Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Mosaic Making

I mentioned in a recent post that I had some exciting projects on the go. This is one of them. For several weeks now I have been going to my boys' school for an occasional session of mosaic making. A group of mums, under the direction of a very sweet and skilled artist and fellow parent, are making a large mosaic of the school's badge. I have never done any mosaic work before but am always interested to try something new and creative and I am really enjoying this project. It is quite different from working with paper, and whilst I am happy sitting working at my desk at home, with the mosaic work I find that I need to stand so that I can see exactly what I am working on and to get an overall feel of the image. The girl's face, in orange, is the part of the school badge that I have created. We all took different areas of the canvas the first time that we met and have stuck with them ever since. It will be interesting to see how our various techniques (for want of a better word - we are all beginners at this) look together when the badge is finally completed. In the meantime we have quite a lot of the white background area still to fill, so the end is not quite yet in sight!
Though we have dreadful weather today and I have been thoroughly soaked whilst out and about this morning, the last time that I drove home from school after spending time working on the mosaic, I parked the car and looked up to see this fabulous orange tree in my garden looking amazing against the bright blue winter sky. I happened to have my camera with me because I had taken the above photos of the mosaic work, so felt compelled to snap away and capture the moment. Sadly the tree doesn't look so lovely today and I dare say that a few of those tasty oranges may well be on the floor by now.
Tomorrow night sees the end of 2009. Wishing you all a wonderful, happy and colourful New Year's Eve. See you next year!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

I know that in the world of blogging there is very little unveiling going on at the moment, whilst people keep their latest pieces under wraps before they are given as Christmas presents. Obviously that is not an issue for me and I am happy to be able to show you some of the latest handmade cards that I have created.
Above, you can see a card for a soon-to-be 5 year old who loves playing football, drawing and colouring and wants to begin karate lessons. I was excited to be able to incorporate all of his hobbies into the one little character. His Grandma, who ordered the card, seemed amused and delighted with it.
This collection of cards were all sent to the same customer's family and friends in the UK. From the top downwards, a 60th birthday card for a lady which specifically had to have a big hat with flowers on it; an anniversary card with colourful hearts; a cute card for a 3 year old boy with a toy car and building blocks on it, and finally, a sweet card for a 5 year old girl.
Whilst the Jewish people worldwide have already celebrated Hanukkah and have now returned to our respective school and work places, I know that for many of you Christmas is rapidly approaching. I wanted to take this opportunity to wish my customers and friends out there happy holidays and a safe and exciting start to 2010. Thank you to all of you who have supported me and my blogging adventure throughout the year. I have enjoyed composing each and every one of my posts, and appreciate every comment and email that I receive.
Seasons Greetings and my very best wishes from Israel.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Nahal Kinah

After eating rather too many of the delicious Hanukkah latkes and sufganiyot described in my last post, a day out hiking in the fresh air was just what we all needed during the recent holidays. Friends asked us to join them for a ramble in Nahal Kinah, the Kinah Stream, in the southern Judean desert, near the city of Arad, in the south of Israel. On a beautiful winter's day we hiked along the riverbed, among steep cliffs and caves. The waterfalls in the area are dry most of the year round, only when it rains is there water, but then it can run over the falls in torrents, carrying with it stones, rocks and boulders. This action has caused incredible layers to be formed in the rock, very similar to those that we recently saw a little further south, in Mitspe Ramon. The boys were busy with their friends most of the day, and as usual, completed the 8 km walk, and climb, much more speedily than us! However, we all had a wonderful day and, like always, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of a day out in the desert. Though very little work was completed whilst the boys were on holiday from school, apart from a bunch of Christmas cards here and there, it was nice to find my art still getting a little exposure through a number of Etsy Treasuries and blogs. FantasTshirts kindly included my Little Bear Papercut Picture (above, bottom row, on the left) in a sweet collection of child related pieces and then another of my papercut pictures, this time one of my penguins (below, bottom row, on the right), appeared in a lovely winter treasury called 'Purples and Blues', created by Sew Stacy. Many thanks to both ladies for displaying my work.
Etsy Chai, a Jewish community team which promotes Jewish and non-Jewish artists handmade Judaica on Etsy, ran a piece all about the game of dreidel during Hanukkah and illustrated the article with a photo of my Hanukkah cards amongst other Hanukkah related work. Once again it was exciting to see my work there (below).
Whilst the rest of the world is preparing for Christmas, here in Israel we have returned to work, now that our holiday season has ended. I have several exciting projects in hand. See you in a few days when I have yet more to show you.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Happy Hanukkah

