Posts filed in: Family and Friends

Natural Wonders

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Our girls' beach weekend was EPIC. The house we rented in Cannon Beach could not have been more incredible. It was seriously awesome. We had a great time. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we cooked, we lounged, we shopped, we sunned, we slept, we toasted marshmallows, we listened to the sound of endless waves and gazed at seemingly endless numbers of stars, and just generally marveled at the incredible beauty of the world. About a million times. I'm kind of at a loss for words, actually. It was so awesome to see my ladies altogether again. We calculated that it had been twelve years since all eight of us (two others couldn't make it this time) have been in the same place at the same time. What a privilege and honor it was to host everyone, and stay in this breathtaking location. Ah. Still thinking about it.

Back at home, we're sliding quickly into silvery fall weather, along with runny noses and sore throats and coughs. Amelia and I are laying low today. Getting back into our routine. The wind is blowing through my open windows and it is cool and rainy and sweet. How grateful I am to be here, right now, watching her play the ukelele in her pajamas, with a mitten on one hand and her toes curled under, our yellow lamps lit and the leaves rustling and red. Later we'll stroll up to the store to get more milk, then have some butternut squash soup I made on Wednesday. Oh, sweet mystery of life. How grateful I am for all of this! How blessed. How blessed.

I have about forty-five other things to tell you, but I'll be back next week, when we're all settled back in.

Here, There, Everywhere

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Face

Oh, it's a bit of a blur around here these days. In the past couple of weeks we went on our vacation, Andy's mom came for a wonderful visit (that's her with my mom and Meems), we saw The Avett Brothers not just once but twice (yeah, we accidentally showed up a night early [duh], and bought more tickets, then went back again the next night, and Aunt Susie was there too!), and now I'm getting ready to take off again: In a couple of days seven of my high-school girlfriends are coming to visit, and we're going to spend the weekend at the beach. It's the first time I'll be away from Amelia for more than a few hours. I know she'll do great, and I'll try to do great! I will try. I haven't seen my girlfriends in about ten years. Beyoooooooond excited.

Try this pasta. It was awesome. I added broccolini and a touch of cream. Good.

When I get home, bulbs. Tiny duffel coats. Smallish wool coats. New dresses. Autumn. We'll talk.

***Also — I keep forgetting to say — thank you so much for all of your kind and generous comments on my last post, and all of my posts this summer (and always). I truly appreciate them. Thank you.

Then: One

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Thank you for all of your sweet birthday wishes for Amelia. Oh, but it has been a brilliant sort of blur around here the past few weeks! A lovely blur, sort of like watching a merry-go-round whiz by. Our party was so, so nice. Everyone came, all of our friends, and neighbors, and Andy's parents came from Chicago, and Amelia's birthparents and birthgrandparents were here, and my family, and lots of kids of all ages. We had gorgeous weather, and there were crabcakes (and cupcakes), and hot cider, and wall-to-wall partiers all through the afternoon, and Amelia had a blast. We did, too. I hardly took any pictures because there was just so much going on, and there wasn't room, somehow. Balloons, flowers, children, presents, people: To watch her eyes light up the way they do at all of it, for everything and everyone, is just pure magic. Oh, dear, dear girl. You love, and are so very loved.

Right now the child is crawl-herding the corgi, and that's pretty much how it goes. Around and around in circles, always the corgi fleeing, always the baby giggling. She's just beginning to walk around the furniture on her own, and many, many (many) times a day we practice marching, with me holding her hands, and her giggling, both of us marching back and forth, back and forth across the house. It's pretty awesome, this whole learning-to-walk thing. I watch her standing with her hands balanced on the sofa cushions, then letting go with one hand, then both hands, wobbling and sitting down hard. Looking over at me to see if she should cry. Aw, naw. You're doing great. Try again!

The day after Amelia's birthday felt much more like New Year's Day than January 1st ever has, to me. I was surprised at how it felt. I'm so looking forward to this next year!!! Less working. More cooking. More sewing. More playing. More outings. One is pretty cool so far!

