Photos by Jonathan Fong

DIY: Make a Jonah and the Whale tissue box

One of the stories traditionally told on Yom Kippur is of Jonah and the whale. While the story holds deep spiritual meaning, it also stirs the imagination because, hello, Jonah is swallowed whole by a big fish.

Inspired by this tale, here is a tissue box cover in the form of a whale, with Jonah waving to us from the mouth. The tissues coming out on top look like water vapors bursting from the blowhole.

To make this project easier for you, we’ve created a Jonah graphic that you can download from So even though Jonah spent three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, it won’t take you that long to make one of these tissue boxes.

What you’ll need:

– Tissue box
– Blue paper
– Black paper
– Scissors
– Glue
– Pen
– Graphic of Jonah inside whale’s mouth (Click here to download template)
– Hobby or utility knife



1. Measure the dimensions of the sides and tops of your tissue box. When measuring the top, also take into account the opening for the tissues.



2. Cut pieces of blue paper to the correct measurements. For the top of the box, it is easier to cut two pieces to accommodate the opening.



3. Glue the blue paper to the sides of the tissue box. You can also use a glue stick, paste or spray adhesive if you prefer.



4. Fold a piece of blue paper that is about 4 1/2-by-6 inches on each side. Draw a tailfin on one of the sides with the tip of the fin at the fold.



5. Fold the paper and cut out the tailfin, leaving the fin at the fold intact. It will look a little like a folded, upside down wine glass.



6. Attach the tailfin to one of the smaller ends of the box by splaying out the wide parts of the tail and gluing them to the box.



7. Download the Jonah graphic here and print it onto letter-size paper. Adjust the size of your printout depending on the size of your box.



8. The Jonah graphic is drawn in a whale’s mouth shape. Cut out the entire mouth with Jonah inside and glue it to the other small end of the tissue box.



9. Cut out two 1-inch black circles as the eyes and glue them on either side of the mouth. Not that this whale is anatomically correct, but keep the eyes low.



10. To make the tissue box refillable, cut out an opening flap at the tail end of the whale with a hobby or utility knife.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his
do-it-yourself projects at

Photos by Jonathan Fong

Here’s a bright idea: DIY mini lamps

Let there be lights! Transform ordinary wine glasses into romantic lighting with easy-to-make miniature lampshades.  Drop a battery-operated tea light into a wine glass and place one of these lampshades on top of the glass. It’s a great way to add some cozy ambience to an intimate dinner party — or even pizza night with Netflix.

What you’ll need:

– What you’ll need:
– Lampshade template (Click here to download template)
– Pencil
– Paper (vellum or decorative)
– Scissors
– Stapler
– Battery-operated LED tea light
– Wine glass



1. Download and print the lampshade template from onto 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper. Cut out the template and trace the outline on your paper. Wine glasses vary in size, so you might need a larger template than can fit on letter-size paper. If you do, just extend the lines as you’re tracing your outline.



2. Cut the paper along the lines you’ve traced. You can use any type of paper, but translucent paper such as vellum will show off the most light from the battery-operated tea light. I used scrapbook paper in this example, and even though it is opaque, light does come through at the top and bottom of the lampshade.



3. Roll the cut paper into a conical lampshade, overlapping the edges. Be sure that the opening at the top is smaller than the circumference of the wine glass so it doesn’t slip through. Then staple the edges where they overlap. You also can glue the edges, or do both.



4. Place a battery-operated LED tea light in the wine glass. Notice how I keep saying “battery-operated.” Do not use real tea lights or votive candles because you don’t want real flames getting close to the paper. Position the finished lampshade over the wine glass and you’ll begin to see the light.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at

Photo by Jonathan Fong

Best in Class: Teacher Appreciation Gifts

How can it be back-to-school time already? Amid the hustle and bustle of buying classroom supplies and clothing, parents should be thinking about teacher appreciation gifts. After all, it’s a good idea to get on the teacher’s good side right away. Here’s a super easy gift idea that will let you suck up with succulents.

