Posts filed in: March 2006

How Much Stuff Fits on a Coffee Table

comments: 23

Mess1By the dawn's early light, evidence of a late night at the crafting coffee table remains. Ugh. The weekend's happy muttering-puttering turned into yesterday's aimless and bewildered attempts to catch up on what I should have been doing over the weekend, and lasted well into the night (while watching our favorite show, Midsomer Murders. Englishwomen, is this show popular in England? Is John Nettles a superstar? He is our favorite . Love him! Also, should one really be terrified to enter small, seemingly bucolic English villages? It seems so! Please advise). Anyway, I'm officially behind, trying not to panic. The thing about selling what you make is that, you know, once it sells, you need to make more. And before you make more, you've gotta pack up the things that sold and ship them. And though I feel like I'm actually not slow at this, I also feel like I can't get on top of it, and I live in constant fear of someone calling me and yelling at me because it's taking me a week to get their package out. No one's ever actually called me and yelled at me for that, but I never, ever stop thinking that it will happen. I took an hour and sat crocheting tiny stripes on something I'm working on for the pet swap that Anna is organizing, chanting "Serenity now!" all the while, but I'm not sure it worked. Maybe it was the exclamation point I put on the end that defeated the message of the command's content. Serenity now? Please? Or "Serenity; now pack this and tape that and wrap this." Anyway.

I'm off to the shop today, and lots is going on there. Eli Halpin, one of our most beloved Portland painters, is finally moving to Baltimore to open a health food store, and coming to get all of her work that's been on consignment in the shop. She is the cutest girl, with these long wavy blond ponytails with big flowers on top of each one. She rides around town on a vintage bike with a flower-bedecked bicycle basket, too. She must be in her early twenties, and supports herself by selling her paintings. Huge paintings, some of them. I'm so sad to see her go. We're also advertising for an intern through the Art Institute of Portland to help us in the shop through spring and summer, which, if it works out, will be a relief. There are so many different things to help with, if one was inclined, so many ways we could use a fresh set of eyes and hands, and so many things for them to learn about; it can be a really good experience for everyone. Here's hoping.

Alice Aprons are happening, slowly but surely, and more birds, more bobbies, more stuffies, and more cagelets are still in the works for the store/site. The screen for the silk-screened part of the aprons is done, and waiting for its ink, which will happen this week, I think he said. Hon, when will you be able to silk-screen that stuff? I can't remember what you said. Gosh, I hope it all looks as good as I want it to, at the end of the day. Bear with me. I'll get there, I promise.

Emma Capelet

comments: 18

Capelet1_1This is from the mysterious Family Circle Easy Knitting spring/summer 2006 issue that came out a few weeks ago. I had sort of forgotten what this little capelet, which I'd named "Emma," looked like. It looks very pretty on its Sienna Miller-ish model, though I have to admit my colors don't really fit in with their choice of color styling in the rest of the story: lots of lime green, navy blue, red, and lemon yellow, with big mod shapes in the background. I guess I'm a dove-gray girl in a lime-green world. It is a lot of fun to see my design, and the designs of my friends Kristin Spurkland and Ann E. Smith, who also have pieces in this issue. There are some cute things in there, including a very simple crocheted tank dress in stripes that would be darling at the beach, with white tennis shoes, and maybe a French Riviera-ish kerchief, a la To Catch a Thief? And you would certainly need some espadrilles for later, when you went into town.

Sunshine and Marching Peeps

comments: 23

2parade2It's so pretty here in Oregon this morning. I can hear the birds singing outside, and yesterday I noticed that my magnolia tree is getting its fat purple buds. My snow cherry is ruffled with tiny whites. The peonies have sent up their curious red periscopes -- these sprouts are always the first emissaries from underground, and I clap my hands in delight when they show. I have ten peony plants in my front yard, and this might be the first year we have more than four or five flowers, total. I'm extremely excited about these. Actually, this reminds me to grab some metal cagey things while I'm out today, and stake them early, lest the pretty peonies wind up splayed like fluffy, drunken bridesmaids all over the lawn in a couple of months, when the party gets out of control.

