Living Room Design Plan

October 2, 2015

In the 5 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve put together a couple of inspiration boards for rooms in our house (bathroom, bedroom) but I’ve never pulled individual items together into a mood board like many home bloggers do until now (shocking I know!). I’ve had a vision for our living room for a while and it is about as close as it can get until I invest in a new rug and sofa like I want. Those are both expensive purchases, so they likely won’t happen soon (not until we finish paying off Drew’s student loans), but a girl can dream, right?

For several years I’ve wanted a charcoal grey velvet English roll arm corner sectional sofa (this is the one pictured below). I’ve also wanted a vintage kilim rug. Last week I stumbled across the Mirabelle Rug in Grey and Teal from Lulu & Georgia (not vintage, but so beautiful) and I loved the colors in it. Dark enough to hide stains, colorful enough, but still relatively neutral. All the bright colored ones are so pretty, but I like big pieces (and expensive ones!) to be a little more neutral so that I tire of them less easily and can switch accessories around while still keeping the same base pieces. I just had to see what it would look like with the other things I’d envisioned for the room.

living room design plan crop1

I LOVE it so much! The rug and my dream sofa go together so well! The art, wood/metal side table, gold and white and teal pillows, paint color (Asiago by Valspar), wooden floors, white trim, similar lamp and white curtains are already in our house. Eventually I would like to upgrade our basic black TV stand to a mid century modern wooden dresser (like the one in our foyer/dining room). I’m also crushing on black and white buffalo check and leather Moroccan floor poufs, so those would be nice additions as well. One day!

See more inspiration for our home on my “For Our Apartment” Pinterest board.


Happy 5th Birthday, Icing on the Cake Blog!

5 years ago, I started this blog (in college) as a creative outlet, hoping that it would help me figure out the path to where I was going (keeping my sanity during hard and frustrating college courses) and document the process along the way.

I was incredibly stressed and overwhelmed during that time in my life. I had so many inspiring ideas, but with college taking over my life, I felt I had no time to complete them. This blog helped me to carve that space for myself and inspired me to keep doing so.

I love being able to look back over the last five years of my life though these thoughts, recipes, and projects. My how things have changed and yet have also stayed the same! Happy to be where I am now!

Happy Weekend!

P.S. This was my first blog post. How things have changed since then!


Right now in life, I am:

MAKING quilts! I finished piecing the top of my paper airplanes quilt that I started at the Cotton and Steel Craft South Workshop (see photos of the process here, here, here, and here.) I sent it off to a long-arm quilter to quilt and finish it off. I’ve already started on my next quilt, a value quilt! I’m so excited to use some of the fabrics I’ve been collecting for years! (see the fabrics here, here, and here.) I plan on attempting to quilt this one myself!
COOKING lots of homemade GF margherita pizza. Seriously, we’ve made 8 homemade pizzas this month. Working on perfecting a crust recipe!
DRINKING lemon green tea with honey every morning out of my favorite mug that I made in my ceramics class last spring.
READING several quilting books. For Christmas last year, my dad got me several quilting books I’d been eyeing. I’ve read all but part of the last one this month! Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May has been a really great read! It highlights many big quilters in the modern quilt world, talks about their processes, gives history of the modern quilting tradition (with nods to the art quilting and traditional quilting worlds), and has been really inspiring. I love that it talks about quilting like the art form that it is. My painting work in college had a big nod to the quilting industry and I was really inspired by that while reading. I wish I’d read this book earlier!

hexagon quilt1
WANTING to continue experimenting with different surface pattern designs, working to define my style. Also excited about future quilts! I’m really enjoying the composition and design process of quilting. Also really wanting to paint and take wheel throwing ceramics again.
PLAYING Paul Simon and James Taylor on the record player. 
SEWING patchwork for quilts! 
CROCHETING nothing lately. Crocheting has taken a back seat to other creative endeavors. I’ve really been thinking the last few days about getting out that throw blanket I started last year to work on again. 
WISHING for lovely fall days ahead! This summer has been a warm one!

