Thursday, 28 February 2019


Meital's mum asked me to create two cards for her daughter's 12th birthday. Her first request was for a card showing Meital dancing. She does hip hop and jazz, mum told me, and she wears black leggings and a T-shirt for her classes. She also asked me to add the words "Dance" to the shirt.
Meital is a redhead, or gingie, as they are known here in Israel, so I matched her gorgeous hair colour to the photos mum showed me. Finally I added some number 12's to the turquoise background, to mark her age (12 is the age that Jewish girls become a Bat Mitzvah).
The second request was for a card showing Meital holding her phone which she is apparently, ahem, rather attached to! Her phone case is glittery gold, mum said, so I have shown her holding the said glittery gold item. The background is lilac, according to mum's request, and I once again added some number 12's to mark her age.
Meital's mum reported back that her daughter loved the cards. She apparently recognised her phone immediately. "Oh look, it's my phone" she exclaimed when she opened this card!
Strawberry Butterscotch
Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Fabulous at 50

Marcel's mum asked me to make a 50th birthday card for her son. He is a massive Liverpool F.C. supporter, she told me, so I created a paper version of their red home shirt, added a red and white striped scarf, a football and the Liverpool crest. The famous crest includes a single Liver bird (an imaginary cross between an eagle and a cormorant), the iron curlicues of the Shankly Gates, including the lyrics of the club's anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone', and the year the club was formed. It also features the eternal flames which were added in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Recent years have seen the club maintain the same logo officially but revert to using the more simplified Liver bird logo on their shirts. A big yellow number 50 marks Marcel's age.
My friend Jane is into fitness. Seriously into fitness. She is a personal trainer by profession, so fitness is her life. What else was there to put on her 50th birthday card but dumbbells, medicine balls and weights of all shapes and sizes?
Jane's husband sent me a collection of photos of his wife in action. I picked out a photo of her lifting weights and recreated it for her birthday card, adding some of the equipment she uses around her.
Though I really tried, this card doesn't do her justice. She looks amazing at 50!
I wanted to make Jane a birthday card as well, but didn't want it to be too similar to the special card her husband had requested. I made a papercut card for her instead, cutting her name and age by hand from white stock, and then lining it with a bright orange paper inlay.

Monday, 18 February 2019

I Love You

Ever since I created this papercut for Mister Handmade in Israel's 50th birthday, he has been a big fan of that style of art. For Valentine's Day this year I made him this card with the hand lettered message 'I Love You' on it. I cut the card out of white stock and added a red paper inlay.
He loved the card. Oh, and the chocolates that came with it.
Mister Handmade in Israel didn't forget Valentine's Day either. He works in a particularly Orthodox Jewish area of Jerusalem where cards marking Saint Valentine are not readily available, but he recently went to England for a few days to visit his parents and found a cute little card for me whilst there. The flowers arrived on Valentine's Day morning and were very much appreciated!
If you would like to order a papercut "I Love You" card like the one I made for Mister Handmade in Israel, it is available right here in my Etsy shop. The card is perfect for your anniversary, wedding, even for next year's Valentine's Day, or just to tell that special someone how much you care.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Hadera River Park

