Posts filed in: He Makes Things

dispatch from the felt cutting table

comments: 150

Howdy everyone. It's Andy again. Okay, I've been hiding out a little bit because I never wrote the pizza post. The reason for this is that the pizza was bad. It was okay, I guess, at least it wasn't a pizza ball (remember that one?) So this is a picture of the kind of pizza I like:

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We stopped for it on our way from the train station to my parents' house. And I can see that I take after my dad. Look at that smile on him! What a nut!!

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And before I start going on and on about felt, I might as well show you some of the pictures of the trip from my phone...

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Okay. Felt. I love it. And this year, we tried to be as efficient as possible. For my part, I tried to streamline when possible. Take this snack station, for instance. I put both the sweet and the salty in one bowl.

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Check out my new rotary cutter. I love it so much. Titanium blade, oversized wheel. What! And it's white, like my iphone. I figure they make it white so you can see when you are bleeding a moment or two earlier than the older, darker rotary cutters. By the way, there were no equipment casualties this year (other than, maybe, my cutting mat - you may have little pieces of green on your felt - I noticed some of that and dusted them off when I saw 'em). But I have to say that Clover seems to be a bit stressed with all the commotion. She is a creature of habit and our routine for the past few weeks has been upturned. I keep trying to tell her that it's all cool and that we will manage change but you know corgis. They always think they know better.

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Aw. The corgi fell over.

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I caught this picture of her a couple days ago and her stress seems to be beyond the usual "hey no one is allowed past this step without a leash."

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But eventually, she gets herself settled into the new "normal" so I am pretty sure she will adapt to whatever changes come to our pack.

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And luckily, some things never change...

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Okay that's it for now. It has been so fun working on these kits and my wandering mind has been all through the meadow and the clearing and the path ahead. Thank you all for the orders so I could have that time to think about stuff while I am cutting felt.

Oh! And I actually did write a silk screening post back when I was printing the ABC samplers, so watch for it this season. It's sort of instructional. I'll get it all ready for Alicia so she can put it up. That is if she doesn't ban me from the computer after this!! Or this next one...

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Man Sampler

comments: 152

But I call it the "Mullet Sampler." It's all business up front:

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And a major PARTAY goin' on in back!!!

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I really . . . wow. A for effort.

Knitting Guy

comments: 120

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Seeeeeeeeerious cuteness. When she props her head up with an ottoman like this? Melt melt melt. And man knitting? Quadruple melt. I think I took this picture of these two last weekend. I believe Andy is knitting the actual egg white here (note briefcase to left of chair :-). Thank you for all of the totally hilarious and sweet comments yesterday! We were in the studio all day just cracking up every time one came in. Andy said, "You're friends are so nice." :-) So nice.

Andy is one of those people who picked up knitting in about four minutes. Prolly less. He asked me how it worked one time (probably ten years ago now), I showed him, and then he was knitting. A hat. And about five minutes later, socks. About five minutes after that: "Oh, I don't like how this pattern is written. I'm just gonna do it my way." I stared, goggle-eyed. "You what?" Sure enough, socks and hats flying off needles, along with various little creatures and now eggs and French fries. No prob. Can't find a pattern for a French-fry-sauce-dipping cup? No worries. He'll figure it out. Andy knitting is really an audio-visual-physical experience. He knits so tight I just about fall off the couch laughing every time I see him do it. He asked me to show him how to bind off recently because he couldn't remember. I picked up his needles and I literally could not get the stitches off of them. "Why'd you do this so tight?" Him: "So it wouldn't all fall off the needles!!!!" Me: " It's not gonna . . . nevermind. " All our bamboo DPNs (double-pointed needles) are shredded. Blunt and splintered. I gently suggested metal but he likes the nature. He's picky about some things, not about others. Yarn weight and needle size mean nothing. Not a thing. If it's the right color, he will use it. If the needles are at hand, he will use them. This frequently means he's knitting worsted-weight on, like, size 2s or something [pan to me, falling off couch laughing again]. There is talking: "What is this? Oh, okay, knit 3, knit 1 front and back. Wait, what? Oh okay, got it. Oh, you dont want to be knit? It's like this yarn doesn't want to be a fried egg or something! It's like you don't want to be a fried egg or something! That's fine. I won't increase you. I don't care. I've got a few extra stitches on here anyway. So I don't need you. That's totally fine." Keeps knitting (more-or-less) happily. Then, almost every time: Crack! [sound of needle breaking, broken needle being held up, goggle-eyed look given, laughter]. Almost every other time: Aaaaaaghhhh! [gasp, broken frizzy yarn being held up, goggle-eyed look given, utterly amazed look received, laughter]. And on and on like this. I was roaring. A few extra stitches on here anyway!!! OMG [knitters, feel free to guffaw here]. So adorable.

