Posts filed in: Events and Holidays

Cold and Clear

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So cold these past few days, and the air tinged with blue, or silver, or some color I can't quite capture. Frost color. A ballerina's skirt color, frozen drops balanced in the air as evening descends. So begins my longing for snow. Maybe this year. Maybe this year. . . .

Inside, outside, inside, outside. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we go over the river to be with family. I've been thinking so much about forests and trees and little houses and fields. I was telling Andrea about my junior-high American history teacher who didn't use the hideous overhead lighting in the room (oh, it was wonderful, wonderful, and I still remember him for it) and gave us a new hand-drawn, hand-labeled map of somewhere in New England almost every day. The maps were absolutely exquisite, the names magical. Plymouth, Concord, Dover, Wethersfield, Salisbury. Every year at this time I think of them, and would give anything to find that binder full of those lovely maps. How do we ever know what will stay with us, and why? Will Amelia remember the tune of the lullaby I sing every night as we snuggle and read under the quilts in the big bed? By the light of our tiny lamp, with the winds blowing outside, overwhelmed with gratitude I wrap around her, and quietly sing of small things.

I wish you much peace and comfort and love this holiday weekend, and throughout the season. Thank you for your generous, peaceful, and kind presence here. May your days be merry and bright, and filled with love.

Love always,
A+A+A+C+B. Xoxo

***The book pictured is The Big Book of Slumber, and it is one of our very favorites.

 

Pre-Party Prettying

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Someone's about to have a little shindig this weekend!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, dear friends! I hope all is well with you, and that you had a wonderful bunch of holidays. Ours were truly wonderful. It's been so nice to just chill out and I really have. I got sick over new year's and spent a few days on the couch. For the past several afternoons even my little darling has slept next to me under her quilts while I've watched movies and drunk tea and knit and knit and knit. Favorite new movie: Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. I loved it. Light and frothy and funny (the scene where she "confronts" what's-his-face in the restaurant? I coughed so hard! That was hysterical!) and still moving (I love the amusement park scene, so sweet). Also watched About a Boy which is one of my faves. Going through a later–Hugh Grant thing. Watched the beginning of Mickey Blue Eyes, where Jeanne Triplehorn and Hugh Grant are running through the streets of New York, trying to make their dinner reservation. He is a few yards ahead of her and she is laughing and laughing and you don't really know why she's laughing but you assume she's just having fun, and she finally stops and doubles over and says something like, "Stop! No more, seriously! Just run normal!" And he looks all faux-wounded and Hugh Grant–ish and he's like, "Run normal? This is my normal run." And she goes, "Oh! I'm sorry! I've never seen you run and I thought you were doing a funny run!"

:))))) Ha!

Someone was very excited about her new play kitchen! Oh yes, I was, and I even let Amelia play with it because I am just cool like that, people!!!

The other night I was lying next to Amelia before putting her to bed and I thought of about ten resolutions I wanted to make for 2015. Even as I was thinking of them I was trying to think of ways not to forget what they were, because it was dark in the room and I didn't have paper or pencil or phone or anything to write them down. And sure enough, the only two I can remember now (besides the private ones) are "Try not to be such a jerk about the hot weather in the summer" and "Try not to be such a jerk in general." I wish I could remember the others because I think there were some good ones in there but I guess these are a good place to start.

Love and Joy

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I do like how, after all that bustle and speed, the end of the year sort of rolls into the station slowly, somehow. The day after tomorrow is Christmas, and I'm already anticipating the quiet hush that will follow, when the streets are empty, and there's not much to expect from anything or anyone. Ooooh, sweet joy of nothing to do. The days are short but feel so long and languid. I'm so ambivilent about solstice: the return of the light . . . but already? I'm not ready. Maybe it's a Pacific Northwestern thing. Look how green our winterwoods glow! Stay longer, dusky days. Bring me quilts and pillows and pets and picture books. The sky is dark, dull, lavender with rain. Inside, our candles light our mornings, noons, and nights and the time — this lovely, luminous December-time — has been filled with the magic of our tiny girl, learning how to say Christmas tree. Snowflake. My lights. My Christmas tree. Hi, Christmas tree! Waving. On Sunday night as she was bouncing around the place well past bedtime I said to her, "Are you excited?" And she said, "YES."

