Posts filed in: Shop Talk

Spring Soaps Have Sprung!

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Hello dear friends! And happy spring to you! This is just a quick note to let you know that we have made a lot of beautiful new cold-processed soaps for you and they are now available to ship.

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All of the bars are so pretty and they are in a range of lovely spring scents, from lavender to lilac and lots of wonderful fragrances in between (including an unfragranced bar, as well). All of the bars are individually wrapped and ready for giving, either as a treat for yourself or someone you love. I am really proud of all of these new soaps and I hope you love them.

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Let me know if I can answer any questions about these (or anything else!) and thank you so much for coming along on our soap journey! Should we make some videos to show you how we do it? There are a lot of soap videos out there but maybe it would be fun! I don't know!

Spring Kitchen Cleaning, and a Soap Update Soon!

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I'm so sorry I have been absent from this space lately! Winter makes me feel so sleepy and lazy and it felt so good to just lean into that for once! But then once the sun came back out and the flowers started to bloom, I got a bee in my bonnet to give the kitchen a little refresh, and it seriously took over my life. We had gotten into some messy habits during lockdown life and they had just become . . . permanent. The snacks piled up. The plastic cups from various venues we'd patronized piled up. The extra cookbooks I hadn't cracked in literally twenty years. So I took a deep dive into the kitchen. I emptied cabinets, threw away everything that had expired in 2023 (ahem — there were thingssss), cleaned the shelf risers and the back walls, and restocked shelves. I got a label maker and labeled jars. Andy painted walls and I touched up trim. I ordered new cabinet and drawer handles (and am still waiting for a few). We hired a lady to come and install a new faucet. And many other things. And I have to tell you, it's been nothing short of an amazing experience. I have loved every minute of redecorating this kitchen. I'll give you a full tour with all the details (thrilling, I know!) as soon as my backordered handles come and I take some nice pictures.

In the meantime, Andy and I have made a lot lot lot of soap, and I am getting that photographed and up on the website for a launch very soon, either this week or next. Please join my mailing list at the bottom of any page of my web site if you'd like to get a newsletter whenever I launch new products. (If you have signed up in the past before February of last year [2023] you will need to sign up again. I have a whole new newsletter management service because I never really had used my old one and it wasn't working properly anyway. But this one is!) We are having so much fun making soap together, and we are learning so much, too! We have some really pretty spring soaps this time and I am getting that all ready. Thank you so much to those of you who ordered items in my Valentine's collection! I am so grateful for your interest and am thrilled to have your support as I explore some new things in my life. It's been nice to take things a bit slower lately, I have to admit. I hope you are all well, and I'll be back with pretty soaps and a prettier kitchen soon! XOXO, Alicia

February Fancies for Sale!

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I just had a strong urge to let myself go and make lots and lots of pretty, romantic, one-of-a-kind, (I think) quite delightful treats for Valentine's Day! 

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These are just a few of the really pretty cold-processed soap bars (and hearts) that Andy and I made this December (soap has to cure for many weeks before it is ready for you, so we started early!). We learned how to make soap several years ago when we were working on my Secret Garden collection (and here was the inspiration for that), and we've always wanted to do more of it. This time, we're really starting to do it again in earnest, experimenting and dreaming up lots of new scent/color/ingredient combinations, so look for more soap from us every season. I'm so happy to be using our own soap again because if I do say so myself, it is awesome — it's creamy with excellent, bubbly lather, and just feels so good in your hands and on your body. We are still working out our soap sizing, and the amount of scent that we prefer (most of our soaps are quite mildly scented — I, personally, prefer a light scent and I'm making what I like these days) and I'm excited to share this very first collection of this new phase of our soapmaking with you! Please have a look and let me know if you have any questions! All soaps are wrapped and labeled and ready for you to give to your Valentine. They can all be found here (or by clicking the images above).

A few weeks ago Andy and I went to a fantastic estate sale near Powell Butte. The lady of the house collected china in the sweetest '80s patterns and I got a whole bunch of pieces of exactly what I had been looking for (it's called Heartland from International China). She also had a really delightful mostly red quilt top (every seam was hand-stitched) that I loved and scooped up for myself. It was too big for what I wanted (I'm going to finish it and make a throw), so I cut off a few inches on one of the edges and made some little quilt hoops and embroidered some cross-stitched hearts on them with waste canvas. I also had another really pretty cutter piece from the 1930s that I did the same with. I love these.

