Christmas 2013

Christmas Eve morning, my immediate family had our Christmas here in Nashville.  It was a lovely, cold, sunny day and I saw a few snow flurries float by as I made my way from my bedroom to the coffee.  Now that Santa brings my sister’s and my gifts wrapped since there is no need for assembly, the morning commences with less urgency, though it is still a very special day.  This year was particularly special because we only have 2 chairs in the living room so my sister and I sat on the floor.  I don’t think we noticed.  We were just happy to be together.

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I have a little bit too much fun sometimes when it comes to gift giving and gift wrapping.  I gave Eugene a pair of slippers with stuffed animal puppies on them for when her “dogs are barkin.'” I got a real chuckle out of that one.  I think she did, too.  She may think it was a gag gift, but I will insist she wear them at all times when she’s here.

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We recently purchased a dehumidifier for the basement and I asked the installer to save the box for me.  I had a particular gift I needed to wrap in the large box.  My mom was eager to find out what required such a large box.

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A pair of earmuffs! My dad thought it was pretty funny, too.

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The best gift reaction, however, was my dad’s.  We got tickets for the 4 of us to go to the Kentucky vs. Louisville game this past Saturday.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kentucky basketball, this game is a very big deal.  Perhaps the biggest of deals.  And guess what? Kentucky won! Barry was one happy guy.

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Clearly, it was a successful Christmas.

We headed up the road to Cumberland County, where my grandparents live.  We started out at my dad’s parents’ house Christmas morning.  It must have been too early and I must have been under-caffeinated as I failed to document that leg of the journey.  My bad.  It was lovely, I promise.  I was wearing pajamas so it’s probably best there aren’t pictures.

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Lastly, we made the several mile trek down the road to Grandmother’s house where our wardrobes expanded.

Here, we had cleaned up a bit and were camera ready.  I love my dad’s face in this picture.  I think this is the most he’s been photographed since my sister and I were born as he is usually the one taking the pictures.

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For the first time ever, I was sitting in the other Wingback back like this one Grandfather is sitting in.  In 25 years, I had never sat in one of these chairs as we exchanged gifts.  I don’t know why, but it seemed like a big milestone for me. I had a whole new perspective from which to appreciate my Grandmother’s living room and our holiday tradition.

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I love these sofas.  They are so fabulous.  I can’t say no to velvet…

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…or animal print.  Eugene and I had a good laugh when we each pulled out leopard dresses to wear Christmas Day.  This was not planned.  Happy accident?

Hope y’all had a Merry Christmas,

Sugarlump

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Thanksgiving Trials and Tribulations: The Table

So I decided to have Thanksgiving in the new house, but the funny thing is that I have absolutely no dining room furniture.  Not a stitch.

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I did have these pine cones adorning the mantle across the room.  I found them at a yard sale a few months back.  Too bad you can’t sit on or eat off of them.

With less than a week before Thanksgiving, I had to put on my thinking cap.

My solution was not unlike glamping.

Actually glamping might be more glamorous.

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Thank you to Costco and Ikea, I am the proud owner of a “dining set” for under $100.  Coincidentally, I am now equipped for tailgating.  I’m loving this versatile furniture.

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Because I planned to serve slightly more elegant food than hotdogs and chips, I figured I might want to dress (hide) the table.

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I found just the thing at Wal-mart: tone-on-tone ticking stripe fabric by the yard that I would transform into a tablecloth.  Minor detail: Did I mention that I don’t sew?

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Ta-da!  With some creative cutting and folding, I successfully hid the evidence that my table was anything but solid mahogany.

I advised my guests not to lean too hard on my “delicate” table and explained that I was going for a more eclectic look with my “retro” chairs.

A little metallic never hurt anyone, so I started the tabletop with gold chargers and an actual vintage piece, a candelabra that my grandmother had given my great Aunt Anna before she passed.  It was nice to have a reminder of her at the table.  She was a great cook and an elegant lady.  I think she would have been proud of my efforts.

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Glassware and plates instantly made the table look fuller and shinier.

The table was beginning to look legitimate.

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Then came some tinted glass bowls to add color and continue with the vintage theme.  My mom and I made a last minute dash to Pier 1 for some golden yellow cloth napkins.   I put together two low floral arrangements with my flowers from Costco.  I love a show-stopping floral centerpiece, but I actually wanted to be able to see the other people at the table so I divided and conquered. I also added some burlap ribbon to my fancy chairs to complete my unique look.

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I was pretty pleased with myself, especially since this set-up cost me less than the groceries for the meal.

Consider this my submission for the design on a dime challenge.

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This is my favorite angle.

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Eugene took this fab picture with her phone.  I think it’s worthy of Martha Stewart Living.

This certainly wasn’t a traditional Thanksgiving set-up, but we all got to sit together around the table and have a good laugh.  I’ll give thanks for that.

Stay tuned for the meal.  It was not without its challenges.

