Happy New Year 5775

Because of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, postings have recently shifted to Facebook to enable more interactive dialog. Please PM me if you are interested in joining the conversation.

Meantime, I want to wish everybody שנה טובה ומתוקה. May you be inscribed for a sweet, happy and productive and all round fabulous 5775.

We’re having a Muppet phase in our house right now so I’ll let the softies have the last word for now. (click on photo for link).

muppet Shana Tova


Rosh Hashanah cards

This post comes courtesy of my sister, who, in between probing the origins of the universe through her work in particle physics is a domestic goddess and the mother of my three gorgeous nieces. I could get off on a major league kvelling tangent here but let me reign myself in and get back to business.

Today’s post is a how-to for crafting a beautiful holiday card – a Magen David iris card. Now I am handing you over to my sister:


Hellow everybody! Iris folding is one of my absolute favourite projects to do with kids. The creations look amazingly professional for something kid-created, have this wonderful tactile quality to them; you can run your finger over all the little ridges and it feels gorgeous, and another thing I like is the flat storage which means that this craft is less likely to end up getting thrown out for lack of space.

Maybe the best thing of all is the wow factor; while you are creating the card it looks like an unrecognizable heap of paper, then at the end you turn it over to unveil your art, and it’s one of those moments when the expressions on the kids faces are just priceless.

First off, download the template and print 2 copies.

Link is here: iris card template.

Position one copy on the back of the card and use as a guide to cut out the entire shape on the card front.


Now cut out a rough circle around the other printout.

cut circle

Position the circle on the front of the card directly behind the cut-out shape (so that you can see the pattern from the back). This serves as a temporary template for creating the card and will be removed at the end. Line it up as best you can and put a few spots of temporary tape to hold it firm while you do the iris folding itself.

Now it should look like this:

card with diagram

Up to now it should probably be you doing the setup, but from now on the kids can start to gradually take over. You need lots and lots of strips of paper.  It doesn’t matter at all if the strips have rough edges because you are going to fold them, and at the end of the project only the fold will show.

We had some strips bought from a craft store and some cut from a magazine (magazine paper is the perfect weight for this). Now you have to be able to count: starting at position 1 you tape down the strip, so the folded edge is against the line on your pattern, and the edges overlap the cut-out region.

Does this picture explain it?  It’s a bit wonky because Hannah insisted on doing it “all by myself” but you can see that the strip has been folded over on the edge, and the edge has been butted up against the line, with the right side of the strip facing down.


Go onto position 2, then rinse and repeat 20 times or more, depending on how many folds you have to do.


In principle you can do smart things with color blocking, matching etc. but in general I just let the kids choose their colours and they come out – well, they come out unique!

Here we are after the first few strips:


Now after a while it begins to look like a huge messy pile of paper and tape – do not lose your nerve at this point but keep on going until you get to the iris in the centre.

Here we are at that point.  Looks like a big mess, right!



Now you select your most beautiful shiny/holographic scrap of paper and stick it face down over the central iris.

Next, turn the whole thing over, and with great excitement, pomp and ceremony (there really should be a bracha for this moment), peel back the temporary template on the card front to unveil your creation…

unveil card

… ta da..!  And now, please decorate!

cardThanks so much!