Joyful Jewish

Posts Tagged ‘decoration

Sukkot in Australia falls at the start of Spring, and the weather is quite unpredictable.  It rained for several days last year (the first year we built our own sukkah) and I thought it would be exceedingly optimistic to make paper chains and expect them to remain dry.  Then a few months ago I was cleaning out a drawer of stationery and found some old file dividers which are made from very thin plastic, and in one of those “a-ha!” moments I realised I could have my chains after all.

Simply cut the plastic file dividers into strips (I use an old wooden ruler which is about an inch wide to measure out even strips) and staple or sticky tape together into chains.

Here is one of our chains in the sukkah – above you can see one of our plastic bottle apples, and below are fuse bead decorations.

Here are some little designs we made up with our fuse beads (perler beads, hama beads) and the small square pegboard: two shabbat candles, a kiddush cup and challah, and the words Shabat Shalom.  (I normally spell shabbat with two “b”s but that would not fit on my little pegboard.)

You can download my Shabbat patterns for fuse beads as a pdf file.

My bucket of beads came in most colours – but sadly not brown.  Hence the slightly unappetising looking challah which is pink and orange as a result!  I made my kiddush cup grey to resemble silver, but if I was doing this again I’d use white or yellow because the grey is quite dark.  (Either that or the background needs to be a lighter colour.)

We contemplated using the fused bead squares as drinks coasters for Shabbat, but decided in the end to link them together with beading wire to make a decorative piece to hang up on a hook, or over a doorknob.

I bought a big container of fuse beads for the whole family to play with over the holidays.  I think these are also marketed as Perler beads or Hama beads, although mine are the ever popular “no name” variety.  They are colourful plastic beads which you arrange into patterns on specially designed boards and then fuse together with the heat of an iron.

Here is our first foray into Jewish fuse bead design: fuse bead dreidels for Chanukah.

Our beads came with small boards, for example the square is only 14 beads wide x 14 beads tall.   But this is enough to make some cute little decorations which we can either leave on tables or blu-tac to the windows next Chanukah.

Here is one prior to being ironed together.

And here is our Dreidel pattern for fuse beads.

Last year I saw this fabulous idea at Creative Jewish Mom: she had made apple-shaped gift boxes from the ends of plastic bottles.  For better or worse we don’t buy much in the way of soft drinks, so it was quite some time before I finished two bottles of tonic water and was able to make my own version of this great idea: a hanging decoration which we can use both for Rosh Hashanah and for our sukkah.

What I used:
– ends of two 1.25l plastic bottles (the sort where the bottom looks a bit like a flower with five petals – I used several different brands and some work better than others, so you may just need to experiment.)
– red or green cellophane (or tissue paper, or fabric.)  The beauty of cellophane is that the light shines through it.
– felt scraps for the leaves and stem
– thin ribbon or similar to hang the apple up, and a button to hold this in place.
– needle and thread

How to make this:
1. Carefully cut off the ends of two plastic bottles.  I found cutting one a centimetre or so taller than the other meant I could overlap them and they stick together even without glue.

2. Very carefully use a sharp object to punch/drill a tiny hole in the centre of one of the bottle ends.  Thread through the ribbon so that you have a loop on the outside.  Thread the ends through a button and tie it on the inside.  (The botton stops the ribbon from slipping out.  Alternatively you could make two holes and skip the button.)

3. Cut leaves and a stem from felt and stitch them together (glue might also work but thread seemed more secure to me.)  Stitch the leaves and stem to the ribbon.  If you’re more organised than me, you might even be able to do this in one step rather than in two.

4. Scrunch up some cellophane or other paper/fabric to provide the colour of the apple and put this inside.

5. Slot the plastic bottle ends together. Glue or tape them if necessary.

6. Hang and admire!

The design for these fabulous mobiles comes from Sara Rivka at Creative Jewish Mom.

She sells an electronic “kit” via her Etsy store which I purchased.  The kit allows you to print off coloured dreidel shapes onto white paper (allowing you to glue glitter all over the back of the dreidels, for example) or print an outline onto coloured paper, which you can then either leave blank or decorate any way you like.  All you need to do then is cut them out and connect them to each other with a little bit of thread.

These are a hit with the whole family, and need hardly any breeze before they spin madly (in fact I took these photos outside and they nearly spun off the line!)

And in case anyone is wondering why I’m still posting about Hanukkah nearly a week after it finished… it’s because Hanukkah is unofficially running at our house until the end of December!

I admired my neighbours’ door wreaths late last year, and decided we needed something cheerful and seasonal as well.

Our front door has a wire mesh security screen which is absolutely perfect for attaching this chanukiah and magen David, which I made out of pipe cleaners.  I just twisted them together and used extra pieces to lash it to the screen.  The unlit candles all go on at the start, and then each evening of Hanukkah we add an extra “flame”.

The chanukiah is made of the fluffier pipe cleaners, the “candles” from striped ones, and the “flames” from gold metallic pipecleaners, as is the magen David. (Can you tell I love these things?)  I made this last year and put it away in my little (but growing) stash of Hanukkah decorations, and both my daughter and husband were so excited to see it back up again this year.   We will leave it up until the end of the year.

It’s November, and everywhere we go the shops are festooned with decorations.  My daughter is three and a half, and mesmerised by anything shiny and glittery, but alas, Hanukkah decorations are not so easy to come by.   I have no plans for a “Hanukkah bush”, but am happy to indulge her interest in sparkly things for the festival of lights and we spent a very pleasant afternoon making these star-shaped ornaments to stick on a window.

– popsticks (6 per star).  I bought coloured ones from a craft store.
– glitter (optional)
– glue or double sided tape

Equipment I used
– pegs (clothespins)
– scissors (to cut the double sided tape)
– blu-tack, to stick the finished product to a window.  Alternatively you could use a ribbon or fishing line or similar to hang them.

How to make your Star of David decorations

1. Decorate your popsticks.   My daughter wanted glitter (and lots of it!) but I didn’t want a big gluey mess, so I put some double sided tape on the sticks, and she put the glitter on that.  Just tap off the excess and you’re done.  Leave the end 1cm of the sticks clear of glitter to make it easier to stick them together.

2. Use pegs to hold three sticks together (this helps you get the right angles).  Stick together using a suitable glue or double sided tape, and leave clamped with the pegs until firmly bonded together.  Repeat with remaining sticks.

3. Place one completed triangle on top of the other – there will probably only be two points of contact – and glue together and clamp again.

4. Blu-tack your Magen David ornament to a window, step back and admire.

Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

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