Posts filed in: February 2009

Er, like I said, I was excited.

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I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I only started this last night when I got home at 8:30 p.m., and I've been doing it all day. It's ten to five.


I would stay and chat, but I gotta keep incessantly stuffing little blobs of wool through a big piece of burlap. I can't stop.


My spouse noticed the crazed look in my eye (he knows me), and is now in the kitchen making Bolognese sauce so that there's something to eat at some point today.

Dispatch from Sew Expo

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It was cool. It had been about five years, I think, since I'd been to it, but the Sewing and Stitchey Expo my mom and I went to yesterday was a really fun place to find out about some new stuff, and pick up some things I haven't seen anywhere else. You know how I was kind of bummed to be finishing my book soon? WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM. Seriously. I picked up stuff to start about four more projects, some of which I have never done before, and now I am so ready to be done so that I can start on them. (BTW, these photos and illustrations are all from the artist's web sites, not mine.)

SheperdessPillow My favorite, and something I've been wanting to learn forever, is this little Sheperdess rug punch pillow pattern  from Reets' Rags to Stitches. My mom bought this pattern for me and a beautiful Oxford punch needle, and the burlap. Such a nice mommy. I have wanted to make a rug for so long, but I didn't know anyone who did it to show me how. I bought supplies and a book from the fabric store one time but I got overwhelmed by the idea of cutting all those strips of fabric, and because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't realize that you could use worsted weight wool, which I have bucketfuls of, more than I know what to do with. And you know what I don't have? RUGS. I desperately need rugs in my house. And chair cushions. Perfect. I need four chair cushions for my dining room. My new thing was going to be making a braided rug out of my fabric stash, but I wasn't looking forward to cutting and folding and stitching all those strips, etc. Though I do want to do that someday. But this rug punch is SO EASY. The lady showed me how to do it. And it's so fast. And you can use up your yarn stash = good. I can't wait. Can't wait can't wait. The only thing is, to make a rug, I think you have to have a big frame to hold it while you're working? Not sure if you can use a big but hand-held hoop and move it around. Anyone know?


Okay, next. Folkwear. Do you know about Folkwear? I don't even know where to start talking about Folkwear. The coolest pattern company ever. They've carried these patterns at Fabric Depot for a long time and I have looked at them a million times but never bought one (just got the Roumanian Blouse), mostly because I can never decide which one to get because they are all so beautiful. Yesterday at the show there was an entire wall of them, offered by Birch Street Clothing.


I have never seen the actual pattern packages and illustrations (by artist and jewelry designer Gretchen Schields, which are utterly amazing — I could just look at the illustrations for everything all day, actually) so big and up close like that. They're gorgeous. And the clothes are so unique and fantastic. I'm thinking either the Roumanian Blouse, the Afghan Nomad Dress, the Russian Settlers' Dress, or, naturally, the English Smock.


See, I can't decide. But something. I will order something because I love them and had kind of forgotten about them. And they have a TON of different styles, you just have to look.


What else. Okay, another pattern. The Birdie Big Blocks quilt pattern by Barbara Brandeburg. A 56" square easy applique quilt. They had a turquoise, brown, and melon-orange one made up and it was absolutely adorable. I am going to make this out of my stash, as well. This looks like a perfect stash quilt. I've never made a little quilt like this, or done anything fancier than tie a quilt. This had cool stitching all over it. I think it would be cute to just do simple running stitches by hand around the circles, too. But anyway, sweet. Mom got this one, too.


Next: pincushion. I love pincushions. I need one in every room of the house, hopefully to assuage my tendencies to leave needles in pillows in the bed. One of my special talents. But cute pincushions really do call to me. I thought this one, the English Garden Pin Cushion by Bird Brain Designs, was really cute. I got the kit for this. You can do the flowers however you want. They had beautiful dyed wools, too. The lady was making the most incredible needle-felted animals. I am a little bit afraid of that needle. But I think this pin cushion has just enough needle-felted (the centers of the flowers, and you can make stems and stuff, too) parts for me. This I'll do right away, and keep it on my nightstand.

Look at these incredible miniature cross-stitch historical gardens by Liz Turner Diehl. I got the Ruby Jeweled Garden pattern. I couldn't resist. So cool. I'm thinking of doing my own, of whatever garden we put together this year in our planned raised beds. Aren't those neat? You have to click on the links because the photos are really small.

Anyway, I think that's it. I am really excited about the rug punch. I just had to say that again. I gotta go so I can finish my book and start this, stat. Bye.

Signs of Spring

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Here they come. The signs of spring. It's still darkish, dampish, and mostly dreary, but everywhere there are signs that things will get better. I choose to believe!

I've been embroidering daily from about 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. I am pretty much constantly embroidering, stopping only to let pets in or out, make something to eat, or clean the kitchen. It's hard to imagine how anyone could write an embroidery book and still have a life. I have tried to imagine that, but I just cannot. I like this life, though. It works for me. Once spring has sprung, I'll be aching to go outside. But for now, I'm speed-stitching. It makes Andy laugh. One time he saw me embroidering while standing and said, "No. I never want to see you doing that again." He thinks embroidering while standing because you don't have time to sit down is just wrong! Silly R.N. I try not to let him catch me doing it anymore. Hang in there, wrists!!! Poor wrists. Speed-embroidering is hard on them. It's an extreme sport for crafty types.