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There are seventeen of these quilt hoops in total and each of them is unique. Please have a look through them here and see what you think!

I also started making lots of pretty earrings. I learned to wrap wires a few years ago when I started making knitting stitch markers, and if you remember those you'll see these earrings are very similar in spirit. I guess I just like these dangly, flowery styles! These are just a few of the pairs of earrings that I've been making lately. Please click here or on the images to be taken to the entire collection — there is a lot of variety in color and bead type and earring-wire type and I hope you like them!

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I also started (wait for it) painting taper candles. I know.

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This is the direct result of surfing Pinterest in the quiet dark of my 5 a.m. mornings, snuggled in bed drinking coffee and just fooling around looking at pretty things on my iPad. Painted taper candles! I used two different types of tapers (all details are on the product pages) and painted them with non-toxic acrylic paints mixed with a binder that helps them stick to wax (this is what I used, if you are interested). I just love them so much and I love having them on my table. There are several different colors of candles and painted designs so please check them out.

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Last but not least, I hand-dyed a small batch of DMC six-strand cotton embroidery floss just for Valentine's Day.

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The floss comes in a collection of five colors (colors are not available individually), with ten one-yard lengths of each color (or fifty yards total). This collection, Collection #001 is called Rose of Love and it is a palette of pretty, pinky, subtly shaded colors that I just love. Please see the product page for a detailed description of each color and how to care for hand-dyed floss, and let me know if you have any questions!

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I hope you like all of these sweet Valentine's treats and that you enjoy seeing some of these new crafts and mediums that I've been exploring. Thank you for your interest! I am truly excited to branch out and learn some new things. I want this year to be filled with new creative endeavors for me, and I would absolutely love to hear if you are feeling the same, and what new things you are looking forward to doing and learning this year! Please share your new activities with me and let's enjoy some fun new hobbies together!

A Tender Year, 2024 Calendar Version!

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UPDATE: Calendars are restocked, but going fast! Quick link here: A Tender Year 2024 Watercolor Calendar by Alicia Paulson. Thank you, thank you, beyond words, everyone! XOXO, a

 

Thank you so much for all of the sweet comments on Amelia's quilt! It has been pure joy seeing her sleep under it every night. I am about halfway through my thank-you notes for the fabric, I swear. I'm sorry I am so slow! Today I need to finish making sixty sweet pink poufy flower barrettes for the Little Flowers and the Big Flowers dancing in the Nutcracker in a few weeks! I will show you them when/if I finish them (due on December 1). I also have a hand-smocking nightgown project I want to get going on for Amelia. And I'm trying to knit some washcloths as Christmas presents. 

I'm a very capricious crafter. To write this post, I was thinking back on all of the crafty things I started trying when lockdown began in 2020. Short list: Jewelry making (mostly with beads, and I learned how to properly finish strung beads with crimp beads and crimp covers and fancy clasps). Perler beads (fun craft, and if you have kids you probably have and giant jar of these somewhere, and they really lend themselves to using cross stitch patterns, too — it's all just pixel art, after all). Pottery (I took a wheel-throwing class at our community college and it was AWESOME). Norwegian tole painting (I bought a kit that came with a video class, but didn't get that far with it). But my favorite was watercolor painting.

I started by watching a few YouTube videos (Shayda Campbell and Emma Jayne Lafebvre are great) and took some Skillshare classes (I love Elisabetta Furcht's classes — super unintimidating) and just started painting things from around my house and from some little embroidery designs I had started drawing the year before (still hoping to finish those someday, too). Sometimes Amelia would sit with me and we'd paint together, watching Skillshare classes together or just listening to music and sharing my pretty Japanese watercolor set that I had splurged on when we first started Covid homeschooling for third grade.

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But often, it was just me, painting at my desk throughout the autumn, with the TV on for company while Amelia was at school and Andy was at work, and I started to curate little subjects to be part of compositions for each month. I would paint them somewhere between maybe three inches tall to about six or seven inches. And I just kind of lost myself in the process. And it was really nice. It was nice to be in watercolor world.

