Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yosef's Upshernish

After months and months of planning, it's over! (My mother used to say "It's like a dream." We giggled behind her back. She was right.) 

Yosef was excited and a little bit nervous.
This day (his third birthday) began the start of Yosef wearing tzitzis and a kippah. His pants, vest and tie are from Janie and Jack. His white shirt, from GapKids

His two sister's were also excited about his big day. 
Cousins from out of town, a sweet table and craft table--what could be better? Zelda's dress is from BabyGap and Moussia's dress is from Target's Nordstrom's shop (no longer available.)

Behind Yosef's painted blue chair, the wall was adorned with streamers and a pendant name banner. We choose blue and yellow as the party colors because Yosef loves blue, and the hotel's walls are yellow. One young cousin asked me if we did the party in "Ikea colors"!

Snipping his hair was a process...
there were some tears... 

but mostly smiles...

And lots of fun!

A craft table was set up where the children made tzedekah boxes, decorated crowns, and played the Yosef memory game.

 After lunch came the best part--dessert!

The sweet table included brownie pops, a make-your-own ice cream sundae station, personalized cookies from a New York bakery and a candy bar.
My brownie pops were gone by the end of the day, so I guess all my hard work payed off.

Everyone who snipped got a sticker to wear...

Engineer prints from Staples are inexpensive and add a fun touch to a birthday party...

It was a long day...

Ten years until the bar mitzvah...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Master Bath: Done!

It may be the smallest room in the house but it's finished!
This striped citron shower curtain from West Elm was the jumping off point for the entire design. 

Here is what I started out with...
The yellow tile was in good condition and the color was neutral--since a total gut job was not in the budget the tile stayed put. The shower doors are original to the house and aside from being unattractive, they made stepping into the shower impossible because the sink was in the way!

The Grundtal Glass shelves from Ikea serve as much needed storage.

A few weeks ago how I posted how I painted the stripes on the walls...

An old black picture frame was cut down to size, painted silver and given a new life fitted with a mirror.
 The vanity light is the Mercer Double Scone from Pottery Barn.

Touches of gray offset all the yellow...Nate Berkus Aztec Diamond Rug for Target.

New towels are a must when redoing a bath. (Thanks, Marshalls!)
This week, the kitchen cabinets arrive!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Upshernish Madness

Yosef's upshernish is three days away. It's down to the wire--rushing to get last minute preparations done for the party!

When he turns three on Sunday, not only will his hair be cut for the first time he will also begin wearing a kippah (skullcap) and tzitzis so I tried to incorporate this  into the decor.
Clockwise from top left: 
I made napkins to look like tzitzis for the dessert table. We simply cut the "neck" out of paper napkins, drew the black lines with a marker, and glued some string on to the bottom. 

I ordered these stickers on Etsy--they say "I snipped Yosef's hair." (I got the idea from the sticker you get after you vote!)

Still working on 100 cake pops--I'm using brownie mix instead.

Fifty blue chevron goody bags done and ready for the children who come to the party!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Feed the Birds

Although the distance between our old house and our new house is only seven miles, there's a world of difference. Our old house sat on a acre of land surrounded by woods. At any given moment when we looked into the yard there was a plethora of birds, squirrels and the occasional deer, fox and even black bears!

Our new house is in a more urban area and it took a few weeks before we realized that when we glanced out at the back yard there was nothing moving. We were so used to the scampering of squirrels and the fluttering of birds, but in this house I can probably count on one hand how many times I've seen a bird or squirrel! It was time for a bird feeder.

The timing is perfect. Here's why:
This week (January 26) is Shabbat Shira. One of the customs associated with this day is to place crumbs outside for the birds to eat. We read in the Torah this week about G-d giving the manna to the nation of Israel, for their sustenance. Moses told the nation of Israel that the manna would not fall on Shabbat, so they should collect a double portion on Friday. There were some people who wanted to embarrass Moses and weaken his authority--they took manna they had collected on Friday, and after dark placed it out on the ground. In the morning, they hoped that others would think that the manna did fall on Shabbat, and Moses was wrong. But no manna was around on Shabbat morning--the birds carried it away before the people awoke, so that they would trust Moses and respect the sanctity of the Shabbat. To reward the birds for this noble deed, we feed them during this week. 

