This blog post has been on the back burner for a few weeks now while I try to catch up on my wedditing backlog, but I figure since Aylah’s party was Nov. 2nd I should probably get this post done at least in the same month. I know there are a lot of people eager to see how her party turned out this year, and for all of those DIY moms following I will be explaining all of my projects and referencing all of my sources so you can easily use some of these ideas for yourself. Though I do take full credit for the execution of the ideas, I’m a firm believer of giving credit to the creator, or at least the source that inspired me.
The invites were made mostly using my Cricut (Expression). The inspiration came from Pinterest here and here and here. I liked how they stood up by themselves like pop up cards, but I also wanted the party info to be hidden behind the barn door so I kind of frankensteined aspects of all of those inspirations together into one.
(Cricut cartridges used: Create a Critter, Disney Mickey and Friends pg.65 for the sign)
I wanted kraft envelopes, but couldn’t find them in square for anything close to a reasonable price so I bought this polka dot wrapping paper and my mom made up these envelopes for me. I printed the the fences (using my Cricut) on full sheets of label paper so that they peeled off like a big sticker. I cut the horse in half and stuck on his front and back end separately. The fence rungs are what I used to fill in the addresses. When all was said and done I ended up hand delivering them just because I was paranoid they would get damaged through post, but I think they probably would have survived fine.
(Cricut cartidges used: Create a Critter for the horse, Everyday Pop-Up Cards for the fence)
These are the little guys that were the inspiration for the whole party. All from the Create a Critter cartridge.
This sign hung on the front door. Chalk board sign is from Michael’s, all of the die cuts are from Create a Critter, and the chalk marker is this one (I could only find the really thick ones locally in stores so I had to order this 1mm one online)
Instead of traditional party hats, it only made sense to have cowboy hats at a farm party … I snagged these from a Dollarama back in the summer time (yes I’ve been planning this party for many months). I got beige for all the little girls, black for all the little boys and a white one for Aylah. I used cow print and gingham ribbon and made chalk style name tags. I used a couple stitches to hold the ribbon on the hats cuz they kept sliding off and I had visions of a dozen scrunched up ribbons and name tags and a bunch of naked hats floating around during the party. The gingham ribbon is from Michael’s … but cow print ribbon is NOWHERE in Canada so I had to order it online here. Inpiration for these hats came from this pin.
I knew I wanted to do a take-away for all of the parents, cuz let’s be honest, what right-minded adult actually enjoys going to a 2 year old’s birthday party, lol. So as a thank you for coming and enduring the crowded house full of loud and sticky ankle biters … every adult got a delicious candy apple from Bennett’s. The kraft milk boxes are from Michael’s, though they were solid boxes and I cut the square windows out myself. I wanted the apples to be visible, not to mention they barely fit in the boxes so giving them that extra bit of room to bulge out the one side helped me to get them closed properly. The little labels were made using the apple from the Create a Critter cartridge, a white pencil crayon and a piece of twine for the loop.
The kids’ “loot bags” were solely inspired by this pin. I saw the idea for the little petting zoo bag and fell in love. Making the bags themselves was easy, though I had to trek to Hobby Lobby across the border to find the gingham and striped scrapbook paper (I was astonished that Michael’s didn’t have classic red gingham, sheesh!) The animals themselves I found online, because everything I saw in stores was expensive, and let’s face it, ugly. These little guys are SO adorable! It was much cheaper to buy them in bulk, so I got a whole whack of them, but you’ll see where I put them to good use later …
In their buckets (from Target), each child also got a handmade felt playmat for their animals. Small enough to be the perfect quiet toy to bring to a restaurant or doctor’s office. I got all of the felt from Michael’s (I was so excited to find the cobble stone textured one) … and because I’m CRAZY I hand stitched all of the pieces on with embroidery floss to give it that finished look. Yes this took a while, but it was the perfect activity to do in the evening on my “time off” while sipping an ice cold Pepsi and watching Survivor. : )
The little fences were made from the Everyday Pop-Up Cards cartridge and stuck double thick so they would stand up nicely during play.
I have no source material to share for these playmats or paper fences, cuz those ideas was 100% moi! ; )
I also added these little guys, cuz, well … I found them online and couldn’t resist!! Lol. I know I know, I’m outta control!!
I wanted there to be plenty of activities to keep all of the toddlers happy and entertained so when I saw this idea I thought, PERFECT … how easy to just set up a craft table with colouring materials and stickers. It was a big hit! Colouring pages, stickers and vinyl table cloth are from Dollarama and the chalk board easel stand and crayon jar are from Michael’s.
