Posts filed in: June 2009

Thank you!!!

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Thank you so much to everyone who attended the bag sale this morning! Everything is sold out, but I promise that I will have pillows available super-duper soon. Thank you for your so very generous support of what I do. I can't tell you how much it means to me. It allows me to keep doing what I love.

Back soon! Thanks again!!!

P.S. For those of you who wanted to see the bags, I will put those photos up here a bit later. They are not great pictures, but you can see the fabric combos. So check in a bit. Here ya go! Thanks you guys!

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Jane Market Bags on Sale Tomorrow!

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Whew! Tomorrow, June 10, at 9 a.m. PST I will put the Jane Market Bags I've made up in my web shop. The links won't work until 9, so be there, baby! (Update: All sold out now — thank you so much!)

I think, for the first time ever, a big fat ordering problem I've always had has been solved, too. My friend Shelly helped me yesterday to add a little tiny piece of html code to my Paypal buttons that will prevent double-selling of any bag: In the past, when someone has purchased a bag, I've always yanked it off of the web page as soon as I can, but sometimes the same bag is in two peoples' shopping carts at the exact same time, so they both pay for it, and both think they've bought it, when really there is only one bag (meaning there is one happy person and one unhappy person, and one very stressed-out Mrs. Paulson).

But NOW, because of this little tiny piece of html code, each bag has a specific "invoice" number, and once that bag has been paid for, it cannot be paid for again. So if you see a bag, and you click the "buy now" button, and it tells you that the "invoice has already been paid," that means you know right away that someone got to it just a minute before you did, and you can go right back and choose another bag. If the sale goes through and Paypal allows you to pay for the bag, it's yours.

I say all this with a grain of salt because, though I've tested it, I haven't used the function "live" yet, so bear with me. But I really think it's going to work. As always, thank you so much for your patience and interest in these bags! I am really happy with them, and it has been a blast putting the combinations of fabrics together. Some of the fabrics are old, some new, some are things I've had on my shelves for twenty years already! Shopping one's own stash can be really fun.

To that end, I have also been working like a crazy patching lady on patchwork pillows! I've made nineteen so far, and will have those in the web shop soon, too. For those of you confused by my magic patchwork technique, as I mentioned I will be putting together an illustrated pattern for that in the next week or so, too, and I'll walk you through the whole thing. I'll also be doing pillow kits, with everything you need to make your own, including the pattern, patches, interfacing, piping, backing, and the down-and-feather pillow-form itself. So, stay tuned for those — I'll be taking pre-orders soon, so I can order the right amount of supplies, and begin cutting patches for you. I'm incredibly excited about these!

Sinamon Buns

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In the dim light of an early Saturday morning, I unveiled my pale, bulging buns:

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Sorry, I couldn't resist. They're rather suggestive.

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These are the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls from Williams Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen by Maria Helm Sinskey. It's a really nice book, and reminds me very much of the River Cottage Family Cookbook.

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They're my first-ever cinny buns, and I think they came out rather nicely indeed! I made the dough in the Kitchen Aid mixer, and it was fine (though not as fun as kneading it myself, I have to say). Start these at dinnertime, unless you want to be rolling up cinny buns at 10 p.m. in time for breakfast the next morning, as I was (the dough needs two hours to rise before you turn it into buns, which then rise again overnight in the fridge).

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It's insane how much butter there is in these. I almost rolled the ear of corn I was having for dinner right across the dough as I was making it. BUTTERY.

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But what in the world would be the point, otherwise.

Grilled Shrimp, Patches, and a Book

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Okay, where are we here. Let's start with the grilled shrimp. These are the Grilled Spicy Jalapeno and Lime Shrimp Skewers from the summer 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated: Summer Grilling issue. This is a great issue. We actually have all three of the current Cook's Illustrateds around here: grilling, the June issue, and the Summer Entertaining issue. Andy got a subscription to the regular magazine for his birthday, and it is a great magazine, especially for scientifically minded people, since it really goes into the hows and whys of cooking in a very user-friendly and approachable — conversational — way. Each recipe details the process of discovery in creating the best version of the recipe, much like the companion television show, America's Test Kitchen, does, if you watch that (I TiVo it). Good stuff. Lots of extra information about buying shrimp, what kind of skewers work best, and  . . . grilling everything. I forgot that all of their on-line recipes are protected, so in order to access the shrimp recipe on-line you'll need to sign up for a 14-day trial if you are not a member; we made the recipe exactly as written so I can't copy it here for you. But this is a great issue and those guys work really hard on this stuff so you won't be disappointed if you get do sign up, or buy the magazine on the newsstand.

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Next: Patches! The magical patches. I don't think anyone guessed the special technique, so here it is! To make a square patched pillow cover, what you do is this: Take a square of featherweight fusible interfacing the size of your finished cover plus seam allowances to every patch seam and side seams and lay it, fusible side up, on a cutting mat or a flat cardboard box — something big that you can carry over to the ironing board. Then lay out all of your patches with their cut edges butted right up next to each other in very straight rows and columns. Then take the mat over to the ironing board and carefully transfer it to the ironing board to press. Press all the patches lightly but securely to the interfacing. Then, with right sides of the patches together, fold the outermost column of patches down along the "gutter" created by the tiny space of interfacing between columns, and stitch the seam, using a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Continue across the width of the pillow in this way, and press all of the seams in the same direction (pressing only on the right side of the fabric). Turn the pillow cover 90 degrees, and repeat for all of the rows. Voila! You have a pillow cover front in minutes!

