Posts filed in: February 2016

Sunshine Sprout

comments: 100

26Morning3

25Granola1

26Vest1

26Vest2

26FAbric1

26Morning4

26Morning1

26Morning2

26Morning5

26Morning8

26Evening1

26Evening4

26Evening2

26Evening6

26Evening7

26Evening8

26Evening9

26Evening10

26Evening11

26Evening12

26Walk1

26Walk4

26WAlk3

26WAlk5

26WAlk7

26Walk8

26Walk10

26WAlk11

26AFternoon3

26Afternoon2

Um, the weather? Sixty-three degrees yesterday? Me oh my. We spent hours walking along. Everything is burgeoning. I tucked a sprig of daphne in her hair. I put it on my nightstand last night. Sweet smell of springtime. When I was a teenager, I worked after-school and weekends as a candy girl at the Lake Theater in Oak Park. Next to the theater was a store called Essence, and it was a gorgeous little shop that sold bath and body products. Inside it was all dark wood shelving and glass cabinets, baskets of dried flowers, bars of hard-milled soaps, Crabtree & Evelyn stuff, vanilla and violet perfumes (I had my bottle of vanilla perfume forever, and kept it long after it was empty — frosted glass with a little vanilla-colored ribbon tied around the neck). I used to haunt the place after school and before work started. The same lady worked there forever. She looked like the lady who sang back up for Stevie Nicks on The Wild Heart. She was always there. She was never friendly to me and I was very intimidated by her. I thought she was possibly the coolest person alive. I loved all of those soaps and flowers and lotions and perfumes so much. I would go in and figure out what things I could afford to buy and what things I had to save for. I saved for a long time for a bottle of lilac perfume (which I still have). I was trying to tell Stacey the other day about the Spring Rain scent (and packaging) from Crabtree & Evelyn. This scent was discontinued several years ago, and then I guess they brought it back, or something. I bought some two or three years ago and it was NOT the same at all (and didn't have the pretty packaging). The scent was so different I actually threw it away. Amelia's dress (which I made a few years ago, and is Liberty Tana Lawn, but I can't remember the name of this colorway) reminds me of the old Spring Rain packaging. I also mourn the discontinuation (?) of Crabtree & Evelyn cherry soap. That was my absolute favorite soap ever. It reminds me of taking a hot bath one night in our little hotel room at the Crofton Hotel in London after walking all day in the rain all over Hampstead Heath and arriving at Highgate Cemetery just as the ancient lady was locking the ancient gate with an ancient key (that's how I remember it, anyway). It was November, then. I had walked all the way there, from Kensington. I can't imagine how many miles that was. It took me all day. I was alone. I took the tube home that evening, in the rain. When I got back to the hotel, I ran the hottest bath in the world, and had a new bar of cherry soap. There was a casement window that opened — no window screen — above the bathtub. It was inky black outside, and drizzling. I could hear Londoners outside — it was Friday night. I was so incredibly tired and happy that night. For some reason, I just always remember and think of that day, and that night. I think I knew, even then when I was twenty, that there would only ever be that one single November day that I would spend walking for miles and miles across London to Hampstead Heath, stopping at John Keats house, grabbing Indian food on the way home, counting how many pound notes I had left to see if I could afford the tube after eating dinner (this was before such things as debit cards). Ah, well. A very strong '80s-era Laura Ashley-vibe will always be alive in my heart. My friend Martha told me she is sending me a bunch of fabric from her stash of Peter Pan and other '80s calicos. That she has a stash (gifted from a friend's mom) at all is so exciting sometimes I actually fall asleep thinking about it. I love little flowers. I made this little style board on Pinterest a few years ago that reminds me of all of this (because I think about it often), or something. I'm so excited to get the fabric. It's weird how things come full circle sometimes. The circle's always there, but sometimes it comes all the way around.

Do you have a little bundle of memories about something, several things, that all sort of converge (sometimes, some days) in a smell, or a picture, or a color of sky, too?

