It's one of my favorite days of the year, the day we go to the fair.
We always take the back roads to get there, and stay all day.
I'd like to be one of 4-H kids, sitting in a camp chair
eating kettle corn
and playing cards in the barn.
I'd like to rest my feet on a bale of sweet-smelling hay.
That or I'd like to be climbed on by a herd of teensy baby goats. (I am obsessed with baby goats, by the way. There were about six or seven of them in here with the girls and it was total giggly, goaty pandemonium [i.e.: awesome].)
I felt bad for laughing at this guy,
but honestly, have you ever seen a more Seuss-ian looking fellow?
I love the blacksmiths in the Pioneer Village.
They just seem like partiers, y'know?
And the spinners, oh man. Spinning (I've never tried it) must be awesome, because everyone I've ever seen do it is obsessed. The gray-garter shawl is her first hand-spun, hand-knit project, and she loves it, as one would. Must try it sometime. Maybe at the sheep show (that's what we call it).
Gingham gingham and gingham. Yay!
You just cannot tell me that pioneer candlemaking fashion is not awesome!!!
I really like pioneer crafts. I bought a handmade broom from the broom guy to sweep my new floor.
Hello pigeons and doves.
Hello eggs from all of the birds.
Hello skeptical bun-bun.
Hello cool tap-dancing guys.
Hello strawberry shortcake.
Hello quilts hanging from the high rafters.
Hello, blue-ribbon-winning cakes.
Hello brave people who go on rides (not me).
Hello blue, blue sky of a perfectly wonderful summer day.
From Embroidery Companion
Thank you so much to every single person who came out to Powell's last night for the book signing. You guys, I was SO nervous! But everyone was incredibly nice and very encouraging and just generally awesomely cool that I wound up eventually forgetting my nerves and having the best time. So thank you for coming out and smiling up at me and gobbling cupcakes and waiting in line forever while I wrote novels in everyone's books, because I am truly touched to have you there (and here). Thank you also to those of you who said you wished you could come, and who have sent me such kind and thoughtful emails (and comments), and left reviews of the book. I am sincerely grateful for your generous words. Making a book can feel kind of lonely at times — as I said last night at the book signing, my books, more than just being about whatever their subject matter is, always feel to me more like the other-but-secret half of the blog, somehow. Signing books for people in real life truly feels magical to me because it makes everything come together, somehow. As scared as I am to speak in front of everyone, at the end of the night I'm always so grateful that I get to have that experience in my life. So thank you for that, 'cause that's just cool.
There are signed copies of the book from Powell's available, and a big thank you again to Powell's for having me. If it weren't for Powell's, Embroidery Companion would be a different book, since so much of the research I did and inspiration I got for it came from stacks of used and out-of-print embroidery books I bought over the last ten years straight from their shelves.
Eeenyhow, and now for something really exciting: The Avett Brothers just this morning announced (thanks Becky and Fiona for the head's up!) that they are playing a surprise benefit show on Monday night at the Crystal, so go get tickets real quick because they just went on sale and we'll see you (again) there!
The light at the farm the other night was glorious.
I have such a deep longing to live in the country every time I'm out there.
I feel flooded with memories when I'm there. Not memories of that specific location (although I have those, too) but of other times in my life when I've been in the countryside on vacation in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, or at summer camp in Indiana, or from when we lived in Montana.
I remember taking the train so many times back and forth across the country. Sitting there watching the fields roll by, hour after hour after hour. I did so many of those trips alone, and I remember that feeling of stepping onto the train with just a backpack and a ticket, and how free you feel at that moment. It just doesn't feel like anything else, somehow. I always felt utterly myself, somehow, with a notebook and a pencil in a window seat on a train in the middle of North Dakota at sunset.
It was like I was an expert in that moment. I could tell you everything about that moment.
I almost never feel like that about anything.
I was probably twenty-four or twenty-five then, and didn't know jack (like now). But I can still conjure that moment — halfway from nowhere, rails and a golden field — and remember what it was to look up and feel, suddenly, so sure of things.
Just for a sec: Out there in the middle of I'm not sure where. All is well.
Ah, it was so long ago.
Summer seemed longer then.
It's a beautiful time of year, really.
Everything's turning russet and rose-gold.
Everything feels sleepy and soft.