I will be putting together a pattern with step-by-step instructions for the two pillows pictured above in the next week or so. I think you could use this technique for anything that requires a certain amount of body — pillow covers, of course, but also placemats, table runners, seat cushions, potholders, maybe even little girls' dress bodices, or the hem of a skirt, or jean cuffs, certainly bags. It's absolutely perfect for bags. I don't think it's perfect for actual quilts that you are going to wash and sleep under, because of the interfacing, but that's just me; I like floppy cottons in my quilts, and since the interfacing is synthetic it won't allow the quilt to behave as you might like. But it's a really cool technique, and I am making pillows like a crazy woman for all my summer birthday presents, and some to sell in my web shop. I think I'll probably make pillow kits available, too, with cut patches, interfacing, piping, and backing for a 16" pillow, since I have cut hundreds and hundreds of patches in the past couple of weeks. These patches are very similar to the ones that I cut for the Tanglewood Bags and my cats' living-room pillows last summer -- a bit of Liberty lawn, a bit of solid, a bit of really cool contemporary quilters cotton. I am still loving this look so much. I wish I had known about the technique then, because those pillows took forever.

Speaking of the web shop, I have finished seventeen Jane Market Bags for you! I was trying desperately to make twenty, but I just can't make any more. The cool thing about them is that they are true stash bags — all of them are made out of fabrics that I already had on my shelves. I am going to try and get them all photographed and in the web shop early next week, so I'll let you know when they're there. I am trying out some new computer code that I'm hoping will eliminate the possibility of two people buying the same bag at the same time, so we'll see about that. But these are truly one-of-a-kind and can't be replicated, so I am keeping my fingers crossed about that, so no one is disappointed (my least favorite thing about having a web shop).

Lastly today, my first summer reading book is Little, Big by John Crowley. This is my fourth time reading it — I first read it at the perfect time in my life for it, and it's probably my all-time favorite summer book. I had started and stopped a couple of my new books recently, and then just had the urge to go for the sure thing, since I know it will be good. It's not for everyone, but I love it. And isn't that the coolest cover image ever? So perfect for this book. If you've read it, you know.

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Kruger's Farm Concerts in Danger of Being Discontinued

comments: 27

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If you've read this blog for any length of time, I'm sure you know how special and important Kruger's Farm is to Andy and me and to so many other Portlanders (and maybe even to those of you who aren't Portlanders but have been inspired by the many posts you've seen around the blogosphere). This summer, the Krugers' farm-stand permit is up for review. If it is approved, Thursday night concerts and other special events and harvest festivals will continue. But if it is denied (and it could be denied, since a complaint has been filed), a part of what makes Portland so special will be lost.

In Farmer Don's words, Kruger's "goal is to continue to provide the public with a unique farm experience while remaining stewards of the land and good neighbors to the residents of the island." There is a public opportunity to comment until 4:30 p.m. on June 10th, and I wrote a letter this morning to Multnomah County in support of the permit. I know several of our local friends have written, as well. If you are interested in reading more about the permit, have questions, or would like to write in support, please see the farm's web site for more information and further links.

I've taken dozens of photos and written many posts about the farm. Like here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Thursday night concerts are one of my favorite things about living here. It would be heartbreaking to lose them. I really hope the application is approved.

Birthday Weekend

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On Thursday afternoon, I baked a chocolate cake for Andy.

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I baked the same one a couple of years ago. But it's a good one. He wouldn't mind.

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We picked up his folks at the airport and then headed out to the ballpark for the evening.

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Andy, his dad, and his mom's hair. I love this picture.

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Burgers, beer, baseball. And the weather was just perfect.

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After the game: over the bridge, then home.

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On Friday (his actual birthday), we all headed to the piney woods with a picnic lunch.

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Nothing like eating a layer cake in the woods.

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We put layers of quilts on the soft bed of pine needles and napped and read for hours while Andy and his dad tossed a football down by the water.

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This was my view, when I wasn't watching the lazy river.

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Or looking up into the trees above.

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That night, we had dinner with my mom at Nostrana. You should go here. Get the appetizer with the melty cheese and the mushrooms. I don't know what it's called. But OMG.

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Saturday morning, we headed downtown to the farmer's market.

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Don't you love that there are farmers' markets downtown, in the middle of the hustling-bustling city?

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I haven't done any market posts yet. To be honest, we've been going to the PSU market every weekend since the end of March, but I just keep forgetting to bring my camera. No dogs this year, either. Less fun for us, but I can understand. No one wants to see toddlers getting clotheslined by dog leashes in the chaos, and I've seen a few. I miss Clover Meadowhoney there, though. (She's so low, her leash just trips ya, right at the shins.)

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We got shrimp, creme fraiche, olive bread, chive cream-cheese, potato bread, garlic, onions, and gorgeous lettuce. That place is so awesome.We also went to Powell's and Saturday Market.

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Andy's mom told me about a dessert she'd had in Italy that was made of limoncello and frozen whipped cream. So we decided to try making limoncello ice cream.

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I used this recipe for vanilla custard ice cream, and just added two tablespoons of limoncello. Probably could've added a little more. But I wasn't sure.

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Here's an ad for limoncello.

Kidding. It's our backyard table, ready to serve up some of Andy's grilled shrimp, which I will give you a recipe for this week (along with the book list, and pillow-patch info — I just haven't had the time to put it all together yet).

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Andy got a fountain for his birthday which I'm he's really excited about. We he just has to set it up.

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Roses, lamb's ear, tomato. Dill.

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Limoncello ice cream, in evening light. I think it went well with my lemoncello quilt, you know? Later we watched Under the Tuscan Sun, where they drink limoncello in Portofino. [I didn't know "limoncello" was spelled with an "I" until today. Oops :-).]

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It was a wonderful weekend. Boy did I pick the right family to marry into.

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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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.