Maybe he's just trying to make me laugh. Works. Everytime. 
:-)

Fried Egg Guy

comments: 139

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Hey everyone! It’s Andy. And this here is my fried egg. He’s feeling a bit iffy about being on display. With lots of encouragement, though, he seems to be keeping it together and even managing a little smile. He might be a bit nervous still from some of the not very nice things I was saying while making him. I tend to be a bit… full body contact… with my knitting. I’ve broken needles. And yarn. But all that was before he had a face. Anyway, I have finally gotten back into my briefcase with all my needles and yarn after a pretty long break. Maybe I’ll pull all the stuff I have been making for the baby (we’re still waiting to be chosen, no word yet) and take a bunch of pics of them. Pretty much the classics. Fried eggs. Socks. In Bears and Cubs and winter-woods-walk colors. I am currently working on my own pattern for a set of French fries and sauces to go with my favorite food cart – Potato Champion. I’ll post it on Alicia’s Ravelry when I finish. Thank you.

One Man’s Thoughts on Cutting Felt

comments: 175

I know what you’re thinking. What makes this man’s thoughts any better than the thousands of other men’s thoughts on cutting felt.

I really have no answer to that.

Roller-cutter

1. Rotary cutters are awesome. CRUNCH! Exactly straight. Every time.

Cutting-board 

Wear and tear. Alicia says I should get a new board. Pah.

2. Math is awesome. You can count by fours. You can count by threes. If you cut three 6” strips and start three different stacks, in three more reps, repeated three times, you’ll have three piles of te3n. Wait. Let me count this again. Yea. Thrity. I mean Thirty.

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3. When you’re cutting felt, your hands start to manage themselves. Your brain is free to do whatever. In my case, it wanders. Julius Peppers, right? The Bears’s defense is back, I think. Neil Caffery – how does he stay so calm? I love that about him – in spite of those hats. That fall feast was so good. Morel mushrooms. I wonder where they come from really, the woods? A clearing in the woods? I wonder if there will be a baby here next year at this time and if I’ll be cutting felt in the nursery. Will I have time to cut felt at all? I’m hungry. What time does Chipotle open I wonder? (Alicia knows: 11.) Look at this cute corgi! Scritch scritch good dog. We'll go to the p-a-r-k (spelling)later. I should prolly count these stacks of felt again. Right. Thirty.

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4. Setting up temporary work stations is necessary. In front of the TV? Sure! Outside? OK! By Alicia? Always. Look, there’s my mom watching TV and playing Cut the Rope or Sneezies on her ipod.

5. The Posie Sweatshop Carryout Meal Plan is awesome. Burgerville, Chipotle, Pizzacato, Kettleman. As Shawn and Gus would say… what!

6. Listening to album after album of music. This time: Avett Brothers, Wilco, Electric Wizard (after Alicia goes to bed), OCMS, Sufjan Stevens, Wild Tchoupitoulas, My Morning Jacket, Bob Wills, Radiohead, Willie Nelson, Modest Mouse…

Snack-station 

7. Set up snack stations by temporary work stations. Obviously. M&Ms, candy corn, Gardetto’s… what!

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Oooooops. Wheel casualty. No one got hurt.

8. Working at home is awesome. You almost never have to worry about a defective foley bag busting open on you and then having to take a shower after throwing your pants away and begging the administrator on duty for an extra pair of scrub pants that won’t fit and don’t have anywhere to put your wallet anyway. That just does not happen at home.

8. Imagining these little squares of felt becoming polar bears and mittens and skates somewhere out there, all over the world, is awe… pretty cool. I love being part of it.

 

See you guys soon with thoughts on assembling kits. Thank you for buying them! Stay gold.

Little Patches

comments: 322

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You come into the room with a blueberry muffin in your hand, and you see that bitty quilt squares have been laid out on the blocking board, and Clover Mushmelon Pinkytoes Paulson (who loves the big version of the quilt with an enthusiasm that can safely be described as obsessive, and who loves to put her little chin on whatever it is that she loves) loves it already. Mwah, Puppynose! Kiss hug kiss.

But then you back up just a bit, and you see who is making the quilt.

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which is the bitty version of the one you made for him way back when so that he might ever so possibly (pleeeeease?) fall in love with you, back when you were just a wee young lass yourself, some seventeen years ago now

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and your heart explodes into a thousand miniature butterscotch sundaes. And strawberries. And yellow violets. And covered wagons. Because honestly. That's how it feels sometimes, hanging around these two.

Where Andy Paulson Makes a Pizza (Updated)

comments: 106

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and it doesn't work out.

