Posts filed in: March 2008

Lounge Lessons

comments: 80

There was some resting over the weekend.

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It's a  busy week around here, so I'll be taking a bit of a break while I get orders out, look at the book one last time, do our taxes, and possible even get a little rest. We have this dog that would like nothing more than to sit on a warm lap all the livelong day.

Guess where she learned that one.

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My Signs of Spring

comments: 94

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Camellia, leaving.

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Like lilypads.

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Petalwalk, with foxglove fronds.

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Shy-lings.

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My neighbor's tree, an umbrella of cherry-blossom froth.

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And her backyard, from the sidewalk, through the fence.

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Another neighbor, and a breezeway gate to a cherry-foam explosion.

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Clover in clover.

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My miracles, clematis.

Oh, Scrap!

comments: 43

Calicoandgingham

I thought this looked pretty, all these little calico croissants, stacked and waiting. That little rotary cutter has had a workout, and you know what that means? SCRAPS. The scrap basket is exploding. Overflowing. All the scraps from the book and from these kits — mostly all cotton prints, calicos, ginghams — I think I'll bundle them up again and put little bags of them in my web shop after I get the kits shipped out. I think the scraps are pretty good, better than the ones I had last time. I'm trying to stay more in control of the areas of the house that are overflowing. It's driving me crazy. (Added later, after reading the comments: Please note: The photo above shows the fabric bundles cut and ready to go into the doll-pin kits, NOT the scraps. The scraps from leftover from these bundles will be made available but they will look like they were first thrown across the room and then tossed in the salad spinner. They will not look like croissants. Just sayin. I won't be folding the scraps. I'm crazy but not that crazy.)

Today I'm hanging out with my friend Marlene, who I knew ten years ago when we both worked together at GACPC. Marlene is the editor of Beadwork magazine now, in town for the Bead Expo this week. I hope I get time to go to that this weekend, too! My house is a total mess. We did go for a walk yesterday after dinner. The light was amazing. The sun was setting and it was raining at the same time — rainbow conditions, and I did see one very faint one on the way home. I will be interested to see the photos, since they were mostly taken in the rain, while wearing my glasses, which were absolutely dripping, so I couldn't actually see anything, etc. But I did point the camera around at stuff, so I'll have to upload those pictures later and see what develops. I tried to take a picture of Clover standing next to a clump of clover but she was zigzagging all over the place like, "What are we doing!!! GO!!!" Bossy miss. I need to set my ISO to 1600 to get that dog. I hope I was able to get that glowy light, though. You never know. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. It was yellow and gray. Love that.

A Dogwalk, Later

comments: 51

Dogwalk

This season feels like sort of an interlude. Spring comes slowly, in a way — it's green but cold; it's sunny but muddy; it's lighter out later, but we're still not outside. All around town big clumps of daffodils cheer me, and I plan, once again, to plant some in September. Why don't I ever do that? Eight years in this house, and the only bulbs I've planted were a few pink tulips, in the wrong place, later to be replaced with candytuft and sweet woodruff. But this year we have a fence, and I have visions of little, nodding drifts of pale yellow greeting me on the house-side of  the pickets, so I must make a note to myself to remember how pretty these daffodils look right now, and do it right this fall.

I did get a daffodil-yellow spring coat this year (from the Gap; the umbrella is very old, from sadly now-gone Daisy Kingdom) that is making me happy. I'm ready for my dogwalk. Our girl Clover Meadow has gotten so big; I'm hoping we'll get out today and I'll take her picture. Last night her boyfriend Bennie came over for a playdate. They romped, a small tornado, through the house for fifteen minutes until Bennie found a bone that he liked better than he liked Clover. Clover was flabbergasted. She did everything she could to get his attention, including clambering on top of him, then lying four feet away and barking in his face (this dog has the loudest bark I have ever heard), then just looking with total bewilderment at us — what was this guy's problem? Couldn't we see? Bones are boring! Sigh.

