I’m going to be lazy (which is a kinda relative term, isn’t it?). I’ve been getting ready for our upcoming Chinese New Year’s Party, among dealing with colds and coughs. So, instead of actually coming up with something, I’m just going to give you cute photos of my kids, food, and a small dragon. (Plus, I really, really need to finish (i.e. start and finish) ordering seeds for my vegetable garden, since I should be starting my seeds… um… right about now. Or last week.)
How do I get into these things? I promised my kids we’d make a Chinese dragon for a New Year’s party. If your kids are anything like mine, they never forget an interesting promise.
1. Make and freeze char siu bao. These are steamed yeast buns that are stuffed with a pre-cooked BBQ pork (my recipe is from Dim Sum by Ellen Leong Blonder). They freeze really well; I made tons and froze them before we went to China to adopt Empress, then pulled them out for her baptism party. (Allow them to thaw on the counter, then microwave them for about a minute in the plastic freezer bag, left open.)
Empress and Big Dummy “helping” me chop Chinese bbq pork.
2. Next part: knead the dough, let rise, cut into chunks, and stuff with the prepared pork.
3. Steam buns and do quality checks. Empress missed that part… she was exhausted from helping!
4. Make dragon. Body first, because I know what I’m doing with a sewing machine.
It’s the headless dragon! The tail pole has a triangular piece of plywood bolted to the pole with a U bolt, slip cased in the scraps from narrowing the tail to a triangle (to keep it from snagging the material). The other two poles have re-shaped wire hangers inserted into a hole and slit to keep them from turning.
5. I finally tackled the chicken wire thing (I highly, highly recommend leather work gloves). There’s a piece of plywood inserted into the lower jaw and underside of the head, wired on through holes in the plywood. Before attaching the wood to the head, I attached two L brackets that will be bolted through the last carrying pole. The first layer of papier mache is the hardest, since the strips have to be folded through the wire to stick to themselves to help make a stable base. It’s much easier when the edges are all covered and you can just concentrate on keeping it relatively smooth and covering all the holes.
6. After another layer or two of newspaper strips (dipped in a paste-like flour and salt mixture), days of hardening (a bit after each layer), latex primer (the spray paint did not cover the newsprint well), a coat of red latex (left over, like the primer, from Crash’s loft bed), and a coat of red spray paint. Plus black paint in the nostrils, leftover gold paint on the horns, and some detailing gold streaks. He still needs major beard work, ears glued on, eyes, etc. I will post a photo as soon as I get the rest of it done. But I’m pretty proud of how he looks already. 🙂
7. And, finally, a Kai-Lan poster, with an appropriate New Year’s greeting (Gong xi fa cai, Wishing you a prosperous New Year)! Kai-Lan, in her New Year’s outfit, came off the packaging for a doll. The Chinese came off the web. (I love, love, love my art projector!) Yes, the flowers in her hair are missing; I made a bunch of those out of construction paper to be labelled with kids’ names and used for a version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, except, of course, the goal will be to get the blindfolded kids to get the flowers on the hair buns. Kai-Lan is laminated, so that she will go up in the girls’ room after the party.
Don’t forget to visit Jen at Conversion Diary… where other people have certainly come up with less “fluffy” Quick Takes!