Category Archives: Kitsch

Screw the Star of David (Jewish hardware in the art room)

screwdriver pokes in clay

screwdriver pokes

Torx screws are wee Stars of David. Have you seen them?  If you’ve peed at a urinal you have. Or if you’ve waited for your preschooler inside a public loo. (In both cases, the screws are at about eye level). Torx screws are part of most public bathroom installations because they are fabulously functional. Torx don’t “strip out” as easily as do Phillips or slotted screws, because the design resists torque. There’s more to grip and less room to slip.

This anti-slip head design just happens to be a 6-pointed star: the Mogen David.  Who knew the logo on the shield of an ancient king of Israel would be so darn practical?  Continue reading

DIY Breathalyzer Mouthpiece Necklace upcycle (not for kids, obviously)

When life gives you a breathalyzer, make a necklace:

punch a hole on the other side, add a ring and ball chain.

punch a hole on the other side, add a ring and ball chain.

Continue reading

LEGO menorah: Star Wars (flameless)

LEGO Star Wars minifig menorah

LEGO Return of the Jedi minifig menorah

Hanukkah and Star Wars. Both stories involve Rebels vs. an Imperial Army. Both stories incite argument about what is in the “canon” and what isn’t.* Continue reading

Star Wars PEZ Menorah with Candy Flame

PEZ candles, PEZ flames

PEZ candles, PEZ flames

PEZ Hanukkah menorahs have been a thing for awhile, which means I wasn’t interested in making one, but when my Mom came for a visit bearing a Star Wars Limited Edition PEZ Collector’s Set With 9 Star Wars PEZ Dispensers, what else could I do? Continue reading

Socket Menorah, instant DIY for the Jewish Garage

instant garage hanukkiyah

garage hanukkiyah in natural habitat

Sockets are instant candleholders.  And a socket holder is an instant Hanukkah menorah base. Thus, the Socket Menorah: instant ritual object for the handyperson or car nut. Continue reading

Schlemiel on a Wheel, Schmuck on a Truck, Schnorrer on a Menorah, etc.

Schlemiel on a Wheel (clumsy pushcart seller)

Schlemiel on a Wheel (clumsy pushcart seller)

Mensch on a Bench and Maccabee on the Mantle are riffs on Elf on a Shelf.  So, here’s my riff on the riffs: a trio of tiny Jews—Yiddish stock characters—on Things. All are cautionary tales. However, unlike the toy/book combos just mentioned, they are not surveillance tools for moral accountability. These guys don’t really care about you or your kids at all.  Continue reading

Sukkah Scrap Art (repurposed packaging)

Hadas Hanging

Hadas Hanging

Before Sukkot, our shul’s myrtle twigs shipped from Israel in gaudy Hebrewlicious plastic sleeves. The three branches per pack were destined to join the lulav for a week of shaking in the sukkah.  But what of the destiny of the now empty purple packets?  I could not imagine throwing them away.  The siddur font, the Mardi Gras magenta, Continue reading

Gingerbread Golem coloring page

Color me alive, color me dead.

Gingerbread Golem coloring page.

First, the cookie, now the Coloring Page.
To demonstrate what happens when the letter aleph is removed: EMET (truth) becomes MET (death).  Continue reading

Gingerbread Golem

Gingerbread Golem

Gingerbread Golem

To bring to life the dead space between fall Jewish holidays and winter Jewish holidays: The Gingerbread Golem. Continue reading

Manischewitz Tiki Torch: An Essay

the Tacky Torch

Tacky Tiki Torch

The Manischewitz Tiki Torch.  Unendorsed, unaffiliated, unnoticed by the Manischewitz company, but most emphatically created in homage to it.  I timed the debut for erev Sukkot, and I admit, I am tickled purple with myself. Continue reading

Hack a dollar store Deely-Bopper for Rosh Hashanah

if you whip your head sideways really fast, you can dip the apple in the honey

if you whip your head sideways really fast, you can dip the apple in the honey

It’s erev Rosh Hashanah and I do not have time for this post, but I’m putting it out there anyway.  Because there is always time for thematic holiday headgear, especially when it involves hacking a Deely Bopper.  Priorities. Continue reading

Instant (free) Replacement Shades for Multi-Head Lamp, DIY

soup containers from take-out menu

soup containers from take-out menu

A post about repurposed soup containers as lampshades is not my usual fare.  Let’s pretend it is not glaringly unlike the Earnest Sunday School Teacher posts adjacent.  And let’s remember that up-cycled trash is part of my make-it-with-what-you’ve-got mantra.  And let’s also note that this (or any) up-cycle project bags at least 3 mitzvot (see below).  But the truth is, I have to post my discovery somewhere, and this is this my only somewhere.  Continue reading

The Final Menurkey (stick a fork in me, I’m done)

and flesh-colored candles on a bed of gelt.

and flesh-colored candles on a bed of gelt.

