Thursday, October 31, 2013

Made & Found: Mini-Mourning Wreaths

After making my crepe paper crow mask, I was left with two rolls of black crepe paper streamers. I couldn't just let them languish in a craft supplies box somewhere. Not when it's Halloween and there's still time to make a last minute decoration. I mean, come on. So, I rallied my crepe paper, glue stick, and an old cardboard box to make some mini mourning wreaths. OK, I know it's a bit morbid--no one has died--but it is Halloween...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Peanut & Purls & Halloween Cookies

The Nicolai sisters have always made sugar cutout cookies at Christmas time. It's one of our Nicolai-sister traditions. As grownups, we sometimes get a little creative with our cookies and they maybe don't end up being as traditional as our mom would like. I'm usually the one spearheading the cookie project. I'll gather up the sisters and try to get them to commit but inevitably what happens is...

Brief Fake Movie Trailer Interlude: Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders

I would watch the heck out of this. Love Edward Norton, personalized stationery for The Murderers, and turtleneck sweaters! Keep it coming, SNL. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Handmade Home: 'C' is for Sisters

 Sometimes you luck out and have two sisters whose names both start with a 'C', and a rubber 'C' stamp. On the rare occasions when the planets align like this you have to take advantage and shoot for the stars (does this make sense, if not forgive me).

I have been making clutches lately, and really enjoying it, so when I got an idea in my head for some sisters clutches I had to make it so...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Report Inspiration: Printable Halloween Bookmarks

I have a confession to make. I'm bad about bookmarks. I use gum wrappers and old post-its, sometimes pencils or unused kleenexes, and those fake American Express cards that always come in the mail. But wait. It gets worse, dear readers. I dog-ear pages. All. The. Time. There are only things that will deter me from my normal course of action: if the book is borrowed (then it's a post-it or gum wrapper for sure) or if the book is very old or delicate. But otherwise, all bookmark bets are off. It would seem I have no respect for the sanctity of the printed word. It's a bleeding shame. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I wish autumn had a nice little phrase assigned to know, something like "Spring has sprung." I suppose we could go with "Fall has fallen." But that seems rather dismal, and I prefer the term autumn over fall. Autumn sounds much more regal--it's a word befitting this lovely golden time of year...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Top Five: Paper Halloween Costumes

Paper Lion by IL Monda di Ingrid

With Halloween quickly approaching, and some of us (me, yikes!) still without costumes it's getting to the point where you start looking around the house and wonder, what can I make out of random things I already have?

In the past two years I have conceptualized my costumes early, but even with the best intentions I still end of the day of hunched over at sewing machine. This year I think I'll turn to a recyclable medium and hop on the paper bag costume train...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Made & Found: Woodsy Knitting

I finally finished my Brooklyn Tweed Guernsey Wrap. I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of this wrap. The yarn is called meteorite (swoon). All of Brooklyn Tweed's yarn is magical, I've blogged about them before. I think what makes it so special is all the little color flecks that come together to create such dynamic color blends--they definitely add dimension. Five skeins of meteorite later, and my snazzy Guernsey Wrap is complete. Also just typing Guernsey makes me want to live on a farm. Who doesn't want to become friends with a Guernsey cow?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Peanut & Purls & Halloween Cat Toys!

Halloween is getting closer and closer. My cats have certainly gotten into the Halloween spirit. It probably helps that I made them some Halloween feline toys to get them ready for all those trick or treaters. Seriously, they'll need to be high on catnip to not freak out from every little knock at the door.

