Posts filed in: June 2009

comments: 40


Here I am, "working" at the coffee shop. I am having trouble concentrating today. Every day I mean to collect my thoughts about sewing and before I know it, the day is over. I have 136 messages in my in-box. How is that possible. I like that girl's dress. I like long dresses. I wish I was wearing that. See what I mean? Distracted. I had a busy weekend! I had a photo shoot at the house on Saturday evening. Then I had breakfast with Charlotte and Pam on Sunday morning. How cool are those ladies. Very cool. Then I took my sweet niece to the zoo. We had a great time, just us two. We got to see the bird show, where they let the golden eagle and the hawk fly over the crowd on the lawn. It always chokes me up. We fed the lorakeets and watched the baby elephant. The weekend went so fast. I wanted to read, but I didn't really get a chance. Forgot to say "thank you" again for all the cozy mystery suggestions. Now all I really want to do is read! Summer is here, big time. Sunshine and strawberries. It has been exceedingly windy. For two weeks. This makes Clover crazy. We love our new (i.e.: open) windows but our dog does not. When it is windy she can't relax. She paces through the house and sits on my feet, shaking. Then she jumps up on the couch and crashes through anything I might have on the couch (six balls of yarn, a tape measure, book, and a fair isle sweater on circular needles with about 60 strands of yarn hanging off of it) to get into my lap. So I can protect her from the wind. Just called dog trainer. He suggested going out for a fun run or ball-toss until tired, then distraction and refocusing her attention, but no babying (which encourages anxiety). I wish the wind would let up a bit, I have to say. But I'll try this. I can do it. Andy said he would make baba ganoush today. Later I asked him what he was thinking for dinner. You know what he answered, don't you.

Paybacks. I'm having baba ganoush for dinner.

I'd better get to work. It's already 3:31. I have problems. And summer-brain. It's the wind.

Where I Stop Reading to Bake Pie to Eat While Reading

comments: 65


"Mrs. Mullet, who was short and gray and round as a millstone and who, I'm quite sure, thought of herself as a character in a poem by A.A. Milne, was in the kitchen formulating one of her pus-like custard pies," says Flavia, the sassy eleven-year-old narrator of my current read, in talking about her family's housekeeper.


How could I not stop reading to bake one after that???


Custard pie is my second-favorite pie! (Next to Sour Cream Apple Pie, that is.) I made this one (adding an extra egg yolk and leaving out the recommended yellow food coloring [!] ) yesterday at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At about five, while the pie was cooling, Andy looked at me and said, "What are you thinking for dinner?" and I said, naturally, "Custard pie." Upon which he got up and grabbed a grocery bag and headed out the door to the grocery store to get some dinner.

I am brilliant!


I guess he is a Flavia de Luce sympathizer:

"As I passed the window, I noticed that a slice had been cut from Mrs. Mullet's custard pie. How odd, I thought; it was certainly none of the de Luces who had taken it. If there was one thing upon which we all agreed — one thing that united us as a family — it was our collective loathing of Mrs. Mullet's custard pies. Whenever she strayed from our favorite rhubarb or gooseberry to the dreaded custard, we generally begged off, feigning group illness, and sent her packing off home with the pie, and solicitous instructions to serve it up, with our compliments, to her good husband, Alf."

More for me.

Mystery Summer

comments: 109


By noon yesterday, I had a little list of recommendations based on your comments — thanks!!! What a great bunch of suggestions. We rode our bikes down to our local mystery bookstore (don'tcha love those). We took a few recommendations from the ladies there, after warning them that we were lightweights when it came to mysteries — we loved them, but they could not be too scary. I really wish that mysteries didn't always have to do with, you know, dead bodies. But mysteries are, by definition, plot-driven, and I really like that. After many years of reading mostly contemporary "literary" fiction, my tastes in leisure reading have changed considerably. I'm going for stay-awake whodunnit rather than self-awareness and enlightenment lately. I'm sure that's not fair to mysteries. I'll let you know after I get through this pile. The lady at the bookstore said she reads three to four books a week! (Last week she was on vacation so she read five!) Awesome.

I have a bunch of others that you mentioned on my future to-read list, but yesterday I got:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Started this yesterday and am on page 74 already (I am a slow reader, but this is going fast). Loving it so far.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Lost count of how many people have recommended this book to me! Not sure what's going on with the "pie" theme and me. Perhaps should stop reading to bake pie to eat while reading.

