Sep 29, 2012

Wonderland into the Woods with me...

Oh wow little blog spot, how I have missed you. It has been several months now since I've even had the chance to put some words down on this here page. BUT for very good reason. I was planning my 30th birthday party and it has literally consumed every bit of me for the last 3 months. Many of days went by during the process that I wanted to post some snip its of what I was working on, but wanted to keep everything under a wraps for surprise purposes. And now the show has ended, the curtain has closed, and the story can now be re-told.

It all started back in July when I contacted my absolute favorite DJ...
J Boogie that is, to see if he would be into playing a private party up in the woods of mendocino county. How he managed to agree, will always be a mystery,  but the greatest birthday gift this girl could ever have. After I received confirmation I got busy planning the theme and details. Alice in Wonderland popped into my head and after looking on the internet for a few ideas, it sealed the deal for me. Well actually it was when I went antiquing with my best friend up in Sac and I found the cutest humpty dumpty. He got the whole theme started. From that weekend on, I spent every weekend after at every antique store and fair I could get my hands on. Searching and scouring every corner for tea pots and vintage lace, old keys and alarm clocks. My list of things needed grew to an enourmous capacity. because you see, I was birthing wonderland into my life. AND that ment manifestation magic alignment was going to take charge. And boy did it ever! Somehow, I managed to acquire a GIANT 4 1/2 feet tall life size teapot and a giant culvert pipe that was later converted into a rabbit hole.
old german scrapbook motifs from the 1940's
vintage lace and scrapbook flowers...

My sweetheart Gus, never seems to fail me when it comes to constructing a vision. He put countless hours into making my dreams come true for that wonderland day. He got busy working on making a dance platform and stage out of recycled pallets from our local feed and hardware store. It took over 100 pallets to make the stage and many hours of nail pounding. It came out amazing!

wood for the stage
recycled pallets from our local stores in town to make the stage foundation
laying out the plywood

dance stage complete with projector screen to display our black and white movie of Alice from 1915
I started collecting old chairs at random thrift and antique stores and got busy repainting them and stripping them down of their old funky upholstery. I found a discount upholstery fabric store in San Francisco and scored on some awesome prints. The chair project took over a month in total. Painting all the fine details was quite the task. Well worth it in the end though.

My brother and sister in law and a few other friends,  came up on the weekends and helped out with some of the behind the scenes. Painting a vintage hutch, helping with the stage and various other little tasks.

gnome door
My friend owns a print shop and helped me enlarge some playing card images, that I later glued to giant pieces of cardboard. These were what greeted the guests at the gate when they arrived, along with a giant light up WONDERLAND sign that Gus and I made out of plywood and a jig saw. I used some big cardboard letters I got at Joanne's Fabrics but they didn't have the letter "R" so I free-handed it instead and it came out pretty awesome. We fixed it to an arched poly-pipe that was above our gate entrance. Definitely one of my hightlights of the party.

Gus turning on the lights, using the tractor for a ladder!  : )
giant paper flowers made from tissue paper and 8foot bamboo stakes
I wanted to have stations spread out for the party with different characters to go with them. So we invented the ""Caterpillar Contemplation Station" complete with vintage plush couches and even a real hooka table with a hooka and of course black lights...

We scored an old bar from a craigslist ad, which we used to create a "Cheshire's Cocktails" bar with all the fixings for some great drinks. Gus tinkered around with it, and plumbed it up so it had running water and even an ice holding space. I sanded the bar top down and threw a fresh coat of paint on it, buffed up the brass foot bar, and even re-upholstered the bar seats.

We also scored a commercial stainless steel sink and used that to make the "Wishy Washy Station" for our outdoor kitchen/cooking area....

Gus spent many hours on his tractor digging what would be called the "Rabbit Hole".
The original idea was to take a 42" culvert and an old water tank and use it as a pool to splash into, because the rabbit hole was intended to be a water slide. But unfortunately after Gus dug an 8 foot hole and lowered the tank inside, the pressure of the water being added to it and the fact that there was a rock that we didn't know about underneath, caused the tank to puncture and the water began to seap out. So we quickly scratched that idea, and instead just made it a slide complete with hay and good ol' burlap sacks for that extra fast slide. (P.S THE KIDS LOVED IT!!)

Gus also made a long 16 foot table for the mad hatter tea party and I quickly decorated it with many random tea cups, saucers and teapots from all my collecting from the summer. I scored an old antique chandelier and we made it wacky by putting rainbow colored light bulbs and suspended it from a tree above. It looked awesome in the night, especially with guests sitting at the table. Loved seeing guests eating mini fruit tarts and the mini chocolate mouse cups completely made out of chocolate with a handle too!

And no Alice in Wonderland would be complete without the Croquet course and flamingos. I found some old patio railing at a recycled building supply store outside of placerville and threw a coat of red paint on it, staked it into the ground and used it for the boundary corners for the course. Can you believe a real croquet course is a 50 x 100 foot space? Good thing we had the nice open field down by the entrance to accomodate it. I made a humpty dumpty wall out of plywood and nailed humpty to the top of it so he wouldn't fall down.
There were various signs scattered throughout the land with a magic mushroom that was made of paper mache and a giant old satellite dish. I also hand made 2 pinatas, of course they were Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. One was for the kids and the other for the adults. It's one of my favorite traditions of parties. Lots of fun goodies were inside, including custom magnets of alice in wonderland characters from a vendor on Etsy.
satellite dish being converted into a mushroom

And speaking of etsy, well it helped me discover a lot of fun things for decorations and prizes too.

Chatting it up with Tom, who supplied all our veggies for the party!

We served local grass feed beef marinated with teriyaki sauce and fresh veggies from our local farm in covelo. I added some organic pineapple and mushrooms, and viola, shish kabobs! One of our friends picked 150 potatoes and we baked them and served them with all the fixings for baked potato bar!
sweet Jessy Jane, cooking up the grub!
In the morning we served freshly baked sourdough french toast, with local bacon, organic maple syrup, fresh whipped cream and of course local blackberries and raspberries. And no breakfast would be complete without a fresh espresso. My super awesome friends, Rio and Jessy Jane brought up their Espresso coffee cart and Rio was serving up the coffee drinks in the morning. I got to have a very yummy mocha and that was awesome.
Rio in his glorious outfit making up the coffee drinks! yay for espresso on a sunday.
breakfast delight
My highlight of the event was just seeing the smiles on everyone's face, enjoying all the details of the party, the music, the food, the company of such a great people and of course DANCING till 3 in the morning!!! Gus and I look forward to the party each year, because it brings all our family and friends and community together to share in a spectacular night of magic.

a flamingo and the white queen
the dancing flowers

2 playing cards and tweedle dee!
Gus and me dancing it up!
the placerville crew!
J Boogie doing his thang!

Mario on the conga drums...absolutely FANTASTIC

I had so much help from some great friends helping behind the scenes to make the night what it was, and for that I am so grateful. I love my community and was so stoked to see the vision I had in my mind, light up and come to life that night. Thank you to all that came, and I look forward to many more parties in the future. 
Yay, I'm 30! goodbye twenties. It has been fun. Get ready 30's it has just begun!