Friday, May 1, 2015

And they're off: Kentucky Derby DIY

While the actual derby race itself might last only a fleeting two minutes, this time honored event (the first Derby was held in 1875) is celebrated by fans for weeks both before and after, with fabulous events, parties, trays of mint juleps, and of course the ubiquitous glamorous hats. Sadly unable to attend the race in person (it's on my bucket list), I thought I'd pay homage to this festive event with some fun Derby inspired DIY's here at home.

Mint Julep Granita
While I found countless interpretations of the classic julep online, as well as many unique recipes featuring this fun flavor (mint julep cupcakes anyone?) I thought I'd try this refreshing version of an icy granita from 

 The recipe uses fresh mint, sugar, limeade, lime juice and bourbon 

Blame it on being a northern girl, but even to this date I don't own a proper set of silver mint julep cups (although I've been scouring flea markets for them) so I served my juleps up in some dollar store champagne flutes. 
Simply moisten the glass rims with cut side of lime and dip in a saucer of sugar. Garnish with mint and serve with long ice tea spoons.
Derby Hats
A proper topper is de rigeur for a derby fete and this is one place where fashion can really go over the top. 
A glue gun and craft staples from your dollar or party store make extreme millinery lots of fun. 
My mother created this "run for the roses" chapeau featuring a plastic thoroughbred, faux betting money and flower accents.
Derby Decor 
Dollar store items before their makeovers
Painted plastic horses add to your table when spritzed with gold and festooned with ribbons and flower. I hot glued the horses to a thin cardboard tube (cut in two) from a dry clean hanger painted gold, but a dowel would work as well.

Press horses and some faux roses into flower foam and perch in silver spray painted plastic pots 
A spritz of clear satin varnish give faux flowers a more lifle-like look

I bought a few feet of faux grass at my home improvement store and have used it so many times! (as a track for my easter bunny races or table runner for secret garden tea and other parties) Here I cut out a round to line my tray of julep granitas. 

And they're off.....

Love all things equestrian? Visit our Polo Picnic post for more horsey ideas.


  1. What fun! We always watch the Derby...on TV, unfortunately. :-)

    1. Thanks! Yes I'll be watching on Tv also - (sigh) but might wear a big hat lol

  2. Inspired as always. The hat makes me smile!

    1. Thanks so much! I think it's the one time of the year one can actually wear a hat like that :)

  3. Very cute! I have never been to the Derby either. I like that it goes back to the 1800's, and I like the hats and all the fanciness that goes along with it.

    1. Thanks Gina- Me too -it has such an interesting history and any excuse to wear a fabulous hat :)

  4. What an adorable post, so clever! The juleps look delicious!

    1. Thanks so much Patti!
      The juleps were perfect on a warm day! :)

  5. I love everything about your post. Great snd fun idea. I have never been to the Derby idea but it looks like a wonderful event to attend at least once in a lifetime.

    Thank you for sharing your fun ideas.


    1. Thanks so much Janet!
      I've never been to the derby either (my "someday" list) but figured why not celebrate at home lol
      So glad you stopped by :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.


Love to hear your comments and suggestions! Because of excessive spam we are currently asking for that pesky word verification