Friday, March 27, 2009

Cowboy Birthday Party

I can sum this one up in two simple words, "YEEEE HAW!"

When my son Jack turned 2, I put together a little birthday get-together, covered in cowboy hats and sheriff badges. It was adorable (if I do say so myself).

I knew, from past experience, that a small cellophane party favor bag makes an excellent (and super cheap) party invitation envelope. For this invite, I purchased 12"x12" sheets of red "bandanna" patterned scrapbooking paper for the background, and 8.5 x 11 sheets of vellum to print the wording on. Then I used some household twine from the junk drawer to make a tiny lasso that was hot glued to the top center of the finished piece.

tip: The finished invite is about 3 1/8" x 6 1/4", if you plan on mailing in a party favor bag, use a little cardstock to back it up, print your addresses on white mailing labels, and take it to the post office to check postage rates.

If you can't read the writing on the invite jpg, here is my attempt at cowboy humor:

YA-HOO! Jack is turning two!

Saddle up and ride out West to
the Barnes Ranch
for a showdown & cake

Sunday, April 29, at 3 o’clock
1234 Main Street, Long Beach

neighs 562.555.1212

If you've ever read my blog before, you know that I love covering my windows with themed decorations. Regular old scotch tape works perfectly on windows, and you never have to worry about accidentally peeling the drywall paper along with the paint.

I purchased some plastic wagon wheels and steer skulls from
Oriental Trading Co. and hung them everywhere. In addition, I made dozens of "Wanted" posters, in two styles, using photos of all the guests invited to the party. They were a hit! (and they were practically free). To round out the look, we used red and blue bandannas and red and white gingham tablecloths.


Usually, for my kids parties, we have some sort of a craft project involving stickers, glitter and glue. This party was a little different in that we did not have a sit down project, rather, stations set up for; using homemade playdough, playing with the water table, donning cowboy dress up items, and painting with water.

homemade playdough always looks better with neon food coloring!

good thing he had his cowboy hat handy for that hot May sunshine

cheapest paint in the world! plain water, with old paintbrushes


This cake was fairly easy to make, and has the design potential to be over the top.

I started with two 9" x 12" cakes. Just use a box of cake, it tastes good and it makes everything go faster and easier.

Using the template below, I carefully cut each layer separately, frosted the top of the bottom layer, and placed the top layer gently on top. I did do a thin "crumb coat" (thinly frosting the entire cake so that all the crumbs are trapped beneath the frosting where they can't escape - especially useful if the cake is chocolate and the frosting is anything lighter than chocolate).

Next, I used a toothpick to outline where and how I wanted the design of the boot. I frosted the dark chocolate frosting in the middle area first, spread the lighter brown frosting second, and piped on the final details last. As soon as the cake frosting was finished, I piped on the "Happy Birthday" message on the cake board, and sprinkled shredded wheat cereal around the boot edges.

Top with a sheriff badge and there you have it!

Since we had a ton of guests, I also made a batch of cupcakes. To fit the western theme, I piped a "brand" on the top with contrasting frosting.

boot cake template

happy birthday to you

I had a blast planning this party, and the kids all got into dressing the part. A cowboy theme is simple to accessorize and easy to plan. Use some creative thinking to make it your own, spend as little as possible and make it look homemade - even if it isn't!

7 comments: said...

WOW! The detail on this party is amazing. Shredded Wheat?!?! So creative!

Tracy is ... Loving Pretty Things said...

what fun!!!!! So glad I just found your Blog - fellow SO.Cal'er! Look forward to reading more about your creativity!!!!

Aimée said...

That cake is brilliant and the whole party looks like so much fun!
Such a cool mom!

Brenda said...

What a fun party! I love the invitations!

Cher said...

Such cute! I love your ideas..can't wait to see more!

* TONYA * said...

You did such a fantastic job. I love the 'Wanted' sign and the cake. Wow. Well done.

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

That's so cute! I did this for a party once. I love the paint with water idea!!! Genius! LOL! Great job with everything.