By GWEN MURANAKA
RAFU ENGLISH EDITOR IN CHIEF
If you’ve ever received a gift wrapped so beautifully, that you don’t want to open it, chances are it was wrapped by Rosie Sato.
The Gardena resident has been delighting friends and family for years with her creative, ornate wrapping. This year she’ll be taking her hobby to another level as a contestant in the 15th annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper contest, to take place at Rockefeller Center in New York on Dec. 2.
She will be competing against four amateur and four professionals for a top prize of $10,000 in a series of timed challenges that become
progressively harder. The contest is sponsored by Scotch Brand, manufacturers of adhesive tape and scrapbooking materials.
“The first round is a Monopoly game, so that’s easy, that’s a box,” said Sato. “The second round is a snow sled for children, and from there, the final round is a six-foot-tall outdoor plastic play set.”
“You have to be creative, they’re looking at overall appearance and technique,” said Sato.
Sato has been practicing for the contest and will be traveling to New York after Thanksgiving. Three of her girlfriends, Terri Maeda, Jo Ann Takimoto and Cathy Wullschleger, will be joining her on the trip.
“It’s a girl’s trip, they’ll be cheering me on,” said Sato, smiling.
Besides wrapping, Sato enjoys sewing and collecting vintage kimonos. Her mother, Kimi Ishida, former owner of Suzuran Restaurant, would sew clothes for her Barbie dolls and Sato has created kimonos for dogs, including her pet Yorky, Cheyenne.
Her significant other, Mike Hall, said he used to wrap presents in newspaper.
“When my family got Rosie’s gifts, they all said, ‘What an upgrade,” said Hall.
Over her lifetime, Sato estimates that she has wrapped over 2,600 presents. She shops at craft stores and even Target for her materials.
At her home she has racks of colorful ribbons to construct the beautiful bows that top her presents. She also adds extra embellishments of rhinestones, flowers and ornaments.
“My girlfriend calls them Rosie bows,” said Sato.
Rosie Sato will be sharing her gift wrapping gifts on KCAL 9 on Friday during the noon newscast.
Update: Wrapping Up a Win