I LOVE how these little guys turned out! The inspiration came from this pin, and then after searching some more I also found this one and this one. To be completely honest, they were kind of a pain to make, easy in theory, annoying in actuality. Worth it though … cuz look how freakin’ adorable they are! I made 3 of each animal (1 big and 2 small) for a total of 15. They were hung on the ceiling using clear Command hooks for easy removal later. It worked wonderfully. Materials are just tissue paper and construction paper, hung with fishing wire. I just searched YouTube for a tutorial on how to make “tissue poms” … can’t find the exact video that I watched, but there are tons of them out there.
I of course also recreated the studio shoot inspiration in my own studio. Barn was made by me using red and white bristol board. Crate is from Michael’s and I just painted it white. Green blanket is from Ikea. Hay bale is from Hobby Lobby. Picket fencing is from Rona (intended to go around an outdoor garden) … I just had my husband cut the spiky parts off with a PVC cutter that we have.
This next project might just be my favourite. I wanted something else for the kids to be able to play with at the party, and I had a bajillion little farm animals left from the bulk order, so I started thinking … THAT’S IT … a GIANT playmat!!! Then I took to pinterest where I found this and this, which led me directly to this awesome (detailed) blog post about how to make your own. And this is one of the reasons I’m going through all the trouble of explaining all my projects, because I appreciate so much when others do the same. Share the knowledge!! Nothing drives me more nuts than an awesome pin with a BROKEN LINK … Grrrrr! Okay, rant over.
So now I have the idea, I have the “how to” … but I do not own a sewing maching, nor know how to sew, nor do I want to … but Craig’s mom does!! Over to her house I go … with my lofty idea and a fellow DIYer’s blog post. We began to brainstorm. In no time at all we had a plan, we had a fabric shopping date set on the calendar and the project was full speed ahead.
All of the fabric is from FabricLand and I’m SO happy with what we were able to find! The water, the cobble stone, the grass, even the crops … it was all perfect!
The layout and design was done by yours truly, but the exection was all my phenominal mother-in-law. She describes it as a “labour of love” for her grand-daughter, because though it wasn’t particularly difficult, it did take many hours to complete. Aylah now has this beautiful gift from her Grandma that I’m sure she will play with and enjoy for many many years to come. I really can’t thank you enough Pat, it’s exactly how I envisioned it in my head that fateful evening that I showed up to your door with a blog post and a dream, lol.
All of the other elements were painstakingly sought out individually, since I had a vision, and we all know that when Melissa gets a vision … you DON’T mess with the vision!!
The little John Deer tractors and trucks were from Toys R Us … seemingly there was only one set of the appropriate size in the entire world and I now own it, so good luck if you want one for yourself, hehe. The bridge is supposed to be part of a fairy garden set and I found it online here. The trees were made using my Cricut (Create a Critter, surprise surprise), and I just printed 2 complete trees (made them double sided) and then slit one down the top and one up the bottom and slid them together so they would stand. I cut little circles for the bases and hot glued them on so they would stay. Some of them were a little top heavy and didn’t stand well, so I hot glued a nickel to the bottoms and that seems to help them say upright on the fabric playmat. The tiny hay bails are from Michael’s, but they were pretty pricey so I only got a few. And last but not least … the little red barn. It was JUST what I was looking for and the perfect size. After much searching, I finally found this one that was both the right shade of red and the right size … and totally affordable compared to the really nice Melissa&Doug ones that I kept finding.
The decor was simplistic, but planned down to every detail. I used my gingham, striped and kraft paper from Hobby Lobby along with some twine to make bunting banners. I found the balloons online, because again, cow print balloons aren’t available around here for some reason. I got the red polka dot ones here and the cow print ones here.
Again the table cloths were just cheap vinyl ones from Dollarama and the burlap runners and coasters were from Michael’s (they were having a huge 75% sale on everything burlap one day so I stocked up on tons of stuff not really knowing what I would use it for at the time, but I’m so glad I did!)
