Posts filed in: August 2007

The Cloudberry Ultimatum

comments: 87


It pains me to say this, it really does, since I wanted so much to like it, but I was SO disappointed in The Bourne Ultimatum. I did not like it at all. I'm too tired today to even explain why, so I'm falling back on that old blogging standby: What I Had for Breakfast.

When I first heard about blogs a few years ago, I thought they were about what people had for breakfast. And . . .

. . . they are! Isn't it great? Where else but a blog will anyone tolerate listening to stories of toast and jam? Nowhere. I love blogs.

Cloudberry, the prettiest word ever and what I will name my 14.4-hand dapple-gray Connemara pony when I get her. And I will get her. Someday.

Man [munch, munch], I really did not like that movie and it wasn't just all the gratuitous violence that had me watching with my hands over my eyes. Jason, I know the critics are loving you right now, but . . . no. You walk in, throw your tags on the table and say, "I'll do whatever you want." What?!? Fifty-two hours of sleep deprivation and . . . that's your story?

I don't buy it. I demand a better explanation than that. Or else. Or else I won't watch your movie eight times like I did with the other ones.

Call it my Cloudberry Ultimatum.

IKEA Afternoon

comments: 78


Andy got cancelled from work early yesterday morning so we picked up our friend Shelly and took an unexpected trip to IKEA for lunch and gawking and shopping. Shelly is an industrious home-improver. Just looking at all the amazing things she has planned for her place inspires me. Here she is out on her lanai. She has an in-ground pool, too, and it all feels totally '50s California. I want a frosted-roof-covered lanai. There's sort of a mellow brightness about it, the light coming through a piece of waxed paper.

IKEA is cool! I'd only been to two of them before, one in Seattle and one in San Francisco. I'm very excited that we have one in Portland. When you're there you don't feel like you're in Portland. Andy Paulson, our official Swede, helped us navigate the long lines at the restaurant by finding a "shortcut," waving us out of the line we'd stood in for twenty minutes to the "short" line, only to be gently reminded by the IKEA employee that it wasn't really a short line, it was just the front part of the "long" line that everyone had been waiting in for . . . ever. Nevermind, having lost our place in line we flew down to the cafe for $1cups of meatballs — we had had had to have meatballs before doing anything else — then back up to the showrooms, where Andy helped translate things for us. "Oh, 'Korral Fisk' — now, see, that means 'Coral Fish,' you guys."

"Mmm, thanks, Sweden. I never would've guessed."

I know, I'm so sarcastic lately, I'm sorry. We had a great time. I love IKEA Portland! I like the way they're always just all laid out and you can follow the little arrows and just wander around on a path. You don't have to think about which way to go. It was really crowded, as usual, but it didn't even matter, we were that excited. Nevertheless, what happened to me the last two times I went to IKEA happened again, and that is that when I'm approximately 78% done with it, I suddenly and desperately start wishing I was already home and on my own sofa, watching TV with my feet up. It's like, 22% too big. Twenty-two percent away from the checkout area, just after the lamps, I suddenly feel exhausted, wonder if I'm actually going to make it across that last football-field sized warehouse, and seriously consider climbing into the shopping cart and having someone push me directly through the warehouse, through the checkout line, and to the car.


Right? Actually, I just thought of something. IKEA should design one of those Segway things and put it right there, at 78% of the way through the store. I'd buy it.

Three French Knots

comments: 42


Thank you for all the generous and thoughtful comments yesterday. I read them in the studio where I was hanging out with my eight-year-old niece. It was a great auntie moment late in the afternoon when she learned how to do the French knot. I had prepared her for its difficulty — remember how long it took my friend Lori to learn it and how excited she was when she "got" it on the bus? I swear old Lori must have tried it fifty times before she got it. I told Arden that she might not get it the first time, but not to worry, etc., etc, etc., etc.

Silly me. I am an Ieronemo after all, and that's what we do, remember? My niece brushed off my warnings, deftly completed the French knot the first time, declared it too "off on one side," then proceeded to do two in the exact center of the next two red dots, all in about four seconds. Cinchy. Aunt Alicia watched, amazed: "Wow! Wow! Great work!" She thanked me, then picked up the "real" project she was working on (the red-dots stuff was just practice) and I picked up my project and we continued to work across the table from each other in silence for about five minutes when she said imperially, "Aunt Alicia, why did you think it was hard? It was so easy, why did you even think it was so hard? It was so easy!" And on about it like this as if she simply could not conceive of a world where the French knot was a challenge.

"A little modesty, please!" I exclaimed.

Oh, I am so excited about tomorrow. So excited. The Bourne Ultimatum. The Bourne Ultimatum!!! Next time I complain about self-employment you remind me that I am going to see The Bourne Ultimatum in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday and I will shut the hell up. Because I am psyched. I can't wait.