I put this little spring critter parade together for Stephanie, to welcome Little Birds back to the party, too. Oh how we've missed our little birds. See my kerchiefed Mama Duck? Ordered from Steph's lovely new Etsy shop. One of the best things about the past six months for me has been getting to know Stephanie in real life as well as a-blog. In fact, as much as I love Little Birds, I love the beautiful, real-life Stephanie more, and that's a lot. So glad you're back, Steph. Lunch Wednesday? Or even Thursday. Either one. Actually, maybe Thursday.

2parade3_1I had such a good time yesterday! I was working on something new. I'm not sure if I'm going to show you or not. Or I mean, I'm not sure if I'm going to show you before the recipients receive them, though I doubt I'll be able to stand it, show off that I am. It kills me to be coy, honestly. This project is kind of a new medium for me, but seems perfectly suited. I'd been kicking the idea around in my head since last fall, and yesterday just seemed like the right time to try, what with all this sunshine and the carbonated promise of spring and new things. Did I mention I love spring? Yes, I'm a crazy spring-crazed fool. I always remember my old friend Beth once telling me that she didn't like spring. (First thought: Oh my! Such people exist?) But I think she said she felt like it was too spazzed out and unpredictable, too fraught with emotion, bewildering growth spurts, capricious take-backs, hormonal thunderstorms. (Um, yeah -- she is a poet.) But I'm okay with that stuff. I live there year 'round, no matter how much deep-breathing I practice.

BilletcollageOh -- one more quick thing: Did you know it's Papier Valise's birthday? My little order from them arrived on Friday, and no, I don't really have time to be setting up little trolley tickets and doll hangers on a bread board and taking pictures of them, but I just couldn't help myself. Their stuff is fascinating. Don't know where to get a tiny brass envelope that opens and shuts? A set of lilliputian metal wings? Yeah. Over here.

Simple Gifts

comments: 18

Marchprezzies2 Oh joy! A weekend, all to myself! It's 9 a.m. on Saturday, and I am looking at two entire days of puttering, muttering freedom. I haven't a single plan. The house is a little bit clean, even after our little St. Paddy's Day party last night. It's so quiet here now.

Actually, I do have a bit of a plan. I'm going to get my work stuff organized, and then I'm going to make some things for my internet friends. The mail continues to shower me with the sweetest of treasures and kind words and gestures. Sweet illustrated button cards from the lovely sweet Pam, a beautiful note from my dear Chris and Larry, colorful magnets and earrings from sweet Leisl, this gorgeous necklace from Lindsey, the tiny bunny and the loveliest note I think I've ever gotten from anyone from Toni, along with her only pair of striped socks (the brown, pink, and white ones at left), her way, she said, of giving me a hug, "and a tiny kiss on your little black shoe!"

So, you know, that makes you cry. That's just -- well. You know. I think that image will stay with me forever. It keeps rising to the surface of my mind every few hours, and I feel a warm little wave of peacefulness every time. Her own stripey socks, and a tiny kiss on my wonky old little black shoe. Are you a nurse, Toni? Yes -- she's a mom.

Nest1This is the necklace from Lindsey, and I just can't stop looking at it. I actually took it off because I haven't looked at it enough yet. It's so pretty. I wrote Lindsey yesterday afternoon when it arrived and told her that she couldn't possibly have known but I have been looking for the right necklace for myself for years. I never wear necklaces. I've never found the right one. When I unwrapped this nest from it's tiny granny-square packaging, I gasped. It's rare that I'm speechless, as you know, but this beauty speaks for itself. Wow. It's my necklace, the one I've been trying to find.

Do you know the tune to Simple Gifts?

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where you want to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When -- true -- simplicity is gain'd
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Til by turning, turning we come 'round right.

