Posts filed in: May 2007

Little House and the Big Woods

comments: 104


She knew we were going somewhere good, so he gave me the puppy-dog eyes and begged to bring her with. I can't resist these two and their four eyes (six, really — he wears glasses), so I said okay, c'mon, let's do this thing people.


We headed out to Multnomah Falls, along with half of Portland. Don't you love that you can get coffee at even our natural attractions?


It's so, so green there. A million different greens in each square foot.


It's what an ant must feel like, making its pilgrimage across the forest floor below a cathedral of green.


The spire.


Here's the house I want to live in when I grow up. It's on the side of the old highway, just sitting there right on the road, looking pretty. It's just sitting right there! It's the cutest house in the world.

Man, that's a cute house.


If you read this blog via Bloglines, you'll probably notice that I've been trying to re-categorize all my entries. I'm hoping this will make it easier for people to find things here. I'm also going to make my existing FAQ more comprehensive and hopefully assuage some questions that I get asked regularly. I worked on re-categorizing things for several hours last night — it's amazing how the days, meals, projects, and places add up. I'm only a fraction of the way done (just warning you — sorry!). This is the Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point, and you'll now find it under "Portland and Oregon."


And just for good measure, "Pets."


Though maybe I should have a category for just plain old "Too Stinkin' Cute for Words."

Baseball Birthday

comments: 49


Thank you for all your sweet birthday wishes for Andy yesterday. I know he really appreciated all of those kind words — thank you. It was such a nice day. We worked in the yard a bit, cutting back this rose (the Climbing Eden I mentioned last week), putting in the herbs, grilling brats, baking a cake, enjoying the perfect weather.


This cake was very similar to the little stacks of hearts and clouds I made for Valentine's Day. I used this recipe for Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, spread the bottom layer with raspberry jam, topped it with Cloudburst Frosting instead of pastry cream, then added the top and another layer of frosting. This chocolate cake is better than the Dutch chocolate cake I used last time; I'd kinda thought the Dutch chocolate recipe was this one, but it wasn't. I was remembering this cake from years ago as the one my roommate used to make for her boyfriend — I called it the "boiling water" cake, and indeed it does have boiling water in it. It is incredibly moist and a little difficult to get out of its pans, but if you can manage it, it's the best.


Our dishwasher finally bit the dust over the weekend and the new one's on order, so it was hand-washing for everything. I can honestly say I don't think I was appreciating my dishwasher enough. I should've been sending her thank-you notes every day, really.


In the evening, baseball, our loyalties sorely tested. I couldn't help rooting for the Cubs (the farm team for the Chicago Cubs). Andy, the only one of our party who'd actually lived in Iowa (as he kept reminding us) was staunchly in support of the Beavs.


It was his birthday so we let it go. . . .

Great weekend. Super good.

Flowers and Fruit

comments: 74


It's Andy's birthday today! We did so much stuff already this weekend I don't even know where to begin. I'll start with the farm.


Kruger's Farm is on Sauvie Island, just a few minutes north of Portland. We went out to pick some peonies and get some strawberries. Don't these strawberries feel naive and hopeful? It's all just starting. It's just the promising start.


I do love the farm. It's so sweet. Hayrides and a corn maze, bluegrass and barbecue. Every time we go we entertain fantasies of moving. I would like to lay on my front lawn and look up at the stars sometime in my life. I could get a part-time job at the farm and sell flowers and fruit. Andy could run with the dog down the beach. I could get a pony and a pair of pygmy goats. He could play guitar on the front porch. We'd have lilacs and lazy days and berry jam.

Krugers3 Is that what it would be like?

Krugers2Probably a little bit like that. (That's not me, I just thought her boots were cool.)


Happy, happy birthday, my sweetest of sweet people ever to be born. I hope this year is full of everything you are wishing for and dreaming about. Chocolate-dipped hamburgers and vats of just-sweet-enough kettle-korn. Anything you want.




A million honey sticks, all things golden and sweet.

Pillow Talk

comments: 37


Getting ready for summer houseguests, big projects, new paint, someone's birthday, a linen-cabinet cleanout. Unearthed a pile of pillowcases I'd embroidered. Will tell you about those next week. Wait for it — [thrillsville]. [If you're into that sort of thing.]

[Of course you are.]

Ooops — forgot to say — all orders for bookbags and scrapbags left the studio yesterday (unless you sent an eCheck via Paypal which has yet to clear), and any orders I received after the 17th that weren't bookbags or scrapbags will most likely be going out on Tuesday (if I can't get it all done today). Thank you again! I've been really overwhelmed this time, but I'm getting there, I promise.

