Mother's Day Gift Guide Love

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8 this year. For those of us lucky enough to get to celebrate our moms, HYD wanted to make your search for just the right thing a little bit easier. As a mom myself, I've learned a lot about what it takes to do it well and how easy it is to do it terribly. It's an around-the-clock job that I wouldn't trade for the world. Lord knows I do it terribly plenty of the time, but those times I get it a little bit right are some of the most satisfying moments of my life. 

I also get to be one of the lucky ones who has a mama close by, who's full of life, and more than willing to offer a helping hand anytime she's able. If you have that kind of mom, you know there is no gift we can give that will ever say "Thank you" the way our moms deserve it. But the older my kids get, the more I cherish the unsolicited hug, the homemade card, and when they're able, a thoughtful gift that they know will make my days a little easier or a little more fun. 

With gifts in mind, HYD spent a bit of time finding just the right way to show her how much you appreciate her, think of her, and want your mama to feel remembered. Some moms just need the phone call or a card in the mail. But if you're wanting to do a step further this year, take a peak at our list below and please add any more unique ideas you may have in the comment section below....

Ok, so we had to start with this one because it reeeeeally is a great gift for any mama! Think of the joy she would experience if she knew that every month for a year, she'd have at least 2 hours of organizing help anywhere in her house, office, garage, or attic?? Details here.

2. Take Mom on a Date

Carving out time, having her served a meal, and listening to what's going on in her world may be the greatest gift she could receive. If you're in Knoxville, some restaurant/bakery ideas are OliBea, The Plaid Apron, Nama, Babalu Tacos & Tapas, Wild Love Bakehouse,  The French Market Creperie, Savelli's Italian, or The Holy Land.

Locally made here in Knoxville, these individually crafted, hand-finished in silver or gold prints of a mother's children's prints are such a treasure for her to have a lifetime. I have them for each of my children and LOVE them! Check out Precious Metal Prints for more details.

Mom's are always on call and often times, her phone is the place where the calendar is, the notes about the PTA mtg are, and her grocery list that needs to be added to when she thinks of that odd thing she always forgets. This cute little number gives her a place to rest her phone at night under the shade of her favorite flower.

Let her fill these pages with your family's favorites to be passed down, added to, and treasured for years to come. This great little book has room for up to 80 recipes, photo galleries, tips for beginner cooks, and conversion tables.

6. Plant a Shrub or Tree in Mom's Honor

Think of her favorite color or season and decide what would bring her joy each time the plant of your choice blooms. For the Knoxville dwellers, HYD recommends Stanley's Greenhouse for a fantastic selection and knowledgable staff to help you choose just the right one.

7. A Bouquet from The Katelier

So lovely, so unique, and just the thing to let her know you remembered. And she's local!
Contact: Katie or call 901.870.2531


Come on in

Walking in the backdoor of this Cape Cod nestled in the heart of Fountain City, one is immediately at home. As a guest, you're greeted with enormous smiles, warm hugs, and a glass of your favorite beverage within minutes. There's no doubt that for the 30 years Peter and Julie have lived here, they've learned a bit about making a house, a home.

The Wolf home in 1986

The Wolf home in 1986

The Wolfs bought this little home back in the mid-80s with two young boys and family heirlooms to fill the rooms. Prior to landing in Fountain City, they'd been in California, St. Thomas, Michigan, and a few other stops before finally setting down some roots here in East Tennessee. Peter grew up sailing and Julie grew up around the lakes of Michigan. The influence of the sea is evident in the color schemes and artwork throughout the house.

Peter and Julie's style is a wonderful mix of traditional, eclectic, primitive, country, and little Pottery Barn sprinkled in. Julie mentioned that very early on, she and Peter shared very similar tastes in home decor and they love to do "the work" together. Whether it's refinishing a piece, finding the right spot in the house for a new treasure, or working in their outdoor space, they've been a team since day one. Julie really is a girl after our own hearts in that she really likes a place "clean and tidy, I like it less cluttered," she says. In 2000, they were able to put a wonderful addition on the back of the house adding a great room for entertaining, a master suite, and two car garage with an upstairs. The heart of the remodel kept in mind the idea of having people over. Last year, they were even able to host their niece's wedding in the backyard and it was a huge success!

Addition in 2000

Addition in 2000

Julie wants every guest to feel right at home upon arrival. "I want folks to feel like they can get a glass of water if they'd like and that my home is their home. I truly want them to feel totally comfortable." She celebrates so many of their guests throughout the years by showcasing many of the generous gifts family and friends have given them over the years. This is where the eclectic part of their decor comes from. "If i find something I like or if someone gives me something I just find a place for it." Both she and Peter love the stories connected with the pieces in their home and they love to tell you how each one made it's way to Forest Lane.

