Pretty Petals

comments: 62

17Clematis1

17Green3

16Green3

17Green4

17Green6

17Green7

17KnittenKitten1

17Napping2

17Pillow1

19Apples1

19AppleTree1

19AppleTree2

20AppleTree1

20AppleTree2

20AppleTree3

20AppleTree4

20AppleTree6

20AppleTree7

21Asparagus1

21Pizza1

21Pizza2

23Dresses1

23Dresses2

23SweetiepieSampler

Oh, apple trees! My favorite of the flowering trees. So humble and sweet and pretty. And their scent. My gosh, I love them.

I made a pillow and a pizza and more dresses. Thank you so much for all of the zipper advice! I tried what sounded like the easiest thing, and sewed straight down both sides from top to bottom (instead of going down one size, across the bottom, pivoting and coming up the other side) and it worked perfectly! Yippee. That was nice! Thanks! From left to right I used Simplicity 6713, c. 1966, and added a few inches to the length (fabric from JoAnn's); McCall's 8152, c. 1965 (fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn Mae [D]); and McCall's 9525, c. 1968, and added 12" to width of the front skirt, and 6" to each of the back panels, as well (fabric is from Mill End Store). These are rainy-day dresses, things you would wear at Bloomsbury while pressing flowers gathered in the bluebell woods. I soooooo enjoy sewing for my boo. I can't stop.

It's been raining here a bit, and I have been happy. The gardens are just exploding. Everything is fresh and fragrant and frothing with green. Our walks are filled with rainbursts and wild rambles, just to stay outside for longer. The sky the other night was so dramatic, with layers of cloud and light and dark. When I look out the windows in the early evenings, everything glows with bloom and late light.

Slowly but surely, My Sweetiepie ABCs sampler kits are coming together. The materials are finally starting to come in (it takes forever for this stuff to come in). The fabric has arrived in Wisconsin and is being folded. The embroidery floss is on its way, and then will get pulled (all 79 strands per kit, egads). I'm just finishing up the pattern, then that will go to the printer. More on all of this in a couple of weeks, when we're closer to being finished and ready to put them in the shop. I'm ridiculously excited. Oh I love seeing a plan come together. It's kind of thrilling, honestly.

***Oooops, forgot to link to the pizza — it's here, and I added some fresh mozzarella this time, too. Got a bit soppy, but if you let it stand for a few minutes, it's still very delicious.

Sweet Green

comments: 101

11Eastmoreland1

10Breakfast1

11Eastmoreland2

11Eastmoreland8

11Eastmoreland7

11Morning1

11Eastmoreland6

11Quiche1

12Woodpecker1

12AppleCake1

13Green2

13Green1

13Woodpecker1

13Pinwheel1

13Dinner1

13Table1

13Dinner2

15Dress1

16Dresses1

16LibertyDress1

16Pinafore1

16GreenDress2

16Hellebores1

16Hexies1

14Breakfast1

We got some rainy, cold, wet, blustery, dark weather this past weekend. Finally, our winter arrived. As did yet another cold for me. I have been sick about three times so far this winter. More than I can ever remember. Oh well. Lots of cloudy, cold afternoons and knitting for mama. Not too bad. :)

Thank you very, very much for all of the Maggie orders!!! Stacey has been shipping every day and we are all caught up now, so that's always a good feeling. A few of the colors have sold out but many are still left. The most common question I get asked about my animals is whether they are suitable for beginners to make. And my answer to that is always pretty much the same — they are not specifically designed for beginners, but everything you need, including illustrated stitching instructions and step-by-step process photos are included in the pattern. I have received several emails over the years from people who have never made anything before who have successfully made Maggie Rabbit and her cousins. Isn't that amazing? I think that's amazing and so cool. My advice — about everything crafty — is always this: Pick the project you love, and the best materials you can afford. Don't worry about whether it's too "hard" for you; if you love it, you will be motivated to learn it, and a little practice and patience goes a long, long way. Let yourself enjoy the process and don't get hung up on whether it is "right" or "perfect." Let it reflect where you are right now, and let that be enough. Working with beautiful, high-quality materials can be so pleasurable in itself. They can often motivate you to try a bit harder, and stick with it a bit longer, and I'm fairly certain you'll always be glad for it.

