Couch and Cake Topper

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WHEW. There is little rhyme or reason in how these pictures are presented here. Everything's all over the place and that's probably a good metaphor for my mental state. Some of these things, like that sweater up there, I've been working on all summer. The pattern is called Carl's Cardigan and I used Woolfolk Far in Pollen for the yarn. I'm not even sure why this is the first time I've taken a picture of that sweater, since I've had it in my hands almost every single night for months. The stitch pattern seemed endless. It's basically ribbing, so you're constantly going back and forth between purling and knitting in each row, with a wraparound thing every fourth row. Et cetera. I finished it last night, now just need to block and add buttons. It's cute. The color is going to be really versatile. It's super stretchy, so even though it looks skinny, I'm hoping it will fit for a while. I'm turning into Practical Mom about kid-knitting anymore. It's weird how that happens. I never thought that would happen.

Okay, next. COUUUUUUUCH. I love it. I sit on it and never want to get off of it. It's called the Radley sectional from Macy's. I think the color was Chrome. It looks a lot like our old sofa but 1) it is soft and not scratchy, 2) it is tall instead of the height of a toddler bed (as was the Kivik, at least for me) and 3) it's firm and doesn't collapse like a souffle when I park myself on it at the end of the day. I got the protection plan thing with it so my goal is for it to be here for a long, long time. Thumbs up on that. Andy and I actually sit around at night and talk about how much we love our sofa. Middle age.

CAKE TOPPER. I made it. :))))))))) SUPER FUN. I started it this summer and I wish I could tell you exactly where I got everything for it but it was either JoAnn's or Michael's — I went to both places when I was shopping for supplies for this. The cake is made out of Fimo and I didn't make that — I got it years ago from someone's Etsy shop but I can't remember whose. The present is just a wooden block wrapped with origami paper. The bunting is washi tape cut into flags. The flag poles are stripey straws topped with mulberry-paper flowers (also had those, from way back when, when we used to sell clothespin doll kits). The balloon is made out of yellow Model Magic. Her dress is made of the same fabric Amelia wants her Hunca Munca birthday dress made out of (still gotta do that). I basically hot-glued everything together when I was done with the pieces and it was a total blast. I spent a long time looking at cake toppers on Pinterest for ideas, and then I actually whipped this out in a day or two, as I tend to do. This will go on top of the cake for Amelia's family birthday party, here in a few weeks.

The felt birthday crown: I got the idea for this entirely from the one that Ginny made for Mabel's first birthday. The embroidery pattern comes from this book. I forget how cool waste canvas is, because you can cross stitch (or, in this case, evenweave stitch) on anything. Then you soak the whole thing in water and that canvas becomes totally pliable. You use tweezers to pull the waste canvas threads out from under the stitches. It really isn't hard at all and it's really cool. The crown shape I just drew on a sheet of paper — well, I drew half of it, then flipped it. The crown is lined with really soft, thin pink polar-fleece. Amelia was mildly disappointed when she saw the birthday crown. She wants flowers all over it. She's sure I can do this. I'm not sure how I'll do this. . . .

I knew I'd taken a picture of her school dress before she wore it and put it on Instagram, but I wanted to post it here so I would remember it, because she didn't get to wear the blouse on the first day of school, since it was 100 degrees. . . . It's McCall's pattern #7590 from 1981. It's the same dress that I made her for her first day of school last year, but that one was plaid. I loved that one, too. This is one of my favorite-ever patterns on her.

Okay, what else. I rearranged Amelia's room for her last weekend. The lovely artwork in her room is from various places, but my favorites are the things made by friends and family: Amelia riding a bunny, which is possibly the coolest thing ever, and was a gift from Emily when Amelia was really little; a floral monogram from my friend Rebekka; the sweetest deer pair painted by my sister, Julie; the gorgeous dandelion photograph was taken by Amelia's birthmama; the silhouette of her when she was one was made by my brother-in-law. The mushroom light I got years ago and I don't remember where now. Maybe Smallable? It's European, I do remember that. The alphabet samplers are my designs and patterns are here (and by the way you can get a wool pack for that project now) and here. The pillow on the chair is a project I made for my second book, years ago. I'm going to make a new one with my punchneedle and I can't wait to start it. I found vintage Laura Ashley sheets on eBay and I was psyched. They are hard to find.

