Posts filed in: December 2009

A Christmas Story

comments: 87

Clover1

I was lounging on my favorite quilt, just thinking my own little corgi thoughts the other night.

Clover2

My dad was petting me and talking about how awesome I am. Things were going well.

Clover3

Suddenly, I saw something with my peripherals. Oh no.

Clover4

KITTERS APPROACHETH.

Clover5

No room at the inn. Move along, lady. Somebody bring me some French toast.

Pancake Happy

comments: 51

Eggs2

The poor pizza ball (that was an awesome descriptor, Laurie) and the pizza-peel weilding chef! I don't know what was funnier, the actual event or the comments about the event. So funny. For the record, Andy does make very excellent pizza regularly, but this one just went all kinds of wrong, poor darling. Props for the effort, and I do feel a little bit bad about the pointing and the laughing, but he's tough, and where is the fun in stabbing yourself in the hand and destroying about seven dollars worth of mozzarella cheese if there's no one there to point and laugh! And take pictures! Otherwise it's just plain tragic!

Eggs1

Pancakes, as promised, are hard to mess up too much (after the first one). This is the blue egg of Franny, the hen belonging to our friend Nicole, who gifts us with the most beautiful perfect little eggs, all labeled in their little carton to show us who laid what. Such a nice present. The yolks are such a nice deep yellow and the shells are hard to crack (good). I made these eggy pancakes with all of the eggs.

Swedish Pancakes

4 eggs
1 c. flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon 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 non-stick griddle over medium heat, and tip pan to swirl batter into a thin circle. Flip when edges look dry.

Pancakes3

I like mine plain with a sprinkle of granulated sugar and a blueberry or two rolled up inside. Lemon is nice. Andy likes his with a sweet pink paste made of butter, raspberry jam, and powdered sugar, the way he used to eat them as a kid (though they probably used lingonberry jam at home?). Butter and hot syrup works for me, too.

Pancakes5

It's all good. I LOVE PANCAKES!!!!!!!!!!

Where Andy Paulson Makes a Pizza (Updated)

comments: 106

Pizza2

and it doesn't work out.

He didn't think it was funny until a little later. At the moment when I took this picture, I believe he was still "in crisis" [his words]. At least I didn't say "Wha' happened?"

Until a little later. 'Cause then you know I did.

Update: Note from Andy:

Thanks everyone for the encouragement!! Just when I was bragging that I should be an honorary Italian for my awesome risotto...

So my pretty good looking pizza was on the pizza peel thing. I tried to slide it off onto the 500 degree pizza stone and it rolled on me. Cheese all over the stone! Cripes! So I pulled the stone out and scraped it clean and built another pizza directly on it (which we ate). While it was cookin', I rebuilt the rolled pizza and stabbed myself while trying to run a knife under it so it would slide off. This is when the "crisis" began. The crust was thin. It wouldn't slide. So I tried the calzone approach. It wasn't working, so I went for pizza omelette. It became more of a fritter. Why I put that thing on the pizza stone, I don't know. Smoke. Blood. Suddenly camera and laughing wife. Hot pizza stone. Small kitchen. We didn't eat it. I ate some of it.

Hearts and Pines

comments: 42

Pancake1

A thrifted crewelwork Christmas tablecloth for a Sunday-morning Swedish pancake breakfast. I'll have a recipe for you tomorrow. It's frosty here this morning! Winter has arrived.

Sweet Season

comments: 37

Cocoa1

Last night we had an early dinner at the beautiful and delicious Nostrana, then headed out to see the Portland Revels Christmas show. This year it is an "Irish Mummer's Village Celebration." (Unfortunately, I just checked their web site and the show is entirely sold out this year, so I am sorry I didn't mention it to you [Portlanders] before, in case you have not yet been to one of these.) They are a lot of fun (though long — almost three hours!). The show has a different theme every year. I loved this one, because I love Irish music and I LOVE Irish dancing. Last year it was a Scandinavian winter theme, and really cool, too. It's just always cool to have, like, fifty people and kids all singing at once. And then the audience participates in some songs, too, including (my favorite) a ROUND. Don't you love those? They give me the chills (in a good way). I always get choked up in the middle of it and lose my place, then stop singing and just listen. This weekend is ScanFair (a Scandinavian Christmas festival at Portland State University), as well. I am waking up late this morning, but as soon as I find my Icelandic sweater (somewhere in my closet) I am there.

In this morning's snow village news, THANK YOU to everyone who offered such cool links to tiny abodes! Here are some you might like:

From Jennifer, really adorable printable miniature house and shop ideas, and some more really adorable ones

From Becky, dear sweet lovable and talented Anna's printable houses

From Mrs. T., amazing glitter houses for train sets, and there are a bobillion links to fantastic options, including kits, here

From Abbie, how to make the pretty little Martha Stewart houses

From Mary, a charming kit for a cottage with tree and some finished houses and trees from my beautiful friend Charlotte

From Sara, a pink ready-made house that's quite sweet

From Vivi, instructions for houses from Better Homes & Gardens

And just look at the gorgeousness of this snowflake "curtain" from Lupin, via Ohdeedoh. So simple and inexpensive but truly stunning, especially if you don't have snow outside.