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all peace, and good health, and much happiness, and send lots of love from us here. Thank you for the gift of your encouragement, reassurances, and kindnesses, the thousands of kindnesses you show here all the year, every year. My cup overflows. May love and joy come to you, and your every wish come true. I wish you peace, from all of us.

With love always,
Alicia, Andy, Mimi, Clover Meadow, and The Bee

Good Cheer

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This season, it goes too fast. I want to draw out every day and wrap these moments around me like a spiral of sparkling lights. Christmas in Dairyville, walks to our neighborhood bakery, and having latkes with our neighbor, Amelia's official bubbe. I want to stay and chat but I need to rush off to a toddler holiday pageant. Have a wonderful weekend, be well, and enjoy all of it. Every little thing. Xoxo

***A few answers to recent questions: Our star lights in the window in the previous post are from Ikea; the chocolate-ginger-molasses cookie recipe I used is here (I thought they needed more sugar); the sugar cookie recipe is here (it's a great recipe); I got all of the sprinkles from Whole Foods. Mimi's nightgown pattern is vintage, McCall's 3798 from 1973. My dishes are all various patterns of Denby; the cups and saucers in the previous post are the Sherwood pattern. The snowflake mobile is many years old, from Pottery Barn Kids. Yes, Mimi's sweater is the recently completed Bloomsbury Kids. And no, she's not getting that pony for Christmas :( [cue crying from Mommy — wah!].

Winter Lights

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I just love December. It's really nice.

Sweet Autumn

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Oh, we're in the thick of it, and it delights me: Cold clear days, cold gray days, mucky-bright leaf-slicks, neighborhood tromps, drooping gardens, hikes on the butte, boots and sweaters, roasted things, flushed cheeks, woodsmoke, white moons in the early evening sky. Halloween was just utterly adorable — Amelia had a fantastic time going door to door with her friends (that's the neighborhood crew, above, and my friend Gillian in her totally rad Mary Poppins costume — isn't that just brilliant? She looked so awesome). There are a LOT of stairs in our neighborhood. We made it to about fifteen houses, and once the Tootsie Pop showed up she was so focused on the lolli it became hard to walk up and down them and hold/eat the lolli at the same time. Man, it was cute. First-ever lollipop. I had to sneak it away when she was distracted. We didn't trick-or-treat last year because she had just learned to walk, so this year was basically her first Halloween. I had her wear the costume I made last year. It's so adorable watching her trying to figure out what in the world is going on. Every time someone opened their door she'd push past them and walk right into the house. Hilarious. Sweetly, she would also take the candy out of her basket and put it into the other kids'. Definitely my favorite Halloween ever.

When we weren't out walking — that was Powell Butte, on Saturday — I was cooking. Yes, me! I made this black bean soup (which we both thought was totally delicious). And then on Sunday we did our traditional First Fall Feast, though we did it a little differently, and just made several really savory side dishes: Ina's spinach gratin, and Brussels sprouts lardons, and caramelized root vegetables. Everything worked really well together and I was very happy! I also made a salad with mushrooms, shaved Gruyere, candied walnuts, pear slices, and my favorite salad dressing, Stacy and Elizabeth's "What Vinegar?" Salad Dressing. I swear I've written this down on the blog but I can't find it (all I can find is a picture of the recipe card, but I'll keep looking, or I'll rewrite it when I get a sec). THANK YOU thank you thank you for all of the soup suggestions. I'm in the process of pinning them all to my board and I am so incredibly inspired. Thank you so much. I even ordered some new soup bowls. I actually feel quite thrilled to cook now — thank you! Now I just have to figure out which one to start with! I think I should experiment with some breads, too. Okay. I can do this.

You Are 2

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Oh, what a weekend it was. Amelia's little party was truly wonderful. She had such an awesome time, and so did we. Yesterday was her actual birthday, and the three of us drove out along the old highway to Multnomah Falls for lunch, then came home and made lasagna and had cupcakes for dinner. She insisted on wearing her party hat at all times. It was a perfect day (except for the couple of times she snapped the elastic from the hat against her cheek and started bawling). She went to bed an hour or so past her bedtime, and had no nap all day. She is a partier!!!

