Monday, June 27, 2011

100 miracles

When I opened my etsy shop in August, after more than a year of preparation (learning how and building my freshketubah website, learning about and creating this blog, reading everything I could find about opening a shop and how to promote it, creating the initial designs I would try to sell ...), I thought I was ready for whatever would happen next. But I also tried to be realistic about the experiment I was embarking upon.

When the first miracle happened the next day, and I had my first ketubah order, I had to pinch myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming! When I finished pinching, the real panic set in, as I was completely unprepared to fill orders. I am embarrassed to say I still did not have my ketubah text options completed, shipping materials in hand or any branded forms/mailing labels or letterhead. No proofing forms or even a process in place to keep track of any of it.

In Hebrew there is a saying: “the shoemaker walks barefoot”. You would think after 20 years of creating branding and marketing material for my clients, I might have been a bit more prepared.

But you see, I had not in my wildest dreams thought I would have sales right away— or ever for that matter. And to this day, after reaching my 100th miracle sale, I am still pinching myself to be sure I am not dreaming.

It is a moment in time, when people with a dream can make miracles come true. It is a time when you can, with a bit of initiative, learn like I did, to set yourself up with an online shop, and with hard work, make a go of it. It is an amazing opportunity, which I hope I never take for granted.

So a humungous thank you to etsy for existing, and to the hundreds of people at the other end of my internet searches, who answered my questions, gave me encouragement, taught me techniques, filled the blanks in my knowledge base, and kept me moving forward. And to my 100 miracles — let me just say, you are awesome, every single one of you :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mazel tov all around!

Family Simcha’s are the best! Family members fly in from all corners of the country/world to spend three days and nights, dressing up (some of us are more comfortable with this than others ... ), filling our tummies with delicious Jewish food, commenting on how great we all look, and kvelling about the latest accomplishments of our children or grand children. In the middle of all of this, is the actual reason for us being together — The Wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Brit Mila or Baby Naming. No matter what the Occasion is, there are always tears of joy, mazel tov’s all around, and a few extra pounds on the scale by the time all is said and done. Those of us that couldn’t make it to the event wait impatiently for the facebook updates and online slideshows. In our family — news travels so quickly — that any noteworthy tidbit makes it from Vancouver to Jerusalem and back almost simultaneously! By the time the pictures arrive we are all convinced we were actually there, even if we weren’t!

In May this year, our family was lucky enough to have two beautiful Simchas in very close succession. One in Vancouver and one in Toronto — and Marc and I were lucky enough to be able to enjoy them both first hand. In anticipation of both events, I started planning what I would make for each of the girls experiencing their rites of passage this past May. 

India Raine (Is that not the most beautiful name you have ever heard?) came into this world on December 13th 2010. I think that it is safe to say, that there is a competition going on between the parents, grandparents and super baba (India’s great grandmother), as to who can love this beautiful baby girl the most! And the rest of the extended family is not far behind. 

I set to work creating a baby naming certificate for India several months ago. I was so excited about it, that I came up with a number of ideas. The final design is pink pink pink! India’s favourite colour. Lots of pretty flowers and two happy peacocks. The final artwork was ready for her naming ceremony mid May, here in Vancouver. India, dressed in pink (of course), was a perfect lady during the proceedings, letting mommy and daddy, all of the grandparents and super baba do all of the crying! It was amazingly beautiful and meaningful. I still get teary just thinking about it. 

Less than two weeks later we were on a plane to Toronto for the next amazing family extravaganza. 

Sarah is many years past her baby naming ceremony. This year was the year for her to prepare for becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Anyone that has gone through this process, knows it is a lot of hard work. There is a whole year of study. A Torah portion and Haftorah to understand and learn how to read, and how to chant. And then a speech to write about the whole experience. And on top of everything, this all has to be performed in front of a packed Synagogue of family and friends. It seems impossible to expect this of a 12 year old ...

But I forgot to tell you that Sarah plays hockey. She is a goalie, and a really good one — She doesn't shy away from difficult tasks.

I knew I wanted to create a keepsake for Sarah that included her Torah portion and symbols of her coming of age this year. Her Torah portion is called Bamidbar, which means “in the desert”. As we all know — lots of crazy stuff went down in the 40 years our ancestors wandered in the desert. G-d didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about the experimentation, and some of that tantrum ended up in Sarah’s portion. I didn't dwell on that though — I had my own interpretation. The way I see it, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and to always remember who you are. So for Sarah, I incorporated the symbols of the sabbath, the Torah, and scenes of Israel with the words she studied and learned to chant so beautifully, into a keepsake that I hope will remind her of her incredible achievement becoming a Bat Mitzvah and her connection to the Jewish people. 

