Fall Frolics

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Happy Halloween to you! We have a fluffy pink kitters here that hasn't stopped meowing for three days. She's also hardly taken her plushy duds off since they were finished (by me, and no, I don't enjoy sewing polarfleece, but this is what she picked out, and it is, at least, very forgiving to sew!). Her fur is already matted and filthy, mostly from crawling around on all fours (while meowing), which cracks me up. She's showing you her paw here, FYI.

Thank you sooooo much for the First Snow pre-orders! Yaaaaay! I'm thrilled. We are going to go ahead and make all 600 kits that we have enough floss for. This should get us all the way to Christmas without selling out, so I'm very pleased that there is interest in this. The fabric has been ordered, the pattern is finished will be sent to print tomorrow, and Andy is going to pull floss for me this time. So we are on-track, and I will keep you abreast of our progress. We'll ship as soon as we have everything together; I'm still thinking it will be about three weeks (and the PDF-only option will be available at that time, too). But again, thank you so much for your enthusiasm for this design. I couldn't be happier with the response, and I will be doing a few informational cross-stitch posts between now and ship time. I've been meaning to do these for a while, so I'm looking forward to them.

The weather here has been ridiculously excellent. We never get autumns like this — crisp, cool, colorful, crunchy, perfect. We've been sincerely spoiled this year, and it's really nice. We've been able to get outside quite a bit and it's been wonderful. Today is Halloween, and the weather is gorgeous. I'm so happy for all of the kids!

I've been toying with the idea of moving my office out of the house. I would love to hear what those of you who work at home OR have space to work outside the home think about it. I've been working at home for seventeen years. It has mostly been a wonderful experience. But as Amelia gets older I'm wondering if we need more space for living instead of me working. Posie is pretty bulky. Right now my business takes up two fairly large rooms in our fairly small house. We've thought about building a second story over my studio, which is already an addition (built by the previous owner). But it's too expensive. We've thought about maybe putting a shed in the backyard, but the yard's too small and I think the shed would be too small for what I really need. I really like the convenience of working at home. But it does feel isolating sometimes. I feel like I'm in the house too much sometimes, and I get antsy. But maybe I just need to take myself out to lunch. I've thought about getting a studio space closer to where Amelia will be going to school next year, which is about twenty-five minutes away, so that I can be working while she's in school and I'm not driving back and forth quite so much. But that neighborhood doesn't really seem to have any spaces available, at least ones that are advertised. You know what neighborhood does? My own neighborhood. :/ Womp womp. Sort of defeats half of the purpose. Also, I don't know if I could afford to pay rent on a space outside of the house, because my dumb neighborhood has gotten so trendy and expensive. Oh, decisions, decisions. What do you think? Any thoughts about this? I'm in no rush, but this will be a future consideration, and I feel like I want to get my bearings on it. If you've lived either of these experiences, I'd love to hear your advice.

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I will put my two cents worth in. It may be costly, but I vote for the addition. There's nothing like being home when you have young children. Think of all the no school days there are; holidays, snow days, vacation days, sick days... When you work from home you are still there for your children. And that's what having children is all about, isn't it? If you are feeling like you are too much in the house, try just getting out for a coffee or whatever, but working at home is a lot less stressful. Trust me, I know. Good luck with whatever your choose. It will be the right decision for you!

Move to the country and you can have a barn studio ;)