Andy's been hanging out with Amelia in the mornings and I've been able to do some serious power sewing while we wait for the rest of the fabric and floss comes in to make all the new kits. My girlie needed some pretty spring dresses and I must oblige! These new dresses hanging up are all made from vintage patterns. And, shoot, speaking of things not right or perfect, my zipper installation is just tragic. Always uneven. I must work on this because I think I can do better. Vintage patterns often call for zippers. I don't think they get used as much in contemporary patterns, but maybe I'm wrong. The zippers themselves are disgusting. Why do they make them out of the stiffest, grossest material? Am I missing the place where they keep the nice, comfortable cotton zippers or something? Are those the invisible zippers (no pun even intended, seriously)? Help. Zippers make getting a toddler dressed very easy, but I want them to be less uncomfortable, especially when paired with nice, soft, floaty fabrics.

The Liberty dress with the pockets (with the flowers in them) is from Simplicity 8940, circa 1970. Skirt is not very full. This one is a size 3 and its a little bit big on her. The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn in Katie and Millie (D). I love this shape on her.

The dusty pink pinafore is, again, from Butterick 9315, circa 1960 (and the under-dress I showed and talked about here). I made the pinafore out of really pretty cotton lawn dotted Swiss from Mill End Store. The skirt is so full, which I love. And you need that 3" hem for everything to just hang right. In fact, all of the little dresses I've been making have a 3" hem, and I absolutely love those wide hems. They really make a difference. I wish I hadn't top-stitched the bodice because it really shows. Ah, well. I might take that out, and slip-stitch the lining. That would have been the right way to do it. I was just being lazy.

The green dress is made from Simplicity pattern 6066, circa 1965. Ohhhh, I love this dress. It has darts. Darts! And again, just the fullest skirt ever. The fabric is Amy Butler's Windflower in Zest from the Glow Voile collection. I got it at Fabric Depot. Note tragically uneven zipper. Wah. She wore this dress yesterday and seemed to really like it!

(The light blue dress she's wearing I talked about here; her groovy green and blue smock she is wearing here but I don't seem to be able to find an original post for it from when I made it.)

My hexagons: Sheesh. Fingers destroyed. But pillow cushion cover DONE. I'll tell you more about this when I take its "finished" picture. Before I even finished I proclaimed that no one besides me is allowed to even touch this pillow. I never feel this way about stuff but seriously, if I see this pillow tossed casually on the floor instead of placed in its heralded position on the chaise lounge I will immediately begin shrieking like a banshee. Do you know how to make hexagons? I can't figure out if I ever talked about these particular hexagons, pictured, which I started sometime last year. But I did make some once before here. I will not be doing them again for quite some time. But I LOVE MY PILLOW COVER. I've been very indulgent, making things for myself lately.

We had a little St. Patrick's Day party last week and Andy made corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. I love him. He's the most Irish person I know who's not actually Irish. I also made a broccoli quiche last week using the Enchanted Broccoli Forest formula. I've been making this since college and it's always so nice. I use a Pillsbury refrigerator crust. Easy, fast dinner.

***Susie made an Irish apple cake with custard sauce and it was incredible!!!

Queen of the Neighborhood

comments: 68

8Magnolia1

8Magnolia2

8Magnolia3

8Magnolia4

8Magnolia5

8Magnolia6

8Magnolia7

8Magnolia8

8Magnolia9

8Magnolia10

8Magnolia11

8Magnolia12

8Magnolia14

We stumbled upon this incredible tree a couple of weekends ago, right at golden hour. Isn't it just breathtaking? All of these pictures are from the same tree, over about a fifteen minute period, just after dinner. Beautiful tree.

