Through the Looking Glass…Part Two

Please excuse my absence! I am new at this blogging thing and finding the time for it has been somewhat challenging with it being Summer. Summer at our house, just like everyone else’s is a dance between languishing in the relaxed schedule while trying to not let that lack of schedule sabotage you. I have to be honest in that by the time the end of the school year rolls around, I throw my arms around the no homework idea, the mad rushing to get someone to a sports event or activity in between that said homework and then squeezing in dinner for a busy family of seven. Now that we are on the back side of summer, I do sometimes relish the thought of a more scheduled existence so that I could get something done in its entirety…although the relaxed dinner out by the pool at almost 8:30pm tonight does outweigh that a bit!

I apologize for my rambling ( I have been in that rambling mode these hot summer days with vacation time at the beach and a wonderful trip to Canada.) I had wanted to post some pictures from our daughter’s Graduation party from High School much earlier than this. We did an Alice in Wonderland theme, “Through the Looking Glass,” and it truly was a celebration for Kelsey that reflected the young woman that she has grown into over these seemingly short years.
The girls truly celebrated the theme with arriving in dresses that were perfect for the outside “Mad Hatter Dinner Party” aka, a menu of heavy Tea Sandwiches accompanied with some yummy salads and finished off with a Crepe Bar that consisted of all things that make a teenage girl’s heart a flutter: Chocolate Sauce, Nutella, Peanut butter, Bananas, Strawberries, Fluff, Almonds, Raspberry, Caramel and Whipped Creme.  
We set up all the food outside underneath a tent because the threat of rain was ever present…but did not show itself until dark. I layered an old barn wood table with a white linen tablecloth and then topped it with a lovely patterned smaller table cloth in beautiful shades of blue. I set an arrangement that I assembled with flowers from a very inexpensive local Produce Place on top of a wooden box, but covered with the cloth, to give it height.  I added a pretty blue mirror, some clock faces, 2 topiary plants (acquired from the same Produce Place) and I was finished with the Buffet Table.
We set up 6 round tables that we rented with chairs and coordinating linens that came about quite by accident. I had not rented linens and was going to use my own but they were not working. When I called the Rental Center, all they had left was 2 of each of the lemon, aqua and lime green that we were using for the colors. Voila! Mixing it up worked! I topped the tables with a paper placemat that I had from years past (have I mentioned that I have a fetish with paper products? I pick them up whenever they are on sale…even if I do not have an idea in mind for them at that time ) as well as a plant that I put in little containers that I got from Target’s Dollar section that were in coordinating colors. The plants were from the same aforementioned Produce Place. Each table cost less than $5 to top! We added a bowl of candy in bright colors as well as a bottle of bubbles to each. 
I only had 3 containers to put the plants in because I had picked them up months ago so…what to do with the other 3 tables? I used old Ball jars that are a wonderful shade of blue and filled them with a few tulips that were in the centerpiece of the Buffet table.
Now onto the Beverages!
What would a Mad Hatter Tea Party be without Tea? Well, on a hot, humid, overcast day…hot tea was not in the forecast so we made gallons of lemonade and Iced Tea. We served them in glass containers that I got at Ikea a few years back (have I mentioned that I have a fetish for dishes, glassware and the likes? I do the same thing with them as the paper products! Some girls are into shoes…some are into dishes!) 
We added tags to label them with that I stamped with a swirly decorative pattern and the words “Drink Me”and then tied them around the drink containers. I stacked a few lemons and limes underneath another container that I got at Sam’s Club to dress it up.  I use that one all summer long for the kids. I added a bundle of fresh mint and another area was complete. 

Now to top it off~Deserts
I ordered a beautiful cake from my favorite Bakery in the area, Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery. They are super creative and they still occupy a tiny corner on Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn. I brought them my napkins for the party as well as a Tea Cup from my Grandmother that I wanted to use on the top of the cake and they went to town!
They also made me a few cookies in the same colors with a large K on them for Kelsey. They were beautiful! I like to splurge on one signature item like a beautiful cake to set the tone of a party and then supplement with homemade goodies such as chocolate covered pretzels, strawberries, Oreos and Ritz crackers (I will give that recipe on a later post).  
This time I purchased 4 dozen or so of the little Brownie Cakes that they sell at Sam’s Club. Yes, I could have made them from scratch but often time is of the essence so if I can use store bought items that are reasonable and add some of my own elements to them, it works! They were not frosted so I made my favorite creme cheese frosting and piped it onto the tops. To embellish them, I tinted pre packaged fondant that you can purchase at your local craft store and used a cookie cutter type mold to cut flowers out of the fondant. I sprinkled them w/ edible colored glitter (again, available at your craft store in the cake decorating section.) I stacked them on gorgeous cake stands that I have acquired over the years. (Sorry that we did not take a close up picture…we were dashing around trying to get everything set up on time and were down to the wire! I promise that I will take better pictures next time!) 
After all the food elements were in place… I wanted to play upon the Alice theme so I made signs out of Foam core board that read, “This Way”, “Wrong Way” etc and hung them in various locations as the guests entered. 
I also used a mirror that my brother and sister in law gave us some time ago, that was a window pane at one time.  I made a decorative tag entitled “Kelsey Through the Looking Glass” and mounted pictures of her and her siblings and friends. I added pre made scrap booking words to some of the panes as well. I had a snap shoot of Kelsey and how she has grown over the years that were documented “in the looking glass.” I made another photo board where I covered a sheet of foam core board with linen and then used decorative thumb tacks to attach a couple of larger pictures as well as some fun elements that again signified the passage of time.  
 Wow! Where have the last 18 years gone?? 
Making an event memorable usually requires some extra planning and some little creative tricks up your sleeve. You can do it! Let many things that surround you in your every day inspire you. I usually pick my colors first and then go from there. I pick things up in a variety of places and am always on the look out for unique items that can be turned into something interesting. The idea of utilizing Alice in Wonderland came into play from a magazine article that I read along with wonderful recollections of a past Birthday Tea Party when Kelsey turned 6. That combined with my colors that came from napkins and a shopping bag that I saw in the party store, enabled me to make the invitations incorporating those colors and a few lines from Alice…thus the door was open to all to travel through the looking glass with us to celebrate.
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