So my relatives this year decided to revive our old “Sipka Family Craft Exchange.”
It’s something we used to do when I was back in junior high, and my mom and all her sisters (who were, like, my age now I guess!) would do their Christmas crafts every year.
They began the “Sipka Family Craft Exchange” where each crafter would send a number of crafts to all participants in the mail, and we’d end up recieving a great big box from Ohio with fun hand-made gifts each year. Most of my aunts made Christmas-themed crafts, like ornaments (or, of course, my mom’s 1970s macrame and rug-loom items).
When I got to be in high school, and had about 7 cousins all in high school too, we jumped into the fray some years. I was quite a crafter back then, so I’d always try to keep up with my mom and aunts (I made lots of wreaths, ornaments, and bells with too many ribbon roses …).
But my greatest memory of the Sipka Family Craft Exchange was when my two teenage boy cousins, Donny and Mike, sent their own package in the mail. We couldn’t begin to guess what two 16-year-olds would do for their first-ever craft, and we supposed it was a joke, but when my mom and I opened our box, we realized it was a windchime. A really cool one, too, made with fishing wire and pipes. Those boys bowled us over that year. They made one for each family.
Over the years, though, with kids growing up, and college tuitions, marriages and grandchildren, the aunts sort of let the tradition fall by the wayside. And my Grandma, who led this clan, passed away a few years ago. But this year, suddenly, one of my aunts wrote and said she wanted to revive it. And now we have 16 grown cousins who can participate, too (many of whom followed in our mothers’ footsteps and turned out to love crafting, too). We even have a couple in the next generation (like Rene).
So Rene and I said we were in!
Of course, then real life got in the way. And even though we’ve known since APRIL that we were doing this, Rene and I just kept putting it off. She and I embarked on a bedroom-redecorating project this summer, which took up a lot of weekends (painting walls, shopping for bedding, etc.). And even though she loves to paint on the weekends, and I love to write, those aren’t really things we can share as crafts.
So when November rolled around, we had to come up with something fast.
I remembered one Valentine’s Day when Rene made these cute chocolate lollypops shaped like roses for all her classmates. I thought they were so cute. And if a fifth grader can do it … right?
So we trekked up to Michaels with our coupons and bought chocolates, a “paint pallette,” and candy molds. And we sat down one Saturday and made a bunch of chocolate lollypops shaped like Santa and snowmen. You sort of “paint” them with chocolate, upside down in a mold. What I didn’t realize was the Santas and snowmen are quite a bit harder to paint than roses (which are all one color). But we still still did it. It ended up being rather zen, actually…
I wish I could send you all one!
This is the first year I got to experience the fun of opening the box of crafts – and I think its even more exciting this way! You and Rene did such a great job on the chocolate lollypops. They are going to go to Kyle and Katarina who I’m sure will love them. I’m so glad this has been resurrected as a family tradition and I already know what I’m making for next year!!
I wish you could send us all one too! Those are really cute and what a great family activity/tradition!