Jenny Lind Redux

comments: 39



















My mom had my childhood headboard and footboard in her garage and I got them from her recently. This was my childhood bed (here I am in it back then) that my mom and I stripped and refinished at some point when I was a kid. She brought it out when she and my dad moved from Chicago to Portland in 1998. I don't know why I didn't think to ask her about it sooner, but I had kind of forgotten all about it. Sure enough, she still had these pieces; I ordered new hook-on side-rails and a box spring and Andy put it all together for Mimi over the weekend. Mimi was downstairs playing with two gigantic bags of Barbie stuff that I found for free on Nextdoor; our class has been collecting donations for a family of refugees from Syria, and “Barbie house and toys” was on their wish list and I got so lucky to stumble upon these almost immediately after reading the wish list. Mimi knew she would be bringing these to her friend on Monday, and oh my word, no toys have ever been played with as much as those toys that were headed immediately back out the door. She had the best time. Andy and I busied ourselves with taking out the toddler bed and putting together the big bed and washing the curtains and cleaning her room. In the late afternoon, just as we were finishing, she wandered upstairs and saw the new bed and loved it. I mean, she knew it was happening, but it was really fun to have her walk in to it all having been done without her watching the progress. It felt pretty magical. I have always loved this little bed and I don't really have words to describe how sweet it is to see my little daughter excited about getting it for her own. Naturally I am now spending most free time trawling eBay for vintage Laura Ashley bed linens.

The Nutcracker was so lovely, as always. I did not take that photo of the dancing snowflakes (I found it online and it is by James McGrew) because they don't let you take pictures in there and I'm always sad because I just want to remember how pretty it is — the snowflakes are my favorite. They do have a photo-op for the kids with some of the younger dancers, all dressed up. Andy bought Mimi the tiara she picked out during intermission. Before we left the house, she found a pink flower headband and put it on, and posed with the two battery candles in front of the Christmas tree. This was all her idea and she asked me to take her picture and yeah, my heart melted into a puddle of melted snowflakes in an instant and does again, looking at this.

A few advent calendar reveals! Pretty yarn, spiced hot chocolate from Treehouse Chocolate (from Portland) and handmade vanilla marshmallows from Lil' Miss Marshmallow (also from Portland), silver-plated stitch markers with tiny beads (made by me). Andy and I also made beeswax-(from Portland!)-and-soy-(not from Portland) candles with clary sage and juniper essential oil. I hope everyone loved these things as much as we loved making them and putting them all together. Yesterday Andy and I made our very first batch of cold-process soap and it was thrilling and exciting. It really was. We had a blast. I have plans to include soap in my upcoming Secret Garden project boxes if I can get good enough at it. We used the Creamy Shea Butter Bastille Soap recipe from Simple & Natural Soapmaking by Jan Berry. I scented it with Raspberry Jam fragrance oil, colored part of it with purple Brazilian clay, both from Brambleberry. I decorated it with blackberry seeds and tiny heather flowers. I'll let you know how it turns out in six weeks. My first bars that I made at the class I took at OMSI are almost ready to use. I can't wait.

I've been on the fence about using fragrance oils, even only the phthalate-free ones, instead of essential oils but I think from now on I'm only going to use essential oils. Here is an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of both. Thoughts? Do you have strong feelings about this? I didn't think I did but I guess I might. But what to do when you want something to smell like blackberry and there’s no such thing as blackberry essential oil? First-world problem. But I find all of the soapmaking stuff intensely interesting. It kind of reminds me of learning to throw pots and then glaze and fire them. So. Many. Options. For what to make. And when it turns out how you planned it feels like a total miracle. This soap did not turn out like I planned and in some ways that was the most thrilling part. Much more soap experimenting to come. I'm really excited.


I love The Eco Well’s take on fragrances, it’s not all one way or the other.

I'm really excited about you making soap, I mentioned that already, I know. I started using bar soap in the shower a few months ago when we decided to stop buying bottled liquid body wash, and then I went through all my stuff in my bathroom closet and found ten million little bars of soap (which is odd because I never used bar soap so...why? and from where?) so first we have to use that ;)

The bed looks so nice in her room! I had a Jenny Lind crib for my babies, and my parents had both a JL crib and cradle for me!

Your photos— and your little one— are so lovely. :) She’s just a few months older than our youngest, so it’s fun to watch her grow up as he does.

That is the sweetest pic of Mimi in her tiara, with all the characters playing their part so well. Just lovely. My feeling is, with all the wonderful essential oils available, why would you use a manmade fragrance?

