Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Birthday Cake Card

Mister Handmade in Israel's birthday, my birthday and our anniversary all come close together, so at this time of the year I end up making several special cards.  Knowing that Mister Handmade in Israel likes my papercut cards, I put knife to paper and created a new design. I decided to make him a birthday cake themed card - after all, everyone loves birthday cake - though I settled on 5 striped candles on the top of the cake, rather than, ahem, 52!
This is a card that can be easily personalised with another name, so if you would like to order one for a special person in your life, you can do so right here.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Avital's Album

Avital knew exactly what she wanted on her Bat Mitzvah album. She had checked out some of my previous designs and was ready with her list of likes. She wanted music notes on the cover, to represent her piano playing, and her Mum told me that she likes reading, is good at maths, and enjoys riding her bike. Avital is also a fan of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate (me too!) and asked for some to appear on the cover. She loves monkeys, and her purple mobile phone too. Her favourite colours are purple and mint green.
I have shown long-haired Avital with a maths book in one hand. Maths symbols and the number 12 (the age that Jewish girls become a Bat Mitzvah) cover the book. In her other hand she is holding a Dairy Milk bar. Her mint green bike is behind her, along with her phone, a cute little monkey and some music notes. The background box is purple and her t-shirt mint green, Avital's favourite colours.
Her name, the words Bat Mitzvah and the date are displayed in Hebrew. The album also opens the Hebrew way, from right to left, as Avital's Mum requested. There is a Magen David, the Star of David, in two corners on the album cover, to add a Jewish element to the design.
Five pages inside the book cover Avital's various interests. The opening page features some music notes in her favourite colours, above, followed by a page which displays her mint green bike. Next I included a Dairy Milk chocolate bar wrapped in purple, along with a few tiny cubes of chocolate. A monkey clinging on to the page came next and, finally, a hand holding up a mobile phone completes Avital's list of favourite things!
Mum wrote to me to tell me that she and Avital had really enjoyed looking at all the albums I've created, and that Avital was very happy with the one I had made for her. "She loves it! Thank you so much." Mum said.
She was also kind enough to send me this wonderful photo of Avital's album being used at her Bat Mitzvah celebration. They left coloured pens and stickers out for her friends to write messages and decorate the pages for Avital. Mum said that the girls loved it, and that the album looked nice on the table and was really part of the celebration!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

18th Anniversary

Mister Handmade in Israel and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. He is a big fan of my papercut cards, so for our anniversary this year I made him this card, cutting out our names, the number of years we were celebrating and some hearts, from white stock. I then lined it with a blue paper inlay because the 18th anniversary colour is (apparently) blue.
Our anniversary day started off well when these beautiful roses arrived from Mister Handmade in Israel. It was a good job that they arrived early though because I had a fun day out planned! I recently celebrated my birthday and it was, ahem, a rather disappointing day. I decided that I was going to make up for it on our anniversary.
Our first stop was lunch at Haroeh BaCafe in Kfar Haroeh, a religious moshav in the Central District of Israel. The moshav was founded in 1933 and was named after Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Mandate Palestine. The restaurant is located at the far end of the moshav, within the beautifully landscaped gardens of a family property. We chose seating in the pretty outdoor area and were soon enjoying a delicious lunch of hummus, eggplant, pasta and, though we were already quite full, a light and creamy tiramisu. Yum!
Our next stop was at Gesher Hatzabim, or Turtle Bridge, in the the Nahal Alexander National Park. Turtle Bridge is one of the only places in Israel where a population of giant soft-shelled turtle can be observed. The turtle, which incredibly swam to this region all the way from Central Africa, is a carnivore that feeds on a diet of worms, fish and other small water animals. It can grow to a length of one metre and weigh as much as fifty kilos.
In 1991 Nahal Alexander overflowed as a result of heavy rainfall and most of its soft-shelled turtle population drifted into the Mediterranean Sea and died. The river was polluted as well, so the eggs that were left did not hatch. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority collected and incubated the eggs and, when the youngsters grew, returned the turtles to the water.
Today Turtle Bridge is now a delightful spot, with play facilities for children and a wooden walkway from which the turtles can be observed both in the river and as they emerge from the water on to the river bank.
It would have been possible to spend hours on the walkway or on the bridge watching the turtles, but it was soon time to move on to our next port of call. As a surprise I had arranged a "Romantic Ride" along the beach for Mister Handmade in Israel, starting at The Cactus Ranch in Michmoret ("fishing net" in Hebrew), known as one of most beautiful beaches in Israel.
Arriving at The Cactus Ranch we waited and waited (this is Israel, everything happens all in good time!) for our guide to saddle up and explain some of the basic rules of riding. Eventually we set off, riding from the ranch, through the dunes, to the beautiful Michmoret beach. We of course had a guide with us given that we are not experienced riders, so whilst it was a lovely experience riding a horse on a wide open beach near the lapping fringe of the sea, it was not really so "romantic", especially since he was on his phone for part of the ride!
We dismounted on the beach and enjoyed a picnic of fresh fruit and a glass of wine to toast our anniversary. With such wonderful scenery around us, we soon felt quite relaxed. Half an hour later our guide returned with the horses and our ride continued through the countryside and back to the ranch.
What a way to make lasting memories!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A Birthday Card for a Boss

A customer asked me to create a 60th birthday card for her boss. She had some very specific requests. She wanted me to create a paper version of her boss wearing a dark suit and silver coloured tie, and with a black knitted kippa (skullcap) on his head. He should be seated, with lots of papers on his desk, she said. As an additional request she then asked if I could add the law firm's logo on to some of the papers. Of course I could!
Her boss is always losing his pen or the lid, she told me, so a pen lid was put on his desk - just the lid with the relevant logo showing, as she requested. He should also be talking into his dictation machine, I was told.
A lot of time and effort went it to this card but my customer seemed thrilled with it, and the card is now in a silver frame on her boss' desk! I created a card for this gentleman's 50th birthday as well. I am happy to know that this card, with a big 60 on it, has been added to the collection.
The brief for the card below was much simpler. An 80th birthday card with a golfing theme was requested. A golf ball perched on a tee, with a flag marking the hole on the golf course, fitted the bill.
Some other "guy" cards have been created recently as well, a guitar and a fast car being among the requests.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

"Cornflakes of Champions"

Last year I created a birthday card for Jonny showing him sitting at his desk in his new role as Marketing Director at Unilever Israel. Telma kosher food products is owned by Unilever Israel and the Israeli professional basketball player Omri Casspi endorses Telma cornflakes, dubbed the "Cornflakes of Champions". Jonny recently met Omri and so his wife asked me to create a birthday card for him showing the two of them together. Jonny is not a particularity short guy, but Omri is tall. 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) tall. I was kind to Jonny on his card though - after all, it was his birthday - and only hinted at their, ahem, height difference! Both guys are holding a box of Telma cornflakes between them.
Maor likes basketball. I have created many birthday cards for him along that theme over the years. For this year's card I focused on the hoop. Slam dunk!
Finally, Nadav likes Manchester United Football Club. Once again, I have made him several Man U. cards over the years. His Grandma is a regular customer of mine. This time I crafted a red and black striped scarf and put the team crest in the centre. The Hebrew letters on the card spell out his name and the greeting says "Happy Birthday to Nadav my dear grandson".