cutting value quilt1

ENJOYING playing with pretty fabrics. Just looking through fabrics for my next quilt has been so inspiring!
WAITING on the California King size sheets I ordered for our bedroom to come in to get to work on finishing up that room! No, we don’t have a Cal King, we have a Queen size bed, but the Cal King was all they had left in the sheet design I had envisioned for the room! There will be some sewing/tweaking happening in my future!
LIKING using my office/studio area for a multitude of purposes lately. I’ve been sewing/quilting/cutting fabric in there, sketching in India ink for pattern designs, setting up my desktop computer at my desk, and hoping to start painting again in there soon!
WONDERING why I’ve been getting so many headaches lately! Almost every afternoon I’ve been getting bad tension headaches. My back and neck have been pretty tight lately too, regardless of trips to the chiropractor, Pilates, and the steam room at the gym! I guess the stress of fall publications at work have really just been getting to me.
LOVING our new foyer shelves, dresser, and church pew!! That room has really been shaping up lately into the vision I’ve had for it! Loving how much more useful, practical, pretty, and functional it is now! We’ve used that room more in the last month than we have in years!

homemade gf pizza1
HOPING that my value quilt comes together well! I’m still so new to quilting that I get a little intimidated, although I have high hopes for this quilt! I think it is going to be beautiful! It will be the first quilt I’ve attempted to quilt and bind myself, so that should be interesting…
MARVELING at the beauty and talent of people. Surrounded by pretty fabrics has me admiring many of my favorite designers all over again.
NEEDING some quiet and relaxing time after how busy I’ve been at work this month. No wonder I’ve been getting so many headaches.
LEARNING about quilting! (as if I haven’t already mentioned that a million times already…) Really though, I’m enjoying learning more about this art and the many artists that specialize in it.
SMELLING homemade pizza…mmm…. 

habitat workday1

WEARING these new leather shoes I got on our trip to Nashville. Leather t-strap heels! I thought I’d sworn off all heels, but these are so low that they are comfortable and I’m really liking them! Also embracing wearing minimal make-up.
FOLLOWING me around and having to be in the middle of everything (Violet again), up on my cutting table this time.
NOTICING the transformation of this city, just in the six years we’ve lived here. Last Saturday was the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Drew and I spent the day working with RHINO on a Habitat build for the New Orleans Day of Service (photos here and here).
KNOWING that the secret to success in the art/design industry is learning to sketch and create daily. Working on that. I’ve really gotten into sketching a lot this month. Here is one of my sketches, turned pattern.
THINKING about how much I would like to spend my days napping and relaxing like my cat does.

violet licking1
BOOKMARKING lots of quilting ideas!
CELEBRATING Violet’s 1st birthday! August 18!
OPENING a couple cute new circle skirts I bought from ModCloth. I’ve been admiring that vintage style for a long time!
LAUGHING at Violet’s photo, above! 
FEELING grateful for creativity.

Past Life Right Now posts:
July 2015June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

Drew and I seem to get more house projects done in the summer than any other time of the year (last summer we painted the living room, foyer, french doors, little hallway, and built a living room ottoman/bench (more about those here). This year we’ve painted the long hallway and kitchen, made over a side table, added some homemade pillows, and the project below). I’m not sure why, considering summer is always sweltering in NOLA. Maybe it is the longer daylight hours and general sense of excitement that summer brings? But, I’m not complaining! We’ve recently done a couple things in the foyer/dining room that were long overdue. Now it’s become one of our favorite rooms in the house!

pew with cat 2 color edit1

I’ve wanted a church pew for bench seating for our dining room for a long time. New Orleans doesn’t really seem to have an abundance of old church pews though. I’d looked and looked on Craigslist with no luck. But earlier this summer, my older sister, Blair, who lives in Nashville, TN, called me one day saying that her babysitter was selling one. She went to look at it and the dimensions were exactly what I was looking for! She bought it for me and stored it at her house until Memorial Day when she brought it to my hometown in Illinois for my dad to store until he had time to bring it to New Orleans for me. When Drew and I were visiting family over Memorial Day we got to see it for the first time and it was in a little rougher shape than I originally thought. All the transporting had broken the bottom of one of its legs and the seat was a little wobbly. My dad took it to a guy to have the leg fixed, seat reinforced, and he also sanded it down for me (the original finish was dirty and dingy –I think it had been left outside for a little bit and had some moisture damage).

pew closer 2 color edit1

It still needs a little love, and I’ll eventually put a little more work into it and then probably seal it. But for now, I love it! Such a cozy spot in there now.

