Posts filed in: Shop Talk

New Designs Now Available!

comments: 25

Evening Skate Blog

Update regarding Typepad problems: Apparently the problems at Typepad have been solved and the blog should be working these photos should look normal now — I truly apologize for the frustration, and thank you all for the orders! Back tomorrow with a normal blog post, fingers crossed everything works!!! Agh!

BUT: Hello! Do you like WINTER? Oh boy I do. I have three new designs for winter and Christmas for you! The first is EVENING SKATE, above!

This design was inspired by its frame. Weird, I know. But one morning I was browsing eBay for vintage frames, as I do, and I found four of these matching frames available for a pretty decent price, so I bought them. They're nice and generously sized — the frame opening is about 9.5" x 12.5" — and the frame itself was thin, the way I like. The wood color and finish just reminded me of some of my mom's embroideries from the '80s. And it got me thinking about what I wanted to design for this.  Since I had four of them I knew I would do a seasonal series for winter, spring, summer, and fall. And I've been wanting to do something kind of Grandma Moses–inspired for a while. So I had the idea of the ice-skating rink I used to go to in my old neighborhood, when I was a child. It was an outdoor rink at Keystone Park in River Forest (Illinois), a few blocks from the house where I grew up. Every year they would flood the park and make an ice-skating rink for the neighborhood. On winter weekends when we were growing up, my friend Monica Sloger and I would meet up at the end of my street and walk with our pom-pom-decorated skates hung over our shoulders to Keystone Park to skate. It would be so cold, so we'd have double-socks on, and hats and mittens and scarves. Sometimes we'd bring thermoses of hot chocolate to drink in the warming house there. Oh, we used to skate for hours and hours. They would shovel snow off of the rink and pile it up around the sides. Sometimes the big boys would play hockey on one side of the rink so you'd have to watch out. Neither Monica nor I had ever taken any lessons or anything like that, so we weren't very good. But we'd hold hands and try to help each other skate backwards, occasionally do a wobbling spin. When it got dark, we'd head home, walking under the train tracks and near the woods. Funny how I was never afraid then. If it was Sunday, I knew my mom would be making dinner, maybe spaghetti sauce (just "sauce," if you're Italian — we are [though apparently not by DNA, I've come to find out — story for another day]) or chicken and dumplings or beef Stroganoff. Something rich and warm. And my fingers and toes would be just bone cold, and I'd run them under warm water, trying to resist turning it up as hot as I could. Gosh, I just loved ice skating. I remember when I first moved to Portland twenty-five years ago I was stunned to find out it doesn't really snow here. I'd had no idea! I'd never lived anywhere that it didn't snow, and Portland seemed pretty far north to me? But no. Skating happens indoors here (and I have a reconstructed foot, so it doesn't happen for me now at all). But those starry, sparkling-cold nights walking home from Keystone Park still live in my dreams as one of the best parts of childhood, and one of the things that I look back on with longing.

So Evening Skate is my tribute to that place and that time. I have three more designs for spring, summer, and fall planned, and spring and summer are already designed. All four designs are similar in that they share the same alphabet and general design elements, though the details are different. Spring is has a group of people planting a garden, summer has them swimming in a pond, and fall will have them picking pumpkins in a pumpkin patch.

It is stitched on 32-count Belfast linen in Mystic Gray. The design area is 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27) on 32-count, and 138 stitches wide x 168 stitches high. The work is done with DMC six-strand cotton floss. Almost all of the design is done with 2 plies of floss over 2 threads EXCEPT for the doggie, which is done 1 over 1. It's not as hard as you'd think, so please don't be intimidated by that. (I just needed that dog to be a dog, and I couldn't do it 2 over 2.) Kits include a printed full-color pattern with a four-page chart, the fabric, and all the floss you need. The frame is not included in the kit. :) The kit is available here. The PDF pattern-only is available here with both full-color and black-and-white four-page charts. This is a big pattern. I recommend printing patterns at 100% (no scaling) at high quality for best results.

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Next up is CHRISTMAS IS COMING! This is a cross-stitch ornament kit that includes everything you need to make the four ornaments here. The finished size of them is about 3" x 3" (and the stitching area is about 2" square). The pattern with the kit includes full-color charts as well as a photo-illustrated tutorial on how to mount the stitching to make the ornaments. The kit includes the cross stitch fabric (32-count Belfast linen in Stone Gray), the cardstock on which you will mount the stitching, the vintage calico fabric, quilt batting to make the stitching a bit puffed up, the ribbons, and four of these cute little "2022" charms with 8mm jump rings to attach to the back (or front, if you like):

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Cute! We have Andy Paulson to thank for these! (And I still have many extra charms on-hand, so if you are buying the PDF pattern for this but you need some charms, please email me and I’ll send you some!)

