Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cottage Celebration

Today is my mom's 70th birthday. On June 5, she had open heart surgery to remove a benign tumor that caused her to have a stroke last February. She is still in the hospital but improving.

 In May, the doctors moved up her surgery from July for fear that her ovarian cancer could come back, so my sister and I had only 10 days to pull off a surprise birthday party for her. We held the party in my backyard and the theme was red, white and blue cottage. My mom's favorite holiday is Independence Day thus her favorite colors! I bought 6 vintage tablecloths on ebay and rented red checked tablecloths for the tables. Some of you might recognize this chandelier from the Father/Daughter Masquerade Ball I hosted for my daughter's elementary school back in April. I gave it a fresh coat of white spray paint and added some fabric rosettes and lace.
 I bought frames from the Dollar Tree and wrapped them in ripped fabric and then hot glued chicken wire to the backs. My mom LOVES chickens because it reminds her of summers spent on her grandparents farm in Kansas. I filled the frames with some old pictures of my sister and I and Mom and Dad at my Dad's high school prom.
 I put tacks on the backs of the frames and they hung easily on the shutters.
 This is where we seved tri tip, garlic mashed potatoes, garden salad, quinoa and breadsticks for the guests.
 For the dessert table, I incorporated Mom's favorite flowers-Sweet Peas. I created unique candle holders by gluing Dollar Tree candlesticks or milkglass bud vases to the bottom of Mason jars and adding some ribbon and lace.
 I LOVE this Nantucket giant mason jar drink server from Sur la Table.
 Mom loves pies, so I made mini cherry and apple pies as well as homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake and cupcakes.

 The mini corrugated cups, wooden forks and demitasse spoons are from Garnish.

 Mom loved her celebration and she was completely surprised. My daughter and I went to vist her in the hospital and brought her some lovely pink peonies and my sister made lemon cupcakes to share with the hospital staff.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Camping Party

 Wednesday was my daughter's last day of 5th grade and her class celebrated with a Camping themed party. At the begining of the school year, a mom said she would be the room parent if I would organize the 2 parties we are allowed each year. I said yes, of course!
 I asked the parents to donate items for the Make-your-own-trail-mix buffet and I made the s'more pops (marshmallows on a stick dipped in chocolate and then rolled in crushed graham crackers).
 The burlap banner was white to begin with and then I used my Cricut to cut out letters to spell "Camp Henley" (the teacher's last name). I pinned the letters to the burlap and then set the triangles out in the sun. If I had thought about this brilliant idea a few days before, the burlap would have gotten darker and you could see the letters better.
 All of the adorable camping printables are from RV Parties on Etsy. I made signs for the trail mix items, a Happy Camper banner, water bottle and gable box labels and camping buttons.
 I cut branches off my own Pepper tree in my front yard and hung them by twine and paperclips from the ceiling tiles. I added battery operated votives to Mason jars and hung them from the branches. I cut bandannas into quarters and tied them together for a rustic banner. The tables had red tablecloths, burlap and craft paper runners. Inside the gable boxes are bug catching kits.
 Each student received a bandanna and I went over the MANY uses for this handy dandy piece of material. They each got a button with a different camping symbol and this is how I divided them into teams for the relay race. I got the water bottle holders from Oriental Trading as well as the wallet lacing kits.

 The kids liked the hula hoop game...
 as well as the sack relay!
 The party favors were s'more kits, the bandannas, bug catching kit, camping button, wallet and trail mix.
 I got theses crates unfinished at Michael's and painted them brown, distressed them with a hammer and then put on a coat of watered down burnt umber and then wiped it off so it would settle in the crevices. I finished it with 1 coat of Poly.
 When the kids finished the craft, I passed out scripts for camping skits. The kids had so much fun with this, we even had a Act II! After the activities, I made popcorn and served it in folded brown lunch bags, passed out the s'more pops and lemonade while they watched the "Yogi Bear" movie.
It was a terrific send off for the summer!