Monday, September 30, 2013

Make Your Own Sewing Box

I've been working on getting more organized around the house. My old sewing box was a mess...I kept on buying pack after pack of straight pins because I couldn't find any and then realized I had about 4 packs!  

I'm not a big sewer but when I need to hem a skirt or stitch up some pillows it's good to have the sewing supplies at your fingertips.
 It all started with this box from Michael's crafts...
I've used these boxes for other projects--the great thing about them is they are very sturdy and there is a magnetic closure so they shut easily. 

Here are all the supplies I used...
The small mini boxes will hold pins, and the foam sheets would serve as dividers.

The beautiful paper is from Rifle Paper Co.

Since I didn't want the old paper showing through, the boxes got a quick coat of white primer. After the paint dried, Mod Podge was brushed onto the box then the new paper pasted onto the wet glue.

The easiest way to cover the box was one section at a time--cutting to the size of the panel, gluing it and then smoothing out the paper to avoid lumps and bubbles.
The foam was easy to cut to fit into the box and create smaller sections.
These boxes come in various sizes if you need a larger or smaller size for more sewing gear.
It's pretty enough to leave out on a shelf or table.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Edible Torahs for Children

Picky eaters? Not when they see these adorable torah's sitting on their plates! 

Simchat Torah follows right after Sukkot. It's a joyous holiday with lots of singing and dancing celebrating the torah--the perfect time for the kids to play with their food and create these torah shapes for lunch.
Here's an added bonus--they're healthy! No candy involved...just veggies and cheese.
Here's how...
Of course you can use any veggie or fruit that works: bananas, grapes, sliced deli...
Wishing you a sweet year!

Monday, September 23, 2013

This Year's Sukkah

You may remember back in June when I blogged about the dream sukkah I wanted to have built. Because of our yard water/drainage problems ($$) it never happened.  We we got rid of our old sukkah when we moved here so that left us without a sukkah this year. 

Just when I thought we were stuck without one, friends of friends were downsizing and wanted to give away a sukkah they could no longer use. I jumped at the chance and we picked up the wood frame. It's from the Sukkah Project and it's fairly simple to assemble...you just need to add walls and the schach (roof.) I used canvas painter's drop cloths for the walls and bamboo mats for the roof.
Even though it was thrown together cheap and last minute it's one of my favorite sukkahs! Being a minimalist, I'm loving the simplicity and monochromatic colors...no decorations, no wacky light fixture--just the pure essence of off-white walls and organic bamboo mats. 
Did you put up a sukkah this year? Send me a pic--I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Candles in the Sukkah

Just as we eat our meals in the sukkah for one week starting tonight, ideally the candles we light for Shabbat and the holiday should also be lit in the sukkah. There's only one problem: because the sukkah is outdoors the wind and rains can easily blow out the flames.

Here's the solution: Instead of regular candlesticks, nestle the candles in glass containers.

They'll need a filler to keep them upright and almost anything can be used--I raided the pantry and came up with black beans, sugar, popcorn and some small rocks from the craft closet.
Or, go with old fashioned ball jars...
You can skip the standard Shabbat candles and use votives instead.

Fill them with sand if you are using regular candles...
You get the idea...the weather's been gorgeous this week so here's hoping for little or no rain. Chag sameach (Happy Holiday)!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stew in the Sukkah

When serving food in the sukkah the key is one pot meals. After all, who wants to serve course after course running back and forth from the kitchen to the yard? 

I have several dishes up my sleeve that I serve in the sukkah and this one is my new favorite. It uses boneless chicken thighs combined with lentils and chickpeas and has enough Moroccan spices to make it interesting but not too spicy.

It can be made ahead of time and reheats well in a crock pot. For the complete recipe click here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mini Sukkah for Children

I'm not sure who had more fun with this project--Moussia and Yosef playing with it or me creating it!

I've always loved doll houses so this miniature sukkah was a no-brainer. It gave me the chance to decorate another sukkah and it was certainly easier to put together than most full size sukkahs.

