Saturday, August 31, 2013


This summer I have made it a point to do more of this, relaxing in my room reading or embroidering, but key word, relaxing...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 5 Conan Clips

Yeah you heard right. Sorry, I'm not sorry that this isn't a crafty post. I love me some Conan. Also, I've been hunched over hand-beading a collar on a dress for two days, and Christine reminded me of some Conan clips, so I've had plenty of time to re-watch them all. Without further ado, the best Conan clips ever.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Made and Found: Pickles

Most people who know me are very aware that I'm not a fan of cucumbers. I pick them out of fresh rolls, push them to the side of salad plates, and will slowly edge away from you if you're eating them. Blech and double blech! 

But pickles--now that's a different story. I'm a huge fan of pickles and frankly, find it baffling that something I loathe, when sealed in a jar with vinegar and spices for a month or more, becomes something I love. So, this year we planted pickling cucumbers in the garden and had a go at making pickles...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Peanut & Purls...and Curtains!

 This should be a shock to no one, but the Nicolai sisters have a very creative (read paranoid) imagination. I mean there isn't a murder, alien abduction, or con that we don't already think is happened/ing to us. That being said, I am surprised I lasted a full 2 weeks at my new home without putting up curtains of any kind because let's be honest, when the lights are on, people can see in and you can't really see out.

Brief Musical Interlude: Lightning Dust

Has there ever been a better, more dreamy synchronized swimming music video? I think not. 

The Vancouver, BC duo called Lightning Dust (Amber Webber and Josh Wells) are a couple of cool customers in my book. Their newest album, Fantasy, reminds me a bit of other artists with a slick, often hypnotic synth sound, like Bat for Lashes, Kavinsky's "Nightcall," and John Maus' "Believer." But Lightning Dust has roots in folk, so they're also masters of lush, sleepy ballads like "Moon" and "Agatha."

Lightning Dust was one of the bands I found through Amazon Discover Artists on the Rise. Every once in a while, I cruise by Amazon's MP3 store to poke through their new discoveries, and I've had pretty good luck finding decent new music. The Artists on the Rise page has a free download for each of the featured artists. Hello? That's a sweet deal. And smart on Amazon's part because, inevitably, I will purchase an album because of that free song. I'm thinking covetously of Lightning Dust's Fantasy right now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Handmade Homes: Unfinished business

rhododendron embroidery

A project for every mood, or so many projects not enough time? Whatever the case may be it's clear that I have several balls in the air right now, and many surfaces covered with crafts. Although I love the process, I will be so very gleeful when they are all complete...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Report Inspiration: Personalized leather key fobs

There's no way around it: tooled leather detailing seems quintessentially Western. And for my final post on True Grit and Western inspiration, I decided it was high time I used the leather key fobs I've had in my craft box since last Christmas (when I tried to dye them using regular fabric dye which, by the way, does not work). Since I utterly lack the skillset and patience required for hand-tooling with awls and hammers and whatnot, I short-cutted using my wood burning tool...

Saturday, August 24, 2013


As the summer winds down, we've been filling up on day trips and mini adventures. This young tiger is Berani (I think) from the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma. Mom and I took an afternoon to wander around and were lucky enough to see the teenage tiger boys, Dumai and Berani, frolicking in their pen, playing in the water, and jumping into the bamboo. They were a hoot, like really giant kittens...

Brief Musical Interlude: Daughter

Well darn it. I forgot to post this on Wednesday. That was our Port Townsend day, and there was some hustling to get out of the house at a reasonable hour. A countdown may have been involved. So, Saturday it is!

Anyway: Daughter. Out of London, this threesome has delivered a dreamy and earnest grouping of songs, full of longing and sweet laments. This album has a teenage winter feel to me. And by that I mean that if I were seventeen and it was winter, I'd sit outside while listening to this and watch my breath fog and just yearn and yearn and yearn for things I couldn't quite define. (Hey, the leading song is called "Winter." Just noticed that.)

If you need more than YouTube has to offer, you can check out the Daughter SoundCloud.

P.S. Daughter also does a phenomenal cover of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Best of Aerial Views of Water

Summertime and the living is easy; and there is nothing difficult about looking at aerial shots of water either. Over the summer I have found myself more and more drawn to looking at images such as these. I think that water is just so facisnating (more so living than chlorinated), and mysterious. So naturally I love to gaze down at it from above and examine it while daydreaming.

