Joyful Jewish

Posts Tagged ‘Chanukah

Chanukah chatterbox

I remember making and playing with paper fortune tellers (also known as chatterboxes or cootie catchers) when I was a child.  Earlier this year my daughter brought one home from primary school, proof that while much has changed since my childhood, much also remains the same.  I was struck by the possibility of combining the eight internal faces of the chatterbox to the eight nights of Chanukah, an idea which I’m sure has many more possibilities than the simple one I have settled on for class this weekend.

Chanukah cootie catcher

I found a template online (google “chatterbox template” and you’ll see many) and filled it in. Depending on the age and ability of your children, and the amount of time you have available, they could fill it all in themselves, but this guarantees a minimum standard of completion and legibility!

Chanukah chatterboxBlack and white diagrams can be coloured in, children can practice the first eight letters of the alef-bet instead of counting to eight, and underneath each letter is a question relating to the festival.  I left half unanswered so they can do a bit of work themselves before taking their new toy home and quizzing their parents.

Instructions on how to fold a chatterbox can be found online – thank you again google.

You can download a printable pdf of my Chanukah chatterbox here. Or be brave, go make up one yourself!
Chag sameach!

 

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Chanukah card pink & blue

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.

blue card

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.

gold card

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.

white candle card

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.

rainbow card

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.

candles cards

Sticking one piece of colourful paper behind the menorah silhouette was a lot faster!

floral card

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!

Card selection

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.

Happy Chanukah!

Wall hanging

My plan: to make a wall hanging depicting a chanukah menorah (chanukiah) with flames that would fold up as you “lit” them each night, revealing a small pocket in which to find a piece of gelt (chocolate coin).

Finished cover

The challah cover chanukiah

What happened first: my original design (which I thought was quite elegant) did not have candles wide enough to accommodate the chocolate coins I wanted to hide in them, and if I scaled the design up so that the candles were wide enough, the entire thing was simply way too big.  So I turned that design into a challah cover.

What happened next: I ended up making a wall hanging  dictated by the width of the candles and the design was a lot less glamorous, at least in part because I made it up as I went along rather than starting with a pattern.  I used clear plastic press-studs to hold up the flames.

Wall hanging pockets

You can just make out the pockets, which are a square at the top of each candle.

It took me a day or two to design/cut/machine sew the thing together and about 5 weeks to make myself hand sew 18 press-stud pieces. If I was making it again (which, trust me, I am not going to do) I would change quite a bit.  But it does hold gelt, which makes it extremely popular with the youngest member of the household; and if she’s happy then I’m happy too.

Clutching the prize!

Clutching the prize!

Sew your own felt latkes

I needed some latke-shaped beanbags for a latke-tossing game (as you do) and a quick browse of the internet lead me toa fantastic tutorial on how to make a beautiful felt latke (and some other cool things).

Latkes made by Brittany, you can find them on Etsy.

Thus inspired, I made half a dozen of my own.  As you can see, my use of darker brown shades of felt give the more realistic impression that I occasionally forget to flip my latkes quickly enough and they do get a little crispier than is perhaps optimal!

Felt latke

Latkes made by me, you can find them on the floor, or wherever they’ve been flipped to recently.

I more or less followed Brittany’s tutorial, but only put the small felt pieces on one side.  Apart from being a bit of a fiddle, it makes it easier to see if you’ve flipped your latke if one side is plain and the other side is fancy.  I attached the small pieces of felt with iron-on double sided adhesive, then just put a few stitches through for decoration.

Felt latkes in a pan

I made a separate fabric pocket containing some rice, and then sewed the felt pieces together either side of it. Hopefully this means that even if the felt comes apart (which is unlikely) the rice won’t be able to leak out.

Anyway, they make great beanbags for latke flipping, latke tossing, balancing latkes on your father’s head, and general flying latke mayhem.  Plus they sit still long enough to be photographed, which is more than I can say about the ones I cooked for dinner this evening.

Cushion detail

This was a very spur-of-the-moment idea.  A friend asked me to bring some cushions for kids to sit on while they listened to Chanukah stories.  I was going to fetch a few out of the attic – we have a stash we keep specifically to recline on at Pesach – when I noticed a neighbour was throwing out 4 plain blue cushions.  Always happy to recycle, I collected them, washed them, and decided to add some easy applique.

Nun gimel

Actually I mentally ran through a bunch of possible decorating ideas before going with what seemed most foolproof!  I printed off outline Hebrew letters in the largest font possible (999pt, in case you were wondering) to use as a template, then used heat-n-bond (something I have only recently discovered, but LOVE) to iron the resulting letters onto a square of co-ordinating fabric, and then sewed that to each cushion cover.  The zig-zag stitching is not perfect, but it does the job and the whole project was done in a couple of hours.

