Ooh, my favorite!

Birthday goodies
December 10, 2013, 11:53 am
Filed under: Gift guide, Home

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Festive flowers | Pioneer Square Pantry tote Gold plated jigger | and a sweet b-day card

In the midst of the holidays our family also had my birthday last week, Mari’s birthday this week, and mom and dad’s 33rd wedding anniversary next week. It sounds crazy but somehow we manage to keep it low key; and really, it’s all part of why I’m such a sucker for this time of year. I got some fun b-day goodies last week and got a few questions when I shared them on Instagram, so I figured I’d share some details here.

–  The winterberries, pepperberries, and cotton blossoms are from Marigold and Mint, and I have to say that I am fascinated with the cotton. I love the billowy, softness it’s added to its little nook in the house.

–  The mini tote is from Pioneer Square Pantry, who is responsible for some of the coolest events and products happening in Seattle right now. This handmade little guy  also comes with a jar of their killer granola (remember when I first mentioned them?). You can pick this up at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th Ave in Seattle, and grab a bag of coffee too.

–  The sexy gold plated jigger has already gotten quite a workout, and brother got it from Umami Mart in Oakland. They have a great online shop too, and I also use them for barware for the restaurant.

December 3, 2013, 10:44 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Green, Home


So far I’ve mentioned my adoration for the sensible and clean decor of a Scandinavian Christmas, but now I’m going in the complete opposite direction and adopting a different ideal into our first Christmas at the Treehouse. We have decided to BAN ALL GIFT WRAPPING and go with the Japanese art of the furoshiki, which uses cloth as a wrap for packages (and lots more). I just can’t bear to see all of that garbage at the end of gifts so this new tradition is going to be a pretty badass solution.

Andrew found these tenugui cloths at Best Made and ordered them to use as all-purpose towels in the kitchen and around the house, but before they get too well-loved I’ll be trying my hand at different styles of furoshiki wrapping from this guide here. And once the holidays are done it’ll be great to see these working around the kitchen.

Tenugui cloths | $6

Gifts for HOME
December 2, 2013, 11:29 am
Filed under: Gift guide, Home


I always struggle with the onslaught of gift guides this time of year, not because they aren’t pretty to look at, but because there often isn’t much meaning behind the picks. Anyone can go online to find things to lust after, but I guess I want more: things that aren’t just pretty, but also functional and reliable. So, after some encouragement from friends and taking inventory around the house I figured a nice compromise would be to share a selection of some favorites that I know and love, but also use regularly. Today I have home and kitchen goodies that I think would make great and meaningful gifts. Enjoy!

1  Marble Pastry board.  A beautiful slab of Spanish marble that makes pastry dough easier to work with by remaining cooler than room temperature. So pretty too, even just sitting on the counter it brings me joy.

2  Askinosie Chocolate Hazelnut spread.  Never again will you find Nutella to be acceptable! My favorite is to warm slightly in a double-boiler and pour over ice cream. But really, the applications are endless.

3  Yarai Mixing Glass.  A beautiful and, more importantly, functional addition to a barcart. I get many of my cocktail supplies from this source.

4  Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey.  A gorgeous cookbook that makes Indian curry and cuisine so accessible. A UK published book that’s somewhat hard to find online, there are a few available and it is worth every penny of shipping across the pond.

5  For Life Stump teapot.  We use these at the restaurant and at home and they’re so sturdy and cute. The pot comes with a basket for steeping loose leaf tea, so it’s perfect for a tea routine. Lots of colors to choose from too.

6  Salt from The Meadow.  Part of our holiday tradition is to travel down to Portland just to stock up on supplies from The Meadow. But even without a trip to the fabulous shop, online shopping is just as rewarding. If you’re unsure about what to get, try a Salt Set.

7  Ikea PS cabinet.  I love our PS cabinet for the extra storage it offers, but also for its industrial-sexiness and overall neutral look so that styling is easily made your own.

8  Le Creuset braiser. So versatile in the kitchen, these french ovens will get lots of use by the cook on your list. This braiser is a great gift because its the cooking and the serving all in one.

9  Glassybaby votives.  These are the colors we have at the restaurant (and a few that I stole at home) but any color from this local Seattle company would make a girl happy.

