YEEHAW! Summer is almost here!

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Fabulous & Free | 0 comments

Howdy Partner! Being a high school teacher, the countdown to summer begins usually right after spring break!  Summer is almost here and I know this from not only the 105 degree temperatures greeting me this afternoon, but also by the graduation announcements arriving in the mail.  Clever Creations was recently hired to do a graduation party for a graduate from the school where I teach.  Being that Baylor University in Waco, TX is her future destination (go Bears!), we decided to make her graduation party “western” themed.  I thought you might want to see how it came out.  My favorite touch was adding straw on the back patio floor to make it feel like a barn.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of that – but did get photos of just about everything else.  At the end of this post I will give you a step by step for how I made the party favors.  I think most of the photos are self explanatory but you know me – I explain them in detail anyway.  Now mosey on through these pictures and enjoy the browse. I hope you get inspired by some of my ideas.


Katie's Guest Book Sign In

Guests were greeted with a "howdy hug" and asked to sign the guest book at this table in the courtyard entry. The "book" was individually cut out paper boots in black and white. Take in all the detail - including the mason jars filled with raw popcorn to hold the tea lights. Guests put their gift cards in an apple barrel basket that sat on an old stool next to the table.













Entry door

The next vignette consisted of real cowgirl boots and saddle on bales of straw along with a 20x30" photo of the graduate which I mounted to foam board. Large wooden letters spell out HOWDY to greet all those entering our "watering hole". Katie, the graduate, is as cute as any cowgirl could be...don't you agree?















Front door

I spray painted this large metal star black to hang on the front door.













Wagon of flowers

The homeowner already had this wagon of flowers by her front door - it fit perfectly into our theme!











Grad Tablescape

Once inside the door, guests could browse the large dining table filled with the graduate's memorabilia all the way from childhood to scholarship award papers to Baylor.













Grad tablescape

I intertwined western touches in the graduate's tablescape. This one was a western boot and a barbed wire "happy trails" sign.











Graduate tablescape

My husband lent me some of his guns from the 1800s. I had this rifle with her Baylor President's Scholarship award and the two pistols (one in a holster) also on the table. The elementary school paper to the left of the Baylor pennant just happened to be western themed...of course it had to be front and center!

Living room

Another 20x30" photo mounted on foam board was put on the fireplace. I always like to have a "feature" area of where the graduate is headed to college at a graduation party. This one has a t-shirt hanging to the left of the fireplace that says, "I know where I'm going," with large raw wood YEE HAW letters to connect the "Baylor" t-shirt on the right of the fireplace. I had a custom pennant banner sewn that has metal letters on it spelling out"Baylor". We ribboned this pennant in green & gold (Baylor colors) should Katie want to use it in her dorm room.


I made a pennant banner that said, "Canteen" and hung it over the drink station. We served water (Katie's Watering Hole"), sparkling lemonade (Katie's Moonshine"), and Passion fruit iced-tea ("Katie's Hard Cider") Western boot mugs held the sweetener and we tucked in an antique lantern and cowboy boot. We lined the BBQ counter with torn burlap.













Cups for the drink station

Cups for the "Canteen" - I pushed up some loose straw around the table and flanked the metal tub of cups with two mason jars filled with loose popcorn wrapped in burlap and twine. The boot fabric was tied on the corners with raffia.












Guest tables

Guest tables were covered in craft paper and the sides were draped with red plastic table cloths. We topped the tables with metal pie tins filled with raw popcorn. On the center of the table we set a piece of bandana printed 12x12" scrapbook paper under the pie tins which included a mason jar filled with raw popcorn and a votive. The jar was wrapped in burlap and twine. We added old fashioned games like checkers, paddle ball, a metal bucket tied with ribbons filled with paper games of hangman, dot to dot, and tic-tac-toe. The bucket also contained markers to color and write notes on the craft paper. Decks of cards were the final touch for entertainment.

















bucket close up

Here's a close up of the metal bucket filled with paper games.













sweet saloon

I made a "sweet saloon" pennant banner out of bandana 12x12" paper from Hobby Lobby. I just folded the paper and it came out 2-sided and gave it some weight. I strung it with twine and used red, black and white ribbons in between each letter. I tied the ends with raffia and hung it on a stucco wall using Command Strips. They work great! I cut the letters out in both black and white to give the wording some 'pop".














Some of the things I included on the sweets table were "RANCH hand Jolly Ranchers," "Cowgirl Lassos" = Red Vine Licorice," Gold mine gum and Hershey Gold Nugget candies along with candy gold coins with a sign that said, "Katie struck GOLD - she is going to Baylor!" I used mason jars wrapped in burlap and twine and apple barrel baskets tied with ribbons. I used plain wooden clothespins to clip on all my food signs.

