Thursday, 18 January 2018

Making Hey

Remember the Hebrew letter Lamed that I created? Well, this time I made a Hey. The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the Hey has the sound of "h" as in "hay". Hey is know as a guttural letter since it is pronounced in the back of the throat. When Hey appears at the end of a word, it is normally silent.
In gematria (a mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters) Hey represents the number 5. According to Jewish mystics, the letter represents the divine breath, revelation, and light (the word "light" is mentioned five times on the first day of creation (Gen. 1:3-4), which is said to correspond to the letter Hey).
In the Modern Hebrew language, the letter Hey can be used for a variety of purposes. It functions as the definitive article in Hebrew, a sort of demonstrative that points to the object and make it concrete and definitive. Thus איש, a man, becomes האיש (ha-ish), the man. Adding a Hey at the end of a noun "feminises" it (although not always). The Hey can also change the meaning of a sentence into a question when attached to the beginning of certain words. For example, "yadata" (ידעת) means "you knew", but when we place a Hey in front, we get "hayadata" (הידעת), meaning "did you know?" It can also indicate movement towards something, such that "tzafon" (צפון) means "North", while "tzafona" (צפונה), with a Hey at the end of the word, changes the meaning to "towards the North".
In Kabbalah (the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible) Hey represents the five fingers, the five senses and the five dimensions, in addition to the five levels of the soul. There are five fingers on hamsa amulets, a very common talismanic symbol. Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise G-d *.
The letter is also often used instead of writing out one of the most common names used for G-d. Hey is often used to represent the name of G-d as an abbreviation for Hashem, which means "The Name", and is a way of saying G-d without actually saying the name of G-d. In print, Hashem is usually written as Hey with a geresh (an apostrophe-like sign placed after a letter): ה׳‬.
I drew a sans-serif letter Hey and filled it with flowers, leaves and one of my signature little birds.
My letters are available unframed. They measure 12x17cm and fit perfectly into the mount of an IKEA 18x24cm RIBBA frame. This letter Hey was created as a Bat Mitzvah gift for a young lady called Hadar. Do you have someone you would like me to cut a papercut initial for?
* Jewish people do not write G‑d's name in a place where it may be discarded or erased. Treating G‑d's name with reverence is a way to give respect to G‑d.

** This post has been shared on {wow me} wednesday, Wow Us WednesdaysWednesday around the WorldWonderful Wednesday Blog HopWordless Wednesday Blog Hop, Share Your Cup Thursday, The Happy Now Blog Link- UpArtsy-Fartsy Link PartyEncouraging Hearts & Home Blog HopThe Creative CircleLittle Things ThursdayHappiness is Homemade and Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday).

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Barça, Barça, Baaarça!

"Yonatan has been begging for his own card, especially since his brothers and all our family have got one over the years" his Mum wrote to me. So I made him a card for his 7th birthday. "He is absolutely soccer crazy!" she said. "He supports Barcelona football team. At the moment he is obsessed with the "Supergol" football cards and album [a sticker album of Israel's football league which is published every year], and loves his golden ball and golden box. Of course his red football boots are crucial too!" "I hope you can depict some of this in the card!" Mum wrote. Of course I could!
I showed Yonatan wearing his beloved team's cap. He has his golden ball in one hand. Behind him is the Supergol album and some stickers, his golden box and his much-loved red football boots. The
Barça crest, which shows the St George Cross and the red and yellow bars of the flag of Barcelona, the club initials FCB on a strip across the centre, and below, the Barça colours and a ball, is next to him. A big red number 7 marks his age.
Mum was kind enough to message me to tell me that the card had arrived. "I love it! I'm sure he [Yonatan] will too!" she wrote. Then the next day she followed up to say that "Yonatan, and all his friends, loved the card, especially seeing HIS shoes!"
Never underestimate the importance of a special birthday card.
Roi's mum also wanted a special card for her son's birthday. Last year the theme of his card was climbing, but this year mum had a long list of things she wanted me to include. She specifically asked me to show her son standing on his head! His various interests (apart from standing on his head) include playing the guitar, Kosher Kravi (combat fitness) and drama. He is a madrich (youth counsellor) with the Hebrew Scout Movement in Israel and he likes to eat hamburgers from a favourite restaurant.
I showed Ro'i standing on his head and added the Scouts badge, the Hebrew words for combat fitness and a little book that says מחזה (play) on it, to his left. To his right is a guitar, and a hamburger, along with the logo of Ro'i's favourite restaurant. Finally, the number 17 marks his age.
It seems that my card made Ro'i's brothers laugh (and I know why - he did look a little strange when turned the right way up!):
"Lisa, it's the coolest card ever! We all had such a laugh looking at it... the boys kept turning it over and laughing. I hope you had fun making it because we love it!"
Well, it's good to have a giggle!
Lastly, this small card was a request for a young man who likes cricket and football. I remember creating a card for him with a cute green monster on it, back in 2014. It seems that he has moved on to sportier things since then.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Eden's Album

