Rings of Spring

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* * *  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.

81 comments

I always wondered how you knew she would be a girl. (And she is such a perfect, dear girl at that.)

bless your heart

This whole post is like one gigantic fist bump! Can't wait to see what you make next. The promise of spring is always reassuring.

I remember that dress, I remember commenting on that post and I loved reading this today! I especially love seeing Amelia wear the dresses you made back then. We, your readers, are still so happy for you.

I love her Little Golden Book face:) and your pics.
And I am very glad you are all so happy.:)

Amy Anderson says: February 22, 2016 at 07:21 PM

Thank you, sweet lady, for this beautiful post ❤️. (Also, I definitely remember those preschool years of endless colds, etc. I wish I'd had the perspective and grace you exhibit. There was a lot of "What?! Another ear infection! Woe is me..." happening around my house about ten years ago 😬)

I love this! So beautiful! I can't wait to see what you've sewn.

I know that feeling so well. My heart jumped for joy for you and Andy when your dreams of parenthood were answered and it made me all the more hopeful for my family. After what seemed like an eternity, we too were chosen, our Nina just celebrated her first birthday last week. What a crazy, snotty, joyful year!
I have one of your softies ready to be sewn for next Christmas - not that I am a great planner just that it will honestly take me that long. And I am quickly brushing up on my beginning crochet so I can greet her with your Bunny on Easter morning.
Thank you so much for sharing. I turn to your writing and photos whenever I am having a funky day and they always brighten my mood.

sharon stanley says: February 22, 2016 at 07:40 PM

this post reminds me once again just how strange this internet world we've come to see as normal really is. i remember all those posts, those hopes and dreams and dresses and little sweaters. like they were happening to a friend, a loved one i prayed for. your descriptions are just so poignant and that sweet little muff wearing those pretty creations such a pleasure to see. can't wait to see what she wears next - what you create next!

What a beautiful post! I am so glad you have your beautiful child to puke on you and make you sick and bring you such joy at the same time.

Bless you and Andy. I sure hope someone as special as you two adopted the baby boy I gave up 48 years ago///

QUE GRANDE ESTA LA NENA!!!
ME ENCANTA EL CUADRO...
Y CUANTAS FLORES..
CHAUCITO

Tears in my eyes! Aw I love both those posts... I don't know that I would dare to dream as you had done, you were so very brave and wonderfully hopeful...it was obviously meant to be.

When I end up sewing I always reflect backwards and think about what has gone. Maybe I need to stop doing that.

Every time I read your blog it reminds me of how joyous it is to have little people! I had amazingly rose tinted spectacles of motherhood; now I am grateful if I can get them through the day, unharmed,fed, washed and in bed with smiles (mostly!) on their faces! ha ha! But I am pondering some "makes" for my darling girls, I make them summery dresses every year..its about all I can manage these days.

I remember those posts and remember wishing a baby for you. Count me among your readers who are so happy for you and your family.

It has a been such a privilege to be with you on so many steps of this journey. I adore seeing your baby dressed in those dresses you made with so much love all that time ago. I am a long time reader, and I will say that having your hope and vulnerability and trust all laid out in such a tangible way was both deeply moving and terrifying for me to see at the time. Thank you for opening your heart to us... and for letting us see that beautiful little girl grow up in a home filled with love and beauty.

I adore this post. For one, I am adopted so appreciate the love you have for your little one....just as I can't imagine anyone but my mother, my real...she chose me and loved me mother...loving me like this. Second, I'm a mother and possibly a smother (see the show Goldberg's for cheesy 80's reference)...and though I came about my role in such a different path, I love my home and those in it so much and appreciate the recognition of a kindred spirit........loooooove the spring pictured.

Congrats on the success of your new line! I enjoyed seeing your Spring flowers on the trees and in vases. We have Daffodils, Daphne and Hyacinths in bloom out here in Corbett! It was nostalgic to read about the road we travelled with you while waiting for Mimi to come to your family. I'm off to the hospital to find Dayle, he had a hernia repair surgery very early this morning. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Alicia, I always love reading your words but this post was so beautiful it made me cry!I remember seeing you make all those little dresses,knitting, crocheting and just willing the child to be here and all these years later here you are a wonderful happy family. I couldn't be more delighted!

I'm commenting again to thank you again. I've been planning on making my daughter an outfit and I was going to do a fussy shirt with a collar and lots of buttons and fussy sleeves. Now I am not because I just read for a second time what you wrote about sewing. I'm going to a more simple pattern )that I really love) for the top and I think I will love it even more.

This post did me in. First, the picture of your sweet girl at the kitchen sink reminds me of when my now tween daughter was my constant companion and I miss those days, but these days are so much fun too. Also, I've been sick for basically all of February too, and yes, yuck.

(((Patti)))

I'm 55 and I was adopted at 6 weeks old. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for my parents. Children are a blessing from the Lord, and sometimes He goes about it in a different way. When I see pictures of Andy and Amelia my heart just bursts-nothing more precious than a daddy and his little girl.

I like the way you think! Is 5 and 7 too old for a peasant dress? Hm...

This post is so lovely. Like so many mothers I know, it didn't come easy to me. Now my baby is 16 (!) but I remember those first days he was in the arms as if it was just yesterday. I am so glad that Amelia found her way to you and it makes me smile and nod "yes" when you write about motherhood. Thank you!

Love the portrait of Amelia above the mantelpiece...so glad you're both better!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

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

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Photography

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.