Carmel Valley artist Rebeca Edid Ruzansky recently published "Celebrating with Jewish Crafts," which was named a notable book for all ages by the Association of Jewish Libraries and recently won the silver medal in the How-To category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Ruzansky was born and raised in Mexico City, the child of Russian and Polish parents. She has lived in Carmel Valley for 10 years, where her three daughters attend San Diego Jewish Academy.
Since she was a young girl, Ruzansky always loved art, specifically painting.
She is the self-proclaimed "Mrs. Fix It" of her household, a certified interior decorator and she loves to bake - she even had a cooking and baking segment on Telemundo 33 in San Diego.
Cooking and doing crafts with her daughters is something she always enjoyed and she started volunteering at local preschools doing arts and crafts. To get ideas for projects, she'd head to the local library.
"I could never find a really nice book," Ruzansky said, noting there'd be short books, books with too few instructions or books with awful photos.
She set out to create the book herself, a four-year undertaking in which she made every craft found in the 300-page tome.
"I haven't found a book like this one," Ruzansky said of her book, which includes beautiful photographs and clear instructions spelled out like recipes in a cookbook.
The book has crafts that work with polymer clay, paper mache, sand and salt dough. She gives ideas for making skullcaps, festive candleholders, menorahs, beaded mezuzahs and hallah knives with decorated handles.
While the crafts all carry a Jewish theme, Ruzansky said the techniques can apply to a project with any theme for an type of gift. Ruzanksy said her own personal craft book library even has several Christmas craft books.
"You just need to be creative," Ruzanksy said.
The book explains all the meanings behind the Jewish traditions and holidays and has an easy-to-find index with photos of each craft.
Toward the back of the book, Ruzanksy included thank you notes from children she has taught crafts to over the years.
"This is my favorite part," Ruzanksy said.
One child drew a picture of Ruzansky and used the letters of her first name Rebeca to spell our "Really funny, Elegant, Best, Energetic, Creative and Awesome at crafts."
The self-published "Celebrating with Jewish Crafts" is available on Amazon.com.