Like the 40 years in the desert, preparing for a Bat Mitzvah, was no picnic. But with hard work comes big rewards. The Bat Mitzvah weekend was amazing. Sarah outdid herself. If she was nervous, it didn't show for a moment. We all got to dress up and eat non-stop for three days — and — really enjoy each others company. Seeing her beaming parents and grandparents as the Bat Mitzvah girl recited her haftorah and delivered her speech at the Synagogue and later at the evening dinner party, was priceless. 

Sarah’s younger sister Chloe was the master of ceremonies for the Saturday evening party. We have a few years to wait for her turn on the Bimah — but if the previews are any indication, it will be a Simcha not to be missed! 

Mazel tov to India and Sarah and to families everywhere celebrating — and eating — and crying tears of joy!

Kibbutz celebrating 100 years

Adamit General Meeting by Barbi Bamberger

This quilt was made by my good friend Barbi Bamberger. We spent 11 years together on Kibbutz Adamit. Our son’s were born just months apart and were part of the same group from their time in the baby house through to grade school on kibbutz Eilon.

This quilt was made for a major quilt exhibit called “A Century of Kibbutz”, at Beit Gavriel located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and won an honourable mention! Yay Barbi! Her quilt depicts the weekly kibbutz meeting where we discussed and voted on all major decisions about our daily lives on the kibbutz. As you can see from her depiction, we all had different things on our minds while these big decisions were being made! The meeting took hours and was often very lively, but it also was a time for finishing knitting and quilting projects, or catching a cat nap.

As the kibbutz movement celebrates 100 years, Kibbutz Adamit celebrates it’s 40th birthday. To commemorate this, many of us will be returning to Adamit for a reunion in November. I am looking forward to seeing this quilt in person and reminiscing with old friends about the discussions that kept us up until the wee hours, the community we created together, one committee meeting at a time, the cakes we baked for aruchat arba, the nes cafe we drank in the moadon, the Shabbat meals in the communal dining room, the baby quilts made together, the apples, that were picked ... and so much more.

If you watch this video, you will see and hear about the other 55 quilts in this exhibit. It brought back great memories for me. I hope you enjoy it.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

New offering at my shop: Wedding Guest Posters!

I have been watching the amazing growth of fingerprint trees and wedding guest book alternatives on etsy over the last year and decided it was time for a fresh approach. So I am happy to announce a new section at my shop called Wedding Guest Posters. Instead of fingerprints, I have leaves already in place for guests to sign. As I write this post, I am dreaming up other designs for wedding showers, baby showers, birthday parties ... it is endless.

Each poster is (at the moment) 13 x 19 and accommodates from 100-200 signatures depending on the design. Each poster comes with a small poster with instructions that can be framed.This message can be customized to suit each event.

The posters are printed on the same beautiful paper my ketubot are printed on - and some of them coordinate with ketubah designs which may be of interest for some of my wedding buyers.

Check it out and let me know what you think! If you want one of these for your next wedding/shower/bat/bar mitzvah, head over to my shop and send me a convo or email at naomibroudo[at]gmail[dot]com. Have fresh ideas for me? I would love to hear from you :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Note to self: Do not seal camping equipment in a box

To say there is a lot going on in the Broudo household at the moment would be an understatement. I never thought I would be thanking Canada Post for being on strike, but the excuse to put my etsy shop on holiday couldn’t have come at a better time.

Let’s see ... besides planning our September/October car trip in the US South West, planning our November trip in Israel, organizing gear for our trek in Nepal in December, and gear for our 82 day overland trip in India, we are also moving out of our apartment, putting all of our worldly possessions in storage until we return from the 2011/2012 Broudo adventure. So — a few things going on.

Every day has it’s accomplishments as well as its surprises. Yesterday in preparation for our now weekly trip to MEC (Mountain Equipment Co op, for those of you reading that are not from BC), we bravely opened the storage locker and pulled out the box labelled “camping equipment”.

Nothing like the aroma of camping equipment that has been sealed in a box for a year! I guess it could have been worse, but we both almost fainted from the stench. Then figuring out how we would take it up the elevator, into the apartment without offending our neighbours — oh well, we are moving out so what the hell.

I immediately filled the tub with warm sudsy water, added two knapsacks, and was delighted to find that if you repeat this several times, the smell and the dirt does actually disappear! Even more remarkable is that by this morning, the bags are almost dry. kudos to quick dry technology!

Our (now clean) tent is draped over a drying rack in the living room. One knapsack is hanging from the shower and the second is drying on a rack in the tub. There is a sleeping bag drying over a chair in the kitchen. thermarests are blown up for testing.

The apartment looks like a campsite after a wild night of partying. The good news is, it doesn't smell like one anymore!