Posts filed in: March 2012

Bread Flower

comments: 55

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Playing with designs inspired by Mrs. Delany. I'll have more to say about them, and her, when I get my thoughts sorted out. For now I've been experimenting with interpreting some of her collages onto grids, and messing around with lots of variegated flosses to teach myself more about shading. Trying to get natural-ish effects. I've also been using lots of different thread-count fabrics with different fiber contents. It all reminds me so much of working on my book a few years ago, except that I never felt like I had the luxury of time it takes me to really experiment. Book schedules are blistering. I much prefer this fussy percolation.

Ann's bread, on the other hand, happens quickly, with minimal effort:

Ann's No-Knead Bread

Combine and set aside:
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. salt (I use Kosher salt)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 pkgs.) active dry yeast

Heat until warm:
1 c. water
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Have on hand:
1 egg
2 to 2 1/2 c. flour
Butter

Mix egg with the liquids, then stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Blend at lowest speed on mixer, then blend on medium for 3 minutes. By hand stir in another 2 to 2 1/2 c. flour. Cover, let rise 50 minutes until light and doubled in size. Stir down. Spoon into greased  6" x 9" loaf pan. (If your pan has short sides you might want to split it up and put it in two smaller pans; it rises quite a bit. I think my pan is actually 5" x 8".) Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. Brush top with butter.

comments: 74

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It took Bridget almost three months to find the heated kitty bowl I bought for Violet (who is eighteen years old, which the vet says is eighty-eight in people years!). And now that she's found it (in a rare moment when Violet wasn't already in it) she's claimed it. And she's not coming out. She's in a heated-polar-fleece trance. I really didn't think she ever sat still for longer than four or five seconds. Wrong. She's parked.

That face. Such an odd, funny little creature.

Looks like we will now have two heated kitty bowls in the house. Yep, we're now those people.

In other news, we also have a coconut-cream tart. From one of my favorite bakeries. Pairs well with hot chai on a cold afternoon. I saved half for Andy, but he'd probably better hurry home. That's kind of his view of the city during the work day (not mine; I just happened to be on that side of town today). His view is from even higher up the hill, and better, actually. Especially when it's not so cloudy, and you can see all the mountains. That bank of gray clouds is hiding a whole string of midnight-blue mountains, and one big white one. Pretty little city.

* Thank You *

comments: 57

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Hello! Hi! Thank you so much for all of the orders!!! I'm so excited. Thank you also for all of your kind comments and kind words. I can't wait to ship everything to you and see what you think. I am thrilled that so many of you are getting embroidery supplies, too. I stitched a lot this weekend myself. The weather here has been wild and woolly — today everything's blowing around out there like crazy, and it is very cold. There go the petals off our tree. Whoosh. I'm kind of tired. Going to go grocery shopping and not much else. A day of quiet. This squirrel sat on our porch and stared into the dining-room window for about five minutes straight the other day. It was so bizarre. Andy walked up to the window about three feet away from the little guy and still he did not move. I can see why people want to draw pictures of them wearing little straw hats and trousers. Don't you love his little front legs, all collected and proper like that? He looks rather hopeful. Like we might let him in for lunch.

Winterwoods ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit (and Embroidery Supplies) For You

comments: 100

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Hi! How are you? I've been busy! Are you ready to work on a cross stitch sampler? Because the kit for this one is almost ready for you, and will be starting to ship in about two weeks! Yes. I am very, very excited about this.

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The Winterwoods ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit is now ready to order here!

This counted cross stitch sampler was inspired by our walks in the woods near Mt. Hood, Oregon, this winter. It is stitched on 28-count linen (that's 14 stitches per inch) with variegated hand over-dyed six-strand cotton embroidery floss. Because the floss is naturally variegated, each element of the sampler contains variations of color and hue, giving the motifs depth and texture with very little effort on your part.

If you are new to counted cross stitch, or need some quick lessons to refresh your memory, please be sure to read my counted cross stitch tutorial before you start. (Oh, and this is how I organized my floss.) Once you get the hang of it, this sampler is simple to work up and I think you'll have it done in no time! (But not too quick, 'cause it's the type of thing you want to hang out with a while.)

Finished Size of Design Area: 8" x 10" (20cm x 27cm)

This Winterwoods ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit contains:

One 14" x 16" (36cm x 41cm) piece of 28-count Cashel linen in Smokey Pearl
Fourteen colors of Weeks Dye Works hand over-dyed 6-strand cotton embroidery floss
Stitching instructions and color cross-stitch chart

You will need your own:

#24 tapestry needle(s)
Embroidery scissors
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop
Thread organizing supplies
Frame and framing supplies

I am now offering my favorite embroidery supplies in my web shop, should you need lovely, high quality tools. We have:

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Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.

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Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.

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Twill tape to wrap around the inner hoop. You don't need to do this, but it's nice, and provides more tension to keep the fabric from slipping out of the hoop as you stitch.

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Size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch on linen.

To order any or all of the supplies (which will be shipped with the kits), please visit my web shop.

We will ship overseas and have a new shipping program for that! Yay yay. Very happy about that. To see the shipping costs for your location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. We have a kind of a complicated system for making sure that everyone gets what they ordered on time, and post-ordering emails requesting address changes really mess with that when there are a lot of orders coming in at once. So if you can get it all straight on your end before placing your order, I would be ever ever ever so very, very grateful. Thank you.

