Couch and Cake Topper

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WHEW. There is little rhyme or reason in how these pictures are presented here. Everything's all over the place and that's probably a good metaphor for my mental state. Some of these things, like that sweater up there, I've been working on all summer. The pattern is called Carl's Cardigan and I used Woolfolk Far in Pollen for the yarn. I'm not even sure why this is the first time I've taken a picture of that sweater, since I've had it in my hands almost every single night for months. The stitch pattern seemed endless. It's basically ribbing, so you're constantly going back and forth between purling and knitting in each row, with a wraparound thing every fourth row. Et cetera. I finished it last night, now just need to block and add buttons. It's cute. The color is going to be really versatile. It's super stretchy, so even though it looks skinny, I'm hoping it will fit for a while. I'm turning into Practical Mom about kid-knitting anymore. It's weird how that happens. I never thought that would happen.

Okay, next. COUUUUUUUCH. I love it. I sit on it and never want to get off of it. It's called the Radley sectional from Macy's. I think the color was Chrome. It looks a lot like our old sofa but 1) it is soft and not scratchy, 2) it is tall instead of the height of a toddler bed (as was the Kivik, at least for me) and 3) it's firm and doesn't collapse like a souffle when I park myself on it at the end of the day. I got the protection plan thing with it so my goal is for it to be here for a long, long time. Thumbs up on that. Andy and I actually sit around at night and talk about how much we love our sofa. Middle age.

CAKE TOPPER. I made it. :))))))))) SUPER FUN. I started it this summer and I wish I could tell you exactly where I got everything for it but it was either JoAnn's or Michael's — I went to both places when I was shopping for supplies for this. The cake is made out of Fimo and I didn't make that — I got it years ago from someone's Etsy shop but I can't remember whose. The present is just a wooden block wrapped with origami paper. The bunting is washi tape cut into flags. The flag poles are stripey straws topped with mulberry-paper flowers (also had those, from way back when, when we used to sell clothespin doll kits). The balloon is made out of yellow Model Magic. Her dress is made of the same fabric Amelia wants her Hunca Munca birthday dress made out of (still gotta do that). I basically hot-glued everything together when I was done with the pieces and it was a total blast. I spent a long time looking at cake toppers on Pinterest for ideas, and then I actually whipped this out in a day or two, as I tend to do. This will go on top of the cake for Amelia's family birthday party, here in a few weeks.

The felt birthday crown: I got the idea for this entirely from the one that Ginny made for Mabel's first birthday. The embroidery pattern comes from this book. I forget how cool waste canvas is, because you can cross stitch (or, in this case, evenweave stitch) on anything. Then you soak the whole thing in water and that canvas becomes totally pliable. You use tweezers to pull the waste canvas threads out from under the stitches. It really isn't hard at all and it's really cool. The crown shape I just drew on a sheet of paper — well, I drew half of it, then flipped it. The crown is lined with really soft, thin pink polar-fleece. Amelia was mildly disappointed when she saw the birthday crown. She wants flowers all over it. She's sure I can do this. I'm not sure how I'll do this. . . .

I knew I'd taken a picture of her school dress before she wore it and put it on Instagram, but I wanted to post it here so I would remember it, because she didn't get to wear the blouse on the first day of school, since it was 100 degrees. . . . It's McCall's pattern #7590 from 1981. It's the same dress that I made her for her first day of school last year, but that one was plaid. I loved that one, too. This is one of my favorite-ever patterns on her.

Okay, what else. I rearranged Amelia's room for her last weekend. The lovely artwork in her room is from various places, but my favorites are the things made by friends and family: Amelia riding a bunny, which is possibly the coolest thing ever, and was a gift from Emily when Amelia was really little; a floral monogram from my friend Rebekka; the sweetest deer pair painted by my sister, Julie; the gorgeous dandelion photograph was taken by Amelia's birthmama; the silhouette of her when she was one was made by my brother-in-law. The mushroom light I got years ago and I don't remember where now. Maybe Smallable? It's European, I do remember that. The alphabet samplers are my designs and patterns are here (and by the way you can get a wool pack for that project now) and here. The pillow on the chair is a project I made for my second book, years ago. I'm going to make a new one with my punchneedle and I can't wait to start it. I found vintage Laura Ashley sheets on eBay and I was psyched. They are hard to find.