Silver Spring

comments: 52

6Hoyt1

6Hoyt6

6Hoyt5

6Hoyt10

6Hoyt11

6Hoyt12

6Hoyt9

6Hoyt14

6Hoyt15

6Hoyt16

6Hoyt17

6Hoyt18

6Hoyt19

6Hoyt20

6Hoyt21

6Hoyt22

6Hoyt23

6Hoyt24

6Hoyt26

6Hoyt25

6Hoyt27

6Hoyt29

6Hoyt30

6Hoyt31

6hoyt32

6Hoyt33

6Hoyt34

6Hoyt35

6Hoyt36

6Hoyt37

6Hoyt38

6Hoyt39

6Hoyt40

6Hoyt41

6Hoyt42

6Hoyt43

Although the temperature has been getting into the seventies regularly, you can tell it's still late wintertime in the woods. There's a silver haze on the green. It feels quiet, and a little empty, and a little chilly in the shade. Everything is delicate and spare. She prances and chirps. She lies down and looks around. Thursday afternoon, March 5: We have nowhere to be, nowhere else to go but all the way around the evergreen loop. Few people are here now, this early in the season, but this is Hoyt Arboretum, in the heart of the city, and it's a popular place. Sometimes I long for a little piece of land of our own, away from the sounds of traffic and other people, where we could spread a blanket, build a fort, make fairy houses, read in a patch of sunlight, make a fire when it gets cold. But there's something so precious about this preserve, and so sweet about its convenience, just across town. Birds are so easy to hear right now — no leaves on the trees to muffle their excited trill — and so are other things. What's that noise? She halts and gasps and asks dramatically, several times a day. What's that noise? An airplane, a bird, a tiny stream gurgling through a culvert. A far-off truck, a motorcycle, a leaf blower doing its work in the neighborhood just around the bend. There are so many things to hear in the urban woods. What a beautiful city we live in! What a beautiful state. Yesterday I drove home from the children's museum while she slept, tired from her play. Weaving for a couple of miles through these same woods, past the garden, past the playground, past the flowering trees and the view of the city below, I couldn't drive slowly enough, listening to her breathe softly behind me in the back seat, paint on her face, roses in her cheeks. Down the hill, through downtown, over the bridge, back to the house. What a commute. Let it be long, and slow. My favorite season has arrived.

More Maggie Kits Now in Stock for Easter!

comments: 18

11Maggie1

I was supposed to tell you this two days ago but I am a little behind, I'm sorry: We have more Miss Maggie Rabbit softie kits now in stock for Easter! Yay. This is good. I love Maggie. We put together a whole bunch of kits with various Liberty of London dress fabrics and yarns that we have used previously, or used for other animals. Available right now (in limited quantities) are:

Danjo

Elysian

Betsy

Meadow

Edenham

Each of these images will link to the Maggie Rabbit kit page, and then you can choose your option from the drop-down menu (click on the tiny arrow at the right edge of the product options box to see the drop-down menu). To see the original post I wrote about Maggie Rabbit (which has answers to some questions you might have), click here. To see so many adorable Maggies that people have made over the past two years, click here!

My new ABC cross-stitch kit, along with more Juniper Kitties, Basil Foxes, and even more Maggie Rabbits will be available sometime in April — but not before Easter, so I wanted to make sure we got these out to you in time to fill baskets.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Back very soon with arboretum pictures. Xoxo, A & Co.

***If you would like a kit for another animal, all of the animal kits can be found here. Digital PDF patterns (and more sweaters, clothes, and accessories) patterns can be found here. Thank you!

***I'll remove any of these fabrics that sell out, so no, you aren't seeing things if you come back and something's missing! That means it has sold out. Sorry! And thank you very much!

