Google Analytics

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The holidays in my family was odd.  My family is a first generation immigrant family, trying to adapt to this new American culture while retaining our roots and traditions.  They tried to do things like have a Xmas tree, but were decidedly vague on other Western traditions that should go along with the Xmas tree.

Since we owned our own business, and was trying to get the rest of the family over to the US, my parents worked non-stop.  One of the few holidays they allowed themselves was Xmas.  But Xmas for them wasn’t about roasting chestnuts and lovingly watching children open up gifts in front of a fire.  No, for them, Xmas was a rare chance for them to not work a 16 hour day, an opportunity to get together with friends and having fun and releasing stress.  So on Xmas eve, my parents would host a large party with all their friends.  We kids would be ushered into my room, where we would have to entertain ourselves while our parents were getting progressively more tipsy as the night wore on.  The unspoken rule was that we could tease and fight and argue as much as we want, but any of us dared to leave the room to disturb the adults – we would all (including the tattletale) be in huge trouble that would result in practicing our Chinese calligraphy for the rest of the night.  It’s amazing that through nearly 14 years of these parties, we only broke this rule once (and my brother was the tattletale.  I can’t remember what we did to him, but even at 3 years old, he learned to never tattle again).

Generally, we kids would tire ourselves out, and we would just all pass out in my room.  Half a dozen of us sleeping on top of each other like a pile of puppies on my twin bed, the rest of us curled up on the floor.

During the night, as the adults realized that they were too inebriated to drive home, they would leave behind what I now call “The Breakfast Stocking”.

Unlike most American kids who would wake up to a tree packed with gifts and Xmas stockings filled with toys, we would wake up to a large Xmas stocking filled with food.  Things like stale muffins, a jug of soy milk, oranges and rice balls (hey, we *are* Asian after all)…and a note from “Santa”, telling us that if we woke up our parents that we would be in big trouble.  However, if we eat our food quietly and don’t bother the adults until they woke up, we would be rewarded.

So instead of a loud and excited Xmas morning, we kids would all tiptoe down to the den, turn on the TV and watch whatever Xmas movie was on (generally, it was “White Christmas” which we loved, or “It’s a Wonderful Life” which we hated) and in whispers argue who got the muffins and who got the rice balls.  Usually the adults would wake up around 2pm, and stumble into the den with a raging hangover and the realization that they have forgotten to buy Xmas presents.  Feeling guilty (imagine staring into the expectant eyes of a dozen or so kids on Xmas morning), the adults would dig into their wallets and start handing out cash.

My friends and I were the only kids that would roll into school after the holidays with $300 in twenties.  That bought a *LOT* of ice cream sandwiches at lunch.  Needless to say, we were all intensely popular at school after the holidays.

It’s odd, because despite our rather weird and goofball holiday celebrations, all I remember was how much fun we had – Breakfast Stocking and all.  We never felt a lack for not getting a pile of presents on Xmas morning.  We kids had each other, our Breakfast Stocking, and the rare chance to watch TV uninterrupted with demands that we should stop wasting time and go practice our violin/piano/cello/harp.

I didn’t start giving gifts until I was in high school.  Although we still received lots of cash for Xmas, my parents were reluctant to let me go out to the mall on my own (clearly, they knew me too well and knew the kind of trouble I would happily get myself into), and as they were still working non-stop, they had limited time to take me.  So I began figuring out how to make gifts.

The most notable of which was in college.  As a poor college kid, I didn’t have that much money but definitely didn’t have the time to make a lot of handcrafted gifts.  Plus, who gives someone a hand-knitted scarf in school?  So I went over to Tick Tock (the local liquor store), bought several bottles of the cheapest vodka they had (I seem to remember it was something like $2 for a half gallon jug…basically, one step above rubbing alcohol), and decided to “infuse” my own vodka. Sans recipe (this was before the days of  “How hard can it be?” I remember thinking to myself.  From the cafeteria I grabbed various fruits, cut them up and shoved them into these bottles of horrifically cheap vodka and just let them sit in the corner of my closet. After a few days, I poured them into old soda and water bottles that I had saved, tied a ribbon and gifted a bottle to each of my friends.

It was the absolute most vile thing I ever tasted…and probably the most vile thing that we would ever taste again.  However, the memory of that awful infused vodka still lives on with my friends.  Although our little college group has drifted apart as our boring yet busy adult lives has pulled us away, I will always get at least one holiday card or email from one of them, reminding me of that horrific infused vodka and the hilarity we had drinking it (tasty infused vodka recipe here).

Later on, after I graduated and entered the workforce, I got back into the habit of making gifts.  One year, I thought it would be nice if I baked little gift baskets full of treats.  Remember my inability to make infused vodka?  Now picture that cluelessness as I attempted to bake a fruit cake (I thought frozen fruit was the same as candied fruit), and muffins (the recipe called for 1 cup of sugar and 1tsp of salt…not 1 cup of salt and 1 tsp of sugar), and cookies (the less said, the better).  Still, the amount of fun I had baking treats for an entire day was equal to the hilarity that we all had when my friends bit into these “treats”.  Heh.

