Posts filed in: January 2007

Friday Night, and Straight on 'til Morning

comments: 50

Dinner1_1Winter-twilight dinner table. Salad, spinach lasagna, carrots, and trifle TK.

Dinner6_2 An M. floristripibus for Sam. So cute you could eat it with a spoon (much like Sam).

I did wind up using the mini-marshmallows after all.

Dinner5_3 Kidding. They're weeny balls of fresh mozzarella.

Dinner7 Melissa's Black-Forest trifle: It really was that big and pretty.

After dinner I sat around happily drinking coffee like I was trying to pull an all-nighter. When I went up to bed I was wide awake. WIDE awake. My spouse, alas, was not. He was snoring in my ear. I watched The Bad Girls Club and Ace of Cakes. I read. I watched The Mexican. I decided to make a mental list of things I would suggest that any filmmaker include in his/her next movie:

  • Billy Crudup
  • Someone pretending to be someone else or something they're not (How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Kindergarten Cop)
  • Someone from another time period (i.e.: past or future) pretending to be from the present but not wanting anyone to know he or she is from the past/future (13 Going on 30)
  • Someone hiding the existence of someone from someone else (Seems Like Old Times, Kiss Me Goodbye)
  • At least one scene where someone is doing laundry, alone, rethinking things (Reality Bites, About Last Night)
  • A flashback montage to poignant music (She's Having a Baby)
  • An apartment that has lots of moulding, glass-front cabinets, French doors, vintage furniture, and/or a greenhouse (Green Card)
  • High-tech espionage and karate kicks (The Bourne Identity)
  • A love triangle (My Best Friend's Wedding)
  • Karaoke (My Best Friend's Wedding)
  • Super-cute clothes (Funny Face), Paris (Le Divorce), or both (Amelie)
  • Talking animals (Babe)
  • Situation where someone finds out they're actually a princess in charge of a European country (The Princess Diaries)
  • Situation where someone is really a princess of a European country, pretending not to be (Roman Holiday)
  • A makeover (Can't Buy Me Love)

I knew it. I am a Tween. They shouldn't even let me have coffee.

ZZZzzzzzzz.

I'm All Moo-y

comments: 31

Moo2 Did you order your Moo cards yet? I first saw them over at Yvonne's (and oh man, look at her super-cute pink pantry-place — if there's anyone's house I wish I could see in real life, it's yours Yvonne — you are truly, truly gifted). Anyway, she posted about these last month but I was just catching up on stuff recently and zoomed over to Flickr to make a whole bunch. These are teeny weeny little cards (28 by 70 mm) that you can crop from your 72 dpi Flickr images, printing up to a 100 different slivers, with type on the back. For $19.99. Are you kidding me? They're super. I love them so much. I'm actually so excited about them I'm paralyzed — I have no idea what I'll use them for. I haven't seen my images on actual paper before. I mean, nobody does, anymore, right?

I'm not the greatest Flickr participant. If I get photos I like, I just plop them here on the blog, and then occasionally, six months later I'll upload a bunch to Flickr. Other people seem to be much more agile in their Flickr usage. Now that Moo cards have been invented, I'm rethinking this, and plan to upload more regularly. There is something really interesting about the way these bitties provide a literal "slice" of life. I feel like I just got glimpses of our whole entire year in one teeny tiny little box. Kiss kiss, Moo-cow. Thank you. I love you very, very much.

Reacquainted with Mrs. Pantry (and Finding Her Feeling a Bit Neglected)

comments: 38

Stripes1 Stripes and polka dots, pantry-style. This is the thrift rug (and Crocs) in our mud room/pantry. Ya gotta love it when you find these rugs at Goodwill for $1. Thanks for all the stripey-crochet love yesterday, but I owe it all to Jane (and Michelle and Cassi) because I probably wouldn't have been inspired to do it if I hadn't seen hers. And, holy, I hope I didn't imply that I did all that in one day. No no no. I started it on Friday night, so that was like . . . four very solid days. And I mean butt-barely-moving days. I mean I-ordered-a-pizza-and-had-it-delivered-directly-to-the-couch days. I'm fast but I ain't that fast, baby. Nevertheless, I'm going as fast as I can because I know my enthusiasms can be . . . furious but fast, like magnesium burning. Once I lose my mojo, I lose the entire blanket (literally), so it would be nice to finish before I fizzle with a whimper and the thing 5/8ths of the way done. And it doesn't look like we're going to get more snow anytime soon. . . . (Oh — and I keep forgetting to mention that I'm teaching a crochet class on the Cecily Cardi at Close Knit starting next week again. For those of you who have asked if I'm ever going to teach at night, the answer is, sadly, no. I just don't do very well past 6 p.m., alas. I know it's been hard for people to get away on Tuesday mornings, but I will probably continue to keep this as my schedule if I can. . . . Scroll way down that Close-Knit page for info on the class, and give Sally a call to sign up, if you're able. It's really fun.)

