At Hanukkah, Jewish families gather to commemorate the victory of the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish patriots, over the Syrians, who had banned the practice of Judaism more than 2,000 years ago. The celebration includes lighting the menorah, eating potato latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts, exchanging gifts and playing dreidel.
While the origins of the dreidel are unconfirmed -- some say the four-sided spinning top was a decoy to continue Torah lessons during Syrian rule, while others say the toy was adapted from a 16th-century German game -- there's no doubt that playing dreidel is a fun tradition.
Stash your winnings
Wrapped chocolate coins, or gelt, are the ante of choice for this gambling game. So, where should all those chocolate coins go? With the help of your computer, you can create a beautiful Hanukkah gelt bag to stash your winnings. Or make a few and hand them out before the game.
Hanukkah gelt bag instructions
• Fabric or pre-sewn cotton bag
• Needle and thread
• T-shirt transfer paper
• Iron with no-steam option
Step 1: Choose images
• Do an Internet search to find a number of free clip-art images related to Hanukkah, such as a dreidel, menorah, gelt, candles, even potato latkes. Try Microsoft Office Online and Bitsela Artz.
• If you prefer to use the four letters, as we did, use clip art or insert the letters into a Word document by going to Insert > Symbol > Basic Hebrew (in the Subset dropdown) > select letter.
Step 2: Create a pattern
• Open your photo-editing program and create an 8.5- by 11-inch document.
• Open your clip-art image or images and arrange on the page. If you are using letters from Word, you'll have to cut them from one program and paste them into the other.
• Colour in black letters or clip art by using the Effects tools in your editing program. To mimic our look, scan wrapping paper into your computer and save. Select your letter, then use the fill with texture or colour option in your editing program and click on your wrapping paper file.
• Determine the size you want your Hanukkah gelt bag to be and sew accordingly.
• Measure the space you have on your bag and size your graphic to fit.
Step 3: Print your graphic
• If your image has text, be sure to flip it horizontally in your photo-editing program so it reads properly when ironed onto the fabric.
• Test-print a page to ensure your design fits the dimensions of your bag.
• Insert the T-shirt transfer paper into your printer according to the package directions.
• Change your settings to "specialty paper" and select high or best quality to print.
Step 4: Transfer the artwork
• Trim your image as close to the design as possible.
• Turn on your iron to the highest setting for the fabric you are using, being sure to turn off the steam option.
• Iron your bag to eliminate wrinkles.
• Check for dust or fibres that could get trapped under your transfer paper before positioning your transfer.
• Following the package's directions for ironing, place the image face down on the bag and iron firmly in a circular motion.
• When the paper has cooled, carefully peel off the backing.
Fill the Hanukkah gelt bag with chocolate coins, tie with a colourful ribbon and add a dreidel for a game on the go.
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