Alice in WonderLand 3… or Tea for 4?

Alice in Wonderland Prince Street Players part 3.

Tea for 3 not 4.

I think this was my favorite scene from the whole play.  It was cute, funny and had another catchy tune that was stuck in my head. Since we had the WonderLand backdrop for this scene it was rather easy to complete.  We worked on the boxes during backdrop paint drying time.  If you remember little A in the last post, her legs were black paint all over from painting the boxes black so we could make mushrooms on them.  I could paint these while nursing PS. So I painted most of the mushrooms on the boxes, I felt like I was being productive while being stuck sitting.

Mad Hatters Tea Party

10382852_10203697018998910_6886745696907673306_nHere is the completed scene.  Again these were taken during dress rehearsal so it was darker than normal.IMG_1994Our Tea Cart
Early in or set work I asked maintenance for a cart to use while we worked on stage.
As we started talking about this scene we realized we did not have to “build” a cart out of cardboard as we had done in the past, rather we could paint the one we had and use it.
We tried using a paint brush but it looked terrible.  Someone suggested using spray paint, it worked like a charm.
The problem with using spray paint at school, is school.  We could not spray on stage, and we would have to time our spraying outside to class time when no one would be in the halls outside breathing in the fumes.  The day we painted was drizzly and wet and rainy…  We had to paint in an outside hallway, between the band room and the choir room.  Not a problem, we flipped over the outside rugs and put the cart on them KS and AV were armed with spray paint while A held a cardboard panel for overspray and I held another one fanning fumes and spray.  The only problem we encountered, was the all state band competition for our area was being held at our school the next day and someone was going to drop off some very expensive procession instruments…  while we were painting, with white fumes floating in the air.  My long time readers know I easily get the giggles, so while we were fanning and laughing, I was giggling.  The band director came out to meet the instrument delivery and asked us to stop painting so they could safely move in the brass instruments.  We were fanning like crazy and giggling while trying to get the white paint fumes to go away before they brought the expensive instruments past out project area.  .  After the instruments were safely loaded into the band room we resumed painting and laughing.  Later the band teacher came to me laughing, one of the students who was helping asked him “do you think they are high on fumes?”  Oh dear!  Nothing like a student thinking the principals wife was high.  For the record, nope I was not, I just get the giggles.  Days later you could still see a trace of white overspray on the ground just at the edge of the rugs.

The tea party stuff on the cart.IMG_1993The bunt cake pan was hot glued to a red plate for a nice little cake.  We contemplated putting sprinkles or something on the cake but decided the distance to see the cake would not make sprinkles worth our effort.10735977_10205759741259010_563234311_nPlaster of paris cupcakes 10743718_10205759736058880_1855870368_nJust big enough to look like cupcakes from the audience.10744497_10205759741219009_744677742_nI used the giant cupcake pan that you can find at most baking stores.  Each cupcake took a whole container of plaster of paris.  Because it took so much  P or P it took a while to dry.  Thankfully I started the cupcakes before we began working on stage so they had plenty of time to dry before we painted them.IMG_2003See the giant cupcake in pink and green?  You will need a P of P glue since hot glue does NOT work on P of P.
Do you see our giant tea cups.  I found those at Wal-mart.  They were perfect.  The ‘milk’ pitcher was picked up at goodwill, it was painted nicely but in navy and rose colors,  I took the paint of the cupcakes and slapped it on there, not perfect but again from the audience no one could tell.IMG_1990Lemons
mini footballs spray painted then brush painted, cut in half and seeds added.IMG_1992Sugar cubes.
Styrofoam cut into squares painted white to keep from crumbling with use we liberally sprinkled with glitter.IMG_1991Silver spoons.
Plastic spoon pack from the dollar store spray painted silverIMG_2001One more picture of the cart.
The wheels were made by AV and the kids knocked them off relentlessly.
In their defense they stuck out and it was dark back stage.
They are made from card board and hot glued on.IMG_1998Mushroom seats
Years and years ago maintenance made us about a dozen wooden boxes in different heights.  We have used them for almost every musical since they made the boxes.  Painted flat black they disappear when on stage.  The mushrooms were drawn and painted on in the same colors and the mushrooms in wonderland.IMG_1999The table top was 2 large sheets of styrofoam and a thin piece of plywood glued together.  We topped it with more of the indoor outdoor carpet.10710671_10203697019118913_4969005046107792005_nHere it is all together.
{you might notice the red watering can, it was supposed to be the tea-pot but it was very distracting during dress rehearsal so we removed it.
{which is why they have dress rehearsal}

The nice thing about the mushroom seats was the stability so as the kids danced around the table they stepped up and down on the boxes giving great visuals.