Stripes2 Cats: not too into the snow. Bridget and Violet took about four steps out onto the snow-covered porch, turned and ran back in, then proceeded to beat each other up all over the living room. Jeez. Not happy. I busied myself in the pantry, looking for things to make. I was on the phone with Blair all morning, and she told me that she'd been snowbound so long they were Googling things to bake with no butter and one egg (not much). That's all they had left. We were not much better off.

Stripes4 Though we do have a ginormous bottle of mini-marshmallows. Who doesn't. I settled, however, on turkey chili. What's a Snow Day without chili. Portland and especially Seattle is so over being excited about the snow. I'm still into it, though I'm having Melissa, Paul, and small Sam over for dinner tomorrow night so these roads need to get cleared pronto if I expect to haul out to the store and feed them something other than salad-roll wrappers and pumpkin butter. My street currently looks like someone emptied an enormous cooler of crushed ice all over it and the cars are still kind of crusted in. How do you guys feel about . . . elbow macaroni and Karo syrup, M?

Stripes3

Blizzard Blanket

comments: 80

Tram Andy took this photo yesterday as he rode the tram from Pill Hill down to the river and back with his friends. I think I would've liked to have done that, see the city covered in snow from high above. Instead I had a local view: my ever-whitening yard, the feeding frenzy at the bird feeder outside the kitchen window, and my blizzard blanket.

We had an unexpected overnight houseguest, which was such a treat, another Pill-Hill colleague stranded by snow here in town. Late last night the three of us and Audrey took a glorious walk through the quiet, snow-covered neighborhood, rosy under the weird snowish night sky. There is a slight incline that runs for about nine blocks up one street of our neighborhood, and there were old-school sledders, head-first on those Rosebud-type sleds, making the long nighttime run at the perfect speed: not too fast, not too slow. Cross-country skiers, other walkers, all of us out at 10 p.m., soaking up every drop of the day. When it snows, I feel real. I feel like I'm part of the year, part of the world. I really, really love it. But then again, I have the luxury of sitting home and working on my blanket with a snowpup at my feet and a cup of chai at hand, so who wouldn't love it, then.

The thing is, I'm actually caught up. I'm never caught up, but lately, I have been. Things slowed down and I was, concurrently, able to maintain enough of my speedy inertia to zip it all up at the same time that it slowed down. And here I am, doing a jig called Freedom. So I jigged over to my yarn stash over the weekend and cleaned it up.

Blanket11I keep my yarn separated in little plastic boxes with cedar blocks. I label them (Worsted Felting Wools, Worsted Cottons, Fancy Cottons, Novelties, DK Cashmerino/Baby, Tweed Wools and Sock Yarns, Other Stuff). I usually keep them all separated like this but over the year they get all messed up so every once in a while I go through them and figure it out again. You may remember my brilliant (ahem) idea to crochet a patchwork blanket last spring. I haven't worked on it at all since then. I think I have six or seven squares. Somewhere around the sixth square I remember feeling strongly that I was dreading sewing it all together, but I was too far in to turn back. After I cleaned up the yarn, I thought, "Okay, now the reward: Crochet. Where's that blanket." I looked everywhere for the blanket. I couldn't find the blanket. I seem to have a special Alicia-gift for losing those. Do not ever ask me to "watch" your blanket for you because I will immediately lose it. It's unbelievable. I started to get all hot and bothered. I looked everywhere I thought it could be. I couldn't find it. The day was unraveling. Then I remembered Jane's blanket, the one I really wanted. (Please note: For those looking for the pattern for this blanket, it's Soft Waves from Jan Eaton's book 200 Ripple Stitches, and copyrighted, so please don't ask me to copy it for you. We must support our designers, so they can continue to inspire us.) Perhaps I had "lost" the other one on purpose? . . . Nooooo. Yes?

