“Can we really do it?” we asked ourselves. The prospect of gathering 8 friends for a sit down dinner in our Tiny House was definitely daunting. Daane was particularly skeptical, as he immediately came up with every logistical reason that would make it difficult to execute: we don’t have a table, we don’t have enough seating, only 1 small oven, a small fridge, zero counter space, a tight budget… the list went on and on.
However, opening our home to celebrate the season of gratitude was something we really wanted to do - and we were gonna figure out how to make it happen.
Every obstacle was ultimately overcome - and the creativity behind coming up with solutions was actually pretty fun! I had a rough idea of what would work, but when it came to arranging everything on the day I told Daane, “I need my JoJo time” (if you are a Fixer Upper fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about). Once I had a few minutes of alone time for my mind to work out the details, everything fell into place. Of course, having Daane’s creative contribution (my very own Chip!) was crucial to bringing the Friendsgiving vision to life. Here’s how we did it:
Obstacle 1: Limited Overall Space, No Tables, Not Enough Seating
To make the most of the space we had, we created different “zones” for our guests to hang out. The front garden included a welcome table, drink station and room to walk around… the interior of the house was exclusively for cooking/prep, and the back deck was the main dining area with seating for 8. By consciously making all of our outdoor space a part of the experience, we tripled our available floor plan and it didn’t feel tiny at all!
For our Welcome Table: We moved our work desk off the deck, out to the front garden. Then we threw a mexican blanket over it, added a plant, some rustic wood serving bowls and voila! It transformed into beautiful welcome table with appetizers and glasses.
For our Dining Table: Instead of renting a traditional table and chairs for the deck, we opted for a creative solution that saved both space and money! We borrowed 2 picnic benches from a scrap pile on our property that weren’t being used, cleaned them up, sprinkled a little flora over them… and bibbidi bobbidi boo, they became a beautiful buffet table and main dining table for our guests to enjoy.
Creative Seating: Since our table was a just a low bench, floor seating was the only option. We didn’t have a ton of money to buy all the floor pillows I wanted (nor the space to store them when not in use) - so we had to work with what we had. Our neighbor just happened to have some small hay bales stacked in front of her house, so we asked to borrow a couple to use as seating. Though the thought of having them bare was romantically rustic to me - straw bales are SUPER messy and prickly to sit on. So we kept them wrapped up in their package and just threw some mexican blankets on them to make them comfy. We even made one of them into a side table for cocktail hour that then doubled as a full seat for dinner time.
I happen to love variety in seating - having everything all the same feels so boring to me. So to mix things up, I threw the cushion from our wicker loveseat on the floor and draped it with a vintage saddle blanket. Balanced with some woven floor pillows on the other side, and our two Adirondack chairs at the head of the table - we were all set with 8 seats!
Obstacle 2: Small Fridge
To keep the fridge space open for food, we posted the drink station out in the front garden near the welcome table and threw all the cold drinks and ice in our outdoor tub!
Our favorite drink of the day was a fresh pour of Boochcraft Kombucha made by our friend Adam down in San Diego. They are the only company in Southern California offering a high alcohol kombucha (7.0% ABV), which provides a healthy alternative to social drinking! It’s got the alcohol content of a craft beer, but with all the health benefits of traditional Kombucha - and tastes amazing!
Obstacle 3: Zero Counter Space & Small Oven
We busted out some folding tray tables to act as temporary counter space, and Daane was a master at timing the merry-go-round of food heating! Also, to save on time - we ordered a few things “pre-made” from Whole Foods and that helped A LOT. Honestly though, we were pretty depressed at the thought of serving pre-made food, so we dressed them up a bit to make them our own. The hit of the evening was definitely the cheesy mashed potatoes that we made out of a base of fresh pre-made potatoes: adding sour cream, half & half, a bag of shredded sharp cheddar & sprinkled with chives.
Obstacle 4: A Tight Budget
Buy Nothing New. Except food of course. We could have fallen into the trap of renting tables/chairs, feeling pressured to buy new decor, etc - but we chose to make the best of what we had. The one thing besides food we did buy was ONE bouquet of fresh flowers for $20 to class up the joint. Lucky for us, my dear friend (and fabulous florist) Erin Schoneman of Sage Green Events has taught me a thing or two over the years - and I was able to split 1 bouquet into 3 different arrangements + a bit left over to drape here and there on tables for fun. Having fresh flowers really makes a space feel special, and you can easily do it without breaking the bank!
Overall, hosting our Tiny Friendsgiving was far more of a joy than a challenge. Life and circumstances brought together 8 new friends from all over the world as we celebrated all that we are grateful for, and all of our big dreams that lie ahead. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much space you have, what new things you have, or how pretty any of it is - all that matters is the awesomeness of the people you have around you. So, here’s a huge thank you to our fabulous friends for making it a Friendsgiving to remember!
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