Kitty Christmas

Having had such a nice Christmas ourselves, it would have been just plain rude not to get the cats a little something. Not that they really care.  They normally end up playing in the gift boxes anyway.  But I happened upon another fabulous fur find and couldn’t resist getting the little boogers a treat from Santa.

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I got them a big, soft bed and a new scratching/play toy combo gym thing.

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While Gus was immediately hypnotized by the carpeted ball tree, Scarlett gave me the “I asked for a Play Station 4” look.

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Scarlett pouted for a minute as Gus executed his attack.

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It took a few minutes for them to declare the new bed habitable, but they eventually got in it.

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The bed is plenty big enough for both of them to relax in it comfortably.  This isn’t exactly the sleeping configuration I had imagined. From the looks of it, it wasn’t what Scarlett had in mind either.

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After a while, Scarlett settled into a position with a little more breathing more.  As for Gus, I decided to have a little fun with him and put one of those paper “ribbons” on him.   At first, he acted like it was some debilitatingly heavy back brace even though it couldn’t have weighed 1/8 of an ounce.  He went and sat in the bed with Scarlett to recover from his condition.

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Then he forgot he had a condition and a back brace and decided that hangy-ball needed catching.

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Mmmm, tastes like salmon.

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Time for a nap.

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Burst of energy!

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Time for another nap.

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He slowly overcame his condition, got up from the bed…

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and started to step out of his back brace to check out the carpet ball tree from another angle…

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Then he got distracted and had to sniff Eugene’s gift boxes…

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Nearly free of his shackles, he spotted Eugene’s egg-shaped lip gloss that was evidently much more entertaining than his gifts.  He and Scarlett then spent the next 30 minutes chasing it around the living room.

I should have just gotten them lip gloss.

And a Play Station 4.

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

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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

Faux Fur Fabulousness

Anyone who knows me or who has seen me dressed for the chillier months, knows that I LOVE faux fur.  I have several faux fur vests and coats.  I plan on upholstering a small stool in my sister’s bedroom with some faux fur because she is in desperate need of a foo foo bench.  Who isn’t, really?

I recently purchased a faux fur pillow to be featured on the formal living room sofa.  Our bond is so deep that I named her Priscilla the Pet Pillow.

I’m also a fan of alliteration.

Maybe I’ll write a book about her one day like those dogs that live at hotels.  Priscilla the Pet Pillow Goes to Paris.

I like it. File that one for retirement.

While there are only so many appropriate applications for faux fur as it doesn’t lend itself to bathing suits, table cloths, or car exteriors, I was ecstatic/overjoyed/borderline mental when I came across Restoration Hardware’s new line of faux fur accents in their catalog.  More specifically, their faux fur wine holders.

faux fur fabulousness

http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2320311&categoryId=search

How fabulous are these?!?!  AND they are 25% off at just $9!! They come in 6 different kinds of faux fur! I wanted them badly.  I called up the local restoration hardware and the conversation went something like this:

RH lady: “Restoration Hardware.  How can I help you?”

Me: “DO YOU HAVE THE FAUX FUR WINE HOLDERS SHOWN IN YOUR CATALOG AT YOUR STORE??!!?”

RH lady: “Yes, we do.”

Me: “ARE THEY 25% OFF LIKE THEY ARE SHOWN IN THE CATALOG AND ONLINE?!?!?!?!”

RH lady: “Yes, they are.”

Me: “DO YOU HAVE GOOD STOCK?!??!”

RH lady: “We do.”

Me: “I’LL BE RIGHT OVER!!!”

I literally jumped in the car and drove to the mall.  In less than 30 minutes, I was walking out of Restoration Hardware with my bag fabulous faux fur wine holders in tow.

Victory!

Y’all try to stay calm,

Sugarlump

P.S. There is a faux fur laptop case.  I need it.  In Mink.  Does Santa read blogs?

Inherited Mischief

I’ve recently taken an interest in target shooting.  Most people who know me find this surprising/troubling.  Not to worry, you skeptics, I only care to shoot inanimate objects.

Uncle Santa gave me, my sister and cousins each a box of shells and some targets for Christmas.  I think it’s one of my favorite gifts ever.  Maybe next year I’ll ask for a gun.  Watch out.