He didn't think it was funny until a little later. At the moment when I took this picture, I believe he was still "in crisis" [his words]. At least I didn't say "Wha' happened?"

Until a little later. 'Cause then you know I did.

Update: Note from Andy:

Thanks everyone for the encouragement!! Just when I was bragging that I should be an honorary Italian for my awesome risotto...

So my pretty good looking pizza was on the pizza peel thing. I tried to slide it off onto the 500 degree pizza stone and it rolled on me. Cheese all over the stone! Cripes! So I pulled the stone out and scraped it clean and built another pizza directly on it (which we ate). While it was cookin', I rebuilt the rolled pizza and stabbed myself while trying to run a knife under it so it would slide off. This is when the "crisis" began. The crust was thin. It wouldn't slide. So I tried the calzone approach. It wasn't working, so I went for pizza omelette. It became more of a fritter. Why I put that thing on the pizza stone, I don't know. Smoke. Blood. Suddenly camera and laughing wife. Hot pizza stone. Small kitchen. We didn't eat it. I ate some of it.

Felt Hangover After a Long Walk in the Woods

comments: 166

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Good evening. This is a dispatch from the assembly lines of the Posie sweatshop. It has been a while since I have taken photos and written here. How are you guys doing? It’s Andy. I know the clock says that it's late, but it has taken me this long to gather my supplies and get my work environment just right. Enough beer? Check. M&Ms? Check. The right music. Hmm. Important. Better do some research first, as I am likely to be doing this for a while. See where the time goes? It's okay because getting the workspace right is one of the perks of working for your wife, especially if she's already gone to bed with a sigh after hearing you talk about Neil Young in 1974 for the fiftyeth time this week. Better pick up another six pack, now that it is past 11. And now the dog is crying because I'm still awake. Time for you to go to bed, then, too, little little. Okay, I think I'm ready to start.

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Can I just say that felt is awesome? I mean seriously. The next time you are holding some felt, look closely at it. It is like a bunch of string all mashed together. And the strings aren’t really even all the same color. How do they do that? This light brown that I am cutting here isn’t a light brown at all. I’d maybe call it a Grand-Dad’s-Camelhair-Coat. One of the pieces of felt had what looked like a pen mark on it. As I looked closer, it was a black thread, and I could just pull it right out. Neat!! How did you get in there, little guy?

And have you ever had to iron felt?

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I’ve got one word for it.

Satisfying.

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Look at this! All my measuring so as not to waste a millimeter of felt and then what. The hidden three inches. And then it takes another 30 minutes to take this picture. I mean, what color M&Ms should I "spill" onto the felt. Red and green for christmas, yea, but this scene has a sort of fall look to it, and it is October. Maybe one red and two greens, in the background. And where is the tape measure? The transparent ruler isn't Andy enough. Wouldn't want you guys to think that Alicia took this photo. This is taking forever!  Luckily, we've budgeted for this time. Whoop. The beer is gone. Time for bed.

Morning-after

Coffee. The Blessed Sap. Wait, did I really wake Alicia up last night to talk about Neil Young when I went to bed? Woops. She: "Did you finish the brown?" Me: "It is really more of a 'Haystack'." She (rolling over): "..."

Rotary cutters are cool. I wonder if we’ll make pizza tonight?

The Smith kids (nephew and niece) are coming over for a sleepover tonight, so I’ll bet we do.

I hope we either watch The Black Stallion or Wall E...

This felt is making me goofy.

What’s that?

Oh, so she can put her own leash on now. This is new. Genius!!! But puppy, I have to cut this felt.

Oh, puppy. Okay.

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So that’s what we’re up to today. Alicia says hi!!

But wait... That was Friday morning and now it's Monday morning. I'm still here and have another dispatch ready. So the kids did come over. Surf's Up was what we wound up watching. Awesome movie! It really felt like a real documentary. I love how every once in a while you could hear the cameramen talking to the characters.

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Woo! Matchbox cars. I know, right? A different view of the sleepover. There were crafts, cooking, and pumpkin-carving, too, of  course.

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Fun times! Love those guys, but these ornament kits won't make themselves! Where's my felt, now...

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Ah, yes. Yea, it was dark when I started "setting up my work station". Table set up on paint cans for the proper height. Check. Football shirt. Check. Football water bottle. Check. Football rally towel. Check. Felt. Of course. Beer? No more beer for a while, thanks. Coffee. Check. And, Mom, if you read this, make sure Dad knows that the only reason my table and I am wearing Seahawks stuff is because the Bears have a bye-week. What could possibly slow me down now?

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Touchdown!!!

