Posts filed in: January 2012

For Five Minutes, It Was Glorious

comments: 98

All of a sudden, snow began pouring down yesterday afternoon. I became extremely excited and started rushing around. I scurried and got my fire going perfectly. I raced upstairs and put on my long-johns. I herded my animals onto the sofa with me. And then [big smile] I pulled up my quilt and propped my chin in my hand and got ready to watch the big flakes finally fly outside the big window.


But I wasn't there a minute before it was over. Almost as soon and as flurriously as it had started, the snow stopped. Within minutes, the weather was all "gorgeous" [please note sarcasm], and sunny, and warm, as if snowflakes had never happened.

C'mon, son! [Sad face.] Not cool.


Well. Be that way. Apple streusel bread, then.









It was a good pretend snow-day, anyway.


Just Us Girls

comments: 79







They say

it may


Andy's working all weekend, so it's just us girls here. Watching the sky. Holding down the fort.

January, linger.

comments: 127





Back in the swing, but it's a slow swing. I have been thinking about January a lot. Or, rather, thinking about whether it is actually possible to hibernate in winter, the way animals do. My animals become cold-honey slow in the winter. I am with them all day, every day. It's impossible not to know their routines, their moods, their changes, their needs. If I don't intuit something they need, they tell me. When Eileen was here pet-sitting last fall, one day she texted me something like, "It's weird, but they actually do tell you what they want, don't they?" And yes, they absolutely do. If you do not live with animals, you might think it would be difficult to understand them. But if you do live with animals, I bet you know exactly what they are trying to tell you, pretty much every minute. Really, it's very easy. You guess once and get it right, and suddenly whatever it was you just did in response to whatever it was she just did is a vocabulary word, forever, for both of you.

They change with the seasons. When I listen to the pets in the wintertime, I hear them sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. They look for the warmest spot and then they curl themselves around it and they sleep. This is not what they do in summer. In summer, life is all about outside: Someone's coming in, someone's going out, someone's walking by, someone's in the yard, someone's left the yard, someone's going to get the hose, someone might drop some food on the ground, someone's coming in again, someone's going out. Busy hours. There is so much more to be alert for. But in the winter, especially after Christmas, it is just quieter. All of the windows and doors are closed. We don't hear outside noises. It's often raining. It's quieter activity-wise because what could there possibly be to do, after all that was just done? December feels almost manic, socially speaking. January feels like a deep breath — a sigh — in the conversation. It's closer, and darker, and that always feels quieter. It's resting, stay-still, no-rush time. Maybe the only sanctioned time for it in the whole year. We are animals too, after all. All I want to do is stay bundled and curled. Make soups that take four or five hours. Make bread that takes eighteen. Watch movies about ice skaters. Linger over lazy lunches. Read snowy Russian novels. Oil wooden spoons and cutting boards. Take long eucalyptus-infused baths. Knit stuff. Refill the teapot. Blow off my chores. Read illustrated cookbooks. Scratch furry little corgis behind their ears. Coast on momentum, I guess. Be long and linger, January. Don't rush off. I need the time. I need the time.

Getting Back in the Swing

comments: 108






Nice and cold today. Makes me happy. I'd like some snow, please. Perhaps everyone would. Or not? I am routinely surprised by how many people don't like snow. Like, really don't like it. I never seem to stop missing it, somehow. I've got problems.

Black bean soup tonight from this great magazine. This will be the fifth thing I've made from it, and we've been very happy with all of it. I love slow winter cooking. We've been cooking a lot. Thank you for all the sweet comments about my birthday cake, by the way. The recipes for it are here, and for those who have asked, I got the little pink cake stand at Sweetwares here in Portland. (Also, a few people have asked me about my gray dishes with the blue flowers. Unfortunately those were from Target on-line quite a while ago and I know they don't have them anymore. They just say Euro Ceramica on the back. My blue and white dishes are "Blue Delft" by Maruta Japan.)

I finally finished the sampler! Took me a while. It, too, made me very happy. I will definitely offer it both as a downloadable chart/pattern and as a kit. I am sourcing materials now and making sure we can get what we need. I plan to work up a new sampler with a few changes that I made while testing this one. I'll photograph the new one properly as soon as I finish and frame it, but I don't have it in me to rush. In the meantime, I will tell you what I know about counted cross stitch so you can see if it is something you would like to do. I am really, really looking forward to this one. Thank you for being interested. I think it is going to be so much fun.

