Posts filed in: September 2008

September Kitchen

comments: 71

Kitchen1

I have had a busy couple of days, but I am feeling much better about my to-do list. I was wigging there for a bit, careening from one task to another. But this evening, as I take a deep breath and stop and look, it seems I will meet my book deadline; the ornament kits are well in hand; the printed patterns arrived today and look good; the house is clean; the garden watered. The dog was fed. The cable guy is coming tomorrow to hook up the new wi-fi. I'm getting my hair cut at noon. It will be nice to get out of here for a while. It will be nice to get away from the cable [bad] news networks. I watch incessantly and I am more confused than ever.

Kitchen2

Late in the afternoon, I decided to pull out my camera and just fool around with some pictures of the kitchen. The kitchen is fun to photograph, especially in the fall. I don't know what it is about the light in that room in September; for about an hour or two every afternoon it absolutely glows in there. I haven't succeeded in capturing it here, but I had a good time trying. It really is fun just to take a bunch of quiet shots like this. It's weirdly relaxing. Try it. Please also note the banana bread in my future.

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Outside the window is the hammock of my past. It's supposed to get cold this week, I think, so I really should be getting on that thing a few more times.

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Thank you for being so nice and so enthusiastic about my photography class! You are so sweet to encourage me to blather on. Here's more. I shot all of these on manual mode again, in RAW, but on the tripod. Our teacher says that you really can't hold the camera still if your shutter speed is slower than 1/60th of a second. But in low light, although a tripod will allow your shutter speed to be slower, you will get some grain because the shutter is open longer. Increasing your ISO increases grain, too. You can correct a little bit in the computer afterward, but just a little. So you try to push your camera and work with what you have. A bigger, more expensive camera has a better sensor.

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Love that girl-cow attitude. Don't even remember where I got her.

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I love photographing cups and teapots. If I drank tea it would be even better.

Photography Class

comments: 60

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I spent yesterday at my photography class. It's the second of four five-and-a-half hour classes I've been taking at PNCA. It's the first time in, WOW, fifteen years since I've taken a class in anything. My ability to sit in my seat for several hours at a time seems to have greatly diminished, if nothing else. By the end of the class I am freaking-out anxious to get up.

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The past couple of weeks have been so overwhelming! I won't really complain about or bore you with the details, aside from the fact that I haven't really left the house at all during that time, have been on a steady diet of CNN and other financial- and election-related news pretty much all day long (can't seem to turn it off), misread the book deadline I thought was coming up as the 15th of October when actually it's the 1st of October (double-take, whiplash, scramble), and my internet connection is still not working and we will now, after two weeks, need to switch companies completely, and start over. My new iMac is sort-of hooked up, though not really, since I have to wait until our internet service is restored before I finish all the registration and stuff, and the color on it seems to be in dire need of calibration. I think.

So I guess I am actually going to complain AND bore you with the details. Yawn.

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But back to the digital photography class. We are learning SO MUCH. It's incredible how much I don't know, and how far I feel I have to go. Our teacher wants us to shoot everything in manual-mode, and, although I understand the concepts of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance in theory, it's kind of like starting over, since I usually always shoot in aperture-priorty mode, and let the camera control most everything else. But I know I must learn how to understand and be responsible for all of these aspects if I ever want to get better. We are also learning how to shoot in RAW, and using software like Bridge and Photoshop CS3 which are both new for me. I am so behind that I think I have been using Photoshop 7, which doesn't even allow you to look at RAW images. So I feel insecure and quite far behind the curve, and that's never been more clear to me than it has these past two weeks.

Sorry. It's still boring. This really is how boring I am anymore. It's awful. We're all sad about it.

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Yesterday in our class, we were supposed to go out during our lunch-break and take photos of familiar things and try to make them look unfamiliar. I was so focused on trying to get my settings correct that I wouldn't say these images are particularly inspired, or as abstract as I think our teacher was wanting us to shoot. But I love assignments like this, where you are really very consciously trying to change your perspective, and perhaps even photograph things you wouldn't otherwise think were worthy of being subjects. So I tried to do both: practice seeing something in a conceptually interesting way while really focusing closely on my technical settings. Or maybe I'm being too ambitious and I need to stick with the settings only until they become automatic, and I can see interestingly again. I did manage to shoot all of these in manual mode so that was one thing, at least.

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I will say that it is so incredibly exciting to finally have the time and wherewithal to take a real photography class. I feel excited and nervous and overwhelmed and just happy to be learning all of these new things. Isn't the technology astounding? It kind of blows my mind. And we are constantly having to stretch out of comfort zones (and buy a bunch of new crap) to move along with it. This is so hard, but frequently so rewarding. But hard. And expensive. I try to remember how shaky I felt last year when I first got Big Black, and now that camera, or at least what I do with that camera, is as familiar to me as Small Silver once was, and it's funny how that just happens automatically, with time, even though you just don't think it will. You get there. One day at a time.

