Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living

comments: 119


This is my favorite picture from my new book, which officially comes out today. The photo is the facing page for the preface, which is, in its own Alicia-way, my favorite thing about the book. The preface turned out to be the very first thing I wrote for this book — I actually wrote it for the book proposal — and it stands almost exactly as it did in first draft. Some stuff just comes out like that. It lands on the page in a small flurry of images and memories and, if you're lucky, connections and insights; I never, ever know how it — or even what — is going to come out when I start. I wrote the preface in one afternoon, but writing it changed me. In some ways it took ten years to write. I had always wanted to explain.

The photo was the last one I took for the book, many months after everything else was finished and turned in. On our bedroom wall, Andy and I set up this little still-life last winter. It was a great day, I remember. Almost everything in the picture was special to me, and I remember wishing that I could caption it with the details, so you would know. In the book it stands alone — just a collection of little things. But to me, along with some of my favorite embroidered pieces from the book, it is our breakfast table from Missoula, one of the first big things that Andy bought for our first home together. A chair from our second apartment, where we lived during the time of my accident. The railroad spike I found with my dad. The wooden figurine of my grandma's from Italy that I used to play with whenever I went to her house. A picture of my grandma and my dad when he was a baby. A painting of Miss Beautiful Wonderful, who passed away three years ago exactly this week (hard to believe it's been three years). A necklace my friend Pam made for me. A wooden heart from IKEA which reminds me of a certain Swedish cardiac nurse I love. My grandma's cuckoo clock: Every night when my sisters and I would sleep-over she pulled the chains to lift the pinecones up and stopped the clock so it wouldn't cuckoo while we were sleeping; every morning she reset it. A little picture of a cottage and a garden that was my mom's, and which was always hanging somewhere in our old River Forest house. My grandma's favorite book. A pincushion that my friend Aimee gave me. My favorite childhood model horse. Who, as I learned from the back of a photo of her that I found recently in a big plastic grocery bag of old photos (which included dozens of disc-camera photos of model horses), I had named My Mystical Image [cue hysterical laughter, omg]. She was a magic show horse, obviously.

Thank you to every single solitary person who has bought my book! As I sign the books and pack them up I recognize so many of your names, some of you from years and years here. You are awesome, and I am so grateful. I am finishing signing and shipping all of the pre-orders today. I am trying to use my best handwriting. If you'd like a signed bookplate, just send me a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) at P.O. Box 33274, Portland, OR, 97292-3274. I got the curtains I was waiting for, but now I'm waiting for the curtain rods, which are late, and then I will show you the studio. And then I will sit on a lawn chair and stare into space for about two weeks.


Susie Sears Taylor says: August 10, 2010 at 09:07 AM

When you write, you reveal your heart.

Congrats! What a super exciting day for you. Can't wait to see your book. I loved your first one!

that's lovely. just lovely. I've always loved how you write, I'm so glad you found blogging, it's such a great medium for you.

additionally, it's been three years? that's so hard to believe. feels like yesterday.

What a sweet picture and post! I have never EVER looked so forward to receiving a book!!! I know that when I get my copy I am going to hold it and run up and down my hall with it!!

Erica Smith says: August 10, 2010 at 09:14 AM

May it touch the lives of zillions.

tacomapat says: August 10, 2010 at 09:22 AM

Congratulations on the release of your new book. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I had to laugh when I read that you were going to sit on a lawn chair and stare into space for 2 weeks - I so doubt that. It seems you have boundless energy and I just don't see you being able to sit for 2 weeks - not without something in your hands you're working on, at least.

It looks beautiful Alicia (and what a lovely post to launch it with) I'll be looking out for it over here :) I've just started a Pass The Book on my blog and this one would be perfect.

It all goes straight to the heart. And I'm glad that you share your heart so generously in all you do. Thank you!

What a lovely photo and thanks for sharing its meaning with us!
Congratulations on your book, I'm sure it's going to be a huge success. :)
Vivienne x

Ooh very curious about your book, I'm sure you are very happy it's finally here! I'm off to order one now. :)

I am SO excited for your book, Alicia!

Also, thank you for this wonderful post -- so terrific. I love the photo notes. Just so great.

I cannot *believe* it's been 3 years since I read that post and burst into tears for you. Wow. Time really does not stop, does it? Amazing.

Thank you for then making me laugh with this: My Mystical Image! Fantastic!


Can you tell us who did the painting of Audrey? It is wonderful.

I cannot believe that I have been following your blog for over 3 years! What?!?!

Thank you for sharing and sharing some more. I love it all.

Your writing is always so beautiful and heart-felt. I love your projects, photos and treasures. I can't wait to get a peek at your book. Thanks so much for sharing yourself and your lives with us! I need to adjust my book budget so I can purchase your newest! Congratulations on your second book!
Peace, Angela

PS: I completely forgot about those groovy disc cameras until your recent mentions of them. I wanted one so badly as a kid. It's so awesome that you actually used one!

Kathy McDonald says: August 10, 2010 at 09:56 AM

Alicia, what a beautiful little story. I will be racing to the mailbox this week hoping to see a package from you! OH HAPPY DAY! And congratulations on your great work.

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your talents and your stories, the way they are intertwined is beautiful.

Got my shipping notification last night from amazon! Can't wait to have it in my hands!

What an exciting day! Hooray and congratulations on the book -- I can't wait until my copy arrives :-)

What a sweet post. Love the memories that go along with your embroidery.
Congratulations on your book!

I love a home filled with stories. Thank you for sharing yours. I can't wait to see the book! I am oh-so-anxiously waiting for your big reveal, though! OH SO ANXIOUS!

well alicia, i haven't been there with you from the start... but i am here now and i'm inspired by all you do. i'm looking forward to the book. sincere congratulations and thanks for all the inspiration!

~ ana

Congratulations! I can't wait to see your new book! The picture is lovely.

Congratulations. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. I think you should put this image on your Flickr stream using the notes function. I really admire your talent with words AND hands! xoxo

Congratulations on the book and your lovely studio. I like that your preface is the very first and the last things you did for the book. How fitting!

I just got online to tell you that your new book is gorgeous!! and amazing, and I don't know how I'm going to decide what to make first!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

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 aliciapaulson.com