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Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics Party Recap!

As you know from my build-up the past month, I held an Olympics Opening Ceremony party on Friday night. I was surprised that I was able to fit around 25 people in my tiny house without it feeling too crowded – I utilized the basement for the kids, the patio, dining room and living room. I worked from home Thursday and Friday so that helped in getting things ready and decorated before people started coming over at 6 on Friday. Wanna see the house all decorated before my guests arrived (with the exception of the basement since I forgot to take a pic of it – there were just lanterns hung in a cluster)?

The living room was by far my favorite room since it had my DIY fabric tassel garland strung up over the large picture window. (Can you tell it was POURING outside when I was taking pictures?!? I was bummed but at least it stopped raining before the party started so people could go outside though it was a bit muggy.)

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I cut a Team U.S.A. tassel out to hang in the middle since I needed more filler (which if you remember, is why there are white tassels). I think it turned out great and I actually hated taking it down on Saturday.

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I taped a piece of vinyl to the underside of my coffee table top to protect it from spills/water rings (which had to have been the smartest thing I did!) and then placed five glass bowls of blue, brown, red, yellow and green M&Ms on the table for easy, edible décor. I bought a large bag of M&Ms from Target for $9 and then spent an evening separating out the colors (I got to keep the orange ones for myself!). This was much cheaper than buying individual bags of each color.

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I also brought in my newly-refinished TV console (more on that later) and decorated it with some scattered flags of various countries and the DIY Olympic banner/ring. Notice the pop-up garbage bag? Those were lifesavers ($2 at Target) and I LOVED them!

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The flags were simply cut out of a pack of $1 Flags of the World flash cards I found in the Dollar section at Target. Easy, cheap décor is always preferred!

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The dining table got some lovin’ in the form of hydrangeas from Trader Joe and my DIY Olympic Rings confetti. It was incredibly easy and it looked great!

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I also added the DIY Olympic sign to my built-in shelves in the dining room since the glasses that normally hang there were in the kitchen next to the sangria station and I wanted to fill in the hole with something festive.

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I hung my DIY Olympic rings in the dining room over the mirror using fishing line. It was kind of cool in person since you got the reflection of the rings and they added a nice pop of color to the wall.

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While the rest of the house was decorated in Olympic rings, the kitchen’s theme was ‘Team U.S.A’ so I hung a tension rod between the cabinets over the sink and hung three paper lanterns from the rod (all previously purchased from the Dollar Tree for a buck each).

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I have a narrow, galley kitchen so I brought up two folding TV stands to use as a makeshift counter along one side of the kitchen for plates, napkins and utensils.  I bought the flags and flag napkins from Target’s Dollar section, and the glasses for the utensils are plastic glasses from Target as well.

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When you looked up from the TV trays, my glass wall vases were filled with cuttings from a plant that I was going to toss out since it wasn’t doing so hot in my house. The leaves reminded me of the laurel leaf headdresses that Greeks wear so it fit the theme.

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I didn’t take pictures of the food set-up since my guests were kind enough to bring things and I didn’t have my camera out but the food included:

  • Sweet and Sour meatballs (by me)
  • Subs from Jimmy Johns (by me) and the fixings for the subs (lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard) – I found that it was cheaper to buy ten of their ‘slim’ subs and then just provide the toppings!
  • Pigs in a blanket aka mini wienies wrapped in crescent rolls (by me) – these were the first thing to go!
  • Fruit
  • Veggie Tray
  • Mexican dip/chips/salsa/guacamole
  • Pasta salad (by me)
  • Mini cupcakes from Trader Joe (by me)
  • Lemon bars (by me)
  • Chips
  • Other things that I know I’m forgetting
  • Sangria from Trader Joe that I then spiked with Triple Sec and added fruit of course
  • Non-alcoholic sangria that I made with fruit juices and freshly cut fruit
  • Beer from around the world – Kroger lets you make your own six pack for $10 so I bought two random six packs and then some Coors for the non-adventurous drinkers
  • Juice boxes and snacks for the kids
  • Lots of bottled water

In my kitchen it worked really well to have the food on one side and the sangria set up on the stove and small counter on the other side. The beer was outside in a big party tub filled with ice and the kids drinks and water were in a smaller tub on a table in the dining room. This got people to circulate a bit to get drinks vs. standing in the small kitchen. My next house will have a large kitchen for the few times I have gatherings.

I hung some paper lanterns above the table on the back patio in the form of the Olympic rings and a flag from the Dollar Tree over the bathroom window.

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I couldn’t find a black lantern so I spray painted an old orange one black. It worked.

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That’s it! The party was a huge success and everyone told me they loved the decorations and food/drinks so I was happy about that. If I learned one thing it is to have more kids toys – I bought a big kickball to play with outside, a memory game and some paper to use with the crayons and watercolors I already owned but I don’t really have a lot of kids toys.

Anyone else go to an Olympics Opening Ceremony party? I found that I loved making the decorations – perhaps I should switch careers and become a party planner instead…it was that much fun.

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