Monday, January 21, 2019

Ski Resort Themed Office Party

Since I was setting the scene of a ski resort at the office, the lower photo with Santa starts with arriving at the town and with holiday shoppers. (You can click on any photo to enlarge it.  The second scene is the bus arriving at the lodge with skiers in the background.   In the top scenes, farther into the office, above the couch, is the skating
lodge with ice skaters taking up all four panels.

To add to the outdoor theme, I made 12  6" x 8 foot birch trees from wall insulation.  I painted all sides white, then marked them with black sharpies.  I bought white birch branches on Amazon and poked holes in them to add the branches to the stems.  (The staff and guests LOVED these.  In above photo you can see the inexpensive coat rack I bought on Amazon, but used as a ski rack.  Add a few artificial trees, and I set the scene.

 Every lodge needs a fireplace.  The company who prints them made them too short, but I used them anyway.  I had a wooden frame from a contruction project that was 5' x 5'.
I added another piece of trim for the mantle, black science boards, birch logs, and flashing lights for the front of the poster.  The moose is one of my new aquistions.  He was a popular guy at the party.

Here is an up close look at the fireplace.  That is yellow cellophane I've wrapped around
remote controls flashing lights.

The MIN EVENT which the office participated in for the 3 days previous to the party, was a dog sled event.  Our dog sled was built with a 24" x 45" handled dolly.  I  velcroed a 
stadium seat to the back and added a pillow.  Please notice the pool noodle velcroed to
the front to protect the office walls.  We have a very long and wide main hall that lends
itself to these rides. If you will also notice there are two snowball launchers and a box
of bean bag snowballs that are going along for the ride.

How do the dogs tie in?  I am glad you asked.
The dogs are waiting to be fed at the feeding station.  I bought two fold-able step stools.
I recycled 12 empty 20oz pineapple cans and made new husky dog food labels.  Have you figured out that they are going to use the launchers and snowballs to knock them over.
Since this is a timed event, they were given points  for their speed added to the number of points for each can knocked over. The oil pan actually worked for catching most of
the snowballs.  Each team had to pick them back up after riding through the kitchen, around the tree, and back to the start.  
                  BUT...after the first day of runs, they were still going way to fast.  Hubby was afraid of someone getting hurt, so we needed a way to slow them down.
We adapted this game for just the office pre-run.  I had large hoops you had to throw around the goat's head.  It worked.  No points, but it slowed them down.  This area
was the ski resort's PETTING ZOO.  You had to get the baby animals back in the pen by their mamas.  There were 3 babies per mama.  I brought the Chicken Toss back from last year.  Instead of throwing rubber eggs, you just tossed the baby chicks in their "nest" baskets.  Each basket has a different points value.  I bought this game on Amazon for the beach. It comes with bean bags (which you can swap out for your games).

Back in this nice area of the kitchen, I reused my baby skunks on sliding boards and my
mop stick (minus the head) for a shuffleboard.  This is always a popular game, and not an easy one either. 
Above is my fun foam- science board Caps Hockey player. Since we designed the Capital's Hockey Center, I felt this was a nice touch.  There is a triangle beneath his legs and a net behind him.  He is standing in front of a shelf with bricks loaded with bricks for weight.
The hockey sticks have furniture moving slides velcroed to them.  I bought a teen-sized
set on Amazon that included the stick, pucks, and net.  This was fairly inexpensive. The
kicker was they strapped on carpet skates (made with furniture sliders).  I bought those on Amazon also.

You might have caught a glimpse of an empty baby pool earlier and wondered what it was being used for.  Well, I had four of them.  I filled two of them up with white play pit balls for the POLAR BEAR CHALLENGE.  I bought the plastic play shovels at Target when I first saw them, then built the game around them.  I already had the polar bears from the polar bear birthday beach party (see post about that).  The object of the game was to ride a 
scooter back and forth across building lobby, fill up small bucket with balls, bring balls to other side of lobby, and empty them into other pool.  This was a two team relay.
You can see that the lobby was a very popular spot.  On right you can see a raccoon food toss (I bought felt food on Etsy last year).  You can see the small scooter I bought for little kids to ride on.  You can spy the large scooter by the pools. And you can spot three of the company's partners, including my hubby.  But to see the most popular game of the evening, you will have to see photo below.