I know it's not talking about "presents" kinda gifts, but maybe it is. Things get lost and taken away from you. Other things, gestures filled with generosity and grace, come to replace them. The new things are bigger, and simpler, too. For a long time it has seemed like the most important thing in the world is a foot. I could be wrong about that. Thank you for these. I just turned a little bit. I would so much like to come 'round right.

Big, Little

comments: 17

DressandchairThank you, kind lassies, for your very kind comments yesterday, especially you, Laura, the sweetheart who suggested I looked like Courtney Cox! That comment alone has made having a blog at all just so very extremely worth it! Alas, these days I bear far more resemblance to Grendel's mother than the lovely C.C., but you're such a sweet, generous crowd I'll let you persist in thinking I'm still cute if it means coming home to such comparisons. But really, thanks everybody. You are all just so nice. And I loved hearing all the other funny engagement stories!

Andy was reading the comments last night and laughed when he got to our friend Misha's (hi Meesh!), who wondered why I don't make wedding dresses. I said, "Maybe I should have mentioned that that one took me a year." Andy said, "Yeah, but you, like, made it in bed, while watching TV." Sort of true; we did live in a studio apartment with a Murphy bed then, and when the bed was out it took up half the room, so where could I go? I'd sit in the middle of of the bed, and hand-stitch silk ribbon to the hem. We actually had to move furniture around every night before we could go to sleep. Good times, though. Loved that place, and making that dress. As I said, I really loved that year, and part of it was just the experience of making the dress, and sitting under all that gorgeous silk organza, and dreaming. Good fabric is just . . . it's just so awesome. Piles of it is heavenly.

Dolldresses2This little fairy frock is a tiny confection that I've had for years, gotten for a few bucks at an antique store somewhere. It's one of my absolute favorite things ever, and I keep it with my little collection of little chairs. I have a collection! I found this shelf at a garage sale a few years ago, and I got it with the sole intention of starting a little collection of something, but I didn't know what I wanted to collect. I thought, "What do I like to do?" and then I thought, "Well, I do like to sit." So, you know, chairs.

These little tiny wire ones with the flowers are so sweet. And that double beach chair? Wow. A gift from my friend Kim, who used to be a display designer for big department stores, and I believe this came from one of those. One is made of a tin can (the white one with the green cushion)! That was from Shelly, of the aforementioned Button Day, and I think she got it on E-bay, and gave it to me for Christmas.

Amy P. and I were talking the other day about how much we loved Jenny's amazing dollhouse makeover. If you haven't seen that, take a look. It will just make you smile with your whole body.


comments: 52

EngagedTen years ago today Andy asked me to marry him! It happened after a long day of driving through the mountains. He'd had the ring in his pocket the whole time. We'd driven from Missoula to Great Falls, headquarters of the Buttrey grocery store chain, whose history I was researching and writing for them. We went out there to pick up a box of old photographs and documents. I was crabby all day. The project wasn't going well. I don't think I stopped talking about how badly it was going for one minute. We drove back to Missoula as the sun was going down. The mountains rose up, glowy blue and speckled with snow in the twilight. On the side of the road, several cars were pulled over. When that happens in Montana, you pull over, too, and go see what everyone is looking at. It was a herd of elk, about 100 yards away. The stag stood protectively in front of all the rest of them, staring hard at us, watching. Snow blew past in swirls. It was one of those stunningly beautiful Montana moments.

But no, this isn't where he asked me.