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Little by little my piles of paintings grew. I started to have actual opinions about things like whether I like hot-press watercolor paper or cold-press watercolor paper. (I like hot. It's smoother.) I thought about brushes and bought MANY brushes. I went to the art supply store down the street and started making actual wishlists of painting supplies I wanted. I kinda became a painter, just because I was painting.  It was such a cool feeling to learn something new.  

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Eventually, I started watching more YouTube videos to learn how to scan my artwork and prepare it for printing. I decided to make a calendar that was very simple and kept all of the artwork in a small grid on top, with a very simple monthly calendar on the bottom. I printed some 2023 calendars for my Christmas presents to friends and family last year.

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But this year I redesigned all of the dates for 2024 and took the calendar down to my local printer (Rhino Digital) and worked with them to find a paper that reminded me of the hot-press watercolor paper that I loved. They have printed up 100 200 [we're printing more—thank you!] calendars for me to sell and I must say, they look absolutely amazing. If I do say so myself. I am THRILLED. I am literally thrilled with this.

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So here I am, officially introducing A Tender Year: A 2024 Calendar! It is 8.5" x 11" (U.S. letter sized) and comes with months from January through December 2024. It is professionally printed, single-sided, on lovely, heavy, 80# paper called Cougar Natural, which has a really pretty, warm, vanilla-cream tone, and is almost exactly like the texture of the paper I originally painted all of these little creatures and crafty things on. All of the pages are held together with an "antique bronze" wire binder clip, which comes with your calendar. So it is totally ready to go. It costs $30 and is available to ship immediately.

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And when you're done with each month, you can trim off the dates part and frame just the illustrations. These pages are all printed single-sided, and I specifically did not want to bind this calendar so that you could re-purpose this artwork when each month has expired.

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If you'd like to see an enlarged version of these thumbnails for each month, please click the image above (and there are also larger actual images of each month on my web site):

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Please let me know if you have any questions about the calendar or painting or . . . anything! I am so excited to finally have this calendar in the world. It is such a special project for me and I hope you love it and give it to all your friends for Christmas! :)

So Many New Things I Want to Tell You About! Phew!

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Hello dear friends! Are you as happy as I am that autumn has arrived? I know that not everyone withers and melts in the summer sunshine as I do. But honestly, I lovvvve it when it starts to cool down. I'm so happy when I come downstairs to make coffee in the early morning and can open the back door to that cold air and the sound of crows cawing as they commute back and forth across my neighborhood. I start to feel much more like myself when it's colder.

I've been working on all sorts of new things over the past few months. The first is the final installment of this year's seasonal series and it's called HARVEST MOON.

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Harvest Moon is the fourth installment of my seasonal series of samplers (along with Evening Skate, Full-Moon Planting, and Summer Breeze) done on 32-count Belfast linen from Zweigart in Whisper with DMC floss. It has a stitch count of 138w x 168h and on 32-count fabric finishes with a design area of 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27). It is also available as a downloadable PDF pattern.

I've also been working on an entirely new collection of mini cross-stitch patterns and kits for beginners and kids. This has been a dream of mine for quite a while and this summer I finally was able to dig into the idea and pull it together. Here are just some of the designs in little 3" hoops done on 8-and 14-count Aida cloth that are some of my favorites:

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There are a lot more than these on my web site (and in my brand new Etsy shop) so please have a look! Kits include a printed pattern, Aida fabric, 3" hoop, all floss needed, felt for backing, a ribbon for tying, as well as a tapestry needle and needle threader, all packaged in a recloseable zipper bag so they (and you) can keep everything together and tidy.

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It was so much fun to test these kits out with some of my friends and their kids and see how excited the kids were to start and complete their projects, some of whom had never picked up a needle or hoop before. I just love this picture of beautiful Mila and her bird so much.

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I don't know. That photo just almost brings a tear to my eye because . . . KIDS. They're all so sweet and brave and I love them so much. I really just wanted to do something cool for kids because they deserve some good, old-fashioned, analog, non-screen FUN!!! There are a lot more designs on my web site (and in my new Etsy shop) so please check them out! These will make great little presents and stocking stuffers for anyone! More will be coming for Christmas and winter.

Anyway, yes! I have opened my first Etsy shop! When I designed these new patterns and kits I knew I really wanted to get them in front of an audience that is searching for more beginner and kid-centric crafts, so I am really hoping to get some traffic in my Etsy shop. Even though I've had an e-commerce web site for Posie since 2000, I have never had an Etsy shop before and I am so nervous! Excited, but nervous (my resting state)!

