Posts filed in: May 2013

My Little Things of Spring

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Tiny flowers everywhere. It's the time when everything is tentative and delicate. In a few months, I won't notice the flowers, really. Everything will be riotous and rampant. I'll be dragging the lurching hose around the yard so the whole thing doesn't frizzle to a crisp. (I say to Andy, back when it wasn't raining, "Hey, why don't you ask for one of those really cool automatic hose-winder-upper things for Father's Day?" He says, "Oh. Okay. Will you get me one of those hose-winder-uppers for Father's Day?" Me: "Absolutely. I mean, since that's what you really want!" Clever Mommy.) But for now, Mama Nature waters it all for me. My plants unfold their wonders, cautious and chilled. I dodge cold raindrops to witness. The unfurling never ceases to fill me with spring fever. And it is a fever, isn't it? You start to feel quite shaky: Let me get into the woods.

If it hadn't been raining, though, and I hadn't stayed home, I wouldn't have been knitting my Cricket, which is coming along nicely and which, I must say, I have thoroughly, utterly enjoyed. Why. I don't know. Everything about it has pleased me. The pattern is sweet. The yarn (leftover bunny-kit yarn) feels good and has a little bite to it, a little spring bite, so the stitches feel defined and reflect the light in a very chalky kind of way that I love (I don't like shiny yarns anymore). The whole thing feels utterly and completely handknit. Do you know what I mean? In other words, you can see the variation in the tension of the stitches, little bloops and frets, places where you put it down and came back to it, places where you stopped and had to keep someone from crawling into the fireplace (always toward the fireplace), places where you fell asleep in the middle of a row, places where you started dreaming about cabins and cocoa. I like yarns that record these things. I don't want them too smooth or so soft that all the bumps and blunders disappear. I want my hand in there somewhere. So she'll know, when she wears it, that my hands are there.

Now, this dress. This dress. Never have I wanted a mommy-and-me outfit more. LOVE. I used this pattern. And this fabric (in Gerbera Turquoise). Quick and easy. Made in a morning. There will be more.

And for some reason, because it feels like fall, I guess, I just want to eat mushrooms. If you take some leftover grilled chicken with rosemary and lemon (thanks to Andy — I have no idea how he does it but I can ask), and you chop up a couple of Portabella mushrooms and saute them in ghee (funniest sentence of the week: Andy: "Are we seriously out of ghee?", which just about made me fall off the couch laughing because — he knows what ghee is? and he's amazed we're out of it??? [which we weren't, which somehow made it even funnier, because we don't have milk or eggs, but we have ghee]), then pour about 1/2 cup of white wine over all of it and let it bubble down to a glaze, then add some salt and pepper and cream and Parmesan cheese and let that bubble down just a bit, then add some al dente spaghetti and get it good and coated, you, too, can have something yummy in your tummy. And yeah, I say things like that now.

Rain Rain

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Rain, rain. In the early mornings, before it is light, we all lay in the big bed with the windows wide open and the heated mattress pad turned on. The rain falls on the leaves, a constant tip-tapping. The breeze is cold and wet but we are warm. Amelia rests her cheek on my belly. I stroke her back and her tiny fingernails stroke my arm. I dare not move lest she move. I want her to stay. There are pillows and pets in every space. We talk about buying a little cabin in the woods near the mountain, so she can grow up with trees and pine needles and wood smoke and the sounds of the mountain creek, with snow in the winter and ski poles and snowshoes, with campfires in summer, sleepovers in the panelled loft, wildflowers in a jar on the windowsill next to her bed, sunlight filtered through the endless trees, sand on the floor where she puts her bare feet. I want that for her, for us. I pull out the computer in the dark and check the real-estate listings. The screen glows with moss-covered Forest Service cabins. This one has a porch. This one has a river-rock fireplace. This one is awful. They ruined it. This one would be perfect. Dream. She sleeps and breathes. My hands on her small body, feeling her breathe in the dark before rain-dawn.