I have used mainly essential oils in my soapmaking but I have read numerous articles on effect the lye has on them during the whole saponification process and many of their properties are lost but still prefer them. Some EO's disappear quickly during the drying time (citrus oils). I had a few fragrance oils I used. Everyone has their preference. Good luck! Loved your blog posting as usual. ☺

I just loved the alternating warm and fuzzy photos with the cold blue forest photos. It was fun to see you sharing the advent calendar things as I've been revealing each one I open on my blog. :-) I shared a link to your cowl pattern on my blog and at least one reader has ordered one which is neat. Mimi looks so happy with her beautiful Jenny Lind bed and also at the play posing with the actors. She's a very lucky child. I am so happy to know that YOU made the stitch markers.. I love mine and they saved my sanity as I didn't have any and was using a little loop of yarn for marking. Those SHOES with the RIBBON.. stuff of childhood dreams. Each morning I open a new tissue covered surprise and I'm totally enjoying it, thank you so much for making one available to me.

*M*E*R*R*Y* * *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Oh those photos are beautiful. Amelia's room is an absolute dream, I would happily have a room exactly like that right now (mid-40s :-) ). Your love for her shows in all the little things - her bed, her fairy lights, the beautiful clothes you make for her ... it's just wonderful xx

So lovely to visit you here and enjoy the sweet rhythm of your days especially since my days are disrupted with moving! I'm happy you were able to use part of your childhood bed for MImi and it was fun to see you as a child in your big girl bed! Thanks for posting. xx

Ooooo.....I would love to hear more about your candle and soap making! I’ve been wanting to do these, but have NO idea where to start! Lovely post, photos and girlie !

The Jenny Lind bed is so perfect for her cozy room under the eaves. :)

Your blog just makes me so happy! You write beautifully, you take beautiful photos, and you've created such a lovely, cozy home. It's a little ridiculous how much I care about you and Andy and Amelia, considering we've never met--but I'm very grateful to you for the warmth and love and home-iness that emanate from your blog. Wishing you all the best this Christmas season!

Very best wishes for a Happy Holiday season! May 2019 be generous to you and your family. Cheers!

Her expression with the dancers brings tears to my eyes. Its all so magical at her age.

What a wonderful holiday read! The first pic (trees, bird silhouette) should be a Fall fabric (just sayin') and all the pics of your freckle-faced sweetie's room are just as cozy as can be - such warm, pleasant thought-provoking pictures! Thank you for sharing and making my morning coffee so much brighter on a blustery, wet Washington day!

Carline Anthony says: December 13, 2018 at 07:32 AM

I had a Jenny Lind bed when I was little (in the 50's) and that picture sure brought back fond memories.
You are a wonderful photographer and I enjoy your outdoor pictures so much. I live in Vancouver so when I see some of the pictures, I find myself guessing where it is and could I go there in the future.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas

Ariana Wittlake says: December 13, 2018 at 07:44 AM

Soap making is so satisfying isn't it? I won't buy ANYTHING with fragrance in it. Been this way for several years now and when you enter this commitment to essential oils, you get used to what's available and don't expect to find things like blackberry or coconut naturally. Give me patchouli, orange, and lavender anytime! (my fav combo)So I think it boils down to your market. Will you be selling them to the folks who are used to the Paddywax/Yankee Candle candles or the subtle candles from folks like Vance Family Soy or Bee Lucia.

Your posts are always so beautiful, and bring out the best of what can be cherished in every season.
Yes, yes, yes to essential oils only! I quit buying soaps made with other fragrances.

Oh Alicia - Amelia's room is so magical. She must love it to death. Looks like a princess lives there. Hope you, Andy and Amelia have a very happy holiday season. XO

OOOohhhhh Soapmaking, you evil temptress. Ive been an avid soapmaker for over 15 years. I used to have a " farm to table" cottage business and still continue to make for family and friends. We used lard from our farm, I grew all of my herbs, and used only local ingredients as much as possible. There is nothing like it. I only used essential oils and natural colorants. I wont use anything else. Your excitement is so fun to read. Enjoy it all the creative pangs it creates. You will be dreaming of scent blends. Enjoy the journey and never hesitate to email questions.

I recently watched a program called Stink on Netflix and it really did make me think about any kind of smells and perfumes in everything we use.

I use Young Living and am a distributor and will only use EO’s in projects like this. If you ever need any help at all, my email is I won’t use anything that has the word “fragrance” as an ingredient.

Oh no! Amelia is growing up too fast! Slow down, time!

Katie Hinshelwood says: December 13, 2018 at 07:16 PM

Hi Alicia,
I'm so glad that you have so much more time for your creativity side to shine through. It's great for us readers too! Regarding essential oils. I only use doTERRA products. They source their oils ethically & indigenously from the country where the oil grows best. For example, lemon is sourced from Sicily where the soil is arid, the sun is hot etc. I found this for you;
Much love and a very Merry Christmas. Katie x

so fun!!! the places you've been, the JL bed!, the happy memories made, the two candle picture with your darling daughter, soap making, so much to be thankful for! :)

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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




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.