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When I started doing some research on Etsy this summer, I learned about print-on-demand products, as well, and I have been having so much fun designing some needlework swag in the form of tee shirts (as well as a burgeoning collection of mugs, and tote bags). These items are designed by me but printed to order and shipped directly from various "printing partners" around the country. (I use a company called Printify that manages that process). They will ship separately from other kits or supplies you might order from my shop. They all have FREE shipping right now, so please have a look through the tee shirts on my web site and the tee shirts, mugs, and tote bags in my Etsy shop and let me know what you think. :) I ordered several of the tee shirts and I love them so much. They are soft and comfortable and exactly what I wanted. I got one for Andy.

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HOT, right? I know. :) Anyway, I am regularly cracking at least Andy and myself up while designing these, but if you have any ideas for a stitch tee shirt you would like to see, seriously let me know and I will try to make it. I have a running list of ideas and I will be making more in the next few weeks. I'm going to keep most of this swag in my Etsy shop because I think that's where most people are shopping for things like this.

Thank you guys so much for reading this far! This was long! Thank you for bearing with me. These always feel so impossible to write because they actually represent so much alone-time for me, kind of working in little pockets of time that I have and not really having the organization or wherewithal or time to share the process. But now that everyone is back in school and I have more time, I really want to do that more, and expand on the development process because it has been really, really fun. I have a lot more ideas and am currently working on getting my watercolor calendar I was working on last year printed, and I am excited to show you that, as well. Okay, now I will stop talking!!! Thank you!

Settling In

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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. 

Summer Breeze, and a Parade of Summer Stitches

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Oh dear me, it's already the end of June! I am finally here with my summer design! She is, without further ado, SUMMER BREEZE!

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This is my dream of summer: A beach house. Clear skies. Butterflies and kites soaring on the wind. Lazy days spent by the daisy-bordered lake, swimming and playing with our friends. Aspirational, yes, but truly heartfelt, as I hope your (and my!) real-life summer includes all of these dreamy things.

The design area on this (and its two season companion pieces, Evening Skate and Full-Moon Planting) is 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27) on 32-count fabric, or 138 stitches wide x 168 stitches high. The fabric I used for these kits is Belfast linen from Zweigart in Whisper, color 786 cut to size 14" x 16" (36cm x 41cm). Please note: There is only about 2.5" extra fabric widthwise for this design, so please make sure you start your stitching in the middle of the fabric. As I mentioned last time, we definitely try to maximize cutting fabric so as to have zero waste, so this design fits a bit tighter on the fabric called for. I'm starting to think that having full 3" (7.5cm) margins around the design area is a bit big, myself — it's just a lot of extra fabric to crunch up in your hand (if you stitch in a small handheld hoop, as I do) and you wind up cutting off most of it when framing, anyway.

Kits include a professionally printed full-color pattern with a four-page chart, the fabric, and all the (DMC) floss you need, along with a piece of chipboard that you can use to make a floss caddy. To do that, cut lengthwise strips of chipboard about 2" (5cm) wide. Mark 1" (2.5cm) sections across the top of each until you have 10 marks. Snip a ½" (1cm) -deep notch at each mark. Label each notch with the color number of the floss. Separate the colors and place the floss in your labeled floss caddy. You may have to double up in some notches. Please note, in case you have not purchased a kit from me before: We include all of the floss in one big hank of thirty-five colors that you will need to separate yourself. It is not as hard as it seems! The color chart will list a color chip, the name of the color, and the number of lengths included, and with that information you can do this within a few minutes, I promise.

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 PDF patterns at 100% (no scaling) at high quality for best results.

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And now that it's midsummer you do need thiss lotion bar, Summer Day. Made with beeswax from local bees; coconut oil; shea butter; a touch of lanolin; and essential oils of grapefruit, orange, lemon, tangerine, neroli, and a drop of balsam Peru (which smells like the natural version of vanilla), the Summer Day lotion bars remind me of sitting on the porch on a summer afternoon eating a Dreamsicle after spending all day at the lake.

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And here is the last design that I did for the (partial) A Tender Year series, June. I was planning on finishing this series in embroidery, but instead, as I've mentioned, I've done it in painting. Still putting that calendar concept together for 2024. But I love this little design.

