Today is the day to observe the special Jewish tradition of baking key-shaped challahs the first Shabbos after Passover. Last shabbos was technically after Passover, but we were observing back to back holiday with shabbos, so no baking was allowed. I am now running to get ready for shabbos, so here is a photo to inspire you to make your own key shaped challahs this week! These are half whole wheat, so they maintain their shape quite a bit better than white challahs. You can read more about this tradition and see examples of my key shaped challahs (both before and after baking) from previous years here and here and here.
Note: This photo was taken before baking, and admittedly they don't look quite as nice after the dough rises, but if you use 100% whole wheat dough, as opposed to my 50% whole wheat, certainly the dough will rise less and the end results will be more beautiful. The pieces of aluminum foil were placed in the holes in the hopes of maintaining the holes, but it didn't really work, as the foil wasn't heavy enough and just rose with the dough. I was thinking that for really professional results one could make a key shaped form from heavy aluminum.....maybe I'll give that a try next year!
In case you may wonder whether there has been any crocheting going on around here, well there has indeed, just never quite enough time to get the items totally finished and photographed. Today I finally finished this granny kerchief scarf, which is really just another name for a triangular granny scarf or shawl, and with the crazy cold weather going on around here, I may even get to wear it!
I made a triangular scarf just like this one, but in greys and pinks and metallic silver as an engagement gift for a sweet bride to be, and I finished the whole thing on the airplane ride from Tel Aviv To Newark, which means it took me around nine hours, minus weaving in the ends I think. After that, I just had to make one for myself as well, which I did on that same trip, only there were a few rows left to finish, that finally got attended to today!
I am truly hoping to add this pattern to my shop very soon, so stay tuned, and do pick up some lovely variegated yarn if you see some in colors that you love!
Isn't this clothespin and popsicle stick rocking chair craft just the cutest? My daughter made this in school, and it was one of those projects that everyone just copies a sample (sigh) so I can't really give you specific instructions, but I thought I'd share it with you as at the very least you'll be inspired to make those adorable little knitting needles from toothpicks and polymer clay sometime!
The seat was made from foam tubing of some kind wrapped in in twine, and the construction is fairly evident from the photo, hopefully. But most of all, those little balls of yarn and knitting needles would look great as an embellishment, say for example as a gift topper, a cupcake topper, or even a little place marker at a crafty get together. Enjoy!
My potted amaryllis bulbs are blooming and it is a truly spectacular sight! Yes, it is true, I had expected the bulbs to bloom months ago indoors, but I'm not complaining, and had they bloomed when expected I may not have even been home to enjoy them.
Amaryllis are actually one of the easiest bulbs to force, and best of all, they do not loose their ability to bloom again once they have been forced, like many bulbs. And in fact, the longer one hangs on to the bulbs, the larger they get, producing even more flowers the following year.
After writing an article about amaryllis bulbs, which you should read here, I tried to force my bulbs in a pot with soil last year. The bulbs grew nice leaves, but did not produce any blooms, so I followed my own advice, and put them outdoors for the summer in a partly sunny spot. Around September I stopped watering the plant, in order to let it dry out, but a surprise rain and possibly some family members who didn't know that they shouldn't water the plant foiled my schedule. Which is quite likely why the bulbs ended up blooming when they very likely would have bloomed outdoors in the ground.
Not to worry, we are now going to enjoy the blooming plant for the next several weeks, after which I'll follow the cycle again, with great attention to the drying out period. Interestingly enough, of the four bulbs in the pot, three have flowered, one bulb with two stalks of flowers. The bulb that did not flower has divided and produced two babies, so if I remove the bulbs from the soil I can separate them. And once the new year arrives on the Jewish calender, I will certainly purchase some more amaryllis bulbs and try to have at least three or so pots that will bloom in succession, as the flowers bring so much joy!
Welcome to craft schooling Sunday, a little international get together that thanks to all of the wonderful contributors is always packed with great inspiration! Passover is over, but not to worry, there are two more Jewish holidays coming up within the next month and a half, first L'Ag B'Omer, and then Shavuos. So let's fill our homes with creativity, shall we? Here are the features from last week's party:
A wonderful crocheted baby blanket from happy in red, using a pattern called "call the midwife, and a sweet little crocheted bunny, perfect for baby, from hip met haaken.
