Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap Party

I know I’m not alone in starting this year with a real fire lit under me to start cleaning and de-cluttering our house. I first read Marie Kondo’s book a few years ago, but with her new show, she’s somehow getting even more popular, and I am on the wagon!

After doing a major closet cleaning, my friends and I decided that we would have a little clothing swap party to see if we could find some new items that “spark joy,” all without spending a penny! It was SO MUCH FUN!

I ended having a small get-together, which was just as much for the company as for anything else. A couple of my close friends from work and I are always admiring each other’s style and wear similar sizes, so this was an easy guest list to put together.

Admittedly, I would have fun doing just about anything with these girls, but the clothing swap was truly a blast! Of course, there was the excitement of getting something new for free! But on top of that, it was a great feeling to see things that I really liked but just didn’t work on me fit perfectly on my friends. Not to mention, there were some good stories behind some of these items!

A couple of my favorite “new” items are this leather tote bag and the little pendant necklace on the dresser.

Even though our party was small, I take party planning seriously, so I’ve gathered some of my best tips for a clothing swap of any size!

Before the party

  • Choose your guest list, considering people’s styles and sizes. Your guests don’t all have to have the same style or size, but it helps if everyone has at least one or two people who would be good matches
  • Choose the types of items to include – besides clothes, consider accessories, such as scarves, bags, jewelry, and shoes. Set guidelines about quality and condition of items, as well as how many items you want to include
  • Prepare your space with room to display clothes, as well as places to try things on and a mirror – since I invited just a couple of close friends, I actually hosted in my bedroom, which was the easiest place to find hanging space and mirrors!
  • Provide snacks, keeping in mind things that can be eaten while shopping
  • Consider adding signs and cute shopping bags as decorations

At the party

  • Arrange items neatly by category to make it easier to browse
  • Allow a window-shopping period, so everyone gets a chance to discover their favorite finds
  • Decide on an order for “shopping,” for example by drawing lots or based on how many items each person brought
  • In a larger group, allow one person or a small group to shop at a time, and decide on a limit for each group – either a maximum number of items or a fixed amount of time
  • Since there were just three of us, we just tried things on and checked in with each other before claiming an item – it was so easy and fun!

I’m a little sad it will take us years to accumulate enough stuff for another swap, but we’ll definitely find another excuse to get together and have fun soon!

Julie aka “Jewels”

“CHEERS” Party Banner

I love hosting parties because of the great food and company. And, to be honest, entertaining is also exactly the kick in the behind I need to work on fun projects around the house. We’re hosting a parent social in a few weeks, and I’m working on some decorations that will be festive and a touch glamorous, to help us all escape for a few hours from the daily routine.

One project I was excited to do was this “CHEERS” party banner. You could use this idea with any saying for all kinds of occasions, like weddings or birthdays. If you want to make one for your next shindig, here’s how I did it.

Materials:

Instructions:

  • Cut out the cardstock with points at the bottom
  • Cut out letters from the gold contact paper (remember to sketch your letters backwards!) and center on the cardstock
  • Punch holes in the top corners of the cardstock
  • String on to twine
  • Add tissue paper tassels (I used these instructions)

Here are a couple more pictures of our fun party banner!

Can’t think of a better way to sign off than saying “Cheers!”

“Jewels”

 

Giant Paper Flowers!!!

Oh, I honestly love any project that involves paper!

For a friend’s bridal shower, I offered to set up a photo booth and make some other decorations, which was the perfect excuse to try making these giant paper flowers.

Materials:

  • 12×12 Cardstock – I used 3-4 sheets for the outer petals and one more sheet for the inner petals on each flower; you can cut two leaves from a sheet of green cardstock
  • Muffin cups for the centers
  • Cardboard for the backing
  • Tacky glue or hot glue

Instructions:

  • I started with this template and tutorial for giant paper roses
  • Because my cardstock was 12×12, I used the template to cut one each of sizes 1, 2, and 3 out of each sheet of cardstock. I made a smaller size 4 and used that to cut out the inner color
  • I varied the tips of the petals to get some variety (the pink-red and purple flowers follow the template; the blue has pointed petals, and the yellow and pink-yellow flowers have heart-shaped petals)

 

Here are some close-ups of the flowers:

They look really impressive grouped together:

And while I was taking pictures, it was so cute that Finn came over to smell the flowers!

Here’s how the flowers looked in our photo booth. The backdrop is a striped shower curtain.

Any ideas of where to put the flowers until our next event?

“Jewels”

 

 

 

(Ex-pat) Canada Day Party

Canada Day is coming up this Friday, July 1. My ex-pat friends and I had the pleasure of celebrating a little early today. “What is a Canada Day party?” some of our American friends asked. Well, a regular Canada Day party is a nice summer picnic or barbecue, but when you are an ex-pat, you have to go over-the-top to assert your Canadian-ness, and today was a good example.

Setting the scene:

Red-and-white everywhere!

