School Has Started!

comments: 28























Yep! It's September! School has started! Amelia is behind me right now virtually presenting her "All About Me" report. She is reading it out loud to her class in the sweetest, most presenter-y voice. I wish I were recording this. "My favorite color is magenta." Agh, she's so sweet. They're all so sweet. I love these kids. Amelia has a gigantic pink gift-bow in her hair right now. It's on a wire and came on a present from someone at some point; I can't even remember who. It's about half the size of her head. She looks like a Victorian doll. But school (they are following the Florida Virtual School curriculum, for anyone interested) is going great so far. It's only been two weeks, of course. But the amount of stress that has been removed from my life now that only the teacher is asking her to do her work and I'm not asking her to do her work (as I was when we were doing Oak Meadow, which turned into a bit of a power struggle, and I hated that) is immeasurable. This seems better for both of us. I mean, I have no idea if this is a "better" education. I'm not saying that either way — I guess only time will tell and I really don't know. But she is happier, and I am happier, and it is just better for our relationship and that's worth a lot right now, so I would say it is a better education for her at this point. She had to answer some multiple-choice questions on the module that gives an overview the lesson set-up, and one of the questions asked what they liked best about learning; she enthusiastically chose “taking tests!” Her second was "doing worksheets." Which, like . . . I burst out laughing. Aren't they supposed to hate worksheets and tests, or . . . ? :) Ha! And I think Andy’s still planning on doing some special studies with her when he’s home. They really enjoyed that.

It's freezing in here! It was 44 degrees this morning. All the windows were open upstairs and the wind whipped through. I've been waking up way too early, like 4 a.m. When that happens I just chuck in any attempt to go back to sleep and get up, go downstairs and make a cup of coffee, and then come back up and get under the covers and surf Pinterest in the dark for a few hours. Surfing Pinterest makes things feel like the old days, when I decorated rooms and made clothes and cooked more. It makes me want to do those things again, so I like it. Still haven't done many of those things but I'm still trying. I don't mind getting up at 4:00 because it's very quiet (aside from Agatha meowing at me; she's a very meow-y cat) and I get some time to myself. I printed off a recipe for apple muffins this morning. That's on my list for the day. Maybe it will be a muffin lunch here.

Having Amelia occupied for part of the day has given me more time to work, and I am so happy to be working. Two new kits are in production right now; FedEx tells me that patterns should be here today. New assistant Anna is just amazing and is putting together all the kits, including two reprints (The Leaves by Hundreds Came and Things of Autumn — we'll re-launch those at the same time as the new ones), and making more lotion bars. Andy has pulled the floss for all four kits and that's all done. We found some stuff (Phyllis Mouse kits and Calicozy strips) in the attic that we didn't know we had so I've been putting some new-old things together as well. Amelia's desk is ready and Andy finished building the big shelf and we gave his old desk away. We've all been working nonstop for the past few weeks and are slowly catching up.

I started a new Porty Cardigan last winter. It's another thing I recently found. I picked it back up and have been knitting the body and am now trying to bind-off. I'm using Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight. It's probably the scratchiest yarn I've ever used and I really hope I like wearing it when it's all done. It has definitely not been my favorite yarn to knit with, though the colors are splendid. I also recently found and finished another Granny's Favourite in Woolfolk Far for Amelia. I apologize for the scanty info on these Ravelry entries; I don't seem to remember anything about them! Need to write things down more. A few nights ago I had this very old memory of a sweater vest I had when I was a kid — it was navy blue, just a crew-neck wool vest, but it had an intarsia autumn tree in red, yellow, and orange on the front. I remember that I wore it on a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago on a beautiful, beautiful fall day and I just loved that vest and that museum and that day. I remember riding the bus on I-290 and looking at the Congress El at rush hour. I found this pattern started it (without the fair isle) in Nature Spun sport and am planning to embroider a fall tree on the front in duplicate stitch for Amelia. I'm hoping to have it done by her birthday. I've been just knitting in circles every night as I watch This Farming Life. (I'm on Season Three, which is the last season for me as I started with Season Four, and I will be SO SAD when I get through it! I love this show so very much! Should I just start watching again? What do I do? I need more!)

