Sunday, 14 July 2019

R is for...

Mister Handmade in Israel recently celebrated his birthday. He turned 55, though I didn't put that on his card this year and I've given it away now anyway! I am always trying to come up with something different for the cards I make for him. He is a fan of my papercuts (this is what I made him for his 50th birthday) so I decided to cut a papercut initial. The geometric pattern I filled it with was bloomin' fiddly!
I cut out a large letter R from white stock and I added a green paper inlay. It wasn't perfect but he liked it anyway.
There was a cake as well. With Smarties, a football and football boots on top. The boys are both home for the time being. School is out for the summer and the eldest has finished his pre-army programme, so they are both temporarily around a lot. This meant that they ate most of the cake. I think Mister Handmade in Israel managed one slice!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

"We Are the Champions"

Jonny celebrated his birthday back in May. While at a recent exhibition, he and his teammates joined in a karaoke session singing Queen's "We Are The Champions". His wife saw a clip of them singing together, thought it was very funny and asked me to show this on his birthday card. She sent me a bunch of stills to get the idea.
I included Jonny's other three team members, since they all sang together as a group, but featured the birthday boy prominently at the front. A screen displaying the song lyrics is in the background. The mifold logo displays his place of work and the yellow number 51 marks his age.
"Great card again, Lisa" Jonny wrote to me.
Eitan is currently serving in the Israeli army. He was about to have a regila (רגילה), which is when the soldiers are given one week off from the army every four months. Fortunately this was falling around the time of his birthday, so his mum asked me to make that the theme of his birthday card. She gave me a list of things to include: friends, eating, drinking, sleeping and playing with the family dog.
I displayed two pages of a diary showing the dates Eitan was going to start the regila. The Hebrew words on those pages say תהנה ברגילה ("Have fun during the regila"). Around the pages are objects representing all the things mum mentioned: beer, Meggy the family dog, some Zzz to represent sleeping and pizza.
I think I got everything on there.
The big red number 19 marks his age.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

2 Good 2 Be True

The customer who ordered this card for her husband recently came back to me for a birthday card for her daughter. The list she gave me of her daughter's interests included philosophy, hiking, camping and reading. Her daughter hates shopping, she told me, and is dreamy and rather messy!
There was plenty to work with.
I included a small image of Socrates on the card to represent philosophy. I added shopping bags with a big black cross through them, some walking boots and a tent. Next I added small graphics of the words 'Messy' and 'Dreamy'. 'Dreamy' is typed over a background of clouds. Finally I included a red book to represent her daughter's love of reading. The big yellow number 22 marks her age.
Rebecca's auntie requested a birthday card with a general birthday theme but also wanted me to include the fact that her niece is a makeup artist and also works at the British supermarket, Waitrose. I added a teeny tiny makeup palette to the card, along with a nail varnish, lipstick, balloons and cake! The Waitrose logo marks her place of work.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Vegan Tel Aviv