Today we'll take a walk and see what's blooming; the magnolias are starting to unfurl as the daffodils turn crepe-y and gold. I hope we can get into the woods this weekend. There's so much to do all the time that we forget to go, or it's pouring rain on Sunday, or who knows what. Before I can rub my eyes and blink in wonder a whole season has lapsed and I've only been around the block a few dozen times. But I'd like to go out and see some little snowdrops, wild violets, maybe find a four-leaf clover. I'd like to get out of the neighborhood a little bit.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

comments: 47

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About a year ago now, maybe, Jane sent me one of her favorite books, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, published by the fantastically wonderful Persephone Books. I saw the preview for the movie on TV a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to see it. This sweet confection was so worth the wait and just what I needed! I highly recommend it. And I want hair just like Delycia's. Notice that the color of her suit here is Persephone grey? Double-delish.

Last week was crazy! I can't believe it's Monday already. Thank you again for all the orders — we have close to 200 to fill this week, so things will be busy busy around here. I closed all the orders on Friday afternoon, but I will make the kits and probably a few dolls available again after we catch up here. I want to make sure I can get everything out by the date I promised and we'll be hard pressed this time! So, when I'm all caught up I'll take an inventory and put at least the kits back in the shop. Thank you!

I have all sorts of catching-up things to do today. We need groceries desperately. I have to go to the library. But all I can think of is making a random-square patchwork quilt out of every one of these. Wouldn't that be the prettiest thing in the world? I can't stop thinking about it. Naturally, when I have absolutely no time for such things. Isn't that always the way. There must be a reason for that. As soon as your mind is occupied with something else, these little flowers come creeping in.

Pearly Dewdrops

comments: 60

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Something I like about living in the Northwest is our early and lengthy spring. It is my favorite season. Here in Portland, even the scrappiest, most average-seeming front yard explodes in a riot of haphazard blooming, often before it's warm enough for us to really want to be outside, often before we've cleaned up last year's spent hydrangea crowns and withered oak leaves. A melancholy sky and its pale, chilly light makes those luminous pink petals glow and blush, a tangle of flickering candles.

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Naturally, I've spent almost every waking moment this week staring at the computer (now backing up for the third time, renaming, and finally transmitting all 227 hi-res images for the book, which is taking about 780% longer than I expected), escaping only to get out for a lap or two around the block with Clover Meadow. There is so much to smell and see right now. Every picket fence and rock wall circumscribes green things she's sniffing like a tiny hound. Sometimes someone will have brought in a load of mulch already, and in that yard the nose goes absolutely wild.

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Thank you thank you thank you for all the Country Girl orders, both dolls and kits! Thank you! I'm keeping all orders open through tomorrow, as I mentioned, remaking dolls that have been ordered more than once, so nothing will officially sell out until sometime Friday. I'll leave all the photos up on the site, too, in case you want to look at them while you're making your kits. I'm just so thrilled by the orders. Thank you so much.

Oh, Snap!

comments: 49

Look who it is! The Country Girls!

Pindollgroup

Oh yes, they're ready to go! The computer [after I yelled at it/threatened flight/took a shower/successfully deleted 33,000 "deleted" messages] had one look at these girls and started working properly — it was a clothespin-doll miracle. So the Country Girls themselves, as well as kits to make them, are in my web shop, waiting for you. I'll take as many orders for these as come in this week, so that's why I'm springing them on you.

Each finished doll comes fully painted, varnished, and dressed, with a hand-embroidered apron and a bouquet of paper flowers. Each girl is signed, dated, boxed, and ribboned, ready for giving.

Each kit has almost everything you need to make five dolls:

5 doll pins
5 doll-pin stands
5 doll head beads
(5) 8" square pieces of assorted calicos (for dresses)
(5) 5" square pieces of assorted ginghams (for aprons)
5 pieces beige pipecleaner (for arms)
15 miniature wired paper flowers
White embroidery floss (for embroidery and sashes)
Custom acrylic paint and varnish set
Full-color instruction cards
Dress pattern
Embroidery chart

You will need to have your own:

Scalloped or zigzag pinking shears
Regular scissors and embroidery scissors
Heavy-weight thread
Needle
Assorted paintbrushes, at least one of them fine-tipped
Glue
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop

Please note, though, that neither the dolls nor the kits will ship until the week of April 1. We will be ordering supplies for and putting together kits based on the number of orders that come in this week, just to make sure we get it right this time and don't have to place multiple orders. Also, we won't have the benefit of employing the most industrious half to Team Paulson (grandpa and mom) who were so effective in filling paint pots for the Lucia kits at lightning speed last Thanksgiving. But if you can be a little patient, I think you'll be very happy with these little kits and pretty girls!

