Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Crafting 1 and 2

Merry Christmas everyone!  I'm going to celebrate this festive day by telling you one of the most heartwarming tales of my time in China.  One of the things that I was most sad about missing in December was my Christmas crafting party.  The first or second week in December every year, I throw a Christmas crafting party with my friends.  The tradition started when my dear friend Sara and I were living together and we could finally afford to buy a tree, but we didn't have any ornaments.  We invited all our friends over, opened a couple of bottles of three-buck-Chuck, threw down some cardstock and some glue sticks and magically had a decorated Christmas tree.  I've done it every year since, and since Sara passed away last year, it has become even more important to me.
(Sara made the amazing frame above at one of the crafting parties, and then framed a photo of herself from that party in it.  I believe she's wearing a Christmas ball as an earring.  Awesome.)

I mentioned to one of the head guys in the factory that I was sad to be missing my crafting party and he jokingly suggested we should have one with the ladies from the factory line.  Then I happened to be in Hong Kong the following weekend and I stumbled into an art supply store.  I figured "why not?" and picked up some blank Christmas balls, some glitter and cardstock and other festive things.  I told the head guy at the factory and asked him how we could get people interested in coming.  He suggested that we should buy everyone a fancy lunch and that would ensure attendance.  The fancy lunch of choice?  KFC and McDonald's.  Whatever works!

We started off the party with some opening statements.  Our factory liason Michael was translating for me.  I asked him to explain that this is what I do every year at Christmas with my friends.  He said "how about I start with explaining Christmas.  And then I'll explain the crafting."  I have no idea how he managed to cover the guy in the red suit and the baby in Bethlehem in Chinese, but everyone seemed generally amenable.  Then we put out the KFC and the crafting supplies and the magic started to happen.   First I put out the Christmas balls.  And there was a veritable stampede of people to grab one!  I think because they were a cool American thing, everyone wanted one, even the guys that didn't decorate.  Interesting!  Balls gone, I turned to an American classic, the paper snowflake.  I taught a few ladies how to make a paper snowflake and also paper trees (three layers of tree shaped paper, stapled in the middle and fanned out.)  Pretty soon I had six ladies trying to make snowflakes at a time:
Keep in mind that this is in southern China.  Not one of these people has ever seen snow before.  Maybe in the movies.  Best of all, not being traditional Christmas celebrants, they aren't limited to traditional white snowflakes.
Green snowflake?  Love it!  Orange snowflake?  You go with your bad self.  The girls were all super sweet and got really into it.  Those of them that weren't crafting were eating KFC or trying to feed me KFC. Keep in mind that none of these ladies and I have any language in common.  That's ok, fried chicken and paper-craft are universal. 
 That's twelve Chinese ladies teaching each other how to make snowflakes.  Love it.  Some of the girls made ornaments and gave them to me.  One even made a snowflake topped with our client's logo:
 Love it!  Also, check out the pink snowflake on my laptop.  Amazingness.

There were a LOT of people at the crafting party.  Like, 70.  Not everyone was crafting but I think everyone had a good time.  We ended with a group photo:
This might be one of my favorite photos of all time.  The waving hands and snowflakes in the back and the peace signs being thrown on the left are real highlights, don't you think?  So that was craft party #1, which I thought was a raging success.

My final week in China I went ahead and scheduled Craft Party #2 for the very night that I got home.  I figured it would be a great way to see all my favorite people and to make sure the house had some holiday decor as soon as I got home.  My wonderful husband did all the cleaning and food prep, and my wonderful friends did all the beforehand work so all I had to do was hug people and craft!
Yay crafting!  Some close-ups?  Yes please!
That's my lovely friend Dana, admiring a holly ornament.  Yes, she is nine months pregnant with twins and she still came to the crafting party.  That's dedication!
That's Jill, really excited about her adorable gold snitch ornament.  So cute!
That's me, enjoying my first ham sandwich.  I told my friends that I was really looking forward to my very first ham sandwich in over a month and Krystal and Styne put their heads together and brought all the ingredients to the party so I could do so.  Love those girls!
Krystal, being the classy Santalady.  The crafting tree is on the right, half finished.
The finished product in it's place in the craft room.  Love it!  Thanks for coming ladies!!

As a final warm-the-cockles-of-your-heart Christmas note, there was one more finished product to see after the crafting party.  From this:
To this:
In about two days!  Congrats to Dana, and welcome to the world Gus and Olivia!  I hope to see you at next year's party!


  1. Crafting party was fantastic! And I totally heart the story of the blue and pink Christmas decorations :) And a bajillion and one congrats to Dana!


  2. Love all of this! And sorry I missed your U.S. crafting party! :(