Potter manages both a career and a household consisting of husband Griff, son Jordan, and mother, Bobbi Hood. As eMissions Coordinator and coordinator of the Distance Learning Program at Challenger Learning Center and a substitute teacher at Lone Oak Middle School, she is one busy lady. But she still finds time to provide an interesting and fun environment for her family.
She does this by changing out home accessories with the season. And that is a challenge (pun intended) for this creative homemaker/teacher. When Posh visited the Potter home, fall decorations were out in blazing glory. Seasonal pumpkins were displayed inside and out. Tablescapes celebrated the season with dazzling arrays of the fruits, flowers and other natural elements one associates with autumn. The kitchen, as well, pays tribute to the fall season with nature’s harvest bounty. You can almost smell apple cider and pumpkin pie.
Over the years, Potter has collected dinner and glassware and table linens in the gold, bronze, copper and red colors one sees in deciduous trees this time of year. One might think they would be out of place against the apple green walls in the kitchen and adjoining family room, with its plush red upholstered sofas. But they blend in beautifully.
“I don’t have many fall colors in my home,” Potter exclaimed, “but when you put the decorations out and scatter them around, it looks like a different place.”
And, indeed it does look different from the decorations she has only recently replaced. Potter called them “back to school.” On the front door was a whimsical wreath she crafted with apples (for the teacher) and school supplies, such as glue stick, tablets, crayons, pencils, etc. Inside were baskets of apples, red and green, and other school memorabilia. An enthusiastic teacher, she feels the first days of school should be celebrated in her home.
By the time students are adjusted to their scholastic pursuits, it is time for Halloween, an eagerly anticipated occasion for fun lovers of all ages.
“I don’t do a lot for Halloween,” Potter said, surprisingly for one who loves all seasons. Witches, spiders and spooky ghosts are not her favorite symbols. But pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns are and these emerge throughout the house. And outside, too, for the enjoyment of neighborhood passersby. The flowers in the front yard fountain are replaced with pumpkins and gourds.
Thanksgiving is a special time for the Potter family, when out-of-town relatives arrive to celebrate the holiday. Ten people gather around the dining table, so Potter makes it a special setting.
“You spend a lot of time around the table,” she explained, pointing out that to make that time enjoyable, the setting should be attractive and eye appealing. At first glance, one might think that a lot of expense, as well as time, is involved. But the tableware is not costly porcelain and fine crystal; it is “dollar store” bargains. The important thing is to make creative use, she said, of “things that make the table festive.”
Let it snow, let it snow! A white Christmas is rare in these parts, but not in the Potter home. Every year, the theme is snow-related. An icicle-trimmed tree stands in the family room, but there is also a traditional tree in the formal living room. It is lovingly decorated with family memorabilia.
“We think of them as stories of our lives, from our engagement and wedding to our travels,” Potter said.
The holidays pass and then, one day, Potter wakes up and thinks “It’s not Christmas anymore.” It’s time to think about Valentine’s Day, Presidents Days, and any other mid-winter celebration that comes along. I don’t believe Potter has come up with an idea for Groundhog Day, but give her time. Meanwhile, the contents of the storage bin labeled “Winter” come out, and snowmen, snowballs and icicles decorate the Potter house.
Easter, she said, “is a big thing.” Passersby will note giant Easter eggs in the front yard, and inside are more eggs, Easter bunnies, rabbits, and themed throw pillows.
On patriotic holidays — Memorial Day and Independence Day — expect to see lots of red, white and blue in the Potters’ house, and bunting displayed in the front yard.
“And then you get into summer,” Potter said. There are baskets of summer flowers and a very unusual door wreath decorated with beach flip-flops.
After that — it’s back to school.
If all this sounds like a lot of work, you should know that it is divided three ways. Potter separates the seasonal decorations in bins in the attic so that everything is easily within reach. Griff and Jordan carry the bin-of-the-season downstairs and Margaret Anna goes to work. Just as the bins are stored in the attic, her ideas are stored in her brain, and everything goes smoothly.
As for her helpers, “They like (the decorating) when it’s done, but for a couple of days, it’s disorganized. It’s getting the time, getting everything just so. When it all settles down, they’re all happy. I think they like the decorations.”