Total Pageviews

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Christmas Office Camping Party Games

I started planning the Office Christmas Party months ago.  I wanted to use a lot of the past party props, but needed a theme to tie them together.  If you are following me, then you know that we went to the North Pole Races for the past few years.  We used scooters and now own adult tricycles.  But, the staff banged up the walls pretty badly.  A few years back I had planned and made murals for a Santa's Campground theme.  Then I found the cool scooters and put that theme on hold. 

 So this year's theme is Santa's Summer Campground. Below is the Camp's dining hall/check-in building.  It will be printed on two 36" x 72" panels.  

 Game One is Target Practice.  Below is one of my elves getting ready.  I ordered new pvc bow and arrow sets from  I am going to make a foam circle with three colors and a hole in the middle.  The foam tipped dart will go through the middle.

 Game Two is Bike Riding. I needed Mrs. Claus and an elf to help me set the stage for using the trikes again.  But, one person will drive the trike, while his/her buddy will be riding on the back with a Nerf gun trying to shoot  balls into net targets while "flying" by.  I bought the nets (used for golf chipping) on

Game Three is Air Lift the Squirrels into Their Nest. Here are two elves enjoying coffee by the stream in front of their camper. 

 I went online to the Land of Nod website (part of Crate and Barrel) and ordered a kid's tent that looks like a camper.  With the un-decorated office Christmas tree and another tree, this will be the backdrop for the main lobby.  I will bring back the snowball shooters from last year, but we will be trying to get squirrels and birds into their nest. I found the perfect large nest at Jo Ann's Fabrics for the bridal shower game, and now it's being used again. (It's actually the lining for a flower basket.)
 Game Four is Fishing. I got awesome fishing sets on  They have special wooden lures for picking up the fish which make it HARD to do.  Just the challenge for these adults.  I also got easier ones for the kids.

 Game Five is Water Fun and Rowing.

 The panel above is one of three LAKE panels.  I am going to have gutters with water and small sailboats.  Campers will use water guns to shoot at the boats to race them.  We will also have a LAND CANOE on wheels (inflatable) to race down the wide halls of the office.  The rubber should protect the walls.  My helper from the office suggested buying crutch rubber pieces to put on dowels for the oars. So, I have ordered those from

Monday, October 5, 2015

Margaritaville 2015

I decided to kill two birds with one stone by having the office's annual Margaritaville party as a nautical theme and my niece's wedding the same theme.   I found this adorable fishing boat and docks on Etsy.  I already had the large wooden tray, So I added crab shaped cookies.  Neither party had left-overs.  They are just a sugar cookie recipe.

I found this shelf at an antiques shop and the ferry boat on Etsy.  I painted them with white chalk paint.  I wanted small life preservers and could not find any.  I came up with idea of using wooden curtain rings, which I spray painted.  Then I used red duck tape for the stripes.  I printed out different cliparts of cars and glued them onto toothpicks.  The dessert for this was brownie bowls filled with Oreo stuffing.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.  I added some Cool Whip so that the filling wasn't too sweet.  I sprinkled chocolate chips on top.  These were decadent.

 I really wanted lighthouses in my display, but they are REALLY expensive.  So I made mine with white 4" pvc pipe pieces and connector pieces I had sprayed red.  Rustoleum has a new paint that covers plastic.  It is fantastic for projects like this.  My hubby helped me fill the bottom plumbing fixture with cement to hold it up.  I found the top tiny lantern on  But it wasn't big enough to add to the piece, so I glued it to the bottom of a clear acrylic tumbler.  This piece fit snugly over another plumbing piece, so that I could put a battery operated candle inside.  When I found the bendable fencing at Michael's, I was elated.  I made two lighthouses, so that I could stretch the signal flags between the two.  People love strawberry shortcakes.  I am always looking for portable ways to share them.  I found the cooler boat and the turquoise buckets at Home Goods ON SALE.  The two containers from the Container Store were filled with strawberries and whipped cream respectively.  I made sheet cakes of a mixture of pound cake and vanilla cake mixes, using only butter.  I put chunks of it into 8oz wide mouthed canning jars.  The boats from Etsy came just in time for the party.  I built the dock from my son's building blocks.

The fourth dessert was mini apple pies.  In the past I have baked the mini pie shells and filled them with cheesecakes.  But, I used a diced apple pie recipe and baked the filling in the shells.  No left-overs here either.  People were using the whipped cream on these also.

 Here is my large cooler boat, which has now gone to many parties.  It held water bottles, out on the patio.  Yes, I said OUTSIDE.  Tradition holds that it will rain on the day of this party.  This is only the second time in 25 years that it didn't rain.  The little chalkboard tells everyone the name of the live band.
 I raised the tables again using bed risers and ordered bar stools. The band was in the back by last year's surfer dude.

