Some Weeks

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Aw, it was one of those weeks. The kind where five out of seven days of it we were fighting with the furnace, trying to make it work. The repair dude was here at least five times. A different repair dude is coming this morning, after the first one basically shrugged. And this is the third time this winter the thing has gone on the fritz. Boo hiss. It's supposed to be cold this weekend. Yippee! And Yikes! I prefer my freezing cold tempered by lots of heat coming through the registers, so, er, we'll see. This is what I get for doing my Snow Dance all over the house. Winter Olympics start Thursday, so that may be a multi-sensory experience. Cold-o-vision. Some weeks are like this, nothing but phone calls to repair dudes talking about combustion and nozzles, and waiting, in layers of wool. It has seemed to take up every minute.

Nevertheless, signs of spring continue to tempt me into confusion. I ordered a raincoat and yellow boots for Amelia. After five hours yesterday, the repair dude left, and we sprung out the front door and pranced down the street, eager for fresh air. We walked and walked and walked. Went to the coffee shop and read for a bit. She sat on my lap and watched everyone and everything. She talks constantly now, in Amelia-language, chirps and squeals and mumbles and shrieks with the occasional cheer: "Dad-DEE! Dad-DEE! Dad-DEE!" Like he's trying to win a pie-eating contest. Her first "sentence": "Hi Daddy!!!!!" said so brightly, and in a voice so loud and clear Andy and I both almost fell off the bed laughing with pure wonder and delight. Joyful mornings all together, rolling around in the warm piles of pillows and blankets and flocks of stuffed animals, every one named, every one kissed good morning. "Hi!!!"

I've been working a lot, and it's slow going. I'm learning to do it that way, but it's not my natural way. My natural way is, apparently, to careen toward the finish line like a tölting Icelandic horse (here's your visual). Right? Lordy. At night, I decided that in order to retain my slender grasp, I would only do personal projects. So I've been embroidering the village and farm piece. It's from the early '60s, I think. It's not particularly relaxing, actually. You have to page through at least four different double-sided pages to try to figure out which colors and what stitches for which part. It's do-able, obviously, but the degree of difficulty is a little higher than I should probably have chosen. My tolerance is low. Like, garter-stitch-scarf low. That would be like a 2 on the scale. Paper-piecing hexagons would be, like, a 5. This crewelwork is probably a 8. Knitting lace would of course, for me, be a 10. Even smocking would be about a 7. A 1 would be sitting unmoving with any kind of needle in your hand while watching The Hills. It's like a pain scale of evening crafting after days (that start at 5 a.m.) with a one-year-old. You probably have one. (The scale I mean; possibly, the toddler, too, or did once, so you know.)

Anyway, every night I try to do one little part of the whole scene. I can't deny that it's quite thrilling to watch each little color make it come to life. What is it about little scenes that charm so much? I read to Amelia every day, and some of the books are just amazing in the depth of their illustrations. Brambly Hedge. Tasha T. Jan Brett is like that. Mimi's sort of a speed-reader at this point — her goal is to turn the pages of the board book as quickly as possible. I read out loud like an auctioneer: Here's a little baby onetwothree standsinhiscribwhatdoesheseeee? Quick, before she turns the page. If there's a character that she normally waves to or kisses as she goes through, she does it double-time, until she gets to the end — boom, done, next!!! I stare at the pages after she's done, trying to see every little thing. I love this book. Like looking into a rhyming sugar egg.

I wish I could point you to a pattern for Amelia's sweater but it's an old Bernat (6043-87), out of print. I think I found it on eBay or somewhere like that. You could try. I will say that that yarn (Fresco) is delicious. I think, out of all the things I've made for her, this is the softest and prettiest thing. Wool/alpaca/angora, with a delicate halo. Highly recommended.

Those pink flowers? On a tree. Anyone know? Viburnum! Bodnantense 'Dawn'. Thank you, Jennifer (and everyone!)

***Yes, the crewelwork is a kit available here; sold out, but it looks like they have more coming.


She suddenly looks like a little girl, and less like a baby!


Yes, just what Lisa said… I was a bit stunned to see this difference.
Makes me sigh… I'm sure you're none too eager for these baby days to be slipping by, either. Where ever did you find the little farm and village scene? I should say "never mind," because I couldn't make the time, but it's entirely charming, tempting.
Fingers are crossed for the furnace.

theveryflowers says: February 04, 2014 at 08:57 AM

"tölting Icelandic horse" had me in a fit of laughter!
the flowers look like a Viburnum to me...?
always look forward to your beautiful photos!