Katie Morene says: November 01, 2017 at 07:20 AM

I've worked full-time from home for 17 years as well, the massive convenience of it offsets any disadvantage for me. I live in Houston and I'm grateful on a daily basis I don't have to bear a one-hour (or more) commute. The cost of rental property requiring a set amount of money each month would overwhelm me and cut into my money so quickly I've never seriously considered the idea - plus addition travel, gas, business insurance, etc. The best thing about working from home was getting to be home with my daughter, now almost 24 years old, I wouldn't trade that time for anything. Working offsite never seemed feasible in a cost vs. benefit analysis.
I don't know that the isolation issue would be different if you rent a space, it's still just you and any help you have in a different space. I liked the idea of joining something with intention - take a class, start or join a book club, maybe teach a class once a month on any one of your numerous skills, maybe teach an online class - so many choices!
I've been reading your blog for a very long time and it seems to me you like to piddle while mulling over ideas (although you are quite focused when the actual work begins) so I see you enjoying stepping into the kitchen for a chai or strolling around the backyard for some inspiration or popping dinner in the oven in the middle of the day (all benefits of working at home) and you'd miss that in a rental space.
Possibly renting a storage space would work but HOW WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT TO STORE? If it's not in front of me I'm not sure I would remember what I have plus looking through it gives me additional ideas.
Isn't it funny, reading your blog it seems to me you have the most idyllic setup to be home, raise your daughter, do work you love in a beautiful city with a supportive husband but I also know real life is different and you're life has its own set of challenges, hopes and dreams. As so many have suggested, you have time to mull this over and you will eventually make the choice that's right for you!

Katie Morene says: November 01, 2017 at 07:21 AM

I've worked full-time from home for 17 years as well, the massive convenience of it offsets any disadvantage for me. I live in Houston and I'm grateful on a daily basis I don't have to bear a one-hour (or more) commute. The cost of rental property requiring a set amount of money each month would overwhelm me and cut into my money so quickly I've never seriously considered the idea - plus addition travel, gas, business insurance, etc. The best thing about working from home was getting to be home with my daughter, now almost 24 years old, I wouldn't trade that time for anything. Working offsite never seemed feasible in a cost vs. benefit analysis.
I don't know that the isolation issue would be different if you rent a space, it's still just you and any help you have in a different space. I liked the idea of joining something with intention - take a class, start or join a book club, maybe teach a class once a month on any one of your numerous skills, maybe teach an online class - so many choices!
I've been reading your blog for a very long time and it seems to me you like to piddle while mulling over ideas (although you are quite focused when the actual work begins) so I see you enjoying stepping into the kitchen for a chai or strolling around the backyard for some inspiration or popping dinner in the oven in the middle of the day (all benefits of working at home) and you'd miss that in a rental space.
Possibly renting a storage space would work but HOW WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT TO STORE? If it's not in front of me I'm not sure I would remember what I have plus looking through it gives me additional ideas.
Isn't it funny, reading your blog it seems to me you have the most idyllic setup to be home, raise your daughter, do work you love in a beautiful city with a supportive husband but I also know real life is different and you're life has its own set of challenges, hopes and dreams. As so many have suggested, you have time to mull this over and you will eventually make the choice that's right for you!

Absolutely no help on the work at home factor. Just wanted to say that yesterday was PERFECT for Halloween!!! I remember having to wear my winter coat over my costume for years as it always seemed to snow in NY. Maybe this weather is to make up for this summer's blah. A storage unit seems like a really good idea and easy to get out of if you change your mind. Maybe I'll rent one and just put an armchair and quilt in there, and sit and think in the quiet.

I agree with the commenter who suggested not making any changes until Amelia is at her new school and you see how that goes. Your days might be very different than you think they will be. Once you are dealing with the reality of driving her back and forth, adjusting to her work load and new after school activities, and seeing how much you will be needed there, you will have a clearer idea of what will work for your family.

Those faces painted on rocks are so cute! Did you paint them yourself or find them in the wild? Painting faces on rocks and leaving them around town is a form of "guerrilla art" here, done in the same spirit as yarn bombing.

Beautiful Halloween costume! Such lovely Autumn photos! Hope you and your family will find the best solution for work space. I agree with the ladies here who said staying at home might be better and also less stress.

Following up on my own comment, once she's in school you might not feel as isolated. I work from home, and my main social contact for the past 16 years has been through volunteer work at my kids' schools. You'd be surprised by how busy school can keep you!

From my experience my advice is to keep it at home if you can. Craving more space/interaction with other people, we (I) moved our office from home to another spot. It was great for about a month and then things at home started to fall apart. I did not realize how much housekeeping (laundry, cooking, fluffing the nest) I accomplished while working in our at-home office. Plus, I'd get to the office and realize I forgot this file or that pile of papers and would have to drive back. It just didn't work out. So, we moved it back home and when I get twitchy for more stimulation I get out!

