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Monday, August 20, 2012

Swap Soiree!

Today I am turning another year older. I always feel so blessed to do so. 

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I celebrated my birthday early by hosting a Swap Soiree.

I mentioned before that we recently downsized. It is SO freeing to get rid of a bunch of stuff.

But the hard part is getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Really nice stuff that you think “I wish I knew someone who would appreciate this good stuff.”

The premise of a Swap Soiree is you invite your décor loving friends over and ask them to bring one item (or more! More! MORE!  in the case of this party) that is in good condition but perhaps they have tired of or just don’t have a place for. Then you swap for things you can use.

Decor Swap..I really want to do this

I gave myself an extra challenge that since I was trying to downsize I could ONLY use things I had on hand for the party.

You know ~ like you have one leftover invitation, 5 napkins here or 6 cups there. Yep. I had to use it UP!!!

So everyone received sort of a one of a kind invitation.

Color me happy

In using only what I had on hand also meant that the tablescape got REALLY creative. I had purchased a large pack of polka dotted plates ages ago from TJ Maxx. I will admit that I had to purchase the cups for the party. They came from the Target dollar section and I thought the stripes looked crazy good with the dots.

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Not everyone had the same napkin and the straws were also a kaleidoscope of colors, but I did try to keep it within a happy color palette. It was sort of Bohemian Rhapsody at its finest.

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Simple plastic ware became sweet nestled in pretty pockets sewn from leftover scrapbooking paper.

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Again using leftover scrapbook paper, I made place settings for each spot. As the guests were seated I had them turn their name in the other direction so that perfect strangers could become friends.

Many marveled at the simple fact that I used food coloring to turn the vase water blue.

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The centerpiece inspiration came from this image.

Love this birdcage!

I had the birdcage, bird, nest and blue mason jar on hand.

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I purchased blue hydrangeas and pink and white roses for the party from Trader Jo’s. 

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Guests loved the European style luncheon. It made even my vegetarian and gluten free friends happy.


The menu featured chicken salad nestled in puff pastry, rustic cucumber sandwiches, and a few of my favorite salads including this delicious caprese delight.

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I can never get enough summer fruit. The raspberries and blueberries were sweet enough to serve on their own.

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No one left the table hungry. :)


For dessert, guests had their choice between oatmeal cookies, yellow cupcakes or dark chocolate frosted in fun shades. Simple flags were cut out from leftover scrapbook paper (again) and glued to toothpicks.


We also celebrated Miss Marty turning 73 ~ yippeeee!


After lunch I had to break up the chatter to begin the swapping festivities. This was no easy task. Although some of the women arrived not knowing anyone they all quickly found some new best friends. Each guest was assigned a number. Everyone got to go into the office and select one item they loved best. The table was groaning with swap goodies!!!  We had enough for three rounds of selections. I apologize for not taking a picture of all the grand loot. Julie and Meri talked to Jen about blogging while waiting their turn.

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To make things easier I provided personalized “shopping bags”. (Tutorial coming.)

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The guests were thrilled that they:

1. Got rid of a bit of clutter from their own homes.

2. Selected something new to them that they could fully enjoy.

And the best part?

3. All the remaining leftover items were donated to Hope’s Closet, a thrift store where 100% of the proceeds benefit the New Life Center.

All the guests, like the lovely Ceekay, left happy and my fur boys enjoyed the extra attention too.


Many thanks to dear Linda for the great photos she took of the party!

My friend Jackie supplied additional seating and dear, dear Kristina helped me immensely in the kitchen.

Other lovely blog writing ladies who attended:

Jenny of Redhead Sadie. Karen of The Language of Design.

What are you HAPPY about today?


Linking to:

A Stroll Thru Life , StoneGable and BNOTP , Today’s Creative Blog, SSS, StoneGable, Someday Crafts, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Positively Splendid, The 36th Avenue, SNS


jeanetteann said...