I still have a rather complicated shopping cart system going on in my web shop. There are three different genres of things for sale in the shop: Kits and supplies, downloadable crochet patterns, and downloadable sewing and embroidery patterns. Kits and supplies orders that need to be physically shipped go directly through Paypal. To view the cart for them, click on the button at the top of the site that says "View Cart for Kits and Supplies." Crochet patterns go through Ravelry and are purchased one at a time. Sewing patterns go through another digital products service and can be purchased several at a time; to view the cart for them, click on the button at the top of the site that says "View Cart for Patterns Only." Kind of complicated, I know, but somehow it all seems to work out fine. But this year I truly do want to try to reconfigure my shopping system. If you have any confusion, just let me know and I will totally help steer you in the right direction.

As I mentioned, I expect to begin shipping on March 21. The printed patterns arrived last week and I think they look absolutely beautiful. The floss is all packaged. The embroidery supplies are here and are even prettier in person. The fabric (we've just been waiting for the fabric) arrives in New Jersey today or tomorrow, and then as soon as they're done cutting it there it will be on its way here to Oregon next week. The minute it arrives here we will begin final assembly of the kits and start packing them up. It's kind of an exciting, stressful time. I always get frazzled. And emotional. This project saved me this winter. I think about everybody out there stitching these, all over the country and the world, and it really makes me happy. I wonder if you will enjoy the process of making this, what you're watching on TV when you stitch, what's going on in your life, whether you are new to embroidery or old to embroidery. Every time we do kits there are so many of your names that I recognize, over and over again, on the orders. Thank you for that, sincerely. I am so grateful. I really hope you like this kit!!!

*If you have your own materials and are waiting for the downloadable PDF pattern for this sampler, it will be available in a few weeks, after we get the majority of these orders shipped is available here. Thank you!

***Kits are available here.

Winterpetals

comments: 78

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Angel pinks. Our plum tree and our 'Ave Maria' camellia. All winter the beauty of these frosty, frothy petals was just waiting, waiting. They are the very first of our yard's signs of spring.

I've been thinking about flowers a lot. Designing little sprigs for a new cross-stitch sampler. I have very many ideas for this lately. I feel like I have to work on the ideas when I have them or I'll totally forget them. My spouse is so indulgent of my crazes. I spend hours and hours plotting tiny colored boxes on a grid. He builds fires and brings me chips and salsa and makes chili on Sunday. To his delight, I balk not at watching National Treasure. Twice. We are a good duo.

There are icy snowflakes on every rooftop, but also little birds singing in the tree. Our bird feeder is abuzz with the business of brown sparrows. I like their frantic, frittering ways. I like their twitchy visits. They seem lighter than postage stamps. Sometimes they look right into the window where I sit (plotting stitches): Hello, you.

Beef Stroganoff

comments: 69

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Whew! What a week. I'm not even sure why it was such a "whew" week, except that perhaps my muscles have atrophied from sitting around in a state of corgi-covered winter-woodsy flannel-induced catatonia these past few months. Now that there are things to do which require more than pulling a needle through fabric, or knitting stitches off of one needle onto another needle, or ordering needles (and fabric and floss, and fussing with them) for your future stitching pleasure, I am beat. In a happy sort of way. But still, I'm glad it's Friday. Thank you for all of the enthusiasm about our floss-unwinding machine! We're still unwinding floss! But it's going really well. Printed patterns arrive today; hoops, needles, and scissors are apparently in transit; and I'm expecting the fabric to finally start arriving late next week or the follwing week. Things are moving! Yep. Busywork: keeps me nicely out of trouble.

Would you like a recipe from my new recipe box? It's my mom's beef Stroganoff. Hearty end-of-winter peasant food from my people. Reminds me of Sunday dinners at home, growing up. I'm going to write it here almost exactly as she wrote it.

Mom's Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. sirloin steak, cut in bite-size (1") strips against the grain, no fat
2-3 T. olive oil
1 10.5 oz. can beef consommee
1/2 can water
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 onion, sliced lengthwise, into thin wedges
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 T. butter
8 oz. sour cream

Dumplings
4 c. flour
4 eggs
1 stick (8 T.) of butter
1 c. plain breadcrumbs

Brown beef strips in olive oil in Dutch oven. Add consommee, water, tomato paste. Stir and let simmer for 1/2 hour. In a large saute pan, saute onions and mushrooms in butter. Cook water out and fry a little. Add to sauce. When ready to serve, spoon in sour cream and mix it all together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over dumplings.

For dumplings, in large bowl mix eggs and flour together nicely — do not overmix. Add splashes of cold water and mix with fork until it looks like thick oatmeal. Drop by teaspoonsful into boiling water (you have to do this very fast). Let boil 5 minutes. Drain and let sit for about 5 minutes. In large saute pan, melt butter. Add dumplings to pan, fry a bit until they are coated, then sprinkle breadcrumbs over dumplings, tossing all of it to coat dumplings evenly. Fry until brown and crispy.

Have a good weekend! Be good. Stay warm and cozy. Enjoy whatever you do. Thank you for being here. Mwah. xoxo

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.