We got back in car and I insisted that we go to Pizza Hut for the salad bar. Doesn't that sound . . . nevermind. I had a craving for a salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon bits and icy peas. Andy wanted to go somewhere nicer. Ohhhh, no. No, no, only Pizza Hut. Then we remembered: It wasn't open for some reason. Oh, was I mad. Now could we go somewhere nicer? No. I must have flabby pizza and germy salad, so we headed for the strip. Tower Pizza, whose oak-paneled interior hadn't changed since the '70s. When we walked in I heard a commotion behind me, and turned to see one of their giant pendant lamps swinging, and Andy holding his forehead -- he had walked into the light fixture. What the. I power-walked through the restaurant to the salad bar. I got my salad and sat down and ate it without waiting for him and ranted about the project some more, munch, rant, munch munch, rant.  !!! [Lordy.] When I finally looked up, he was gone. I turned and saw him on both knees next to our booth, holding out a ring. I have never been so surprised, except for the time my roommates threw me a surprise 21st birthday party and I walked all the way through the house, talking (not very nicely, no doubt) about several of the people who were at the time hiding in the house only feet away, and then stopped to go to the bathroom with the door wide open, still talking about people (while peeing), and came out to see my roommates doubled-over laughing in the kitchen, and then everyone popped out and screamed "SURPRISE!!!" and I tell you I almost fell flat to the floor with shock (and complete embarrassment). The shock of being proposed to in that moment was second only to that. Of course I said yes and helped him slide into the booth beside me. His shirt was sopping, sopping wet with nervous sweat. Everyone in the place clapped. It was one of the best moments of my life. I don't think I'd ever been picked first for anything, ever, ever. I felt utterly, thoroughly chosen. We'd known each other for years before we even started dating. If you'd asked me, when I met him in 1989, if I thought we'd be married someday I would've said not in a million, bo-billion years, man. It seemed as likely as becoming a zoologist, or a strawberry farmer, or a detective. So, go figure. Anything can happen.

I loved being engaged. Loved it. I liked the wedding, too, but the engagement anniversary always feels much more special to me than the wedding annivesary, somehow. And just in case you were wondering if this was still a craft blog, it is. I made that dress! Oh, and this is the picture I was talking about in this post about my grandma and her apartment building.

My New Old Buttons

comments: 33

Buttons2Last weekend Andy and I went with our friend Shelly (who is the generous, patient angel who makes my crazy web site ideas turn into actual web site pages) to a little button sale. Shelly is an avid button collector, and does extremely cool things with buttons that I will show you when she gets her web site all the way she wants it. She belongs to the local button society (I think that's what it is) and invited us to attend a little gathering of button ladies at a suburban hotel on Sunday. Andy and I were gonna just hang out together, because it's so rare that we actually have a weekend-day off together, but I thought the button thing sounded like fun so he came with. Shelly and I sidled around looking at old buttons and within a half-hour Andy was already holding court at a table in the back surrounded by a crowd of older ladies, all telling him their medical histories and showing him their buttons.  Predictably, he was having quite a fine time. He got some cool Portland and Chicago police buttons so we all went home happy.

Pho_bob_cristobelle_lg There is something so essentially optimistic about having a collection, any kind of collection. I find such little gatherings of like-minded souls very touching. When we arrived, a bit early, the ladies were all still eating the strawberry cake that was the dessert part of their luncheon, sitting at their little tables. After the lunch, they brought out the buttons they wanted to swap or sell, and many of them were on pieces of tagboard, all carefully labeled with tiny handwriting. The cards were incredible in their detail, and arrangement. I spent most of my time at the "poke boxes," which are boxes of buttons for a quarter or so, and you just dig through and pick out the ones you like. Everyone was so nice, and it was so relaxing, listening to them talk buttons. It's a topic I don't know a thing about, but, you know, buttons themselves are pretty darn charming whether you know anything about them or not. I made these (and there are more here on the site) from what I got there.