What a brilliant idea,looked like fun,I recognised Ceeky and Marty as I visit their blogs often. How nice to know bloggers personally. I thought I was invited when I saw the jeanette place card :)
The table setting is lovely too. would loved to have seen the goodie swap table. x

jeanetteann said...

PS, Happy Birthday laura

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

Happy Birthday..

wow that looks like a great party and a fabulous idea.

you AZ gals sure know how to have some fun.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Happy Birthday Laura!!! Your party was just BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thank you again for having me!!!!

chris mckinley said...

Looks like a great time was had by all!! Such a great idea!! Happy Birthday!


Louise said...

Feliz cumpleaños Laura!!
Una fiesta preciosa y la decoracion genial.

Jane said...

Happy, Happy Birthday, Laura! Hope this will be a wonderful year for you! Looks like a really fun - and creative, of course - party!!!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

What a fun time in your new home. Things looked beautiful! Your so creative. Would be fun to party with you,Marty and Ceekay.

Sophie said...

What a clever, clever idea. I love it Laura!

linda t said...

Happy Birthday Laura!
I had so much fun at your Swap Soiree Party that I'm hoping my friend will help me host one in the east valley.
Your home is so beautiful, warm and welcoming! Thanks for inviting me!

Linda said...

Gosh, Laura, could you be any cuter?! I love the way you host parties, all of your decorations and foods look marvelous as always.

Happy Birthday!! :) Hope it's a wonderful day for you, the kind you're so deserving of.

What am I happy about today? For one more day off with my Sarah today - as she gets her hair done and we shop for last minute school essentials at Urban Outfitters... hopefully along the sales rack! ;)

Love, Linda

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh Laura, Happy, Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope today is the greatest day ever. I had a ball at your party and I am just in awe of what you have done to your home. Stunning. Love and Hugs, Marty

Auntie Em said...

Happy Birthday!!!!! Wishing you a day as happy as the day you enjoyed for your lovely celebration! :)
They look like an amazing group of ladies!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Happy Birthday, Laura! That sounds like a wonderful idea and a great time.

Mary Ellen said...

Happy birthday Laura!!Gosh what a fun party this was!! Great idea!! Would love to do something like this sometime!

Have things settled? Continue to pray as Jesus brings you to mind!

bee blessed

Vicki said...

What a fun party! I may have to "borrow" your idea sometime...
Happy Birthday, Laura! Praying for you to have a blessed year.

openid said...

What a wonderful and creative party! Kudos for using items you had.
Hope Sweet Boy and the Fashionista have settled into their school routine and are happy.
Happy Birthday, my friend.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

The pockets on the napkins are such a cute idea! I just discovered your blog and an now following and look forward to reading :-)

Joani said...

Happy Birthday. The saw sounds so grand. Have a great week.

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Happy Birthday! Looks like a fun even and I love the idea of doing a decor swap. Many things I've stalked over at friend's houses I'd love to trade for! Table setting is so energetic and colorful - just what I like!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Oh happy happy birthday sweet Laura!
This gluten free vegetarian enjoyed a fabulous lunch. Thank you again. All your personal touches made it such a lovely afternoon.
Today I am thankful for new friends :)

xinex said...

WEhat a fun and great idea, Laura. You are truly creative. Your table is so adorable!..Christine

Designs By Pinky said...

This was a brilliant idea and one I might copy!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Mine is coming up on the 26th. Everyone looks terific. Great party! XO, Pinky

87534db0-6a11-11e1-9332-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Thank you for the best party, you are a perfect hostess. Your new home is beautiful you have truly made it a nice place to be. Happy Birthday!!

Your Friend-

Kelley Highway said...

A VERY hApPy BiRtHdAy! I love these ideas! What a fun time! Enjoyed Marty's post about the day, too!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Looks like so much fun. What a great way to unload some stuff. Have a great birthday!

Denise said...

