Owl Gifts a Go-go UPDATED with Purse tutorial

These are only the first of many owl clips I have started crafting like crazy to get ready for the start of holiday gifting time. However, these are not the most exciting owl objects to be finished this week.

I wanted to get these posted before the evening gets away from me. Looking forward to sharing the owl pouch that will hold these clips for some of my favorite little girls.

Maybe I'm still hanging on to the tail end of the owl fad, but I just love little kids decorated with these cookie birds. More to come...

Like the Owl Purse I just finished!

This owl pouch from Giddy Giddy sells for nearly $40 online.

I love the idea, wasn't crazy about the colors and certainly wasn't loving the price. I felt pretty confident I could make one I'd be happy gifting for the cost of materials I already had in the scrap bin.

This is mine based on a similar one from a pricey child boutique.

Here's the Tutorial to make your own and save your $'s.

1 stained but salvageable child's T-shirt
1 fat quarter or other quilting weight cotton square
1 square of canvas or other heavy material for lining *(unless you enjoy playing with interfacing the canvas will keep the purse shape without too much hassle)
1 colorful shoelace or length of twill tape to coordinate
The basics- scissors, needle, thread, felt scraps for decorating

Gather your materials, and decide on a general owl shape. I liked the rounded shape I'd used earlier for the owl clips so I quickly sketched a larger version to create the template.

Start cutting the outline 2 from canvas, 1 from your T-shirt...

and another from your fat quarter.

Create a wing shape to fit around the edge of the body of the owl. Cut two opposite wings, press a small seam around the inside edge of the wings and top-stitch the length of the inside curve through both the T-shirt and canvas layer.

Once the wings are secured, decorate your owl with beak, eyes and even little feather tufts.

Pin all layers together, right-sides facing in. Pin strap to edge. Sew around edges. Turn right-side out and press.


Let me know if you make one of your own, I'd love to see more.

Crochet in Mainstream Israeli Culture

Looks like one of my favorite pastimes is gaining some street cred around Israel.*

Check out this commercial from a popular clothing chain in Israel

Love it!

I loved my first encounter with Urban Knitting or Guerrilla Knitting aka Yarn Bombing a few years back and still find it "the least offensive form of graffiti" around. In fact it's downright cheerful.

While living in Jerusalem, I felt ridiculous when I'd find myself to be the only woman on the bus not busy at work crocheting kippot for my husband, son or brother. I simply didn't know how.

Being that it was the apparent city-wide sport of my peers, I taught myself.

Rather, this great woman taught me how to crochet. She makes the most instructive and helpful YouTube tutorials I've ever found. Have a look.

* For the record, we don't own a TV and I just happened to see this commercial which sent me into a frenzy trying to find it online to share, I just think it's that neat.

Ahoy Matey! A Whale of a Craft Dilema.

00:01 by SarainAkko 5 comments

Every day since I brought these stupid dish towels home, I look at them shoved into my already bursting pile of projects in waiting and think...

"What did I even want those for?"

I am not an impulsive shopper, I go to the store for what I need and although I tend to hoard craft supplies, I don't buy something with out a rough image of where the project is going to take me.

Maybe I saw these soft plush dish towels and thought I'd make them festive for Chanukah. Perhaps I forgot that matching dish towels in our home means matching coffee stains, not ribbon trimmed for the holidays.

I any case, I kept the towels until the fateful day when I decided enough. I dug them out to prepare for an upcoming 2nd birthday party for my son. The theme will be fish and I am happy to announce I have found a use for these dish towels. Thanks About.com, no seriously.*



In any case I am glad to say that along with the baggied goldfish soaps and the other fish treats our guests will be taking home, they will also be receiving whale washcloth scrubbers.

I like that this little scrubber is a quick sew, (even if your machine is trapped in repair) and that the nature of the terrycloth loops hide all the ragged hand-stitches you otherwise might see. Plus, you can make them tiny enough that they fit your child's tiny hand. Face it, child sized is somehow cuter.

(Pod of Whales)

I'll keep posting more on the upcoming party as it comes into place.

*I'd like to state that this is the first time in history that a search leading to About.com has actually produced an answer to my crafting question (often it is just like a reading a summary of a wiki article on any given topic). There's even a video with this tutorial in case you can't visualize how it fits together.

As Seen on Crafty Crow!!!

I can't tell you how excited I am that one of my Chanukah Crafts was featured on The Crafty Crow today. The Crafty Crow is a collection of' crafts for children and for a variety of ages.

This is a blog that I check regularly to see what sorts of amazing things other crafters have been up to and an essential place to stop over to if you are looking at a long holiday break with no idea what to do to keep the kiddies engaged and creative.

Check it out, its a great collective of ideas and innovation in the world of child imagination.

The Crafty Crow

You might recognize some other prominent Jewish craft-sters also featured. What a great morning surprise.

