Saturday, August 4, 2018

Tiki God from Cardboard Tube

My cardboard tube (from Amazon) was a 5" diameter.  I could have spent a LOT more money on a sono tube, which are used for pouring cement forms, but wanted to keep the costs down to a reasonable expense.  I found a 5" diameter plumbing piece at Lowes with a 7" base which holds his light weight and makes a perfect stand.  His arms are 2" mailing tubes (from Amazon).  Before covering the larger tube, I cut holes into it for the arm slits.

I started by wrapping the entire tube in brown fun foam.  I use tacky glue that I mix with just a small amount of water to make it a thick, paintable substance.  I also use painters tape to secure the edges until my characters dry.  It peels off of the fun foam easily.  If
you look closer, you will still see a piece down by his feet.

Lowes and Home Depot (not sponsors) sell wall insulation in 2' x 2' sections.  I bought a piece of that size for the hands and the feet.  

After he was dry, I cut holes through the fun foam where the arm slots had been cut.  I pounded 3" of each end of the 2" tubes flat with a hammer.  I used E-6000 glue to attach them.

I made patterns for the hands, feet, and face in Photoshop.

If you see the hand has an extension box.  This is 2" tall at the end.  It fits into the end of the arm mailing tube.  I used a peach Sharpie to color the nails.  I made the face in layers.  I enlarged each pattern to the size I wanted.  If you convert images to Adobe in your print menu, a box appears to let you enlarge items to any poster size you want.
You can look up the directions on how to do this on the internet.  I never knew that converting images in the 'choose printer' menu did this, until my hubby showed me.
I doubled the size of the 8" x 11" image to get my face.  I glued the four sheets of the pattern together, then cut it out, traced it with a sharpie onto the fun foam, and cut it out.  I did the same process for the hands and feet.  

His FEATHERS are 5 feather picks from Michael's.  I used a 5" diameter insulation piece and glued it into the top of the tube.  When I used my foam burner to cut the circle, I also burned holes into middle of the circle to stick the picks into.

I used this guy's headpiece as inspiration for the darker brown crown under the feathers.
The hula skirts (Amazon) is an adult size one that I wrapped around three times and sewed in place.  He is about 5 1/2 feet tall. If I had tried to buy one this size, he would have been hundreds of dollars.  I am quite please with the result.  When I post photos of the actual Luau in September, I will tell you how people reacted to him.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Grand Canyon Desert Chili Contest

Grand Canyon Themed Chili Contest

  I have started the post with the check-in area at the front of our office, where we have the chili contest for clients and friends every year in March. In the background you see three of the first four 36" x 72" posters that represent the top of the Grand Canyon.  In the forefront you are greeted by our wolf who overlooks the name tag distribution.

 I set the tables in the hall up into a U formation.  I chose beige vinyl to represent desert sand.  One of my new umbrellas brings the ceiling down for intimacy.  You can see two of the silk plants, a deer, and the centerpiece rings I used to add cacti to the theme.  I had another table for seating farther back by the live band.  This space is quite large and we have used it in many ways for functioning.


The second set of four posters represented the bottom of the Grand Canyon, with the mule riders, rafters, and camping represented. The band is to the right
of the red chairs.

 In the conference room, I used the monitor to represent the entrance to the park.  The posters in this room showed hikers going down into the canyon. Under the monitor, you see my chili crockpot which has a smaller one to the right of it filled with hot dogs.  There is a container of hot dog buns next to it.
This was very popular last year, and again this year.


The conference table was also covered in the beige vinyl. If you are new to the blog, you will see the reusable tin trays under the chilis, which really help to keep the table organized. I reuse my chicken feeder every party.  It is narrow and long and is perfect for the spot.  For this party, I spent months buying cacti to fill it.  I found nice sized ones at Pier One and on a site called  (I am not associated with any stores I mention.)

In the corner of the conference room is my huge camp cook, new to the scene of party characters.

Party goers could "hike" to the back kitchen area to the Canyon Cafe.  My other umbrella was set up back here, along with the trailer tent I bought a few years back and two of my large stuffed deer props.  This is where the dessert bar was.  You see my sister and brother-in-law making final dessert touches to my presentation.  They are the best helpers ever.  I am not entirely sure our clients know that they do NOT work for our company.

Above are the monitors in the kitchen (Desert Cafe) with another entrance to the Grand Canyon Park.  I made cactus cake pops, lemon pound cakes, three different types of pies AND. . .

cactus cookies AND. . .
thin mint cheesecakes (and a chocolate pound cake).

