Russet Light, and Some More Thoughts on Romance

comments: 56

Houseready1 I think we're ready. Romantic Homes comes this afternoon and all day tomorrow (and yes, loves, I will tell you when the mags come out when I actually know — February-Marchish, around there sometime) and I think things are okay here. I've cleaned and fussed to the best of my ability. The house seems small until you are washing and ironing every cafe curtain, dusting every picture frame, scrubbing stove knobs. It's amazing how much dust and dirt accumulates, isn't it? Things look so different when they're dusted, and polished. I'm always amazed.

Houseready3 The light in the house is interesting at this time of year. We have two enormous dark-purple-leaved trees and when the sun shines the light that manages to get inside is really pretty and rosy. This might be the last week we have this kind of weather, so it's nice timing, this pro picture-taking. The minute they're done shooting I'm going out to get pumpkins, sausage, and sage, and that kitchen is going to get messy, baby. Pumpkin-sauced rigatoni. Apple pie. Chicken with garlic potatoes. Can you stand it? I can hardly wait. Dutch oven, don't forget me, please. I think about you every day. We will be together soon. Right now I don't dare touch that stove (see above).

Houseready4 The pets are so cold. This is the B, alone in the guest room. They huddle up against me whenever they can. Unfortunately, I haven't done much sitting still, but I will after the weekend. Studio Craft is coming right up and I have nothing.  I used to do a lot of crafting at night, and lately I've just been sitting there like a zombie. It's okay; it's like being plugged into a charger. I'm charging up. Frenzy will soon follow.

Houseready6 Thank you for all of your super nice comments about the closet door, and the wool-quilt choices. That made me feel really good. I'm really excited about that quilt, and by the way, no, I didn't finish this one yet, but I will, later. The top's completely done, I just need to put it together, which I'll probably do in the spring so it's ready for the summer bed. I've decided that I want the stuff I do for myself to be totally fun, and not feel like a burden, something I have to finish on schedule. If I don't feel like doing it at a certain time, forget it — I'm not doing it just then. I've realized lately that "finishing" is not my priority when crafting anymore. I mean, I do want to finish stuff, but when it comes to the few things I do for myself, I don't want to stress about it. You've probably read it, but Amanda wrote a beautiful post about this kind of thing the other day and I just caught up with it last night. That 2% is where I want to be when it comes to my own stuff, and I need to be more willing to wait for it.

Houseready7 My little St. Teresa hangs inside the bedroom door. I see her everyday although I sometimes forget to see her. St. Teresa said that God withholds himself from no one who perseveres. Last night on Inside the Actors Studio, Robert Downey, Jr., one of my favorite actors, said that there's "really really really nothing that anybody can't survive, as long as they survive." Andy gave me a card once that said, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." I like all these ideas, which I think are actually all the same idea. I try to remember it every day, especially when I don't know what I'm doing or why. I'm not actually having one of those days, but maybe you are, so I thought I'd just mention it, cause you never know who might need to hear. . . .

Houseready9 I guess the house is romantic, though that is embarrassing to say. I had to write a little something about the "romantic lifestyle" for the magazine recently and I said that ours is all about dimmer switches, and the little things. It's true for us, at least. We're not very exotic people. We are sweatpants people. I remember after my accident one time Andy said that he really didn't care what we did, as long as we were together. I know that I'd be happy living with him in a ditch, if necessary. But I'm more grateful than I can say that we have heat, and electricity, and some little things to fuss around with, and the time for it. It's what we like to do, dink around the house. People ask me all the time if Andy is alarmed at how much pink stuff we have. I always answer no, I don't think so. I think he is more than willing to indulge me, since messing about with stuff is something I absolutely love to do, something that's important to me, something that brings me a lot of peace. (Also, he himself is apparently unopinionated about stuff like this, so that's helpful — when I do ask his opinion, it's clear that he actually seems to have no opinion but feels he should contribute just to be helpful, so he'll throw something out there, which actually starts complicating things, since it quickly becomes evident that I have thought about, say, the color of the wall approximately 4000% more than he has [or anyone should, actually].) I think that, if he notices any of it at all, he just sees "care," not color. He just sees "Someone here cares." I should say I hope he sees that in me. And the living room is his favorite color, dark olive green, and holds his nice leather chair, and, you know, he has his own spaces to play with, too.