If you have anything to ask about counted cross stitch, please do ask here in the comments on this post! And then I'll do a little tutorial next week or so.

Birthday Delight

comments: 110



















Oh, what a nice birthday weekend I had. French pastries for breakfast, a woods-walk, pretty flowers, macaroni and cheese at Jake's Grill, a waxing moon-rise from the front yard, a glowing cakelet for dessert, a wish, a movie under quilts, Sunday games with my family, sweetest cards and calls and presents. Thank you for all of your sweet wishes! What a wonderful birthday it was.

comments: 369


Very, very excited about all of the sampler enthusiasm — thank you so much! I am thrilled. We will talk!

It's my birthday tomorrow, so I made myself a wee little birthday cake. And took a big huge picture of it. :-)

Up and At It

comments: 424




I spent yesterday sort of organizing my computer and my bookkeeping stuff. I always dread it so much, but then when I sit down to actually do it I get all ambitious, organizationally speaking: This is fine! Why don't I run these reports all the time? How come I don't use Quicken more? Right. It reminds me of that one time Andy Paulson mopped the hardwood floor of our apartment with Murphy's Oil Soap and, while mopping vigorously, had some sort of olfactory-inspired crazy-talk fit: "This is so easy!!! It smells so good! Why do we not do this all the time??? Yeah. I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna wash this floor every night when I get home from work! I will do that! I will do it!" Pan to me, falling off the couch laughing with my hands over my mouth. That was in 1996. He did very kindly wash the kitchen floor for me one other time, just the other day. I sat in a chair with a cat on my lap and said things like, "It's so weird, it doesn't seem like just yesterday when you said you were going to wash the floors every day. It seems more like it was . . . oh . . . sixteen years ago." But I totally get it, because every year when I am printing out year-end summaries and pretty pie charts of income and expenses I have the same sort of unlikely enthusiasm for keeping house, financially speaking. It lasts about as long as it takes to hurl it all toward the mailbox and get it out of here and off to our accountant. Bleh.

Do you like the sampler? It's about the winterwoods. I'm kind of infatuated with it. It's not quite done, but almost. There are a few little things left to do. I think maybe I'll just become an alphabet sampler designer now. I really love these. I drew all the letters freehand. I wanted them to look like letters you would carve into a tree trunk with a Swiss Army knife (not that I've ever done that [wink] ). This will definitely be a pattern. Trying to figure out whether I can also afford to make this into a kit. Counted cross-stitch supplies — the really good ones, which are what I used here: varigated hand-dyed embroidery floss, 28-count Danish linen — are expensive. I always think that if you're going to take the time you should use the best stuff. Well, we'll talk more about it. Still thinking. Please raise your hand if you like kits.

Are people afraid of counted cross-stitch? I keep hearing this. DON'T BE SCARED. OF COUNTED CROSS-STITCH. I will help you.


comments: 116


We went for a walk in the woods last week.



















Magical place. I love it so much.

New Year

comments: 68




Good, really good days. Andy had all three days of this long weekend off, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and yesterday. I can't remember a lazier, cozier, nicer, more pajama-clad time ever. It was like being in a blanket lair. With lots of warm animals, embroidery, HD television, and shrimp cocktail (New Year's Eve). There was talk of going for a walk somewhere but the talk faded away. I took a picture of the moon on the evening of New Year's Day instead. I made seafood chowder and Dutch-oven bread (inspired by this lovely little film) using my dad's old Dutch oven, which was cool. The bread was a miracle. So easy (I think the recipe I used was much easier than the one they used in the film, honestly) it doesn't seem possible. And possibly the best bread I've ever eaten. I know I keep saying that but I mean, seriously, is that not one beautiful loaf of bread? And there's nothing to it. I can hardly take credit for it. It's that easy.

Thank you for your new year's wishes, and your gentle words, and . . . just . . . all of your kindnesses here, and your confidence. It all means so much to me. I don't really know how to say. But I really thank you.

I am almost done with my cross-stitch sampler (that's how much sitting around I did) except that I ran out of thread. Today is a day to get some stuff done: pay bills, clean house, wash the floor, run errands. The poor little Christmas tree, who has been here since the day after Thanksgiving, probably needs to be officially retired. The kitchen is kind of trashed. Winter break is pretty cool. If it went on any longer it might get boring, but probably not really. I confess I'm gonna try to get my chores done really fast and then see if I can stretch out lazytimes a little longer. It has felt very good to truly rest.

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.