Finding Our Way

comments: 43












Hello my friends. How are you doing? We are all home today, in various parts of the house. I'm sitting upstairs on my bed with the computer on my lap. Andy's downstairs looking for our pasta machine that we haven't used in probably ten or fifteen years. It's not going well, and he just shouted up that he's looked in every place it he thought it could possibly be. We both can picture it perfectly in our minds, in its ripped old yellow cardboard box, but it's just not in any of the places we expected to find it. Mimi was on a call with her teacher and classmates earlier, and her job today is to write a thank-you note to her uncle for the very cool wood-burned sign he made for her secret hideout, then there's ballet on Zoom at 3. The weather is cool and cloudy and wet. The yard is covered in petals and puddles. My heart is sore and full of sorrow for the people who are sick, or who have lost friends and family, or who are otherwise suffering losses of so many kinds. I send up my prayers. We are all finding our ways, I know. I would love to know how you are doing.

I have found some respite for my worried mind in a few projects that have kept me busy. I started drawing one afternoon from this adorable book that I bought several months ago and hadn't taken the time to play with. Mimi and I made paper mache faces of each other and had a good time doing that. I decided to make a mobile for her with little paper mache things that she likes. So far there are: a kitty, a mouse, a book, a rainbow, a bed, an ice cream cone, a sun, a boat, a lemonade, and a house. She still wants Saturn, a teacup, and a mushroom. I sat on the bed where I have my own little TV and binge-watched Doctor Foster (very dark but with one of my favorites, Suranne Jones, who I loved in Scott & Bailey — I really like British lady-cop and detective shows) and taped things together out of cardboard boxes, milk cartons, the protective packaging that came with my printer toner, a toilet paper tube, and various other pieces of garbage I could find around the house. It was delightful. Then I spent a day paper mache-ing them (also while sitting on the bed. Andy was impressed that someone could paper mache eight things while sitting on a bed. I told him that when there is a will I will find a way). Sometimes it is just nice to have some time and a little corner of the house to oneself so you can paper mache ice cream cones and watch scary lady-dramas in peace, you know?

Yesterday it was beautiful and sunny and we covered the new back-porch table in paper and painted out there all day. Like all day. I must say, it's pretty wonderful, in spite of everything, to have all day to do something so silly and sweet and fun. I think it was the first time that I had been able to relax in the past two months, quite frankly, and even before the virus started there would've been no way that I ever would've spent a whole day just doing something like this. I have spent entire days sewing or embroidering before, but that always ultimately, even if I'm just making something personal, feels a little bit like work for me. Doing new things, things I never usually do, feels helpful and I'm finding joy in the doing.

I made this magic custard cake and more cinnamon rolls. And I highly recommend both. Now let's hope we can find that pasta machine. I really want some ravioli.


Charlotte says: April 27, 2020 at 02:13 PM

I love the paper mache crafts you made. I am a 7th grader and I live in Michigan. I always read your blog, and I am a big fan. I love how cozy your home is. My mom and I call it "Hyggely". I love hearing about the different things that you and your family do. Those cinnamon rolls look delicious!

Hi Alicia! I enjoyed this post and have printed up the custard recipe. We have eggs coming out of our ears! We are giving 1-2 dozen away to anyone who happens to get near. :-) Dayle made cinnamon rolls using a recipe on King Arthur's website called "Cinna Buns" - so good. I clicked on the roll link but did not find a recipe, only pictures. Yours are so perfectly shaped! I posted my carrot cake recipe on my blog today - Dayle made one for me on Saturday for my birthday. We are planting 2 raised beds with veggies, finally after all these years we got some. Ours is kind of like a Victory Garden. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

It’s always a pleasure to read a new post and discover your pictures. (I’m following your blog for a long time now). I feel the same about this so difficult and sad time and pray too, with that feeling of helplessness. Days with videoconferencing with family and friends, crossstitching, cooking, cleaning, ...
(I hope I didn’t do « big » mistakes on this comment ☺️ (English is not my mother tongue).
Love from Geneva,

I just randomly went back to my oooold blog and looked at the list of blogs I've followed for years and lost touch with and was delighted to see your baking and flowers and sweet, beautiful, BIG baby girl! I loved reading about your projects over the years and I'm so glad to have reconnected with them.

