Posts filed in: Movies and TV

Alice Dress

comments: 230

We saw the movie Alice in Wonderland a few months ago. I thought Alice's dresses in this were so wonderful. She changes clothes several times throughout the movie, but this version of the classic blue-and-white was my favorite:

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That blue is such a great color. The fabric looks like silk organza, or organdy — that crispy-yet-light sort of texture that has something in common with phyllo pastry. You imagine layers, and layers, and layers — each one rather transparent, together adding up to that wonderful matte opaqueness that translates into a feeling of a particular weight, somehow: I love the feeling of wearing layers like that. I've only done it a very few times (my wedding dress was a froth of layers), but for some weird reason, that sensation of wearing all of those layers stands in my memory as one of my favorite sensory experiences, along with holding my hands under just the right temperature of water, or the smell of lilacs, or kissing a corgi puppy on her cheek. I guess it sounds weird, but frequently I think about clothes purely in terms of their weight.

I started thinking about the Alice dress. It's reputation preceeds it. Is there a more recognizable dress — or interpreted — dress?

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Alice in Wonderland, Peter Newell, 1890

MarjorieTorrey
Alice in Wonderland, Marjorie Torrey, 1955 

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Alice and the Pack of Cards, Arthur Rackham, 1907. (I did my college senior thesis on Arthur Rackham and have always loved his work, and his calico Alice.)

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Alice in Wonderland, George Dunlop Leslie, 1879. (This is just so gorgeous in so many different ways I couldn't even think of anything to say or think about it.)

So I just got to work. Here is my Alice Dress.

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PATTERN: Overdress: Open Crescent Set from Christening Sets to Crochet by Kay Meadors. Underdress: McCalls 6552 (vintage), view B (without collar or buttons)
SIZE: 4
YARN: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Quilla
FABRIC: Cotton lawn from Mill End Store; buttons and ribbon from The Button Emporium

It's made from a crocheted dress pattern that was written for bedspread weight cotton thread and a 1.65mm hook to fit a newborn. I did it in sock-weight yarn with a 2.5mm needle, leaving the sleeves off, but otherwise doing the pattern exactly as written. When I finished, I measured it out to be a standard size 4, chest-circumference- and armhole-depth-wise. Just goes to show how important gauge is, I guess! 

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I rummaged through my collection of vintage children's sewing patterns (someday must do a post just about these — they are all so beautiful) to see what I had in a size 4, and found this little dress to use for the underdress. I wanted something very simple in a very lightweight fabric to go underneath. This cotton lawn was like sewing a butterfly wing. It was so fine and floppy, like the perfect summer nightgown weight. Even lighter than that. A bit hard to sew. But, oh does it feel wonderful. The gores in the skirt give the whole thing this wonderful fullness, too (though you really can't see them in the photo). I really adore the shape of this little dress.

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It has oyster shell buttons going all the way down the back, but I guess I forgot to take a photo just of all of those. Here is the back of the ensemble together, though:

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It also has a murky-dark greenish-gray silk embroidery ribbon woven through the eyelet rows. With black tights and shoes, of course.

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I tucked the sleeves in so you could see how full the sides really are. I ran out of yarn at the very end, and didn't make the picot edging I planned to make. In fact, I ran out of yarn once in the middle and had to order another skein, which stalled me out for a while, and I wasn't sure I was going to finish. (There are 760 yards of yarn in this dress!!!) But once I got going again, I kept at it. This is possibly one of the fanciest things I have ever crocheted. And oh, so fun to do an interpretation of something so classic like this. In the end, the whole thing just made me happy. Especially since we share our name, I hope Miss Alice herself would be pleased with this (but knowing her, she probably wouldn't :-). I do love that girl.

*On an unrelated note, does anyone have any recommendations for a TV series (that has several seasons already) that would be kind of like Alias? I am really in the mood for a DVD marathon like that but can't think of something similar. . . .

