I love to craft and I enjoy spending time with my friends, so ten years ago I decided to combine the two. My annual craft party (a.k.a. craftapalooza) was born! It is always held the Saturday evening before Thanksgiving. I picked this date years ago as a nice kick-off to the holidays, and a good time before everyone gets super busy. Everyone brings a dish to share and $5 for the MALA fund (Make America Lovely Again through crafting). We eat, visit and then get creative!
This year the crafts were a ribbon tree and a snowman doorstop. My friend Lori (craft and sewing diva extraordinaire) also brought this cool present-topper craft that used strips of shredded paper, so those that finished the other crafts could make as many of these as they wished.
The snowman doorstop consisted of a paver from Home Depot painted white and adorned with snowman accoutrements. The harder craft this year was the ribbon tree. Basically, a 9″ styrofoam cone covered with more that 100 pieces of 3-inch ribbon affixed with straight pins. The goal was to start with a five-ribbon pattern and repeat it around the tree. Unfortunately, I am not the best in the math department and ran out of a few kinds of ribbon prior to everyone being done with their trees. Luckily my friends were very understanding and rolled with it (ribbon pun!) and made patterns up as they went along.
I always make an example, but I really love to watch people who go “outside the box.” Michelle Renee (who just happens to be the art director at Raising Arizona Kids) always comes up with the best ideas. Regulars who come to the party often look to her for creative inspiration. I also have some that attend who are more craft-challenged, who tend to follow the examples to the letter. We welcome all, there is no right or wrong way to craft at my party!
Around September (about the same time people start asking me about the party) I look through my file folders of ideas that I have come across throughout the year. I also look to my miscellaneous array of craft material for inspiration. When I decide on the crafts, I purchase my materials for the examples. I also like to make examples so I know exactly how much materials I will need. With the exception of the ribbon, I usually end up with extras so my kids can craft the next day.
I have also discovered that nothing can stop the craft party. One year I had a broken water heater that flooded the garage. As people were arriving with their potluck items in tow, they offered a plate to the plumber. Last year, the house behind mine was gutted by a horrific fire. It made the evening somber, but it also made us treasure the time together more.
That is what this Saturday night in November is truly about. A wonderful evening filled with good food, good drink and wonderful friends, cleverly disguised as a craft party.