* Thoughts and prayers going out to Minneapolis. *

Thanks Jill for the head's up on a French knot tutorial at the Purl Bee. Those pillows are super cute, too. New sofa idea, hrmmm. . . .

Gretel Apron for a Healing Brain, and More Self-Reflection

comments: 73

Aliciapaulson_1 Isn't it amazing, I eat like a poundcake pig but I'm still a size 2! I know, I don't know how I do it, it's so great!!!

Oh drat, that's not me, it's just the smallest dressform on earth. This apron has seven panels and I'd be lucky to get them around half of me, sigh.

So, this is my Gretel Apron for the One in Ten auction for our sweet Eireann's mom, which starts on August 19. I wasn't happy with the way my first apron was going — not exactly what I had in mind — so I rethought the thing yesterday morning and did something fuller, gathered and ruffled. I was thinking about the north woods of Michigan, that soft, moody forest padded with its pine-needle eiderdown, and about Gretel, that most resourceful girl in both forest and kitchen. It has a bit in common with the J. Crew dress I won't be wearing on my cooking show, now that I see them together, too.


I do love my little apron, I have to admit, and I mostly love it because I had a great time making it — it was the first thing I've made in a couple of months where I didn't write a pattern at the same time and it was so freee-eeee-ing. It was great. I didn't have to take notes or measure fourteen times or eeeeenything. I could just cut, sew, press, rip, re-sew, press, wow.

Artfulblogging Today the inaugural issue of Artful Blogging: Visually Inspiring Online Journals, a special new quarterly publication from Stampington and Co., is available on newsstands. This unique and beautiful magazine collects profiles of over thirty creative bloggers. I am so honored to be a part of this issue. I think it's the first time I've ever seen my photos in print — all ten that they've reprinted originally appeared here on the blog, and the color: wow. Wow. The production on this magazine blows my mind. I would say the color is actually perfect — everyone's stuff just looks absolutely enchanted. I've never seen so much color, well-done color, collected in one place, on such nice paper. It's beautiful.

Editorially, they really captured something, and that's no small feat, given the range of the participants. Major. It is fascinating to read about everyone's inspirations, motivations, and experiences when blogging. Some of the bloggers I am familiar with, like Juju, and Anahata, and Nina, and Jane, and Teresa, Sandy, and Kari (who'd I miss, anyone?). Others' sites are completely new to me and I can't wait to explore them.

Reading my own article, in which I'm very crabby and talk incessantly about how I hate everything (nice), reminded me of how my life was when I started this blog almost two years ago. I was, in a lot of ways, more stressed out than I'd ever been. For a long time after my accident, it seemed like things were different, simpler, the challenges obvious, the victories clear and quantifiable. About five years after, I started having a more-or-less normal life again, but it was a new life, full of changes and new opportunities as I tried to adjust to creative self-employment and actually make a living at it. They were regular challenges, anybody's challenges, but I was still struggling. Flailing. For quite a while. Blogging came into all this at a really crucial time, a time when I was really lost in my new life, trying hard to make sense of why I'd turned my hobby, this thing I'd loved so much, my survival kit, into my job.

I felt so sad then. I was lonely, missing my old office and office friends, not as happy as I'd thought I'd be, and really tired. So the blog started as a little treat, a little empty space I allowed myself to fill with — whatever. It didn't matter what. That was the point. It's still the point. I never set out to try, I only wanted to chill, to balance, and I still want that. I get wound so tight it feels like my head is going to twist right off my neck and explode in a shower of seam rippers, sparks, and blown fuses.

But I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that writing, the thing I'd wanted to get away from, the thing that I couldn't wait to stop doing, would be the thing that saved me. It seems so obvious and cliched now, that this would be true. I've written about blogging many times before, here, here, and here, and here. Really, my reason for doing it is here. I still believe all of that, still think that, in the end, for me at least, the doing it is the thing. When I have felt overwhelmed or uninspired or too busy or too shredded to blog — when I lose my stride — what I think is, "I want it back." I want that space in the day it takes up — that quiet hour in the chair with the coffee cup, trying to find a perspective on it all. That's what the blog is for me — a luxury that allows me to look at and appreciate the little things, the parts of my life that I miss as I'm whizzing by with my hair on fire. That impulse, to stop and look and realize It's all hap-pen-ing — it trumps the rest of it. The blog allows me to see what I wasn't taking time to see, even to pick up the pieces of the past and look at them again. The sharing, the being heard, and the listening — well, those are just like . . . grace. Those are the things you hold your breath and marvel at and try not to startle into flight.

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.