Into the Woods

comments: 36

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Helloooooooo out there! Hiiii. How are you?

I'm sitting on my bed. Amelia is crying because she just fell down five stairs while wearing her new slippers and carrying a gigantic toy piano (everyone's fine — that was scary). Andy is handling the general chaos today: Children crashing. Dogs repeatedly going upstairs even though they can't come down (anxiety). Cats jumping on wide, high, plant-holding windowsills and knocking plants to the ground in a crash of ceramics and soil (four times now). Dog and cat standing six inches away from me no matter what I'm doing when they're not doing those things. Child recovering quickly and now playing "Good Morning Dear Earth" on the same piano. Husband is absolute saint and most skillful manager of creatures big and small, encouraging me to stay out of it all today and let him know if he can do anything elllllllllse for me. Too good to me, that guy!!!

December 3rd, then, and these pictures are several weeks old. The leaves are gone from the trees, and on Tuesday the wind whipped the around the house so hard the windows rattled. Not a fan of wind. I grit my teeth through it. Winter in Portland includes white skies, cold rains, and lots of wind, generally speaking. We've been out to the woods a bit and there was some complaining about being cold. I like the cold (though I do find myself dreaming of the river house frequently [which I believe survived the fires this fall, fingers crossed]. I picture myself sitting in the middle of the river reading my book in the sunshine.) We haven't decorated for Christmas yet, though that's on the schedule for today. Maybe driving out to the country to get our Christmas tree tomorrow? Will Agatha Kitten destroy the tree? Seems likely. She does not hesitate to wreak kitten-havoc wherever she can. She sits on the mantel, steals and hides stuffed animals and balls of yarn, and tries to run out the door every chance she gets. Soaking wet, she cares not when she gets sprayed with the water bottle for climbing and hanging on the screens. Oh, but I love her so! I love that little hellion!!!

THANK YOU so very much for every single order you placed here over the last few weeks! I'm so, so grateful for that. Ivy assembled everything and I shipped everything and somehow, in three days, I got all of the orders out before Thanksgiving. Now I'm just back to shipping a couple of times a week. I hope you all enjoy making these things. It warms my heart more than I can say to imagine you stitching in your homes across the country and in Europe. I love it, and thank you again for supporting my work all of these years. I recognize so many names every time I do the shipping and . . . it's just so nice. Thank you. XO

We've decided to take December off of Oak Meadow and study Christmas carols and The Nutcracker. I bought the curricula online but they're not super comprehensive and I don't know that I recommend them yet. Yesterday Amelia and I finished painting our cardboard Christmas village that we made out of box sides. I really have had the urge to bake lately. We made yeasted doughnuts and they did taste exactly like my grandma's; she used to make doughnuts (but she didn't call them doughnuts, she called the "pizzared" or something [Italian] like that?) once a year, some time in the winter. It would be a special treat. Our whole family would go to her house in the morning and eat them as she fried them. She cut the dough into strips with a pizza cutter, and then into rectangles. She stretched a hole in the middle of the piece and friend it in her cast-iron frying pan. When the doughnuts came out we sprinkled them with plain white sugar or honey from the honey-bear bottle. They were so delicious. I haven't had one in forty years. But the ones I made the other day were perfect and tasted almost exactly like my grandma's. I used this recipe. I highly recommend it. I have pictures of the doughnuts on my Instagram if you want to see them.

(Mentioning my grandma sort of makes me want to talk about DNA testing and my experience with it and my [many, intense] feelings about it, but I will save that conversation for another day, because I think it will be hard for me to write.)

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It was strange not being with family for Thanksgiving and I know Christmas will be strange too (and Andy is working Christmas Day, as well). My heart breaks for people who have lost a loved one to the virus. I just can't even get my mind around it and am still just in a state of bewilderment and sorrow, to be honest. I wish you all peace as we move into the holiday season. Peace and joy in the little things be with you, friends. And thank you for being here with me. XO

36 comments

Oh, someday I would love to read your thoughts/story about DNA testing. I did it, and found (as I'd hoped to) my biological father. But getting in contact was disappointing (or maybe just overwhelming for both of us and we're strangers that don't know how to communicate) and I now feel a certain amount of guilt about it. But also have come to realize how little it means to me, when I thought it would mean a lot...I don't know. It's been very interesting, for sure.

Cynthia Lindsley says: December 12, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Loved the pictures, I could smell the fall in each. Fall is our favorite time to be in the woods.

I pop into your blog when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I don’t cook, bake, knit or sew (that sounds awful, I know) but there is something so comforting and authentic about your world that never fails to calm me the hell down. Thank you for being here. ❤️

Once when I was three or four and visiting my grandparents in Portland, my aunt took me for a walk in the woods, just like Amelia is walking in. By the side of the path was a hatched robin's egg, which my aunt pointed out to me. Sixty years later I still remember the wonder of seeing that beautiful blue-green eggshell. You are giving your daughter so many memories to treasure up!

definitely Zeppole! typical of Naples, but also other regions around it have similar variations.
I love your blog. Hold on tight, and this year will pass...
tutto passa....

Was I dreaming or I seem to remember that you already know about some croatian ancestry as well? do you know that various parts of coastal croatia were part of either Italy or whatever Italy was before it became a single country? Istria was all Venetian republic, same for quite a few of the islands, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik etc etc. I have some of the family connected to that - and found an amazing digital archive of the church books for all of Croatia, from ~1550 onwards. https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=waypoints just in case you also want to have fun! the older the documents are, the more difficult to read, and they mix latin and italian.

What a lovely wooded area! I’m so glad you’ve found a good spot.

I’m curious to hear your DNA story, whenever you feel up to sharing it. I’m lucky in that my experience has been positive, only a couple of little surprises (like that I’m part Scandinavian, probably from when the Vikings invaded the British Isles; my brother has really embraced that small part of our heritage).

I hope you continue to be well...and have fewer kitten-plant accidents!

Hello Dear Alicia,

I’ve been thinking of you and wish you and those you hold dear well during these difficult days.

Love and prayers,

Sending wishes for a lovely Christmas for you & your sweet family. Thank you so very much for your beautiful blog posts. Each one is a gift to us...your wonderful photos, your heart felt words and of course, the opportunity to watch your very special daughter grow. I appreciate that you take such care in creating your blog posts and your amazing projects. It is always an honor to share in the life of an artist. Thank you Alicia for all that you do & who you are. Take good care, and wishing you and your family good health and happiness in the new year.

Lovely photos! Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year ahead!

Thinking of you all over there doing it so tough. Hang in there. Here in Melbourne (Australia) we went through months of severe Lockdown and now have no cases of community based Covid cases- just some people who returned from os and are safely in quarantine. We WILL all get over this. Keep safe and enjoy the small comforts you can. Merry Christmas, and here's to a happy and healthy 2021. New beginnings.

My Grandmother made Chrusciki, Polish Angel Wings. They sound very similar to what your Grandmother made. She would make them at our house, and fry them in my mother’s harvest gold electric fondue pot. Then she would place them on brown paper grocery bags to absorb the oil, and sprinkle powder sugar over them. Yum!

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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.