Here We Are

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I want to redo my office soon, so I took some pictures of some of the pictures on my bulletin boards. Baby Mimi!!! So cute I can't even stand it. Aaaaaagh. And darling Audrey. XOXOXOXOXOX

Spring is heeeeeeere, and with it days in the 90s and nights in the 40s. Broiling and then freezing. Andy had a cold, then Mimi got the cold, now I have the cold, and Andy's poor mother has been visiting this week, right in the thick of the coughing, sneezing, and nose-blowing. And copious amounts of complaining. Boy, is she a good sport. She does not have the cold. Fingers crossed. We are having a lovely visit in spite of the gnarly sinuses and it's flown by. Everything in Portland is blooming right now. Tomorrow is our school's May Day dance and I'm hoping for warmer weather so that the children can dance outside instead of in the church basement due to cold and rain.

I've been sewing a lot, working on a pattern for a knitting project bag. That's it, above. I have to say, it's been really fun trying to make something with a very specific function in mind. I've made three so far and I think I've got it down. There is a pocket on the back side for you to keep a pattern in, and three skinny pockets next to that for DPNs or crochet hooks or pens. Inside there is another pocket with three grommets to thread your yarn through. I'd seen this on several project bags and it really was thrilling to find that it works. Cool! Right now I'm sourcing leather and hardware and zippers so that I can offer little packs of those things, along with a pattern for you to make your own. More info on this to come, as usual. But it's happening, and it feels good. I do love it when a plan I didn't even know I had comes together.

I made kind of a yummy pasta recipe, adapted from the New York Times cooking app. It's a classic you've probably had.

Pasta, Prosciutto, and Peas (adapted by me from the original by David Tanis)

1 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 heads of fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 lb. rigatoni
4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1 tablespoon finely cut chives
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Put crème fraîche, cream and butter in a wide, deep skillet over medium heat. Turn off heat as soon as mixture is hot, and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg.

Plunge broccoli boiling water and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a mesh spider or slotted spoon and add to cream mixture.

Drop noodles in boiling water and cook until almost al dente. Add peas to water with pasta.

Drain pasta and peas and add to skillet. Sprinkle with prosciutto and chives, then toss gently to coat with sauce. Divide among warmed bowls and serve immediately. Pass grated Parmesan at table.

Do you remember the sideways sweater I had started for Amelia a few weeks ago? I frogged it. I had dyed the yarn myself and couldn't get the vinegar smell out of it and it was annoying me. I don't use vinegar anymore (I use citric acid). I let her dye some yarn and I dyed some yarn and I started this same sweater again, alternating stripes of each of our yarns (hers is the pink, mine is the green). It's such a great sweater for TV watching. It's hard to find sideways sweater patterns like this that aren't in French. (This one is from DROPS, but a lot of this style are French.) I might write one for sport-weight yarn, maybe without the peplum. In all my spare time. But I think it would be pretty easy. It's kinda funny because the very first sweater I ever "favorited" on Ravelry was this one. And I still love it.

I think I'm going to try to get Andy to do a video of how I dye my yarn now, which even works with kids, to show you how I do it and how you can, too. Our ten-year-old neighbor was over one afternoon last weekend and I helped both girls dye their own yarn. And WOW do they ever have different personalities and learning styles. It was really fascinating and mildly freaked me out. B was careful and a bit anxious, Amelia was like a runaway train. Keeping them both on task at the same time was a serious learning experience for me. They are five years apart but get along really well. Anyway, it was a lot of fun to do and would make a really cool project to do with a small group for sure. I'll put that on my list. We'll see if Andy can make a video without setting it to ear-shattering heavy metal. Or maybe it should be set to metal. It's not that rad, but he can probably find a way to rad it up.

46 comments

First... I am amused and smiling from seeing the doll house interior, then Amelia in her room, and I thought they were one and the same. She's in another room of the same darling little house, with all pretty and inspiring. So cute. Such a funny notion.
Second... please tell me that 90 degree spring days are rare and weird, and not likely to continue. We have a lovely visit to Portland planned, and 90 degrees does not fit in my idea of "lovely." "Everything blooming," sounds ideal.
Third... set it to metal. I don't think you could do much to diminish the charm and warmth of your home and your activities. Even with heavy metal blaring a rad beat, the appeal of your home, both doll house, and bigger, will always resound.

We should all strive to be "runaway trains"!

Your photos are beautiful.

Do you have a pattern for a knitting project bag?

Oh my goodness! Your project bag looks amazing. I'm so glad to hear that you'll be offering the pattern and/or kit form. I'm so excited and cannot wait to hear more about it.

Your creativity is so infectious (in a good way - not in a weird sinus-thing way, I guess that wasn't the best turn of phrase, but I'm not sure how else to word it.) Anyway, Thank you!

Feel better soon.

Do you have a new doggie?

The knitting bag is lovely! And I can't wait for the kit! It's a very thoughtful design.

