I love seeing everybody’s holiday posts this time of year. So many homes beautifully decorated for Christmas. But since I was raised Jewish, we celebrate Hanukkah and have our own traditions that I want to share with you this year.
I’ve never gone overboard decorating for Hanukkah, just a few simple items here and there. Every year, just like you I bring out the family heirlooms, and carefully place them out. Of course there always seems to be some new item that I incorporate into the mix, but we still try to keep is simple and modest as much as possible.
The main item on display, which goes on our dining room table is the Menorah. It’s actually called a chanukiah, but that’s another blog post. I have quite a few that I’ve collected over the years, but I only put out 2, a modern silver one, and my grandmother’s brass antique menorah that has so many memories attached to it.
Fried foods are the most traditional meals during Hanukkah. Usually I make latkes (fried potato pancakes) but this year since I’m trying to loose a few pounds we kept it simple and had some spiralized baked potatoes for the first of the 8 nights.
Also the first night we played the traditional game of dreidl – it’s a simple game, but can go on for hours if you aren’t careful. To keep that from happening, every few minutes we double the ante. Try it. makes it way more fun and competitive.
We did make one after dinner trip to Krispy Creme this year for some jelly donuts, and drove around the neighborhood eating them, and looking at all the beautiful displays of Christmas lights. I never knew why people decorate their homes for Christmas with lights. After all Hanukkah is also called the festival of lights.
The first time I went to Disneyland I was 7 years old. I had to wait another 35 years to return. I didn’t know what I was missing. There is a magical culture to Disney that I discovered. It permeates everything! Our house has been filling with Disney stuff ever since. My wife loves Disney, my kid loves Disney, but I won’t admit that I love Disney, but I do like a lot of their stuff.
OK, now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about a different room in our house. The Ball Room. The Ball Room is the 3rd bedroom in our 2000 square foot ranch, and is devoted to, and mostly decorated by my wife. Because of this fact, and the fact that she loves Disney, she has a small collection of custom Mouse ears.
These aren’t your typical Disney Mouse ears. These are custom, one-of-a-kind works of art. The detail on these is simply incredible, I’m surprised they don’t work for Disney! Some of her favorite artists on are:
Please visit each of these creators on their Instagram page. Some even have Etsy shops. Their work is simply amazing.
My wife has been collecting these for a while now, and until recently hasn’t had a way to display them. That was until her dad, my father in law, said that he could come up with a way. And that it wouldn’t be hard at all. He talked about an idea for a shadow box type of thing, using materials you can get from Home Depot for only a few dollars.
We told him that we wanted something that would show off the artistry of the ears, something that would enhance their artistic value, and group the collection in a way that was unique and classy. It is after all a collection, and they are one of a kind. We wanted something nice.
He said, no problem. And a few days later we didn’t just have one display box for the magic mouse ears, we had FIVE! Plus they looked so good.
He made 2 different sizes, 3 smaller ones and two big ones. The smaller sizes hold 2 custom made mouse ears, and the larger shadow boxes hold 4. They are made with 1/2 inch pine boards of different lengths. The backs of the boxes are made from 1/2 plywood for stability and rigidity. Everything was sanded and painted. The outsides of the boxes are black, and the insides were white.
Here are the instructions on how to make some Custom Mouse Ears Shadow Display Boxes.
Width 13 inches
Thickness 3 inches
Length 24 Inches
Width 13 inches
Thickness 3 inches
Length 36 Inches
All the wood was 1/2 inch thick pine cut to the lengths above. The backs were made from 1/2 plywood and cut to fit inside each box after they were made.
First he cut 2 sides (24 inches for the shorter boxes, and 36 inches for the longer ones) on his chop saw. Then he cut a top and bottom 13 inches long the same way. Then he simply butted the joints together with some glue and a few brad nails from his nail gun. I don’t have any photos of him making them, but if he makes any more I will bring my camera along to show the process.
Once the box was made, he measured the Outside dimensions and cut the plywood back to fit. He used some more wood glue and brad nails to affix the back to the sides and this made the box super rigid.
Finally he sanded each with some 120 grit sandpaper, and painted the outside black, and the insides an off white muslin. I think they came out perfect, and it was so easy to do!
To hang them on the wall he used some picture framing hooks, and toggle bolts through the drywall to make them rock solid.
To attach the ears to the box, we use simple clear push pins. Putting the boxes on the ground, my wife played with the arrangement of the ears until she found the perfect order to display them. She carefully lined them up and then using the push pins she carefully pushed them into the back of the box, and set the mouse ears on them. There are no holes in the ears, and if we want to change anything it is very easy to mix and match any way we want.
We think they came out great, and Each box was only a few dollars in materials.