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I was so excited to go out shooting the day after Christmas, but the weather was most uncooperative.  A nice rotation of rain/sleet/snow carried on all day so my box of shells is still unopened.

Christmas night, as we were discussing our plans for the following day, Granny shared with us that she didn’t want her girls shooting guns.  My dad called her out on this immediately because she shot guns all the time growing up.  She said that didn’t matter; she still didn’t want us shooting guns.  My dad overruled her on a count of hypocrisy.

All four of us are also adults and can shoot a gun even if our Granny doesn’t want us to, but we didn’t dare bring that up.  We are and always will be her “babies” even though we’re no longer 2, 3, 5 and 7 like she thinks we are.

It’s no secret that my Granny was somewhat of a mischievous child.  Shooting guns was just the beginning.  We asked Granny to tell us some stories that night and it wasn’t long before we were all laughing so hard it hurt.  There were some really good ones that involved playing hooky.

We asked Granny what she did when she skipped school one day for an entire day.

Granny: “Well, we had never seen a trial.”

Family in unison: “You skipped school to go to the courthouse?!?!”

Granny: “Yes, and we sat there all day and there wasn’t even a trial so we just went back to school.”

After we all died laughing, we just sat there for a few minutes processing Granny’s rather unusual item on her bucket list that warranted skipping school.

The next story was even better.

One day in high school, several couples who were “courting” decided to leave school without permission.

Granny said, “Now, our principle was a mean old man and he stuttered. “

Upon being caught, the couples were ordered back to school.  They walked down the hall, past the principle, who had a habit of pulling up his britches when he was mad.

Granny stood up and hiked up her pants in the front using her forearms, imitating the principle.

We all just about lost it and waited for the punchline with the stutter.

Granny said, “He was so mad, he didn’t say a word.”

We all sat there for a minute and then questioned Granny as to what the fact that he stuttered had to do with the story if he never even said anything.

She just wanted us to know that about him, evidently.

That made us laugh even harder.

Granny always calls us the craziest bunch of young’ins.   I wonder where we got that from.

Y’all mind your Grannies,

Sugarlump

Christmas Traditions

This year marked a big transition in tradition for the Dyer household.   Instead of having our family Christmas at my parents’ house as we have always done, I hosted here in my new hometown of Nashville.

In my one bedroom apartment.

I didn’t foresee an issue as I have a large sectional that can sleep two people so I knew all four of us would have a comfortable place to sleep.

What I didn’t foresee was the blanket shortage.  I wound up sleeping under my robe.

It’s ok though.  Santa still showed up and we had our family Christmas.

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I may need a bigger place if I plan on hosting regularly.

After our family Christmas on Christmas Eve morning with just me, Eugene and my mom and dad, we headed to Kentucky for Christmas on Christmas Day with the extended family.

Got that straight?

We always sleep at my dad’s parents’ house on Christmas Eve.  My aunt, uncle and cousins live just down the road so they do their family Christmas early in the morning and then head to my grandparents for the big family Christmas on Christmas Day.

Christmas morning, Granny made sausage gravy and biscuits.  Man that stuff is good.  I certainly couldn’t eat it every day but then again my great grandparents did and they lived into their 90’s so maybe there’s something to that.  I’ll have to ponder that at a later time when I’m feeling less full.

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Per tradition, we started with our stockings.  Among other lovely items, there was a Starbucks gift card, which it looks like I could have used that morning if the nearest Starbucks weren’t over 70 miles away.

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After the stockings, we moved into the living room and the youngins passed out the gifts.  Eugene found a tagless gift, which was cause for great concern.

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My mom and Aunt Vickie received some money in shot glasses from Santa (Papa).  I found this hilarious.  I’m glad Aunt Vickie thought so, too.

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Granny got her box of tide with a dollar bill from Papa.  He’s been doing this for decades and I’m still not really sure how it started.  Maybe someday I’ll get to the bottom of it.

After Christmas at my dad’s parents’ house, we headed down the road (literally) for Christmas with my mom’s parents.

I went straight for a bourbon ball….or two.   I have a wicked sweet tooth and there’s no telling when it will strike.

