As you can see, finger knitting was quite popular around here this summer, especially with my seven year old son, who has no qualms about doing his finger knitting in the car or even while waiting for us to complete our business just about anywhere. We used all kinds of yarn and even some cotton string, which is harder to work with, but very nice looking.
I'm hoping I can get him to do just a bit more so that we can do a weaving project with his handiwork! And of course, if you prefer a little bit of order around your house, so simply roll the finger knitting ropes into balls and display them in a bowl!
See my previous post here for a link to instructions if you need them. Finger knitting is something you'll want to introduce your kids to, believe me!
The Jewish New Year is coming my friends, so here's a super cute craft for Rosh HaShana that was a huge hit at our house! And you can use these stuffed paper shapes as a centerpiece, for a mobile or even as place cards. Of course if your kids like this project as much as mine did, you may just have enough to scatter down the center of the table, and/or place in a fruit bowl which would look so very festive on a white holiday tablecloth.
We made shofars, apples, pomegranites, carrots, jars of honey, and fish, all of which are important symbols for Rosh HaShana, and work perfectly for this project. And truthfully I've been wanting to use this idea for months, so it could be great just about any time. How about a bunch of numbers and cakes for a birthday celebration, or even a bowl of apples to celebrate fall?
colored craft paper
newspaper or cotton for stuffing
Fold your A4 or letter sized piece of paper in half, or staple two pieces together for really big shapes. Draw shape, with details on the paper, and cut out the shape beyond the line. Turn over and draw on the reverse side if you desire. Staple at the edges about half of the shape, stuff with little balls of rolled newspaper, and staple the shape closed. Decorate with glitter glue and set aside to dry. Ta da, an adorable craft is born!
A street scene through a Jerusalem neighborhood on the way to the zoo.
At long last we were able to visit the Jerusalem Zoo on our "goodbye to summer" overnighter in Jerusalem. I know many of you enjoy seeing photos of our adventures around Israel, so I thought I'd share the zoo with you too, as it's really quite special. My children refer to the zoo as "Tanachi" namely Biblical Zoo, as it was the zoo's original intention to focus on animals from the Tanach, when it first opened in another location many years ago. That concept however became too limiting, and so the zoo evolved into an institution for preservation of endangered species, a noble endeavor indeed!
Approaching the hillside location of the zoo.
Interestingly enough, many of the endangered species that the zoo serves to protect are mentioned in the Bible and are sadly now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian Lion, the Syrian Brown Bear, the cheetah, the Nile crocodile and the Persian fallow dear.
The zoo is located in a beautiful hilly neighborhood on the edge of Jerusalem, and so there are many gorgeous views to enjoy while meandering along the paths within the zoo.
A Syrian brown bear hangs out, providing the perfect photo opportunity!
The elephants are giant and can be viewed from a fairly close range. We learned that the elephants collectively lost about 500 kilos recently due to an exercise program in which they're taken on a walk around the zoo for 1 1/2 hours each morning before the zoo opens!
Gorgeous Adax, antelopes from Africa, viewed from an elevated boardwalk portion of the zoo. We wouldn't have minded resting as well, but fortunately the zoo has a number water fans along the path to the top, wherein a fan basically sprays a fine cool mist on those that stand in front of it. Especially helpful when visiting the zoo in the summer!
Zebra, giraffes, rhinos are also viewed from the elevated boardwalk. The view beyond certainly does look "biblical" don't you think?
So at the top of the hill, the Noah's ark visitor's center seems right in tune with the whole experience!
As you wonder back down the hill, there is a nice petting zoo and some fabulous mosaic climbing sculptures not to be missed, though we actually only viewed this one from afar as we had to get back home.
Last stop at the zoo, one of my favorites, the flamingos! Some of the birds were flapping their wings vigorously as a way of cooling off possibly, and we had the treat of seeing that the feathers on the underside of their wings are black, stunning!
And to end this post with more interesting info for those of you who feel like reading: As it turns out, the massive amount of fruits and vegetables consumed daily by the zoo's animals are acquired free of charge through an agreement that the zoo founder worked out with Israeli companies that tithe their produce in accordance with Jewish law!In the absence of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, tithes from produce may not be given to a Cohen or Levy, but they may be fed to their animals. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, like others in Israel, sold its animals to a Cohen so it could receive the free produce distributed through the local religious council.
And, one more very interesting fact, at least according to Wikepedia, is that during Passover, the entire zoo is made chametz-free; animals are fed matzo rather than bread products, and birds are fed rice. And that my friends makes this zoo truly unique!
Welcome to Craft Schooling Sunday! Last week's party was on the small side with many of you busy enjoying that last weeks of summer, nonetheless I had no problem choosing some great projects to feature!
Alessandra over at home made at my place always has unique and creative crafts to share, like this knit doll, and sew can do shared her revamped craft room and this great idea for storing spools of ribbon, hang them on a shoelace!
Pysselbolaget shared his fun melted bead project, that I recommend only doing outdoors, and love this matchbox stone animal craft from Red Ted Art. Thats all for this week, we'd love to see what you've been up to!
Sorry, I don't have a photo for you, at this point the tortillas are history! I made a batch of spelt tortillas right before shabbat, because my oven isn't working and I really didn't have time to bake some pitas using my whole wheat pita recipe, (but with spelt) and my pita pot (which only seems to be available in Israel). And, I'm trying to stay away from yeast (which the pitas do have) as well as wheat, so this seemed like the perfect solution. And guess, what? They were quite tasty, and even my husband who was munching away on my traditional challah (with white flour and sugar, alack alas) agreed!