Only 2 more parts of Alice to post about.  This set was so fun to work on.  The colors were great and the pieces were large and easy to make.

Are you getting tired of seeing these posts?  If so then skip the next 2 posts on Alice.  Come back to see the fun we will be having this weekend.  I can’t wait!  One of  blog friends, Christine from  Chicken Coop  is bringing her son Cuckoo down for “his trip” we plan on going trick or treating 2 times,  he really wants to collect more candy than his 5 other siblings.  We will also go to a hunt gators and other wild life, a tale gate party and a football game and the beach.  After that they will hit up some things on their own.  I can’t wait.  Christine has been a great sounding board and a dear friend who has prayed for my scary pregnancy with PS and prayed during her extended hospital stay.  We have never met in real life, more like blogging pen pals.  C thinks it is funny I can have a friend that I never met, but we tease him for having a friend he met in the pop aisle at a grocery store in Mi.

What about you, did you have a penal growing up?

Go hug your kids, they need your love!


Alice in WonderLand 3

Alice in WonderLand Prince Street Players version part 3

10706465_10205494598670611_1526445077_nAs promised today I will show you WonderLand.  The day AV {my right hand woman} and I put the design onto the drop cloth to paint we were like 2 giddy school girls.  I think we might have been giggling we were so excited.  It turned out even better than I imagined!  We had an idea for inspiration put our spin on it.

We used drop cloths cut to size that could be attached to the original back drop, this way the entire stage floor was empty, no slide were brought in, nothing to take up space, while in some scenes the stage only had 2 or 3 people, later in the same scene 15 or more people would come on for a group song,  They needed every foot of space they could squeeze out of us.

WonderLand974414_10205759720738497_1718598725_nWe Love it!
Check out the baby in the play pen.
She was not a huge fan of the pen…
You can see the Hall of Doors back drop drying on the ground before the key holes were painted on.10728885_10205759730258735_934980426_nWe used sharpies to draw it on the canvas, then we used letter clues to know what to paint what color. 10743837_10205759730218734_734988082_nThe steps in Wonderland were lined up with the steps in the original garden scene.10743532_10205759730138732_975193703_nThe day we started painting we really only had 30 minutes before AV had to leave, I think we kept going for an hour, we just did not want to stop.  We were giggling and kept exclaiming how great it was!10362626_10205759730298736_810844292_nEven in the early stages we were in love!10726391_10205759730178733_1883282189_nOur little painted helper.
She was painting the black stage boxes while we were working on wonderland.10744493_10205759720618494_2094606494_nIsn’t it wonderful!?!?!

Here is the wonderland backdrop during dress rehearsal.
{all the stage lights were not on so it is not as vivid during dress rehearsal}1619453_10203697015558824_5098320998996800780_nThe caterpillar and butterfly scene10421196_10203697015958834_5372998337736772330_nOh my goodness one of my favorite was the duchess song.  It stuck in my mind and was a fun part to watch. 10440805_10203697016358844_5647806401170199703_nThe song was so stuck in my head but I did not know the words or even where it came from the first day I heard it, that evening was humming the song with completely different words, until I heard the kids outside playing and someone started crying… Then I remembered where I heard the song.1912013_10203697017158864_3091210500636834197_nThis was the hard part, Alice went from being alone in Wonderland, to dancing with a butterfly and caterpillar to the duchess scene, then a music show, to having the entire wonderland group dancing on stage, complete with doors and a girl in a tree costume.  At moments it was empty but other times it was filled with people.  We found lots of great props and ideas online, we just did not have the space to get it all on stage.

Only a few more posts on WonderLand I don’t know if that makes you happy or relieved…  We really had so much fun working on the set, I miss the friendships we had on stage.

Go hug your kids they need your love

P.S.  Thanks again to AV for the pictures.
{I enlarged them, trying to see if I can make them bigger and not blurry}

Alice in WonderLand 2

Alice In Wonderland the Prince Street Players, part 2

I know you have been anxiously checking and waiting for part 2 of my Alice in Wonderland posts.   I had great intentions of putting it all out in a week, but, well, life got in the way.  And as much as I like/love blogging…  my family is first. I think you already knew that.

