Monday, 26 February 2018

Ella's Album

Ella saw Eden's Bat Mitzvah album and decided that she would like one too, so her Mum got in touch with me and gave me a list of her favourite things for the cover design. Ella loves music and singing, she told me. She plays the piano as well, and she loves to read. She likes sushi and writing stories. Mum asked me to include a Union Jack and the flag of Israel on the cover too.
I have shown blue eyed Ella with a microphone in one hand and a book in the other. On her right are some music notes, some more books and an electronic keyboard. On her left I added the Union Jack, the flag of Israel, some tiny sushi, and a notebook and pencils. Ella is wearing her white headphones. Her name appears at the top of the album in Hebrew and English, along with the words Bat Mitzvah. The date of her Bat Mitzvah is at the bottom, along with the parsha (weekly Torah portion) she read before Shabbat, Parshat Mishpatim.
Ella had a purple theme for her Bat Mitzvah celebration, so I matched the album to her colour scheme. Even the little books were the right colours!
As well as decorating the cover of the album, I also embellished five pages inside the book. On the opening page I added a little microphone and some colourful music notes. Next I added some more purple coloured books, with a small bookshelf filled with books in the background. The following page was devoted to Ella's interest in writing stories. A notebook lies open with a story half written in it. The flags of the country where she was born and where she now lives follow, and finally, on the last page I created an electronic keyboard to illustrate her love of music and especially playing the piano. Each page also features a silver Star of David.
Photo credit: Ingrid Muller Photography

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Milestone Birthdays

Eden recently celebrated her 18th birthday. I have been making birthday cards for her for a number of years. Some of you may remember this lovely story, when she called me at the tender age of 9 to thank me for making such a great card - and it wasn't even from me! This year Mum gave me various themes for her special card. Eden is interested in cosmetics and special effects makeup, she told me. Her favourite brands are Urban Decay, Lorac and Anastasia. Her boyfriend should also appear somewhere on the card, Mum decided.
I have shown Eden with a mascara wand in one hand and a small mirror in the other. She is surrounded by all her favourite things - some examples of special effects makeup, an eyeshadow palette, a brush and a lipstick, the logos of her favourite cosmetics brands, and her boyfriend is there too! A big number 18 marks her age.
Mum told me that she thought the card was fabulous! If you would like to see just some of Eden's previous birthday cards, please click here, here, and here.
The card above was made for a young lady who was turning 21. Her auntie ordered a special card for her big day. Mac makeup, Zara shopping bags and Kinder chocolate bars were requested. I was also asked to add the hashtag #EA21 in big sparkly letters and numbers. This was apparently the tag used for her 21st birthday celebrations.
Finally, this mum and bubba (the Yiddish phrase for a grandmother) celebrated her 70th birthday. Her daughter asked me to create a card showing curly haired mum in the middle, surrounded by all the things that are important in her life. I included a clipboard and stethoscope to symbolise her career as a doctor. The flags of Australia and Israel illustrate where she lives and where many of her children and grandchildren now live, and the aeroplane represents all the travel she does to see them. The framed photograph is of all her grandchildren. I decorated the card with bright red Anthurium, the birthday girls favourite flower. The big red number 70 shows her age.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

I Love You Even When You Snore

Mister Handmade in Israel snores. A lot. If I go to sleep before him, then I am okay. He doesn't usually wake me. But woe betide I go to bed later than him! Let's just say I am in for a restless night. This year my Valentine's Day card for him had a snoring theme. "I love you even when you snore" it said on the card. I added some zzzz's for good measure, a moon, some stars and a little red heart in the cloud. Well, it was Valentine's Day. Truthfully, of course I love him but sometimes I want to kill him when he snores 😉. For Valentine's Day I ordered him a Snore Ring. Anything is worth a try! Fortunately Mister Handmade in Israel's Valentine's gestures were far more romantic than mine...
A good friend celebrated her birthday recently, so I made a papercut card for her too. 'D' is her first initial. She loved the card.
If you would like to order an initial card for someone special, you can do so right here.
Sunday Snap