The Hanukkah celebrations have begun and this evening we lit the third candle on our Hanukkiah. Hanukkah, or The Festival of Lights, is an eight day holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in the 2nd century BCE. The festival has a number of traditions and customs associated with it.
We light the Hanukkiah, or Menorah, to remind us of a great miracle that happened long ago. After the Maccabees (the Jewish fighters) defeated the Syrians and chased them out of Jerusalem, the Jews wanted to light the Temple Menorah again. But there was one problem; the oil in the Temple was only enough for one night, yet it continued to burn for eight full days, the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil. When we light the Menorah it is to remember this miracle.
Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil. Sufganiyot are jam-filled doughnuts that are fried and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
As a part of tradition, we also play a game called dreidel on Hanukkah. The dreidel is a 4-sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side. The four letters which appear on the four corners of a dreidel allude to the miracle of Hanukkah. They spell out: Nes (N-miracle), Gadol (G-great), Haya (H-happened) and Po (P-here, meaning in Israel).
All these traditions give significant meaning and importance to the festival, and add a little weight on the scales too!
Quite appropriately on Hanukkah, I was delighted to see my name ‘up in lights’ during The Festival of Lights. Etsy Chai, an online Jewish community team which promotes Jewish and non-Jewish artists handmade Judaica on Etsy, featured an interview with me. If you are interested in reading a little bit more about me and my work, please click here.
To those of you celebrating this fun festival, I wish you a very happy candle-lighting, dreidel-spinning, latke-eating Hanukkah!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Beitar Jerusalem and a Bar Mitzvah

Quite a number of custom-made cards have been winging their way to some happy celebrants recently. After all the running around, with trips to the north and south of the country, I have been knuckling down and getting on with some creative work.
The card above, showing a young Beitar Jerusalem supporter, was requested for a young man due to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. I was asked to create a card connecting the fact it was his Bar Mitzvah, but also showing his love for his favourite football team. I hope that this illustration of the young man in his yellow and black kit, holding a football and wearing his kippah, or skullcap, fit the bill nicely.
These cards were all ordered by the same customer who had several birthdays of relatives and friends in the UK that she wished remember. Amongst the collection you can see a card for 'Louis' who drives an iconic London black cab; an 80th birthday card for a supporter of both Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United; a card for 'David' who is a motorbike enthusiast.I have mentioned before that I sometimes participate in a local women's networking group. Some time ago I met a lady at one of the meetings who runs Fun in Jerusalem, a website that is a great source for information on kid’s activities in Jerusalem. She recently contacted me and asked whether I would be interested in having my work included in a Hanukkah feature about interesting and unique gifts for kids. Above, you can see a screenshot of the page featuring my Hanukkah cards and Treasure Boxes. The extra publicity was appreciated and it is always nice to have my work featured alongside great company.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Twins

A friend called and asked me to make a birthday card for her twin sister who lives in England. Her sister and her husband are keen Salsa dancers and so my friend described what the couple look like and asked me to create a card showing them dancing together. I made the card, below, and my friend seemed delighted with it.
A few days later I received an e-mail from my friend's husband. He had seen the birthday card for his sister-in-law and was therefore reminded to order a card from me for his wife! His e-mail read, "M. has her birthday next week (as you know because you did her twin sister's card!)." This time the requested theme was netball, and after a little probing, I found out that she plays in the Wing Attack position, so was able to personalise her card that little bit further by adding the correct letters to her red bib.
I was super impressed that her husband ordered a customised card for his wife. It has to be said that the majority of my customers are female and even my own husband generally doesn't have a clue when his own family's birthdays are (except for mine, of course!). Maybe marrying a twin does give this particular husband a clear and major advantage!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