So.....the feeder has been up for a few birds yet :(

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dried Fruit Cups for Tu B' Shevat

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar—is celebrated this year on Shabbat, January 26, 2013.  One custom we do on this day is taste many of the fruits that grow in Israel. I remember as a child attending Hebrew schoolon Tu B' Shevat we went home with a small wax paper bag filled with dried fruit and nuts which I devoured in the car on the way home!
I wanted to give the children the same treat I enjoyed as a child. These are paper cups filled with parchment paper cones, tied up twine and stamped with small name tags.

Inside are dried apple, dates, carob, figs, raisins and almonds.

Tu B' Shevat also marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees. This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
This book would make a perfect addition to the fruit cup. It teaches young children all about different varieties of trees and how they grow.

How will you celebrate Tu B' Shevat?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Boy Bed

Here's the thing about kids--they grow really fast. Zelda is almost six months old and getting too big for her co-sleeper. Yosef is almost three and still sleeps in the crib. So, when Zelda moves into the crib, Yosef needs to move into a bed.

I found this bed on Craig's List for $35. It's a spindle bed (love them) but the wood finish was not in very good shape. 
My choices were:
1. Strip the varnish and re-stain it.
2. Paint it. 

I decided to paint--much faster than striping wood especially with all those spindles. As you can see from the autumn leaves, this was in October. A few days later our house sold and I was in a packing frenzy. I gave Ariel the paint and bed and told her she'll have to paint it--but with a new baby, a two-year-old and a four-year-old, this took her 3 months!

Here is what Yosef's room looked like with the crib...
The feature wall is orange and the other walls are soft grey. 

I found these sheets and duvet cover at Target--the colors were perfect and the "outer space" prints on the sheets looked great with his planets hanging from the ceiling.

Sunday, we spent the day taking apart the crib and assembling the bed for Yosef and the crib for Zelda. We had really good helpers.
Yosef said he loves his big boy bed. Moussia said she wants a new bed. Oy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Story of Our Dining Table

With the wall down between the kitchen and dining room it was time to shop for a dining table. Crate and Barrel opened in our neighborhood a few years ago, so we decided to drop in and check out their selection. We wanted something that could accommodate lots of people for Shabbat, holidays and our growing family. 

There were many beautiful tables but when when we saw the Terravida floor sample on clearance (it's discontinued) we knew it was the winner. The size was perfect for the space...87" long. It's reclaimed teak which is heavy and solid and also looks like an antique with it's splits, knots and patches--a perfect contrast to our new sleek kitchen. Here is a picture from their website:
It was delivered a few weeks ago and this is what the tabletop looked liked...
It was hard to photograph but can you see the circle?  There were three of them on one side of the table! I was totally baffled--I didn't notice any circles in the store when we purchased the table. I took this picture and ran back to the store to show them.

They explained the table was sitting near a large window and a salesperson put three large plates on one side of the table for display! The sun bleached the rest of the table but the area under the plates stayed dark.

My choices were to either exchange the table for a full refund, or keep the table and get an extra 10% off. Fortunately, the carpenter we hired to do work on the new house is a fine wood-worker. I showed him the table and he said he was sure he could sand it down and re-stain the top. I left the house when he started sanding because it was making me really nervous--here's how it looked when I came home.
The circles were gone but it looked kind of sad.

After two coats of stain the beautiful luster came back.

We used Minwax Jacobean wood stain. After it's dry we'll give it 3 coats of sealer.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Upshernish Prep

With all the renovations going on in our new home and Yosef's upshernish two weeks away my house is a combination of sawdust, paint buckets and piles of party decorations I've been busy preparing.

I found these giant plastic scissors online and I think they'll make the cutest table centerpieces! (An upshernish is a three-year-old boy's first haircut.)

Using a paper punch, scissor shapes were punched out of blue card stock and they'll be scattered on the tables.

