So mid last week I had a look at the facebook even to notice that 40 people had rsvp'd yes. 40 people aren't going to fit in my house!! So I started tidying the backyard area. I had a really nice paved outdoor area. It isn't covered - there's a bit of shadecloth, but it is not rain proof in the slightest and doesn't cover the whole area. But I got to raking and the sweeping the area. It was quite a job! But Phoebe, my housemate, helped a lot! So she's pretty awesome! I bought some foam to put on the benches that run around two sides of the area (really cheaply too! A very nice fellow at Clarke Rubber got me an excellent deal!). Phoebe picked up some 2nd hand sheets to put over the foam cushions so they looked better.
James' Dad let me have an old metal drum and some fire wood, and I picked up a stack more wood from a verge collection, so we had a fire-in-a-barrel to keep us warm. A couple of the men who came last night ensured the fire stayed hot and fed with wood. I bought a bunch of alcohol (more than half didn't get drunk! Lots of left overs for future parties) and chips/veg/dips.
Yesterday afternoon I spent about 3hrs making cake. It was that or spend even MORE money on buying a cake. I tried hard to replicate a Cheesecake Shop cake that we'd had once. It didn't measure up in the end, but it was still ok. Something to continue working on. I made 6 thin cakes and stacked them to make 3 cakes all up, layered with chocolate flavour cream and brushed with coffee to make it mocha. I got lots of positive feedback on the cream, so I was happy about that.
Lots of people came in the end, and seemed to have a good time. Even though it was a cold night, the fire was SO good at keeping the WHOLE area not-freezing! It wasn't the warmest place, but it was still pretty decent :D Maybe even better than those expensive standing gas heaters I looked in to. I had asked a good friend of James and myself to organise a group present and a bunch of people went in to buy him a BBQ! Just what every man needs!! He was pretty happy about it. It was just a really good night. And I'm really happy that all the work I put in paid off so that everyone had a good time, and were well fed and watered. I want to have another party in my backyard now! But I might wait until it's a bit warmer and the BBQ's set up so we can make it a dinner!
Here are some picture of the area pre-party. I neglected to take any during the night. But some good friends of mine have awesome cameras and took lots of people, so I'll steal some of them once they're up on facebook and update this post.
I should also add that I found the Martha Stewart wesbite. And even though I didn't actually take any of her advice, I was inspired none the less. :D