Modern Stripes + Dots Cow Birthday Party from Live the Fancy Life
June 3, 2013
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This little dude is so stinkin' cute. And his Mom? Well she just rocks. Jessica, of Live the Fancy Life, planned, styled and DIY'ed this sweet birthday party for her 2 year old son, Bodhi, all around his favorite cow book, The Story of Ferdinand. I love her hip, modern approach and I love that this party doesn't scream 'KIDS'. At first glance this celebration could have been anything, a house warming, a bridal shower or even a big kid birthday. Until you see the adorable little cow cake pops, mini tables + chairs with bunting and one handsome little boy running around in a striped shirt.
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My son has been in love with cows for a long time now. Every time I asked him what he wanted for his second birthday party he said “a cow party” and that had me stuck. My style is definitely on the modern side and the idea of a farm party wasn’t very attractive to me even though they can be very cute. It seems that any and all inspiration related to cows is a farm party. I tried to find other themes I could go with for months, until I realized I could take this cow party idea to a new level—something completely different, to make my son a very happy birthday boy.

I found inspiration in animal themed parties like owls and fox because people easily make those animals work, but no one has done just cows! When reading bedtime stories to my son months ago, I realized that one of his favorite books is The Story of Ferdinand. It’s about a cow who loves to sit under a tree and smell flowers. He’s a very peaceful cow. I realized quickly that this book had to be a big part of the party and a lot of my inspiration came from that. The book is quite old and is black and white. My grandma actually remembers reading it as a kid!

The book has a lot of mentions of the cow sitting under a tree and smelling flowers so I decided to use unfinished wood throughout the party, topiary trees and plants to add a natural element to my otherwise, very modern style. The black, white, shades of green, metallic silver and wood color palette was so much fun to work with and gave me a lot of flexibility to use items we had around or that my friends had. I decided to go with black and white to match cows spots and added in greens because I thought it would be a bit unexpected and would work well with some natural elements like plants and trees that I wanted to incorporate.


Seating – Lots of kids tables and chairs everywhere to make it clear that this party was for them. We did DIY table runners and topiary tree centerpieces with a cow underneath—this is a nod to the book The Story of Ferdinand.

Dessert table – Loaded with goodness, including cow cake pops, milk bottles, birthday cake with a fun DIY topper, cow birthday candle and Trader Joe’s version of Oreos (a very budget-friendly option and so easy, which fit the color scheme well).

Decor – DIY garland galore on chairs, dessert table, everywhere. The cow and party-themed gallery wall which was possible because we have absolutely no art in our formal dining room yet. The GIANT Yippee sign that greeted guests when they walked in the door. Several people commented that just seeing the word “yippee” made them happy. Plants throughout the party, from topiary trees to flower pots to some basic plants, we tried to infuse the party with some pretty natural elements.

Many indoor and outdoor activities, toddlers need action – A train table with lots of cows, a play kitchen, a coloring station, puzzles, cars sitting out for kids to play with. A mini photo booth with fun props and a cute black and white polka dot backdrop made with a wrapping paper cardboard roll, hot glue, a piece of ribbon and Ikea fabric. Story time with my mom and all of the kids opened their party favors. The favors were one of Bodhi’s favorite books (The Story of Ferdinand. It is about a cow, of course!) wrapped in kraft paper and finished with a thick ribbon and simple cow silhouette placed in Ikea picture ledges.

Photography: Melissa Oholendt Photography |Event styling: Jessica of Live the Fancy Life | B on the front door: DIY using Joann Fabrics letter | Paper products: Grace & Guy Paperie | Yippee signs: Paging Supermom on Etsy | Dessert table backdrop: DIY-canvas with black ribbon | Banners and garlands: DIY using scrapbook paper | Cake topper: DIY using scrapbook paper and paper straws | Cow candle: DIY | Milk bottles + black and white snack cups: Shop Sweet Lulu | Cow cake pops: Shelby’s Bakeshop | Cake pops: Beyond the Bar Bakery | Cow sticks for cake pops: DIY at Archiver’s | Ribbon sticks: DIY | Cake pop stand: DIY-wood box from Michaels, foam and moss | Silver cows: plastic toy cows spray painted silver | Cookie cake stand: A Fabulous Fete | Kid tables, chalkboard easel, black + white chairs and green + white stools: Ikea | Green chairs: estate sale and painted kelly green | Table runners: DIY with Ikea Sophia fabric | Art on gallery wall, fireplace and party favors: The Story of Ferdinand from Amazon | Paper lanterns: Martha Stewart paper lanterns on Amazon | Chair garlands: DIY with scrapbook paper | Topiary trees: Home Goods | Photo booth props: DIY | Suitcases on photo booth: Land of Nod | Mini photo booth backdrop: DIY | Plants: Trader Joe’s | Green plant pots: Target dollar spot | Cows, cows everywhere: all from Runnings in Benson, MN | Balloons: Party City | Eat Drink Play and Eat Drink Smile utensil holders: DIY using a free printable | Cake stand and wood platters: Borrowed from a friend, originally purchased at Michaels | Silver table for cake: West Elm