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1  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 117 ENTRIES / Gingerbread Judith Slays Holofernes on: January 09, 2017 12:23:31 PM
This year Chanukah started on the 24th of December so I decided to make a gingerbread tableau of the Yehudit (Judith) story.

It's a minor story associated with Chanukah, but it's my favourite. Basically, the Jews of Bethulia are under siege by the Seleucids, and about to run out of of food. They will have to surrender within days if something isn't done. So Yehudit (Judith), the daughter of the High Priest, takes matters into her own hands and goes out with her maid to the enemy camp, claiming she will help the general, Holofernes, to capture the city. She's beautiful so he invited her to a private banquet and expects that she will give him the secret to taking the city. Instead, she feeds him salty cheese, and then slakes his thirst with wine, and he passes out in a drunken stupor. She cuts off his head and takes it back to the city, inspiring the Jews to greater bravery, and causing his army to flee in terror. I enjoy a bit of righteous female vengeance.

And a top-down view:

The carpet is fondant icing, painted with petal dust, and the bottles, cushions, goblets etc are also fondant. The rest is royal icing. Everything is edible! The blood is glycerin with red food dye.
2  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Toy hospital and MRI machine on: October 14, 2015 01:01:15 PM

My friend's son sadly was diagnosed with a brain tumor when still a toddler and for the last few years he's been undergoing treatment. While he is, thank G-d, in remission, he still needs to go to get an MRI every month to monitor him and check if it has returned. He has also become rather obsessed with playing doctors and hospitals, so I thought it might be helpful for him to have a model hospital with a model MRI machine so he can play it out. I made this toy hospital for him earlier this year:


I needed it to be light and packable, so the majority (e.g. base and walls) are made from tri-wall cardboard, and everything is flat-pack - it packs down into 4 base pieces and 2 wall pieces (as their flat is small, and I was taking it oversea to them, in a suitcase). The furniture and figures are playmobil, the wall decorations are scrapbook paper, stickers, and images printed and mounted (e.g. room names, pictures, x-rays, clocks etc). The flooring is either felt or scrapbook paper covered in sticky back plastic.

The hardest thing was making the MRI machine. It's made with two pieces of acrylic pipe that I had them cut to size, covered with a shell of plastruct plastic (which I'd never worked with before). It was a bit of trial and error. The buttons were made with polymer clay. It works to the extent that you can lie a figure on the bed and push it in and out - I really wanted him to be able to do that because that's what he still needs to do each month.

If I did it again there's some stuff I'd do differently, but on the whole I'm pretty pleased, and also he loved it, so I'm happy.

3  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Using dpns for a pattern written for 2 circular needles on: July 08, 2011 07:54:01 AM

I'm really new to knitting and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I have knitted 2 pairs of socks so far, both on 5 dpns. I have a pattern for a pair of socks using berroco sox yarn, and it calls for two 16 inch circular needles in size 3mm. But I knit up a gauge swatch using a size 3 needle, and it was way too big! Any sock I knit on a size 3 would be enormous. So I think to get the right gauge, I need to knit with 2.5mm needles, but I don't have any circular needles that size. Can I use the same pattern but with the dpns I do have? Do I have to do anything to adapt the pattern? Sorry if this is a totally stupid question.

thanks in advance!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Embroidered Jellyfish and Sea-scape on: March 15, 2011 07:25:54 AM
I made these embroideries for gatheredthreads in the latest round of the Invite your Partner swap, and I wanted to show them off here too Smiley

These were actually pretty hard for me, because I have a fear of sea creatures. Especially anything with tentacles. Happily gatheredthreads was cool with them being cartoony (they're for her daughter's room), so I was ok.


I based the jellyfish on PosiTori's crocheted ones, because gatheredthreads had them on her wist. Happily, she received a whole set from PosiTori in the same swap, so they match!
(PosiTori's amazing jellyfish - https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=361915.msg4246775#msg4246775)

I stitched him in DMC satin floss, which is 100% stranded EVIL. I will never stitch in satin again. Evil.
Ahem. Anyway, I used backstitch, long-and-short, satin stitch, and threaded running stitch. Including frame he's about 7 inches across if I remember correctly, more in height.

Close-up -

I also made this little seascape (4 inches across), which is a total knock off of penelopewaits' mini aquarium, only with crayon tinting, and a bit less good. Gatheredthreads had wisted the original, so I wanted to make her something I knew she'd like.

(here is penelopewaits' original -  https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=369670.msg4345501#msg4345501)

Thanks for looking! Ooh, also, if anyone has any tips for embroidering with satin, I'd be very grateful. It just about killed me.
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Advice on photographing a project done with satin floss? on: January 11, 2011 08:46:47 AM

I've just finished my first project using DMC satin floss (= 6PLY OF PURE EVIL. Though less evil than metallic thread, that is the King of All Evils). I've finally managed to tame it and finished the project, but as I'm sending it away in a swap, I'd like to take a few pictures before it goes.

I've tried photographing it with my digital camera, but the effect is not good. The flash seems to oddly distort the picture, you can't see any of the detail. But when I took the photo with the flash off, it was too dark.

Does anyone have any advice on how to take a good photograph? I'm at a loss, the satin floos seems to defy all the tips and tricks I usually go by.

6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Yesha, the incredible embroidered cat! on: January 01, 2011 10:21:33 AM
It's been a while since I posted any embroidery, so I thought it was time to take up the needle again.