I also think this recipe, whether using spelt or whole wheat is a good thing to know for those who for example have dietary restrictions, or keep kosher and may find themselves somewhere in the world where the kinds of food they'd normally eat are unavailable. All you need is some basic ingredients, a rolling pin, and a frying pan! And if you're traveling, these tortillas certainly are easy to take with you, kind of like the matzo that our ancestors baked and took with them on their way out of Egypt!
2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour, try organic, it's the real thing and delicious!
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (or just a tad more)
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup warm water, or the amount necessary to achieve a non sticky dough.
Combine flour, Baking powder and salt. Add olive oil and stir will.
Put in warm tap water in increments, and add more water or more flour if necessary.
Knead dough on floured surface.
Let dough rest for 15 minutes or more.
Divide dough into 10-12 equal portions and shape into balls.
Dip each ball in flour, and using a rolling pin roll out each ball as thin as possible, the thinner the better, and the larger your tortillas will be! To get round tortillas (or pitas) I roll in one direction and then lift up the resulting ellipse, rotate 45degrees and roll again. Of course once your tortillas are really thin they'll be difficult to lift up, so only do this a few times.
Bake on an un-greased skillet over medium-high heat on each side about 30 seconds or until puffy.
Wrap in a towel to stay warm, and serve. Freeze the extras to enjoy later.
These were delicious with purple cabbage salad and techina. Enjoy!
When my son was looking for string and scissors yesterday, I assumed he was going to do some finger knitting, or cats in the cradle. So not long after, when he was walking around the house sporting his new MP4 (actually MP5, he informed me) player made from yarn and paper, we all just had to laugh! Especially love those ear phones. And as you can well imagine I was thrilled with this independant act of creativity.
Now the question is, how can I encourage him to do things like this more often? I think the key is to first of all have a running dialogue with your kids about all the creative possibilities out there, to collect recycled materials for crafting, and of course if possible to sit down with them, even once a week, and spend some time creating. Any wisdom you'd like to share?
Isn't this little watercolor painting sweet, and so perfect for summer? Truthfully my daughter painted this over a year ago, and we just came upon it, which is perfect timing, as I really didn't have anything to share with you today!
Watercolors are a great medium for all ages, and kids can produce nice works of art by simply filling in a pencil drawing with a nice combination of bright colors. Simple geometric shapes always look great, or something with just a bit more detail like this simple Jerusalem scene. I also love the geometric border at the bottom, the addition of which results in an exciting combination of shapes and patterns. Give it a try!
A familiar site on the streets of Israel...the juxtaposition of our tiny country's need for security with the beauty of it's very rich history, sigh.
Last week before my boys started school, we said goodbye to summer with a overnight trip to Jerusalem. I've got some interesting photos to share with you, and today we'll start with a look at the "Old City" the walled portion of the city where all the inhabitants originally lived, and where the Holy Temple once stood.
The Hurva Synagogue, formerly just a ruin from the war in 1948, has been beautifully reconstructed.
The Kotel, the Western Wall is the first and most important stop. Visitors come from all over the world to this special spot, which is actually just the outer wall of the Jewish Holy Temple that was destroyed thousands of years ago. Nonetheless this wall retains some of the holiness of what once stood in this spot.
The Kotel has a special tranquility that one can't help but notice.
Men and women pray in separate sections according to Jewish tradition.
These stones have seen and heard it all.
Thousands and thousands of tiny notes filled with hopes and prayers are placed within the crevices. A truly amazing place.
And upon leaving the Kotel I notice for the first time ever (it must have been covered previously?) that this large building, The Aish HaTorah world headquarters rises out of actual stone!
The alleys in the old city are interesting and with many tales to tell.
Newer construction built in 1967 mimics the old arched alleys.
At last look at the dramatic wall which is part of the City of David.
Goodbye old city, we'll keep you in our hearts and in our minds until our next visit!
Welcome to Craft Schooling Sunday! Last week we were scrambling to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation as the boys start school according to the Jewish calender and the month of Elul, which is now! Yikes, that means only one month until Rosh HaShana, so much to do before year's end! So without further ado, here's my picks from last week's wonderful party:
Two fabulous projects from Sweden: a crocheted Ikea pouf cover from Mormors Glamour and a fabulous painted stick wind chime from Pysselbolaget, love them both!
This fun summer caftan/cover-up is a fab simple sewing project, from Stacy Sews and Schools, and these shrinky dink earrings from jewelry making journal just might complete the outfit! That's all for now, looking forward to another great party thanks to all of you!
I recently found some heavy weight crepe paper at a local discount store and so I couldn't resist making some large crepe paper flowers for a community gathering. Grouped together in a simple metal pitcher, they looked great, and while not exactly quick to whip up, they are certainly festive and can be enjoyed for quite some time!
heavy weight floral crepe paper
wooden dowels, to use as the flower stems
a hot glue gun, used instead of floral tape
a crepe paper flower making tutorial from Martha Stewart here
How To: I basically tryed out a few of the techniques described in the link, namely individual petals versus continuous petals (the spiky flowers in my bouquets.) The main difference (beside the fact that that theirs' are gorgeous!) is that I worked on a much much larger scale. So if you're going for delicate and beautiful, work small, if you need a nice centerpiece, so don't be afraid to work on a large scale. Enjoy!
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!