First off, it’s the beginning of 9 days of holidays for the nation. Yay! Jaylene and I finished off our first week of a 3 week winter vacation (we mostly slept in and took naps) and now we’re joined by the boys in the family for some fun and frolicking. Here’s a shot of Jayden’s class today on their last day of school, holding up their faux firecrackers and red envelopes. Gong Xi Fa Tsai!

Gong Xi Fa Tsai

Red envelopes can be filled with money or candy and are the much anticipated gift of the season.  Jayden’s and his classmates’ were filled with candy oranges and Wang Wang cookies. My kids would live off of those cookies if they could. They’re a kind of puffy rice cookie, but I don’t really care for them myself. They’re no oreo!

Red Envelope Goodies

Today Jaylene and I managed to stay awake long enough to do some crafting. We made Chinese Key paper cuts. Chinese paper cuts are quite intricate and way beyond either of our patience levels (and Jaylene is much more patient than I am!)  However, I thought it would be fun to make some faux Chinese Key papercuts. At least that’s what I call them. I have a paper punch that is called a Chinese key (click here and scroll to the bottom), but Ahji says it means nothing. Oh well!

The actual character in the circle that is commonly used is shou which means long life. It is often carved into wood or jade and given as a gift, especially to the elderly. A jewelry pendant example can be found here, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. We didn’t follow the traditional design but made up our own characters.

This is Jaylene’s, and she says it means “Elder sister who loves to play with younger brother who has adorable cheeks”.

Chinese Key 002

How to make your own Chinese Key Cutouts.

Step 1:
Cut out a circle (traditionally red paper would be used). We tried folding our paper in fourths first but found tracing a plate to be easiest. Fold the circle in half and cut strips, from the center, almost to the edge, but leave a fair sized border.

Chinese Key 004

Step 2:
Keep the circle folded in half and cut off every other strip, but make each one look a little different. Cut notches out or make arrow-like ends or other designs. It took us a couple of tries to get the look we liked.

Chinese Key 005

Step 3: Unfold your character and think up a meaning. Mine means “She who longs for sunshine and warmth.”

Chinese Key 001