Monday, 31 July 2017

Such a Long Journey

My goodness me, this card has a story to tell! In August 2016 a customer in the US requested a customised card for her friend Nhi. I mailed the card to her on 31st August and it took 9 months to arrive at it's destination! Yes, you read that correctly. 9 whole months. It was a good thing that my customer asked me to put "Belated" in the birthday greeting! Now, I do want to point out that this is not a regular occurrence. I am happy to report that the mail generally works well for me. This was one of the very few times that something has got lost and I pretty much thought that it was gone forever. I would so love to know where that card has been all this time and perhaps what places it has visited...
Nhi is Vietnamese in origin. She has long black hair and her friend, my customer, told me that she is very pretty! I was asked to include a picture of  Lola, her Lakeland Terrier, on the card, and to add a sewing machine, a Hermes purse showing the logo, a french pastry (I chose croissants and a cream-filled éclair - yummy!), a diamond and finally, a sun with a line through it suggesting that she hates heat.
My customer added that "She is coming here in October, so you have time. No rush." Famous last words. 
Well, Nhi finally got her special card and actually, it was three months early for her birthday THIS year! She wrote on Facebook that "It's one of the best cards I've ever seen."  She seemed thrilled with it and apparently plans to frame it.
All's well that ends well, I guess!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The British Empire Medal

A lady who lives in the same city as me saw one of my customised cards and contacted me to ask me if I could create a card for her Mum. She had just received the British Empire Medal for her work and dedication with her dance charity Magpie Dance, which she founded over 30 years ago. Her daughter thought that it would be nice to congratulate her with one of my cards.
My customer sent me a picture of her Mum proudly wearing her award. Mum is a dancer and artistic director, she told me. The dance company is for adults and children with learning disabilities and it is contemporary dance, very modern.
Together we decided to show Mum in the black and white outfit she wore to collect her award. I suggested adding the Magpie Dance logo and some papercuts and pictures of the dancers as well.
Whilst I was away I was delighted to receive a message from her, letting me know how pleased Mum was with her special card. "Just gave the card to my mum and she was thrilled. She said what a clever woman, she even got it down to the dress!"
Shortly afterwards she got in touch again and requested a card for her friend's 40th birthday. Her name is Max and she is an amazing spiritual individual, she said. She does breathwork, acupuncture and inner dance (spiritual dance through a sound healing journey). She is spiritual, mindful, fun, quirky, mother earth. She is originally from the UK, travelled to Australia when she was young, loves camping, just led and did a red tent spiritual retreat, leads Breathe & Receive workshops,  as well as running her business Helping Hands. Lastly, her favourite saying is "Honor your truth" she said. I think that there was more than enough to work with!
I showed Max with her hands clasped together in the namaste gesture, which signals welcome and union in a symbolic way. Candles, a lotus flower, a hand receiving some acupuncture treatment, and a red tent surround her, along with a little green tent to represent her love of camping, and the logos of her businesses. To finish off the card, I included her favourite saying.
Lastly, Sophie was turning 20. Her auntie asked me for a card which showed off her niece's baking skills. She has her own business called Sophie's Sweet Treats. She sent me a photo of some of the cakes Sophie has made, and requested a cake or two on the card. I picked out a very fancy chocolate cream cake from the photo, and added a couple of cupcakes and a wooden spoon. A bold number 20 finished the card off nicely.

* This post has been shared on Wednesday around the World, Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, Wow Us Wednesdays, Moonlight and Mason JarsArtsy-FartsyShare Your Cup Thursday, The Homemaking PartyLittle Things Thursday and Happiness is Homemade.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Festival of Light in Jerusalem 2017

The Festival of Light in Jerusalem is an annual event which attracts hundreds of thousands of people from Israel and abroad. It's one of my favourite festivals. Visitors are invited to stroll along the paths of the Old City, taking in the magical atmosphere of the Old City walls and cobblestone streets which are illuminated with an amazing variety of modern light art installations, created by both local and international artists. This year was the 9th festival and my fourth visit. You can read about my previous visits here, here and here. We didn't go last year because honestly we were a little afraid to walk around parts of the Old City at night, but this year the pull was too great for me and we simply avoided walking to the Damascus Gate, which has sadly seen far too many terror attacks in recent times.
Unlike previous years, where several routes were offered taking us through different areas of the Old City, this year there was just one long route, which took us from one art installation to another. I actually preferred it this way, though the arrows marking the way were sometimes hard to see in the dark. Exhibits this year included a giant illuminated puppet, big glowing bunnies, and spinning tops made from LED lights hovering and dancing above the cardo. I'm going to say at this point that this year was not my favourite year. Truthfully, I was a little disappointed with some of the exhibits, though there were definitely some incredible pieces that are worth mentioning here.
I found the audiovisual show, which told the story of the unification of the City of Jerusalem on the walls from Zahal Square to Jaffa Gate, so moving, even though it was hard to see it all with so many people around, and I absolutely loved the "Solaris" projection, created by Visualsupport of Poland, on the Hurva Synagogue, a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. We were mesmerized by the magical sounds, kaleidoscope of energetic colours and colourful patterns, so much so that we watched it twice! As you can see from the photos below, it was quite stunning.
"Moon Haze", a huge, radiant 10-metre moon placed on Tiferet Israel Street and created by Feng Jiacheng and Huang Yuanbei of China, allowed us to reach the moon, while "Journey into Space" at the junction of New Gate Road and Ha Achim Pereire Street, created by Israel's Moshe Kimchi, hovered overhead and reminded us of science fiction movies. From there the route led us to New Gate and out from the Old City Walls.
Finally, the "HeartBeat" installation created by GNI Projects, UK, deserves a mention. By joining hands in front of the sculpture, a circuit was completed and a pulsing heart was revealed. Once the connection was lost, the heart was broken into fragments again. It was a fun interactive experience, great for lovers, family and friends, and for us it was a fun way to end a special evening in Jerusalem.