Springthings

comments: 63

4Sunset1

2Room1

3TikkaMasala1

4Jewelry1

5Look1

5NewQuilt2

5Enchiladas1

5Enchiladas2

5Enchiladas3

5Enchiladas4

4Evening1

5Quilt1

5Quilt2

5Quilt3

6Drawring1

6Slappycakes1

6Hoyt2

7BananaBread1

7Playing1

8Dress2

8Fabric1

8Walk1

8Walk3

8Walk2

8Walk4

8Walk5

9FootFlower1

Andy was on staycation last week and it was just awesome. The weather was EPIC. In the sixties and seventies and nary a cloud. Really, one of the greatest weeks ever (aside from the vague sense of unease because it was in the sixties and seventies and there was nary a cloud, and it's March . . . ). We made chicken tikka-masala (this recipe is absolutely fantastic, but do NOT add all of the salt it recommends — I don't know why they don't fix it — but we use about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt in the marinade and about 1/2 teaspoon in the sauce, and also you want to double the sauce, as well). We made chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa from this recipe (and they are also awesome). We walked. We hiked. We went to Slappycakes. We went to the arboretum. I sewed: How cute is that dress? I made it from a vintage pattern, Butterick 9315 (the sleeves are from Simplicity 6066, also vintage). The fabric was Robert Kauffman, London Calling, #15276 (a rare instance where I know what the fabric was called — I usually don't keep good track of stuff like that though I know I should, I'm sorry). I finished my Irish Chain quilt top and brought it to a professional (such a luxury!) to have it finished. I cut out a pink Swiss-dot pinafore to go over the new dress, and planned several more spring dresses. I worked a bit on the Little-by-Little quilt (that's it, hanging on the sliding door). Andy painted the part of the house that had been fixed and planted a blueberry bush. He mulched the flower beds. Mimi played and talked and bounced and drew and hiked and napped and laughed and climbed and ran and generally delighted in everything, and delighted us beyond measure. Happy girl. Happiness here. Spring has sprung!

I am proud of my Irish Chain. I think it's the only quilt I've ever made that has had an actual plan. I've wanted one like this for many years. The finished top is about 72" x 72". I think it will go on the sofa, or over me when I'm on the sofa. The backing is peachy-pink calico, and the binding is dark gray calico. I will show it in detail once it comes back and I wash and dry it and make it all squishy and yummy.

I also finished a hexagon pillow cover top, but I forgot to take a picture of it. I'll do that. It's kinda cool.

***I'm sorry I don't have an exact pattern for the Irish Chain to point you toward, because I kind of just looked at a bunch of them and made mine up. The only reference I can find to it here on the blog is in this post, which sort of shows how I did the patchwork patches. This pattern is sort of how I did mine, though the measurements are a bit different and I used a square in the center of the B blocks, with bars on all four sides. But that pattern is very close, I think.

Sunshine Songbird

comments: 88

1Audubon1

1Audubon2

1Audubon3

1Audubon4

1Audubon5

1Audubon6

1Audubon7

1Audubon8

1Audubon9

1Audubon11

1Audubon12

1Audubon14

1Audubon16

1Audubon17

1Audubon18

1Audubon19

1Audubon22

1Audubon24

1Audubon26

1Audubon27

1Audubon28

1Audubon29

1Audubon31

1Audubon32

1Audubon33

1Audubon35

1Audubon37

1Audubon38

1Audubon39

1Audubon41

1Audubon42

1Audubon43

She doesn't walk through the woods as much as careen. Chattering and singing, running, spinning, flinging rocks into the water. She lies down in the middle of the trail. A woman walks by and says, "She's grounding! I get it." Within seconds, she's up and running around the bend, or headed across a bridge, or doing an arabesque. The morning is so beautiful it takes my breath away. White sunlight through delicate trees. Soft carpet of faded duff. A chilly, mellow gurgle from the creek. The ravine is only barely awake, a sleepy, pale-green tangle, every slender branch just beginning to fuzz and froth. Listen, baby: Do you hear the birds? "Ooooooh, yes," she says, squatting to hear them better. "Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet."

Portland Audubon Society; Sunday morning, March 1, 2015.

