Updated: Oct 24, 2018
Our book this week is Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and we love it because it is such a great story and has such an adaptable theme. If you read it for a book club, you’ll spend hours discussing its allegorical qualities, but it is so visual and present in everyone’s consciousness because of its many guises.
How is it so adaptable?
Well, you can switch it up for an adult/teen/children’s party – that’s how flexible it is!
A very good friend of ours once put on such a spectacular Alice in Wonderland part that you had to get into the marquee by travelling down a slide from the simulated rabbit hole in an upstairs window!
Not quite in that league (but aspirational) is the Alice in Wonderland MollyMac table. Hopefully this is a table you can put together quite quickly and it will still wow your friends with your creative genius. Maybe not the party-guru- You in?
OK, then – here’s how:
First of all, you need to read and understand your book and finish it in good time to plan the food and table decoration.
There’s been plenty of times we’ve been reading the book five minutes before we get to the club – so do as we say, not as we do! – we’re sure you’re bound to be more organized than us! With this book though it is very likely you know that Alice in Wonderland was published in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the name Lewis Carroll and is the story of Alice who falls through a rabbit hole and into a fantasy world of nonsensical characters and fantastical events that have had an enormous effect on our popular culture.
For our table we concentrated on the croquet game that Alice plays with the Queen of Hearts, but we could not help ourselves from throwing in a few other iconic objects from the story. I am sure you know the chapter where the tyrannical Queen of Hearts orders Alice to play the game using live flamingos as mallets and hedgehogs as balls - chaos ensues!
The playing card guards and gardeners do their best, but the Queen’s threats of “Off with their heads” is eventually directed at the Cheshire Cat and he/she/it disappears leaving only he/she/its head visible – so it cannot be done!
friend–of-mine I was just talking about, but us mere mortals
What holds us back?
As always we are bursting with creativity and ideas and know it is an idea that could run and run, but we are time-poor (as most of us are) and want to be able to put the table together in a few hours.
Where to start?
It was easy to add our first items - the Flamingo table runner and napkins are the base these gave our scene a grounding that really helped with the overall design and structured the setting.
We found some card and drew a few iconic images that were easy to wrort. We chose:
The Pocket Watch, which is not from the chapter, but too iconic not to include somewhere – and as I had a white (well, silver) rabbit hanging around, it seemed in keeping.
Some keys – it is after falling down the rabbit hole that Alice finds a bottle of liquid labelled ‘Drink Me’ and a key to open the door to get into Wonderland.
Croquet hoops – these are made of the playing card gardeners and we made them out of card by drawing them with a thick marker which you can see here:
Red and white roses in decoration – in the book the gardeners are painting the white roses red which was a good excuse to buy some red and white roses and create a table decoration. We did consider making some of the white roses a little red by dripping them with red food colouring, but we did not have any in-house! You might be more blessed, of course!
Cake stand – You may have a cake stand handy, but because we could not create an Alice in Wonderland table without elements of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, we had to make our own.
We built ours by balancing a plate, then a teapot, a smaller plate, a bowl, a smaller plate and then added a little rabbit. We made sure we used a little fixative (many different kinds are available) to keep things in place, but it was not indestructible so we would probably buy or borrow a cake stand if our party was for young children - or use plastic cups and plates and be more conscious about what happen if it did fall over!
Hopefully you can see what we mean here:
We used the cake stand for the cakes and jam tarts as you can see.
We also made some labels saying ‘Drink Me’, ‘Eat Me’, etc, and some arrows saying ‘Over There’ ‘and This Way’, to add to the design + a pack of playing cards is a must!
There are so many ways to create themed cakes, biscuits, etc, if you are a keen cook you could have lots of fun. I found some great ideas on Pinterest - chequerboard sandwiches with brown and white bread, cakes with tiny hearts and crowns, and biscuits to look like playing cards.
The Cheshire Cat
We concentrated our time and efforts on the Cheshire Cat – so iconic - and was made out of fruit and vegetables that was surprisingly easy to do.
We found some images of the cat in the book we had, but there are lots online. We chopped up carrots in circles and the celery quite finely to use for the ears and whiskers. The tail was made out of cucumber, also cut in circles – once we had the head and tail, it was east to fill in the stripes of the cat’s body. We were confined by the size of the board we wanted the cat to sit on and we did think having a size to fit the cat in worked well. You could make your own shape or copy ours. We used feta cut into triangles for the (cheesy – lol!) grin.
And there he is disappearing after the shoot – some cheeky family members could not resist a bite of carrot and raw pepper!
We also made caterpillars, snails and bugs – these were inspired by – ones I found on a Pinterest post by:
We learned after we made a few that it is important to flatten the bottom of the celery by cutting it flat and we used soft cheese to fill the celery and stand the fruit or vegetable pieces in. You could use peanut butter – any edible foodstuff would do. We used cocktail sticks as my party was for adults, but you would need to be careful if you were creating them for very young children.
Hedgehog ball – to represent the hedgehog ball, we used small skewers for fruit and veg stuck into an orange and it made a good healthy centrepiece. It occurred to us afterwards that a pear would have been a better fruit to use as the base of the hedgehog so it had a little nose – ah – the search for perfection: a MollyMac trait!
Of course, we also added a few bits we had lying about – as will you - and a candelabra – there’s never enough of them - for height.
When the table was complete, it looked really great. It was easy to see it was about Alice in Wonderland and we had loads of fun doing it…
We hope you have a go too. If you do, drop us a line – send us a pic – or both – the best will receive a gift sent with love from MollyMac!
Until the next time…
We really hope you like the result – our table was created with a Tickled Pink Flamingo table runner and napkins – you can buy our table set on special offer here:
If you would like MollyMac to create a table for your book suggestion, please DM message or email us and we will do a ‘table dressing’ for your favourite book or book club!