Natural Beauty

comments: 16
































I mean, what can I say. Mother Nature speaks for herself here, much more eloquently in a single arc of wild rosehips than I could ever hope to. I wish you could smell the forest, and hear the birdsong, hear the soft gurgle of the streamlets as they meander through the tangle of trees. Oh, soft days. Soft light. A line of black geese across the white sky. Amelia can't stop talking, bouncing ahead of me down the trail, carrying the trail map, looking for a spot to stop and have her snacks she packed. She's just so happy in the woods. After the arboretum (first set of photos; second set is from Mt. Talbert) we stopped at "elephant park" (it's near the zoo, and has a now-broken elephant statue in the sandpit) and then to Elephant's Deli and had lunch on the patio under the heaters, just us girls. It was just the absolute perfect day. After a summer of near-constant outdoor activity, it's rare that we have such perfect weather on the weekends, when she has no school. Wondrous nature and walks with my family, my healing salve, my joy. These days sustain me through the dark and the rain.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season will be upon us. I had lunch with my darling friend Beth Twist last week. We sat outside in our coats and scarves on the heated patio of the California Pizza Kitchen and ate and talked for four hours. We were the only people out there, ha! :) I had such a great time talking shop. My new design is coming, I swear — we just need to pull floss for it, but the fabric and the patterns are here, so I'll release everything early next week and we'll ship at lightning-speed. I never did show you the digital for it so now I guess I'll keep you in suspense for the real thing. It's my favorite yet in the series. Once we release this guy and the reissued winter kits next week we will be completely done with the reissues and this 2021 seasonal series. For once, the end of my work for the series is coinciding with the end of the calendar year. Aside from the wholesale-pattern-project I keep yammering on about, I have no idea what I am going to design for 2022! I really don't know! I have a lot of vague ideas but I haven't really dialed in a concept. Should I keep doing 8"x10" seasonal cross-stitch designs? Should I do some small little designs? Unique framing options (little grapevine wreaths as frames, for instance)? "Regular" embroidery (not cross stitch)? What should I do for 2022???

At night, I've been doing a lot of knitting. I just knit another sweater. I'll finish the last sleeve and then take a picture of it. I used bulky yarn that was in my stash. Bulky knitting on size US10 needles is not my favorite, but boy is it fast. I really like the CQ sweater and might knit that. I've been keeping my house pretty cold so I can wear all my knitted stuff. I've also really wanted to make a Gamaldags in this color combo for years. I need a hat. I never seem to have a hat for when it's really cold. Maybe this one. I love this sweater in this color. I've been really indulging in the "selfish" crafting lately. You gotta kinda take what thrills you can get. I am reading this pretty spooky book called Madam that I saw on Melissa's Instagram. I'm about halfway through and I can't put it down. It's so creepy! I started reading it before Halloween but I am a slow reader. Fast knitter, slow reader! Update: I read the next thirty pages and then started skimming through to end and did not finish because it got seriously insane and disturbing. Do not recommend. Blech.

I wish you all a peaceful and abundant Thanksgiving weekend. I am so grateful for your friendship and presence here in my life! Thank you! XOXOXO P.S.: Amelia was horrified that the girls on the trail ahead of us pulled up the mushroom in the photo above and "left it alone there to die." I think they must have done it accidentally because I heard them talking but didn't know what they were talking about until we got to where they had been and saw the mushroom right there. Amelia wanted to replant it. Andy and I had recently watched this movie on Netflix so I didn't think it would work. It wouldn't have worked, would it have? Anyone know what kind of mushroom it is?


Kristen from MA says: November 25, 2021 at 07:31 AM

Alicia, when it comes to future designs, my advice is to just go with whatever idea hits you. You’re so wonderfully creative. If something ends up being the start of a series, that’s great, but stand alone designs are good too. I look forward to seeing - and buying - your new creations. :)

No replaying the mushroom wouldn’t have worked. It’s the fruiting body, the mycelium is still there though so the mushroom is still alive, technically. It will sprout another fruiting body when the time is right.

The fact that your girly had empathy for a mushroom got me a little teary. You’re doing it right, girl.

Good lord you live in a beautiful spot. Hope you are having a wonderful thanksgiving!

I'm with Carlene. So sweet that Amelia cared about the mushroom. Her heart is in the right place!