We can't complain about the weather, when so much of the country is suffering, but it is cold and again cold, and sopping wet. It feels like green winter. Andy says that people have big gardens here because it makes you appreciate the rain; the gardens are happy, and that makes you happy. But for the cold. Everything is drenched and glistening, heavy with flowers. The peonies slump in the yard. The grass is half-drowned. The pavement is dark and shiny. I check the beet seeds daily. Chioggia and Bull's Blood. Nothing yet. It's Friday, the end of a long week. I imagine myself crawling under the duvet cover at the end of the day and watching my TiVo-ed episodes of Nigella Forever Summer. As soon as I turn on my side, I'll be asleep. If I have time tomorrow, I'll make some frothy dresses for Amelia. Clothes like summer flowers, to wear when it gets warm.

Catching Up

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* T H A N K   Y O U * to every single person who ordered Maggie or her clothes or her supplies in the last few days!!! Thank you very, very much! The sale was wonderful and I couldn't be more pleased. I am so grateful for your orders and your enthusiasm for this little bunny. Everything went without a hitch this time on the web site (I think?) and we didn't run out, which made me very happy and did not give me a stomach ache like it did last time. The amazing Greta is already busy packing and shipping orders and will continue to do that throughout the coming week and next, I expect. I really can't tell you how much I love thinking about Maggies going to good homes all over the world. I'm hoping we'll have Maggie kits consistently in the shop now. I think that will be really nice. I love this job. Thank you for making it possible for me to do it.

We had a very, very, very nice weekend. Man, it was great. The most relaxing one in I can't even remember how long, actually. I needed it. We cooked a lot. Andy made my dad's chili (Chili Lobo; we make it with ground turkey), I made this yummy Dijon chicken and mushrooms with linguine, and Andy made homemade pesto to use in Ina's pasta, pesto, and peas, which is a staple here in the summertime (and, in winter, with jarred pesto, it's really good too.) We had breakfast at one of our favorite places. We got some flowers for my front-porch planter, and Andy planted them for me (the best). I had some help with my verggie garden from a very talented gardener named Alica (but who pronounces her name A-leesh-a, like mine), who prepared and planted my little beds for me. I just knew I wasn't going to have time to do this and it was looking terrible. Now it looks pretty, and we have tomatoes, peppers, basil, potatoes, herbs, flowers, butternut squash, pattipan squash, and onions. I pledged to water it every single day this week, though today it is so cold and the forecast says rain. But still. This I can do.

I cast on a new sweater for Amelia, and this made me so happy I can't even tell you. Every minute of knitting it has calmed and pleased me. After months of making bunny clothes and fussing with bunny patterns and re-fussing with bunny patterns it was a huge relief to just follow someone else's pattern. Oh sweet mercy! And what a cute pattern it is. I'm slightly concerned that the neckline looks overly large on some of the finished ones I've seen. But I think I'll make the ribbing a bit longer, and it will be okay. . . . I don't know. After seeing how fetching she was in her Nutmeg Cardi (made ever so long ago) this past weekend I was so inspired to make her more sweaters. She's growing so fast. (I wish that Nutmeg Cardi pattern came in more sizes; it's just 0-3 months.) It's been too long since I've knit something baby-sized (which feels huge after all the bunny-sized)! This is sized 2T (the pattern goes up to size 10, and there is an adult version, too); I have an idea to knit the ribbing on the cuffs quite long, as well, so the sleeves can be turned up quite a bit without looking funky and wrong-sided. I'm very happy to be knitting for pleasure again.

I think I should take a shower. Amelia is down for a nap. I have a pile of vegetables I'm going to cook up for her and freeze. Clover Meadow is lying on a giant buckwheat pillow and a huge throw pillow that are on the couch, all at the same time. I should take her picture because it looks so funny. It's so cloudy and dark outside. We'll take a long walk when Amelia wakes up. The roses are starting to bloom all over the neighborhood. My beloved peonies are blooming. And my allium (the fourth photo from the bottom)? This is her first year here in the back yard. I am so excited. I go out and look at her every day. She's just about to bloom.

*** My heart and prayers for comfort go out to the people of Moore, Oklahoma. Peace be with you there. ***

Maggie Rabbit's Back!

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Remember Mags? Yep, she's back! You can find her in kit form right HERE!