Monday, 12 February 2018

Shoham Forest

I was wondering whether the narcissi were in bloom yet this season and decided to look online for a new place to find them. I stumbled upon the Shoham Forest Park quite by chance. Shoham is very close by and seemed like the perfect place to go and see flowers on a recent sunny winter's day.
The Shoham Forest (or the Shoham Forest Park) is a relatively young forest, located east of the town of Shoham, southeast of Tel Aviv. The rocky forest is rich in heritage sites, the most impressive of which is the Church of St. Bacchus with its recently exposed, magnificent mosaic floor. In the winter and spring, the forest is abundant with seasonal flowers.
The ancient church of St. Bacchus was discovered in 1986 while planting trees. The mosaic was covered until 2013, and was only recently exposed to the general public. This church is considered a "field church" - a church that was not located in a settlement but in an open area between communities. Surprisingly, a marble medallion 67cm in diameter of the Greek goddess Tyche, or as she is called in Latin 'Fortuna', was discovered in the church - an idolatrous element that is not accepted in Christian churches. Tyche is the pagan goddess of fortune and fate, as well as the goddess that protects cities. Finding such an artifact in a church is exceptional. The marble medallion shows the goddess surrounded by two inscriptions. The bottom inscription makes is possible to date it to the year 582-3 CE. The marble medallion is now on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
At the bottom of the steps of the church is an inscription dedicated to St. Bacchus. St. Bacchus may have been a local saint, or one of two Christian martyrs from Syria (Sergius and Bacchus) who converted to Christianity in the third century and were executed by order of Emperor Diocletian.
The floor of the church is a mosaic that combines geometric patterns and floral motifs. In the nave of the church two circles are depicted: the centre of the eastern circle is the exact centre of the church. In the middle of the western circle is the Greek inscription "This place belongs to the Lord and his only son".
A stone quarry that served as an ancient water reservoir is located north of the church, and south of the church is a lime kiln and an ancient wine press. On the western side of the church is an ancient olive press, above. Olive oil was produced in the press by the means of two installations: an olive crushing installation composed of a crushing basin and crushing stone, and a press consisting of a large wooden beam, screws and weights, a collecting vat, and a niche for baskets used to hold the olive mash. The olives brought to the press were mashed in the crushing installation and from there were transferred to baskets to be pressed in this unique installation.
In 2014, a model of the Madaba map was added to the site, above. The Madaba map is part of mosaic floor from the Byzantine period that was discovered in a 19th century church in the city of Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba map is a map of the Middle East. Part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the 6th century AD. The map of Madaba mentions a settlement called "Beit Malgazis", which the archaeologists identify as Horvat Tinshemet ("Barn Owl Ruins"), where the remains of the Byzantine church of Bacchus were exposed. Other settlements mentioned on the map are Hadid (or "Iditim" on the map) and Modi'in.
In the winter the rocky areas around the church are full of flowers including Sitvanit (Steven's Meadow saffron), cyclamen, winter crocus and the narcissi (Narcissus tazetta) which I had set out to find. In January - February the bright red calaniot (anemone) bloom, along with Iris palaestina and Asphodelus ramosus, followed by CornflowerAnthemisHelmet clover and other species in March.
From the church we set off for a walk along the marked trail. It passed through the southern part of the Shoham Forest and the "Hill of Cup marks" where a lookout point is located in memory of a soldier who fell in battle in Lebanon in 1994. The name of the hill comes from a large rock located there which has various sized depressions carved into it. The small depressions are known as "cup marks" and may have been formed by cracking nutshells, and the larger ones were used to crush grains and herbs. The view from the lookout point is impressive, extending westward toward the coastal plain and eastward towards the Samaria mountains.
Returning to the main path we continued on, passing orchard trees and rocky areas. Shoham Forest Park itself is quite small. Remains of settlements from the Mishnaic period and a number of ancient caves were discovered in areas of the park. The Israel National Trail, a hiking path that crosses the entire country, crosses the park from north to south in its western part. Our own walk was a gentle one, suitable for the whole family, and was a lovely way spend a sunny afternoon.
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Sunday Snap
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