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.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Let's spend the day together!

A customer wrote to tell me to tell me that she was going to surprise her dad for his birthday by turning up at breakfast on his birthday in Prague, where he was going to be holidaying. She wanted to be able to creep up behind him at breakfast and ask him if he dropped something, then hand him one of my cards. It would be nice to have a birthday card that has something to do with Prague on it, she added.
It sounded like a great idea!
My customer sent me a lovely photo of her and her dad. I based my paper portraits of them on that picture and added a little image of Prague too, along with some balloons to give the card a birthday theme.
My customer was thrilled with it. "It's amazing!" she wrote and remarked how much it looked like both of them.
My own dad celebrated his birthday back in April and I decided to make a papercut card for his big day. I simply cut out the word 'Dad' in script from white stock and lined the card with a bright orange paper inlay. He's a good dad and always comments on my cards, so I know it was appreciated.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Douze Pointe and Tea for Two

Netta Barzilai, also known mononymously as Netta, is an Israeli singer, recording artist and looping artist who won the fifth season of Israel's HaKokhav HaBa, "The Next Star". This earned her the right to represent her country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. On 12th May 2018, she won the contest, held in Lisbon, Portugal, with her song "Toy", marking Israel's fourth win in the Eurovision Song Contest after wins in 1978, 1979, and 1998.
After Netta's grand victory in Lisbon, the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest took place here in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago. When I read about this fabulous sculpture of Netta that had been installed in the Eurovision Village in Tel Aviv, I knew that I had to pop over to see it. It was created by Nirit Levav Packer, whose extraordinary exhibition of life-size statues of pregnant women I saw back in 2017. The Netta sculpture has since been moved to the Israel Children's Museum in Holon after the Eurovision Village's closure.
Inspired by Netta and her song 'Toy', Nirit Levav Packer composed the massive recycled sculpture of the singer, crafted entirely from tens of thousands of used toys collected from kindergartens around Tel Aviv, including stuffed animals, Legos, balls, rattles, puzzle pieces and more. The sculpture is 4 metres tall, 6 metres wide, 2 metres deep and weighs 2 tons. It has been created with so much imagination, creativity, humour and sensitivity. I was thrilled to see it!
The day before the Grand Final of the Song Contest happened to be my birthday! Mister Handmade in Israel and I spent the day in Tel Aviv, first watching Izhar Cohen perform A-Ba-Ni-Bi in the Dizengoff Centre, before joining friends at the Eurovision Village for a cold beer and an afternoon of dancing. The boys didn't want to join us but there was time for cake before we left!
My birthday surprise, saved for another day, was afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem. Opened in 2014 and located only minutes away from the Jaffa Gate and Jerusalem's Old City, I had never even been inside the hotel, being more used to an ice cream or Diet Coca Cola for my afternoon's refreshments!
Afternoon tea was first introduced by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. Under Queen Victoria's reign in Great Britain it became a formal event and ceremony of great cultural significance. Our British Afternoon Tea (a Middle Eastern Afternoon Tea is also available) was served in the King's Court restaurant. We dined on small cucumber and cheese sandwiches, savoury pastries filled with smoked salmon and egg salad, alongside scones with cream and jam (okay, the cream was not clotted), sweet pastries and cakes. This was all served in Villeroy and Boch tableware with a silver butter knife, dessert forks, strainers and teaspoons. We chose from a dozen Ronnefeldt loose leaf teas, including Darjeeling, Assam Bari, Peach, Bora Bora and more.
I can't honestly remember ever having had afternoon tea in the UK but it was great to experience it here in Jerusalem. Somehow the atmosphere was charming and intimate, whilst outside the Jerusalem traffic crawled by and a hamsin wind blew.
The property that originally stood where the Waldorf Astoria now stands was built in 1929 by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El Huseini, as the first luxury hotel in the Middle East, named the Palace Hotel. The Palace offered luxuries that were unheard of at that time: elevators, en suite bathrooms and modern plumbing, bedside telephones and heating. What is basic today in every youth hostel, was in 1929 the epitome of luxury and Haj Amin El Huseini hosted many monarchs and heads of state in great magnificence and splendour. The Palace hotel closed in 1935.
In 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, the government of Israel took over the deserted building for offices and the Ministry of Commerce and Trade occupied the building for over 50 years.
In 2006 the property was bought and converted back to its original purpose - a renowned luxury hotel. The renovation works took nearly eight years to complete. As a heritage landmark, the façade of the building was never demolished and instead, a team of architects worked for three years to restore the 1929 architecture, and even the original main entrance has remained. Many Jerusalemites viewed this venture with trepidation, as The Palace was known as one of Jerusalem's most beautiful buildings and they feared it would not return to its previous glory. The hotel blends Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, together with classic style and, thankfully, its design is acknowledged to be a spectacular success.

Thursday, 13 June 2019


A new customer contacted me and asked me to make a birthday card for her husband. "He likes taking our dog for a walk while listening to various podcasts", she told me. He also likes going on bike rides with their 3 older kids. She also mentioned that he is Argentinian and asked if there was a way to include the flag of Argentina somewhere on the card.
I have shown the birthday boy (who has a birthday the same day as me!) wearing his blue headphones and his dark sunglasses. Their dog, Churro, is next to him and there is a bicycle in the background. He is proudly waving the Argentinian flag.
My customer was kind enough to leave a wonderful review on my Facebook business page:
"Lisa made the perfect birthday card for my husband! She took my long brief and knew exactly which ideas would work best. The card was made quickly, professionally and best of all she's lovely to work with! Thank you so much 😊"
Another customer asked me for a card for her husband too. Her husband is a baal kore (the person who reads the weekly excerpt from the Torah during synagogue services) and loves to learn. She suggested that I show him with a Torah, which is a long scroll containing the entire text of the Five Books of Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. She also requested a Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of how two Jews, Mordechai and Esther, managed to save the Jews of Persia from genocide by the evil prime minister Haman.
I have shown her husband wearing his tallit as he reads from the Torah. The tallit is worn by the reader during the Torah reading. He has a yad (a pointer used by the reader to follow the text during the reading from the parchment Torah scrolls, ensuring that the parchment is not touched) in his hand. Next to him is a Megillat Esther and Magen David, or Star of David.
The Hebrew part of the greeting on the card says "Happy Birthday to my 39 year old husband".