Blossom Days

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The lovely, tentative first blush of spring with its chilly mornings and brave daffodils has given way to very warm weather, and everything is suddenly exploding in a froth of greens. You know how that happens. It's sudden and irreversible. We've been going to parks as much as possible and it's glorious to be back, and back with a capable six year old who can now do the monkey bars like a pro, loves to play and shout and run as fast as she can, makes friends in about thirty seconds, and just generally is so cheerful and fun to be with that the days out have been pure pleasure. As much as I love winter and cold weather and rain, I must admit that life with kids is about a million times easier and more fun when they can go outside and not freeze their hands off on the metal stuff on the playground. I love it.

Sorry I've been so absent! I don't know where the time has one, I honestly don't. We finished shipping everything for Secret Garden just a bit ahead of schedule, and I've never been so relieved to be finished with a project. It was a pretty big, ambitious project for us, filled with so many new things. I enjoyed it, for the most part, though it's always kind of stressful to do anything for the first time, and many of the things we made and packaged we’d never done before. I was pretty tired when we finally finished, I won't lie! Mentally and physically. I also was, apparently, unable to count to four (seriously happened) so please do check your orders and make sure you got evvvvvvverything you ordered. Because literally every time I tried to count anything, I came up with a different number. It was nuts. So, please check your order and make sure I got everything right and if I didn't just let me know right away and I will fix it ASAP. It's been a week since everything went out and I haven't heard that anyone is missing anything, but I’m on high alert. Again, thank you all so much for your interest and orders, and I truly hope you enjoy everything we made! I will be releasing the patterns as PDFs next week, and we will also make any extra a la carte pieces from apothecary boxes available once we know that everyone who pre-ordered got what they actually ordered!

When we finished, my office and Andy's office both were utterly trashed. I collapsed on the sofa for a couple of days and then started reorganizing the space. This has been needing to happen for a long time. Andy and I tried to figure out how long it had been since we had painted the studio and wow, it's been almost NINE years since we did this. That was really shocking. Nine years. I took everything out of the big Expedit wall of shelves and am trying to reorganize it and eliminate all of the open shelving there by putting everything in baskets or behind doors. I decided, kind of surprisingly, that I want to paint it a creamy white. I ran into this article called "Searching for the Perfect Parisian Cream Paint" (sorry, you might need a subscription to a news service to read it) and I loved it. I, too wound up loving the color that the author chose (Farrow and Ball's Tallow) but I went with a color that I thought was exactly the same just slightly lighter than that (and cheaper than F&B!) called Vanilla Ice Cream by Benjamin Moore. We need to totally prime the whole room first, because I think it will be hard to cover that blue with white, so it might be a week or two before we're done.

I had kind of a funny moment yesterday. I have two ceiling skylights in the studio and I don't like them. The light from skylights is actually sometimes yucky. To me it looks light a florescent light fixture. People are really surprised to hear this. Skylights seem nice. But I honestly prefer just plain old window light. Even if you look up pictures of rooms with skylights, you can totally see this flourescent-effect in the pictures. The light in the room is very cool and white when you have a skylight. And I just prefer lower, warmer light. I almost never take pictures of stuff I'm working on in my studio, because unless I'm shooting right by a window it looks like I'm using a flash camera. I'm sure that might be just me, but it's not really my favorite.

But anyway, back to yesterday. So, after surfing Pinterest for I don't even know how long, looking at craft room and office and studio and even kitchen pictures for inspiration, I ran into a few pictures of rooms (I actually think they were of stores) that had weathered  ladders hung from the ceiling. And then from the ladder they had hung bouquets of dried flowers, or baskets, or lanterns, and I thought it looked so pretty. And I thought it would be a perfect thing to hang just slightly inside the skylight window-well. So, not having ever seen this before, I get super excited: "This is amazing! I've never seen this before! What a cool, inventive, unique, new idea!" And then I take Mimi with me to the antique mall to find a little ladder and we walk in and practically every other booth has, of course, ladders hanging from the ceiling displaying dried flowers, baskets, and lanterns. They were everywhere! It's a whole thing. I was laughing so hard. I never knew. I did, however, find a little driftwood ladder for $35 that will be perfect for this, though, so I'm pretty excited. I'll take some pictures next week and show you what we're doing. I found a really cute Laura Ashley–type lamp, too. I so so so love that she is coming back a little bit. I've been waiting. Anyone have any advice for getting giant stickers off of glass and MDF?

Mimi and I made a rhubarb pie using the sour cream apple pie recipe but increasing the sugar to 1 cup. It was good but the rhubarb is so acidic, I guess, that it kind of curdled the sour cream, so I'm not sure I would recommend it. . . . We also made this Shoemaker's Chicken and served it with buttery mashed potatoes and it was AMAZING. Highly recommend.  I need more of those chicken tray-bake things. Another trend I'm late to the party on. I'm slow!

35 comments

I have used a hair dryer set to high to soften the adhesive making it easier to peel off the sticker. I also use a bread bag clip or single edge razor to scrape the shreddy ones. Finally a little rubbing alcohol usually removes leftover adhesive.

