Winter Warming

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Oh, the days of January, I love them so. I love that the weather is cold, the garden is sleeping, the skies are gray. I love that. I love hibernating, and flannel sheets, and flannel nightgowns, and hot tea, and pretty tea mugs. I love yarn, and knitting, and television at night, and dark. I'm tired, and getting over my cold, and wanting to go slow, and wanting to go upstairs early. The house is frowsy and soft. I'm gearing up to Marie-Kondo everything in sight, but not right now. No, not right now. Right now everything is a bit droopy, and needs fresh paint, and to be vacuumed for hours. I sit and make lists, stab at the taxes, pick up take-out Indian food, read picture book after picture book after picture book at bedtime, and listen to a thousand six-year-old hopes and fears. Her warm body beside mine, we listen to the wind and rain, and talk about going to Great Wolf Lodge someday, where they have an indoor water park, and water buckets falling on your head, and pool after pool after pool of warm water. I'm in. Take me there. Let's go now.

We went to a conference with Mimi's teacher the other day and it's like . . . I could just sit there and talk about my kid all. day. long. I love her two teachers and I love her school, and love how she is thriving there. I don't love the commute, but I'm trying to learn to like it. It's long, and can be ugly if I take the busy way, which I usually don't, and then it's just plain long and slow. I've been listening to The Secret Garden audio-book (read by Finola Hughes) while I drive, but it's almost over. I think I really need to get into podcasts. I don't even know what I want in a podcast, honestly. I'm not sure where to start. And can you download them so you don't have to use data on your phone while you're listening? Or . . . how does that even work? I don't seem to know anything about anything that everyone else knows lately. Thank you in advance.

I've been thinking and working a lot on the Secret Garden projects and the bath boxes that will go with them. What I think we will do is offer two different craft projects -- one is an embroidery project (not cross stitch, just regular free embroidery, of the robin, and the key), and one is a knitting project. The embroidery project is small, about 5" in diameter and will fit and be framed in a 6" hoop (which will be included with the kit). The knitting project will include a pattern for a pair of simple handwarmers decorated with with duplicate stitch, and will include hand-dyed fingering-weight yarn for the main color of the handwarmers and also all of the small amounts of yarn you will use to duplicate-stitch the designs on top. Then, if you'd like, each project can come with the Secret Garden–inspired bath box, which will include a bar of our handmade cold-process soap, a lotion bar, a really pretty apothecary jar of bath soak, a wax sachet, and a little candle.

You may order either of the kits with or without a bath box, or you may order just the bath box. We are going to take pre-orders for all of this in the next couple of weeks, and then it will take at least six weeks for us to ship everything. It will take this long because we don't know how many orders for everything we will get and we want to make sure we can include everyone who wants any of these items. So, since the soap takes six entire weeks to cure, we will continue to make soap almost every day in anticipation of orders. We also need to order the hoops I think I want to use for the framing of the embroidery project from Europe, and they have a long turn-around time (also about six weeks after ordering). So that puts us shipping around the beginning of April, and if you've read The Secret Garden, doesn't that seem kind of like the perfect time for this? I definitely will put together a post that shows you my inspiration for all the things we're working on for this, like I did for the advent calendar. I love making those collages so much and will start working on one later this week. I can't wait.

I've watched a few of the Tidying Up episodes on Netflix. I honestly get choked up every time they thank the house. It's weirdly emotional. I would've never thought to do that but it feels very poignant. It's a really beautiful moment in the episodes, I think. I also watched the documentary Three Identical Strangers last night and that was so incredibly intense. Did anyone else see it? Man. I don't even know what to say about that. As an adoptive parent, especially, it chilled me to the bone to think that they separated those babies. Unrelated, my sister Julie got me the British TV Field Guide for my birthday and I am psyched. I should do a run-down of my favorite British TV shows (mostly mysteries and thrillers) this past year. I love Shetland, Vera, Happy Valley (OH MY WORD crazy intense), Last Tango in Halifax, No Offense, Striking Out, Acceptable Risk, and Keeping Faith. Should I tell you about those or do you already know them?

I took that moon photo during the Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse! Josh was over and he and Andy were gonna go out to the garage to play video games; they went out on the back porch and flipped out because the eclipse just happened to be almost total at that moment and we had an awesome view of it from the porch. I grabbed my tripod and put it on the back table and got a few photos of the moon right before the clouds moved in. So that's almost total eclipse right there. It was just so totally cool to see that. I'm so glad they just happened to be going outside at that moment or we would've missed it!