Thank you again for all the Friendly Bird kit orders!!! They were slow to get going but then it picked up and they are still coming in today, so I am going to leave them open for a while longer — I've ordered enough supplies for an extra 20%, so I'll keep taking orders until I reach that number. Thank you, everyone! These are really fun, and they will keep you busy for days. Good times!

My mom and I are going to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo all day tomorrow. I haven't been there in several years. Figures the only time I've left the house in the past few weeks is to go frame embroidery or go to a sewing expo! It's definitely time for another walk in the woods.

Good Stuff

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Today would have been my dad's 64th birthday. In his honor, I give you our family's classic chili recipe, perfected by my dad over many winter weekend afternoons. I make my version of it on his birthday every year. It's sweet and smoky and wonderful, and tastes like home to me. My recipe uses the measurements that my dad used (in case you are wondering who measures out things like "5 tablespoons of mustard" in tablespoons) and includes that magic elixir, Liquid Smoke, which freaks some people out. If you had asked my dad whether or not you could omit it, he would've responded gruffly, "Just do what you're told." So I do.

Chili Lobo
by Albert Ieronemo

2 lbs. ground turkey (or ground beef)
2 c. chicken stock (or beef stock)
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 c. dark molasses
16 oz. mild bottled picante sauce
1 16 oz. can of light red kidney beans, drained
1 16 oz. can of dark red kidney beans, drained
5 tablespoons yellow mustard
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried minced onion

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

Ditallini pasta

Brown the turkey in a large stock pot of Dutch oven and drain off excess fat. Add all of the other ingredients except the onion and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the onion and pepper and simmer for another 45 minutes. To make it Ieronemo-authentic, you would serve this over ditali pasta. They never have this at my grocery stores, so I usually use ditalini, which is just wrong (Dad would say). But what can you do (he would say that, too). Top with a dollop of sour cream, or cheddar cheese, or whatever you like on your chili.

Happy birthday, Dad. Miss you. Thinking of you. xo

Miss Pretty McDarlinglove

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February 19, 2009. One year and seven months old.

* * *



September 26, 2007. Two months old.

Now, that was just mean. I mean, funny.

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Our FedEx guy comes up to the house and hands me a package from Random House:

Him: "Hey, congratulations! You cracked the Top 100 Bestsellers list!!!"
Me [going mental]: "WOW!!! Really??? OMG!!! Awesome!!! WOW!!! I can't believe it!!! Wait, how do you know that?"
Him [looking scared]: "I'm just kidding."

He hightails it off the porch.

I open the package. It's a stack of blank bookplate stickers I asked my publicist to send me. [Goes inside and falls over laughing.]

Almost Banana Bread

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I almost can't wait for these to be ready to mash. I want my kitchen to fill with that sweet, cinnamon-y fug of banana bread. I should put them in a brown bag or something, I think? Can't remember. By the way, I did try your suggestions of freezing peeled, overripe bananas, but when I was ready to bake banana bread and thawed them they basically turned to brown water? I must have messed something up there. Maybe they were too overripe. Anyway, these bananas will be bread by Friday, I think. Can't wait. (*Update: Next time freeze nanners with peels on. Noted! Thx guys!!!)

Thank you for the birdie kit orders! I really appreciate those so very much, I can't even tell you. Thank you! Orders will stay open through the weekend, so there is time. I have been busy busy busy and am seriously behind on answering email and letters — I am going to try very hard to get all caught up and organized this week, if I owe you a reply. I get worse and worse at this. Andy (and Clover) is actually going to put birdie kits together for me. It's a great deal on labor: I feed them banana bread/kibble, they work for free, and they never complain. Well, one of them doesn't. Won't say which one. The cute one. (See, I told you I wouldn't say.) My book deadline is in eight weeks, and I have three more projects to design and stitch, and about fifteen to finish off or frame, fifteen more patterns to write. And about a million templates to draw. But then I'm done!

Then I want to be a gardener. Like Margaret. Well, I could never hope to be like Margaret, but I'd settle for being able to produce a couple of lettuce leaves and green onion or two, actually. It's been fifteen years since I've grown a vegetable (besides herbs). I'm excited.

If I can just find some sun. I'm watching the way the sun hits the backyard throughout the day, trying to figure out if building raised beds in the back driveway (which we don't use) will work for a vegetable garden. We don't have a single spot in our backyard that gets full sun, it seems. The only part of the property that really does get full sun is the parking strip — but then you have to worry about car exhaust and dog pee (from the neighborhood canine crew) getting all over your veggies. And I'll just leave you with that image. 'Cause I'm stuck there.

Friendly Bird Kits Now Available!

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Sorry it's taken me so long to get these ready! The kits are now available for pre-order! They contain almost everything you need to make FOUR Friendly Birds — you can see more details on the web site (click the link above). As I mention there, we will be taking pre-orders for these kits through this week and the weekend, and then ordering supplies after we see how many kits we need, so everything will ship around the first week in April. And yes, I do ship overseas, no problem. :-) Thank you!

Here are some photos of birdies past to inspire you:








Paulson Place

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Home of the world's laziest pets.







Paws. Mwah!

Pillow Talk

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Me: "If you weren't already doing your dream job, what would you want to do?"
Him [quickly, as if he'd been thinking about it]: "Cameraman for a long-running game show."
Me: "Wow. I had no idea."
Him: "What about you?"
Me [quickly, as I had actually been thinking about it]: "Be Judge Judy."
Him: " . . . "

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.