Thank you so much for joining me in my enthusiasm for my new room! Thank you! I have been working in it all week, and it has been just awesome. I love it. I'm very thrilled, inspired, and contented, all at the same time. Watch this space — studio-inspired things are coming.
Midway through the last month of summertime. The beginning of the summer was so slow, and so cold. Now, in August, it is so hot, and going so fast. We always have a lot going on at the end of the summer, most of it happening outside. At the end of a long day last week, we went canoeing on Blue Lake. I love canoeing. I am thinking about taking a class in canoeing.
A heron flashed us.
Blue Lake is a man-made lake in a very urban neighborhood. I guess it looks more green in these pictures than blue. But it's so close, and a really nice place to relax for an afternoon. We come here for a quick getaway whenever we remember to.
I like that sound of the oars going into and out of the water. I love that easy glide. It's just nice.
Portlanders, are there any places where you like to canoe? Flat water? Not too far from town? (Update: Ooo, I found a nice list!) I hear kayaking is easier, though I've never been. It doesn't seem as romantic, somehow. Canoes are such pretty looking boats. And they make you feel like you are back at summer camp.
Welcome, finally, to the new and improved Posie craft studio! Won't you please come in?
There is a lot to see here. I'll try to take it slow and show you around. But basically, this is it! This is my new room!
We began working on this room about a month ago now, I guess. The redecoration was a long time coming, since although we had cleaned and painted a few times over the past ten years (here is what it most recently looked like), it had long housed a jumbled collection of mismatched furniture, jerry-rigged shelving, utility tables and chairs that were the wrong working heights, carpet (blech), and just, in general, too much stuff for one room.
My inspiration for this new space was the work and homes of Swedish artists Carl and Karin Larsson, whose aesthetic I love and whose rooms have influenced me so much over the years. For such a long time I've had this dream of grayish-blue walls, red gingham curtains, and a red geranium in a terra-cotta pot. I really don't know what's taken me so long to make it happen. But I swear, when I put that pot on the windowsill, my very soul sighed with contentment.
It really did.
We started by painting the room Buxton Blue by Benjamin Moore which we got at the awesomely wonderful Pearl Hardware. I can't tell you how much I love this color. It is a deep grayish-blue, and changes like crazy with the light. You will see in the photos that this color looks different in almost every shot. That is because it looks different constantly and throughout the day (and also because I change my white balance a lot, depending on how I feel). Next we had the old yucky carpet ripped out and pretty, blond laminate flooring installed (by The Floor Store) in a color called Montgomery Maple.
Then we started going to IKEA. Constantly.
If your decorating inspiration is "Swedish country" and your budget is small (whose isn't) and your town, like ours, actually has an IKEA, life is good. IKEA came to Portland a couple of years ago now. It's arrival brought much-needed shelving to our dining room and bedroom several years ago and pretty much changed our entire house (I would say life) for the better. This time, for the studio, we got every single piece of furniture there. It was, I just have to say, an excellent experience. Andy built all of the furniture for me and he did such a great job. I'm sure we lucked out, but everything fits, everything is functional, everything is beautiful, everything went together. We only got in one small fight (again about a chair!!!) and I only had one IKEA freak-out during the negotiations about the chair when a) the music speaker was right over my head and playing way too loud, b) there were four teenagers zooming around in office chairs and crashing into each other immediately next to where we were having a very tense (i.e.: mostly silent) discussion about office chairs ourselves, and c) we were in the "as is" area, and thus, if we did purchase the exponentially cheaper chair and it turned out to be wrong, we could not return it. Suddenly I saw that Andy had the "I love this chair and only this chair" crazy-man glint in his eye (I'd seen it before). Unfortunately, his beloved chair was not the chair that I wanted, but my resolve (not to mention my legs) was getting wobbly; as this was my seventh trip to IKEA in two weeks, the commitment to a non-returnable chair turned out to be too much for me to handle at that moment. I (involuntarily) made a noise that sounded like, "Ay-eeeeeeeeeee!" [dolphin] and staggered out of As-Is back toward the warehouse, where I went and sat in the Poang display chair with my feet up and my eyes half-closed (while Andy did the rest of the shopping for track lighting [aren't I clever???] ). I think it was about forty-five minutes before I could move. I don't know if I was actually allowed to sit in that chair, since it was on one of those platform things that I think are supposed to be for display and not customer resuscitation, but none of the workers said anything to me about it. It was obvious I'd hit the proverbial IKEA wall. I was not a big fan of the Poang chair before, but now I am. It was lovely. (The next morning, I woke up feeling strong and healthy and said immediately, "Dang it! I need my chair!" [It was the red one.] Andy's mania had left him [and he'd discovered he needed four more track-lighting adapters]: IKEA trip #8, first thing Saturday morning, which included Swedish pancakes and thrills and giggles because the red chair was still there — yay!)
