Friday, March 2, 2012

RE-ceiving Guests: MOM'S 80TH- MEMORY DECOR

We are throwing our Mother a party for her 80th birthday in May.  I talked about some ideas for the color scheme for the party HERE  Now, I want to talk about other party decor ideas.   At Christmas time, I organized my parents' house a bit and put their old pictures in photo boxes which gave me the idea that we should use the photos for her big birthday party somehow. I am a sentimental sap.  I come from a line of saps. My mom, sisters and I cannot see someone cry alone.  We have to cry with them.  I refer to us as "lloronas" (Spanish for crying women) a lot.  I think being sentimental and nostalgic is in our DNA. So, for our mother's 80th birthday party, I think going sentimental is a must. The following ideas struck a nice sentimental chord in me.

WALL DECOR.  Since I just went thru 80+ years worth of pictures over Christmas, I know we easily have enough photos to copy in black and white and form an "80" as a wall decoration at our mom's party to copy this look  Source: Pinterest, but sadly I couldn't find the original entry because it looks like a great party. On Pinterest, pic was attributed once to  and another time to

PHOTOS IN THE CENTERPIECES.  This is an update to my post because I ended up making this craft for my father-in-law's golf themed 80th birthday party which I discuss HERE after I originally couldn't find an image of what I was imagining (a type of floral picks used for double-sided pictures of our mother with the guests at that table and sticking them into the floral centerpiece.)  For my mom's party, I imagined framing the pictures out in blue or gold and then each guest would see a picture of themselves with our mom.  I thought that would be very personal and do-able, because the tables will likely be grouped by different aspects to my mother's life (relatives, co-workers, people she knows thru church etc.) so each table could have a different theme.  I was thinking the table with her relatives could have pictures of our mom as a child, for example, and the one with co-workers, could have pictures of different work projects or the place where they all worked, so it would also be a stroll down memory lane for the guests at the table.  It would also give them something to talk about as soon as they sat at the table   My father-in-law's party was much more casual than my mother's party, so we didn't have assigned tables or floral centerpieces. I made his centerpieces with golf items to go with the theme.  I did however use the idea of themes with the photo picks.  My father-in-law is athletic, a doctor and has a large family so I grouped the photos I selected around those areas.  I still think it is a cute idea, and may use it again when I plan another milestone birthday party.

INDIVIDUAL PHOTO PLACE CARDS.  When I shared the photo floral picks idea with Reba, she like it a lot and suggested we could use photos of Mom with the guests and put them in inexpensive frames and have that be their place card, so instead of looking for their name, the guests would look for their picture when they found their table.  I really like this idea.   Image Source:

DOLLAR STORE FRAME.  Ever since Reba mentioned using photos as place cards, I've been keeping my eye out for frames that would work.  I saw some white ceramic ones with stands at IKEA that are like $1.50 each and I saw silver plated ones like the one above at the Dollar Store.  I mentioned in my post, Romancing Your Spouse for Under $5 that I had bought the frame for something else. Well, now you know, I bought it to show Reba the frame in case we used this idea.  It would be a lot of work to find photos of all the guests to do this.  And it would be time consuming to print out 200+ pics and put them in frames, but I think they biggest obstacle is getting pics of all the guests to do it.
PHOTO TABLE MARKERS.  I saw these 25 photo table marker blocks pinned on Pinterest for $150 and thought they were cute. They seem to have gone up to $175 on the Etsy shop where they are sold. If you're interested, they are being sold HERE

PHOTO LANTERNS.   I think the above photo centerpieces would be amazing as part of a table display.  The above image was found on Pinterest, attributed to google, which sent me to