I have added more pieces to my log themed serving platters. 

About five years back, I had a State Fair themed chili contest.  It had a LOT
of carnival games.  The clients loved it.  So, as requested, I have a few every year at this party.  It gives people, who have NOT made a chili, at shot at the cash prizes.  Below you can see the directions board and the hoops on the 
deer's antlers. 


In the main hall that runs front to back in the office, I had PRAIRIE DOG CURLING.  I use the soft side of industrial size velcro to make wood disks slide.
I bought six round wooden disks at Michaels and painted half red and half blue.
Then I used e-6000 glue to put the six stuffed praired dogs (Amazon) on the disks.  Home Depot sells the mop handles without the heads.  We put soft sided velcro on that also, to prevent floor scratches.  The targets were just blue painters tape.

The last game was a feed the baby owls one.  I reused my ever popular frame with the door knob sized holes my hubby cut for me.  There was a bug points tag next to each one. I reused my nerf ball shooters.  This is fun, but difficult, so that made it popular.  My small bread bowl held candy bug prizes.  The chocolate ones are small chocolate covered oreos (which you can buy) added to chocolate covered pretzels (which you can buy) with melted chocolate.  I attached two candy eyes and licorice antennas.  I actually tied knots in the licorice lace, then dipped the knots in the chocolate to attach to the cookie.  They were all gone at the end of the party, so I assume they were popular.  I had gummy worms and candy ladybugs which I purchased on Amazon.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Narnia Baby Shower

Narnia Baby Shower

When one of my best friends invited me to her daughter's Narnia themed baby shower, I was intrigued.  Then they asked me to help plan it, knowing that I have lots of props.
I twisted it to include more of the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe forest theme, as I have many over-sized realistic animals, such as the bear in the photo above.  I already had the
pattern for enlarging the light post in my files, so adding a bow and a welcome sign was easy enough.  

She is a REALLY good friend, so I splurged on the lion from Amazon.  All of the creatures on the mantle are mine. I found some clip art of shield shapes, enlarged them in Photoshop, added letters.  A hole punch and some string made this banner easy to do. She added some Christmas greenery (even though the Ice Queen banished Christmas in Narnia.)  Her elf stays there year round, but the I made the flowers in my community college floral class.

The Polar Bear was from my Polar Bear Party at the beach.

I made the white arrangement for the food centerpiece to represent the 100 years of winter.  This area was winter, while the family room with the lion was spring. She and her other daughter, our hostesses, had fun serving only ROUND food.  Since Narnia takes place fictionally in medieval times, they thought using their ROUND table was perfect.  They had meatballs, spinach balls, crab balls, melon balls, olives, tomatoes and mozzerella balls.  I loved it. 

When the guests first came in the front door, they were greeted by mama skunk and her babies.  As a skunk is in the books, she was appropriate.  The babies are on boards with the soft side of industrial hook-and-loop tape covering their surface.  This lets them slide.  We played skunk shuffleboard using mop poles, without the head.  This was new to the ladies who haven't been to any of my parties that include games.

Beavers and Badgers are also characters in the series.  So when I found these tossing sticks, I had to set up this game.  When I am looking for tossing items, I always start on Amazon in their dog tossing toys section.  You will be surprised what you find there.

The wardrobe plays such an important role, so I cut brown paper to the size of my friends electronics cabinet and used a black Sharpie to outline following a clip art picture of one. 
When I saw this metal pole stand at the garden center, I just knew I would use it many times.  So I enlarged a sign I made and glued and taped the pieces together.  I added ribbons.  


I wrote a poem to tie the theme into the baby shower, borrowed bits and pieces of Narnia illustrations and gave this to her as another gift. I have a LARGE mouse puppet.  I made the sword he carried with a small sign-post from Michaels.  I took its little blackboard off, glued a wooden letter T to it, and painted it with silver paint.  The shield was cut from glitter fun foam.

Above are the shields if you'd like to use them.  

Our third game was a Narnia Animals Match.  I put two moles on the list by mistake.  The mice are used twice.
One last image.  I am always recycling my props to new themes.  I bought these glittery twiggy rings years ago for a ski themed event.  My friend put them under the sauce bowls and amidst the snow.  Those brown tablecloths have been to many events.  Using brown for a forest theme and building up with snow or green makes a nice statement.  The mom-to-be cried when she saw everything, so it was worth all of our combined efforts.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tour de France Party Games

Tour de France Office Party

I chose the theme for the Christmas Party because of these trikes.  They are adult sized.
We have used them many times, so they were worth every penny.  I added baskets this
year and filled them with things you could throw along the Tour de France "route."

