Friday, September 30, 2011


We received two of these tins this past week at an event Avi and I attended. Unfortunately, and contrary to appearances, there were in fact no cookies inside. Instead, there were coffee cups that matched the tins and plain yellow saucers. Except, of course, the cups said "Coffee" on them.

Even though the cups were empty.

Anyway, while I am sure DHL is a wonderful company, I really didn't want a cookie tin emblazoned with their logo adorning my kitchen. Alcohol inks to the rescue! Sadly, covering up the portion of the tin I wanted to remain in its original state did not prevent the inks from bleeding into what should have been forbidden territory. My family (have I mentioned how much I love them?) thinks it looks "cool" this way.

I'm still considering the option of trying to remove the inks that bled down below the tape and seeing if I can get a clean, sharp line between the inked area and the yellow. Of course, there are so many other things to do, most likely I won't bother.

I wonder what I'll do with the second tin.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Designing Daughter

There's not much to show you as far as current projects go (working on some stealth knitting that can't be shared), though I hope to have something by the end of the week. So in the meantime, and since I was so bad about keeping the blog up to date over the last year and more, I will fill in with things that may not be new but are at least new blog fodder.

This summer Meital asked me to knit her a pair of fingerless gloves featuring the rap group D12. She is a big fan of rap and especially of Eminem. She gave me very specific instructions for the design of the gloves, particularly the placement of the names of the group members, and even charted out the logo herself. I worked on them over the summer and got them done, as requested, in time for the first day of school (September 1).

Why anyone would want to wear wool on their hands in 90 degree weather is beyond me, but then it's been a while since I was 14...

It was a fun, challenging, frustrating, character-building kind of a project, and I am eternally grateful that they are finished (and that Meital is delighted with them).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Knitting for Charity?

I just "Liked" a group on Facebook called Knitting for Charity. For some reason, I am uncomfortable with that word (no, not knitting, the other one!). The word "charity" brings to my mind an association with the term Lady Bountiful (a character from an 18th century play by George Farquhar). According to The Free Dictionary, though, a Lady Bountiful is "a woman who enjoys showing people how rich and kind she is by giving things to poor people." Now, I haven't seen or read the play so I don't know if that is the way the character behaved, but the definition I just quoted reflects my understanding of the title, Lady Bountiful.

I don't wanna be a Lady Bountiful.

Now, it could be (probably is) that I'm way off base here. After all, defines charity as "generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless" which sounds about right. I guess. I still have a problem with it.

I am much more comfortable with Malaak Compton-Rock's term, "service". In her book, If It Takes a Village, Build One (which I highly recommend, if you're interested in that kind of thing) the terms "humanitarianism" and "volunteer opportunity" are used. And the motto mentioned again and again is a quote by children's advocate Marian Wright Edelman: "Service is the rent we pay for living."

Now, those terms resonate with me. I have done some form of community service for most of my life, whether by going in person to spend time helping out in homes for the aged or working with school children, or by making things and sending them where they are needed. The Hebrew word most often used to mean "charity" is "tzedakah" but the original, biblical meaning of the word is "righteousness" or "justice".

Doing or giving because it is the right thing to do. Yes, that really reflects how I feel. And I think it reflects the motivation behind the actions of many people I know and admire, who also do the right thing, from their hearts, because they believe it is both an obligation and a privilege.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Project Night Night

Project Night Night is a very special organization that operates in several states, distributing tote bags containing a book, a small blanket and a soft toy to homeless children. I originally intended to send my offering to the chapter in San Francisco, since I am originally from the S.F. Bay Area. But in the end I decided to send this bunny (pattern from the wonderful book Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson) and blanket to the Michigan location. I meant to mail it yesterday but got sidetracked by a translation project (remember one of my favorite sayings? "I like work, but it sure breaks up the day." True, so true). Meital came to the rescue and schlepped the box to the post office for me. Yay, Meital! And now the map is up to 7 states.

The blanket has a story behind it. Many (many) months ago, a friend of mine here in Israel asked me to knit a blanket for an expected grandchild, due in January. I did, and duly called her when the blanket was ready to tell her to come and pick it up. She never did (and never called, either!). I figured eight months was long enough to wait, and now the blanket is on its way to someone who will use it. That's a good feeling.

Now I'm working on something that will go to Warm Hats, Warm Hearts - a group that collects and distributes scarves, mittens and of course hats to folks who need them in Vermont and upstate New York. I've added a few more ideas to the list that sits on my computer table, for future projects. Ravelry and Facebook have both been great resources for finding service organizations in need of knitted items.

Lest you think I've given up my multi-tasking ways, I'm also working on a birthday present which can't be shown here at Bag of Chocolates. Yet. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 19, 2011

We Love Weddings, Too

One of the things we did this summer was attend a wedding. Well, not just any wedding - my firstborn niece's wedding! She and her Joe got married at a beautiful waterfront hotel in Seattle, and we had a blast spending time with family. As you might have guessed from the photo above, Liat (left) and Meital (middle) were bridesmaids. Their cousin Hannah (right) was the flower girl. During the reception after the wedding, the girls got a little chilled and each asked one of the guests for his suit jacket! It was too cute not to take a photo. I also got a picture of the girls with the guys who lent their jackets. Fun stuff.