All totaled we gave  570 man, or actually woman, hours {we had 1 dad show up} in this musical set.  I showed the opening scene in an earlier post, so now lets take a look at the transition from English garden to Wonderland.10291072_10203697012318743_3092788894363732037_nIn order to keep the musical going, not to have dead times during scene changes we kept the music going, which meant we needed to provide a place in front of the curtain for a small part to happen while the stagehands quickly changed things around.
As the song ended in the garden the White Rabbit came forward singing about being LATE…
Alice walked forward singing and talking to the white rabbit.
The curtains closed the 2 backstage guys slid out our sign and the rabbit hole.  Which was made from 2 wooden boxes wrapped in nasty pillows and covered in one same indoor-outdoor carpet we used for the grass on the trees.
White rabbit and Alice climbed up onto the rabbit hole and sang about going down, down, down the hole.  There were 5 “dirt and roots” guys who danced and swayed around them as they dropped.1902921_10203697012638751_4016742236227411982_nThe curtain opened at the end of the song to the Hall Of Doors

The following are pictures and some information of the making of this scene.10728563_10205759736178883_1060959819_nThe backdrop
We laid out our painters canvas, started with a medium blue on the center oval, and progressively got darker the farther out we went. 974414_10205759720698496_472195011_nThe back drop drying {once dry we attached it to the back drop to the original garden wooden back drop, they are screwed on so during the scene change the stage hands simply tossed over the new back drop)

After we painted the blue ovals we took 2 different sized Key Holes made from cardboard, drew them on and filled them in.  We contemplated making neat and tidy rows, but decided that was going to take so much work to *fingers crossed* make it even.  We felt the chaos and non uniformity fit the scene better anyway.  This backdrop was stressful to AV she was having a hard time seeing the final picture.  After we completed it she was relieved, she had decided if it did not look good, she was just going to walk out during these scenes.10734111_10203697012798755_7737655694188007798_nDoesn’t it look great?10176256_10203697012838756_1946781811803049707_nAs Alice ate or drank from the table the  doors and table would grow or shrink.
The table is thick styrofoam with a thin piece of plywood for strength and a wooden dowel is attached to it, we also cut a hole into the top of the table to balance the DRINK ME bottle while she walked.  After dress rehearsal we changed up the plastic dark blue table-cloth for the same shimmery blue as the sea of tears and the doors.  The table-cloth also was a ‘hi-low’  we put a tap light under the table to light up the girl and then the fabric caught the light and would shimmer, much better than the table-cloth we started with.IMG_1989The doors grew just like thisIMG_1988Tall doors she could not open.IMG_2011The doors were made from styrofoam, backed with super thin plywood to attach the fabric panels.IMG_2010A little over 36 inches wide, with dowels glues into the bottom.
FYI you must use glue specifically for styrofoam, or it melts.10343488_10203697015038811_2430062397931049974_nAs Alice began to cry 4 “tear holders” came out and waved a sea of tears for Alice, the french mouse and 3 birds to swim, sing and dance.  As they danced they moved forward.  When they landed the curtains closed for another quick scene change, again in interest of time and maintaining the viewer’s attention, the “caucus race” was held in front of the curtain while the stage hands changed backgrounds.

My next post on wonderland is in wonderland.  Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.  This time we have made the set pieces available for purchase.  Please contact me via the blog and we can talk about pricing if you are interested.

Do you ever get started on a project and begin to dread and hate it only to have it turn out perfectly like you visioned? Do you keep going or quit and trash the whole thing?

Go hug your kids, they need your love.

p.s. photos were again taken by AV {As seen holding the doors}

I Need Both My Arms and Hands

IMG_2113I know there are people with only 1 arm, or only 1 working arm.  They have adapted, they can do many things one-handed.  My grandfather had an arm with no hand and no arm.  He was in a terrible car vs train accident.  Ironic thing, after the accident he has a great driving record.  But this post is not about my grandfather and his lack of arm, nope it is about me.  Oh sure I have 2 arms and they both work just fine… most of the time.  But PS is a bit of a fussy girl, she likes to be touching me, as long as we are touching there is no crying.  She has a short, very short list of people who make her happy when I cannot hold her, if you are on that list, feel special, the girl is not even a fan of most of the family…  bless her heart.  Don’t get me wrong I would not trade her or my time with her for anything in the world, but I would like to accomplish things without waiting for R, her other favorite person to get home from school so he can hold her while I get things done…

Today I realized the things I cannot do with only one arm…

I cannot wash my hair with one hand, because I cannot get shampoo out of the bottle wrestling it away from a slippery wet baby, while I have water dripping in my eyes.

