Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Meet the Neighbors" Outdoor Movie Party: Mary Poppins

We have lived in our new house now for 3 months and have only had the opportunity to meet a couple of our neighbors. We had heard there were lots of kids and fun people....so what better way to get everyone in one spot than a party?! We have just under 100 homes in our subdivision, and I wanted to be able to invite all of them. This was tricky, as my first idea was a classic American BBQ feeding everyone lunch on a Saturday afternoon. I wanted people to feel like they could come and go as they pleased and leave out the formal RSVPs. Well, this sort of casual party left for many expensive unknown variables such as how much food and booze to buy to accommodate a possibly very large number of guests. I didn't want to spend so much on food and only have a few show up...that would be lots of food and money down the drain. I hit pintrest for some inspiration and stumbled across the image of a vintage backyard movie screening. Blankets scattered across a backyard lawn graced by a DIY projector screen. This launched my "Friday Night Family Flick Under the Stars" party idea. I could cut food cost by supplying classic movie theater "snacks" rather than a meal....provide soda, juice and water like a theater (and ask adults to bring their own alcoholic beverages if they wanted to drink) Instant $ saved! I saw many tutorials with DIY projector screens, so I knew it was possible with a paint drop cloth and lumber. I could also borrow a projector from my work for free!  Next, was figuring out which movie would inspire the evening. I liked the whole nostalgia of a past era as my concept melted a drive-in movie theater with a vintage carnival. I went to a classic for inspiration...Mary Poppins! This was a family-friendly film that accomplished exactly what I wanted...and who doesn't love a classic?! This theme allowed for quirky touches and a backyard wonderland of globe lights, floral blankets, popping corn and stripped straws. My color inspiration was Dick Van Dyke's stripe outfit with aqua tie in the English Garden Chalk Drawing Scene. With the help of Mary Poppin's inspiration and my new discovery of an AMAZING vintage rental company I am now obsessed with here in Madison: A La Crate, I was so excited to see this party come to life!

Color Inspiration:

Here are a few shots taken before the party kicked off.....

Guest were greeted by this "Welcome" table upon entering the backyard. Here guests were asked to fill out name tags in order to help us learn their names. There was also a basket of sheets in case anyone needed an extra or forgot theirs. Vintage blocks and crate from A La Crate Vintage

This was our outdoor theater. We made the screen from rubber-backed painter's drop cloth (have the rubber side as the screen...it caught the light better and made for a more vivid picture) We built a frame from 2x4's. Because it stays light here pretty late, we attached a dowel and draped dark curtains to help the picture be more visible as the sun was still setting when we started. This helped quite a bit. I scattered 2 blankets to guide people on where to sit and we rolled huge logs from an oak we had to cut down to allow for extra seating and/or drink tables. It was super cute when all the little boys hopped up on them and were dancing on their own "chimneys" during the "Step In Time" number.

 The Concessions area was equipped with "antique" popcorn machine, candy buffet, nacho station, antique (and working) gumball machine all set beneath handmade kites (a DIY project I did with fabric, string ribbon and skinny dowels), a Mary Poppins umbrella (my parasol from engagement photos) and carnival style globe lights (found at Target). The runner found here was actually a Goodwill score. The blankets above too were a mix of Goodwill finds and estate sale linens.

  Found these candy jars at Marshall's paired them with clear candy scoops. They are stacked on vintage books rented from A La Crate (the spindle candy label holders also rented from there) The vintage style popcorn boxes were an Amazon find and were amazingly sturdy and a great price! Carousal was a Goodwill find! Wish I had popcorn popped for these photos but we wanted it to taste fresh for our guests!

  As mentioned, the gumball machine was rented from A La Crate. I used a vintage creamer I scored at Goodwill for $0.99 to house the "Tuppence" the machine required to obtain a gumball. The kiddos LOVED this piece!

This ice bin was picked up at a garage sale for $1. Keeping with the theme, I had to use red and white stripped straws! I housed them in a mason jar.

This amazing sign stand was another garage sale find at a whopping $1 (starting to get the hint, I'm cheap?!) I made this chalk board sign from a piece of cardboard and chalkboard paper...super easy...and I can reuse.

Even though I asked guests to bring blankets and folding chairs, I still wanted to provide some seating. This "tea-like" table was set beneath glowing paper lanterns and right beside the kiddie "playground" which consisted of a sand table, quilt blanket with wooden blocks and a slide.