Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Exchange 2011

I like to think as Valentine's Day as a good opportunity to let the people around me know how much I love them.  I try to do nice things for Larry and the boys, but I also try to do something special for my friends.  For several years, I've been hosting valentine exchange with my friends and it's become one of my favorite days of the year.

This year, all the dishes and decorations that I normally use are in storage (not that I have that much, but at the moment I have zilch), but I decided not to let that stop me.  I picked up cheap paper doilies every time I saw them and then I decided to take advantage of our ten foot ceilings stung them up on bakers twine across our living room.
I love how they look at night and in the morning.
Then I took down the Christmas cards in the hall and used the thread already there to hang up more paper letters inspired by the ones we did for Kersten's house at Christmas.
The only other thing I did was draw hearts on the front door with chalk ink pens.
From Simply Radiant
As far as food goes, I went with cookies and milk and mom mom set everything up.  She even brought the table cloth and a banner that my sister-in-law Brenna made.
From Simply Radiant
And she brought cupcakes that I added some cute little hearts to.
 My friend rachel helped me make sugar cookies and chocolate cutout cookies the night before.  We stamped the cookies with different Valentine sayings like Be Mine, I love you, and I Heart You.  I put our some frosting and sprinkles and candy and let my friends decorate them and take extras home to their families
I forgot to take a picture of the drink all lined up, by I just bought milk, pink lemonade, and strawberry milk in individual bottles and tied small heart-shaped doilies around them.
I think it turned out cute and simple.

I'll try to get to posting about the valentines that everyone made this afternoon, but with two sugared up boys, you never know. . .


Heather said...

looks sweet steph! I held a party like this in your honor - thanks for the inspiration

Amy said...

Love it. I copied your idea and hosted my own exchange this year. Turned out fabulous. Thanks for the inspiration!

Megan C, Columbus, Ohio said...

I loved the party you had in Ohio. I still have all my Valentine's from that day! Miss you lots!

taniawillis said...

steph, i totally adore all of your party ideas and would LOVE to use them as inspiration for my own. here's the problem, i have this bad habit of getting in way over my head, LOL. is it too personal to ask how much should someone, who wants to do parties similar to the ones you throw, budget for such a thing. do you have tips on how to buy individual drinks that you can make cute without breaking the bank? is the key to keep the party invitation list small? i'm not trying to be nosy, i just want to have a successful party on a small (very small) budget. tips?

Steph said...

Tania, you're not nosey at all! I wish there was a simple answer that I could give you, but you could really spend as much or as little as you wanted. I often buy drinks for parties like this at Costco if there are a lot of guests, but for smaller groups I just check sales. These bottles of milk were under a dollar each.

That said, when Larry was in medical school and I hosted baby showers I did simple drinks like making lemonade and dumping in a bag of frozen raspberries to make it feel fancier. I don't think it's how much you spend, it's the thought that goes into it that makes the guests feel special. I could have just used glasses that I already had and tied the same cheap paper doilies around them and served milk from a pitcher and it would have been a lot cheaper and I think it still would have been really cute.

I basically provided drinks, cookies that I made, and some fruit so this party was really cheap. You could go crazy decorating and making your own valentines, but I think it's possible to keep those things pretty affordable too.

The factor that limits how many people I invite is usally the space (my house is really small). I try not to let the budget be the limiting factor because you can always figure a way to do things more affordable. In fact, my mom hosted a valentine exchange but hers was potluck and several of my friends asked if they could bring anything to my party so you could always try assigning things out to those who offer to help.

taniawillis said...

thank you steph! you have me more and more excited to have a party of my own----stephanie style. :)

one more you have all your "party posts" labeled here in one category that i could reference?