Got 'em. Love 'em.

comments: 43


I got the new dishes yesterday, and I love them. Here is some early-morning, seven-grain hot cereal with brown sugar and milk — one of my favorite winter breakfasts.

It feels strangely adult-y to have eight matching place-settings of something, instead of the cupboard jumble I am used to — even with the White Dishes, there was always something missing, or busted. The impending holiday brings out the shepherdess in me: I start looking for, then tending to, every pile of wrinkled tablecloths, every too-tiny drawer of (wrinkled) napkins. I start rounding up strays from the laundry area, wondering what happened to so-and-so (the eighth yellow napkin, the fourth blue-flowered napkin). Our little old house is low on storage space. Whenever I see people on Househunters on HGTV complaining that there are only, like, five ginormous closets in the prospective house I start guffawing: People! You have no idea! Only one teensy closet on the first floor, stuffed with winter coats and the vacuum cleaner, in Andy's office. So parts and pieces of cooking and dining materials roam the first floor unsupervised — baking dishes and tube pans in the pantry, casserole dishes on the sideboard in the dining room, tablecloths in the dresser in the dining room, napkins in the china cabinet in the kitchen. I have to herd all my little lambs occasionally, and take stock.


I ironed linens all morning (oddly relaxing — should do it more than once a year), and am pre-washing all of the fabric I got yesterday for the runner and napkins. By the time I picked everything out yesterday at the fabric store I was exhausted. You want to get it right, you know? I try to make something special for myself for the holidays every year. It forces me to sit and think about the holidays. It's the gift I give myself. That time. I'm looking forward to it this next week. Just sittin' and thinkin' and stitchin'. And ironin'. I think the dryer is almost done.


Your new dishes are sweet. I have really enjoyed your book. My four girls were pouring over it last night, trying to decide what to make over the Thanksgiving break.

Hello! I read your blog all the time. I work at a library and just bought your book to add to our collection! I can't wait to see it in person. Congrats!

Pesky Patti says: November 19, 2008 at 09:32 AM

Hey Alicia...

Any thoughts as to buying a new house?

Oh, I love the table runner you are going to make! I am working on a tablerunner myself as my Christmas gift. I am using the cathedral window quilt pattern and it is coming along so great! Love your new dishes too!

What a lovely post, and a lovely idea! I run around so frantically trying to make sure everyone on my list has a handmade gift...perhaps I should gift myself, too!

Heed my advice from yesterday--be CAREFUL about pouring boiling water into those mugs! Otherwise, yep, they're beauuuuuutiful.

Sugar overload!! :) More cranberries, nuts and a nice walk outside - healthy 2009! More pics of Alicia in 2009 - we were hoping for pics of you signing books with your skirt on! xoxo

Lack of storage space can really make you appreciate every ounce of space you do have. I was complaining about our 1200 sq. ft. basement that I have to empty in order to move in February. I wonder what the perfect mix of living space and storage space is? I think I have too much space which allowed me to have way too many dishes and boxes of junk. I wonder if my dream ranch house will be a perfect mix?

I feel like a slug next to you. I don't iron anything . . . well almost anything. I hear you about closets. I have pots and pans and punch bowls stored in the strangest places in my home. I would love to design a home with storage everywhere. Ex: A Martha Stewart like pantry and linen closet with dividers in it, where the towels don't even think about touching the tablecloths.
Your bowls are pretty. Enjoy them.

Nice dishes, and the warm cereal is a big hit here in late fall and winter.

I love fabric stores, could spend hours in them, but always leave exhausted. I think my mind just goes on overload with all the possibilities.

Hurray for new dishes! I have the wedding set (picked Pfaltzgraf over china, what was I thinking?), grandma's grocery-store-premium Currier and Ives,some earthy brown with square plates, mostly broken, from the McCoy factory when I was a kid, and an obscene assortment of Fiesta from the twice-yearly tent sale. Yet I keep looking at more! (Oh, forgot about the Waechtersbach Christmas ones in the basement, handed down from Mom.)

Congrats on your book. I can relate to the lack of storage. I live in a old home too, with no basement, so we have a built wall thing and that is it for storage unless you count the impossible to reach, better not want it once it's there storage above the stairs. But, the new homes lack character-that's what we call it right?

Love the dishes! I need to do a little herding myself. And scrubbing and de-icking...all before Thanksgiving next week! Though, I am hoping my mom will drop by sometime and be thoroughly disgusted and do it for me :)

I am not an oatmeal kinda girl, but that picture makes me want to try eating it again. Although, you did say, "7 grain cereal" ... technically NOT oatmeal, right? Right?? Mmmmm, I think I can smell the warm brown sugar all the way up here. :)

Would that be Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal? I absolutely love that stuff. Good luck on your runner, it looks like quite an undertaking!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who only irons linens once a year. And no matter how many closets you have, they will all, always be overflowing. I have happy dreams of empty closets - so much potential!

Congrats on the new dishes, how fun to be a 'grownup' huh? :) I know what you mean about picking out fabric ~ my husband can never understand my being exhausted when I come home from the fabric store. Good for you making time for a project for yourself, the runner is darling and I can't wait to see it finished, I'm sure it will be lovely.

Woohoo!!! :) So glad to hear you treated yourself (and Andy) to new dishes, they are very earthy and comforting looking. I love brown sugar in oatmeal...sure it was yummy in that seven grain hot cereal too. I make so many gifts to give away, my husband always asks me when I make something new, "who is this for now?!" It is good that you plan to keep the handmade runner for your own lovely home. The one good thing about having limited storage is that IF you ever have to move to another home it makes it so much easier. Because with more storage space you can collect so much stuff (without ever realizing how much stuff until moving day!)Enjoy!

I love that table runner...can't wait to see your take on it.

Yay for new dishes and table runner!! Love 'em!!

Your house sounds exactly like mine, except we have no closet on the first floor. I feel for you :)

Love to hear about other small-house folk and their struggles with storage. I figure all of my problems in the whole wide world could be solved with one more closet--but then what fun would that be.
A shepherdess, eh? That will be my new term for what I do.

Hello Alicia,
Your book arrived this week, but I didn't have a chance of leafing through it. My elder daughter has been asking be if we can make a doll that she fell in love with.
As for breakfast, I prefere organic cereal with hot water and honey. I make a nice paste of it; nothing more heartwarming for breakfast!
Have fun.

I can totally relate to the storage debacle. I only have two small closets in the apartment, but bought one from Big Lots and had my sister's boyfriend build it in the bedroom for my clothes. It stores my GoodWill rescued baskets above it too.

As to the other two closets? The closet in the hall stores works in progress from my yarn stash. The other bedroom closet is packed to bursting with Christmas decorations and boxes of cardstock paper that are awaiting my retirement so that I can start my card making passion. Can't wait for that!

Guess it's a good thing it's just me here, right? :) xxoo

Storage space - what is it? I can totally relate. My flat is less than 500 square feet. When the agent took me around it for the first time, I remember seeing the closet door and I was so excited I actually had a closet. When she opened it up, I gasped. Not for joy, but shock. It stored a boiler. A huge boiler. So big, I must be heating the entire street. Thus, to solve the storage problem, I store my books in a kitchen cupboard and am turning my fireplace into shelving.

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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