Pho_bob_basket_lgI thought about all the little "societies" having luncheons at that very moment, all over the world. It is so easy to watch the evening news and feel hopeless. In the face of such daily terrors and troubles, how could it matter, to care about something so small (or big, or weird, or purple, or whatever it is that turns you on)? To say "This is important to me. I care about it enough to keep it nice, and label it carefully, and share it with you" seems such a sweet, hopeful, distinctively human thing to do that I couldn't help but feel moved by the scene, and the subject matter -- all this care shown for the dear, homely little button! The most hardworking, humble, and often-invisible of objects. Why do people collect coins, or stamps, or stickers, or erasers. What are we doing when we find ourselves longing for the one eraser we don't yet have. To stake out a small territory of order and carefulness within the chaos of the universe -- as every collection of anything seems to be -- feels like an achievement, somehow, when it's often hard to see the point. I want to believe there is a reason for it, and perhaps want, too, to believe that the reason is not about the thing itself at all, but more about our ability to find ways to mitigate hopelessness. And practice love. I don't know. What is it.

Pho_bob_bristol_lg The hotel was so shabby, the lighting awful, but the setting seemed to speak to this feeling. The room itself was actually beyond irrelevant -- it seemed symbolic of something, all ugliness and junk. When I'd picked out my own little bag of cuties, I found Andy sitting happily with one lovely lady to whom he'd been talking for quite a while. She showed us all her favorites. We hadn't a clue what time it was and didn't care, the afternoon seemed open and slow. She was so pretty. I felt the lack of grandmothers in my adult life quite keenly then.  I would like to spend time, sifting through buttons and listening to stories about the 60s, Arizona, what it was like to move to a town where you knew no one, to make a friend who collected buttons and start a new hobby that would last forty years. "Oh, it's fun!" she said. I feel like I could learn a lot about things there. I wish I had a grandma. Maybe there are lots of different kinds of grandmas. Maybe they don't need to be yours at all to work their magic on you. I felt different when I left.

Glad Rags and Party Bags

comments: 20

Pirouetteillus2These bags are very versatile. They're for people who have real lives and actually get invited to parties. I'm not one of those people but I know they're out there because I see them on TV. But these bags are also for the rest of us, who like to hang stuff we wore twice on the door, with the bag, and pretend that maybe someday we'll have somewhere to go.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I am probably the least athletic person on earth, but the vast majority of my wardrobe consists of mismatched, poorly fitting athletic-type clothes: sweatjackets and velour sweatsuits and floppy t-shirts and very ugly stretchyish pants. This is why, all my life, I have wanted to wear a uniform. I think I hit my fashion prime when I was a movie theater candy girl and a dressed exactly the same every day: black mini skirt (this was the 80s), black tights, white blouse with Peter Pan collar, apron. And always with the Doc Martens. It was cute, very Parker Posey. Actually, come to think of it, I do in fact dress the same every day, except that now I'm very, like, junior-high volleyball coach.

Pho_piro_libraryplaid_lg I thought I'd get more done yesterday but I always underestimate how long it takes to Photoshop all the new photos and create the new pages. Nevertheless, things are moving quickly off the site, and I've been meaning to extend a huge and very sincere thank you to everyone who's been ordering from it, and stopping by the shop lately. I'm sorry it's taking me so long to finish everything I have planned, including new cagelets. There are a lot of new things up there today, including another ten or so Pirouette bags like these. If you're someone who has been waiting to see stuff, please have a look. It turns out that the blog readers are getting a jump on things much earlier than the mailing list people because I'm not able to get the newsletter out as frequently as I am able to update the blog. Typepad makes life so much easier! I love it.

Pho_piro_aquamarinestripe_l_1 I've noticed that it's kind of tricky to Photoshop product photos on the laptop. The way the screen tilts can really affect the way the lighting looks in your photo, and I have trouble getting everything consistent. I try to keep the colors of the product as true to life as possible, regardless of what that does to the background, but it's still kind of tricky. I love these bags, though. These are the ones I made on HGTV. I've been doing them for a long time. Once these are gone, I probably won't do them anymore. My silk stock is getting low and I'm really trying to use only the supplies I already have from now on.