Also, lets just throw this out there, I love these because they look like little aquatic dioramas. I am not ashamed of that truth more on that later...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Made and Found

It happened. I found more yarn. I took a day off work and went up to Port Townsend with Christine and my mom. We had a splendid little day that consisted of beer, pizza, walking around, water, Fort Worden, air plants, and yarn! Not just boring blah yarn...ALPACA!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Peanut & Purls...& Pain

I know this looks like PW is a brutal little beast, but she didn't really mean to scratch me

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Handmade Home: Pillow Talk

Do you ever just sit inside on a Saturday morning and look around the living room for little ways to improve your space; then later look at the clock and realize you've spent your entire day slaving over a new project? Welcome to the weekend!

This weekend Ben's Mom came in to town and I wanted to freshen up the living room with some new pillows (and had a dual purpose of shrinking the size of fabric stores that needed to be put away). So here's some Tuesday pillow talk...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Report Inspiration: Cowboy hat band

When I came home to Tacoma, I discovered my old cowboy hat in the closet. I haven't worn it in years, and let's be honest, I don't really intend to wear it out anywhere. At twelve, when I was feeling like I could be a frontier girl, I paired the hat with my Jordache power jeans (which had leather panels from pocket to pocket across the cool). Even though I don't have the pluck to wear a cowboy hat in public, I have put it on to mess around in the garden and, inexplicably, while cleaning. The hat band has been bumming me out in a big way, so after reading True Grit, I decided it was time for a change. Let's make a replacement band for a cowboy hat!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Dear Cousin Anne's wedding is only a couple of weeks away. It's going to be epic.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Best of stacking rings

images via Soft Gold Studio

There was a time when I wore absolutely no jewelry because I felt incredibly self-conscious about any kind of adornment. Yup, much of my teenage to semi-adult life was dedicated to not being seen. Then for a time it was all chunky cocktail rings and dangly statement earrings for me. Like after all that not being seen I needed to be doubly seen. But the pendulum is swinging the other way again, and I haven't worn my cocktail rings or dangles to the office. It's little post earrings and simple brass rings for me. Which is why I love all these slender, simple stacking rings. Honestly, what an elegant, no-fuss way to dress up a naked hand...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Made and Found: House Warming!

First off I just have to comment on how the internet is a devious marketing machine. Every website I visit, including the blog, is showing me an add for a designer, or store (down to the item I was looking at!) that I recently visited. It's really creeping me out, and yet again makes me realize that the internet is too smart.

Okay, now for the real post! You may remember Dawn and Jay, from Dawn and Jay our roommates, well they moved on and moved out last month. Boy, oh boy, did they find a lovely new house.

There are so many wonderful things about their new home, it's spacious, a great location, and it features fun accents that definitely prove to make any added decor smashing. Also, there is a chicken coop in the back, and yes, there will be chickens.
So for this addition of Made and Found, I would like to share the secrets I found at their house!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy birthday Christine!

Remember when you were like three? Yeah, I don't because I wasn't born yet, but still that was a long time ago. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Let's celebrate with some night cheese!

Peanut and Purls (and letterpress)!

As you might remember, I recently moved into my very own home. It's exciting, decorating-wise everything is like a blank canvas! Seriously, some of the walls are still blank, and it's kind of driving me crazy. I'm trying to be thoughtful and calculated with my decorating. I absolutely love letterpress cards. The feeling of a good letterpress card in your hand is hard to beat (you can feel the texture of the press and it's just wonderful). I collected some of my favorite letterpress cards from some of my favorite people. I look at the pile and remember important milestones in my life and the people that helped make them special. This pile represents first trips to Europe, my MPA graduation, birthdays, and homebuying, just to name a few!

Brief Musical Interlude: Robin Thicke

I dig "Blurred Lines," but the video is kind of average. Prancy girls? Boring snore. What would make it awesome? Singing into spoons and playing the kazoo! This version is sick. And I'm pretty sure Catherine can learn the recorder part.

