Posts filed in: September 2009

Seattle Sunday

comments: 78


It was my first time attending an NFL game in real life! It was a beautiful day, and we had great seats. Andy was extremely excited. We sat between Bears fans and Seahawks fans. Andy was a bit conflicted, since he likes the Seahawks just fine, but once a Chicagoan, always a Bears fan; he was wearing an Urlacher [Bears] jersey but wound up enthusaistically high-fiving everyone around, no matter who scored. I offered helpful observations about the game when I could. The first quarter didn't go very well for the Bears.

 "The team seems a little uninspired today. The team seems like it is wishing it was on the ferry to Bainbridge Island."
 "No, that's just you, hun."

Maybe. I continued knitting my fair isle sock. During halftime, Andy went to find some popcorn, and I read O Pioneers! Some people gave me weird looks, but c'mon, I'm Alicia: I get weird looks all day long. Doesn't bother me a bit.


The Bears came back in the end, and it wound up being a very exciting game. After the game, we walked uptown to our hotel, the Inn at the Market. We always stay there when we go to Seattle. I have a thing for nice hotels, as you might have noticed if you've been reading this blog for a while. I love fancy hotels.


One of our favorite restaurants, The Pink Door, is right down the alley.


It's a darling, sparkly little place, with pretty lighting and very nice food.


We ate outside, on the deck overlooking the water.


As I mentioned yesterday, it was turning into a gorgeous evening.


You could feel the chill in the air. It is no longer summertime.


We walked back down the lane to our hotel, about a block away.


And went up to the roof to watch the sunset.


Good grief, it is beautiful there.


I really love Seattle.

Bears vs. Seahawks

comments: 34


Andy and I took the train up to Seattle on Sunday for the game, and got back last night (very short trip). Seattle is so beautiful, isn't it? This was the sunset on Sunday night from the rooftop garden of our hotel. Love that place. More soon! Need coffee first!

Thank you!

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Thank you so much for the baby potato love — so many yummy ideas! I am crazy busy the next couple of days but I will be back soon to show you what we did with them, I promise. :-)


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Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Weensy taters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How should we prepare them????????????????????????????????????????

Breakfast Break

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Knitting a sock (in Patons Kroy "Cameo Jaquard"), reading my new library book (Mountain Interiors by Beate Wedekind; I feel another Alpine phase coming on), and eating an English muffin with honey (good).


MUST make up for the pathetically disorganized frenzy that was yesterday. (Yesterday included lots of helpless stumbling around trying to get organized, and failing, then sighing, then giving up and knitting.) I have a lot to do and no motivation this week. (Perhaps because it's the end of September and it's still 90 degrees.) It would be more fun to try and think of names for my sock. "Alpine Sunset." No. Too obvious. "I Want a Little Painted Bed Like That One." Maybe.

I know. Welcome to my life.

Wild Violet

comments: 40


I made a Farmer's Daughter apron for my mother-in-law Sue's birthday last week. She loves purple with a dedication and consistency that is inspiring. This seems true for almost everyone I've ever known who loves purple. Purple people are unwavering in their purple love. And when you meet them, and you see them with purple things or wearing purple, you think, "My gosh, I totally get it. Purple was invented for this!!!"

Sue wears purple so well it seems invented for her and her alone, especially the dusky, mauve-y, silvery shades that feel like the flower borders in the backgrounds of Merchant-Ivory films, and the insides of oyster shells, and sunrises at the lake. Heathercolors. Ollalieberry ice-cream colors. I love these mellow shades paired with pale browns and driftwood colors, like wild violets speckle-ing the pine-needled forest floor. There's an unfortunate moire pattern in this photo that's distracting, but the color of this linen was so pretty — kind of a warm, pinky beige. For the embroidery, I used DMC six-strand cotton floss but also some of DMC's linen floss in the palest silvery lavender. There isn't an appreciable difference, to be honest, but it does give areas of satin stitch a subtle, matte-y finish that  I like sometimes, especially when it's playing off of the more shimmery, glossy surfaces created using the mercerized cotton.

Just sayin.

Backroads Afternoon

comments: 69


We all went to the Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel on Friday afternoon.


I was looking for the lady who sold the German Christmas ornaments last year, but she wasn't there.