I cannot change the propane tank for the grill with one hand, since I could not do that I could not grill up the chicken for dinner, not that I would attempt to stand near fire with the baby.  I would let her cry it out for that one.IMG_2116

I cannot fold laundry with one arm holding the baby back and the other refolding things that my little helper has folded.

I cannot make her baby food (again not planning on standing near a heat source with a baby…)

I cannot wash dishes.IMG_2117

I cannot sew.

I cannot craft.

I cannot get the mail or packages into the house.

I cannot open the packages I kicked into the house because I was wrestling my keys away from the baby.

I cannot repack the packages to hide them.

I cannot make lunches.IMG_2121

I cannot dust…  Check out the dust spots on my mirror.

I cannot paint in R’s room.

I cannot sweep.

I cannot wash the floors.

I cannot empty the dishwasher.

I cannot go to the bathroom.

I cannot fix dinner.

IMG_2127I cannot take pictures with out PS trying to eat the camera cover.

I cannot help the girls wash their hair.

I cannot brush the little girls hair after their showers.

Clearly there is a long list of things I cannot do…

What about you.  How much can you do effectively with only 1 hand or arm?

I can read books to the girls.

I can color.

I can play doll house, and puzzles, and games.

I can play on the computer, on Facebook and Pinterest.

I can visit with friends.

I can enjoy lunch at Chick-Fil-A.

I can listen to my boys talk on the phone together.

I can listen to J play his trumpet and tell me about his day.

I can listen to O share her stories at dinner time.

I can listen to E tell me about her day.

I can sign assignment tablets and run over math facts.

There is so much I can do one-handed I need to remind myself of that often.

One day I won’t have a baby to hold, one day I will have use of both my arms because she will be an independent toddler, until then I just remind myself that the minutes are long but the time is short and before I know it we will be packing her off for college.

The nights are long too, since PS decided that crying most of the night was a better option then sleeping.  I tried every trick I have…  no idea why she wanted to scream and cry all night.  We survived but I am sure Keith is tired today, I know I am.  No fever, no poops, no new teeth, the only difference is we introduced food, maybe that is the problem?  All I know is I plan on napping today!

Go hug your kids, tell someone how important they are, and be thankful that you can use both arms and hands, I’m planning out my nap already.

Alice In WonderLand 1

I’m back into the blog world, it was a Mad-Mad World out there, but I’m back.

I was busy working on the set for Alice in Wonderland, we had a lot of fun but it was a ton of work.  Seriously so much work.  The girls were troopers and as frustrating as it was to have PS cry while I was working, plenty of the moms who came to paint were glad to hold her, and snuggle with her.  So considering she was only 8 months when I got started she did great!  Little A loves going up to work, that might be in part because the lunch ladies spoil her!   She also had some friends her age to play with and she had plenty of adults to talk to.

If you will remember way back to last October, I worked on the set with 2 great leaders and a great work crew as we painted and hammered and glued and painted and painted and painted the set for Peter Pan.  Then, in February, I worked with AV and together we did the set for Don’t Take My Penny.  We work great together, feeding off each other for creativity, ideas, practicality, and time management.  We have a lot of laughs and some really great talks.

This summer I did not have any of my kids make the cuts and get a role in the musical.  Alice In WonderLand.  I only had 1 try out, she was very sad she did not make it, and honestly I cried when I learned she was not going to be in the musical.  It would be my first year in 10 years to not be going to all 4 showings and spending time working towards the final goal.  {I was sitting in the hospital with PS and her RSV when Keith texted me.  He tried to cheer me up, but I was still sad.  I think all parents are sad when their children’s dreams are not coming true}  As summer wore on Keith requested that I not help out on the set, not a problem I had a needy baby, she really is only happiest if we are touching, and I have only a few months left with little A before she joins the school group, I was going to enjoy not working on the set.  I needed a break. {I thought}