North and South

We have had a run of busy weekends lately, and though it can be quite exhausting at times and sometimes all you want to do is get up late and even perhaps stay in your pyjamas all day, each and every time we have been out we have ended up having a wonderful day! Two weeks ago we headed north, to the lush green Galilean scenery of Gush Halav and the Bar'am Forest, and last weekend we were southbound, to Ein Gedi, an oasis located west of the Dead Sea, close to Masada and the caves of Qumran. The landscape in both places was incredibly different, something that never ceases to amaze me in the tiny country that Israel is.
The photos above allow you a glimpse of the beautiful scenery we enjoyed up north. We started our hike at Gush Halav, known by the Arabs as el-Jish, or simply Jish, and now a Maronic Christian village. It's first inhabitants arrived approximately 5,000 years ago and the place became renowned during the time of the Second Temple (about 2,000 years ago), when there was an ancient Jewish centre there. Next to the village are the remains of a synagogue from the Roman period, with two rows of columns, the remains of a roof, and a pillar with an ancient inscription.
We continued our way up stream along Nahal Zivon, where we saw pretty flowering saffron plants, or karkom, and olives being harvested from the rows of trees, then climbed uphill through the shady Bar'am Forest. We ended the day with a well-earned picnic, as the sun began to set and, though it had been a lovely day for walking, it was getting to be a little too cool to sit outside. Last weekend we were invited to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of the son of good friends of ours at the Ein Gedi Field School. Ein Gedi is an oasis in the desert, situated on the shore of the Dead Sea – the lowest place on Earth - at the feet of majestic mountains and cliffs, and is the place where David hid while being pursued by King Saul.
The Bar Mitzvah celebrations began with an easy hike along the spring-fed stream of Nahal David, surrounded by flowing waterfalls and lush vegetation – a sharp contrast to the surrounding desert. We were lucky enough to see several ibex and the hyrax, prominent residents of the oasis, along the way, and the panoramic views allowed us glimpses of the Dead Sea.
The Field School proved to be a wonderful choice for the weekends celebrations, located on a nearby hilltop overlooking the desert area. The ibex were happy to graze amongst us, and a gap between Shabbat synagogue services allowed us time for a short climb up to a nearby ancient ma'ayan, or spring.
This weekend we intend to be at home and do very little, though the memories of our recent travels make the early starts that these trips require more than worthwhile.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Glasses and a Guitar

A short while ago I received a call from a lady looking for a special wedding card for a close family member. She had seen the cards in my Etsy shop but wasn't sure if she wanted a card from there, or something custom-made. Chatting to her, I learnt that the groom-to-be played the guitar and that the bride wore green framed glasses. I realised that I could have some fun with the illustration of this couple, and so, after a photograph was e-mailed to me, I set to work creating the groom with his guitar and those glasses! Above, and below, you can see the end result. I do hope that the card was well received and that the customized design was appreciated. The Hebrew greeting wishes the couple 'Mazal Tov' or congratulations.
I have been very lucky to have my work included in several Etsy Treasuries lately. Christine of Beads of Paradise kindly included my Purple Cupcake Notebook in a lovely collection of purple coloured gifts. It is the first time that one of my notebooks has found its way into a treasury. My cards and pictures have always featured before. Thank you Christine. The extra exposure is always very much appreciated. My notebook can be seen below, right in the middle of the picture.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

The eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is almost upon us and for those of you with family and friends abroad or in another city, I have some colourful new cards in my shop so that you can send them Hanukkah greetings from afar.
The cards show the dreidel, a four sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side that children play with on Hanukkah. Each side is imprinted with a Hebrew letter. These letters are an acronym for the Hebrew words נס גדול היה שם (Nes Gadol Haya Sham, "A great miracle happened there"), referring to the miracle of the oil that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem.
For those of us here in Israel, I also have cards with the fourth side of the dreidel inscribed with the letter פ (Pe), replacing the last word 'there' for 'here', referring to the fact that the miracle occurred in the Land of Israel.
Last week Yafit of Yafit's First Glass, and a fellow member of the Etsy Chai team, included these very same cards in a treasury called 'Team EtsyChai spins the Dreidel'. As always, it was lovely to see my work included in the collection, right in the centre of this picture. Thank you so much, Yafit.
Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 11th so order your cards now and let your relatives and friends know that you are thinking of them during this fun festival.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mitspe Ramon

I mentioned in a recent post that my Dad is currently here for a visit. With flights to Tel Aviv being frequent and easy to arrange, he is able to come and see us quite often. Whilst here, it has become a nice habit that we all go away for a weekend together. This trip was no exception and we spent this last glorious weekend at Mitspe Ramon, a small town in the Negev desert of southern Israel.
Mitspe Ramon, from the arabic "Ruman" meaning "Romans", and probably linked to a track that Romans built there, sits on a northern ridge overlooking the spectacular Ramon Crater. This crater, or makhtesh, as it is called in Hebrew, is 28 miles long and five miles wide, and is shaped like an elongated heart. The crater and surrounding area forms Israel's largest national park, the Ramon Nature Reserve.With two full days in the area we were able to see a lot, though we of course did not attempt the trek recommended for the "physically fit" which can take up to three days! Our first full day saw us visiting the local Alpaca Farm, the only farm in the world where over 400 exotic alpacas and llamas are raised. The kids had a great time hand feeding the animals and enjoyed a ride on 'Dali' the llama, whilst we took in the stunning desert scenery. Afterwards we walked along a small part of the sculpture promenade which runs along the western edge of the crater and features many environmental and musical sculptures, created by artists from different countries. The views of Makhtesh Ramon were simply breathtaking and it was a wonderful spot to stop for a picnic. The ibex - mountain goats - thought so too and we watched two of them swiftly climb up from the road, paying no attention to us at all. Our second day in Mitspe Ramon started with both my boys learning to rappel off the cliffs of the Ramon Crater with the help of a very patient instructor. They had a 15 meter descent and Mummy was afraid to watch, never mind take part! They of course had a wonderful time, though my six year old did admit to being a little bit scared!
Next on the agenda was a quick visit to the Mitspe Ramon Visitors Centre where we learnt a little about the geography and geology of the place from large models and watched a film describing the formation of the Negev and its craters. Once again the view from the centre's rooftop observation deck was fabulous. After some guidance at the main desk, the real adventure then began.
A short drive southward into the crater allowed us to get up-close with the landscape and really begin to appreciate its beauty. We turned onto a gravel road, left the car and set off on the footpath toward Nahal Ardon, or the Ardon Canyon. The rock formations around us were beautiful, the colours varying from black and visible signs of volcanic activity, to the red and green sand layer formations of a dike. At the end of the trail we turned back and returned to the car. Although it seemed a chore to use the same path back, we enjoyed it all over again with the effect of changing light. Our final stop of the day, before the drive home, was at The Carpentry, or Ha-Minsarah, a sandstone hill with exposed symmetrical hexagonal prisms of sandstone laid in piles like wooden plates in a carpentry. We wandered along a special lifted wooden path that allows walkers to pace above the prisms without hurting them and enjoyed the view from the top.
It was time to head home and leave the magnificent panoramas of the Ramon Crater for the time being. My Dad is leaving us too this evening, yet after the extraordinary few days we had together, we all hope to return to Mitspe Ramon again one day soon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs

Whilst we were celebrating my son's ninth birthday, someone else was celebrating her 40th. I was asked to make a special birthday card that was very girly and full of sparkle! I am not such a sparkly person myself, but I really went with the theme and enjoyed putting together the flowers, clothes, bows and other feminine items. I hope that the card was well received.Apparently the sister of this Bar Mitzvah boy received a card made by me a couple of years ago when she had her Bat Mitzvah, and the family still remember it. This time, for her brother, I was asked to make something "sophisticated, but also artistic and creative". I was also asked to put his name on the card in Hebrew. The family are religious so I added a Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl worn in the synagogue on Shabbat and holidays, and while reciting morning prayers, along with a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) and kippa (skullcap). I hope that this card will be appreciated as much as the Bat Mitzvah one seems to have been.
Yesterday I was delighted to receive a convo from Rutik letting me know that she had included one of my Treasure Boxes in an etsy Treasury. I was very pleased to see it there, on the second row, left-hand side. I haven't seen my work in a Treasury for a little while now, so was thrilled to see it placed alongside some other lovely items. Thanks for including me, Ruth.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Nine

Tonight there are going to be lots of extra people sleeping in my house. Tonight my eldest son is having a sleepover to celebrate his birthday, and tomorrow, when he wakes up, he will be nine years old! He has invited eight friends to join us this evening, and Grandpa arrived on the plane from England last night, so we will have a full house, to say the least!
Birthdays of course means presents, cake, and a special card made by Mum. I have mentioned before my sons love of football. Last years birthday card showed him wearing half an Arsenal shirt and half a Hull City shirt. These English football teams are still his favourites, so this time I have shown him waving a football scarf favouring both teams. He goes to football coaching twice a week and occasionally receives tickets to go and see the Israeli team, Maccabi Tel Aviv. They have become firm favourites as well and so his card shows him wearing a Maccabi t-shirt. Henry the hamster has popped in too, sitting in his favourite position on top of my son's head, and 'Rabbity', who is also be celebrating his ninth birthday, makes an appearance in the top left-hand corner! My son has requested a football pitch cake for the last few years. This year he decided on something a little different, just for a change. According to his younger brother, he only wanted this alien cake because of all the sweets, but that is fine! On your birthday (nearly) everything is okay.
Happy Birthday to my special 9 year old. May we all get just a little bit of sleep tonight...

Monday, 2 November 2009

Positive feedback

Some people might think that I am slightly crazy choosing to make handmade cards all hours of the day, yet I love the little business that I have created for myself and occasionally I receive feedback that tells me that others appreciate what I do too. This morning I received an e-mail from a friend that made me feel like the most wonderful artist in the world! I made the card below, showing a little gymnast, for my friend to give to her daughter on her ninth birthday and it seems that it was a great success. With her permission, I am posting her e-mail below for all to see:
"T loved the card! She dug out all the cards you gave her over the past few years and had them lined up on the sideboard. A number of people commented how good they look. And T says she wants to do your job when she grows up :) It's not the first time she's said that!
Anyway, thanks again."I have been re-stocking at the local Judaica store too. The manager there called and asked me for various designs that they were running low on, including some more wedding cards, Barmitzvahs, and a few cards for the upcoming Festival of Lights, Chanukah.This little bear, below, has already travelled all the way to America. It is unusual for me to sit and spend some time on a card that I intend to use myself. I have mentioned before that I always pay great care and attention to custom orders and can spend a lot of time researching particular subject matters and hobbies, but when I need a card to send to a family member or friend, it usually comes out of my stock! However, on this occasion I did spend a little time making this cute teddy bear card for the young daughter of a good friend of mine. It was a sweet and simple design to create and I envisage more bears appearing in the future.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