You had to throw 3 bean bag axes, while standing on a balancing exercise board, at the stuffed tree target--to try to knock them over. I had this game--minus the exercise
 board--- at the Chili Contest Lumberjack Party a few years back.  So many people played it, that it broke the trees and I had to install rulers in them to make them stand up.  So I bought cheap ones on Amazon that worked just as well.  Since they weren't falling to the floor this time, they ended up being stored intact.  WHEW!!


This game also shows the tree signs I made for each game with directions on them. I had bells on the balsam tree you could ring as an option.

What were people doing in the small conference room?  Rolling dice to draw a snowman,
of course.  You're never too old for a favorite elementary school game.  Only the dice chart was using combinations that made it harder and more fun for adults. I posted my snowman drawing on the wall.  Soon it was covered with many more.

We have a phone booth in the office, in case a client needs to take a call.  But, during parties, it is usually a fun place to sit for a small group gathering.  This party, though, it was used for the bear fishing game.  Please note the tree and directions and the raffle box for winners.  Each game has it's own raffle box.  I used my other oil pan which I velcroed to my easel.  I also velcroed shower curtain hooks to the pan.  I laminated pictures of salmon to adapt it to the theme.  There were swimming diving hoops you tossed from the doorway to land on the hooks.  This was a VERY popular game.  Mama bear and her 3 cubs were standing by waiting for the fish.

If you follow this blog, or visit it regularly (thank you, by the way) you are waiting for the DESSERT BAR photos.  Above are the graphics I did for the two monitors that are installed above it. Notice Santa in the red truck.  I am always on the hunt for good tree graphics, and I love the snow covered one I found.

Out came all of my rustic serving pieces, including this new cupcake stand.  I had two of the office wives help me bake this year.  Wowzers!!!!  It was fabulous.  Those little peppermint cheesecakes I made went FAST.  I crushed up Hershey peppermint kisses for the cheescake part.  I always use oreos in the bottom of my mini pans, because when you pop them out, these cookies make them easier and sturdier to handle.

I made brownie trees, cutting the cookie sheet cookies into triangle shapes (seen on Pinterest).  I drizzled melted green chocolate disks and added holiday sprinkles on each.  I dipped a pretzle in the chocolate to add to the bottom.  All of the desserts nestled on round snowflake doilies I printed and cut out.

I cheated and bought a big chocolate cake from Costco, along with cream puffs.  I added
mousse cakes and cookies from Wegman's.  One of the two Samantha's helping me made
48 s'more pops on sticks.  So, I am HAPPY TO SAY, I made no cake pops for this party.
But I am making moose ones for the Alaska Chili Contest in March.  I am using the same trees, same tableclothes, same stuffed wild animals, same rustic wooden serving pieces. 
Are you getting the drift.  Reuse.  Reuse.  Reuse, and twig the theme so people think you're just so creative.  This same Samantha made all of the live centerpieces on the tables, and the big box of greens.  She has agreed to start taking over the Christmas party, so that I am not so stressed, now that we have even more employees.   

                                                                   A special thank you to the band, Irresponsible.  Bands love this gig because they get to play games.  Too many games (insert sad face icon here) to dance this year.

Just in case anyone was wondering, yes we played Wii Ski on the monitor in the conference room. We gave away lots of cash and prizes for the drawings.  Below are random photos of our party guests.

Samantha the Greens Designer
People waiting hopefully that their envelope from wall has money in it

Yours truly during raffle drawings
Newest member of my stuffed collection, Chocolate Moose.
Bags are prizes for winning sled race team.

Buzz's partner looking festive.  Note
Wii Ski in background.

Happy family
My tech guru and his family. Best cleanup helpers ever, also

First time EVER--line for the buffet.   They'd heard about the meatballs!!!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Margaritaville Luau Style

For those of you who have been following me for the last five years or so, you know that
I have been trying out new palm tree props.  I have progressed from the cardboard tube ones to silk palms.  I wanted the office garden to look PLUSH.  The party goers told me
I had achieved that goal.  I purchased many silk palms on sale and put two or three in big pots that stay in the garden year round.  I added silk tropical flowers and palm leaf to the bottoms.  When we were setting up, it was windy, so we went and bought BRICKS to weigh them down.  This worked like a charm.

The garden itself is pretty green.  I bought the water fountain years ago for the office.  I brought over my red patio 9' umbrellas to give two extra pops of color to the event.

Normally I have the tables up on bed risers to make them into bars.  Unfortunately the rental company stopped providing us with bar stools that raised and lowered.  I will have to find a new company, as the only stools they did provide were too tall to even sit on.