The lady who fills the jelly doughnuts was there, though. . . .


St. Mary Church, which stands on a little hill overlooking the town, is so pretty.


Shelly drove, so I got to stick my camera out of the car window and take pictures on the way home. She grew up in the country, so she is not afraid to drive onto private property to photograph someone's cool old 1880's barn.


Man, if only we had a nervy, country-raised full-time chaffeur this blog would be so much better!


There was a ten-mile back-up on the highway, so we left I-5 and cut across the ditch toward a little frontage road, which took us to the back roads. (Country girls aren't afraid to leave the highway and cut across ditches to get to the backroads, either, FYI [I was biting my fingernails the whole time].)


We listened to Wilco Summerteeth.


It seemed just right.


But then, it frequently does.


Especially on the backroads, in the late afternoon.


Especially if there are apples and Queen Anne's Lace.


Remind me to go back to Boone's Ferry Road just north of Woodburn if I ever need a rusted-out turquoise blue car to use in a photo of an embroidery project. (Why wouldn't I.)


Fine. We'll bring the zoom lens. And Shelly.


Fall Things

comments: 75


Thank you so very much for all of the ornament kit orders!!! Your enthusiasm is so precious to me, and to Andy, and to Clover Meadow, who loves nothing more than to lay on the floor with her head on his feet while he winds yarn into bundles or cuts rick-rack. A few feet away, I'm working on the new kit pattern while he assembles (and in answer to a few questions that came in this week, yes, patterns for both kits will be available as downloadable PDFs after we get all of these kits made and shipped in October). Outside, through our big open windows, we hear the rustle and ping of hundreds of acorns falling from the huge oak trees across the street. I think one falls about every minute or so. It's a nice little work environment, I must say.


I sat in the backyard and took some pictures from my Adirondack chair the other evening. The yard is very nasty now, overgrown, weedy, with smashed and rotten plums all over the ground and spider webs — huge, almost-invisible spiderwebs — laced between any two things, usually right across doorways. Yesterday I stepped  quickly out the back door without doing my usual reconnaissance (with my Chinese broom held in front of me, thwapping freely at all potential webby areas), and immediately walked into a big one, saw the big fat-butted spider that had been sitting in it shoot [smartly] off to the side and disappear as I flailed around in a panic and then spent five minutes pawing at my head and spitting web out of my mouth while doing the panic-jig (pick up feet quickly while turning in a circle and smacking yourself repeatedly and making worried-kitten noises). Eventually I was able to pick the half-eaten carpenter-looking ant out of my hair — I saw it and got so freaked out I whipped that thing across the yard as if it were a grenade and pulled a little muscle in my shoulder, then did a whole-body shiver from head to toe. It was quite a performance, I must say. I called it "Autumn in Oregon: Not for Arachnophobes." I'm sorry you missed it.


I am getting a late start today. I almost always wake up around 5:30 or 6 a.m. But last night I couldn't sleep so I woke up at 1:50 and didn't get back to sleep until 5:30. Which is about when Andy and Clover woke up and Clover ran across the bed straight for my face with her big, cold nose. I grumbled at them and they bounded away and bounced downstairs and I slept until 9, which is . . . I never do that. The day's half over now already!


From 1:50 to 5:30 a.m., I was reading Julia Child's My Life in France, which I couldn't put down. It's about book writing and book publishing as much as it is about France. She is so cool. What a cool lady. I treated myself to a little shopping spree at Powell's the other day and have a new stack of books on my nightstand. I must put my new book list together. I have lots of craft books to mention, too. So many beautiful books these days.


We have a fun but busy weekend around here. Farmer's market for sure. We'll get to the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, and later go to a wedding (I haven't been to a wedding in ages.) And then on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., Portland crafty ladies Susan Beal and Diane Gilleland and I will be at the Hollywood Public Library giving a panel discussion on our experiences writing craft books.


This is part of the Writers Talking series, and I think it's going to be really interesting. The three of us had breakfast here yesterday and talked for four hours straight, but I promise we saved some good stuff for you! We'll give you the skinny. For more local author fun, Amy Karol will be at Powell's on Burnside on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. with her new book Bend the Rules with Fabric, and you know she'll have cool stuff to show and tell 'cause that's how she rolls.

