Table Settings

Sukkos Lulav Napkin Fold

 

lulav napkin fold on plate.JPG

Among other mitzvos (Jewish commandments) unique to Sukkos (Jewish Feast of Tabernacles),  we acquire a set of Arba Minim (Four Species).  Each of the Four Species has its own unique character:

The Lulav (palm) is an impressively tall and straight green date palm branch with tightly bound leaves.  It has a sweet date flavor  but no fragrance.  The Lulav represents the Jewish scholar, who has impressive Jewish knowledge but lacks good deeds.

The Hadasim (myrtle branches) are fragrant branches with a spectacular waxy pattern of three leaves protruding from the same point.  Hadasim have fragrance, yet have no flavor.  Hadasim represent those who distinguish themselves with good deeds, yet lack Torah scholarship.

The Aravos (willow branches) are branches with smooth-edged oblong-shaped leaves.  They have neither fragrance nor flavor.  Aravos represent those who lack deeds and scholarship.

The Esrog  (citron) is a yellow lemon-like citrus fruit with beautiful fragrance and flavor. The Esrog represents those impressive Jewish scholars with both knowledge and good deeds.

lulavim

The Four Species represent the inherent uniqueness and beauty in different types of people.   The idea of acquiring these different types of species and unifying them symbolizes the importance of Jewish unity.  Each of the Arba Minim represents people with differing Jewish strengths, Torah knowledge and adherence to good deeds.  The Arba Minim signify the importance of Jewish unity and the recognition of the importance of different members of our nation.

We tie all the branches together: two Aravos on the left, one Lulav in the center, and three Hadasim on the right.   We recite the following blessing:

Hebrew

Hebrew Hebrew

Blessed are You, the Lord of the world, Who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to hold the Lulav

We then raise all Four Species and shake them as one unit in all six directions (forward and backward, right and left, up and down).  The six directions represent G-d’s dominion over the entire world.

These Four Species are brought to synagogue each Sukkos day,  except on Shabbos.  We hold and shake the Four Species during the recitation of the Hallel (praise) prayer and the Four Species are carried as  during Hoshanos, where the men surround the Torah.

To allude to the lulav tradition on Sukkos, I created a lulav napkin fold using two paper napkins.  As long as the twine has been cut before the holiday, these napkins can be easily folded and assembled on Yom Tov (Holiday).

lulav napkin fold.JPG

SUPPLIES

light green napkins
dark green napkins
twine, cut into 2-3 foot sections

heavy-duty scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

Lay each of the light green napkins flat on the table.  Unfold so that it is folded in half lengthwise.  Fold each corner toward the middle to create a point.   Roll or fold  to create the long part of the lulav.

 

Lay each of the dark green napkins flat on the table.  Unfold completely and then fold on the diagonal to form a large triangle.

lulav napkin-triangle fold for leaves

Fold in small sections, back and forth, to create a large fan.

lulav napkin fold-1st fold for leaves

Fold fan in half to form a large “v” shape.

lulav napkin fold-both napkins and twine.JPG

Place fanned “v” dark green napkin in front of light green lulav napkin and twist twine around center of dark green “v”..

lulav napkin fold-tying both napkins.JPG

lulav napkin fold-securing holder

Gently wind the cut twine around and around the two napkins, securing the dark green napkin “leaves” to the lighter napkin lulav. Secure the end of the twine by tucking it in.

Voila!

Gorgeous Roses on a Rose Gold Base

roses on copper

Don still brings home roses just about every Friday.  He brings home a different color every week just to keep things interesting.  While I always favored tropical flowers like birds of paradise, ginger flowers, antherium and haleconias,  I have learned to enjoy and embrace the simple, classic rose, mostly because that is what Don brings home. Every week.

There was a time when Leah would set our Shabbos table on Thursday night and then suggest a matching color of roses to Don so that everything would match.  Nowadays, I am back to setting the table on Friday mornings.  I look forward to the color surprise as Don brings home a dozen roses right after Shacharis (morning prayers) and before he leaves to the office on Friday morning.   I just match my napkins and table design to whatever the rose color of the week is.