And some more subtle elements like these Hudson Bay striped pillows:

Music:

So much good music comes out of Canada. You will have no problem putting together a playlist with artists like Bare Naked Ladies, Sarah Mclachlan, Bryan Adams, Tragically Hip, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morisette, and so many more!

Food and drink:

You can find Canadian beers, wines, and soft drinks at specialty stores like BevMo. We also enjoyed Nanaimo bars, smoked salmon, “Timbits” (donut holes), and other treats.

Be sure to add these adorable igloo ice cubes!

Games:

Falling in July, Canada Day is not typically celebrated with snowball fights, but that didn’t stop us from having a ball with Snowtime Anytime.

Happy Canada Day to my friends at home and all over the world!

“Jewels”

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party!

This year, L is turning 9, and since his birthday falls at the start of his youth baseball season, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a retro baseball theme.

He wanted to hold the party at a trampoline place, which took care of the activities for the kids. This allowed me to have some fun putting together decorations, favors, and a ballpark menu.

Decorations:
Since we had a table in the middle of the trampoline space, I couldn’t make use of the walls for decorations.

I did find a little spot to hang our reusable birthday banner, customized for the baseball theme.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home
I also bought a set of these 12″ table number holders to display posters and signs. I found various retro-looking baseball posters and printed them with birthday messages and signs for the food and displayed them around the table.

Here are the sources for these great retro posters:Baseball player batting and Pitcher poster.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Menu:

We had a ballpark-inspired menu including:

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Party favors:

I decorated blank youth baseball jerseys for the boys with iron-on letters and numbers.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Each boy also got Cracker Jack in old-fashioned packaging.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

I created these charming gift tags to go with the party favors.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

What a fun time we had celebrating!

“Jewels”

DIY Superhero Cape Party Favors

Here’s a quick summary of the recent Superhero-related posts:

For J’s recent superhero birthday party, I decided to make capes as party favors. I always try to make one bigger gift instead of goody bags with lots of small items.

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

The capes were very simple to make, though I will admit that making them for 10 kids took longer than I anticipated. It all worked out, though, and it was adorable to see all the little heroes running around our house and yard in their super capes! J and L wanted to be Superman and Batman, so I made them capes specifically for that, but the rest of the capes were a mix of fun colors and patterns.

You can make your own cape pattern that fits kids from about two to seven years old:

Materials:

  • For the body of the cape, I cut a piece of fabric that was 32″ long. It was 29″ in wide at bottom, tapering to 19″ wide at top, and I cut a curve for the neckline.
  • The neckline is finished with bias binding in a matching color to the body of the cape.
  • For the accent fabric, I cut a strip of fabric that was 5″ wide and 29″ long.
  • I used a short section (about 1 inch) of velcro for the top.

Instructions:

  • I ironed down a 1/2″ hem on both long sides of the accent fabric strip and sewed it to the body of the cape, near the bottom edge.
  • I finished the neckline of the cape with bias binding
  • I hemmed the bottom and sides of the cape
  • Finally, I added velcro to the top corners to close the cape.

I love the variety of each of these. I even made a little baby version for my “niece” C.

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

C’s baby cape is so cute!

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

Birthday boy, also known as Superman!

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

The kids have been wearing their capes all around our home and beyond.

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

Super baby!

DIY Superhero capes for a birthday party! Jewels at Home

You don’t have to make the capes yourself to have a fun costume party. I have found great costumes of all kinds at low prices on Zulily:

Have fun saving the world, little ones!  Happy birthday, J!

“Jewels”

Stella & Dot Trunk Show and Romantic Afternoon Tea

I had so much fun last weekend hosting a Stella and Dot Trunk Show with afternoon tea for my girlfriends!

I’m especially proud that our stylist Stacey and I are each donating 10%, so 20% of the total sales, to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. If you feel so inclined, you can check out their beautiful jewelry, bags and accessories and participate in the fundraiser through May 25, 2013.

Here’s a glimpse at our fun girls’ afternoon, which I hope to turn into an annual event!

Ideas for a charming vintage tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Decorations

  • I was excited to use my eclectic mix of vintage tea cups, plates, and serving dishes that I collected for a baby shower last year.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch. I clipped some Cala lilies from our garden, and on of my friends brought a colorful bouquet that looks beautiful on the coffee table. I’m brainstorming about something similar I can put there long-term.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Paper lanterns are so popular right now, and I’ve been looking for a way to use them. I love the garden feel these lanterns created for our tea party. I hung them using fishing line and clear Command Mini Hooks.

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Tea cup garland – this was a fun and easy project. I was cutting out paper tea cup silhouettes to make signs for the food, and I was inspired to string some together with lace to make this little garland that I hung over the buffet. I love the romantic feel of the colors and patterns.

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • New table runner and trivets – I’ve been meaning to make these for a while out of the same fabric I used for cushions on our hallway bench. They worked perfectly for our party and will get lots more use in days to come.

