Even though from RSVPs I had been wondering if this year might beat out 2005 for the smallest Mardi Gras, there were 24 of us letting the good times roll, including two of those under 2 years old, so a good turnout, especially considering the weather turned a bit nasty with wind & rain right at 7pm. There were very few costumes this year, only Cyd the Bar Wench, Kaye in her corset, the Barbieri family, Robin & Charles, and myself, but a few others came with some purchased masks. Everybody who came said they had a great time, so that's what counts! :)
I hadn't made the Tricolor Scrolls in many years, so I decided to try again with different purple, green & gold contents, which were a big hit! My secret new cookie idea was lifesize edible stick masks, including some iced plain white for guests to decorate for us all to vote for a prize for Best Edible Mask. I knew this would be a great kid party idea, but you never know depending on the mix of adults who might come who might be enthused or not. Well, I had more people wanting to decorate than I had space for them to work, so I think I will work the kinks out of the concept & try again next year! I did get my prize medals finished, from supplies I had bought 2 years ago or earlier, so I was glad for that!
And the winners are...
Who Got Da Baby? Ashlyn did!
Best Mask/Most Creative Mask = Robin's gorgeous beaded wire mask
Best Costume = The Bollywood Barbieris
Most Creative Costume = Charles the Frat Boy with Beads
Best Edible Mask = Cyd (perhaps sympathy votes?)
Mardi Gras Fairy Princess Britta displaying the new lifesize mask cookies
More details if you're curious...
Work was really, really busy right before the party, so I couldn't work from home on Friday, let alone take it as vacation, making me later than usual for the fresh food prep & even some decor. I had also been frustrated from struggling with the new sugar cookies from either breakage or thieving kitties, and I was determined to keep making more until I had enough remain intact & presentable for the number of guests who were coming, so that meant 3 giant batches of cookie dough & royal icing vs. one I usually make, plus that kept cutting into the time usually set for other tasks. Thank goodness I'm paying for housecleaning once a month, so that was the day before the party, and thank goodness I have a bread machine that infinitely helps with the king cake! I made a point of having my costume complete by Thursday night so hot glue, thread & fabric mess would be taken care of by the housecleaners. Since I had only 4 hours sleep the two nights before & worked all day too, I knew I couldn't stay up all night for party day, so I went to bed about 5:15am & got up just before 10am, thankful for at least that much sleep!
Since I had decorated the last of the masks about 3am and that icing had to set while I slept before I could turn them face down, I was still icing the breadsticks to the back of the masks first thing Saturday, hoping they would set by party time, the continued with other fresh food prep & final decorating. Since I didn't have the whole previous day to prep food, there was way too much still to do before party time. I had the patio set up for food, but with the blustery wind & rain that descended just before party time as I was setting out food, I ended up with not enough table space for the food I had ready, let alone any fruit or veggies, so those never even got cut or arranged, let alone set out. I was planning on moving the webcam from the aerial kitchen/dining view out to the patio like for Halloween, but right as I was going to do that the storm hit, so I'm glad I hadn't moved it yet & left it inside. I didn't realize until this year that Mardi Gras has the most oven use immediately before party time! Sheesh! With heating the creole chicken skewers, spinach balls (in the chafing dish this year) & tricolor scrolls in addition to the pastry brie, I was not in the mood to heat crab puffs later on, and no one commented so I think there was plenty of other food, even without the fruit & veggies. The patio bar was still where the punch & hurricanes were, but it was too chilly to leave the patio doors open, and I was running the tiny portable patio heater to keep the chill away. Tracia, Doug & Ashlyn came at 6pm to get their costumes on while I did the same so I was actually dressed pretty much by party start time, just not all the food ready. The next guests were Louie, Benjamin & MJ, then the stream of guests kept coming.
My poor edible masks were already fragile, and then with the ambient moisture from the storm, that made them even worse! I was keeping them on baking trays in the office with the door closed to be away from kitties as well as guests, and I was waiting until the second wave of guests coming after a concert before revealing them, which also gave them the longest time for the royal icing to set for the sticks. My idea of having the masks stand up in vases on their sticks I could tell was not trustworthy in the weather, and only 7-10 would fit safely on a large gold plate, so I brought out a plate of decorated and a plate of plain, and kept bringing more out when the plates were empty, but we only went through a couple plates, so I have leftovers of the decorated ones. Some feedback was more plain for guests to decorate & less pre-decorated by me, but that's part of the fun part for me! We'll see how I improve this whole idea for next year. I already know I must roll out the dough much much thicker than even my 2nd & 3rd batches this year, but even for thick cookies, the ambient moisture makes them bendy instead of crispy, and at that point it's a lost cause...the broken pieces are just as tasty, and many times people will eat the broken pieces but won't touch the intact ones since they're "too pretty"...heh!
Some guests left before voting or even king cake, then I insisted the king cake be served before the next wave tried to leave! As has been the joke ever since voting ballots went completely missing at the Year 6 at Hogwarts party, I was collecting completed ballots in my cleavage...which has the extra benefit of enticing some of the guys to vote...gee, I wonder why? Finally the voting results were announced, and since there weren't many costumes or masks, there wasn't much competition. :) Guests started leaving then, and before midnight the party was over, early compared to some years. After the last guest left, we had power flicker out for a couple minutes even because it was so windy! Glad it came back on quicker than I could have found any candles. Since Ashlyn was sleeping on the couch, I couldn't get all the dishes done, but I did get a full dishwasher load running, with her permission since she sleeps with her headphones on anyway. ;) My intent was to be cleaned up enough to make waffles in the morning, and I made it! It was Brittahytta Bed & Breakfast with homemade waffles by me, poached eggs by Doug, with some of the fruit that wasn't ever served at the party. I let them try Teje's Norwegian spruce syrup, and they liked it so much I'm left with only a tiny trickle now!
I had to get everything cleaned up from the party & back to normal before Thursday when my parents were arriving with an extra person for Stitches West & project weekend...whew! But that's another story...Until then, you can see all the Mardi Gras 2009 photos in this album...