Vivo! (And I don’t mean the tempo marking.) | This WONDERfilled Life

It’s fall 2021, and I can’t believe we’re still in this mess of a pandemic.  That aside, our lives have sort of resumed something that looks like our life pre-COVID.  Both kids are back in in-person school, and while Super is still teaching from home my orchestral/music work is picking up steadily, though with heavy health protocols (which I am totally okay with). So we thought we’d try and get our outdoor theater up and running, if only for one night and a tiny amount of guests.  Netflix’s animated film, VIVO, came out a few weeks ago and it’s been a HIT here, but then pretty much anything LMM (Lin-Manuel Miranda) does is a hit here…ask me about my current Hamilton obsession! Annnny ways…we decided to just hold a small backyard movie night, and you know I can’t just have people over for something like that.  I have to make it an experienced even just a little one.  Given more time, I had some MAJOR plans for the backyard, which included a kids “Mambo Cubana” Club with lights and the bubble machine and a giant glow in the dark Lutador (swamp snake) that wrapped around the movie screen…but alas…re-entry to real life is hard and time management is even harder with kids in two different schools and a puppy to look after and train.  So I am learning to scale things back, and get help when I can…which means I ordered a few things from Oriental Trading Company, and managed to make one cut out, and host a really nice evening.  It was hard to scale back my ideas but I was thankful I did as I had several other projects going that week.

I wanted a “Cuban” or “Miami” nights vibe, so I grabbed some of these palm leaf placemats from Oriental Trading Company and simply taped them up and around.  I also was able to save all of them when the night was over to reused on a future party, we are throwing down in our yard when this shitstorm of a pandemic is over…you’ve been warned.  

I also grabbed these super pretty, and extremely affordable flower/leaf streamers.  I was so surprised at how easy these were.  Admittedly I did pull too hard on two of them and had to tape the ends back together but I don’t think anyone noticed and I was able to save all four strands for future use as well.  Each strand was less than $5 so a real punch of color and aesthetic for the money, HIGHLY recommend.


Originally for food I wanted to do popcorn and churros (my plan was to hit up Costco and just keep them in the oven until show time) but I didn’t really love the idea of going to Costco on a Saturday so instead we ordered pizza from the place around the corner (stimulating our local economy = win) and I grabbed some boxes of Stan’s donuts at the grocery store.  We always have ample microwave popcorn so I popped up several bags and transferred to lunch bags for ease and sanitation.  It all worked perfectly and I think we all had our fair share of what spoke to us! HA!

After the movie the kids all played and danced to the music and P used her camera to take a million pictures and selfies. 

Waiting for guests to arrive!

View from the top (aka the back porch).

They were pretty full of treats by this point!

P gettin’ down with her bad self after the end of the movie.

Vivo! In all his adorable glory.

If you remember back to my blog post, “Say HELLO to my “large” little friends”, I used to have to print the outline of the character on paper, tape that together, cut out the figure, then lay that on the cardboard to trace and then cut the cardboard…then I’d do it all again on black paper that I would glue to the cardboard for the crips, black, visual outline. That was a lot of work, so I’m happy to report a few time saving changes! I still used my Cameo to design and organize Vivo and all his parts and pieces but I leveled up this project by using my new projector to project the outline directly to my cardboard, cutting down paper waste and oodles of time! I recently got hooked on using a projector for PDF patterns and since it’s all set up I figured it would work for this as well. I used the save feature in Cameo to save as a PDF and then set my PDF display for the same percent as I have it calibrated for projecting sewing patterns. It worked like a charm and was so dang quick. Projectors for this type of work are really quite inexpensive these days and I highly recommend checking them out if you do any sort of sewing or crafting. Using the projector I was able to quickly trace the outline directly to the cardboard.  

I traced an image I found online using Silhouette Studio.

Then I worked some magic, offsetting the image for an outline, and also created two calibration squares (pictured) to make sure my sizing would end up correct.

Once I knew the calibration was correct I just set down my cardboard and traced the outline.

Cutting the cardboard doesn’t take as long as one might think.  You come up with some workable techniques pretty quick!

The second time saver idea came from Super.  When we did our alien friends for our “Spaceship Eddylow” party last fall (don’t worry blog post coming!). Super suggested we use black acrylic paint right on the cardboard and it was the best idea ever.  The paint dries super quick, so it takes way less time than cutting and taping the black backdrop to the cardboard and the characters hold up because the colored paper glues and stays better on the cardboard directly rather than on paper on cardboard.  I find the paint to be super crisp too.  This time I went so far as to paint the back and sides so it looks really clean and finished from all angles. 

I think in the end I did three light coats of paint.

I am always so excited to see how each “standie” take shape.  Vivo came out perfectly and would you believe I had everything I needed to make him in my craft studio?

I think Vivo is my best character cut out to date…though the aliens from our “Spaceship Eddylow” party last year are close second.  

Just a little sneak peak at our space party from last year…more info and how we did it coming soon!

If you could make any character for a party who would you pick? 

I have some things up my sleeve for Halloween this year…lets just say our “Trunk or Treat” should be really really “SUPER”…😉


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