An Officer and... an Artist

One of the last-minute orders that I met last week was for a young lady who turned nine. Last year she was interested in ballet, but this year her favourite hobby is art, so I showed her with her paint palette and easel at hand, creating a masterpiece. Unfortunately last year I forgot to add her little round glasses - and her Mum was nice enough not to tell me - but I remembered this year and hope that they make the little artist look like the real thing!This card, in Hebrew, was ordered by the daughter of the lady I met in the synagogue a couple of weeks ago. Apparently she spotted the card I had made for her Mum and as a result wanted me to create one for her husband's birthday. The main feature of this card, apart from the 40, was to be army boots. Her husband is a reserve officer and on his birthday was representing Tzahal - The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) - abroad. He is also an avid reader and works in computers, so, as always, I have tried to illustrate his many interests on the card. The Hebrew greeting says 'Happy 40th Birthday, Benny'.
My visiting friend has now returned to the UK and I have had a busy week with several custom card orders and cards to make for a couple of shops that needed new stock. I'll be back in a few days with more to show you. See you then!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Mountain of Wind

Just when I think the summer is really over we manage to squeeze in another wonderful day out in the countryside, enjoying the last of the sunshine. Har HaRuach Goat Farm, or 'The Mountain of Wind', is situated on the slopes of the Judean Mountains, near Jerusalem. We picnicked in the nearby woods, sampling the tastiest hard and soft cheeses I have ever had, purchased just a few minutes before at the cheese selling point at the farm. Afterwards we took a short walk around the National Park of Har HaRuach, enjoying spectacular forest views, and at 4 o'clock returned to the farm to watch the goats being milked and the kids being bottle fed. The highlight of the day for us all came as we watched a nanny-goat give birth and her newborn settled in with it's friend, born just ten minutes earlier. We had to drag the boys home at the end of the day and even they agreed that what they had witnessed that day far superseded time on the computer.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Seeing Double

Last year I made these cards for a friend's twin boys. This year I was asked to make another set of cards, this time for their third birthdays. They are a year older, their hair has grown a little longer, and they have progressed from riding tricycles to "real bikes with stabilizers". My friend told me that her kids are typical boys and love their toy mobile phones and cars, and that one boy loves his blue biking helmet, whilst the other does not. I hope that I got all the details right!Around the same time I was asked to make a card for another set of twins, this time newborns. You may have seen my new baby designs in my etsy shop. I adapted one particular design to work for twins and was delighted with the result.
My visiting friend and I have had a really fun week together. She is in Tel Aviv this evening and I am generally catching up and doing a little cooking for the weekend. I must admit that I have only made two cards this week, both last minute orders, but even I concede that a special week together with an old friend is definitely worth giving up precious card making time for!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Near and Far

I moved to Israel in 1995 but have kept in close contact with my best friend in the UK ever since and today she is flying over for a visit! I can't wait to see her and spend time with her, so expect things to be a little bit quieter on the blog front for a few days this week. Before I disappear however, I'd like to show you some recent custom-made cards, some of which have already also travelled quite some distance.
The cards for 'Shanie' and 'Yonah', above, were ordered by the visiting Mum of a Dutch friend, who sent them to the United States to her granddaughters there. Shanie plays the clarinet, which she has just started to learn, and I hope that she enjoys seeing her musical self playing on this card. The second card was for her sister, Yonah, who has just started first grade and so I depicted her reading a book, with her pencils at the ready!These cards are from my ready-made range, personalised with a birthday greeting. Some of these designs you may have seen before, but the shirt and tie is a new addition to my collection for men.Whilst in the synagogue recently, celebrating Simchat Torah, a lady came up to me and asked me if I was "The Card Lady". She told me that her son was due to celebrate his 40th birthday that coming week and asked me if I could make one of my special cards for the occasion. I was pleased to receive an e-mail from her the following day detailing his interests and hobbies, and the resulting customised card shows her son's two children, trainers illustrating his love of jogging, garden tools and a computer. My new customer seemed very happy with her card, and I was pleased with my new title too!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Family Portraits