Blustery, and Bubbling Bolognese

comments: 40

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The weather all weekend was so blustery and cold. This morning rain pelting the bedroom windows (and rattling them constantly — they are very old) woke me (that and a cat snoring on my neck and a dog walking on my hair). Yesterday (Sunday) I didn't leave the house at all, and only opened the back door eight or nine times to let various pets out and in (five minutes later — nobody wanted to be outside). Andy had the iPod at work so I couldn't play Words with Friends (my new vocation), but that was probably good because it meant that I actually made some progress on my WIPs. I watched the 2005 Little House on the Prairie movies on the Hallmark channel, which was really fun since I just finished re-reading Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie recently (I've finished all the books on my sidebar list, and have to do a book post, I know, since I'm actually reading new ones now). It felt so good to have a weekend where we didn't really go anywhere or do anything. 

Claire inspired me to make some bolognese sauce — isn't her illustration of the Sunday Night Spag Bol so adorable? I had a recipe from Mario that I'd been wanting to try for a while, and it seemed like the perfect blustery weekend for several hours of viscous simmering (be sure to keep the heat low, cast a watchful eye on the bottom of that pot, and stir frequently). I used ground beef and finely diced the pancetta (I keep it frozen so it's easier to slice). I like my spaghetti served very specifically: sauce only on top, not mixed up, and with a blob of ricotta. Andy likes his all mixed up, no ricotta (not into it). Either way you like it, this was delicious, and seemed just right for a lazy day that felt much more like fall than spring. (And, like Claire suggests, you can freeze a bunch of it, too, for when you don't have a whole lazy afternoon to cook.)

Blueberry Muffins and a Movie Marathon

comments: 68

BlueberryMuffin2

What a nice weekend we had. On Saturday morning, I had time to bake the blueberry muffins from the new Grand Central Baking Book (our local bakery's wonderful new cookbook). I followed the recipe exactly, but instead of making twelve regular-sized muffins, I used my giant muffin pan and made six (and the amount of batter fit the tin perfectly). I topped them with a little cinnamon-sugar before baking, and I have to say these are some of the best muffins I've ever had. They are so eggy. And I personally love eggy things, so I love these. And thank goodness for frozen blueberries. Next weekend I'm going to try the cinnamon buns. Melissa originally told me about this book and I think she said that the cinny buns she made were exactly like the bakery's, so I'll give them a shot. You have to start those the day before.

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For the rest of Saturday I worked in the yard a bit, then knit and watched the first several movies of the Love Comes Softly saga on the Hallmark Channel. I am obsessed with these movies. They've played the marathon — all eight movies — at least three times now in the past couple of years, and I've watched them every time (though you'll be relieved to know that I've never made it through the entire thing in one sitting). Last time was during the heat wave and the Ollalieberry Ice Cream quilt. This time I was in serious need of a day with my feet up on the couch and some knitting in my hands. Perfect timing. I love the clothes in these movies so much. Tons of smocking, prairie calico, pinafores, and gathers. I asked Andy if he was bummed that I didn't have any prairie dresses. Sadly, he was not bummed. 

Chicken Saltimbocca

comments: 41

Chicken1

Thank you so much for all of the movie recommendations over the weekend!!!!! A fantastic list I will be working my way through this winter. I did watch one several people suggested, Run Fatboy Run, on Friday night and I loved it. There are so many hilarious one-liners in that movie. Great movie. I'm going to take the list to the video store today and get a few of the ones I've never heard of before, like Jam & Jerusalem (which I think is a series, not a movie, but that's cool — more to love).

Butternut squash with brown sugar and butter; chicken with mushrooms, sage, and prosciutto. I used Ina's recipe for the squash and Mario's for the chicken. (Note: Be careful when you fry the sage, because it will really snap and crackle, and also I only used about 1/3 c. of olive oil instead of the called-for 2 cups.) Good grief, this was a good autumn Sunday dinner. We've made it twice this fall and it is a definite keeper.