Made three little dresses for Meems this week (two pictured above, one with a Mina vest). Will photograph with details once they come back out of the wash. :)))

Rings of Spring

comments: 81

 16Day16

12Morning2

16Day10

16Day1

16Day4

16Day2

16Day5

16Day6

16Day7

16Day8

16Day11

16Day9

18Day18

16Day12

16Day15

* * *  T H A N K   Y O U,   E V E R Y B O D Y ! ! ! * * *

Thank you, thank you for all of your orders and kind words about the new spring things.
I am so so so happy that you are excited about these. They have been a lot of fun for me to design!
If you ordered Spring Rings before last Friday, your packages are in the mail.
We are still waiting for yarn to arrive to ship yarn packs, but it should be here any day.
Thank you again for your support. It is humbling to watch orders come in, and I feel so incredibly blessed every single time.
Thank you! XOXO

Ah, and spring has indeed sprung 'round these parts. I need to look back to see what day our pink plum tree normally blooms, but I think it's a bit early this year. This is the week that it looks nice. The rest of the year I wish it were (almost) any other kind of tree. We have been ridiculously runny-nosed and coughing like one of those old-fashioned car horns that go "Ah-HOOG-a! Ah-HOOOOOG-a!" Just gross. Thank God Stacey's here to do all the work for me. It goes: Amelia gets sick, I get sick, Amelia gets well almost immediately, I stay sick, I take bagfuls of remedies, I wash my hands approximately seventy-five times a day, I continue to be sick, I insist I'm not still sick and am feeling better, I feel worse, Amelia gets sick again, Amelia wipes her runny nose on my face, I feel even worse, Amelia gets better, I shiver on the sofa drinking peppermint tea and beg to be allowed to go to bed at 7:45 p.m., I finally feel better (after a month). Amelia goes, "I'm coughing, just like Mommy." Ah, well. February. Today is the first day in a long time that I have felt really good, and it is thrilling, absolutely thrilling.

I have not had a chance to make ANY of the chicken recipes you provided, though I did make chicken stock from the Silver Palate Cookbook, one of the first cookbooks I ever owned and still love. I also realized that Amelia has almost no clothes that will fit her this spring and summer, and set about pinning a jillion things onto my Pinterest board, and sifting through my patterns, and thinking about color palates (rose-gold, salmon pink, gray sky, minty green, plum blossoms, milky whites, rainy blues), and shapes (peasant, peasant, and more variations on the peasant).

Do you recognize Amelia's navy gingham dress? I cry just now, re-reading that post. It's from almost exactly six years ago. 2010. I had so much time. Actually, I can't even talk about myself as I was then, laid bare, quivering with hope and dreams, sewing for survival (as I had sewn several times before. So I recognized it). I'm moved by what I wrote back then, and I remember it like it was yesterday, remember every dress I made, every fabric I washed, every little piece of rick-rack or eyelet I chose, every pocket I trimmed, every pattern I cut out. Every one of those things kept me believing, even when I wasn't sure (and trust me, I wasn't sure a lot). Occasionally someone would (gently, always gently) criticize a choice I'd made — those buttons up the back look like they'll be uncomfortable when she's strapped into a car seat; that wool's gonna be hell to wash when it's thrown up on — and instead of being hurt I'd be amazed and think, "She [dear commenter!] actually thinks a real kid is going to wear this! She really believes it's going to happen!" And the specifics of the advice only barely registered with me. I would happily wash wool by hand every day, if only a kid would come and barf on it, if only the dream would come true.

Waiting to be chosen to be someone's mother (or father) is a state of being I still don't really have words to describe. Maybe you know it; maybe you can't even imagine. I think all of us adoptive parents probably carry around this same inability to describe the experience. And I would bet that most of us, in the end, wouldn't trade it for the world.

(That's just a guess. It's certainly true for me, though living it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.)

Of course, once it happens — and, oh my, it happens — (and I do pray that it happens for you, I truly, truly do) — the fact that anything just gets washed, somehow, some way, let alone washed by hand (hahahahah!), is the new dream. Those carefully pressed French seams and hand-stitched three-inch hems wind up in the laundry basket along with the milk-covered onesies and the Velcro-closured (gah!!!) sleepsacks and the Old Navy leggings. That you are able to say, while laughing, "Oh, poo! There's barf on the smocking!" and blithely toss a Bishop dress into the washing machine is just one of the great benefits of being a parent who had to cry a few tears into your needlework to get here. I have such tenderness in my heart for all the little dresses now. Watching Amelia wear and then outgrow them fills me with nothing but astonishment, and gratefulness, and pure joy.