I still try to keep the roses for at least two weeks.  Sometimes, we are lucky and can even enjoy them for three weeks.  The newer roses are mere buds, while the older roses are open, mature and beautiful.  Most of the time, by the end of the first week, the week-old roses are starting to droop.  They look so forlorn on the edge of their stems, barely able to hold on.

Once cut off the stem and floated in water, each blossom takes on a new life.  It is amazing how these “older” roses are even more beautiful than their young counterparts. Invariably, my guests ask me if the roses are real, because their complexity borders on perfection.

And I love these roses because they are real.  And mature.  And beautiful despite their age.

Is there a metaphor to the aging process?  Maybe.

This week, to match the vintage looking roses, I resprayed one of the wooden planks that I sanded and painted in an arrangement of Single Roses: Simple, Upcycled and Breathtaking.  I chose a copper color (rose gold) paint, so currently in vogue and such a perfect match to offset the delicate and unusual color of these roses.

Voila!

roses on copper

SUPPLIES

6 large open-blossoms
four foot section of 2″x6″ wood beam
metallic copper spray paint
6 clear 4″ square glass vases
water

 

TOOLS

hand sander

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Using hand sander, sand rough edges of beam.

Spray paint the top and all sides of the beams in your favorite color.   I used metallic copper spray paint

Cut open rose blossoms off of stem.

Set up 6 clear 4″ square glass vases at equal intervals along beam, aligning first and last vases with the edges of the beam.

Fill each vase two-thirds with water.

Carefully place each blossom in each vase.

 

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase.

Upcycled Chalkboard Chargers: Simple Placecard Alternative

chalkboard-charger-don-sample

I love the way chargers dress up a table.

It adds that extra flair to the table setting and makes the table look dressed even after the meal has begun.  It is one of the wonderful tools I implement in keeping my Pesach (Passover) seder table elegant and neat (see Seder Table Ideas and Inspirations).

Decades ago, I bought a set of gold chargers to use for Shabbos and special occasions. Then, gold was the only option and it matched the gold leaf border on my china.  The chargers were painted plastic and very heavy.

The top dozen of these chargers have been used over and over again and through constant use and cleaning, the gold has rubbed off and they have gotten just a bit grimy.   They have really been put to good use, but could really use a facelift.

Besides, nowadays chargers are much more common, much lighter and can be purchased at many discount stores.

I plan to purchase a new set of gold chargers and wanted a way to upcycle my faded and well-used chargers.

Enter….chalkboard spray paint.  It is one of those supplies that can be used in so many creative ways.  Among so many other projects, I used it to accent the  DIY Nightstand Play Kitchen for JuJu and it is so simple to apply.

While I was collecting the well-used chargers, I came across an oddball silver one that had been a gift, but had never matched the gold set.  I added it to my collection of soon-to-be-repurposed charges.

I washed the chargers with soapy water, dried them well and sprayed them with chalkboard paint.

blackboard-chargers

chalkboard-chargers-just-painted

I now have a new look that can even be easily personalized with chalk…voila!

Roses and Lanterns: A Simple and Stunning Centerpiece

It all started with It’s all about the arrangement (psst….even with last week’s roses), my first blog post.  This original blog post was one of those ideas born out of an upcycling strategy and week-old roses.  The idea was to take last week’s open but slightly wilted roses and enjoy the blossoms in another arrangement, floating the wilting blossom heads to straighten them out and enjoy them in another way.

Don buys roses just about every Erev Shabbos (Sabbath eve) and I try to create original arrangements for the Shabbos table from these roses.   These roses  are sold right in front of our synagogue by a member of our community.  These roses have thick stems and  high quality blossoms and come in a variety of colors.  They really last a full week and with these upcycled arrangements, I can get at least one more week and sometimes two weeks of added enjoyment from each rose bouquet.

