On Vacation, Close to Home

comments: 25

Appletatin3Arranging apples is fun. Arranging anything in nice, neat rows like this is pleasing to me, actually. Covering them with boiling hot caramel? Also fun, and a little scary. Making caramel is not that difficult; you just need to keep your eye on it. Both eyes, actually. It bubbles like mad and looks volatile and potentially troubling, which no doubt it is, if spilled.

Appletatin6For Ina's Apple Cake Tatin, you pour the caramel over the apples, then make a thick vanilla-y/sour-cream cake batter to spread on top. Then you bake it and turn the whole thing out after it's cooled a bit, and give it a sprinkle of powdered sugar. It tasted really good. I would definitely make this again. Aren't Andy's mom's pretty, tan feet (in the background) cute?

HouseboatHouseboats are pretty cool. I don't know if I'd like to live on one all the time, but wouldn't it be fun to have a little cottageboat for the weekends? You could paint it in cute colors (I thought red with white trim, Andy's mom said brown with turquoise, and Andy would let his "be all wooden, like cedar") and plant window boxes spilling with petunias, sit on your porch in the evening and catch a fish or two.

Houseboat2The sun came out yesterday afternoon and broiled us on the deck at the party. So much for that fall-like weather, blah blah — it's back to summertime! Houseboats are not normally surrounded by big trees the way houses in town are, so there isn't much shade. But they are so cute, all lined up like that, a little street of houseboats.

DaisybbqWe came home and Andy barbecued ribs for us. We have been cooking a lot this week (which, for us, requires going to two separate grocery stores about four times a day, and I don't mean that in a good way, I mean it in the "No shredded cabbage??? Dangit!" way), and enjoying the amazing weather in the evening. The daisy dishes came out, too. I got some canning jars at Goodwill the other day so that my candles in their little tin jello molds don't blow out, the way they usually do. The gingham cloth is also a piece of fabric from Goodwill, mostly polyester, which is always nice for barbecue-sauce spills and sticky fingers. I was up for a candle-lit game of Uno afterward, but, strangely, the two people who weren't winning didn't feel like playing. . . . What's up with that?



Love your jello molds in your canning jars. Cute, cute !! Clarice

The daisy dishes are gorgeous - and I LOVE your flower arrangement. I can almost taste the tatin from here - looks divine!

You're really inspiring me with your cooking and baking from recipes. I have a whole slew of cookbooks that I mostly just browse through a couple times a year, looking at the pretty pictures. I should really actually follow a recipe sometime!

There are some cool HoUsEbOatS in Vancouver, in this one spot on Granville Island. They come in different shapes and colours...


Sounds like a lovely weekend!

Mmm... how gorgeous! Right before the move you got me hooked on tivo-ing the barefoot contessa, it only took one show and I was taken to a new happy place. She's a dangerous angel, I can't help but crave everything I watch her make!

Lovely as per usual. I'd play Uno for hours with you, even if I did lose.

Would you mind posting or emailing the recipe for the apple cake tatin? It looks wonderful!

Chris Howard says: August 13, 2006 at 01:00 PM

I love the idea of a houseboat. I'm just not really sure I want to worry about my house sinking during a storm.

Have a great weekend!

Curious if the Goodwill where you found your goodies is the big one in Southeast...

I've been wanting to try that cake for awhile so thank you for inspiring me. Yours looks gorgeous and I bet it was a delight to eat!

You do everything right, to such perfection... it's inspiring! Did I tell you I made a plum tart because your tart sounded so good?! My neighbor's tree supplied the plums. Yummy!

In terms of living on a houseboat, I think it requires a completely different lifestyle. I lived on one in Janzten Beach for about six months. It was 400 sq. feet, and a deck which was 400 sq. feet as well. It might have been great in the summer, but it was wintertime and ice and snow around water are a bit tricky. The houseboat had been vacant for awhile before I arrived, and that invited a gaggle of geese to take control over the deck. If you haven't experienced the wrath of a territorial goose, then it's quite the ordeal. Trying to get to my door without being attacked, and the constant fear of dropping my keys in the water was all too stressful for me. Then there was the surrounding neighbors... ALL of whom were swingers. Yes, swingers! I was asked on a daily basis if I wanted to join or swap. Eeeew. Not my scene for sure!

The one nice thing I can say about that size of a houseboat. You get rocked to sleep every night.

Beautiful - all of it. Looks like I'm off to get me some apples in the "WHAT? No Apples?"kind of way.

Everything at your house looks so enchanting, I want to go on vacation there *giggle*

I have always wondered if I would like a houseboat or not. They do look cute and always remind me of Sleepless in Seattle.

The apple cake looks fabulous. I will have to remember this cake. Emma said she wants this on her birthday, in addition to her birthday cake... will you be free mid October? LOL

Love the table (and your apron!)

What a lovely weekend you're having and the recipes look delicious.

Ina rocks. She is the best! The weekend looks absolutely dreamy. Houseboats? to die for!

Lovely tatin!
I also seem to be in an Ina-phase these days. Can't wait for her new cookbook to come out.
Glad you all had such a lovely weekend.

Every single lovely little thing you do is so inspiring. When I read your blog and see such loving and beautiful gestures you make in all the everyday things, I feel like I've been on the best vacation of my life. You need to do a book. Your charming approach to life is such a gift. I'm going to have to have "a candlelight supper with riparian entertainment" like Hyacinth Bucket; I'll have to borrow your idea for the candles and flowers.

Mmmm, looks tasty, but what I really love is your apron!

I just watched the show where Ina makes the Apple Cake Tatin. I actually fixed everything else she made on that episode the same day I watched it. I didn't make the tatin though because of all my newly discovered allergies, but it looks so delicious. I think I may have to find a way to make it using some non-allergens. We are about to enter the heart of apple season after all.

yay! I am planning to buy a houseboat. Not one like this but a small english canal boat - but hopefully just as lovely. And oh so very compact.

So charming! Warm and inviting.

Alicia, I'm really enjoying your blog! I feel like I'm flipping through a lovely magazine with your beautiful pictures, candid insight, etc. Thank you for sharing!

You set the most delightful tables. Pretty and romantic and lovely. Thanks for sharing!

We came to Portland last autumn to visit family, and one of the most outings we had was when they took us on a boat down the river, and we got to see all the house boats. I mean, in Britain, a house boat is a BOAT. But here, they are fabulous floating houses, not very closely related to boats at all!! Your photos brought that back, so thank you.

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About Alicia Paulson


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