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

Michaelanne says: February 23, 2016 at 03:24 PM

You made me cry tonight...You have had that effect on me MANY times through the years...Always happy tears. I re-read that post...How beautiful. Whenever I read your blog posts, I am always left thinking...If only MORE people could be just like YOU and Andy. Amelia is blessed. Truly...She is growing up in the most loving, beautiful, creative happy place! This week at work, I took care of two babies withdrawing from opiates and cocaine. The one baby's Mother was sobbing. She herself was sick from withdrawal. I held his tiny body...kissed his fuzzy head...and put my arm around that little skinny girls shoulder. I said..YOU are his MOTHER now. YOU can get better...I cried with her..and long after she left. Oh Alicia. YOU are a wonder...You soothe my troubled soul.

I don't know you and you don't know me, but I actually shed a few tears of joy when you adopted Amelia. It continues to move me how much you delight in her.

ÉDIS CASTILHO says: February 23, 2016 at 04:00 PM

Eu sigo seu blog a muito tempo,nunca comento nada pois não sei muito inglês,mas hoje não resisti,torci em silêncio para você conseguir adotar,pois sentia no meu coração que seria uma ótima mãe.

So true. All of it. We had a long wait for parenthood too. I love seeing my twins in handmade (rare) clothing. They are, and always will be, the great miracles of my life.

I love the picture of Mimi over the fireplace.

I grew up living with a Grandmother who sewed beautiful dresses for my sister and me, and your post made me realize all the care and love that went in to those creations. I was a scholarship student at a very fancy school where we wore a school uniform except for special assembly days and I remember after one of those assemblies walking back to the classroom and having a little (wealthy) girl turn to me and say quite passionately, "You're so lucky! You always have the prettiest new dresses," and I remember first being so surprised and then pleased. I guess I had taken all those dresses for granted and your writing reminded me again just how lucky (and loved) I was!

This was wonderful to read, and thank you for sharing your heart. It thrilled me when you brought home Amelia! And it thrills me to see her wearing all those sweet little things you made, in faith and hope that someday you would have her. She will always know she was wanted, she was loved, she was a blessing.

beautiful pink blossoms! We are not at springtime yet here...a few months away from any blossoms yet. But, it is raining today instead of snowing and that is a wonderful thing.

LOVE this post! Made me tear up a bit.

http://www.gapfactory.com/browse/product.do?cid=1041875&vid=1&pid=891030021

This looks suspiciously like your Daisychain ABC sampler.....

Oh, Alicia! We recognize all of those dresses and cardigans and blankets that you made for her. Every, every time, you'll post her wearing one of those exquisite pieces from so long ago, that you stitched and hung up and photographed and shared as a patient prayer from your waiting heart, now muddied and crinkled on her soft little frame. It's beyond touching. Can't wait to see her sweet new clothes, you're a genius with them. XOXO

Long before having my first little one (even before marriage, I admit!), I had a bin hidden away in which I stored tiny treasures I would come across when shopping... a hand-knit washcloth here, gingham booties there, tiny p.j.'s, little wooden hangers. Some women are just cut out for motherhood, and you know that being one will likely be the most fulfilling role you'll have in life. It's not so much about how the baby comes to be, but that you are willing to share so much of yourself, your belongings, and your love with another and count on nothing but kisses and hugs in return.

I look at your home and the life you've created for your family, and I think there could be none better. Everything is so warm and cozy. The love you feel for those you hold closest to you is apparent in every nook. Even if you didn't know how to sew or knit, your girl would still realize the depth of your affection when you cook or walk or read or nap together. If only every child were as blessed as Amelia, this world would be so much better!

I always love reading your blog and the wonderful pictures you post simple things like I like. I'm on the east coast and your blog was the first one I read years ago when I saw an article in the country living magazine about you and your sister crafts. I make my own crafts a little of everything I enjoy doing. I didn't even know people were posting stuff on the internet and I'm glad because I've been hooked ever since. I love the candles you have on your table are those electric taper candles because I don't see the flames? One day I hope to visit Oregon never been out west love all the artistic and creativity out there. Thank you for a beautiful blog!

"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." made me cry. I am not a knitter, but I remember the feeling. We've adopted 2 baby girls (Now 5 and 2) and I never know how to start their long stories but to say "God gave her to us!" Thank you for sharing your story and your girl. xx

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful reflection on adoption and waiting and fulfillment. ❤️

Oh, Touching my heart today as so many times before! Going through the adoption- waiting game now too with so many dress patterns in the wings, and a shelf full of sewn items half started- then put on hold when I wonder if it's even really going to happen... The feeling is supercharged for me too b/c it's my niece I'm hoping to adopt to rescue from addict sister and bf. I've followed your blog since '08 , and you always give so much hope and love here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words today :) <3

Have you tried sipping a mug of hot orange juice? It is great for a sore throat. Always makes me feel better.

Triggered memories. My daughter came home to me at the age of 8 weeks. She is now going to be 32 yrs. old and will be giving birth to my first grandchild, a boy, in July. I cannot imagine where the time has gone and what divine Love leads us on!

yes, THIS. this exactly.
just tonight we're going to have dinner with a couple on the "wait list" with an adoption agency. i asked my husband how we should describe this beautiful but ugly, thrilling but terrifying, tale we have. how we can ever prepare them for being chosen and the time with your-baby-but-not-really-your-baby, the time when she signs, the time as you wait for the revocation period to be over. the finalization. the birth family visits (that are beautiful and heart-breaking and heart-expanding all at the same time). how DO you describe it?
{and i'm adopted myself so you think i would be able to find the words. but i can't. sometimes there are no words.}

Sewing for survival. I love that! It has saved me many times also. Are you still thinking of making little girls sewing patterns? They would be gorgeous, I'm sure!

I'm so very jealous of your spring flowers blooming outside already. We're still at least 8 weeks away from any blooms!

Sue Stewart says: February 25, 2016 at 01:46 PM

Hi Alicia.... I only comment every few years, but that portrait of Amelia just speaks to me! She glows from within, just like your house and all your photos do! It's also reminiscent of my favorite Little Golden Book illustrator Eloise Wilkin. Bless you and your family. Sue

Oh I love the Spring Ring cross stitch project. I was working on the lamb first like you suggested and my 4 and 5 year old granddaughters thought it was the sweetest thing ever!

Your appreciation for the simple things, and your ability to see the beauty around you (even when you do feel yuk) makes me smile, and my own seemingly overwhelming stresses take a back seat for a while. Thank you:)

Karen mactier says: February 26, 2016 at 01:58 AM

Thank you so much for sharing Xxxxxx

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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.