cat 6 color edit1

Violet definitely approves of her new sunny napping spot! I wish I knew more about its history. I only know it came out of an old church in Nashville. I love having pieces with old stories in our home.

shelving side color edit1

Our second new piece of furniture is this lovely 1960’s mid-century modern china cabinet base. It also has quite the story! I’d been searching for a dresser like this for in here for a long time. We needed storage for our bar items and some overflow from the kitchen (cloth napkins for dinner, etc..) as well as Drew wanted a place to put the record player and store his records. New Orleans is also quite lacking in mid-century pieces, but I’d still been stalking Craigslist with no luck. Then on Facebook one day, a friend of mine from Southern Illinois posted a photo of this one that she’d seen and loved at a local antiques shop, but didn’t have a place for. I immediately texted my little sisters begging them to go find it for me. They both had to work, but a couple days later, right as I was getting ready to board a plane to NYC for my fabric design workshop, Jill called me and said she was on her way over there to look for it. When I landed in New York I had several text messages waiting for me, including a receipt of the deposit she’d made on it for me (yay Jilli!). She even talked them down in price for me and I got it for a steal! (double yay!)

shelving tall from living room color edit1

Once I was back from NYC, I called and paid for it over the phone, then my dad went over and picked it up for me. It worked out perfectly that he already needed to bring me my church pew, so he was able to bring this down too in the same trip. I waited most of the summer for them, but he finally brought them down a couple weekends ago. It is so perfect for what we needed and in amazing shape. The side cabinets are perfect for storing records!

shelving color edit1

Finally having the dresser in place spurred on the next project I’d been wanting to tackle in here for a while — wall shelving! With all the horizontal surfaces in here (dresser, table, console table, side table) all at close to the same height, we really needed something with some height in here to balance everything else out.

view into foyer dining color edit1

These shelves make such great use of otherwise mostly wasted space in our house. Actually this wall is the least shown view of our house on my blog! I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of this wall for several years since Drew’s old desk used to live here. The last couple years it has been a mostly empty space or a storage space for supplies of whatever project we were working on at the time. I LOVE it now!

shelving 2 color edit1

I love that it provides a place for barware/glass storage, plants (that Violet kept getting into elsewhere), art, etc… I’ve been wanting to create a welcoming entry area in our home for years and this area with the mirror is finally getting us there! I can’t decide if I want to also hang a couple coat hooks up here as well. The top shelves especially could use a little more styling. I’m thinking of putting a big fern or something up there. We also need more lighting in this area of the room, so maybe a hanging lamp as well?

shelving tall color edit1

The rails, brackets, and wood are all from Lowe’s. The rails and brackets were originally white and we spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze. They are screwed into studs, so they aren’t going anywhere! This is actually probably the most secure thing that we’ve ever put on the walls in our house! Sidenote: we also figured out the best way to find studs in old homes with plaster walls! Find an outlet on the wall (there is one behind where the dresser is) and drill a screw into either side of it to see if it hits a stud. Electrical boxes for outlets are pretty much always attached to a stud. Once you find one, measure 16 inches over in either direction and you should find all the studs. (We did have to drill several holes in the wall to accomplish this. We did it close to the bottom of the wall though and I actually forgot about even filling them in. No one can see them with the dresser there.) With plaster walls like this, there is wooden slatting behind the walls, so using an electric stud finder never worked for us. This electric box and measure trick worked like a charm though! These railing systems are pretty inexpensive for the impact they make! I plan on eventually staining the shelves a light honey color, but wanted to live with them as is for a bit while I made up my mind for sure. At first I was worried about having too much wood in the room already, but I don’t think I really want to paint them either (there is a lot of white in here too with the door and trim and blinds). So I’m going to do a lighter tone than the rest of the wood surfaces in here, but something that isn’t as stark as raw wood.

looking into foyer dining from lr 2 color edit1

So there you have it! A full view of our entire foyer/dining room area. I just love how “us” this room feels now!

P.S. Did you see how many pictures Violet made it into? That pillow on the console table is her “perch” and she loves it up there. Easily spends half her day or more there.

