Doing Random Stuff

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The biggest news in my life lately is that I bought a new duvet cover and king-size pillows. And also these shams. I just felt like our bedroom, which has become my Mom Cave, needed some cheering up. I also wanted those red gingham shams from Zara. They are a really weird size — they call them for "big pillows." A "big pillow" is 27.5" x 35.5". That's huge. That's like the length-of-a-standard-pillow high, and a yard wide. Those pillows sell for like $85+. There was no way I was paying that. I spent hours on Google looking for the same gingham shams (dark red gingham, not red gingham) but in a normal size (like, a king-size pillow, or even a standard) or big pillow inserts that weren't $85+. I Googled every word for dark red — maroon, wine, burgundy — and I couldn't find the right gingham that was like the Zara gingham. I finally found  floor pillows with yucky covers from Overstock that were the same size as "big pillows" but were about $30, I think. Then I gave up and ordered the Zara shams. I went totally crazy. I spent a week doing that.

So you see, you have missed nothing re: my lack of blogging.

Andy has received both doses of the vaccine, so that's been a huge relief. Amelia and I still live as if we are under house arrest but I don't care how long we have to wait, now that Andy is more protected. I send my prayers for all of you adversely affected by this virus. It's been hard. I'm eager for spring to start arriving. Amelia and I have spent many mornings watching for beavers at a local pond, but we're not having much luck. I need to start going very early in the morning because beavers are nocturnal, and I think they start heading home at dawn. . . .

I'm working on the three projects I told you about, and almost all of the things I've ordered for all the kits are here. The jewelry kit will include Weeks Dye Works hand-dyed embroidery floss, so that is still being dyed. The are going to be such nice kits. I am so excited for them. My assistant, Ivy, is working on cutting fabric and assembling jewelry pieces at her house and I'm trying not to overwhelm her with stuff to do — she has a full-time job and works for me only when she can. But we will get there. I'm hoping we can start shipping stuff sometime toward the end of March. I will definitely let you know when everything is ready.

Here's a list of the British mysteries and cop shows I have watched on BritBox and Acorn TV and Netflix this year: Happy Valley (my favorite), Vera, Shetland, Broadchurch, Scott & Bailey, Grantchester, No Offense, Dr. Foster, Unforgotten, The Sounds, The Nest, Marcella, Collateral, London Spy, and lots of Marple, Midsommer, and Morse. Also Loch Ness. What am I missing. Case Histories. I finished Catastrophe (loved it) and lost my mind for Normal People. Gosh that was good. What should I watch next?


Watch “River” on Britbox. A detective loses his partner and has the gift of connecting with the dead. I can’t say too much about the plot without giving the whole thing away but the actor will break your heart.

Oh, I'm so happy I'm not the only one who will Google like that. Drives me nuts when I'm fixated on finding something. Surprisingly I fell in love with Virgin River on Netflix having grown up in Northern New England. Reminded me of the quiet town life. (Season 1 was cute, season 2, not so much.)

I've started rewatching The Adventures of Sherlock Homes with Jeremy Brett on BritBox. So lovely!!

Hello Alicia: My apologies for sending you a "loooog" list of DVD mysteries, etc. I'm both an avid mystery reader and mystery watcher. I hope that you will find something wonderful to watch and to enjoy. I enjoy your blog so much and can't believe how Mimi is turning into such a beautiful young lady. Mom and Dad please take a bow !!! :)



Here's my list:

Lewis (sequel to the Morse series)

George Gently Mysteries

Partners in Crime (Chistie's Tommy and Tuppence)

New Tricks

Cadfael (oldie but a goodie, stars Derek Jacobi)

The Last Detective with Peter Davidson (Tristen from the 1st All Creatures series)

Miss Marple (Joan Hickson version)

Poirot (all DVDs are wonderful, but my favorite is the Murder on the Orient Express -- the BBC did a 2 part DVD set and the 2nd DVD had David Suchet travelling on the Orient Express from London to Prague. WONDERFUL travel log and a look into luxurious train travel).

Heat of the Sun: colonial Nairobi with Trevor Eve as the reluctant detective.

Foyle's War: another series that I highly recommend; stars Michael Kitchen as DCI Christopher Foyle. Setting is Hastings home front during world War II

Rain Shadow is a wonderful Australian production about a small vet practice in rural Queensland. I highly recommend the film.

Ken Burn's Films that I"ve enjoyed very much:

Country Music (wonderful film and fascinating how country music was blended into folk, souhtern rock and Bakersfield country swing.

The National Parks

The Dust Bowl

Lewis & Clark (for me this film is tied with his Civil War film as Burns' best films. During lock down I purchased a copy and have watched it several times each month. It gives me such peace as if I were with the men of the Corp of Discovery travelling the Missouri River.

Mark Twain

The West

The War (World War II)

The Roosevelts

The VietNam War

Ohhhhh have you read Case Histories? I loved that book and the other four (five?) that follow it, so much! They are by Kate Atkinson and every single book was SO GREAT! Also, have you watched Luther? So so so good!

If you do watch All Creatures Great and Small, then look out for the clothes and particularly the wonderful knitwear. There is some absolutely gorgeous knitting going on. I love the hats/berets especially as well as some amazing jumpers which look so pretty.

So happy that Andy got his vaccine! Your sweet kitten looks like she is really having a ball at your house. lol Have you seen that PBS Masterpiece released a new version of All Creatures Great and Small? It's been on my list to watch soon! How about Call The Midwife? Downton Abbey? Not sure if you watched those already. I need to watch Happy Valley. I've heard great things about it.