Eden recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah and her mum asked me to make an extra special album to mark her big day. Why was it extra special? Well, this album has TWO covers! Mum decided that she would like a book that opens both the Hebrew and the English way (Hebrew books open from right to left). That way all their English speaking family and friends could open it and sign it one way, and their daughter's Hebrew speaking friends could do the other. The album was to have the same design on both sides, apart from the wording which was to be in English and then Hebrew. Look closely below and you can see the two ever-so-slightly different covers.
I think that Eden liked her album, don't you?
Eden loves to read and is a big Harry Potter fan. She's into drama and playing football, and loves sushi and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She is also a big fan of potatoes, her mum told me. She loves chips, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes and jacket potatoes, so mum asked if I could add some potatoes to the book! I was also asked to include some small pictures of pineapples (a private family joke) and to add some flowers to the cover, since the invitation to Eden's Bat Mitzvah was taking on the theme of the Garden of Eden.
There was plenty to work with.
I have shown Eden with a Harry Potter book in one hand and with a large Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the other. To her left are two theatrical masks representing her love of drama, and some sushi. To her right is a plate with a potato and some chips on it, a small pile of books, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrapper and a football.
The wording 'Eden's Bat Mitzvah' appears in English along with the date, and then I did the same again in Hebrew. There are pink flowers in two corners of the covers to bring in the Garden of Eden theme.
I decorated several pages inside the album with pineapples, pink flowers and a few themed pages. The first themed page shows a plate with some potatoes and chips on it. I think that it is the first time that I have included a potato in one of my albums! Next is a page with some tiny sushi and chopsticks on it, followed by more Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Another page features two Harry Potter Hebrew book covers and a couple more books, and lastly I added two theatrical masks again. Each page also features a gold Star of David placed on a green background to add a Jewish element to the design.
Eden's mum was kind enough to recommend my album on Facebook. "My daughter absolutely loved the book, which as you can see is customised in both Hebrew and English" she wrote. "All our guests loved signing it and were excited by the different pages which are also beautifully designed."
If anyone is interested in ordering their very own guest book/album, there is a listing for one in my shop.
Oh, and I made a congratulations card for Eden to match the colour scheme of her Bat Mitzvah celebration. The flowers continued the Garden of Eden theme too.

* This post has been shared on Amaze Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Busy MondayMake It Pretty MondayProject Inspire{d}, Happiness is HomemadeWordless Wednesday (on Tuesday), The Good. The Random. The Fun., SeasonsOur World Tuesday, Inspire Me Tuesday, Tuesdays with a TwistPictorial TuesdayTOO Cute Tuesday and The Happy Now Blog Link -Up.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Best of 2017 - Part II


Happy New Year! When I started writing this blog back in 2008 I initially kept it as a blog purely about my papercut art. However, I soon found out that people were interested in reading a little more about me and my life here in Israel, as well as viewing my latest creations. Whilst I still don't write every single detail about myself here, I have opened up to you about my Jewish faith and many of the holidays we celebrate, and I have written about some of the beautiful places I have been fortunate to visit in Israel.
I will soon be marking 23 years in Israel. That's almost half my life! Over the years I have enjoyed exploring the country and finding off the beaten track places to visit, particularly when the kids were younger. Just from compiling this collection, I can see that 2017 saw me visit less outdoor locations but more art exhibitions. My boys are now well in to their teens and are busy with their own lives. Whilst we would once spend the school holidays searching out new places, they now do their own thing, leaving me with more time to do mine. A win-win situation!
This year I travelled abroad several times (lucky me!) so I have not been to the Golan or down to Eilat. However, I have seen beautiful narcissi growing wild in a field north of Tel Aviv, I have travelled further south to see the anemone bloom, and I have walked along the pretty riverbank at Nahal HaShofet, the Judge's Stream. In addition, I have enjoyed several wonderful exhibitions, my favourites by far being the brilliant "From Within" presenting the incredible life-size statues of Nirit Levav Packer, and the inspiring  "60 Years of Design" showcasing the work of the award-winning Israeli designer Dan Reisinger. I would say it was a good year!
I have blogged about all of these places and more, but thought it would be fun to pick my top 10 of 2017. So, in no particular order, please click on the names above and enjoy exploring Israel with me!

