Community Crafting: Throw a Party With a Cause
Spending a little quiet time alone was probably a welcome relief after the craziness of the holidays. But admit it: You’re starting to miss some of that socializing time. You might even be getting just a bit antsy if cold weather and snow have kept you isolated at home. Just because you are out of holiday parties to attend or don’t want to drive too far in bad weather doesn’t mean you can’t still create opportunities to get together with friends and neighbors. One possibility? Host a community crafting party!
Whether you hold your party at home or at your community’s clubhouse, keeping it simple will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. An afternoon event can include cookies and punch or cheese and crackers, along with wine. For an evening party, you could combine your event with a potluck dinner.
Want to make your craft party extra special? Do it for a good cause! Make sure your invitations or announcements reference the cause and print out information about the organization you are supporting to pass out at your party.
Here are just a few craft party ideas with purpose:
Greeting Card Party
There’s nothing like receiving a homemade greeting card when you’re feeling ill or lonely. For your party, you’ll need pre-folded card stock and envelopes or blank postcards, decorations (such as magazine images, stickers and ribbons), drawing and writing implements (markers, pens, etc.), scissors (including those that create decorative edging) and glue sticks.Decorate the cards any way you like. Depending on where you are sending them, start your greeting with a generic opening, such as “Hello friend!” or “Hey there!” Send Kids the World collects postcards for children with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Cards for Hospitalized Kids distributes hand-made cards to children who are hospitalized. And Color a Smile sends drawings of smiles to overseas troops, senior citizens and anyone else in need of a smile.
Knitting and Crochet Party
An easy project is creating afghan squares. Have each attendee bring a skein of yarn and their own crochet or knitting needles. Provide a pattern or instructions, including the size each square needs to be. One organization, KasCare, which sponsors a Knit-a-Square program to create blankets for abandoned and orphaned children in southern Africa, gathers 8 inch by 8 inch afghan squares from thousands of people all over the world. Your group can even put together your own blanket from the squares you create and send it to KasCare. The website provides detailed instructions and even shows you how to knit or crochet if you’re a first timer!
Crafting for Homeless Pets Party
Get your friends together to make treats, pet beds or toys for pets awaiting homes in animal shelters. The Anti-Cruelty Society provides instructions for making a variety of pet items – all of which can be made from recycled materials! TV’s “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan” website offers up these recipes for healthy dog treats.
Crafting with Kids
Parents magazine shows you how to bring parents and kids together for some easy-to make crafts with a purpose. Don’t worry: We know how quickly parents get bored, so we only chose projects that don’t require a long attention span!
- Stamped pillow cases. White pillow cases, cut-out foam shapes and acrylic fabric paint are all you need for crafting these printed pillow cases, which are donated to Camp Dreamcatcher, a summer camp for youth infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
- Cuddly creatures. These adorable “creatures” are made with socks, quilt batting, felt and glue. Kids can individualize their creatures by attaching felt wings, facial features arms and legs or any other personalized touches. Enchanted Makeovers will give your item to children living in homeless shelters.
- Woven bracelets. Braid together strips of fabric to make soft bracelets for kids being treated for cancer and other serious diseases at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Crafting with your own two hands is rewarding in and of itself. Doing it with your friends and neighbors is even more fun and is a sure-fire way to escape the winter doldrums. What’s more, when the crafts you’re creating are going to a worthy cause, you can feel especially good knowing you’ll be spreading joy well beyond the boundaries of your community!