Peter at work in his home office

Peter at work in his home office

The Gathering Table

The Gathering Table

When we asked what home means to them, Peter quickly answered, "The place I'd rather be than anywhere else." Peter has travelled with his work for over 30 years, spending countless nights in hotel rooms all over the US and Canada. He cherishes his time at home with his family, friends, and projects. Julie says she has multiple favorite spots in her house depending on what the activity but if she had to pick, the big round oak table would probably be top of the list. Gathering with family and friends over a meal and a glass of wine fills her heart like nothing else.

Julie working in her "nest"

Julie working in her "nest"

We also loved Julie's thoughts on collections. She said, "Collections just happen to you." Over the years she may have purchased one or two pitchers and was given a few from her mother and before she knew it, a pitcher collection was born. She loves to think of the giver as she uses each pitcher or any gifted home item in her home. Sometimes the gifts aren't necessarily decor items, but just stuck in a drawer and Julie will find them at times, hold them, take a moment to reflect on that time, that person, and enjoy the memory.

Our last stop of the tour was in the stained-glass studio in the upstairs of their garage. For about a decade now, each Wednesday night, up to 9 women meet for a meal, a beverage, plenty of laughs, and some time in the studio creating all kinds of beautiful pieces. This extension of their home has allowed the Wolfs to bless others by giving them a space to create but also a space to connect with others.

Finally, this particular home tour holds a special place in one of the dwellers hearts as I've spent many hours over the last 30 years being loved so so well within the walls of the Wolf home. My family has shared Thanksgivings, baby and wedding showers, birthdays, a wedding, and so much more with the Wolfs. They have been great stewards of this warm and welcoming home they've been given and I am so fortunate to have been one of the recipients.

Thanksgiving 2014 - The whole Wolf gang

Thanksgiving 2014 - The whole Wolf gang

Home as an offering

We sat down this week to interview the lovely Lindsay Heath about her house, her decorating style, and her philosophy on home. If you've never met Lindsay, the best way I know to describe her is that her presence feels like a warm hug.

Honestly, to focus on Lindsay's decorating style and her home in it's purely physical sense would be a disservice. Lindsay has a natural eye for creating beauty but what struck me the most about our visit was the overwhelming sense that when you walk into her home, the pressure is off, you are invited, welcomed, and appreciated.

With a knack for quirky items and for the cast off's of both friends and strangers, Lindsay and her husband Jonny have created a patchwork home that incorporates the practical, lovely, and eclectic parts of life in every sense. One thing Lindsay said that I've been thinking about a lot is that "space is defined by the people who inhabit it and use it". With a desire to make the people around her feel more important than the things she surrounds herself with, she aims for making spaces feel touchable and approachable; like you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about your surroundings. She mentioned that over the years she has come to find that an object can evoke a memory but that she doesn't have to retain the object in order for the memory to continue. Lindsay loves the creative aspect of decorating with objects that can be repurposed or reimagined. She loves finding unwanted objects and looking at them in a new way... kind of like when you find a house that's about to be demolished so you pick it up and move it two blocks over to save it... yes... she actually did that!!! (more on that at a later date) She shared with us that many, if not most of the things, in her house have been given to her and she in turn passes things along when she no longer has the space or need for them.

Lindsay is the first renter we have interviewed and we were especially interested in what she had to say about decorating a rental. Upon moving into their home they were asked not to paint or hang large things on the wall. As a result, Lindsay has used her limitations to find creative ways to dwell and make the space feel like home. Large art pieces lean against the walls, thumb tacks or Velcro strips are used for lighter objects. Lindsay has found that sometimes limits help you see things in new ways, limits force you to think creatively.

We asked Lindsay what "home" means to her and she mentioned the end of a stanza in the daily reading in the book of common prayer. It reads, "May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you; may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm; may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors." The lines resonate with Lindsay in that to her, home is a place to welcome people in from the weariness, from the pace of the world.

"Home is a place for gathering and celebrating and for relaxing and eating: the really elemental practices. Home is the hub of human activity. The way that we relate in homes can be so formative- be it through decoration, presentation of food, accessibility to objects.  Our relation to all those things that make us human make up a home; a place that can encapsulate all of the best parts of human life. "

Another unique thing about Lindsay and Jonny is that since they were married, they have always lived with other people- sometimes other married couples, sometimes single folks, but always someone. We asked her to tell us a little bit more about that decision. "On a practical level, when we got married, it made sense financially to share the expenses with others along with the fellowship, the space, the being known and knowing. The incidental disciplines and sacrifices of being not as able to hide the things that as humans we are tempted to hide and the discomfort of sharing space have been an unexpected and challenging reward. With the different people we’ve lived with, we always sit down and talk about all the reasons to live together, economic, practical, division of labor, fun -- but the primary reason we share a home with people is to become more like Christ. It’s been a very consistent practical way to be challenged and to challenge others in the comings and goings of every day life. Living with others creates a lot of opportunities to do that hard work. It has been a great way to keep in check the temptation to hold onto things tightly. Living with others is often inconvenient but there is an ethic of being uncomfortable that I’ve found to be a wonderful crucible-- that’s been a refinement of my walk towards Christ."