For dinner, I made Creamy French Mustard Chicken and everyone here really liked it, including Amelia, which made me feel really good. I roasted some vegetables on the side and, I don't know, there really is nothing like cooking something autumnal that your child will eat to make you feel happy and accomplished.


Hi we loved watching farming life too. Don’t know if you’ve seen Our Yorkshire farm but that is really good too. Just packed some mindless knitting for my holiday to a cottage in Dorset . Loving your pictures

Oof, all of this is so good. Definitely making that mustard chicken too, even though nobody but me will eat it.

Do you know about "The Durrells in Corfu"? Streaming on Prime, and it is so intensely delightful I can't even describe it. I feel like you would love it. We watched it three times in a row, and then, in a panic that it would someday go away, I bought the dvds.

I echo what Kristen says about the Durrells in Corfu. There is also a special called What the Durrells Did Next. I signed up for one of those free trials of something to be able to watch it and it was wonderful. Hosted by Keeley Hawes and just delightful and informative. Also the older series is on Britbox called My Family and Other Animals. I enjoyed that, too.

Oh YAY! Love having a new post to read! Thank you! Wonderful, as always! 💜

Oh my gosh that pic of Amelia on the porch is so beautiful! I love that you found a curriculum that works for both of you. Yay!

I laughed hard at "muffin lunch" because I stayed up late to bake (Krusteaz) blueberry mini muffins on Sunday night, and Monday morning I told my 3 year old that I had made (unspecified) muffins for breakfast and she spontaneously told me that she "LOVED blueberry muffins, with little blueberries in them" and I was like, kid, are YOU in luck because that's what I made! And she ate two and I was thrilled, but after that decided she really didn't like them at ALL, to the point of on Tuesday morning I had to let her spit a chewed-up gob of blueberry muffin paste into my hand because she was so disgusted by it. So that left me with approximately 20 mini muffins and yet somehow they were all gone by midday Wednesday, so apparently I was just mainlining them whenever I was in the kitchen. Whatever, they were really good and I'm going to make (myself) some more soon.

I've been watching The 100 on Netflix and it took a bit to get into it, because it's kind of YA-y, but I'm in Season 2 and dang, it is intense and I really love it. Probably the polar opposite of "This Farming Life," which I also think I will enjoy.

Fall sounds like it has arrived so peacefully in your neck of the woods. We're still sweltering in the 80's, probably until October. I cannot wait to *need* to wear wool socks. I have mostly been watching knitting/embroidery podcasts; have you checked out the Modern Folk Embroidery channel? Beautiful stuff.

I've found that Jamieson and Smith blooms and softens really nicely after blocking. I hope that reduces the prickles for you! (Rauma, not so much.)

Patti Smith says: September 16, 2021 at 05:00 PM

Beautiful pictures. Sounds like you have been busy non-stop. So glad that Mimi is liking school. Fall is my favorite time of year and it goes by so fast. Apples, pumpkins, colorful leaves, beautiful skies. Love this time of year. Take care.

I love this post. It's making me so happy. There's something wonderfully old-school blogging, pre-pandemic about it and it's so warm and cozy. Love reading all your posts but this one especially made me smile. Thank you.

Thank you for adding the chicken recipe to your post. I will definitely be trying it, especially as I already have the chicken thighs in my freezer thanks to butcher box.
As we go into Autumn I'm on the lookout for new recipes to add to the rotation as I get very bored cooking the same dishes year after year.
I hope your apple muffins turned out well. I just made scones so I would have something to put pumpkin butter on. Soooo good.
Have you watched the two newest Vera episodes? Season 11, Witness and Recovery.

You must watch Only Murders in the Buillding! Martin Short is marvelous! ♥️

I'm currently watching The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBOMax and enjoying it as much as GBBO.

It is always a treat to find a new post from you. I gasped for joy! Speaking of Jamieson and Smith, I had always planned to knit myself a sweater in their bright lavender #44, to replace a similar readymade one I bought in Edinburgh in the '70s and wore to pieces. Alas, the color is now discontinued. Maybe I'll go with...magenta!