I'm finished with my new wintertime cross-stitch sampler for this year, and will open pre-orders for it in few weeks, after Amelia's birthday parties when I'm more organized again. You can see a glimpse of it up there. I am excited about it. I have some ideas for the cover photo I want to try. So stay tuned for that. I don't have a good sense of what the numbers will be for this kit so that's why I want to do pre-orders to make sure we get the quantity right. Not too many, not too few. Normally pre-orders make me ridiculously nervous. But we have the floss in hand already for up to 600 kits, and the fabric manufacturer has the fabric coming in in a few weeks, so I think it will be a good idea to do pre-orders this time. These projects are easy to do when I'm doing them but hard for me to re-issue once they're sold out, so if you're interested in this, I'll keep you posted. Many of my old kits are sold out and won't be reissued. Now that Amelia is in school every morning, I have more time to work, and I want to focus on my new ideas for patterns and kits for 2018.

Anyway, what else. My charity quilt. When Hurricane Hugo Harvey (!) hit, I wanted to make a quilt to raffle off for charity. There have been several other heartbreaking disasters since then, including Irma and now Maria in Puerto Rico, that I would like to contribute to as well. I haven't started the quilt yet the way I thought I would have time to, but I'm still planning to do it soon. I'm not quite sure how to make it available — someone told me they did a raffle and got in trouble for it because it was considered gambling, or something like that, so I will have to look into it and I just haven't had the wherewithal yet. But it's all on my list. The needs are great. I don't even know the best ways to help. Helpless feeling.

We went with our pre-school to see the swifts the other night. That's an event that happens here every fall where the Vaux's swifts use a local school's (unused) chimney to roost in at night on their annual migration. See all of those little freckles in the photo of the school chimney up there? Those are the birds. Here is a pretty rad video of what this looks like when they final spiral in. It was a really fun night. Everyone brings blankets and picnics and watches from a hill — it's a perfect viewing spot for the show. The weather was excellent, too.

Well, that's it for me, I guess! I hope you are all well! Thanks for looking at all my stuff! Have a great weekend!

***Ooops, forgot the sweater picture originally but it's there now, and thanks for the head's up on Harvey! Doi! Slaps forehead.


I don't see the photo of the sweater and I am dying to see it. Everything else is so perfect and beautiful. I love the cake topper and crown so much.

I enjoyed all of these pretty photos of your home, adorable little ballerina daughter, cute cake topper, and that new cross stitch. Looking forward to seeing the full reveal of the winter sampler.

Wait...what am I missing here? I don't see any sweater pics. Please share! I loooooove Woolfolk yarn so much.

Can I go back in time and have you as my mom? Seriously.

I love it all! Especially the white chest next to the sofa! Where is it from?

I love this post (even without the sweater hehe)! it's a nice nesting one. I am really looking forward to this cross stitch kit. It looks perfect with quilt and geese and snow. I'm reminded of the Northern Hemisphere Christmases that I miss. And now you have an almost 5 year old in the house, I see that more room is needed for standing on the bed, so moving it under the window was a good idea. What a lovely nest space Amelia has. Thank you for explaining the sweet artwork. And your living room too looks warmly set for winter.

I'm excited about the cross stitch kit, I've enjoyed stitching your patterns very much, and the kits are so well made. I hope you're enjoying the return to rain!

Can't wait for the winter cross stitch - looks wonderful! I don't see the sweater pic either, but sounds like I'm not crazy as other people are also having trouble. And I think you mean Hurricane Harvey not Hurricane Hugo which was in 1989? If you mean Hugo, you might be a bit behind on the fundraising :) Thanks for all you do.

Dawn Andrews says: September 29, 2017 at 01:08 PM

Please make a new alphabet pattern kit. I am planning to make one for each of my future grandchildren.

Laura Nelson says: September 29, 2017 at 01:52 PM

I think you missed putting in the Hey I used to make my girls easter bonnets using silk flowers and a glue gun. The crown is lovely as is but if she wants flowers just go get silks. Its a lot of bang for your buck so to speak...looking forward to seeing party pictures. Gee I can't believe she is 5 already...whoa

I absolutely cannot believe that Amelia is almost five! Where did all that time go?

