Party Supplies Simplified

The beginning of summer seems to be a season full of parties, showers and get togethers. We celebrate the end of another school year, kids’ sports teams see the end of their seasons, and we say hello to the exciting beginning of summer adventures. As your schedule fills up with fun events, your home may end up being the location for a party or two. What do you really need in order to host a gathering in your space?

Photo by  Texture Photo .

Hosting Essentials:

Photo by  @helpyoudwell

Photo by @helpyoudwell

Mason jars - use them as drinking glasses or to hold silverware and toppings.

Disposable silverware - try bamboo biodegradable utensils or a neutral-colored plastic set.

Napkins - If they are event-specific, purchase only as many as you’re sure you’ll need; use cloth napkins for smaller gatherings to avoid waste.

Versatile serving trays - don’t be afraid to pull out the fancy items — use what you have.

Party playlist - pick a genre, or make your own custom playlist to fit the mood.

Practical Tips:

Photo by  @helpyoudwell

Photo by @helpyoudwell

Choose decor you can reuse.

Borrow linens from a friend or neighbor.

Fresh flowers or greens can bring some life to the table.

Less is more. Don’t go overboard with trinkets and decorations.

Allow others to help. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

Take the pressure off of yourself! What’s more important - the gathering of people you appreciate in a space you love, or that everything is “perfect” in your presentation and hosting? Don’t become so preoccupied with how it all looks that you miss out on the joy of spending time with people you appreciate and enjoy.

Happy hosting! And if there’s a mama friend that you love, that does her fair share of hosting - we can help her get a handle on those party supplies and hosting areas of the home.

Show your mama some love with our Mother’s Day Special. Available now until Saturday, May 11 at midnight. Give your mom the gift of organization!

Start 'em young

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

I became a mom with very few plans in place for how I’d spend time with my child or children, how I envisioned my home being set up for little ones, or how many kids I wanted to have. I’d always hoped to be a mom. I just didn’t really have specific ideas of exactly how that might go down. Almost 17 years into motherhood, and 3 amazing kids later, I am both thankful for that somewhat clueless beginning and at the same time, a bit regretful that I wasn’t more intentional.

Image:  Texture Photo  // 2018

Image: Texture Photo // 2018

I’ve found that not having concrete expectations of how motherhood would go was a gift in that it allowed for a whole lotta grace. Not so much pressure on them or on me to be someone I had dreamed up in my head. I think I have been able to pay closer attention to each one of my kids and their unique personalities, ways of relating, and specific needs better since I didn’t have rigid expectations of what I wanted parenting and my kids to look like.

Being somewhat clueless also paved the way for new relationships and a sweet reliance on family. I am fortunate to have started motherhood off with some incredible new mamas who I’ve shared this crazy adventure with and who are still some of my dearest friends. We learned so much from one another. I am also a very blessed gal to have a mom and mother-in-law who have shown me what great love and sacrifice for your kids looks like. All good gifts in the midst of my cluelessness.

However, there is one area that I do wish I had been more thoughtful about at an earlier stage — how to create spaces in my home, and spaces in our days, for my kids. I had to make a lot of mistakes in this area before realizing there’s a better way. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but if I had taken a bit more time to think through what items &/or areas in my home that would encourage my kids to learn, explore, and love well, I would’ve saved myself lots of hours of singing (and doing) the “clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere” song and dance, procrastination, guilt, and frustration.

On May 2 at The Back Porch Mercantile, this is the exact topic we will be teaching on.

  • How do we get a baby’s room ready with all the needs but not the excess?

  • What’s the best way to create a play area for toddler’s that allows them to explore but doesn’t turn my house into a plastic toy jungle?

  • Do I keep all my preschooler’s handprint art and the other 724 pieces of art they’ve created?

  • Toys through the years and how to store them in a way that your kids can actually clean them up.

  • How do we do birthdays and holidays well without filling up on too many gifts?

  • What to do with all my elementary-age child’s school work?

  • How do teach my kids to organize?

I have learned lots raising this boy and my two girls. I’m still learning. And whether you’re a new mom or a few years in, my hope for you is that through some intentional, thoughtful planning, you can create the best space for your kids and for you to be the best mom you can be.

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

A carefully curated home

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One of our favorite friends and clients, Sandy Presley, opened up her home recently for us to share with you. It’s full of one of a kind treasures and collected pieces from antique shops and local Knoxville stores. Sandy’s home is one of those places that always feels like a breath of fresh air and a place where it’s easy to relax and be yourself. With a neutral palate and a warmth that comes from beautiful woods and colors, Sandy’s home is like a retreat. We hope you enjoy this peak into her beautiful space.

How long have you lived in your home?

14 years. When we decided to build, we purchased a house plan and customized it. We opened up the main living area more than the plan called for to make our space work better for hosting large groups of people.

The music room

The music room

Powder Room

Powder Room

Sitting nook in a guest bedroom

Sitting nook in a guest bedroom

What does home mean to you?

It’s a landing place for all my family. A gathering retreat where memories are relived and new ones made.

Living room

Living room

Living room— custom cabinets made from old heart pine that Sandy collected.

Living room— custom cabinets made from old heart pine that Sandy collected.

How would you describe your style of decorating?

Modern- rustic. I hope that it’s comfy and cozy!

Bench: Antique from a shop in Atlanta, watercolors from O.P. Jenkins

Bench: Antique from a shop in Atlanta, watercolors from O.P. Jenkins

Did your style happen organically or was it a process of figuring out what style means to you? Has your style changed over time? Do you have any favorite stores or shops for furniture or home decor?

I try not to be too trendy but always go with pieces I love. I tend to work with the character and nature of the home itself as well. I decorated our previous house differently because that home was a very different style than my current one. For furniture and decor I love the Restoration Hardware outlet and antique and vintage shops. Locally, my go-to’s for pretty things as well as therapy are O.P. Jenkins, Laws Interiors, & Bennett Galleries.

 
The keeping room

The keeping room

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collected books and treasures

collected books and treasures

You have some really amazing pieces in your home, what is your relationship to your belongings?

I’m not super attached to much of anything and offer almost everything to my kids except for my blue velvet chair in the keeping room. Everyone wants that chair!

When people come into your home, what do you hope they feel?

Peaceful and relaxed and so comfortable that they want to come often.

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Do you have a style or home philosophy?

Love what you love. Don’t let magazines dictate what you should love.

Dining room with heart pine wood paneling that Sandy collected.

Dining room with heart pine wood paneling that Sandy collected.

How is your home an extension of yourself or of your family?

This home is too much house for me so I love sharing it with others. I’ve hosted many showers, parties, wedding events, Christmas carol sing along’s, even a wedding itself here. I always want it to feel open to anyone.

Foyer

Foyer

Laundry room details

Laundry room details

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Do you have a favorite room in your home? A favorite piece of art or piece of furniture?

The keeping room. I love the coziness of the fireplace and I love that you are still part of what’s happening in the kitchen.

I have put a lot of thought and care into everything I selected in the original design so each thing is pretty special. It’s hard to pick but I would have to say the wood panels in the foyer and dinging room as well as the cabinetry in the living room are my favorites. Sam Whisman and Bruce Kestrel made them from old heart pine wood that I’d collected over the years. I also collected antique doors for this house and have used them in all different ways.

 
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What do you love most about your home?

I love that it’s a quiet place of refuge for me, my family and my friends. I love that everything has a story behind it.

Sandy and her family. Image by  Texture Photo

Sandy and her family. Image by Texture Photo