Days of Roses

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So many days! I've been loving them all. This is the last week of fifth grade — and elementary school — for Amelia. I have so many feelings about this but there really hasn't been much time to feel them, to be honest! The past couple of months have been filled with field trips and ballet performances and parties and dinners and birthdays and school musicals and so many fun times with friends and neighbors and teachers and kids that I've lost track. What a lovely problem to have. I couldn't be more grateful for our time at our little neighborhood school. Middle school is next year. 

That hasn't really sunk in, to be honest. But we have a long, lazy summer ahead and I'm so grateful for that, too.

When I've been home, in between driving to the many events that comprise Miss Amelia's busy schedule, I've been working on my cookbook. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, baking, cleaning, writing, photographing, Photoshopping, writing more, re-baking, researching. Working a cookbook is both thrilling and, not gonna lie, a ton of work. I got a new Mac computer monitor on Facebook Marketplace and it has been amazing compared to the crappy one I'd had before. That and redecorating our kitchen has just been so, so inspiring. (We also had to get a new refrigerator, which was mercifully not the horrendous installation experience I was fearing [as it was fifteen years ago when we got our old "new" one], and it has been an absolute delight. (In case you are interested, this is the one I got — very simple, as I did not want an ice maker or water dispenser, as those were the only things to ever and consistently break on our old fridge, ultimately requiring us to get a new one. And by the way, this fridge comes with the option for either stainless steel handles or antique brass handles, which is pretty unique. We are using the brass to match all the other new hardware we got for the cabinets.)

Anyway, my gosh, I love the new fridge. I am truly planning to give you a tour of the newly refreshed kitchen, I swear. But I have been spending literally every working minute on the cookbook so that I can get the rough recipe drafts finished so that I can start passing a rough draft of the book around to my friends to do some recipe testing for me! Gah! I know that that is going to take some time! (If any of you want to test recipes for me, let me know and if I need more testers I will reach out.) So far the book is more than 200 pages with over 90 recipes. Some have required me to really work on the development to get it just right (like these chocolate chip cookies — I've been trying to recreate my high-school cafeteria cookies, which were the best!). I have been enjoying all of it, but it really is a huge project, and I've been just putting my head down and digging into the work rather than talking about it a lot. I am learning a lot but also looking forward to getting to the next phase of this project, when all the recipes have been chosen and written and photographed, at least.

One day last week I actually read an entire book. I keep talking about it because I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever in my life read an entire book in one day. It was so exciting. It was a rainy Sunday and we had nothing to do for once, and by about 2 p.m. that afternoon I thought, "Oh man, I'm gonna do it! I'm really gonna do it!" And then I did! (And everyone let me just sit there and read, which is the second-biggest miracle.) The book was the delightful Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I laughed out loud several times, which is always fun. I've been having a really hard time finishing books lately so it was nice to just actually plow through something. Now I'm reading the second one, and it is super fun, too. I heard that they are going to make a movie of this. My neighbor and I were trying to think of actors we thought would play these characters. I thought Helen Mirren for Elizabeth and Anne Reid for Joyce. Then I looked up who was actually chosen, haha! That's gonna be a great cast! 

Spring Soaps Have Sprung!

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Hello dear friends! And happy spring to you! This is just a quick note to let you know that we have made a lot of beautiful new cold-processed soaps for you and they are now available to ship.

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All of the bars are so pretty and they are in a range of lovely spring scents, from lavender to lilac and lots of wonderful fragrances in between (including an unfragranced bar, as well). All of the bars are individually wrapped and ready for giving, either as a treat for yourself or someone you love. I am really proud of all of these new soaps and I hope you love them.

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Let me know if I can answer any questions about these (or anything else!) and thank you so much for coming along on our soap journey! Should we make some videos to show you how we do it? There are a lot of soap videos out there but maybe it would be fun! I don't know!

Spring Kitchen Cleaning, and a Soap Update Soon!

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I'm so sorry I have been absent from this space lately! Winter makes me feel so sleepy and lazy and it felt so good to just lean into that for once! But then once the sun came back out and the flowers started to bloom, I got a bee in my bonnet to give the kitchen a little refresh, and it seriously took over my life. We had gotten into some messy habits during lockdown life and they had just become . . . permanent. The snacks piled up. The plastic cups from various venues we'd patronized piled up. The extra cookbooks I hadn't cracked in literally twenty years. So I took a deep dive into the kitchen. I emptied cabinets, threw away everything that had expired in 2023 (ahem — there were thingssss), cleaned the shelf risers and the back walls, and restocked shelves. I got a label maker and labeled jars. Andy painted walls and I touched up trim. I ordered new cabinet and drawer handles (and am still waiting for a few). We hired a lady to come and install a new faucet. And many other things. And I have to tell you, it's been nothing short of an amazing experience. I have loved every minute of redecorating this kitchen. I'll give you a full tour with all the details (thrilling, I know!) as soon as my backordered handles come and I take some nice pictures.

In the meantime, Andy and I have made a lot lot lot of soap, and I am getting that photographed and up on the website for a launch very soon, either this week or next. Please join my mailing list at the bottom of any page of my web site if you'd like to get a newsletter whenever I launch new products. (If you have signed up in the past before February of last year [2023] you will need to sign up again. I have a whole new newsletter management service because I never really had used my old one and it wasn't working properly anyway. But this one is!) We are having so much fun making soap together, and we are learning so much, too! We have some really pretty spring soaps this time and I am getting that all ready. Thank you so much to those of you who ordered items in my Valentine's collection! I am so grateful for your interest and am thrilled to have your support as I explore some new things in my life. It's been nice to take things a bit slower lately, I have to admit. I hope you are all well, and I'll be back with pretty soaps and a prettier kitchen soon! XOXO, Alicia

February Fancies for Sale!

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I just had a strong urge to let myself go and make lots and lots of pretty, romantic, one-of-a-kind, (I think) quite delightful treats for Valentine's Day! 

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These are just a few of the really pretty cold-processed soap bars (and hearts) that Andy and I made this December (soap has to cure for many weeks before it is ready for you, so we started early!). We learned how to make soap several years ago when we were working on my Secret Garden collection (and here was the inspiration for that), and we've always wanted to do more of it. This time, we're really starting to do it again in earnest, experimenting and dreaming up lots of new scent/color/ingredient combinations, so look for more soap from us every season. I'm so happy to be using our own soap again because if I do say so myself, it is awesome — it's creamy with excellent, bubbly lather, and just feels so good in your hands and on your body. We are still working out our soap sizing, and the amount of scent that we prefer (most of our soaps are quite mildly scented — I, personally, prefer a light scent and I'm making what I like these days) and I'm excited to share this very first collection of this new phase of our soapmaking with you! Please have a look and let me know if you have any questions! All soaps are wrapped and labeled and ready for you to give to your Valentine. They can all be found here (or by clicking the images above).

A few weeks ago Andy and I went to a fantastic estate sale near Powell Butte. The lady of the house collected china in the sweetest '80s patterns and I got a whole bunch of pieces of exactly what I had been looking for (it's called Heartland from International China). She also had a really delightful mostly red quilt top (every seam was hand-stitched) that I loved and scooped up for myself. It was too big for what I wanted (I'm going to finish it and make a throw), so I cut off a few inches on one of the edges and made some little quilt hoops and embroidered some cross-stitched hearts on them with waste canvas. I also had another really pretty cutter piece from the 1930s that I did the same with. I love these.

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There are seventeen of these quilt hoops in total and each of them is unique. Please have a look through them here and see what you think!

I also started making lots of pretty earrings. I learned to wrap wires a few years ago when I started making knitting stitch markers, and if you remember those you'll see these earrings are very similar in spirit. I guess I just like these dangly, flowery styles! These are just a few of the pairs of earrings that I've been making lately. Please click here or on the images to be taken to the entire collection — there is a lot of variety in color and bead type and earring-wire type and I hope you like them!

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I also started (wait for it) painting taper candles. I know.

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This is the direct result of surfing Pinterest in the quiet dark of my 5 a.m. mornings, snuggled in bed drinking coffee and just fooling around looking at pretty things on my iPad. Painted taper candles! I used two different types of tapers (all details are on the product pages) and painted them with non-toxic acrylic paints mixed with a binder that helps them stick to wax (this is what I used, if you are interested). I just love them so much and I love having them on my table. There are several different colors of candles and painted designs so please check them out.

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Last but not least, I hand-dyed a small batch of DMC six-strand cotton embroidery floss just for Valentine's Day.

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The floss comes in a collection of five colors (colors are not available individually), with ten one-yard lengths of each color (or fifty yards total). This collection, Collection #001 is called Rose of Love and it is a palette of pretty, pinky, subtly shaded colors that I just love. Please see the product page for a detailed description of each color and how to care for hand-dyed floss, and let me know if you have any questions!

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I hope you like all of these sweet Valentine's treats and that you enjoy seeing some of these new crafts and mediums that I've been exploring. Thank you for your interest! I am truly excited to branch out and learn some new things. I want this year to be filled with new creative endeavors for me, and I would absolutely love to hear if you are feeling the same, and what new things you are looking forward to doing and learning this year! Please share your new activities with me and let's enjoy some fun new hobbies together!

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A swirling, whirling, freezing, twirling, wonderful, beautiful blur indeed! Forgive me for being away from here for so long! The days have just disappeared in a whoosh of wind and wonder that has turned into, yeah, an ice storm. The photo above is the current state of my mudroom roof, which is pretty scary. I know much of the country is experiencing wild weather right now. I'm on Day 8 of literally not leaving my house, even to go on the (icy) porch. It started with snow and really heavy wind last weekend, and has turned into inches and inches of ice, all over town. School has been closed for over a week, along with canceled ballet lessons and rescheduled doctors' appointments and store shelves absolutely empty of fresh produce. Andy had to work on Tuesday and was able to make it in to work (he takes the bus, which is generally one of the only ways to get around town during a "weather event" like this, as Portland doesn't plow side streets or salt roads) but planned to sleep over at the hospital that night, which he did (that's him, in the hospital gym-turned-employee-hostel). He started his shift the next morning at 2:30 a.m. and was able to make it home the following night, during another lull in the freeze. Conditions are far worse now, so I'm relieved and grateful that he's home (at least until Sunday, when he'll have to go back).

I hope you are all home and warm and safe! My two local friend-group chats have been on overdrive for the past week, as we all navigate lockdown/power outages/nearby fallen trees (Portland has literally lost hundreds of trees this week, and the beautiful picnic shelter where I had Amelia's birthday party a few years ago has been destroyed) and really, really bored children. I've been keeping myself very, very busy preparing some new things for a Valentine's Day launch, coming soon! I've been making soap, earrings, quilt hoops, painted candles, and hand-dyed embroidery floss and having a fantastic time letting myself explore and indulge in some new mediums. I cannot wait to show you. It's been a bit challenging to take photos in literally near-dark conditions, but thank goodness we have had our power on all week, which is much, much more than many of my friends and neighbors can say. So, I'm going to go now and keep working while my electricity continues to stay on, and I bid you all a very happy new year, and hope you are staying cozy and content, and I send you all every wish for wonderful 2024!

(And thank you SO, so much for all of your calendar orders last month — I can't even tell you how stunned and grateful I am for how the calendars were received. They are sold out now but I will definitely bring them back for 2025. Really, truly — thank you so much. XO)

A Tender Year, 2024 Calendar Version!

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UPDATE: Calendars are restocked, but going fast! Quick link here: A Tender Year 2024 Watercolor Calendar by Alicia Paulson. Thank you, thank you, beyond words, everyone! XOXO, a

 

Thank you so much for all of the sweet comments on Amelia's quilt! It has been pure joy seeing her sleep under it every night. I am about halfway through my thank-you notes for the fabric, I swear. I'm sorry I am so slow! Today I need to finish making sixty sweet pink poufy flower barrettes for the Little Flowers and the Big Flowers dancing in the Nutcracker in a few weeks! I will show you them when/if I finish them (due on December 1). I also have a hand-smocking nightgown project I want to get going on for Amelia. And I'm trying to knit some washcloths as Christmas presents. 

I'm a very capricious crafter. To write this post, I was thinking back on all of the crafty things I started trying when lockdown began in 2020. Short list: Jewelry making (mostly with beads, and I learned how to properly finish strung beads with crimp beads and crimp covers and fancy clasps). Perler beads (fun craft, and if you have kids you probably have and giant jar of these somewhere, and they really lend themselves to using cross stitch patterns, too — it's all just pixel art, after all). Pottery (I took a wheel-throwing class at our community college and it was AWESOME). Norwegian tole painting (I bought a kit that came with a video class, but didn't get that far with it). But my favorite was watercolor painting.

I started by watching a few YouTube videos (Shayda Campbell and Emma Jayne Lafebvre are great) and took some Skillshare classes (I love Elisabetta Furcht's classes — super unintimidating) and just started painting things from around my house and from some little embroidery designs I had started drawing the year before (still hoping to finish those someday, too). Sometimes Amelia would sit with me and we'd paint together, watching Skillshare classes together or just listening to music and sharing my pretty Japanese watercolor set that I had splurged on when we first started Covid homeschooling for third grade.

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But often, it was just me, painting at my desk throughout the autumn, with the TV on for company while Amelia was at school and Andy was at work, and I started to curate little subjects to be part of compositions for each month. I would paint them somewhere between maybe three inches tall to about six or seven inches. And I just kind of lost myself in the process. And it was really nice. It was nice to be in watercolor world.

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Little by little my piles of paintings grew. I started to have actual opinions about things like whether I like hot-press watercolor paper or cold-press watercolor paper. (I like hot. It's smoother.) I thought about brushes and bought MANY brushes. I went to the art supply store down the street and started making actual wishlists of painting supplies I wanted. I kinda became a painter, just because I was painting.  It was such a cool feeling to learn something new.  

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Eventually, I started watching more YouTube videos to learn how to scan my artwork and prepare it for printing. I decided to make a calendar that was very simple and kept all of the artwork in a small grid on top, with a very simple monthly calendar on the bottom. I printed some 2023 calendars for my Christmas presents to friends and family last year.

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But this year I redesigned all of the dates for 2024 and took the calendar down to my local printer (Rhino Digital) and worked with them to find a paper that reminded me of the hot-press watercolor paper that I loved. They have printed up 100 200 [we're printing more—thank you!] calendars for me to sell and I must say, they look absolutely amazing. If I do say so myself. I am THRILLED. I am literally thrilled with this.

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So here I am, officially introducing A Tender Year: A 2024 Calendar! It is 8.5" x 11" (U.S. letter sized) and comes with months from January through December 2024. It is professionally printed, single-sided, on lovely, heavy, 80# paper called Cougar Natural, which has a really pretty, warm, vanilla-cream tone, and is almost exactly like the texture of the paper I originally painted all of these little creatures and crafty things on. All of the pages are held together with an "antique bronze" wire binder clip, which comes with your calendar. So it is totally ready to go. It costs $30 and is available to ship immediately.

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And when you're done with each month, you can trim off the dates part and frame just the illustrations. These pages are all printed single-sided, and I specifically did not want to bind this calendar so that you could re-purpose this artwork when each month has expired.

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If you'd like to see an enlarged version of these thumbnails for each month, please click the image above (and there are also larger actual images of each month on my web site):

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Please let me know if you have any questions about the calendar or painting or . . . anything! I am so excited to finally have this calendar in the world. It is such a special project for me and I hope you love it and give it to all your friends for Christmas! :)

The Big Birthday Quilt!

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Ta da! It's here! The big birthday quilt, made of squares contributed by all of you from across the country and beyond! (You can click on the photo above to see an enlarged version of this image.) It was such a fun experience, and the finished quilt came out so great. Andy made it entirely by himself with Amelia's help. It is BIG — bigger than a queen-size batting, so he used a king-size batting. Almost every square is completely unique, with just a few fussy cut from different parts of the same fabric "to get different pictures." What follows here are Andy's phone photos of the process (he takes almost exclusively vertical photos). They had so much fun and it was just such a great project for our family. (If you missed the origin story of how this quilt began, see this Instagram post from this summer, and catch up with this one, this one, this one, and this one.) Thank you to every single one of you who sent such amazing fabrics, and kind notes, and pretty packages, and adorable stationery, and lots of love. We felt it all and are blessed to have such aunties and uncles around the world as you. Thank you, thank you! 

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Even Miss Agatha Raisin Paulson thanks you, as she has had great fun with this quilt as well as our birthday-beauty-sleeper, above. Thank you again, darling friends. I know she will have this quilt forever. It's a treasure. XOXO

Just How

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Oh, such a birthday girl. My darlingest darling turned eleven a few weeks ago. I just . . . how. How. I've been very emotional about it, enhanced by the most heartbreaking and just . . . crushing, crushing . . . state of the world and the Middle East, as I know every one of us are. Last night I cried on the bed while Amelia ate a bowl of cherry tomatoes. It only lasted a few minutes, and in truth she's almost never seen me cry (I usually keep my cries pretty private) but, suddenly, as I sat down and bent over to take my shoes off on my nice warm bed in my nice warm room, with my warm, sturdy child eating tomatoes next to me, I just couldn't keep the tears in. I know I was crying for a lot of things, and then they all turned into just me missing my mother-in-law at that moment, in these post-birthday days, and thinking of all of our past family parties, and how much my mother-in-law loved celebrating Amelia's birthday, and loved celebrating Amelia herself, and how much I miss those old days, those parties, our people, my plans and the things I did. Amelia asked me what the weirdest noise I could make was, so we tried making weird noises that made us laugh, and we skipped reading to just snuggle on the bed while she worked on her cross stitch (she's doing Pink Bird) with my arm around her, and we just laid there and hung out talking for much longer than usual. My darling baby. I am feeling tender and grateful and too soft to get through all there is to process some days. I pray for every mother and their children tonight. The hurting world.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch she first went to with her preschool class to get some pumpkins and also stopped at Edgefield so that I could take a photo of Amelia and Andy holding the finished quilt that he made for Amelia from all of the quilt squares that you all sent and let me tell you, the quilt is absolutely fantastic. I will write another post with a photo of the whole thing in all its lovely glory, but you can see a few sneak peeks of it in the photos above. It is a truly beautiful quilt, and so special, and I thank you all so much for making it with them. All of your notes and your sweet stationery and your decorated envelopes and the fabrics you chose and the stories behind them, and . . . guys. Thank you. I'm moved to tears again. I'll save the tears and more words about this for the quilt post (coming next).

On her birthday, Amelia very impulsively decided she wanted to get her ears pierced, so that was kind of the special event of the day. That morning, while I was brushing her hair to get it up into its bun (which I am still terrible at doing but getting better at) I just casually said, "Hey, when are you going to get your ears pierced?" which made her cry suddenly, and she said, "I'm not going to I don't know I want to go do it todayyyyyyy [crying]." And yes, suddenly it was a plan, though a fearful one. She was really scared. Me [on way to ballet]: "You don't have to get your ears pierced today, or any day. Take the morning to think about it. Think about it at ballet." Her: "No, I want to! I'm going to! I do want to!" And that was that. She wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch, then to the candy store at the mall, and then we stopped at a mall kiosk for the piercing, and she did it, still crying, all by herself because Andy and I had to stand on the other side of the counter from where she was. I was really proud of her because she was quite scared. And I think she was very proud of herself.  And now she has tiny little cubic zirconia studs that she must spray with an antiseptic spray morning and night, and she must not touch her ears. That part is a bit tricky but so far they look absolutely perfect and it's been almost two weeks, so just over four to go. Proud of her. Eleven.

Amelia had a really fun birthday party the day after her actual birthday where she and her friends made cute crafts at a crafting place and laughed and played and ate cupcakes together, and sometimes I wish I could work with kids like teachers do and get to be around them when they're all together all day. I actually just like being kind of a fly on the wall and observing them, and listening to all of the crazy things they say, and laughing at the ridiculous things they think are funny, and marveling at their creativity and kindness to each other. It turned out to be a very excellent birthday weekend after all.

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Happy birthday, my sweetest girl. I love you beyond every star.

So Many New Things I Want to Tell You About! Phew!