These pots, decorated like a chalkboard and ruler and holding a succulent plant, will be year-round reminders of how much your child deserves straight A’s. You can buy all the supplies (except the plants) at a crafts store, and you need very little artistic ability. n

Chalkboard pot

What you’ll need:
4-inch clay pot
Chalkboard acrylic paint
Foam brush
White paint marker
Succulent plant



1. Paint the clay pot with chalkboard paint using a foam brush. You will need about two coats of paint to get full coverage on the pot. Let dry for at least two hours.



2. Write out alphabet letters on the rim of the pot with a white paint marker. Be careful not to smudge the letters as you go around the rim. When the letters are dry, you can write a message such as “Thank you” on the main part of the pot with chalk. Finish by placing a succulent plant in the pot.

Ruler pot

What you’ll need:
4-inch clay pot
Yellow acrylic paint
Foam brush
Black paint marker
Succulent plant



1. Paint tomee clay pot with yellow paint using a foam brush. Because the yellow paint is light in color, it can take four or five coats to get full coverage. Let dry for at least two hours.



2. Draw thick vertical lines about one inch apart around the rim of the pot with a black paint marker. Then draw slightly shorter, thinner vertical lines midway between the longer lines. Write in numbers for the ruler to the immediate left of the longer lines. Then place a succulent plant in the pot.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at

Making a dog bed out of an IKEA side table

I know I spoil my dogs. My reasoning is that, before we got them, they both had difficult lives living homeless on the streets and then doing time in the shelter, so I love to pamper them now that they’re in their forever home. Plus, they’re really cute. 

In the spirit of anthropomorphizing, I decided to make them a dog bed that is something special — you know, not the kind you’d pick up at Costco. On top of that, I also wanted it to be an artsy piece of furniture that would match my creative home décor. 

So, here’s my canopy dog bed made with an upside-down IKEA Lack side table and a sonotube. If you’re not familiar with the Lack table, it is the ubiquitous parsons-style table that sells for $7.99. No doubt you know someone who owns one. And a sonotube is a cylindrical cardboard tube builders use as a mold for pouring concrete to make support columns. They’re sold at home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. 

The simplest way to make the bed would have been just to attach the sonotube canopy to the table and paint it, but because I’m obsessed with Pantone colors, I gave my dog bed a “Panbone” theme and decoupaged it with paint chips, also known as paint swatches. My directions here explain how I put my bed together. For your own version, you can make it as simple or as “ruff” as you’d like.

What you’ll need:

  • IKEA Lack side table, white
  • 20-inch diameter sonotube
  • Mod Podge decoupage glue
  • Foam brush
  • Permanent spray adhesive
  • Acrylic polyurethane
  • Colored paper
  • Paint chips
  • Box cutter
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • White plastic chain
  • Seat cushion

Step 1: Decoupage the tabletop

Step 2: Decoupage the table legs and apron

Step 3: Decoupage the sonotube

Step 4: Attach the canopy

Step 5: Add the rails and cushion

A new tzedakah box from an old album cover

Making a tzedakah box is a fun craft activity for kids from age 8 to 80, and creating the box provides a valuable lesson in the importance of charity. This tzedakah box made from an up-cycled record album cover is eco-friendly, so it’s good for the community — and the environment. 

Of course, I don’t encourage you to sacrifice a prized record from your collection. Step away from that Beatles “White Album.” Instead, look in thrift shops and garage sales for old albums with interesting artwork. I actually found the Eydie Gorme album pictured here at an Out of the Closet thrift store. It didn’t even come with the vinyl record inside, so the clerk gave it to me for free.

And yes, because I know you’re wondering: I have made a tzedakah box from a Neil Sedaka album cover — which proves that although breaking up is hard to do, making your own tzedakah box isn’t.

