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~A Rustic yet Elegant, Cowgirl Party~

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I'm going to step away from Christmas today (gasp!!! I know!!!) and do a little "throw back Thursday" post today.

So I would like to welcome you to my daughter's 8th Birthday party!

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My little girl loves horses and knew she would begin riding lessons this year, turning 8.  She wanted to have a pony party to celebrate. I wanted to throw a fabulous party, but like usual, have a budget.  I knew the cost of the ponies alone would just about set me over the edge, so I got my creative juices flowing!

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Preptime

This picture here shows my staging area!  I spent quite a few weeks ahead of the party scavenging for party items, rustic elements, and anything I would be able to use in the décor.  I even posted a request on facebook to see if anyone had some items I just wasn't sure where to purchase.  Items like the picket fence pieces, an old milk can, or anything from an old farm!  I was pleasantly surprised that many people had these items lying around and were willing to let me have them or borrow them for the party... for free!  It's always worth the ask. I also started shopping the local thrift stores, Good Will and the like for other things I might be able to use.  I collected and stored things in my garage until the big day!  I was lucky enough to be able to borrow tables and chairs from my church.  Since the party was to be outside, I didn't have enough seating for 12 little girls and their mommies!

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Right off of my drive way, I created a "path" with these pink and white painted horseshoes to lead the way to the festivities.  The guests passed by one of the picket fence pieces with a hand made welcome pennant.  I created the banner using my Cricut cutting machine.  The horseshoes were spray painted onto the grass with a template I made out of a large cardboard box.  You can see the template on the floor in the garage picture.  Later in the afternoon, the lovely lady who brought the ponies wanted my template, so I dug it out of the trash can for her!

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Here is a photo of the ring toss game I made by collecting and reusing brown, glass bottles.  I attached them to a heavy piece of cardboard covered in pretty wrapping paper with hot glue.  I did have to order the plastic rings on-line, but this final result was an amazingly cheap game to entertain our guests!

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The pink cow girl hats were hung on the other piece of picket fencing and made an adorable backdrop.  The girls also loved picking one to wear before it was their turn to ride the ponies!

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The tables and chairs were nothing fancy on their own, so I dressed them up with pink table cloths, tulle bows and name tags.  More brown, glass bottles were added as centerpieces, filled with a lovely baby's breath like flower that grows in a filed near our house.  The first table was set for eating and the second was set with simple coloring pages, a horse craft and crayons.  I left this open for the girls to use while they waited in line to ride the ponies later!

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Down the center of the table was a burlap table runner.  Each guest had a place setting that contained a brown or gold charger layered with a pink plate, then a brown polka dot plate.  Topped with a mason jar and a pretty paper straw.  We also later added adorable chocolate, cowgirl suckers, but it was so hot we didn't want them to melt!

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Here is the food table set up.  Again with the heat, no food is out yet.  I layered different size tables, wooden chests and crates and added the milk can and urn filled with flowers.

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I drug my DIY chalkboard from my dining room outside and used pink chalk to write a sweet bible verse to my daughter.  1 Peter 3:3

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Out comes some of the food!  We served snacks and not a full meal.  I decided on a chex mix "bar" so to speak.  The bowls on the table were filled with popcorn, pretzels, corn chex, peanuts and chocolate candies for the guest to create their own snack mix.  I used brown paper bags, cut in half and stamped with a horse, for the party goers to fill, with their mix.  The crate on the table held birthday cards and another banner I made with my Cricut spelling the birthday girl's name hung on the front.  The pink frame has some photos of Sophia riding at the barn for the first time!

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The little plastic containers are each filled with pink cotton candy, YUM!  I created paper labels that say, "You are what you eat" to dress up the plain plastic lids!

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I used little boxes and vases in clear as well as milk glass to hold other sweets like pink suckers and shiny gumballs. These were a hit with the little girls!

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These cupcake stands are actually 2 old wooden candelabras that I found at the Good Will.  I painted them off white and distressed them a bit.  I think they make these store bought cupcakes - hey we can't all be good at everything ;-) - look pretty special!