Y’all keep it classy,

Sugarlump

Tax Avoidance (Not Evasion)

It’s funny how, when faced with doing your taxes, vacuuming the sofa and ironing your socks become wildly appealing activities.  Suddenly, tackling that oil painting for my living room that I’ve been putting off since I moved in 11 months ago seems very urgent.  Brushing the cats’ teeth and cleaning out that “catch-all” basket of receipts, screw-drivers, lotion samples, paperclips and nail polish is just too hard to resist.

Doing my taxes really isn’t all that bad.  Because I own a business, I have an accountant who sends me a really nice tax organizer that makes the experience as painless and straight-forward as possible.  Every year, after I complete the document to return to her, I remark on how surprisingly simple it was.  And every year, I put off doing my taxes because something about it makes me want to do just about anything else.  I can’t explain it.

Today, instead of doing my taxes, I’ve done 4 loads of laundry and 1 load of dishes.  I’ve vacuumed, changed the sheets on my bed, rearranged the furniture and cleaned out the refrigerator.  Then I happened to find myself at Homegoods where I purchased 2 mirrors that were not the size I needed, but I had to have them.  Consequently, I have spent the last hour re-hanging everything on the walls in my apartment to accommodate said purchases.

At least I will have a fresh environment in which to do my taxes…whenever that may be.

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Off to French-braid Scarlett’s fur.  Doesn’t she look excited.

Y’all be responsible,

Sugarlump

Chichi-cago

I was in Chicago yesterday and today for the ASID Design Awards and NeoCon, one of the biggest interior design trade shows.   I spent several hours yesterday wandering around the hundreds of thousands of square feet of showrooms in the … Continue reading

Country Weekend

This past weekend, my sister came down for CMA fest.   We missed my cousins who weren’t able to come, but there’s always next year!  Eugene and I pinky-promised that we would make attending CMA fest a tradition. Here we are in … Continue reading

Apartment Update

I have been working hard to make my apartment feel like home since I moved in almost 4 weeks ago.  I brought with me most of my major furniture so I’m just missing the smaller accent pieces like a coffee table and an end table.

And barstools for my desk so I have a real place to eat a meal instead of on the sofa.

And an armoire for my bedroom, but that may take me a while to find just the one and, thanks to my closet handywork, it’s not critical.

Here’s a peak at the situation:

Currently, I have a pair of lovely storage bins from Walmart acting as my coffee table.  It’s a great look, don’t you think?

I think the label really sets it off.

And here is my end table.  Who knew that not only were the pots and pans useful, but also that the box they come in is the ideal end table height when turned up sideways?

This may start a trend.  I think it will be called “makeshift chic.”

While it may be a while before I upgrade my “tables,” I have been making considerable progress on the dreadful, soul-sucking white walls that come standard in my apartment complex.

I painted my kitchen and my bedroom in the past 24 hours and I painted my bathroom last week.  (I will post pictures once I get everything accessorized.)

My cats were super helpful with the painting.

Not.

They slept all day in the sun.

Can I be a cat?

The room in which they spent their leisurely afternoon is giving me some heartburn.  Not only does it have the makeshift tables and a chairless desk/dining table, but it also has lots of different walls that catch light very differently.  This is making it difficult to find a color that looks good on all of the walls throughout the day.

By the time I decide which color to go with, the walls will probably be covered in paint swatches, I will have taken out a loan for paint and it will probably be time to move.

I think I am up to 8 colors so far and they all are either too gray, too yellow, too green, too light or too dark. I’m seriously considering mixing some of them together to get my ideal color and then taking it to the paint store and having them color match it.

This is my “dining” area that houses my enormous desk and will also serve as a place to eat once I get some barstools…

So this is how all of the colors look on this wall.

This is the space between the living and dining areas on the window wall, which is perpendicular to the wall with the desk.  It is the darkest wall.

This is the wall opposite the desk wall on the other side of the rectangular room, behind my sofa.

I swear, these are all the same color swatches on each wall even though they look quite different.

Turning another 90 degrees, this wall is opposite the main window wall and thus receives the most natural light.  This is where we see the true colors.

Doesn’t that white make you want to cry? It does me.

And these are two more walls that form a bar-height counter around my kitchen.  That little bit of chair rail on the right is part of the desk wall.

Congratulations, we have just completed a 360 degree turn around the room.

There are actually 3 other walls that will also be the same color in my entry way, however trying to add them into the mix for consideration might just send me over the edge.

It’s a miracle that I can get dressed in the morning.

So you see, I have a lot of walls to consider and the lighting is kind of drastic, not only from one wall to the next, but throughout the course of the day since my apartment is South-facing.

These pictures make the colors look a little bit greener than they actually are, but if anyone wants to vote, please feel free to leave a comment.  (I don’t know how you will possibly describe to me which color it is since they are painted haphazardly and differently on each wall, but it’s worth a shot.)

You would think this would be easy for me since I’m a designer.  While I know exactly what to suggest for clients, it’s really hard to do my own place.  Please send help.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump