Autumn Skies

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The weather has certainly changed and fall is here here here. The yellows are vibrant, the skies are gray. Amelia and I found a glorious patch of cosmos flowers near the muddy soccer fields near Reed College. Purple and pink, glowing in the rain. She doesn't have any Zoom meetings on Wednesdays and I just love that. The wet woods receive us, their slippery, leaf-covered paths slick with shining maple leaves as big as your head. We stop and get chai and hot cocoa on the way, and Amelia desperately wants to carry her cup into the canyon. She has visions. I try to accommodate if they don't mean that you fall down a flight of stairs (there's a flight of stairs) into the pond. The days while the leaves will still be hanging on the trees are drawing to a close. Soon the black branches will be bare, and it will rain more, and it will be colder, and wetter, and harder. Goodbye, social life! It was nice knowing you!

At home, I work while she's in school. This week I've been making a database of all of the brick-and-mortar cross-stitch stores around the United States. It's taking me a long time, but I like this type of torpid busywork. When I get tired of that I go back to reformatting my patterns for eventual wholesaling. By "reformatting" I mean a couple of things. They need some text changes and omissions; my patterns tend to be pretty beginner-friendly, and people who shop at cross-stitch stores generally don't need instructions about how to, say, press their fabric, or use a cross-stitch chart, or frame their work, etc. I also made an executive decision, based on some discussions we had here around this issue, to only offer wholesale printed patterns with black-and-white, not color, charts. Black-and-white charts are also (from the anecdotal evidence I've found and the pros I've asked) the industry standard. For almost two years, since we had those chart-y conversations, I've offered black-and-white charts in my PDF patterns, but I still print only color for my kits (and I will continue to do that). But printed patterns for shops will only be available in black-and-white. And before I get them all printed, I have to do a lot of reformatting of my files — re-exporting new charts and redoing the color-chip lists. I had my graphic designer, Greta, make new product line sheets and an order form and stationery for me, and it's all so pretty (she always gets where I'm trying to go, even better than I do).

I'm stitching on my winter design and am almost done. Next year I've decided not to do as many seasonal designs, mostly because they really lock you in to the calendar! And I need more freedom right now. I have some other design ideas. It probably won't work but we'll see. I really want to be a part of the cross-stitch community but I don't think I'll ever have a floss-tube (i.e.: a YouTube channel where you talk about cross stitch). I just don't have time to watch it and I definitely don't have time to do videos. But I think it's great that they have such a vibrant community when so much of blogging has fallen away (personally heartbreaking to me, but hopefully it will come back — if you have a blog, please comment here so I can check it out!).

I've been trying to buy some new lamps for our home. Almost all of our lamps are the same ones — simple stick lamps from Ikea, over ten years old by now. We have at least ten of them that I can count offhand. The problem with these (I'm sure I've mentioned this, I am obsessed with it) is that they use chandelier bulbs and you can only use Ikea shades with them. (You can't use clip-ons because, chandelier bulbs.) Well, Ikea makes only one shade for these lamps right now and they are dark gray. So, blah. I would cover the shades I have but they are all made out of basket-woven wicker. :| Except for the kitchen ones, which are black, and with a bunch of pleated fabric on them they would be completely opaque. So I've been surfing Wayfair (I need matched pairs and have joy for retiring) for hours, looking for new lamps. I've been doing this for like a year. I can't seem to commit! Ah, silly obsessions. Thank goodness for them!

Chit-chatting about the little things here. Tell me yours.

I'm kind of taking the rest of the day off. Andy is home to run homework this afternoon and I've ordered some lunch (banh mi sandwiches and Vietnamese coffees, my weaknesses) and I'm about to start the colorwork on my Soorik tunic. (I still need to make an entry for that, sorry.) Amelia is going to be a "vampire queen" (her idea) for Halloween (I did not make this costume, I just bought it online) and she and Andy will carve pumpkins tonight. It's supposed to be sunny on Sunday which is really wonderful. Halloween on a sunny Sunday, wow!

***Her sweater is here. It still fits, yay.

59 comments

There has been a lot of talk on Instagram about how people don't like the changes, don't want to make video; plus posts get buried by the algorithm. You're right, the answer is blogs! I wish everyone would blog! I don't update mine that often (because I feel like I'm talking into space, which is a problem - everyone move over from Instagram!) but I hope to!

Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

Oh Alicia, these photos are so beautiful and so evocative of autumn! Here in Canada, the trees are already bare and we have had snowflakes in the air a few mornings. I was hoping to have a bonfire on Halloween night, but rain is in the forecast for the next two days. I've been doing some Halloween crafting, but am now ready to move on to Christmas next week. Happy Halloween to you and your family!

I LOVE your blog! I love the pictures, I love hearing about what you are up to, I love seeing what you are stitching, knitting, cross stitching, cooking, baking and watching Mimi grow up. Please don't ever stop!

I don’t have a blog but I love reading them and agree so sad that people are stopping doing them. Dislike Facebook and Instagram. The heart of the message is in blogs

Stunning photography! And I am amazed at all you get done.

I've loved your blog for so long and still am super happy when I see a new post from you. I'm so glad you're still writing here!

I look forward to your blog which I access through Ravelry. I remember when being a parent was a dream for you, then at last a joyful reality! Your simple and quieter life appeal to me, especially photos of nature, childhood delights, baking, crafts, and home life. Other bloggers that I like are Attic24, Ginny Sheller, and Yarnharlot. Thanks for taking the time to share and chat. This blog will also be a chronicle of your family life for you all someday. Btw my part of Canada - southwestern Ontario- still has plenty of green leaves that have yet to change colour. No frost yet!

Also obsessing over lamps here. With boys in the house, things get broken :) But I want something that looks nice. Decisions, decisions. I will probably also still be looking in a year. It's lovely to see you growing your cross stitching, I have been following you for ever and bought one of your earlier kits (alphabet sampler) which I still love. Your style is very beautiful, you have such a good eye for this stuff. So I shall look forward to seeing what you have in store in the future. CJ xx

Kelly Bridges says: October 30, 2021 at 04:39 AM

I love your photos, as always. I've had great luck finding sets of lamps in thrift stores, consignment, and antique shops, but of course sometimes they need to be rewired. I also have lamps from Cost Plus World Market that I really love.

I started a new blog on my new website, but it's mostly just tutorials and tips to help make my knitted toys. Nearly everyone seems to be doing videos these days, but I've always preferred photo tutorials, so that's what I make. Sometimes I miss sharing bits of my life on my blog, like I did when my kids were little. Having one teen and one preteen is not quite so cute! But maybe I do have other things of my own to share...

I always enjoy your posts, this little window into a different place and life. Thank you for being so generous with yourself.

I love your blogs and I love the blogs I follow with such a warm heart. I cannot abide Facebook or Twitter. They are nasty heartless places. I use Facebook only for MarketPlace and the tiny number of very lovely groups I'm in.

I love Insta but curate it to within an inch of it's life so I only see uplifting and lovely things that support my life and my making practice.

My own blog has been neglected recently but I have posts in the pipeline and hope to get back to it with more joy next year. That said my following is tiny, but they're all delightful people and I've made honest to goodness friendships through it. So I'm happy with that.

On the subject of lampshades....do the ones you have have an internal frame? If they do you can strip away the basketweave and replace it with stiffened fabric of your choice.

Also a specialist lampshade supplies store might be able to help. I did a quick search and found a couple of links that might be able to help.

https://www.dannells.com/lampshade-making-1-c.asp
https://www.lampshop.com/

I have made lampshades before and they aren't difficult. Nice, slow handwork. I think you'll love it. Good luck

Don't forget to look for lamps in thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales, etc. I've found some beautiful and unique lamps that way. Sometimes the shades are in great shape. When they aren't, there's the fun of searching for just the right one, or using the framework of an old one to recover to your taste. Rewiring a lamp, if need be, is easy. You'll have one-of-a-kind lamps that way!

Good morning Alicia. This post popping up in my feedly brought such a smile to my face this morning, thank you! Your collection of autumn photography just delights my heart.

Oh, the beauty of blogging that I miss so much, thank you for staying with it, I've followed you for years and years. You have a way of bringing humor, beauty and truth to the page...I just love your way of storytelling, too. I've been blogging for many years, still trying to post occasionally (I switched blogging platforms earlier in the year, lost several years of posts...starting with a clean slate). Instagram has taken away so many wonderful bloggers, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that people eventually get sick of the platform, returning to blogging again...we'll see. I think it's just too easy to post on IG and forget about it, blogging takes time, I think that's why it's fallen by the wayside...ahem.

Enjoy the day! ~ April

I agree with your comment about wishing everyone still had blogs! I'm a relatively new cross stitcher and have been stalking Flosstube, but it's hard to keep up with all of the new patterns and the linens it's all so new! And thanks for asking people to leave their blog links -- I'm looking for more cross stitching bloggers and will keep an eye on these comments to find new friends :)

I've been following your blog for several years and adore your blogging style - so thank you for keeping at it despite it all!