Rootbeer floats

Root-n-tootin' rootbeer and Dr. Pepper floats were served. We placed a sign on the table so people could pace themselves as we also had a full BBQ dinner. Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco, TX so we wanted to give it a place in the spotlight (besides the fact that it is my favorite float flavor - say that 5 x fast!). To eliminate the need for spoons - we used straws that have a spoon at the end.















Cowpie chip cookies

I made almost 300 homemade "cowpie chip cookies" for the party. After baking and cooling them I layed them on craft paper to degrease before bagging them in french fry bags. I stamped a boot and backed it with black paper and glued it on the french fry bag. There were no plates needed this way. The guests loved the portability and taste of these cowpies! And there wasn't a single fly bugging anyone!

lamp & cookies

I happened to have this great old jug lamp - it added some great lighting once the sun set. I used a cowgirl boot to hold a food tag for the "cowpie chip cookies".

more candy

The "sweet saloon" was open for business with "cowgirl chewing tobacco" = bubblegum, "cowboy lassos" = Slim Jims, and "Stagecoach mints" = bandana wrapped mints from Hobby Lobby. The mints were put in a vintage berry basket tied with ribbon.

popcorn bar

I set up a popcorn bar in the corner of the patio - next to the "sweet saloon". I made a pennant in the same theme as the other pennants for the party to label this food station. Who doesn't love to belly up to this kind of bar?

Popcorn bar

Here is a close up of part of the popcorn bar. I placed a bale of straw on top of the red checked tablecloth and placed a small vintage goat cart on top. Inside the cart is my hubby's old cowboy hat and next to the cart is a boot with a spur. Vintage berry baskets are filled wth paper bags that are rolled down, ribboned, and filled with Reese's pieces, Gummy Bears, & Skittles for pop corn add-ins.











View of entire popcorn bar

Here is a picture of the complete bar. The sign on the window says, "Scoop, spritz, sprinkle, shake, savor" - I found that idea on Pinterest.










popcorn bar

The popcorn bar included two medium sized apple barrels lined with bandanas and a scoop. For the seasonings I purchased a pie tin at Dollar Tree and filled it with raw popcorn to set the seasonings in. I purchased sugar and salt and pepper shakers also from the dollar store and filled them with various seasonings (some homemade and some purchased). It is difficult to get the spray butter to look cute but I managed to cover it in red bandana paper with a label. Seasonings included: cinnamon sugar, jalepeno cheddar, white cheddar, Italian Parmesan, Texas 2-step, and ranch.















popcorn bags

I used brown paper bags and stamped them with various western words and a cowboy boot for the popcorn bar.











popcorn add ins

Here's one example of a popcorn add-in

side table

Side table with boots, popcorn candle and sunflowers.













outdoor fireplace

Large wooden letters that spell out "Giddy Up" are embellished with ribbon, a metal star and bandanas.











bandana banner

We used basic rope and pinned on red and white bandanas at a diagnol across the side yard seating area.










party favors

Party favors were placed in an antique granite wear tub lined with a bandana.











party favors

Party favors were made from a paper bag with a custom sewn bandana bag tied with twine inside. We made a thank you card that said, "Please SPUR Katie on in prayer as she "hits the TRAIL" to Baylor." Trail mix was inside the red bandana bag placed inside of the sewn paper bag. The thank you card was tucked into the bag pocket.
















step one

Step one: Fold up the bottom fold of a standard brown paper lunch bag.













step two

Step Two: Use a zig zag stitch up the side of the fold which will create a "top pocket".













step three

Step Three: Add a photo backed with papers. I set the photo above the pocket edge for added dimension.


Step Four: This is how we packaged up the trail mix in this bandana bag before putting it into the brown paper bags.

 cowgirl favor

Last step: Tuck the favor into the bag along and the thank you note into the front pocket. Tie the base of the bag with twine to finish it off.


























The last party tip I have is whenever hosting, be sure to include the powder bath in your decor/theme.  For Katie’s party I placed “outhouse” signs throughout the house with arrows directing guests to the powder bath.  In the powder bath I put another large photo of Katie that was imprinted with the saying, “Don’t squat with your spurs on!”  It adds a bit of humor and whimsy to any party to add a decorator touch where people least expect it!


This was practical and humorous at the same time!









As I “hit the trail” toward the end of the evening one of my favorite comments I overheard was from two women who did not realize I was the party hostess/planner.  They were walking by me and said, “This party was incredible…let’s get out our cameras and steal these ideas.”  I could not resist telling them to, “steal away…nothing blesses me more than to inspire someone else to celebrate life.”  I hope I’ve done the same for you!  Now giddy up partner on your own western party…cute for any summer BBQ. YEE HAW!




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