The wedding was the cherry on top of the cake that was our summer vacation in the U.S. The day after we were on the plane home. How was your summer?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Judy Sumner

I lost a friend today. I first met Judy on-line, in one of my knitting groups. We got to know one another through e-mails. Judy was the person who encouraged, and then taught me, how to knit socks. So if you are one of the people I have knit socks for, you have Judy to thank. She explained the process, answered my newbie questions, and applauded my efforts. She sent me a gift of sock yarn to make sure I was well and truly hooked! Not only that, I learned to knit socks from the basic pattern Judy offered for free on her website. I purchased some of her patterns, but she gave me at least as many, just because she was that kind of person. Thoughtful, kind, and warm. I was so happy when a dream came true for her in 2009, when a book of her sock patterns was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang (it's called Knitted Socks East and West, if you're interested). I was able to travel to Knoxville with my family several years ago, and we met Judy for lunch at the Panera near the yarn shop where she worked, teaching others to knit.

She touched so many lives, and all of us will always have a place in our hearts saved just for her. Rest in peace, Judy. You will be greatly missed.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We Love Babies!

One of Meital's good friends, Alina, has a brand new baby sister and naturally we needed to make and give something to little Bar (don't ask me to explain Hebrew names, some of them make absolutely no sense...).

The little knitted bunny took very little time to make, and fortunately for me I had a baby card already made and waiting to be used. The words say Mazel Tov, which is a really good all-purpose sentiment to use on cards here. Too bad no one makes any really pretty stamps that say Mazel Tov in Hebrew. I used a stencil here.

I'm finishing up another toy for donation...hope to have that done this weekend. Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For Hennie

I have been lucky enough to meet many wonderful people on the knitting community website, Ravelry. Hennie, or Deb, is one of them. Deb makes and sells handknit items to raise money for epilepsy research. Her shop/website is called Blue Sunflower. When I saw she had put a call out on her blog asking for cards, I knew that was something I could do - and relatively quickly - to help. Of course, once having made that decision I went through several of the circles of hell before completing a few cards I could be happy with. Those of you who are stampers can probably tell at a glance that I used three different coloring methods on that little bear image. On the blue card, he is sponged (that'll teach me to leave a blue thumbprint where I don't want one! Had to go on and make a mortise mask and ink in the whole image after that oops).

On the card above the blue one, I used my new set of Bic markers. And on the card on the right, I used colored pencils. Which do you like best?

The little lamb is yet another interesting story that reveals what kind of crazy mother I am. Meital came to me one day and asked if I could knit up a toy as a birthday gift for a friend. Of course, sure, no problem. Wait...when do you need it?! TONIGHT!?!

I sat and worked on that lamb nonstop for a few hours. It came together nicely (a Fuzzy Mitten pattern, for those who want to know). I was pleased. Meital loved it. But at the last minute, she decided not to go to the party, she didn't feel well. Has this kind of thing happened to you? Of course it has. I know you understand.

So the lamb has been lying in the gift drawer for quite a while now. I decided he needed to go to Deb along with the cards, and off he went. Meital was very pleased with my decision.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Promise to Myself

First of all, I'd like to beg your pardon for being AWOL for the last year and a half! I never expected that to happen, but sometimes life is like that.

I am not going to promise that I will keep blogging regularly, but I do hope that I will. I've missed it. I enjoy sharing my projects and thoughts with you, and I love getting your responses and reactions. So, here we are again.

Yesterday I had one of my brainstorms, an idea that I am very excited about. Over the years, as many of you know, I have created things and donated them to various community service organizations. I can't even remember every single one, but I know I've donated my handmade greeting cards to organizations like Keiki Cards in Hawaii, and more recently to Operation Write Home. I've made cross stitched squares that were sent to SOLAK (Stitches of Love and Kindness) to be made into quilts for chronically or terminally ill children and adults. I've knitted countless items for the Cheyenne River Youth Project and Pine Ridge Reservation, both in South Dakota. I've made scarves for my friend Shelly's organization, Scarves from the Heart. I sent a blanket to the SANDS organization in England last year. And so on. Yesterday, with two more packages nearly ready to be mailed, this time to Philly Care Caps in Pennsylvania and Hannah's Socks in Ohio, it hit me.

Over the years, I have sent things to many different places (we won't get into the many things I've made for the children at the community center near my house, or the hats for IDF soldiers). Wouldn't it be cool - really cool - to see if I could send handmade things to organizations in every state in the U.S.? I think so. I'm going to see if I can do it. I don't know how long it will take, and I have a feeling there are some places I will send things to more than once. But I'm very excited about this project, and hopefully it will keep me motivated to keep blogging, too! Tricky, aren't I?