We had tried to visit the Hadera River Park (Park Nahal Hadera) on a previous occasion but unfortunately found it closed on a day when it should have been open. Unperturbed, we tried again when my dad was last here and this time we were successful! My dad was involved with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the UK for many, many years so I knew it was a JNF park that he was familiar with and one that he would like to see.
The park is built around the Hadera River which flows for some 50 kilometres through Israel's coastal plain before spilling into the sea to the north of Givat Olga, a neighbourhood in Hadera. Its main tributaries are the Haviva, Yitzhak, Hadera and Iron rivers. With time, extensive development in the surrounding area caused the river to become polluted by effluent flowing from factories and the local sewage plants, and until recent years, the area was a blot on the ecological landscape. However, after the Maor David Power Station (subsequently renamed Orot Yitzhak in memory of Israel's late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) was built on the coast just north of where the river flows into the sea, a decision was taken to rehabilitate its western section. This once polluted meandering trickle has now been transformed into a fine straight river 40 metres wide, banked by a 1.3 km long promenade.
The JNF and the Israel Electric Corporation joined forces and established a development authority for the park. The rehabilitation work involved installing a pipe to channel the warm water beneath the power station on its way to the river. The power station pumps this water from the sea to cool its electricity production units. After use, the water is returned to the sea, about 10 degrees warmer than it had been originally, but otherwise no different from before; no pollution is involved.
Coal ash from the power station was used to construct a 17 metre high ramp on the river's north bank. After construction the ramp was covered with soil and coconut matting and planted with trees and shrubs to keep it stable, prevent erosion and integrate it into the landscape of the park. After stabilisation with stones and concrete, the south bank of the river has been transformed into the promenade. Its centrepiece is Fountain Square, where warm seawater bubbles up into a shallow pool. All along the riverbank fisherman can be observed casting their lines into the water and catching saltwater fish (mainly mullet).
The park includes two eucalyptus groves that were planted in the 1930s to prevent the sand dunes from spreading. Between these two areas, a prehistoric site from the Kebaran period (18,000 years ago) has been discovered. Flint tools were uncovered at the site, together with the bones of animals presumed to be gazelles and fallow deer. The park is also an excellent place to observe water birds such as the common kingfisher, the grey heron, moorhens, mallards and cormorants.
An interesting aside, the four chimneys of the power station are obviously high up but the hot water channelled below attracts about 30-40 grey sharks, mainly female, that stay from November-December to March every year.
As we were leaving the Hadera River Park we noticed a white domed structure in the distance and went to take a closer look. A sign there told us the most amazing story.
"Avshalom Feinberg was born in Gedera in 1889 to his parents Israel (Lulik) and Fanny (nee Belkind), who were founders of Hadera.
He was educated in Palestine and France and was a poet and a man of letters.
In World War I he initiated the establishment of the NILI espionage group. Under the leadership of Aharon Aharonsohn, it aimed to help the British oust the Turkish regime from Palestine.
He was murdered on 20 January 1917, on his way to contact the British command in Egypt.
Fifty years later in 1967, Major Shlomo Ben-Elkana of the IDF found his remains in the Sinai Desert. He was buried in a state funeral in Mount Herzl's military cemetery in Jerusalem.
This memorial, which was planned by architect Benjamin Orell, was built by Avshalom's sisters in 1957. It was originally situated on route no. 4 in Hadera, and transferred to this park in 2011."
Further reading told me that Avshalom Feinberg was one of the leaders of NILI, a Jewish spy network in Ottoman Palestine, helping the British fight the Ottoman Empire during World War I. He was born in Gedera, Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, and studied in France. He returned to work with Aharon Aharonsohn at the agronomy research station in Atlit. Soon after the beginning of war, the four Aharonsohn siblings (Sarah Aaronsohn, Rivka, Alex, and Aharon) founded the NILI underground along with Feinberg. They were later joined by Yosef Lishansky and others. In 1915 Feinberg travelled to Egypt and made contact with British Naval Intelligence. In 1917, Feinberg again journeyed to Egypt, on foot. He was apparently killed on his way back by a group of Bedouins near the British front in Sinai, close to Rafah. His fate was unknown until after the 1967 Six-Day War when his remains were found under a palm tree that had grown from date seeds in his pocket to mark the spot where he lay.
In 1979 a new Israeli settlement in the Sinai Peninsula, Avshalom, was named after him. Although it was abandoned in 1982 following the Camp David Accords, a new village by the same name was founded in Israel in 1990. In addition, among the many and varied trees on the Mount Herzl military cemetery is one lone palm tree, replanted form its original spot in the Sinai Desert. This is the famous "Palm of Avshalom" under which Avshalom Feinberg's remains were found.
Hefziba Farm was just a short drive from the Hadera River Park. The farm was established on the banks of the Hadera River in 1906 in an area purchased by Yehoshua Hankin. His wife, Olga Hankin, named the site Hefziba, inspired by Isaiah's prophecy: "Nevermore shall you be called 'Forsaken,' nor shall your land be called 'Desolate;' But you shall be called 'I delight in her [Hefziba]" (Isa. 62:4), in the hope that the farm would not be abandoned and would thrive. The founding members of Kibbutz Hefziba, and other pioneers, lived first on the premises of the farm. Citrus fruit was grown there until World War I.
The Israel Electric Corporation purchased the 350 dunam (88 acre) plot in 1992 and restoration work is currently underway, together with the help of the National Council for the Preservation of Buildings and Historic Sites and the Hadera municipality. The farm is being reconstructed to house a historical park that will be a tribute to the early settlement of Israel.
The agricultural site, which now adjoins the busy Haifa-Tel Aviv motorway, was a symbol of efforts to make the desert bloom 100 years ago. It was established in the heart of sand dunes, on the northern coastal plain, among remnants of a forest that once contained Tabor oaks, ancient carobs, fruit orchards and eucalyptus groves. Some of the original buildings from 1906 are still standing, including  the farm manager's home and the old pump house on the riverbank. Beit Hahava (the farmhouse), above, has a sloping tile roof and a large veranda. It was used as the farm's office and as a dining room for the workers. The right wing of the structure was built in European style, while the left wing was built in local Arab style. Beit Hahava now serves as a visitor's centre.
The farm's heyday was in 1912, when it was expanded in response to border conflicts with Arab residents. Eight structures were built that year to house 60 workers who maintained the farm. Natural disasters, an attack of locusts and the ravages of World War I caused the site to be dismantled and finally abandoned in 1929.
The restoration project will be completed in stages over several years, and its tourism facilities are still being developed. A museum featuring the history of the farm and its surroundings is planned.
From the Hefziba Farm, you can walk along the banks of the Hadera River in a westerly direction. Stone markers have recently been placed along the path that goes under a bridge on the motorway. The path leads to a dam, which prevents the polluted waters of the river from reaching the sea. From the dam, you can continue back to the Hadera River Park, where we started our day.

