Posts filed in: December 2022

My Favorite Picture of the Year

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It occurs to me, as I try to resize these many photos, that I need to hurry, hurry, as the wind is absolutely howling outside, and everything is whipping around. I have The Holiday on in my office, and it's in the California part, sunny and warm — but here, oh boy, it's absolutely frigid. And from the looks of the forecast across the country, many of you are feeling a similar Arctic blast. I'm scared we may lose power, as it is supposed to start raining ice later. . . .

All of us have been home sick all week! We don't seem to have Covid but we definitely have something, all of us: fevers, mostly, though mine's been gone for several days, and lingering coughs. Lots of pajamas, lots of blankets, lots of carrying the heating pad around the house, lots of orange juice. Lots of television. Gifts have been wrapped and long-since shipped, groceries have been gotten, cards went out last week. The first half of The Sound of Music has been watched, along with several Hallmark Christmas movies, and many more episodes of Alone (season 6 now). In spite of feeling off-and-on poorly, we're having a lovely, lazy time now. The last few weeks have been just nonstop busy so in every way it feels so good to just be resting. I must say.

But Nutcracker week was so, so special! It kind of does literally feel like a dream. There is just something just so excellent about first times. Everything about it was truly magical. I think I mentioned that photographing the actual performance is prohibited, which is always so sad! But I get it. My friend Claire took the lovely picture of Amelia backstage, waiting to go on (the swish in her dress, oh my stars) and I will treasure having this forever. The rest of the pictures of her in costume are from dress rehearsals at the school, etc. The first time she walked into Lincoln Hall for the dress rehearsal on the actual stage she was bouncing up and down and she said, "This is so exciting! This is the best day ever!" It was really, really fun, watching her be that excited. Someone snuck me into the theater to watch her group onstage in the dress rehearsal (Andy and I of course later saw the actual performances, and even a few she wasn't in, but I was as excited getting into that dress rehearsal as I've been about anything in years — I later got choked up thanking the person who had gotten me in, ohmigosh — I'll never forget it — I don't even know the lady's name). Amelia had been nervous about being on the big stage, but the dress rehearsal on Monday night went well. The next night was a night off, and, she got a bit nervous again about having an audience there the next time. It was almost bedtime and I had just come upstairs. She said she was feeling nervous and I told her to sit quietly and play the music in her head and go through the whole dance in her mind. She sat right down and started to do it. That's what she is doing in this picture. She sat like this for ten straight minutes, occasionally closing her eyes, and sometimes I could see her fingers or her hand moving to music I couldn't hear. I don't even think she noticed one bit when I quietly propped my phone up and quickly snapped a picture. I've literally never seen her sit this quietly for this long (not that long but it's long for her). When she was done she just turned her face to me and gave me the biggest smile. I said, "How did it feel?" And she said, "It felt just like Monday night!" And off she went to bed like no big deal.


I don't know, it was just one of the best moments of my own life, right then, and I can't even believe there's a picture of it. Watching her find her way, right before my eyes. It's so, so good to be part of the world again!!! My big, brave, beautiful girl, finding her way!

I wish you all, from our family to all of yours, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanza, and a blessed Winter Solstice, or whatever you might celebrate at this time of year! I'm so grateful for all of you who have been here with me through my days this year, and these many years. Thank you for your patience and your encouragement and your cheer and your always-kind words and your optimism and generosity. I know these past few years have been very challenging for so many of us for so many different reasons. I am just so glad and lucky that I have all of you to share my days with, and I cherish your attention and kindness to me in the million ways that you show it. Thank you for that, more than I can ever express. I wish you every blessing in the coming days, and a warm and wonderful start to the new year.

Love always,

Alicia, Andy, Amelia, and Agatha Paulson

Getting Done and Getting Ready

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Oh, hello!!! Sorry for the delay in responding! I've been paaainting. And I mean paaaaaaaaaaaaaaainting. A lot of painting. I painted . . . 72 things! Seventy-two different little things and I haven't enjoyed anything as much as I did those paintings in years. Literally, years. Every day I painted. I loved every single minute of it. I've made a calendar out of them. I will show it to you soon. Right now I am printing up calendars to give to my family and friends as Christmas presents but I may sell them if I can get more together in time for new year!

Painting all of the items was so much fun. I feel like a painter now. I have opinions about paper and brushes and paint. I am stunned that I have opinions about these things because when you are just starting like I am, you watch videos and the artists in the videos are always talking about their paper, or their brushes, or their specific brands and colors of paint and I would be like, "Uh . . . I don't care about that. How do you paint a flower?" And I mean, they do show you how to paint a flower. But a lot of painters will give you the details of the actual stuff they use and I would never care about that. Until — I guess this is how it happens! — eventually I had painted enough that I actually cared! Tell me about your paper. Tell me about the brushes! What kind of paint again? That was so weird! But that's how it went. I mean, that's how it goes! Imagine learning to knit and actually caring about whether your yarn is plied, or highly twisted, or, you know, superwash or something. You don't care about those things until you care about them, and, I don't know, it's kind of a really fun moment when you find that you can care about them. Like, you have enough knowledge and experience and confidence to have even the slightest opinion or interest in them, and that's just kind of a cool little moment.