Not OK Computer

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Computer problems. I might be back someday if I don't decide to throw it or my own head out the window.

Dog House Ideas

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A room of one's own. What is it about one's own room that is so seductive? And a whole little house? Oooooh, little houses. So adorable. I want this one. I love it so much! Mmmmmwah. Love you. This photo is from Summerwood Products, who designs beautiful little sheds and cabanas and all manor of delightfully diminutive dwellings.

Alas, such a human-size beauty is not in the Paulson budget (though I might start saving for one). But I think we could swing a corgi-sized pad. At Western Pet Supply, where we went on Saturday afternoon, they had several different sizes of prefab but very roughly finished dog houses for under $100, I think — I don't see any pictures of them on their web site, but they're very cute, though very rough. Absolutely begging to be painted or shingled or something. It has never occured to me to get the dog her own dog house before. I don't know why, because she really loves her crate. I think she would love a little housey, for when we're all outside in the yard this summer.

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Thanks for the links yesterday! I love those Tumbleweed houses and the tree houses. I found this photo and article about building dog houses inspired by your own house from the This Old House web site this morning, and it's really cute with lots of good ideas (and some dog-house history). I don't think I'm up for building one from scratch, but I think I could easily swing decorating a prefab one. I'm wondering: Do other animals (possums, raccoons) tend to move in to dog houses? We have all manner of urban critters in our neighborhood. I can just see an entire clan of 'coons settling onto our property, huddling up in our pooch's shingle-sided condo.

Pin Painting

comments: 51

Painting

Did you know that clothespin dolls do not paint themselves? I know. It's actually kind of a time-consuming process. Fun, just time-consuming, what with all the painting, letting dry, painting again, dropping on the floor, getting covered in dog hair, the trying to chase the dog around after she finds it and starts chewing it, the throwing away and starting over, the painting, the letting dry, the painting again, the letting dry, the painting the details, the varnishing (the best part), the varnishing again, the desperate attempt to keep the paintbrush clean and unwrecked for once (for I can ruin a paintbrush faster than anyone on earth, I think). In all of it, though, there is something quietly satisfying, if you take your time and just relax into it. When the faces go on, and the girls start to express themselves, that's the best moment, meeting them.

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Why, hello there, Country Girls! You're pretty! And so sweet. The Country Girls have calico dresses and bare arms and  embroidered gingham aprons and bouquets of paper flowers. I am very charmed by them.

They will be hard to part with, but I've decided to make a limited edition of the girls themselves available for sale (and thank you for asking for them!). I'll also be offering Country Girl Clothespin Doll Kits -- similar to the Santa Lucia Clothespin Doll Kits we did last November, but with new instructions and the flowers and the gingham included for you, instead of the candles and the crown. I'm thrilled about these. 

I'll put everything on sale early next week. I'm going to try and take orders for as many people as want them (the kits, that is) -- there's no time crunch on these as there was for the Santa Lucia dolls, so I think I'll leave the kits available in the web shop for a week or so and just plan to order supplies based on the number of pre-orders. I don't have the budget to over-order right now, but I will make sure that everyone who wants one next week will definitely get to have one.

I have been trying to get my on-line stuff organized, and I created some new groups on Flickr for anyone who has any dishtowels to show? Or any crochet things (and by the way, I forgot to mention that the Polly Beret pattern is now available, too)? I would love to see them! Here are the links:

Pleasant Kitchen Dishtowel Flickr Group

Alicia Paulson Crochet Flickr Group

And if you're new hanging around here and need some inspiration for clothespin doll ideas, the sweetie Lucias are here:

Santa Lucia Clothespin Doll Flickr Group

On an unrelated note, Clover will be getting her own dog house this summer. These are my inspiration. Actually, I want one of these FOR MYSELF! If you have any other leads on adorable little abodes like these, please tell me! I'm obsessed.

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.