January 30, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year.

My creation



We had a Chinese New Year party yesterday for the families in our travel group who live in Chicago.

The party was originally scheduled for last Saturday but in the wee hours of Saturday morning Kenna came to our room, asked me to, "fix her tummy because it didn't feel right" and then promptly threw up. And then, just about the time I was sure she was fine, I figured out Michal had a 103-degree fever that landed us in the doctor's office. So with one child with the stomach flu, and one child with strep throat and an ear infection, we decided it was best to postpone the party until this past weekend.




My creation

This Chinese New Year party also had a very special twist to it. It was a surprise shower for our good friends, Fran and Bob, who just received their referral for their second child from China. They've waited more than five years for this referral and will soon travel to China to meet their positively-adorable son! Yep, a little boy!

After everyone arrived we ate lots and lots of Chinese food and the girls all sat together at their own table.




We played a couple games -- "Guess How Many Fortune Cookies in the Jar" and "What's in That Jar?" -- and there were prizes in both adult and kid categories.





Then Fran and Bob opened gifts and we marveled that we were able to just hang out and talk upstairs while all of the kids played -- loudly! -- downstairs. We actually couldn't get them to come back upstairs . . .


. . . until it was time dessert, which they happily ate, and then promptly disappeared downstairs again.




It was really a fun, celebration-filled afternoon!

(And that would be Michal's "big-eyed look" above. She's quite proud of the fact that she can make her eyes bigger than anyone else. Oh, the talent!)

In case you are planning a Chinese New Year Party any time soon, here are some of my sources:

Tassel Garlands - Pomflair.
Can I tell you how much I love these? Love them! I first saw tissue tassel garlands in Martha Stewart Living but they were made by someone else and were way too expensive in my opinion. I found these on etsy and think they just scream, "Party!" Plus, Carmen at Pomflair was a dream to work with. I can't say enough nice things about her.


There are also several good online tutorials on how to make these yourself but all include warnings that they're very time consuming.

Tablecloths - fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and the tablecloths were made by my dear friend Michelle at My Modern Whimsy.

Red Round Lanterns - Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby now carries lanterns in many colors. They are really inexpensive, especially if you use their 40% off coupon or buy them during a week that they're on sale -- and that happens a lot at Hobby Lobby!

Chinese Lanterns - 99 Ranch Market in Cupertino, California.
I wish I'd bought more of these when I was in California. They are really beautiful and fold flat when you're ready to store them.

Drums used on the napkins - Oriental Trading Company


And these are some of the things that I made:

Cupcake Toppers - I made these from beautiful hung bao envelopes purchased in Chinatown. I just used a 2-inch circle punch and attached two circles back-to-back on a bamboo skewer.


Lanterns on the tables - I made these from red wooden IKEA frames. I removed the plexiglass that comes in them, printed photos I took in China on vellum and then reassembled the frames with the plexiglass behind the photo. I then hinged the frames together using red duct tape on the inside and put four votives on the inside.


Photo stickers - I "antiqued" the referral picture of our friends' new son, printed it on sticker paper and punched out 1.5-inch and 2-inch circles. I then used gold ink around the edges of the circle to frame the photo. I used the smaller stickers on the napkins and the party favor glassine bags and the larger stickers on the game prize glassine bags.


Chocolate-dipped fortune cookies -- I bought fortune cookies at World Market and Belgian milk and dark chocolate at Trader Joe's. (You have to use good chocolate!) I then melted the chocolate in a sauce pan, dunked the fortune cookies and put them on parchment paper to cool. The milk chocolate ended up with spots on it so I microwaved each of the milk chocolate cookies to warm up the chocolate again and then I sprinkled decorating sugar on it.

These were super easy to make and you could sprinkle anything on the chocolate while it's warm -- almonds or pistachios, rainbow sprinkles, chopped candied ginger -- or you could drizzle some white chocolate over the dark chocolate.

Golden letters - I purchased the large "D" at JoAnn Fabrics and the smaller letters at Hobby Lobby. They are made out of paper mache. I painted them with metallic gold paint, also purchased at Hobby Lobby. They actually looked like they were made out of metal! The same letters would be cute painted to look like they're silver or zinc.



  1. A lovely party that I am sure everyone enjoyed! All the decorations were beautiful.


  2. Kristi -

    What an amazing Chinese New Year/Referral Shower celebration!!

    You always give me wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing!


  3. Oh Kristi what an elegant and beautiful celebration!!!! I love all of your special touches. Thank you for sharing your sources.

  4. You are just SO GOOD at entertaining and coming up with party ideas. What a crafty woman you are. Looks like so much fun!!! Your girls are growing so much. I have followed your blog from day 1.....is one of your daughters taller than the other?? ;o) So adorable!!! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  5. Patty,

    Michal is taller. She's always been a little bigger than Kenna but it's now more noticeable.

    Thanks for your sweet comment!


  6. Oh Kristi -- that party is just gorgeous!!! Love every single little touch and I'll bet the guests were so thrilled. I would have been grinning from ear to ear the whole time.

  7. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Kristi- what a lovely party! Such gorgeous details! Thanks for sharing, Wendy

  8. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Just when I think your talents could not possible be topped you have another party. This is exquisite.

    I am assuming Dan is the name of the new boy from China. He looks adorable.

  9. Kristi..this turned out so fantastic...I am filing away your ideas for future reference!

  10. Anonymous8:00 PM

    You throw the most fabulous parties! I wish we lived near you so we could get an invite!! Thanks for always inspiring me :-)

  11. Laura2:56 PM

    Kristi, you amaze me!! Wow, what a gracious and gorgeous event! Love, Laur

  12. Their son's name is Robert Daniel but they're going to call him Dan!

  13. Susan,

    You are invited any time!


  14. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Stunning, as always!
    How exciting for your friends after the 5 year wait!


  15. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Wow!!! That is just beautiful! You have such a way with everything. Simple but elegant!!! I think I got some great ideas for next year. Thanks!!!

    Sharyn (Chinamom)

  16. I don't know if I can say something that can measure up to the other comments but you deserve a party award of the year! This party (along with all of your others) was fantastic!! Your friends (and Michal and Kenna, of course) are very lucky!

  17. Beautiful decor and ideas. Thanks for sharing!
    You are a great party planner & decorator!

  18. Being invited to one of your fab parties is on my bucket list! Either that or I'd love to be able to throw such a beatiful celebration myself.

    1. The girls' birthday party is on March 3 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Consider this an official invitation!

      And this has to be one of the nicest comments I've ever received!

  19. Wow, you sure put on a great party. I may use some of your tips and buys for ours next year. Everyone looked liked they had a great time. Congrats to the new parents on their referral. Do they have a blog for their trip to China. How wonderful, a little boy>

  20. Unfortunately they don't have a blog. They leave for China on Wednesday. We are so excited for them and can't wait to meet their new son!

  21. Krisi,
    Your blog makes sparkles in my heart!! You are amazing and I love seeing your wonderful ideas. People gather around my desk to see your blog and some follow it just to see your pics of the girls and the awesome pics of your decorations. I too have a beautiful little "China Doll" and wish we lived close so she could share in friendship with your girls. I have followed your blog from the beginning and wanted to Thank You for sharing.



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