Anyway, these little ornaments were designed kind of on a whim – I don’t know but I have just been feeling so nostalgic lately, and yearning for things that remind me of home (as in, childhood home). I was remembering this time when I was around Amelia’s age, probably a few years older, and I was in a play called Ebenezer. It was a version of A Christmas Carol that was put on every year by the Village Players in Oak Park (Illinois) and I was a member of the children’s cast for several years (any suburban Chicagoans out there remember the Village Players?). We kids had a pretty small roll (it was a mostly adult community theater company) so the group of eight or nine of us kids spent a LOT of time just hanging out in a room backstage, waiting to go on. It was such a fun time. The production was Victorian and we had to have our own costumes. One year (this was sometime in the early 1980s) I saw the cutest outfit probably at Marshall Field’s or Weiboldt’s (those were two of our department stores in Oak Park) and it was a long skirt and a vest made out of dark green velveteen trimmed with cream-colored rosebud calico, worn with a high-collared, full-sleeved kind of prairie blouse with a little self-tie at the neck made out of the same calico as the trim. Oh, I wanted it so bad! But it was expensive and my mom said it was too expensive. At the time, Weiboldt’s still had a fabric department upstairs. And I remember we went up there and looked through the pattern books and found a pattern (seriously, it was probably this one, or something very similar to this) and found green velveteen fabric and cream rosebud calico and she literally made me practically the exact same one that I wanted but even better. It was perfect. I loved that outfit so much. I felt so excited to wear it every night of that play. My mom could and would sew me anything I ever wanted, even in college, and it was all beautiful.

Well, these little calicos are vintage ‘80s and remind me exactly of that outfit, and the cream rosebud one might have even been the exact fabric that my mom used for my outfit. It looked exactly like that. I wanted to design something that was very simple with very few colors that would be really good for beginners, or if you just wanted to whip something up for a friend or co-worker in one evening. And if you want to make all four for your own tree I think that would be wonderful. And I hope they spark a happy memory of days gone by for you, too. The Christmas is Coming! kit is available here. And the PDF pattern is available here. :)

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Now on to what I think/hope might be a memory for Amelia. This past summer, the ballet school she’s been going to since she was three closed down permanently. Amelia is a casual dancer – I mean, I don’t think she’s serious enough about it (or anything yet) to really pursue it to any great extent. But she enjoys it well enough and I want her to do some kind of after-school sport (I have a lot of thoughts about this that I find myself needing to express to someone, anyone, somewhere, but I will spare you here and save that for a post for another day), so we decided to keep doing ballet but at a different ballet school (further away, more expensive, but we’ve decided to give it this year to see if it’s still something she wants to continue to do. This school is lovely (from what I can tell; parents aren’t let in the buildings anymore, unfortunately) and they do quite a production of The Nutcracker every year.

When Covid hit, Amelia was in first grade and she was a couple of months away from being in her first ballet recital, which was scheduled to be held in the big theater at a nearby community college. That got canceled and never was rescheduled. Then they had a very small in-person performance for just parents this past summer, but it was basically in their regular classroom and not particularly fancy. So this year, she will be in her new school’s production of The Nutcracker and it feels like kind of a big deal! She is a “party girl” from the “rich family” (which of course she is thrilled by, ha!). This is in the party scene at the beginning. She is wearing a fancy white dress (and apparently her sash is purple, though I didn’t know about the purple sash when I designed this, or I might have made it purple instead of blue; though I guess blue feels more traditional) and also a “wiglet” (I wish I had a video of the first time I showed her the wiglet – her face was hilarious – she just stared at it like she was trying to figure out what it was and then she finally understood it and burst out laughing – it’s basically a cluster of ringlet curls that they wear over their buns).

Anyway! I personally love The Nutcracker and I designed this for Amelia because I think, even if she doesn’t decide to continue to dance, this will be a memorable experience for her, just like my childhood theater stuff was for me. Aside from singing one song onstage with her first-grade class at parents’ night a few years ago, she’s never been onstage before. I just wanted to make something to celebrate this ballet that is beloved to so many people during the Christmas season. In my design, NUTCRACKER SWEET, Clara wakes from her snowy, sweet dream under the giant tree. . . .

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I had more fun stitching this than I have had in a long time! It is done on 32-count Belfast linen in Blush with DMC threads. You could easily change Clara’s skin tone and hair coloring to reflect your own dancer’s with a little bit of extra floss that you might have, or if you need some let me know what kinds of colors you need and I’ll be happy to send along. My favorite parts of this design are the owl clock and the mouse crown (which Amelia herself suggested). I will say that it has been really difficult to get this Belfast Blush here – I’ve been waiting for it for way over a month, and they were only able to send me seven yards. (“Supply chain issues” are real, and really frustrating.) So we have a total of only EIGHTY kits in stock right now – if you want this one, don’t wait. We will make more when more fabric comes in, but I’m having a very hard time pinning my distributor down on when exactly that will be. So I honestly feel incredibly grateful that they were able to send me seven yards, and I’ve been waiting to launch these here until I had it in my hot little hands (because mama has been burned before, people). Anyway, we have eighty kits in stock right now and will be shipping all orders next week. The Nutcracker Sweet kit is available here. And the PDF pattern (with both color and black-and-white charts) is available here.