I'm finished with my new wintertime cross-stitch sampler for this year, and will open pre-orders for it in few weeks, after Amelia's birthday parties when I'm more organized again. You can see a glimpse of it up there. I am excited about it. I have some ideas for the cover photo I want to try. So stay tuned for that. I don't have a good sense of what the numbers will be for this kit so that's why I want to do pre-orders to make sure we get the quantity right. Not too many, not too few. Normally pre-orders make me ridiculously nervous. But we have the floss in hand already for up to 600 kits, and the fabric manufacturer has the fabric coming in in a few weeks, so I think it will be a good idea to do pre-orders this time. These projects are easy to do when I'm doing them but hard for me to re-issue once they're sold out, so if you're interested in this, I'll keep you posted. Many of my old kits are sold out and won't be reissued. Now that Amelia is in school every morning, I have more time to work, and I want to focus on my new ideas for patterns and kits for 2018.

Anyway, what else. My charity quilt. When Hurricane Hugo Harvey (!) hit, I wanted to make a quilt to raffle off for charity. There have been several other heartbreaking disasters since then, including Irma and now Maria in Puerto Rico, that I would like to contribute to as well. I haven't started the quilt yet the way I thought I would have time to, but I'm still planning to do it soon. I'm not quite sure how to make it available — someone told me they did a raffle and got in trouble for it because it was considered gambling, or something like that, so I will have to look into it and I just haven't had the wherewithal yet. But it's all on my list. The needs are great. I don't even know the best ways to help. Helpless feeling.

We went with our pre-school to see the swifts the other night. That's an event that happens here every fall where the Vaux's swifts use a local school's (unused) chimney to roost in at night on their annual migration. See all of those little freckles in the photo of the school chimney up there? Those are the birds. Here is a pretty rad video of what this looks like when they final spiral in. It was a really fun night. Everyone brings blankets and picnics and watches from a hill — it's a perfect viewing spot for the show. The weather was excellent, too.

Well, that's it for me, I guess! I hope you are all well! Thanks for looking at all my stuff! Have a great weekend!

***Ooops, forgot the sweater picture originally but it's there now, and thanks for the head's up on Harvey! Doi! Slaps forehead.

65 comments

Ditto to all the many comments above! Your house is adorable and I think we'd all love to be your neighbor/friend! What a sweet Mama you are to make things soooo special! Can't wait to see your next kit! As always, thanks for the glimpse into your cozy world!

Love the cake topper!!! You're so creative. I wish I had known about the birthday crowns when my kids were little. Lord willing I'll remember one day when I have grandkids! 🙂

That cake topper is so precious - I am totally inspired to make some for my kids!

This post is so full of goodness. I'm going to freak out when that cross stitch pattern is ready. I looove working on your previous patterns. I look forward to getting snug every evening & stitching away. The imagery in this one seems to encompass everything I love ♡ cozy cozy cozy!

What a very lovely home you have created. Thank you for sharing the photos and your words: funny, serious, love, creative, you have a gift. I need to pick up a very old work in progress that will take forever to finish, but I just love seeing your projects. Keeps us motivated!

I've auctioned several handmade items for charity on eBay. It's easy to do.
You specify the percentage of proceeds that will be donated which can be 100% if you choose.

Amelia has a magical life. I would love to see the Vaux swifts in person.
Thank you showing this wonderful, beautiful phenomena. The world is a wonderful place and you are showing Amelia that.

Ohh! I'm patiently waiting for the cross stitch pattern. I have the first and now I can imagine them hung together on the wall at Christmas!!! Yes please:)

Hi, I noticed that you have Plow and Hearth's wood stove space heater, I was just wondering your opinion on this item and if it has been a safe item in your home! I was thinking of ordering a few for upstairs bedrooms. Thanks!