Its a red letter day when I see you have posted. Thank you for taking the time to fill us in on your family's comings and goings. Your description of your crew neck sweater vest was perfection. I realize alot of any crafty goodness I manage to make is due to your inspiration. I am sitting with the sunshine day afghan on my lap now. Working up the courage to do a summer weight blanket of of linen. Maybe the infamous ripples.

I, too, have been waking at 4:30-5 AM and just leaning into it. I love my private quiet time to peruse the web and indulge in back issues of Country Living UK online via my library. It is something I discovered during the pandemic, when the libraries were closed. So many wonderful magazines are available through the overdrive app. I see Multonomah County Library System carries it too. Happy Fall!

I forgot to say that I totally agree with Glenda...the Great Pottery Thrown Down is so enthralling. I know diddly squat about ceramics, and I loved learning about all the various techniques and history of clay in Britain. Plus the creativity is off the charts! The latest season with Siobhán McSweeney as host (the nun from Derry Girls) is the funniest, but all the seasons are good. I have HBO Max, so easy for me to see...not sure where else you can watch it.

I hear you on the power struggles. Just trying to help with my daughter's homework would leave both of us frustrated.

Alicia, thank you for your little blog-letter. I've hit a rough patch in my life; and it's made itself evident in my dispassionate feelings towards my crafts and my baking. Your post was like a little kick in the pants- I feel a little more motivated to finish my knitting project and try a new recipe this weekend. Thank you, so very much, from the bottom of my ❤️

Two things: First, thanks for the Clarkson's Farm rec. I LOVE it. Also: I am stitching The Leaves By Hundreds Came right now and it's making me so very happy. I just bought the pattern a couple of weeks ago and it's going beautifully and it's so fun and charming to stitch.

When you post, it's like finding a new issue of a favorite subscription. I kind of miss magazines, holding paper, and settling in to absorb cover to cover goodness. Another thing, I often imagine, after reading and reflecting on your posts, sitting with you on a porch or across a small table, with tea, iced, or hot... and chatting calmly. I'd agree with you, and say 'happiness is a good key to success in learning. Happiness and curiosity, and if you can keep those intact and active, you will have a lifetime learner.' I used to like adding little Post-it tabs to pages of magazines, to the prettiest photographs, a recipe, or tutorial, or even clip the best ones to paste in a scrap book. I've found a lot in this post worth a dog-ear, or bookmark.

Kristin Nicholas says: September 17, 2021 at 01:28 PM

Hi Alicia - So nice to catch up with you all! I'm not sure if you will like it, but Clarkson's Farm is on Amazon Prime. Mark and I really enjoyed it. It's a bit guy-centric but funny and informative. I'm going to have to sign up for BritBox on Amazon I suppose. Need something to watch because I'm almost done w/ all the Great British Baking Shows. Thanks so much. Happy New School Year to you and Amelia. XO

geez i posted this comment on your last blog instead of this one. so, once again, it's so nice to get to read your blog. can you tell me how you watch
this farming life?

This Farming Life got me through our Autumn lockdown. Not particularly interested in farming or animals, so surprised myself when I got addicted to the show. The people are just so engaging, I started following some on Instagram just to see how things are going for them now...
My other big fave is Gone Fishing with Mortimer and Whitehouse. Absolute treat of a programme, again even for those of us with zero interest in fishing. The two guys are wonderfully engaging and funny and it's beautifully shot. Highly recommend!

Hi! I too have been waking up around 4:15 lately. I ride our exercise bike and watch something, then make lunches and my breakfast while everyone else sleeps. I agree about pinterest. It reminds me that there are beautiful things in the world, even if I'm not making them right now. After last year's Oak Meadow adventure I am also so glad not to be the teacher anymore. Such a struggle! Your photo of the apples in the muffin tins reminds me that I have a recipe for baked apples stuffed with cheesecake that I need to try. Lovely as always to read your words and see your beautiful photos.

I second the Durrels in Corfu. It's so delightful. Even inspired me to get a bob!

Hope it's a good school year for your family.

Elizabeth McGee says: September 18, 2021 at 11:38 PM

The Jameson & Smith wool will soften & bloom when soaked in woolwash after you finish.This is recommended for Shetland wool & you'll love the way it happens:-)) It's a miracle of fibre

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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