The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer. Bought entirely for the cover. I do that.

Hostile Makeover: A Crime of Fashion Mystery by Ellen Byerrum. It's on Lifetime this weekend. Don't judge me. Or, you can. It's okay

Andy got Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout, the first Nero Wolfe mystery. We used to really like the Nero Wolfe series when it was on A&E (except that he was always screaming about something, which was sort of annoying, and worrisome. But Archie was cool). We like TV mystery. And I am still hoping to run into Timothy Hutton around town (we saw them filming an episode of Leverage by the baseball stadium a few weeks ago). I was also REALLY hoping to run into Keri Russell, too, because I love her. It would be cool to run into Harrison Ford, but not as cool as Keri Russell. (HF and KR were here in town filming a movie recently, though I don't know if they're still here.) And I would tell her how much I loved Felicity. Because I did.

Summertime Supper

comments: 75


Pork tenderloin with rosemary and lemon, corn saute with heirloom tomatoes, roasted Yukon Golds, and bittersweet brownies with marionberry ice cream. That's what my friend Sarah made me for dinner last night and it was delicious. Summertime on a plate. Andy was working, so Sarah packed up a to-go version for me to take home to him later (awesome friend, no? Seriously). When he got home, Andy sat on the porch and ate it within seconds, then just held the empty plate out to me with two hands and said, "More."


Sarah has an entire drawer of aqua-blue thrifted dishes. I busted out laughing when I saw it. It's awesome. When she packs a dinner for you to take home to your husband, everything goes into aqua dishes and then onto a little blue-gingham metal tray. It makes you feel very loved.

Thank you for all the pillow love yesterday! Yay pillows! Several people have asked me about which Persephone book is on my bed in the pillow photo, and it was either Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day or Mariana, both given to me by sweet Jane. Those are the only two I have, and I must confess that although I have read them both in the past I just put the book on the bed in the photo because it looked so pretty. Those books are so gorgeous. And they feel good. Smooth and heavy. Must get another. What I am reading is a library book I got yesterday called You Remind Me of Me by Dan Choan. Again, picked more or less randomly off of the shelf; I know nothing about it. I am having trouble picking books lately. Those other five I mentioned a few weeks ago? I started them all and couldn't get into any of them. I hate when that happens. I think it's me, not them. But I must admit that I want a page turner. I want a plot-driven page-turner. I want something I can't put down. Otherwise I just fall asleep the minute I turn on my reading light. And then wake up at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep. Grate.

Computer probs. And also pillows!

comments: 19

I'm sorry I've been so absent lately, but my computer I usually write the blog from is giving me FITS. I did make it through all of the comments yesterday (yay! and phew!). But every time I try to read an email or do anything more than that on it it freezes, and then I have to reboot it, which takes about twenty minutes, and then I do one thing and then it freezes up again. And then I scream. So I'm gonna try and get that seen to today but . . . in the meantime . . . pillows, ready for you! Sorry I didn't warn you this time, but my head's about to explode in a giant POOF of down feathers. POOF! There it goes . . .

Maybe I'll just stay off of the computer and make more pillows. I've got twelve more ready to have their pictures taken, so if you miss out, more are on the way!

A Midsommer Night's Dreame

comments: 38


Yep, you guessed it (some of you, anyway :-)! Mlle. Clover made her stage debut last weekend as the "dog" of the character Moonlight ("All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the lanthorn [lantern] is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog") in Pyramus and Thisbe, Shakespeare's "play within a play" that is part of the last act of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This particular production took place at Cathedral Park, and was performed by the Oregon Practice Shakespeare Festival as part of their summer season. They are going from park to park here in Portland offering free performances that are silly, lively, and totally casual. We saw their first one on Saturday, and it was a really fun way to spend the afternoon. (I read during the intermission.)


Clover's participation came about when, as we got settled on our blanket, the woman who was playing Moonshine came up to us and asked if she could borrow Clover for the performance. We said sure! When the time came, the lady came and got Clover and we stood on the just offstage and giggled at our little star. She did so well! She actually just sat there alertly for most of her part, then laid down happily for the rest of it. Apparently quite comfortable on stage. What a girl.


"I'm not sure what these crazy cats want me to do, but I sure am trying my best to do it!" (That's the Clover Meadow Paulson motto, I believe.)

There are many more performances this summer in various parks around town, so click on the link above for more information. I have seen this play so many times, including in Austin Gardens in Oak Park many years ago. So fun. I always love it. I love theater and concerts in the park so much.

