Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Frugal Fun: A Mad, Mad Tea Party

Tea? For 25 little girls? No problem! It all started when my good pal Allison Hemming of The Hired Guns asked me where to get inexpensive tea cups for a Mad Hatter birthday party for her seven-year-old daughter, Fiona. My natural response? Thrift, of course! 

I hit garage sales and thrift stores in New Jersey and Vermont, as well as my favorite, most trusted New York stop, Vintage Thrift, to curate a mix-and-match teacup set fit for the birthday girl and her mad-hatted entourage. But the work didn't stop there. Before I knew it, I was neck deep in creating the look for this fun-filled  affair.  Oh, twist my arm...

For the tabletop, Allison and I used pretty much what we had on hand: playing cards, metal bird; odd dishes; vintage linens, garland, children's toys, novelty salt and pepper shakers, you name it!  Allison's mother's gorgeous silver tea set shimmered as a focal point, especially after Allison gave it a hearty polish.

Allison bought green Astroturf that we cut into lengths to create runners for our extra-long serving tables that enhanced the garden them.  

One mother made magical mushroom cupcakes that we displayed on fanciful cardboard tiers found at Penelope Wurr's adorable shop in Brattleboro, Vermont. Look closely and you'll see a real mushroom that Allison found in the woods near her home in Jamaica, Vermont.

A pair of lawn ornament bunnies from Allison's Vermont home were transformed into table decorations.

My mother whipped up these colorful, casual napkins out of a favorite, thread barren vintage tablecloth. She simply cut them into squares with pinking sheers.

What's a party without an activity? Here, party goers were invited to customize Mason jars with press-on gems and paper Alice in Wonderland characters and then fill them with Jelly Bellys, M&Ms, gum balls, rock candy and candy fruit slices. I placed another Astroturf runner atop a vintage white tablecloth to keep our theme consistent.

Talk about a sugar high! These party girls are at work filling their jars with treats.

A second activity centered around making necklaces with strands of ribbons I have collected over the years and tiny metal keys that I bought on Etsy. I place the keys in a butterfly dish I picked up years ago for $1.00 at The Red Racks Thrift Store in Independence, Missouri.

Witness all the craftiness at work.

And here is Miss Fiona wearing one of the necklaces and sampling a cupcake. What a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad day of fun!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

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