In the foreground is the Margaritaville sign I had made up 4 years ago.  Behind it is my captain and his first mate. At the wedding, they were props in the photo booth area. They are welcoming everyone aboard.  I used this same cruise ship graphic that I had created for my niece's bridal shower.  After MANY years, people are just beginning to ask me about where all the graphic posters are created.  When I tell them that I make them myself, they are starting to admire them.  I guess I should be grateful that everyone is having such a good time at the parties.

I made the pole from another pvc plumbing piece filled with cement.  Using a connector and 2" pipe sprayed black, I bought the chalkboard arrows at JoAnn Fabrics.  I attached them with black velcro.  (For the wedding they pointed out directions for photographer, games, etc.)

 With leis, lets of people (around 200) and electric palm trees, Chipolte Restaurant food, and FOUR margarita machines running, the party was a success.

 Here is yours truly with a client and two of my husband's partners.

For those of you following me, you will recognize the mailing tube and burlap palm tree with the umbrella leaves in the background.  Behind the lady in pink, is my new addition of the hula dancer.  
Here is a shot of the office pation with the tent.  On the far left are two of the margarita machines.  There are high tops in the tend and in the kitchen area.  The dessert table was in the tent.

 You have seen my tiki bar in the past, but I bought this 5' long wooden fish at Bethany Beach this summer.  I saw him and just had to have him.  The parrots were centerpieces last year.  I love rearranging all my props for the different themes.  The food is ready to go.
This lovely couple is my hubby's brother and his wife.  Lois went to high school with me.  We met her later at a reunion party and fell in love with her.  We knew she HAD to marry Buzz's brother.  He DID!!  Great decision.  But, she is a WHIZ in the kitchen.  She watches over the food platters, washes dishes, refills, and is just the best helper ever.

If we are using the garden, the fire pit is going.  We have supplies for s'mores ready to go.

Above are two of the high top tables with their sailboats floating in water fabric over plastic water fabric I found on Amazon.

I believe the staff has as much fun as the clients.
Practically Einstein Band

Selfie with a best friend


 My Hula Girl is in the kitchen by the food table.  I got this wooden fish at the same shop as the big fish on Tiki Bar.

The above photos were all taken by Rachel Bruch, on of Architecture Inc.'s architects.

It isn't even crowded yet, but getting to use the beautiful weather outdoors will help with crowd dispersal.   click here to see last year's party

Below are a few photos I took with my iphone.
 As you can see the beach rug we painted last year, with fun foam accessorites, made it outside this year.  The wind blew the waves, but we straightened them before band arrived.  They played in front of the waves.

Tortilla Shell molds on

The brownie bowls empty.  I bought the pie shell pans at Sur la Table.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Olaf Meets the Minions Party

 We are going back to the beach with all of my (grown) daughter's friends (and some of  their husbands).  I always pick a theme to work the party around.  Even though all of these party goers are grown-ups, they get into the fun.  I couldn't decide between a Minions theme or an Olaf theme, so I went with both.
  I love Olaf's saying, "There's always someone worth melting for."  How appropriate for a beach party.  And our daughter, to us, is "one in a minion."  I made all five characters from fun foam after enlarging the patterns.  I took a little leeway with the hula girl.

 I bought both stuffed characters on Amazon.
 I have TWO large tables, so I needed two
 centerpieces.  I bought two of the beach chairs from ebay.  I think they look cute together, don't you?  Here are my refillable plastic envelopes I use every year and change
to match the theme.  See the chair.  What's left to do at the party.  Show everyone how to use FONDANT to make Olaf and minion cupcakes.  That's the ex-Girl Scout leader coming into play.    I hope you all are having a great summer.  


Monday, June 1, 2015

Nautical Birthday

I put on a birthday party for hubby this weekend on my deck.  Since I am also doing a nautical themed wedding in the fall, a nautical twist to the office Margarita Party, and a cruise theme for the Christmas office party, I am collecting boats, flags, graphics, and made a dock.

In the top left box of the collage is the antique window with twelve panes I got on Etsy.  It is going away tomorrow to be professionally painted for the wedding.  My hubby helped me make the stand for it.  On Sunday, after the party, we trimmed the stand down when we realized how much room it took up on the table.  We cut the lower front pieces off and it still stands great.  If you see the yacht in the middle, I made that from bits and pieces of other clipart boats to get just what I want.  I am going to give you the jpg to enlarge if you want to use it.

           Hubby and I love watching the tv show "Shark Tank."  I thought it would be funny to give him a shark tank of his own for his birthday.  He loved it. 
         In the top right corner of the collage are my kids posing in front of the four new 18 foot trees I got him for his birthday.  Our neighbor's house is pretty close, now we have privacy.
          Costco had beautiful white rose and cactus arrangements which my oldest girl turned into fabulous arrangements in my white milk pitchers I've been collecting.