The Little Rambler

comments: 28

ApronsI am ready, I am sooooo ready for spring. Can't get here fast enough. Nevertheless, at this time of year, as in fall, I am always scrambling, trying to finish the season's new products, so spring is actually coming too fast for Posie. Too slow for me, too fast for Posie. Today will be a total scramble, as I finish what I started on the weekend (Pirouette handbags and Fleur Button Bobbies) and head to the P.O. to do the international packages from last week. International shipping is ever so slightly more challenging, as it requires filling out customs forms and standing in a long line and then talking to an actual person, instead of ramming everything through the "robot," as we call him, or APC, the way we like to. We don't like to speak to any actual people at the P.O. This is the one place where I would say that automated progress is just much, much better. Actual conversation with postal people always goes badly for me, especially at the SE Station on 7th. If you ever feel like you need to feel worse about the state of our federal services, just go there. I remember once buying a stamp at the P.O. somewhere in Italy. I said, "How much is a stamp for this letter?" (though I had a phrasebook and said it in Italian).
     The guy sort of leaned back, looked me up and down, crossed his arms as if we was considering whether or not to sleep with me, too, and said, "For you? For you, 1000 lira" (or whatever it was).
     I stood there, mouth agape, predictably incredulous. I said, "No, not just for me, for everybody."
     "One thousand lira."
     I wasn't sure if I should be reverse-offended -- apparently now I wasn't cute enough to get a discount.
     "Okay." I paid for the stamp, he stamped the letter, then threw it backwards over his shoulder.

Just kidding. He didn't really throw it over his shoulder. But that's sort of what it feels like at an Italian P.O. And the SE Station. Like you're completely shocked when your mail actually makes it out of there and reaches its destination.

Littlehousesl But anyway, never mind about that. What I wanted to say is that aprons are coming to the Posie product line, inspired by this little book, one of my favorites. Remember it? It's The Little House: Her Story by Virgina Lee Burton (1948), a cautionary tale about urban expansion and the dangers of being too curious about life in the big city. My copy was actually mine when I was little, published as part of the Weekly Reader Children's Book Club my mom enrolled me in when I was very small. This book was always a favorite, yet it haunts you; I felt a strange dissatisfaction and unmitigated anxiety at the end when the plan to restore the house to her bucolic lifestyle required jacking her up off her foundation and moving her further out to the country. Even now, upon rereading it, I am much more disturbed than relieved by the solution, feeling its message keenly yet resisting it all the same, thinking, "There has to be a way. We must save the Portland public school system!" (Which, in case you didn't know, is flat-lining, too.)

Littlehousepage So, okay, what this has to do with aprons. Well. Hopefully today I'm going to do some aprons. (Those ones in the picture at the top are vintage and Anthropologie, by the way, and I just keep them on display like that in my bedroom 'cause I think they're so pretty, and I have stacks and stacks of aprons folded elsewhere in the kitchen, and about three or four others being used as curtains in the pantry. So, obviously, let's make more. No, but what's so cool about wearing them over jeans or skirts or whatever is that they don't have to be sized, the way skirts do. When skirts were part of the Posie product line way back when, I loved designing them and I think people loved buying them, but what I didn't like was fitting them (though A-lines tend to fit almost everybody). But I find selling clothing that actually has to fit someone perfectly on-line a bit too challenging. So, aprons, which always fit, and anyway, we should all be wearing way more aprons over our jeans and skirts and dresses anyway because they just look totally adorable, no? I mean, hanging them is cute but wearing them, far beyond the kitchen, is cuter.) And the aprons will have pockets, and on the pockets will be silk-screened one of my favorite quotes, and a little drawing of one of my favorite things, so stay tuned for that.

Wow. Note to self: Start drinking decaf, or get a friend, pronto.

Oh, and honey, if you're reading this before I talk to you, please call the music store where you picked up your French horn yesterday. They want to talk to you.

