The first year B and I were together over Christmas, I was terribly sad that my apartment building had strict rules about Christmas trees and that my tiny one bedroom apartment wouldn’t have fit a tree anyway. B, in an ultimate gesture, offered to set up his ceramic Christmas tree in my apartment. I was instantly smitten with its retro charm and when my Mom saw a photo she was taken back to her childhood- her Mother had a few ceramic trees as well, which we eventually found. These trees man, they bring people together.
These ceramic trees, which were all the rage in the 60′s, were actually kits that you bought at a craft store (or..wherever you bought such things back in the day) and painted yourself. B’s family has a white one at their house, and my Mom found one my grandmother had that is red and white, and much larger than the traditional tree. Every year I post a photo of the ceramic tree (now lovingly ours, yay marriage) people comment on how their grandmother had one and they don’t know where it went. Somewhere y’all, is a graveyard of missing socks and ceramic Christmas trees. But until we find it, I’m here to help you out. I’m sure thrifters and yard sale afficianado’s can find these with a little bit of time and patience, but if you want one in the immediate future, here is your guide.
If you have a ceramic Christmas tree but need some replacement “bulbs” (the plastic bulbs you pop into the pre-drilled holes) Amazon is your place. Just be sure to measure your holes so you order the proper diameter- as it turns out, these trees come in a few different sizes. Amazon also carries replacement cords, bases and interior bulb kits (for the bulb that actually lights up). For trees themselves, Amazon’s selection was pretty slim (and pricey). You can always find trees on eBay, but I’m a terrible eBay purchaser, so I kept looking. There are entire websites dedicated to the ceramic Christmas tree, and you’ll find a better selection there (although I can’t vouch for customer service or shipping times). Some of them even carry unpainted trees if you know your way around a ceramics studio. (Is that where one does ceramics? I am unsure, having taken glassblowing myself. For real.) Etsy has a pretty awesome selection of ceramic trees- I really want this one for Gracie’s room:
So fun! Too bad I’m pretty sure she’d knock it over and eat the light bulbs. Maybe one day when she grows up and moves away, B and I will let her take the ceramic tree for her own tiny dorm or apartment.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my ceramic tree findings since there seem to be a lot of tree lovers out there – happy shopping….or painting. If you see a million ways to paint an ombre ceramic tree on Pinterest next
November September…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to start anything.
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Well kiddo, here we are. Ten months old…better late than never. In the past month you celebrated Thanksgiving, sped up your crawling, began walking with your walker and made Mama and Dad childproof everything. Visitors now have a tough time leaving because they can’t figure out the child-cover on the front door knob. I can’t ever get any q-tips because I forget about the lock on the drawer. You are still found on a regular basis with forbidden items in your hands.
You are still a champion eater and sleeper. For have grown disdainful of soft baby foods and just want to share whatever we are eating. You have an affinity for sweet and sour housemade pickles at a nearby pub and have shocked more than one waitress when they see you carefully scraping pickle goodness into your mouth. Spaghetti and meatballs is your favorite dish- you learned how to slurp spaghetti noodles and it is pretty awesome. You loved Thanksgiving food, minus mashed potatoes and gravy, and you even had your first taste of Dad’s chili. I’m still not sure about the mashed potatoes but you made up for it with green bean casserole, homemade cranberries, corn pudding, homemade rolls and turkey.
You are impossible to photograph because you are always on the move. I think you are close to figuring out how to climb and then it is all over. The dog sleeps against the back of the couch, just out of your reach and when you figure out how to get to him he is going to be sleeping under the bed. Don’t get me wrong, he loves you during mealtime, but your never-ending affection requires a lot of supervision and separation.
You have mastered the sign for “all done” and understands the signs for milk, eat, sleep and more. You babble constantly, wave, blows kisses (that are more like tongue clicks, but you get the idea) and purposefully throws food to the dog to watch him eat it. (I recently found the dog trying to CLIMB INTO HER HIGHCHAIR after dinner, in search of stray Cheerios). You can open the baby gate if I don’t ensure it latched all the way and if left unattended in the kitchen you make a beeline for the dog food bowl. Your fifth tooth is coming in and as of this week, you weighs about 19 pounds! A far cry from my 5 lb 7 oz baby girl.
