Posts filed in: January 2008

Swedish-Pancake Morn

comments: 97

Pancakes1

Yesterday it was cooooold outside, and today, again, there is a cloudy layer of icy fog on the yard. Naturally, very strong coffee and thin, hot, eggy pancakes beg to be made on such mornings.

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I love pancakes like this — thin, crispy on the outside, melting on the in'. I made these from Lund's Swedish pancake mix, but you don't need a mix to make them, and it's only marginally harder to start from scratch.

Swedish Pancakes

4 eggs
1 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 c. milk
a little bloop of vegetable oil

Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, and salt together into a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in milk until just combined, then add a bit of oil (just to keep them from sticking) and stir again. Ladle or pour the batter onto the griddle over medium heat, and tip pan to swirl batter into a thin circle. Flip when edges look dry.

I like to eat mine without the traditional lingonberry syrup (they come with this in the U.S., at least, but not in Sweden), and instead just sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar on top. Sometimes butter is okay, but I actually like them better just plain (with the sugar).

In your flannel nightgown, with frozen fog outside, it's almost like you could be in Sweden.

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Crochet Patterns Ready to Download

comments: 56

Pho_cro_bella_lg

Thank you so much for all the nice comments on the site yesterday! I felt kind of embarrassed to have a site about myself, so it was nice hearing nice things, thank you. I really appreciate that.

Thank you, also, to those of you who found my crochet patterns and ordered them to download yesterday, as well. They are all ready to go! I'm so excited to have these available in pdf format, too, because it will mean that everyone gets their patterns immediately, including overseas folks. If you click on the link above it will take you to the collection.

Also, if you are a yarn shop owner interested in purchasing them wholesale, just let me know and I will give you more information about that. I've never really marketed these patterns to shops, but only because I've wanted to remake and rephotograph the samples for about . . . two years. Now that I've finally gotten it done, I'm bubbling with ideas for more (funny how that works, eh?), so you'll see those soon, too. It feels sooooo good to be able to get these things older things done, and start more.

Please let me know if anyone has any trouble with the download (you will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to see the files) or with any of the patterns themselves. Since they've been recently revised, I'm on high-alert for errata, so give me a holler should anything confusing come up.

I made a really cute crocheted beret over the weekend. If I finish the pattern for that today, I'll see if anyone might want to test it. Typically, I have always hired a technical editor to proof all of my patterns, but this one is pretty straightforward so I think it will be okay. I don't know why I'm talking about it without showing it to you. I am just excited about these I guess! That whole download thing is really cool. I don't know what century I've been living in. Maybe someday soon I'll even have my very own iPod, too. I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't have an iPod. Slow on the uptake here.

Where I Whittle My To-Do List Down to a Mere Sliver

comments: 126

Newwebsite1 Yay, I finally finished it! AliciaPaulson.com is off my to-do list. I'm very happy.

And relieved! It feels great to have things organized finally. I've had a web site for Posie since 2001, but it's always been really confusing trying to explain what Posie is, what Ella Posie was, what rosylittlethings.com is, what Posie Gets Cozy is, etc. See, it exhausts me just typing that sentence, frankly. But now I hope this new site acts as a portal to the different kinds of things I do. It's nice to have it all collected, I must say.

I am also kind of excited about this because I did it entirely by myself! Well, sort of by myself. When my amazing friend Shelly of Toolbox Media helped me redo the Posie site in 2005, we always intended to do an Alicia Paulson site to make things less confusing, just never got around to it. But she made a template and a style sheet for the Posie site that I have, over the years, taught myself to use and to change into other sites (like the old Ella Posie site and this new one).

If you know HTML, and if you could see me working on this, I guarantee you would fall off your chair laughing. I am so clueless about HTML but I am so determined to manage these sites myself. I really do need to take a class, if only to just learn the basics. My way is to find anything that is working on-screen, and then go up into the HTML view and I try to figure out what in the hootenanny code is making it do that. Then I cut, and paste, and re-dink like CRAZY to try to make it all do what I want (because frequently it is doing something I don't want). THIS. TAKES. FOREVER. Many many tries. Strangely, I sort of enjoy it. Kind of in the way I sort-of enjoyed studying Latin for that one semester before I dropped it.