Here's how I made it:

After a few failed attempts with a glue gun I found the fastest and cleanest way to assemble the Popsicle sticks into walls was with clear shipping tape.
The tape is on the outside of the sukkah where you don't see it.

I found the sticks to be a little too long so I snipped them down to size with pruning shears.
This also gave me a flat surface so the sukkah sits squarely on the board. 

For the furniture, I found the little table and chairs at a toy store. It even came with dishes and cups for the table.

The flowers are inserted into bottle caps I borrowed from the medicine cabinet and the greens are glued onto the roof with a glue gun to create the schach. The twig "trees" sit into the foam core board with a starter hole I made with scissors and the moss is glued on to the twigs.
Now it's our turn to erect the real one this Sunday....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

No, it's not girl's in white dresses with blue satin sashes. 

With the high holidays upon us and Thanksgiving around the corner it's a good time to reflect on what we have and be thankful for the little things as well as the big things. These things don't necessarily cost a lot--they are just items I love seeing and using almost every day. Here is a little tour...
I picked up this little jewelry tree on sale at Urban Outfitters years ago. I love how it looks like lace but it's metal and works perfectly to hold earrings and small bracelets.

This clock was an engagment gift over 30 years ago! It was purchased in New York at a small gift shop on the upper east side---too long ago to remember the name. I love the typography and proportions and it now hangs in our kitchen--it's fifth home.

I found this hand painted wood box at a shop in Portland, Maine. I love how it's distressed even though it's not an antique. 

Here's a more recent find also from Maine--these stacked stones from Kennebunkport. The organic nature and clean design is what attracted me to them.

A friend told me about these inexpensive old-fashioned roaster pans that are sold at our local hardware store. They look like something your grandmother would have in her kitchen and you know what? She was right! Meats and poultry turn out juicy and golden brown.

It looks like carved wood but this real, giant acorn (from somewhere out west) was found in a junk shop in Connecticut.

I loved the neutral colors of this antique abacus, unlike the colorful toys usually found today.

Much of the artwork hanging in our home are either works from my friend's or my sister's friends  (we both went to art school) or antique paintings like these two.

The only thing of real value on my list is my Ebel watch. I bought it when I turned 30 and I've worn it every day since. I love it as much today as I did then!

The decorator Nate Berkus says you should have something in your home that makes you smile. These do the trick.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lighting the Sukkah

The holiday of Sukkot is a little over a week away. It's my favorite Jewish Holiday--I love the autumn weather and decorating the sukkah. After all, the sukkah is really a dining room that just happens to be outdoors. We eat so many meals during the week long holiday--some day meals and other meals at night that lighting is a must.

I say, as long as you need lights, why use the industrial light bulbs from a home improvement store when it's an opportunity to do something fabulous and really make a statement! Today you'll find me over at chabad.org with lots of fun ideas for lighting your sukkah. You can check them out here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What to Wear on Rosh Hashanah

The high holidays are in full swing starting tonight. We will be busy attending synagogue and having lots of festive meals with friends for three days in a row and that means a lot of outfits!

According to Jewish law one should wear special clothes in honor of the Jewish holidays so although I am not a fashionista, I thought it would be fun to put together some of my favorites picks.

Monday, September 2, 2013

This and That

Not only are the high holidays a few days away, I'm still working on our new house. Sometimes the amount to things to get done are overwhelming but this week I accomplished a lot...

I put together an "everyday centerpiece"...
Our dining table is very long, and when I am not entertaining during the week it looked so empty. Using materials I gathered around the house, I put together this centerpiece which doubles as a spot for fruit in season.

I found this great Waverly fabric on sale at jo ann's...
it will be made into pillows for the living room.

I keep cranking out honey cakes to give for our Rosh Hashanah greetings...
I found the cute paper baking pans at Sur la table.

I was driving home last week and noticed a sign saying "estate sale"
I followed the sign and scored this teak coffee table for $40.00! The size and shape are perfect for the living room, but I'll be restraining the top and painting the base.

Last but not least...
I finally started painting the Ikea wall unit in the living room. One coat of primer and two coats of paint on so many shelves and brackets. It'll be a while...

One step at a time.
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