I’m talented in many ways, but cooking will never be one of my talents.
Just three years ago, I joined my in-laws for their Xmas Day extravaganza.  While I love my two adorable nephews dearly; they 4+ hours of watching them open up gifts and becoming increasingly frenzied is definitely not the highlight of my holiday experience. 

However, one of the gifts that my nephew received was a Jenga set.  As my mother-in-law was preparing our holiday meal, we set out to play Jenga with him.  The game was going well, and we were having a great time.  Until the youngest nephew (I believe he was 3 at the time), came rushing to the table and wanted a turn.  Before we could say a word, he wobbles and crashes into the already precarious tower of wooden blocks while roughly pulling out a block, then trots we stared in amazement at the still standing tower!  I belive our screams of laughter nearly brought down the roof.  And I will never again play Jenga without picturing that moment.
As everyone is rushing around trying to pick up last minute gifts for friends and family, and getting stressed out over the mall and holiday travel, just take a step back and take a deep breath and think back to past holidays.  Inevitably, you won’t be thinking of who got what present…but of the laughter and love and fun that you had with those you care about. 

For years, I’ve been pushing to go to a gift free holiday (my parents and brother heartily agree…we have a standing pact to go out to dinner on Xmas Eve, but not to exchange any presents) – not because I’m grinchy, but because I don’t want the stress of insane holiday shopping and expectations, get in the way of the fun that I know I will have with those I love. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season with their loved ones.  And to remember that no one will remember how many gifts they got, but they will remember those moments they shared with you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt from AliciaSquared's Perspective

I can't believe I totally missed this entry (I really do read your blog AG...I really really do!) about the infamous T-Shirt Quilt project that I did with one half of AliciaSquared several months ago...from her perspective.

I'm going to say this now - AG is a lot nicer about writing about me then I would have been (seriously, I made pin for 2 hours, then caused her to bleed...and then had her sew the blanket in reverse!), and she's pretty magnificent...even if she steals my FTRs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!!!

I meant to post this up last night - but between cutting out over 130+ entries for the "Let's-Celebrate-the-Sweatshop's-New-Fantastic-Logo" contest so I could draw them out of a hat...then making said hat to draw the entries out of (because I'm also bat-shit insane at 2am)...and then rushing out the Xmas orders...I decided that no one was going to read this at 2am anyways.  Plus, at that point, I was also mildly delirious from the lack of sleep and I'm not sure anyone would have understood what I wrote anyways.  Heh.

So...the winner of a free Poker Hair Flower is...


I have just sent a message from Etsy, but if you are Sooey92, please shoot me an email ( so I can get your address and mail this out to you today!  HURRAH!

Seriously Etsy...we need to talk about basic data exporting functions
I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone!  You guys have been amazingly awesome and supportive and retweeting my new logo and contest all over the place!  Evidently - the Sweatshop also got a mention on!  WOOHOO!

There will be more contests in the future...and hopefully, I'll be smart enough not to schedule them at my busiest time of the year!  Heeheehee...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Bed...

Dear Bed,

You have a right to be mad at me. I have been ignoring you and I feel pretty low about it.

I have no excuse except to say that the Sales Fairy won't stop visiting me. Not that I'm complaining - you know how much I love the Sales Fairy (it does keep you, my beloved bed, in high-quality 800 count Egyptian cotton sheets after all), but it was really my fault to not having pre-made more of the more popular items before-hand.

However, I hope that you will be glad to know that despite being caught a little off guard, I have been able keep with my usual turn around of 24hours (although, in the past week, I've been able to get most orders out same day...hurrah!), so everyone's holiday orders will get to them with plenty of time to spare.

Frankly, I don't know how the elves do it.  Although, from all the Rankin/Bass specials, it looks like the elves automate their process...clearly, they aren't fans of quality, handmade good. Perhaps if they were, there wouldn't be quite so many citizens in the Land of the Misfit Toys (I'm just sayin').

But I digress...

Since it's not too late for people to order in time for the holidays (sidenote to my beloved customers - I ship USPS Priority Mail, so if you order by December 19th, it should get to you by the 23rd - giving you a day to gift wrap!), I will be up until 1am for a few more nights. 

However, I plan on making it up to you!  I am clearing my schedule and will be sleeping in until 3pm on the 24th!  So fluff up the pillows and be prepared for some epic snoozing!

Know that although we are are constantly on my mind...

*smooches* and sweet dreams until we can be together again...

P.S. Have you checked out the new logo and the fun little contest I'm running in honor of it? Yes, I know, just one more thing to keep me away from you, my beloved Bed, but just think of it as an awesome holiday present for one lucky fan of the Sweatshop!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


YAAAY!  Thanks to the amazing work by the incomparable Phil Balsman - I have a new logo and banner and all sorts of other awesome goodies!!!

To celebrate - I'm hosting a contest!  Go and "Favorite" the LittleAsianSweatshop on Etsy, for an opportunity to win a Poker Card Hair Flower!

If you've already favorited the Sweatshop - you are also eligible (yay for loyal fans!), so don't worry about having to do anything more!

I'll do the drawing on December 15th!  So GO GO GO "favorite"!  YAY!

P.S. While I'm at it - quick social media plugs...heh!
Follow me on Twitter - LittleAsianShop
Like me on Facebook -