Last week's party was a success. I think what made it a success was Eustacia's happiness level, and she was pleased. Not all of her friends could make it, and those who did could only stay for a few minutes because they had a steel band concert to perform, but she was still a happy graduate.
When you invite practically everyone you know and don't require an RSVP, you can only guess how many people will show up, and you can only guess how much they will eat, so I tend to over plan. I over planned on the food and the punch and plates and forks and napkins. I over planned so much I could have given another party the next day with all the leftovers. I didn't, of course, because no one was left to invite, but were I to suddenly meet 50 to 75 strangers, I could have fed them all and offered them a glass of punch.
First, the cake. I ordered it from a local baker who works out of her kitchen. She's a sweetheart, and she produced a lovely treat.
Second, the flowers. My sister flew here from Georgia along with my mother, and she arranged some lovely flowers in very creative ways. Here is just one example, using an apple and a test tube as the vase. She also carved small watermelons into vases and created some beautiful bouquets that were set here and there.
Third, the centerpieces. We made these fun little candles with layered sand in glass jars for all of the tables. Unfortunately the wind kept us from lighting them.
Fourth, the buffet. At Eustacia's request, we served tea sandwiches—goat cheese and cucumber, roast beef and blue cheese, ham salad, and herbed cream cheese with smoked salmon. We also served shrimp in olive oil and lime juice, fruit salad with a creamy ginger dip, and sausage rolls. Beside the cake on the dessert buffet were lime cookies and tiny tarts, some filled with lime custard and some with chocolate mousse. The punch was a wonderful concoction put together by my friend Carolyn right before she moved away. The base can be kept frozen for weeks and then mixed with ginger ale. Yummy.
Fifth, the shrine. We decorated two display boards with photos and things representing my daughter's childhood years—baby pictures, childhood pictures, high school pictures from band and tennis, and photos from trips she has taken with groups like People to People. And as is now the custom here, we ran a slide show on a computer with various other photos. Here is one of the boards.
Finally, here is Eustacia (left) and her older sister (right, No. 1 until another name comes to mind) enjoying the sun on party day.