That said, sewing for me now is different. I'm still dreamy. I still love it beyond reason. I still love the planning, and the picking, and the thinking, and the sketching. I love going to the fabric store with my girl, and pushing her through the aisles of fabrics, and watching her touch them (and grab them, and pull them off the shelf, etc.). But the sewing itself has to happen like lightning. And although I am a romantic, the actual sewing itself is just all business-practical now. Because they grow out of it all so fast. And, I'm sorry to say this, but the details don't really matter in practice. You gotta do what you like, and skip what you don't like to do. Stuff like buttons? No. I just don't want to do buttons. I don't want to do buttonholes and I don't want to sew on individual buttons. Set-in sleeves. NO. Just, no. I can count the number of gathered, set-in sleeves, in thirty years of sewing, that I have gotten in correctly on the first try on one hand. Zippers? Maybe, but not really. She gets her hair stuck in them anyway. Elastic casings? Meh. Too much work, as well. Snaps? YES. Continuous placket back opening? YES. Ties? Yeah, okay. Self-lined patch pockets? Yep. Raglan sleeves. YES. Elastic stretched and sewn directly above a sleeve hem, and not threaded through a casing? EVERY TIME. Simple, unfitted shapes that let her run and move? Obvs. Saving my energy for those few designs that really make me work for them? Mmmmm, okay. Yeah. Yes. I can do that. Stay tuned. I'm sewing for Meems again.

Honey Bunnies, Lovey Lamb, and a Spring Ring

comments: 51

IMG_9104

IMG_9205

IMG_9244

IMG_9192

IMG_9264

IMG_9161

1

IMG_9154

Beauty4

IMG_9276

IMG_9274

IMG_9226

IMG_9223

IMG_9135

IMG_9113

IMG_9282

IMG_9245

IMG_9256

IMG_9288

IMG_9307

Beauty2

I just couldn't pick a favorite. Have you ever tried to do a product photo shoot with a three-year-old? It's a free-for-all. You get FIVE MINUTES. Maybe four. Then it's total chaos and stuffed animals are flung hither and yon, the phone is ringing, the dog is trying to get on the bed, the toddler is under the covers "napping" with all the stuffed animals (that she drags, alarmingly, by ears or tail out from under the dog), and then she's up and out looking for "their friend," the prototype bunny who did not make the cut, who differs significantly from the finished bunnies who did and who will just confuse people who see it who think they're getting a pattern for it but won't get a pattern for it, because there is no actual pattern for exactly that bunny. I dare you to try to explain this (even to yourself) while she's looking at you with her bunny-rabbit eyes, hugging and kissing only her prototype (new best) friend that you don't actually want to photograph before she's off, and down the stairs to get some juice. I never want to forget these days. I love it all. It's pandemonium, but I love it.

Meet the Honey Bunnies and Lovey Lamb softie crochet patterns! They are now available for your after-hours very-relaxing crocheting enjoyment.

The Honey Bunny Crocheted Softie Pattern has two color variations (greens for a boy bunny and pink/white for a girl) and is available HERE.

The Lovey Lamb Crocheted Softie Pattern is available HERE.

 

We also are offering yarn packs that include all the yarn you need to make one critter, along with the plastic safety eyes and nose, and a length of embroidery floss to stitch the mouth. Details about the specific yarns are included on the web pages for these packs (as well as on the pattern pages).

HoneyBunnyYarnPack

The yarn pack for the BOY bunny is available HERE.

HoneyBunnyYarnPackGirl

The yarn pack for the GIRL bunny is available HERE.

LoveyLambYarnPack

And the yarn pack for Lovey Lamb is available HERE.

Please note that these yarn packs do not include a printed copy of the pattern. You must purchase the pattern separately and print it at home (you'll have an option to purchase it from the yarn pack pages in the web shop, as well).

