Monday, 20 September 2010

The Princess and the... Teddy Bear

The day after we got back from our summer holiday I had a phone call from a friend. She always tries to send my customised cards to her family in Australia on their birthdays but hadn't thought to ask me to prepare some before I went away. "So", she asked, "Could I please make her two customised cards, like, now?". I wasn't really back in the swing of things yet but I aim to please! A "girly, princessy" type card was requested for her two year old niece. I depicted the dark-haired little girl wearing a golden crown and sitting in a party dress, holding a big cupcake with a number 2 candle on it. Girly enough?
My friend's nephew was also due to celebrate his birthday. The three year old is into diggers and cars and has a huge brown teddy bear in his bedroom, of which I have seen photographs of him sitting cuddled up against. I think I included everything on his card, below!
Whilst I was away my blog was awarded the “I ♥ Your Blog” award by JCB Design Studio. It's always nice to know that others are enjoying your blog. I know how much I love writing it, but how great is it to know that others are keen to read it and love it too! Thanks so much for presenting it to me, JCB!
I have received so much exposure lately from kind people including my pieces in their Etsy Treasuries that frankly I cannot keep up with them all! It has been wonderful to be included in so many of them and additionally, they have displayed so many different pieces of my work. The two examples below show my Penguin Papercut Picture, middle row on the left, and underneath that one, one of my Treasure Boxes, bottom row on the right.
Now could someone please make the Sales Fairy convert all these Treasury appearances into some Etsy sales please ;)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Where in the World?

Living in a country with many immigrants from all over the world, I often find myself making cards that are going to be mailed to various locations worldwide. I have created cards that I know have been sent to America, India, England, Argentina, Holland, Australia, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland and of course, Israel. And those are just the countries that I am aware of! The card above was different though. This card was the very first card that I have created that was sent to Afghanistan!
I do not have any friends or relatives there myself, but the sister of one of my regular customers is a reporter based in Germany and, at the time of her birthday, was to be posted in Afghanistan. Thus a 'Handmade in Israel' card - with a map of the aforementioned country and a laptop computer and reporter's notepad depicted on it - was mailed there. My customer told me that the postal system is not so reliable and can take it's time though. I guess if 'Dianna' didn't receive her card for this year's birthday, there's always next year...The card above, for the very same customer's Dad, was staying in Israel for now! It was a simple request for something cheerful and I hope that 'Dad' liked it. My customer also asked me to create a card for her in-laws wedding anniversary, below. Again there was no specific design request so I went for a pretty, romantic look. This time the card was being sent to England!
I wonder where in the world one of my cards will go to next?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Whitby

My husband teases me about my blog. He tells me that when I write about our family holidays and days out, everything I set down is so very positive and doesn’t mention squabbling kids and so on. I want to set the record straight at this point. Of course my kids squabble. Heck, I'm one of the best squabblers of all! I take the view, however, that those of you with kids know what it is like to spend quality time with them - the good and the bad - yet not all of you have had the opportunity to visit Israel or even some of the places I have recently visited in England. So, on my blog I am going to carry on showing you photos of some of the great places I have been lucky enough to visit. Please enjoy them knowing that we had a wonderful time but also that we are all human and, yes, there were a few bad moments and arguments along the way, but you don't really need to hear about those do you? The pretty little seaside town of Whitby, mentioned in a previous post, was definitely a highlight of our recent trip to the UK. Dominated by the cliff-top ruins of the beautiful 13th century Whitby Abbey, this traditional maritime town, with its old cobbled streets and picturesque houses was a place we had all looked forward to visiting. My youngest son was looking forward to exploring Dracula's castle. The eldest simply likes going to the seaside. We were all looking forward to a really good meal of English fish and chips! We were not disappointed. Whitby is a beautiful town that was a delight to explore. The abbey was fascinating. The red roofs of the houses that overlook the harbor and the North Sea were enchanting and I enjoyed wandering in and out of the little shops - well, as much as I was allowed to with four members of the male species in tow! It's at times like that that I really miss my Mum.
The statue of Captain James Cook, who served his apprenticeship in the town and sailed from the port to change the history of the world, was worth seeing and we took a trip around Whitby Harbour on a scaled replica of his ship, HMS Endeavour, enjoying some fantastic views of the North Yorkshire coastline along the way. A whalebone arch, sitting high up on Whitby’s West Cliff, commemorates the once large whaling industry in the town. We enjoyed wandering along the pier, laughing at the sight of the fishing boats returning to harbour with many eager seagulls following closely behind, hoping for an easy meal.
You can't go to Whitby without having fish and chips and we ended our day eating the same meal as the seagulls, though in a rather different way! Our fresh white fish, fried to perfection in a crispy batter, was served in the typically English way with slices of bread and butter and washed down with a pot of tea. Unfortunately I have obviously been away from England for too long - I preferred a nice cup of coffee after a full day of walking!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Rosh Hashanah 5771

On Wednesday evening my family and I will begin celebrating the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holidays, the most solemn days of the Jewish year, which conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Members of the EtsyChai team have been busy creating some beautiful items for the holiday - a holiday which sees us eating apples and honey to represent the sweetness of the new year - and I was delighted to see one of my Rosh Hashanah card sets included in a recent treasury (below).
I would like to wish all my Jewish customers and friends a very happy, healthy and successful new year - 'Shana Tova U’Metuka' ("May you have a happy and sweet year").