Walk in the Woods (and Ice Skating Afternoon) Ornament Kits Now on Sale

comments: 48


Good morning, crafters! Please allow me to introduce this year's handmade felt ornament-making kit, Walk in the Woods, available for pre-order now!

It includes the Cozy Cottage, with the wood fires burning:


The Snowy Tree, sparkling with ice crystals:


And my favorite, the Little Deer, who watches shyly from the trees:


Each Walk in the Woods Felt Holiday Ornament Craft Kit includes:

9 pieces of wool/rayon blend felt in assorted colors
9 skeins coordinating DMC cotton embroidery floss
3/4 yd French rick-rack (for hangers)
Sequins and beads
Wool fluff (from a local Oregon sheep farm :-) for the chimney smoke
Stitching instructions
Pattern templates
Illustrated embroidery tutorial

You will need to have your own:

Wool batting or Polyester Fiber-fill
Sharp embroidery needle
Dressmaker's chalk pencil or fabric marker
Dressmaker's chalk carbon paper
Iron-on transfer pencil
Sharp fabric scissors and paper scissors
Fabric glue

This year's ornaments were inspired by our walks in the Oregon woods, and designed to compliment the ornament set I designed last year:


There's the Hot Cocoa Cup, to warm you up:


The Ice Skate, with pom-pon for good measure:


And the Gingerbread Girl, the sweetest of all:


Ice Skating Afternoon kits are once again available now for a limited time as well! All ornament kits cost $25 each, and if you purchase both of them together you will save $5 (yay). Please use the special Paypal button on each page to get the discount (you'll see it). We'll leave the pre-orders open for the next couple of weeks, and make some extras if you miss that window, but if you are interested in these, it's best to order now and make sure we have one for you.

My dynamic duo (and if them working together last year wasn't one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life) are once again helping me in a major way (thanks again, honey, seriously) to put all of these kits together, and we are planning to ship them all to you around mid-October. That will give you plenty of time to finish them for the holidays. I do ship overseas — just click on the "Buy Now" button and enter your country as the destination to see how much the postage is before completing the order. Please also check your addresses in Paypal before completing the orders, as well. Thanks!!!

About the skill level needed to complete these: Last year I said that, while I don't think of these kits necessarily as a children's or a beginner's project, if you have some experience working some basic stitches, these ornaments take more time and patience than skill. I will include directions on transferring the designs to the felt, and basic diagrams for completing the types of classic embroidery stitches you will need to know — backstitch, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch, French knot, and blanket stitch — but once you are comfortable working those stitches, if you just take your time and settle in, you will be fine. These ornaments are about 6" or 7" big — so, they take a bit of precision and attention to detail, but, you know, that's a handmade felt ornament for ya!

I think that's it. Any questions, let me know, and thank you again for your enthusiasm for these! I really appreciate that so much. Thank you!

New Ornament Kits Coming

comments: 63


I spent the weekend tracing, cutting, and stitching tiny pieces of wool felt into another set of Christmas ornaments for this year. This is my Walk in the Woods ornament set, which includes the Snowy Tree, Little Deer, and Cozy Cottage. (Can you see the "smoke" coming out of the chimneys on the cottage?) I am really happy with how they turned out! I really get into these. You get obsessed with blanket stitch (one of the coolest stitches, don't you think?). I think they are such a fun project to work on in the fall, especially if you give yourself enough time so that you don't have to rush.

If you were hanging around these parts last year, you'll remember the Ice Skating Afternoon ornament kits that Andy and I put together last September. I designed these new ones to be companions to those, and I am going to try to do a new set of three every year, I think. This year, we are putting together kits for the new, Walk in the Woods set as well as a whole new batch Ice Skating Afternoon kits as well, if you missed out on those. I know it seems early for Christmas, but rushing around during the holidays and trying to squeeze everything in just takes the fun out of all of it, for me; I want all of these kits off to you by mid-October or so.

To that end, we'll start taking pre-orders for both of the kits tomorrow, and leave the orders open for a week or so. I'll show you close-ups of each of them tomorrow and give you all the details then, too. This is just a sneak peek 'cause I was excited and couldn't wait! And Andy has been begging me for three days to please post again already.

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