I can’t believe it’s nearly Chanukah again already! The Chanukah bunting and dreidel decorations are up, the cushions are out, the table runner is on display, my daughter is flipping felt latkes and leaving dreidels all over the floor while I clean up to the sound of our Chanukah compilation CD.
It’s just as well I made all these things earlier, because I started a university degree this year and study has taken away almost all of the time I used to spend crafting. So all I have to show off that is new are this year’s Chanukah cards.
After last year’s dreidel cards, I decided to use my silhouette cutter again. I designed a chanukiah (Chanukah menorah) to cut out, and a background of Chanukah lyrics to print on the card before I cut it out.
This means that I get two sorts of cards – one with the menorah cut out, and the other with the pieces that were removed. It leads to lots of mix and match games involving random pieces of Japanese paper, gold foil and cellophane. I particularly like the cellophane stained glass window effect.
Gluing down all the candles (in the correct order so that you can still make out the lyrics) was not so exciting, but it seemed crazy to waste them.
Sticking one piece of colourful paper behind the menorah silhouette was a lot faster!
And here is a cross section from earlier in the week. I’ve made quite a few more now, but need to be writing them and posting them, not just talking about them on here!
If you receive handmade cards at Chanukah (or any other festival), here’s a tip: don’t recycle them all like you probably do with mass-produced cards. Keep the most beautiful ones to display again in future years. Ours are blu-tacked to the wall, but I have a friend who pegs hers to the edges of her curtains. And keep a sample of your own work to display by giving one to someone who lives in the same house as you. (I write a card for my daughter.) It’s such a joy to look back at cards that were really made with love.
November 17 is Mitzvah Day, when congregations work together in an act of tikkun olam, healing the world. Apparently this initiative has been going for decades in some places, but it only made it to Australia very recently. This year is the first time our congregation has become involved, and we’re collecting canned food for distribution to a charity organisation.
I am the sort of person who will read an email suggesting “donate some canned food”, think to myself “awesome idea” and then completely forget about it as soon as I get off the computer and start doing something else. (Maybe people who access the internet via smartphones don’t have this problem?? I wonder.) So I decided to make some little magnets for people like me to put on their fridge as a reminder – hopefully they will then (a) write “canned food for Mitzvah day” on their shopping list, and (b) remember to shlep it to shul after they buy it.
Magnets are really easy to make. I printed off multiple copies of the image and text shown above, cut them out then put them in a laminator pocket and ran them through the laminator. After I cut them out again, I put self adhesive magnet strips on the back. They are so light and thin they would be easy to post – something I might suggest we send out with the High Holyday tickets next year.
Interested in Mitzvah Day? The Australian website is here: http://mitzvahday.org.au/
Not in Australia? More information here: http://www.mitzvahday.org.uk/around-the-world.html
After seeing the fabrics I purchased to make my Rosh Hashanah challah cover, my daughter asked for a Rosh Hashanah t-shirt. This design was very quick and easy to make.
Step 1: Cut a circle or two semi circles of honey-ish fabric using double sided iron-on adhesive. (Anyone can be good at applique with this stuff – it’s fantastic!) I just drew around a plate to make my circle. Iron on to a plain t-shirt, and zig-zag stitch around the edge(s).
In case you’re wondering, purple has no connection to Rosh Hashanah as far as I am aware, it just happened that we had a plain purple t-shirt in the house and that saved me a trip to the shops.
Step 2: Find a picture of an apple on the internet (or draw your own) and use that to apply a fabric apple in a similar fashion.
Step 3: add a stem and leaf in the same way.
That is all there is to it! It’s a really fast project (assuming you have a stash of suitable fabric and some iron-on adhesive!)
End result? One very happy daughter, who has subsequently worn her new t-shirt at every available opportunity!
If you like this, you might also like to see the t-shirt I made her for Pesach.
New Year is just around the corner, and I have been very busy in the lead up this year!
Following on from my earlier Chanukah and family handprint challah covers, I have now made one for Rosh Hashanah. (I think I’ll be taking a break from challah covers for a while now!) As Rosh Hashanah challah is round, so so is this cover, and the fabrics depict or represent apples and honey, two traditional sweet foods eaten for the new year.
I don’t have much patchwork experience and I wanted something simple (read: foolproof) so I found a very easy looking idea on the internet: a circle made by sewing triangles together. I made a template out of cardboard, just a triangle with a 30 degree point. 12 “slices” x 30 degrees = 360 degrees aka a full circle. By cutting the point of each triangle off before sewing them together, I didn’t need to worry whether or not the points would meet up neatly.
