Posts filed in: October 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

comments: 42


Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice (i.e.: cinnamon whipped cream), all on a plate for an early-morning Halloween breakfast. These pancakes are from the always-inspiring Joy the Baker, and they were absolutely delicious. And very filling. I could not finish them. Possibly only the second thing in my life I haven't finished. If you're having an easygoing Saturday morning like we are (the fire's lit, I've got crochet on the hook, the dog has been walked, and Andy is . . . dyeing a t-shirt in a pot on the stove), I highly recommend these. They even have whole-wheat flour in them. Good.

Stripey Wristwarmers

comments: 66


Thank you so very kindly for all of your lovely comments on our forest walk. I love walking it twice like that. These stripey wristwarmers inspired by Lucy's would have been perfect for the walk, but I didn't start them until Sunday. I finished them on Monday and gave them to my mom today — they were too long for me, after all, but just what she wanted, apparently. Awesome! I thought I wanted them long but they weren't really tight enough to stay up. I chained more stitches at the start than Lucy had, 'cause I was thinking I wanted them to go a lot higher (and so needed to be wider), and then I decreased a few times to taper them toward the wrist, but I think overall I compensated too much because they didn't stay up and got too baggy. I am now making a new, shorter pair for myself, and going with 35 stitches, as Lucy did. Why didn't I just listen to Lucy in the first place, right? I know. But now my mama has a nice pair of wristwarmers, too, so it's all good.

Do you know how to make half-double crocheted ribbing? This is a very good video on how to do it! You crochet lots of short rows, then pick up new stitches along the side edge (which is now the top edge of the ribbing). Use a smaller hook than the yarn calls for. In fact, a lot of the yarn I used in these wristwarmers was Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and although I frequently use an F hook with that, I am using a C (2.5mm) hook on this second pair. (First pair I used a D, and I think I want them even denser this time.) I don't know how people are getting good photos of themselves in gloves! I couldn't do it, no matter how I tried. (Granted, I didn't try all that hard — after three tries I was done. But they were totally blurry.)

Did you see that show about apples (and other plants that have made themselves important to us) last night? Wasn't that cool? Our apple-tree plans are on hold until spring, it turns out — since our nursery doesn't even have any dwarf apple trees in stock right now anyway! Ha!

Perfect Afternoon

comments: 104


Within minutes, I heard the strangest noise, a muffled, muti-layered sound: dozens of geese flying high, high above us in a perfect V (look closely at the bottom secton of the photo, just to the right of center, and you can make it out, with a few stragglers up in the left-hand corner). We watched for long minutes as several groups flew over. It was the perfect start to our walk.


You've been on this one with us before, last winter. We wanted to do it again, this time in the fall, to see how things were different, to smell the difference between February and October. We took the secret stairs (not these, but right next to these, actually) that connect NW Thurman Street to NW Aspen Avenue and cut the walk in half this time. But it was no less lovely than it was the first time. Perhaps even better, because it feels like ours, now.


Oh, most beautiful day and season.


All is fragile and fading: The leaves bleached of color and ready to flutter off in a strong wind, the garage door open and ready, waiting for wood to be stacked.


The long grass whispers and waves, more gray than yellow.


Before we get to Holman Meadow, and the edge of the forest, one last backyard garden and tiny orchard to covet.


Then the shining forest opens to us.


The path is padded with fallen leaves.


The webs studded with spiders.


The greens dark and subtle.


The trees craggy and fuzzed.


Their limbs like old bones.


Their leaves as big as fans.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep. So very deep.


Everywhere you look, another universe you'll never know.


Another city of trees more beautiful than the last.




Eventually, we reach the witch's house.


Slick with leaves and cold with damp.


At the bottom of the stairs, it seems like maybe I shouldn't go in, somehow. But I do.


The path hairpins, and the creek is to our right now.




Fairy leaves.




Heavy and delicate together.




I love you both so much.


I love walking with you.


I love going to Besaw's (just outside Forest Park) afterward. A tradition now.


I love being there just as the wait staff is getting to have their own lunch.


Golden light through old windows; you reading the paper; grilled onions, rosemary, potatoes, and cappuccino; that tired, happy feeling in my legs; the feeling of still shuffling through leaves. Saturday afternoon.