And to go with this, my gosh this is a lengthy post, but we also have a new lotion bar, called SUGARPLUM lotion bar:

Sugarplum Blog

Yes. I could not resist. This would make such a sweet little stocking stuffer. It is a bit more petite than our other lotion bars. It is made with beeswax from the local bees of Mickleberry Gardens (and their beeswax is absolutely the best, and I have tried a few); coconut oil; shea butter; lanolin; and a natural fragrance oil from my favorite trusted source for apothecary supplies, Brambleberry (you can read about the difference between essential oils and their natural fragrance oils here). It has a sweet, fruity scent that is a mix of grapefruit, raspberry, melon, sweet pea, rose, and coconut. It is perhaps a less sophisticated scent than our other lotion bars made with essential oils. But it is just delightful and I’m so happy to add it to our collection for the holiday season. We have just restocked ALL of our lotion bars after being sold out for a while (they go quick) – but Andy made a ton of these for me last week while he was home on vacation, thank you babe! So they are ready for you and make great little teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, or hostess presents. As always, they come in a reusable tin, ready for gifting.

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Okay guys, I have rambled on for a long time here. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to post this but as I said, I needed to have that pink fabric in hand before I said a word about any of these, and on top of that, Typepad does not seem to be working properly, either (I can see that these photos are cut off on the side, but I think it's on their end, so will try to investigate). I also think I will trot out my backlist winter designs (I forgot to do it for fall) again here soon because I do like to do that on the blog to see all the seasonal stuff together, but that will wait until next week. I’m so excited to have these new things out here, and I truly wish you many happy hours of stitching these designs in the coming colder days. Much love to you all, and thank you for being here. Xo, a

Also: I'm just so curious: What are your memories like this, that you find yourself returning to? Specifically, I mean? Do you have a certain winter memory that just makes you smile, or cry, or . . . something in between? If you have time please share them here with me, especially the little details. I'm feeling so strangely full of longing these days (maybe this happens when your baby turns 10? I don't know) and I really want to hear if anyone else can relate.

Pumpkin & Moonshine, and Something for the Birthday Girl!

comments: 12

BlogBeauty

Hello! This is my new kit and pattern for Halloween! It's called Pumpkin & Moonshine (inspired by one of our very favorite books). I have always wanted to do some little silhouettes and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! These designs are done on 32-count Belfast linen in the color Antique Ivory, which is sort of like this wonderful, warm pale pumpkin-rind color. And they are stitched with two skeins of DMC six-strand cotton floss in color #3371. The kit is $23 and includes a full-color printed pattern with a black-and-white chart, a 14" x 16" piece of fabric that you can use to stitch both designs, and two skeins of floss. The kit is available here. The downloadable PDF pattern is available here.

The framing supplies are not included in the kit, but here's the story of how I framed these: I often surf eBay for vintage and antique frames for my cross stitch. Some old frames come in really weird sizes that are not standard. I found two little 3" x 7" frames, new in their package, and the price was right so I ordered them. Before they came I was excited and I went ahead and designed these based on the reported frame opening. By the time the frames came, the stitching was done — but the stitched pieces looked really bad in the frames. (The frames were too dark and heavy, and the stitching went way to close to the opening edges, and I just didn't like it.)

So I cut two pieces of 1/4"-thick foam core that were 4" x 8" and wrapped my stitched fabrics around them. (By the way, I buy these boards to use for my cross-stitch pieces, and cut them with a sharp Exacto knife if necessary, and I use short sequin pins to secure the fabric through the edges of the foam core — if you are interested in a tutorial for how I do this, I have details here.) Then I cut a few pieces of kraft cardstock (you could use a cereal box, or some cardboard pieces, or a leftover flat mailer) that were just 1/4" wider all the way around than the mounted embroidery (so, 4.5" x 8.5"). I happen to have a plum tree out front with very straight twigs on it, so I cut some of those perfectly to size (keep the top one a bit longer) and hot-glued them to the cardstock just on the verrrry edges of the cardstock. Make sure you can fit the mounted embroidery in the space and then you can glue that in, too (though I just used fabric glue for that — hot glue around actual embroidery kind of scares me because I'm not that good with it and the glue gun is always falling over and getting on everything). Then I tied a little piece of leather cord (kinda like this one, which comes in a bunch of colors) to the longer ends of the top twig. And voila! I really like them!

I am using a new printer and all four of my new patterns that I am kitting (including three Christmas patterns that I will be releasing in the next week or two) were sent to the printer last week and they are due to arrive here on Monday, September 26. As soon as they get here we will get Pumpkin & Moonshine orders out the door on Tuesday, as I have all the fabric cut and the floss is waiting!

