Shana is using all Belva June‘s old decorating and designing secrets and making them new. Shana’s daughter wanted a western theme birthday party, but she would not go for anything ‘boyish’. “It had to have pink and lots of it! My daughter loves horses and all things Cowgirl, yet she is also a very girly-girl and feminine. I wanted to create something that equally reflected both of those strong characteristics in her. I knew that touches of brown and tan would bring in that “rustic/authentic” southern feel that we were looking for but only in small amounts, we still wanted to capture her femininity. Once I got an overall feel for what I was going for, I designed the printables around that. I think they were a great fit!”
Shana says that DIY printables are great for partying parents because you can print as many as you want for the same price. “Once you purchase the PDF’s they are all yours to use to your heart’s content! They are also great because where else can you find a cupcake wrap that matches your drink labels that also goes with your invitation and thank you cards? You just can’t get that in stores!”
First up on the party menu for the dozen kids and six adults: picking the food! “I’m a food girl!” Shana is proud to admit. “I think food can bring so much to support the theme of an event. I just had to serve home-style biscuits with homemade jam and drinks from mason jars. It doesn’t get more southern than that!”
Birthday girl Hailey was the first one up that morning – at 6AM. “She was so excited she couldn’t sleep! Hailey’s favorite part was standing outside when everyone arrived and pointing out the ‘COWGIRL PARKING ONLY – ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED’ signs that we put in the front lawn. She thought it was so funny!”
With DIY printables being so hot right now, Shana coordinated everything down to the cupcake liners. “It is so great to have the freedom to create your vision for an event exactly! For Hailey’s party I created the invitation, thank you cards, cupcake toppers, cupcake wraps, food labels, gift tags, table banner, Hailey’s “Wanted” poster, and the cake bunting banner. The look was very delicate and feminine yet the pink paisley pattern really captured the western feel. I also tried to bring in a western vibe by using phrases like “howdy ya’ll” in the invite and “happy trails” for the gift bag tags.”
Shana made all my décor herself, baked all the food, and took—and edited!—all the pictures. “I made the 11 pink tissue pom poms and 6 brown poms. I got a few yards of burlap and made a table runner with it for the dessert table, and I found some perfect pink flannel fabric that I used to line the biscuits basket and I made a few fabric napkins. My biggest challenge was the backdrop. I wanted the photos to be crisp and clean with a white background. My handy husband came to my rescue by stacking our two 5 ft table benches on the kitchen island behind the food table and draping a large white tablecloth over it.”
The bunting banner was a last minute ‘Hmmm, something is missing…’ moment that Shana took advantage of. “I hadn’t actually created the mini triangles as an “item” for the collection but I had an extra copy of cupcake wraps that I wasn’t using so I quickly cut out little triangles and hot glued them to a string and strung it from one straw to the other.”
When you’re as amazing a baker as Shana, desserts are chosen by request from her family. She made classic chocolate cupcakes with homemade raspberry filling and chocolate frosting, and chocolate centered cake pops with very light pink candy melts and chocolate drizzle. But the cake was truly the show stopper! “When I think of a statement cake I always think “fondant” but it’s just not as tasty. I wanted something that could truly hold its own as the focal point of the table and be just as kind to the palate as it is to the eye! I don’t mean to toot my own horn but it is sooooo good! The cake was a three layer French vanilla cake. My favorite thing about it is the added moisture and unexpected zip that a little lemon gives on each layer gives! I may have had a little for breakfast the next morning wink wink!”
As favors, each party child got a gift bag that said “Happy Trails” on it and rather than them being pre-filled, the kids filled them throughout the party by winning games and batting the piñata.
Shana gives great advice for parents looking to emulate her party look: Less is more! “Don’t shove your theme down your guest’s throat,” advises Shana. “If you are going for a circus/carnival theme, don’t clutter your table with busy clown table cloths, napkins, plates, balloons, party hats, and a clown cake. Be subtle. Incorporate that whimsical look instead by using colorful gumballs or candies to bring color, try solid colored balloons or pom poms and solid or delicate patterns for larger items such as table cloths and backdrops. Then make your details count! Still want clowns, add them to the drink wraps or to a toothpick flag, then your amazing clown cake will really stand out instead of getting lost in the clutter!” Thanks Shana for sharing Hailey’s beautiful party with us!