I debated with myself about making this seal pool, but one of the clients brought her daughter and grandson, who LOVED the pool and played in the balls.  It was worth it.

I reworked the coral reefs from last years' Australian party.  I needed the chicken feeders for my tropical floral arrangements this year.  I found these two metal tubs at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them. The diver was Velcro strapped to the tree.  If this is your first visit, those are rubber fish I purchased online.

The high tops were covered in green tablecloths to show off the fish bowls.  I have reused these bowls for so many events.  They were so worth the purchase.  I put them on the
candle stands I made, added blue rocks to the bottom, and  I added tropical garland strands I'd made.  The best touch was the hollow ceramic koi fish I found in a California gift store.  The fish floated around in the water.  The staff and clients really took note of this.

The office is growing rapidly.  They put up TWO monitors in this kitchen area to have
extra conference space.  I now design computer posters for both of these to match my dessert bars.

Every single log/wooden serving piece I've bought or made fits into my themes.  I actually created the pattern on the hula dancers and made these Polynesian people bit by bit in Photoshop.  If you enlarge this, you will see that the girls are triplets.  Ha ha.  The hotel in the background actually took me hours and hours to design.  I wondered if anyone would even notice.  They DID.   What was really a difficult job was making ocean waves.  

 Above is the Tiki Bar I designed for this scene.  I originally wanted people sitting on the sand at a luau.  I couldn't do it, so I put them sitting at a bar. This was weeks and weeks of work, but worth it.  In the photo you can see my little chairs again.  They also get used a LOT.  They are in the tray filled with crushed cookie sand and sugar cookie flip flops.  I made the straps with fondant.  The flamingos are sitting on lemon pound cakes.  The glaze looks a little sloppy, but no one cares, because the cakes are delicious.  I have found that guests don't like to be the first one to slice a cake, so I always start that first slice right away.
In the front of this photo take note to the palm leaves I cut out for doilies.  The tiny pies are key lime cheesecake filled.  I REALLY wanted to make tiki god cake pops, but I'm not that talented.  So I used big candy eyes, m&m noses, white cane sprinkes for mouths.  I finished them off with paper umbrellas. The guests found them hilarious.  The pineapple cake pops are actually made with pineapple cake.  I dipped them in yellow chocolate and added yellow jimmies.  I struggled for two weeks as to how to make the leaves.  I ended up cutting rectangles of green fondant, rolling it into tubes, snipping one end and bending back the leaves.  They dried overnight.  I poked holes in them and slid them onto the sticks. 

 The other pies were just okay.  I ended up going to a funeral the afternoon of the party.  I learned a VALUABLE LESSON.  When you make a cheese cake filling and have chocolate in it, and you put it in the refrigerator overnight, everything stiffens up.  It takes HOURS to defrost.  I spent those hours honoring someone.  NO REGRETS.

What about the beach rug you always put out?  You were thinking that, weren't you?

Well, the big turtle made it back.  We moved the band farther into the garden, so there was more room for it. This photo shows my parrot arrangement and one of the chicken feeder floral arrangements.
 Yes, the tiki hut I made from bookshelves was back.  See all the barbecue sauces the caterer brought on the shelf.  The stuffed parrots are a BIG HIT every year.

Here's a closer shot of the chicken feeder arrangement with orchids (silk).

Here is my sister-in-law who comes to both client parties every year and works and works and works, so that I can talk to clients and keep things moving.  She is standing in front of one of the Waikiki Beach check-in posters and my captain made from wall insulation.
We really liked this area for check-in since it was close to the party, but I made four posters (since I thought we might be inside with the hurricane coming).  I learned that I can only use two in this area.  This is hubby's office with sliding doors, so posters don't really work here.

Lois made Charleston's Ultimate Coconut Cake because we couldn't have it shipped up due to the ----Hurricane.  It was fabulous.  They actually post the recipe online.  

I wanted guests and clients to check-in at Waikiki Beach.  I have four posters representing that.   You can also see Hawaii's famous pink hotel and people on the beach behind the check-in table.  There's the yacht on which the Captain and his first mate arrived.

We moved the band farther into the garden under their own tent this year.  

I wanted to cover one of the partner's messy computer chords, so I put up these two posters.

This worked great, but when we found out my animated pig centerpiece danced to the band, that was PERFECT.

I am going to end with this beautiful LIVE arrangement one of hubby's partner's wives made.  Isn't it gorgeous.  I am now beginning to plan for next party.