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I have also designed this sweet little treat, called Birthday Girl. I made it for Amelia's upcoming birthday because this girl just loves her candy, and her cute little things, and balloons, and everything sweet. (It didn't seem right to use her actual name and birth date for something I was going to sell, so I just purposely made up a name and date that would fit her name perfectly, but I apologize if this bears any resemblance to someone's actual name/birth date! I'm going to frog all of this and replace it with Amelia's details when I get a chance.) I think it would also be so cute as a birth announcement for a new baby! It's quick to work up and really fun to stitch. The Birthday Girl pattern comes with both a full-color chart with symbols and a black-and-white chart with symbols, as well as a full alphabet chart with both capital and lowercase letters, numerals from 0-9, and a blank worksheet for you to create your own text at the bottom of the pattern. It is available only as a downloadable PDF pattern, not as a kit.

I am going to start designing more patterns that I release only as PDFs. This just sort of frees me up as a designer sometimes, as I don't have to worry so much about which fabric I am using and whether it's going to be available by the time I go to kit it, and which floss colors I'm using and whether I have enough to kit, etc. And also — it's just easier and faster to do a pattern, for obvious reasons! So yeah, more patterns coming in the future!

That said, as mentioned above, I have three more new Christmas/winter kits/patterns coming, and they are all finished and printed and are being shipped to me as I write. I don't want to launch them until I have the fabric in hand (that's the most important thing to have, and let me tell you, it can be tricky to get fabric in large quantities these days) and the fabric has been ordered, and some of it has been shipped (and some of it is on its way from Europe). I'm crossing every finger until it all gets here and then I will show you pictures and have all the information! I'm really excited. It feels so good to be making things!

And the winners are . . .

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Drawing

3rd Place: Laura Minnich

2nd Place: Kristin Singer

GRAND PRIZE: Ruth Scherer

My "summer ends" sale ended last night at midnight! This morning I printed out all of the names of every person who ordered since the sale started last week and Amelia pulled three winners out of the bag. Congratulations to you Laura, Kristin, and Ruth! And thank you so much to everyone who ordered/entered! That was very exciting! We will have to do that more often now that I have the web site set up for sales. I still have a few orders from the past two days to ship out today, and I will be contacting the winners and getting their prizes out early next week! And I'll be back with a blog post then, too! Lots of exclamation points! XOXOXOXOXO, a

Near the Summer's End

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The Paulsons, Portland, OR, August 4, 2022

Our vacation was really fun, sunny, wet, and hot. We will remember our favorite memories which are mourning doves, floating in the river, crayfish, cool mornings, eagles, wildlife, sandwiches, sleeping, photography, Great British Baking Show, crocheting on the porch, tacos, taking baths, ridiculous tubers, reading, watching Sonic 2, warm rain, eating lunch while relaxing in the river, flowers, fresh air, geese, sleepovers, knitting, pancakes and bacon, which rock is bigger (game), fishies, music, nice rooms, birds, clean, cold water, and listening to meals being cooked.

(Written by Amelia [though we all contributed our favorite memories] in the guest book on the morning of our departure from the river house; edited for spelling :)

I know I've been gone for a while, and I'm not even that sure where I've been. Nowhere, really. Honestly, this summer has been quietly wonderful. We didn't do anything big. There were days at the library and days at the park, days at the pool and lunches in the shade, ice creams and popsicles. Play dates, playgrounds. A lemonade stand. A trip to a movie theater for brunch, a day at the mall. Days spent outside at grandma's, afternoons spent watching television at home in the air conditioning. Bike rides and reading. Before school starts, we're planning a trip to the zoo next week. The sweet, simple pleasures of a summer where we didn't have endless heat waves (they were short) and the sky wasn't filled with wildfire smoke. I've never been so grateful for a summer.

We went to the river house for several days this month for our annual summer vacation. The owner texted me the morning before we were supposed to leave and said, you can actually come today if you want to — no one's here and it's ready for you. For free! We were all just sitting around for once, so we packed real quick and headed down a whole day early. Bonus day! It was great. That was just so nice of him. Amelia used my big camera a lot and took some of the photos above. I usually have epic reading experiences at the river but this year — I really had no book that pleased me! And it was kind of a bummer! But, never mind. I sat in the river under my beach umbrella, listening to eagles calling, listening to the water, listening to Amelia and Andy play. The riverbed is covered with a thick layer of giant, slippery cobblestones. Millions of them. It's very shallow where we are, but very hard to walk in, so my foot and I usually stay put. Amelia walked up ten or fifteen yards and floated back toward a waiting Andy dozens of times. Every day, all day. He patiently waited for her to "swim" down to him. She loved it so much. I loved watching them. Overhead, swallows swooped. I tried to take some quilt pictures but it was so hard — I had forgotten the tripod, so it was impossible to get good shots inside. (I'm still planning to sell some of these but I seriously cannot get decent photos of them and it stresses me out.) For dinner, we made tacos, or chicken verde, or spaghetti. For lunch we ate sandwiches in the sun. At night we watched The Great British Baking Show, something we did last year and loved doing again. We have traditions there. It's our ninth summer there. We've been going since Amelia was baby. She says it's her favorite place in the world. I think it's mine and Andy's too. Gosh, it was just so nice.