Anne Marie shared a fun little crocheted turtle, and Anne Marie also shared this gorgeous wavy crocheted blanket.
Artistic endeavors has this fabulous 15 minute teacher appreciation gift, and Ginx crafts shares some fun news about her knit butterfly pattern, which in itself is truly fabulous, right?
Love this little cupcake tower using upcycled cups and saucers from mara haakt, and a marzipan carrot from crafty journal could come in handy just about any time.
A sewing essentionals bag DIY tutorial from threading my way would make a great little gift, as would a little tissue pouch using fabric scraps from shabby she. That is it for the features, what have you been up to?
Yesterday we were looking for a spot to spread a picnic blanket and returned to this wonderful park on the banks of the Jordan river, just South of Kiryat Shemona. One parks the car at a parking lot just before "gesher Yosef", then crosses the bridge and goes down into the park.
Gorgeous manicured grass, and beautiful landscaping awaits........
There is even some rushing water if you walk down the promenade just a bit......
Or maybe just park yourself on the grass and watch all the rafters go by......
Better yet, do take that walk down the lovely promenade.......
Here's the information in hebrew about this precious not so well known spot called "Tayelet Shvil Ami", but put gesher yosef into your gps and you'll certainly find it. And by the way, there is no entry fee, and even on the days of chol hamoed when the whole country is on vacation, there are still many places to put your blanket away from crowds, just do walk down a bit......I only discovered this after taking a walk myself! And I'll know better next time.
Gotta run more busy days of passover ahead, and wishing you all a wonderful ending to the glorious holiday!
We are in the middle of our Passover holiday, and blessed with fantastic weather, we have been able to explore some gorgeous spots not far from home. At long last I was able to convince my husband to visit the gravesite of the Tanna, Yehuda Ben Taima, located on a somewhat remote hilltop in the moshav of Dalton. Yes, in case you are familiar with good Israeli wines, this is the same Dalton as the very good wine, do try it if you haven't! (This area in the Galil has weather much like that of the Napa Valley, though a bit colder, and also produces excellent grapes, and award winning wines.) Whoops enough about wine, back to more about this very special Tanna, and his amazing burial site, that should not be missed!
Above: A view of a vineyard that you will see at the head of the trail where you will park.
Since I do think that there are some readers who may actually take my advice and visit this holy spot (that also happens to be incredibly gorgeous, virtually devoid of humans, though very full of cows and bulls and some wild donkeys!) I though I'd give you a little photo guide as if you've never been here, finding the spot may be just a bit difficult. I was here about 15 years ago, and fortunately remembered enough to get us there! Okay, so you enter the main gates of the Moshav Dalton, and you go straight. You basically want to end up at the far left hand corner of the moshav, and there are really only two roads that will get you there, so just keep driving, and if you have to turn, turn left, or follow the road as it winds around to the left. You may pass the graveyard, and then the gravesite of Hillel HaZakain, on your right. Keep going until you reach a sign marking the grave, and a spot that looks like the photo above.
Start walking down the red dirt road (it could be muddy if you come in rainy season, so keep that in mind) and enjoy the vineyards on your left. We came across many cows, and even a pack of about six or seven little calves, which caused much commotion as suddenly all the mother cows started to moo for their babies!
And then we came across what appear to be some wildish donkeys, and it turns out that the shoulder stripe seen here is more marked in breeds closest to the wild African ancestors of the domestic donkey. I guess that makes sense, since one could even walk to Africa from here if you really wanted to (theoretically.)
Okay, after about 15 or so minutes, the clearly marked dirt road will come to an end, and there is an open gate and this sign. I knew over which rocks to scramble to reach the Tanna, but you should follow the little path which may be hard to see, but goes from sign to sign, more or less.
We took a bit of a shortcut, but you can see two of the signs marking the path in this photo, above.
The area is filled with rocky meadows and lovely trees. Keep going but watch your step!