 Here are the crab cookies.  My second attempt at piping edges and filling in the middle with frosting.  The are at the end of the dock I built with my son's blocks.

We strung two strands of clear bulbs across the deck and it gave us just the right amount of light.

 (Sur la Table sells 4" tart shell pans.  Each one makes four pie shells.)

I went on Pinterest and learned you can make pie crusts from cake mixes.  It really works.
1.  Use one box of any flavor  SIFTED cake mix.  (I used chocolate).
2.  Add 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks.
3.  1 Tblsp slightly softened butter.

4.  Knead then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

6.  Fill with 8 oz cream cheese softened, mixed with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 Tblsp heavy cream, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg.  Blend above with mixer.
7.  Top with canned fruit toppings, or crush candies or cookies in to filling.  I crushed Oreo cookies and folded them in.

I needed extra seating, so I placed one of my lounge chairs ( which have double pads) against the sliding doors with lots of pillows.  I used two card tables.  I added my wooden chairs that go with my outside table around the outside.  It worked great.  I brought my dining room chairs outside and this gave me extra seating around my patio table.  I have a round patio table from the backyard that seated six with my kitchen chairs.  Twenty-five people sitting down to dinner outside--no problem.  I am from a large Italian family, so I have even more chairs downstairs for holidays.

It was a fun party. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cruising Themed Bridal Shower

I threw a bridal shower for my niece Valerie this weekend on April 11.  She races boats
all over the U.S. for a hobby, but is an accountant for her living.  Since her wedding has
a nautical theme, I decided use a CRUISE theme for her shower.  We held it at my husband's office, since it has a large lobby and a kitchen, and a big conference room, and a coffee bar.  You get the idea.  She wanted a sit down luncheon and this let us have
plenty of tables at which to sit.  I used two of the 36" x 65" panels for the ship.

We had an arts and crafts activity, as this was something you would do on a cruise.  I saved brown paper grocery bags for months, so that there was one for each guest.  The idea was for each table's team to roll up the open end, decide as a group how to decorate them, then the whole winning table would win a prize.  My interior designer daughter and talented other daughter and niece, with a few other guests decided to break the rules and design a whole outfit for Valerie.  I thought it was inspiring, and she loved it.

Here she is with a few of her friends.  In the right hand picture, these two girls are wearing the hats from my table's group.  I thought they were quite stylish.

Please note in the first of these two photos, my sister Patty who decided to decorate her hat with things on the table, and not with their table's supplies.  She used paper napkins and my sister Terry's shawl, then continued drinking the white wine based SANGRIA.
I quite like the hats Terry and I created.

 The above photo shows one of the tables busy at work, along with the centerpiece and two of the banners of cities one would see on a cruise, Paris and Germany's Rhine district.
I especially loved this one.

 In this background you can see a Mexican beach town on the left, with London on the right.  You can also see one of the ship's Casino boards sitting on the table.

 Since Valerie loves her dog, I thought it would be fun to include dogs that represented each of the five countries on the posters in a couple of the games.  I own a big wheel that spins.  Each dogs leash matched a color on the betting board.  Each guest chose a dog (and color).  When their color came up on the spin, they moved a penny to the next box.
Everyone with the winning dog's color got a prize.  Since there were FOUR red boxes, but only two of each of the other colors, if it landed on red, Valerie had to answer a question the guests called out to her.  If anyone got bored during all of the present openings, they could earn a prize throwing loops into the dog bowl or around jars full of dog biscuits.
They did.

Since most cruises have some kind of skeet shooting, we adapted ours to shooting squirrels into a nest.  This is my daughter practicing at home.  She is a lot closer in order to get the photo.  I also read to the guests all about how squirrel habits can be compared to choosing the right groom.  It's funny what good habits these little rodents have.

You can see from the photos that we had lots of flowers.  I had an Eiffel tower and a flower bicycle on the buffet table.  My daughter made this arrangement for me.

You can see how big the office's lobby is in this picture.  These are the tables from the
office kitchen.  Some of our staff moved them forward for me.  Some of the husbands who came along (two hour trip for some) helped move them back.  Don't worry.  They spent the afternoon at my house watching the Master's and having "guy" time.


Above is the buffet table. I ordered from Chipolte catering.  I bought bamboo bowls online and we made burrito salad bowls.  They include the stands and sternos, along with serving spoons and all the fixings.

Second appearance of Sunshine Pole which labeled the drinks.  I made a Dreamsicle punch from cream soda, vanilla ice cream, orange sherbert, sprite, and a splash of orange soda.
I made white wine sangria and had a mimosa set-up with champagne.

The labels have a cruise ship with the words "Thank you for coming along on Valerie's Shower Cruise.  We've prepared something sweet for you from the galley."

We tied up each box I made with raffia.