You can see the original Color-fun and Counting Menorah HERE

Chanukah Giveaway Final Results

Thanks to everyone who entered this weeks Chanukah Crayon Giveaway. While there were a ton of great ideas that I will save in my crafting bank for later the final project is a variation on an old favorite.

Much like the Dreidel Gelt Bag which can be seen here I stitched up a tinier version that takes up a quarter sheet of pre-cut felt for each student. This is the perfect size for a set of crayons and a Chanukah note from our family to the 31 kids in the preschool class. The tutorial for this simple project can be found in the link above.

What about our prize winners you ask. The random number generator from Random.org has told me the lucky winner is #5 Shalom. Thanks to everyone for entering. Our winner SHALOM should contact me this week to get me details on how to get your prize to you (you never left me an email).

Kids Chanukah Cards- Chanukah Crafts Part V

See, I let my kids craft a little too.

I have my happy little Chanukah Goblins hard at work crafting their own Chanukah cards to send to family and friends.

As we all know a well planned for craft can keep little hands busy and out of trouble. Also, it seems that family and friends like the stuff kids make in a few minutes as much as the stuff mom spends hours thinking of how to craft.

These are simple white crayon on card-stock, greeting card messages that have been painted over with watercolors by my children, 4 and nearly 2. I prepared the super-simple designs and let the kids go wild with the paints. A heavy cardstock was perfect for this project because 2 is too little for watercolors and the result is a very damp but still usable card in the end.

REMINDER: There is still time to leave your comments for the Chanukah Giveaway HERE

Chanukah Giveaway & Chanukah Craft Part IV

As you may have gathered, Chanukah sneaks up on us so early this year. Really, shockingly early for those of us with a side by side Hebrew/English calender.

But for those of who also have a crafty need to make stuff and force it on others, this is no deterrent. My next Chanukah project comes out of the necessity to find an appropriate present to give to 31 preschoolers before their holiday break begins.

I also have a need to use up the many many 4-packs of crayons that I purchased this summer with the intent of placing in birthday treat bags, only to forget and leave them in the large pile on my craft shelf.

While last year's project included 30 Felt Driedel bags with homemade playdough, chanukah crayons, butterflies, bugs, origami animals and treats this year I am not undertaking a project of such a scale. Just a small gift from our family to the kids.

But what's a mom to craft when the only recognizable symbols of the holiday are Dreidels and Chanukiahs? And everyone knows that paper-cut jelly doughnuts rarely (never) turn out very well.

Any ideas?

Alright here's the GIVEAWAY!

Neat Chanukah Crayons


Anyone who comments on this post is eligible to win some of these Chanukah Crayons, recycled crayons in fun Chanukah shapes. I'll choose one winner at random and ship them out in time for Chanukah, anywhere in the world. The set of crayons is a mix of 9 colors and shapes. Dreidels, Stars of David, Chanukiahs and more.

Leave an idea for how to get rid of these packs crayons in a fun Chanukah-ish manner. The craft must be able to be completed with stuff I probably already have lying around my house (you can assume my craft scraps and supplies are extensive). Post as many ideas as you like but only one comment entry will count for the drawing. If I use your idea, I'll feature it and credit your brilliant idea. Comical if unrealistic ideas will be considered as well, I like to think big.

If you don't have an idea for what to do with all these crayons you can "follow" me and let me know in a comment.

Contests ends and winner will be drawn by November 18th. Or you could always buy your own set here on Etsy.

Feel free to write me if you have any questions but otherwise, comment with your ideas.

Re-Examining my own Glass Mehitzah

I typically take steps to keep my personal blogging fairly light hearted and without much intrigue but was tempted today by something larger than a contest. But rather a really on point question raised by said contest. A Tallit up for grabs was posted recently by a blog I've enjoyed reading for some time here.

So I began to think about my own interest in Tallitot. For starters I grew up in an egalitarian community where women did not wear a Tallit, but as I grew the environment began to change rapidly. Although just five years prior my sister was not given a Tallit, by my Bat Mitzvah it was not a question of whether or not a girl would wear a Tallit but which Tallit she would wear.

The options were not plentiful, you could choose between a very plain blue striped pattern or a more elaborate blue striped pattern. All wool, all with machine embroidered Atara and all miniature versions of a full grown man's Tallit, sized to accommodate the petite stature of a girl about to become a tiny woman.

As I had demanded a dark navy blue invitation with the skyline of Jerusalem in a 3 hour negotiation stand-still with my mother, it was my natural choice that I would choose the blue Tallit with the elaborate Jerusalem skyline to match. I was told repeatedly for years to come that this was a pretty "Butch" Tallit for a young lady.

I didn't care.

I loved wearing my Tallit. I loved draping it around my body. I loved being a fully-fledged adult and member of the community and I took this responsibility with all the maturity I could muster. Wearing a Tallit gave me a sense of religious purpose, stepping into my own space to commune with my Maker.

