When we were young, my mother worked tirelessly for several days before a party. You could say she was the original party planner. She had to think about how to get things done while still allowing for the day to day needs of her family of eight. She began orchestrating the cleaning and the menu long before the day of the event. All of my brothers and sisters were enlisted. But, even at a young age, I was thinking about rearranging the furniture, or creating something entertaining for everyone to talk about long after the party was over. And, I suppose mom was thinking about those things too, after all, she was creative in her own right. She played the piano and was always dreaming up a new sewing project of some sort, but she understood that it was her job to put her best foot forward and to make sure everyone coming to that celebration had a good time.

So, while I’m still scheming about the next great thing in party décor, I learned from my mother, that a successful hostess isn’t judged by the decorations. It’s how you make your guests feel that counts… and that it looks really, really pretty. Just sayin’. 🙂

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The gantlet has been thrown and I have accepted the challenge! I was asked to write about decorating for a party, using mostly things I already own. (Something I try to do anyhow.) But, I took it to the next level. I challenged myself to only purchase things like poster board and sharpies. The results, well, I’ll leave that for you to decide, but I have to say, I was pretty pleased!

Later this month we’ll hear from other members of the home bogging team about different kinds of parties, so I thought I’d keep this post fairly generic, and give you a couple of tips that could be used for a variety of gatherings.

TIP 1: SHOP YOUR HOUSE

I began by “shopping my house”. By that I mean, I looked in every room, closet, drawer or bookshelf, with an eye for those things that could possibly spark an idea or create a theme.

TIP 2: COLOR SCHEME IS KEY

Keeping the items mostly in one color scheme, gives a cohesive look to your party décor.

TIP 3: FRAME IT

The use of frames filled with handwritten sayings is a quick and inexpensive way to let your guests know what you are celebrating without buying a banner.

TIP 4: VARY THE HEIGHT

One element to keep in mind when creating a display that is not only useful in serving your guests, but also visually pleasing, is to vary the height of the items on the table. In this case, the books and an old hat box did the trick nicely.

I collected trays, baskets, frames, candlesticks and urns of all sizes. I tried to think outside of the box, to use items in unexpected ways and when gathered all in one place, a couple of ideas began to emerged. I love to decorate with old books. Their worn and faded bindings add a vintage look to almost any vignette. Soon I began to think of a college graduation, Father’s Day, or maybe a book club meeting. With that in mind, it wasn’t long before I put together a simple display weaving dishes and linens from my china cabinet with urns and over-sized candlesticks on my harvest table.

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A party also gives me a chance to use all those things that I’ve been given over the years. For example, this post isn’t about party food, but someone gave me the most perfect looking pie plate and cover for a wedding present and it’s the picture of Americana in this display. I found the ball jars in the pantry and added a bow made of raffia for thirsty guests, and I filled my picnic basket with balloons left over from another celebration just for fun. I had a few mini American flags that I save for our most patriotic occasions and inserted them into my Christmas card holder. And just so you know, that Christmas card holder has doubled as a photo holder, a postcard holder and a holder for cut out hearts on Valentine’s Day, making it one of my best investments. This particular party décor can be used for Memorial Day, Independence Day, or even a back yard BBQ.

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So if you’re in the mood to celebrate, and you don’t want to break the bank, take a look around the house and see what creative ideas you can come up with! We’d love to hear about your successes, so comment below to tell us how you’ve decorated for events using what you have!

As for me, I‘ve got to put my house back together now…


 By Beth Rhora // Home Blogging Teambeth rhora

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