Wrapping It Up

comments: 37




















Well, hello there! How are you? I finally have a morning to write. This is our long day, with ballet at the end of it, and it is just plain looooooong. Ballet doesn't end until 5:00 p.m. For us, that's very late to be out of the house. We're getting used to being out when it's dark. It's suddenly dark, and cold. November! It's here.

Thank you beyond words for all of your orders for the advent calendar. I'm so grateful for your interest and your support. We are almost done wrapping every single thing and are planning to ship at the beginning of next week. It's very exciting to finally be at this point and I'm so anxious to finally start sharing the goodies here. I'm already working on my next project, which will be inspired by the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is such a beloved book. The version illustrated by Inga Moore is just so extraordinary. Andy, Amelia, and I have been listening to the audio version read by Finola Hughes, and I seriously can't recommend it enough. She does an amazing job. And I am one of those weird people who really just can't get into audiobooks. But this one is totally on point. I love it.

I drew a new embroidery design inspired by the story, and worked it over the weekend, and I just loved doing it. Almost the entire thing is done in a single ply of DMC floss. It was such a cool experience to watch Mr. Robin come to life stitch by stitch by stitch. I didn't think I could do something so naturalistic but it sort of happened like magic. It's honestly easy! You just do it! This design will be available as a kit that is part of another treat box later this spring. (It will also be available as a stand-alone kit.) I'm also planning to do a yarn/knitting version of the treat box, and I'm working on that now, too. Stay tuned. We will make a lot more of these, hopefully one for everyone who would want one. It will be smaller than the advent calendar and the items in it will not be wrapped — the wrapping of every single item in the advent calendar was absolutely bonkers, and I'm afraid that was a one-time-only experience for this crew! I literally lost track of the number of hours we spent wrapping. So this will free us up just to make more boxes. I have so many ideas. It's gonna be really fun.

I took a soap-making class at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) over the weekend and it was really fun. Those pink moons are my first-ever bars of cold-process soap! They are made with olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, lye, almond cybilla fragrance oil, ground oatmeal, and madder root. They won't be ready for another five weeks or so. Andy and I went to the bookstore on Monday while Mimi was at her grandma's and I got a couple of soap-making books and now I'm so anxious to make so much more. I started following a bunch of soap-makers on Instagram and have been watching soap-making videos on YouTube and ohhhhhhh dear, here we go. Andy knows the signs of an obsession coming on. He says he sees one coming. I have many, so I hardly notice anymore. I've been so excited by the new things I've learned this year. This is exactly what wintertime is for.

I also started a micro granny-stitch crocheted blanket inspired by this lovely one by Deb. I, too, used Lucy's tutorial for the stitch (I chained 302 to start) and this video for the magic knot method for changing colors. I've never used magic knot before and it's pretty wonderful. You do end up with little knots on the edges but they're so small I don't care. I planning to give this to Amelia. I'm using all fingering-weight mostly hand-dyed yarns, both my own and those that I just have. My mom gave me the headboard and footboard from my childhood Jenny Lind bed. We don't have the side rails (or, for that matter, a box spring). But I think I want to try to find some of those second-hand (if they fit — are they standardized? I need the kind that hook in) and set this bed up for Amelia. Her Ikea toddler bed extends all the way to a regular twin size but it's so damn low that it's really hard to make and I seriously don't think I have ever approached that bed without stubbing my toe on that middle leg and practically fallen into the bed. I've literally kicked that thing probably a thousand times. It makes me insane. Anyway, she's six years old now and she's ready for a taller bed, and I loved this Jenny Lind when I was little. She's just starting to want to hang out in her bed before sleeping and after waking up. She has a clipboard with paper on it that she carries all over the house now and she is constantly drawing. She sits up with her little light on and draws almost every night before she falls asleep. This is just amazing to me. I don't know why. When kids just start doing stuff like this, stuff that they just decide to do with no prompting, no suggestion, no encouragement, etc., it is so exciting. It's just all them, becoming themselves. I love it. I love her.