Sunshine Day

comments: 77

28Morning1

28Morning2

28Morning3

28Morning5

28Morning6

28Morning8

28Morning9

28Morning10

28Morning11

28Morning12

28Morning7

28Morning14

28Morning16

28Morning17

28Morning18

28Morning19

28Morning20

28Afternoon3

28Afternoon1

28Afternoon2

Amelia and I had a rare Saturday to ourselves. I honestly can't even remember the last time Andy worked on Saturday, but it will be a regular thing now, as his schedule is slightly rearranged. I was worried we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves — a Saturday! precious Saturday! — but we managed quite nicely and actually had one of the nicest days I've had in a long time. I made Irish soda bread from our local bakery's cookbook, and an Earl Grey latte (half water, half milk, a teaspoon of sugar, the contents of two tea bags, heated in the beloved Capresso then strained — yum. Isn't there a name for this thing? I can't remember it). My dear friend Sarah had given me some Kerrygold butter. What a lovely, grown-up breakfast for Mama! Amelia wasn't impressed with any of it (except the raisins!) but I was in a state of bliss, reading a book with my breakfast on a beautiful, sunny, late-winter morning. Sweet Saturday. Later we went to the big park, then took a long walk from that park up to get frozen yogurt, then walked around some more in the stroller, talking about birds and flowers and ducks at the duck creek. Came home in the late afternoon and she took a nap while I looked at quilts on Pinterest. Quiet, wonderful, gentle, sweet little day. We missed Andy but we made the most of it, I think. Saturdays just feel different from every other day.

My mixer's lowest speed is way too high. I need to take that somewhere and have it adjusted. Flour was everywhere, even with the towel.

I finished pillow #2 (that's it, on the sofa) and it was fun. The quilt-as-you-go technique is a lot of work. I think the pillows came out cute, but I want to wash them so that they pucker up and actually look quilted; as they are the quilting isn't showing yet, so it seems a bit unnecessary. Thank you for the advice about that — I think I'll wash them without worry. I still have the third pillow to make. I got distracted, though. I suddenly found myself randomly sewing strips together, inspired by this amazing quilt. Then I remembered that I had oh, half an entire Irish Chain quilt started . . . somewhere. I found it (miracle) and hung up my completed sewn-together blocks on the window. This was all from several years ago. As I looked at it I was kind of astounded by the memory of that time, a time when I'd had time to do anything like this. But everything that I'd used then was there, in the basket, including a bunch of blocks that hadn't been pressed, and lots of strips, and more fabric, etc. So, I'm going to try to finish it. It feels like it came from another life. It feels weird to work on it, in a way. I got emotional the first day I worked on it. I felt like I was literally reconnecting with the person I was back then. I thought of myself then, sewing all of those tiny squares, pressing those seams so carefully, hope in every patch. I'm not sure why I put it away — I just don't remember. My throat is tight while I write this. I'm not sure I can find the words to say any more except thank you, thank you, God. For getting her here. For getting me here.

So now I've got Irish Chain to finish. And Pibbow 3. And the new quilt I started made out of strips (strings? what's this lingo? I know nothing). The new strippy quilt fabric is coming out of the same log-cabin strip basket that I used for Amelia's log cabin and the first two pillows, and I'm also cutting up the scraps in my big scrap basket, little by little. This is a little-by-little quilt. Whenever I have a couple of minutes, I go back and do something — press and cut some scraps, sew some strips together, press some seams. All random. I decided that this would be a family quilt, for the big king-size bed, and that the scraps from all the things I've made over the past few years are going to go into it. Violet used to sleep in this scrap basket, and now Bridget does (unless she can find a little sunspot). All of this makes me so happy and content.

The (First) Pibbow

comments: 76

24RainyAfternoon1

24RainyAfternoon2

24Somersault1

24RainyAFternoon3

25Morning1

25Morning2

25Morning6

25Morning7

25Morning8

25Pillow1

25Morning4

26Morning2

25BabyListens2

26Park1

26Park2

26Museum1

26Museum2

26Museum3

26Museum4

26Museum5

26Museum6

26Museum7

26Park3

26Park4

26Petals1

27Table1

27MorningSunshine1

27Pillow1

27MorningWalk1

27MorningWalk2

27MorningWalk4

27MorningWalk5

27Pillow2

Have you ever done the quilt-as-you-go technique? I never had. I got this book the other day and decided to try it. I think it came out pretty cute. I used the 2" strips I had left over from Amelia's log cabin quilt. I have a whole basket of them. You can get a feeling for the whole technique from that first picture — you stitch the hearth directly to the batting, then add your first strip (log) to one side. Press that open, and then quilt it (I just stitched parallel to the seam, down the length of the strip a couple of times). Quilt (verb) after every added strip. Didn't think too much about the finished size, so there is one extra strip on two sides of the pillow (because I needed it to fit the pillow form). Mimi loves pillows, just like I do. We talk about pillows a lot, either for ourselves or for the dog or for the dolls. I think we talk about pillows every day. But she calls them "pibbows." Which works. We need some pibbows very badly in our living room. I'm going to make a few. I bought three new pillow forms. I like the bamboo forms. I like flat, hard pillows. I hate super-soft pillows. I HATE down pillows or any kind of pillow with feathers. They give me pillow rage. If I wanted to be jabbed in the face with a thousand little pins while also being smothered, then I would get a down pillow. But I don't.