It was sweet but short, though. The end of summer is nearing so quickly. Amelia starts school back at her neighborhood elementary school on August 30, and as that date approaches I am filled with so many conflicting emotions I can't even count them, let alone name them. I am a spaghetti tangle of feelings. Andy and I have both been working a lot the past few weeks. I have some new designs coming up that I am excited to tell you about — I will have a birthday/birth announcement sampler pattern release this fall, and then a whole brand new seasonal cross-stitch kit (and pattern) series available for 2022-23. The first one of the new series will be released as a pre-order in a few weeks — it is a winter design called Evening Skate. I have winter, spring, and summer already (digitally) designed, and am working on autumn 2023 (so, a year ahead — wow, first time for me to plan ahead!). Anyway, I also have some exciting (to me, at least) announcements coming up this fall — my wholesale preparations are getting going (I'll be talking more about that soon), Andy and I are testing out some brand new lotion-bar shapes and scents (and yes, we will finally be restocking our classic bars [and a lot of our sold-out supplies in general] as well), I want to have some cross-stitch Christmas ornament patterns for you, I will be dyeing some yarn for a holiday release, I want to write a new quilt pattern, and my friend has invited me to participate in something really awesome next spring (more on that soon!). So, school is starting for Amelia and work is starting for me!

Before that, let's have a sale! In preparation for making my web site ready for selling patterns wholesale, my web designer added something I've been wanting on my site for a while now: a discount code! Yay! I have been wanting this for ages and finally it has happened! And as a way of saying thank you to every one of you for being here on this blog and in my web shop through thick and thin, I would like to have an end-of-summer sale of 15% off everything in my web shop from now until the end of August.

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In addition to that, every single person who orders anything on my web site during the sale time will be ENTERED INTO A DRAWING for one of three prizes:

Third prize: One Stitcher's RSVP kit (currently sold out!), or any in-stock kit of your choice if you already have this one

Second prize: One Stitcher's RSVP kit (see above), one Hardwicke Manor 4" embroidery hoop, one package of twill tape (for wrapping hoop), one package of Bohin size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch

GRAND PRIZE: One Stitcher's RSVP kit (see above), one Hardwicke Manor 4" embroidery hoop, one package of twill tape (for wrapping hoop), one package of Bohin size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch, one Bohin heart-shaped 3 1/2" embroidery scissors, one skein of hand-dyed fingering-weight yarn, one yet-to-be-released new-designed lotion bar, one big bar of all-natural handmade cold-processed soap, and one handmade-by-me ceramic soap dish!

You don't have to do anything besides order to enter (and you can place as many orders as you like, but there will only be one entry per customer). The sale will go from now until midnight on August 31! After the sale ends, I will put all of the customer names who have ordered during that period into a hat and have Amelia draw three winners. I will announce them here on Thursday, September 1!

I've never done anything like this before but I've always wanted to! I've been so conflicted about summer ending, but I hope this will be fun for all of us, and I look forward to seeing who wins! And thank you very much for participating!

Summer Stitching 2022

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Oh, you know it! I still want to be invited but I'm not coming! I'm staying home with my kitters, and my needle and thread, and my Monty Don shows and my nightgown and my Stella light and maybe the teensy-tiniest bit of guilt/regret, but I'll get over it! I can't help it. I'm an INTJ! And no matter how many times I take the personality test it never changes, for better or worse. Knit knit knit. Stitch stitch stitch. Make another cup of teeeeeea.

This piece is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss. Please note: Most of this piece is stitched "2 over 2," or 2 plies of floss over 2 threads of fabric. But the text is stitched "1 over 1," or 1 ply of floss over 1 thread of fabric. That's tiny! But you can do it.

Finished size of design area: 6.25"w x 5.2"h (16cm x 13cm); 100 stitches wide x 83 high on 32-count fabric

This design is available as a kit, and contains:
  • One 9" x 10" (23cm x 25cm) piece of 32-count evenweave linen from Wichelt in Mediterranean Sea
  • (29) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
  • Stitching instructions
  • Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
  • One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer

You will need:

If you'd like just the downloadable pattern available as a PDF (which contains color and black-and-white charts), please CLICK HERE.

To learn how to do counted cross stitch, please click here.

For help with framing your finished piece yourself, please click here.

 

Beauty3 blog

Here we finally have A Tender Year: June.

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This design was stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Dusty Peach) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. (If you'd like a tutorial on wrapping canvas with embroidery, please see this page.) It uses DMC floss. The pattern includes illustrations for all the stitches included, so if you are a beginner you should have no trouble. If you'd like to stitch along with the entire series, here are the January, February, March, April, and May patterns.

