Wild and Wooly

comments: 86
























To the north, the sky was pewter gray, that deep, thick color that means snow somewhere. Instead, we had wind and we had rain. All last night the wind wouldn't stop; it whipped the trees high above the house, and rain peppered the windows unevenly. Restless sounds. This morning the wind settled and the sky cleared for a bit and Amelia and I ventured out into the green and the wet. There were branches and debris everywhere, ancient, craggy limbs and sticks littering the road and the sidewalks. Spring signs pushed forth everywhere we looked. Spring in Oregon is blustery, wild, and wooly. It's slow to start and long to linger.

Thank you for your feedback on The Goldfinch! I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to give their opinions (especially ones that were different than mine)! That book was a major reading adventure, seriously. It was good to debrief — I needed it!!! It was so much fun to read a book that a lot of other people are reading at the same time, too. Thank you also for the book recommendations. We went to Powell's on Saturday. It was my intention to take my phone, pull up the blog comments, and look through the suggestions and leisurely browse for some of the titles you suggested. Nothing could've been further from what actually happened. It was sooooo crowded (doi — Saturday) and the store is being remodeled (doi — forgot); huge chunks of it are off-limits and the books have been moved to other sections of the store. Things are really tight now. The temporary shelves were great but the aisles were skinny. Andy was across the store and I had Amelia in the umbrella stroller dropping shoes, bottle, and barrette every few yards. We'd already had lunch and been lamp shopping and gone to Anthropology so the window of opportunity was closing, and I was on the run. Turns out, this may be a great way for me to pick out books! I pulled an Amelia, speed-reading my way through the flaps and blurbs, hurling used paperbacks under the stroller, and picking up tossed baby accessories as fast as I could. I got four books and I can't even remember what they all are (but I know one, the one I'm now reading, is The Little Stranger). There must have been thirty or forty people in line by the time we got to the checkout and I'll tell you what, they were doing an Amelia themselves, because we went through that line so fast it was actually funny. We were out before the nipper got cranky and even had time to go get a hot cocoa across the street on the way back to the car. Boom, done, and done [brushes off hands]!

But I am going to spend time looking through the suggestions and making a list for next time I get to go to the store. Thank you again!

Slowly but surely working on my crochet and embroidery at night while watching the Olympics. Very excited to be done with the lampshade and see how it looks. The pattern doesn't tell you which Minut lamp to get from Ikea, and there are two sizes with the same name. I got the smaller one and it seems to be fitting okay. We'll see.

Valentine lasagnas! And just look at how utterly scrumptious that adorable, wonderful, loveable, squeezeable, precious pudge of a baby girl was at this time last year:


Oh my stars. Time flies. What an amazing year.


Gretchen Harple says: February 20, 2014 at 08:11 PM

I just finished The Snow Child yesterday for my book club and loved it. We did the Goldfinch last month and I enjoyed The Snow Child sooooo much more. It takes place in 1920's Alaska with an older, childless couple and is inspired by the Russian Snow Maiden fairy tale. The old couple desperately want a child and during a rare playful moment, build a snow girl. Then the 'magic' happens. A very sweet read.

I don’t know how you do them,but your pics are simply amazing! Amelia is very cute !

Amelia is SO adorable!

Someone recently asked me for some books recommendations and I put together the following top-of-mind list:

1. If you like crime/mysteries, read the Kurt Wallender series by Henning Mankell. Mankell is a brilliant Swedish writer and some of these books have been made into a so-so television series starring Kenneth Branagh. After poo-pooing the idea that a small-town Swedish police officer could make for interesting reading, I finally picked up "The White Lioness" and was completely hooked. You don't necessarily need to read them in order--and the first in the series is the weakest--but definitely steer clear of the more recent books when you start.
2. For a totally lighthearted and fast read, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Here's a good review of it by one of my favorite book bloggers: http://thecaptivereader.com/2013/12/15/the-rosie-project-graeme-simsion/
3. If you're an avid bibliophile, take 30 minutes and read "84 Charing Cross Road" by Helene Hanff. It's absolutely delightful.
4. When I was up at our family cabin in Northern Minnesota last year, I picked up a copy of "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls that somebody had left behind. I spent the rest of the day in a chair reading. End of story. A jawdropping memoir.
5. I find Caitlin Moran quite funny and really enjoyed "Moranthology."
6. Jhumpa Lahiri is a terrific writer and her most recent novel "The Lowland" does not disappoint. Geraldine Brooks is another author I enjoy--I'll read whatever she publishes.
7. I also love Barbara Kingsolver. All of her novels are wonderful, but I particularly enjoyed "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," which is the (nonfiction) story of how her family ate only what they could grow/forage or acquire locally for a year. They were (are?) living on a farm in southwestern Virginia.
8. In a similar vein, "My Life in France" by Julia Child is a wonderful foodie memoir. It's the lovely Meryl Street/Stanley Tucci part of the Julie & Julia movie (I hated that book and the Julie character so much I actually threw the book against the wall when I was done reading...oops).
9. I liked "The Cuckoo's Calling" so I was happy to hear that J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith is writing another book in the series.
10. "At Home" by Bill Bryson is a romp through everything to do with houses/domestic life, particularly in England. It's the kind of book that is full of interesting factoids and you find yourself saying things like "so, that's where that expression comes from..." a lot.
11. I love Persephone Books: http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/. I've enjoyed every single Persephone title I've read except for two which are oddly some of their bestsellers ("Cheerful Weather for the Wedding" and "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.")
12. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity" by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo is an amazing piece of narrative nonfiction.
13. "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin makes me excited to improve the quality of my day-to-day life.
14. I was sad when I finished both "The Help" and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." I didn't want to leave those characters behind.
15. "Empire Falls" by Richard Russo is another one of my drop-everything-and-just-keep-reading books. Actually, everyone I know who has read it feels the same way.
16. The Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny is a favorite. These definitely need to be read in order. She seems to be publishing a new book in the series every year and I am eagerly awaiting the next one.

karen on bainbridge island says: February 21, 2014 at 09:54 AM

In those first few snaps of Amelia, she looks as if she's beckoning you closer because she has something very interesting to tell you!

What is on the silpat? Looks yummy!

Susan Roberts says: February 22, 2014 at 05:51 AM

Enjoying your blog with a cup of coffee - Love doing that on the weekends and savoring all your inspiration and coziness! Love your embroidery work - beautiful! You sure get sooo many things done. I better get with it! Hoping for some rain here in Northern California - my favorite weather to read, quilt, or embroider.

The next time I go visit my daughter in Astoria, we need to take a day trip to visit Portland, most importantly Powell's.

Lucy Milner says: February 22, 2014 at 09:10 AM

I loved The Little Stranger, absolutely compelling. Sarah Waters is a great storyteller. Xx

Oh my goodness! I just realized your wee little one is the exact image of the little girl on my childhood (55 yrs ago) Golden Books!!! I will have to pull it out and write a post linking to your precious one!!! Xoxo

Oh my gosh...that Wilco poster. I am a homesick Portland girl, grew up a few miles from Edgefield. Love seeing your beautiful images of my hometown.

Hi Alicia,

I have so enjoyed your blog, the creative touches you bring to life are inspiring, to say the least. The photos you posted of the embroidered farm and village scene were too much for me to resist....my kit arrived in the mail today!

I can't wait to get started, though I have one question....the printed lines of the design on your linen piece seems much darker and easier to see than those on mine. Did you trace over the lines with a darker pen or did it come that way?

Thanks for any tips.

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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 aliciapaulson.com