Full Swing

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We're in it, here: full fall swing. Halloween came and went in a frenzy of costume-sewing/meowing/negotiating for candy. Kids are so obsessed with candy!!! Amelia says she wants one piece of candy after dinner after she accomplishes her "chores." The things she considers her "chores" include: setting up the pillows on the couch in a nice way and propping up various stuffed animals at charming angles to greet me when I come back downstairs after putting her to bed; putting her eighteen pairs of shoes and boots back in her baskets instead of leaving them in the middle of the floor; hanging up her coat instead of dropping it in the middle of the floor; putting away her scarf and hat instead of dropping them in the middle of the floor; climbing on all manner of furniture to reach the wood blinds to pull them down and close them before she goes up to bed; remembering to wash her hands without being told after going to the bathroom. Hrmmmmmmm. . . . Good deal for her, eh? These are all the things she is supposed to do anyway. . . . Maybe it's really a good deal for me. Now she does all of them in lightning speed while singing the clean-up song and then comes skidding to a halt in front of me, smiling and holding her cupped hands out to receive her treat. I don't bribe with sugar under normal circumstances, but hellity hell it really works! Good thing she only has three pieces of candy left. This is too easy. . . .

THANK YOU for the discussion on working from home vs. renting a remote space. That was really fascinating and I truly appreciate so many of you taking the time to share your experience and thoughts with me. I really needed to hear all of that and I am so appreciative of the perspectives. I would only be going to an off-property space during the time that Amelia is in school, and I would still probably keep my sewing stuff here, but honestly, I really am now thinking it's probably too complicated and too expensive to consider. I think I have fantasies of having a really cool, big, shared, white-washed space where other people would be hanging out doing creative things, and I could have room to store my stuff and still have it all within reach, and also not have it anywhere in the living space. Like, embroidery floss, for instance. When we work on kits, we have a palette of probably sixty? seventy? different colors that I routinely use in my designs. Each color has a big, fat 500g cone of floss. For kits, we break down the big cone by winding it onto several different smaller cones, depending on how many strands of that color you need in a kit. So in First Snow, for instance, we have over thirty colors and over fifty separate lengths of floss. Each length needs its own cone since we pull all the floss at the same time. So that's a lot of cones sitting in the office over the weeks that we are working on this. It's just not realistic to be schlepping them up and down from the basement every day. Felt and fabric, too — they take up a lot of space. Welllllll, you get it. But honestly, I took every single comment truly to heart and you gave me so much to think about. And I think the obvious conclusion Andy and I came to was that we need to clean out the basement thoroughly, and think of more creative storage solutions right here on our property. We have a pretty small basement, as half of the house only has a crawl space underneath it. We do have attic storage, although it's truly just storage, not standing room, and you have to use a ladder to get up into it through the ceiling in the hallway. But these are all just details I need to think through more thoroughly, and I think I can do that, especially when I have more time to think. As I said, I definitely have time to decide, as we wouldn't be doing anything (except reorganizing here) until the year after next. But just reading through everything you wrote gave me a more hefty appreciation for all of the great things about working from home, and that was really helpful, so thank you.

It's about the most blustery, Winnie-the-Poohish day you could imagine here today. The trees are whipping around outside my rain-spattered window, and the wind is howling. I keep hearing things thwack against the house and the porch. Tonight is our school lantern walk, and I don't know how those little lanterns are going to stay lit in this gale. I've been cooking and baking lately. I made a frittata like Megan's with roasted delicata squash, sauteed mushrooms, fresh spinach, and chevre, and it was delicious. I made the NYT's curried cauliflower soup and it was really nice, especially with the famous but no-less-delicious-for-that Dutch oven no-knead bread. I did Mark Bittman's speedy version as well as the long version, and quite honestly, there was no appreciable difference that I could taste or tell, so it's Version Speedy for us from now on, and bread in 4.5 hours. That bread is so good. I mean, what in the world? How is it even possible to get something that tastes like this out of a regular kitchen, with so little effort? I can't even deal with it. I don't even like bread that much (unless it's really, really good) but that thing is amazing. I've made it probably ten times over the past few years and it works every time. I also made Mark Bittman's Everyday Pancakes and those were very good. I've totally been getting my money's worth out of my New York Times Cooking subscription and highly recommend it. Everything I've made from it has been great. I love surfing it on my iPad for relaxation. The photos are beautiful. I don't know. I needed some cooking inspiration, and this has been good for me. I seem to need a lot of hand-holding in the kitchen. I love to cook but even after all of these years of cooking I absolutely need recipes. I cannot think of a single thing that I know how to cook by heart. Not one single thing! I'm also kind of a picky eater, so, in all honesty, a lot of cookbooks don't really work that well for me as anything other than inspiration or eye candy, because I find that I might make one thing out of the whole book. Maybe two. I keep the books because they're beautiful. But they aren't that practical for the way I cook. I totally cherry pick, and I like the "search" function. Anyway, this isn't an ad — I mean, I guess it is, but it's unintentional — I have just been happy with that subscription and it's getting me out of my cooking shell, or rather my non-cooking shell, and Andy and I are both happy about that. Maybe it's also just the season of cooking for me. I love fall and winter food so much more than summer.

