Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Creative Block

My daughter is the Student Council Events Chairperson for her school. Translated, that means she plans dances, and a few other things. Nothing takes creativity quite like dances, though.

This Saturday, the theme of the dance is "A Walk to Remember". 
"Mom, I want it to be like we are in this beautiful park just full of flowers.....and we are dancing under the stars".

Lovely. One problem - maybe two.

Creativity, time and money - okay three problems.

The setting is a church gym - a big, plain, church gym.

Twinkle lights are good -with enough twinkle lights and the main lights turned down low, some good tunes............those can carry you a little ways, but not all the way.

Flowers - we found some lovelies at Michaels, Big Lots, and the Dollar Store. We can't afford the real thing, and besides it is freezing here and all my potted plants look pathetic.

 These pink garlands will wrap around the volleyball poles. Sweet.

Did I mention budget? $100.00
Fortunately, people bring cookies and punch and other snacks.

I know we could do a lot on one hundred bucks given the manpower, time and creativity.

We have a couple of park benches,  a few ficus trees, and lots of candles.

Still, we are just not feelin' it.

We bought some big paper lanterns today. Various sizes and color - they should add some dimension and color among the stars and imaginary tree tops.

The other day we went to the city - that's what we do for excitement sometimes - we go to Austin or San Antonio - anyway, we went to Anthropologie.
Oh - my - gosh....what those people can do with sticks and twigs and garden hoses and plastic bottles and some spray paint!

They had made vines and vines of "flowers" out of cut plastic bottles spray painted different spring colors. If only.............if only we had the manpower and the time.

Photo from flickr - ccerruti

But, the dance in the park is this Saturday, and I am not Anthropologie, as much as I wish I was.

I am just a mom trying to help decorate for a semi- formal - a big deal in junior high and high school.

Ideas welcome!


  1. Oh, you area out of my league. I'm so not crafty. But I so feel your pain and I know the dance will be great. And, yes, a dance in Junior High is the biggest deal on planet Earth! I commend you wanting to make it great for her. Congrats! Can't wait to here.

  2. Wow..a huge challenge! As I raised my kids and they were involved in stuff like that, they had committee's and teachers over it. I was thinking of our churches gym, sometimes weddings are held there...they have backdrops and lights..sometimes they put wire up and streamers hang over the wire..does anyone have a gazebo to donate etc....wish I could help...good luck! Come say hi :D

  3. When we are forced with a looming deadline and a budget, that is when creativity is the boss. Often the best ideas are created from trash, add some strings of lights, wrap stems around the lights, perhaps you have some lights that are still not stowed away from the holidays. Bubble wrap looks fun, lit, and also empty plastic water bottles make a neat chandelier.
    Trash to treasures can make things fun, hip and unique.

  4. Sorry no ideas, but I do offer long-distance moral support. you go girl! (how was that (mile). have fun and good luck! -s

  5. Thanks for the support, and the ideas!

    Patricia, we have the strings of lights from the holidays, but I had not thought to wrap them with stems. Love the bubble wrap and empty plastic bottle chandelier ideas! Thank you!

  6. Forget trying to hang lights and put the lights on the floor sort of like pathways in the background. Then large cardboard tubes (ups or Home Depot) could get covered with lightes ,others with flowers,then the benches,the picnic tables covered with food, some well placed large flower arrg.Use colored stickers to indicate whose property belongs to whom. Borrow,borrow,Xmass. Just some thoughts. Denise

  7. Anthropologie is inspiring. Wish I were more creative and could offer you some good ideas. I'm sure you will have lots of fun and will come up with some good ideas.

  8. check out www.orientaltrading.com
    hope she has fun! you are a good mom!!

  9. This is one of the BEST posts you have done!!!! So from the heart - love it!!!!

  10. Wishing you all the best. Maybe too late, but I remember our junior year prom—can you believe 1966—and we "borrowed" a humongous chandelier from someone's store. I can still can't believe they let us do that. We also used twisted streamers on the wires trick to cover walls. But my favorite was the river scene painted on scrim that went across the back of the windows and mother nature smiled and that night the image was backlit by a full moon. My college roommate's daughter wore by size 3 pink tuille ruffles everywhere dress for a Grease halloween costume. Hope your daughter has many happy memories as well.

  11. wish i lived closer so i could help! my perfection issues tend to surface in these situations! so i work really hard to let them go! people think i'm so creative no matter what i do....little do they know! just relax and enjoy the experience with your daughter and whatever you do will be fabulous!

  12. I'm soooo jealous...I always loved doing this with my daughters...enjoy every minute...even if you feel like pulling your hair out:) You have some awesome ideas...luv the white lights... lanterns...benches and flowers. You could use some simple mason jars filled with sand and tea candles (lights) for your food table...picnic baskets...telescope...might be some items that would work well with your theme. Have fun and please take lots of pics to share with all of us.


  13. Ann, If you need more paper lanterns I have a lot! Let me know I am happy to loan them to you.
    -Morgan davis

  14. Heck - I don't know what to say. The school I went to was so poor we were lucky to get our hands on some kleenex and chicken wire! But - we could sure drum up some good ideas with that chicken wire....

  15. I know you'll come through -- sometimes the budget parties are more fun than those with unlimited purses!

  16. At our church VBS, someone once made trees out of brown butcher paper (the kind on big rolls that teachers use for bulletin boards). They cut out silhouettes of the tree trunks and a few branches (ceiling height) and then twisted and scrunched lengths of the brown paper to make dimensional limbs. the limbs can be wired to the ceiling to make them go "outward" from the wall ...A few cut out green leaves, and a black sharpie marker for some detail, and you have a tree! Everything can be taped to the wall. Also, that sheet foam that they use to insulate homes can be cut with an electric hot knife (use an overhead projector to determine shape), and then painted with house paints... you can make beautiful props, and they're lightweight and cheap! Best of luck to you. Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be memorable!

  17. Hi,
    For a graduation dance I once hosted, I went out into the country and cut some unusual plants, with funky seed pods. I think I filled the containers with rocks, perhaps water jugs with the top cut off. the branches were sprayed with gold spray paint, and I wrapped the containers with mylar sheets. See what you might find in the countryside.

    I like the idea of using large branches, light them, and if you can afford it, you can make hanging strands of fishing line, with small round or square mirrors spaced out along the line. You put them back to back with the fishing line in the center. I have seen them hung vertically, but you could also garland them. they catch the light. Maybe you could use the plastic bottles somehow for the same effect. I considered using blank CDs, and glueing them back to back. they seem reflective, and are bigger.

    Perhaps you could contact the local florist and ask for stuff they would otherwise throw away. I have seen rose petals in the sink in the girls powder room at wedding receptions.

    my advice, ....be postive and have fun! pay your friends to compliment your daughter after the party on the decorations...No, no, no---I am just kidding!!


  18. oh girl you are a great Mom...love the idea of the bubble wrap and bottles.

  19. go on martha stewart and search tissue paper flowers- they just used these in the anthropologie windows a few seasons back - easy and cheap- suspend them from the ceiling with clear fishing line- these are beautiful



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