The boys are back at school and I have had a busy couple of days working on several custom card orders. Those that I am able to show you now were made a short time ago and I am sure that both of the birthdays have been celebrated by now.
The first card, above, was requested by the customer who ordered these cards several months ago. He said they were very well received and asked me to make another in a similar vein, showing all the members of his family with his Mum (card not shown). He also wanted a slightly different card for his Dad. For this one he wanted me to illustrate Dad in the centre, surrounded by the Indian, Israel and UK flags, a newspaper, cup of tea and breakfast items. Some of my customers e-mail me photos of their family members so that I can try and get a likeness. Whilst I always stress that my cards are by no means portraits, it is always fun to play with the different hair styles and skin colours and get to know my customers a little, and this one was no exception. This fellow, celebrating his 80th birthday, obviously takes his English breakfast very seriously!The second card was also requested by a repeat customer who had been thrilled with this family grouping. This time her kids wanted a card showing themselves with Dad. In this case I know the kids well - in fact the boy wearing the kippa (skullcap) is in my youngest son's class at school - so no photographs were necessary of the children, though I did need a reminder of what Dad looked like.
Happy Birthday to both Dads! I hope that you liked your cards.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Festival Weekdays

This morning I realised that the time had finally come. We were officially "after the chagim" (Jewish Festivals) and I now have quite a long stretch of time to get down and do some work. In Israel everything seems to stop whilst we celebrate first Rosh Hashanah, then Yom Kippur, which is closely followed by the festival of Sukkot and the remaining days known as Chol HaMoed ("festival weekdays"). My husband had the week off work and we have had yet more time to explore our wonderful country.
Above you can see a sample of some of the places we visited. The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and the adjacent photo of The Western Wall might look like the real thing but were in fact models seen at Mini Israel. We saw recovering sea turtles at The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, run by the Israel Nature & Parks Authority at Mikhmoret, and picked the tastiest clementines at Shvil HaTapuzim, or The Orange Route, near Hadera. We spotted the little kingfisher at The Jerusalem Bird Observatory, located in the centre of Jerusalem near the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), and followed the Burma Road, the makeshift route built by Israeli forces during the 1948 siege of Jerusalem, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.
The weather is just a little bit cooler now, though we were still able to enjoy a day on the beach, and the colours around me seemed more autumnal. We actually enjoyed a few drops of rain whilst we were birdwatching in Jerusalem, and yesterday we prayed for yet more rain during the Shmini Atzeret (the eighth day of gathering following Sukkot’s week long festival) service in the synagogue.
Once again we have had a wonderful week discovering incredible places all over Israel, and I feel so fortunate to be living in this amazing little country.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Cupcakes and Karaoke

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and most certainly not a day for blogging. In a few days time we will begin celebrating the seven day holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. We have a Sukka (temporary dwelling) to build tonight and I have lots of plans for the week long holiday. Blogging may be a little sporadic over the next week or two, so I thought that I would catch up now and show you a couple of my latest pieces.
The Purple Cupcake Notebook, above, has recently gone into my shop. I started playing with the cupcake design here and decided that it would be good to try something new in my range and use it to embellish some lovely purple notebooks that I had sourced locally. I had some very positive feedback when I posted about the notebook in the etsy forums and hope that it may be the start of something good.I received a jpeg of this 'Karaoke Hits' background from a client in the UK and was asked to adapt it and create a Batmitzvah card around it. Apparently the Batmitzvah girl's life is performing and the card had to be very musical, including lots of microphones and singing notes. I was also asked to incorporate the the titles of Annie, Oliver, Hairspray and Mama Mia, using the typeface of the musicals. This was one of those cards when it was best not to question the copyright issue. It was a one-off - much more collage than papercut art - but my client was happy and the card was well received.
I recently received an e-mail from Stephanie of Cabbages and Kings telling me that I had won the giveaway on her blog and that my prize was a print of my choice from her shop. I chose the fabulous 'Standing Tall', which I have already received, and am delighted with it. Many thanks Stephanie, and thank you also for your kind words about my work on your blog.
Now, where did we put the wood for that Sukka...?
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