Posts filed in: March 2014

comments: 121

26CrewSelfie of my crew, by Andy

Aw, yeah, we're here. Have I ever been this tired? Shoot no. Even after Grandma Paulson's wonderful visit this past week, where I did nothing but indulge myself by going out to eat, seeing a movie, talking on the phone, sitting in my studio, surfing Pinterest, staying in bed until 7 a.m. (not sleeping mind you — sleeping only lasts until 4 a.m.), talking and eating some more, sewing, and occasionally actually working, I am tired. It feels kind of nice, to be this tired today, in the rain. I don't feel that compelled to do anything but the bare necessities, which is not how I often feel. Spring break indeed. It's lovely. I have needed it.

Amelia is walking around the house wearing her little parka, a mitten, and the oven mitt. As I was fixing dinner, she got a throw pillow from off the dining room chair and put it on the floor outside the baby gate and then laid down and put her head on the pillow and watched me. Tired boo, too! It's hard work getting up at all hours of the night.

I want to turn the raised beds in front into a mini wildflower meadow/cutting garden this summer. Do you have any suggestions? Do I buy individual seed packets (and can I start those outdoors — no room inside) or transplants at the nursery (expensive)? Do I buy one of those cans of wildflower meadow seeds and sprinkle it around? Does that just make a huge mess? (And maybe that's what I'm going for? Or not?) I want it to be easy and pretty. I want to be able to cut stuff throughout the summer, just enough for a couple of little mason jars at a time. It gets part sun, full sun, part shade, and deep shade. Everything throughout the day. I'll take any and all suggestions, if you have the energy! Thank you!

Spring Scramble

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Since daylight savings time, we have not been sleeping through the night again. At the three a.m. wake-up call (and sometimes, that's the third wake-up call of the night) I do my Nancy Kerrigan, clutching at my knees and howling, "Why??? Why???" into the darkness. (I don't know why everyone made so much fun of N.K. for doing that; I do it quite regularly for far, far lesser catastrophes, and even then it feels like I could still stand to dial it up a notch or two.) Like clockwork (ha ha), our nighttime routine got garage-saled — parts and pieces everywhere, everywhere — on the night we turned the clocks forward, and has yet to be cleaned up. We are scrambling. As everyone says, this too shall pass, so I don't worry. But I am tired. I can't tell you one thing I've had for dinner (let alone made for dinner) in the past week (aside from the Irish soda bread, corned beef, and cabbage [and apple pie Andy made for Pi Day, 3/14]) though I know we ate. I can't remember where we went or what we did, though I think it was fun. The days sort of pass in bright, breezy, flower-sprinkled blurs. The yard is sunken and scuzzy, the sidewalks wet, the stroller wheels caked in mud and petals. In a fit of nostalgia, I buy Crabtree & Evelyn Spring Rain shower gel and some hyacinth oil. I pre-wash fabrics and plan spring dresses for me and for Mimi, having gotten rid of nearly everything in my closet recently, leaving only two new pairs of pajama-jeans, five old pairs of knit pants from Target that are supposed to be actual pajamas, eight variations of the same Dansko clog, and fourteen navy-striped long-sleeved t-shirts. Uuuuugh. Turns out I wasn't actually wearing anything else in my closet. In my head, I don't dress like my junior-high volleyball coach but like a Bloomsbury poet, all Liberty smock tops with bell sleeves and big pockets holding my garden pruners, ready to clip off frothy cones of lilac blossoms shining with raindrops. Or like Jane Birkin in a peasant dress and market bag. Or Tasha Tudor in a calico apron and Gunne Sax skirt. I need new clothes so bad.

I do know that we got some flowers (from one of my favorite nurseries, Cornell Farms) on the weekend and planted them in the front porch pots with help from our little flower girl. Clover's incredulous expression — she votes "no confidence" daily in our ability to successfully wrangle Amelia — is typical. I see that face several dozen times a day. She thinks we are quite incompetent. And Amelia did fall down on Friday afternoon and smash her lip on the floor. There was a big fat lip and a lot of tears (and baby crying always means dog howling at the same time — the cacophony of them plaintively wailing in stereo is seriously deafening). But Amelia gets over stuff so quickly (faster than Clover). It's inspiring. So the porch looks better, the lip looks better, and we'll probably uncover the back yard furniture today. That's my "confidence" vote for you, spring! Bringing out the pillows.

In the studio, the kits continue to come together, and concurrently, I'm having a new logo designed and new web site built. I know. It's a big project and we've been working on it for a few months now. We just finalized the logo this week. It's so pretty. I love doing stuff like this, but it's nervewracking, too. I care so much and drive everyone insane. I have a vision for things but can't do them myself. I'm planning on having the new web site finished at the same time that the new patterns/kits — for four new animals (kitters, doe, mousie, and fox) and their clothing, which is all interchangeable between animals — done sometime toward the end of May. That's the plan!

Grandma Paulson comes from Chicago for a visit this weekend. Andy and I talked this morning about going to a movie! I think it has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's been a year and a half since we went to a movie. Hot popcorn! Giant sodas! Movie trailers! No cell phones! People do this!!! It's really quite thrilling. Ohmigosh. I can't wait.