Im no expert on identifying fungi but I know that mushroom/fungi reproduce/spread by spores and themselves have a short life so no great worry the 'mushroom' was pulled - a lot of wildlife would eat it so it won't be wasted either. How nice though that your children share your concern for the environment and were so aware of their impact on their surroundings :)

I'd like to request more "regular embroidery" patterns/kits. I am too scattered and distractible for counted cross-stitch, and have really enjoyed the seasonal wreath kits this year (THANK YOU for sending that replacement ribbon! I've hidden it from Nessa, the curious/destructive but lovable poodle puppy). I particularly enjoyed when the pattern calls for stitches other than satin stitch. I've gotten better at it, but it's fun to learn new stitches and textures!

I'm also a fan of the softies - Years ago, I made the bunny (which inspired me to learn how to knit for her capelet), and picked up the doe and the mouse when you found the extra kits this year.

As for the mushroom, I believe it is a Western Yellow-veiled Amanita (Amanita augusta). I use and highly recommend the plant/animal ID app iNaturalist (free, pretty easy to navigate, LOTS of good ID photos). =) Happy late fall!

yep, i second the amanita. it has a veil. the floppy ring-like thing. "never eat-a amanita" they're poisonus. but beautiful!

WOW! Your photography is outstanding!!!!

Alicia, these photos are stunning! The colors!

Carol in Texas says: November 27, 2021 at 12:46 PM

Alicia, I could not get your highlighted items to work… the photo of the knitted cap you like and the Instagram site of Melissa where you read about Madam. What am I doing wrong?

The woods are very woodsy where you are, and fall is the most wonderful time to have them easily accessible, to walk in. Sniff, sniff... I almost thought I was smelling those rich decaying leaf smells. <3

Thank you for a little visit.

I'm sure others have said this, but as a naturalist nerd let me assure Amelia: a mushroom reproduces via spores, which will shoot out regardless of the state of the fruiting body (which is what the "mushroom" part we see and admire is).

The 'fruiting body' is actually the shortest lived part of a mushroom, sometimes only lasting a day or two! It is also often the least important, in a strange sense. The /most/ important is the unseen mycelia, which is that lovely network of filaments under the earth that connects tree to tree, decomposes decaying matter, and recycles those nutrients back into the earth.

Many species of mushroom actually thrive with a little disturbance, (not all of course, best leave a patch of earth alone when in doubt,) and some mushrooms will /only/ fruit when disturbed. Mushrooms are funny beasts. Neither plant nor animal. They work with a set of rules all their own. Furthermore: some mushrooms can only be accurately identified by observing the stem - which includes the base nub - which could be why this one was plucked from the earth. It could have been left behind to allow for the spores to germinate as normal.

'Replanting' would be akin to burial; not an incorrect impulse, but alas does not give the mushroom a renewed life. Indeed, the whole point of a mushroom is to shoot out spores, which it can still absolutely do in its picked and discarded state as you saw it on the forest floor. A plucked mushroom is not interrupted from life. It is just living life at a strange angle - and don't we all, at times.

Honest to goodness if you haven't done spore prints I'd recommend it? It's a key to identifying mushrooms for mycologists and aside from that it is a really neat and easy art project for the young scientist. Take a set of kitchen shears into the woods and slice off a mushroom just under the cap, leaving the gills undisturbed. Place on a piece of paper overnight. The spores will shoot onto the paper, and you will get a mesmerizing "print" of the mushroom gills. To be high minded, harvest only from a grove (and aim for one that is not too old, not too young,) but again, mushrooms are very resilient creatures and can stand a little interference from inquiring minds. (Particularly in well-trod parks in urban areas.)

Different mushrooms have different colored spore prints! It can be fun to collect a variety when doing an experiment like this. Gill color can /sometimes/ indicate spore print color, but not always!

In any case, assure Amelia that the mushroom is fine, and lived out its life cycle as nature intended, despite the human interference.

Oh my goodness I love your photos!
I have also followed all your links and that book is ON THE LIST it looks great!!!
Thank you for all you share - I'm hoping to order one of your cross-stich patterns one of these days but I am determined to complete some of the other ones I have stashed around the place first...
Am sure whatever you decide for 2022 will be wonderful as something will spark your imagination and off you'll go - that always brings the best results.
Happy times ahead!

Some "regular" embroidery projects would be lovely!

Honestly i love everything you produce but if expressed a preference I would opt for some regular embroidery. I am not very disciplined for counted cross stitch, ha ha!

The comments to this entry are closed.

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