Strawberry Season Cover JPG blog

We still have many kits left for some of my summer designs from previous years. This one is Strawberry Summer, also stitched on 32-count linen to fit in an 8" x 10" frame. It is also available as a downloadable PDF pattern.

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Here is Summer Wreath. It is available as a kit, with everything you need included, or a downloadable PDF pattern. This is part of an entire series, so if you are interested in stitching all four seasons, please see Spring, Autumn, and Winter Wreath kits. All PDFs for them are available here.

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Here is Things of Summer! It's probably one of my very favorite designs I've ever made. We have kits available, and also the PDF pattern. (Things of Autumn and Things of Winter kits are still available; unfortunately, the fabric for Things of Spring has been discontinued so that kit has sold out and will not be back in stock. PDF patterns are available for all.)

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There are a few sweet Summer Storm kits left. I feel like I have more of these in overstock but I will need to find them. It is also available as a PDF.

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This is the Midsummer Sprigs design. I cannot find where I ever did post about this, but I know I did! We never made this into a kit, but it has been available as a PDF pattern for many years. It is stitched with hand-dyed Weeks Dye Works floss, but DMC conversions are given in the pattern. I love this design. I have it hanging in my upstairs hallway. It's done on 28-count black linen fabric. If you think you might have trouble stitching on black, try stitching with a white dishtowel on your lap. It will really make the holes in the fabric pop, and you'll be able to "see your stitches" much more easily.

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I know I said that I would do a Scarborough Faire skirt sew-a-long! I think I'm going to have my hands too full this summer to organize that but I am going to make some of my vintage calicos available for sale. This skirt is just cool because there are no actual pattern pieces: Instead, you will take your measurements, plug them into my formula, and cut a bunch of rectangles based on that formula. The pattern walks you through the whole thing, with illustrations for every step. The pockets will fit your phone, keys, and wallet. I have four or five of these skirts now and I wear them constantly. Make it is short or long as you want.

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Have you stitched the Daisychain ABCs Sampler?

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If you have been wanting to, I have four crewel-wool packs for this pattern available in my shop right now. We found them when we were doing some spring cleaning and I've just listed them. You can also do this design in DMC floss, but it looks so cool in wool, I think.

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I have a few Summer Day lotion bars right now. We will try to restock all of the scents in the fall, when we have more time.

Last but not least, if you want to stitch a pretty Queen Anne's lace flower on something, I have a free pattern for that:

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I hope you find one of these projects to your liking. I love stitching in the summertime when the light seems to last forever and there's more time to linger with needle and thread. Please let me know if you have any questions about these patterns and kits, and thank you, as ever, for your interest in and support of my work. I appreciate it beyond words! XOXO

Fooling Around with Beads Lately

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And where have a been lately, you might ask? Making jewelry. Random! I have such capricious interests and habits. Every month it's a new obsession. For the past two weeks, all I've been doing is figuring out how to make necklaces. Literally have spent hours a day very happily doing this. I have not even started my May Tender Year yet, agh. I ordered a ton of different kinds of beads on Etsy last summer. I have wanted to make necklaces absolutely forever but I could never really figure it out. Making jewelry can be kind of tricky until you figure out exactly WHAT you need. And there are a lot of choices, so this is often easier said than done. I wound up making a few different kinds of necklaces, some for adults and some for kids. Naturally, now I will be opening an Etsy shop to sell them. I go big. Make three necklaces and find yourself designing a packaging concept. Welcome to my life. These are not my fancy pictures, just stuff I snapped on my iPhone to show my friends. I need a sturdy, sunny day to take some pictures and then I will show you. The weather has been as unreliable as I have. One minute sunny, next hailing, next sunny, next raining. 

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Look at my tree. It's so beautiful it almost makes me cry. Spring is my absolute favorite time of year.

A Tender Year: April

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A Tender Year: April embroidery pattern is now available!

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This design was stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Bone) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. (If you'd like a tutorial on wrapping canvas with embroidery, please see this page.) It uses DMC floss. The pattern includes illustrations for all the stitches included, so if you are a beginner you should have no trouble. If you'd like to stitch along with the entire series, here are the January, February, and March patterns.

Thank you so much to every single person who purchased the March design last month. One hundred percent of all sales of that pattern in March was donated to the Ukrainian Bible Church here in Fairview, Oregon, to aid in their efforts to support displaced Ukrainians with food, shelter, and medical supplies. We were able to send checks totalling $360, and I hope that it helps in some small way, though the need is still so great. I know that all of us around the world have heavy hearts over what we have seen of this terrible war, and I continue to pray for peace and relief for all Ukrainians.

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I wanted to list here my other patterns and kits that you may find pleasing for spring, in case you missed them in the past. Above is a cross-stitch design called Whan That Aprille, and it is probably my favorite thing I have ever designed. It is stitched on 32-count Wichelt linen with DMC floss.

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The Spring Wreath kit is quick to stitch, and the kit comes with everything you need, including the instructions and designs as well as the fabric, floss, framing hoop, felt backing, and ribbon for hanging. I think it would make a perfect Mother's Day present, either in kit form or already stitched and ready to hang (if I do say so myself).

