Starlight, Starbright

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Sweet days, and a rush, and and now, hopefully, a hush to the finish. Christmas was so nice. A bit of a whirlwind, really. I must admit that as it speeds up I just try to hang on for the ride. I'm better at downtime. I'm good at January and February. I feel accomplished if I manage one thing a day, then.

With my smidge of remaining energy, I had a cleaning fit on Sunday and donated our extra blankets, coats, and toys to make room for some of the new ones. (Amelia's amazing dolly was made by Hillary. Isn't she so big and cool? Thank you, dear friend! I need to get a picture of the crocheted giraffe [Raffy] that Andy made, too. She is awesome.) On the way home from the shelter, it snowed. I was possibly in the least romantic of places when it started — driving on Halsey and NE 122nd (not particularly picturesque) with a sleeping toddler in the car who missed the whole thing. By the time we reached the house (I'd planned to hustle us inside and start heating up hot chocolate as fast as I could) it was over. Just big, fat, cold drops of rain. That's okay. In December I did nothing but drink Burgerville chocolate-peppermint milkshakes and make appetizers for everyone I've ever met and clean the house fifty thousand times. In January I plan to devote myself unflaggingly to breaking in my new flannel sheets, reading actual books, and wishing for snow. I think that's plenty.

So, house and brain are disheveled and fluffy, which feels kind of nice. We have no plans for New Year's Eve, thank goodness. Andy works both Eve and Day, and Amelia and I will probably make shrimp cocktail and I'll see if I can get her to watch Snow Buddies (which has actual dogs and not cartoon dogs) and we'll be in bed with the new flannel sheets by 7:00 p.m. Should you lead a more exciting life have need for some party food, I can highly recommend everything that I made from your appetizer suggestions a few weeks ago:

Smoked salmon dip
Onion and bacon marmalade (spread onto goat-cheese smeared crostini)
Snowman cheese ball!
Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Badenjan dip
Olive cheese spread on English muffins
Jezebel sauce over cream cheese
Taco dip
Bar nuts
Spinach dip

Forgive me for not also mentioning each commenter who made these suggestions! Many of them were repeated so I took that as hearty endorsement and I will say that all of the food got eaten — the olive cheese spread most of all! I thought the homemade shrimp cocktail was amazing, myself. And, to note, I was looking for mostly cold appetizers to serve; the list above was a nice mix of mostly cold with just a few things that needed to be heated up. It seemed like the perfect amount for about twenty-five to thirty people (who were all going on to eat other courses elsewhere). It was a really fun night. My favorite part was when Amelia shouted, "C'mon, everybody! Let's go to the next house!" (and then, naturally, walked to the McNeil's front door and opened it herself and tried to leave). The girl loves a party.

That said, now that I've paid my Appetizer Dues, I'm seriously rethinking this cooking-for-parties thing. I love having parties but it is such a ton of work to make all of that food. I've had four in the past three months, including Amelia's big birthday party (also lots of appetizers), and you know what? I'm having at least that party catered next year. I swear it costs practically as much to buy the groceries, and then you still have to, you know, make everything yourself. With a toddler running (and climbing) around and a galley kitchen, it's just too much. And I don't have the storage space to do anything ahead of time. I'll make one special thing myself, the birthday cake, or maybe crab cakes for a holiday party, but otherwise I'm going to start saving up a little Catering Fund so that I don't wind up sprawled in a chair, hoping someone will bring me something to drink and hoping someone else will keep my kid from touching every single thing on the table. (As if that were even possible. That's not possible. But that's why I have to save my strength.)

The day after Christmas we went outside. I felt like I hadn't been outside in weeks. It was cold and clear, and that's unusual lately. I could've walked all day. Resolution for 2016: Find a flat, wide trail in the woods along which it is possible to push the stroller for the walk back. Like a logging road, but flat. I only need it to be about a half a mile. Anybody know of one like that? You'd think this would be easy, but it's very hilly around here. Wide and flat is pretty rare. Meems is great on the way in, not so great on the way out. The woods were so green, like a fairy tale. They got me thinking about gardening again, in a dreamy kind of way.

Two seed catalogs have arrived in the mail. Wintertime is for dreaming. I think I might make a list of things I want to do in the new year. I've never actually done that before. I wonder why I haven't. I'm in the mood for it now. It might be nice to write some things down.

Happy, happy almost–New Year to you! I hope your days this week are slow, and sweet, and filled with light and quiet and peace as we roll into 2016.
Xoxo, a

***Lots of questions in the comments I'll try to answer here: The snowflake mobile is many years old, from Pottery Barn Kids. All the knitting on the table is detailed on my Ravelry page here. The little deer was at my sister's house and I'll have to ask her where it's from, I don't know. I got the Territorial Seeds catalog (local) and one other one from Iowa I can't remember, and can't seem to find now. All of my electric (well, battery) candles I've bought locally at American at Heart in Sellwood, and I know they don't ship, so I'm sorry I don't have a source for out-of-towners. They're wonderful; I'm sure you can find something similar on-line. And my Swedish pancake recipe is here:

Swedish Pancakes

4 eggs
1 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 c. milk
a little bloop of vegetable oil

Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, and salt together into a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in milk until just combined, then add a bit of oil (just to keep them from sticking) and stir again. Ladle or pour the batter onto the griddle over medium heat, and tip pan to swirl batter into a thin circle. Flip when edges look dry.