* This post has been shared on Travel TuesdayWednesday around the World, Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, Little Things Thursday, Share Your Cup ThursdayNo Rules Weekend Blog PartyBudget Travelers Sandbox and Monday Morning Blog Club.
Sunday Snap
California Globetrotter

Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Best of 2017 - Part I



Happy holidays to those of you celebrating Christmas and best wishes for an amazing year ahead! Thank you so much to everyone who has taken time out of their daily lives this past year to pop by and see what's happening over here at Handmade in Israel. I hope you will continue to visit in 2018 as I share the coming year's cards, albums and papercuts, and a few of my adventures in Israel.
In 2017 I made lots of customised cards and albums. I created invitation designs and papercut pictures, and my artwork now hangs on new customers' walls. As is common at this time of the year, I thought it would be fun to collect together some of my favourite designs from this past year and show them to you once again. Have you spotted your card or album amongst my collections? I'll save my top 10 favourite places in Israel post for another time. Watch out for it!
A big thank you to those of you who have commented, liked, shared and bought what you've seen on my blog. It is such a compliment to the maker, artist or designer when you buy directly from them. I am always very happy to receive your encouraging comments and support. Thank you for liking what I make.


1. Ronit's Album   2. שלום Shalom   3. Sarah's Album   4. Yaniv   5. Eden's Album   6. 'Lamed' is for Lisa   7. Lily's Bat Mitzvah   8. The penguin   9. Adiela's Album 10. Roxana's Album

Don't forget that you can subscribe to my blog, and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. Oh, and please pop by my shop now and then to see what is new there.
Wishing you a wonderful, happy and colourful New Year, and a safe and exciting start to 2018!

* This post has been shared on Sunday Features, {nifty thrifty sunday}, Amaze Me Monday, Inspiration MondayThe Good. The Random. The Fun.Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)Our World TuesdayWow Us WednesdaysSeasons and Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Marc Chagall "My Life"

One recent Friday morning I hopped over to Tel Aviv with friends to see the exhibition Marc Chagall "My Life". It was held in a tiny private gallery on Rothschild Boulevard, one of the principal streets in the centre of Tel Aviv and also one of the "coolest". The exhibition was so small that, frankly, we weren't there for very long, but what we saw was a real treat!
Altmans Gallery specializes in lithographs and engravings, as well as works of contemporary Russian painters and graphic artists, ceramics, porcelain and sculpture. Lithography, from the ancient Greek lithos, meaning "stone", was invented in Germany in the 18th century. It is a method of printing from a stone or metal plate onto paper or other suitable material.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), once dubbed "the quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th Century," was a Russian-born artist who worked in just about every artistic medium, including fine prints, etchings and the lithographs which were celebrated in this exhibition. He discovered lithography for himself in the late 1940s, in the workshop of the New York graphic artist Albert Kermen. One of his first experiments with lithography was a series of 13 lithographs based on four stories from The Arabian Nights.
Chagall's lithographs often centre on the topic of emigration as he escaped Russia to flee antisemitism, went to Europe and then escaped Nazi persecution by going to New York. Other recurrent themes are illustrations of village life in his native Russia - images of a red cow, an angel, fiddler on the roof and birds - and scenes of Paris, his beloved adopted city. Chagall was raised in a Hasidic family and studied Hebrew and the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) as a young boy. Many of the motifs in his art were inspired by these teachings. He also travelled to Jerusalem in 1931 to discover and experience the Holy Land. He later painted 12 windows that were installed in the synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Centre in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem. Each of the twelve windows represents one of the Tribes of Israel.
The exhibition, which was timed to mark 130 years since Chagall's birth, presented more than 20 black and white and coloured lithographs, privately owned by the gallery. These included rare prints such as "The Yellow Sun" (1968), "Chloe Dressed and Capped by Cleariste" (1961), as well as a unique signed monotype "Le Bouffon" (1965). Some of the lithographs had never been exhibited in Israel before and some were being shown together for the first time within the framework of one exhibition. We saw Chagall's prints from his famous Biblical series, as well as works dedicated to Paris, his beloved adopted city, Vitebsk, his hometown, and childhood memories of the artist.
Chagall's Biblical series is considered to be one of the most important stages of his work. According to his own recollections, this theme attracted him in his first years in Paris, but the trip to Palestine, Syria and Egypt in 1931 served as a basis for deeper understanding of the subject. On his return he made 105 etching sheets, then picked up the theme once again twenty five years later, in 1952-56, with the series titled Drawings for the Bible. This series comprised of 24 colour lithographs illustrating tales from the Bible and was published by Verve, Paris and printed by Mourlot, Paris from 1958-1960.

* This post has been shared on Our World Tuesday, Wednesday around the World, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopThe Happy Now Blog Link -Up, Little Things ThursdayShare Your Cup Thursday and Sunday Snap.
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