Food, Flowers, and Friends

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Oh, we are lucky ones. Our friends Martha and Mila were here for an entire week of glorious summer days. We cooked, we ate, we laughed, we knit, we played with our baby girls, and watched them play together. We played in the pool, walked up to get waffles, went to the farmer's market, got yarn so I could teach Martha to knit (she's a natural, and making this), had a picnic in the park where we saw a wedding and watched the adorable bride and groom ride off on their bikes, drove out to the river and spent an afternoon playing in the water and sand. What a great visit. We've been friends for twenty-five years. We've only gotten to see each other twice in the past sixteen. What an incredible privilege to have them here with us. It's been my dream to have them here with us. Aw, just so happy.

We cooked good things! We made this pasta pesto salad, this spinach quiche, these pancakes, this delicious vegan chocolate cake (seriously amazing) to take to the river, and my staple dinner this summer, quinoa shrimp bowls. Originally I was inspired to make these bowls by this recipe, but I do mine a little bit differently now. I cook a cup of quinoa in 2 cups of vegetable broth. I top it with black beans from this recipe (but I also use these Cuban black beans in a pinch), this grilled corn salad (though I don't grill the corn, but just use it fresh at this time of year), broiled shrimp (just toss them, raw and peeled/deveined, with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in a shallow pan; place under broiler for a few minutes, turning once, until pink), avocado, and sour cream. I make a bit of lemon vinaigrette from the original recipe, but it really doesn't need much. Tasty and just delicious.

After an exhilarating month of almost non-stop visitors, it's time for me to settle in for the next few weeks and get some work done (boo). Behind the scenes here we are assembling ornament kits (as some of you sequin-spotting eagle eyes have guessed!). I do have a new kit for this year! I'll tell you more about it as we get further along. Things are coming together. Thank goodness for Greta!!!!!!!!!!

M&M

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My dear Martha and Mila arrived yesterday from Boston. They're here this time for an entire week. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! So happy!

P.S.: Thank you for all of the sweet anniversary comments :) :) :) xoxoxoxoxo

How Fast

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Amelia's Chicago cousins and grandma were here this weekend and we had a wonderful time! Oh, to be smothered in love like this girl is! After taking everyone to the airport Tuesday, she fell asleep before we were out of the airport parking garage, and conked out for the night at 5:30 p.m. Yesterday was much the same. Oh, my love. Happy girl and happy days.

I started a pink Lilla Koftan. It's funny how there can be so many variations of the same basic sweater and they all look (and fit) a little different. This one's worsted, very chunky. I'm using 7s. I can't find my size 8 needle tips. Second set I've lost. What project could they possibly be sitting on? Agh. Dumb things. I think this pink Lilla will have red buttons, and maybe a red outline, like this one. Pretty cute. The leaves are already drying up and falling off the trees. Autumn thoughts. Plums and seed pods. Knitting for size twelve months. As everyone says, the days go slow. But how fast the year is going! Oh, incredibly fast. Just incredibly fast. She was nine months old this past weekend.

Summer Babe

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It's in full swing now, this lovely summer. The weather has been glorious, the nights long. The sun shines and the breeze blows. The flowers bloom and fade, and the plums are already starting to fall. The baby is learning to chew, and every day brings new foods to try. My lady loves the water, and taking her to the pool (we went three times last week) is like a dream. She is mellow and trusting and fearless, though quiet at first; she presses herself deeper into my arms as we walk onto the deck, and sits heavily, with her cheek pressed to mine, as I hold her up to see: This is the pool. It's zero-depth, so it's like a beach — you can sit in only a few inches of water if you want. I rub water on her arm, trickle it down her belly. Rub, rub, trickle, trickle: You know this water. And yeah, she does; within minutes she's sitting on my submerged lap, and in a few minutes more she's waving her foot, splashing. Soon, it's all hers: Hands slapping, feet slapping. Her toy boat squirts, her whale-shaped cup drains. Shoulders, arms, belly, legs, back, hair, everything's wet now, and it's good. The sun is white bright and the water shines. Big kids splash and chase and scream with delight, erupting past us. Her face drips; she ducks her head and blinks the water away but then looks right back up, eyelashes dark and glistening. She doesn't cry. She says, "Da da da da da da da da DA." She presses her forehead to mine, still talking, holding her boat. It's the best day of my life. The fountains shoot long arcs of giant droplets or gurgle up small towers of white froth, but all are met with the same quiet observation, and then, eventually, the determined reaching-toward: Give me. Is there anything better than watching someone reach for a column of water with her dimpled baby hands for the first time? Clutch the bars of her crib and try to stand? Open her tiny mouth for even more ricotta cheese? Stretch to touch a bobbing allium blossom, just beyond her fingers? Keep reaching, my dearest darling dear sweet lovey lovey love. Reach, and reach, and reach. I will help you.