Navy Skirty (WIP #1)

comments: 141

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Navy skirty, pretty cute. It's baby-wale corduroy, very soft, with topstitching done by hand with six strands of tan embroidery floss. Cool folky buttons which you can't really see very well. This is Simplicity pattern 2758, view E. Ish. Longer. Skinnier waistband since I misread the instructions and only cut one instead of two of fabric, and by the end of Wednesday afternoon was too lazy to go back and unfold the extra fabric and recut it and do it the right way. So I just folded it over twice and made it skinnier. Fine. Next one I'll put the pockets on lower. A lot lower. Love the pleat, though. Taking photos of a navy-blue skirt is like taking photos of a black doggie: Light absorbers. (The other stuff in the photo is all thrifted. This is the wall of the dining room [which is as dark as a cave today].) Susan asked how I keep track of where I am in each WIP and I thought, "Oh, yeah! I should do that!" So I guess that is the answer: I just push things aside and then pick them up months later in confusion: "What is this? Oh . . . yeah . . . that [vague, dawning memory seeping in, no notes or indications where to pick up, general frustration with self and lazy habits, etc.]."

While I was making this: Ding-dong! The UPS man dropped off this skirt from Boden, almost exactly the same shape. With cable tights and boots: a winter uniform. Now for somewhere to go! Not today though: I am tiiiiired. Long week. Feel like ordering curry, getting under a pile of pets, and watching a movie tonight. What are your favorite movies that take place in contemporary London? Like really take place in London, where you can see London and the city feels integral to the movie? Kind of like Love, Actually or About a Boy. I love both of those. I have been meaning to ask this for a while! Thank you!

Apple Tree Days

comments: 52

Victoria30

Last year at this time, we were just back from one of the best vacations in my whole entire life, our trip to Victoria, British Columbia. Remember that? Wasn't it awesome? If you haven't been there, you can come along with us again now: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, and Day Four. And Day Five. That was just such a nice trip in so many different ways. I took the picture above at Butchart Gardens, and we talked about getting an apple tree for our own back yard, and we are going to try to do that this weekend. I think I would like a dwarf apple tree with red apples instead of yellow. It will go back in the corner by the garage and the fence and the hammock. If you have any recommendations, let me know. I am pretty excited about having an apple tree. I don't know if any of our neighbors have one that is close enough to polinate or anything like that. I want to plant lillies of the valley and daffodils under it, since those seem like two of the best parts of having an apple tree.

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A scene from the movie Bright Star

I was thinking about our trip to Victoria yesterday, too, because there was that day (Day Two) that reminded me so much of walking across Hampstead Heath when I was 21, and going to John Keats' house, and on to Highgate Cemetery by myself; the weather was the same, the wet, red leaves and foggy, dull light. We went to see Bright Star yesterday afternoon, mostly because that day in London is one of those strange days that is just stuck so resolutely in my memory, and in my memory of myself, and I think of it at this time every year, and feel like I have to do something about it. Actually, I don't "think" of it as much as it feels like it visits me, like a spirit: London in November, the smell of frying onions and wool coats, the sound of my steps. Bright Star the movie had the same feel and colors, quiet, patient colors: blues and grays and greens and darks and pearly lights. And, oh, for Fanny's wardrobe! Anyway, I won't talk about it too much, but I loved it, 'cause I love all that stuff. I'm going back to see it again with my friend Aimee because this time I'll just watch for the details. They played some previews for more movies that I really want to catch, including Coco Before Chanel, The Young Victoria, and Life is Precious, which has the most moving trailer I've ever seen.

Thank you SO much for all of the nice and super encouraging things you said about the painting. I busted out laughing at some of the comments, too. It's been such a fun week painting, mostly because it's something so different from the things I usually do, and it feel so good to break out of my old routine sometimes. I have four more paintings planned (I know, I am crazed) and last night I got a bee in my bonnet to learn how to make some 

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 woodcuts.

See, I bet you didn't think I was going to say that, did you. That's how we roll here at Posie Gets Cozy, though.

Farmer's Daughter Apron

comments: 110

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Remember the apron I was making a few weeks ago?

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I finished it!

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I am so happy with it. It's exactly what I was going for (rare). It's generous and sort of . . . serious. Pretty but serious. Makes you feel like you can bake a ribbon-winning pie. I love long aprons — baker's aprons — the ones that really cover you, with long, generous ties (ahem).