MARTHA STEWART CRAFT.  Based upon the forum discussion on the first photo lantern picture, it seems the idea originally came from Martha Stewart and this project.  The above image and detailed instructions how to use vellum paper to make the lanterns can be found at:
WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE VIGNETTES.  Our sister, Elsa, suggested we do a slide show for the party. She and our niece, Alex, have made some for celebrations for our parents before.  I suggested to Reba that we hire a video person to do interviews with us (meaning my entire immediate family) about  both our parents and use some old footage from some awards video presentations where our mom was honored to piece together a bigger, more current presentation for the party.  I am still in favor of the video idea, but the picture above, made me think about vignettes for the party. Our parents have a LOT of junk. I wondered if we could set up some vignettes like the one above as decorations to capture different periods in their life together.  Maybe not with dresses and stuff, although, come on, wouldn't that be interesting and different? And very, very memorable? OTOH, it would be a lot of extra work to do it.   Still,  our mother saved the dresses she wore to our weddings and we have pictures of her dancing in them with our father and she has some groovy old coats from the 60s and I bet anything she saved other significant outfits out of nostalgic reasons.   The funny thing is that it would make use of things she has likely been saving for years without any reason to believe she will use them again.  It reminds me a bit of how much my husband enjoyed it when we used old maps and playbills he had been saving in our Living Room Project.   Just throwing that idea out there.  Source: Pinterest, Idea

A SIGN OF LOVE.  A Houston, Texas man took out this billboard ad for his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary.  Yes, I get a little weepy seeing this grand romantic gesture.  Beautiful.   I know we could do something like this for our mother, but I honestly don't think she'd like it.  I think she would prefer the money be spent on the party.  Still,  I thought I would mention it because it is a wonderful idea and I think would be a lovely, memorable way to celebrate a big milestone birthday.  Image and backstory Source:

GUESTS CONTRIBUTION.  We've already agreed the party is going to be "No Gifts Please" but Reba and I have both talked about how we would like the guests (our parents' nearest and dearest) to participate/contribute to the evening.  Someone got guests to contribute a memory letter/notecard to give the birthday honoree at his 60th birthday party.  I am pretty sure we could do this and it would make an amazing surprise for my mother.  Reba mentioned doing a sign in book for something like this, but I am wondering if giving folks time to bring a picture to the party or give them time to really plan out what they want to write, might not be a good thing.  Picture and Idea Source:
NOTECARDS FILLED IN BY GUESTS AT THE PARTY. For her grandmother's 90th birthday, one blogger had guests fill out notecards with the honoree's picture on them and then hung up the notes as decor.  I think Reba favored an idea like this.  We could put them into a book later.  The notes would be short probably.  I am verbose which is why I probably favor the above letter idea.  Image Source:
 They also made her a memory book with 90 pages thru shutterfly that is awesome. I saw someone made a scrapbook with a page for each year their grandmother was alive that tried to summarize the highlights of that year for them.  I wasn't sure we could pull that off, but a photo and a blurb, maybe?  You should check the shutterfly book here:

Okay, those are some cool ideas I found.  One last thing......

The blogger at threw a lovely party for her grandmother's 80th birthday at someone's home and I am a big fan of how it turned out.  You can see her party entry HERE


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  1. I am so touched that you are doing such a beautiful party for your mother. And every idea you presented is wonderful. I love it all. I can hardly wait for you to show us the final event. You guys always do such over the top things I know this will be a blockbuster.

    Hugs Ladies,


    PS I never see you at my blog anymore. Did I offend you?

    1. Hey Nann!

      Awww. Thanks so much. The party is the biggest deal for me since my mother asked for it. She has never asked for anything like this. She asks us for errands and domestic help, but usually shopping stuff like buying gifts for people or getting her some clothes or something for the house. This is different. This is a memory she is asking us for. Plus, at 80, you don't take anything for granted. Our mom made my sister, Elsa, promise to have her birthday party, even if she is not here for it....and well, that hurt my heart to even think about, so I want this party to knock her socks off. I really want my dad to enjoy it, too, and feel like his life is being celebrated so he knows we love and appreciate and adore him just as much as we love our mom.

      I hope it turns out well. My goal is to feel jubilant after the party because my parents had such a good time.