I’m so happy with how this turned out too. It’s a variation of what I did for her birthday last year. When they’re this young it’s fun to see how much they’ve grown and changed over the last year. There were also some firsts this year that had special mentions (first hair cut, first tooth brush, etc.). The backing is kraft wrapping paper with polka dots that I found at Target and then I used some of my burlap runner to make the 3 strips across the middle. I got plain silver thumb tacks from Staples that held the burlap up nicely as well as the twine strings. I had to be sure to support the twine with something so that the weight of the pictures and clothespins wasn’t resting solely on the burlap … it was a loose woven runner so it frayed and fell apart kind of easily … the tacks did the trick though (and you can barely even notice them because of where I placed the clothes pins and pictures). The piggy clothes pins were from Michael’s … another awesome score from months back that were dirt cheap and I didn’t even have a plan for them when I bought them. They were chalkboard painted, so I wrote a few little appropriate captions on them which was fun. The title on the top is made from a cut piece of black foam board and then I used little black “cut tacks”, just like these, but I found them at Home Depot. They were perfect because they were black and shallow so they didn’t poke through the back of the foam board. The string I used was kinda like twine but thinner and softer so it was easier to work with. I measured and wrote out the words with pencil first, then poked the tacks at all of the cross points, erased all of the pencil, then started weaving around the nails … it was actually a lot of fun!
This concept looked so nice on the wall in my hallway that I’m going to leave it there (minus the sign and the piggies) and use it to pin up all of Aylah’s advent activities for Christmas. Our Christmas colours are red, white and kraft this year so it should be perfect. (Christmas blog post coming soon … yes we’re already decorated for Christmas … don’t judge me … it makes my heart happy!)
And now for the food spread … I had too much stuff to fit on my large dining room table so I had to set up a card table as well … oops …
You’ll also notice that I re-purposed the garden fence as display pieces on the food tables. : ) All of the chalk board signs on sticks are from Michael’s.
Water bottle labels were designed from scratch by me (I did labels for Aylah’s party last year too … it’s just a thing I do, lol).
The “watering hole” sign idea came from here. Sign itself is from Michael’s and I printed on it with the chalk board markers. I could have just used a white paint Sharpie but I want to be able to reuse all of this signage for future parties. I made sure to wash all of the chalk marker off right away after the party … if you leave that stuff on too long it’s almost impossible to get it to completely disappear again.
The wheel barrel that the water is in is a newborn prop that I’ve had for years … probably found it at Home Sense or Winners.
The “hay stacks” idea came from here … and coincidentally I already had the exact same cake pedestal from doing Aylah’s cake smash session last year … just bought the red ribbon to weave through it. The delicious rice krispies were made from scratch by Aylah’s Grandma.
The “chicken feed” idea came from here … just Bits and Bites in a tall pail that I found at Home Sense. I had to order the scoops online from here … I wanted metal and could only find plastic in local stores.
The “pigs in blankets” idea was from here … it just made perfect sense to me. Weenie rolls from Costco … easy peazy.
And the main food table …
The barn background is the same one made from bristol board that I used for the studio pictures, and the sign was made the same way as the photo collage one. I wanted to blow up enough balloons so each kid could take a couple home so I jammed them all in here and I think they looked great. It was partly strategic so that the kids couldn’t actually reach them without parental assistance, that way balloons weren’t flying around my already very crowded house during the party. As each kid left I gave them their balloons, and at the end of the day was balloon free … perfect plan!!
I saw the milk bottle idea here and just fell in love with it! I thought the covers were a brilliant idea too to try and moderate the “spillage on the cream-coloured carpet” issue. Success … no spillage! : ) Tags are just black cardstock written with white pencil crayon and tied with twine on an elastic (so that you can open it to fill it). I also found this perfect little sectioned tray at Winners two days before the party just by luck …
The milk bottles were from Michael’s … they seem to carry them year round, but I managed to snag them during a 40% off all glassware sale … YES!!!
I saw a bigger version of the menu idea here, but I thought a little one on this mini easel from Michael’s would suffice.
This is where I originially saw the “country lemonade” … I loved the idea of having beverage dispensers. I entertain quite a bit (or I would like to in all my “spare” time) … so I figured purchasing a couple of them would be a good investment. There’s lots out there … mostly ugly, lol. I finally found these ones at Walmart of all places, the only catch is it was the American Walmart and I couldn’t get them here. So I did a “site to store” shipment to the Walmart in Niagara Falls, US and stopped in there to pick them up the same day I visited Hobby Lobby. They were really cheap compared to all the others I had found too.
The “rakes and shovels” idea came from here … though they used “pitchforks” which I just thought sounded too abrasive for a toddler’s party for some reason, lol. The napkins were from Dollarama … the key to finding all of this stuff at the dollar store was shopping back in the summer when picnic stuff was everywhere. If I were to have tried to find red gingham in October I would have been hard pressed. Tiny pails are from Target.