Travel Notes & Beyond
Sunday Snap
Debs Random Writings

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Two Birthdays and a Bar Mitzvah

A new customer asked me to create a birthday card for her husband's big day. She requested a picture of him on the card and told me that he's into computers, that he works with diamonds, and that his phone, with Pokémon Go on it, should probably feature too.
I created his paper portrait and added a desktop computer with his company's homepage on the screen. Pokémon Go is open on his phone and there are some pretty big diamonds surrounding him!
I was delighted to receive this photo from my customer on the morning of her husband's birthday. "He loves it [the card]!" she wrote. "[He's] even wearing the same shirt." 
I replied saying that she had made my day. She replied that she loves my work and that I'd made her month!
Yonatan is still into Chelsea FC (last year I showed him wearing the team shirt on the cover of his Bar Mitzvah album). His mum asked me to create a card for his 14th birthday with Chelsea's club badge on it, a football and football net, along with the badge of Tzofim Dati'im (The Hebrew Scout Movement). She also asked me to include his age, 14, and of course a picture of Yonatan as well. I added some balloons. You can't go wrong with balloons for a birthday card.
As she often does, Mum wrote me a beautiful note on the day of Yonatan's birthday. "Thank you, Lisa, for making our birthdays special!"
Finally, this young man was Bar Mitzvah when I was visiting my Dad in the UK. Mister Handmade in Israel was able to join his celebrations and so I made sure to have a special card ready for him before I left. This is one of my favourite Bar Mitzvah card designs. It shows the tallit prayer shawl, a kippa (skullcap) and a Sefer Torah (a long scroll containing the entire text of the Five Books of Moses: the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). On the first Sabbath of his thirteenth year the Bar Mitzvah boy is called up to read the weekly portion from the Torah. He wears the tallit and kippa whilst reading, so I included all these elements on the Bar Mitzvah card.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Ronit's Album

I made a Bar Mitzvah album for Ronit's brother Ethan last year. This summer it was Ronit's turn to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah (according to Jewish law, when Jewish boys become 13 years old they become accountable for their actions and become a Bar Mitzvah. A girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 12). I always send an email out to my customers with a list of questions about their hobbies and interests before I start designing the cover of their album. With Ronit's album I already knew what - or should I say who - was going to be the No.1 choice for the cover! The family have a dog, a Weimaraner called Luna, and I just knew that Ronit would request a picture of her beloved Luna on the cover of her Bat Mitzvah album. I wasn't wrong!
Apart from Luna, Mum told me that Ronit loves listening to music, baking, being on her phone (don't they all?), and arts and crafts. She had chosen a colour scheme of white, silver and lilac for her Bat Mitzvah celebration, and she likes light blue as well, so I made sure to use all those colours on the album cover. Mum asked me to add her name in Hebrew and English, and to include her age, 12, and the words Bat Mitzvah as well. Lastly, the album was to open the English way (Hebrew books open from right to left).
So, I created a papercut illustration of Ronit and Luna together for the cover. Bespectacled Ronit has a cupcake in one hand. To her left are her black and silver headphones and her gold Samsung phone, and below her are some arts and crafts materials (a tube of paint, a paintbrush, paper and pencils), and another cupcake. Ronit is wearing a white T-shirt, the background box is lilac and the lettering silver – all to match the colour scheme. Two Magen David's (Star of David) in the corners of the cover match the colour scheme as well.
As well as decorating the cover of the album, I also embellished five pages inside the book. The first page was of course kept for Luna. I was careful to match the beautiful mouse-grey colour of her fur and added her red collar and silver bone shaped tag. Ronit noticed of course and Mum wrote to tell me how much she loved the collar and the little details. Next I added her headphones and some music notes, followed by a page showing some more cupcakes, along with a wooden spoon and a spatula. A hand (presumably Ronit's!) holding up her phone came next, then finally the last page was devoted to her love of arts and crafts and painting.
Ronit's Mum and Dad collected the album and were soon cooing over the paper illustration of Luna! Later mum messaged me to tell me that Ronit loved them too. "Ronit loves it!! Thank you so much!!!" she wrote.
I was happy to see that my design had also made it onto the place cards at the celebration.  Don't forget, if you are interested in a one-off piece of artwork for your party invitations, thank you cards, place cards and any other printed item required for your celebration, you can check it out and order it here.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

My customer requested a large 18th birthday card for her niece. She is studying makeup and works for the cosmetics company Bare Minerals, so I cut out some lipsticks, a brush and an eye pencil for her card, adding the logo of the company she works for too. The birthday girl is going to Amsterdam this summer, so her auntie requested more of the orange tulips that I put on her sister Emily's card. Of course I added a big number 18 as well.
My amazing sister-in-law turned 50 recently. I made this card for her big day and was able to give it to her in person since she spent a few days here in Israel prior to her significant birthday.
Finally, a lovely family friend asked me to bring her some of my "female" cards when I visited her in the UK recently. She is one of those incredible people who remembers everyone's birthdays, so I am delighted that she will be using my cards for a little while. She seemed very happy with the mix of cards I took her.