I just can’t get worked up about the Hanukkah / Thanksgiving thing. I can’t even bring myself to call the holiday mashup by one of its cute, mashed up names.  However, I did feel duty-bound to create a cheap Menurkey DIY, and then another even cheaper Menurkey.  

But what I really, truly wanted to do was roast a huge Empire Kosher Turkey, shove white turkey frills on the ends of the drumsticks and jab nine Hanukkah candles into the crispy, brown skin on top. Continue reading

Dollar Store Menurkey hack (and Talmudic quandary)

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Some folks are still looking for a cheap turkey to repurpose as a Hanukkah menorah, so here’s one for a buck.  If your once-in-a-lifetime Hanukkah/Thanksgiving needs will be satisfied with a cheap plastic Menurkey, get thee to a Dollar Tree before all the $1 solar-powered turkeys are gone.  Then, pimp that bird with a jumbo craft stick and super-glued birthday candleholders. I added glow-in-the-dark bday candles and Continue reading

Altoids tin Menorah

1/4" hex nuts all in row

Mint-orah

Nine hexnuts glued inside an empty Altoids tin = Travel Menorah.  Or, a Curiously Tiny Menorah.  You can’t get much easier.  Or smaller for that matter. (EDIT: see smaller one here.)  Mine is the classic Altoids size, and it holds—just barely—a row of birthday candles with the Shammash nearby.

I might have to name this a Mint-orah, although my gag reflex is already on the alert.  In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a Menorah-saur Continue reading

Marmite Menorah

Marmite Menorah

Marmite Menorah

The subset of people who love Marmite and who celebrate Hanukkah must be infinitesimal, so I do not expect a ton of hits on this project.  Still, it begged to be created: a Marmite Menorah.  Mmmmmm. The name sounds delicious, so warm and yeasty, like Marmite on challah toast.  My 6 year-old saw this in the window after school today and declared it a “Men-armite.”  (Such a genius.)  Whatever the name, I love the look of flames licking up from the open jars, as if by some miracle Marmite is transformed into fire.   Continue reading

Passover PEZuzah (PEZ + Mezuzah)

DSC00716_2

Just in time for the plague of frogs, another PEZuzah.  My husband came home bearing a Kermit the Frog PEZ dispenser, and it begged to be converted into a holiday mezuzah case.  Pull Kermit’s keppie to reveal a cavity perfectly sized for a real scroll.  This little trick makes it far more convenient to inspect the klaf twice every seven years, as per tradition.  A PEZ mezuzah is not per tradition, but it works. Continue reading

Hub Cap Seder Plate

DSC00605
Hub Cap Seder Plate.  Is it the first?  What with all the upcycled hubcaps online, I’m surprised.  I see bird baths, bird feeders, wall clocks, yard art, but no seder plates. Then again, a Venn diagram of Jewish + DIY + Automotive Enthusiast would not reveal much of an overlap.   Continue reading

Recycled CD bowl: Mishloach Manot 2.0

cd2

melted CD hamantasch mishloach manot bowl

I like to think I’m picky about projects. They have to involve irresistible materials or a smidge of kitsch or flat-out, hands-on educative potential.

In contrast, I present the CD Mishloach Manot. Continue reading

LEGO gragger for Purim

Lego gragger with canoe paddle flange

For Purim, we call it a gragger, but the generic and rather wicked-sounding term is “ratchet instrument.” Jews hardly have a monopoly on this thing.  Throughout the world it’s been a child’s toy, a police call, a poison-gas alert, a football (soccer) noisemaker, a percussion instrument, a scarecrow and a lure for corncrakes. And now, finally, it’s Lego.

World, I give you Lego graggers.  They spin, they make noise, and although Continue reading