Spring-a-ling

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Halllllooooooo out there! Sorrrrrry it's taking me so long to do anything lately. I feel like I'm slamming around my life like a pinball, actually. This reorganizing thing is no joke. I've barely scratched the surface but . . . it's happening. Bit by bit. Andy and I are each trying to dig in to various parts of the house and come up with better systems. Then Amelia comes in and, tornado-like, wafts kiddo-debris from corner to corner: ponytail holders and Calico Critters and tiny bits of paper and pop beads. Bunny slippers and miniature Legos and a tennis ball and her collection of toothbrushes. Dried-up flowers and pieces of grass and wooden spoons and teaspoons. Puzzle pieces and straight pins and stickers and porcelain bells and brass bells and bathing suits and toy-veterinarian check-up cards and peg dolls and seed packets from Burgerville. Typo-correction tape. A slide whistle. A wind-up ladybug. A rhinestone tiara. A feather. A Saltwater sandal. More beads. It's as if a fire-hose filled with stuff from the bottom of every junk drawer and toy box in the world let fly its torrent of glittered swag upon the house all at once. And then, with a whoosh, she is off, and on to something else.

* * *

I had a friend once who said she didn't like spring. It was too much. Too dramatic, too capricious, too beautiful, too heartbreaking. Too gushing with promise, too inconsistent, too intense. Too beautiful. Too heartbreaking. It made you want to cry for the fragile, fraught, barely there-ness of the world, the newborn leaves, the colors more almost-colors than colors. The buds more pouf than plant. And as far as I know, she'd never been to Portland. Good thing. She probably would've screamed.

* * *

At home, I make lotion bars and twist wires into stitch markers and dye piles of yarn. I'm not sure what I'm doing but I think I'm planning to sell all of these things eventually. Aren't I? It seems there's nothing else to do lest the house be further taken over with mountains of lotion bars and mini skeins. I apply for wholesale accounts and think through tin sizes and sketch out packaging concepts. I bombard Andy with my every thought and question: Can you try this lotion bar? Do you like Ylang Ylang, or cedar? Cedar? Are you suuuuure? You like the cedar? You like them both. Do you like this color? You do? You don't. You do! Look! I made a stitch marker! I made five! I made fifty-five! I know! I made a hundred and fifty-five! No, maybe just fifty. It feels like a hundred and fifty-five! Yes, I'm still winding yarn. Now I'm dyeing yarn. Now I'm drying yarn. Now I'm winding yarn again. Let's make spaghetti! Will you make some spaghetti? THANK YOU HONEY!

I really want to do all of these things. I'm enjoying the experience of learning new things and developing new ideas so much I can't even believe it. It's been so long since I learned how to do new stuff, it seems. It's really exciting. We cleaned out our office closet and I went to Ikea to get a shelf on which to store my yarn supplies and lotion bar supplies. While at Ikea it started to pour. Andy was home with Mimi — it was early one Saturday morning and I was just planning to run out there quickly, alone, and get the job done. I enlisted a generous passerby to help me lift the giant box (it was more giant than I was expecting, and I was determined not to have to bring it back into the store to have it shipped) and slide it into my car. I pushed down that middle thing in the back seat and the box slid through the hole with not an inch to spare. Determination. Rain whipping. Windshield wipers going wild. I made it home and Andy put the shelves together for me and I think I was grinning the entire time I loaded them with bare yarn, my beeswax, my electric griddle (that's what I cook the yarn on), my tinfoil roasting pans, my food coloring, my dishpans. It was thrilling. I have a closet! My very own closet of stuff for my new hobbies, dream-scented with clary sage, jasmine, cedar wood, Ylang Ylang, bergamot, and beeswax. Opening it is like walking into another world.

Mimi wears her Thousand Tiny Tulips sweater from this post, a bit more than one year ago. I let her dye her own yarn the other day and she wants me to make her something with it. But what? Sport weight, about 430 yards, I think. I need to look for something. The weather is warming. I'd better be quick. . . .

53 comments

Scrumptious spring-ness pics . . .
Love the photo of your Mimi looking out the window . . .
sweater, dress, colors, setting . . . warmth . . .
Happy for your new closet, shelves, new energy . . . lotions . . .
Your pics are most refreshing . . .

I love the enthusiasm you express over learning new ways to be creative. There is nothing more invigorating than learning something new and having lots of ideas swirling around in your head. I can't wait to read more about your journey.

I love this post and your beautiful spring pictures, but mainly love the way you write! It's captivating, and I'd be so happy if your creative writing background led you to fiction. No pressure - sounds like you have quite enough on your plate - but just saying!

This is a sweet Spring/Summer little girl cardigan, easy peasy, top-down, that has a bit of interest with hearts. Plus it's a free download! https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hugs-and-kisses-cardigan-2
I completely understand your love of learning a new craft. I've been around so long that finding something new is getting harder ~ So I'm throwing myself back into sewing by making project bags to sell on Etsy. And since I have a ton (literally it seems like a ton) of beads I'm also making progress keepers, too.
I dare not start dyeing yarn as I know it's like falling down the rabbit hole (been there) but who can tell.
I admire your energy, photography and your creative abandon you possess. It's wonderful Mimi is taking after her Mum in all those ways.