She has one previously available dress fabric and four new ones. There's Betsy:


And Danjo (interesting name, but no, I didn't make it up — Liberty made up all of these :). The yarn looks darker here than it does in real life. It's more of a pale, warm maroon:


Emilia's Flowers, for my dear Amelia:


And Margaret Annie (appropriately!):


And last but not least, sweet Meadow for my Clover Meadow:


Just choose the dress fabric and yarn combo you would like from the drop-down menu (sorry, there are no substitutions!).

I also have some new clothes patterns! There are some Little Pants and a Shirt for Rabbits. You can make them for a boy bunny or a girl bunny. Just change the fabric and place the buttons on whichever side you'd like!


There is a precious Little Knitted Dress for Rabbits (done from the top down, and mostly in the round [after you do the increases for the skirt]):


And a Little Raglan Sweater for Rabbits, also for boys or girls (the directions will help you place the buttonholes on the left or right side, depending on which one you're making):


And a Little Hooded Coat for Rabbits, all done in garter stitch, with holes in the hood for ears (of course!):


I also have some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight yarn for you to make all of these knitted things, in eighteen different colors (not all pictured here, but they are on the product page):


And there are also Weensy Little Buttons in nine colors for your sweaters and shirts:


And if you had trouble threading the elastic to go around the neck and cuffs of your bunny peasant dress, I have some size #18 needles with big eyes which will make it easier:


Now. For the knitty (sp?) gritty:

  • I've fixed the shopping-cart issue that we had last time, so the specific name of the fabric, or the color of yarn, or the color of the buttons you've placed in your cart will show up, and not just the name of the general item. I'm really sorry I didn't realize this wasn't working until the end of the day of the last kit sale, and by then it was too late — my bad!!! But I think it's working nicely now, so this is good.
  • Please — and this is where I beg! — take your time while shopping and make sure you are putting everything you need into your cart before you check out. Unfortunately, I cannot add anything extra to an existing order once it's been placed. The best I can do is 1) cancel the original order for you and have you place a new order with everything you'd like included, or 2) just have you place another order for the new items, and if they are physical items that need to be shipped (i.e.: not a digitally downloaded pattern), you will have to pay shipping twice. Due to the volume of orders that we receive in a very short period of time, I have to rely completely on my system, and the system only lets me cancel, not tinker, so just take a moment to make sure you are getting everything you want in your cart before you check out.
  • Please also make sure you have the correct shipping address entered for your order.
  • All that said, if you do have a problem and need to email me, don't hesitate!
  • All patterns are available as digitally downloaded PDFs. (If you've ordered a kit, a hard copy of the pattern is included.) Once you've purchased it, a link to download your digital PDF pattern will be made immediately available to you upon completion of payment, even if you have purchased physical items at the same time. A link to download the patterns will also be emailed to you separately. Again, this system is completely automatic, so please make sure you are watching for the link at the end of your transaction, and have the correct email address attached to your order. If you have any problem receiving your pattern, let me know.
  • I do ship internationally. Please read my FAQ page for details on shipping to Canada and overseas (about halfway down the page) and info about customs charges, etc. (You may be charged duties or taxes or customs charges by your importing country, which unfortunately I can't control; this doesn't happen often but it does occasionally happen, so please be aware.) To see how much the general shipping cost (minus these potential charges) is to your location, please complete the checkout process to Step 2 (which is after you enter your address, so the system knows how much to charge you; shipping charges are different depending on location). You will see the shipping charge to your location and can decide if you would like to complete the transaction.

We have made a lot of kits this time, and hope to get everything shipped in the next several weeks or so (but please be patient, because it is only Greta and I working on this but we're doing our best; we have half othe kits already assembled but if we sell over that we will need some time to put more together). IF the kits do completely sell out again, please don't worry because we will make more. It's takes us some time, but we will make more! Kind of like Doritos.

Thank you very much!!! I'm really excited about this new stuff!

***Ooops! A couple of things I forgot to mention:

  • Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for the Pinterest gallery! Aren't these buns just adorable??? I LOVE seeing what people do to make their bunnies special and unique. Oh, they are just all so darn sweet. Thank you, guys. I love them all! (For info on submitting a photo for inclusion, see the second paragraph of this previous post. I am slow to upload these, so please don't worry if I don't get to yours right away. I get there eventually.)
  • The knitting patterns are brand new, so if you run into ANY trouble with them, email right away and I will figure it out. If there is any errata and I need to update a pattern, the service I use allows me to send you a notification that there is a new, corrected pattern to download. I will also get these patterns on Ravelry soon. Please check the web shop product page for any errata. I will post corrections there.
  • If any of the yarn runs out, we will reorder right away. This is my first time carrying yarn so I'm not sure what quantities to carry, but the manufacturer ships quickly so this can be turned around without losing too much time at all.

