hostess basics

over the years, i have hosted many a party.  like a million.  at least ;)

what has made it easy for me is that i have all the basics on hand, and then i can just add details to make it special!

now my hostess stockpile took a few years to build up – it did not happen over night!  my biggest tip: go neutral.  i have gone with clear glass and white for all the basics.

hostess basics

this simple collection will help you to set a table for a crowd (i think i have settings for at least 30), and then add all the fun details with accessories.

hostess basics

years ago we bought a big ol’ stack of inexpensive plates from ikea, and bowls as well.  years later, i found a stack really similar dessert plates at a garage sale and snatched them up!

hostess basics

i used to use a couple pretty pitchers to serve drinks in at gatherings, but my drink dispensers are so much more convenient – so filling and refilling the pitchers all night.

hostess basics

i have a really big table and i can’t find a table cloth big enough to cover it.  or if i did, it would be ridiculously expensive just to get spaghetti sauce spilled on it.  my solution (and this would work for any size table):  plain white flat sheets.  i buy king size flat sheets from walmart and they work perfectly!

hostess basics

while i don’t have 30 just yet, i love using cloth napkins for nicer meals.  they are a nice step up from paper napkins.  i have a few different sets of white napkins – some linen, some thrifted – but because they are all white, they work well together.  i’m also thinking of gathering some other colors, too.  best thing about white, though: bleach.

hostess basics

our table regularly seats 8, but we can fit 12 pretty easily.  we have a set of folding metal chairs around our front porch table that migrate inside when we have a gathering.

hostess basics

i like to keep my serving dishes neutral: lots of white, clear and silver.  we tend to do mostly buffet style, so at least the buffet table can look nice!

hostess basics

and on the buffet as well, i like to add a little variation with cake plates.  i have been collecting a variety of cake plates since we first got married and they definitely come in handy!

hostess basics

we have a regular weekly gathering of our growth group at our house on monday nights, where we have as many as 35 for a potluck dinner.  having forks, knives and spoons on hand is so nice!

hostess basics

basic glassware is a must.  you can use red solo cups, of course, but real glasses make the table so much nicer!  while i don’t have 30 matching glasses for entertaining, i do have 30+ mason jars that work just as well!  they are definitely more on the casual side, but they are cheap and on hand, so thats a win for me.

once you set your all white table, you can mix things up by adding colored/patterned runners, centerpieces, place cards, whatever you can think of!

so how about you – do you have a hostess stockpile?  what do you have that i’m missing?


living room updates


after talking through being stumped in my decorating decisions last week, i have slowly started to work out my kinks.  and i am finally feeling like i see the direction i want to head.


don’t mind the mess – i don’t!  for years i have had this yellow dresser in our living room, either here under the windows, or behind the couch where the piano is.  its a great piece, an awesome color (french pale gold by behr), and worked so well for our family for storing toys and art supplies.  but for now, i am removing most of the vibrant colors from our living room and letting the room be quiet for a bit, and maybe slowly add things back in.  well, this dresser is anything but quiet.


i decided to pull the orange locker cabinet from gracie’s room (this picture was when it was silas’ room).  i bought it several years ago at a garage sale (its an ikea piece).  it was red, but i sprayed it orange.


i had a couple super helpful “helpers” tape off the base of the cabinet.  i really wanted a nice glossy white finish.  from past experience, i knew that it was hard to get a smooth finish with a brush or roller, so i planned to spray paint it.  but i also am really picky about the final product when using a spray can.   i hate seeing spray lines.  after several coats using krylon color master in white gloss, and sanding in between, i was still getting an inconsistent finish.  i went to get one more can hoping it would do the trick (i think i used 5 or 6 cans total), and i accidentally got the wrong kind.  i finished off with krylon fusion in gloss and while the finish wasn’t nearly as glossy, it was much smoother and more consistent – yay!


i was too impatient to wait a couple days for the paint to fully cure so rather than spray painting the base gold (i would’ve had to tape off the newly painted white), i hand painted the base with some gold i had on hand.  it took several coats (maybe 4 or 5) but it dried so quickly that i could paint the next coat as soon as i finished the first one.


this little bit of a modern touch is just what i wanted!


i’ve had the chair next to the cabinet for several years (an old iron patio chair).  its not the most comfortable, but it provides an additional seating option and i think its cute.


 the euro size pillows had brown velvet covers on it that had faded pretty badly from when i moved the chair to the porch for a short time.  a friend suggested i try dying the covers black, and most likely they would turn out a dark grey.


so for $4 for a pack of rit dye and 45 minutes of my time, i transformed this chair!  the cushions turned a deep greyish brown and i’m pretty happy with it!


a couple small transformations done over a weekend for pretty big impact and very little cost!