The sweet winter field painting is the print I bought from Jo Grundy and had framed a few years ago, and I love it so much. And that beautiful watercolor of Amelia riding the rabbit? The sweetest gift from the most lovely Emily Winfield Martin several years ago. I absolutely treasure it, and it hangs over Mimi's bed.

77 comments

Yes~
So much just "yes."

Yes! Download podcasts onto your phone while you're on Wi-Fi so you don't use your data. I use an app called BeyondPod, for example. There are so many choices to listen to! I listen to some that are stories - I think you would LOVE The Memory Palace - and others that get me thinking about the world, like Code Switch, or More Perfect.

Can I tell you how much I truly love that your kitchen cabinets are just very slightly ajar? I don't know why, but it makes me feel calm and comforted.

All your other pictures are as glorious as always. But that cabinet thing...well. <3

I may have to get myself the British TV fiend guide. I love all the shows you mentioned. Season 3 of No Offence is fantastic. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third series of Happy Valley. Have you tried Ackkey Bridge for a non mystery offering?

Okay I really do feel better because I’d get all choked up on Marie Kondo’s show too when she thanked the house. Nice to know I’m not the only one!

It looks like lots of creativity is blooming in your cozy cottage this month. I'm crocheting on my Sweet Pea blanket and getting used to our new pup, Mocha the 8 mo. old Cairn Terrier girl.. she's a black brindle and quite the doll. (Just put some photos on my blog today.) I'm looking forward to see what kind of packages you put together!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Yep-you can download podcasts onto your phone so you don’t use data. I drive quite a bit for work and discovering podcasts has been a game changer for me-I’m always a little late to these things, it would seem. You can listen to This American Life through Apple podcasts but there is also a free app which I love and you can download up to 5 episodes for offline listening. I also love Kind World (they are short but oh so sweet), Invisiblia, Fresh Air and What Should I Read Next. I loved the Dear Sugar podcast as well. They aren’t making more new episodes (so sad!) but the archive is available. There is lots of good stuff for long car rides that will make the miles fly right by. Hope this helps. And thanks as always for the loveliness you share :)

So looking forward to the bath box.

Shetland is SO GOOD!!! I recently watched and loved The Bodyguard, and Birdsong (which was a miniseries from 2012, full of people who are now famous for other things, based on a book I liked a lot and read years ago).
Podcasts are well worth getting into. My favorites are The Moth and StoryCorps, but there is a LOT of content out there for whatever interest you have. I also liked Strangers, which is now on perhaps permanent hiatus. Oh! Oh!! Not By Accident, especially the first season! I think you will like it.

Oh, you wouldn't love January in Illinois! Didn't you used to live here? I'm sure you've heard about our weather lately with all the snow and then what's going to hit us Tuesday night: record-breaking low temps where wind chills will be -50 to -60!! A lot of businesses are already saying they're closing for Wed and possibly Thurs. Of course, schools will be closed. We're all worried about cars not starting and pipes bursting in houses.

I don't know much about Podcasts. I have the same questions you do!

Hello again, yes, long slow days. I have just finished listening to, A Man Called Ove, on Audible. I read the book a few years ago but the recorded version is just so, I don’t know, dear? I enjoyed every minute, you may too?
Podcasts, my daughter sends me scary ones, The Vanished and Thin Air. I did find another good one, Family Ghosts. Not the spooky kind, more like family secrets,:stories, not bad ones. The episode about the grandmother who had lived in Nazi Germany was everything good.
Six, isn’t it a fun age?
Glad you’re on the mend.

Those are some of my favorite shows!!!!!! Hidden is also good. Hinterland. I love a mystery like those. If you like lighter stuff, too, Mr and Mrs Murder is so funny. Death in Paradise and The Coroner are good, too. So many good shows! I love winter so much. I love the early nights and gray days. Then we get a bright day like today and I love that, too, haha!!