This week, I was setting the table for a weekday dinner and still had some lanterns on the kitchen table from a goodbye barbecue that we had hosted for one of Leah’s friends last week.   Sitting next to the lanterns, were the variegated roses from last Shabbos.  Most of the blossoms were still gorgeous,  but the stems were already starting to droop, making the flowers appear wilted.

wilting roses in silver vase

I cut the roses off their stems, cutting them right below each blossom.  I placed a single rose blossom in each of six square glass vases and bowls.  I interspersed the lanterns with the roses and stood back to admire the newest upcycled arrangement.

Here it is:

lanterns and variagated roses

 

 

A Trio of Magenta Flowers in Vintage Silver Vases

magenta flowers tri up close

My local supermarket had some beautiful magenta peonies for sale. I thought that the vintage quality of these fluffy peonies would look gorgeous in series with some other magenta flowers arranged in different types of silver vases.

magenta flowers in silver.jpg

I used the same inspiration that I described in Three’s a Crowd? A Trio of Floral Arrangements by arranging three types of flowers of the same color in separate vases. This time I used peonies, Alstroemeria and a gorgeous magenta filler. Here is what is looks like:

magenta flowers tri on table

 

 

Upcycled Glass Jar Floral Arrangement: Simply Stunning

My friend Marilyn, and her family joined us for a meal over Pesach (Passover). Since we were in a small apartment in Jerusalem with our extended family, we did not have enough room to host everyone in the dining room. Instead, we set up tables and ate in the courtyard. Marilyn sent flowers before Yom Tov (holiday) in the perfect arrangement. It was a gorgeous grouping of narrow clear bottles lined up side by side in a metal caddy spilling over with white garden roses. The arrangement was narrow and long, just perfect for our narrow outdoor tables.

It created a stunning visual impact without taking away from the table space needed for setting and serving. The white roses lasted for several days, but the centerpiece containers were so easy to fill that I refilled them for the last few days of our stay in Jerusalem with an array of other flowers. Both arrangements were simply stunning.

Over Pesach, I commented so many times about the beauty and the practicality of this centerpiece. I was determined to recreate it with upcycled materials for use back in the States. And….here it is!

upcycled square arrangement-top view (more…)

A Salad Bar for the Entire Week

Our family loves salads and we try to spread the love to the rest of the world. From the time that the kids were eating solids, salads became a mainstay in the Respler home. It is rare that we make the same salad twice because there are SO many options.

salad bar in jars-CROPPED,jpg

Most recently, when I entertain, I have been creating a salad bar. A salad bar encourages guests to create their own custom salads and it is a great solution for guests with different diets and allergies. The best perk is that when the dust settles and it is time to put everything away, the salad ingredients have not been dressed, so they are still fresh enough for leftovers. My family clamors to create their own lunches for the next few days from what is left over from the salad bar.

In the past, I have been less than successful in creating the perfect salad bar. I had found that the salad ingredients were messy and unruly, with everyone breathing on and touching everything. I have finally found a good solution to creating a neat and orderly salad bar.

I purchased gallon and half-gallon glass candy jars online that can be seated vertically or on an angle. Each jar has a metal lid and plastic tongs that hang right on the lid.

SALAD BAR JARS WITH TONGS

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Seder Table Ideas and Inspirations

Every year, I try to set a majestic and unique seder table.  There is something magical about that first Pesach (Passover) meal: the anticipation, the new dishes and the silver wine goblets.

seder black tablecloth wide view

Over the years, I have tried all types of tablecloths and seder themes.  There are a few helpful tips that I have incorporated into my seder planning that have stuck and I’d love to share these tips with you.

 

seder table 2

(more…)

BowTie Napkins: Folded with DIY Napkin Rings

Our grandson, Yehuda, also known as JuJu, just celebrated his first birthday.  Whenever family members would meet him, they would remark that he looks like a “little man.” Those that knew his namesake, Yehuda (Leo) Schlusselberg a’H, would consider JuJu a pint-size clone of him.

For his birthday, therefore, we chose a vintage Little Man theme.  For the table setting, we chose antique gold, cream and light blue as the colors.  We found gold polka-dot napkins and decided to tie them into large bow-ties. (more…)