Hey shin

We’ll be dedicating these cushions to the comfort of dreidel spinners’ tucheses for years to come!

HanukkahSongs

My Chanukah song repertoire was limited, and in danger of being swamped by the Christmas carols my daughter was learning at school.  (Not the traditional religious ones, but a curious mix of Australian secular carols involving sleigh-pulling kangaroos, a koala masquerading as the fat bloke in the red suit, and one with the slightly baffling chorus of “We wish you a ripper Christmas, a full-bore ripper Christmas, a dead-set ripper Christmas and a snappy New Year.” )  The time had come to move beyond Maoz Tzur and How Many Candles.

So, I went on an interesting (and occasionally quite bizarre) tour of YouTube and a couple of music download sites (cdbaby.com and bandit.fm) and two nights later I am the proud owner of a rather eclectic collection of Chanukah songs which is proving to be a hit with the entire family.  It does range from the sublime to the ridiculous, including a few parodies, but some of these may appeal to you too, if you don’t know them already. And I may put together another CD this time next year so let me know if you have any suggestions for what to include in my next compilation.

Dreidel  Erran Baron Cohen  (from Songs in the Key of Hanukkah)
Hanukkah Blessings  Barenaked Ladies  (from Barenaked for the Holidays)
Pass the Candle  Michelle Citrin
Maoz Tzur  Achi Ben Shalom   (from Hanukkah Alive)
Candlelight  The Maccabeats
Hanerot Halalu  Mare Winningham (from Craig Taubman’s Lights! Celebrate Hanukkah Live in Concert)
Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah  Erran Baron Cohen (from Songs in the Key of Hanukkah)
Nun Gimmel Heh Shin  The LeeVees (from Hanukkah Rocks)
Be a Light  Neal Katz  (from Be a Light – Chanukah Songs for Grown-Ups)
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah Barenaked Ladies  (from Barenaked for the Holidays
Ocho Kandelikas Flory Jagoda (from Celebrat Hanukkah)
Spin It Up  Erran Baron Cohen (from Songs in the Key of Hanukkah)
Miracle  The Maccabeats
music

Light One Candle   Peter Paul & Mary
Hanukkah is Right Around the Bend  Poppa’s Kitchen (from A Rockin Hanukkah)
Latke Song  Jill Pakman  (from Chanukah Plugged In)
Mi Yimaleil  Neal Katz (from Be a Light – Chanukah Songs for Grown-Ups)
Sevivon  Achi Ben Shalom  (from Hanukkah Alive)
Eight Nights a Year  Sam Glaser  (from Sam Glaser’s Rockin’ Chanukah Revue)
Hanuka Gelt  The Klezmatics  (from Live at Town Hall)
The Eight Days of Hanukkah  The Belmonts
Latke Clan  The LeeVees (from Hanukkah Rocks)
Rocky Hora Chanukah Song  The What’s Up Band (from Only Hits So Far…)
I Have a Little Dreidel Barenaked Ladies (from Barenaked for the Holidays)
Ocho Kandelikas  Erran Baron Cohen  (from Songs in the Key of Hanukkah)
Get Your Chanukah On  The Velveteens  (from A Chanukah Feast)

Cardboard latkes in pans

I came across this idea here, while looking for some pretend latkes to make.  It’s a cardboard latke attached to a cardboard frying pan.  Finally, mess-free frying!

You will need:
– small cardboard plates
– extra large popsticks (tongue-depressor size)
– sticky tape
– yellow cellophane, or anything else that can represent oil
– glue
– brown and/or cream cardboard
– something to decorate the cardboard to give an impression of latke-ness (I used brown spot stickers cut in half)
– string or wool

To make the frying pan, sticky tape the extra large popstick to the base of a small cardboard plate.
Add “oil” by sticking in a circle of yellow cellophane (or you could draw it in with yellow crayon etc).

Cardboard frypan

Cut out two latke shapes – if you use a combination of colours, it’s easier to see whether or not you flipped it over when you tossed it.  Stick together slightly offset, and decorate.

Cardboard latke

Punch a hole into both the frying pan and the latke, and tie a piece of string or wool to both, so that your latke is much harder to lose.

Practise your latke tossing skills! Flip them up and catch them again.  Flip them over.  Flip them into someone else’s pan. It’s not as easy as it looks when you’re tossing a flat cardboard latke – or maybe I just need a lot more practice!

Flip your latke


Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

A resource site for anyone who wants to share the joy of being Jewish with the children in their life.

Enjoy!