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Hello dear friends! Are you as happy as I am that autumn has arrived? I know that not everyone withers and melts in the summer sunshine as I do. But honestly, I lovvvve it when it starts to cool down. I'm so happy when I come downstairs to make coffee in the early morning and can open the back door to that cold air and the sound of crows cawing as they commute back and forth across my neighborhood. I start to feel much more like myself when it's colder.

I've been working on all sorts of new things over the past few months. The first is the final installment of this year's seasonal series and it's called HARVEST MOON.

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Harvest Moon is the fourth installment of my seasonal series of samplers (along with Evening Skate, Full-Moon Planting, and Summer Breeze) done on 32-count Belfast linen from Zweigart in Whisper with DMC floss. It has a stitch count of 138w x 168h and on 32-count fabric finishes with a design area of 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27). It is also available as a downloadable PDF pattern.

I've also been working on an entirely new collection of mini cross-stitch patterns and kits for beginners and kids. This has been a dream of mine for quite a while and this summer I finally was able to dig into the idea and pull it together. Here are just some of the designs in little 3" hoops done on 8-and 14-count Aida cloth that are some of my favorites:

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There are a lot more than these on my web site (and in my brand new Etsy shop) so please have a look! Kits include a printed pattern, Aida fabric, 3" hoop, all floss needed, felt for backing, a ribbon for tying, as well as a tapestry needle and needle threader, all packaged in a recloseable zipper bag so they (and you) can keep everything together and tidy.

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It was so much fun to test these kits out with some of my friends and their kids and see how excited the kids were to start and complete their projects, some of whom had never picked up a needle or hoop before. I just love this picture of beautiful Mila and her bird so much.

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I don't know. That photo just almost brings a tear to my eye because . . . KIDS. They're all so sweet and brave and I love them so much. I really just wanted to do something cool for kids because they deserve some good, old-fashioned, analog, non-screen FUN!!! There are a lot more designs on my web site (and in my new Etsy shop) so please check them out! These will make great little presents and stocking stuffers for anyone! More will be coming for Christmas and winter.

Anyway, yes! I have opened my first Etsy shop! When I designed these new patterns and kits I knew I really wanted to get them in front of an audience that is searching for more beginner and kid-centric crafts, so I am really hoping to get some traffic in my Etsy shop. Even though I've had an e-commerce web site for Posie since 2000, I have never had an Etsy shop before and I am so nervous! Excited, but nervous (my resting state)!

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When I started doing some research on Etsy this summer, I learned about print-on-demand products, as well, and I have been having so much fun designing some needlework swag in the form of tee shirts (as well as a burgeoning collection of mugs, and tote bags). These items are designed by me but printed to order and shipped directly from various "printing partners" around the country. (I use a company called Printify that manages that process). They will ship separately from other kits or supplies you might order from my shop. They all have FREE shipping right now, so please have a look through the tee shirts on my web site and the tee shirts, mugs, and tote bags in my Etsy shop and let me know what you think. :) I ordered several of the tee shirts and I love them so much. They are soft and comfortable and exactly what I wanted. I got one for Andy.

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HOT, right? I know. :) Anyway, I am regularly cracking at least Andy and myself up while designing these, but if you have any ideas for a stitch tee shirt you would like to see, seriously let me know and I will try to make it. I have a running list of ideas and I will be making more in the next few weeks. I'm going to keep most of this swag in my Etsy shop because I think that's where most people are shopping for things like this.

Thank you guys so much for reading this far! This was long! Thank you for bearing with me. These always feel so impossible to write because they actually represent so much alone-time for me, kind of working in little pockets of time that I have and not really having the organization or wherewithal or time to share the process. But now that everyone is back in school and I have more time, I really want to do that more, and expand on the development process because it has been really, really fun. I have a lot more ideas and am currently working on getting my watercolor calendar I was working on last year printed, and I am excited to show you that, as well. Okay, now I will stop talking!!! Thank you!

