Straight-up Momma: DIY Paradise

On finding an unlikely source of all things crafty

by Nicole Chia | Tue, April 25, 2017

I’ve always been a crafter. It all started with my uncle and his introduction to the wonders of a glue gun. Our first project together was to make bride and groom trolls out of old school Treasure Trolls that we bought at a garage sale with some extra cardboard paper, a string of pearls, and some lace. In the end I had the coolest custom Treasure Trolls of all my friends. I was truly the envy of 2nd grade.

Now that I’m older and have three glue guns of my own, it seems I'm inevitably picking up a project here and there. I’m constantly falling into and out of hobbies: knitting, crocheting, beading, sewing, painting, coloring, terrarium making, the list goes on and on.


When I heard about Joy City Mall I thought it was the typical Shanghai mall that had the added benefit of an extra large arcade or something. For some reason while passing it on the highway I’d see the big Ferris wheel and think to myself: "oh that’s the mall with the giant Sega (does Sega even exist anymore?) arcade inside." Well I was pretty wrong.


This past weekend while trying to figure out something new to do, especially now that our Disney passes have run out, I came across the Joy City Mall again. I figured as a treat we could take the kids on the Ferris wheel and kill an hour or so in the giant arcade before we tricked them into shopping for new pants. Well, it turns out there is no giant arcade at all. But what they do have (besides the regular shopping and some really great choices for eateries) is two floors of DIY shops. That’s right - everything your little crafting heart could want, Joy City Mall has something to offer you.


I basically spent the next two hours dragging my family of complaining boys in and out of various DIY shops while gathering business cards and pamphlets about different classes I could take, including flower arrangement, bead crafts, leather crafting, woodworking and more. I even managed to convince the family that we should make the designer cookies at Cookies 9, where they pulled a fast one on me at the cash register by adding on the “extra kid helper” price to the original quote. Right, like my three-year-old really did anything other than get yelled at for wiping his nose with his hands and then touching the cookie dough.


I didn’t get to leave with all the crafty bits I would like (though ¥400 worth of damn cookies were fun to drag around). But I did have fun filling my shopping basket with various Totoro and Spirited Away items for a terrarium I was convinced I’d make until my husband showed his “put that back before I kill you” face.

It only means my crafting desires weren't fully satiated.


Good thing I can always buy on Taobao.


Taobao never judges my unfinished craft projects.