To learn to paint I have been watching some YouTube videos, mostly from Shayda Campbell and Emma LeFebevre, as well as some Skillshare classes. I have taken Skillshare classes from Elisabetta Furcht and Nianani. I love taking Skillshare classes. I love Elisabetta's classes the most because she is very calm, she talks at my pace (Shayda and Emma can be a bit fast-talking for me), and she does not focus on a lot of technical stuff (Nia is very technical, if you like that). Elisabetta just has the style that I really like, so I love her. A few days ago I got a book out of the library called Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey and now that I am done with my calendar I am going to do this book. Maybe a little backwards to paint an entire calendar of paintings and then do a beginning watercolor course but even though I am happy with my paintings and I love them because they are truly a snapshot of where I am right now, I have a lot to learn. And I am really enjoying the learning process. I love that I can do this at home in my office with my TV on during the day while I paint and I don't have to go anywhere to do it, too (like I did with pottery). I don't know how long this particular fever will last — will it be short-lived like my other lock-down passions? Or will it be something random I decided to do and refused to give up on even though I sucked at it for a very long time (like knitting — here are my knitting stories, here and here, if you are interested) that is thirty years later a major part of my life? I don't know. (That first knitting post isn't entirely true anymore, I realize — I do knit for "work" sometimes and have written some knitting patterns at this point — but I don't really like writing knitting patterns that much and still don't do it that often. But I mean, I have an entrepreneurial spirit and have been selling stuff I make [or design] since I was thirteen years old, so I should never say never.)

Anyway, speaking of knitting, I knit the little mittens for Amelia from this pattern and embroidered them with Appleton's crewel wool, loosely following the suggested pattern (but not using stabilizer because I couldn't find mine). Yesterday at drop-off Amelia's friend said to me, "Bye! Great job on the mittens!" and I'm still thinking about how cute and sweet that was. :)) I also made her a new hat (the pink one with the ties, not the one she's wearing in the mittens photo; that was another one I forgot about. I'll try and get a photo of it, too) using this pattern and some hand-dyed DK-weight yarn, but I don't remember the brand and it was already caked up. Very fun pattern to knit although I had to do it twice because the beginning is a bit of a bear until you figure out what is happening. Interesting construction, and the pattern is sized from babies to adults, which is nice.

I also made a hat for Andy like this:


A Woodsman's Hat for Andy:

Gauge: 14 sts x 20 rows per 4" using two strands of worsted-weight yarn and size US10 needles

Cast on 64 sts, PM, join in round.

Work 1x1 rib for 4" (brim), then stockinette for 5".

Now, decrease:

*K6, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K5, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K4, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K3, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K2, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K1, k2tog; repeat from * around to end.

*K2tog; repeat from * around to end.

Break yarn and thread through remaining sts. Pull tight, weave in all ends, and block.

Getting ready for Christmas. I'm going to use this pattern to make some more gifts. I haven't knit that many hats in my life and it turns out they are really fast and easy, especially when you're making them pretty bulky and warm, like Andy's.

We got absolutely sucked into watching seasons 1 and 2 of Alone. Oh wow. I loved that show. Note: I am linking to it on the History Channel but I honestly don't know if there are any spoilers there; there are several seasons and I want to know NOTHING about who wins the seasons I haven't seen so be warned, I haven't actually looked at that link. Just look for it on your TV to see if you will like it, honestly. I loved it. I'm trying to get into season 3 (they're in Patagonia now) and I can't seem to get into it — I'm not sure if I was so into seasons 1 and 2 because they both took place on Vancouver Island, and that terrain is pretty much exactly like what we have here in Oregon so it felt very familiar and to me as a viewer, and you could tell it was pretty unfamiliar to most of the contestants. I was turned onto the show from listening to the SmartLess podcast (with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes), which my sister told me about and which I listen to while I'm waiting for Amelia to get out of ballet. Those guys are all into Alone (I think it's all of them — it's definitely Jason and maybe Will). I think it's a funny podcast and I laugh out loud constantly while listening to it, which feels really good right now (though it's not for kids, so just listen while you're driving alone or waiting or whatever).

We're gearing up to start nonstop Nutcracker stuff next week and beyond, so we need to get our tree and decorate this weekend. I'm wishing all of you a wonderful start to the holiday season! 

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