Sunday, 25 July 2010

I'm outta here

Okay, I'm outta here. It's time for a little blogging break for me, as I travel overseas to visit family in the UK. I do have one last thing to show you before I go though. These little cuties were recently delivered to a seemingly very happy customer who had commissioned them as baby presents for two new arrivals. She wanted a present for her brother’s new baby boy and a good friend's baby girl - something that could be framed for their bedrooms. She wanted the design to include an image of a baby and their siblings and parents. As is my usual way of working, I received photos of the respective families and soon set to work.The Hebrew name Keshet means 'rainbow' in English. My customer therefore requested that rainbows and butterflies be included in the picture, a very simple request to work with when the piece is for a little girl. I built my composition around the rainbow, with Keshet herself sitting at one end of the rainbow and her parents, sister and brother at the other end. The final touch was to personalise the picture that little bit further by cutting out the letters of her name in pretty rainbow colours as well.
Theo Cyril is the customer's newborn nephew. She already knew that the carpet in his bedroom is red, so I was able to make the picture to match his room! This picture shows the baby boy, this time waving to us from the centre of the piece, surrounded by his parents and sisters. For this piece I was asked to include "boyish baby stuff" in the background and I had fun cutting out the little sailboat and teddy bear, amongst other toys.
The framing was left to me and I was happy to choose colourful frames to match the pieces. My customer came to collect her order a few days ago. Within minutes of her leaving I received a lovely e-mail from her saying that she had "just got home and had a closer look – they’re really great!".
Have a great summer everyone! I have a lot of holiday stuff to be getting on with now. I'll be back in a few weeks, no doubt with many, many photos from some interesting adventures in England and Belgium. Here goes...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

I have already described here and here the customised cards I was commissioned to create for a family of boys, the three sons and husband of a good friend currently living away from Israel. Finally it was recently the middle boy's birthday and my friend let me know that she had given her son his card.
His brothers love playing football and painting, cutting and gluing respectively, but for this card I was asked to illustrate the birthday boy with a dog. Apparently he loves playing with dogs and really wants one of his own. That wish has yet to come true but in the meantime he loved his card and "everyone around thought it was beautiful too!".
Below you can see the cards for the entire family, now all distributed on the corresponding birthdays. I am looking forward to making another set next year, once my friend has decided what the current favourite hobbies and activities are.
My Etsy Treasury luck continues and this time my Purple Cupcake Notebook, middle row on the left, made it in to a lovely purple collection titled 'Softness'. It proved to have been a lucky treasury because I am pleased to say that the notebook was purchased this week and is currently winging its way to Beverly Hills!
One more post before I go! I have pretty much managed to finish off everything that I needed to do and now, with just a few days to go before we head off, I intend to start thinking about our trip and what we need to take with us.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

A Flurry of Activity

Our family holiday is rapidly approaching and, whilst I have done next to nothing to prepare for our trip, my desk has seen a flurry of activity as I try and complete various orders before we go away. Fortunately the boys are in summer camp every morning until the end of this week so, up till now, I have managed to get quite a lot done.
One of my most loyal customers called me back in June and asked me to make her "June-July cards" for her. This particular lady calls me almost every month and tells me which cards she needs that month for her friends and family scattered around the world. The cards above are just a small selection of the cards I made for her. After chatting to her I realised that she was also soon off on holiday and was due back in Israel just as I was going away. Therefore the "August" birthdays and anniversaries were also added to her request list! We will both be back in the same country in September and normal service will resume. Other regular customers have also been in touch and several more large customised cards, amongst other items which I have yet to show you, have been leaving my desk. The card above was made for a gentleman who is passionate about vintage cars, whilst the card below was a more general request for something pretty for a "wonderful" 17 year old daughter.
Lastly, for now, the container of square cards, below, went to a local shop that I supply only quite irregularly. The owner always wants simple, relatively low-cost cards, rather than the more intricate designs that I am used to creating and I actually find it quite fun once in a while to sit and churn out these cards at a much faster pace than I am used to working at. The shop owner seemed happy with them. I was delighted to have another order under my belt and now it's back to my desk to finish off more in the few days I have left. I have a few other pieces under wraps and hope to squeeze in a couple more posts to show you more before I go away. Do keep watching!