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Basset Hounds, Babies and Big Feet

I am going to give you all a little break from my holiday photos to show you a few customised orders that were delivered during the summer. It seems like quite some time since I created these cards but the kids are now back at school after the long two month break so I dare say there will be a lot more creative work going on in my little space from now on - putting aside the fact that we have a bunch of Jewish holidays coming up very soon and therefore more days off school!The customer who ordered this card was kind enough to show it off to her friends before she took it to Australia. One friend was so keen that she contacted me and asked whether I could make a card for her sister in South Africa who was soon to become a new mum. A scan had shown that her baby had very big feet, so I was asked to create a card showing mum and dad and their soon-to-be-born big-footed son! I tried to not make it too obvious or ugly though as my customer did not want to upset or offend her sister! The family's beloved Basset Hound also joined the group, above.
There were so many hobbies to include on this 60th birthday card! Made for a local customer, I was told that grandma is always flying back and forth between Jerusalem, London and Glasgow. She is always baking cakes and biscuits with her apron on. She enjoys swimming in an outdoor pool and is handy on the sewing machine. Was that all? The design came together quite nicely and I was actually easily able to fit everything in.
The very same customer also wanted a 65th birthday card for her father-in-law. He is from Sunderland, now lives in London but likes to be in his flat in Jerusalem! The signpost that I used in the previous card pointing to the various locations was a good solution for this card as well. This time I added a little depiction of Jerusalem at the bottom of it, above. This grandpa has 9 grandchildren, though I managed to convince my customer that it would be better to show just her own kids on the card otherwise it might have become a bit of a squeeze!
All these cards have long been delivered and as far as I know, well received. The customer who ordered the big-footed baby card wrote to tell me that "The card is gorgeous!". I still have a few more creations from the summer to show you. It's nice to be busy.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

(Old) York & Robin Hood's Bay

Whilst I enjoyed our time in London, I am a northern lass at heart and was excited to be heading back to Yorkshire for a short while. Driving first to Hull to collect Grandpa, we had already decided to spend a few days in York, where we knew there was no end of British history and culture to show the kids. It was kind of strange to be a tourist there - I used to go shopping in York with my Mum when I was younger - but there really was a huge long list of things that we wanted to do.York is a city steeped in history. Frankly there were too many attractions to choose from and we had to make some serious decisions! The morning of our first day there - the one morning of our entire trip when the heavens opened and we were very happy to be indoors - was spent at the York Castle Museum where you can see the cell in which notorious highwayman Dick Turpin was held. If you're interested in the details of daily life in the past, then this is a great museum and all the generations in our little party had a good time.
That same day we climbed up to Clifford's Tower where there are some great views of York city. The kids bought wooden swords with their holiday spending money and spent the rest of the afternoon reenacting the events in the tower. Meanwhile we meandered along the Roman walls - with the boys racing ahead of course - and walked down the truly incredible "Shambles", delighting in the overhanging timber-framed buildings and enjoying a little retail therapy inside them too! I did make it into the wonderful Cath Kidston shop, though my pocket money did not stretch that far on this occasion.
The next day we took a little time away from "Old York", as one son called it, and headed further north to the pretty little seaside town of Whitby and the delightful fishing village, Robin Hood’s Bay. Whitby requires a whole post to itself - far too may photos to post here - but below you can see the charming Robin Hood's Bay, with every twist and turn of a street bringing into view another picture postcard scene.
It is doubtful if Robin Hood himself was ever in the area but, no matter, Robin Hood's Bay, perched at the top of a very steep cliff, with cobbled street down to the sea, is still a place of legend. Viking raiders settled there, nobody knows how many smugglers plied their illicit trade there, and legend has it that secret tunnels and passageways once existed between the houses.
The boys had a wonderful time investigating the rock pools and exploring, whilst I happily photographed the labyrinth of streets and cottages piled on top of one another. Robin Hood's Bay really is a truly lovely Yorkshire village and we all decided that it was the perfect place for a Famous Five adventure!
The next day we were back in York for a prebooked visit to Jorvik. We travelled around the Viking-age city in capsules, encountering the Old-Norse-speaking citizens and their homes and back yards along the way. The afternoon was spent at the excellent National Railway Museum and before long it was time to be heading back to Hull, where a certain football game beckoned...
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