What Happens in the Hallway

comments: 22

DolldressesWhen you live with a nurse, you occasionally get phone calls at 4:45 a.m. asking the nurse if he wants to work that day, or telling him that he doesn't have to. This morning it was the latter.  In the dim light of bedroom dawn, I noticed whitish . . . clumps . . . on the floor next to my bed.  Too tired to care, I lay back down and tried to fall back to sleep to no avail. As it got lighter, we could see what the clumps, connected by long thin lines, actually were: yarn, winding into the bedroom from the hallway, from all the way up the stairs, from around every corner into the downstairs hallway, into the living room, from Andy's chair, where last night he'd been sitting knitting another pill (this one "K," for potassium, a lack of which makes people "floppy," apparently). The dog seemed vaguely obsequious, as if she had her own dim memory of having done something naughty, and knew it would be best to flatter, and look as cute as possible.

Hallway2It seemed like a good time to show you some of the things I've been working on in the hallway. I bought a few decorating books I've been really loving this past week: Style on a Budget and Flea Market Style, both by Emily Chalmers, a London stylist whose aesthetic I really like. The photography, by Debi Treloar, is so lovely and evocative. It's got me trying to go more multi-dimensional than this ubiquitous Pottery-Barn-ish photo wall (though I kind of like the look, and it is a convenient, casual way to display pictures in a really skinny hallway, as ours is). I mean multi-dimensional in a literal way -- like, what's not flat. Little installations, still lifes connected to real life.

HallwaySomething that I really like about having the blog is the way that it causes me to look at things differently than I had been. I organize what I see and what I think about it, and then I put it somewhere (i.e.: in the blog); I find this activity incredibly satisfying and very calming, this ordering of ideas, and images. It makes me think about what kind of stuff hangs around in my life, and it causes me to edit that stuff, the same way that I naturally edit my words and photos in the blog. Having a better-edited space feels to me like having a better-edited life; I know that I am thinking more carefully about what I need, what I let in, what must go, and in almost all cases, "less" has added up to much, much more. Less has been so much better. I sort of distill it now; I strip it, and figure out exactly what it is, and why I have it, and how to present it so that it means something to me. (Excuse the abstract quality of this heavy-handed metaphor, but of course I mean this is true of things both material and not-so-material.) I know, absolutely, that I wasn't doing this before.

Around_the_house_021 When my parents left our childhood home and moved here to Oregon eight years ago, they packed up the house themselves, and I wasn't able to go back to help. They brought us some boxes of stuff, including each of our trunks (given to us when we were very small by our dad; in them we were supposed to keep things that were important to us). I moved the trunk and boxes into my basement, and haven't opened them yet. I feel, most days, that that Pandora's box of memories would be more than I really want to handle. Nevertheless, I do feel strangely disconnected from my childhood without most of my things, without having ever really gone through my things -- I keep thinking that someday there will be a right time for it, and I will know it when it arrives. My mom gave me several of those doll dresses in the photo above the other day. I felt no connection to them at all, even though my mom and my aunt made them, and I apparently played with them. I couldn't remember it. But I don't even care. It makes me happy to have them, and have them out where I see them every day, and know that they were mine. I think that even though I don't remember it, my life now is connected to my life then, elsewhere, long ago, far away, because these souvenirs brighten my wall.

I don't feel like that has to happen a lot, just a little. I have never felt even a twinge of guilt about painting wood trim, or updating a house by remodeling, or any of that kind of stuff. I respect old things, but I don't ever want to live in the past. Nothing feels creepier to me than places that have been "renovated" to be exactly as they were in the past. Oh man, that creeps me out completely, and I don't even understand why anyone would want that, unless it's like a museum, or something. Even when "vintage" goes dusty, or lacy, or Victorian (eeeeww -- I don't even like typing that word -- let's never speak of it again), I get very uncomfortable. I like a combo. Moderation. Margins for error. Empty spaces waiting to be filled. Filled spaces waiting to be changed. Always, always an empty drawer, in case a new craft project appeals and needs a place to be stored while in progress.

About Alicia Paulson


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




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.