Monday, September 27, 2010

At my house: Sukkah Time!

It's Sukkos, and we're spending lots of time in our spiffily decorated sukkah.  Now that the first days are behind us, and I've got a few minutes to reflect, I figured I'd show you around and share some things that work for us every year, too.

Someone mentioned this past week that her sukkah decorations "lean toward the elegant."  Mine, I'm compelled to say, lean toward the shiny.  (The free, the waterproof, and the dollar store figure heavily in my design ethic, as well.  I'm cool like that.)  You saw my soda-can chains already.

I downloaded these PDFs at Juggling Frogs, and had the kids color, cut, and packing-tape-laminate them to plastic tablecloths.
I used some fabric paint, a 100% cotton luncheon napkin (read: napkin too small to be of any significant use anywhere but in the craft room) and a wooden pants hanger to make this Chag Sameach banner.  Kudos, as usual, to Carolyn for the idea.

I've had some random wood plaques hanging around in the haven o' craft for ages.  The kids attacked them with acrylic paints, and I sealed them with triple thick clear glaze.  Stuck a picture hanger on the back with a glob of E600 (so much easier than those fiddly little nails) and boom! How decorative!
Except htis one, which Rachmy made last year.  Look closely---it reads "Indiana Jones."  Ah, yes...the old Temple-of-Doom-holiday-of-rejoicing connection...

Here's a mandala Akiva colored in 3rd grade (the packing-tape-laminator strikes again!) well as this year's dollar store leaf garland.
 And an ushpizin Moshe Yosef made in Mrs.Wurtzel's class.

 Some vintage glass balls I scored in a massive trashpick, and the chains Esti made from fun foam (which is right up there with glitter on my Most Hated Craft Supplies List, but features prominently in our sukkah decor due to its waterproof-colorfast combination.  For more fun foam fun, see the foam and ribbon bunting in the second photo from the top.)
Right, so that's the pretty stuff.  Now, my friends, it's time to venture on to the practical.  You see, we're feeding a family of eight (plus guests, on a good night) a multi-course meal in the backyard.  Which means that there is much upping-and-downing of steps, while carrying things that are invariably hot, heavy, or fragile.

So the first bit of advice I have to offer is this:  multi-compartmented trays.  Why bring down a bunch of little bowls of goodies (hummus, charif, honey, coleslaw, olives, pickles, horseradish....) when you can use a single tray with several sections for the whole bunch?  I like to have one with the condiments we're going to use through the fish course, then switch to another tray for the cooked salads, and so forth.

Number two on my list of sukkah must-haves is a box of gallon size zip-locs.   With my trusty zippies by my side, those gotta-have items can stay in the sukkah throughout the holiday.  This is, obviously, a Very Good Thing, as it minimizes the amount of thing-shlepping you do.  So.  Benchers, silverware, napkins, and the like stay dry and convenient inside their little zippy homes.

The third thing you really want to have is a small table, preferably with shelves, to stash your zip-loc clad necessities in.  We cover ours with a pretty vintage table cloth and keep all manner of Improtant Stuff within.  It helps that it's made of enameled metal, but plastic would work just as well.  It fits nicely into a corner of our sukkah and also stores the machzorim, challah board, and other bits and bobs that would otherwise occupy Valuable Food Space on the big table.  It's crucial that you maximize that Valuable Food Space.

I have to confess...I just got back from the dentist and the Novocain is ebbing off. So rather than leave you with the witty closing I was working up to, I think I'm going to go ahead and hit publish, knock back a Vicodin and bite on a teabag. 

I won't leave you hanging in blogland with nothing to read, though...check out what's happening at some other houses over at Lou's!


  1. Your decorations look great & i't a lovely picture of your family. Poor you, dentists ugh! I hope you feel better nice & quick..

  2. Your succah looks great and festive!
    I love the decorations so much.
    This year we wont be able to make it to Melbourne to sit in a succah so the virtual tour of yours is the next best thing. Thanks and Chag Sameach.

  3. your deocrations are just wonderful Wendy, love the whole mix with your kids adding their own touch to some too.

  4. The decorations re beautiful- you are setting your children up to continue this gorgeous tradition for years and years to come. Enjoy the time with your family. xo m.

  5. Hey Wendy! Saw the lovely post you left on my blog and had to peep over to see what you are up to....and I'm sure glad I did! "the free, the waterproof, and the dollar store" is my maxim of choice!

    And what a beautiful family you have! I can only imagine what fun you must have had celebrating Sukkot together by the sparkle of soda can garland --what a great idea, btw....need to remember that one. With as much Diet Coke as I drink, that could really come in handy :)


Thanks for taking the time to makes me feel a little less like I'm talking to myself again.