Blanket9 I took the entire box of Baby Cashmerino and other yarns of roughly the same weight and cut little pieces of them and taped them to my notebook so I could see what colors I had. I had a lot. If anyone is in need of a serious stash-busting project, it's me. But I knew it would have to get worse before it got better: I headed out the the LYS and picked up a few more colors I thought would help. I was going for something not-too insipid, something with a bit of clash (you know, to honor the long and illustrious history of clashing colors in ripple-crochet afghans, now all pilled, scuzzy, and strangely appealing [color-wise] at Goodwill now), and something that would go in the living room (green/gray/pink) and the bedroom (aqua/red).

Blanket7 Kinda like this quilt, which is a vintage quilt I bought years ago and is my current couch-sitting quilt but also winds up in every other room in the house quite comfortably, color-wise. It has some funky patches of, like, red-and-green plaid, kelly green, brown: not what you'd expect, but it all works. When I had all the yarns I wanted, I combined shades that were similar and called them the same "color," then popped it all into the Random Stripe Generator and hit the refresh button about a hundred times until I got this, which seemed just fine:

Blanket2Then I crocheted a few ripples and proceeded to write lengthy emails to Jane first appealing for her forgiveness for totally ripping her off, then discussing the amazing phenomenon of how the blanket changed before my eyes with each added stripe.

Blanket8She knew all about that phenomenon, of course, because Jane and Color are well-acquainted, old friends, confident in each other's talents, familiar with their respective ability to surprise and delight. I'm not so confident or well-acquainted. And when I make things for myself, I almost always use a pattern, or I do, like, super-random, which has the maddening habit of not actually being super-random, but rather sort of . . . unspontaneous and calculated . . . when I do it. But sometimes I don't like to think. I just like to do. I find it a huge relief, to just go go go and not think or worry, just trust.

Blanket4Can you see how the stripes are following the chart? The pattern of stitches is interesting enough to be motivating and not too challenging, but the real motivation comes in seeing how each stripe changes the whole. Even though I've got the chart, there is enough variation in how the colors are different from their paper representations as to be very motivating. At least to me. I find these things enormously exciting. That is why some people find me unbelievably nerdy. I mostly find myself unbelievably nerdy. But I do love it so. All day I sat and watched the snow, and added color after color after color, impatiently waiting to see what would happen next.

Jane told me, interestingly I think, that the ripples work on the colors quite differently than straight stripes do. That hadn't occurred to me at all, but I think she's so right. They really are sort of groovin'. Aside from the super-bonus of not having to stitch anything together, or weave in any ends (I just crochet right over the tails left over from every color change), I love the sort of old-fashionedness of this stitch pattern combined with (what I like to think is) a sassily modern color-combo and nice yarn. (I would recommend making this a true "stash" blanket if you do it, because I'm afraid the cost of buying all the yarn at once would send me right back out the door into the cold — I made this a bit over 60 inches wide which is . . . really wide, and at this width it takes about 125 yards to get just over TWO stripes.) But I haven't been this obsessed with a project in a long time. Since our snow and my car don't look like they're going anywhere for a while, it seems that I might be lucky enough to have another day of blissed-out ripple-making once again. It's like doing a little jig while seated comfortably on the couch.

Blanket12

Oh! Snow!

comments: 71

Snow5Hear that high-pitched squealing that sounds like a dolphin at her own birthday party? That's me, screeching with excitement and delight. This morning, in the pitch black of 7 a.m., I was lying in bed and heard children screaming with laughter. I couldn't imagine what was happening, so I hopped out from under my pile of down and away to the window I flew; what to my wondering eyes should appear but several inches of perfect, perfect snow, and all seven neighbor kids snowsuited and sledding down their driveway. Oh! Snow!