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Ahhhhhh, the cake!  As I hinted at earlier, (the reason for my store bought cupcakes) I can't bake!  I enlisted the help of my BFF who happens to be pretty fabulous at cake making, and she created this!  It tasted as good as it looked!  I topped the caked with another miniature pennant made on my cricut and a small horse figurine spray painted gold.  I placed it on top of a cake stand and stood it in front of the mirror!  The mirror was also a drab, brown find from the Good Will.  A new coat of paint and little sandpaper was all she needed!  A pink, painted "S", pink spray painted cowgirl boots, more sweets and flowers complete the table.

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Moving on to the drink table!  I made the pink sign with the birthday girl's name spelled in rope.  It was a fairly simple DIY. I painted an old plywood board we had laying in the garage with pink spray paint and used hot glue to attach the rope that spells "Sophia".

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I used mason jars with colorful paper straws for beverages for the kiddos.  I found this lovely beverage serving set at the Good Will and thought it was perfect for sweet tea for the mommies!

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Our guests look as though they are enjoying the food!  There is the sweaty, (did I mention it was H O T!?) birthday girl, stopping for a smile before biting into that chocolate covered marshmallow!

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After eating we played some fun, old fashioned games like bobbing for apples!

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And even the littlest guests like the ring toss game!

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The moment they were all waiting for... the ponies had arrived!

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These boys were as sweet as could be!

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The birthday girl and I posed for a picture at the "photo booth"!  I set up a photo back drop of sorts using table cloths and wrapping paper cut into strips to hang behind the area.  I placed the painted white, steamer trunk in front for a good place to sit.  There were some fun paper photo props to use and Sophia took turns with each of the guests having silly pictures taken!

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Here is one of her and "Sage" with their matching, glitter, horse t shirts I made for them!

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All in all I believe everyone had a great time.  I have about 100 more photos I could share with you but I think I'll quit while I'm ahead!

I love creating pretty, creative, memorable and fun parties for my kids and I hope you maybe picked up a few ideas to use in your next party planning adventure!

As always, I love to hear from you!  Please leave your comments or feedback below!  What was your favorite part of the party?

MySignature!

 

~Think Outside the Box ~ Presents and their Presentation!~

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With only 14 days left until Christmas, I thought a post on wrapping and a few gift ideas would be helpful today!

Gift giving is such a blessing to my heart.  Giving to others is something I feel honored to do.

More often then not, the presentation of my gifts are as important as the present!

You may be in the same category as me and LOVE to make your gift giving experience pretty and a bit of a show!

Or you may think wrapping presents is just a waste of time as it just gets ripped off and thrown away!  I completely agree with you here when it comes to the kiddos on Christmas morning!

While I like all the wrapping paper to be color coordinated, and  I "assign" each child a print or two of paper, I don't go crazy on their bells and whistles.

Which ever category you fall into, I have taken a few pictures of some gift ideas and ways to present them, as well as a few specially wrapped packages.

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Think outside of the box!

Find containers to reuse, or up-cycle, into adorable new containers to hold small gifts.  I find the smaller the gift, the harder it is to wrap if kept in it original packaging.

This container here is just a Crystal Light drink container....I removed the label and added paper, burlap, ribbon and a cute snowman tag!  This can also be used over and over as the lid just snaps off and on!

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Know someone who enjoys a cup of tea daily?  Find an amazingly pretty tea cup and saucer and fill the cup with tea bags.

Tie a gift tag and a tiny spoon to the handle and gift away!

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Know a busy mom? Ha!  Yourself?!  ;-)  Here I purchased a fun silverware caddie from Home Goods and filled it with pretty napkins, coordinating utensils and straws.

Place the caddie on top of a stack of matching paper plates, wrap it from the bottom to the top with a ribbon and tie it all together.

The tag could say,  "From one busy mom to another, I give you a night free of dish duty!"

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Wine giving is very popular these days, and there is a plethora of wine gift bags now available.  Instead of choosing something so predictable, go with a fun wine caddie that will later become a gift in itself as part of their decor!

The caddie here I found at the Good Will so the price was unbeatable!  Choose a red and a white wine, add some ribbon in a couple different sizes and prints.