Table runner and fabric trivets for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Fabric trivet for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Luggage tag party favors were a last-minute project using some of the same prints as the tea cup garland. I printed the names on cardstock backed with decorative paper and slipped the paper into these clear vertical badge holders and added luggage tag loops.
DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs.  Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs. Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party. {Jewels at Home}

Menu

  • Cheese plate for a savory snack
  • Fruit salad in a watermelon basket – everyone said, “My mom used to do that!” My mom did, too!
  • Coffee cake – a great sour cream cake that my mom also made.
  • Cookies – classic Walker’s shortbread and some cute flower-shaped sugar cookies
  • baklava – hubby made this. SO good.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Drink list

  • Mimosas
  • Tea – LOVE this vintage candy tin I found in an antiques shop on my birthday.  It fits a collection of tea bags perfectly.

A vintage candy tin makes a perfect place to store and display tea bags.  Part of a vintage tea party from Jewels at Home.

  • Citrus water

Are you feeling inspired by our charming afternoon tea party? Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the Stella and Dot collection, if you’d like to participate in our fundraiser:

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot.  Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot. Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Thank you so much to all my friends who came out to socialize and shop for a cause. I’m looking forward to seeing you next year!

“Jewels”

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago Birthday Party – Part 1

Pulling off a birthday party is like an athletic event (or at least I imagine it to be, not actually being athletic) – I work like crazy and then crash afterward. It’s always worth it to give our boys a day to remember. Here’s the first post on our seven year old’s Ninjago birthday party. I put details on the party activities in a separate post.

A complete guide to a Ninjago birthday party, with ideas for decorations, activities, food, and party favors.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthday decorations

I still like the feel of a paper invitation, like the ones I made for our firefighter birthday party, but sometimes the convenience of an online invitation is hard to resist.  Luckily, evite has this Lego-themed invitation, and I added a Ninjago drawing by our birthday boy, to complete the look.

Ninjago birthday party blog post with decorations, food, and activities, from Jewels at Home.

Customize an online invitation for your Ninjago birthday party.

For decorating the house, I hung our reusable birthday banners, customized with pictures of green Ninjago Lloyd ZX.  I had in mind to do balloons with stuck-on Ninjago eyes, but I ran out of time!

Ninjago birthday party blog post with customized decorations and tons of ideas.  {Jewels at Home}

Customized Ninjago birthday banner.

I printed signs for the activities using Bonsai font and mounted them on green scrapbook paper.  Each child got a Ninjago eyes T-shirt to wear when he arrived.  This was their main party favor, and the shirts were a hit!  It was really fun to see all the little Ninjagos running around the house together!

DIY Ninjago T-shirt party favors and many other ideas for a Ninjago birthday from Jewels at Home.

Celebrate your Ninjago fan's birthday with the DIY Ninjago eyes shirts!  Tutorial and more ideas from Jewels at Home.

I failed to capture the partying kids in any decent poses – they were moving too fast! but here’s the birthday boy’s little brother sporting his custom shirt. You don’t need to make your own shirts to have great Ninjago accessories.  I have definitely picked up a lot of Ninjago and other Lego shirts and toys at great prices on Zulily.com!

DIY Ninjago eyes T-shirts and many other ideas for your Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthday food ideas

As you can see from the sign in this picture, I had wanted to arrange fruit into a Serpentine, one of the Ninjago enemies, but due to limitations of daylight savings time, I just piled the fruit on a plate, and it was all gone in an instant anyway – I told you those Ninjago are fast!

For lunch, we had a variety of Japanese and Japanese-inspired fare, including California rolls and avocado rolls from the local supermarket, homemade Spam musubi by Steve, and plenty of gyoza dumplings, which were the kids’ favorite.

Ninjago birthday party ideas, including decorations, food, and activities.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthdy party food: gyoza, musubi, and rolls.

Ninjago birthday party ideas, including decorations, food, and activities.  {Jewels at Home}

Instead of a cake, I made sushi using Rice Krispies.  These Rice Krispy treat sushi are decorated with fruit roll-up for the “nori” and Swedish fish and fruit gummies for garnish.  They were a lot of fun to make, though time-consuming.  If you do it, I definitely recommend making a half batch at a time, as the Rice Krispy treats kept hardening before I could shape them all, and I ended up with several leftover globs.

Rice Krispy Treat sushi made from Rice Krispies cereal and candy.  More ideas for a Ninjago birthday party at Jewels at Home.

Rice Krispy Treat sushi made from Rice Krispies cereal, fruit roll-up, Swedish fish, and other treats. So cute!

Tons of ideas for a Ninjago birthday party, complete with decorations, activities and food, from Jewels at Home.

Happy birthday boy at his Ninjago-themed party!

Ninjago Birthday Activities

These were a blast, and you can read all the details in this post!

Happy birthday to our dear son!  I am glad it was such a fun day.

“Jewels”