Some months ago, when my good friend in the UK told me that she was coming to Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest, I suggested to her that we do a Tel Aviv vegan tour together. I had read about the tours a long time ago but Mister Handmade in Israel is neither vegetarian nor vegan, so I knew it would be wasted on him! Fortunately my friend was keen to join me - and even better, she suggested it would be a nice birthday treat for me!
We took the TLVEG Vegan Tour of Tel Aviv run by Be Tel Aviv Tours last month. It was a lot of fun and rather yummy to boot. The aim of the tour was to expose us to the best vegan places in the city and break all the myths about veganism. Whilst I am not a vegan - I am a pescatarian - I did not feel judged at all and we learnt so much about veganism and vegan food in Israel.
Israel has the highest percentage of vegans globally, with an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the entire population being vegan, an estimated 400,000 people and growing. Many of these vegans live in Tel Aviv and the city is ranked in the Top 10 Cities for Vegans according to Happy Cow, the online service that lists sources of vegan, vegetarian and healthy food. There are over 50 fully vegan restaurants in the city, mostly concentrated within a 1-mile radius of the city centre. Most of the restaurants serve a combination of Israeli / Middle Eastern / Mediterranean cuisine with some western influence. Our tour saw us visiting three of these vegan restaurants, starting with a breakfast menu and ending with dessert. In each place we tasted a few yummy vegan dishes and moved on.
Our first stop was at Zakaim, considered one of the top vegan places to eat in the city, with a menu featuring Persian and Middle Eastern fine dining. Opened by the two sisters and one brother of the Zakaim family in 2013 and under new management since 2017, the restaurant offers kosher food made from local and seasonal products. The restaurant is an ecological space where all of the materials, dishes and furniture are secondhand. We tried the hand-torn chips and a wonderful vegan shakshuka. It was a great way to start the tour.
Our next stop was at Citizen Garden, a superfood boutique café. Whilst Zakaim served typical Israeli dishes, all made from scratch at the restaurant, Citizen Garden felt more like a trendy cafe serving complex super bowls combining different flavours. It was also buzzing on a weekday morning! We tried the Waldorf Skordalia toast made from a creamy almond paste with apples, walnuts, celery and pineapple, and the Salmani's bowl with sweet potato, broccoli, edamame, kale, carrot, cabbage, radish, cherry tomatoes, hazelnuts and tahini. It looked beautiful! If you like vegetables and fruit in a pure and natural form, this is the place for you.
Our final visit of the day was to Meshek Barzilay, an organic vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighbourhood. When I walked in, I realised that I had in fact eaten there before but, no matter, with our guide teaching us about the food and what we were tasting, it was a different experience altogether.
Meshek Barzilay is regarded as one of the leading organic vegetarian restaurants in Israel and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We sat in the restaurant's sunlit patio and enjoyed the most incredible mushroom risotto made with a chestnut and walnut cream sauce and forbidden rice, also called black rice. In addition we were served a delicious bulgur salad, which I frankly could have kept picking at all day!
We finished our tour with vegan cheescake in honour of the forthcoming holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot is a holiday​ celebrating nature, agriculture and typically dairy foods. The cheesecake we enjoyed at Meshek Barzilay was made from coconut milk amongst other ingredients and was out of this world! It was a fabulous way to end our tour.
My friend and I both really enjoyed our vegan tour. The food was wonderful and our guide, Yaniv, was very pleasant as he explained about the food, restaurants and the area. There was no judgement - though vegan himself, we did not get the impression that he was trying to turn us vegan. The tour was simply a celebration of vegan food and a lesson in veganism and the philosophy behind it.
Instead of committing to a full meal at a single restaurant, we had visited three foodie hotspots for each of the three courses and had eaten a full lunch. The quality of the food had been incredible and we left feeling very full. It was a good thing that we had come hungry!
An interesting aside, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is considered to be the most vegan army in the world, with 1 out of 18 soldiers declaring themselves as vegan, according to Army Radio. It provides vegan meals, wool-free berets and leather-free boots and helmets to vegan soldiers. In addition, international pizza delivery service Domino's offers vegan cheese at all of their branches in Tel Aviv
and throughout Israel.

* This post has been shared on The Good. The Random. The Fun.Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday), Our World Tuesday, Tuesday's Treasures, Travel TuesdayCommunal Global and My Corner of the World.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

21 Years

Mister Handmade in Israel and I recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. He is a big fan of my papercut cards. This was last year's card and this was the card I made to mark 18 years of marriage. For this year's card I drew a heart with 21 Years and some flowers inside it. I cut the card out of white stock and added a red paper inlay because everything I make for Mister Handmade in Israel has to be in red, the colours of his favourite football team.
He loved the card and the chocolates that came with it!
Mister Handmade in Israel didn't forget our anniversary either. The flowers, below, arrived when we were eating a delicious Israeli breakfast at our favourite café and were very much appreciated.