Wonderful fun and such a lovely idea.My question is how do you find other bloggers that live close enough to invite to a real party.All the bloggers I seem to know live across the country?Such a pretty happy party. Denise

It's All Connected said...

I'm going to do this with my friends! It's the perfect way to let go of some of the better stuff that just doesn't 'speak' to me anymore! ~ Maureen

Denise said...


Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Happy birthday sweet Laura! And what a wonderful party you had! It really looks like my kind of fun!!!

Sue said...

First off Happy Birthday Laura!!! I am sure you will have a fantastic awesome wonderful special great fun filled day and many many more to come!!!

Second I loved your idea of the swap party and am going to be passing this idea on to some ladies at church. We were just discussing how a lot of us have a little bit of this and little bit of that and just don't have the heart to throw away good stuff no matter how little we have. This would be a wonderful activity night for the ladies at church in so many ways.

Third I am definitely going to use the ideas for the silverware pockets for the baby shower for my daughter. I have so many cute baby papers, but just not full sheets, so this will work out wonderfully. I wish I would have seen this earlier because I would have used this idea for her wedding reception.

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blogs. Keep them coming. Again Happy Birthday.

Deanna said...

Dear One, A very Happy Birthday to you!!!! and many mmmoooorrrreeeee!
God bless and may the rest of the summer be wonderful.

Cute post and I bet each Lady had a blast,

Mimi said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIRST OFF....did I wish you a Happy Birthday on facebook?????or do you now post it on there???ANy who...hope your day was fabulous!!!!!I AM SAD.....Real SAD......bummer So sad I could NOT looks like everyone had so much fun. I see several ladies I do not that means we have alot of new or old blogger friends in Az I do not know!!!Or follow....shame on me!!!!
The food the decor just everything looks perfect Laura!!!
WAY to go!!!!!
I think we should plan on this again!!!!

Barbara F. said...

Beautiful, what a great idea. Looks like everyone had a great time. xo

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Happy to wish you the happiest of birthdays today!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Happy birthday, Laura! I love your Swap Soiree idea. I don't know how in the world you found time to do all the prep "playing" while trying to move and get settled into your new house... Your energy amazes me!

Vel Criste said...

Happy birthday Laura!!!! Looks like a great, fun and beautiful party!!!! What a way to celebrate! love your setting!

sandy said...

Oh what fun to be in the company of all those lovely women...wonderful party!

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME/Doublewide Decor said...

Absolutely the BEST party I have been to in ages!!! Had a great time, food and fun was wonderful...and visiting with all the fun ladies. I smile every time I think about it...what a sweet both your fur children!!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Oh those swaps are fun! I've been to one and keep thinking I will have one myself sometime. Looks like you all had fun and I love how all your stuff looked together. It is fun to use what you have on hand and see what you come up with isn't it!?!

Kate said...

What a great idea for a Birthday Party - Many Happy Returns! I love your mixture of stripes and dots.
Hopping over from BNOTP Tablescape Thursday :)

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

After my wife convinced me that I really would be the first thing to go, I stopped complaining about clutter.

Pat said...

This looks like so much fun! And a great idea for decorating for this themed party.

Infuse With Liz said...

Happy Belated Birthday Wishes!
That looks like a lot of fun! The table setting all looks so cheerful!
The birdcage idea is adorable! Looks like a fun party and fun event!

Marlis said...

What a great idea. I love that table. It had to be great fun to sit there. Good idea turning the name tags around. Be blessed, xo marlis

CAS said...

Happy Birthday, Laura! What a great idea for a party. Blogger parties look like so much fun. Looks like everyone had a great time!


Miss Merry said...

Happy Birthday! What a marvelous idea. I am currently moving the contents of my dad's 3 story condo into my dining room (I am the only person who can sell a home in a week in this economy). It is so hard to part with memories, but knowing that they are going to a good home could make the process easier. I love your nametags at your placesettings! What a cute little house.

Rachel said...

I came over from The Shabby Nest. Love the utensil holder and bag. Super cute!