upcycled scrap hanukkiyah
Scraptastic or simply crap?
Here’s why I vote for the former:
Orange juice lids are the exactly perfect right size for tealight candles. I dare you to not enjoy slipping a candle into the inner ring of an upturned Tropicana lid. Irresistible. Kids love it. (Teach them the word “frisson” while you’re at it.) Continue reading
Etrog half, peel and seed
We are lucky if we have an etrog. We are obscenely lucky if we have 15 of them. After Sukkot my 2nd and 3rd graders got to explore leftover congregational etrogim in class: boxes and boxes of glorious, weird, bumpy, fragrant, delicious and gorgeous etrogim.
Look at some of the neat things we are doing: Continue reading
“do not dink or you will die”
In conjunction with our big, ongoing Marker Mitzvah program—where we collect the school’s dead markers and ship them for conversion into diesel fuel—we keep some dry markers for use in the art room.
What do we do with dead markers? We make mezuzah cases (which I’ve written about here) and we make FREE, gorgeous liquid watercolors. Even the driest of dry marker will leach plenty of color into a bottle of water. Continue reading
Marker Mitzvah display at school program
Here’s an easy mitzvah project I started with our 3rd graders, and it benefits the entire school. The mitzvah is B’al Tashcheet—”do not destroy”—and what we are trying to “not destroy” is the Earth: we’re saving oodles of markers from the landfill. Continue reading
small lulav leaf brushes for bedikat and biur chametz
This quick DIY takes longer to explain than to make. It’s a wee brush for the night and morning before Passover: a riff on the traditional repurpose of using Sukkot’s lulav for the pre-Passover Search and Destroy mission. Continue reading
When life gives you a breathalyzer, make a necklace:
punch a hole on the other side, add a ring and ball chain.
Smalls are less than half the size of Altoids tins
Last year I made a “curiously tiny” menorah from an Altoids tin. I also made the claim that as menorahs go, you can’t get much smaller. I was wrong. Continue reading
Elephant Menorah with Martyr and Matches
Today’s menorah features Eleazar Maccabee (Judah’s little brother) and the elephant that was his downfall (because it fell down on him).
What else would I make with a ziploc bag of spent rifle casings?
With me, anything longer than it is wide is not automatically “Freudian,” it is a menorah component. Continue reading
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
four Lulav leaf weaving experiments
I’m still playing with leftover lulav leaflets. Consider this an in-progress Show and Tell. Six different projects so far. Scroll down to see some serious lulav love. Continue reading
Lulav Chain garland
Here’s a nifty way to re-purpose your now superfluous lulav after Sukkot: a Lulav Chain for next year’s sukkah. All-natural, thematic, respectful (to a ritual object) and genuinely pretty. No staples, no glue. I find it strangely soothing to assemble the links as fast as possible, but taken at a leisurely pace, even older kids can join in and help “re-cycle.” Continue reading
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
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
11 x 17 mounted on large construction paper
Simms Taback’s marvelous Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is easily one of PJ Library’s smartest picks. It’s a Caldecott and Sidney Taylor Book Award-winner and an all-around delight. I’ll assume you know about Joseph if you’ve found this post, and that you are looking for a related activity for young children. There are plenty (see links below), and you could spend days exploring this book and the oodles of enrichment ideas. Joseph is cover to cover Yiddishkeit, for sure. But, what if you need a 25 minute lesson plan for Sunday School art class? Just a quick collage project? That’s what I needed but couldn’t find. Continue reading
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
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
Make a mini crown from a coffee sleeve
It’s free, jaunty, quick and eco-kosher:
the Queen Esther or King Ahashveros Coffee Cup (sleeve) Crown. The alliteration is even more delicious in Hebrew: Keter Kos Kafe.
My husband does the daily coffee-house thing. He triangulates amongst locally-owned joints. One of the byproducts of this habit is the accumulation of cups and sleeves. The cups are repurposed as seed-starter pots, but the sleeves multiply unused in the shed, awaiting an aha moment. I had the aha moment last week, and it is this: the Keter Kos Kafe. I like typing it and I like saying it. Continue reading
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
A Glue Stick Mezuzah
Here’s a new use for an empty glue stick tube: a mezuzah case. If you collect a bunch, you have a cost-free craft for a whole class.
Glue Sticks don’t last very long. Manufacturers seem to keep shrinking the volume of glue without shrinking the actual container, and the glue has a fairly short shelf life (about two years). Thus, empty glue stick containers multiply, especially at a school.
A mezuzah is really the scroll inside of a mezuzah case: a klaf, or piece of kosher parchment upon which a sofer—scribe—has written (special ink, special quill) the first two passages of the Shema, Judaism’s central prayer.* The Shema is comprised of key verses from Deuteronomy (6:9 and 11:13-21), and begins, “Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”
Mezuzah literally means “doorpost,” and it is on our doorposts that Jews are obliged to mount a mezuzah. Doing so is a mitzvah—a commandment—and, what a coincidence, it is a biblical commandment found in the Shema itself: “you shall inscribe them [these words] on the doorposts of your home.”
So, every Jewish home, or to be more inclusive, every home in which someone identifies as Jewish, needs a mezuzah on the doorposts. Home in Hebew is bayit, and the home of a mezuzah—the case—is called a beit mezuzah, or mezuzah home. A beit mezuzah can be made out of just about any material that protects the scroll, and in every price range. This one comes in sticky plastic and is free.
Making a mezuzah case as pretty as you are able can actually Continue reading