Also: We will be taking orders for yarn today and then ordering quantities directly from Brown Sheep Company tomorrow (and we'll keep doing that this week, and next, etc. — so we definitely won't run out). Since this is my first crochet "kit," I really wasn't sure what the sales would be like, and I just didn't want to guess and run out, or guess and get stuck with a whole bunch of yarn in colors that weren't best sellers. This yarn, Lambs Pride Superwash sport is technically machine washable, though I personally wouldn't ever throw one of these critters into the washing machine. But you can easily spot clean them, which I thought was important for a kid's toy. This sport-weight yarn, which is manufactured in Nebraska, is not the softest yarn in the world but it is really durable and it resists pilling very well, in my experience, and I just love it. Brown Sheep Company is one of my favorite companies that I work with. I have carried one of their other yarns (Nature Spun Sport) for years, and designed all of my Little Animal Family knitwear with it, and I love that yarn, too, but it isn't a superwash. Lambs Pride Superwash Sport is almost the exact same yarn as Nature Spun Sport, as far as I can tell, except that it comes in different colors and it is (as I mentioned) washable.

So, because we will have to wait a week for the yarn to arrive, we won't be shipping these yarn packs lickety split, as we usually do. But we will ship them as fast as we can once the yarn arrives so you will have plenty of time to make everything in time for Easter! I would expect to have everything ordered today out by the end of next week.

And if you don't want to crochet a lamb, maybe you would rather cross stitch one?

Beauty1

Do you wonder how I have time to do these things? So do I, mamas. So do I. But I've got mouths to feed, people, and my honey bunny can eat a six-dollar container of organic blueberries faster than you can say 28-count Cashel linen by Zweigart in Smokey Pearl.

This is my Spring Ring. It's just a little counted cross stitch design that can be finished with a 4" (10cm) hoop. It's got fifteen colors and is done on 28-count Cashel linen. It will come as a kit and as a pattern.

 Kits include:

  • One 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm) piece of 28-count Cashel linen by Zweigart in Smokey Pearl
  • Sixteen DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss in 24" (61cm) lengths
  • One 5” (12.5cm) square piece of wool-blend felt, for back
  • One 8½" x 11" (22cm x 28cm) piece of white chipboard for making floss holder
  • Stitching instructions and full-color cross-stitch chart

But you will need to get your own:

Note that a full-color printed copy of the pattern is included with this kits, but the hoop is not included (but is available for purchase separately here).

 

The Spring Ring Cross Stitch KITS are available HERE. They will be shipping at the beginning of next week.

The Spring Ring Cross Stitch PATTERN is available HERE. It is available as a digital PDF for immediate download.

 

Thank you for listening and thank you for shopping! Tell me if you have any questions — I'll be home for the rest of the afternoon and evening! I'll be sprawled on the sofa, but I will rouse if you need me! OVER AND OUT. And happy almost-spring, loves. Xoxo

***Oh yes — forgot to mention, temporary bunny tattoos (see Amelia's hand) go out with every order. :)

***Also: The link to digital patterns that appears on the screen after you finish checking out doesn't seem to be working properly. Skip this link and look for an email that will come (immediately) to the email address you used to place your order. That email will contain a link to your patterns for you. Sorry about that. I have a query into SendOwl and will hopefully have a fix soon. Problem solved. Sorry about that!

Bluebird Days

comments: 104

5Grazing1

5Truly1

5UncleMike1

5Morning5

6Mountain1

5Mountain2

6Mountain2

6Mountain3

6Mountain4

6Mountain5

6Mountain6

6Mountain7

6Mountain8

6Mountain9

6Mountain10

6Mountain11

6Mountain14

6Mountain15

6Mountain12

6Mountain16

6Mountain17

6Mountain18

6Mountain19

9Walk1

9Walk2

9Walk3

9Walk4

9Walk5

9Walk6

No new snowfall lately, but my gosh, the sky blue sky. It couldn't be prettier. It was definitely in the 60s in town today, and up at the mountain on Sunday you really didn't even need a coat. Spring is bursting at every seam in our neighborhood. It's been another busy week. We're shopping for preschools and it's strangely draining — exciting but also stressful, trying to keep track of everything (this one's a co-op, this one's neo-humanist, this one's two mornings a week, this one's three mornings a week, this one's Waldorf, this one's Montessori, this one's immersion [or wait, did he say "emerging"?], this one feels too big, this one's too radical, this one's one's got a rad outdoor space but I don't love the teacher, this one is perfect but there's no outdoor space, this one's too expensive, this one's too far from home . . . etc., etc., etc.). What I love is watching Amelia go into every space we visit and just check it out. She loves everything. This is just such an exciting time. She's growing and changing so much.  I absolutely love age three. I mean, it can be exhausting, and it can be maddening, and it is intense, but it really is just . . . awesome. I don't know. I'm tongue-tied. I wish I could explain.