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But then again, I never, ever thought that photography would be something that I would grow to love, or even care about. I never thought that it would become another language for me . . . another way to say it . . . another way to speak. I hope I get more confident. I hope I have the patience to deal with the computer, too.

Should've Told You Earlier

comments: 32

I feel terrible that I forgot to mention two events that I am involved in and should've alerted you to days and even weeks ago. I have so many different things going on right now behind the scenes I am getting all disorganized. So although I wasn't too busy to play with my new dolls and candles, I just totally spaced on mentioning these events when I should have, but I hope it's not too late.

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The first is the benefit sale sponsored by Morgan for the Nielsens, who as you may know were involved in a small plane crash in August and continue to face serious challenges. I was not familiar with Stephanie Nielsen's blog or the blog of her sister, Courtney, but they are both beloved in the blogging community and I know many readers of Posie Gets Cozy are keenly tuned to the progress that Stephanie and Christian Nielsen are making.

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Many bloggers are organizing benefit sales and auctions for this cause, and Courtney's blog is a good place to get information about the different opportunities there are to contribute. Morgan's benefit sale actually started two days ago, and it's been so successful and she's had so much interest that she is extending the sale through Friday. I've donated several entire sets of my original patterns (including all of the crochet patterns, clothespin dolls, Christmas ornaments, and the Tanglewood bag), available as downloads or hard copies, and Morgan will post those sets sometime in the next few days, I think. I know that people around the world are praying for the Nielsens' recoveries, and I extend my sincere hopes and prayers for them and their beautiful family. I saw Courtney along with Stephanie's other siblings on the Today show a couple of weeks ago and I was amazed by their tremendous faith and spirit. They are truly inspiring.

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Another thing I should've told you about was the handmade baby quilt contest going on at MakeBabyStuff.com! I am excited to be one of the judges of this contest, which will award gift certificates from Superbuzzy and the darling Forest Friends embroidery pattern from Sublime Stitching. The contest ends November 1 so if you are interested please whip something up soon!!!

I'm so sorry I didn't tell you earlier!

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I really am.

German Christmas Candles

comments: 76

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Here is my Santa-and-"lanternchildren" pyramid that I got from Foster's Imports at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. The heat from the candles spins the propeller and the inside part. I have wanted one of these forever, and when I saw this one I just knew it was the right one for me. But look at all of the other ones they have. So lovely.

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We met Meike of Foster's Imports and her husband at Mt. Angel, and then saw them again last Friday at the Oaks Park Oktoberfest (photos of that tomorrow — I think they are on my external harddrive — I got a new computer on Monday and moved a bunch of stuff around and now I can't find anything). The Fosters are the sweetest people. Meike goes to Germany every year to handpick the items she brings back. I believe they live somewhere near Seattle so I'm sure they do whatever German festivals or Christmas markets you have up there. I love these Schwibbogens, or "candle arches," too. And the little people and buildings. Oh. All so nice.

It seems that fall is really here. Yesterday I had the heat on. The light in the house is so different — it really is richer and lower and more mellow. I noticed it yesterday in the dining room and thought, "Huh. It's true. I thought that was just something romantic that people liked to say to make us feel better about it getting dark at 7 p.m." Every fall, I am usually ready. But this fall has seemed to move into the yard with a rush. I'd like to really notice this season, for once. I don't know how to explain that. I don't get excited about Halloween — I know, I'm sorry. I have never really liked it. I miss the morning light when I wake (at 5 a.m. — ugh). I hate having all the doors and windows closed. Sometimes I feel like fall is just a period of time I spend mourning summer, and dreading the start of the rain. . . . Must. Turn. That. Around.

Okay fine: Bring on the apple pie, casseroles, candlelight, courduroy. What else?

My New Matryoshka Dolls

comments: 54

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Aren't they sweet? I love them. These are the bakery girls, carrying a loaf of bread [with salt -- a traditional gift of hospitality], and string of donuts bubliks [smaller than donuts and crunchy, like a soft pretzel], a cup of coffee black tea, another bublik*, and then the littlest has nothing, I think. My mother-in-law bought these for me from a lady who had a booth at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest — I don't think she had a web site or anything. But we stood and looked at all the different dolls she had — probably thirty different ones. I couldn't decide between the blue and the green girls. The biggest ones are about six inches tall.

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Here are the musical girls. Not sure exactly what the names of their instruments are [*a balalaika, an accordion, and a xylophone :-)], but I recognize the maracas; my grandma had a pair of them and when we were little we loved to play with those. I could not understand why my parents didn't have those at our place. Just one of those great things about grandma's, along with 1) air conditioning, 2) wall-to-wall carpet, and 3) the screen porch. But you know how I feel about the screen porch.

I have three other sets I didn't photograph. I'll do that sometime. When I got home from the Oktoberfest I immediately starting searching for some blank nesting dolls to make my own. Here are some. Lots of different shapes and sizes. I don't think I have time to paint any right now. But they're definitely on my list.

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What a pretty girl.

*Thanks for the info Vyeta and others!

