Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Alien Masquerade Ball Fundraiser

Alien Created By New England Fine Living - Let Us Create Something Unique For Your Event! 

In 2008, I was asked to create a fundraising event for the Ipswich Rotary Club.  I suggested a black tie masquerade ball with an optional theme of  "Eras of Elegance",  for those who wanted to dress up, since the event would be the week before Halloween.  Four years and four themes later, I suggested "Out This World".  Voila! a futuristic and alien theme was born.  Now I had to figure out what to do for the centerpieces that would cost very little money, but offer a lot of impact.   But first... I thought a trip to my local costume store would inspire me for my own costume.  It would need to be comfortable since I would be working and dancing myself during the night.  

While in the store, trying on wigs, I could not help but notice the foam heads holding the long haired wigs. They had very long necks and I said to myself  "self... that kinda looks like an alien!"  That is when I got my "ah ha!" moment. 

I was lucky enough that the store, Jokers Wild, in Danvers, MA, was willing to call their vendor and see if I could order the heads in bulk.   Several weeks later, I was the proud babysitter of 24 white foam heads.
Having worked with foam on other projects, I knew that painting the head was going to be a challenge since the paint I wanted to use, eats at foam and makes it pitted or actually melts it.  I tested the spray from different distances, in cool weather, warmer weather, etc.  After a couple of attempts I found, for some reason, these heads liked to be worked on while they were cool, in cool weather, sprayed from a far distance, and needed several coats.  Below is the prototype. 

Now the fun really began (well not really, it was kinda a pain in the butt since the paint took so long to cure on the foam) and as you will see below, my sneakers are now a hint of green due to a wind kicking up while I was working on them outside. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I should have taken them off, but that would mean going in the house to change them, and I was just too darn lazy.

Since the foam still reacted a little to the paint (it was very soft and mushy and damaged easily if I touched ), I had to make sure the paint cured before flipping or moving them.   

Ugh.  I had these for a year and was able to keep the white, white, and the sparkles sparkly.  Oh well... another reason for a shopping trip!

Here I am setting up the room before the guests arrive. And yes, that is a wig I'm wearing.  C'mon... how can I buy all of those heads and not get a fun wig for myself?

This photo was taken just before the final fixing of the glow necklaces, removing some seating cards, and adding a necklace to the head, but you get the idea.  I am still waiting for some other photos that were taken with a better camera.  In the next photo, you might be able to see the glitter that we added to the eyes to catch the light of the flickering candles

I love this photo that was taken of the light show going on in the room.  I first had the mansion all lit with the same acid green of the heads, an hour later, I told my lighting guy to do what he does best.  The place looked amazing.  

Well, well, well, here I am again with some of my dearest friends from elementary school and high school.  

Another  successful fundraiser!  The dance floor was always crowded and the night was truly magical and Out Of This World! 

Photos by moi, Lorna Hood, and Aileen Ang.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My walk through Newbury Perennial Gardens, A beautiful New England garden.

I love walking through gardens and I had the pleasure of introducing Newbury Perennial Gardens to a dear friend  for her birthday.  I tried to soak up her natural knowledge of plants, but without my trusty note book AKA... the brain book, I do not remember all that she shared. During this trip, the gardens were about ready to put itself to rest, for the Fall and Winter, but we still got to enjoy some beautiful colors and foliage.   Now closed for the season, I am already looking forward to visiting next year, but this time with my note book. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wine Tasting and Our One Year Anniversary at New England Fine Living

From Left to Right
 Linda (Me)  from New England Fine Living - Donna from Mill River Winery - Linda from The Write Expression
This Fun Halloween Table Setting, in my shop, was inspired by the purple/green iridescent fabric I found the night before our event.  I added googly eyes to soda water bottles (they were going to go on the wine glasses, but it was too much with the hats), place setting cards by The Write Expression.  I had painted glitter names on the hats, but by the morning the letters just slid off the cardboard.  So much for that craft paint!

My Vintage Woodfield plates were used in this setting. Purple and green twigs are tied to black napkins. Under the napkins are custom napkins with gold print.  These happen to say "We Do Custom Parties" 

Here I am with my wine glass holder (we have a few left at the store for $8.00 ).  Beth from the Corner Cafe & Bakery,  Leslye from Francie's Boutique and Linda from The Write Expression 

These delicious delights were made by Linda from the Write Expression. I will get the recipe for these

Linda made this incredibly delicious dip too! A pumpkin flavored sweet dip with gingerbread cookies.  I kept going at it!

I kept it simple on my end since I did not have time to cook or prep something.  I  used a piece of slate for this cheese and fruit platter.  USUALLY I have the cheese right on the slate, but silly me washed the grapes too late and they were still wet.  Nobody likes wet cheese!

After searching around my store, I found a paper weight, a dragon fly candle holder to  use in  the centerpiece

Meet Hector... He has traveled with me for almost 12 years as my  Retail Autumn  Helper. 

Here is a cute display in The Write Expression showcasing a great Hostess Gift Idea.... custom paper napkins

Wrapping up an order before I go taste more wine from Mill River Winery!
All of the photos above were taken by Linda from the Write Expression.  Thanks Linda!