*sigh*
That’s a sigh of relief, followed by a sigh of contentment. I can’t think of what else to say, except Thank You, for blogging, for being a bright spot and sharing some of the beauty you are seeing and making.

Rubber cement remover/solvent from the art store works great. I've used it for years for sticky stuff.

Hi Alicia,

Do you have to have a NYT subscription to see chicken recipe? I can't seem to access.

Thank you,
Angela

Shirley says: May 06, 2019 at 02:18 PM

In my experience, nothing excels at removing stickers as well as lighter fluid. It is not abrasive and I have never had it damage anything. I have never smoked but I always have lighter fluid on hand to remove anything like stickers or labels. About 40 years ago, a sales clerk recommended this as a way to remove a price tag from a piece of polished brass. Looking forward to seeing your updated studio.

Robin Ahamedi says: May 06, 2019 at 02:29 PM

Goo Gone is excellent for removing stickers and any type of gummy residue.

Hand sanitizer works quite on stickers on glass. Good luck!

I was so excited to click on the Laura Ashley link and see what they were creating, but wow. That's not the Laura Ashley we loved when we were younger. Maybe the purse and the hair bow, but that's about it. Sad.
Sallie

Hi Alicia, I so enjoy your posts.. it's like a slice of life in your wonderful world. I clicked on Shoemaker Chicken but you have to subscribe to NYT so I just googled Shoemaker Chicken and found a lot of them available. It looks yummy. I like your idea of the ladder to soften your skylights.. can't wait to see what you do.. I know it will be fabulous. We're enjoying our lilac bloom here on the farm. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Has it seriously been NINE years since you did that?! I remember it like yesterday and I think often of your “new” space as I love it so much too. I’m seriously dumbfounded that that much time has gone past. Good heavens. Have you ever tried rhubarb custard pie? It’s wonderful and wouldn’t curdle like the sour cream pie. Now I want pie :)

I have had good luck removing stickers with olive oil.

I got SO EXCITED when I saw the new UO Laura Ashley line!!! I totally freaked out. I was seriously hardcore about my Laura Ashley love and wearing back in the day. But then I yelled at a friend when I saw the collection WHY SO MANY BATHING SUITS??! More dresses, less bathing suits please! Seriously, half the collection is bathing suits and underwear! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. My daughter and I are STILL squabbling over who gets the wax sachet. Clearly I need to order one for each of us!

Have you been to Iowa Girl Eats blog or FB page? Lots of great recipes.

Beth in Maryland says: May 07, 2019 at 09:50 AM

Something is wrong here because it has NOT been nine years since you did the studio. Like Kelli, I remember it like it was yesterday, whereas others things that I definitely know happened nine years ago are a complete blank. :)

tammyCA says: May 07, 2019 at 01:58 PM

Ha, I thought I was the only one who didn't like skylights. The light really does "feel" cold & strange. Much prefer lots of windows with oblique sun rays coming in.

Nine years has flown by!!! Ladders are great for uplifting decor. So useful, too! I like them as temporary magazine racks. Looking forward to seeing how you'll use your ladder.

The skylight in our master bath (we have two) are nice but much, too, much light comes in. So, I made a 'roman like' drape that undulates and creates a nice light filtering softness to the room.

I second Robins suggestion for Goo Begone for lifting sticker residue, plus a one sided razor for the really tough stickers. Works like a charm!

Love your blog Alicia. I use baby oil to remove stickers. Easy and I always have it in my cupboard for that purpose. I remember when you last painted your studio Just shows how well written your blog is that I have am still following you after so many years. I am always waiting for your next post; you have the best blog, congratulations.

Thank you for taking time to gift us with your post Alicia. You're a very busy person. Would love to know more about your daughter's cute little pink crochet shrug. Are you selling the pattern? I have a tiny granddaughter so always looking for ideas for gifts. Look forward to see what you did on your studio. Thank you for all your share. Peace and love!

Susannah says: May 08, 2019 at 07:46 AM

That 'Secret Garden' cover is so beautiful! Have you considered publishing the Secret Garden patterns and recipes in book form like this?

Yvonne Bouma O'Brien says: May 08, 2019 at 08:14 AM

Orange oil works a treat for getting off most adhesives, especially the ones left on construction materials. Good luck!

Lemon essential oil takes off any sticker I have ever needed off.

Melissa says: May 08, 2019 at 01:08 PM

I got everything I ordered! And it all shipped safely to Canada. When I opened the box it smelled absolutely divine. I might have swooned a little bit. Thank you Alicia! Enjoy some well earned rest.

t.a.knight says: May 08, 2019 at 05:18 PM

oh my Laura Ashley! I love love her stuff. Both my prom dress and graduation dress were Laura Ashley! But I have to giggle its at Urban Outfitters where my 16 yr old loves to shop!

White vinegar on the stickers. They will rub right off, no need to scrape

WD-40 takes off all kinds of sticky stuff. As a bonus, your item will now smell like WD-40. But only for a bit.

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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.