Magic Days

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Early-December-days mash-up, and I don't even know how to organize these pictures. That in itself feels accurate, nonetheless. The days are a swirl of present-gathering and preparations. I try to get my work done as early as I can (thank you for the lotion bar [and cowl pattern] orders! We are making bars and shipping them as fast as we possibly can, so you'll be seeing your orders very soon) and then I go out and have fun. There are so many special things to do. We went to The Grotto one night to see our school choir sing and wander among thousands of Christmas lights. We went to Merrywood Farm, which is just the cutest, sweetest little place, and spent a gorgeous afternoon walking in the woods and hanging around the fire drinking cider. The low, pale sun shown for a while through the pine trees and yule smoke as I sat with my feet up, listening to Celtic Christmas carols piped over the speakers. It was just so, so nice. This weekend is The Nutcracker and dinner afterwards, and Amelia has her outfit all picked out, along with her new (well, used, from eBay) pink suede fancy shoes. I'll be sure to take a picture. I haven't been good about the advent calendar reveals but I am definitely going to try to catch up with that next week now that I'm getting caught up with everything else in my life. We're having a party next weekend. The days keep rolling along. . . .

CURRENT OBSESSION:

Alicia's Winter Day Bath Soak

1 cup Epsom salts
1 cup pink Himalayan salt, fine
1 cup pink Himalayan salt, coarse
1/2 cup colloidal oatmeal (just grind rolled oats in a food processor until powdered)
1/2 cup whole milk powder
1/4 cup coconut cream powder
1/4 teaspoon rose Kaolin clay
Dried cornflowers, jasmine buds, and rose buds

You could add any kind of essential oil to this if you wanted to, but I thought it smelled so fresh and delicious all on its own I did not.

To use, spoon a few tablespoons into a teabag and hang under warm running water while filling your bath, then plop the whole bag into the tub to further dissolve. Relax and enjoy until they make you come out.

Makes enough to fill two 15 oz. bottles like these.

***

Also, cutest winter book in the world: Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro (illustrated by Teagan White). I just bought this for Amelia and it is absolutely darling. About a mouse who loves winter but her friends don't. #relate

I want to totally have a dye-plant and soapmaking flower garden this year, and also plant dahlias. I'm going to put it in our neglected and frizzled raised beds. For my birthday present, Andy is going to dig it all up and add a lot of compost, etc., and try to get it ready for spring. Question: Do we wait until spring to do this? Or should we be doing something now before really cold weather comes and then let it sit until spring, or . . . ?

Amelia: "Mom, your wreath you made looks so good! It almost looks real!" (N.B.: It was real.)

26 comments

Oh, that tree farm, open fire, cider and Celtic music,I'm dying here wishing I was there! Beautiful pictures of Amelia and the lights. Have a wonderful time at your party, and The Nutcracker!

Hi, Clover!
Alicia, please tell me how you got those “blue” pictures. they are stunning!

Can anyone tell me what book that is (with Lucy the mouse (I think...))? Thank you. Lovely images.

you have certainly captured the magic! what a beautiful collection of photos and thoughts. thank you for sharing.

I loved each and every image you shared. I'm so happy to be one of the recipients of your Northern Light nativity calendars. :-) I posted about it today and put photos of the pressies from the first 7 days. Your box of goodies has made my Christmas very special. I'm so glad I found your blog over 8 years ago. I don't believe I have missed even one of your posts since the day I found you and I think I've left a comment on each one. I'm one of your biggest fans. Have a wonderful Christmas, my friend.

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Fantastic photos as always. The blue ones are terrific. They really convey the sense of anticipation of the Christmas period. I hope you all enjoyed Nutcracker. My granddaughter Isobel who is 6 started dancing 2 years ago and went to her first Nutcracker last week. It was performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet and I am told I was magical.

Loved to see Clovermeadow resting his head on the quilted pillow. How is Bee these days, must be getting quite old now. Lost my Tinka (cat) this year. Xmas won't be the same without her. I adore your photos on each and every blog.

