For a truly last minute costume and party idea, this one turned out better than expected. Thinking back to the Candy ‘Rapper costume, I began running a list of candy names through my mind while driving home from work one afternoon. When I landed on Jolly Ranchers, I knew I had a winner. Since it was just going to be the adult Turners, we conferred over dinner one night and had our game plan. We were going to be the Jolly Ranchers of the Smilin’ J Ranch!
Jeans, boots, and bandannas were already in everyone’s wardrobe, so a trip to the thrift store found some western shirts and I even scored a cowgirl vest. I was able to get a white cowboy hat from Party City for less than $5. I also picked up a couple of cotton shirts to tear up into strips for a few decorations.
While I was at the thrift store, I ran across this adorable stuffed cow, and just knew she had to be part of the porch decor. We even “branded” her.
We also had an official welcome sign, but I would have preferred to give it a more rustic look with old barn wood or burlap.
The niece and nephew still had their stick ponies that they made at a church activity when they were younger, so BIL and SIL had their rides. Now I just had to figure out how to make ours. I viewed several websites for DIY stick ponies, and decided to follow this one: http://www.thecountrychiccottage.net/2013/04/diy-sock-stick-horses-tutorial-with.html
My materials and where I found them:
Socks – men’s department Walmart (DH needed new dress socks anyway)
Styrofoam balls – Walmart
Buttons for eyes- Walmart and personal stash
Bridle-belt at a yard sale for 25 cents
Rings- old key rings in personal stash
Leather cord for reins, felt for ears, stuffing, brads for bridle, and black electrical tape- personal stash
Dowel rod- Lowe’s or Home Depot
I hand-stitched the bridle on the ends that went around the ring, but on the other end, I used a hole punch and a decorative metal brad. For the mane, I used a large-eye needle and pull lengths of yarn through the sock. That was probably the most time consuming part, but I still managed to finish both of them while watching a football game. I was pleased with the final products.
I also made the garland from the material strips in the background of this picture.
I found various fat quarters with black or orange to go along with the old denim shirts I bought. I tore them into ~2” wide strips, about 18” long. I looped them over a piece of jute twine until I ran out of strips. I even used a few on the lanterns outside.
We added a few items with a“ranch” or “cowboy” or Texas feel to it, such as:
Lil’ Doggies (lil’ smokies)
Cow Patties (aka Goat Drop Cookies aka No Bake Cookies)
Texas Trash Dip
Cowboy Caviar (Black Bean salsa)
The day before the party I was hitting the thrift stores, and ran across this table. It is an old metal school table with the laminate type top. I bought two cans of chalkboard paint and put two coats of paint on it when I got home. Best deal yet! It was quite popular with the little ones. There is just something about writing with chalk that appeals to everyone.
We also added a Craft Room for this party, since our guests were getting a bit older. They had to be accompanied by an adult in order to enter. I had a variety of coloring sheets, sticker sheets, foam crafts, and even a way to make a spider out of a Charms Blow Pop and some black pipe cleaners/chenille stems.
So, thanks for stopping by and staying a spell with us at the Smilin’ J. Y’all come back now, ya hear?