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The Time of Flowers cross stitch kit is also stitched on 32-count Wichelt linen with DMC floss. I originally designed this in 2018 and it was reissued last year. It's my homage to the springtime woods of the Pacific Northwest and it makes me want to go find some sheep to visit sometime soon (anyone have any sheep nearby that want visitors? Let me know!).

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I still also have kits left for my embroidered jewelry designs, called Flower and Frond. They include everything you need to make the five pieces of jewelry, including the chains, pictured here. This is so much fun to do, and quite detailed and fiddly, and I think you will be very proud to either wear of gift these finished pieces.

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Blackberries and Heather-bells is a PDF pattern; the kits sold out long ago and were not reissued (nor will they be). This is an embroidery project done with DMC floss on Kona cotton that frames in the 6" hoop. It is done mostly with one ply of embroidery floss. It was part of the Secret Garden collection that I did several years ago. This was my inspiration post for that, and these items were what was included in the collection. That was really fun. I should do something like that again. I did find a great vintage clothes-drying rack at the antique mall over the weekend that makes me want to dye a lot of yarn so hopefully I'll get that done for sale sometime this spring or early summer. We don't have anywhere to dry yarn in the house so I need to wait until the weather warms up so I can do it outside.

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Things of Spring is, alas, not available as a kit because the original fabric that I used is discontinued by the manufacturer (32-count evenweave linen from Wichelt in Provence Lavender, though you might be able to find it in fat quarters online, I don't know). It was done with DMC floss. I still love this one and think it could be equally effective on a pretty pink or darker purple.

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And you might like this little guy, the Spring Ring pattern. It's done on 28-count linen with DMC floss and will fit into a 4" embroidery hoop to frame. Simple but with lots of color changes, so you'll be done quickly but it will hold your interest as you stitch the flower wreath. I recommend having several needles threaded with different colors and using them like crayons to do a few stitches here and there as you go around. Keep them all threaded.

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Also, I made a black calico Scarborough Fair skirt last weekend in anticipation of warmer weather soon, and I thought you might like to make one. Maybe we should do a sew-along? I've never done one so I'd have to Google how to do that, but I would be up for it. This skirt is made entirely out of rectangles that you calculate based on your own custom measurements, so you can make it in any size up to a 44" waist (and you could go bigger than that if you want it a bit less full). If you haven't made one yet, give it a try. I have four or five of them and I wear them constantly throughout the summer. Keys, wallet, and phone in the pockets and boom, you're good to go.

I do have a new cross-stitch kit that I will be ready to launch next month. It's not seasonal for once so I've been kind of lax in getting it together, but I'll sneak you a preview in a bit and see what you think. It's small and sweet and a little bit silly. :) Thank you for being here and for your orders and please let me know if you have any questions! I am sorry I am late with this!

P.S.: By the way, the snow from yesterday is entirely melted and it's like it never even happened (except for many downed trees and crushed houses/cars), but now it's supposed to snow again tomorrow!

Tattered Hearts

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I made some Tattered Hearts on little wire hangers out of my cutter quilt. They are $32 each and, even though the USPS for some inexplicable reason took away my neighborhood mailbox that I use every. other. day. (I did a double-take when I arrived — where did it . . . go?) I am shipping stat! XOXO

*** SOLD OUT! Thank you so much. I will make more from this quilt. Stay tuned!

A Tender Year: February

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A Tender Year: February embroidery pattern is now available!

I ordered a cutter quilt from Etsy the other day and it's supposed to be here today. I'm really excited. It's better than the one I lost. When it gets here I'm going to cut it up and make some hearts! I've been wanting to do this for many years! I don't know what's taken me so long. It's a big quilt so I think I'll be able to make some to sell here, but I'd better hurry — tomorrow is February already. Here is A Tender Year: February and I can't wait for you to embroider this little strawberry chiboust. It's so much fun to do these tiny little treats!

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This design is, as January's was, stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Petunia) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. It uses DMC floss and one color of Appletons crewel wool, and there is a DMC substitution color listed if you don't happen to have Appletons lying around (obviously you could also use any tapestry or crewel wool, or even laceweight yarn). I still need to do a canvas-wrapping tutorial, I'm sorry — that really is on my list, I swear. I made a quilt over the weekend and decided to KEEP it for myself, so that was bonkers. I made a little cross-stitched label for it with the date on it and I actually put "2/2022" because I thought there would be no way I would finish it in January, and I actually finished it on Saturday, January 29. Ha. I swear, I get an idea in my head and I don't stop. I'll take pictures of that for you, too.