10  Vic Firth pepper mill. These were Vic Firth, and now they’re directly from the maker? I don’t know what the story is but I do know they make a kick ass mill. Lots of shapes and colors, our set gets lots of use and still works and looks like a million bucks.

11  Lucite nesting tables.  I’ve had these for a few years now and I never tire of seeing and playing with them. A sexy gift with an aesthetic that will last beyond the trend.

November 14, 2013, 10:36 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


Even though my brass geometric wreath isn’t up yet, I have been admiring it every day from its box; trying to be patient while I wait for an “appropriate” time to get a tree and nestle this nicely next to it. I found it here at HRUSKAA, the most lovely little Etsy shop that makes all kinds of geometric sculptures called Himmeli (from the Swedish word himmel meaning sky or heaven). Traditionally they were made with straw and were hung in celebration of the Winter Solstice, but Melissa has created her versions with brass, copper, or white or black plastic straw.

The wreath is beyond lovely and seeing it makes me so happy. And while I got it specifically for our Christmas canon, there’s no reason himmeli’s can’t stay up year-round! This is precisely why I have been eyeing a hanging mobile. So if you’re looking to add some cheer to a little nook at home think about adding one of these beauties. Oh, and what an impressive Christmas gift it would make. Visit the shop for much more.

HRUSKAA (Her-oo-shh-ka)


Christmas Canon
November 11, 2013, 10:07 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


I’ve been shy about hunting for Christmas decorations for the past couple weeks, but from what I can tell I’m not actually as freakishly ahead as I’d thought. While they’re not going up for a few more weeks, I suddenly became really, super excited when I realized that I finally have the chance to create new traditions and collect special decorations with Andrew in our cozy little home. When I think back to Christmas as a kid, I remember more about our trees, ornaments, and Christmas village than I do about the gifts we received. I’m probably weird for that, but it explains why I’m so excited to create our first Christmas in the Tree House.

Last holiday season I shared some Swedish Christmas inspiration and these Pizzelle lanterns, and finally after a year of thinking about them I  pulled the trigger and they are now a part of our Christmas canon. Even more beautiful than I thought, they’re made of heavy-weight, ivory paper and have beautiful and intricate cuts and shapes. I can’t wait to get them into the windows, but for now I’m admiring them from the floor.

Pizzelle Paper Lanterns | $42-$55

Stay tuned for more on my other favorite, the geometric brass wreath. (So mean, I know.)


A SMEG in my future?
October 28, 2013, 10:50 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


Andrew and I live in the greatest little, big house. It’s a classic Victorian style home built in 1908, and over the years it has been turned into a flat on the main floor, and two apartments on the top floor. We have the coziest little nook upstairs, but the other small studio in the front is in desperate need of some love. Thus, we are starting the big project of renovating. The hardwood floors need replacing, the kitchen needs relocating, and the original french doors need restoring! I’m excited to have a small space to play with since we’ll be renting it out fully furnished, but before I get too crazy with that part, right now there is a slight possibility that I will be able to use one of these sexy bitches in the new and improved kitchen!

We are going to make the former living room into the kitchen and dining area which will be a much better layout overall. (And everyone knows all the good stuff happens in and around the kitchen.) It might be a tight fit for the fridge but with some creative planning I’m hoping to make it work. I mean, what better way to offset a neutral kitchen than with a bright and beautiful SMEG? The 50’s style lines, the range of colors, and the A++ energy rating kept me up last night, for real. So, without trying to jinx myself, what color is my favorite?

SMEG USA | Also newly available through West Elm


(c) Nordic Leaves (My fave!)



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A thing for lamps
October 22, 2013, 10:09 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home

Charlton Table Lamp

I sort of have a thing for lamps. And by thing I should probably say fascination/obsession/fetish. I’d forgotten how weird I can be about proper interior lighting until my mom reminded me that even as a kid I’d create different lighting schemes for different activities in the living room and even in the kitchen. Strange, I know. But in my defense proper lighting at home has so much influence over your mood, especially here in the gloomy Pacific Northwest. A room that’s too dark can be depressing and cause you to feel sluggish, but with the addition of properly placed lights your room can have a cozy glow that will ease you into a relaxing evening and night.