I've also been knitting hats and gloves and cowls. I don't have any photos of any of them, apparently, but I will take some. I'm using this pattern and have bought lots of colors of Worsted Twist yarn in many of the same colors they show to make us a bunch of stuff that we need for cold weather, and I'm really enjoying this kind of knitting — lots of stockinette, lots of knitting in the round, nothing very complicated, small things that go quickly and feel soft and warm and utterly practical. I seem to need a lot of direction lately. It's kind of a wonderful relief, I have to say.

35 comments

Lovely photos as usual. It's been so cold here in Nebraska this past week. I've made 2 huge pots of chicken soup with homemade egg noodles in the last 10 days. My husband bought me a noodle/pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and I've been on a noodle making binge. I'm going to try that bread and the cauliflower soup you suggested. Yummy!

Hi Alicia. I have read and loved your blog for years but have never commented. I was wondering if you have looked into installing pull-down steps to access your attic space. This may be something you've already considered, but I'm just throwing it out there.

Your site is always beautiful and a breath of fresh air. Thank you! Keep up the marvelous work.

Just thought of another "studio" option for you - check out Tuff Shed - they're based here in Portland and build nice small structures - I had a 10 x 12 building behind my house in Seattle - with windows, a skylight and more. You can design your space and if it's not too large (10 x 14 I think ) you don't need a permit. They assemble the pieces off site, come to your space and build (including roofing) in 1 day - the foundation is steel - just needs to sit on a concrete slab. My husband did the finish work inside - wiring, insulation and more - email me if you want more details. The cost (awhile ago) was under $5000.

Alicia: I raise my hand to the "picky eater" statement. I very rarely can follow a recipe as written because more often than not, there's something in it that I won't eat. The recipes I'm more likely to follow closest are by The Pioneer Woman. If you haven't tried her recipe for fettuccine alfredo, I highly recommend it. Fantastico!!

Nancy Jane York says: November 14, 2017 at 10:25 AM

Reading about your storage spaces here I'm a lot older than you are (age 76) and really at this time in my life am heading into minimalist life style. We seem to have a lifetime of collecting stuff then when we are older wonder why we have it all and want to move it on. I would just suggest you go through your storage areas and weed out things you really don't need then you may find enough room to make yourself a crafting area. Just a thought. Love your blog. I closed mine after many years.

Autumn food is my favorite too!

I also love my NYT recipe file - it is so handy! And very easy to organize between want to try , old favorites, and tried it.
Another recipe resource is Food52. You can save your favorites to files you name - and it's free!

I noticed a comment about NYT having a pay wall. Most of the time if one types the recipe name into a browser there will be blog posts about the recipe in question - easy work around!

I also noted a comment about eat your books - I have wondered about that - I think I will look into the trial

Happy late Autumn!

OH MY FLIPPING GOODNESS! i cannot believe there is a quick version of this bread and i have never heard of it!!!! this is major. i love that bread. it has put many pounds on those in my house. now we can have it any day without the wait!!! hurrah hooray! but i digress....your pics are particularly fun today and i love your description of a winnie the pooh kind of day....so much better than a dreary day. i didn't know you had a basement and i've been thinking about it. basements can be dank and yucky, but that is fixable. i wonder if you would do well to make that area your storage area of things you use some of the time...painting it a light color and setting up fabulous storage shelves, then using your regular workspace for the things you use more regularly like the spools you mention. set up a semi permanent area for those so they are close at hand but storing other things you use less often in your secondary space. i do believe while it might be fun to share a studio space with other creatives, it might not be practical for someone who crafts throughout the day and night when time allows....'oh my, i left my xyz at the studio'....reorganization might be your friend and you seem to do it so well. maybe it's time to have another go at it!

Hey Alicia! I've been following your blog for many years, and only recently put the two and two together that I work with your husband! I am newly back to the blogosphere. Would love to meet you sometime! Hope all is well and, as always, love your work and blog. Karli

I love NYT Cooking too! Very trustworthy recipes.
You should give Brooklyn Tweed yarn a try. Did you know they moved from Brooklyn to Portland about 2 years ago? Their yarns in various weights and colors ar3 gorgeous and well-tested and the owner, Jared Flood and his crew go to great lengths to source their products...working with farmers (raising sheep), spinner, dyers. I heard him speak about the process this summer at Knit Purl downtown and was amazed at his attention to detail. His patterns are all beautiful too. Just google Brooklyn Tweed.... they put out a new digital look book every season and patterns are purchased by digital downloads. Their yarn is available at lots of yarn shops as well as online.

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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.