For the adults I knew right away that I wanted to do mason jars. I bought them at the same Michael’s sale when I got the milk bottles. I saw this pin with the chalk board inspired labels and thought it was perfect. I cut circles out of black cardstock, use a standard hole punch for the straw and wrote on the name with white pencil crayon. I never realized how convenient it was to walk around a room full of abandoned drinks on random tables and know exactly who they belonged to, who needed a refill, and who had already left. The organized side of me was a very happy camper.
These larger milk bottles were a combination of this idea paired with this label idea using the Create a Critter cartridge. Bottles are from Home Sense and metal tub is from Michael’s. There’s of course ice in the bottom of the tub to keep the milk cold. The strawberry flavoured milk was a big hit with the
dads kids. LOL!
Saw the popcorn idea here … though their label was kind of boring. I thought sheep fluff was much more creative! : ) This dark chocolate salted popcorn is AMAZING … I’ve seen it in a few different stores including Costco and Fortinos … try it … trust me!! Little wooden crate is from Hobby Lobby and I borrowed the cream crinkle paper from my own company (I use it to package orders for clients). Paper cones were made from scrapbook paper … I just found a template online (went through a couple of duds before I found a good one, but unfortunately I didn’t keep the link).
The “farm fresh eggs” idea was found here, and the “fresh produce” idea was found here. I loved the idea of the authentic berry baskets but didn’t want that turquoise colour messing up my table scape, LOL. I started by searching Ebay and Amazon for white berry baskets and was seeing a bunch of these pretty ceramic ones everywhere. The cheapest by far were these ones from Crate&Barrell … and they shipped to me super fast! “Tractor wheels” idea was found here.
I like symmetry on my table scapes so I did a second “fluff” station with Smart Food. Who doesn’t love Smart Food??
And now … the girl who I KNEW I could count on for all of the fancy baked goodies. Christina from Pearls&Spice is PHENOMENAL!!!! She’s a good friend of mine and I am so proud to shamelessly plug her company whenever I get the chance!! Just take a look for yourself …
I gave her this picture and she created these …
I wanted a pen of cow cake pops after seeing this pin … but I thought the cows looked kinda creepy (some sort of bull dog comes to mind) … so then I found this pin of much cuter cows and Christina created these red velvet flavoured gems …
Fence around the crate was created using the Everyday Pop-Up Cards cartridge and just layering the fence pieces. It’s kind of hard to see but I also did a small bunting behind them hung on short dowels like this.
The chick cake pops were lemon flavoured … yummy!! Idea here and design here. Lemon chicks should be yellow, am I wrong?
And LOOK at those sugar cookies!!! I am still in awe of how accurately Christina delivers on source ideas … this is what I gave her. Isn’t she amazing!!!!
And I saved the best for last … it broke my heart to cut it up for people to eat. I loved the look of this one with some minor tweaks (smaller, white fence) and she TOTALLY delivered!! It’s a masterpiece!!
I didn’t want to shame this beautiful cake with a cheap primary coloured polka dot number candle (you know the ones I’m talking about), so I went on the hunt. I saw this idea on pinterest and started to research. What I really wanted was cow print, but of course that doesn’t exsist … so how can I make it myself? I learned through much googling that you can’t just paint onto wax, it doesn’t stick … but if you buy a paint medium then it sticks no problem. Off to Michael’s I go … but nooooo, of course they don’t carry that there!! Ugggh. So I eventually found some online here and bought a bunch just to have on hand, lol. It was super easy to use though, just mix equal parts medium with paint and slap it on the candle. It was actually quite fun! From now on all of Aylah’s candles will match her party theme perfectly, there is no longer an excuse for mediocre candles, hehe.
Aylah has a love of horses … we discovered this in the summer when she rode a pony for the first time and absolutely fell in love. We knew we wanted to get her a really nice rocking horse for her birthday. I found this one and thought she was beautiful!
She passed the test … Aylah LOVES her!!
I also must mention Aylah’s handmade party dress. I found it on Etsy here … just got her to do red instead of pink. Great buying experience and wonderful product!
Aylah’s little friends had such a good time … and looked really cute doing it!! : )
As you can see the farm playmat was a big hit …
Aylah got a bunch of horse related presents … she was in heaven!!
My sweet little cowgirl with her best friend Peyton …
This last one is from our farm studio shoot. I made this shirt for her after seeing this pin. I think mine is much cuter, hehe!
I just love her to bits! She brightens every day and I can’t imagine my life without her. It’s already been two years, the time goes so fast … yet I can’t wait to continue watching her grow up!
Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go and start planning next year’s party … LOL!! Just kidding! #actuallynotkidding