Rings of Spring

comments: 81
















* * *  T H A N K   Y O U,   E V E R Y B O D Y ! ! ! * * *

Thank you, thank you for all of your orders and kind words about the new spring things.
I am so so so happy that you are excited about these. They have been a lot of fun for me to design!
If you ordered Spring Rings before last Friday, your packages are in the mail.
We are still waiting for yarn to arrive to ship yarn packs, but it should be here any day.
Thank you again for your support. It is humbling to watch orders come in, and I feel so incredibly blessed every single time.
Thank you! XOXO

Ah, and spring has indeed sprung 'round these parts. I need to look back to see what day our pink plum tree normally blooms, but I think it's a bit early this year. This is the week that it looks nice. The rest of the year I wish it were (almost) any other kind of tree. We have been ridiculously runny-nosed and coughing like one of those old-fashioned car horns that go "Ah-HOOG-a! Ah-HOOOOOG-a!" Just gross. Thank God Stacey's here to do all the work for me. It goes: Amelia gets sick, I get sick, Amelia gets well almost immediately, I stay sick, I take bagfuls of remedies, I wash my hands approximately seventy-five times a day, I continue to be sick, I insist I'm not still sick and am feeling better, I feel worse, Amelia gets sick again, Amelia wipes her runny nose on my face, I feel even worse, Amelia gets better, I shiver on the sofa drinking peppermint tea and beg to be allowed to go to bed at 7:45 p.m., I finally feel better (after a month). Amelia goes, "I'm coughing, just like Mommy." Ah, well. February. Today is the first day in a long time that I have felt really good, and it is thrilling, absolutely thrilling.

I have not had a chance to make ANY of the chicken recipes you provided, though I did make chicken stock from the Silver Palate Cookbook, one of the first cookbooks I ever owned and still love. I also realized that Amelia has almost no clothes that will fit her this spring and summer, and set about pinning a jillion things onto my Pinterest board, and sifting through my patterns, and thinking about color palates (rose-gold, salmon pink, gray sky, minty green, plum blossoms, milky whites, rainy blues), and shapes (peasant, peasant, and more variations on the peasant).

Do you recognize Amelia's navy gingham dress? I cry just now, re-reading that post. It's from almost exactly six years ago. 2010. I had so much time. Actually, I can't even talk about myself as I was then, laid bare, quivering with hope and dreams, sewing for survival (as I had sewn several times before. So I recognized it). I'm moved by what I wrote back then, and I remember it like it was yesterday, remember every dress I made, every fabric I washed, every little piece of rick-rack or eyelet I chose, every pocket I trimmed, every pattern I cut out. Every one of those things kept me believing, even when I wasn't sure (and trust me, I wasn't sure a lot). Occasionally someone would (gently, always gently) criticize a choice I'd made — those buttons up the back look like they'll be uncomfortable when she's strapped into a car seat; that wool's gonna be hell to wash when it's thrown up on — and instead of being hurt I'd be amazed and think, "She [dear commenter!] actually thinks a real kid is going to wear this! She really believes it's going to happen!" And the specifics of the advice only barely registered with me. I would happily wash wool by hand every day, if only a kid would come and barf on it, if only the dream would come true.

Waiting to be chosen to be someone's mother (or father) is a state of being I still don't really have words to describe. Maybe you know it; maybe you can't even imagine. I think all of us adoptive parents probably carry around this same inability to describe the experience. And I would bet that most of us, in the end, wouldn't trade it for the world.

(That's just a guess. It's certainly true for me, though living it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.)

Of course, once it happens — and, oh my, it happens — (and I do pray that it happens for you, I truly, truly do) — the fact that anything just gets washed, somehow, some way, let alone washed by hand (hahahahah!), is the new dream. Those carefully pressed French seams and hand-stitched three-inch hems wind up in the laundry basket along with the milk-covered onesies and the Velcro-closured (gah!!!) sleepsacks and the Old Navy leggings. That you are able to say, while laughing, "Oh, poo! There's barf on the smocking!" and blithely toss a Bishop dress into the washing machine is just one of the great benefits of being a parent who had to cry a few tears into your needlework to get here. I have such tenderness in my heart for all the little dresses now. Watching Amelia wear and then outgrow them fills me with nothing but astonishment, and gratefulness, and pure joy.