There! Thank you, everyone! That should keep us good and busy this weekend, no?

(Oh yeah: Cup info from photo above: I have a set of two of these thrifted mugs, the bottoms of which say "Lancaster County, c. 1975 Japan, Fred Roberts Co." And the placemat is thrifted, too, and says in the corner "CSTUDITEX." For what it's worth, just 'cause I know someone will ask. :-)

Winter Spin

comments: 22

Candles3

This sweet little schwibbogen, remember it from last year? Children holding lanterns, trotting toward Christmas. My sister Susie and her boyfriend flew in from South Carolina for Thanksgiving and stayed with us here at Paulson Place all last week, and now we are lucky enough to have Andy's mom coming for almost a whole week again, starting next Thursday. I love it so much when the guest room is in full rotation during the holidays. That was another one of my dreams, come true.

I'm so glad you liked the snow village tutorial! Thank you for the links to other villages, and to make your own houses, etc. I am going to check all of those out today. A couple of people asked about whether it was safe to put lights under fabric. I honestly never really thought about it before. I guess you'll have to use your own judgement about that. My lights are very cool, even after being on for hours, and we don't leave it lit at night or when we're not around. But I'm no expert, so if you worry just leave them out. A few other people also asked about the roses on the fireplace. I described how my mom and I made and attached those here. They are probably a very permanent part of the fireplace now, so be forewarned. I like them, though from across the room they kind of do look, as Andy says, like someone threw blobs of wet toilet paper at the fireplace and then painted over them. [Alicia shrugs: Still cheaper than therapy.] [You know how that goes.]

Heart-Shaped Moon

comments: 113

Village4

I put my snow village up. It goes on the mantle above the fireplace. I still can't believe I have a house with a fireplace. That was one of my dreams. I love the village. I've written about it before, once when I wrote about my grandma (many of these houses were hers) in 2005, again when I thought about ice skating in 2007. I always mean to show you how I put it together, even though it's very simple and you can probably guess. But this year I took photos to make it easier to explain.

Mantle1

We keep all the snow village supplies in one box all year, so when I pull them out I know I'll have everything I need. First comes a whole bunch of 4" foam blocks that I had cut many years ago at a foam cutting place (just try Googling "foam" and your city's name to find one near you). They've turned kind of yellow over the years. You could use boxes for this, too, as long as they don't show through the fabric too much. I stack them around at different angles.

Mantle2

Then I take some white lights on a white cord — I think this was 100 mini lights — and start draping them over the blocks here and there. I buy new lights every year since they don't seem to last from one year to the next (and once you get this put together, you will not want to take it down to replace the lights when they burn out halfway through the season). In the past I've used icicle lights and those actually work better because you can snake some out the back to pop into the holes in the houses to light them, but I forgot that this year. Ooopsie.

Mantle3

Then I drape everything in about 2 yards of 44"-wide white linen, folded in half lengthwise. Normally I wouldn't have used such a nice fabric for this — muslin would work just fine — but the first year I set this up, 2 yards of linen was what I had in my stash, so I just refold it and put it in the snow village box and reuse the same fabric every year. The linen is nice because it has such a gorgeous drape to it. Whatever you use, make sure that it is neither too thin (so that you can't see the boxes or foam or cord underneath) nor too thick (so that you can't see the lights shining through). I want it to feel like glowy snowdrifts.

Mantle4

Then I just start placing the houses and trees. My houses are a combination, collected over many years, of ones that were my grandma's, ones that I've picked up at antique stores and estate sales, and newer reproductions (Martha Stewart sold a few of these as Christmas ornaments several years ago, but I don't think they have them anymore). I've never made any of my own, but lots of people were making them on the blogs a few years ago, so if you know of a good link to those tutorials, please leave a comment here and we can collect them. (Also, I'd love to see other finished villages, too, if you have one!) The trees are called bottle-brush trees, and many of mine are vintage reproductions made by Bethany Lowe, whose items we used to sell in my store several years ago (when I had a store). The green ones were my grandma's and they are very old.

Village7

The church is really cool. I found it at the antique expo many years ago. It was kind of expensive, but I really wanted it, and I'm glad I got it. Every good snow village needs a charming little church, watching over everything.

Village1

When I get all the houses out there, I start hanging my snowflakes. These are glitered plastic (from any craft store) and straw (from Ikea), and I use fishing line to attach them to a bunch of little white cup hooks that are screwed directly into our ceiling and stay there all year. (You can't even see them unless you are looking for them.)

I like how the snowflakes make shadows on the sky.

Village2

I like how the heart-shaped pine-cone moon rises in the evening over the village.

Moon1

It reminded me of the one we had last night.

The Christmas Boxes

comments: 57

Box1

Why is it that the moment they come up from the basement, it feels like you were just packing them away not five minutes before? The year folds up, and touches corners. . . .

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.