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It's definitely not my favorite kind of party to have-- saying goodbye to a pastor and his family.  I hate saying goodbyes. Don't you?

Our church wanted to have a goodbye party to honor our pastor and his family.  We wanted to thank them for the time, energy and love they've invested in our congregation and our church. Sounds easy enough, right?  Ummm...
Let me walk you through how I pulled this off with a little creativity, love and lots of volunteers.

First task: set a theme.
Our pastor was known for always wearing ties. (Our church is quite casual, so this was definitely his trademark.) His wife loves Swedish Dala horses.
(We attend a Swedish church- Covenant denomination).
Their young daughter loves art and drawing.

Ties...Dala horses...Art...what?
How do you make a theme out of that?  Well, I asked myself that question over and over.  We really wanted each member of the family to feel loved and appreciated.  I needed to somehow incorporate all those 'unrelated' things into this event.  This was definitely my most difficult themed party to date!

Men's ties were the easiest to start with.  I started collecting old ties from thrift stores and from newly retired men in the church.  I put in the church bulletin for, women and children to wear a tie to the party to honor our pastor.  On the day of the party, I had a box of extra ties in case someone forgot the dress code!

Gift bags on the tables were decorated with fabric ties.  (Cards and money gifts were collected in the bags.)  Instead of ribbon on the tables, we used mens ties.  I went with the traditional blue and yellow Swedish colors to honor the pastor's family heritage and our church's denomination.

The Swedish Dala horses were a little bit harder.  I couldn't find any to purchase that fit the budget, so I printed out the horses on red card stock and taped them to painted wood skewers.  These were placed in the flower centerpieces.  It tickled our pastor's wife that we thought of her and not just her husband.

To bring in the art theme, we placed blank cards and crayons on each table with directions.

Directions read:  "Decorate a notecard with crayons.  Write a note of thanks inside the card.  Place finished cards in gift bag."

Blue and yellow plastic buckets held the blank cards. 
There were 3 types of cards to go with the 3 themes. 

A tie card, A Swedish Dala horse card, and a frame card to create art. (Yes, I tried to get a tie around the horse...)

Directions were glued onto both sides of colored cardstock, so everyone at the table could see them.  Large colored sticks were used to raise them up from the buckets.

Yellow and white flowers with greenery were stuck in vases, along with the Dala horses on skewers painted blue.

Clotheslines with ties added to the décor.

Yellow and blue round, plastic tablecloths covered the tables.  One large strip of white butcher paper created a table runner.  Blue and yellow crepe paper added some color as well.


Many volunteers in the kitchen helped prepare the delicious brunch.  Families in the church were asked to bring in egg casseroles.  One church member is well known for her Swedish Cardamom Bread recipe.  She made bread and rolls for everyone!  I used extra Dala horses to label the foods.

A friend of mine planned out the program.  It included the pastor's favorite songs, special gift presentations to each family member and she 'tied' it all together with a few 'tie-related' jokes.
You know, like What did the tie say to the hat? "You go on ahead, I'll hang around."

Oh, I almost forgot..we had a tie contest, too!
Craziest tie, Best-liked by our Pastor tie, and most 'Swedish' tie.

Gifts for the winners: 
Tie-dye kit, hair ties, cable ties and a box of Swedish Fish candies.

A great time had by all...
That's a 'wrap'.

For more posts on decorating for church functions, check these out.

Pastor Retirement Party

Themed Decorating for a Fundraiser Dinner

Fundraiser Dinner

Pastor Appreciation

Celebration of Life
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Well, you knew it was going to happen sooner or later...
A Tool Party Theme for Father's Day!  Tools and Dads, just go together.  (This could easily be adapted for a Dad's birthday party, too.)

Tools are a classic 'man' theme and so easy to pull off when you have a garage full of 'props'.  
So here it is, a Tool Themed Party for Dad.  Take a look.
Brown kraft paper was used to cover the table and continued up the wall.  Denim-looking wrapping paper was set over the kraft paper.

Pennant flags strung with string, spelled out Happy Father's Day. Galvanized pails and trays held the treats.  Tools straight from the garage, were brought in to decorate.

Adding labels and signs to food brings every party up a notch. (Scroll down for the free printables.)
I chose treats and snacks that resembled tools. I printed my signs on cardstock and taped them to wooden skewers.

Nuts= salted almonds
Lumber= sugar wafer cookies

Drill Bits= licorice
Fruit Picks= cut up fruit on skewers
Nails= pretzel sticks
Nuts & Bolts= Chex Mix

Of course, I had to include some tool puns.  These worked nicely with the cupcakes.

Clever little pun sayings were also printed out and attached to denim pennant pockets on skewers. 

Some of these pennants went on the gifts.

Here's some products to help you plan your own Tool Party.  (These are affiliate links.  No product was given to me.  All opinions are 100% my own.)

 Want to see more of our Father's Day Parties?

Golf Themed Father's Day

Pizza Themed Father's Day

Fishing Themed Father's Day

Baseball Themed Father's Day

Linking up to: SnippetsWeekendWindDownLinkyParty, LinkPartyPaloozaTatertotsandJello,
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The month of May is all about mom around our place.  Not just because it's Mother's Day, but my mom's birthday is in May, too.  This makes for a very festive month!
If you've read my blog for awhile, you know that I love to have themed parties.  Last year we celebrated my mom's 70th birthday with a glamorous silver, sparkly theme.  Click here if you missed it. 

The year before was the Hawaiian  theme that was a bit over the top!  Click here to see that party.

And other years we had a
Cupcake Party, click here.

Before blogging days, we had themes as'll just have to trust me on that one.
So this May, I needed a birthday theme and was somehow drawn to the beautiful hydrangeas (mom's favorite flower) I was seeing in the stores. So...hydrangeas and purple it was. 

Lavender wrapping paper lined the table.  Purple balloons, curling ribbon and serpentine party décor helped decorate our dining room.  Glass plates on top of purple plates on top of blue chargers, set the color theme.  Purple napkins and purple candy cups at each place setting..

Purple candies (dark Hershey's Kisses and purple Sixlets) along with a purple kazoo.
(Kazoos are very important at birthday parties.  It gives everyone a chance to hum to the birthday song!)

Purple and midnight blue frosted sugar cookies made a brief appearance.

And hydrangeas everywhere!
Now here's where I ran into a problem.  The weeks leading up to the party I was seeing purple hydrangeas in the stores.  The actual day I needed to purchase flowers, there was not one purple or blue hydrangea left!  So, white had to do.  I put the real white hydrangeas in the same vases as the blue fake ones.  It worked OK.

And the cake.  A 4 layer chocolate cake with dark chocolate cream filling and buttercream icing.  Mmmm!  Mom loves chocolate!

I really, really wanted to try out this amazing hydrangea frosting look for my cake, but I didn't have the right tip or enough time.
Gorgeous Purple Cupcakes
Click here to view instructions
(I might have to have another hydrangea party to try again?!)

So, I blended my frosting colors and stuck a fake hydrangea on top.  Talk about one quick cake!  Remove fake flower before cutting and serving.

  I like to stack my cake stands for extra height and drama.

My mom's gifts were wrapped in purple gift bags.  The kids followed through on their handmade purple cards.

And of course my mom loved it!  She's easy to please.

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you!


This post contains affiliate links to help you locate products.
Linking up to: MadebyYouMonday
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