I can be found at The Cozy Burrow. I'd love if it other bloggers stopped by to say hi!

I love reading blogs. I started my blog in 2011 when there were so many quilters blogging and I wanted to be a part of that group. Well, to be honest, I never really felt a part of the group, but I did like sharing my work and I have gone back many times to see when I made something that I forgot to label properly. Bloglovin says I have 400 readers, but I hardly ever get comments. I tried very hard to build readership in the early days, to no avail. I have kept up the blog, though, in the hopes that blogging would come back some more. My daughter found your blog and turned me on to it back before Amelia came to you. I have read you ever since and I love your photos so much. I have bought a few things from your shop and I am always happy to see your post. Happy fall to you.

I love this chit-chatty post, and I have been reading this blog for YEARS (like, Amelia was a tiny baby, years), and I don't think I have ever commented before. But, you said if you have a blog, leave a comment - and I do, although I know you meant a crafty blog. I am not crafty. I find your blog so soothing and beautiful even though I have no ability to make beautiful things - I cannot even sew a button on my pants, and I almost failed the sewing portion in Home Ec back in the day. Anyway. I wanted to tell you that any time I see a post of yours, it lifts me up. Everything is so beautiful and in my next life I want to be a person who can make beautiful things. Instead, I will just admire you.

I watch flosstube but will always and forever read your blog. Your photos and writing is so beautiful! I can't believe October is almost over and Halloween is tomorrow. I spent last night looking at all the kids costumes I've made over the years. They are 22 and 24 and don't need mom to make their costumes anymore. :( That's ok, we have a new baby in the family arriving in November and I talked to the mommy last night and offered my services for next year. :D

How exciting that you are moving your cross stitch to wholesale. It will allow so much more exposure to your gorgeous designs. Congrats! :)

Dale Lynn Amann says: October 30, 2021 at 08:11 AM

Try Lamps Plus by the Washington Square Mall for lamps. Wonderful store with soooo many ideas and choices. It's been my "go-to" store for years!

I like blogs too and I'm so glad it's my habit to post about little things. Right now I'm trying to motivate myself to paint my upstairs hallway. Wondering why people do messy paint jobs - painting right over electrical outlets... little things.

Your photos look so good and they are making me even more excited about the season.

Vietnamese coffee is LIFE. I make it myself but my favorite place is 45 minutes away. They were kind enough to share the kind of coffee they use (Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chicory - which really does make a difference when I make my own. But still not as good as theirs!) About lamps... could I persuade you to shop secondhand? Yes, I do like the environmental benefits of thrifting. However, I have found that lamps are plentiful and cheap in thrift stores and consignment shops. And they have so much more character than new ones. (I am not a total lamp snob; I have a few IKEA lamps of my own.) I have just fallen in love with not only thrifting but also with secondhand lamps. I want to bring them ALL home with me!

This post is all cozy, inviting layers! I settled in to enjoy your words, the photographs, and fell deeper and deeper into a contented state of bliss. It's better than tea, like finding a favorite magazine in the mail box. As well, all of these comments, more bloggers to visit and appreciate... like uncovering treasure. I heartily agree: Come back bloggers! Let's have our say, and connect, and create original content with no mind for algorithms, and all the rest. I am blogging, still. Hello, friends!
Alicia, you have created a virtual gathering, in celebration of Autumn, of life and plans, and getting along in the big wide world... you bringer it closer, make it cozier. Thank you, for this.

Thank you for your blog. I used to read a lot of blogs and now I'm down to a small number; a couple of decor blogs which are just photos, your lovely blog and Ben Pentreath's Inspirations blog. I think you'd like it. It's reflective, seasonal, lots of photos of English and Scottish countryside, houses, dogs (including corgis), and dahlias, etc. I have instagram but it's not the same as the sit down with a coffee and slowly pore over words and images and feel inspired type blogs. Closer to home for me, Melissa Wastney also has an excellent occasional blog in which she stitches, reflects and talks about books she's read and music she's heard. https://tinyhappy.typepad.com/tiny_happy/
Re lamps, I am always on the hunt for red lamps and shades. If I'm watching a movie and there's red shade I'm likely to pause it to capture an image. Not that it helps me find them in real life. they were popular 12 years ago and now, as with Ikea, the colour ranges are limited to whatever the seasonal trend is. Good luck with your search.

I have a blog and I try to post everyday except Sunday

Thank you for still blogging!!! I have read your blog for many years and eagerly await each new post. You are always so encouraging, creative, and inspirational ❤️ Not sure if you have checked Hobby Lobby for lamps? They have a lot of fun different ones and they go half off quite often so are easy on the budget.

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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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