So many toys, so many beautiful presents from everyone. Andy and I worked on ours for most of the summer — that's turning into such a sweet tradition for us. Andy's mermaid (from this pattern) — it was an epic experience. He worked on it every lunch hour for two months, and pretty much every waking free hour he was home. I tried to help him with a little bit of it and the hook was so small and the yarn so shreddy I seriously thought I was going to scream every time I picked it up. I truly don't know how he did it. He also made her a crocheted Clover doll. He is incredible. The mermaid's name is Ethel Shirley. She'll get her hat and her life-ring for Christmas. :) The doll I got for her was one I'd been coveting for years (from Happy to See You) — major splurge, couldn't resist. I made the beddy-bye-basket from this pattern (more or less, I had to add a lot more rounds because my yarn was thinner), her dress from this pattern, her nightgown from this pattern, and her sweater from here. I made the pillows and mattress and little quilt for the basket just out of some little pieces of fabric and trim that I had. Naturally, she is vaguely indifferent to both of our dolls. Naturally, Andy and I both prop each of our dolls up in front of her several thousand times a day. "I think she likes mine better." "No, she likes mine better." "No, mine." Etc. Her birthday dress and pinafore I made from a 1972 Simplicity pattern, #5277. I used a brown vintage calico I had, and some Liberty Betsy Ann in gray for the pinafore. I have to take pictures of the totally rad play food my sister Susie made for Amelia. It's incredible, and I will find out where she got the patterns, too. She also received some other really excellent presents I will photograph, too.

I had the best time over the past few weeks gathering ideas for her party. The balloon/lantern collection is ubiquitous, but oh boy did it please a two-year-old who went out for a walk with her grandma and came home to find it suddenly and magically floating above the dining-room table on Friday afternoon. That was cool. Andy and I made it together, and it was so much fun to do. Once it was up we decided it needed something distinctly "2"ish. He cut the number out of a thick piece of styrofoam, and then I covered the edges with fabric tape and the front and back with glued-on fabric (I just traced the styrofoam number and cut out the fabric — super easy). Her cake I copied from this adorable cake that I just couldn't get out of my mind (I think I pinned it ages ago). I used this cake recipe and my mom's frosting recipe (I call it Cloudburst Frosting). One of the best parts of the day was the rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" sung by all of us just before she blew out her candles — it really sounded like a chorus to me; it was truly awesome — and she looked around in complete wonder and delight at this big, bustling, beautiful family, fabulously doubled in size with her amazing birthfamily. All love. We are all just so blessed in this. I also loved watching her feed her little deer some coffee out of a wee teacup after the party as we sat quietly together and played and talked. Oh, how I love it all. I absolutely love it. Two. The best two years ever. Darling, wonderful, greatest girl. I love you so.

Pre-Party Prepping

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* * * T H A N K      Y O U     E V E R Y B O D Y ! * * *

so very much, for all of the orders!!! I am so thrilled that you like the new kits. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I am beyond pleased. We are shipping at lightning speed because

s o m e o n e  is having a little birthday party tomorrow. Someone is turning two! My dearest darling, already two. Preparations — and present making and finishing — are seriously underway. Details to come. But later! Right now it's bake, wrap, sew, fuss, fiddle, blow up balloons. My very favorite things to do. Oh, girl. I just love you more than I can say.

Little Bird

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It's been a busy week — playing, people, parties, perfect weather, broken cars (again, after it was supposedly fixed — no comment; car shopping), pastries, parks, a birthday, birthfamily party, knitting, golden sunshine, rainy nights, more playing, the days rushing like stars across the sky in a fast-mo video, a beautiful, sparkling blur of all the things and places and people I love. Amelia travels her spaces with confidence and moxie, here, there, everywhere, full of light and delight, always with a stick in her hand, tongue out, always happy, always curious, forward, forward, naturally careful but without fear or hesitation, arms open to everyone. At the start and end of each busy day we lie in the big bed listening to the noises float through the open windows; it's there where I get to think in long, looping strings of images like garlands of photos, her sweet face in every one as my fingers thread through her hair and trace her golden eyebrows. She lies soft and quiet at my side, thinking her own baby thoughts. Little bird with ruffly, downy feathers tucked up close. Her softness, her sweetness, her sounds. In the distance dogs bark. Neighbors arrive home or leave. Breeze blows. Voices ebb and recede. We drift and dream. I can hardly wait for each new day. When it comes: Good morning, my dearest sweet lovely adorable little dearest sweetest darling. What will we do today? Everything, everything. Oh, everything's possible.

My gosh, it's just so good. This precious gift. This feeling of amazed wonder, and overwhelming gratefulness that never leaves.

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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Photography

Photography

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.