Are you sure your dye will not wash out of the yarn?

Wendy Bayliss says: April 17, 2018 at 09:05 PM

What about a Milo vest - 100% versatile, good for spring and fall (Autumn in these parts), quick (a bonus) and you can customise it however you like (I found a digger pattern for my son's one last year and this year I'm going to do an inverted dinosaur as this is the latest obsession, and I'm going to do a cat or unicorn for my daughter)
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milo-3

... just beautiful. Especially the wool is such an eyeful!

I would enjoy reading more about your expiriences in making the lotion bars.

What a lovely, uplifting post.
I know what you mean about the kid-clutter, all the precious stones and sticks and pinecones that HAVE to come home with us and HAVE to be kept, even though they are the same as the stones/sticks/cones already here. Planning and making new storage for my house makes me very happy.

That yarn sounds like a bolero or a ballet wrap to me. Something like this https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/artichaut-4.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and bits of your life. I completely relate to the attempts to organize with young children and their continuous shower of things. Enjoy the beautiful spring you are having!

Lotion bars? Oh yes, please!!

I am YEARNING for spring SO BADLY, as it's still feeling like winter here in the Northeast. Guh. Your leaves and buds give me hope.

Despite the fact that I LOVE spring (because of all the promise it brings), I love your friend's reason for not liking spring. What she said was true: spring is too much ---- but I love it.

PS - Would you mind if I quoted you on my blog? I've been wanting to do a blog on why I love spring; your friend's feelings would be lovely to add. Thank you.

Michele Holmes says: April 18, 2018 at 07:26 AM

Lotion bars???? Do tell!!!!

It seems like every year I discover some plant or tree I've never seen before, and they're EVERYWHERE and like, established trees so clearly I HAVE seen them before but not SEEN them until, suddenly, MAGNOLIAS COME IN PINK? That's this year's new tree. That pink magnolia picture looks like my town, completely awash in them, and I really never realized they were anything but the waxy, furry, white trees so ubiquitous down in So Cal where I grew up. Two years ago it was crepe myrtles. Then Chinese redbuds. Someday I'll have a whole yard of pink-flowering trees and I'll be thrilled.

Laura Nelson says: April 18, 2018 at 08:24 AM

I love spring there in Portland, its the most glorious in the whole country. All that rain and moist pays off in buds and blooms. Lucky you! Maine is still slodging thru spits and drizzles of cold, damp and snow. We will get there but its subtle and dear when it finally happens.
Look at how grown she is. My youngest was the same way with everything, but she loved to tie everything together on long shoelaces knotted together. It was a nightmare to to try and untie.
I really miss magnolias and jasmine, and Portland.Good luck with all your endeavors, your yarn is lovely.

Spring makes my heart sing with the new. The sounds of the birds alone alerts me to the new season. Here on Cape it still feels like winter. But, we've been raking up the leaves and detritus from the 4! Nor'easters and underneath it all is green. Little buds pushing their way up through the soil and on the branches too! Oh Spring!

Oh ALicia, your post touched my heart! I so hear you, I am there too, even though my kidlets are older (two teens now, plus my lil 8 year old). Stuff is EVERYWHERE. We are also tentatively trying to clear and sort and shuffle and re-pile and evict unwanted items gently from our house, we are full to the brim here at number 24. The buzzing of new ideas is with me too, trying new things, loving each and every new design process and the learning curve that goes with it. Long may we feel excited and live amongst gentle creative chaos, I wouldn't have it any other way xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Your photos warms the heart! Beautiful new ideas! I love the lotion bar idea! Let us hear about it! (Lacy, would you please publish your etsy address?) Alicia, hang in there they do grow up someday, although many days I just couldn't see that ever happening but our two are finally grown. Thanks for all you share!! Hugs!!

Alicia, what camera and lens do you use? especially for garden pictures? I always love the details you capture in flowers and such and keep trying to do the same, but keep failing.

I love reading all you are up to. Love the things you make. Usually I'm a silent enjoyer here.

Lynn Marie says: April 18, 2018 at 09:48 AM

LOVE the Spring pictures---especially since we have had snow flurries the last two days in northern IN---ugh!!! Last year at this time, the flowering trees were in full bloom! I think we are suppose to make it into the 40's today. My favorite picutre is the one of Amelia looking out the window.

Valerie Hamilton says: April 18, 2018 at 10:07 AM

Your post reminded me of The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll. "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes-and ships- and sealing wax. Of cabbages-and kings" Delightful reading, as always!

You could make her an Entrechat! I have a fingering and a DK version available now. That would be enough yardage for sure, you could even probably make 3/4 sleeves, it would be darling :D
I would love to buy some of your yarn, stitch markers and/or lotion bars and gift them to some of my Entrechat KAL participants in June. Do you think they might be up for sale by then? It would be so exciting to have those among the prizes.

I love making stitch markers. Such fun little projects to use up odds and ends of beads.

If you use lever ear wires instead of rings, your stitch markers will be removable, AND they can double as earrings!

I NEED to see a photo of your new IKEA closet/shelf thingy and how you organized it. I live for this kind of inspiration! 😉

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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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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.