As you can see, it is not particularly circular at the edge, but you cut it back later. (Make sure you cut your fabric larger than you think you’ll need so that it’s not too small when you trim and hem it.) Alternatively, you might be smart enough to cut the template with the right curve built in – but I was sticking with simple!
Next I appliqued a circle to go in the centre and cover that hole. I printed off the text for L’Shanah Tovah (literally “for a good year”) using a font called Frank Ruehl and traced around it to put the outline onto double sided iron-on adhesive. A fair degree of fiddly cutting out and ironing on later, it looked like this:
I used a bit more iron-on adhesive to stick the circle in the right place. Then it was just a case of stitching around the edges to make sure nothing falls off, EVER, and including a few beads for decorative effect.
Finally, I cut a circle of fabric for the back, trimmed the front to match, sewed the two faces together (you get the general idea…). Next job, relocating that really good Rosh Hashanah challah recipe I used last year.
I wish you and your loved ones L’Shanah Tovah – may you be inscribed in the book of life for a sweet and blessed year.
Some time ago I made a Sukkot guest book, so we could remember who shared our sukkah each year. It was a hit with my family, so this year we decided to extend the idea and make a Passover guestbook, to record who came to our Seder and all the other things that would blur as years go by.
I designed the book myself using photobook software, and it has been commercially printed. On each double page, one side has spaces for the date and location, who came, what we ate and any special things we want to remember from that evening.
On the other pages, I have included such things as a list of memorable moments from seders past, the evolution of our bespoke Haggadah, some alternative questions (with space to add more), a favourite recipe and space for future menu suggestions, a list of things we’ve made especially for Pesach (from placemats to Moses & Pharaoh figurines), and space to list any new traditions we develop or things we want to remember for the following year.
Next year in Jerusalem! But more likely back at our place…
My daughter, now aged 6, is really enjoying creating little items out of plasticine. This is her recent Rosh Hashanah still life, comprising apples, a pot of honey, three round challot, a black shofar and and orange and white Torah.
She had so much fun, she then produced a hamantaschen, a very wonky sukkah with table and chair and a lulav and etrog, among other things! I was very proud of her efforts and finished products, which were 100% her own work. My only input was encouragement and supply of the storage container.
Plasticine is really easy for little fingers to work with, comes in a range of colours and stays soft indefinitely. It’s great!
As my daughter (and our book collection!) continues to grow, I’ve decided to share the love and give some of our books away to friends with younger children. Before they go, here are my thoughts on them.
Happy Birthday, World – a Rosh Hashanah Celebration by Latifa Berry Kropf, illustrated by Lisa Carlson
Happy Birthday, World introduces some of the customs of Rosh Hashanah (eating apples dipped in honey, blowing the shofar, giving tzedakah) by comparing them with activities a child would associate with their own birthday (eating cake, tooting party horns, getting presents). The realistic illustrations show a contemporary boy and girl with their parents. It’s a board book with simple text, suitable for the youngest of children able to follow along.
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Apples and Honey – A Rosh Hashanah Story by Jonny Zucker, illustrated by Jan Barger Cohen
Apples and Honey introduces a more extensive list of customs of Rosh Hashanah, including wearing new clothes, performing tashlich and eating pomegranate on the second evening. Despite the title, it’s not really what I’d call a story, although it follows a family through a set of scenes. The illustrations are engagingly colourful. There are a couple of pages of explanatory material (in child-friendly language) at the end of the book, including one on blowing the shofar. I would suggest suitable for children 2 or 3 years old.
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How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round by Sylvia B. Epstein, illustrated by Hagit Migron
Jossi is the son of the local baker, and he is very proud to help his father make bread for the townsfolk. One day he is proudly carrying freshly plaited “challahs” to the oven when suddenly he trips. The loaves roll down the stairs, becoming round in the process. The townsfolk are at first unimpressed by these strangely misshapen challahs, but on the eve of Rosh Hashanah the local rabbi is inspired to find meaning in their shape, and soon everyone is agreeing with him.
This book assumes familiarity with the concepts of challah and Rosh Hashanah, and offers a gently humorous explanation for a question which probably occurs to children each Rosh Hashanah. The illustrations are very simple cartoons. It’s a little longer than the previous two books, and would be suitable for children over 3, or who are in that “Mum, why is….???” stage.