But I do not wear my Tallit anymore. I have become a more observant Jew, as observant as I imagined myself to be as a tween. I am a Jewish wife and mother and woman in Israel and all of these labels give me new limitations and horizons in my development. My chosen community is millions of miles away from the community in which I was born and I can't see myself walking around on Shabbat in a Tallit with all the men of my small city. I can't say that I would care to. As a modern religious woman I've found that can take that sense of my own space with me at all times, I don't need this props and staging.

I could go back and forth on the debate; is it forbidden, no. Does that make it appropriate, perhaps? Can a woman even wear a Tallit? Well, can't she?

I feel very fortunate to have lived to see a point in religious renewal where well educated and well grounded women are able to ask important questions. Questions that are not in defiance of tradition saying boldly that men and women are no different (believe me, we're different) but rather questions that force us to think like our sages. When our world has changed so drastically, are we not at a different point in our religious needs. The Torah is unchanging and society cannot be a measure of how to observe the laws of our Torah but there are questions that simply aren't answered by assuming a woman is not obligated and therefore may... or may not... or should not.

I don't feel that I would ever be comfortable in the community I was raised in. Their observances are now so foreign to me that I am often at a loss of words when I return for brief visits.

Instead of answering important modern Halakhic questions based in law and religious discourse, I often find that the purveyors of religious knowledge are limited in scope and are unable to adequately answer the basics of Religious Law. Instead there is an odd mixture of fear and myth about rituals they have deemed unnecessary such as Kashrut, Taharat Mishpacha and a host of other fundamental issues. This doesn't mean I resent other Jews who choose to live a different path than I choose for myself and my family but rather I am saddened that the outright prevalence of deeming my practices archaic.

I don't flinch at a woman in a Tallit and Kippa who is called Rabbi, but I feel a kindred purpose with those wearing a Tichel or beanie and are as well versed in living Judaism and Halakha as any man who never questioned whether or not he would wear a Tallit.

I hope that somehow my coming from this particular community widens their tolerance and love of other Jews as well as my own Ahavat Yisrael.

I guess I've arrived at a point where I can say a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.

Thanks to A Mother in Israel for the soul search.

I'd love to hear your comments if you've got them.

Suede Flower Cuff Bracelets, Chanukah Crafts Part III

07:43 by SarainAkko 1 comments
Just a quick glimpse of some suede projects I've been working on for a Chanukah Craft and Gift Bizarre in the Chicagoland area that I will be "appearing" in.

So without further ado...

Hopefully I'll have enough leftover suede to craft up some headbands and broaches as well. More to come soon.

Update: As for a few questions I've gotten about these cuffs, here's what they're made of. Layers of hand-cut suede, Austrian glass leaf beads and iridescent seed beads clustered in the center. The dark background behind the flower is a wide leather cuff bracelet. Although I rarely wear jewelry I like single pieces that make bold statements when I do.

How to get One: I currently can't make enough to keep them in stock. If you'd like your own suede cuff bracelet, contact me here or at ModaMama on Etsy and I'll set up a private listing.

Matryoshka Madness, A Nestng Doll Tutorial

I've seen those expensive Japanese fabric prints with the rows of adorable little Russian Matryoshkas . I've seen felt garland Matryoshkas and printable paper Matryoshkas. Matryoshka appliqued baby booties and unfolding Matryoshkas birthday cards.

As I yelled across the room at my husband just recently, "Have you seen all the freaking Matryoshkas on Etsy lately?" As a Russian born male, the cuteness of this recent craze is totally lost on him.
They are literally everywhere and while my children have their own authentic, aged wooden Matryoshkas and their newer pencil topper Matryoshkas, I thought I should at least try my hand with a modern twist to the very old Russian nesting doll.

Here's how to Make your own little Softie Matryoshka Doll set.

1 One fat quarter of calico print or a large scrap (small pattern works well with this scale)
Large scrap thick muslin or plain canvas/quilting weight light solid (for face)
Embroidery thread in black and red/pink
Stuffing of your choice (I like dried beans or rice for these guys)
Basics(Paper, pencil, needle thread, scissors)


1. Create a set of three templates by outlining your Matryoshka shape onto paper and then decreasing the size incrementally for each following template. I searched online for "Matryoshkae Outlines" and "Coloring Page" but eventually free-handed it.

You can cut the face template circle by finding a round object the fits the largest doll body (a bottle cap or bottom of a paint bottle)

2. Cut out your 2 doll bodies of each template from your calico print.

3. Cut out 1 circle for each face of the three dolls.

4. Embroider face on one piece of doll body for each corresponding size. Stitch hair and the circumference of the face to secure to doll body.

5. Place two matching doll body pieces, right sides facing together. and stitch around, leaving the bottom edge open to fill.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 with other sized doll bodies and faces.

7. Enjoy your quick evening sewing project with nice results.

Notes on this project:
I intended to let my four year old have these dolls, really I did. But it turns out that they are freaking adorable and she has lots of little dolls (who's fault could that be?)

I think I'll have to be gifting these.