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The apron is made of linen, and trimmed with binding tape (not bias cut, just straight). It's about eight yards of binding! I don't like full aprons that just have a neck loop and then tie separately at the waist. The neck loop is never in the right place for me. These ties attach at the top of the bib, cross in back, go through loops at the waistline, cross again, and come to the front to be tied in a bow. Doing them this way makes the apron really adjustable, so it fits better.

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The embroidery is a couple of Swedish floral designs I put together, done entirely in satin stitch (with two strands of cotton embroidery floss) and outlined with dark brown back stitch. I picked up some of the flower colors that were in that dark brown calico (from JoAnn's, many years ago now).

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My friend Sarah and I finally saw Julie & Julia a couple of days ago and we loved it, especially the Julia parts. The clothes. The kitchens. The . . . everything. Her aprons — long, straight, serious. French. It was all so beautiful. I've got to see the movie again and just watch the sets and costumes this time. I went right home and cleaned the kitchen. And stared happily at my apron. I'm going to do the ties and binding a bit differently on the next one (have the side-bodice binding turn into the ties, and also, bind it completely by machine). (To be honest, and fully disclose my lunacy, I did the binding on this one by machine and hand.) There are plans for a next one — next four ones. (Three are already in progress. All different colors. I told you, I'm crazed.) There is a special someone's birthday coming up, and I am going to make three more for my mom and sweet sissies for Christmas. My sister Susie is an actual pastry chef, too — how cool is that.

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This one is for me, though. My uniform for fall baking. Hmmm, what should I make . . . something French? Not a tarte tatin, though. I made one of those last year and I didn't really like it (quel dommage!). Something from Baking with Julia, maybe, because it's now (naturally) in my TiVo queue. Or maybe these chocolate souffles.

Wasn't Meryl Streep so amazing as Julia? Magical.

Hot Summer Soup

comments: 100

Soup3

Thank you very much for all of your gentle and truly kind comments on Tuesday's post. I got choked up reading so many of them, as I always do when people talk about love, and animals. I have been in love with one animal or another my whole life, it seems; even when I had no real-life pets, I rode an imaginary horse through my neighborhood, or I named an imaginary puppy, or I dreamed about getting my very own cat. It's funny how some people are like that, and some people aren't. I wonder where it comes from. When I was really young, I decided that if I was ever lucky enough to have my own dog, I wanted a corgi, and I must have only known about corgis from the lovely, gentle Tasha Tudor, whose books I had as a child and whose life and work has influenced me in too many ways to count. If I couldn't have a 13.2-hand dapple-gray Connemara pony with a black mane and tail named Musette (specifically), I wanted a corgi. When Andy and I have a disagreement, no matter what the topic, I just eventually say, "Well, fine, but I was the one who wanted a corgi!!!" and then, y'know, that's it: I win, hands down. It just works that way.

Shall we talk soup? Let's. This is my creamy corn bisque, modified over the years from a recipe that originally appeared in The Oregonian a long time ago. We made it last night and ate it with fresh garlic bread.

Creamy Corn Bisque

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white portion only, rinsed and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup corn kernels (you can use frozen corn here, if that's what you have)
1/2 teaspoon salt or more, depending on how well-salted your chicken stock is

Sour cream
Hot sauce

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add leeks and carrots and cook over medium heat for five minutes. Add herbs, chicken stock, and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low; cook, covered, for ten minutes until potatoes are just tender. Stir in half-and-half, corn, and salt. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for three minutes, stirring. Serve with a dollop of sour cream with a few shakes of hot sauce stirred in.

I am going to a potluck party on Saturday. What is your favorite summer potluck dish that doesn't have vinegar, olives, or salmon (I don't like those things) in it? And I know this is sacrilege, but I don't really like tomatoes, either, so forget those. I almost always bring Ina's Pasta, Pesto, and Peas to summer potlucks, and I love love love it, but I really need something new.

In other news, I am completely obsessed with watching Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations lately. The Montana episode is coming up on Monday night and I am so excited.

*In answer to the questions about half-and-half, it is half cream and half milk, sold already blended in the U.S. Be careful adding milk to hot soup because it will separate and curdle if it boils. Heavy cream won't, so if you don't have half-and-half, I'd probably add half cream/half chicken stock or water.