Houseready10_1 This is what I tell myself anyway. Let's not talk about it anymore or I might find out something horrible, like I'm wrong, and then what would I do!

I don't think I'm wrong, though.


my fellow is the same. sometimes i work myself into a frenzy trying figure out if he *cares* but just isn't saying, and the conversation usually goes like this:
me: i mean, you'd tell me if you didn't want pink polka dot sheets, right?
him: of course!
me: so, are you saying you DON'T want them?
him: no, i'm saying i don't care, but if i did, i'd tell you.
me: so, you really don't care?
me: hmmmmm. how can you not care?
him: ?????

HAH! Exactly. That's hilarious. Love that.

Such a wonderful post. I hope your photo shoot goes fantabulously!

I think you are right. He and others should not focus on what is there, but the fact you care enough to do something with what is there. I think your home looks inviting, like "come in and visit, take your shoes off, look around, let's talk" and hon, that is a marvelous thing. That is how I look at it (but of course there is my sold condo... looked a lot like your house and I cringe when I think the person who bought it did it all in southwest and kokopellis...oh wait, that shows I still care, so that )

I've been stalking your blog for months. I love the inspiration I get from it! I have a itsy bitsy question for you. I've always wondered how magazines choose the homes they shoot. Could you tell us about that? My 690 square foot apartment is not as nice as yours, but I've had friends and family say that it should be in a magazine. I'm not sure I agree - it has it's moments - but I'd love to find out how it all happens. Thanks!

fall down seven, get up eight. that is beautiful alicia. and so is your house. get some recharging done and then get to work on that dutch oven! oh baby it is going to be a good fall!

Sigh. I married the son of a decorator. He has an opinion on EVERYTHING.

Hope there is a follow up post on the pumpkin sauced rigatoni (do we get to put in requests? Like a radio station?).

Your house is very romantically beautiful. I love St. Teresa, not just because of her name, but because that is very wise advice. I wish I had her to look at everyday. I am on a nun painting kick and she fits in right now! Persevere onward! Love your blog.


Thank you for the lovely post. I've felt like I was stumbling around recently, but now am reminded to persevere. What a gift to read today.

Your blog has also inspired me of late to pull out some of my gram's tablecloths. I just moved in with my bf, and I didn't think he'd go for the pinks and greys, but he loved my favorite cloth on his table, and it softens the house...and makes me feel more at home.
Thank you.

I really like the "fall down seven, get up eight" idea.

And I do have my days of confusion and directionlessness too. I've learned that when I have clarity and insight days, I need to write my concepts down so I can refer to them when I'm lost. Sometimes I write "When I feel confused, I should do this..." because it's the only thing I can read that will get me out of my stupor. It's like my wiser Lilli is telling me what to do. That's one of the great things about aging, that we get to know what works for us :)

Your post made me feel so happy. I sometimes worry, just a little, that my husband and I are really weird. We don't like to *do* much of anything. I mean, we do,'s generally within the confines of our own little cocoon. I like hearing about other couples that are content as homebodies.

Oh, and regarding yesterday's post: Stick it to the man, Alicia!!

Thank you for this blog-- it is like a little breath of sweetness in the midst of my day. Your writing so so vivid and yet gentle-- I can feel the warmth of the quilt you're planning, smell the garlic as it roasts with the chicken. Thank you for a perfectly lovely bit of Tuesday.

Thanks for this, today. I read it moments after learning my temp job won't become permanent, and in a week I'll be unemployed. I need the encouragement; thank you.