You will be climbing a little hill, and will come to an area where you start to see an amazing view which includes Mt. Hermon, Israel's tallest mountain. It is in this photo but hard to discern.
Ahhhh, the view is lovely, and the breeze is refreshing. Keep going.
And you may come across a cow or two, this one is particularly photogenic! Keep going.
And before you know it, you will sight the gravesite, and if you are like me it will take your breath away!
My nine year old knows just what to do at such a holy place. Not to mention that he loves posing for photos! Take a seat and reflect on the amazing location and the amazing fact that you have been blessed with the opportunity to visit such a gorgeous place with history spanning thousands of years. If you have kids with you, talk to them about the famous saying for which the Tanna Yehuda Ben Taima is known, which is:
In Mishna 5:23 of Pirke Avot, Yehuda Ben Taima advises us to be " bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven"
Oh, and by the way, since you may be wondering what a Tanna is, I thought I'd fill you in:The Tannaim, who laid out the Mishnah, lived and taught between the Jewish years 3770 and 3960 (10–200 C.E..). During a very tragic era in Jewish history, when the Second Temple was destroyed and thousands were slaughtered, these teachers (the Tannaim) compiled and recorded the totality of Jewish law, ensuring its preservation for millennia to come. Unfortunately while Yehuda Ben Taima's teachings are recorded for eternity, it is not know when exactly he lived. And as it turns out, there are many many burial sites of Tannaim in the Galil, mostly near and around the cities of Tsfat, Meron, Carmiel and Pekiin, as they escaped to this area.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour, feel free to contact me for further directions if you really plan to visit and would like recommendations for visiting other gravesites nearby. My recommendation is to make that the emphasis of a trip to the Galil, as there are so many Tannaim buried in amazing places that will truly instill a love for our holy land and Jewish history!
Ah yes, spring is here in Northern Israel, and just in time for all to enjoy as many families take to the great outdoors during this week's Passover holiday. Today, the first intermediary day of Passover in Israel, called chol hamoed, was marked with a community trip to a nearby farming community to observe the special mitzvah of bircat hailanot, the blessing over blooming fruit trees. The blessing is made in order to give thanks to our creator for giving us fruit, something we tend to take for granted, right? And what better time or place to remember to be grateful for even the things that seem so simple!
This special blessing can only be made once a year, and only in the month of Nissan, and we are fortunate to have many locations in which to make such a blessing here in Northern Israel.
This year however, special rules apply, as this is the year of shemittah, (the 7th year of rest for the land) and so if we are making blessings over fruit trees in a commercial orchard, it must be an orchard that is observing the laws of shemittah, as the sign above proclaims.
Such a truly gorgeous location, a moshav by the name of Safsufa, located at the foot of Mount Meron.
I'm not sure what fruit trees these are, but the blooms are lovely!
And speaking of blooms, now is wild flower season in Israel, and if one goes on walks in nature, one can certainly come across some amazing sights, like this purple flower growing on the side of the dirt road....stunning, and a reminder to get out all week long to witness the beauties of nature right on our doorstep here in the holy land. I hope to share some more photos of our adventures this week, so stay tuned, and all the very best to you all!
Welcome to Craft Schooling Sunday and wishing you all a very joyful Passover! After some technical difficulties with my wifi connection, which it appears were caused by a new tablet that connected to my network (take note of that, readers!) things are looking better, and the party is up and running, phew. Now back to celebrating the wonderful holiday of Passover, and here are the features from last week:
Love this textural Passover seder book, (great inspiration for next year!) from moms and crafters (USA)
Sweet crocheted flower paper clips from Anne Marie (The Netherlands) and a paper flower covered Eiffel Tower from ash and crafts (USA).
Thank you for visiting creative jewish mom.com. I hope you'll join me on the exciting journey of giving greater meaning to the everyday through creativity. This blog is my way of sharing with you the joys of crafting, decorating, cooking, and container gardening, as well as adventures in Israel and beyond, and of course parenting! I'm so happy to have this opportunity to connect with so many wonderful readers from around the world Please take a few moments to email me or leave comments. I'd really love to hear from you!