Sun Spots

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Spring sunshine. It's so nice. We had such a nice weekend! Short but very sweet. Amelia adores her grandparents who held and played with her non-stop for three days straight. So sweet. Andy made corned beef and cabbage for us. He's the most non-Irish Irish person I know. We listen to Irish music the entire month of March. There is a lot of Pogues and Flogging Molly playing. He makes corned beef and cabbage in my dad's old cast-iron pot every year. He buys us all shamrock swag. I love how much he loves things.

Remember the quilt I started for Amelia a few weeks back? I had it finished by BumbleBee Quilting and picked it up on Saturday morning. I absolutely love it! The way I did this was ridiculously easy. I bought many (I'd have to count how many, but maybe thirty or more?) 1/8 yard pieces of random fabrics from several different local fabric stores. I just picked stuff that I liked. I had no particular color scheme in mind, but I wanted it to feel sweet and subtle and mellow and pretty. My colors wound up being peaches, pinks, inky blues like her eyes, pale grays, vanilla creams, aquas, a few saffron yellows, a few nutmeg browns, an orchid. Most of the prints are tiny calicos, small polka dots, tiny ginghams, and a few baby animals mixed in. To make it, I trimmed the 1/8-yard strips to 4" wide, trimmed off the selvedges, and then cut the strips randomly into rectangles. The rectangle lengths weren't measured. Then I started sewing the short ends of the rectangles together until I had a pieced strip that was vaguely 54" long (I put two pieces of tape on my sewing table, which is just a bit longer than 54", and just laid the strip out between the tape pieces to measure it). I sewed the strips together until the quilt top was about 54" across, and then I trimmed the pieced edges until they were all even. It was so fast. Only half the measuring. I am definitely going to make another one for her bed with the leftoever fabric (this one is more of a throw). Rectangles go so much faster than squares. I don't have much time to do stuff like this anymore, so fast is key! And I also think the rectangles let the fabric print show better, which I've always wanted in my quilts. There are so many beautiful fabrics out there. If the pieces are too small you just can't see the fabric prints, you know? I love looking at the individual patches in quilts, picking out favorites. I love how dated the patches get, timestamping the quilt even without a label.

My darling peachy-pink girl! I love how she loves everything, too. She just loves everything. She inspires me. Every moment. She's teaching me.

Winter Wonder

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Oh, snow! Thank you, thank you Brother North-wind!!! A million small blessings, falling on my face in the front yard, in the morning light. The most beautiful thing to wake up to.

[Pirouette, and flourish.]

All gone now, but nevermind. It was glorious.

There's a very small, very adorable baby dressed in a pale pink kimono onesie and oatmeal-colored tights lying between my legs under a crocheted blanket here on the chaise lounge. She's looking up out the big windows and talking to herself and kicking me in the stomach, which is one of my favorite things. She has long conversations with me and with herself and with the sky as she kicks and makes funny faces and balls up her fists and shoots out her arms and laughs at little things only she understands. We've been here for hours and hours today, wrapped in quilts and corgi and bottles and cups of tea. Sometimes she suddenly sleeps, or requests her bottle, but mostly we talk, and look, and sometimes I watch Christmas movies and surf Pinterest for ideas for window seats and her big-girl room (extremely fun). The furnace kicks on and goes off again. The sun comes out and disappears. The UPS man comes and goes, causing the poor puppers to lose her mind with anticipation. He often stops at our house, and brings her a treat; when he goes to someone else's (his truck is quite distinctive, so we know the second he turns onto our block) she can hardly believe her ears. We spent the weekend at parties, one ours, one our neighbors' for us, surrounded by friends and families. In the wake of such a long, sad week, it felt good to stick together and stay close to everyone we love. Under the evergreen boughs and the Christmas lights, listening to the old carols, remembering my dad and the ones who aren't here anymore, I held my baby girl in my warm arms and kissed her big pink cheeks and told her all sorts of things I wanted her to know. About good people. About snow. About good things. About joy. About love. Always about love.

Summer Sweetness

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August has a glow. There was twilight birdsong all around us in the field. I cried in the sunset. My sister's visit has been wonderful. The world spins and spins. The flowers. The nights. The years.

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.