Pat Christie is one crafty lady. Since moving to Beijing six years ago and now experiencing empty nest syndrome, Pat finds that she has a lot of time on her hands. And she knows how to put it to good use.
Aside from working part-time ata dental clinic and helping at various bazaars in Shunyi and in the city, Pat likes to try her hand at different projects. Many of them combine local materials with Western design ideas. Most of them are tested out on bazaar-goers. All of them are instant hits. Most importantly, all proceeds from her sales go to charity.
Pat has designed bags using silk sourced from Shanghai. She used to run a brand called Pretty Little Things, which has now been turned over to a friend. She constantly explores gift ideas for men, a market that she feels is underrepresented in bazaar offerings. Her clever tagline “My Dongxi” (“My Things”) now adorns all-purpose water-resistant bags.
Recently she came across a craft project in a US-based magazine: colorful dim sum steamer organizers. Pat knew exactly which kitchen and restaurant suppliers she could source the steamers from. She spends a good portion of an afternoon sifting through the steamers, making sure the bamboo is dry and that there are no stray fibers.
Most of the people who will use her organizers are likely to have children in the house, so she makes sure that her products are safe for little fingers. Pat brings non-toxic acrylic paint from trips home to the US. She takes an entire day to lay out all her materials and hand paint the steamers while watching TV.
Then, Pat goes through her sizeable stash of printed fabrics and picks out designs that complement the bright colors of the steamers. This is the fun part, she says, mixing and matching and visualizing how the steamers can be put together. Since Pat never knows how many layers her customers will buy, she has to ensure that any possible arrangement will look attractive.
Pat is always on the lookout for more masculine designs and colors for the men of the house. It makes a great present for husbands or boys who want a vide poche that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but can hold all the things that come tumbling out of pockets at the end of the day.
At the moment, Pat only makes the steamers in three sizes. Customers can buy just one layer and a lid or several tiers to hold different items. You’re sure to have fun picking out different combinations of steamers. They make great gifts and are a lovely addition to any desktop or dresser.
To make an appointment with Pat, call 134 0101 5228. A small steamer or lid costs RMB 30 each, a medium steamer or lid costs RMB 40 each, and a large steamer or lid costs RMB 50.
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.