I wish I could also understand podcasts, as in how to get them on my phone. I understand how to listen on iTunes on my laptop but there's a gap for me between phone and laptop. I must be thick. But I truly believe that if someone patient showed me, I would get it. And yes to those British series. I also really like The Split and Collateral. And, oddly, Sex Education. You have to suspend judgement for the first episode and realise it's about relationships and interesting people. I love your attitude to winter. Winter and nesting is the best xx

I use the app Overcast for podcasts. You can download on wifi and then you don't have to worry about using data. I really enjoy Desert Island Discs (now you need a British Radio field Guide), Judge John Hodgman, The Allusionist (for word info) and The World in Time/Lapham's Quarterly, I don't enjoy reading non fiction as much as I enjoy fiction but his interviews with non fiction authors about their books make me feel like I at least know what non fiction books I would read and I always learn something.

What is the sweet in the pictures? Looks beautiful and delicious.

Lynn Marie says: January 29, 2019 at 06:01 AM

My goodness I have learned so much about podcasts and how to do that today---I have been oblivious to them I guess! I never knew there was a Field guide for British shows but will be looking into that straight away--what a great gift! I cannot wait to see the Secret Garden boxes and what all that you have in store for us. Happy Winter nesting!

Love the cat pillow! Where can I find the pattern for that?

Check out the food podcast by Lindsay Cameron Wilson. I think will love it!
http://lindsaycameronwilson.ca/the-food-podcast/

As usual your photos are just stunning - I always scroll slowly through them

I love the Myths and Legends podcast - lots of them are appropriate for Amelia as well and they give you ample warning if they are not good for kids. They don't get super graphic but some of the old fairy tales are super intense. And yes, you just hit the download button next to the episode and it will download to your phone for later listening. If you are worried at all you can just turn off data for the app (iTunes or overcast) so you don't accidentally use it. Also, the Moth is just amazing!

Melissa Dunajski says: January 29, 2019 at 07:15 AM

All so lovely. I too wish I could lay around and doze all day, crocheting soft blankets and working on embroidery, baking cookies...sounds wonderful 🙂
I just bought and framed a Jo Grundy print with my Christmas gift money...it makes me smile every time I walk past it.
I'm thinking the hoops you are talking about are the lovely smooth wood ones...silky to touch and so pretty, not like the cheap ones in the craft store.
Rarely comment, but a long time follower.
Melissa

Oh Alicia, you will love love, love, love the BBC show The Paradise (was on Netflix now on Amazon). It's such a wonderful show to binge watch. About the first department store in England and a sweet young shop girl who works there. And for podcasts, I binge listen to NPR's How I Built This. You can download - no need to use data. Happy winter! I'm drinking endless cups of tea here too. xoxo

Lovely post about winter. I love winter for all its cosiness and here in New England those bright cold days. Today we're awaiting the snow to begin.

I'm also a huge British tv fan and would add Grantchester, Line of Duty (very intense), Mapp and Lucia (britbox), Agatha Raisin for fun and The Hour, both on Acorn, and you must try Derry Girls on netflix, rude but absolutely hilarious.

I love Shetland and Vera! Wallander is great but too dark and broody for some tastes.

I'm in my 60s and fell in love with British TV shows when we watched Good Neighbors. It went by a slightly different name in Great Britain. If you haven't seen it, it is about a couple who decide to homestead from their home in the midst of a suburb. All four stars were well known in England and Felicity Kendal was later in another favorite British mystery called Rosemary & Thyme. I own the complete series of both on DVD (which at least was once inexpensive).

I think you might like The Next Right Thing podcast, The History Chicks, Read Aloud Revival, How I Built This and What Should I Read Next.

Hi Alicia! I've seen Three Identical Strangers twice, and find it so thought provoking. The footage of the little boys at the end is especially heartbreaking to me. It's unbelievable that so many people were involved in this, and supported it.

I'm really excited about your Secret Garden project and bath set! Your soaps are beautiful. I had read the book several times, once to my kids, which is a major challenge to read broad yorkshire out loud (probably very badly!) and now have almost finished listening to the audio book with my youngest daughter. We both love it so much. Thank you for that recommendation :) It is a really inspiring book, so well written.

I'm sure you have seen The Durrells in Corfu? It's really good.

Your photos are always wonderful. Amelia at the microphone is just such a beautiful mix of young sweetness+ getting taller. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

Have you seen Bletchley Circle? It was originally on PBS several years ago, and now recently I watched the third season on BritBox. The third season takes place in San Francisco and it's pretty good. I'll bet you'd like it.
I'm super excited for the knitting and embroidery kits! I was waiting for a regular embroidery kit again since cross stitch isn't my jam.:)
I love January and winter in general also, so I am enjoying your winter posts, and look forward to your next one.

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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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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.