Tikka-Masala Makin'

comments: 65


My niece came over yesterday afternoon and I had her help me make the Chicken Tikka Masala I mentioned the other day. I wanted to test it out before my shirt arrives so that when it gets here and I invite my friends to my Indian dinner, I won't have to worry that the recipe won't work. As Ina counsels, I don't make things I've never made before when peeps are coming for dinner.

I read some of the reader comments on that recipe (which was just the first one that looked good when I Googled it) so I knew that 1) it was spicy and 2) it was way too salty as written. I had Arden make the marinade — basically yogurt with lemon juice and ginger and lots and lots of different spices — but we only used 1 t. salt, instead of the recommended FOUR.


The marinade is perfect for a kid to do. I love discovering what she doesn't know. For instance, it was slightly challenging to grasp both the relationship and the difference between the 1/4 teaspoon and the teaspoon, not to mention a spoon (often called a teaspoon), but so much fun to investigate it. When you use a butter knife to smooth the top of your measuring unit, you should use the top of the knife, not the curved edge. Stuff like this. Beautiful. There was a collective sneezing incident when 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper got measured, and a potential "I got pepper in my eye!" scare, but it passed (and hands were washed again all around).


You make the marinade then leave the chicken to soak it up for an hour in the fridge. We went out to the yard, wrote two poems, drew a cat, watered the plants, and watched Uncle Andy mow the lawn. Then it was time for my charge to go home. She assured me she would not have been interested in eating this for dinner. . . .


When the chicken is fully saturated with its spicy elixir, you grill it up, then add it to the creamy, jalapeno-y, tomato-y sauce (to which, again, I only added 1 teaspoon of salt, not THREE), and plop it all on some basmati rice. I could tell just by looking and smelling that it was going to be good. One bite and I couldn't stop talking: "Ohmygosh. Ohmygosh! Wow. This tastes just like the restaurant! I can't believe it. I've never, ever made anything that tasted like the thing from the restaurant! Ever. Ever! But this does. Doesn't it? Wow! I'm so excited? Are you psyched honey? Are you as psyched as I am???" All said with my mouth full.

People, it was just like it is at the restaurant.

Hurry, daisy blouse! Hurry!


comments: 54


Andy was in Chicago this past week, so I spent seven nights and eight days just bonding with my furry girls. He's home now, and I am just the teensiest bit nostalgic for the quiet house, the quiet dog patiently munching her "chip" at the end of the bed, the quiet nights of bedroom TV with Miss Marple and Mrs. Beeton, the sounds of a DJ and "Mony Mony" at an eighth-grade graduation party down the block wafting through the twilight. It was really great to be with Audrey constantly, and different than when Andy is home. She was glued to my side, day and night, and I got so used to having my little companion everywhere I went. When Andy is in the house she attaches to him, so we sort of share custody of her, throughout the day. But when he's gone she hangs with me, and I like it. I think she does too. It's sort of relaxing for her. She doesn't have to keep her ears peeled for any sound of his truck. She need not wait longingly at the window for hours and hours. She gets used to going out for the last time at 7:30 p.m., when I routinely call it a day and head upstairs.


But oh! the joy of his return! The running through the house and barking! The bringing of every lost toy she's ever had! The jumping and spinning and skidding! He's back, he's back. Ahhhh, thank you.

Curry-Colored Daisies

comments: 46

Newshirts1 Isn't this a cute shirt? I ordered it a few days ago from I was listening to the new Wilco record, which sounds like the Grateful Dead to me, and then I was thinking about how much fun it was to go to Dead shows back in the Midwest, and that reminded me of those little cotton Indian skirts we used to wear all summer, and the little cotton shirts, and then I started searching for them on-line because I never see anybody wearing those anymore, and that's how I found this cute daisy tunic. Only $29.95 and it comes in a million sizes with a bunch of different things you can customize. They have a whole bunch of cute tops, so I ordered a few of them, but they haven't arrived yet. I think they take several weeks to come.

When this one comes, I'll make some yellow curry, or, wait — Chicken Tikka Masala. And find our old bootleg tapes. And possibly it will be warmer than 50 degrees. . . . What happened to summer around here? Guess I'd better keep dreaming.

Raspberry-Muffin Morning

comments: 71


I had two little containers of gorgeous raspberries, so I thought I'd make some muffins. I love a good muffin. I think most coffee shops really need to work on their muffins. Or maybe it's just that muffins are best right out of the oven, not shrouded in cling-wrap and three days on.

Anyway, I should know better than to open a Barefoot Contessa cookbook with no butter in the fridge, so off to the store (in my apron and pajama culottes [people at my Safeway wear a lot weirder outfits than that, I assure you] ) I went.


