Thursday, 29 April 2021

A Covid-19 Engagement

A new customer contacted me with a request for some framed art. Her sister-in-law had got engaged and she thought it would be nice to give the new couple one of my pictures based on their engagement photo. They had met and got engaged through Covid-19, so she thought it might be cute to make the "diamond" on her sister-in-law's engagement ring a little corona ball. We also agreed to keep the masks that they are wearing on their chins as a reminder of the period.  
I have shown the couple exactly as they appear in the photo, making sure to create the bride-to-be's jacket in denim and to add the teeny tiny logo on her fiancé's shirt. The proposal was at sunset, so I showed the sun setting in the background.
My customer also wanted to add their names on the picture, along with the date of their engagement. I added them in Hebrew at the bottom of the piece.
My customer seemed delighted with her picture. "I've been waiting for an occasion to get one of your cards or pictures" she told me. Her sister-in-law was happy for me to share it here on my blog. "Thank you for the wonderful picture." she said.


Monday, 26 April 2021

Ein Kerem and the Beit Zayit Dam

Our first hike after Israel's third lockdown started in Ein Kerem, a beautiful village in the southwest of Jerusalem. The name of the village means "Spring of the Vineyard". It is surrounded by natural groves and the breathtaking landscape of the Jerusalem Hills. Christian tradition holds that Saint John the Baptist was born in Ein Kerem and the village is a pilgrimage site for many Christian visitors. There area number of active churches and monasteries in the village, as well as restaurants, galleries and artisan shops.
We have visited Ein Kerem many time over the years. I blogged about it back in 2013. On this occasion we simply began our hike in the village, soon finding our way onto the Israel Trail via a set of steps known as Madragot Gan Eden (The Garden of Eden Stairway). At the bottom we took a break in the Ein Kerem Community Garden for breakfast before continuing on with our hike through the Ein Kerem national park, following the route of Nahal Ein Kerem (nahal is Hebrew for "stream").
January to March is the season of the beautiful wild anemone, called Calanit in Hebrew, and of the almond tree, Shaked, the first of the fruit trees in Israel to wake from their winter sleep. These particular flowers and trees were in full bloom as we made our way down along our route. They were a welcome reminder that spring is just around the corner. Centuries-old olive trees - among the most ancient in the country - were growing on the agricultural terraces, reflecting devoted care by the local inhabitants down through the ages. We even spotted a hyena making its way along the path!
After a short while we reached the bottom of the hill where we turned onto a new tree lined trail and bike path, towards the Beit Zayit reservoir and dam. 
The Beit Zayit Water Reservoir is a seasonal reservoir that was built in the 1950s for the purpose of storing rainwater so that it seeped into the ground and reached the water reservoir (aquifer) in the coastal area near Tel Aviv. In order to build the reservoir, a dam, above, was built to prevent the Sorek Stream from flowing through Jerusalem. 
After the construction was completed and water was stored in the reservoir, the engineers discovered that the water was indeed seeping, but the wrong way! Instead of flowing to the reservoir in the coastal area, the water was seeping into the springs in the Judean Desert, in the east of Israel, and not accumulating properly.
Despite the engineering and hydrological failure, it was decided not to destroy the dam and the reservoir but to leave it as a tourist attraction. It is now a pretty picnic spot and a great place to hang out for a relaxing afternoon.
We found a gap in the fence around the reservoir where we were able to get closer to the water's edge (most of the area is fenced off). One side of the reservoir is lined with trees, while the side we found ourselves on was grassy. In quieter times the reservoir is a great place for birdwatching. Mallards, sandpipers, coots, moorhens and grebes can all be found there. 
After a short while we backtracked along the bike path then turned left, up into the hills, past farmland and the neighbourhood of Beit Zayit, a moshav which was established in 1949 by Jewish immigrants from Egypt, Romania and Yugoslavia. The moshav's economy was once based on fruit orchards, vegetables, poultry and other farm products. Nowadays Beit Zayit is a trendy alternative to living in Jerusalem.
Turning right, we then picked up a green trail, returning to Ein Kerem on Shvil HaHaruv ("The Carob Trail"). We walked along a rocky pathway, under the shade of pine trees and passing clumps of Rakefot (Persian cyclamen). Rakefot bloom throughout late winter and into spring and it was truly delightful to see so many of these delicate pale pink flowers during our hike.
After a while we were treated to a wonderful view of Ein Kerem and the terraces just beyond. We turned onto a black marked trail, which brought us back into the village and to our car.
It had been a beautiful hike and the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors once again, after being in lockdown for so many weeks previously.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Running on the Track

A new customer wrote to me with a request for a birthday card for her son who was turning 16. She told me that he is a runner and sent me a photo of the young man in action. I also received  the logo of his running club - a simple one made up of three circles - and some physics diagrams too.
I showed Aron on the running track. I carefully cut out the circles of his running club's logo and added a big number 16 to mark his age and those physics diagrams as well.
Mum was delighted with the card when she collected it but wasn't sure that Aron would want me to share it here. Several days later I received a message saying "Aron said you can post his card. He loved it! We all did." Apparently he wants his parents to frame it for him as well.
I think it was winner!

Monday, 19 April 2021

Their Parents' Anniversary

A new customer contacted me with a request for a card for her parents who are currently in the UK. They were soon to be celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary and she wanted a card showing the couple on their wedding day. The wedding photo I received was a black and white one but their daughter told me that she thought the flowers in mum's hair were white. Since dad was wearing a dinner suit, we decided it must have been black.
Their daughter was delighted with the end result, as were her parents. She told me that "they were blown away [by the card]".
My customer has her own small business, making sushi, in the city we both live in but was recently kind enough to write an online review of several local small businesses, including my own.
"The card Lisa made for my parent's anniversary was stunning!! I've admired Lisa's work for a couple of years now and I was just waiting for the opportunity to have a special card made for someone. Lisa is EXTREMELY talented - order from her and add magic to any occasion."
Another customer asked me for a card based on her parents wedding photo as well. This time I received a coloured photo of the couple, so I could clearly see that the theme was pink - pink bridesmaids dresses and pink flowers for the bridesmaids and bride.
I showed dad in his black suit and mum with her billowing veil and lucky wedding horseshoe. Apparently the giving of horseshoes to a bride is a long standing tradition. Well before Christian times, a horseshoe was thought to represent a crescent moon and was therefore a very potent fertility charm! However, more recently, in Victorian times the tradition was established as a way of bringing good luck to the newlyweds for the duration of their lives together. The horseshoe has to be hung the right way up, facing upwards in a "U" shape. Hanging it upside down would mean that its powers would fall away.
My customer's parents have been married for 55 years, so I added a pink number 55 to the card, along with some more pink and white flowers.
My customer was delighted with the card and told me that her parents loved it!
* This post has been shared on Inspire Me Monday and Happiness is Homemade.
JENerally Informed