Spoiler alert! If you are on our “nearest and dearest” list, please don’t scroll down to peek at the craft project revealed below. It is currently winging its way to you in the mail. Be patient.
(Um, if you feel you are near and dear and considerable time has passed and you have NOT received your very own Craft in the mail – well, oops. We still love you, but are far from having our act together over here on this new side of the Atlantic. Better luck to all of us next year.)
So my nanny used to get these cards. Maybe you’ve seen them. They were all-occasion cards with paintings on the front. Mediocre paintings of puppies and kittens and clowns and water and boats. And the only thing that was special about the cards was that on the back, they said they were mouth-painted by people who had no limbs.
Mouth-painted. That phrase stuck with me, maybe because everybody always told me not to put paintbrushes in my mouth. Or maybe the image of a limbless guy painting a landscape.
And the thing is, they didn’t have to be GOOD paintings. Once you knew they were mouth-painted, that was enough.
So that’s how I think about our craft project. A year ago, we had our legs pulled out from beneath us by our move to Israel. Sure, we did it deliberately, we planned it in advance, and we’re happy we came. But a year ago, I was overwhelmed by the thought of finding vegetables, making lasagna, assembling a meal. Let alone renting an apartment, finding a job, ordering gas balloons, and all the other things that we’ve managed to accomplish in the year we’ve lived here.
We have had such a beautiful summer, homeschooling together. And I wanted to wrap it up with a nice something that we could send to everybody we love before Rosh Hashanah.
Luckily, I planned ahead of time. Between Pesach and June, when things were flowering, I took the liberty of stripping lots of flowers and bringing them home to press. The kids thought I was nuts, but okay.
(They realized it was cool when they saw me opening up a couple of huge dictionaries and plopping the flowers inside.)
Some flowers faded more than others, but whatever… this is all about lessons learned, and not about the end result.
Remember, it’s like mouth-painting.
We’re not just doing crafts – we’re doing crafts in Israel. Everything is hard: I don’t have my regular glue, scissors, paper, whatever. No WalMart; how are you supposed to craft without WalMart?
But I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the flowers all along.
A few years ago, Naomi Rivka designed a bookmark that I knew was never going to win the public library bookmark contest. But I thought it was beautiful, so I printed off colour copies, mounted them on cardboard and “laminated” them and gave them out to a few lucky relatives.
That’s what I wanted to do with the flowers. Only without cardboard, without my regular glue, with weird Israeli laminating plastic… well. It’s about the process, not the product… right?