My Christmas-Movie Screenplay Plans

comments: 118

Boyfriendforchristmasimage

I've almost convinced Andy to write a Christmas-movie screenplay with me. Not an awesome movie like Elf, or Prancer, or The Family Man. But a made-for-TV one (what's not awesome about these!) like Boyfriend for Christmas (pictured above), Christmas Do-Over, or Holiday in Handcuffs. I've told him that it's easy: All we need to do is pick out and incorporate about ten of these Christmas-movie must-contains and we'll be set:

A character named Holly, Mary, Merry, Chris, Kris, Christy, Kristin, Nick, Nicholas, Rudolpha, Carol, Noel, Noelle, or some diminutive of Ebeneezer.

A widow.

A widower.

An orphan.

A soldier, sailor, or marine.

A homeless person who is, it is suspected, actually Santa/God/an angel.

A soup kitchen.

A workaholic corporate suit who schedules meetings on Christmas Eve and has clearly forgotten the reason for the season.

A cottage industry/family business in danger of being put out of business by big-box store/urban development/greedy coporation.

A character who pretends to be someone else.

A blizzard that knocks out all forms of transportation or communication.

Two characters who hate each other forced, by the blizzard, to spend the night in a cabin with no utilities and who wind up in love by the next morning.

A stinky, drunk department-store Santa. Who hates kids.

Someone in a Santa suit who stole something who is now being chased by a hundred other people in Santa suits. Through Manhattan.

Santa who falls ill/is too old/has lost hope, and Christmas is in danger of being cancelled.

Santa's son or daughter who must take over his job reluctantly, or with difficult conditions (must marry today by midnight, e.g.).

A child who knows more than all of the adults combined.

Stupid adults.

Toy freak out: not enough toys, wrong toys, toys lost, toys not able to reach their destinations.

A character who absolutely hates Christmas due to some past loss. Loss occuring around Christmastime.

A character who loves Christmas when everyone else around him/her hates it.

Overworked elf. Lazy elf. Cranky elf. Naive elf. One nice elf.

A character who returns home to find that things have changed. And, in a weird way, stayed much the same.

A character, unlucky in love, who returns home to find their high-school sweetheart conveniently unmarried.

A deer. Could be reindeer. Could be Rudolph.

Miracle snow.

Right? Now, which ten, which ten . . . Hmmm.

Why my muscles have atrophied.

comments: 71

Votetoday_2

Wow, that movie list yesterday was awesome! Who knew how many of us out there not only watch movies for the interiors, but watch the same movies for the interiors?

I think I will put a list together out of the comments, and thank you so much for those. There are two reasons that the list comes at the perfect time. The second reason I'll tell you about soon, since I think the contract is in the mail (hint, hint); the first reason is that after today I am going to need something to watch other than CNN for eight hours a day!!! I've forgotten how to watch anything but CNN!!!

Here're my convos for the past two months:

Someone: "Would you like to go out to dinner?"
Me: "Would, but I'd miss my show."
Someone: "What show?"
Me: " . . . Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull."
Someone: "But you have TiVo. "
Me: "It's not the same."

Someone: "Can you go to the store and get some groceries?"
Me: "Would, but I've fallen onto the couch in front of CNN and can't get up."
Someone: "Jeez."

Someone: "Didn't [the candidate] just say that same exact thing in the same exact way yesterday?"
Me: "He's actually said it eight times already today."
Someone: "There he goes again."

Me: "I'm gonna miss Roland Martin and David Gergin and Paul Begala after election day!"
Someone: "Maybe then you can make some real friends, though."

So yes, thank goodness it's November 4 so that maybe now I'll be able to get a life! I will miss The Situation Room, though. And AC 360. And what will Campbell Brown do now that the election is over? She's pregnant again, so that's exciting. I'll miss Dana Bash and John King's magic map! I now know more about retirement funds, luxury sedans, the potential side-effects of Celebrex, and why it's important to get AARP supplemental insurance than I've ever known before. At least we'll still have The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. What a marathon it's been. I wonder what's going to happen! What an exciting time for our country. How wonderful it's been to feel like we're headed, no matter what happens, in a different direction.

Vote today!

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.