Settling In

comments: 17















We are officially finishing up the third week of school today. It's so hard to believe! I laugh. Time whooshes by and I volley at the net, trying to whack at the ball as it comes toward me, not fleet of foot nor good at pivoting quickly. Ballet started this week, and it will be a different experience for everyone at our school this year, as the school has moved (closer to our house, which is nice) and is now is a newly remodeled building. There is more space but it doesn't feel like there is more space, as now there are twice as many classes going at once, and that means twice as many kids (and bookbags, and outfits, and SHOES on the floor, all over every hallway and every studio and the lounge) and twice as many parents. I'm still figuring it out. Parking is tricky enough that I don't want to leave, and lose my great parking spot (we get there early) but also I don't want to stay, because it's pretty crowded and makes me feel claustrophobic. Well, I need to come up with a plan. I will, eventually. We're there three times a week now, so . . . we'll see how things develop.

School-related after-school activities start next week, and I think Amelia is getting in the swing of things. In addition to being on the "safety-patrol" (i.e.: crossing guards), she is also doing the lunch choir twice a week, chess club, electronic music club, and yoga. She absolutely loves her teacher and has made some new friends (mostly all boys) and is just so easygoing and cheerful and sturdy and game that it is, as always, so inspiring to me. She will be eleven next month and I am still trying to process that.

This will be her first birthday without her beloved Grandma Paulson and that is going to be hard for all of us. Andy's mom's 78th birthday would've been yesterday, and her loss has been felt here every single day since she passed away. Andy and I wanted to do something special yesterday so he and I dropped Amelia off at school and went up the the Portland Japanese Garden, where I took these pictures, and it is just the most beautiful, peaceful, sacred space you can imagine. It was a place that we'd gone with Sue (and our niece Brooke) in July of 2019, during one of her last visits to Portland. It was a gorgeous day yesterday, and we wandered and sat and thought and remembered her, and just missed her so much. I miss her smile and her laugh and her sweet texts and just, so many things. I miss you so much, Sue.

I've been staying very busy because I have new things going on, none of which I have really shown to anyone because I have been trying to get everything ready so that I can show you what I've been doing. But then I get super overwhelmed by how to show anyone what I've been doing. Mostly because it presumes that anyone cares what I've been doing! Though I still insist on believing someone does. But regardless — I mean, I am doing my thing, but I seem to be toiling in obsurity, which is weird for a blabbermouth like me. I will have the last installment (autumn!) of my seasonal cross-stitch series available next week (still need to photograph it). I've got sample watercolor calendars at the printer's right now and am waiting for them to come back. I've got lots of kids' and beginners' cross stitch kits and patterns to launch. And I've been busy designing lots of super fun needleworkers' swag. What I have NOT been doing is working on my cookbook (sob), which is about half done but which I have hardly worked on all summer. One, because, to be perfectly honest, I really struggle with summer and I find it to be the most difficult season to cook in. Fresh vegetables and fruits (alas, I mean seriously) are not exactly the cornerstones of my cooking repertoire [cringe]. I'm more of a fall/winter cook. But, even so, I was originally going to try to have my cookbook finished by Christmas and then at some point this summer I realized that that was just an unrealistic schedule and that I should really be shooting for next Christmas (of 2024). So, that took some pressure off and I am feeling good about it. But I am looking forward to getting back to that. I just need more hours in the day, as they say.

Thank you to all of you who have sent quilt squares to us!!! We have a huge stack of envelopes we need to open this weekend! Andy was in Chicago with family last week and Amelia did not want to open anything without him, so we've been waiting for a quiet moment. Andy has started working on the quilt and it is just so cool. Thank you all. (Please check the last five or six posts on my Instagram if you don't know what I'm talking about.) You couldn't possibly know what great timing it is or how much your generosity and kindness means to us right now. Thank you so much! He's hoping for a Mimi-birthday quilt. :) And thank you also for all of the TV suggestions — oh how I love TV suggestions! We decided to watch all of the High School Musicals as a family and Andy and I are currently working our way through Death in Paradise (very mellow and watchable). When I'm on my own at night while Andy is at work, I am watching Covert Affairs, which is super fun and I love Piper Perabo. It sort of reminds me of Alias lite. Anyway, thank you all for all of your suggestions and now I feel like I can really dig into stitching at night with so many options on my watchlist, which thrills me!

I'll be back soon to show you all my new designs! Love to you all, and I hope you are all having a lovely start to fall!

As we get into the swing of school and as the weather cools down and as I get more caught up, I promise I will be blogging more. 


Hi Alicia,
I have never been able to connect to your Instagram account and would very much like to follow you there. The link just sends me to a page saying No Posts Yet. Please could you let me know your Instagram name.
Thank you.
Lucille X

I am always interested in everything you do and I can't wait to see the Autumn cross stitch design. I'm still stitching away on the summer lake, which might continue into next summer but I'm loving every minute of working on this series.

Sending you all lots of love while you're missing Andy's mom especially much. I hope you're able to find comfort amongst the pain. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been working on. I've been following your blog since Amelia was born. It's my favorite and I still get so excited when I see there's a new post. Thank you for all you share here!

I do feel that our beloveds who have moved on from this life yet walk with us ... I sense my beloved grandmother, who died in the 1980s, so strongly by my side even now — nodding and smiling over her knitting, giving me a twinkle-eyed look, from time to time. I miss her fiercely, remembering with joy the many, many!, hikes together in the woods, enjoying the lilacs and magnolias; and riverside, looking for bald eagles. How lovely for your family, to have a wild space to return to, that calls to mind your loved one.