Life Right Now * July 2015

August 11, 2015


Right now in life, I am:

MAKING lots of art this month! India ink sketches, sketchbook drawings, experimenting with block printing (pictured below). LOVE getting to spend more time making art lately (all for surface pattern design work).
COOKING meals from Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. How nice to have all the ingredients for meals delivered right to your door! Use code: CEFVYJ for $40 off your first Hello Fresh box! Also cooking with lots of fresh veggies from my sister and dad’s gardens. Loving all the summer fruit out too — love me some peaches and cherries! And of course, lots of Plum Street Snoballs (pictured above).
DRINKING Lemon Shake Ups with Drew and Gigi at the Nashville Flea Market.
READING Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career by Katharine Sise. I’m really taking my time reading through this and thinking about/writing through all the prompts. If you are thinking about a creative career, so far this is really a great read! I feel like so much of it is speaking directly to me!

WANTING to continue experimenting with different art and styles of surface pattern design. Really working on figuring out my style and the voice I bring to that industry.
PLAYING Kacey Musgraves’ new album, Pageant Material (like seriously on repeat the first couple weeks it came out). Listening to lots of music on Spotify this month as we took two different road trips. Also lots of records playing in our house, especially after Drew went record shopping all over Nashville.
SEWING all the things! Actually just a quilt, but a really awesome one at the Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Craft South in Nashville
CROCHETING nothing lately. I have multiple projects in the works, just haven’t worked on them recently. Crocheting has taken a back seat to other creative endeavors. 
WISHING for a great month of August as we work on home projects and I continue quilting and working on pattern design work.


ENJOYING family time! When visiting Nashville for the Craft South Workshop, we stayed with my older sister and her husband and kids that live there and my parents and younger sisters came down from Illinois too. Drew, Gigi, and I went to the Nashville Flea Market, we had a tie-dye birthday party for my niece, Evie, and then my sister, Kelsey, and niece, Evie, rode back to New Orleans with us and spent a few days here. Then my dad came to New Orleans to bring me my furniture (and pick Kelsey and Evie up). So much family time this month!
WAITING to work on/finish up some fun house projects in our foyer/dining room!
LIKING having my work office back in order after crazy renovations all summer!
WONDERING why Drew and I didn’t join the New Orleans JCC (Jewish Community Center) sooner! We aren’t Jewish, but we love using their amazing gym facilities. I’m loving the Pilates and yoga classes, the pool, the steam room/sauna/whirlpool and Drew loves the exercise equipment. We put off gym memberships for so long, but for the price, and the exercise/stress relief it provides — so worth it! It is way too hot outside to just go on walks around our neighborhood! (unless we are walking to the sno ball shop…)
LOVING Asheville! We took a trip there over the 4th of July weekend and it was amazing! Great weather, amazing views, delicious GF food. It was just a wonderful and relaxing trip.

HOPING to continue working on my Cotton and Steel / Anna Maria Horner quilt I started at Craft South. I’ve wanted to get into quilting for a long time, I can’t wait to finish this one!
MARVELING at all the wonderful adventures we’ve been on this summer. 
NEEDING a creek like this in my life all the time.
LEARNING more about my design style the more patterns I make! And this month I made several! See some here, here, here, and the one I made from a hand-carved and printed block print, here. Also a couple more for an exciting project, here and here.
SMELLING peaches? snoballs? heat? Oh the smells of summer. 

violet fabric

WEARING new jeans I got from Madewell (my first pair from them and loving them so far). Lace kimonos, breezy summer tees, jean shorts (while on vacations).
FOLLOWING me around and having to be in the middle of everything (Violet that is) — she hopped right up onto the fabric I had printed as soon as I set it on the table for a photo. Love seeing my designs on fabric!!
NOTICING this amazing mirrored tile wall at the French Quarter Sucre.
KNOWING that although I didn’t study design like I wanted to in college, that I’m so thankful for my art degree and what it taught me (and the skills I have because of it!).
THINKING about the talented designers that designed old book covers and pages. Such beautiful patterns!

nashville flea
BOOKMARKING lots of patterned sheets for our bedroom bedding. Target is sold out of the black and white plus sheets I wanted! Boo! :(
CELEBRATING Evie’s birthday, vacations and road trips, time at home. Lots of lovely this month. 
OPENING the door for Drew and his friend as they unloaded the furniture into the house that my dad finally brought me from Illinois. Our church pew finally arrived as did our mid-century modern cabinet/dresser. LOVE them!!
LAUGHING at Violet and her silly ways. Always. 
FEELING grateful for how full and amazing this summer has been in so many ways.

cait quilt

Past Life Right Now posts:
June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014