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Ah, Summer Storm. I just took some pictures of Amelia in the garden that reminded me of this one so much. We have some tall grasses that are blowing in the wind with their feathery plumes, dwarfing all else, and it's funny how sometimes life imitates art, years later.

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"I only have to break into the tightness of a strawberry and I see summer — its dust and lowering skies," says Toni Morrison. Same. And again, the daisies I planted in my front and back yards many years ago have now taken real hold and bloom reliably, in drifts and drifts of volunteers, just like I had dreamed. This is Strawberry Season.

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More summer florals in the Summer Wreath kit. These are so easy and quick to do and make great gifts. The hoop, backing felt, and ribbon are included along with the fabric and floss.

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Things of Summer, one of my absolute favorite designs ever. I have this hanging in our upstairs hallways right now. For some reason I had not framed it until I was getting everything ready for Nashville and I'm really glad I did. I loved this whole "Things Of" series, I have to say.

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All of the above kits are available as downloadable PDF patterns here, but I have to remind you of two older designs that are only available as PDFs (and not kits). One is 'Night, Neighborhood, this enchanted little counting design that I made for Amelia when she was very small and just learning her numbers. This design never got the traction that some of my other designs have had but it remains a steadfast favorite of mine because it just evokes the summer magic for me, kind of like the Elsa Beskow books I used to read to Amelia at that time. I need to do more designs like this. I love the feel, and miss those days, when we were learning to count.

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And this pattern, Midsummer Sprigs, created when I was in my Mary Delaney phase, is actually one of the better sellers to needlework shops. Stitching on black fabric can be tricky unless you put a white dishcloth on your lap. I'm not kidding — you will be stunned at how much easier it is too see the holes, and then it's a breeze. 

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Also, look at this little darling in her Scarborough Fair skirt the other night at the Midsummer festival. If you have not made one of these for your summer days yet (this pattern is only $8.00 and there are NO pattern pieces to cut out — the skirt is made of rectangles based on your own measurements), YOU SHOULD GUYS.

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And these two summery oldies but goodies: The Jane Market bag and the Ollalieberry Ice Cream quilt (which is now in real life so faded and soft it hardly resembles this very old picture [cracked heart emoji here].

Please let me know if you have any questions! Thank you so much for your interest and your orders (in advance, and in the past) over all of these many years! I am working on a kids' cross stitch kit using gingham but I have not gotten very far now that Mimi is out of school. (If you have any requests/ideas/feedback about that, let me know — it's totally in development and it will be my first thing for kids!) Just cooking breakfast (then cleaning it up) and lunch (and cleaning it up) and snacks (she cleans those up) and dinner (and, yeah, cleaning it up) feels like a full-time job, my god. I literally am either watering my plants or cooking or cleaning. Wow. I don't know what to say about that. What's been really nice is that Amelia has been having lots of playdates here this summer where the girls play in the hot tub (we set it to 82 degrees and it's basically a giant kiddie pool), play games and draw, play MarioKart when they get bored, etc., and wow, it's the greatest. Ten-year-olds are AWESOME. I cannot believe how self-directed and cool and fun they are. I love it. I absolutely love it.

New Designs Now on Sale, and a Spring Parade!

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Good April morning! It's a cold, wet, flowery morning here. My hands are freezing and I'm sitting on a heating pad, but outside I can see my apple tree is starting to leaf out. In that spirit, I have spring designs for you!

FullMoonPlanting for Blog

The first is FULL-MOON PLANTING. Have you ever heard of moon gardening? It's the practice of planting depending on where the moon is in its cycle. The theory is that just as it causes the ocean tides, the moon also affects the amount of water in the soil.  To take advantage of its changing influence, it is said that fruits and vegetables should be planted while the moon is waxing, and root crops should be sowed from the time it is full through its waning phase. This design is the second in my 2022-23 seasonal series, of which Evening Skate is the first. In Full-Moon Planting spring fever has taken hold, and we are busy getting the young garden ready for the season ahead by the light of the full moon. (I'm working on the next in the series right now, and it is called Summer Breeze. . . . I'll have some digitals to show you in a couple of weeks!)