Sounds like a happy full new schedule! Rising eleven is a fabulous age — we really start 'waking up', in a special way, to the wider world at 11/12 ... exciting times are ahead for you!

Jenny Swanson says: September 17, 2023 at 08:59 AM

Looking forward to seeing all the new things when you get yourself together. It's hard to focus when one is sad.

Always look forward to reading what you and your family are doing. Enjoy this beautiful autumn!

I'm so old I don't do instagram (!!!), so I missed your request for squares, but I'm smack dab in the middle of making a quilt right now and would be happy to send a square or two. Specific color family? You don't have any pins in the map from central or western Michigan, so I'd fill that gap! Just let me know where to send them! Also I'm glad you've posted on your blog again, I do enjoy hearing about what's up with you, your designs, and your lovely family.

Ohh YES! We are VERY interested in what you are doing! Because I have a new home, and this coming winter, I am going to nest! I’m going to make every pattern you have! Cross stitch, crochet! Sewing! I’m so excited! I’ve waited 55 years to own a house (I’ve owned a mobile home, and I loved it). This Winter is the last one I will get to just stay home and enjoy, I’m going to give it to myself as a gift. I have decided to go back and finish college and start a new life. Your patterns are on the top of my list. YES! What you do matters very much! You make people Happy. You give them a sincere sense of accomplishment and well being, with your beautiful patterns! You have allowed us to be invested in the well being of your family. I prayed for your family over Covid that your husband would be safe and that he wouldn’t bring it home to you and your daughter. I’m praying for your family now in your great loss.
I’m very much looking forward to your cookbook, and if you need to push it back to next Christmas, we’ll I just buy it next Christmas! Don’t let stress hurt you. If we have learned anything, it’s that we matter, be very kind to yourself, you matter! Enjoy the process of the cookbook, it’s exciting.

Beautiful post, Alicia! It's always fun and exciting to see your new creations! It's sad that you all have lost Sue! I have a sweet mom in law that I see getting more and more old and as of this week she is on a memory unit. She is still doing pretty well and loves to talk to us on the phone. It will be great to see the quilt Andy is making! Are you guys going to a pumpkin patch? I have always loved your photos from previous years at the pumpkin patch.

Thank you for continuing to share on this wonderful warm blog. Brings me joy and peace to visit here.

I want to know what you are doing!
I love seeing your photos and was just thinking of you because I just picked up a cross stitch that was a summer sampler from I think 2021 and I still haven't finished it, not even close and I have so many of your patterns I want to jump into for fall or winter. They are so beautiful and I want to be a cross stitcher but I can only manage about 30 minutes at a time. I am determined to finish before summer of 2024! I have a she-shed and I have dreams of making a pillow out of the samplers for each season. But life and my garden get in the way of my sewing and stitching. So I dabble in the beauty of your patterns. Thank you for all that you share.

Always enjoy your posts/pics, ideas for movies and series, cooking and can't wait to see all of your new kits, this new quilt, etc that you've mentioned. Yes, fall is my favorite season and I agree, best time to cook. Summer is too hot and I look forward to yummy soups, stews etc. Why is it that our days fly by sooo fast? Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Fall!

I have missed PNW posts/pics!
We left Seattle in June 2022, and moved to North Carolina. I realized after 10 years in Seattle that I needed to go back to the East coast, and that I needed more sun and warmth. BUT, I have so much nostalgia for the LUSHness of the PNW. And the views of the lakes, mountains, and the ginormous pine trees. Both the pines and the mountains here are so teeny tiny.
My 11 year old son is now in middle school, and doing so many activities it’s hard to keep up. Life is full and wonderful! Though also a bit hectic, to be honest…
Have a wonderful fall! Enjoy the craziness!

Kulturschnepfe says: September 26, 2023 at 03:01 AM

Dear Alicia, if you are looking for mellow TV shows, there is a wonderful little gem from the UK call Detectorists. It has three short seasons and a couple of extra episodes. It's my go-to on bleak or sad days. Just so very mellow/uplifting.
Love K.

Wow, it's been forever since I've commented! I miss the old blog days sometimes (and I miss having the time to read and comment on blogs every morning, too)!

Neil and I have been watching Death in Paradise every night, too - we've taken to calling it "Murder Island" because, really, their murder rate is out of control, LOL! We're on Series 8, and I don't know what we will do when we run out.

I'm sorry to read about Andy's mom. My dad's birthday was a few days ago, and it was hard, even though he's been gone for almost 4 years now. Virtual hugs to you all ♥

Aww, I completely understand about the cookbook progress, Alicia. Life, and everything else, gets in the way, and I've learnt this year that doing *all* the jobs required to make a beautiful book involves a lot more than making the same number of pages of PDF patterns or online tutorials...

I'm three months behind the schedule I'd set for my amigurumi book when we last talked, and while I'm still hoping to get mine done in time for this Christmas, that's meant abandoning all my other projects for the year (which I'm happy to see you haven't done - congrats on the Etsy shop!)

I keep reminding myself that good things take time - even more so when it comes to books, apparently - and it'll all be worth it in the end. Your cookbook delay will definitely be worth it: cooking and photographing all your recipes in the appropriate season seems like the best and only way to enjoy the process of creating it, and I'm sure that enjoyment will shine through in the finished book 😊

Mary Ann in Vermont says: September 30, 2023 at 10:18 AM

I want you to know how excited, happy, and giddy I get when there is a new post here! I gather my tea and sit right down to know that the next half an hour will be filled with your delights.
Thank you over and over for keeping up your precious blog. It means so much. xo

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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