Dig up the beds now and amend them with compost and any other organic matter you want. Some leaves may be nice to mix in. That way the beds can sit all winter and they’ll be ready for spring.

Oh, that book is the cutest! I spy your dog on the couch. It has been awhile since we've seen him and the cat. So many fun things to share with all of us!

Amanda Schnabel says: December 08, 2018 at 05:46 AM

Your photos--of people, places and things are CAPTIVATING! Such a talent--thank you for sharing it with us! Keep enjoying all your moments!

@hello.ericabea on Instagram plants Dahlias every year. She digs up the bulbs in the fall to winter over in her garage I believe. They get planted in the early spring I think. Just look it up. Hers are so beautiful. You can do this. Your photos are so lovely. Mimi is getting quite tall!

CapeCod Nana says: December 08, 2018 at 07:36 AM

Watching Amelia grow has been such a joy. She is so very blessed to have you.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Katie Morene says: December 08, 2018 at 09:06 AM

Have Andy work the garden now, that way the earth and bugs can work their magic all winter long. You'll have to re-fluff come spring but all winter everything will breakdown - the compost, leaves, grass and whatever else you add - it will be ready for spring planting.

Happy gardening!

Hi,
I love your blog. You have a fantastic eye for all things.
Would you please share your recipe for your decorative cookie ornaments?
I would enjoy helping my grandkids make them for the christmas tree.

Thanks,
Carole

Here is an article from WSU about growing Dahlias in the PNW! It discusses soil needs and site preparation :) I hope you have some beautiful blooms next summer!
https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/2073/2014/03/041108.pdf

Wonderful pictures. For the garden, dig now, amend, let sit, and dig again and amend again. See if friends have dahlias they have winterized--they will have plenty of tubers to give away. My husband always digs up our dahlias, winterizes them and in the spring puts out a free box on our lane for the neighbors. One dahlia can have 12 or more tubers.

We are going to plant dahlias too and I'm planting a natural dye garden. Do you ever watch Big Dreams Small Spaces on Netflix? I think you would like it and the host, Monty Don, has a great book about what to do when. The book is titled Down to Earth and has been a great resource for me (a beginner gardener). He's British but I think the climate here is close to England's. For Dahlias, Floretflowers.com is a good resource.

What plants will you plant for dying? I am thinking of doing the same and also live in the PNW. I know I want marigolds but not sure what else.

PS I really enjoy seeing your posts and the wonderful photography and styling, such a treat when it arrives !

The dahlia society I belong to (up here in the Puget Sound area, so basically the same as you) puts manure on the dahlia beds in February. We plant out the first week of May if we can, and put two spoons of slow-release granular fertilizer, a spoon of bone meal, and a spoon of epsom salts into each planting hole. Put stakes in at the same time you plant, so you don't risk skewering tubers later. Enjoy!

What beautiful photos- such a magical time! Merry Christmas to you all from Australia- where we are enjoying a very hot Summer Festive season.

This photos are so magical, all those blurred lights, cozy winter days. Happy to see Clover, I missed her. And I love you handmade house decoration. We decorated the tree yesterday, with all my ornaments, wooden ornaments made by my husband and old glass toys from childhood. That is really the most wonderful time of the year. And Teagan White is great, I love her illustrations so much!

Going to the Christmas tree farm with little ones is always a sweet adventure! Thank you for the bath soak recipe... I have been looking for one to make and give to my friends for Christmas!

I just love your blog. I began to follow you when I was a freshmen in high school. I actually made your oialaberry quilt in my sewing class in 2008! Now I am 25 and i still come back to read your blog <3

laura smartt says: December 11, 2018 at 04:53 AM

Hello,

All so pretty and dreamy. Like all the other folks said,now is the best time to dig,turn,and compost. And a plant dying garden would be lovely. Thinking about that myself. I all ready grow tons of herbs why not some pretty flowers also.

Amelia looks like a natural baking away in the kitchen! Your home looks so warm and cozy for Christmas. Love your real wreath - it's darling!

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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.