I would've liked to have been a ski bum, and I'm strangely happy in stinky ski lodges with snowboarders and snow machines and powdered hot chocolate and beer and ski gear falling all over the place. I sat in a little snowdrift by the outdoor fire pit and watched Amelia slide down a ten-foot snow bank twenty times in perfect happiness. She's a willing snowbunny. Andy is a great snow dad. I can't believe it's almost Valentine's Day. Winter is waning. The snow felt soft and soggy. Our tulips are three inches out of the ground. Daffodils are blooming and it's still light out when we start our bedtime routine.

I took photos of my new crocheted bunnies and lamb, as well as my new little embroidery sampler. I think everything will be available in the next couple of weeks. I'm very happy with all of it! I'll tell you more about everything when I get all of the photos ready and have the patterns completely proofed and ready to go. It's all coming together. That's sort of stressful, too.

Can you help me with dinner? I want to make some kind of chicken breast thing, and a vegetable side. Any ideas? I can't think.

Hello, February

comments: 59

1Sky1

3Morning2

3LoveyLamb1

3Hallway1

1Sky2

2HoneyBunnies1

2Walk1

2Walk2

3IceCream2

3IceCream1

3IceCream3

3Walk1

3Walk2

3Walk3

2Night1

4Painting3

4Painting1

4Beads1

5Morning1

5Morning2

5Morning3

5Morning4

It's been a vaguely exhausting few weeks. Colds and coughs and chicken soup. The days sort of blur together. Last night I sat on the sofa after Amelia went to bed and before Andy got home and strung 24" of the tiniest seed beads in the world into a necklace while watching Fixer Upper and drinking golden milk (steam 1 1/2 cups of milk with 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1 teaspoon of honey) and felt like I wished the moment would last for hours and hours. I've been squeezing work into every free space I've had lately, finishing all of the big crocheted critter samples and patterns and sending them out to the tech editor, designing a new little cross stitch pattern and kit for spring, thinking about whether we are going to reissue any animal softie kits this spring (we aren't; get them while you can [and yes, to those who've asked, patterns will always be available]), thinking about what's next, wanting to do new things, wanting to make some things that aren't actually kits. I have a million ideas and very little time. I guess that's life. That's my life right now, anyway. The stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. And now for my next trick. . . . I pull dinner out of a hat. I wish.

For some reason, I like to paint stuff in February. I did the same thing last year and I think the year before, too. It's weird. Amelia prefers to paint her hands, face, and bare legs rather than paint on paper, or beads, or anything else. Her attention span is very short. I like painting little wooden beads. Winter colors: mint, pale-sun gold, lavender hellebore, gray sky. The sun, when it's out, absolutely glares. It's such a strange time of year. Spring is coming here. Tulips are poking up, daffodils are already blooming, trees are budding, and yet most yards are still covered in fall and winter debris, mud, things that are dull and fast asleep. It takes Amelia and I a half an hour to walk two blocks home from the the playschool. She's busy going up driveways, "planting" sticks in Al and Peri's yard, checking Holly's mailbox, getting caught in her open umbrella she drags along the sidewalk upside down, shouting goodbye to her friend. Oh I love her. Sometimes we walk up to the bakery or the ice cream store and it's an all-afternoon venture, a mile an hour. But I love the time. I love the cold. I love the cold, wet yards; the purple clouds; the fat, cold buds. The raindrops on tangles of branches. The rosy dawns. The plaintive crows. The black trees. The violet sky. The quiet, cold morning frost. There's a small, local circumference to our life right now, in winter. A sort of resolute burrowing, slightly nervous and not quite ready for longer days. Spring is coming here. It comes in February now.

***They put the January Golden Rose recipients' stories up on the web site. They make me cry. So many amazing people, doing these things every single day, everywhere.

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

Archives

Photography

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.