Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Alice In Wonderland Birthday Party


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When Sophie told me she wanted an Alice In Wonderland birthday party, my mind immediately went into Super-Party planning mode.  I always envision the the party I would throw if I had unlimited funds.  Then I scale back, and scale back, as I decide what is reasonable and solidify the plans. 

The first thing I did was watch the movie with the kids.  I took note of all the interesting things that came to mind.  I wish I had acted on some of them, but time and money were just not sufficient. 

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My Mom made the costume; Sophie felt like the real deal!

Then I went online to find all things Alice.  Of course I searched Pinterest, and found lots of great ideas.  Some of those ideas, like some of mine, didn’t make the cut, but it sure was fun to see what others have done to make awesome Alice parties.  There are so many different angles you can take to planning an Alice party.  Of course, many of the ones you find online will be related to the newer Alice movie, but Sophie is in love with the 1951 version, so that is what I stuck with.  Even then, you can go with a red/white/black playing card theme or the jewel toned color styling of Mary Blair, who did concept art for the 1951 Alice in Wonderland.  I decided to base my decorations on the Mad Hatter’s table.  I lovingly referred to the style as “Old Lady Chic”. I used a lot of pastel colors too, it just felt right with the lovely spring weather.

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I like to start a party out with some sort of activity to wear the kids out.  We were fortunate to have a lovely day, so we played on the playground.  I found a croquet set at Walmart for $15, so I grabbed it.  Croquet is a classic game that is nice to have handy.  It’s also an iconic part of the movie, though, sadly, we were missing the flamingos and hedgehogs.  I wasn’t concerned with an actual game and following rules.  I thought it would be enough fun just hitting the balls with the mallets.  I think I was right, but Sophie had to be taught not to throw the balls, so keep that in mind if you ever play croquet with a 4 year old.


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When it was time for tea, we had all the kids sit down at the table.  Having a long main table gave the same feel as the movie, with Sophie in the Seat of Honor at the end of the table, just like Alice in the movie.


I have to add that there were several boys at the party.  They were too cool for some of the food, but they had a blast with the tea.  They even had second cups. You just never know when it comes to boys.


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I love my little Alice.  Isn’t she sweet?

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This look is SO Sophie.  I see this all the time.

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Sophie opened her presents in the armchair.  We pulled it back from the table a bit so everyone could see.

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Here, Sophie has just opened a Tinker Bell doll.  She already had one, but this one has a different outfit.  She was so excited she hugged it.  I love how she just forgot about the room and loved her present. 

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Brushing possible bad luck aside, Geggie and Sophie opened her new umbrella.  These pictures are priceless and some of my favorites from the party.

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So cute!

I mentioned before that to create the feeling of a messy table, I just filled the table with decorations.  Well, after the kids were done with it, it was, indeed, messy.  Almost Mad Hatter messy. 


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I had originally thought about packs of playing cards for party favors for the kids.  But I really wanted to use my cute little rabbit cookie cutter, so I packaged little cookies for the guests to take home.  I was easily able to make enough for all guests, (not just the kids), with plenty to spare. 

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Of course, they had to be offered in a small chest.  I used the one Pop gave Sophie for Christmas.  It has her name on the top.

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Thank you to everyone who helped Sophie have a Wonderful Un-Birthday party.  Here’s a look back at the other party posts in case you missed one, or are dreaming up your own Alice In Wonderland Party.


Sophie In Wonderland Invitations

The “Old Lady Chic” Decorations

Tea Party Menu

Bonus: Here is my Pinterest inspiration board.

Have fun creating a world of your own!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sophie In Wonderland: Menu


Our Tea Party menu was a mix of some things you would find in a traditional Afternoon Tea, and some things that you would find in an Americanized type of Tea.  For example: Pink Lemonade.

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We just had to have something in little “Drink Me” bottles.  It would not have been right to skip this little nod to the movie. These tags were printed on cardstock and attached with glue dots.  It would have been a lot of work to tie these to each bottle, but the easy glue dots give the same effect when you place them at an angle.  FYI: These are Starbucks Frappuccino bottles.  These are so cute with homemade labels.  That wouldn’t work with the “Drink Me” labels, maybe next time.



At the main table, each place setting included the lemonade and a plastic tea cup.  The plate holds a small cup of Strawberry Bisque, a prepared scone and an Egg Salad Sandwich.  If we had wanted to be more authentic, the crusts would have been cut off.  Sorry.

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The center of the main table held a towering display of Cream Puffs and Mini Éclairs.  Yum!

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Cake stands held the cupcakes at both ends of the main table.  You shouldn’t be surprised that they are The Best Cupcakes Ever!  These are topped with blue Sixlets bought at Party City.

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The buffet table held all the same treats as the kids’ table, with the sandwiches being traded for mini quiches. 

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There is the tea, of course.  Oh, and there are some Easter M&Ms tucked in there too!

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The center of the table showcased the little scones, “clotted cream”, strawberry jam, and lemon curd.  This allowed the adults to make their scones as they liked.