Viniger can be hard to get out, but I have a lot of luck with Dawn dish soap and fresh air. How did you learn how to dye? I took a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School years ago on dyeing and spinning. And then years later I refreshed my love of it with my best friend before starting my hand dyed yarn business: Holly and Ivy Dyeworkds (www.hollyandivydyeworks.com). It always nice to see other artists who have similar passions.

And that recipe looks amazing, defiantly making that pasta dish in the coming days! :)

Your story about the girls and their yarn is way too funny! My head is spinning thinking about such a task as keeping them both on track. Oh how lovely Portland is right now! I'm hoping that my magnolia tree which is 3/4 of the way in full bloom doesn't get nipped by the cold tonight. It survived last night's temp in the 30s and yesterday morning's snow flurries (yes, snow flurries at the end of April in Pittsburgh! UGH!) Your project bag is catching my eye, and I will be excitedly awaiting the new pattern and kit. Hope you're feeling well soon!

I love the photos of this post. Those look like dogwood flowers which have not even begun to flower in our Chicago backyard! Feel better! 30's yesterday, 80's tomorrow!

So glad you're doing a pattern for the project bags, and if we can buy the hardware to go with it, it would be sooo helpful! Would also love to learn how to dye yarn so a video would be awesome. Love your work, you're so talented! :-)

So sorry you guys have colds. Boo.
Everything looks very cozy. I love Mimi's quilt.

Hmmm, have you tried pet stain enzymatic cleaner to get the vinegar sell out of your wool?
This stuff? natures miracle: http://taildom.com/blog/reviews/the-best-pet-odor-enzymatic-cleaners/
no affliation, it just helps get rid of bad odors in my experience.

And, I just about lost it when I spied the aga stove in the dollhouse. Seriously, your home life reminds me of the richard scary book Busy, Busy town crossed with a I, Spy book in the best possible way.
I think you should write a proposal to some publishing company using your lovely photos for a "Look for the x, y and z" kids book. It would be brilliant and a best seller I suspect.

Love all the Spring photo's. It seems our New England Spring will never get sprung! I'll bet the girls would love Kool-aid dyeing - and it smells good, too!

Doris Barile says: April 30, 2018 at 03:57 PM

Hi. Is that your wedding photo? Beautiful pictures!

I enjoyed each and every image in this post! I also got a kick out of the dollhouse pictures and then Mimi's things and it was a funny juxtaposition. The toddler photo of Mimi is sooo cute! Your knitting also looks lovely with the hand-dyed wool. Is that your Sensation Lilac? It's big and wonderful! I have a new one in a pot that is blooming and I'm so excited about it. I have 2 big dark purples, 3 lavender and one white lilac and I'm in lilac heaven right now. Have a super week! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Gah! That photo of Audrey with her little Clover avatar—one of my fave blog posts ever!

Oh my, 'your Pasta, Prosciutto, and Peas' recipe looks yummy! I hope I can make it vegetarian and still have it taste great.
Each and every photo a memory & story of life lived. Can't wait to see your office 'makeover'.
Anxious also for the 'Project Bag Kit'. I can tell you right now, it will be a sellout for sure.
The week ahead will be back to warmer temps, but dear Lord I do hope not in the 90's we had last week. I'm not good with heat, unless it's in a nice bath!
Take care and be well soonest.

I managed to get several decades of mothball smell out of a partly-sewn shamrock appliqué tablecloth that—wait for it— my daughter (15) was given to complete by her great-grandmother (100!) because HER mother hadn’t completed it. This is probably Eisenhower-era. Finishing your great-great-grandma’s UFO is a nifty project. But it smelled intensely of mothballs, which I got rid of by leaving in the sun for a couple of days. Might work with vinegar, who knows. :)

Catherine says: April 30, 2018 at 11:23 PM

I was wondering what to have for supper and now I know. The pasta sounds delicious, I have all the ingredients in the house already and it will be nice and quick after my embroidery guild meeting this afternoon. Thank you for the inspiration. What variety of cornus is that? I need to replace a tree that died this winter.
Spring is a bit hit and miss here at the moment but today has dawned sunny and bright so fingers crossed!

oh I like that kind of recipe!

I love how you share so much of your life in a real and beautiful way. Happy 1st May to you and your family from the UK. 🇬🇧

Ah a lovely post as ever Alicia! I am a long time reader and always adore your words and pictures...thank you for sharing so much with us over the years. Happy 1st May to you from me. I just had to comment today...I spied a bottle of Lolita Lempicka parfum amongst the treasures. I wore it on my wedding day and honeymoon and so it has a special place in my heart. I still have the bottle too (from 15 years ago!) and the scent whisks me away to a sunny English garden in a second xx

Love seeing time pass in this post's photos!

Anna Gerard says: May 01, 2018 at 05:23 AM

Would love to see how you dye yarn! It's something I have wanted to try for years for myself and also with my two 6 year old boys. You have a way of making it seem doable. Especially since you do it with Amelia too!
Equipment/material suggestions for just starting?

Kimberly says: May 01, 2018 at 08:16 AM

I have been wanting to make a knitting project bag. Looking forward to your pattern release..

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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.