Halloween Mixtape: Musical Misama

Maybe miasma is going a bit far, but I've boarded the alliteration train and I really don't want to get off. EVER. The Halloween music exchange went into effect again this year, and I received some real gems from my friend Dan. Since we've been making Halloween mixtapes for several years, I mentioned that it's getting tougher to find offbeat or unexpected spooky, murderous, ghoulish music. Not to spoil anything for anyone, but Dan mentioned the theme to Gremlins 2 being on deck for next year. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

1. Going to Your Funeral Part I, Eels
2. Ghost Town, The Specials
3. Trouble, Hope Sandoval
4. And When He Falleth, Theatre of Tragedy
5. Shake that Devil, Antony and the Johnsons
6. Heads Will Roll, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
7. Way Down Hadestown, Anais Mitchell
8. Be Prepared, Jeremy Irons
9. Creep, Stone Temple Pilots
10. Zombie Dance, The Cramps
11. Voodoo Lady, Ween
12. Blackest Crow, Black Prairie 
13. There is a Light, Nick Cave
14. No One Believes Me, Kid Cudi
15. Catch the Breeze, Slowdive
16. Bad Blood, Beck

If you need a soundtrack to your party, you can find other Halloween music suggestions on our Halloween page.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Handmade Home: Halloween Style!!

So out there in the spooky internet world, there is 'Throwback Thursday.' You may also recognize it from #tbt, which took me a while to figure out. Thank you, brain. Today's post is going to be a 'Throwback Tuesday' post. 

Not much of a throwback though, since it was just last year when these creepy beauties crawled onto our walls...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Report Inspiration: DIY Crow Carnivale Mask

Assembling images for "The Cask of Amontillado" post last week plunged me deep into two subjects: crypts and Carnivale masks. Of course crypts are right up my alley, and looking at ossuaries and Parisian catacombs fit my morbid tastes quite well...Carnivale masks were a different story altogether. They freak me out in a way that chandeliers made of skulls and femurs will never do. But because "Amontillado"is set in Venice during Carnivale, and both Fortunato (the victim) and Montresor (the victor!) take part in the festivities and don masks, I couldn't just forgo the masked bit...

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I've been seriously feeling Lisa Frank lately. I mean I cannot get enough. I even found some old Lisa Frank pee chees. Is that even an ok term to use? What does pee chee mean? Why not just folders?
Anyway, as you saw last week, I've been taking my love to the canvas and painting my own L.F. treasures.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Top 5: Halloween Film Favorites

If you haven't already noticed, I'm kind of a morbid person. I always have been--my sisters can attest to this. And really, all three of us are pretty morbid...what with our bone collections and those bird feet and wings we have, from time to time, picked up in parking lots and Seattle street corners. (And just think, I wrote that days before Monika posted that dead bird picture.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


In the spirit of Halloween, I am going to share some creepy crawlies and remains. Above are some of my bugs that I've found around the house, and yes that is an enormous black bee. 

Sorry in advance if this is ultra weird but I think there is something quite peaceful and beautiful the following...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peanut & Purls (& Chanterelles!)

In case you weren't aware, it's Chanterelle season in the Pacific Northwest. Lucky for me, I live about 10 minutes away from The Evergreen State College where there is prime real estate for mushroom hunting. Last week Christine and I went into the woods, refusing to emerge until we were loaded down with fungi...

Brief Musical Interlude: TJ Smith & The Foundations

I saw this via Thought Catalog this weekend and like everyone else in the world was utterly charmed by the idea and the guy in the minivan who is SO INTO IT (Oh, you'll see). TJ Smith has three other Highway Sing-a-long videos, but I think this one is probably tops for cheeriness and commuter participation. As I've mentioned before, we sisters are very into singing and dancing in the car, and there have been times when we've been spotted by other drivers. You can either slink into your seat or go on with the show, and I think going on with the show is the best course of action. Obviously. 

One time in Spokane, Catherine and I were jamming out to some Lion King soundtrack in her 4Runner. "Hakuna Matata" came on, and you know she had some dance moves for that dance. A guy caught her singing and arm dancing while we were stopped at a light, and he was getting a major kick out of it. When the light turned green, Catherine gave him a sharp military salute with a smile and we drove off. Fun for us. Fun for him. 

I think the idea of serenading other drivers, especially in L.A. traffic is awesome. If Monika runs into TJ, you better believe she'll bring it Nicolai style. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Okay so this really isn't a "Handmade Home" post but I didn't have much time this weekend to make since I was lucky enough to have my mom visiting...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Report: The Cask of Amontillado

"The Cask of Amontillado" is probably my favorite Edgar Allan Poe story. I remembered reading it for the first time in ninth grade and feeling a chill as I realized: This is what I've been waiting for. "Amontillado" is a scant eight pages dedicated to the execution of an act of revenge, cruel and premeditated revenge...

