More partying!
Wednesday December 17th 2008, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Life

Marlene sparked this one.  I didn’t have a lot of birthday parties either growing up; December’s a busy time of year, and we weren’t all that big on getting around to doing them anyway.  But there was a memorable one when I turned 12.

My folks one year had found someone selling kits with molds and plaster of paris and paint for making your own Christmas ornaments: add a snip of twine for the hook to hang from, add water, pour, tweak twine, dry, and decorate as desired. (Come to think of it, candy molds would work for this, although they’d be small.  Flexibility for the sake of the unmolding is helpful.)

Those molds got used for years, long after the original plaster supply ran out.  Sometimes (usually as we got older) we painted our names across the backs.  We glued glitter, we debated the merits of traditional red/green colorways vs going for broke and using them all.  We painted in the lines created by the molds, or not.  Remember–we were the children of a modern art dealer.

You could see the progression in the growing collection of young child to creator of ornate perfection.  Part of me thought, in protest, but this isn’t what my friends’ trees look like, struggling with the pride in, hey, this isn’t what my friends’ trees look like!

Mom and Dad had a cathedral ceiling in the living room, and we cut our own trees at a tree farm every year.  Writing about those trees could be a whole book to itself, but the best was the time we got one just too tall even for that ceiling and Dad decided to cut off the top and put it on the roof, so that to people going by looking in the window, it looked like this huge pine was growing right through the house!  Like I say, my dad has a sense of humor and a delightful bit of the imp to him.

We had a lot of space to fill up with ornaments given how big those trees were.  The collection grew.

And that one year, when I was almost a teenager but not quite, my mom molded a whole bunch for my friends to decorate at my birthday party.  Paint, the smell I had come to love of fresh plaster, glitter, glue, with multi-festival-able ornaments amongst the Christmas ones for my Jewish friends, and then everybody got to take their works of art home to show off (and my friends too now got to have homemade plaster of paris ornaments made by them at their houses)…

Best. Birthday. Party. Ever.

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We have a December birthday here, too. I’m careful not to mesh Christmas stuff with his birthday unless he specifically asks–like last year, when he wanted to decorate gingerbread cookies at his party. That ornament-decorating party sounds like an excellent way to keep everyone occupied!

Comment by amy 12.17.08 @ 4:09 pm

Lovely memory!
Oscar’s 50th is coming up in 2010, and he’s already told me he want’s a party, but not a surprise party.
I guess I;d better start planning now!

My dream is that I will have sold a book for a nice sum of money, and can use it to take him and the gang to Scotland or something.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 12.17.08 @ 4:58 pm

ok i must know – did your dad decorate and put lights on the tree on the roof

Comment by rho1640 12.17.08 @ 5:15 pm

The closet to this that I gave one of my daughters was a make-it-yourself pizza party. I had balls of dough ready to smoosh out into circles, sauce, and bowls of every sort of topping I could imagine (no anchovies in my house, though). They were about 12, come to think of it, and they had a ball!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 12.17.08 @ 6:10 pm

Oh! We had those molds, too. Gosh I hadn’t thought about them in years until you posted. I remember making them.

And my brain is completely “color inside the lines, follow the pattern” so I applaud anyone who can think outside that box!

Thank you so much for jogging that memory!

Comment by Deb 12.17.08 @ 7:08 pm

Rosa’s birthday is right before Halloween, so her parties always have that holiday tie-in. When she was 7 or 8, all of the kids seemed to be having very elaborate birthday parties at “Chuck-E-Cheese” or “the Jungle.” She knew better than to ask for something like that, so she invited all of her friends to bring a stuffed animal. We got out all of our fancy fabric scraps, and the girls made costumes for their stuffed animals. Then they took them around the house “trick-or-treating” with other family members to hand out candy from different corners. One little girl looked at the pile of fabric and trims and said, “Wow, my mom never let me spread fabric and stuff like this all over the WHOLE dining room table!!” Sometimes we have to learn to embrace the differences.

Comment by Laura 12.17.08 @ 8:23 pm

Oh, definitely. *That* is my idea of a good birthday.

Comment by Jocelyn 12.17.08 @ 8:55 pm

What a fun party and a wonderful memory.

Comment by sonya 12.18.08 @ 6:50 am

How fun! I bet a lot of those guests still have their ornaments and think of you each year…

Comment by Channon 12.18.08 @ 8:17 am

The year I was seven, my mom threw a party for me where we decorated cookies. Six seven-year-olds, frosting, raisins, chocolate chips, *sprinkles*- I think we all had a good time, but the following year we went to McDonald’s…the frosting and sprinkles reportedly wound up pretty much all over the house!

Comment by RobinH 12.18.08 @ 10:20 am

Your party sounds like it was so much fun. I can almost hear the girls giggling! I bet some, if not all, of them still have their ornaments.

Comment by Joansie 12.18.08 @ 12:15 pm

What fun! Love all those memories. Though secretly I kept waiting for the tree to want to topple over with all the plaster ornaments…

That tree top on the roof top? Priceless.

Comment by karin 12.18.08 @ 6:55 pm

I’m coming to this late, because our computer croaked and I am catching up on my “reading” but I hasten to assure you that candy molds do work fine because you sent us a set once, plus plaster of paris, years ago when it was our year to be gifted by you. (To those not in the family, we have a sibling rotation.) They are put on our tree every year, and though they are small we love them. I have a couple of the originals, too. We each got one back from the ones we had given to our grandparents, when Gram died. We don’t still have the molds, but it was a great project.

Comment by Marian 01.02.09 @ 8:51 pm

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