Finish it with a gift tag and a wine bottle opener tied to the front.  (Please use one prettier than the old thing I scrounged out of the back of my drawer!)

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Need a gift for a baker?  Here I used a lovely, domed cake stand and filled it with baking supplies.

I finished the top with a simple ribbon and pretty snowflake.

If you want to add an additional personal touch, include a recipe tied to the outside with those specific ingredients on the inside!

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This is a gift I love to give.... a magazine subscription for the year!  Your recipient now has the pleasure of a gift every month!

For presentation purposes I purchase the current issue from the news stand to give with a note explaining how the gift will continue on.

Here I placed the magazine inside a wall mount, magazine rack.  The gift is now complete as future issues can be stored inside.

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If you are pressed for time, be thankful many stores are getting creative for us!

Here is one of many boxes I saw available while shopping at Marshall's and TJMaxx this past week.

Fill with lovely goodies, put the lid on and go!

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I had a couple other ideas, but do not have the supplies to recreate them for you on hand.

The first being, The gift of Time! Who doesn't wish for more time in our hectic schedules?  For this idea simply find a lovely decorator clock, depending on your budget this could be desk size or wall size,

and tie a pretty bow to it with a tag that reads "The Gift of Time".

The second idea we did with the older boys a couple of years ago, but I can't find any pictures.

We purchased boxed candy, removed the actual chocolates (I will not confirm or deny that I ate those) and added folded dollar bills into each space.

The bills can, of course, range in monetary value depending on your budget.

This was a great one to give as they both went quickly from underwhelmed to overjoyed in a matter of seconds once the top was removed from the box!

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Now I will share a few gifts I wrapped just to show you different was to present your present using wrapping paper, ribbons and a few other accessories.

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This is my all time favorite Christmas print, a red and black buffalo check.  Here I made it girly with some awesome animal print ribbon, a gold tag and a red bow.

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Here is the same wrapping paper, yet made to be gender neutral with a fun chalkboard message, "no peeking", tied on with a leftover strip of gingham fabric.

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This one looks as though it came from an angel!  Super silver polka dots surrounded by rhinestones and a soft, feathery ribbon.

I added a glitter snowflake for a tad more sparkle!  I wish my camera better picked up on how this just glitters in the light!

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This gift works well for packages that need to travel!  By weaving the different ribbons back and forth, you create enough visual interest and a bow is not necessary.

Gifts wrapped this way can be stacked on top of one another with out smashing bows!

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This one is lovely and steps away from traditional Christmas colors, while still very much saying, "I'm a Christmas present!"

I just love this blue, snowman toile print, paired with the blue gingham.  Very classic.

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Last but not least is a lovely package for a sweet little girl.  Again keeping traditional with Christmas colors isn't always a must!

Here I used pink paper with large gold dots, it's tied with a glitter, pink ribbon and a gold gift tag.  I tucked in a pink lollipop for a whimsical touch!

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I hope these ideas now have your gears turning over some new gift ideas and fun ways to present them this Christmas Season.

I am blessed to remember that even if there was not one earthly gift to wrap and give this year, I am thankful I would still have the only gift I need.

The gift of Jesus' birth.  The gift from our Heavenly Father that is always available for the taking.

"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord."

Luke 2:10-11

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I would love to hear from you, your comments and ideas!

Please remember, we are all human, no one is perfect, so please be kind!

~My Christmas Home Tour~

Merry Christmas!!!  It's my most favorite time of year....Jesus' Birthday!

I love to celebrate His birth the entire month of December (and into January as well ;-) ) by adding touches of Christmas décor to every room in the house!

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In my head I have a beautifully decorated tree around every corner, fresh garland and wreaths hanging from every door way and glitter on everything!

But in reality, I don't have the budget for 10 trees, my dogs and cat would eat the fresh evergreens and my husband and children would not appreciate being constantly covered in sparkles!

Making your home beautiful for Christmas is different for everyone.  Some go all out and leave "no stone unturned" as far as décor goes.  Others have just a few, special decorations that go out every year.

However you choose to make your home special for this very wonderful time of year, it's important to remember Jesus is the reason for the season!

