Friday, January 6, 2012

Party with the Pioneer Woman

Well, this post is about a year over due... BUT since I didn't have a blog a year ago I don't feel the least bit bad about sharing this fun little party today!! {Side Note: I'll probably share quite a few fun little parties/showers/weddings as time goes on because that was what I ORIGINALLY made the blog for... hence the name "Frilly Little Details." I had this blog designed a few years ago to share all the "frilly little details" of the different events I was working on, then I got a real job and haven't had time to do much party planning BUT the blog was all ready to roll so I just decided I'd give you all the frilly little details of my life instead. It works, I hope.}

My friends and me posing with the Pioneer Woman!
Ok, so back to today... I am a member of the Oklahoma City Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club and every year we host a fundraising event called "Gathering of Angels." Our sorority's philanthropic focus is to promote literacy, so all the proceeds from the "Gathering" go to buy books for different underprivileged schools throughout the Oklahoma City area. I was honored to co-host the 2011 Gathering of Angels at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. We lucked out and somehow convinced a fellow (but MUCH more famous) Pi Phi, Ree Drummond of the Pioneer Woman, to be our guest speaker! Let me tell you, if you slap the words "Pioneer Woman" on ANYTHING I'm pretty sure it'd sell like hot cakes! The Country Club has a dining capacity of 550 and our event was SOLD OUT before we had even publicized it! We had hundreds on the waiting list within days of the event hitting the press... IT. WAS. AWESOME!!! And we ended up raising over $30,000 for literacy! Woohoo! So, without further ado, I'm going to start sharing photographs of all the frilly little details!

Ree's table displayed the most festive pair of boots!
Aren't they fabulously fun!? Also, the picture is of my great grandparents!
I LOOOOOOVE decorating for parties and this was easily one of my favorite events that I've had the privilege of working on. Since this was a fundraiser we tried to keep our budget as small as possible. I can't remember the exact number but I only ended up spending about $300 total to decorate 55 tables... that is a mere miracle my friends! Here's my secret - it's all about utilizing your resources!

This is an example of one of the "Mason Jar" arrangements
First off, "Pioneer Woman" theme was right up my ally! Growing up in the "country" helped me easily visualize the look I was going for - the things that instantly popped in my head included sunflowers (super durable so you can prepare in advance and a great pop of color... plus the Pioneer Woman Cookbook has sunflowers on the cover), cowboy boots (this is where that "utilizing your resources" thing kicked in), burlap (because I use burlap with pretty much EVERYTHING), and little country knick-knacks to pull it all together! 

This is an old camping pitcher my dad used to use on hunting trips to Colorado
I just added some sunflowers and tied on a little raffia... tada!
Table cloths were included in our Country Club rental, so I chose to utilize the color options they offered and went with a hunter green. I didn't want a bright green because I really wanted my sunflower yellow to be the dominant pop color! Then I just bought a ton of burlap on sale at JoAnn's Fabric and cut it into 1.5x4 foot long strips that I used as a runner, but then last minute decided to bunch it all up instead of laying it flat across the table!

In this centerpiece, we used some of our books for display and an OLD iron!
Next I had to gather a BUNCH of boots! So, I called my mom to collect as many as she could from home (Everybody in my town owns at least one pair!) and I sent out an email to the Alumnae Club and asked that they use a sharpie to write their name on the bottom of each boot and drop them off the day before the event. Cowboy boots kept rolling in and it was WONDERFUL! 

A slightly rusted bowl turned upside down added
a little height to one of our mason jar arrangements!
I ordered a TON of sunflowers (my only big cost) from Trochta's, a FABULOUS flower store in Oklahoma City, and because I ordered in bulk (and because Jim Vallion, the owner is my "boyfriend") I got the flowers at a discounted rate. We saved money by arranging the flowers ourselves. For the "Mason Jar Arrangements" (I borrowed ALL the mason jars from my Aunt Suzanne... she had collected them for quite some time and used them at my cousin Callie's beautiful wedding!!) we filled each jar with different color beans - black, lima, green, pinto, kidney, etc - and then put the sunflowers down in them and added water. DO NOT TRY THIS unless you are making them immediately before the event. What we learned (the hard way) is that beans absorb water and don't share it with the sunflowers! Thankfully, I arrived early enough that morning to give everything a big drink and the sunflowers perked back up in time for the event... but I did have a minor heart attack, thankfully I lived. (If you want the same look you can fill jars with buttons - nice since you can pick any color you want!!)

I loved the red boots - they were a great pop of color!
I also brought some hobnail milk glass pieces and stuck moss
down in them for a little something different!
To do the "Boot Arrangement" we put floral foam in a red solo cup (BEFORE they were such a hot commodity thanks to Toby Keith) about half full of water down in the bottom of the boot and and arranged the flowers from there...

My great-great-grandfather is in the old picture riding his favorite horse!
The doilies are my grandma's and again, we used books for a little added height.
For the little knick-knacks: I pulled from things I had at home and asked a few friends and family members to gather up any old western looking photos they had (pretty easy to find in Oklahoma), doilies, silver pieces that weren't shined (I had a BUNCH of this that I'd collected from estate sales for basically nothing, obviously not sterling... my mother was appalled, but it was a nice touch of rustic!), lanterns, any galvanized pitchers/cups/bowls and old books.  **I use books to decorate for virtually EVERY event I work on and throughout my house! I love the color they bring and you can stack them and put an arrangement on top to make any desired height. If there are books that have fitting titles or pictures, I display them by standing them upright and slightly opened.   

This was one of my favorites...
that would be my little bro sucking his thumb while riding in a rodeo parade!
The menu for this party was especially fun - since Ree happens to have a very yummy cookbook, we served items made from her recipes! Wedge salad with Ree's homeade Ranch dressing, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, mocha brownies and, of course, angel sugar cookies! I think everyone enjoyed having not your normal luncheon food selection!

A lantern (from my front porch) held up a cute little wooden sign!
As a final touch, we scattered a few acorns around each centerpiece... sadly, I took all the pictures before that last minute detail! But it was cute, I promise!

My Gather co-host/party planning partner in crime/college bestie,
Britanny and I!! We LOVE to throw a good party!
My mom and grandma made the trip to OKC for the Gathering...
Bless their hearts, I put them to work!! They are always so sweet to jump in and
be my behind-the-scenes workers!! Thank you both!

The OKC Alumnae Club worked so hard on this event and I was so appreciative that they let me do the most fun part - decorating! Ree was absolutely awesome as expected! She is just as down-to-earth in person as she is on her blog. She made us laugh and kept us highly entertained all while declaring that she wasn't a public speaker... I think she can start claiming that one at this point! She was truly wonderful and we were so fortunate to have her be our guest of honor!

You can read Helen Wallace Ford's (Party Blogger Extraordinare) thoughts on the party with the Pioneer Woman by clicking here.

Gathering of Angels 2012 is RIGHT around the corner!

Be Blessed!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I am so proud of you and so jealous of you at the same time...THE PIONEER WOMAN!!!!! OmGosh! She is the biggest Oklahoma celebrity since Carrie Underwood. These decorations are the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Everything was really cute.