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You can find the recipe for my Strawberry Bisque HERE.  It’s served in a punch bowl Nana has handed down to me.

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Classic Scones

This recipe was given to me by a lady in Scotland.

Makes 24 2-inch Scones
1 3/4 cups Self-Rising Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold
1 Large Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Whole Milk, (You will not need all of it)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Add the cold butter and rub with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbles.  Stir in sugar and salt. 

Break an egg into a liquid measuring cup and mix with fork, add enough milk to measure 5 ounces. (That will be just under 2/3 cup total.)

Pour egg and milk mixture into flour mixture a little at a time, mixing lightly until the dough just comes together; you may not need all of the liquid.

Gather mixture and place on a lightly floured surface, knead very gently, just until it holds it’s shape.  Flatten with palms to approximately 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into 2 inch rounds with a biscuit cutter and place on a greased baking sheet, (I use parchment.)  Lightly gather remaining dough and repeat cutting.

Brush tops with any leftover egg/milk mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes or until they are pale golden in color.  Serve immediately.


I find the dough works better for me when it’s just a little more moist that I think it should be. I use a very gentle hand when patting it out, you don’t want to overwork the dough.  Keep the dough very cold the whole time.  If the butter starts to melt before going in the oven, the scones will flatten and spread.  If things start getting warm, place the dough in the fridge just long enough to cool things off.


Clotted Cream is a beautiful thing.  If you’ve ever had fresh clotted cream from South-West England, you know what I’m talking about.  There’s nothing like it.  Unfortunately, if I want clotted cream here in the states, I have to either buy it in a jar, (above), which is kind of expensive, or make it myself. 

I’ve yet to try making it for real.  That’s something I hope to try soon.  For the party, I used a recipe found HERE.  It uses mascarpone cheese and heavy cream.  It isn’t quite like the real thing, but it worked well enough.  I would recommend it in a pinch. (Note: I did not use the optional zest.  It seemed unnecessary to me.)

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If you remember from the last post, the guests had a sweet take-home treat. 

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These cookies are my favorite cut-out sugar cookies from Nigella Lawson.  They hold their shape when baked and are very reliable.  The trick for me is to take them out before I think they are done so they are still a little soft.

The icing is Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe.  I kept it thick to outline the cookie then thinned the rest with water and about 1/8 tsp. lemon extract and filled in the cookie.  I don’t know how many of these I had, I was a little addicted. 

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I placed the cookies in little goodie bags, (Hobby Lobby), folded them and closed them with a little sticker.  I used Avery 3/4 inch diameter stickers stamped with a little clock face from a cool cling sticker collection from Hobby Lobby.  It kind of has this Steampunk-ish vibe going on.  I'm looking forward to using all the little stamps in the future!

Next post: How to plan an Alice party.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sophie In Wonderland: Decorations


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Decorating for Sophie’s Un-Birthday Tea Party was so much fun!  My Sister-In-Law, Leigh (who is a decorating genius), and I did most of it the night before the party.


If you’ve seen the movie, you will know that when Alice meets the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Dormouse, they are in the midst of a crazy, messy tea party.  I wanted to have the feel of crazy and messy without it actually being those things.  The way to accomplish that is to fill the table as much as possible.  The busy table worked really well.  Here’s how we did it.  First, like in the movie, we moved three long tables end to end to make one long table.  We covered them in pink tablecloths and put a red arm chair at the end. (Notice the rose wreathalier and lanterns above the table.)

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I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest; a nifty table runner.


I was able to track down the original link, which has a tutorial, yay!

I loved the idea of a doily table runner, I knew it would help add good “chaos” to the table.  We used different sizes of paper doilies and just arranged them on the table.  We didn’t even tape them down and it worked just fine.

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A Tea Party needs tea of course, and decorating with useful items like teapots, sugar, and creamer was a no brainer.

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Filling in extra space were some little figurines we found on sale at a Disney Store Outlet.  We sure were in the right place at the right time! 

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A few of my tea canisters made their way to the tables.

Leigh filled teacups and mugs with flowers and placed those around the table too.


There were little blooms strewn around the table as well.


Before I moved on from the main table, I have to show you my favorite decoration of the party…

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Just a doily taped to the back of the armchair.  Love it!

For the wee kids’ table, I placed a few doilies and Sophie’s plastic tea set.  Fun!

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The grown ups didn’t have their own tables; we just had chairs lined up around the room.  So there was a buffet table for them.

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Leigh brought her Grandmother’s tablecloth that we placed over a cheap blue tablecloth.

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Watching over the table is a white rabbit I picked up at Hobby Lobby, (half price after Easter!)

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If you look back at the picture of the long table above, you’ll see the “present table” to the right.  We decorated it with the two “photoshoped” pictures of Sophie, an Alice picture my Mom snagged at Goodwill, and a Golden Book.

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After presents were cleared from the table, I added a wooden chest with a take-home treat for our guests.

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Tea Party Menu Coming soon…