Looks like Tom Kitten acting up in Beatrix Potter! :D

Michele DAmico says: February 06, 2021 at 06:24 PM

if you have Netflix my favorite pandemic binge watch has been Crash Landing on You. It's a Korean show. They call them K-dramas. There are a bunch of them available and they're developing a huge following in the US. This one is my favorite. It's very sweet, romantic and funny and lovely. visually gorgeous

ive always notice your curtains on your bookcases,,are there 2 panels per bookcase?

I really like the new (new or maybe I hadn't noticed) curtains in your living room on either side of the chimney breast. The room looks fresh and springlike. Happy Valley and Shetland are especially good. I also enjoyed Finding Faith, particularly the first series. Foyle's War has been round for a while and it's a good comfort crime series. is that an oxymoron? I watched it when I had a lengthy spot of ill health and it was just the right series for me. Recently I have loved Normal People, The Crown, and It's a Sin. The latter is both sad and joyful and it's not suitable for watching if children are around but it's one of the best series I've seen. The recent series of Howard's End is very good. I'm glad Andy now has his vaccinations. You will all breathe a sigh of relief. Stay well

The cat looks like she's wearing a tutu!

We watched 'The Chaperone' last week, with Elizabeth McGovern - written by Julian Fellowes of Downton fame - the costumes and sets were beautiful, it's a very gentle film.

Sarah Lancashire of Happy Valley and Last Tango was in a detective series called Rose and Maloney a few years ago - it was good, although haven't seen it repeated in UK.

Echo previous posters, the remake of 'All Creatures Great and Small' is just what we need in these strange times - I was a bit sceptical because the original is such a classic, but it really is lovely.

Did you watch 'The Miniaturist' - it was out a couple of years ago and I loved it - incredibly atmospheric.

Joann M Uecker says: February 07, 2021 at 07:20 AM

If you love British shows, you need to watch Endeavor and Foyle's War. So so good!

Amanda Schnabel says: February 07, 2021 at 08:36 AM

"The Bay" on BritBox (via my Prime) is really great, too! Thank the heavens for all the options on TV!!

I have watched every single Brit show you're watching. Have you seen The Bay? It's on Britbox right now (YAY!). Wishing you well from Massachusetts :)

Deb Jurgensen says: February 07, 2021 at 04:02 PM

Oh dear ! I wish we could be friends.
We live in Coeur d'Alene. Is that too far ? :)

line of duty was so good! also recommend mind hunter. not british but excellent.

Both on Acorn:
Deadwater Fell, brilliant with David Tennant and Cush Jumbo
Accused, absolutely gripping stories about people on trial.

Sharon Kindall says: February 07, 2021 at 07:18 PM

I loved Happy Valley, and Broadchurch. Marcella was good but weird. I recommend the Frozen Dead, it was good and then I watched In the Dark. So many to binge watch.

These are weird times so the weird shows kind of just fit. I love any of the British detective shows. I'm ready for spring though and maybe a little more freedom to get out again.

Hello, again:

Adding a addendum to my previous email of films and film series recommendations. I did not see the following in the other comments. If they were listed -- my apologies.

Tennyson (prequel to Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect // stand a lone film)

Prime Suspect -- series received many awards. The first and third episodes are the best (my opinion),but the whole series is first rate.

Mystery Road: Australia production // Stars: Aaron Petersen (as Aboriginal detective), Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis. There are two versions of this series -- be sure to watch the one that has Judy Davis as one of the detectives working on the same murder case.

Murder on the Home Front: a CSI type stand a lone detective film. Has Patrick Kennedy (BBC Bleak House and Downton Abbey) as the forensic pathologist during the 1940 London blitz. Highly recommended.

Shetland: beautifully film series. Douglas Hanshall (ITV's Primeval) is the lead detective. Excellent acting from all the main characters.

Many thanks for letting me share some of my favorite films/series with you and your many blog readers.


Sara Brunton says: February 08, 2021 at 03:13 AM

I second the vote for The Detectorists - I missed it when it was on TV, but watched it during our first lockdown (I'm in the UK), and found it a huge comfort, just the titles and theme music alone were good enough to calm me. Waking the Dead is also very good - and there are a lot of series, if you can get them - gritty cold cases being solved ;-)

Alicia!! Your posts are always so lovely. Amelia looks SO MUCH like my own 9-year-old little sister (her name is Addilee). I love your sweater project. Even though I'm pretty young (turning 26 in March!) I have some mild arthritis in my hands from having Lyme's as a teenager, which makes knitting difficult. Your project inspires me to pick up a simple one, just to get my hands in motion...

If you get the opportunity, please watch 'All Creatures Great and Small!!' While it isn't a drama or a procedural, it is wonderful. Every time PBS airs a new episode, I'm in the Dales for an hour of my life. Tea and All Creatures simply makes Sunday evening the loveliest.

Recently, I've started thinking "Everything around me may not be okay, but everything within me is okay" and it's been helping me cope with Covid in a better way. I'm waiting to get vaccinated. While I know it's not a cure, it's a light at the end of this heinous tunnel.

Can you access BBC I-player? If so, Father Brown mysteries, Mallorca files and as someone else said Death in Paradise are all fluffy murder programmes - just right for pandemic weary, can't take any more brains!!

I got BritBox for Christmas and have been catching up on my favorites. I love Father Brown and have seen most of your list.

i love to see your thoughtful posts.
your viewing pleasure is similar to mine. check out: intelligence (canadian show about organized crime unit) and line of duty (uk procedural show). i believe both are available on amazon prime.
peace in pdx,

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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.