We returned home from dropping the man-child off at that great University in KY.  {The one, that is taking my boy and turning him into a man…that University?} As I was saying, We returned on Thursday evening, to bed they all went, we had our own first day of school on Friday.  Two days late, but our first day.  As I was leaving kids, hugging, kissing, and taking that last teacher-student picture I ran into a friend, and my father in law.  She asked when I was going to start working on the set for Alice.  I laughed as said I was not going to be working on the set, my father in law said he was not going to be helping either.  No one had contacted him over the summer with building plans since school had started up he would not be doing any builds.  I left school with the 2 girlies, and went home, I used to shop the first day of school but because of E and her health issues I stay home those first few days and shop at a later date once I know she is settled.  Relaxing at home, laying in bed we were snuggling, reading books and watching TV when Keith called me.  “The guy who normally designs the sets for the musicals cannot do it this year TE wants to know if you’d be willing to be head set designer?”  I was a bit shocked and honestly surprised.  I was even more surprised when I got excited with the request.  I agreed and realized that being designer was going to be a lot of work.  I decided I needed a goal.  I made 2 goals.  The first was to be completely finished by dress rehersal day.  {something we have never been able to do before}  The second thing was to be sure to make it fun.  No stress just fun.  I did a lot of pinterest looking and read the script.  By the time I met up with AV, my right hand, we had a pretty good idea of where we were going.

Alice In Wonderland
Prince Street Players version

IMG_1979I hung up our list of projects, backgrounds and prop lists.  In hopes that if I could not be at work, then others would see what was left to do and work on it.IMG_1980It gave a sense of accomplishment to mark things off the lists.
{Each piece of paper had prop pieces and backgrounds needed for each scene, and I put everything down for each scene, crossing things off each day was motivating, and we knew when we were coming to the end, also, I could not forget something if it was written down.}

Do you want to see what we accomplished in the month of September?  If not, then skip to the end but if you are interested, continue on.  We will start with the opening scene.  It called for an English garden.  We went with a more back of the garden, wild garden, then manicured Secret Garden style garden.  I sent out a volunteer email to the parents who said they wanted to help.  I also put a call out on Facebook and had friends show up to help, two, who did not even have a child involved in the musical.  I had 2 who claimed to not be creative but could paint straight lines.  In total I had 7 adults, 3 4year olds, and a baby.  We did it.  Here are pictures of the progress and musical.  I stole most of the pictures from AV.  All the group pictures were taken during dress rehearsal.  Her camera skills are much better than mine!  1377025_10203697012198740_1702855843363837512_nThis is the final result.10660990_10205341665007365_1662014708_nStarting at the left edge10653960_10205341664847361_164078459_nRight side.  {The mom who painted the shading on the gate door said “please don’t tell me if you have to change and fix it…  We did not have to change it, just added some vines and hinges.}10567909_10205341664887362_290359782_nThe complete background without the large floating tree/mushrooms.
{See the little bunny?  Little A painted it, up close it is kind of messy but from far away it is not, and there were so many kids on stage during that scene that it was not noticeable}10744577_10205759720658495_1849677270_nThe floating trees.
We had a wonderful man donate 2 UHaul truck loads of stage styrofoam to the school we only had to pick it up, it was hot and a lot of work.  We used the pillars to make tree trunks, maintenance was so kind to go with my creative ideas, making the donated styrofoam into trees, they shaved the squared pillars to a rounded shape for trunks.  The top of the tree is styrofoam that fit into the pillars like puzzle pieces.  I thought it would be okay but soon was convinced that topping them in painted painters canvas would be better and they were right!  We painted the canvas half mushroom red and half green then after we attached it we made the red and green into mushrooms and trees.  I found some indoor-outdoor carpet to make our grass for the base of our trees.  10728993_10205759716658395_1628212839_nThe single tree/mushroom is on casters since they pulled it forward while Alice was sitting on a tree stump singing.
Before shading, and grass.IMG_1997Alice’s tree and stump.  We used ropes to pull them around.
After shading and grass.10743536_10205759713178308_256231167_nThe opening scene, {this was before AV painted the back wall behind the garden a new fresh coat of flat black.1377025_10203697012198740_1702855843363837512_nSee how the girls are moving the tree while she reads?

The garden wall is on thin wood nice plywood style wood.  Super smooth and so much nicer to work on than the cardboard walls that we had used too many times, warped and textured…  Thanks to my FIL for making them for us!

What about you how do you feel about the musical Alice in Wonderland?  Did you read the book, love the movie or even act in it?

Go hug your kids, life moves too fast and we don’t know how long we have to share our love!

Stay tuned for more parts in the next few days…