Until now I’ve been collecting vintage lamps which definitely gave me more bang for the buck, but suddenly I am at the point where a real modern touch would be nice. These Charlton table lamps by Aerin Lauder are precisely the look I’ve been dreaming of: simple, delicate and yet sturdy, interesting.

Also available as a floor lamp or wall sconce which are equally sexy. See the whole collection here at Circa.

Charlton Table Lamp

October 16, 2013, 12:10 pm
Filed under: Art and Design, Home, Nostalgia

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These cozy, gloomy autumn mornings are perfect for rearranging and hibernation prep, and out of these last few days came my new favorite little nook. For some reason I hadn’t been feeling very creative or inspired, so I was excited when I finally channeled some kung fu and got things settled.

I reworked our new PS cabinet into more of an office/key drop area in an attempt to be more organized. I liked it before with my heart bowls, but it wasn’t as functional as it needed to be, especially since it sits just inside the front door. The white tray used to house remotes and notes on the coffee table, but since we use the table so often we kept having to move the tray to another spot, and then back again when we were done. Finally I decided to give it a new, permanent home here and it’s perfect for pens and paper. And at the base of our note board it makes lots of sense. I like hiding keys and other weirdness in the little brass box–the things you use regularly but maybe shouldn’t be left out all the time. You know what’s in there? Nail clippers. Like, four pair because Andrew has some weird thing with nail clippers.

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And I think my very favorite part of this new nook is a home for two of my most treasured pieces. I got these tiny little guys on a fourth grade class trip to New Mexico! These are ceramic pieces from the Acoma Pueblo outside of Albequerque and until now they’ve been scattered in random and obscure places. Seeing them everyday brings back happy memories of New Mexico, soppapillas with honey, and the trip home when Scott Wilson bought me a beaded bracelet and had Eddie Gleason give it to me but I was so shy and embarrassed that I hid it away. So yeah…find your old, favorite tchotchkes and get them out of hiding. It will make you happy.

Ikea PS cabinet
September 3, 2013, 10:06 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


The feeling of fall, in spite of yesterday’s sticky hot weather, has me preparing to hibernate. In addition to a flurry of farmer’s markets, canning, and curing I’ve been trying to get the house organized and cozy for the snuggly weather ahead; and let’s be honest here…I’m still sort of unpacking from my move in MAY! So, yeah, as I’m continuing to unearth hidden boxes and attempt to add to my Goodwill pile it was pretty clear that we were in desperate need for some additional storage space.

After hunting for a while I came across Ikea’s PS cabinet ($99). I’m totally late to the game but the cabinet was the perfect industrial touch we needed with all the wood in the house. It is now happily nestled in our little hallway and opens into the living room. (The line of tape on the floor is for our dart board tournaments!)


Aside from the Expedit shelf this is one of Ikea’s most popular items, and even though that’s not one of my favorite things to hear, I figured the cabinet’s simple and minimal design was like a blank canvas to play with so it wouldn’t matter too much that it’s everywhere. And you know, even after all this time I still like seeing how people customize their Expedits.


It’s become a little office area with our corkboard of notes and projects, and I think I was most excited about getting our pile of magazines off the floor and into a stand. It was one of those things that was driving me nuts…but there they sat. No more though. Now they are tidy and easily accessible. (And that’s my Gretchen Kelly Studio original 2-minute sketch, remember?)


And hooray for somewhere to hide THINGS! There’s lots of room left after storing some of my glassware, but I have a feeling I’ll manage to fill it very soon. Even half way filled it’s nice and sturdy, and for 99 bucks, come on!

Amy Sia Cushions
August 21, 2013, 12:03 pm
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


I’ve been keeping an eye out for some throw pillows for my little daybed in the living room that’s cozily nestled in the bay window. It’s my favorite spot for sipping tea in the morning or bubbly in the evening. Since I’ve managed to seriously chickify the house I figured the easiest way to tone things down would be to replace my rainbow array of pillows with some inexpensive neutral colors.

These are neither of those things.

Amy Sia throw pillows |  ~$110 with insert (converted from GBP)

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