Start the Season

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Oh, Happy Thanksgiving to you! I've been laaaaaaazy this week. We had a nice Thanksgiving here, and I hope you did, too. People brought stuff to our house and Andy and our nephew, Perry, cooked a bunch of sides so although we had dinner at our place, I think this was the first year ever that I haven't cooked a single thing. I kind of missed it but at the time I wasn't complaining. I was tired. I really had no mojo. We'd gotten all of the advent calendars mailed by Monday the 19th, and then I sort of collapsed into a deflated little balloon-like shape, with just a small puff of air keeping me three-dimensional. Amelia was off school from Wednesday through Sunday and oh my lordy it was so wonderful having her home every day. By today, we were all ready to get back to our routine, I think, but having a long weekend was bliss. She and I went to an ice-cream place for lunch and then a birthday party at a play cafe on Saturday, and it added the perfect amount of sparkle to the mostly gloomy weather we've had. I got to knit and catch up with old mom-friends of mine, which was so nice. Yesterday Mimi and Andy baked cookies and made turkey Tetrazzini and I took a bath and read soap-making books. Usually Andy and I have gone to get our tree immediately after Thanksgiving, but this year the house feels too messy, the legs feel too tired, the weather feels too rainy . . . and so we put it off.

I feel like I have so much cleaning to do. I've started so many new hobbies lately and have gotten so much new equipment for all those things, and I haven't really cleared space, proper space, for these new things. Consequently, it's seriously starting to bug me now. I just literally haven't had time to completely reorganize. I keep talking about it but I haven't done it. I'm hoping to do it in the new year. It feels like a huge project. Everything goes so fast, somehow. I frequently feel quite overwhelmed.

At night, before bed, I watch soap-making videos. Has anything in the history of the world ever been more relaxing? No. No it hasn't. I don't know what it is about them. I like to hear people ramble on about stuff, I guess, and I like looking at the texture of soap as it's poured. I love these ones and these ones. Also, these ones. If you want to learn how to make soap you watch these ones. I don't know, there are a ton out there. Just start poking around. YouTube keeps suggesting things and then I find myself engrossed. I have so many ideas now. You need a LOT of supplies to get started. I'm waiting for one more shipment of stuff (including new goggles and some blackberry seeds) and then I'm going to make my first official batch. I'm pretty excited. Andy is going to help me make space in our pantry for soap curing. I can't wait.

I took Amelia to WinCo yesterday to get a big bag of cinnamon and some applesauce and glue to make cinnamon ornaments. I don't usually shop in big grocery stores like that, and I definitely don't shop in stores like that with a kid who no longer rides in a (absolutely enormous) cart. It was seriously stressful. She kept wandering away to look at things despite my admonitions to stay with me, and I was looking for things because I'd never been in that store before and I didn't know where anything was, and the combination was lame. It's a weird age where they're too big to be contained but too little to totally stay in control of themselves where there is candy and toys and all sorts of junk all over the place. She was loving it, I was stressed. I was in a neighborhood that I don't normally go to, either, and it's just funny how all of those things added up to being something I doubt I'll repeat. Especially now that the holiday season is starting, I think this was a good reminder to me to really pick and choose how to interact with the world over the next month or so. I never really think about stuff like that, to be honest — I usually just bust my way through any and every situation as required, and it's mostly fine — but I think I'm going to actually try to be intennnnnnntional this year. I hear it's recommended. . . .

Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to making the ornaments. I've never made them before. I usually have a theme for our mantel but I don't really have one this year. I think I'll just try to do something pretty and simple.

I noticed people ordering my ornament patterns over the weekend (thank you!!!) and I am going to put together a post with all of my winter stuff in it this week so it's easy for you to find it all together if you are interested. I probably should have done all this before, but I've moving slow lately. Also, I will start revealing all of the advent calendar presents daily on December 1, so you'll hopefully be seeing me more. I'm breathing a bit easier now that it's all in the mail (and, actually, hopefully, at its destinations . . . ).