Snow1_1 The girls came over to tell me all about it. I was so excited for them. Snow doesn't happen in our neighborhood all that often, especially perfect, fluffy, un-icy snow that piles up in big batches and affirms the possibility of not only a Snow Day, but snowmen, snow-angels, snowballs, and any other super-cool snowified nouns. (That stuff that looks like paint on the storm window? It's paint, on the storm window.) It's still snowing now, almost two hours after these little pictures were snapped. In our life, here in southeast Portland, it just doesn't get any better than this. We don't need fake painted snow-flowers today. Oatmeal is happening, and I've got tomato soup planned for lunch, and nowhere to go, and wow. This is one of those days where you are just completely, devotedly in love with self-employment!!!

Audrey5_2And of course, this little thing. Because how on earth could anyone not be utterly and absolutely completely in love with this little thing, especially covered in snowflakes.

We miss you, Andy. I still can't believe you drove in. Do try and look out the window once in a while, sweetie. It's magic! Absolute magic. Can you see us out here in the yard? We're waving to you! ;-)

Okay — not everyone is having as much fun as I am, alas. . . . Watch this and cringe. Apparently, no one was hurt, thank goodness.

Stars on Ice

comments: 38

Skating1Oooo, how I love to watch ice skating! I go to a live performance almost every year. A few years ago we were lucky enough to attend Nationals here in Portland (during an ice storm no less — I really thought we weren't going to make it — we had to take the bus and then the train and I couldn't get any traction — Andy and a homeless guy each had to take one of my arms and literally pull me about eight feet up the slightest of inclines to the bus stop where I hugged a streetlamp until the bus arrived so I wouldn't slip back down the hill — ah, the irony! — but that's how much I wanted to go!). Most years it's less intense; Saturday night was just cold cold cold and no medals, just Stars on Ice.

Skating2The show, normally stamped quite heavily by the fairly low-level humor of nicest-guy-in-the-world Scott Hamilton, seems better, more sophisticated, sexier than it has in a while. The video segues could still, seriously, use the services of a professional comedy writer, since they insist on a sort of clowny jokiness that just doesn't seem worthy of this troupe (but I guess everyone loves S.H. too much to mention it), but the skating is really fine.

Skating3 Alexei Yagudin is really amazing to watch. I think I held my hand over my mouth the whole time. Some people are just truly, truly gifted, and very cool. He's rather studly. It's almost like he's not on ice. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier are breathtaking, as well.

But my favorite will always be Ekaterina Gordeeva. Every time I see her I get an enormous lump in my throat. Back in 1998 I read My Sergei and, oh man. So sad. When you see how tiny she is in real life, it's hard not to get a bit misty.

Skating4Here's the zamboni at intermission. It seems like it's going pretty slow but, seriously, try to take a picture of it: not that slow! I like how you can see the little dull stripes that haven't been zambonied yet/aren't reflective.

When I was a child, I skated at the outdoor rink in the park near my house almost every day over winter break. We had a warming room there, and my friend Monica, who lived near me, and I would bring hot-chocolate thermoses and play on the ice all day. We'd stage mock competitions and judge each other until we got so cold we'd have to go in. We were both crafty so we'd work on making bigger and better pom-poms for our skates when we got home. Whenever I watch real skaters, I can't help but wonder if they're picturing themselves alone, mittened, pink-cheeked, on a frozen pond, with crystal snowflakes falling lightly on the ice.

Skating5

Baby, It's Cold in Here!!!

comments: 50

Audrey3_3

Audrey1_4 Love. This. Doggie!!! Agh!

Grouping

comments: 23

China2 Back in the groove, by all appearances, at least. "Appearances" being key. I'm more reflective than forward-grooving lately, I must admit. The mantle no longer holds its wintry neighborhood; the village of china pieces has returned to its spot above the hearth. But all I can notice is these lights and shadows. Is winter really a time for hibernation? Not in the regular world, alas. But how else would I notice that certain slant of light if I weren't moving cold-crystallized-honey-slow? I just counted, and I've shipped 291 orders since the beginning of November. Whew. I'm taking the day off. I'm gonna watch the cat sleep.