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest

comments: 41

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Man, real life is really cutting into my blogging activities! Don't you hate that??? I have several days' worth of photos that I just downloaded this morning. These are from the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest we went to for Andy's mom's birthday! None of us had been there before and, although it was hot — in the 90s! — and crowded, it was a lot of fun. The festival takes over the whole town, with German food and beer and crafts and little shops and other fun things to do. This is the bell tower in the center of town.

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There are cute outfits.

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Interesting shops in historic buildings.

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Beautiful German-made wooden Christmas ornaments. Just wait until I take a photo and show you the candleholder I got. It is one of the coolest things I have ever owned. Andy's mom got me two sets of Matryoshka dolls, too, because I couldn't decide which ones to get! I'll take a photo of those, too. I have three other sets of dolls already, but I think these two new sets are my favorites. Shopping at the Oktoberfest was good for me! Does anyone know if there is a German Christmas market in Portland?

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Up the street from the beer tents, the church of St. Mary Parish rises tall above the town.

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It's startling to see a church that big in a town that small. I had no idea it was there.

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It is truly gorgeous.

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All creamy and pale blue inside. I really love that color combination in churches.

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Fall is on the way. Oh, and I forgot to say thank you for all of the embroidery framing discussion! Very excellent information, and a lot of fantastic recommendations. I will be rereading all of those comments this week as I finish up my piece and let you know what I decide. Thank you!

End-of-Summer Dinner

comments: 82

Pasta

As mentioned, I am trying to play catch up, and catch up in particular with my crazy in-box! One of the messages that showed up in it last week or so was a recipe from Martha Stewart for Creamy Pasta with Peas. I made it and it was delicious. It has pine nuts and arugula in it, and they make a huge difference in the taste, so don't forget those.

Switching gears, are there any embroiderers out there who have an opinion on framing under glass vs. not framing under glass when it comes to things like cross-stitch samplers or crewelwork? Can you give me your opinion or experience with this? I am working on two pieces that will ultimately need finishing and my little brain is processing options. I have always had my embroidery framed under glass at a framing place, but I am interested in the pros and cons of doing so. Any thoughts? Any framing recommendations? Thank you!

Mr. Dimples Returns

comments: 61

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There we go. That's better. Mustache deleted immediately after the ten-hour kickball tournament on Saturday. Several people inquired how I managed to tolerate the 'stache for a month, but that is just the kind of awesomely cool wife I am, so what can I say.

Team

For context, a team photo. You can see that the look they were going for wasn't exactly fashion-forward. Although in Andy's (back row, second from left) opinion it certainly was. He was rather surprised to see how many people thought his mustache was "creepy" instead of "hilarious" and "cool." Considering that the name of the team is We've Got the Runs (they're nurses, and nurses think gross things are funny), inspiring any member of the team (most frequently Andy) to shout out, "I'VE GOT THE RUNS!!!" anywhere (in the dugout, on the field), anytime (just as the other team is about to kick the pitch), the 'staches were on the list of Things in Bad Taste but not even that close to the top of it. Nevertheless, The Runs managed to win the entire kickball tournament and secure the grand championship, so what could we say after that except, "Yes, you are the awesomest!!!" ?

Andy's mom left yesterday after being here in Portland with us since last Thursday, and we had a fantastic time with her. (She took the photo above; while climbing out of the bleachers to get the shot she said, "Do you think he'll be embarrassed if I go out there and take his picture?" And I said, "Have you seen him? I doubt it.") I have photos of some of the really fun things we did, but today I am all discombobulated and trying to untangle my list of chores so that I can figure out where I even need to start. In no particular order, here are a few things on the list, just so I don't forget:

Organize ornament kit orders, and start cutting felt, which just arrived yesterday.

Proof ornament instructions and templates and send to printer.

Answer email and figure out what things I need to do in response. In-box is a total disaster.

Work on submission for first deadline for Book #2 (will tell you about that soon), due in a few weeks.

Get rid of old iMac computer which I never use and figure out which new computer I am going to get.

Take in PC laptop for tune-up.

Keep fingers crossed that the mess that was created last week when I diconnected my studio land-line to turn it into a cell phone and completely destroyed our wireless connection (long story, many complications, still on borrowed and sporadic internet connection for the next week and a half — agh!). And now that I want a new computer it'll probably be a bigger mess. But now I have my first cell phone. And my first iPod. I'm growing up.

Update you on the Summer Reading List and change it to all the new books I am reading for fall.

Learn Adobe Illustrator.

I am taking a photography class for the next four Saturdays and I am so excited. I can't believe it's already mid-way through September.

Banana-Cream Birthday

comments: 39

Happybirthday1

Happy Birthday Mom P!

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May all of your wishes come true!

The Many Moods of Mustached Andy

comments: 92

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Happy.

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Squishy.

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Drunk.

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Kidding. Relax.

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Not funny.

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That's better.

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Lovey.

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California Highway Patrol.

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I'm sorry but it is.

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You still couldn't be cuter. Either of you. A given. Etc. Etc. But that thing's coming off tomorrow the minute the kickball tournament [for which it was grown] is over. You said.

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

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.