***Oh! By the way — several people have mentioned to me that they were having trouble with my blog lately, and I was too. I opened a help ticket with Typepad and they wrote back and said that last month they "upgraded to support HTTPS — something which had been requested by many Typepad bloggers for months. Some of our more veteran bloggers like you may have links that use http instead of https in older content and so these will need to be updated to use the secure URL now that it is available." So, it turned out that the links in my template did need to be updated. I was able to figure that out and fix them, and it seems to be working fine now, but do let me know if you have any more problems and I will look into it!

****Actually, I don't know that it's fixed. It looks like all of the old photos are still calling up the http prefix. More to come on this — I've opened another ticket. UPDATE: Looks like Typepad was making further changes yesterday that were causing my old photos problems, but I'm told they've discarded those changes and are still working on a future solution. So, we'll stay tuned and I'll keep you posted. Thank you! XO, a


Love the finger weight blanket! I have so much finger weight yarn (left overs from other projects) and have admired these crochet blankets for years. What size hook did you use? Thanks Alicia.

Really love the colors working together in your crochet blanket in progress. Very pretty!

Soap making sounds like a fun new project and I look forward to seeing what you make.

My old Typepad blog that I no longer add to won't allow me access anymore. I'm sure it has to do with what you had going on, but since I downgraded to a free account, I don't think they offer support to me anymore. Sure wish they hadn't made the changes with so many of my pics and recipes are stored there. Glad your issues were fixed, though. ❤️

Our little guy is about a half year younger than Amelia and is also in kindergarten, and I’m with you on watching them becoming. Like Amelia, he can’t stop drawing— it’s wonderful. :) I don’t get to make all the pretty stuff for him, though, unlike you and Amelia, because dinosaurs. Aaaaaand vehicles. :)

I love the colors you choose in all of your projects, everything looks soft, warm and welcoming.

glenda penner says: November 14, 2018 at 04:21 PM

Such a blythe and bonnie little embroidered bird. I love it and love the berries and flowers and the little key....Wonderful!!! And the fabric is absolutely the very most perfect shade of green.

I was amazed that your advent calendars sold out in like a minute! I was sad to miss out, but happy for you to sell so fast. I love how your granny stripe scrappy blanket is coming out. Mimi will love how cozy and warm it will be. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Your robin caught my eye! I'm very partial to those little birds. That's why I named my Etsy shop Little Robin Cottage.
I'm looking forward to the release of your newest kit.

Miss Amelia with her clipboard is emulating her sweet mum with her interest in drawing, making, creating beautiful things. The more she is exposed to creating, the more she will want to do herself. It's a very good thing.

Love Mr. Robin Redbreast!

I love your crochet blanket WiP, what yarns are you using? Looks amazing!

I love that Secret garden book so much, I bought it a few years ago just because the illustrations are so magical! And I also can’t listen to audiobooks (I even have problems with reading non-paper books, like Kindle), but now I’m trying to listen audiobooks in English to improve my language and that works good.
Amelias zebra is so funny! It is zebra, isn’t it? It face made me smile, it’s so ..alive!
Waiting for you to show us what is inside that advent calendar) the idea is totally new to me. I do not knit, but I crocheted as a kid a lot and now do some granny-squares blanket for winter days. And by the way, I’ve seen that magic knot and used it in my project a lot, but later I’ve read that it fell out (I do not know the correct term)) after washing process. So now I do not cut the ends of the knot, but leave them and hide.

I'm up super early mostly because I'm excited to work on various projects. Reading your post makes me even more inspired. I love special soap. I'm not sure I will ever get into making it really but I have been planning on making rainbow soap with my kids for Christmas presents. I hope they like doing it. Beautiful photos as always.

It is softly snowing as I read your post this morning--mug of sweet, creamy coffee in hand. ☺ I am currently working on the Autumn Leaves cross-stich kit and cannot wait for the embroidery pattern you are working on. I LOVE that robin sitting on the key. I am partial to embroidery and crewel work over cross-stitch but do them all. I have made soap for years and after you get over the trepidation of working with the lye it is such an enjoyable process. I am excited for the winter months and the slowing down after the craziness we had this past spring and summer--it is time to just "BE" for awhile and enjoy the holidays and the quiet.