The current love of my life is the cat I currently share my apartment with - Yesha. She's definitely the royalty in this house - she has a pen-and-ink portrait of her on the fridge, a 3D knitted version of herself, and now, a portrait in embroidery floss:

Here's the real deal, so you can compare 'em.

Technical stuff - the outline is 2-ply split stitch, and the fur is mostly 2-ply long and short, but her face is a bit more idiosyncratic - I tried to capture the directions of her fur. The paw pad is satin stitch, and the toes are french knots. Her funny furry ears are just straight stitch.

Gratuitous Close-ups:

I wish the hoop were nicer, but it seems hard to find nice hoops here in Israel - it was hard enough finding a smallish one, they all seem enormous.

Oh, and a gratuitous kitty shot!

C&C more than welcome!

7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Papercut Chanukah/Hanukkah cards! (Img heavy) on: November 26, 2010 05:11:38 AM
Chanukah is almost upon us (starts the evening of Dec 1) so I've been cutting like crazy to try and finish enough cards

Each of these takes me *hours*, so it's been a bit of a long week...

Group shot:

Dreidel 1:

The writing says "Who performed miracles for our ancestors in their days at this time", part of the blessing we say on the Chanukah candles

Dreidel 2:

The writing is the first line of the Chanukah hymn, "Maoz Tzur" - "Mighty stronghold of my salvation, to praise You is a delight"

Moroccan Menorah:

The writing says "Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light" (another bracha said on the candles)

Upright Menorah:

Hanerot Halelu- "We light these holy lights for the miracles" - from another Chanukah hymn

Oil lamp:

the text is from Hanerot Halelu again

I still have more to do, argh. My poor fingers!

C&C welcome, I'd love to hear what you think. They're a bit more traditional than my Judith and Holofernes card, heh heh. I'm pretty pleased with them though - the oil lamp ones aren't as well cut as I'd like, but I really love the dreidel ones.

Thanks for looking!
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Judith and Holofernes - Happy Chanukah! on: November 21, 2010 01:50:15 PM
In this age of commercialism and secularism, let us not forget the true meaning of Chanukah...

...bloody vengeance on our oppressors!

Heh. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I made this Chanukah/Hanukkah card for my friend Jess, who has a similar sense of humor to mine. It depicts Judith, daughter of Yochanan, cutting off the head of Holofernes.

The midrash says that when the Seleucids were occupying Israel and oppressing the Jews, one of the things they did was insist that every virgin had to sleep with their general, Holofernes, before their wedding night. So brave Yehudit (Judith) went out to the enemy camp and seduced Holofernes. She fed him salty cheese to make him thirsty, then gave him so much wine that he passed out drunk. Then she cut off his head and took it back to the Jews. When they saw their general decapitated by the hand of a woman, the enemy troops fled, and the city and its virgins were delivered.

The whole point of Chanuka is to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees, who rebelled and threw out the Seleucids (Syrians) who were oppressing the Jews and defiling our Temple. The Yehudit story takes place during the Maccabean Revolt, and to this day many Jews have a custom to eat salty cheese at Chanuka to commemorate Yehudit.

The Hebrew text says:

horizontal - "They too were included in the miracle", a text from the Gemara, Shabbat 23a, which explains that women also light candles at Chanuka because Yehudit, a woman, was part of the miracle

vertical - "The daughter of Yochanan ... cut off his head" - a quote from the Ran on Shabbat 23a

So forget all that peace and forgiveness rubbish, and remember the true spirit of the season, folks - our G-d kicked Syrian butt!
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Papercut bird door sign on: November 21, 2010 07:15:17 AM
Yep, another door sign! I've just made aliyah (moved to live in Israel) and I've been busy 'nesting'. I wanted to fill the place with crafty things to try and make it feel more homely.

This one is for my bedroom door (I share an apartment with a friend) - it says "Tzipporah Feiga", which are my Hebrew/Yiddish names. It's a traditional Jewish 'paired' name - two different names with the same or linked meanings. Tzipporah is Hebrew for bird, while Feiga is from the Yiddish Feigel, which also means bird. So my name is really "Bird Bird" - hence the avian design:

It's cut from cartridge paper, mounted on board to make it sturdy. I cut it on the centrefold, but the birds in the doorways were added in separately, for obvious reasons. I'm actually really happy with it. I think it's sweet without being too girly-girly.

C&C welcome!
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Modern Papercut door sign on: November 19, 2010 03:15:22 AM

I've been experimenting with trying to make my papercuts a bit more modern and funky looking, while still keeping a Jewish flavour. Here's one I'm very pleased with - it's a door sign for my friend Tikva (I've edited out their surname).

It's made from a wooden sign black, gessoed and painted, with a black paper papercut placed on top of the gessoed surface. Alas, I have to make another now - after this photo was taken, I experimented with varnishing it, which it did not like one tiny bit. So back to the beginning again...

Anyway, what do you think? How is the composition? Is the black and white contrast too sharp? Does it look too traditional still, or is it successful at looking more modern? How is the technique? Is it tidy enough?

 I'd really like to hear your opinions on it - I'm really trying to improve my papercutting.

Edit - oh, I should probably list the 'symbols' I tried to include for their new home-

Dove of Peace for Shalom Bayis (domestic peace)
Pomegranate (lots of Jewish symbolism there - mitzvot, good deeds, fruitfulness, etc)
Star of David (Jewish)
Fish (Mizrachi symbol of good luck)
Eyes (to protect from the Evil Eye)
Hamsa/hand (protective)
Wheat  (one of the 'Seven Species' of Israel, where they live, + fruitfulness/fertility - they're newlyweds)
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