42 comments

TRACEY THOEN HORNUNG says: November 27, 2018 at 11:20 AM

I LOVE watching soap making videos, especially Royalty Soaps. I don't make soap, but maybe some day

I made cinnamon ornaments one year with my children when they were younger. A fun project but something I would only want to do once in a lifetime! I'm looking forward to seeing how your soap making turns out.

One of the most relaxing activities for me is to read a blog like yours, to read about someone else accomplishing big things and taking on new hobbies... It distracts me from thinking about all the old hobbies I'm not keeping up with, and from the cries from the floor of "Sweep me!" and such like.

The pictures of birds are soothing. There is something about birds, going into winter, that comforts. And I do think this season becomes your city!

I am going to watch those soap making videos and I know I will love every second. An equally addicting genre is polymer clay videos. So many cute tiny things to watch people make.

I would love it if you could post the recipe for the potato, onion soup or stew, whatever it is. It looks delicious!

What's that potato dish you're cooking?! Thank you get again for the beautiful post!

Still no photos showing for me. They start to load then turn to tiny blue and white squares.

Delete that. They popped while I was writing the comment.

in that first picture, the steeple of the church looks like one of the many trees! loved it and the pics of the birds throughout the montage.

Happy Thanksgiving! Your posts are always so wonderful. If you recover and have a moment, I was wondering if you could tell us more about the felt cottage (purse)? with the owl and bird on it from Amelia's birthday. Apologies if you wrote about it earlier and I missed it!

OMG WINCO - you are braver than I am, that place just overwhelms me. My "adventurous" shopping is limited to Grocery Outlet on Sunnyside Road.
Can't wait to see your soaps!

I love reading your posts, and really look forward to your Advent posts. I am newly retired, and thoroughly enjoying the gift of time to sew and craft. Your blog is so inspirational! I am currently making 48 miniature stocking for my granddaughters' Advent calendar stocking garland. I can't wait to see what gifts await in yours!

Hi Alicia. I have made the cinnamon ornaments many times and love doing so. I used to just let them air dry but now I use the oven drying method too. I have heard about the ant problem but a Amish Lady at the Farmers Market told me to add some powdered cloves and to use unsweetened applesauce and I have never had a problem with mine (some are over 20 yrs old). Adds a nice smell too. I made garlands a few times. I used gingerbread men shapes, heart shapes, some cinnamon sticks tied with twine and some dried orange slices and string together with torn gingham or calico fabric. I do not store the orange slices though, I add fresh ones each year. When I made the first one on a whim, so many people commented on it that I made about a dozen for gifts the next year. I am sure you will enjoy making them. Thank you for you lovely posts and for putting so much love out into the world

Pattie Callaghan says: November 29, 2018 at 02:58 PM

Really like all your postings. Are you still going to make the felt dolls & patterns? In new year maybe? Think you mentioned it one time. Thanks.

i love the smell those cinnamon ornaments create when you make then... aahhh... so lovely. i remember one year, when my daughter was about that age, i had taken her to a busy store during the christmas season. i turned around as she was swallowed up into a crowd of christmas shoppers and my heart felt like it literally stopped. luckily, 2 seconds later the crowd parted and there she was again. it was absolutely horrible. after that i had a strict rule that they had to keep one hand on the cart when the stores were like that. i just had a long talk with them about how we could get lost from each other and that seemed to be enough for them to oblige.

Alicia,
Thanks for this post. I wish I had your insight and wisdom when I was raising my kids! I requested my local grocery to make an aisle without candy and treats at the checkouts- they complied! (My babies are now in their twenties) Shopping is tough with kids but hang on, it keeps getting better...

Ooohh...soapmaking is a deep, wonderfully adventurous rabbit hole to go down! I started over 2 years ago and I'm about to launch a business. There are so many beneficial, natural ingredients to use, and the science....oh the science behind making soap. You'll never be the same!

If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. :-)

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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.