So if you have read my blog for more than five minutes you know that I love to throw a party, host a gathering, and make a festive mountain out of the slightest excuse of a celebratory molehill.
Moving did not this change this inclination, although it has altered how I fulfill it do to our location.
We no longer live smack-dab in the middle of town. Instead we are now out in the country, as far as an hour away from some of our bestest friends. And our house, lovely as it is, is still a good two or three months from being completely “party ready” as we still don’t have things like doors on the bathrooms.
But still, last month, when we first moved in, I wanted to host a small gathering of friends to introduce them Preservation Acres, to catch up, and to celebrate our new digs.
Because I knew most of our big projects – floors, kitchen, doors, lighting, – wouldn’t be complete by the almost-last-minute date of the party, I decided the gathering would have to be a WIP – Work-In-Progress – Party, allowing everyone to see the mess and the progress mid-stream.
Because I knew that no one would know how to find us, I ordered up some party invitations which doubled as change of address cards from Shutterfly. I used the Note New Address moving card template and had fun changing up the fonts and colors, and adding the party details at the bottom to make them more my style.
Once the cards arrived I quickly popped them in the mail.
(I loved this card so much that I have intentions of ordering more with a different image once we hold our proper Open House… you know, someday…)
Being without a full kitchen meant that I was I no position to try and make a bunch of homemade snacks and desserts, so I decided not to even sweat it. Since finger foods are always the easier option for drop-in gatherings, I grabbed several ready-made party trays and dips from the grocery store, making sure to select a mix of sweet, savory, and healthy options for guest.
I did however decide I could display all my store-bought snacks in a fun way. I used paint trays, spackle tools, and paint-chips-turned-labels to serve our fruit, veggies, chips, dip, and sweets in keeping with the WIP theme. Added bonus – these serving items were either reusable as actual tools or easily recyclable.
I loved using the paint chips so much that I decided to also use them to label each of the rooms – though it was probably very easy to tell which room was which by the beds. Also I wanted to show off the floors in our room –the first ones I finished!
I think this is the first party where I didn’t make the boys clean their room. Since our guest would be stepping over piles of nails and sawdust, and using bathrooms without real doors, I figured I could let it go this one time. Besides, this is what a real-life WIP home looks like. A homey mess.
We had warned folks that power tools may be in use during the event, but surprisingly the table saw remained idle all day. Not that we bothered to clean up its mess either.
Lots of last-minute family obligations and illnesses (and our short notice invites) kept several of our friends away, but the ones who were able to drop in were balm to our renovation-weary souls. Which seems to be the way of country living – it is slower, more deliberate, a bit quieter, and oh so good for us. Fewer folks come at one time, but everyone who does come stays a little longer, and goes home a little happier. And isn’t that just the best outcome any hostess could hope for? I think so.
So don’t worry about having things “just perfect” for your next shin-dig. Invite friends and family over mid-project, mid-mess, and mid-real-life. Don’t worry about perfect menus and perfect tablescapes. Use what is easy in the moment – whether it is vintage china or paint trays – serve what fits your time and your budget, and invest your limited (because they are limited, no matter what we want to believe) energies into what matters most – being with those we love and who love us, unhurried and undistracted.
Wishing you many happy WIP moments –