This is what I affectionately call the Needle-in-the-Haystack School of Web Design. (New Year's resolution completely blown on this one, too, sigh. But one must not be afraid to swear when doing HTML because it actually makes the computer do what you want. It does. The fact that this web site works at all has nothing to do with my very fragile grasp of HTML and everything to do with my proficiency in profanity. Shelly did not teach me that but I figured it out all by myself.) So obviously and in all seriousness, any crazy HTML in ANY of my sites has everything to do with me and nothing to do with Toolbox Media, who I think are quite nervous whenever I mention them. They actually do know HTML, and never swear. Not professionally. Okay, not even personally.

Anyway, I'm excited about this. If you see anything not working over there, just let me know. I do so love it when things are all in their places with bright, smiling faces. I think I'll turn off the computer today and go outside now.

Our Pretty Little Clover Meadow

comments: 109

Twenty-four weeks old today. It can't be.

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A most excellent girl we have here.

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Just learned how to go down the stairs by herself.

Clover2

Who you callin little. I'm huge!

Pink-Pan White Bread

comments: 61

Bread2_2

So, it's possible that yesterday's comments were my very favorite comments ever. I don't know if anyone else got a little verklempt reading them, but I did. What was amazing was how similar a lot of the things were: lots of crackers, usually mushed up. Lots of cheese, yes. Lots of soups. Lots of cinnamon-y stuff. Lots of things made by dads, which is fascinating. And grandmas. Lots of things that actually sound pretty . . . curious . . . but I'm sure are wonderful on the right days (those when you're sick, or sad, or just want to go home). Lots of bread.

Naturally, I now have a project in mind for all of this. Stay tuned. . . .

When I got home from Seattle, a birthday present was waiting for me from Pam, with whom I'd just spent the weekend. She'd sent the prezzie from Chicago before she'd left: among other things, a beautiful pink ceramic loaf pan, a new bamboo cutting board, and a gorgeous Henckels bread knife. DANG that girl knows me. Love love love her. So, yesterday, in honor of comfort foods and family, I baked bread.

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"Baked" is the only thing I did to this — the bread was frozen white bread dough that we use to make pretzels (a link to Sandra Lee seems appropriate here, no?). You take the loaf out and plop it in a greased loaf pan. Then preheat the (electric) oven to 200 degrees F while boiling about 2 quarts of water in the kettle. When the oven is heated, pour the water into a shallow pan and place it on the bottom rack. Pop the bread pan onto the middle rack, shut the door, and turn off the oven. Allow the dough to thaw and rise for two to four hours, until it's risen about an inch over the top of the pan. I forgot about mine altogether so it was way over the top of the pan (top photo).

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Turn the oven up to 350, take the pan of water out, and bake for thirty minutes. Pretty pretty pretty. My new bread pan is awesome.

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The knife was fantastic. The nicest one I've ever owned. I could've cut this bread while holding the loaf in mid-air, I swear. Alas, the bread tasted like . . . nothing. Seriously. I wouldn't have known I was eating anything had I not toasted my slice and slathered it with butter and cinnamon-sugar.

Cinnamon toast is never wrong. Ever. Even on Wonder Bread.

Winter Lunch

comments: 246

Soup1

Thank you for all the "balancing" suggestions the other day. I can't tell you how fascinating that was to read — people are so different. Wow. I'm printing all of them out and clipping the ones that seem like they will work for me. I went and got some really pretty little notebooks, a cool to-do list, and a new address book yesterday. I can at least get organized on paper. I have never been a notebook-carrying type (I start out strong, then forget, then lose the notebook completely), but I knew someone who was, and she was very calm, so maybe. . . .

I've worked on the computer like crazy for the past couple of days. The cozy antidote to computering is Campbell's cream of tomato soup with noodles, one of the classics of my childhood. Also one of my very favorite lunches. Now they make tomato bisque, which has little pieces of tomato in it, and I like it better, but oh was it hard to switch (oh, and these noodles are supposed to be Creamettes, but they never carry those at my grocery stores, rats). You don't mess with the family classics! I don't know how this soup compares to "real" tomato soup — but for me that's hardly the point. Family-faves are successful in ways that are specific only to their creators. So much of the appeal of this soup is that it tastes exactly the same, every time, as it has for the thirty-five years I've been eating it for lunch.

Much of its appeal is also that it is just one of those quirky Ieronemo-family lunches (like envelopes of Lipton's chicken-noodle soup [with those little slabs of powdery boullion] to which we always added tiny bow-tie noodles and a pat of butter) that I make when I want to feel like everything's connected. I wonder if my sisters or my mom still make these. I was at my friend's house the other day and I mentioned these family-foods to her, and she immediately said, "Oh yeah, Triscuits with the thinnest layer of margarine and a little bit of garlic salt, toasted! My mom always made those and I loved them! I should make those!"