But, for now, here is the next design for A Tender Year. If you'd like to see January, it is in this post. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you! XO

January Morning

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Cold and rainy this morning. Dark. Sloppy muddy outside. Most of the kiddos are having trouble with Zoom this morning. I feel sorry for the teacher. He is trying hard to suss out the problems (we're suddenly having problems, too) and the kids are totally helping and agh, you know there are other skills being learned right now: patience, perseverance, cooperation, listening. The teacher methodically asks each one whether making the copy is working for them, and what kind of computer they have. School-issued Chromebooks like ours aren't working. And then: A kid just figured out how to get the copy to work on Chromebook and explained it to everyone, and then it worked for Amelia. My god, I secretly feel like crying! Success! Success! This moment was successful, and they all got there together. Over and over and over again. January. We can do this.

Thank you for all of your comments on my last post. I so appreciate them.

Meanwhile, Agatha does what Agatha wants. Agatha sits on the table. Agatha sneaks onto the counter. Agatha methodically drags every loose ball of yarn up the stairs overnight, meowing like a lunatic. In the morning we wake to a dozen skeins tossed around the upstairs hallway; she works hard. She has her own sweater (it's this one) and it is so disgusting, felted and stained and full of holes, a mere rag now, when, in its day, it was so beautiful. She drags it around, too, and every half a day it's in a different room, crumpled up on the floor. Agatha, since her spaying, now that her belly fur has just started to grow back, has reverted to type. She won't let you pet her, won't sit on your lap, will only really let Amelia pick her up consistently while she moans resignedly, plaintively (fifty times a day, until I have to say stop because I just can't take it anymore). We finally filled our neglected bird feeders and she spent two days perched with her front paws on the windowsill and her back paws on the chair, staring with wild eyes at all the squirrel, sparrow, and chickadee action, her pupils down to paper-thin shards. Mesmerized. Mostly what she likes to do is eat, and the vet says she's at the top end of her recommended weight at 8.5 pounds. If she has no food in her bowl, she will come down and try to beat up Clover. You'd think all the dragging-of-things-upstairs would burn a few calories for her. Apparently not enough.

I do love her so, though. My goofy little kitters.

Amelia has joined the chess club after school. Isn't that cool? I am so proud of her. Her teacher runs it, every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 until 4:30. They play on a digital board that looks fun, and she really likes it. She plays with her dad on a regular board in real life occasionally. I've never learned to play. Andy is good at games and so is Mimi and they play stuff a lot. I was never that good at them, even as a child, though I remember I really liked Mastermind and Battleship. I don't think we even have those right now. We should get them. Maybe she's too old for them now. We probably have thirty games we should go through and pass on. I know I should be reorganizing my kitchen cabinets right now, too. Cliched but true. They're a mess. I've got teetering towers of baking pans stuffed into every shelf, forty-five little bottles of desiccated cake sprinkles stuck to the bottoms of their jars, bags of Andy-chips and popcorn falling off of piles of cookbooks on the top of the freestanding cabinet. It's not terribly terrible, but neither is it nice or helpful.

My next-door neighbor, Gretchen, gave me this delightful book and I finished it in one day (probably the fastest I've ever read a book in my life). When I was done I wanted more like it and remembered I had this book which I'd never finished, so now I'm reading that. I sat in the cold car waiting for Amelia to do ballet class (they don't let parents inside anymore, and although it's only five minutes from the house it doesn't seem worth it to go all the way home just to come back in an hour) reading it yesterday after going to four coffee shops to get a chai to keep me warm (luckily it was this brand, my favorite) before I found one in the neighborhood that was open. Life. At night, I watch documentaries about the Windsors or mountain climbers or gardening. Just when I thought I'd watched everything ever made!

I'm not sure why but in some strange burst of energy I designed the first of a new series of embroidery patterns, even though I literally, in December, said to myself that I was done doing seasonal stuff (the deadlines!) for a while. Classic. So now I'm going to do one not only every season but every month. I'm not kitting it — it's only available as an instant PDF download. It uses Kona cotton in Fog and DMC 6-strand cotton floss (and one Appletons crewel wool, but you could easily substitute DMC floss for it).

The series is called A Tender Year, and this is January:

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It wraps around a 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas and is tacked on the back. I should do a tutorial on that for you, but I haven't yet. (It's easy, but let me know if you'd like to watch me do it.) You can get canvases pretty cheaply. Here's a pack of five for $5.99 but there are lots of places you can pick them up. It's kind of a cute way to finish a piece without a frame or without putting it in a hoop.

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The pattern costs $6 to download and there will be a new one every month. I have February's stitched and I will be better about launching the next ones on the first of the month. (I got this idea pretty late, so I apologize that it's already the second week of January, but it goes quick. You can probably finish it in a couple of days.) The product page has a list of supplies needed and details what is included in the pattern. I really enjoyed doing this and I hope you like it. If this isn't in your budget just shoot me an email and let me know and I will send it to you, on me. I want everyone who wants to be able to do this to do it. XO, a

Edited: I think Shopify is having some problems right now so the web site might not be working properly. Their status report says they're investigating, so I'll update when it's solved. Thank you! Update, 4:30 p.m.: Looks like they fixed it! Sorry about that!

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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