By the way: The gingham chair (Ikea) is cute but lightweight. When she was smaller, Amelia liked to get up on that chair and essentially hurl herself against the back of it while peeking over the top at whoever was in the dining room. To stabilize it, we put a webbing strap with one of those tightener things around both of the front legs, and put several barbells — hand weights, I guess — on top of the strap. So if she pushed against the back, the weights counterbalanced and held the front of the chair on the floor. They also stay pretty neatly under the chair itself (and the slipcover). Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it in case you have a baby that does the same thing. Most chairs like this one are against walls, I would think, so it's probably not super common to have one like ours, in the middle of the room. But I just saw a little boy tip a dining room chair over backwards at the zoo cafe the other day, so I'm guessing it's pretty common with those kinds of chairs.

Drawing on a domino with a golf pencil (after silently, stealthily stealing my knitting-notions bag, and I'm not even sure why there was a domino in my bag). Wearing a doll stocking on her hand while holding an umbrella. I can't make this stuff up. I love this kid so much. I love her.

I want to make three or four more pillows. I'm not sure what kind I will make. Can you wash the quilt-as-you-go pillow cover if the batting isn't actually backed with fabric? I didn't really think about that. I kind of did, but then I just kept going, because I don't have any time. There's a back to the pillow cover, but not to the quilting part, do you know what I mean? I wonder what will happen when I wash it. We'll find out!

Her dresses: 2nd Birthday Dress (shown here, details in here), Lichen Woods (the Lichen Woods sweater, already way too small!), Lemon Layer Cake. Her sweater: My Cricket. I love this sweater. It fits perfectly and is such a pretty pattern. I love it. Her sleeves are rolled up in the children's museum pictures, but when they're down they are really cute. I must say that I originally got the NatureSpun sport only for my animal kits, but I have used it several times for Mimi-sweaters, and though I was worried that it would be a bit scratchy, it has turned out to be one of my very favorite yarns for her clothes, too. It gets soft and drape-y, it doesn't pill that much, it holds its shape really well, and it's got a really nice sort of rustic quality to it. I don't know. For a long time I was just so into alpaca. Alpaca is soft and smooshy and feels like a dream when you're knitting with it. In practical use, it's not my favorite. "Practical use" is not always my priority, mind you. My own knitting comfort is often the priority, quite frankly, and soft, delicious yarns like alpacas can sooth the knitters soul and the baby's skin. But it tends to pill like hell, and get really distorted with wear. I don't really care about those things that much, until the buttonholes stop working, or whatever. But I'm starting to appreciate the plain, straightforward, hardworking wools I used to pass up.

***Details on my workroom? All here!

The Usual

comments: 71

22Office1

22Notepad1

22Nursery1

22Casserole1

22Kugel1

23Afternoon1

23Corner1

23Duvet1

23Shoes1

23MyClimb1

23Table1

23House1

22FrenchBraid1

23Tree1

22CrossStitch1

23Clovie2

23Sunset2

Sunny, quiet days. Playing, working, cooking, watching the man fix the house, which is apparently falling apart all around us. Ugh. Stucco repairs, rotted sills. Blossoms abounding. Sunlight through soap-sketched windows. Sleeping puppers. French braids. Playing the drums on my back with her fingers. "Drumsticks." She points to the neighbor's flowers and says, "Daffodils!" How in the world does she know those are daffodils? She knows everything. We marvel. Oh wondrous, glorious child of spring! I scoop her up like a cradled baby and smother her cheeks with kisses. "No, Mommy!!!" New boxwood shrubs, finally. Piles of crumbled stucco in my flower beds. Dust on my hellebores. Cluttered studio. I can hear the man pounding on the house as I write. Love and squalor. The usual.

embroidered A

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

Archives

Photography

Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.