[NOTE: This is part one of two related posts. The impetus for this tea table was the 2nd annual afternoon tea fundraiser]
I have always wanted to host a Alice in Wonderland tea party because the creative possibilities are endless. After rereading the book, I was convinced it was a mad but grand idea and decided to pursue it. I found inspiration in the most unlikely of places–in a recycling pile in the garage! I spied a big box that once housed a new bicycle and decided to re-purpose the box back to its former glory as a tree. This 3 ft. tall tree became the centerpiece for an Alice in Wonderland themed tea table in an upcoming tea fundraiser event.
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where –”
Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
I constructed the tree using cardboard, construction paper, paper, wire, and acrylic paint. Each side of the tree depicts a moment from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I wanted my guests to see something different no matter where they were seated at the table.
With the tree ready to go, I started setting the table itself.
Mad Hatter: “Would you like a little more tea?”
Alice: “Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.”
March Hare: “Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.”
Mad Hatter: “Yes. You can always take more than nothing.”
To pay tribute to the Queen of Hearts and her subjects, the napkins on the table were black or red and folded as one of 4 card suits: heart, diamond, spade, or club. I also scattered playing cards all over the table.
“Get to your places!” shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other; however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
The decorations on the backs of the chairs were from the Talking Tables Truly Alice party prop set. They were great for hiding imperfect bows but also added to the whimsy of the table.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, (“which certainly was not here before,” said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words DRINK ME beautifully printed on it in large letters.
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words EAT ME were beautifully marked in currants. “Well, I’ll eat it,” said Alice, “and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door: so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!”
“Twinkle twinkle, little bat
How I wonder what you’re at?
Up above the world you fly
Like a tea tray in the sky.”
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep “Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle–” and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.
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