This design area is a little bit bigger than my usual sizes (which I generally like to fit in 8"x10" standard frames). The design area on Full-Moon Planting is 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27) on 32-count fabric, or 138 stitches wide x 168 stitches high. The fabric I used for these kits is Belfast linen from Zweigart in Whisper, color 786 cut to size 14" x 16" (36cm x 41cm). Please note: There is only about 2.5" extra fabric widthwise for this design, so please make sure you start your stitching in the middle of the fabric. We definitely try to maximize cutting fabric so as to have zero waste, so this design fits a bit tighter on the fabric called for. I'm starting to think that having full 3" (7.5cm) margins around the design area is a bit big, myself — it's just a lot of extra fabric to crunch up in your hand (if you stitch in a small handheld hoop, as I do) and you wind up cutting off most of it when framing, anyway.

But anyway, this design also uses DMC floss and has such a pretty, springlike palette. (Pro tip: I've never had anyone run out of floss with any of my kits [at least, not that I've ever heard about!] but if you like to stitch a lot of my kits, keep any extra floss you end up with when you're finished in a little bag. I have a palette of just over two hundred colors, but I use a lot of the same colors over and over again, so you might someday find a need for a little bit of floss in one of those colors.)

Kits include a professionally printed full-color pattern with a four-page chart, the fabric, and all the floss you need, along with a piece of chipboard that you can use to make a floss caddy. To do that, cut lengthwise strips of chipboard about 2" (5cm) wide. Mark 1" (2.5cm) sections across the top of each until you have 10 marks. Snip a ½" (1cm) -deep notch at each mark. Label each notch with the color number of the floss. Separate the colors and place the floss in your labeled floss caddy. You may have to double up in some notches. Please note, in case you have not purchased a kit from me before: We include all of the floss in one big hank of thirty-five colors that you will need to separate yourself. It is not as hard as it seems! The color chart will list a color chip, the name of the color, and the number of lengths included, and with that information you can do this within a few minutes, I promise.

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 PDF patterns at 100% (no scaling) at high quality for best results.

Spring Splendor for Blog

This is SPRING SPLENDOR. I love this design. I just love it. It's simple yet elegant and so pretty and sweet. It's 122 stitches wide x 90 stitches high, or 7.6"w x by 5.6"h (19cm x14cm) on 32-count fabric, and fits into an 8" x 10" frame. (The frame in my photo is a vintage one I think I found on eBay or at my local antique mall — believe it or not, it's pretty easy to find a white vintage frame like this, if you like this look. Check eBay or Etsy.) This design uses some absolutely gorgeous hand-overdyed floss from Weeks Dye Works (and I honestly can't say enough about how much I love working with this company — they are some of my very favorite people in the embroidery industry, and I love using their floss). It also uses some DMC floss. Our kits include WDW floss for the stitches that call for it as well as DMC floss, and a conversion for the WDW colors to DMC is also given in the pattern itself (you'll only get the WDW floss and not the DMC-conversion-for-those-colors floss). Please note, as above, that the floss comes in a hank and you will receive a piece of chipboard in your kit to make a floss caddy. 

This design uses some "one-over-one" stitches for all of the body text (not the initial caps). That means you will be stitching with one ply of floss over one thread of fabric. This, too, seems intimidating until you start doing it, and then you will find that it's actually super fun. I used the same alphabet that I created for The Stitcher's RSVP (which is back in stock, by the way, see below) and I don't know why but I just love this font. It's just sweet and clean and also kind of modern, which I think helps keep this design from being overly fussy.

I also absolutely love the color of the fabric used, which is 32-count linen called Touch of Blue by Wichelt.

Kits include a professionally printed full-color pattern with a two-page chart, the fabric, and all the floss you need. The kit is available here. The PDF pattern-only is available here with both full-color and black-and-white four-page charts. I recommend printing PDF patterns at 100% (no scaling) at high quality for best results. 

Little Women for Blog

And last of the new designs is Little Women. This design is only available as a PDF pattern. I designed it after I saw the Greta Gerwig version of the movie is 2019 but it's taken me a while to release it, and it was my Nashville Needlework Market exclusive, so I've had to wait at least thirty days since launching it there before I was able to make it available myself. When I posted it on Instagram before market, a few people gave me suggestions for other book titles to design, and I've since designed ones for two of Amelia's and my other favorites that we've read aloud together, The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables. I will be releasing those later this summer and will have digitals of the designs to show you in a few weeks. I had no idea I was going to love designing book-inspired compositions so much! I love them! I really enjoy the limitations that designing to a theme imposes, and I love interpreting the elements. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this pattern, which was my #1 seller at Nashville. :) It done on 32-count linen in Chestnut from Wichelt with DMC floss and is available as a downloadable PDF pattern here.

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And because it's spring and you may be in the mood for treating yourself to a few other goodies, I thought I'd collect all of my spring designs and offerings through the years in one long spring parade of flowery things on this cold and rainy day. We still have a good supply of my favorite lotion bar, Forest Flower. Made with beeswax from local bees; coconut oil; shea butter; a touch of lanolin; and essential oils of cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, clary sage, bergamot, sandalwood, and jasmine absolute, I wanted them to smell like a walk in the woods after a spring rain.

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You might like my design for the (partial) A Tender Year series, April. I was planning on finishing this series in embroidery, but instead, apparently, I've done it in painting. Remember all of my watercolors I was doing last fall? I did finish an entire year's worth of them and will be launching a 2024 calendar later this year. But I just couldn't get all the embroidery done, so I'm hoping to finish the second six-months' of designs next year (fingers crossed; I am so busy I honestly can't find time to do it all). Anyway, the calendar, which is based on the Tender Year concept, is really pretty and I will be showing you that and maybe asking for some feedback on what format you would like to see it all printed in. More on that later. . . .

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Here is my darling Blackberries and Heather-bells, which I designed after Amelia and I finished listening to the audiobook of The Secret Garden when she was in kindergarten. She was probably a bit too young for it then, but gosh, I remember this as one of the great reading/listening experiences of my life. I absolutely love this book. Blackberries and Heather-bells has long-since sold out as a kit, but it is available as a PDF pattern. Try searching for a "6-inch Flexi-hoop" online to frame it as I have.

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Oh, Time of Flowers. Gosh, this design will always be magical to me. When Andy and I were young and first living in Missoula, I remember that someone had a sidewalk garden with a bleeding heart plant in it and it was the first time I'd ever seen one, and I was just captivated. I think of it every time I see this design.

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Whan That Aprille. Also one of my favorites (designed in spring 2021) that never really sells that well but I ask WHYYYY??? Why you guys? Why don't people like this design??? I love this design! Please explain!

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Sweet little Spring Wreath kit. People often ask me if I crocheted the little goose in this photo. I did not, but I bought it finished at the long-gone Daisy Kingdom store that we used to have here in Portland many, many years. Lord how I miss that store! Oh that store was the greatest. I still carry my umbrella I bought there for $5 when they were going out of business. I think I've had it for almost twenty years. [I checked: They closed the store in 2004. :(.]

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Things of Spring is only available as a PDF pattern, as this particular fabric I used is (naturally, as soon as I picked it) discontinued. I might suggest Peaceful Purple, which is a bit more "purple" and less pink than this but still pretty, I think.

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We still have a few Flower and Frond jewelry-making kits available. Flower and Frond was only ever available as a kit, because the directions are completely specific to the materials in the kit. I loved making these. I should find the necklace I kept and wear it today.

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Lastly, the Daisychain ABCs Sampler Pattern is always available as a downloadable PDF. It is done in crewelwork, with Appletons crewel wool, which you can find here and in other places online and on Etsy. It's kind of fun to stitch with at this time of year because it's wooly and kind of craggy and really makes you feel like you're close to the source (sheep) somehow. And sheep always make me glad it's spring.

Okay guys, I'm going to stop now and let you go. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for your interest and your orders (in advance, and in the past) over all of these many years! Thank you for indulging my parade of past designs, as well. I get kind of emotional seeing the seasonal stuff all collected together. It gets me in the mood for the season, and oh my goodness would you believe it — the sun just came out! Wah! [Sobs, grateful tear.]

P.S. I forgot to tell you that we've reprinted and kitted The Stitcher's RSVP and it is also in the shop while supplies last!

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Snowwww no!

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Oh HELLO! Hello, hello! It's March 1, oh my. March 2023. March 2023!

Gosh. I need to let that sink in for some reason.