My two cents is thus: wait to decide until you get through the transition to the new school next year. In my experience the way you imagine you will feel is not an exact match to the reality--often in ways you can't predict. Better to leave yourself some room to react to the real feelings and needs that arise then. Also, I like everyone else's offsite storage ideas as well. Good luck.

Beautiful child, beautiful sweater and funny rocks ! You rock !

Marie Leonard says: November 01, 2017 at 09:29 AM

I wonder if there are any people in the neighborhood who have space they would be willing to rent out.

If it's a matter of the business supplies that are waiting to be sent on to their new homes take up a lot of space -- perhaps a storage unit would do the trick. It might be a good step in the process -- what is it like to have "work" off-site to a degree. How does that impact the flow of doing work? Does it suck up valuable time trekking here and there?
That could also free up one of the spaces to explore how you use it as a family. That might help lead you to the best/better choice.

I found that time after school was so valuable for connecting, homework and activities here and there -- so I think being semi-close is helpful. And now that my little is a middle schooler -- I wish I had been home more during that time (he went to a neighbor's house often after school)

Like other people have mentioned - if you are looking to get connection w/others I think you could make that happen via the school or having planned outings w/other folks. I work from home often -- and after a while -- I need to be intentional about getting connection w/other people who help me think and engage in creative pursuits otherwise I find myself rabbit holing like a caffeinated squirrel.

I am giving a huge cheer for your new cross stitch pattern -- my eyes can't handle linen-- so I shall wait for the PDF so I can stitch on AIDA easily :) I love the feeling of your patterns so!!

I've worked at home (daycare) for 20 years now, and what stops me from going elsewhere is two things: if I no longer work at home, all of those lovely tax benefits go away! And second, I simply despise shoes.

It's a hard call to make and lots of good advice here. I like the comment above that says do what you're doing until you really feel you need to change. You've got some changes coming up anyway with school and you won't know yet how that will shape up for you. I've worked from home off and on over the years. What I like about going out to work is the focus, it's sociable and you can leave your mess there and lock the door at the end of the day and forget it. However if someone in the family gets sick, things fall apart and that's when working from home is easier. Recently I had to have extensive treatment and I could still work a little in my pjs. But that is really only about contingencies, and I imagine having to drive 25 minutes each way for school might force a change. Good luck with the pondering...it will work out. And in the meantime, that is a very cute puffy skirt on your cute, growing-up-very-fast girl.

A few years ago, I was a photographer who worked from home. My dreams were to have a studio so I could expand my business and keep work and home more separate. The studio ended up causing me to lose money because I just didn't make it work the way I had dreamed about. Have you considered moving to a bigger home? You guys have worked hard to make your house fit you exactly so that may not even be an option but maybe it's something to consider? Good luck! In the meantime, definitely take yourself out to lunch. :)

Is much of your work computer-based? Perhaps instead of moving the whole operation to a new office, you could pick up your laptop and work from a coffee shop for a couple hours each day while Amelia is in school. It might provide the break you need from the house while still allowing you time to get work done.

By the way, it was so nice meeting you at the Oregon Children's Theater play a couple weeks ago. :)

I worked at home in a creative business until both kids graduated from college. A few things occur to me:
Once "real school" starts, there are all kinds of short days and random days off, if your workspace was outside the home, you would have less flexibility. Also, as others have pointed out, school provides lots of opportunities for volunteer work during or after school. Your friends become the parents of her friends..
A caveat: watch out for those other parents who think that because you work from home you don't have a "real" job and have time to shuttle their kids around and volunteer for everything. I often had to just say no to people who wanted to drop their kids off during those school holidays because I would be home anyway, and they were always the kids who took extra vigilance.
Another idea would be to cash in on the trendiness and popularity of your neighborhood and relocate to a larger home ina different location. You might get the country feeling you've talked about and still be in Portland. I live in SW, have great neighbors and a beautiful bright studio. Don't have the walkability though, but some areas do. I could certainly see wanting to stay put, you have a beautiful home!
There is no "wrong" decision...