      And I'm sorry I haven't visited as much lately. I've been thinking about you all week actually. I saw your Mardi Gras table on Facebook (which is very weird bc I hardly ever visit Facebook, but I got a lot of hits this week from it and wanted to see why and while I could never figure out why, I ended up visiting a blog ooh'ing and aww'ing your setting) and I wanted to go by and leave a comment how amazing it is. I was like what a great setting. That is a favorite setting, if not my favorite setting I've seen for Mardi Gras and then I saw it was yours and I thought "Oh my goodness! It's NANN'S! I know her !" LOL. I felt rather proud for some reason just because I knew you and your table was so great. I've been sidetracked by work and mother duty and blogging a bit, too. Preparing something to post is taking away time from visiting other sites and even replying to comments left here. I've decided to try to use Saturday mornings early as a time to visit other blogs, reply to comments and leave comments on blogs I want to visit. Leaving you a comment and asking this other lady who has a light fixture I really like about it were on my "to-do" list. You just beat me to the punch. LOL.


  2. Thanks for stopping by The 2 Seasons. The party sounds great. I made those photo triangles for our parents' 60th wedding anniversary. They were a great hit - especially the photo of my mother as a young newlywed in her bathing suit!!!

    1. Janette,

      Thank you so much for letting me know that you made the photo triangles. Nothing beats hearing a review from someone who has actually made the craft. I am persuaded to try making a few, I think.

      And I laughed out loud about your mom in her bathing suit. My father is especially fond of his military service portrait. He often talks about that handsome man in the picture and I laugh, but never disagree. :D

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. And I enjoyed your blog so much. I wish stupid GFC hadn't changed. That would have been the easiest way for me to keep up with it, but I am following on Twitter, so that helps. :D


  3. What an amazing collection of ideas! So wonderful and any of them would make for a great party! I love the black and white photos on the wall and the vellum with pictures/frames turned into lanterns! So many great ideas it would be hard to choose which to use. I am sure whatever you choose will be beautiful and the sentiment would make anyone cry! Best to your Mother and how wonderful that she is going to be 80 years young!
    Miss Bloomers

    1. Sonia,

      My SIL said she really liked the black and white pics on the wall, too, so I am leaning towards doing that project. And thank you for your well wishes to my mom. We are very blessed to be able to celebrate her 80th.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. It is much appreciated.


  4. All you girls have a sappy sister down south, I am a cry baby, big time. If you cry, I cry. I know the feeling. Y'all are so sweet to have a celebration for your mom's big 8 0……..What fabulous ideas, any of them will be a hit. I like the idea of a theme at each table and the video idea too. Hope you'll post about this wonderful event. Lots of pics please.

    The French Hutch

    1. Emily,

      LOL. So nice to meet another cry baby. And thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I appreciate the feedback very much. I am trying to figure out how to do these projects in the easiest way possible. I think the notecards are do-able. I will see about picking out some pictures that are examples of different periods of my mom's life and using those for multiiple projects.

      Btw, LOVE your blog.


  5. Hi lovely lady.
    This looks like it is going to be so much fun for them.I am also touched that you are doing such a beautiful party for your mother. And every idea you presented is wonderful "" Thanks so much for you sweet comments on my new Tablescape. I hope you have a wonderful week with your family. I hope you come over and follow my new Linky and I will come over and follow you sweet lady.
    XXOO Diane

    1. Diane,

      Oh! Your table was amazing. I was crazy about it. Thank you for sharing it. So beautifully pulled together. I will go over and follow you on Linky Follower. I haven't been that aggressive about doing LInky follower, but with Google making all these annoying decisions, I know I need to get on that.

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.


  6. Nice post
    Good blog
    I am following your blog with GFC
    now follow back my blog with GFC too

  7. It's wonderful that you're doing this for your mother 80th. It's a blessing to have her with you and I'm sure she considers it a blessing to have you do something so special.

  8. Great ideas, all! I think my favorite idea involved those photo lanterns - wow! I remember my mother's 80th birthday party. She lived in a different town and only wanted a family party. I loaded up all of my "pretties" (china, silver, etc.) and we did it up right! Hope your mother has a wonderful birthday!!!