What are yours?

My New Plan

comments: 103

Cecily2

Thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes! I have a whole lot of email to answer, and thank-you notes to write, and mail to sort through this week, but until I get to all of it, thank you! I had a great birthday.

Now it's back-to-work time, big time. That feels really good. The house is kind of a mess. Book proofs arrive the day after tomorrow, and I'll have those to proofread for a week and a half. My new web site is almost finished. My new-and-improved crochet pattern samples are finished and photographed. Some publicity is coming out in the next few weeks so I'm trying to get ready for that, though I've made the Executive Decision not to go crazy trying to get a bunch of stuff made for the web shop (which has been closed, and will be through January 14). As usual, everything sort of happens all at once, but I'm just not going to rush this time. I don't want to rush around anymore. I know I am the only one that can change that in my life.

January is kind of weird, isn't it? After the holidays, and that long period of intense preparation and celebration, the new year comes right up. And then there's pressure to get everything reorganized and improved right away. But I'm just going to try to pace myself this month, and this year. I already was trying, but when a drill bit comes out of your ankle it really puts things into perspective, you know? I have to set my own reasonable pace, no matter what demands are put upon me. I really don't know why that's so hard. For me, I suspect it requires saying "no" more often. How do you pace yourself and stay balanced (if you do)? Any advice?

Seattle Birthday

comments: 156

Birthday4

We spent the weekend in Seattle, seeing some of our oldest friends and celebrating my birthday yesterday. I had an absolutely fantastic time. Seattle is so wonderful.

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We took the train up Saturday morning, arriving just in time for lunch at Pike Place Market. I love to sit and look at the water, and watch the big boats hover, and see the light change minute to minute.

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We stayed at the Inn at the Market, which was just steps away from Pike Place. It's really fun to just be able to walk out of your hotel and grab a little bag of cinnamon donuts, fresh flowers, and coffee at the original Starbucks.

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And every kind of seafood. It's touristy, but so colorful. I love it down there.

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Our friends from college, Bob and Wendy, have lived in Seattle for thirteen or fourteen years. Our other friends from college, Pam and Jim, live in Chicago, and they flew out with their little boy on Friday night. We hadn't seen Pam and Jim in about five years, and getting to spend my birthday with all of these old friends, so incredibly dear to my heart, was just awesome. I can't believe we have all known each other now for almost twenty years.

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Saturday we hooked up with the girls in the afternoon, and wandered around downtown for a while, then met the boys for dinner later. We made a quick stop after dinner at the Space Needle, which really is very cool, especially at night.

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When we got back to the hotel, we stopped off for a candlelight creme brulee at Cafe Campagne, just steps away from our room.

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Isn't it nice to come "home" to a bed that someone has turned down for you? I must say I like that.

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Sunday-morning city, from our hotel window.

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Breakfast with everyone at Easy Street Records with the best-behaved restaurant-going almost-three-year-old I have ever met in my life.

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Later, the boys went for a hike, and the girls — we went for a different kind of hike. Going up and down those escalators at Westlake Center is great exercise.

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Monday was my birthday! Beautiful Blair met us for breakfast back at the Sound View Cafe. More ships came in. I really could've just sat and watched them all day.

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But there were cupcakes Royale to be had, and a visit to the new Seattle Public Library.

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Can you believe this is the library?

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Kiss kiss, Seattle. Thank you so much.

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It was perfect.

Quiet Crochet

comments: 66

Crochetwork1 Yesterday I spent about four hours scrubbing the bathroom floor and the back hall floor. I really have nothing to say about that except wow, was it dirty. Scrubbing is quite a workout. It won't help your carpal tunnel either. When I was done I felt like I'd scrubbed the floors, played volleyball, gone to wrestling camp, and then gone to sailing camp. And then did twenty pull-ups. As if I could even do one pull-up. The bathroom is pretty now, though. And I take it back — apparently I can find something to say about anything.