We settled into the living room and opened our gifts.  It wasn’t the same without my aunt, uncle and cousin on my mom’s side, but we were certainly thinking of them and wishing they could have been with us.

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After seeing the photo that my parents sent out unsupervised in the family Christmas card this year where I look possessed, Eugene and I insisted that we supply suitable photographs for next year’s card.  We had my dad take about 437 photos and this was one of the better ones.

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With cameras retired for the day, we ate the delicious Christmas dinner that Grandmother had prepared for us.

Then I had a few more bourbon balls and a piece of rum cake.

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We played a game of Scrabble, one of our favorites.  I wasn’t on top of my game.  There’s only so much you can do when dealt X, B, J, H, L, L, T.  That, and most of the blood in my body was likely trying to aid in the digestion of the forty pounds of food I had eaten in the past few hours instead of pumping through my brain for a stroke of vocabulary genius.

And then I might have had another bourbon ball.

And then some leftover dressing from Christmas Eve dinner back at Granny and Papa’s.

And a piece of the jam cake cousin Lauren and I made on Thanksgiving and let ripen for Christmas.  It was scrumptious.

I think I’ll be full until next year.

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These things are the devil.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

Packages

I love putting together packages for people, especially when it is not for a special occasion, but rather to say “thank you” or “I’m thinking of you” or “I hope you feel better” or “congratulations” or “happy Tuesday” or “I think you’re alright”.

One of my favorite things to wrap up is food, which is no surprise because I love food.  Mostly I love the eating of it, but I do like to bake and cook as well.

So what better way to combine my passions than to bake something, do some heavy sampling (just for the safety of its recipients, of course), and then wrap it up with some cellophane, a pretty bow and a tag.

I’m also a huge fan of making gift baskets filled with mason jars of soups and such because they exude a homemade vibe, are timeless, very durable and also reusable for years and years.   In summary, they are very pretty and practical (and I’m slightly obsessed).

This morning I baked some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for a “thank you for inviting me to supper” package.  I intended to capture the step-by-step preparation of these lovely things with my camera to include a recipe, but realized as I was adding the last ingredient that I forgot to take pictures.  I will try to do better next time.

Here are the cookies as they cool on the baking sheet for a moment:

And here they are all wrapped up purty-like:

In addition to making the package look nice, I always like to put a little tag or sticker (handwritten for a nice homemade touch) to inform the recipients of what they are about to put in their mouths.  I do this especially when there are controversial ingredients such as peanut butter, nuts, or oatmeal.  I might even add raisins to that list because I can’t tell you how many times I have bitten into a cookie thinking it was chocolate chip (my favorite) and quickly discovered that it was some sort of devilish raisin nonsense (my not favorite).

It is my conviction that cookies shall not contain raisins just as cornbread shall not contain sugar.  Amen.

Now that we have that settled, I will get back to the point.

Even though I love putting together an unexpected package, I do enjoy wrapping up gift boxes for holidays, birthdays and other occasions.  Here’s a gift I wrapped recently for a friend’s birthday:

I found the peacock paper at Homegoods and the ribbon I ordered from the ribbon factory.  While a great paper sets the tone, I think a nice, sharp bow really finishes a beautiful present.  I learned this from my Aunt Anna, who was the queen of gift-wrapping.

My Aunt Anna (we called her “A-Nana” which I will explain in a future post) passed away in early 2011, but she was quite the gift-wrapper.  She always wrapped gifts in beautiful paper with big bows and, for Christmas, she often added a little ornament or accessory to the bow.  These packages were so beautiful that you almost didn’t want to unwrap them.  I said almost.  There was always a thoughtful gift inside, so you had to unwrap it.

To have your wrapping likened to Aunt Anna’s is a big honor and level of distinction in our family.  You have arrived on the wrapping scene if some says your gift-wrapping work looks like “An Aunt Anna Package.”   Over the last few years, a few people have received this praise and we continue this tradition of wrapping excellence in her memory.

I love you and miss you, Aunt Anna.  You were such an elegant lady who did everything with great care.  You are an inspiration to me and I think of you every time I wrap a package.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump