Big-Girl Ways

comments: 70




















I couldn't be more proud of my girl these days. Every week brings new challenges and new accomplishments, and it's all just so thrilling to me. I'm starting to feel nostalgic about entering the last month of her little playschool. For the past two school years (they don't go in the summertime), she and three of her friends have attended a little "school" at a neighborhood grandmother's house, and it has been just the best experience for all of us. Next year she will go three mornings a week to an official pre-school, and while I know she will be very ready for that, I will miss our bouncing morning walks through the neighborhood (because she can't wait to get there), our lingering after-school traipses to the bakery together, the ease of walking home with friends for playdates. The Portland school system being what it is, and our location in it being what it is, these past two years will likely be the only time in both of our lives that I will get to walk her to and from school. Her new school for next year is about a mile and a half away, and that's too far for me to walk there and back on my bad foot (and too far for a three-year-old to walk anyway). Her kindergarten, if she winds up going to our local public school, will also be just over a mile away, as well. Next year, I'm probably going to drive but park several blocks away, so we can still get that walking experience together. One thing I can do is ride my bike very slowly on the sidewalk so that I'm basically just sitting on it next to whoever is walking. I'm not very good at this and there are a lot of crashes/near crashes/crushed toes, and it's hard to hold someone's hand when they're walking and you're riding a bicycle. But anyway. I'm enjoying every minute of our current playschool walks, and every minute of this time. My girl is growing up, and I am so excited for and proud of her. She loves everything and everyone and every day, and is doing so many new things that it's really quite exhilarating and awesome to watch her. Her sweet, funny, cuddly, goofball personality is blossoming, and I love it.

Weaving all but abandoned, I've been stitching like a madwoman, watching the Night Neighborhood come to life. Pattern and kit will be forthcoming. I have a 65%-off framing coupon for JoAnn's if I can finish by Wednesday, but I'm not sure I can. . . . I hope I can because framing is so expensive, and, for various reasons, I'm looking for a new framer. I always stretch my pieces on foam core myself (trust me, unless you have some sort of master-craftsman-framing connection, you want to do it this way; you will do a better job than anyone else will on your piece, and it really isn't that hard, just time-consuming) and I'm not sure JoAnn's will let me do that. I've never had anything framed there before. I'll keep you posted.

In between all the stitching, I actually designed yet another cross-stitch sampler. Two, in fact — these are birth announcements, one for a boy and one for a girl. It's just bizarre to me, even after all of these years, how the creative process works. I never, ever seem to know what I am going to do, and sometimes I'll feel like I don't want to do anything at all. I'll go and do something else, something that has nothing to do with work (recently, the weaving), and I'll be totally consumed by it, and having a very, very good time when suddenly, zombie-like, I just get up and walk away as if in a trance and go straight into my studio and put my little head down for several hours in a row and BLOOP, out pops something else entirely. There must be some whole other process happening that is just totally invisible to me that brings this condition about. It feels like magic, though.


Kristy L. says: April 25, 2016 at 12:52 PM

I think YOU are magic Alicia!! I can't wait to see your new kits and projects. They are always inspiring and beautiful!

What a gift you have had with your little neighborhood school! That sounds completely idyllic and wonderful.

I can't believe how quickly your girl is growing - she's a beauty.
How perfect that her current little school is in walking distance - lovely mother/daughter time.
You are making beautiful memories for both of you.

I'm so enjoying your posts. I feel like my daughter and her little ones are always so rushed as she works full-time and also has a small business of her own. I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's book on creativity called "Big Magic". Based on your description of your creative process, I think you'd really enjoy it and relate to so much of what she says about creativity. It's a quick read - even with a little one in the house!

I walked to school my whole academic career and I'm a little sad that my trio probably won't have that after this year - enjoy it while it lasts! How are you on a push scooter by the way? My girls love to scoot to school and I'm seriously tempted to get a grown up one for me, which might let you travel just a little bit further?

The walks to playschool sound just magical and perfect. Its clear that you are treasuring these years in your heart.

I'm looking forward to the newest cross stitch kit and seeing yours finished and framed.

Hey Alicia, have you thought of an adult tricycle? They look like a lot of fun to me...

I'm pretty sure that's something that creative artists can do- true genius. Beautiful photos, as always! And such a beautiful big girl replacing that beautiful toddler we had! 🌸

Are the big girl ways a reference to you putting her hair up? :) Isn't that the way it was a couple of centuries ago? Boys wore long pants, and girls put up their hair.

How I love dogwood and lilac season - stunning photos. Mimi is a doll! Can't wait to see the stitched finished product. As always, thanks for sharing!

The creative process from bud to blossom is amazing to behold as you capture it so beautifully with your camera, Alicia, and the inner bud to blossom flowering I feel in creating is amazing as well...sometimes I sense I am holding my breath (which might not last long, but brings my attention to the joy I am feeling in the moment :) Watching our little ones around us grow is a joy I treasure as well! xxxxxx

I find joann's to be expensive even with the coupon-- and depending on the time of year it takes weeks.
I usually buy my framing materials online and frame myself with great results.
I use <-- they even have youtube tutorials on how to order and how to frame.
just make sure to get everything you need. ie like the backboards at the same time.
I also use a local craft store for cutting matts or anything that I can't get online. even without a coupon it is still less expensive than joanns with one.

She's growing so fast! :)

It's been so cool to watch Amelia grow up through these years. She's such a little sweetie! Love the bloomers! Your neighborhood looks so beautiful!

Those long legs! Your girl is growing so fast these days. I always look forward to your posts. Thanks Alicia for sharing with us.

Sarah Pirch says: April 25, 2016 at 05:42 PM

If you're looking for an amazing framer in Portland, my family friend Dane Wilson is at Northwest Frameworks. He's on another level than Joann's--he's an artist himself.

Look at this "half bike" it might help you go slowly and give more stability?

I love pictures of Amelia smiling!

I went to a little grandma-run kindergarten before public schools did such things. It was in an old house; we had the run of the place and we made the most wonderful crafts there. Such fond memories!

Can't wait for the new pattern! You are magic.

I used to do custom framing. You are correct in doing the stretching yourself. It is very time-consuming which equals pricey. The only thing you should consider is that Michael's sends out a lot of your artwork to a third party. Which just means it does not stay in-house. More chances of your artwork getting damaged/misplaced being transported around. Joann's started framing after I quit but I imagine they do the same. If it's a valuable/one-of-a-kind piece that cannot be replicated easily, I would recommend finding a professional framer locally via the (old Cascade picture Framers guild)Northwest Picture Framers --

Gorgeous images.. I love that close up of the pink dogwood.. framable art photo! I have a friend who is an amazing framer at Americana Frame on 4223 NE Fremont. Baer Charlton is a master framer. Mimi is such a doll.. I love seeing her growing up. ((hugs)), Teresa :-) (PS - we're at the beach for my birthday and I put up some neat ocean pix.. come on over and see if you have a minute.)

Such wonderful photos as always. I especially love the dogwood picture. And you know, you could solve the walking to school problem by homeschooling ;-) Just kidding. :-)

Chloe Kee says: April 26, 2016 at 01:20 AM

Hi Alicia, I've been (silently) reading your blog for a couple of years and I love it. I feel excited when a new post of yours pops up!Your photographs and writing are beautiful.I'm from Northern Ireland but visited Portland a few years back for a short trip. Your blog makes me feel like I visit there often. Chloe

Chloe Kee says: April 26, 2016 at 01:26 AM

If you're interested, please check out my little blog:

Patricia Walters says: April 26, 2016 at 02:14 AM

If you are on their email lists, both Joanna and Michaels have these 65% off framing and other coupons regularly. Don't sweat finishing by Wednesday. You might wait a couple more weeks for the next coupon. It might be even better.

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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