AS SEEN IN JULY'S ISSUE OF MINGLE MAGAZINE
Although we are always, ALWAYS up for a party, inspiration comes easily when the party is a Back to School Fundraiser for your own child’s school. Such was the case when we were presented with a school fundraiser- no theme, no ideas- we could do anything we wanted! Our first step? To create an inspiration board. We love this step in the creative process because it really brings together colors, textures and spring boards of ideas about transforming something into…well, something else. Our inspirations centered around the idea of school, itself. We envisioned school buses, pencils, chalkboards, and children. Although the fundraiser was for adults only, we wanted to somehow find a way to keep the “children” in the big picture. We chose a palette of yellows, white and a touch of gray to keep a fresh, yet modern feel.
Since our party was set to take place in a parent’s backyard, we wanted a look that created an updated garden party feel. We searched out yellow chevron patterned fabric and made runners for each table- a bright and colorful accent to the clean, crisp white linened tables. We kept things casual by choosing mason jars as vases and used a variety of sizes. Centerpieces, that were simple enough to do, were bright and cheery arrangements of sunflowers, gerbera daisies, yellow stock, queen’s anne lace, and the unusual flower with the funny name- “chicken bones”. The table “look” was complete with these fresh arrangements!
What says “School” more than a chalkboard? We bought some inexpensive frames, and spray painted them with a simple gray spraypaint. Then, we used a single piece of cardstock and painted it with chalkboard paint, inserted it into the frame without the glass, and…voila! Chalkboard table number frames! Did you ever wonder how some chalkboards look like a resident artist wrote on them? The trick is to use a Chalkboard pen. It was a new find for us, but completely changed our world…no more messing with a thick, straight-edged piece of chalk.
A Lemonade Stand is something that appeals primarily to children. However, we wanted to steal the concept and make an adult friendly-version. We dressed our Lemonade Stand with beautiful glass beverage dispensers, drinking glasses prepared and waiting with a lemon wedge and yellow straw, and dozens of lemons and limes! We served up gourmet versions of lemonade with flavors like Rasberry Basil, Ginger Limeade, and Blackberry Mint. We created cohesiveness with the guest tables by creating chalkboard labels for the lemonade dispensers and even re-purposed eclectic frames to become interesting chalkboard signs. The lemonade stand was a welcome addition to a party that took place on a warm September evening and guests came back time and again for more.
The fresh and cheery ambiance carried over well into the evening, as market lights peppered with paper lanterns in our colors of yellow, white and gray, gave way to a warm glow in the yard. Guests mixed and mingled throughout the evening and we like to think that the inviting ambiance helped to create an air of generosity, which led to many donations.
Finally, what Back to School event would be complete without the beginning- of-the-year school supplies to drool over? We created a useable, simple “favor”, by placing a pad of Post-Its and a little yellow pencil on each placesetting. The supplies were utilized during the guest speaker portion of the evening, and we love a freshly sharpened pencil and a full pad of ready-to-post notes! So, take note: “Back to School” just got even more fun when it includes an inspired backyard fete!