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It's the winter that feels like spring. Without flowers. I see daffodils and irises and other little spring bulb-type things popping up through the mud, though. The rest of the country is covered in blizzard after blizzard and foot after foot of snow. ALAS, poor us, we have nothing but sunshine and 60-degree weather. Sigh. I am possibly the only person in the Pacific Northwest who's bummed out about that.

The days at home have been lazy and lovely, nevertheless. I made this chicken tartiflette (channeling après-ski fantasies) with the new mandoline I got for Christmas, and it was very, very good. We've been playing and reading and sleeping and stitching. I've been working on version 2.0 of the sampler and I really love this. The new sampler kits should be available in about eight or nine weeks. The fabric is on order, and we're still calculating amounts and colors of floss. This thing has forty-seven colors in it. I'll print the chart very large for you to try to compensate for the small size of the stitches. Also, yes, we're in the process of ordering more materials to make more Maggie, Juniper, and Basil kits. Those are a few months out, too.

Does anyone out there from River Forest or Oak Park or Forest Park remember the smiley-face cookies with the chocolate eyes from Kay's Bakery? Man, those things were the best. And the chocolate bismarks from the bakery next to River Forest Market on Lake Street. Is the market even still there? I loved that place. Thinking about it, and home, lately. I wonder why. I think it's the snow. I remember standing in front of the bakery eating a bismark, waiting for the bus in the freezing cold. Chocolate and pastry cream. The smell of exhaust on the icy morning air. Rush hour. I miss that.

Amelia carries her dolly around, cuddling her and kissing her on the forehead. I say, "Mimi, you're such a good mommy to your baby." She, impatiently: "Oh, I know, I know.

***The book she is looking at is A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books. One of our favorites.




Hello! I really adore the family painting. It is quite unique and very beautiful.

I love how she is just STUDYING those pages in her book. And, I had that one with the little girl and the chicken when I was little. Totally forgot about it til I saw it!! I love your blog, your life looks so peaceful, happy and lovely. Thanks for sharing.


Those smiley face cookies seem ubiquitous in the Chicago suburbs~ I grew up in the Northwest suburbs, where my family still lives, and since I was a small girl they have been my "cookie of choice" when at a bakery. The chocolate eyes are the best part. :)

I'm with you, I love our dark, gray, wet, cold winters. As nice as it is to have mild weather and as sweet as the crocus are, I do feel a little cheated. I wanted more opportunities to wear my knit scarves and hats. Even my fleeces feel a little too warm.

I didn't make enough soups and fresh bread. I didn't have enough fires in the fireplace. Ah well, time to run out and prune the roses so I can enjoy the big bouquets of them when it warms up. Those aren't bad.

I live in Victoria BC but I'm from Nova Scotia and maaaaaaan. I'd take the blizzards over the rain any day. Someone comes on the radio or news and tells you NOT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. I mean, come on! That's my idea of winter.

When I read those city names I thought you might be referring to the chicagoland area. I'm way out west in DeKalb but we had yellow smiley face cookies too when I was growing up! Ours were from a bakery called Davison's and it was a sad, sad day when they closed doors. But not for lack of smiley face cookie sales, I think they just retired. After that when our new local supplier of smiley face cookies got sold and turned into a 7-11 I was so shocked one time to see similar yellow faced cookies, but commercially wrapped. The owners told me that everyone was coming in and asking for the smiley faced cookies so they found a supplier in the burbs and started carrying them too! Before that I thought they were just a local thing, who knew?

Kristen from MA says: February 05, 2015 at 08:10 AM

I love that the octopus in the painting mirrors the one in the sampler. So cute!

She looks just like the doll.
I ♥ her.

Oh, I love your family painting... such a special piece that you will cherish forever!! And the Valentine heart garland is the sweetest!

How sweet the illustrations in her books are! Man, even at my age I find it fun to look through a beautifully illustrated children's book. Very excited about the new sampler kit!! I've been working on the Sunshine Day Afghan and (after MUCH trial and error because I'm a crocheting noob) I finally got the puff stitch down pat. I should have it done just in time to pick up the new sampler. LOL :)

Pretty much everyone up here in Hoodland is praying for snow, so you are not alone! I love the sampler.

As always you make me happy to be alive to share the world with people who appreciate the beauty and love out there.

Yes, you and I, midwest girls at heart missing the snow! I was glued to the weather channel watching it! LOL! We got a "dusting" last night....not even close and it will be 56 tomorrow so what kind of winter is that? I'm leaving here asap....packing as we speak. I may have to auction my house but whatever it takes!
The recipe looks great and Cheryl Strayed has another book? Did you read her Wild? I haven't seen the movie but definitely want to after reading the book.
She looks so sweet with her l o n g blonde is an honor to watch her grow and I will always thank you for sharing her and your family with us.
New cross stitch...I have to do the first one. I have dreams of having all your kits and patterns finished and adorning my home. I'd better hurry up! LOL!

Kirschbaum's Bakery in Western Springs still makes those cookies. My all time favorite ... Now I'm homesick, too!

Of all the lovely things in your photos, I'm continually drawn back to the knitted fried egg. It's charming...and I missed breakfast.

I long for a bit of winter here too in coastal BC. It feels as though we've skipped it altogether. Sweet close up of Mimi. She is such a beauty. Lovely post as ever.

Your West-Coast-Rain-Lovin' reader here --- I was commenting the other day to my boyfriend how it looks like late spring out here in SoCal, and man, it sucks! ;-)

The photo of Mimi with Andy playing the guitar totally pulled at my heartstrings. I had my beautiful daughter when I was *very* young and single, and we totally rocked growing up together. :)
Last year I reunited and fell in love with a school friend I knew 30 years ago.I didn't know back then that I was his first love. It's hard not to imagine us having a child together now, but I just turned 40 last month and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and well, it's nice to daydream. :)

right there with ya on the weather, as i sit here up in Washington state - WHYYYYYYYYYYY not snow, not even a smidge???

love love love the painting! so darling! i'm more than obsessed with your mantel and THANK YOU for posting more pix of Mimi's room! I wish I was a tiny fairy that could live within the floorboards.....:)

Oh those rosy, rosy cheeks!beautiful images :) xxx

oh your pictures are so wonderful they kill me. I'm glad your new kit won't be ready for 8 or 9 weeks and I wonder how many of your other kits I have purchased can be completed by then. I am doing the Winterwoods one now. I love too many things in your pictures to list but I am extra happy to have a close up of that red candle holder in her kitchen. That is so beautiful.

I do like a few picturesque snows.. and we may yet have one.. but I think I'm already over winter and ready for spring and lilacs and roses. LOVE the finished painting.. what a treasure! And Mimi's rosy cheeks.. precious. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

You are NOT alone! Remember, this time last year it snowed!!!! Snow! Sigh. Feel so cheated out of winter this year! My trees all have buds and I'm worried the summer will be unbearable! I've already checked to make sure our central air is working haha! Winter is my treat for making it through summer each year, so I get you.

On the other hand, it should be a GREAT tomato season!!!

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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