I can’t say you have a favorite toy but you love books and being read to. The Going to Bed Book (we read it every night before bed, go figure) makes you smile every time we open it. You love most Sandra Boynton books, Where Is the Green Sheep, Olivia, and Dear Zoo.
The last month brought us your first family vacation involving a plane and you were awesome. You slept for most of both flights to and from California, and played happily for the rest. (We also ate a lot of Cheerios one by one to pass the time). You did pretty well with the time change, met quite a bit of my extended family and enjoyed your first taste of truffles (you were a fan).
You make us smile every day and brings us joy. Cliche but true. I hope you always know how strong our love for you is.
I can’t wait to see what your future holds baby girl. You can grow up to be anything.
Likes: crawling, the dog, pulling up, activity table, peekaboo, Cheerios. The Going to Bed Book
Dislikes: diaper changes, having to get dressed, closed baby gates
I use Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker because I’m a lawyer…you know we follow the rules, and copying isn’t cool. It doesn’t hurt the checker also helps me with my abuse of commas and dangling prepositions.
It isn’t a secret that I love reading, the holidays and gift giving. Much like Joey-loves-Rachel’s-Trifle (What’s not to love?) I figured I’d mash them all together into a little holiday gift giving guide for everyone on your list (or yourself).
For the Reader
So your friend likes to read and you want to give them something they’d enjoy – and you don’t want them to think your tastes are pedestrian. Wrap up one (or two) of these and rest assured they’ll be thrilled:
This book won the Pulitizer for fiction and you guys, it is just a fascinating tale. It is well written, compelling and makes you want to find out what happens next. The book is divided into two distinct parts, and when the first one ended I was so sad- how could anything top that? Luckily I kept going and I discovered the second half, while totally different, was worth my continued perserverance.
The first of a trilogy (the hottest new thing in literature, amirite?) this book reminds me Stephen King in the The Stand and some of his earlier writing. A little gory, suspenseful, long passages that keep you interested despite the extra words. A well written tale that leaves you wondering what will happen next- and ordering the second book despite the length of the first.
Love history? Love sweeping sagas, historical fiction, well written tales of love, adventure, war, heartbreak and more? Yeah, you’ll like this. Scratch that, you will love it. Ken Follett (author of the wildly popular Pillars of the Earth) began this novel as World War I was kicking off. It is the first of a trilogy (drink!) this book will leave you sad that the third book isn’t released yet.
For the Chef
Everyone has the friend who loves to cook or bake and if you would like to continue to be on the receiving end of delicious food, look no further:
Ah, Smitten Kitchen. She writes an awesome blog and her cookbook is divine. It has become a go-to for me when I’m preparing dinner for two or having company over for dinner. The mustard milanese is the stuff of dreams.
This is for the baker in your life. Your homemade pizza is about to become legendary. The photography in this book is gorgeous, the recipes are mouth watering. My boss gave this to me last year for Christmas and it was the best work gift I’ve ever gotten.
For the Parents
Maybe your friend is about to become a parent, or you have a cute kid in your life that you want to send a holiday package. These books are cute for kids, fun for adults.
This awesome box of books contains a family favorite, “But Not the Hippopotamus” and other fun reads. Boynton’s books are cute, funny and short. Kids like how they sound, parents like that they don’t take a year to read.
This boxes set of books (written by a local Chicago author) are amazing. Little Hoot (an owl who just wants to go to bed!), Little Pea (he just wants some veggies for dessert!) and Little Oink (why does he have to be so messy?) all want to be like their friends…but their mean parents are forcing messy rooms, late bedtimes and candy for dinner on them. Sure to bring a smile to your face, and the artwork is adorable.
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…I originally wrote a post about our Thanksgiving and the passing of my Godmother. After I posted it, I didn’t feel right about it (it= all my feelings and sadness) sitting out there in the open and I chose to move the text to a private spot. I hope you understand – I apologize if this feels remotely “dramatic” or attention grabbing, as it wasn’t my intent. I’ll be back soon with more of the usual fare and less of the post-and-switch.