* This post has been shared on Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)Pictorial Tuesday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday's Treasures, The Keeping It Real Link Up, Travel Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Nature Notes, My Corner of the WorldWordless Wednesday Blog HopLittle Things ThursdayWeekend ReflectionsAll Seasons and Through My Lens.
Oregon Girl Around the World
Sunday Snap

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Seventy, Sixty

A family friend contacted me some time ago to see if I could make a special card for his mum's upcoming 70th birthday. Mum likes doing paper puzzles, surfing the web for cruises, watching television and being taken out, he told me. She loves chocolate and cake and, like me, is a Hull City A.F.C. supporter. I suggested adding one of my paper portraits to the card and a big number 70 to mark her special birthday.
I have shown mum with a bar of chocolate in one hand and a big slice of cake in the other. On the left of her card I have added a computer with a picture of a cruise ship on the screen, Hull City's current logo, featuring a tiger's head in an amber shield, and a television with Bargain Hunt showing on it. Her son told me that mum likes to watch Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Neighbours and Bargain Hunt! To the right, below the number 70, is a little table piled with treats since she enjoys being taken out, and below that, a small Sudoku and crossword puzzle.
"I got the card this morning. It's great. Thank you." my customer wrote to me, then followed up to tell me that his mum really liked the card.
A book club friend asked me to make a card for her husband's 60th birthday, below. His interests include music, especially the Beatles and playing the guitar. He is originally from Australia, enjoys public speaking and is a guide at Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. She also suggested I add the logo of the company where he works, oh and added that he is a big fan of potatoes and cholent, a traditional "Jewish" stew. It is usually simmered overnight for 12 hours or more, and eaten for lunch on Shabbat (the Sabbath).
I included all these things on his birthday card. You can see the cholent and potatoes to the top left. Below them is a megaphone to represent his love of public speaking. The Yad Vashem logo (Yad Vashem literally means "a monument and a name"), a map of Australia, and a black and white photo of the Beatles follow. From the top right I have added his company logo, a classical guitar and some music notes. A big red number 60 marks his age.
"I never told you how much Michael appreciated the card." my friend later told me.

* This post has been shared on Little Things Thursday, Creatively Crafty Link Party, All Seasons and Creative Mondays.