The thing about me... is best described how my mom put it... I want everything to look like it is from Better Homes and Gardens, and in the end, it is not a realistic thing. I plan and plan and want perfection, but lose site of what the party is about.
The party this time was a good lesson, to chill, relax, if everything doesn't go off perfectly it is okay, the kids will still have fun, and it is still a magical experience for them. I am learning and trying to be more realistic and have different expectations of myself...
I prepared a ton of decorations ahead of time, and in the end because of the heat and time didn't end up using some of it, but it is okay... it really is. Let me share with you some of the prep leading up to my theme dinner... it was so much fun to throw and went by too fast.
Starting to come up with ideas
In looking at some of the parties online and actually reading the book again and watching the movie, I knew there were parts of the story I wanted to bring out, some elements of fun.
For one part, I loved how in the book, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” that Lewis Carroll would equate each character to a piece in a chess set. I myself don’t really know how to play, but I am learning. Well, I didn’t just want a boring small chess set. While on google and amazon I came across one of the large outdoor chess sets. This just seemed like fun. Because I was throwing it in my mother’s backyard which is large in size, I thought it would be perfect.
Now another thing I got from amazon that I love, but this didn’t actually get used because of the extreme heat outside was a movie projector.. The problem here in Utah is the weather has been 100 degrees for at least a month, and the day of the party didn’t disappoint with the heat either. It was far too hot to sit out for hours and watch the movies on the side of the house like I had planned, so instead we watched the movies in the cool dark basement and had lollipops. The projector is fantastic though and was such a good price. I will be using it for so much to come and future parties.
This one was a good price and it works really well, I highly recommend it:
One of the really popular things I found on amazon and were really cool, were paper teacups and plates for the kids to use. They feature illustrations and were fun, I didn’t have to worry about anything breaking and they were perfect size.
Some of the fun props I used for the party were a hit too:
Large Playing Cards (it is hilarious to watch adults play cards with these)
Planning for the Party
As has been with other parties, I had to make my shopping lists, make my lists of props, and also I wanted to make good use of my mother’s backyard and deck so I drew out a map for myself and tried to figure things out. I even took it to the extent of measuring out her deck, parts of her back yard and her shed. I wanted to make things that fit and also didn’t want to make too much of some things.
Painting the Mural
One thing I really wanted to do this year was make a photo backdrop. This was fun, and I think I will try to make one each year depending on the party. I have a background in Fine Arts, but have not painted in years due to working on the computer all the time and also my freelance businesses.
This was a fun excuse just to get my hands dirty and also make something that no one else has at their party. It struck me when I was watching the Disney Cartoon version that I wanted to do a backdrop of the flowers. Now I did spend hours working on this and had intended the day before the party to add faces to the flowers, but sometimes you don’t have enough time, and the mural stilled turned out really well without them… one of those areas I have learned it is okay and to chill out… no one noticed and no one cared but me, so I learned to not sweat the small stuff.
Getting the Paper Prepped and Measured out... I also drew it out in pencil.
The first initial drawing and painting took about 5 hours... I got a mighty sunburn from it.
At the end of the day this was what the first day brought... doesn't look like much but, I got the flowers all painted out, which was an accomplishment.
Starting to paint the mural on the second day... I was determined to get it done in one weekend.
The mural while it was drying...
I took elements from honestly everywhere… my party was a little bit Disney, Tim Burton, Original Book Illustrations, just a coming together of elements from all of them.
Here are some of the decorations I painted myself and the process:
Drawing out the Disney Teapots on misc. cardboard we had around the home.
I spent a lot of time inside painting signs, flamingos, teapots... etc...
A few days before the party I had a bit of time to finish up the last of my "DIY," Decor... it consisted of painting a tree for the cheshire cat, painting mushrooms and working on playing cards and roses.
I ahead of time bought costumes for members of my family, I tried to get things from thrift stores and got some stuff on Amazon. Since there are not a ton of characters in the book and I have a large family, not all could be assigned parts... but I think a few people were okay with that.
The night before the party my sister helped me get the cupcakes ready for the party making them look like roses... I don't pipe well.. I needed help.
I couldn't sleep very well before the party... I was both excited and got myself slightly stressed, stressed that I wanted to stay on task, on budget and have it be as fun a party as I imagined in my head.... now all I had to do was throw the party.