't actually wear his precious Liverpool shirt on the big day!