Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags Tutorial

To cut back on our use of plastic, I 'upcycled' these bags from ripped jeans. I began collecting post-wearable jeans for the aprons I was making. This is a great way to use smaller pieces of material.

Why these are better than the alternatives:
  • Put food in while hot - it won't get soggy or melt the bag
  • No worries about BPA's and the like leaking into your food
  • Sanitary - machine washable in HOT water, unlike plastic-lined alternatives
  • Cute and stylish
  • Easy to make
  • No 'Velcro' means they last much longer, however you wash them.
You will need:
Denim - You can usually make at least 8 bags from one pair of old jeans. (Note - stretch denim is more difficult to sew on a machine.)
Strong thread - a contrasting color is nice.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Food Rescue in Israel

This Saturday is Tu B'Shvat, the birthday of the trees. On Tu B'Shvat we eat fruits and nuts, plant trees, discuss mitzvot (Jewish laws or good deeds) related to trees, and other environmental issues.

A Mitzva Primer:
There are several Jewish laws prohibiting food waste, for instance you can not simply throw food away because something got in it that you think would make it un-kosher. A rabbi must be consulted, and in most cases, the food is permitted. (This applies after the fact; it does not make it permissible to purposely add something not kosher.) 

It is generally prohibited to throw away or ruin good food. This can include rendering food inedible by doing craft projects from food (bread, pasta, seeds) that would otherwise be edible.

There are also agricultural laws that relate to helping the needy. Farmers in Israel must leave the corners of their fields unharvested, and any produce that drops or is missed in the process of harvesting must be left for the needy. 

There is a wonderful organization that takes care of these important mitzvot while protecting the dignity of the needy. Leket Israel, Israel's National Food Bank, is an exceptional organization. Unlike other food banks and charities, it provides nutritional food like fresh produce (not canned and packaged foods) and it helps other businesses fulfill the mitzvah of avoiding food waste. Win-win! Leket Israel also has some new projects that use their organizational scale to help other non-profits improve efficiency.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stained Glass Craft Tutorial

This week I took over a craft class for elementary school girls in our neighborhood. The craft is supposed to relate to the Torah portion of the week. This week's portion is "Shemot" the first portion in the book of Exodus, where Moses encounters G-d in the form of a burning bush.  

I've been itching to join the fun of "Craft Schooling Sunday" over at Creative Jewish Mom, and I already wrote the instructions out for my mom, I though I might as well share with all of you! This project was inspired by a project my mom used to do with acetate  as well as numerous other projects around the blogosphere. It was designed to be done in one hour with supplies I already had in the house.

I showed the girls (and a couple moms) pictures of other burning bush inspired stained glass. Then I asked them to draw what they thought the burning bush looked like. 


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