This week has been crazy-busy. I can't even believe it's already Thursday. I am still reading every one of the comments on the sewing post but I'm really hoping to finish them all today. I have really loved reading everybody's stories. As an author of sewing books, it has been so interesting (invaluable, really) for me to understand more about what motivates people, and what intimidates them. But again, I will give you details when I have read everything and collected my thoughts about it all. For what my thoughts are worth, anyway! Thank you again for taking the time to share your experiences with me!

Crazy-Busy Day!

comments: 66


But Clover Meadow was in a play! (Last weekend.)


She played "Dog." Ten points if you can guess which play this is!

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about it.

Pillow Patch

comments: 65


WOW. That was quite a response — thank you! I'm overwhelmed (and a little sad that I'm not writing a dissertation called Sewing in Modern Culture, because there's some research for you — ask and ye shall receive!). But, believe it or not, I am still just reading comments, and I am only in the low hundreds, so it will take me a while to get through all those. But they are truly fascinating, and surprising, and surprisingly emotional (though I don't know why this surprises me), so bear with me and I will keep reading and summarize the response in the coming week or so. Feel free to keep leaving comments, of course, and thank you again for taking the time to participate!


In the meantime, I have been making more pillows. That's pretty much all I do is read comments and make pillows. I think I will have the pillows that are ready all photographed and organized for the web shop later this week, or early next. (Pattern and kit-pre-orders will be coming after that, but first I need to send these pillows away, because I have nowhere to put them!) I would like to keep them all, actually. But you might want one, and in that case, I will be more than happy to oblige.

Laziest Daisy, and a Question

comments: 1257


While I was taking pictures of the puppers, I went into the guest room and found my laziest daisy, Violet Paulson, lying on a pillowcase-covered bread board I had brought upstairs last week — a makeshift ironing board I was using to iron in bed while watching TV. (Okay, maybe I am the laziest.) I am trying to iron all of my fabric scraps so I can cut them up into little patches for my patchwork pillows. IT. TAKES. FOREVER!!! I've lost count of the number of hours I've spent doing this. Good thing the Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood marathon was on!!!


"Oh, I'm sooooo tired! Because I have to sleep on a bread board !!!"


"I. Am. Soooooo. Pretty. Though."


"Ya know?"

* * *

In answer to several questions yesterday, that is a little vintage reading light that hangs on the headboard of the bed and yep, my pillowcases are thrifted — I have a large and well-used (and well-loved) collection of flowery cases from the '60s and '70s. We have so many pillows in our house it's nuts. I believe I am going through a pillow phase. Has that ever happened to you? No??? Try it. It's good.

Secondly, here's my question for you: Do you sew?

Lately I have been getting a lot of emails from people who don't sew, or are just learning to sew. They always interest me, because I come from one of those families/circles of friends where everyone sews, or knows how to sew, and doesn't really think too much about it. It's just what you do. For most of my life, I really did just assume that everyone grew up with big piles of fabric in the dining room, or pieces of thread all over their shirt. But now I know that's not right. So my question is: Do you sew (with a sewing machine)? If you do, what age did you start? Who taught you? What do you make now?

If you don't, why not? What would you need to start? Do you even want to?

I'm just curious, so if you have a minute this weekend, please comment here, and feel free to expound — I want to know. I am going to report back on the results, so even if you don't usually comment, see if you can this time. I really wonder how those numbers will break down, don't you?

Oh, this dog.

comments: 115


God, I love my dog. I love her expressions, her earnestness, her sweet brown eyes, her gentleness and sincerity.


I love how she follows me everywhere I go, and stares at me everywhere I sit. I love how she races upstairs and jumps onto the bed of roses whenever she thinks we might be headed toward the end of the day. She takes after me: She loves the beginning of the day and the end of the day the most.


I love her skeptical looks and her stubby little legs. I love her soft, soft cheeks and her worried eyebrows. I love her giant, velvety ears and her leathery nose. I love her droopy lips and her bony forehead.


I love how she reminds me, a million times a day, of her beautiful-wonderful auntie Audrey.


Like her auntie, she's alternately silly and sweet, playful and pensive. One minute racing around like her paws are on fire, the next floppy on the bed like a big old warmy.


I'm so lucky she lives here with us.


And yes, I worry about many things — but dog hair (and knucklebones) in the bed has never been one of them. Couldn't care less. Never will.

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.