What you’ll need:

  • Album cover
  • Ruler
  • Hobby knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Duct tape


Follow the template available for download on in cutting the album cover. It indicates how large of a section to cut out of the album cover (11.5-by-7 inches). The black line indicates where to cut this section in half, and the red lines indicate where to score the cardboard.

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Knitting Trend Is No Yarn

Guess my Grandma Faye was a hip, trend-setting bubbe. A real lady before her time, she knit sweaters, crocheted blankets and kept closets full of colorful yarn.

This season, Hollywood’s hottest names are taking their cue from Jewish grandmothers. Forget power yoga and decaf soy lattes. This year’s biggest trend? Knitting. The oh-so-chic and beautiful don’t dare leave home this summer without two knitting needles and a skein of yarn. Actresses Debra Messing, Julianne Moore and Jennie Garth are hooked on Bubbe’s favorite pastime. Camryn Manheim, Tyne Daly, Caroline Rhea and Tyra Banks all do the knit and purl. Even Sofia Coppola is in on the craze.

And where did these style-setting celebs learn their craft? From knitting guru and Jewish mother of three, Edith Eig.

Eig’s La Knitterie Parisienne is a haven for the apprentice and expert alike. Eig, who first learned to knit in her Paris grammar school, will teach anyone to knit. For free. At the Studio City boutique, customers purchase their yarn and needles, but receive knitting lessons at no charge.

"Most beginners think they’ll never be able to do it, but they all learn to knit before they leave the table," said Eig, who showed actress-turned-clothes-designer Justine Bateman how to knit her first stitch. (The former "Family Ties" star now has her own knit-clothing line.)

"And if I’m helping someone else, one of my customers will jump in and teach you," added Eig, looking up from the brown cashmere scarf she’s working on.

The knitting table at La Knitterie Parisienne is all about this sense of community. Customers knit and laugh, and purl and share, and are quick to help one another. The experience is as much about the bonding as it is about the knitting.

"In Los Angeles, it can be difficult to meet people or find a place to call your own. People come to the shop looking for yarn or to learn to knit, but they also come to find solace and camaraderie," said Eig, who will host a television series for the Home and Garden Network this summer.

While knitting can be done at home, Eig’s customers love to gather around the store’s table.

"It’s all about the female bonding. People talk about everything. You quickly discover how much you have in common," said actress Nancy Schnoll, who learned to knit from Eig two years ago.

"Men, women, even celebrities all sit here knitting together. Everyone is equal around Edith’s table," said Studio City resident Harriet Dezen.

And what is everyone knitting? Scarves, shawls, baby blankets, kippot, talitot, even chuppahs. "We help women recreate designer cashmere sweaters that sell for $1,500 in the store, for $150," Eig said. "This year, it’s all about form-fitting knit tops and very long scarves. We’re talking 108 inches," says Eig, whose has had such a large impact on knit fashion that Berroco Yarns dubbed one of their designs "The Edith coat."

La Knitterie Parisienne boasts more colors than Joseph’s coat. The boutique is stocked floor-to-ceiling with shelves and baskets over-stuffed with yarn of every color, shade and texture. Eig sells pastels, brights and neutrals, in cashmere, cotton, silk, wool, micro-fiber and more. It’s this tremendous yarn collection, the largest in Southern California, that fires up Eig’s customers.

"It’s all about the yarn," said Christine Morgan, who drives from Pomona with her mother, Bonnie Allee, to sit at La Knitterie’s table. "If you pick a yarn that inspires you, the knitting will come easily," she added, her hands quickly creating orange booties for her grandson.

With this in mind, I choose a cotton yarn in deep lavender (my grandmother’s favorite color). And despite my own self-doubt, Eig has this novice knitting in minutes. With the encouragement of my table-mates, I’m pulling loops and transferring stitches like a pro. Or a celeb. Or a Jewish grandma. Thanks to Eig, this is one style-trend that fits all.