The scene is set in a Brooklyn apartment. A 7 foot tree lays on its side on the hardwood floor. A man struggles to fit the cheap metal tree stand on the 7 footer, cursing under his breath that he could have sworn that he declared last Christmas as the last year they would use this flimsy tree stand.
He tightens the screws, hoists the tree back up and the family stands back.
The tree is crooked.
The man lays the tree back down, fiddles with the screws around the trunk and hoists the tree back up. The family stands back and looks.
The man summons the woman to hold the tree as he attempts to adjust the 7 footer in a vertical position. They stand back again.
Still slightly crooked. But maybe good enough.
He flicks at the tree to make sure that it is stable and won’t fall over in the middle of the night as it did a few years back. The tree seems stable.
Satisfied, the man goes away. The woman slowly circles the tree, scratches her head, stares, and stands back. She calls for the man.
“It’s still a bit crooked”, she says, hesitantly.
The man approaches the tree and instructs the woman to stand back to make sure the tree is straight as he wrestles with the tree and the stand once again.
“Ok, it’s straight”. They both stand back and nod.
The man goes about sweeping up the needles around the tree, but in a split second, the tree tips over and falls on the man. He lays under the tree for a minute, deflated and defeated before standing back up. “That’s it”, he says as he puts on his coat, grabs some cash from the other room and storms out the front door in search of a sturdier tree stand.
The kids, who have been sitting on the couch the whole time oblivious to the scene happening before them, look up and notice that the tree is down and the man is nowhere to be seen.
“Where’s Daddy?”, asks the little one.
“I think he’s under the tree”, says the older one.
The girls shrug and go back to their game.
Posted by Jenna | 28 Comments
We had a fantastic weekend. How was yours? It always feels good to have a stellar day at a holiday market, particularly when you’ve stayed up late preparing for the show after a hard week. It makes it all worth it. Thanks to our friend Megan who took both the girls for a sleepover Friday night which enabled us to work uninterrupted through the night organizing for the market and made setup in the early morning easy at the event site. Since the girls weren’t home, I put on the first season of American Horror Story while we worked and pretty much powered through the entire season in one sitting. What a crazy show (though Breaking Bad is still my first love). After the holiday fair, we went to our neighbor’s annual holiday party where she made this (among other yummy things) and now I want to eat it every day. We don’t go to many holiday parties if at all because of the busy season so we appreciate that our neighbor Amy puts on a fantastic party every year that makes it easy for us to say yes and makes us happy that we live where we do.
And another rare thing happened on Sunday. Brunch. Can’t even tell you the last time we went to brunch as a family. I’m telling you, it is a rare thing. We decided at the last minute since we would be taking the car out anyway that we weren’t limited to places in our neighborhood and I remembered Buttermilk Channel. This restaurant is on my long list of places to eat that everyone raves about, particularly for brunch. We got dressed quickly, threw some stuff in a bag for the day and headed over to Carroll Gardens. There was a line already forming as we drove by, but we luckily found a parking spot nearby and made our way in as they were just seating people. I love a good brunch and wish we did it more often!
The big outing of the day, however, was the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden up in the Bronx. I don’t know how well known this train show is to anyone outside of NY, but this is a holiday tradition in the city and one of those things that I’ve wanted to do every year but never really had the time for. The photos here don’t do the show justice. Besides the fact that I seemed incapable of taking a decent photo all day (which was frustrating), this is something that needs to be experienced in person. All the buildings and bridges are replicas of iconic landmarks and historic townhouses, the majority from NY, and made from leaves, bark, fungi, twigs and other plant matter. The details as you can see are amazing. The show is large with 140 buildings in total and winds all around the conservatory.
Here are some tips about the show if you’re planning on going. You can buy tickets online and they’re timed in 15 minute increments because the show is so popular. Don’t be late. Once you get there you’ll still wait in line to enter because they need to wait for people to exit the show before they can let more in. But that’s not it. Once you are in the show you are still waiting in line to enter the main exhibition space. This is deceptive because the models and trains do start here in this large room and the line is “loose” since people start taking photos and the crowd is milling about, but it’s slow moving. This is when the kids start getting antsy and complain that “this is boring” and you wonder whether you’ve made a colossal mistake spending $100 for tickets for the entire family (tickets aren’t cheap), just to wait in line to be herded at a painfully slow pace. But don’t give up hope. Once you get into the main exhibition space, the crowd thins and you can leisurely take your time around the show. There is still a path and a line to follow, but at that point, it is very pleasant. For this reason I would go on the early side of the day.
Also, if you can find parking right outside the Gardens do so because parking costs an additional $15 which was sort of a shocker when we pulled up to the parking booth. Aside from that, we had a nice time at the Gardens. It’s been quite rainy the past 4 days so the weather wasn’t great which prohibited us from wandering around the gardens but there was plenty of stuff for kids to do at the Gingerbread exhibition as well.