All of you, first of all, we truly thank you for every one of your kind and gentle comments on the loss of Andy's beautiful mom. I always think of each of them as a small prayer, and each one bring us comfort, and makes us feel less alone in our sadness. Thank you so much. It has been almost a month now, and there are so many moments in the day where I just want to tell her something, or send her something, or send her a picture of Amelia, or tell her something funny that she said or did. All the little things. She delighted in every one of those things, I think. Pops (Andy's dad) got the surprise birthday gift of a new kitten from our nephew, Max, a veterinary student, and I believe he picks her up sometime this week, and we'll find out what he is naming her (he's keeping that secret for now!). There are not many days in life that are better than that first day with a new pet, and I am excited for both him and Miss Kitters, and I know they will bring joy to each other.

We got a very unexpected snowstorm here exactly a week ago, and it was absolutely bonkers for a while. I picked up Amelia an hour early that Wednesday because the forecast suddenly got very real (and my reconstructed foot does not do well on snow or ice). At 3:00 p.m. it started snowing . . . and snowing, and snowing, and snowing. By nightfall, roads were at an icy standstill; it took my friend's boyfriend almost six hours just to get across town. Andy decided to stay overnight at the hospital because the busses had stopped running up the hill. I was home frantically packing boxes for the Nashville Needlework Market, starting to wonder if everything was going to get there in time. We had a small window of about one week in which to get our stuff shipped there; nothing could arrive before February 24. I shipped the box with my stitched models on the 21st. The snow had started flying on the 22nd. By the 23rd the post offices were actually closed (along with almost everything else). By Friday we were able to get our car out and get down to our local P.O., which was mercifully open. And by this morning, March 1, sixteen of my twenty boxes have been delivered, and I am just anxiously tracking the last four, and hoping they get there by Friday, when the show starts. . . .

Normally you know I would be so into a freak snowstorm! But not when I have to ship twenty boxes to arrive somewhere across the country within a small window of time! Golly day!

Andy made it home late Thursday morning. The weather was still really gnarly — very cold and windy, and quite icy. He took Amelia sledding on Friday and then Amelia and Iris sledding on Saturday (we had no school Thursday and Friday), and then we went roller skating with our other friends Stefan and Mia on Sunday. There was a LOT of falling down, a few tears, a corn dog, some Slurpees, lots of fun. Some aches and pains on Monday!

I'm here in a quiet house today. I'm trying to plan for summer, as many summer camps' sign-ups start today. It's basically impossible for me to plan things for summer. I have no idea what's going on or what we will be doing, and I'm terrible at committing. Which, as any parent knows right now, that just won't do, because things fill up fast, and there isn't that much availability to start with, so . . . I need to pull it together. I literally look at the calendar and just blank out, and start sweating.

I have three new designs that will debut at Nashville this weekend. I will show them to you next week! I posted them on Instagram but I need to resize the photos for the blog. I will do that. Literally as soon as I got home from the post office, I started designing two new things, as well. It's funny how that happens. It's like the creative part is literally bottled until the non-creative parts are absolutely done (I had to finish the tax stuff for the accountant this week, too) and then it just comes bursting out. I designed two things in about four days. I've been stitching on the nursery rhymes design I made a few years ago (not sure if you remember that, or when I ever posted it, or I would link to the digital). I watched all of the series called Slow Horses with Gary Oldman and I thought that was really good. I tried to watch The Recruit on Netflix and it just got too ridiculous, so I stopped watching it. Andy is still watching Indian Matchmaking with me and it's the best. I love that show.

I recommend, as always, this spicy chicken and sweet potato soup, which we now make about once a week. And this winter squash and wild mushroom curry was awesome. I've also been watching Indian Food Made Easy (it's a BBC show but I watch it on FreeVee) and it has some great ideas. I haven't made any of the recipes yet but I am going to.

I hope you are all well! What has everyone been doing? What is giving you joy these days?

New Year's Sale on Dollies and Softies!

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Let these sweet dollies and softies share some love with you this winter! I promise you will love making them for yourself or sharing them with a Valentine. To ring in the start of New Year 2023, from today through the end of January all of my kits and patterns for dolls and softies are 23% off! But you must use the code "newyear23" when you checkout. (And if you want to use PayPal or ShopPay, the discount-code window will be on the screen after you choose either of those things, FYI.) Gosh, I just love all my little babies so much! I don't think I've ever done a post that has collected them all in the same place (these aren't even all of them — you can see them all here) and I mean, come on, how cute (and jeesh, baby Mimi!) are they??? If I do say so myself! Enjoy them! Lots of love, a

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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