Tag Archives: repurpose

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

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Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

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Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

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Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

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When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

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These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

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We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

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A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

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We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

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A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

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Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

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Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

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A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

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Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

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A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

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These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

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Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

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The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

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Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

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After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

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Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

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Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

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At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

Repurposed Vintage Christmas Tablecloth

As a new bride, I craved vintage.

Not the Avocado Green and Harvest Gold that was in every rental, that wasn’t old enough to be cool yet.

I started buying red-handled kitchen utensils, vintage tins and doilies when I could find them cheap and I had a few extra dollars in my pocket.

There was nothing in my life to feed my desire for tacky décor, except an occasional well-used Country Living magazine at the laundry mat that I would devour page by page with my poverty stricken eyes. There was no internet, blogging or Facebook.  There certainly wasn’t any Pinterest.  I rarely ran into anyone who had my same taste for the chippy and faded items from the past.

I just loved, loved, loved me some vintage. 

I saved my husband’s pocket change until I had enough to justify pushing the stroller a few blocks to the thrift store.  This was back in the day when $1 or $2 could buy several items.  Remembering those prices makes my heart pound. When my husband had a dollar for a can of pop, he would use two quarters and leave the two quarters in his pocket for me.  It was the only time in our marriage where I supported him drinking something that wasn’t good for him.

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I was thrilled to find this beautiful tablecloth in about 1989 and used it for years on my kitchen dinette table.  My centerpiece was usually a vintage glass pedestal bowl with fresh pine branches and red glass Christmas balls.  I loved  creating Christmas magic in my home without spending a lot of money.

The linen was only retired to the closet when we bought a real oak dining room table that was too big.  It hung around for years, because I couldn’t part with it.  It gathered more yellow stains.  After a few years of dreaming about it, I got brave.

I pulled out my trusty Ginghers, not the pair my husband used to cut carpeting,  the pair he bought to replace the pair he used to cut carpeting, and began dissecting before I lost my courage.

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Two panels were cut from the length of the tablecloth, using the printed pattern in the center  as a guide.  When I want to “get ‘er dun” I’m not all picky about perfect measurements. For the bottom, I simply folded the seam up to the bottom of the red border, ironed, and sewed. The valance 12 inches from top to bottom. I left 1/2 inch along the top to make a little ruffle and about 1 inch casing for the tension rod to fit through. 

If you don’t sew, you need to know about Stitch Witchery. It’s iron-on fusible webbing you can use to hem things. It may make the fabric a bit stiff, so you want to use it with heavier items. I didn’t use it here, but I’ve used it even when hemming clothes.

A memory of Christmas Past became a memory of Christmas Present.  I look forward to hanging my valance for all the Christmases Yet to Come.

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My hubby is wary when I bring something unusual home from the thrift store or a garage sale.

Rightfully so.  Either he has to look at the thing for the rest of his life, fix it or make it into something. Remember all the gray fence boards he  helped me bring home last summer?  “Really?  You WANT all his old fence?"

Yep, really, I wanted it and used it.  Now he loves the area I created and named The Redneck Grill.  He just had his initial moments of doubt.

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He had those same doubts when I walked through the door with this.

In our neighborhood, it snows very little.  We can drive up the mountain and be around tons of snow, if we wanted to.  We rarely want to.  Scott and I were stormed in and shoveling out most of our lives while living in the upper Midwest.

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But this was a beauty I couldn’t pass up at Value Village. Don’t those wings just convince you this sled could make you fly?

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That’s why they named it the Flexible Flyer.  This model is the Airline Patrol for kids who dream of being a Pilot when they grow up.

“So, what are you going to do with it?” he asked with the caution of a man whose Honey-Do list that is always longer than the list of what a kid wants for Christmas.

I assured him I was going to use it to display food on the buffet line for the Christmas party we were hosting.  He was relieved.

An hour later I had a burst of genius. “Scott, there was a longer sled there, too, but I passed it up because I didn’t know what to do with it.  Now, I know what I want to do with it.  It would make a perfect coffee table!” 

A few hours later, we drove back to Value Village.

It.

was.

gone.

I was so disappointed.  Why can’t I be genius when I’m standing in front of an item, not after it’s sold to somebody whose light bulb went off in the store?

The gorgeous Flexible Flyer had to become a coffee table, and my old sled that usually decorates the front porch would go on the buffet table.

Various crates were tried underneath, they were too big. I wandered around the house, in the garage and the sheds looking for inspiration.  I crawled up in the attic, but only succeeded in hitting my head.

I had to break the news to hubby. I needed help.  He was The Help. After all, it was Saturday and he had the whole day off to be at my disposal.  At least that’s the way I looked at the situation.

We debated back and forth on how to make the vision come true. The frame couldn’t take away from the beauty of the sled.  It had to be easy to build.  It had to be cheap. It had to be sturdy enough to put coffee cups on without spilling. I hate wasting good coffee.

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This is what we came up with.  Together.  Because neither of us is right all the time, but mostly I am.

Just kidding!

He’s just learned that when I have a project vision, I’m not asking him to change the vision, but help it come true. I’ve learned that my ideas aren’t always practical or possible, so we have to talk until we can breathe life into the vision.

I loved his little details of covering the screws with those little brown half-circle thingies and the stabilizing bar across the middle. I would have been satisfied with less, but he went the extra mile.

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The moment of celebration!

As we sat and admired the coffee table,  I realized it was good for me to make  ask him to do this.  He  loves working with wood and it’s a great stress reliever.  He has a lot of stress in his life.  I always worry about his heart health, but you know men and doctors.  The only men that go to check-ups willingly are the docs themselves.

Anyhoo –

He relaxed.

He laughed.

He enjoyed.

He’s pleased with the work of his hands and the ability to make my vision come true.

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The sled coffee table is a success in so many ways.

I think the more Honey-Do Projects I come up with, the longer my Honey will be around to do them.

During an IM exchange a few days later, he said,

“i really love building and creating:  sort of my art work
and…my dad was a great carpenter

can’t wait for the next project… bring it on”

Guess I’ll be taking more trips to the thrift store looking for unusual items.