"Okay, who's sick?" or, the best chicken soup you'll ever have someone make for you.

comments: 57

[The following is copied from Andy's personal cooking notebook, with credit and apologies to the authors of The New Basics Cookbook, which originally inspired this soup for us many years ago. Whatever you do, don't omit the fresh dill here. Trust me.]

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Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
2 onions, halved
4 celery ribs, with leaves
4 carrots, peeled
3 parsnips, peeled
4 whole cloves
3 cloves of garlic
6 sprigs of fresh dill + 1/4 c fresh dill, chopped
6 sprigs of fresh parsley + 2 tablepoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 quarts water
2 chicken boullion cubes
8 oz medium-sized shell pasta
1 1/2 c frozen baby peas, thawed

"Rinse the chicken well and place it in a big soup pot. Throw the onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, garlic, cloves, sprigs of dill and parsley, salt, and pepper in. Add the water and bring this stuff to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Every once in a while, skim the foam off the top. Remove the chicken from the soup and let it cool off a little bit. Remove the skin and bones (not as gross as you might think -- I wear insulated rubber gloves which I scrub before and after use) and then pull the meat apart, shredding it. Set this aside in a bowl. Strain the soup, getting rid of the veggies. Return the liquid to the pot and add a boullion cube. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. This will intensify the flavor. At this same time, start some water boiling for the noodles. Throw a boullion cube into the pasta water to cook that flavor into the pasta. Cook only as much pasta as you will eat at this meal (leaving the pasta in soup that will be reheated overcooks the pasta and grosses Alicia out). When the pasta is cooked, divide it into individual bowls. Reduce the boiling soup to a gentle roll and add the peas, shredded chicken, chopped dill, and chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. When this stuff is all heated through, pour it over the pasta into the bowls. Good with Airborne and pulp-free orange juice as beverages."

ChickenSoup2 [Worked for me. I feel great today. THANK YOU HONEY!]

Lining an Envelope with Ease

comments: 50

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Here's my good idea for the . . . decade. It will help you line your envelopes with cool paper, if you are, as I am, so inclined. (And yay Portland! We are finally getting a Paper Source whoot whoot!)

When Andy made me this stationery last year, I bought really fancy wrapping paper from Kate's Paperie to line the envelopes. But I must have forgotten how much I hate to deal with heavy paper that has been rolled into a tube, because if you are trying to trace an envelope template onto a huge piece of paper that wants to curl into a big tube, you really won't enjoy it that much. At least I didn't. So many of the envelopes remained, for the past year, unlined.

Last week I wrote about ten notes to accompany the book galleys going out this week (and then I mailed them to my editor via USPS and they got lost in the mail, still not to be seen — agh — so I'll be doing this again and next time sending FedEx — oops) and I had the idea to simply cut a piece of vintage fabric in the shape of the envelope liner template (and I see from the picture of my first attempts in that link above that I seem to be using the wrong template now, so presumably I've lost the correct one, too, my GOSH I am a dingdong) and make color copies of it.

This is a total cinch if you have a printer/scanner/copier — I've had one similar to this one for only about a year and I seriously don't know how I lived without it before. It's inexpensive, prints beautifully, and just having the ability to reduce or enlarge anything I want with the touch of a button is awesome. It's just a great tool for all kinds of crafting. In the photo above you see the fabric piece all the way to the right, the color copy on a piece of not-even-very-nice white paper, and then the envelope, lined. And you can barely tell the difference between the copy and the real thing!

So anyway, what's cool about this is that it's cheaper than buying wrapping paper, or even scrapbook paper to cut the liner out of, since you end up with a bunch of waste for every sheet (depending on how big your envelopes are), and since you are copying a copy of the template, you don't have to trace the template for every envelope! Yay! You just copy it, cut out the shape, add a dab or two of glue from a glue stick, and pop the liner in. And what's really cute is that the copy really does look like fabric — you can just make out the grain. I used fabric from a vintage pillowcase here, but it would be cute to play around with scale, and reduce or enlarge different fabrics, maybe make a coordinated set as a present or something.

There were a few other things I was going to tell you today but now I've forgotten what they were. I DO know I want to tell you that the Tanglewood Suite will be available in my web shop on Tuesday, July 15, at 9 a.m. PST. There will be a downloadable PDF pattern/tutorial available (with a full-size pattern template so that, in case you don't have a copier yet, you can just cut it out and paste it together directly after printing it out), a Precious Bundle of carefully curated, pre-cut fabric patches gleaned from my secret sources, and a few finished bags (not many, but I'll make more, now that the pattern's done and I have a bit of time). I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I've been working on all of it for so long I am just so anxious to get it out there, and I really hope you like it!

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.