We have a large chart with the staff's names on it.  The staff were split into 4 teams by
lottery.  The assignments and speed charts were posted in the main lobby.  They were also given color coded badges, a booklet of game tickets, and a baggie with paper gambling chips as they checked into the party.

In a previous blog I posted the posters to show you how I set the theme.  They can be seen
The fresh greenery wreaths have not been added to the centerpieces.  I loved how the
green market umbrellas made the area cosy.  I used vinyl tablecloths at parties in order to reuse them in the future.  I rent tablecloths for our largest fall/client party, though.

Above are two of the tossing stations along the tour.  I always bring "Santa's dogs" to each party and give them a task.  Each stop had a cardboard street lamp  to which I added a pole with game directions.  I also added a bow for more holiday favor.  The photo with the dalmation  show the water bottle recycling station.  (They just had to toss empty plastic bottle into the can.  Easier said than done when you are riding past on a timed event.)  Along the way you saw Santa (of course) on a bicycle with another of his dogs with his feeding dish and plastic bones.

The tour went down the main (and very long) hall of the office, turned a curve into the kitchen area (which is large), went around a Christmas tree, and repeated this back to the main hall and office lobby.  I labeled the kitchen area PROVENCE.  Ratatouille was in there with his pots and stove.  He was making frog legs.  You picked up your frogs on the
way by, and then threw them back in the pot on the way back.  You had passed by the chicken and the fox area where you had been required to throw rubber eggs and a chicken into the chicken nests.

Here is a bird's eye view of the basket.  This event was very popular AND hard to do.  I always give the staff a few days ahead of the party to practice as there are fairly large cash prizes for the winners.

For those not wanting to ride the trikes, there are chances to play games that are not along the route.  Here is my sheep farmer.  There were black buckets behind each sheep you had to toss balls into.  There was also a goose in a hay wagon.  I had large rubber balls at another spot with bigger buckets.  I bought a cardboard standup tree.  You had to bounce the ball against the tree in just the right spot to make it land in the bucket.

                                       For the kiddies, I had more bone tossing.

                                      I also had a cat house in the Cafe de Chat area.  See the
mice on the shelf.  You had to get them in the holes of the house.  Not easy, but fun.
I also had gambling (not real but using paper dots).  The spinners were part of that.

We pretended the route went back to Paris, where our gambling cafe with food buffet was located (conference room).  On the table with Santa were large plastic envelopes I use for my family parties.  I used them to make eight roulette boards.  I loaded an app on my ipad labeled "Number Roulette Wheel."  Guests could simply press the screen to make the wheel turn.  The boards were designed with only 25 squares.  In the picture below,
you see the game called "Dice."  It comes with TEN sets of different colored die.  I put them in my bowls I use at lots of parties.  I used my condiment server to put the three different colors of dots (yellow= 1 point, blue=5 points, red= 10 points).  The guests could make their own "change" or "wins" from the dots in the baggie they received at check-in.
Everyone sat by the bowl and someone  (leader of round) yelled a number from 1-6.  The winner was the person who had all of their die rolled to that number.  You could also bet
on any other person at the table.  These two games were very popular.

In the building's lobby, I had one more tossing game and skiing in the French Alps.  My wooden three-man rope skis came back out and teams competed against each other.

At the end of the evening, I drew raffle tickets from each game and the gambling area.
Friends and family of staff also not only earned points for their staff member in the bike race, but raffle tickets for playing that also.  A winning team was chosen with a special prize.  The other raffle tickets were awarded wins to go to the huge prize table I set up every year.

There were also guests in the Provence BAKERY. See the black and white striped pie boxes.  I adjusted my boat box down to make these.  It made serving the pie "easy peezy".
We have a Wegmans by us with a fabulous bakery.  Their gingerbread men are to die for.
I served carrot cake from a restaurant, cream puffs from Costco, can cake pops and a cake log I made from scratch.

Of course our big tree and Santa were there, along with a live band "Irresponsible." My daughter does photo shoots for live bands and gets them for us at family/friend rates.
These bands are getting more and more famous as the years go by, even doing international tours.  I feel sooooooooooo lucky to have them come play for us.  On that note I am closing.