That said, sewing for me now is different. I'm still dreamy. I still love it beyond reason. I still love the planning, and the picking, and the thinking, and the sketching. I love going to the fabric store with my girl, and pushing her through the aisles of fabrics, and watching her touch them (and grab them, and pull them off the shelf, etc.). But the sewing itself has to happen like lightning. And although I am a romantic, the actual sewing itself is just all business-practical now. Because they grow out of it all so fast. And, I'm sorry to say this, but the details don't really matter in practice. You gotta do what you like, and skip what you don't like to do. Stuff like buttons? No. I just don't want to do buttons. I don't want to do buttonholes and I don't want to sew on individual buttons. Set-in sleeves. NO. Just, no. I can count the number of gathered, set-in sleeves, in thirty years of sewing, that I have gotten in correctly on the first try on one hand. Zippers? Maybe, but not really. She gets her hair stuck in them anyway. Elastic casings? Meh. Too much work, as well. Snaps? YES. Continuous placket back opening? YES. Ties? Yeah, okay. Self-lined patch pockets? Yep. Raglan sleeves. YES. Elastic stretched and sewn directly above a sleeve hem, and not threaded through a casing? EVERY TIME. Simple, unfitted shapes that let her run and move? Obvs. Saving my energy for those few designs that really make me work for them? Mmmmm, okay. Yeah. Yes. I can do that. Stay tuned. I'm sewing for Meems again.


lovely and good sewing to you! it's good to be practical - you can make beauty and practical in the same thing!

I love this post so much. I'm remembering so many conversations we've had about wished-for, unseen-yet-already-loved babies. I swear, I look at Louie every day and think HE'S HERRRREEEEEE!!!!! :)

Love you! Can't wait to see the next things you create for your sweet girl. xx

Alicia, I loved reading about the hopefulness that you felt when people would give you those kind suggestions. It was really touching and beautiful.

your words are pure joy to read. your heart on paper. beautiful.

Kristen from MA says: February 22, 2016 at 01:09 PM

"instead of being hurt I'd be amazed and think, "She [dear commenter!] thinks a real kid is going to wear this! She really thinks it's going to happen!" "


I remember reading about all those darling little dresses you were making and thinking to myself, "I pray that girl gets a baby soon." I wanted you so to have a little girl to raise and when you finally got your daughter, I shouted to myself, "Hurray!" with tears in my eyes. It's been so much fun watching you raise Amelia and see all the darling dresses on her. I am sure you will be making lots more before she grows up and one day you will be making a wedding dress.

lovely post! I was wondering dear Alicia, do you sew clothes for yourself? If so, could you please share? Thank you so much!!!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It's been such a gift following your family's journey and I am so, so happy for the way things have turned out for you.

Have you tried the sis boom Molly peasant dress? I sew for my Amelia (now 5) nightgowns out of various knits using this pattern - it's so fast and simple. I just extend the bodice piece all the way down, so it's a long a-line shape, and I make them way long, so the first year she wears it, it's down to her ankles, then the next year, mid-calf, then by the third year, the knees, etc. For some reason the top always seems to fit.

I guess that painting of her has been around, because nobody has commented on it today, but - I just noticed it. Beautiful!

I can't believe you have trees blooming already.

Loved your sweet tribute about wanting to be a mother for so long. My husband and I are trying to figure out a future family plan and there's a lot of unknowns but I love reading your wonderful words about what a miracle it was to be chosen as her mom. Based on your blog and kindness, I know she already is having such a wonderful childhood.

Life and time and dreams, and the gritty details...
you capture it all, and show the joy.
Thank you.

Laura Nelson says: February 22, 2016 at 02:15 PM

I can't believe how big she is getting. Ive been reading for a long time now..almost as long as you have been blogging. Love the portrait, whom ever did it captured her lil self.
Soooo envious of your spring there...its still cold , hard and silent here in Maine.My grandbabies gave me terrible colds, mostly because they started daycare and a whole new germ pool to become immune to.
We adults have no defenses against the lil kiddle germs..

I know that dress. It has been the cover of my Pinterest board "Kids clothes inspiration" for a long time. I actually made my daughter a top based on that dress. She wore it for her first day of pre-school in 9/2014. I would have done a dress but she needed a top and leggings for school because she does gymnastics there. I wish I could still get her to wear blue. My new cross-stitch kit arrived today. Thank you very much! I only need to do seven more letters on the Sweetie pie sampler. I enjoy working on it so much.