It felt good to do something physical, though. For the past several weeks, I have done a lot of crocheting. It's been a really wonderful interlude, I must say. I have been fussing with my own patterns, adding some details, redoing the samples (correctly this time, and with new yarns). I am very much loving the Rowan Cashsoft DK. The palette is delicious and the yarn seems to have a little more of a halo than the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino I originally designed these patterns in, and I kind of like that. There's a Cashmerino DK now, too, but I get the same gauge for the Baby Cashmerino and the DK stuff, so go figure. Once I'm in the sportweight-DK family it's all about color for me. (That said, I wish every yarn store would organize their yarns first by weight, not manufacturer, not fiber content — to me, it's mostly about yarn weight, and then I find the fiber content I want within that category, then color.) I'm liking the Cashsoft palette better somehow. The colors seem more muted and sophisticated, or something. I'm so glad that there are more cashmere blends available in the past several years. I have really conservative tastes in yarns, I must say. I love DK-weight yarn, I love it to be very soft, and I love to be able to see my stitches. I have a few other kinds of yarns in this bowl, including alpaca and angora blends. I love to look at them altogether. Don't you think bowls of yarn are just gorgeous? I seem to have several around all the time. Mmmm.

By the way, if you are interested in learning to crochet and looking for a great resource, I keep forgetting to mention that I think the best one for the basics (including instructions for lefties!) is The National Needlework Association's publication How to Crochet. It's very inexpensive, filled with illustrations, and it really demystifies things like turning chains, hook sizes, and stuff like that. I highly recommend it.

So, redoing patterns, going to get some special buttons today and rephotograph everything, with the hopes of relaunching these patterns sometime this month (on my new eponymous web site — yay — gotta get that done, too). If I can figure it out, I'll also be making the patterns available as downloadable pdfs. That's been on my list for, oh, three years now. Same with redoing the pattern photos, actually. Same with finishing the web site. All in good time.

Slow is my new thing.

My New Bit

comments: 57

Newyear1

Okay I was peeing laughing yesterday at all the comments on the drill bit. The things I will do for a comment! Seriously, though, I wish I had known before that so many other objects have ejected themselves from people's bodies decades after the original . . . encounter. Glass, pants fiber, pins, screws, and at least one very long black thread. Since I've stopped swearing (bad time to choose that as a resolution, I now see) I can't really tell you what I "thought" when I read all that but — O, THE HUMANITY!!!

Yesterday was awesome. We had such a great time doing nothing. We watched some of my favorite movies, including one that is definitely in my top ten, The Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, and Robert Downey, Jr. I think that movie is absolutely perfect. We also watched Another Thin Man and Chasing Liberty. I love Mandy Moore. I just do. I think she is adorable. Oh, and A Mighty Wind. Another great one. "Wha' happened?" Do you have any idea how many opportunities there are in just a normal day to say "Wha' happened?" like that? I think I said it about fifty or sixty times yesterday. Good times.

In the middle of the night, Andy woke up, and then I woke up, and he looked at the clock and said, "Hmmm, it looks like the power is out."

     "Wha' happened?" [It's my new "bit."]

We looked out the front bedroom window and saw that the whole block was dark. We could see lights from a utility truck flashing like strobes in the darkness — someone was on it. According to Andy's watch it was 4 a.m. Hours passed and I never really got back to sleep. Strangely, I had just watched this on Jools Holland the night before so I couldn't get the song and its lyrics out of my mind. I spent quite a while thinking about what it would be like to be in a super-cool band like Arcade Fire. Then I started thinking about how every time I see someone doing something like playing a violin, or ice skating, or dancing I always start getting all fidgety, wishing I was a violin player, or a figure skater, or a ballet dancer. Then I got annoyed with myself for thinking that way, and thought about just appreciating those things without feeling the impulse to do those things. Then I thought about jobs I would not want to do, like be a personal assistant. I never see personal assistants and think "That's what I want to do." Or air-traffic controllers. I think that would be a terrible job for me, though I really appreciate that there are people who want to do it. I think I might have enjoyed being a lawyer, actually. Except for the part where you have to stand up and talk in front of people without losing control of yourself. So I couldn't do that. Etc., etc. This went on for a while. How thinking goes at 4 a.m. By morning, the house was cold though the water was hot, so I took a lovely shower by candlelight. When we went out, we could see that a big tree had fallen down and taken out a power line on the next block.

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Isn't it weird how the trees just fall over? Poor thing. Luckily it fell directly away from our neighbor's house and landed on some other trees across the street. Nevertheless, the power looked like it would be out all morning so we headed out to Milo's for breakfast. Thank you PGE and whoever was out all night working on cutting this tree down and restoring power to our neighborhood this morning. It was very cold and I'm guessing most if not all of those guys were wishing they were "lying with their heads in the toilet like all normal people" on New Year's Day (that's Bridget Jones's Diary, another great New Year's movie I forgot about). "PGE guy" would be one of those jobs I would pretty much completely suck at. "Surgeon," obviously, would be another.

This year I think I'll just work on getting "non-hysteric" down.

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.