There is nothing like getting a new piece of furniture! Your whole house looks so neat and clean!
I love that you plan to make quilts for relief.
This is a quilt blogger I like to follow On her current post called How Can I Help she had links to several places that are collecting quilts for these recent disasters including Quilts for Compassion and some specific ones to each state (Texas) etc. Maybe that could help in your decision on the how and where?

Yay! I literally can't wait to do that cross stitch pattern this year. I did last year's and just framed it recently. Love love love!!

heritage hall says: September 29, 2017 at 02:43 PM

You are such a marvelous and nurturing Mom...and your reaching out
to help victims of the hurricanes testifies to the scope of your caring heart.... Cannot wait for the Winter sampler...whimsical.
Enjoy the new couch..

lovely, lovely lovely!!!! What a scrumptious post!! The cake topper is really cool!! totally love the hair-bun!! YES....I think pre-ordering for your holiday cross stitch is a great idea!! I work different hours now and I worry they will be all gobbled up by the time I'd be able to order otherwise. You create such beautiful things Alicia!!

I love your home and how peaceful the pictures are!!! God bless you all!! and your young birthday girl! how fast it goes but how sweet and blessed!

Lyndia from No. Calif. says: September 29, 2017 at 03:33 PM

I always "LOVE" your postings. Your creativity, photos of Amelia (such a lucky little girl to have parents like you), views of Oregon, and recipes are always a fun and welcomed read. Your sofa is great and a nice family spot. I wanted to share, I too, had purchased an extended warranty from Macy's for a pair of chairs bought years ago. They were club chairs that reclined. After more than 5 years of use the recliner broke. Macy's sent a person to the house and it was repaired. Well, after another few years it broke again. This time it could not be fixed. Hard to believe that Macy's not only took the broken chair, but the additional chair as well (since they were a matched pair) and refunded my original purchase price. I then purchased another set of chairs, although I couldn't replace with the original chairs since they no longer carried them. (Drats, loved those chairs.) Anyway, wanted to give a shout out to Macy's. Extended warranty is a great purchase.

Hi Alicia,
Check with your state's commission for legalized games of chance if you want to raffle it yourself;
It usually requires purchasing a license. You could direct people to a website where they contribute directly and then email you that they donated. (The Yarn Harlot does this for her fundraising drive for People With Aids Foundation.)

I've followed you for years but this is my first comment. After reading your entry my heart is usually too full with the simple beauty of everything and I don't want to spoil it with words.

Hi Alicia! First of all, I love your blog! I have been reading for over 5 years (before you had lovely Amelia)! I was wondering if you should auction off the quilt instead of a doing a raffle would that go around the having to have a license? Since an auction is not a game of chance (like a raffle might be considered) then you wouldn't need a gambling license. Just a suggestion.

Keep up the great work! Look forward to the winter cross stitch kit!

I so enjoyed all your images you shared.. so exciting to have Amelia's birthday to celebrate soon. The cake topper is fabulous! I have a similar fimo cake by a somewhat local maker off Etsy - for my dollhouse. I also got a pie from her and some cupcakes. Gorgeous sweater.. I hope she loves it. It's pouring out here, we just got the oil finish on our new deck last night.. none too soon! Enjoy your weekend. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I love chimney swifts! They make that little tweet noise and are just cool. And that couch!! That is the perfect couch to knit for hours much natural light!!

Why not some fake flowers around the crown? You could even put them on pinbacks so they would be removable later.

She's about to turn 5? No way! I can't believe it.

Happy birthday Amelia! Time Flys!! Our annika turned 5 on monday too. It would be great fun if amelia and annika would get to know each other! Sadly you live not just around the corner! But if you ever come to visit austria i would gladly invite you as our guests!! We moved into a house next to the vienna Woods Last summer and have now enough space to have guests with us! (This ist a serious offer ;-)
For annika we hosted a circus party with 15 little guests. It was really cool but we needed two days to recover from it :-)
Today we celebrate within the family - the 3rd celebration in this week for our little girl :-)
So have a nice celebration - or celebrations :-)
Xox erika

I so love your photos- they have such a beautiful light . Do you still use the camera that is mentioned on your home page? Thank you for sharing with us.

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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




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.