For me, that's what the two months have been: reconnecting with so many things. My house, my garden, my kids, my husband, my writing and crafts. Having a full-time job for the past year has been great, but this forced slowdown (I only have to work one day a week at school) has showed me how much of what made me ME is missing.

I'm also feeling an awful disconnect from my mother and father and brothers and their families. It's been since February that we were all together, and I've not gotten to meet my newest nephew who was born the week before the shutdown started in Georgia. I miss them dreadfully, and dream about all of us living in the same place, working and creating together if another pandemic comes (or if this one never goes away.)

Hi Alicia! I think you moved the pasta machine when you were hiding Mimi’s doll house.?. I don’t know if that will help you remember where it’s hiding. ;-)

The photos of your papier mache faces made me so incredibly happy! Darling! So fun! Oh, if only I hadn't packed away my paints. We were in the process of getting ready for a move when all this began. Now we are in moving limbo land and I'm not sure how that will play out, if it's even feasible. But photos of creative works in progress elevate my mood these days, so thank you for that momentary happy escape!

Thank you for continuing to blog. I cannot tell you how helpful it is to visit here. I hope you find your pasta machine very soon. And I get you, on that needing a little quiet corner all to yourself for a while. Yep. 😊

Nancy Smith says: April 27, 2020 at 09:17 PM

Dr Foster is sooo good. Have you watched After Life with Ricki Gervais? Also great. Suggested your blog to a neighbour who just finished a sampler she started about 30 years ago. I think she’ll love your photographs, writing and samplers. Love your blog ❤️🇨🇦

Thank you for your kind wishes. My father-in-law passed away from Covid-19 on Good Friday after fighting for more than three weeks in the hospital. It just seems so wrong, he was such a good human being. A former teacher who dedicated his life to helping others, loved to garden, made jam and juice and compote of all the fruits in his garden and gifted them generously. On top of that, we have a small diner which we had to keep closed for several weeks. Since the beginning of April, we have started offering takeaway, but it is going slow (though many of our regulars order every day, which is so nice and makes me teary-eyed) and we do not know how long we can hang on, which is stressful. What gives me hope is watching nature and our garden unfold - life goes on, and so we too shall carry on. I am off now to prepare lunch: spaghetti with wild garlic cream sauce. Wishing you and yours a nice and relaxing day!

I know what you mean about how lovely it is to have the time to do something you wouldn't normally. My three boys have been doing everything you can think of - magic, music, card games, board games, making insect hotels, playing ball games in the garden, gymnastics, working out, cooking, everything, and so much of it with each other, which would never have happened normally. I am joining in bits of it - demonstrating the perfect handstand (!), giving helpful pointers when it comes to the power tools (keep it down!) and clearing up after it all of course. I rather like the idea of papier mache, I shall investigate the newspaper situation later. Hope you find that pasta machine. CJ xx

kate bates says: April 28, 2020 at 02:44 AM

Hi Alicia, There's a fab Stitch challenge on Facebook/online at Every week a well known artist does a quick workshop and sets a challenge in their style. So far all hand-stitch. Very therapeutic :) You could do it in your sleep, but it's quite refreshing to work in a different style to your usual. xxx

susan hall says: April 28, 2020 at 05:08 AM

if you like suranne jones you should see her in "gentleman jack" a bbc drama series she starred in last winter. super dooper good! and if you like scary british lady cops , then "happy valley " is another you will enjoy.
Lovey pictures as always ...stay safe xx

You remind me of my mom that everything you do or put your mind to always turns out beautiful. My mom can simply turn trash into treasure it seems. I can’t wait to see the mobile. I know it will be wonderful and it’s such a great idea!! Something Mimi will treasure in her room. 🌸

I remember making paper mache Easter eggs in school. Applied newspaper strips around blown up balloons and painted our hearts out. It was glorious. Lots of sadness about the virus here in the Toronto area but we have hope.

Thank you for every blog post and photo, and all your words. I love them all, and have for years <3. Have you ever watched Shetland? It is another BBC mystery show but with a male investigator, and I honestly got caught up looking at the Shetland islands after watching this show. Another movie we got from our library (in the before times...we are so lost without our library *sob) was called Edie, and it was amazing, and inspiring, and I had choking sobs, and my sons may have also but they still like to hide those things. Wishing you the best, and thank you again, for the beauty and peace you give me.

