When you first enter our house you look into the living room and dining room, this is the biggest room of the house and usually the center of the party (possibly because that's where the food usually is too!) Here's the view moments before the party:
Mardi Gras! I thought the bright colors and hectic, festive atmosphere of Fat Tuesday would be perfect for this room, and though it was time intensive to put together (and take down!) I didn't have to do too many craft projects to bring it to life.
I hit up Party America and www.GiantPartyStore.com for some large packages of hanging foil Mardi Gras decorations and hung it all with my old standby, 3M hooks. They don't always work perfect, especially in my 1940's house I've had a few take off loose paint/plaster, but in general they're better than pins, nails, or other adhesives. To hang flat things, I use blue painter's tape, which also comes off pretty easily for things like these vinyl cut outs:
The interior wall is a long uninterrupted canvas once all of our everyday artwork was taken down and the couch moved out of the way, so it was the perfect place for a scene setter. Scene Setters are large backdrops printed on rolls of vinyl carried by many party stores, and I'll have a step by step tutorial about how I put it together tomorrow.
I continued the scene setter above the fireplace, and draped the mantle in TONS of Mardi Gras Beads. I also created a garland out of Mardi Gras feather boas wrapped around purple Xmas lights to frame the fireplace. We never actually burn fires in there, but I do like to have a brownie pan full of candles going during parties for a similar feel without the heat and smoke.
I used two green hurricane lamps I already had on the mantle, tucked a venetian mask into one, and also used it as a perch for the costume awards - more voo doo dolls! they were too cute not to display :)
These giant masks were less than $7 at Party City! That's a great deal for such a big focal point, I used 3 in my decorating. The smaller masks were also from the party store, I think around $7 for a dozen in Mardi Gras colors. Even the little lamp on the coffee table is draped in as many Mardi Gras beads as it would hold :)
The beads continued into the dining area, I wasn't sure what to do with my china hutch this year until I just started draping everything in beads - perfect!
I can't take credit for the fleur de lis pumpkins, I traded with an internet friend for those (and most of the beads, and a bunch of other things) with someone who was having a Wonderland party this year and did the NOLA theme last year. Green + Economical = WIN!
Did I mention I had a LOT of beads? They came in really handy :) Also in the Mardi Gras area was the food - my new dining table won't fit through the doors without disassembling it, so I used that for the dessert table:
Even after cutting down on sweets, I could BARELY fit everything on the table. Same with the "real" food, I had a big L-shaped table, and there was NO room to spare!
More about the food later as well - including a couple more recipes!