For my job-hunting boyfriend.

Find a six-inch square shadow box. Good luck with that; I made this one. Make sure it’s deep enough to hold a shot glass. Drill holes in the back to take the wires which will hold the contents and a hanging loop of some sort. Paint it fire-alarm red and varnish it.

Apply lettering to glass. I used Letraset because I am so fabulously retro. You might also use stickers, etching, custom-printed decals, or glass paint.

Secure inside the box a mini bottle of whatever and something to drink shots from. These are held in place with wire collars.

In event of awesome job offer, break glass!

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Everyone has a challah cover that says “Shabbat v’Yom Tov,” don’t they? It’s a compulsory wedding gift, I believe. But not many people have one like this. Bwahahaa, geekery.

I might post a pattern at some point, if anyone wants it.

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Part 1, Part 2

One of the clever things about piyutim is all the little linguistic tricks they use. Rhyme, of course; I tried to use white space between stanzas to show the rhyming structure, but I think I didn’t use quite enough of it. So, there’s rhyme.


Then there’s alphabetical acrostic, which I’ve indicated with little pink-highlighted squiggles, and anadiplosis. Anadiplosis is also called שירשור, and it’s when one line begins with the same words as the previous line. I’ve used bigger squiggles for anadiplosis, coloured in pairs. See how the alphabetical poem connects to the verse block, which connects to the last stanza, which connects to the blessing?


The squiggles are from an old sketchbook, which I take to exhibitions and things for the express purpose of collecting squiggles and patterns and whatnot. The note in the sketchbook says “Ramban, Rome, 1469,” but I looked that up on the JNUL site (cheers, Gabriel) and I didn’t see my squigglies in it. So they must be from something else. I’ll find them one day.

The border elements are a combination of something I pulled from a museum catalogue (Adoration of the Magi, Fitzwilliam Museum) and New York City ironwork (always buy the catalogue, if it’s pretty, and always carry a sketchbook). The little coloured bits are the same colours as the writing nearby.

I used three weights of Pigma Micron pen for the border, that’s all. You can have a lot of fun with contrasting-weight pens. The coloured parts are my beloved sparkly watercolours, which shine and gleam and are HAPPY. Yay art supplies!


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This is a liturgical piece, a Magen by Qallir for Shabbat Nachamu. A Magen is the first in a sequence of poems adorning the first three berakhot of the Amidah, up to the Kedusha; the Magen adorns the first berakha, “Magen Avraham.”


Translation from the ever-estimable Mar Gavriel:

With Me, from Lebanon, you shall not be shamed;
Your raiments of strength you will don with honor;
Nations you will trample with your legs, and trod over them;
Your flags I shall adorn with linen and silk.

Rouse yourself up, O daughter of Zion, from the dust,
And get up and enrobe in beautiful clothing!
Your later halo will be more beautiful than your first;
Your sin will be over, and atoned like [the passing of] a cloud.

Your palaces, which were dimmed due to My fury,
Burned in anger, and with destruction were wrathed –
They shall be robed in glory, and given compassion from My mouth.
Announce to them: “Give ye comfort, give ye comfort!”

As it is written: Give ye comfort, give ye comfort to my people, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 40:1)
And it is written: Though there be a multitude of [anxious] thoughts within me, thy consolations charm my soul. (Psalm 94:19)
And it is written: And let this be my consolation, though I be anxious with unsparing fear: I have not rejected the words of the Holy One. (Job 6:10)
And it is written: Rejoice with Jerusalem, yea, be glad with her, all who love her; celebrate a celebration with her, all who mourn for her. (Isaiah 66:10)
And it is written: So that ye may nurse, be satisfied from the teat of her consolations; so that ye may suck, and enjoy the breasts of her glory. (ibid.,
verse 11)

Her glory will be elevated above all,
And Thy glory shalt Thou then reveal in her.
Our days – may you fill them, like the days of yore,
And in the strength of Thy shield may we be uplifted in glory.

More tomorrow :)

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I like a bit of a challenge now and again.

Here’s a community that wants to honour its rabbi by giving him a piece of artwork.
Since the rabbi is well-beloved by the families with children, the Surprise Committee wanted to have the children participate in creating the artwork.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually result in something you want to frame and hang on the wall.

Enter a fun, bubbly style of calligraphy. These letters are outlined with marker, and they’re intentionally idiosyncratic. The children can help colour the letters in, and if they overshoot the edges, the outlines can just be thickened to compensate, and it’ll still look fine because it’s designed that way. Each letter can have several colours, increasing the number of possible identifiable contributions.


I provided the calligraphy, as an ex-member of the community. I left a lot of room around the edge; a current member of the community provided the border, in much the same style.

Then the community had a Making The Surprise day, and they made the surprise, and here it is:


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hatam_soferet: (esther)
( Sep. 13th, 2010 04:52 pm)

Soferet desktopWhile I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, a quick post about how much I love pens.

Really. When the Soferet is miserable or grouchy, a trip to the art store is almost always a good plan. Pens are little tubes of potential, and they don’t cost much, so they’re good happy-making things.

Then you keep them in your pen-holder, and then when you want to create something, you’ve just — whee! — got all the pens you need, right there on hand. It’s very happy.

That’s my pen-holder there. Old shoebox, brown paper, and tape, and it holds a marvellous litter of pens for art projects.

I’m working on a rather exciting ketubah. More about that later; I also want to write you a few posts about liturgy and the High Holy Days here in New Frankfurt-upon-Maine, and about the Kohelet scroll I’m working on, and I think I still owe you pictures of Eicha, and I want to write various other fun things too, but at the moment it’s the ketubah, the other ketubah, the two other other ketubot, proofreading someone else’s Torah, writing Kohelet, and having masses of Yom Tov. Oh, and that Torah repair I still need to finish. Oy.

Tea’s ready. Back to work.

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