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I would love to share some photos of my Christmas decorations, displays and vignettes with you.  I'll try and include information of where items were purchased, or a small description and "how to's" to go along with each photo.

Enjoy!

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We'll start with my formal living room, you know the room no one uses so it always looks pretty!?

This is the space I usually have my bible and quite time in, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while reading a book, or catch up with my mom on the phone!

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The formal living room also houses our piano (given to me by my grandmother) and some other musical instruments, like my hubby's guitars!

Above the piano is a canvas board I attached old sheet music to.  I placed hand painted letters to spell "Christmas" among the greenery and hung blankets on the rungs of the old ladder in the corner.

The second picture is a little dark, but you can make out the guitars!  They are leaning against a large shutter I found while "junking".

I also covered that metal star with old sheet music and glitter, of course!  The little desk to the right was recently gifted to me and I'm on the hunt for a vintage typewriter to go with it!

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Here is a close up of my tree skirt.  I up-cycled this from my old tree skirt, which I hesitate to admit, was felt and had a family of snowmen stitched onto it!

This version is much prettier!  I used strips of burlap and white linen, along with my friend, the hot glue gun, and attached the new fabric over the old in layers and ruffles!

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The old card catalog was a Craigs List find.  I painted and distressed it and now it holds books and left over linens from the dining room.

I placed a trio of grape-vine trees alongside a gold deer and some greenery in a small box.

I kept the wreath above simple with just a burlap bow.

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A close up shot of a pretty hammered metal bucket I thrifted from the Good Will.  It's lovely holding Christmas greens, pinecones, red berries, a cardinal to match,

and of course, burlap!

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Here is another trio of trees, but these are green, and they are staying "naked" this year. ;-)

I placed them into an old galvanized wash tub and surrounded them with white lights and burlap.  It creates such a pretty glow!

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Moving onto the dining room (which may look familiar if you read my first post) I have added touches of red to bring the feel of Christmas to this room.

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The plate racks now hold some of my Christmas dishes that I scored at Home Goods last year, but I have seen bits and pieces of them this year too!

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The hot chocolate bar is definitely the kids favorite part of the Christmas decorations!

Everything on the top shelf I scored from the Good Will!  And the cute little sign I printed and framed thanks to a free printable from Upcycled Treasures.

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The final corner of my dining room has my DIY chalk board.  I made this a couple years ago and write different sayings and verses on it depending on the season.

It was constructed from a large sheet of plywood that the local hardware store cut for me and I framed it with pine wood trim, cut at a 45 degree angle.

After sanding everything, I painted the background with 4 coats of chalkboard paint and the trim with an antique white. Ta Da!

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My kitchen isn't my favorite room of the house...it's a work in progress...no budget for a total reno, so I work with what I have!

I kept it simple in here and added mini wreaths with red, burlap ribbon to each cabinet door and the backs of the chairs.

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I keep our favorite coffee mugs corralled in a little tray right next to the coffee pot.

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Our family room is the most used room in the house, and there are things I would like to change in here as well.

But for Christmas, I add red and white chevron pillows, wreaths to the shutters above the couch, a large wreath over the mirror and of course the tree!

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Up close, under the tree, are more salvaged buckets and metal baskets.  I filled them with lights and come Christmas Eve, I think Santa may fill them with gifts!

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On the fireplace mantel is an old wooden tool box of sorts I found at an antique shop.

Filled with sparkly ornaments, shiny bulbs and pinecones, you would never know it used to hold nuts and bolts!

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While this is a terrible picture of our nativity...this is my favorite Christmas decoration!

Our nativity set is from my mom and she lucked out and found it at a yard sale!

This reminds our family that during all the excitement of Christmas, the most important part is celebrating Jesus' birth.

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Another DIY chalkboard I made boasts the lyrics to my favorite Christmas song!

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Thank you for taking time to share in my little, Christmas home tour.

This blog (as well as parts of my home), are a work in progress, so thank you for hanging in there while I figure all this out!

I'd love to hear from you!  Please remember, we're all human, no one is perfect, so please be kind!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS wishes, from my family to yours!

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