Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrating the Chinese Year of the Dragon With Tweens

We love celebrating Chinese New Year with our tweens - Washington always has a great parade in Chinatown, and it's one of the most colorful holidays to watch (the dragon dance is always a big hit). To help us ring in 2012 as the Year of the Dragon, we asked our very crafty, very creative friends at Club Chica Circle to share a dragon-themed craft with our tweens - and boy, did they deliver! Our tweens have dubbed this as "way cool", and we think yours will too.

Today kicks off the Chinese New Year for 2012, and this is the year of the dragon. But what does that mean? The dragon is an especially powerful and important symbol in Chinese culture. Those born in the year of the dragon are said to be powerful, artistic, intuitive, and lucky.

Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days in the Chinese calendar, and is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese culture.

There are many customs and traditions associated with Chinese New Year celebrations. For instance, it is traditional to give red envelopes filled with money to wish good luck, wealth, or happiness. The color red is an especially regarded color and symbolizes luck in the Chinese culture.

The dragon dance is one of the most colorful and exciting events associated with Chinese New Year where dancers hold up dragon costumes and perform in parades and New Year's celebrations. The Chinese New Year dragon dance represents the bringing of good luck and success in the new year.

And on the 15th day, there is traditionally a red lantern celebration or festival where red lanterns are meant to decorate homes, storefronts, and town centers. The Lantern Festival signifies the end of the New Year and lanterns are hung as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

In honor of the year of the dragon, I crafted a dragon bracelet perfect for any tween.

Here is what you will need:
Red rickrack ribbon
Heart shaped beads (I used 12 - 6 red and 6 orange)
Thick orange foam (about 5mm thick)
Embroidery thread and needle
Googly eyes
White and black puffy paint

First cut about 12" of rickrack ribbon, and string heart shaped beads on. I alternated red and orange colored beads and made sure they were all going the same direction. The heart shape along the with waviness of the rick rack is a great way to represent the scales of the dragon. Chinese dragons can be very colorful, so don't be afraid to use other colors. Also, because the rick rack is wavy is a great way to keep the beads in place.

On the end where the bottom of the heart shaped beads are facing leave about 1 1/2" and knot the end (this will become the tough of the dragon). On the other end, make sure to leave about 4" of rickrack and knot a loop at the end (this will become the tail and will wrap around the neck of the dragon to create a bracelet).

Cut two pieces of rickrack about 3 inches long. Tie each along each end leaving 2 beads on the outside of each end. This will be the feet of the dragon.

Now, using your scissors, cut two pieces of thick foam about 1" x 3/4" and 3/4" x 3/4". These pieces will create the head and mouth of the dragon with the larger piece being the top of the head. With an embroidery needle and colored thread to match the foam, knot off one end and push the need through the top of the head and connecting it through the smaller piece of foam and all the way through. Then push your needle back through the other side of the smaller piece, up through the bigger piece, connecting the two pieces on one end. Pull through and knot at the end to make tight. Don't worry the knots will be hidden with the googly eyes glued on top.

Glue two googly eyes on top of the bigger piece of foam on top of the embroidery thread knots. Let dry.

With white puffy paint, draw on white triangles on either side of the head for teeth. With black puffy paint, draw on black half circles for nostrils on top of the head. Let dry.

Once the head is completely dry, string the knotted end of the bracelet through the stitched end of the head until the knot sits securely in the middle of the mouth. Trim the rick rack tongue if necessary.

To attach the bracelet, carefully wrap the looped tail end around the dragon head while on your wrist. Make one for yourself of give as a Chinese New Year's gift to a friend!

We hope the year of the dragon brings you all the best of luck and good fortune, whatever culture you are. Happy New Year!

Are you a member of Club Chica Circle yet? You and your tween should be - it's free, fun and fabulous!

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1 comment:

Betty Sue said...

Hello, Ms. Twixt. I am a faithful reader of your blog. I tried to contact you for this question on your lovely blog through your comment box a few time, but I had no response. I wonder if you can help with a pickle I am in. My daughter, 14, Mauna-Hiqua (her father is Arabic), started wearing a bra last year.Recently she asked me whether it is appropriate to use a regular bra. It is my opinion, Girls wear a bra, but when 18 years of age, but my daughter, or the beautiful and socially acceptable child I raised, does not think so. She told me that her friends use bras by a company called Victoria's Secret, in my opinion, the ads that the company place are pornographic to say the least. She said that to wear yoga pants thong wearing is a responsibility, I think this is absurd. I ask now, you have a daughter this age? You can tell me how old your daughter has begun using a bra, and what you think of the Victoria's Secret Crisis, I think. Thanks in advance,
Betty Sue Fakhima Maloof
I apologize for my broken English, it is not my language first.

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