Settling In

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We are officially finishing up the third week of school today. It's so hard to believe! I laugh. Time whooshes by and I volley at the net, trying to whack at the ball as it comes toward me, not fleet of foot nor good at pivoting quickly. Ballet started this week, and it will be a different experience for everyone at our school this year, as the school has moved (closer to our house, which is nice) and is now is a newly remodeled building. There is more space but it doesn't feel like there is more space, as now there are twice as many classes going at once, and that means twice as many kids (and bookbags, and outfits, and SHOES on the floor, all over every hallway and every studio and the lounge) and twice as many parents. I'm still figuring it out. Parking is tricky enough that I don't want to leave, and lose my great parking spot (we get there early) but also I don't want to stay, because it's pretty crowded and makes me feel claustrophobic. Well, I need to come up with a plan. I will, eventually. We're there three times a week now, so . . . we'll see how things develop.

School-related after-school activities start next week, and I think Amelia is getting in the swing of things. In addition to being on the "safety-patrol" (i.e.: crossing guards), she is also doing the lunch choir twice a week, chess club, electronic music club, and yoga. She absolutely loves her teacher and has made some new friends (mostly all boys) and is just so easygoing and cheerful and sturdy and game that it is, as always, so inspiring to me. She will be eleven next month and I am still trying to process that.

This will be her first birthday without her beloved Grandma Paulson and that is going to be hard for all of us. Andy's mom's 78th birthday would've been yesterday, and her loss has been felt here every single day since she passed away. Andy and I wanted to do something special yesterday so he and I dropped Amelia off at school and went up the the Portland Japanese Garden, where I took these pictures, and it is just the most beautiful, peaceful, sacred space you can imagine. It was a place that we'd gone with Sue (and our niece Brooke) in July of 2019, during one of her last visits to Portland. It was a gorgeous day yesterday, and we wandered and sat and thought and remembered her, and just missed her so much. I miss her smile and her laugh and her sweet texts and just, so many things. I miss you so much, Sue.

I've been staying very busy because I have new things going on, none of which I have really shown to anyone because I have been trying to get everything ready so that I can show you what I've been doing. But then I get super overwhelmed by how to show anyone what I've been doing. Mostly because it presumes that anyone cares what I've been doing! Though I still insist on believing someone does. But regardless — I mean, I am doing my thing, but I seem to be toiling in obsurity, which is weird for a blabbermouth like me. I will have the last installment (autumn!) of my seasonal cross-stitch series available next week (still need to photograph it). I've got sample watercolor calendars at the printer's right now and am waiting for them to come back. I've got lots of kids' and beginners' cross stitch kits and patterns to launch. And I've been busy designing lots of super fun needleworkers' swag. What I have NOT been doing is working on my cookbook (sob), which is about half done but which I have hardly worked on all summer. One, because, to be perfectly honest, I really struggle with summer and I find it to be the most difficult season to cook in. Fresh vegetables and fruits (alas, I mean seriously) are not exactly the cornerstones of my cooking repertoire [cringe]. I'm more of a fall/winter cook. But, even so, I was originally going to try to have my cookbook finished by Christmas and then at some point this summer I realized that that was just an unrealistic schedule and that I should really be shooting for next Christmas (of 2024). So, that took some pressure off and I am feeling good about it. But I am looking forward to getting back to that. I just need more hours in the day, as they say.

Thank you to all of you who have sent quilt squares to us!!! We have a huge stack of envelopes we need to open this weekend! Andy was in Chicago with family last week and Amelia did not want to open anything without him, so we've been waiting for a quiet moment. Andy has started working on the quilt and it is just so cool. Thank you all. (Please check the last five or six posts on my Instagram if you don't know what I'm talking about.) You couldn't possibly know what great timing it is or how much your generosity and kindness means to us right now. Thank you so much! He's hoping for a Mimi-birthday quilt. :) And thank you also for all of the TV suggestions — oh how I love TV suggestions! We decided to watch all of the High School Musicals as a family and Andy and I are currently working our way through Death in Paradise (very mellow and watchable). When I'm on my own at night while Andy is at work, I am watching Covert Affairs, which is super fun and I love Piper Perabo. It sort of reminds me of Alias lite. Anyway, thank you all for all of your suggestions and now I feel like I can really dig into stitching at night with so many options on my watchlist, which thrills me!

I'll be back soon to show you all my new designs! Love to you all, and I hope you are all having a lovely start to fall!

As we get into the swing of school and as the weather cools down and as I get more caught up, I promise I will be blogging more. 

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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