You have made my day by deciding to take preorders for your new cross stitch kit - thank you! I was really worrying that I would not be able to purchase before they were all gone because of my work schedule and time zone. The sneak peak is gorgeous! I'm also completely smitten with that cake topper and birthday crown! So glad you all are loving your new sofa. We just ordered a new sofa and chair, and I cannot wait as our current set up just looks so saaaaad, between surviving toddler years and puppy chewings. Anyway, these pictures of your makes and home are so lovely, thanks for sharing, I know I'll be back to look at again!

if i ask very nicely, may i please move in ... everything in these photos is a dream ... love. love.love !!

Carmen R Wyant says: September 30, 2017 at 07:59 PM

Alicia, Google Maureen Cracknell birthday crowns and all sorts of pictures pop up. Maureen made them for years and years, there are some great ideas in the pictures. I think she has a lot less time for making them now that she is designing fabric.

What a lovely post. I love when you explain all the details. The crown is precious as is, but maybe you could consider flowered buttons scattered here and there? Or mother of pearl buttons with flowers carved in them? It seems I have a bunch of these in my old button tin. Don't ever think these touches won't stick with Amelia. My 30-yr-old texted me the other day, wondering if I remembered making a little playhouse out of a refrigerator box when she and her sisters were small. Of course I did, but hadn't thought of it in years. I asked what prompted the memory, and she said she is creating a reading nook for herself, and her new chair arrived in a HUGE box. :)
All worth it. All the best to all of you!

Good morning, friend! It's just now 6 am and I have been catching up on your blog as I drink my tea in the quiet first moments of this Sunday morning. I am woefully behind on blog reading and of course yours is the first one I open up. I could never explain to you just how happy it makes me to come visit here. I want to crawl into your photos and curl up in a corner. I hope you are having the loveliest weekend. I both cannot believe Mimi is 5 and also that it has only been five years! Lots of love to you and yours. xo, Jen

I'm looking forward to this year's cross stitch kit. Your home looks wonderful, as usual. The cake topper is amazing!! Thank you for sharing your corner of the world.

Looking forward to the new cross stitch kit! I love your table runner. Is it handwoven?

I've been following your blog for about 5 years now. My daughter, Elizabeth, turned 5 this August, and this morning, as she was looking over my shoulder while I scrolled through these photos she had so many questions and exclamations. Who is that girl? I love her decorations! We have the same chair, but the pillow is different! Can we do that craft? She also dances ballet? I want to have a playdate with her so we can run around and shout, "We are five!" Such a sweet age, and you capture it so well.

Lovvvvvvvvve seizing pictures of your cozy house. Love your homemaking skills and you are so inspiring to make a happy home. You are an inspiration! Thank you!

Seeing! Not seizing!^^^^

As always I love dropping in for a visit! I laughed when I read Amelia's comment on the crown. When my granddaughters say that, "Nana, I know you can make that for me" I am always torn between delight and terror. Happy Fall dear ones! How did she get to be 5!

Beautiful new sofa!! Love the cake topper! How fun to be able to see swifts, it must be quite a show to see them going down the chimney. That is a very sweet dress you made for Amelia! Would like to know your sellers ID in bay when you get ready of her older dresses. I would like also to pre-order the Winter sampler. It's so nice to see photos of your home!!

We got around the raffle issue at the hospital where I work by calling the contributions "donations" and then having a drawing for the prize. I don't know if that would work in your situation or not.

I love the cake topper. It is so delightfully cool. She will treasure it for ever.

Amelia looks so serious and focused at the ballet class. Thank you for sharing these photos.

I want to come sit in your living room (top photo) and share a cup of tea. That is the most restful space I've seen in a while. And goodness knows, this world needs more peaceful spaces.

Lynn Marie says: October 02, 2017 at 05:25 AM

Love the new sofa--it looks like you could simply "park" there for hours and be quite content. I will definitely be pre-ordering one of the new kits and I look forward to it being my winter evening project. I can hardly believe that this is birthday #5 for Amelia. The cake topper is adorable!

I would echo Liz's suggestion, and add that if you were to contact the folks at this site, they may be able to tell you if that approach is OK per your state's "charitable gaming" laws!

https://www.doj.state.or.us/charitable-activities/charitable-gaming/charitable-gaming-faqs/

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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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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.