And then things got a lot, lot lazier.

comments: 76






Forecast: Cold and Rainy

comments: 43


All morning, the rain has been pelting the windows, making our already-dark, north-facing little house almost as dark as night. I wove around the place, turning on little lamps in several corners, justifying the extra use of electricity by deciding that if it helps keep me off the funny farm with a severe case of seasonal affective disorder, it'll still be cheaper and less of a drain on the planet's resources. I love fall, but I find the beginning of the rainy season in the Northwest really challenging some years. If the rain hits — as it seems to be doing this moring — just as the leaves on the trees are looking their most beautiful, it frequently knocks them off the trees and to the ground in one fell swoop. Within a day or two, people have raked them up and carted many of them off, lest they turn into heaping piles of slimy, slick, slug-housing sub-divisions. And then that's sort of it. Sigh. Rain is forecast for every day this week.

We did get in a glorious walk in the woods on Saturday, before the rain started. I took over a hundred photos, so I will work on those today and share them later this week. On Sunday, we had planned to get our apple tree, but I just couldn't seem to budge from the sofa, where I was starting a pair of stripey crocheted fingerless gloves like the amazing Lucy's. Thank you ever so much for all the awesome apple-tree advice — our plans are moved to next weekend, which will give me a little more time to decide. I love the taste of Gala apples, and am also leaning toward a Red Fuji, and am also now thinking, because of your comments, that maybe we'll just go for a full-size tree instead of a dwarf. I like the look of espaliered trees, but we don't really have the right kind of wall for that right now. Our walls are in use, and one of them isn't even technically ours, so that idea might have to wait.

When I returned to the sofa after lighting the lamps this morning, Missy V. had made herself quite at home on my pile of yarn. There are four or five skeins smashed underneath her, too. Probably a good thing: In the past few weeks I was too busy to get some stuff done (update book list, change banner, upload new PDFs, answer email, etc.), and then after that I was just too lazy. And then I started the painting so I was too obsessed. And now that the rain has started I am too . . . lazy again. I just want to sit in front of the fireplace and crochet, though it's hard to do that when your cat is lying on top of most of your yarn.


She looks so cozy. But I'll do something else. I'll do it for you, Violet Paulson.

Apple Tree Days

comments: 52


Last year at this time, we were just back from one of the best vacations in my whole entire life, our trip to Victoria, British Columbia. Remember that? Wasn't it awesome? If you haven't been there, you can come along with us again now: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, and Day Four. And Day Five. That was just such a nice trip in so many different ways. I took the picture above at Butchart Gardens, and we talked about getting an apple tree for our own back yard, and we are going to try to do that this weekend. I think I would like a dwarf apple tree with red apples instead of yellow. It will go back in the corner by the garage and the fence and the hammock. If you have any recommendations, let me know. I am pretty excited about having an apple tree. I don't know if any of our neighbors have one that is close enough to polinate or anything like that. I want to plant lillies of the valley and daffodils under it, since those seem like two of the best parts of having an apple tree.

A scene from the movie Bright Star

I was thinking about our trip to Victoria yesterday, too, because there was that day (Day Two) that reminded me so much of walking across Hampstead Heath when I was 21, and going to John Keats' house, and on to Highgate Cemetery by myself; the weather was the same, the wet, red leaves and foggy, dull light. We went to see Bright Star yesterday afternoon, mostly because that day in London is one of those strange days that is just stuck so resolutely in my memory, and in my memory of myself, and I think of it at this time every year, and feel like I have to do something about it. Actually, I don't "think" of it as much as it feels like it visits me, like a spirit: London in November, the smell of frying onions and wool coats, the sound of my steps. Bright Star the movie had the same feel and colors, quiet, patient colors: blues and grays and greens and darks and pearly lights. And, oh, for Fanny's wardrobe! Anyway, I won't talk about it too much, but I loved it, 'cause I love all that stuff. I'm going back to see it again with my friend Aimee because this time I'll just watch for the details. They played some previews for more movies that I really want to catch, including Coco Before Chanel, The Young Victoria, and Life is Precious, which has the most moving trailer I've ever seen.

Thank you SO much for all of the nice and super encouraging things you said about the painting. I busted out laughing at some of the comments, too. It's been such a fun week painting, mostly because it's something so different from the things I usually do, and it feel so good to break out of my old routine sometimes. I have four more paintings planned (I know, I am crazed) and last night I got a bee in my bonnet to learn how to make some 







See, I bet you didn't think I was going to say that, did you. That's how we roll here at Posie Gets Cozy, though.

Sort of.

comments: 161

So, you know how when yesterday I said that I did the face and completely ruined the painting and then you said no, Alicia, you're just being hard on yourself and I bet it isn't that bad and how bad could it be, and I was like no, really, it's really really really not good you guys













people, I tried to tell you.