For all muffins lately I've used the recipe for Ina's Blueberry Coffee-Cake Muffins from Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It makes heavy, beautifully yellow muffins. I don't like a muffin that shreds into upholstery stuffing when I open it; I want my muffins loamy and moist. Just substitute anything you want for the blueberries. Never was there a better excuse for some fancy Demerara sugar than the tops of these.


Of course, I could not find the Demerara sugar I was sure I'd just bought, so I used a bit of cinnamon-sugar. Not much can't be made better with a fine layer of cinnamon-sugar. I used the jumbo muffin tin (to find one, just Google it), too, so I stuffed the all the batter into these six craters (and it was still a little too much batter). Bake an extra 8-10 minutes.


Good muffins. The tart berries add just the right amount of sourness to that dense, vanilla-y handful. Yummy hot, and even, weirdly, better the next day.


At the Zoo

comments: 39


I went to the zoo last weekend, and I'm going with my niece again this weekend, too. I didn't get around to see everything I wanted to, or ride the train. I also forgot to upload my photos, so I thought I'd better do that before I take some more.


Sometimes I wish I were a sea lion. Actually, no — a sea otter. Yeah, sea otter. Dipping and swooping, no feet.


I'd wear one of these as a corsage.


If I were a alpine wildflower, I'd wave longingly at all the passersby.


If I were a quadruped on the Alaska tundra, it would be twilight at noon.


If I were a woodland owl, I'd sleep through it, and puffle in my ferny lair.


They just remind me so much of Audrey, but in slo-mo. They stood in this exact pose for about seven minutes. The easiest thing to photograph in the zoo.


I'm a great one for the anthropomorphizing, I know. It drove my father crazy. He would say, "The yard is not a 'she, lonely in her finery'!" when I'd complain that we hadn't had a BBQ all summer. That's my family, walking ahead. I guess we like plaid. (I was wearing it, too.)


I don't think anyone goes to the zoo without feeling a bit conflicted. That's not blue sky, it's gray paint, and a twelve-foot ceiling.


Might be nice for the prey, but not for the predators. I don't know.


That fence is actually behind the birds. There is nothing between us at Lorikeet Landing.


Tomorrow I am going on THE TRAIN. He, polished and proud, is awaiting my return. (Isn't he?)

Yellow for Good Luck

comments: 71

Peony2_2Thank you to everyone who ordered things yesterday — thank you thank you! Warms my little heart, I tell you. I'm very grateful for your support. Every single order directly and absolutely allows me to continue to do what I love to do, so thank you, most sincerely. These flowers are for you.


I got some of my dishes out of the basement the other day, excited because it's eat-outside time again. I love dishes. I just do. I think they're so pretty and sweet. I almost never resist their charms when thrifting. These are from Goodwill and they are called Damsel by Royal China. There's tons of it on eBay. Last night my fortune cookie fortune actually said, "Focus in on the color yellow tomorrow for good luck!" Isn't that bizarre? I have never gotten a fortune that said anything about color, have you? Since today is the "tomorrow" of last night, I'll be on the lookout. Where should I go today, to focus in on yellow?


This dish is Jubilee, also by Royal China, also widely available. The tablecloth is several years old, from Anthropologie. The napkins are thrifted. The glass is one of the last two we own, I swear.

Dinner2 More Goodwill pottery, the big vase. To go with the little Mexican vases. It's quite shocking to me that those flowers came out of the fairly neglected rose bushes growing in the fairly neglected dirt of my front parkway. It's a true testament to Portland's remarkable ability to grow roses out of cracks in the sidewalk, I tell you. That pink one is Abraham Darby. It blooms first, among mine. Next will be Sharifa Asma, then Heritage (the first rose I ever grew, and I still love it best), and then the amazing amazing climbing Eden growing up the kitchen wall in back.

Dinner1 Can you tell I have a thing for big, pink, fluffy roses? I like peonies too, and I have ten of them. I got them when they were little shriveled up brown blobs, out of a box from Costco, and they all came up, and they all bloom regularly. No one is more shocked than I. Everything grows here. I don't have a clue what any of them are called, though. That hot pink one is always the first to come out. It all makes me want to host a dance, or something. If Bridget doesn't eat everything. She is about to try and take a huge bite out of this leaf. That's probably bad for her, right?

Dinner3I made Ina's Seafood Gratin from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I don't know why I made noodles with it instead of rice, but I just wasn't thinking. It was delicious.


Oh, dear me, it feels so good to get back outside. The weather has been gorgeous this week and I have been so happy. I've decided that this summer I am going to pull out my calendar and schedule lots of social events for myself, instead of just letting things happen, or not happen, as is often what happens. The summer passes me by, and I realize I didn't make an effort to wrangle the weekends into social shapes the way I really do so desire to do. This summer I will do better. You heard it here.

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




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.