The Sweet

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Oh, the luminous, exquisite loveliness of early March. I tried to capture the riotous beauty of our plum tree day by day as she blossomed, her lacy boughs like garlands against the storm-dark skies. Amelia walks around the house in pink ballet slippers (which I've decided must be the best baby shoes ever, as they're the only thing she's never taken, or wanted taken, off her feet). She carries a model horse in each hand. Back and forth, around the table, to the toys, to the door, to the sofa, to the chair, back and forth. It was the sixteenth anniversary of my accident last week, a day which can alternately feel like it was a thousand years ago and then, occasionally, and only for a few seconds, like it was just yesterday. I remember looking up at the sky out the back windows of the ambulance. I remember the trees as we went up the hill. Amelia stops and kisses the little black horse squarely on its baby-mouth-sized nose and makes her humming-kissing noise, holding it out toward me. I try not to explode with secret joy, a charging froth of pink plum petals shooting straight out of my heart. God, how lucky I am. Thank you, thank you. Thank you, God.

Spring does seem to have truly arrived this week. I spent yesterday morning looking at photos of the gardens of Piet Oudolf and dreaming of new borders for our front yard, inspired by his enchanting meadows. It's time to clean up. Our yard is a swampy disaster. I do rush to the clean up because so much is blooming — it's just buried under piles of dead leaves. My 'Minnow' daffodils and my pink woodland violets. My one little hellebore and a carpet of blue vinca. We walk through the neighborhood and look at everyone's parkways. Things are a mess all over, really, though every once in a while we'll come across someone who has already laid a new carpet of compost and mulch, and I love that earthy, strangely medicinal smell. This is my favorite season, this long, chilly, wistful, anxious, shyly budding month of awakening and hope. At night we keep the bedroom window open and can hear train whistles calling off in the distance, and birds waking and singing at the same time as Amelia. In the big bed she stands and pulls on the shade, falling over and pointing, "Buuurdy?" Eyes bright, inquiring. "Tweet, tweet," I say, pushing her hair out of her face. "He's singing to you."

My to-do list is a million miles long. All I really want to do is build block towers, watch movies, sew hexagons together, and plan perennial borders and future rail vacations to Glacier National Park. But: taxes, patterns, logos, floss winding, bill paying, paperwork, blah. I've really been procrastinating lately. Spring forward. I gotta do that!!!

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Rainy-day ways: Walking, walking (in any kind of weather). Every morning, we are out, rain or shine. It's quiet, and the birds are singing. The robins hop around in the squelching grass, looking for breakfast. The wind blows the rain from the dripping tree branches, and everything's soaked. It's cold and quiet. You can hear the wind. It won't really be warm for a while, though compared to the rest of the pitiable, winter-locked country, we're balmy and flourescent here. We talk as we walk or sometimes she sleeps, only to wake at the bakery where we frequently have our breakfast (chai, toast, blueberries). She sits in the high chair, watching all the people, occasionally stopping to munch while she quietly watches. She comments: "Uh oh!" if a dish falls. "Hi!" to every and all. "Da!" and pointing at every pendant lamp (there are many — now I notice them everywhere we go, because she does). Signing for "more" (put your fingertips together) breakfast. I drink tea and read my book (my gosh, I had to put down The Little Stranger! Right after the party scene [i.e.: not very far in!]. I was so scared I couldn't continue. You warned me!) while she people-watches, turning her head to follow anyone moving, sometimes just sitting and looking like she's listening to and considering other peoples' conversations, chewing. She loves everything. I love everything with her. Sixteen months. I love this age. Just starting to talk. "Hi baa!" at the store, waving to a bin full of colorful rubber balls. Hi pendant lamp!!! Hi new glasses!!! Hi flower that smells like spring!!! I clip a sprig of daphne to put in a buttonhole on my shirt every morning. She brings me her scarf, her boots. I put them on her and she wears them around the house after we get home.

I'm procrastinating. Taxes, pattern writing I need to do, a yarn order that was received without everything on the packing slip, and a funky, almost-felted cone of sport-weight wool needs to be returned, along with the pajama jeans that are too big and the raincoat that I ordered for myself without realizing it was a kid's coat (what in the world). Also, the Minut lamp for the crocheted lampshade needs to be the large size, not the small — the pattern doesn't specify. Naturally, I bought the small. Instead of doing chores, I sew, and find Simplicity pattern 6713 from the year 1966 to be just about the most perfect shape ever conceived — the circular yoke, the right amount of fullness, such nice angles at the sleeve. I've made it for her before. This time, I used the gray with yellow flowers (from JoAnn's) which was so lightweight it almost felt like lawn. You hand-sew in the bodice lining and the hem at night while watching Psych (and yes, we are crying on the inside during these last six episodes — Andy was seriously disappointed in Wednesday's episode; I was, too, but I think it was just a set up. They have a lot of loose ends to tie up, if they do wind up tying them up. And if James Roday I mean Shawn does not ask Maggie Lawson I mean Juliet to marry him I'm going to start shreiking with pineappled frustration, FYI. Yes, James Roday I want to see TWO WEDDINGS [yours, and yours] come out of these six episodes, dangit!!! Or at least two engagements. C'MON SON!!!)

Now: Bobby and Bibby. The deep-sea diver and the squid. Crocheted by DADDY. Who is also writing an album called The Bobby and Bibby Show, a variety show featuring original songs by every one of the most-loved stuffed animals in the house. Bobby, Bibby, Nighty Knight McNye-t'aghin, Mr. C, Heather, Margot, and Billie. So far. The man is amazing.

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.