P.S. I always want to post one of The Lonely Island's songs, but I get nervous about dropping that language here. So, since we're talking about Robin Thicke today, I thought I'd mention that The Lonely Island's "Go Kindergarten" dance rehearsal video pokes fun at Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video. Check it out maybe. And the final version of "Go Kindergarten" featuring Robyn, Sean Combs, and  Paul Rudd is pretty darn funny too.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Handmade Home: Bless this Mess

So things just recently started shifting around the homestead, and the mantle is no exception. I rearranged, threw together, and mashed up some things, made, found, and given to create a lovely focal point in my living room that makes me smile. I do think it's a bit cluttered, but the Nicolai Sisters, although they would love to be simplistic and stylish, tend to always backslide in to collectors (and maybe slightly hoarders) of various pretty and sentimental things. Now for a closer look...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Report Inspiration: Cowboy Cookies!!!!

After writing about True Grit last week, it seems like I have Westerns on the brain. Add that to the fact that Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave instagrammed about monster cookies last week and the obvious result is cowboy cookies. As near as I can tell, cowboy cookies have no real connection to actual cowboys, but what cookies do?

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Recently my Mister and I went a traveling back to Washington. We had an early flight, which we missed, and spend the morning in the Burbank airport. As a consolation, we did see Bill Nye the Science Guy...!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Best of wallpaper

First up Collette by Sandberg. This horse wallpaper is from the UK. I first found this on Pinterest, and I'm really hooked on it. Horses played a huge part in my childhood. Not only were the Nicolai sisters proud owners of a POA named Junior (and Sully, Domingo, and Abba), but we also played with our Breyer horses when we didn't want to play with our real horses. Geez, when I put it like that, we sounded real spoiled--we weren't, we just kind of grew up on a mini farm with farm-raised parents. To this day, I still get giddy when I see new Breyer's kind of embarrassing, and I can't control it!
I'm trying to figure out how to use this in either my laundry area (the Brits call it the scullery!) or my bedroom. This paper is a wee bit pricey at $95/roll. The print comes in black, brown, burgundy, and blue. Blue is my favorite, obvi...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Made & Found

Made & Found is one of our new additions, as you may have surmised. I have an inkling that most of our M&F posts will be dedicated to finding and making things with feathers, shells (sea and snail), rocks, snake sheds, and bits of flora. It's just how we do. There's a distinct possibility that we're descended from either a bunch of Prussian naturalists or a coven of German witches.

But M&F is also about finding things beyond the underbrush and know, non-nature-y things. So, I thought once in a while I'd talk a little about some of the items I've picked up at estate sales, antique malls, and thrift stores (our friend, Em, of Thimble calls them op shops, which I love!)...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Peanut & Purls: Golden Birthday!

Peanut, what in the world am I going to do with you? Peanut was always been the fluffiest, cleanest, little fluffer-nutter in the whole world (notice the past tense?). Part of settling into the new house for Peanut means digging in everything, all the time, everywhere. Because there's a garage attached to the house, she has quick, easy access to dust and dirt. Would you just look at those paws!?! She's been prancing around with these dirty mittens for days. I think a bath is in her future.

Brief Musical Interlude: Mumford & Sons

Okay, love this video for the following reasons:

1. Jason Sudeikis' sweet double earrings. 
2. Will Forte's tears.
3. Jason Bateman's pure joy at 3:50.
4. Ed Helms' everything. 

I'm actually not crazy about the song, but I think Mumford & Sons was smart to go this route for the video. And forcing me to listen to the song several times (because I want to watch the video)...well, let's just say the song is starting to grow on me. You have to admit, Sudeikis sells the hell out of those overdramatic lyrics...and my eyes seem to be buying what my ears would not. 

Good humor, fellas, and smart move. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Handmade Home: Framed Flora

Recently I have undertaken freshening up some spaces around the house. The first undertaking was to utilize some amazing things that I already have, or intentions that I already have. I've been thinking about those flora pressings that I got when I was back in Tacoma last year for Christmas, and was more than ready to get them up on the wall...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Report: True Grit

I'm a daughter of the West--all three of us are to varying degrees. Our parents took a long and circuitous route to get here, but they eventually fulfilled that old manifest destiny: Midwest to West. It stands to reason that I love the Western genre, whether that falls to movies, music, books, art, clothing, or animal husbandry. However, I do recognize my love affair with the West is just that: a romance...