 

81 comments

Of course everything looked beautiful and wonderful, but I was most excited to see your sweet girl at the piano! She has so many opportunities to express herself in fabulous ways. I just love the peeks you give us.

I like that . . . a hush to the finish ~ perfect ending to 2015.

Precious photo's the Miss Em and her Papa. I would be hard pressed to pick just one photo to keep and frame, as each one is worth it's own frame.

Thank you for listing all the tasty recipes. You do make it so easy for us.

The loosing of your hydrangea bushes has given rise to explore other new plants you'd love to grow in their place.

A new year, new opportunities, new adventures, new discoveries.
I can't what to see what happens next. 😍
Happy New Year!!! 🎉

We were on the same street on Sunday when it was snowing -- my sleepy 3-year old son also in the backseat. What a coincidence.

Speaking of that area, Glendoveer Golf Course has a lovely flat and wide trail to walk or jog on. It's not paved, but it's very nice.

Oh I just love your photos.. So nourishing for my soul!

I'm feeling tired. I'm going to go find a diaper and blankie and take a nap on the floor.

Beautiful pictures!

Wish I may, wish I might...
More Oregon days and nights in 2016, that's what you inspire me to put on my list.

That snowflake mobile is just beautiful! Do you know what store that could be purchased from? Also, what are those big, plate-sized crepes/pancakes (?) on the dinner table? Those look so appetizing. What do you serve them with and would you share the recipe? Your pictures are beautiful! I've never visited Oregon or the Pacific Northwest so it's wonderful to see such a different world of flora & fauna through your photos.

I am 100% with you on the cooking for parties! I have been trying to decide why I enjoyed this Christmas (my favorite time of year, normally) so little. And I do think it was a trip right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, followed by hosting a big party and three other dinners here. TOO MUCH COOKING. Appetizers are deceptive because they are these little small bites but you have to make a bunch of them if people are going to be somewhat satiated, and rolling little balls/making little tubes/spreading cheese on wisps of crackers is tedious in a way that just making a big old casserole isn't. So I think I am going to start a catering fund right along with you.

Bernadette :) says: December 29, 2015 at 05:48 PM

Thanks for sharing the recipes! I hope you and your family have a very happy New Year!

Such a cozy holiday at your home! I love appetizers. We always have them on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. And as many football Sundays as I can justify. It does get to be quite a bit of work although for some reason I always think it will be easier than making a big Sunday dinner. Sometimes, where food is concerned, it is best to lie to yourself.

I got a seed catalog in the mail today and I put it right into the recycling bin as I just want to live in the here and now of Winter which just began! I'm thinking I might regret that later!

My 5yo girl got one of Hillary's big dolls, too! So lovely.

The diaper pillows slay me. That's one of my favorite parts of parenting-- finding odd little tableaux around the house.

sharon stanley says: December 29, 2015 at 06:36 PM

happy happy new year to you dear alicia. you bring lots of pleasure and fun reading into my life and i thank you for that. love that dolly. and that sweater...swooning. best to you and yours in 2016!

I'm with you - here's to doing nothing for the rest of the winter! We have a small craft business on Etsy which takes over our lives every Nov and Dec. It literally ruins the season for me and I have to fight to get even a little bit of it in for my kids. My husband and I were joking about how we were going to have to approach getting a Christmas tree like it was a special-op mission! The kids and I would jump from the car and roll down the hill then take off running to find the tree while he parked, grabbed a saw, and raced to meet us. LOL! It was almost as bad!
Sigh. Now it is over and I have big plans to do nothing. It's wonderful!
Happy New Year to you!! Your blog brings me great joy :-) Be well!

I absolutely agree. Having a party catered make this hectic time so much enjoyable for the host. But then your food looks fantastic.

I so enjoyed all your photos from this fun time. Have you thought of doing potluck for your parties? Both of my holiday luncheons we had here at the farm were potluck.. I even ask for my guests to bring a certain thing that I know they like to make and will go well with the main dish that I provide. I'm enjoying cocooning this week.. no commitments.. crocheting baby booties and playing online Scrabble and Word With Friends. :-)

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((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I just wanted to chime in to recommend the movie SNOW DOGS with Cuba Gooding Jr. My daughter watched that movie the year she was three every single day. In fact, we still quote lines from that movie 11 years later.

Park at the Tryon Creek VC and head north towards LC Law School on the paved trail that parallels Terwilliger. Forested, mostly flat, paved.

~ Joyous images !
. . the knitting !!
. . . the knitting !!. . . please tell us about the knitting.
Those little mitts are adorable and the sweater lace sleeves so lovely & the hat in pom-pom pink is perfection.
Such antique pinks. Please refer us to the patterns. :)
Thank you so kindly.
Best,
Shell ~

I just love your photos so much, always. Happy new year.

It has been years ago since I visited this park, but the Nature Center in Beaverton is fairly level (not paved). It is off of TV Highway and SW Millikan Way. Dreamy forested area.

Thank you for the recipe links! I had so much fun reading all the suggestions and have saved a number of them for later, and definitely pinned the badenjan dip recipe. I love doing all-appetizer lunch/dinner days when I have family over, and we can just nosh all day and laze around.

I had my entire Thanksgiving dinner catered by New Seasons this year. SUCH a relief, and so good.
PS: Your Christmas looks just lovely <3

Lovely pics, thank you for always sharing. Might I ask where to find the sweet woolen deer?

Such lovely pictures and glimpse of your Christmas. Wishing you and yours a very happy new year, x

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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.