Most definitely work from home. It's the best! If you need a break from home or just some socialization go out to lunch with a friend or to a coffee shop. You can totally make it make it work!

Lyndia from No. Calif. says: November 01, 2017 at 03:28 PM

First and foremost, as I've written before, your photos are wonderful! Just lovely. For what it's worth, my vote on office space, stay put until one day you'll say, "I've got to have more space". For the time, especially while you have a little one, it's nice to be home. And how would Andy be able to help if you aren't home. What about Amelia's after school care? Then there is the money thing as well. Yikes, everything is so expensive. It can really add a financial stress. It seems you are very organized and as long as you can maintain feeling somewhat sane, stay put. When the time comes, you will know.

I think you've made a good start on deciding what to do with your business by weighing the pros and cons. Making a list of what you have, what you need for work space, storage, also factoring in travel time to and from Miss Em's school, etc.
Putting it all down on paper is an excellent start. Think about your current space, can it be reorganized, do you have a garage or basement that can be transformed into a studio or perhaps a storage area. I do know that having all your supplies close is a better idea then having it all in a storage area located away from your studio/workshop. As an artist I need to be able to lay my hands on everything easily & quickly.
Now renting studio space can be expensive. If you look to the future it could be worth the expense to remodel your home. At least the dollars spent will be dollars that will pay for themselves in increased property value.
BTW, love the Halloween and forest photo's. It's almost like being there.

Quick question on the cross stitch. I want to do it, but i've never stitched on anything but aida before. I'm wondering if linen is harder? I want to buy the kit but thought maybe I should just do the pattern and then do it on aida, but I wasn't sure how big it would be/what that would do to the scale. Advice would be appreciated. On the office thing, I feel your struggle. I'm a landscape designer working from home with 2 young kids and I love the convenience of being able to work anytime, as needed, but that leaves me feeling like I don't have any separation between home and work. Could you move some of your materials out of the house and find a coffee shop near Amelia's school to work from when you want to?

Oh yes, I am an editor and work from home full-time in a 1922 Craftsman bungalow that's chock-full of kids, books, cats, and yarn. I wonder if the shed for storage space would work for you? I'm grateful that I can spread out my work in my cozy home office/guest room. I get to see my kids more, skip all the driving, throw a few loads of laundry in, and start meals in the crockpot. It is isolating, though, especially since I telecommute to a university job while I live in the decidedly non-intellectual setting of Grosse Pointe. I miss seeing grown-ups! Smart grown-ups who care about the things that I do. And liberals! So it's a mixed bag. I think that the basement for storage space could be nice, too. Unless you can find a studio space that you will truly enjoy using (pleasant, attractive, private enough to actually work, convenient enough for things like coffee, etc.), I'd stick with home but try to set up some standing dates where you get to see people. I need to do likewise...

I also second the suggestions to build an addition or buy a bigger house. I love our cozy Craftsman, but someday I'd like a larger 1920s Tudor with a 3rd floor retreat that's truly my own (study plus a craft room, with my own coffee station and lav). An eagle's aerie! It's a total possibility in our area, not sure about PDX.

Cat McKenzie says: November 01, 2017 at 07:06 PM

I worked from home for over 25 years before I retired two years ago. I used a combination of rooms in my house, armoires that could shut and hide work related stuff and renting an outside storage locker. I agree with many of your other readers that staying at home offers a level of financial stability that renting a studio away from home never can, plus you can be much more flexible about working late at night while children sleep.
That being said the need for creative interaction with others is a real consideration. One suggestion is to find a group of other creative souls and meet weekly, biweekly or monthly to share a morning or afternoon of talking, sharing, consulting and eating. It is essential for your soul, especially as you have a longer chunk of time while Mimi is in school.
Good luck on your decision ultimately it is whatever makes you feel right that will work.
You have captured our perfect NW Fall so well in your photos, it make me smile to see this Fall beauty and you're right it is so rare!

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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.