pantyhose challah / real honey
Not much could prompt me to create anything, much less photograph and post it, after a rainy, three-day weekend at home with an “energetic” 4 year-old and a migraine, but Homeshuling‘s post just did.
In her Craft Projects for Rosh Hashana roundup, she generously mentions two of mine: the edible honey bowl and the blessings placemat. Then, she issues a challenge. Could someone please create and send a pic of a round stuffed challah made from pantyhose, as per the directions at Akhlah.com? Well, since I already have a pantyhose challah on display in the dining room (made 13 years ago by my older kid), and since I already have a packet of “suntan” Legg’s knee-hi’s leftover from a Purim project (more on this later), and since I am willing to sacrifice an ancient bedpillow to harvest the still virginal polyfill, I accepted the challenge. (And, I did this knowing how much the craft resembles something Amy Sedaris should include in a sequel to Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.)
Heads-Up: stuffing knee-hi pantyhose with polyfill is not the easiest task for anyone with fine-motor challenges. My preschooler thought it was as much fun as putting on his own socks. I thought it Continue reading
Easy Ten Commandments Origami for Shavuot
This simple paper-folding craft is a fun way to prepare for and celebrate Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments, and by extension the whole Torah.
With your help, even a young child can fold and decorate the “Tablets.” The finished product can stand up on a table or lie flat as a card.
The PDF template below has a “granite” background and two rows of Hebrew letters that will end up in the right place when folded. What’s with the letters? A common visual representation of the Ten Commandments uses the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet to symbolize the mitzvot (commandments). There’s a vertical row of five letters on each tablet, each one serving its ancient double-time as a number: aleph for one, bet for two, gimmel for three, and so on.
What exactly are the Ten Commandments? Well, here in the Bible Belt Continue reading
Here’s another easy mezuzah for kids to make, but this one is genuinely pretty. We used a photocopied klaf (parchment) inside the matchbox and mounted it low enough for a preschooler to actually reach.
My three-year old made this with his dad’s help, which would not have been much help, so I believe any kid can create a sweet mezuzah with these materials. The kicker is the lovely, golden Shaddai sticker (the shin with the crown), which makes the whole thing look and feel legit. The stickers come in a sheet of 48 from Benny’s Educational Toys, and the blank matchbooks come from Oriental Trading.
I must mention that playing with matchboxes is irresistible for any age, so this is a particularly hands-on craft. I organized a Matchbox Mezuzah group project for a Shema workshop last weekend at our synagogue and the parents were just as pleased to open and close and open and close the boxes….
Tape (I used blue painter’s tape)
Blank white matchbox (or used ones if you’ve got them)
Craft sticks (I used the broad, tongue-depressor size that comes in colors)
Tissue paper squares (cut from gift wrap)
Liquid starch (or white glue) in a small bowl or jar lid
Shema scroll (see previous post: Glue Stick Mezuzah for ideas about this)
- First, tape the stick to the back of the matchbox. It doesn’t matter what kind of tape because you will cover it with starch and tissue in a moment.
- Brush thin layer of starch or glue on matchbox—including over the tape—and then place individual layers of the tiny tissue paper squares everywhere except the open ends.
Keep brushing starch and affixing layers until you or your child needs to be done…
- Top with a crowned shin sticker if you have it, or any shin sticker. Or, wait until the box is dry and write a shin with permanent marker or rubber stamp.
The only trick is to make sure you don’t starch the matchbox shut. If you do, you can run a sharp knife through the seams after all is dry.
Origami Dreidel station at the Chanukah Carnival
This is a classic design, and fairly easy to teach to little kids. It comes from Florence Temko’s book Jewish Origami (still in print).
You’ll need a square of any size paper. To teach kids, it will be easier to have a pretty large square: at least 9 by 9 if you are cutting down from a regular sheet of construction paper. Even better if you have big origami paper that is white on one side.
I used large rubber stamps for the Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, and let the kids choose which letter they wanted on the body of the dreidel. You can use stickers, foam stickers, stamps made from other materials (potatoes, which would be appropriate during latke season), stencils, foam aleph-bet puzzle pieces or just free-hand it.
No matter what method, please include a visual guide showing each letter and the name of the letter. I also included what each letter stands for.
We loved making these so much we tried it with napkins and even one square of toilet paper.
The dreidels make great Hanukkah cards (unless created from toilet paper), either on their own or glued to a folded piece of paper, or you can string them as a garland as suggested on the cover of Temko’s book. We’ve also used them as placecards at dinner and as gift tags.
Temko’s design is also available online from the Origami Swami, who claims permission to present.
We made the Temple out of Duplos and experimented with different menorahs. Not hanukkiyot (hanukkah menorahs), but 7-branched menorahs like what was supposed to be in the Temple in the Hanukkah story.
Here are some examples:
Lego menorah with Lite Brite flames
Turning legos upside-down reveals the little spacer holes just right for “flames.” Had I owned enough of those teeny one-unit, columnar pieces, they could have been flames and the menorah would have been “pure” lego. But yard sales dictate what legos we own, so I made do with Lite Brite pegs. Tried red Battleship pegs, too, but Lite Brite pegs have graduated thickness and can fit into the upside-down lego holes a bit better.
Building upside-down was a pleasant challenge.
Made three sizes, overall:
we made them out of clay
We sing the song every year:
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.
But I’ve never actually made a dreidel out of clay, nor of anything else. Neither had my 3 year-old.
So this year we got busy.
I found a brick of oven-bake polymer clay in the Box o’ Clay. It promised to be light-weight and strong and quick, and we wouldn’t have to sit around and watch organic clay air-dry.
Molding the dreidels was just trial and error. We started with a basic rectangular prism and then added a blob for the tip and a thinner blob for the handle. I’d noticed that on wooden dreidels the more rounded a tip, the more stable the spin. Pointy dreidels tend to wobble right away.
We didn’t go for spherical, but a gentle roundy-moundy. An outright spherical base spins on a tangential point, so less of the surface will touch the table. Less friction means it should spin longer. And, if most of the weight is toward the base, the low center of gravity will cause the dreidel to tip less, making the spin Continue reading