I wanted it to be a fairly large affair, and also wanted it to be an interesting and engaging event. Since we live so far away from most of our friends, we don't get to see them very often. I felt that if I was going to ask them to drive many many hours to see us, I should at least be sure the party was awesome.
I wanted bright colors displayed in Erlenmeyer flasks, and I thought it might as well be alcohols. I could not decide on an overall color theme, and I ended up thinking I might as well use them all. This piggybacked on the flask display idea and evolved into a party themed around science, rainbows, candy, and booze! I bought a couple small things from ThinkGeek to give away as prizes for best costume as well: A caffeine mug, a Erlenmeyer flask shaped tea infuser, and a book of experiments to do with candy.
There were two wonderful friends who were especially helpful with my party decorating and idea development: Michael and Danielle. Michael was going to have to miss the party but was going to visit us a week beforehand on his way moving out of state. Lord C was able to convince him to stay with us for the intervening week. He was so helpful with the party decorating and idea development. We baked and iced all the cookies together, (there were over 80 flask/beaker/test tube/atom cookies!) and he helped sort all the candies with Lord C and I. He was also the one to bring up Ms. Frizzle when I was discussing costumes. It was like a lightbulb-once mentioned, there was no other option. I just had to go find a few props. I had wanted to make a Ms. Frizzle costume anyway, but I hadn't thought of it for this event--I think I may have dismissed it early on because I had worn my galaxy dress to Toddleworth's two year party and didn't want to wear it again. In the end, I'm glad I did, so I could put these two pictures up side by side:
Danielle helped with the final party prep and decorating. We got all the wall streamers put out, and she blew up about 60 balloons all on her own. She helped me get the candy display all sorted. I didn't have a concrete plan as to what needed to go in what containers, and I didn't want to go buy 20 more pounds of candy, so we just had to make things work with what we had. She came up with blowing up similarly colored balloons inside the Erlenmeyer flasks to take up most of the room, and I'll admit I got unreasonably excited when I had to use science to make it work (you can't blow up a balloon in a container without allowing an outlet for air, so I stuck a straw in beside it until we got it to the proper size). She also drew out molecule shapes on the table covers-a small touch I'd wanted but thought I wouldn't have time for.
I thought the overall effect of the room was wonderful!
Here are a multitude of shots of the candy table:
These biohazard bags near the TARDIS were the party favor bags, to be filled with cookies and candy from the display. The phone box was there to encourage people to deposit their cell phones if they were being distracted by them. I don't think anyone actually used it, but the only time phones got taken out was when I asked what time it was to see how much longer the cake was going to be.
Here are some of my nieces holding up their experiments at the end of the evening.
I thought rock candy was a must as far a sciency candy goes.
The other selections were smarties, nerds, and sour goo candy (in layers!) as well as homemade fizzy sour candy. They were displayed for easy grabbing in pocket protectors.
Just before five, the start time of the party, I got a text from my friend Amanda who was the maker of the cake that the cake was going to be running late. Naturally, without cake people gravitated towards the experimentation table:
We had mentos and diet coke available to make mini geysers, and we had something I'd been looking forward to trying for quite some time: miracle berry tablets! I figured this party would be the best possible time to experiment with them.
After having some fun with the miracle berry table, I demonstrated for everyone what was up with the drink table. I explained how we had labeled all of the liquors with their densities, and if you poured gently, you could make a rainbow colored layered drink by starting with the heaviest and working your way up to the lightest liquors. When some of them tried to protest they didn't know which liquors were lighter, we showed how we had taken all of the guesswork out of it by labeling the (approximate) densities/specific gravites and putting them in rough order with the tiered display.
Here is a beauty shot of the table before the booze was put out.
This is the best shot of the table with liquor on it.
One side of the tags had the specific gravity and was labelled with what was in the bottle (I wasn't sure if I was going to try to pour the alcohols out into beakers or leave it in the bottles. ) The other side had suggestions for what they might try to layer the alcohol with. Ideally we listed something it was heavier than and something it was lighter than, that we thought it might taste good with. Michael and I had more fun than we were expecting coming up with drink suggestions!
Here are a couple sample drinks-they all have layers, but some of them are much clearer than others.
And here are a few of the beautiful drinks my beautiful friends made:
People really seemed to have fun making drinks, and even a few people who don't drink were happy to make a shot for me. (And I had fun making suggestions! Coffee and whipped cream! Something fruity with at least three layers!)
Here are a couple of my nieces enjoying their virgin sunrises. They exclaimed throughout the party how science is awesome. It made me pretty happy!
I started out by taking pictures of the pretty drinks, then people holding the pretty drinks they had made, and eventually I even realized I should get their FACES in the pictures with the drinks they made. This was actually pretty phenomenal direction of thinking, since I was downing all the intervening shots
It turns out, most layered shots rely heavily on sweet fruit flavored things, which I like! I also like whipped cream flavored vodka, and it made me unreasonably happy that it was very light so floated over most things. The cherry vodka was even lighter, so it would actually be possible to make something with whip cream over it and 'a cherry on top.' The only alcohol I actively disliked was the iris flavored gin we got, because it was light and a light blue color. There aren't many options for blue in light densities, and one of the other ones was $50 a bottle... maybe I'll try that one someday.
The cake was supposed to be there around 6 or 6:30 with the delay. Around 7 the cake was still not there and I was starting to worry. I'll admit I was feeling pretty great otherwise; having people there I love, who were having fun with my party designs, enjoying my layered drinks idea, and the drinking itself was not hurting my mood. I finally got a call from Amanda and the first words she said were "I swear I'll make this up to you!"
She went on to explain that the cake had been dropped. The good news was she had the smaller, gluten free and vegan cake I had had her make for Lord C. and was on her way with it. During this conversation it came up that due to some miss-communication, the larger cake was not vegan, so it may all be for the best that it was dropped. I was really looking forward to lots of cake, and to seeing the final product. Since there weren't any pictures, here is what it was supposed to look like:
We managed to give everyone a couple bites of the smaller cake, which was quite delicious, and Amanda stopped long enough to make me a shot before heading back to her hectic schedule that day.
Here is the tiny yet delicious cake.
I felt so great the entire evening. It was wonderful having my friends visit, and even though it ended up being a much smaller party than I had originally intended, I can't imagine any way I could have had a more enjoyable time.
I didn't get any shots of my little bus, but I had a duplo-style school bus covered in space themed stickers attached to my belt for most of the night.
I also got some wonderful presents: Both my mother and one of my staff members gave me some art supplies-canvases and new paints. Even though I had talked with Lord C a couple days prior and told him I did not expect any presents from him, that I knew we'd ended up spending far more than I had originally thought it might cost to design the party I wanted, he still manged to get me this amazing morning glory horn turned pendant light:
After I opened my presents, my mom asked me if I felt old. I told her and my other assembled loved ones the truth: I don't feel old at all! Though it is not without challenges, I'm extremely happy in my life currently. I told them how, just a few days before the party I glanced in the mirror and saw something I had never seen in my face before--new wrinkles that weren't just confined to my furrowed brow. I moved my face around in terror, wondering if I was truly already showing wrinkles, and what they were from. When I discovered the proper expression to create the lines, I couldn't help but deepen them even further--they were smile lines! I truthfully lived most of my life not imagining those would be the first 'signs of aging' I would notice in myself. I made sure to tell my guests that their cause was in great part to having such wonderful friends.
Now the only issue is what to do with all the extra party goods... Nerdy New Years anyone?