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Birds, er... Apples and the Bees

Apples and bees. Two things that seem to be taking up all my working hours at the moment. I have created so many paper versions of them this week that I can almost taste the apples and hear the bees buzzing in my ears!
'Why?' I hear you ask. Well, I mentioned in my last post that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is early this year, falling at the beginning of September. Consequently I am busy preparing this year's designs and distributing the cards where possible, before I shortly take my leave for a family holiday.
Apples and bees have become the Rosh Hashanah symbols. Festive meals usually include apples and honey to symbolize a sweet new year, thus the reason for my frenzy of apple and bee making! I am actually really enjoying creating them. I find that repetitive work like this can be quite relaxing and doesn't require too much thought, once I have come up with an initial design.
If anyone would like to wish their Jewish family and friends happy and sweet times in the year ahead, the cards are now in my shop, available in packs of five.
In between the Rosh Hashanah crafting, I have also been working on several custom orders. I know that one of the birthdays has now passed and so, below, you can see the 70th birthday card I made for a local gentleman, a Rabbi who served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army for 20 years, and is now a tour guide to China, Vietnam, the Galapagos and various other exotic locations.
From the photo I received of him I could see that his beard is probably his most prominent facial feature. I created a little paper version of the Rabbi and showed him surrounded by some Far Eastern icons - paper lanterns, an oriental style house and one of the famous Galapagos turtles - as well as the U.S. flag and soldier and a Star of David to represent his chaplaincy work.
I haven't yet heard what the reaction was to his card but hope that he was amused, rather than insulted, by it!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Eighty

My father-in-law recently celebrated a significant birthday. I make no secret of the fact that I find cards for men just a little bit challenging, and cards for older men even more so. This card came together quite nicely though and I was pleased with the end result, even if no mention has been of it at all since I mailed it!
Whilst I appreciate that most 80 year-olds do not celebrate their birthdays with a cake and balloons, those items seemed to fit the bill and allowed me to get the number eighty clearly into the picture. Who doesn't like a big chocolate cake with candles anyway?
Once again I am pleased to be able to display another lovely Etsy Treasury which included a piece of mine. My Penguin Papercut Picture can be seen in great company on the top row, second from the left. Blue and silver is a great combination and one that you can hardly go wrong with. Whilst my penguin doesn't actually have any silver within it's frame, several shades of blue make up the penguin's pool and it was great that the picture measured up anyway.
We will be travelling abroad soon, visiting the extended family in the UK, and so I am currently really busy completing orders and creating cards for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be pretty much upon us by the time we get back and the kids return to school. I am enjoying the rush though and am pleased to say that I will have tons to show you here over the next few weeks. Heck, I might even get clever and try and schedule a few posts whilst I am away! What do you think?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Jaffa

This last weekend I encouraged the boys in my family to take a little time out from all the football viewing. We drove half an hour towards the coast, to the beautiful port of Jaffa. Now part of the greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, Jaffa is where the first Jewish settlers of the late 1800s and early 1900s landed when arriving in the land of Israel.
According to legend, Jaffa was named after Noah's son, Japhet, who built it after the Great Flood. There are others who believe that the name derives from the Hebrew word "Yofi" - beauty - a name entirely suited to the place.
Jaffa is the oldest and perhaps most famous of the ports along the Israel’s coast. Historians believe that it is the only port in the world which can boast uninterrupted inhabitation throughout its entire existence. Biblical accounts mention that the cedars used for the construction of King Solomon's Temple came in via Jaffa, whilst Greek legend tells of the chaining of Andromeda to the rocks facing Jaffa's shore. Roman legions, Richard the Lionheart, Napoleon and Turkish sultans all conquered the city.Today Jaffa's population is mixed, with Jews, Christians, and Muslims all living in the city, much of which has been beautifully developed, while other neighborhoods are poor and underprivileged. Culturally, Jaffa has become a place where creative types of all kinds live, work and set up shop, making its streets a maze of discovery.
We visited the Old City and enjoyed an afternoon strolling through its narrow alleys, admiring the old restored buildings, art galleries, restaurants, and promenades. We dipped our feet into the cool refreshing waters of the Mediterranean down at the port and watched the fishermen attempting to make a catch.
The afternoon ended in our usual way - ice creams for all - before we headed home, a little hot and tired, but still in time for the start of the latest World Cup game!
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