A tricky thing about working in "retail" is feeling like unless you're working six months ahead you're actually behind. One of the first people who ever noticed what I was doing, when I started Posie seven years ago now, was Kara Larson-Koenig. We met in 2000, shortly before she opened Tumbleweed, her boutique, and back then, when Posie was just a little custom embroidery business (yep) I put ribbon flowers on her sweet, simple dresses regularly. I haven't seen her in a while, but back then she was really kind to me, and I always remember certain things she said about how she worked: no sizes on dresses, seasonal stuff available in the season itself, not months ahead. I don't know if she can still get away with that — I haven't talked to her in a really long time — but she has a strong personality, so if anyone can I would guess it's her. I was always really impressed that she just made up her own rules, in a way. I was always rushing around going, "What are the rules? Where are the rules? Just tell 'em to me!" No one knew, or they weren't telling, not to be mean but because they were too busy, because you don't really have time for that if you're really doing it. You gotta read, watch. Now I make up my own, too, though about some things I'm still sort of wussy and unsure, hence the occasional total breakdown. Breakdowns seem to happen when I've not set up my rules correctly.

Elizabeth Dye is another person who I met around that time. I just saw her in November, when she came to Studio Craft, and I was thinking of her fondly the other day as I was getting a chai at my local coffee shop, which used to be the original location of the Lena Medoyeff Studio back in 2000. I had my first trunk show there, and, then a reporter, Elizabeth wrote about the show in the Willamette Week, and I think that was the first time I was in the paper, which was so incredibly exciting to me. Intensely talented, Elizabeth is now a designer in her own right, and co-owns The English Dept., where she offers all sorts of smart and pretty things, including her own pieces. She was a huge supporter of Ella Posie; I always felt like she was one of the only people who "got" what we were trying to do with our shop really early on. She always supported and encouraged our endeavors, wrote about them as often as she could, participated in our stuff, even came and shopped. When I look back, I see how important it was to me that there were people who sort of latched-on to their own parallel visions. I'd sort of look over — How are those guys doing it? Huh. Like that, huh? and proceed. Seven years. Everyone seems to have found what's working for them. It's kinda cool to see.

Big Lunch

comments: 55

Cheesecake10 Well, it was not really a small day. The Cheesecake Factory, where I unexpectedly went for lunch with my mom for her birthday, made sure of that, if nothing else. That place is frickin HUGE. Is it what Vegas is like? I experience vertigo there.

Cheesecake2I guess it's not that big, if you're used to such places, but I'm not, really. This restaurant is sort of antithetical to the typical Portland eatery, which I think of as sort of indie, organic, in a tilty old wooden house with second-hand tables and mismatched chairs you think might just collapse. But I kind of like the sturdy-chaired CF every once in a while — huge room, huge menu, huge plates, HUGE pieces of cheesecake with a huge blobs of whipped cream next to them. It sort of feels like being at Universal Studios,. You can't help but feel sort of . . . pleasantly swept along by such capable . . . engineering. It's a bit seductive.

Cheesecake4So, no hot-and-sour soup got made, and no real snow fell. I keep hearing reports of it all around, but it didn't happen to be where I was. But now it is official — finally, the "holidays" are over in our family. So, I'm thinking, another attempt at a small day: Let's try this again. Even smaller, actually; I think fasting is probably called for at this point.

Small Day

comments: 30

Chestnuts2 They say we're supposed to get snow today, even down here on the "valley floor," so to speak. From the looks of it outside my window, I can't imagine — it's sunnier than it's been in weeks, though I am no-longer so naive as to be fooled by such an innocent-looking sky: That baby could crack open and send a blizzard at us any minute, right?

I have plans to finish what things I didn't finish yesterday, then head out to get some stuff for some kind of hot-and-sour soup. I thought this can of water chestnuts was so pretty. And that little hyacinth? I found it in a discarded pot just lying in the backyard. I'm not very good at following the rules for forcing bulbs; I buy them already popping up in the grocery store, and then when they're spent I toss them somewhere in the backyard. Half the time, I'll find the pot again, and the poor thing will be bulbing up, neglected and determined. I love these grays and blues, and then the brown and pink, together. My pinecone there is just my little reminder that it's still winter. I'm looking forward to a small day, not too much going on, nothing particularly remarkable. I'd like that. Snow sprinkled on top would be great.

Thank you to everyone for all of your interest in the auction! It was a total success, collecting around $16,000 for the Kims, more than three times what the Congdon's had hoped for. Splendid. I was so pleased to be a part of it. Elodie-Anne will be on her way to you pronto, Kristi. Thank you, so much, for your winning bid. I can't wait for you to see this little girl in real life. I hope you love her, I really do. And I hope the money helps the Kims, in any way possible.

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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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.