Yosef will sit on this "special" chair--a bar stool I spray painted blue so that friends and family take a "snip". 

Yosef can be shy and might not let people he doesn't know very well cut his hair. Last night we were talking about who he'll let cut his hair. When it came to my husband (who he refers to as Sabba) Yosef kept saying "Not Sabba." I was very surprised--he knows us so well and we spend a lot of time with the grand kids. When I finally asked him why he doesn't want Sabba to cut his hair he answered "Because he tickles me!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Favorite Etsy Shops

If you don't shop on Etsy you don't know what you're missing--it's like a giant craft fair with some of the most talented crafters in the world all on one website. With so many sellers and goods available on the site, however, it can be a little overwhelming to try and find the best stuff so I’ve rounded up a list of my favorite Etsy shops you do not want to miss. I shop on Etsy often, for myself and for one-of-a-kind gifts. Here are just a few of my favorites...

I'm a pushover for anything with nice typography and this ribbon from pilosale is one example. I love how Heather's work is understated and how she incorporates organic materials.

These plastic tubes can be hard to find so when I did find these on In The Clear I knew they'd be perfect for my Shalach Manos baskets I have planned for Purim.

 Gorgeous botanical photographs, perfect for framing from MilesOfLight.

When I'm not wrapping gifts, I am planning a celebration and these paper ribbons from PaperJacks are perfect for favors, napkin rings or anything to make charming packages a breeze.

How cute are these scrabble letters on a pillow from Counter Couture Design?

This shop, upintheiarsometime stocks some of my favorite ceramics and home accessories with an organic touch. Perfect for gift giving!

Yes, the Sucre Shop is an advertiser on Design Megillah but I truly LOVE her painted wood spoons and forks. I just ordered some adorable ice cream spoons for Yosef's upcoming birthday/upshernish.

What's your favorite Etsy shop?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekend Visitors

Our house is still under construction and I don't plan on entertaining for quite a while. But since our daughter and her family hasn't seen the house yet, I made an exception and had everyone here for Shabbat and the weekend. After all, when the guests are this cute it's hard to say no!

Clockwise from top left: Yosef loves to cut paper with his "safety scissors"; Moussia is such a good big sister; I let them tape artwork to my walls since they need to be painted soon; tracing paper makes it easy for Moussia to trace the Hebrew letters.

Clockwise from top left: Zelda is now five months old!; Moussia helped cut up potatoes for the Friday night meal; Yosef and Moussia prepare all the candles for Shabbat candle lighting.

Clockwise from top left: Zelda just started sitting up in the high chair this week; a favorite video; playing on our new Ikea Karlstad sofa--not quite assembled; Sunday morning breakfast.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tear Down that Wall!

This house is our fourth home. In all three of our previous houses we tore down a wall in the kitchen. (I like open spaces.) So, I shouldn't have been surprised at the change when we took down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, but each time I am amazed at the transformation!
Here's what it looks like after the wall was removed...still pretty raw but it made a small dining room and small kitchen look like one enormous room!

This is what we started out with...
That wall made both rooms feel boxy and small.

The walls in our house are plaster--much messier than taking down drywall. There was white plaster dust everywhere.
 Here's the view from the kitchen with some of the wall down.

Here's what it looked like afterwards...I forgot what we did for dinner that night!

What do you do with all that stuff? It wouldn't fit in our trash can. 

The solution was Bagster.
Here's how it works. Pick up a bag (I bought ours from Home Depot) open it up, put it on the end of the driveway and fill it.

After it's filled, call Bagster for a pick up.
When the truck arrived, everyone working at my house stopped what they were doing. We were mesmerized watching the bag being lifted up and dropped into the truck!

Now we had one large room but two doorways which didn't make any sense.
Our first choice was to remove the wall in the center and open the entire doorway. Our carpenter explained this would entail installing a steel header that was very expensive, so we opted for plan B.

Instead, he closed off the kitchen doorway, which gave us more wall space and created the perfect spot for the refrigerator.  Then he enlarged the other doorway four feet wide which still gives a nice open feel to the room. Next step: floors!

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