I am always interested in seeing your fireplace! Are those roses? Does Amelia chip away at the relief at all? (Just asking as my son would def. do some damage) The fireplace is so beautiful and unique. And it fits so perfectly with your aesthetic sense! Love the spring - not quite here in N.E. but soon we hope!

Beautiful post!! I looked back into your blog and decided to read some of the past posts and I was glued to the computer till late at night. I am impressed how well you write. It's wonderful. I started reading from Jan.2011 and now I am at December 2013! Keep writing!! You are wonderful!!

I love reading about your adoption story! I love that you have that precious child to hold and snuggle with everyday! And who doesn't love some delicious gingham! As I was clicking back to see your older posts is saw some old playlists, that are now unreadable, but anyway I wondered if you might have a new playlist that you and Andy are into right now. I love learning about new music, and we have similar tastes. Thanks, just a thought


I know you guys are often sick :-( I know sometimes this is just from life, running around, etc.
I've noticed you drink milk and eat regular dairy, cheese, ice cream and so on. As soon as I gave up cow dairy I stopped getting sick. It was pretty dramatic. I think you'd find if you switched to raw milk or gave up eating cow dairy altogether that you would be sick a lot less. There are so many fantastic dairy alternatives now (coconut, almond, rice milk to name a few) , its very easy to do - and you just sub them into recipes that use milk. Easy. Often if you look at when you got sick its directly related to a big milk/dairy ingestion. Just something I've noticed for a long time and wanted to mention. Glad you're feeling better!!

when my kids were that young, i didn't have time to sew for them, but oh how i wanted to. now i have a bit more time but they're just getting old enough that they'll still wear a few things i make, but only to their specifications. so i'm making a lot of really plain t-shirts, which is ok because they are all made with love and i love that they will still wear them. in a few years when they are teenagers for real i'm sure this will be different. my daughter never ever would wear dresses, though. it's just not her style (or mine, to be honest) but sometimes i wish just for a day to dress her in gingham.

If you have the same cold that's been circulating in the east, it's a "lingerer" - it's not just you. Gorgeous photos - those tree blossoms - spring is only a daydream here. And that rosy-cheeked girl!

I recognize so much of your thougts about the future dreaming of what might come. I however never dared to dream it would become a reality. Fortunately it has eventhough we have a completely different adoption process here in Sweden.

I so recognize how sewing and prioritize has changed since having a child, I haven't even started with clothes for my 2,5 year old boy as he is growing too fast for the effort.

I want to finish this comment by saying that if you and your family wants to visit Sweden I would love to show you around, talk sewing, adoption, gardening, cooking and visit my parents as they live within day trip reach of Sundborn, the home of Carl and Carin Larsson. I just love to go there and I get so incredibly inspired every time.
Love Anna

Oh, you have put together a beautiful mantel. You have such an amazing eye for how things go together and which colors to use. The stars are brilliant. Wow. Regarding baby clothes: I always laugh when a baby garmet says, "hand wash" or better yet, "dry clean only." Baby days are just too intense for that scrutiny...

Beautiful words. It must feel so satisfying to see your daughter wearing the dress you made 6 years ago and put so much hope and good wishes into.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

Oh my, I so much empathise with you. I didn't adopt, but it felt the same way for me too, waiting for the chance to be a mother. It seemed like I did nothing, thought nothing, dreamed nothing, for three years except wait and hope for motherhood. I am so very happy that you were blessed with your beautiful Amelia (and she was blessed with you.) Not every woman wants to be a mother, but for those who do, the struggle to achieve it can be heartbreaking. Every time I see pictures of your happy family my heart sings for you and for all the parents who get to have such joy.

Dear Alicia, this is among my favorites of your wonderful posts. Thank you.xxxxxxxxxxxx

My heart used to ache for you sewing all those little things for the baby you dreamed about. I've been there, too. I bought skeins and skeins of light blue yarn and I didn't even knit. But one day, after many false starts and 7 years, I had my second baby and he was a little boy. And my mother knitted him a blanket with that yarn. Now he's 32 and has a little boy of his own. And I count my blessings. I know you do, too.

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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 aliciapaulson.com