Beautiful embroidery and delightfully pretty design. Amelia's drawing is pretty advanced I think - look at that 3D snout. I find proper soap making a bit scary so think you are rather brave getting stuck in.

Nothing has changed regarding the wait for your pages to load for me, although I understand others who were unable to get on the site at all now can. I am fortunate that I can still access the blog.

The drawings in the Secret Garden are gorgeous aren't they? I always loved that story. Looking forward to the reveals from the advent calendar.

Oh, I knew the minute I saw the cute robin & the key you were dreaming of The Secret Garden! I love that story so much & have fond memories of watching the movie version with my children when they were young. I love your chrysanthemums. Fall is the best season ever!

Your blanket and robin are beautiful! And Mimi’s art: ❤️. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!t

If you'd like to break your heart in the loveliest, most melancholy, tender way, FH Burnett wrote about the inspiration for the robin in The Secret Garden in a book called My Robin.

The (beautiful) text is available online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5304

All you do, and have done... and I was just pondering this, when I came to your last paragraph, which makes me all the more thankful. I'm one of those visitors that has been having some difficulty getting your page to load. Thank you... for links, ideas, thoughts, inspiration, beauty, and for so thoughtfully trying to keep us caught up with all you do!

I thought it was just me and my new laptop having issues! I find that it still takes an age to load but you are worth the wait

Me again. I just followed Virginia’s link and read about The Robin. Oh, my heart. Thank you, completely lovely. Now I think I’m going to have to read The Secret Garden which, dare I admit, I’ve never read, I only know the story through the movie.

You had me at 'treat box'!

I love the idea of homemade soap! I like everything about this post! I can't open your page on my ipad. I'm able to open in the laptop but it has a red triangle with red words saying : Not secure. However I recently have the same problem with a couple of other blogs as well. These are all blogs that I have been visiting for the last 5 -6 years. Anyway...thanks for all you do Alicia!

Elizabeth McGee says: November 16, 2018 at 12:30 AM

Hello Alicia, from Sydney,Australia. I have had a problem as I usually link through Lucy at Attic24. However when I tried through Theresa Kasner's blog all was well.
Love your blog
Elizabeth McGee

The Secret Garden has been my favorite book since I first read it nearly 30 years ago. When I saw your photo, just reading the names Colin and Mary together with those lovely illustrations made me immediately think of The Secret Garden -- and I'd never seen that version of the book before! Then I saw Dickon and knew that I was right. :-)

At first I thought that photo of the soap was lunchmeat until I scrolled down to see the swirls. :-D

While I'm commenting… I love the idea of your lotion bars, but sadly I can't use them as-is because I'm allergic to both beeswax and lanolin [that also means I can't eat honey nor use wool yarn :-( ]. Perhaps you could consider making a vegan version in the future.

Ooohh! Soapmaking! How fun! And you picked one of my fav books: Simple & Natural Soapmaking. I love that Jan gives you different conversions for ingredients. If you don’t have X use this instead and increase/decrease it by X. I also like that she tells you how to convert recipes for hot process soap. I get lazy and can’t wait for soap to process for 6 weeks! And since we have a snow day today, there will be soapmaking happening! I’m also rendering lard to use in my soap which is a new thing for me...rendering lard that is!

And you should totally check out Alysha, aka @sneedacres, and Stacy, @5rfarmoregon, on Insta for beautiful soaps! They’re definitely ones to follow. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with. Soapmaking is so much fun and the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

I love your new Mr. Robin embroidery and I hope you will also offer as a pattern to download – much easier for us north of the border. And fond memories of reading the Secret Garden to my daughter so many years ago. Now at 32, she is making her own knitting and sewing patterns. Many thanks for your inspired posts. Hugs from snowy Nova Scotia.

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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