Dear Amelia really is such a little girl now. It's so fun to see her blooming. Just the curve of her little leg and her shoes in the guitar picture kind of took me by surprise today ~ bye-bye baby. So much fun ahead. I'm glad she has a mom and dad who go day by day, not rushing ahead.

Haha, I came to say, "Where did your baby go?". Being a mom is just so bittersweet. I can't wait to see your embroidery finished, it reminds me a bit of Little House illustrations. I wish I had it in me to do one, but I have an idea it would sit for years.

Even as a 40 year old I can still very easily get sucked into Brambly Hedge. Its something that I think will never change!! Teeny mice... in petticoats!! Never gets old.

Who is that little girl sitting on your living room floor???? Amazing!

I'm sure you thought of it but my mother spent the last 30 years of her life cross stitching more and more complex pieces. The first thing she did was to take her pattern pieces to Kinko's and make a huge piece of it, with their help. Then they were able to photocopy a large, magnified pattern on one huge page. It helped her a lot!

Gillian Stickings says: February 04, 2014 at 09:10 AM

the paler pink flowers fully out in little clusters on the leafless shrub/tree are Viburnum. Not sure about the cerise bud-clusters on the leafy plant, it looks similar to rhododendron (but not)...

OMG, that sweater actually made me gasp out loud. Hard to do--as a LYS owner, I see lots of gorgeous sweaters for wee babes. Amelia is turning into a gorgeous little lady, you know. I am so, so glad that you're keeping this blog--not jut for us (although of course I am selfish and love the collective glimpse of your love-filled life!), but for Amelia. I love the idea that she can go back and flip through these pages, the comments, the pictures, your stories and read all about how loved she is. Not just by her mama and daddy, but by all of these people, all over the world. There is so much love for the Paulson family--you don't even know. xoxo

Oh, how you made me smile in recognition and laugh at the horse analogy! Amelia looks like such a little girl (not a toddler anymore) in the photo playing the uke...oh the adventures you have each day...
Take Care...

Is the crewel work a kit? Did I miss that in a previous post??? It's going to be lovely. And yes, that sweater is gorgeous!

Baby A Is sure getting big! Looking at these pictures, she looks less baby and more toddler. Those cheeks are edible, BTW. She is a doll!!!!!

That crewel kit/pattern is GORGEOUS! I love it, can you share where you found it?

I agree the view of Miss A from above..she's ..well une petite fille..not a baby ..

She looks so cute in her striped sweater and polka dots under.
Your stitching is coming along so well:)
I've kept a few of my stitcheries..
Too many memories..
I have a long time to go to see buds on my trees..Still walking knee deep in the pretty white stuff here where not shoveled..
She is beautiful.

she has SO MUCH hair!!!! love it!!! my daughter didn't have enough to wear in a ponytail until she was past 4! :)

Ditto on the village scene - information please - inquiring minds and all that..

the leafy one is daphne odora which smells wonderful,blooms now, good for shade. and the flowers are very similar to the one on the leafless tree.
I absolutely adore the blue-green fuzzy yarn choice!

Love your sweet little girl's up-do, and her lovely new sweater.

Have you seen "Each Peach Pear Plum"? I think it's also by the Ahlbergs. We had lots of fun with that finding all the characters hidden in the photos when my daughter was a bit older than A. is now.

I'm loving her ponytail!

I was so surprised to see Amelia sitting like a big girl on the floor. How time flies. My "baby girl" turns 42 in March - time flies so fast. I love the Portland Zoo; your photos are wonderful.

Your crewel project reminds me of one I've had since 1980 of Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. Some day - some decade I should probably get the embroidery thread and get going on it.

I loved that little board book as well! I used to pour over the pages looking at the furniture and backgrounds. I so wish my house looked like that. The funny thing is...I have thought a lot about that book lately, wishing I could look at the illustrations again.

I finished The Goldfinch last week. Such a good read...but I can't help but think there are places that could have been edited down to make it a bit more tidy and concise. That having been said, I think it is my favorite of her three books. Glad you inspired me to read it next.

Flowers are viburnum. Actually a shrub, but grow quite big so can be pruned up as "trees." Smell heavenly...we had a huge one in our old yard in Portland. Not so much here in the desert!

Oh, this post, particularly the pain crafting scale and auctioneer toddler reading made me laugh out loud in the I-totally-get-where-you-are-coming-from and thank-god-I-am-not-alone-in-this way. Thank you for sharing and hang in there. I hope your furnace gets fixed soon.

The pink flowered shrub is Viburnum Bodnantense 'Dawn'. it blooms in my garden starting in November right through to spring.

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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