Ok, now you know that it’s not all fun and roses when a family outing is involved, right? There’s always some sort of National Lampoon’s Vacation-type mishap that happens at some point, right? Because it was rainy and we were parked a bit away from the entrance, Mark decided he’d get the car and pick us up. I started to get suspicious when quite a bit of time passed and he didn’t show up. Turns out that he couldn’t drive to where we were and he was forced to exit the garden because he was on a one way road. So you know how when the Griswolds go to Paris in European Vacation and they get stuck in that circular road around the Arc de Triomphe and can’t find the way out so they keep driving around and around? Well, the girls and I decided to head out in the rain towards where the car was parked and when it was clear that he wasn’t anywhere in the parking strip, we walked and walked around the perimeter of the garden to look for an exit onto the street which we couldn’t find. Meanwhile, Mark was driving around the perimeter of the garden looking for us through the iron gates. Let’s just say that there was a lot of driving around and a lot of walking around and a lot of missing each other and a lot of cursing…
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Lots of press this week (and a few more coming soon too). The New York Times included our biscotti in their Holiday gift guide this year (yay) and Dwell Magazine put our pink peppercorn sandwich cookies in their picks for holiday entertaining. Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn featured our conversion posters in their 10 useful and Inspiring Gifts for New Cooks and our marshmallows are in Ebony Magazine. Thanks to everyone who spotted our stuff and gave us the heads up.
So…can you believe Christmas is only 2 and half weeks away? It’s not over yet, but I do believe that this holiday cookie season might pass without one of us in tears. It’s been busy, but downright civil. We’re actually really looking forward to this weekend too. On Saturday, the whole family will be selling at the PS 321 Holiday Shop in Park Slope. It’s a nice event with kids activities and great vendors so if you’re in the area, stop on by. We also have a tap recital, a holiday party and we’re devoting all of Sunday to family holiday fun time, yay! Have a great weekend!
Posted by Jenna | 12 Comments
Well this is exciting. A brand new product – and I mean new as in different – just in time for the holidays. If you’ve ever been to any of our markets during the cold weather months, you may have tried our signature Earl Grey Hot Chocolate. People have been asking for this as a mix to make at home for years and Mark finally had some time this Fall to concoct a mix that closely replicates what he makes for the markets. What, it only took us 2 years. Oh man, I should show you our laundry list of product ideas that we have never gotten around to in the past 5 years we’ve been in business (5 years, what?). It’s sort of embarrassing how slow we move to get things going around here, but that’s what happens I guess when you have 2 people running the company with 1 person who doesn’t know how to bake. Or maybe it’s what Mark said to me yesterday, “Why do we have so many freaking products?”.
We’re starting our holiday market season tomorrow at the Bust Magazine Holiday Craftacular at 82 Mercer Street, Sat & Sun from 11-7 (these are loooooooooooong days). The rest of our holiday market schedule can be seen on our site.
Earl Grey Hot Chocolate Mix available (finally) here.
ps. I do apologize to all the West Coast customers for the high shipping charges, but we can’t control that unfortunately. We don’t really tack on any handling charges either. It costs a lot to ship priority mail to the West Coast from NY. Oh, the cost of doing business!
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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’re in the burbs being lazy and visiting my parents who we haven’t seen in 2 months because of the storm. We’re thankful for a lot of things, but I think what I’m most thankful for these days is the fact that I have the freedom to choose how I want to live my life. I know that other people are not so lucky.
PS. In our Etsy shop and website, we are having a 15% off sale for the next 2 days with code BLACKFRIDAY12. Have a great weekend!
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I feel like we’re in a little bubble here in our neighborhood. With resumed subway service limited and no gas left to be found anywhere, we’re relying on the news and the internet to feed us photos of the crazy long lines for bus service into and out of Manhattan, the block long lines for gas at the stations (and I do remember as a kid when NYC went through a fuel crises in the 70s) and the sobering news of more casualties. The National Guard is handing out food in parts of NYC, but in our neighborhood, the stores and restaurants are bustling. Halloween and trick or treating went on as usual despite our annual Halloween parade, a long time neighborhood tradition, being cancelled. In fact, the streets were mobbed last night. I’m not the only person in my neighborhood who feels a little strange about this. What do they call it, survivor’s guilt or something? So we try and do what we can by volunteering to help feed people bussed into local evacuation centers and finding other ways to help.
Here at home, the kids are out of school the remainder of the week. Our kitchen remains without power which means there will be no markets this weekend or orders to ship out. Many of our retailers are without power as well, so it will have a trickle down effect with wholesale orders in the next coming weeks. Many of you have asked how you could help and I want to thank you. We specifically don’t have a way to do gift certificates on our site right now, but we are still taking orders if you don’t mind waiting a bit to receive your goods. Calendars and prints can go out immediately until we run out and need more supplies for printing. I also want to thank our friends in Seattle, Annie and Christine, for spreading the word about supporting our business during this time. We really appreciate it!
ps. last year the girls were sweet little kittens and a ballerina bat for Halloween. This year they wanted nothing to do with all that cuteness and dressed up as a zombie and a vampire. What a difference a year makes.
Posted by Jenna | 5 Comments