Posts filed in: June 2012

New Computer

comments: 92

Wah! Had to get entire new computer after all. Writing from phone. Wondering why computer problems prompt discombobulation, then, in every other area of life. Discovered (for instance) while eating lunch in restaurant on Tuesday that shirt was on inside out. Thought "Wow, that's a first!" and instead of laughing felt slight panic, which was relief, indicating still actually care on some kind of level (though not very sophisticated one since "wearing clothes right-side out" probably comes just after "wearing pajamas" which comes just after "getting dressed at all" on the scale of civilized functionality) what I look like. All clothes on facing outward today. Progress.

Rainy Weekend

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Baking : : Movie night Friday (we loved it) : : Birthday lunch with dear friends : : New-neighbor BBQ with old friends : : Much embroidering and much crocheting at all other times : : More movies (this one and this one and this one) on cable : : Andy working : : Broken computer (needs new battery, on order) : : No email (kind of nice, admittedly) : : Recipe for cake is on my other computer, will share when new battery arrives : : Ham and egg sandwich for one on Sunday morning : : Still-raining Monday.

*Here is the recipe for the cake! It is frosted with Cloudburst Frosting, of course.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

4 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Spray again and flour.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Mix eggs, yolks, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the cake layers for 28–32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

comments: 52




Thank you for the Midsummer sampler orders (and thank you for the sweetest wildflower book, Rae Jean)! We are sleepy folk here this morning. It's been a really busy week, actually. We finished the "new" office and it's making everyone really happy (especially me). Built all the furniture and moved the yarn over into its new home and some fabric too, and more to do there when time allows. In the clean-out of the old stuff, I found the almost-finished punch-needle pillow project I'd started over three years ago (remember this?). Made a pillow for the new chair in the "new" office. I'll take some photos next week. Agreed to work on an embroidered cover for Random House for a young-adult mystery novel that's coming out next year and have been either reading the manuscript or embroidering test pieces non-stop. Did some fussing in the garden and hilled the potatoes (thank you for the advice there), weeded the beds, and almost fell over with excitement because I grew this candy-striped Chioggia beet after all (isn't it pretty?). Baking a vanilla cake today from the recipe my little sister (the pastry chef) gave me and can't wait to see if it works. I'll keep you posted. So inspired by all the lovely little Swedish cooking films here. Hoping to go see Moonrise Kingdom tonight. It will be good to get out a bit.

The puppers is currently charging back and forth across the living/dining room waiting to be taken to the park. Her enthusiasm for mornings is unequalled, but I'm going to grab another cuppa joe and see if I can match it. Unlikely, but I try.

Midsummer Morning

comments: 44





Over the weekend the weather was so nice, and I said really strange things like, "I'm hot!" and "It's hot out here!" [pointing to the yard] and "It's hot in there!" [pointing toward the house]. WEIRD. Ah, but it did not last. Today dawns chill and pale, but since it's the longest day of the year we have a lot of time to turn that around, and they say it will happen. Sun, it seems, will be ours today, and I intend to celebrate.

I finished the pattern for my new sampler and it pleased me very much! A downloadable PDF pattern and chart for the Midsummer Sprigs ABCs cross stitch sampler is now available here in my web shop. This sampler was inspired by the book The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock and the cut-paper flower mosaics made by 18th-century English artist Mary Granville Delany. Mary Delany began making her gorgeous collages at the age of seventy-two, and over the next sixteen years (until her eyesight failed at age eighty-eight) created over one thousand botanically accurate paper flowers. This sampler is my tribute to her work.

I would love to have done a kit for this one but I have a lot of different things going on right now and something had to give. If you don't have a counted cross stitch shop in your area and need supplies, I highly recommend calling Jeannine at Acorns and Threads (503-292-4457), my amazing local shop here in Portland. Jeannine and her staff can get you set up with fabric and floss. This pattern calls for a LOT of different colors of hand over-dyed floss from one of my favorite suppliers ever, Weeks Dye Works. (The WDW Retailers page can help you find their flosses in your area, too — but I would call any shop they list and ask them if they have these flosses before heading out.) Since I truly intended to kit this sampler, I was not very conservative in my design and used quite a large palette. If you like counted cross stitch, I don't think it is ever a bad idea to invest in as many hand over-dyed flosses as you can manage. But they are more expensive than DMC flosses, so if your budget only allows for buying a few at a time, I've included my DMC conversions for every color in the pattern, and indicated which WDW colors I would substitute first with DMC floss and get more or less the same look.

The fabric I used is 28-count Cashel linen in black from Zweigart. Their web site is under construction but the linen can be found at Acorns and Threads and also from many on-line retailers who sell it in fat-quarter cuts. (You need an 18" x 18" piece for this sampler, so a fat quarter at 18" x 27" will work great.) If you have trouble finding anything, just let me know and I will help you!

