across it. I found blue blinking battery-operated lights which we taped to the back
of the bubble wrap. The human sized scuba diver is one of my characters I make from
wall insulation and fun foam. The next photos below show up close pictures of the reef.
The clients LOVED this. The barbeque foods were placed on the table in front of this.
Sydney Harbor Dessert Bar
Since most people arrive in Australia through Sydney, I decided to reuse my ferry boat as a harbor prop. I had spent a LOT of time designing banners to represent the harbor as
a backdrop for this. At the last minute, the company announced that they were putting up monitors in the kitchen to display marketing information during the parties. I insisted they let me use them as a part of my display instead. So I adapted the panels to fit the monitors. They told me they would animate the next ones I design for a party.
The sail boats are actually cake pop boats with shaved chocolate on them. The sticks hold the paper sails. I reused my favorite boats and dock to hold desserts.
I used my mini cheesecake pans to make key lime cheesecakes. I bought the key lime juice on Amazon, and I got the recipe on Pinterest. Because it is a LOT of baking, I did cheat and buy the fruit tarts at Wegmans and the pound cake at Costco. I made homemade whipped cream with diced strawberries in it. You simply had to spred it on the slice of cake to make strawberry shortcake. I have tried this dessert in so many ways, but this was the EASIEST and most consumed way of doing it.
I also baked small tarts and filled them with a lemon pudding mix I made with fresh
squeezed lemon juice, a recipe I also got on Pinterest. Of to the side on the dock, were bite sized brownies made from a mix with caramel in it. So I added crushed candies and caramel sauce with whipped cream to bring them up a notch. There were no desserts left at the end of this party.
We put high-tops in the kitchen-party area every year. I had them covered with deep blue tablecloths. I like to reuse every item I own in a new way for each party. So the fish bowls this year had sand (from Michaels) with sea shells and plastic crabs I found on sale on our beach trip. Simple and easy. My two manzanita trees held stuffed koalas. I had shrimp cocktail on these two tables, which actually worked out better than putting it on the food table in the tent.
The Food and Set-up
Speaking of food, we tried out a new barbeque restaurant in our area. They had catering, so I ordered pulled beef and chicken, sausages, slider rolls, beans, salad, and brisket. Instead of plates, I have been ordering cardboard "boats" for guests to eat out of. They don't overstuff their plates and can always go back for more. And they make it easier to carry their food around. I order salad and have a fruit, veggie, cheese platter for those that don't eat meat. My recipe for ordering numbers is to count the number of RSVPs, then cut it in half for the food amounts. It has always worked out. The catering companies are usually working on food amounts for a sit-down event. Anything left over gets eaten by the staff, so there is no waste. This company sent along at least 10 bottles of sauces, which took the sliders up three notches.
Since the garden is "outback" of our office, it seemed the best place to theme it.
My hubby and I went to local Merrifield Garden Center, where they sold us a ton of flower baskets that were near the end of their season, but worked great for our party.
I also placed the "BEACH" rug here for in front of the band. I added a 5' new alligator to my beach supplies, and a crocodile. (The band fell in love with the crocodile, so I let them have it.)
The palm trees this year were only tabletop ones. I reset the kitchen rectangular tables up on the patio as a long bar using bedrisers to get height. I rent bar stools along with the high top tables and tablecloths.
I made three large banners of my version of the Outback for the sign-in area by the garden. I felt including Jeff Irwin was important. I also had a sheep farm panel because there are many sheep farms in Australia. Yes I had a large stuffed kangaroo. The chart is a welcome poster with Aussie sayings on it.
Here is my version of an Aussie farmer and his sheep. The clients and guests thought this was hysterical. They are coming to my office Christmas party, as the farmer also has a sheep farm in Provence, France. Our theme is Christmas Tour de France.
By the way, my daughter Annie's office is borrowing all of the coral reef items for their Christmas Hawaiian theme they chose. I already have all of the props and games planned for them. You will see a future blog about what we did for her office.