But let me back up. To figure out what I needed, first I measured the room and the width of each of the doorways (including the trim) and the windows. Then I got a piece of graph paper and made a floor plan, with each 1/4" square equaling 6". Then I went to IKEA (that was trip #1) with my little floor plan and a notebook and just, very slowly, walked through the whole store, thinking about what I might need. I took notes on lots of different pieces of furniture, figuring out dimensions and prices. I noted the names of everything that I liked and kept a list of Needs and Wants. Then I made little paper pieces that fit the footprint of each fixture and moved them around the floor plan until everything fit. I started with the thing that I knew I was definitely going to Need: SHELVES.
These are the Expedit shelving units in birch. They come in different configurations; I wound up with two 4 x 4s and two 4 x 2s on top of them. I also got three white door inserts, three red door inserts, and three Branas baskets to hide the stuff I didn't want to look at, like bills and mail and copy paper and plastic boxes of embroidery floss, etc. That gave me just enough room to slide in the Jonas desk to the left of the shelves; it holds my computer, printer, telephone, and stereo.
Anyway, so . . .
where was I.
Oh yeah. For my sewing machine, I knew I would need a sewing table that had leaves. The Leksvik dining table has two that extend it out another three feet, maybe. But I think this rectangular table is discontinued, because ours was on sale and I don't see it on the web site. It's a really nice color, though — kind of a grayish brown. I really like this color. For my fabric, I wanted a cabinet with glass doors on it — doors so I could shut them, glass so that I could still kind of see all the pretty fabrics. So, the Liatorp cabinet (which also matches our bedroom shelves and dining-room china cabinet). That just squeezed into one of the small walls. I didn't want anything to go in front of the windows. Lastly, the Varde kitchen island was a no-brainer, really. Mine is just like the one in the big photo (click the link), made up of two separate pieces: four big drawers on one, two shelves on the other, all topped by one big, beautiful wooden top. Which I have to oil every other day for a month (and which I do). This configuration was also shown as a sample on the showroom floor, so I had to get a sales associate to help me order exactly what was there, as it was totally confusing, and even the sales associate messed up the first time (so definitely get someone to help you, and then ask them to have another associate look it over, because you do not want to get this behemoth home and discover it's wrong). I don't see these exact pieces on the web site. My old table had no storage underneath it, so this thing is totally incredible to me. I only wish my kitchen was big enough to have one.
All of the lighting came from IKEA, as well. The Basisk pendants hang over the sewing machine. The Leran pendant hangs over the kitchen island. The table lamps are Januari bases with wicker shades that I can't find on the site, but they're in the stores right next to those bases. I have those all over my house right now. The French door curtains are here. The red gingham curtains came from Country Curtains. I guess I could've made those but I have made so many curtains for the windows of this house that if I never have to make another one it'll be too soon. I am done with making curtains. I took my screens out (we don't really need them in Oregon) and so the view through the windows is lovely and clear. Yum.
Directly behind the camera in the shot above is the sliding door to outside.
The view from my studio looking south, into the back yard. The pendant lamp is fake wicker and rated for outdoors. Love it.
It is glorious to be practically in the back yard while I work.
Clover Meadow absolutely loves the new studio. I really think she loves it as much as I do. I know Audrey would have loved it, too.
It's close to their favorite rock, and the back yard, and the dogs next door. Clover comes and goes all day long.
Doesn't she look like she loves it? :-)
We took these photos over the course of an hour or two. They don't show up chronologically here because I wasn't very organized in how I took them, and I am not very organized in how I'm showing them (I will put enlargements of all of these images up on Flickr when I have some time). But all this golden light started happening after about six p.m.
It is so beautiful just after six p.m.
Jeesh. That's nice. Love love love. Never want to leave.
Oh, I really, really love my new room. I love that Andy and Clover and the Avetts and I did it together. I love how it feels and how it makes the house feel. I love how it makes me feel. I am going to keep it soooooo clean you're not even gonna believe it. I swear I swear I swear. xoxo
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
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.