Posts filed in: December 2017

This Little Light

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Christmas is coming. Funny how it makes you think of things. I was thinking about how my dad always saved all of his Christmas shopping for Christmas Eve day. I'd go with him to the Oak Park mall. We called it the mall then — it was a pedestrian mall where Lake Street used to be and now is again. In those days the street was closed and it was all pedestrian. When we were done we'd go to one of the two old-fashioned-type restaurants on the mall. I wish I could remember what they were called. One was on the corner, across from the bank. And the other one was a few doors down from the theater. They were both the types of places that served club sandwiches and Crab Louie and milkshakes in those tall glasses with the rest of it given to you in the big metal tumbler. At home my dad would burn frankincense and myrrh and cedar cones, and our relatives would come for Christmas Eve evening, or we'd go to my aunt and uncle's, or my grandparents', or my cousins' in Chicago. It was fun. It would snow, or there would be snow. It would surely be freezing. We'd be tired on the way home, and fall asleep uncomfortably in the car, then not want to get out. I miss those days. Christmas makes you remember things.

Here at home, Mimi and I are lazy and warm. Andy's just finishing up his stretch of work then he is gloriously off for a few days. My family is coming here for Christmas Eve and I'm going to make lasagna with my mom's sauce and another yule log. My sister Susie is going to sleep over and make sticky buns for Christmas breakfast. Mimi and I have been eating rice pudding (just make some jasmine rice, then keep adding milk to it along with a cinnamon stick and some cardamom and cook it on low for . . . quite a while, actually — it will keep absorbing the milk and get thick and yummy; serve with cinnamon sugar and a bit of butter and more milk). We're going to bake chocolate sandwich cookies with peppermint frosting today. It's kind of ridiculous, how decadent all this is. We should eat raw vegetables for dinner. Likely, once again, we'll have ham sandwiches on waffles with mustard. Christmas.

I probably will be too busy then idle to come back here before Christmas, and, likely, you will be busy with your holidays, too. Thank you for all of your kindness here throughout this past year, and many past years. I wish you ever so much peace and love and light this season of celebrations and slowing. Slow days, laughter (and mania) of children, friendship, fellowship, family, lots of movies, good food, snuggly animals, and lots of love. I wish you all of that from all of us here. XOXO

With love,
Alicia, Andy, Amelia, Clover Meadow, and Bridget Paulson

Sparkle Shine

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Oh, sweetness. The days are cold and sun-sparkled, though it's dark and warm in the house. I'm done with all of my shopping and shipping and general fussing now so I'm feeling fine. We have a shop, above, and we sell, apparently, pillows, earrings, "anything you want to put on Susie Sheep" (Susie Sheep [i.e.: Peppa Pig's best friend] is the name of our dress form), and ornaments if you need to do some Christmas shopping. We are open for business at 6:00 a.m., and ready for you.

Imagine this: I get all day today to work in the studio and cook! Andy's doing Daddy Duty all day, including school runs, grocery shopping, and ballet. I'm very excited. It's not often that I get to stay home all day without having to go somewhere or other. I'm going to bake cookies and make some more chicken and dumplings. I've put cedarwood, orange, and pine essential oils in my diffuser and I am pretty excited. I might even write a Christmas card or two. I made a couple of pomander balls from Kyrie's recipe and I'm waiting for them to cure. One of my favorite memories of childhood Christmases past.

The rosy-cheeked dollies are dressed in warm sweaters. A few people have written and asked me questions about the dolls, patterns, kits, etc. So, here's my plan: I'm planning to release a pattern for the doll with an outfit, just like all of the animals had. She will also come in a kit form, and you'll be able to choose between two different skin shades and four or five different hair colors. The kit will come with fabric, yarn, and embroidery floss for the outfit, which is likely to be an 80s calico peasant dress with an embroidered pinafore along with bloomers and knitted lace stockings. Then there will be many different new clothing item patterns available, both for knitted and sewn clothes, and maybe even crocheted accessories. So far I've got a wool cape, a cross-stitched peasant blouse, a gathered skirt, knitted cable turtleneck, colorwork sweater, pixie hat, knitted skirt, knitted cowl, and ballet outfit. I'm also going to repackage all of the existing animal-family clothes patterns so that you can buy and make each of them separately. I am outrageously excited about this, if you couldn't tell. Nothing will be available until spring, sometime. It takes a while to make it all happen. But thank you for your interest and I'll keep you posted!

We went to see The Nutcracker downtown this weekend and it really was magical. That picture of the Waltz of the Snowflakes is by Blaine Truitt Covert and I found it online. They are very strict about not letting you take any photos of the performance but years from now when I look back on this post, I will want to remember that stage, and what it was like for us to sit next to our little girl in the dark auditorium with the orchestra playing and glittering snowflakes falling through the air, and all of those ever-lovely dancers twirling. The sweetest dream. A perfect day.

December Now

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I haven't quite reached a peaceful holiday state of mind. I like the week between Thanksgiving and December better than December, in a way. As soon as December starts, I feel — in spite of my best efforts — like I'm being a little bit . . . chased. Chased by a calendar. I'm a cartoon character with legs spinning. I finally sit down to have some tea and a cookie. "Oh shit! I have to order the Christmas cards before they're not 40% off anymore!" Get back up. Go get stupid computer. Ugh. So many things like that. You know. Even though you try not to have too many things to do there are still a lot of things to do. . . . I resist feeling that anything is actually urgent but things feel urgent. . . .

Amelia decorated her little tree. It is so adorable. It looks like somebody stood across the room and threw lights and ornaments at it but in fact she was quite deliberate. Around the house she sings and hums a constant medley of carols, making up half the words. It's amazing how kids just . . . pick it all up, somehow. Every year there's a little more intensity to her experience. It's completely fascinating to watch her put things together in her mind. "Oh!" she exclaims, looking at her tree. "I need to go say my mushroom prayers!" A million things said like that a day, things I couldn't make up if I tried. It's like interpreting a Mad Lib. She is so engaged with everything she does, and it's done in her very own way. Five years old. Enchanting. Darling wonder. Sweetest, sweetest heart.

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.