For three decades, Ady Arens has crafted decorations for Grace Su's Christmas tree

By Emil Asinjo

Ady Arens with just some of the more than 17,000 hand-crafted ornaments she has produced over the years. These decorate the Christmas tree inside the dining room at Grace Su's China Gorge.
For almost 30 years now, Ady Arens of Hood River has been hand-stitching marvelously whimsical Christmas tree ornaments.
The first of roughly 17,500 ornaments was a tribute to her husband, John, an accountant who was then active in the Crag Rats search and rescue group.
It was John, in fact, who inadvertently steered her down this creative path. She had retired as a secretary at the local May Street Elementary School, and was looking for something to do while her husband was buried in preparing tax returns.
She started selling her creations at the annual Hood River Valley Harvest Fest when it was located at the National Guard Armory on the Heights. When the event moved downtown to the former Diamond Fruit Growers Cannery, she moved with it. And after the cannery burned, Arens moved further north, where the Harvest Fest settled in for a long run at the Hood River Expo.
She says she hasn’t sold ornaments the last couple of years, however, since the Harvest Fest moved from the Expo into two large tents set up every October on the Event Site parking lot to house craft vendors.
“Too cold,” she says.
She says she has imagined maybe 200 different designs. Prices for her ornaments have ranged from about $4 at the start, to around $12 for more complicated designs. She says the prices are low, considering the amount of work each ornament takes.
“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it,” she says. “It’s not making me rich. But it made me a lot of friends.”
Count Grace Su among those friends.
Grace says she has bought a lot of the ornaments on her tree, but says Ady gave her a lot, as well. It’s just her style.