Just wanted to say thanks again for your blog and your beautiful photos. At the best of times they demonstrate how to live an artful life, and how to find the beauty in small things. Now, in the worst of times, your journal entries give me peace and contentment. Thank you.

Just a note to tell you how much I love your blog, love and appreciate that you are still blogging! Have followed your lovely tales for many years and they are still so enjoyable!
If you like British female detective shows watch Happy Valley, Collateral, Marcella and Hinterland!

Very much like you, Alicia, doing ok amidst all of the sadness and heaviness. So glad that you are keeping well! This post is a delight and just today I was wishing for more British lady detective shows...or that I hadn't already watched Scott and Bailey twice over the years. : ) Have you watched Vera? Recent seasons haven't been quite as good because they seem to have forgotten how important it is to see Vera at home, with her laundry drying by the fire and her whiskey glass on the kitchen table. But she's wonderful, as are her dresses and scarves.

P.S. I thought the "before" cardboard cutout (picture two) was going to be Princess Leah.

So glad to read you all are doing well! Hang in there... :-)

The magic custard cake looks so good! I just bookmarked the recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

We're hanging in over here. Raising eight chicks in a spare bedroom while we build the coop. Reading a lot about chickens. Still working (from home) bent over the laptop. (Meh!) Up days and down days... but mostly up and grateful. :-)

Susan from Tsawwassen, BC says: April 28, 2020 at 05:33 PM

I'm always uplifted when I check your blog and see a new post! Thank you! xo Susan

Hi Alicia, I love your blog and I'm so happy each time I see that you've posted. Your photos make Portland look magical. Everything is so pretty. Here in northern New York our high temps are still in the 40s or low 50s most days and we won't be planting annuals until near Memorial Day. Since we're home all the time, my yard and gardens are cleaned up and ready to welcome more plants when the garden centers are able to open. Our nearby counties in the Adirondacks have been fairly lucky with Covid19 so far, but there hasn't been much testing and the worry is there. It's comforting to read the other comments here and realize we're all a little anxious and trying to make the best of it. Thank goodness for the internet! These days it's helping in so many ways. We'll go on video chatting, cooking and reading etc.until it's safe to gather again. Be well!

Your blog is a calm space for my soul. I've just lost my brother and I feel so tired and sad but reading your blog helps me to feel less alone right now. Thanks

Can you point me to paper mache sources? I love what you have done and would love to make some.

If you haven’t used it in over 10 years I’m guessing it went to Goodwill. Remember your “Goodwill is my self-storage” post? Ahh, that was a good one. I have benefited SO much from that concept.

I love, love, love the artwork. My daughter is babysitting pretty much full time for a kindergarten boy. I thought she’d love to do that with him until I read that you had to hide out in your room and spend the whole day working on it. Maybe I’ll suggest she do it on her day off this weekend without the little one.

Love to all.

The face you made reminds me so much of my mother that I can't stop staring at it!! Shivers!
your creations are lovely, as always. I'm one of those people who are feeling odd right now because the whole world is living like my normal, and they're all flipping out over it! (the virus itself is of course worth the worrying). I homeschool, my husband works from home, we are always home home home, lol. We miss the library and seeing friends, but other than that, our life is pretty much normal.
So glad you are all well and safe. I am sure the added stress of Andy's job is very rough. My dear friend and her husband have Covid - he caught it at work - he is a physical therapist in a nursing home here in MA. They are recovering, and none of their 5 little children caught it, thank God! Prayers for your continued safety!

I love your blog, and your photos and craft are inspirational. They always make me smile, and want to try projects that I have never tried before.

Here in New Zealand, we are hoping to stamp this terrible virus out completely, although there is a huge economic cost. We have new cases in the single digits for 12 days running. Because we are an island nation, we have hope that we can achieve eradication. However, as both of my grandchildren live in other countries, I don't know when I will see them again. Not until we have a vaccine, I guess.

We are having a wonderful Autumn here, and heading towards winter, not sure what that will bring. I am a community nurse, so have been working the whole time, but we have not had the huge amount of cases other countries have had, thank God.

Warm hugs to you and your family, keep up your wonderful blog. It is enjoyed by so many.

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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