I have been giving my house a deep, deep cleaning and reorganization. For our family, this Extreme Spring Cleaning can only mean one thing: Passover is coming! If you are unfamiliar with the custom, Passover commemorates the Jewish people's Exodus. It's a really meaningful holiday with themes of oppression, freedom, wonders, miracles and G-d's mighty hand. Central to the observance is to refrain from eating leavened products during the holiday because the Israelites had to leave Egypt without allowing time for their bread to rise. Its why our Matzah (and other people's communion wafers) are so flat. You are supposed to clean your home so that not one crumb of "forbidden" food could be found in your house during the week-long holiday. My observance is not as strict as some, but I think it is a perfect time to clean up my act (actually and spiritually). And, I happen to be having forty (yup 4-0) people to dinner the first night!!!!!!!!! Here is what I am planning:
The same goes for plates. I simply don't have service for forty and renting can become tricky as some of our guests will only eat on dishes specifically designated for Passover. I know this can sound quite foreign if you are from a different religion (and I personally have a slightly relaxed stance on it), but I want everyone to feel comfortable. Which brings me to one of my favorite places to shop on-line: Smarty Had a Party!
here . It is on-line only and is my go-to source for partyware. They have the most beautiful selection of disposables that leave you wondering if they are disposable at all. With intrate shapes and amazing colors, they will wow you with their dishes. I selected a silver polka dot set for this event. They even have an eco-friendly line of bamboo if you are nervous about the waste factor! My favorite are the picks and mini dishes that make even simple appetizers and mini-desserts that wow. Find those here .
Another thing from SHAP that I love to the moon and back are their unreasonably reasonable cloth tablecloths, napkins and runners. At about 50 cents each and in a variety of colors, the napkins are almost cheaper than buying paper. These are not heirloom quality linens, but they are real, and people often comment on how nice it is to have cloth as opposed to paper. I have used mine for gatherings and teacher appreciation meals, and oodles of friends have borrowed them. They hold up! Don't even get me started on the $3 pintuck runners!!!!!! I was not paid to say this, I just love this website!!!!! After countless orders, the only thing that didn't wow me were the "satin" linens (which is probably just a matter of personal taste anyhow). .....but they don't have is personalized stuff (whump, whump), which brings me to a second favorite online store for personalized party supplies.
I am a lover of personalized items and monogrammed notecards. This extends to an extreme need to have foil-pressed napkins. I think I got this from being in a Southern Sorority--we ordered napkins practically anytime anyone sneezed! I am surprised we didn't have any with "achoo" written on them. I like ones with our monograms, the theme of the party, clever sayings, and the like. There are many, many websites that sell these items now, but it was not always the case. Long ago, long ago I discovered The Stationery Studio. It was probably one of the first of its type on the web and can still be found here.
The Stationery Studio has it all from preppy papers and invitations to personalized bags and (of course) napkins. I called on them for my Passover celebration to create Napkins that say "Next Year in Jerusalem!" This is a common phrase for the holiday--it doesn't refer to actual Jerusalem, but more may we all live in a city of peace. While I was at it, I had them make polka dotted cups that say "L'Chaim"--its like Jewish "Cheers!"
Finally, I have to say that I
The last thing in my inspiration board is a graphic from the Haggadah I compiled. That's the prayer book that you use to conduct the Seder (ritual meal the first night). I cannot find the source where I got those sweet graphics but they really make the book pop and will help the kids know where we are in the service. There are so many good Haggadahs out there, but the ones for small children seem too simplistic and my middle-aged kids would never sit through the adult version. So I made these--mostly paraphrasing other people's smart words. My cool fonts disappeared when I uploaded it,but I thought someone out there may benefit from seeing mine here
If you celebrate, have a meaningful holiday and if not, I hope you will spend sometime checking out these great shops!!!!