It did not go well.






Things I Didn't Realize About Painting:

  1. Acrylic paints dry darker than how they appear on the palette.
  2. Mixing each shade from scratch using white, red, yellow, blue, green, black, and Burnt Sienna is HARD when it comes to skin tones (because each shade you mix dries out before you can use it as the base for the next tone).
  3. Starting with the darkest color and working in was a bad idea.
  4. Especially if the darkest color was maroonish-gray.

After I let out a horrified scream that deafened the dog and caused every cat in the house to jump three feet straight up into the air, I took the painting and went down the street to my favorite little art supply store, Muse. After we all stopped giggling uncomfortably at how scary my painting was, the guys there were SO nice to give me a crash course in Portrait Painting 101 stuff and told me important things like there is a warm side of the face and a cool side (obviously depending on the where the light is falling).


I wound up buying a tube of paint that was called Toning Pinkish Gray or Toning Grayish Pink — basically, a very pale skin tone, and then I mixed everything using that and a little Burnt Siena for the warm a little Ultramarine for the cool. Then I turned the painting upside down, like you guys said, so that I was just looking at shapes of colors and not someone-I-love's face (which I desperately wanted to get "right," etc.).

So this was the second try:


Better. Humanish. I was extremely relieved!!! I called my friend and told her. I don't know what it is about painting that makes me want to talk on the phone. Add that to the list of things I did not know about painting!

I set it about ten feet away from me and looked at it. Even at viewing distance, there was still a little too much contrast. I felt confident, though. I felt like I could do it without freaking. I felt like I wouldn't have to start completely over, I could just tweak. So I replaced one color — I think it was the second lightest — with one that was both a little darker and a little warmer and came up with:


What do you think? Stand back from it a bit and see.

I still have to do the daisy, and the magenta, and the t-shirt. But I think this is sort of going in the right direction now, don't you?

Guys, I fixed it!!!

comments: 33

I can't believe it worked! But I took your advice and a) walked away, b) took it down to the art supply store and showed those guys (and we all totally busted out laughing) and they helped me get some more paint colors and gave me advice, and then I c) turned it upside down, d) redid the whole face, and then e) redid half of it again. Don't get me wrong, it's not awesome, but I think she actually looks human! Progress! Thank you!

Tomorrow I'll upload the photos I took and we can all pee in our pants laughing. This is a good one.

I love painting!!! ;-)

And then I effectively ruined the painting.

comments: 46

When I got to the face. I hate painting!!! [sobs plaintively]


comments: 37

I was going to do a whole bunch of other stuff, like cook and make a potholder and clean the house, but then I just happened to stop by Blair's blog real quick and saw the Glitterizer post, and that's when all Alicia-hell broke loose, and all other activities came to a screeching halt, and I haven't really put down the paintbrush since.


This is not the painting — this is the "glitterized" photo that I used as the base for the painting. Blair's post contains a link to a function at Martha Stewart that turns your uploaded photo into sort of a paint-by-numbers-looking PDF (stop by Blair's to get the link because then you can see GRACIE). You're then supposed to sprinkle it with glitter (there's an article in the November issue of the magazine I happened to run into last night, too). But as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to paint on top of it, instead. So I chose several of my photos of kids and pets and "glitterized" them then resized the files to about 10" wide or tall, and put the files on a CD. Then I went to Art Media and had some 140# smooth watercolor paper cut to 11" x 17" (and bought some new brushes and artist paints, too, since I just had craft paint). Then I took everything over to Kinko's and had them print the PDFs on the watercolor paper on the color copier. (The prints came out a little dark, but otherwise beautiful, so I'm trying to compensate for that a little bit with the paint.) And now I'm just painting right on top of the printed, "glitterized" images, following the gradations created and mixing colors as I go.


(Phone on work table so I can call all of my friends and tell them about my painting.)

I have painted everything except for the very bright magenta patches, which I can't seem to mix out of the seven colors I have, and her face and t-shirt. I am afraid to do her face and completely mess the whole thing up. Otherwise, I just painted directly onto the paper over each area of color, and there are a million colors in this thing. Weensy brush, steady hand. But I'm sorry people it is so cool. If you've been wanting to paint (and I have, for a long time) and expecially if you've really been wanting to paint by numbers, this is for you. SO. FUN. Seriously. I can't stop. It's difficult for me to stop and write this post, but I had to tell you. I SWEAR I am going to answer the last four days of emails later today, too. I really am. First I hafta run out and get the magenta, though. Should probably eat something, too. No time. Back soon.

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.