I sincerely doubt that you are wrong... It's a wonderful and beautiful and cosy home that you have created, and it shows love and care and it shelters a wonderful relationship and some loveable furry cats. My guy is much the same, I am sure he tires of all the purple and turquoise sometimes, but if I am happy, he is, and he truly doesn't care, as long as I check with him so feels included... Hope the photo shoot is fun.

We've just been hit with an unplanned relocation in the future. My husband keeps asking if I'd mind living in the Midwest or down South or up North. I told him it doesn't matter, because anywhere we are together, I'm home.

Chris gave me a card when I was in the middle of a getting fired for no discernable reason period that said:

when you're going through hell, keep going.

and you know, it helped.

I love the idea that Andy sees that someone "cares." I think it's true. I think he must look around and see this lovely, constantly changing expression of you and your love. How lucky that he gets to live in it. Boo for the rest of us suckers with our noses pressed up against the glass. Oh! Sorry! Pass me the spray bottle of vinegar and some newspaper, I forgot about the magazine coming!


It seems like a perfect arrangement, you and Andy are happy. It is so comforting to know that the other person is happy to indulge you, no? And I am sure he loves that you care so much. That is romantic.
I hope the shoot goes smoothly and that you can mess up your kitchen afterwards.
The photos are lovely, as always.


I wish you the best on the photo shoot today! I have said it before and I will say it again. You hava e beautiful home and I hope to find the same charm in a home of my own one day. They will just love it!

i absolutely love your blog and you are such an inspiration. my husband could care less about those details too, but i know he appreciates it and allows me to keep going because he knows how much it satisfies me. sometimes i do wish he had a bit more of an opinion at times, but i suppose its for the better (for me:)your house is so lovely and i love all your little touches. adorable.

"romantic lifestyle" hah! i can't stop laughing over that phrase. it's nothing personal... really... okay, maybe it is a little. for the record, i have romantic feelings for the both of you. and if it were a ditch, it'd be a pretty one. with good sheets.

There are so many things to say about your charming post - so I'll keep it quick. I love seeing your sweet, warm and very romantic home - so full of light and cozy corners - and knowing too that you know and like Arthur Rackham! It's little details like this that make me smile. Good luck on your photo shoot and happy dutch oven cooking !

Chris Howard says: October 10, 2006 at 02:11 PM

Oh, we are SO sweatpants people around here too. I'm glad to hear we are not the only homebodies. Honestly I feel like Les and I really need to get out and enjoy the season more, but I find myself happily curled up on the couch watching TV and stitching a new baby sampler.

Speaking of pressure to complete things, you have definitely got the right attitude about it all. I tend to love to change my house with the seasons, so I wind up cross stitching a lot of seasonal designs and I NEVER give myself enough time to complete them before the actual season rolls around. It frustrates me to no end!

Pumpkin rigatoni? Can you make that with canned pumpkin because I am way too lazy to actually mess with a real one? I am making parmesan baked pork chops and beer basted brats this week and then I'm going to settle down and make something from Ina's cookbook. I will! I swear!

I actually started crying when I read your post today and that piece about continuing to try.

I needed to hear that.

Almost quit my job today. I'm tired of the tears and the shredded ego.

We'll see.

God I love your house!!!! I can't wait till the kids are a little older and I can start tinkering again. Do you lay in bed at night and dream about little house projects like reupholstering a little bench or organizing the laundry room?..or is it just me?

Lovely blog

I am waiting for these magazine spreads you have been talking about sooo eagerly. When my lovely husband and I got married we compromise decorated, he wanted me to limit my florals and I wanted real shelves, not cinderblocks and boards. 5 years later and we are in the process of veeeery slowly re-doing our house and your blog is one of my biggest inspirations.

In fact, after seeing your entry about your studio I shamefully moved my daughter in with my son and made her room a craft room of my own! Thanks for all the great ideas.

Love your blog. Your Anthropologie addiction is similar to mine. Forever 21, truly inspiring, however I feel claustrophobic and scared whenever near that place. Anthropologie does have the ambience and music that make you feel as though you're in France, is it worth the price??? It is if you catch the Wednesday just put out sale items.

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About Alicia Paulson


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