Saturday, August 3, 2013


See this gargantuan ice cream cone? I won it for answering a sea life question on a cruise of Deception Pass. The question: What ocean-dweller has the largest eyes on earth? I went back and forth for 15 seconds or so about whether it was a Colossal or Giant Squid, but I decided to go with Giant Squid because everyone isn't aware there's a difference between the two and I wasn't sure how much of a stickler the guide would be. (Don't worry, Catherine has already informed me how this story makes me sound like a know-it-all jerk.) 

Turns out, the guide's nametag doesn't read Cameron: Naturalist for nothing because he was like, "That's right! The largest eyes belong to the Colossal Squid, which has eyes the size of dinner plates." Dang it! I mean, he still gave me the win, even after I pointed out that technically, I didn't answer the question correctly. (See! Know-it-all weirdo!) Let this be a lesson to us all: always go with your gut, especially when ice cream is involved...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Best Summer Icy Treats

This post was inspired by a recent podcast from the ladies of the Stuff You Missed in History Class, from How Stuff Works on the origins of ice cream. The podcast is super interesting, and you should definitely check it out.

Although I am one of the strange untrustworthy folks they mention that doesn't go crazy for ice cream (sorry dairy); I still can appreciate the splendor and glee that a delicious icy treat can provide on a hot day. So to take advantage of the remaining days of summer, I wanted to share some delicious frozen treats from some amazing lady bloggers.

1.) Cucumber Mint Slushie, from A House in the Hills

I just recently discovered A House in the Hills, a blog by Sarah Yates, and boy am I delighted! Not only does she have an amazing story to tell, wonderful healthy recipes to share, fabulous pictures, and a great voice, but she also has two of the cutest dogs. Between this recipe she shared for a refreshing cucumber mint slushie, and the picture of her dogs Bean and Nugget, I'm in blog heaven!

2.) Plum Sorbet, from The White Ramekins

It was hard to select only one recipe to share from Himashu Taneja, at The White Ramekins, but as soon as I came across this recipe I stopped in my tracks. There are so many things to love about this plum sorbet, but apart from the obvious, there are only four ingredients; plums, water, sugar (to taste), and balsamic vinegar. Also, I'd like to confess that I just learned what a ramekin was this year, and I'm kind of in love with the fact that Himashu is banker by day, blogger by night (just like me).

3.) Mango Cardamom and Sweet Coconut Popsicles, from A Cozy Kitchen

Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen has got it right. Not only are these the popsicles of my dream, but they are fanciful and really well designed too. I am officially starving! Also, Adrianna, you are totally right, people who just bite in to cold things like they haven't a care in the world make me cringe. Maybe I'm in the same club as you, people with cold sensitive teeth that will all fall out. Now there's something to ask my dentist about.

4.) Corn Ice Cream, from Martha Stewart

Okay Martha, you had me with corn... as I mentioned earlier, I don't do a lot of dairy or really sweet sweets. So any time I can get a unique savory flavor in a food item that is traditionally meant to be sweet I find myself being like, 'go on I'm listening...' My skills are not such that I could make this, but if someone did, I would certainly be excited to try it.

5.) Lemon, Honey and Thyme Sorbet, from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Delightful. I guess in that one word I can sum up Emma Galloway's blog My Darling Lemon Thyme. Delightful. I'm really excited to delve deeper and check out her gardening tips and dairy free recipes. I have so much work to do...

As you can see prefacing this post as relating to ice cream might have been a bit misleading, as only one of the treats actually featured cream (corn!). Us sisters don't have a great time with dairy for the most part so I suppose these non dairy treats are more applicable to the sisters. Too bad it's so late right now because after this post I'm starving!

I hope you enjoyed my top five icy treats for the summer, and I encourage you to check out these cooking ladies' blogs. You will find so many lovely things.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Made & Found

 The sisters are always quick to document signs of nature in the city. Technically, we document nature in nature like the woods and stuff too, but anyway, you get what I mean. I found this pretty little seagull feather in downtown Olympia. I promptly picked it up and put it in Chase's face. Christine told me it probably had bird lice on it. It probably did. Now it's on my bookshelf.

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