Black can be a little tricky to stitch on, but Jeannine (without whom I probably never would have started cross stitching, way back many years ago when I first moved here) gave me a tip when I started this last spring: Put a white dish towel on your lap and then you will be able to easily see the holes in the fabric. It really works. And that reminds me, if you are new to counted cross stitch, you may want to read my tutorial on it to get you started.

Anyway, it feels good to get this finished and I really hope you like it! The sun has just come out here in the past few minutes, the birds are singing out my window now, and it looks to be a glorious morning. What a lovely world we have. xoxo

Dinner Picnic

comments: 63























Friday night at the river beach, Sauvie Island, 6/15/12.

Ah. Sunshine.

comments: 51




Oh yeah. Bring it.

Wood Buttered

comments: 44




I gave all of my wooden utensils and cutting boards and bowls a nice conditioning yesterday. They were parched. Wood butter (spoon oil) is good for this. I keep a jar in my pantry at all times, and just add more beeswax and mineral oil as necessary. I guess we try to do it every six months or so. I also oiled the entire surface of the table. The first picture is before oiling and the second and third pictures after (for what it's worth). Everything now has a beeswaxy sheen. Pretty.

I have no idea if you're really supposed to use it on furniture, but this table is a workhorse, so I fed it. You might want to research it before using it on yours.

It's so cold here. It's 63 degrees in the house. I'm wearing winter clothes and, obstinately, sandals.


comments: 55






Ina's shrimp salad with some pasta, and a pretty little kitty catching some Zs. That's all. Nothing much. (And a whole lot, really. Favorite kind of day.)

comments: 49








One project (Quill) is on the needles, one project (Alpine Frost) is on the hook. Both are perfectly suited to my mood lately. I alternate between them. I need 97 ridges of garter on the Quill and am somewhere in the 60s; then I can start the first lace border. The pattern for the Alpine Frost just goes on and on, and I don't know why it doesn't bore me, but it doesn't. Mine will be big, like a shawl. I gave myself permission to sputter a little bit this week. I sputtered on over to the couch. I sat and crocheted and watched tennis on Sunday morning for several hours until they finally called a rain delay at the French Open. It was kind of a bummer because it was such a good match (well, I have to admit I was rooting for Djokovic), and I have no idea when they finally broadcast (if they broadcast) the rest of the match after it resumed, but I didn't see it. (Wah.) My TiVo didn't pick it up (even though I asked it nicely; maybe it really was never on). As the least athletic person on the planet, I watch a surprising amount of tennis, and I love it.

We are still in the process of reorganizing the office. I am ready to be done with it and get on with life. We painted it white, which as weird. I don't know if I've ever painted a room white before. What is up with me and white these days??? Weird. I have no idea.

Oh! I forgot to say: We were bubbling with laughter all day yesterday as we read your comments with more kitters dialogue. SO FUNNY. Thank you for making me laugh! Silly animals!!!

I have four rows of nine done on my Irish Chain. Today is cloudy and cool. The light is as flat and gray as it can be. The sky looks like a piece of frosted glass. I'm sitting in front of the open windows with Clover snoozing against my leg. Little cat's perched on the top of the couch above my shoulder, watching the yard. Birds are singing outside everywhere. I like all these animals so much. It smells cool and woodsy out there. Big drops of water on the leathery camellia leaves. Earl Grey and cinnamon toast. Shrimp salad with the dill from the garden for dinner. The sound of tires going by on the wet pavement. I can't wait for Andy to get home.

First Harvest!

comments: 76








Spinach! And lettuce! From seeds! Proud.

I am way overidentified emotionally with my garden and will need years and years of therapy when it fails but until then I am taking every single victory as personally as I possibly can.

If you look at the pet pictures again I think you can see exactly how the kitterses seat exchange went down. The Bee's like, "Oh, actually yeah, I think I'd like to sit right there. Kthx. 'K, take my picture." All I know is that I was taking a picture of Violet and then the next thing I knew I was taking a picture of Bridget. And I didn't even have to refocus.

(Clover's face is so funny.)

They're all pretty cute. They love to be out in front with me when I'm messing around with m veggies. We have a few teensy green tomatoes, an eggplant flower, many pea flowers, four great big potato plants (and I'm supposed to put soil on their stems or something? Probably too late), and the cucumbers and squash look like they're starting to wake up a bit. I sowed more lettuce and spinach seeds a week or two ago, and they're starting to come up. Yeah, I'm pretty psyched.

We have another nice sunny day around here. That makes two in a row! Wow.

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.