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Mom is visiting and she and I went crazy thrifting yesterday. We were headed to our third location when we ran in to (not literally of course) some police horses, with men on them. It was very unexpected.

Here are some other expected and unexpected things that happened to me recently...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Top 5 best cat apparel


This cute cat scarf is from Modcloth. Umm, what's not to love? You can totally wear this scarf to work too. It's fine, you can.


Knitted. Cat. Socks. I don't know why I haven't made these for myself yet. Um, hello new weekend plans!


Yeah they will. Just tonight I was on the phone (conference call style) with both sisters when I saw that there was a leaf on the ground by my front door. I went to pick it up and, weird, it wasn't a leaf at all. It was a pile of cat puke. Cat puke that was now on my hand. Blech, but this t-shirt isn't blech.


This pretty little cat t-shirt is from Forever 21. Was from Forever 21. Who has two thumbs and regrets not buying this t-shirt? This girl!


Pink cat sweater. If it wasn't $100+ I would I buy it in a flash.

I hope this post inspires you to go out there and buy some cat apparel. I already found like 3 more things I'm going to go purchase right now.

Shout out to Christine's Pinterest cat board for the inspiration!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Found: Bunches of Bangles

A couple weekends ago, Mom and I did a little estate sale browsing in Puyallup. We came away with six or seven amazing Mexican paper lanterns (I should really take a picture of them--they're quite pretty) and these vintage sterling silver bangles, also from Mexico. And silly me, I almost walked right by them. They were all in a jumble together inside a basket. Good thing that I had Mom with me because she started looking through them and brought about my Wait just a minute! moment. Oftentimes Mom finds the treasures because she's the one with the patience to look in unlikely places. Good job, Mom....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Peanut & purls and more cowls...

I know what you're thinking. Um...didn't you just post this exact same cowl? Psssshaawww! As if. I posted a totally different cowl. I recently finished knitting (and blogging) about a new seed stitch cowl. This, however, is a moss stitch cowl. Totes different. Don't believe me? I have evidence...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Handmade Home: It's clutch

It's gradually starting to feel like fall here in sunny California. There are subtle changes that tip you off, like it being a little darker in the morning time, or cooling off a little sooner in the evening; then out of nowhere it's 90 degrees and the sun is once again high in the sky.

To help cope with the small seasonal transitions, it helps to really embrace the change by changing what you embrace...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Report: The Witches

Roald Dahl's The Witches is one of my favorite books from childhood (and The BFG!). I love that his books are so imaginatively off-kilter; he manages to combine the fantastically impossible with the wise, the humorous, the tragic, and the grotesque. I mean, one of the children gets turned into a chicken, and then her family eats the eggs she lays. Um, that's super gross and demented, but it works in the story. (Other kids are turned into pheasants and killed and eaten by their neighbors. Dang, Roald Dahl.) Plus, this book teaches you how to identify witches, and we all know how important that is, especially at this time of year...

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Hey, I won this third place ribbon at the Washington State Fair. Third place in a category with three entries + a participant ribbon? Pride of the Nicolai sisters. Well. Now that we have an idea of the competition, we're going to bring it next year. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Made and Found: Lisa Frank Art

You know you love it. Every 80's and 90's kid loves Lisa Frank. I've been re-fallen in love with Lisa Frank over the last couple of months. It happened when I moved and with all the packing and unpacking, I decided to dig through my sticker collection (I have so many leftover collections from my childhood).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Peanut & Purls and head colds...

I have a raging head cold. The kind of head cold that prohibits you from feeling like a normal person of completing everyday tasks like walking, moving, and breathing. I tried to get some knitting done while I lounged, but even that proved too much at times. These pictures were taken this weekend before I felt really gross.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Handmade Home: Rhododendron Embroidery

Progress Report: Rhododendron Embroidery

So I have been dragging my heels on some projects, maybe because of the time intensive nature, or because I have been trying to focus on the greater 'home' picture...

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