Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tips & Tricks: Queen of Hearts Scene

The "WONDERLAND" marquee was the first set of paper letters I painted, and I really like the feel. I got the letters on sale at JoAnn's, and used regular craft paint to give them an antiqued, aged, red & black finish. They're hung with plastic tags and more 3M hooks, and they're the first thing you see as you walk into the house, they are straight ahead and hanging down off the ledge between the living and dining areas.

Casino party decor really made my living room come alive as the Queen of Heart's court, and set the festive tone right off the bat. Most of it I ordered from Anderson's giant party store, they seemed to have the best prices, but many party stores seem to carry the same line. Anderson's site is organized a little strangely, but I've linked directly to all the items I used:

3 X "casino ceiling decor"
5 X "card suit stringers"
4 X "casino cascades"

My favorite are the ceiling decorations, they really fill up the space, the foil is shiny in the light, and it just feels "FUN" to me.

I hung three of them in the living room, starting at a common point in the center of one wall (over the DDR) and branching out at angles across the whole rest of the living room ceiling.

The green shred with the card suit border hanging around the top of the walls is actually table skirting I scooped up on clearance at Party America, so I can't find them on their website, but I think I got 3 of them for $4.99 each. I had some trouble hanging them at times, but with a little persistence I got it all up there using 3M poster strips and blue painter's tape. I trimmed around the doors and windows for our own ease - again, this means it's harder to re-use, but less likely to get pulled down or annoy us during the MONTH we had it up :) so I went with it.

The green evoked the croquet story for me, so I hung plastic flamingos along it as well. These were from Litin Party Papers and originally I wanted to make them into 3D flamingo croquet mallets (I did one with hot glue since they were mirror images they fit together great, but were wimpy and would have cracked without some stuffing or reinforcement), but honestly I just didn't have the room to play and my dog would definitely have eaten any sort of hedgehog croquet balls, so on the wall they went.

Scattered throughout are quotes from the queen, printed in white on red background (I just used PowerPoint) with the Beyond Wonderland font. These are done on card stock and hung via painter's tape or 3M strips.

The fireplace is always a focal point, so I dressed it up in black & red. I put an old brownie pan filled with candles inside, and it glows like a fire without the smoke, mess, and heat of a real one. The garland I made myself - black roses from Michael's splattered with red paint, red jelly heart lights leftover from Valentine's Day forever ago, "Chop Shop" garland of bloody knives found at Big Lots, and re-purposed gold skeletons from last year's Hollywood garlands. I talked about some of it here, it's all just tied together with short pieces of black curling ribbon (blends right in) and hung with more 3M strips.

Another set of the red heart lights is wrapped around a black boa I had lying around and draped over the large picture frame - both strips of lights are plugged into a push button adaptor which sits on the mantle, the actual outlet is behind the photo frame and hard to access, but this way I just push the button to turn it all on.

For the photo frame I just switched out our family photos for some heart-themed jpegs I found on google image search - read about it here. I'm really proud of this idea actually, I think it was subtle but really effective - some people just assumed it was our normal art, but some people looking closer saw all the hearts, or the quote, or remembered it was usually family photos and thought it was pretty cool. It cost me next to nothing and took only a few moments to put together.

The rest of the mantle has a garland of playing cards, glass chess pieces from the goodwill (check which day games are 50% off, I think this set cost me $1), misc. black, red & silver skulls, candle holders, and other stuff from my collection.

The checkerboard wall is done with a roll of plastic tablecovering & painter's tape. The checkered pattern can be hard to find, I was annoyed none of the party stores carried it and had to resort to ebay. Still a big impact for a reasonable price - with shipping it was around $30 a roll.

The big entertainment I kept secret until party time - last year it was a shot luge, this year I rented the arcade version of "Dance Dance Revolution" from a local party rental shop. I knew watching would be as fun as playing, so I set it up as the "main attraction" in the center of the checkered wall. I already had a big area rug there to protect my wood floors, and made sure the dance pads sat on that (they're big, metal wrapped, and heavy). It was a little hard to navigate around when people were coming in at the beginning, but not awful - I'm still learning about the traffic patterns in our new house. The monitor was supposed to come on a stand, but when it didn't we improvised with a sturdy coffee table (some people did really start the house shaking with their wild "dance" moves, so I'm glad we didn't use anything less stable!).

To the right of that I threw up a little table with the costume awards & prizes, mostly so I didn't forget to hand them out, as well as a shelf with all of the goodie boxes.

Overall, this room was exactly what I wanted - a big old "impression" right off the bat. I think it captured everyone's attention right away and definitely portrayed the "Wonderland" theme. Now that I've taken it all down, my house feels very empty!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks great!