Thank you again, and thank you for being patient with me! I really appreciate it!

Big Hearts

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The weekend was truly wonderful. In every way. It was a dream come true. I'm continuously overwhelmed by not only the incredible beauty of motherhood but of adoptive motherhood. My life is so full now. It's filled not only with this incredible baby but so many new, extraordinary people in Amelia's birthfamily, who were here on Saturday celebrating the holiday with us. It's filled with so much new love. There is so much love for this precious girl. And it gets bigger and fuller and more beautiful every single day. I wish I had better words to say but I can't even get my arms around it. It all, all of it, pretty much blows me away continuously. I have no expectations. Reality has surpassed anything I could have expected or imagined. Now I just try to do my so-flawed but so-earnest best in every moment, and ride the wave. And it is a grand, most awesome, extraordinary wave. I am so, so blessed.

On Sunday morning Andy and I got cardamom lattes at the coffee shop, just like we did the morning Amelia was born. We went up to the park and walked on the trails and smelled the wet grass and the flowers. We had lunch with my mom and then sat in the yard. It was warm and cloudy, just the way I like it. After my mom left, Amelia conked out in her crib (it was a big weekend), and I sat under the big umbrella out back while it rained softly on the umbrella and the trees and all of my new flowers he planted for me last weekend. It was a warm rain. We ate Chinese take-out under the umbrella and the tree while it rained, and we talked about everything.

I send a wish out for everyone who wants to be a mother. I wish you, especially you, a Happy (belated, sorry — last week was crazy busy!) Mothers' Day. I know that in our hearts we all are mothers, whether our children have arrived yet or not. I always wished that people would say that to me, had seen that in me, during the long years of waiting. There are so many ways to be a mother. And I send a wish out to the birthmothers and -grandmothers, whose hearts are so big and so brave and so strong. I wish you a life filled with as much love as you've given, and you have given, I am very, very sure, much more than you will ever know. I pray that it all comes back to you a thousand-fold. Over and over and over again.

Bowl Food

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Thank you for all of the bowl food suggestions! This thing is going really well for me. A few people suggested the book Bowl Food: Comfort Food for People on the Move and I was going to go get it (really good subtitle), when I realized I already had it, and about twenty of the page corners were already turned down. Can't even remember when or where I got it. This book is cool. It's small, so I can take it to the store. It's not chatty; it's just recipes. With a Thai influence, for the most part? It's got a pretty color picture for every single dish. And it's all the things I like in one place: soups, salads, pastas, rices, and curries. I'm excited. So far I've made the chicken with Thai basil, chiles, and cashews and the shrimp, tomato, and saffron (my mother-in-law gave me a little tin of saffron for my birthday — isn't that a great present?!?) pasta. Both were very good, and really pretty involved, I must say. But that's probably what made them so good. Really filling, so a bowl is actually more than you need. It's Peanut Butter Puffins for breakfast, then I pick a recipe in the morning. Amelia and I walk up to get groceries somewhere after breakfast (we have a few options for that, so it's kind of fun), and then I do whatever prep I can do ahead of time while she naps during the day. She hangs out with me in the kitchen while I cook. She is SO good about this. I eat very early while she's still happy. Bedtime is between six and seven. I've been trying to come back downstairs and hang out after I put her to bed, but usually I just . . . pretty much watch episodes of Psych and fall asleep!

The weather here over the weekend was cray-cray. It was about 85 degrees and windy as all get out. Naturally, I was completely miserable. Trees were whipping around and throwing down sticks and leaves and immature plums all over the yard. Leaves blew in every open door, covering the kitchen and the studio. I think I swept four times. But it was too hot to keep things closed. Bees found their ways into the house and buzzed angrily against the few windows that don't open (why do they do that? when there's an open window just a few feet away?). The light flickered madly as the leaves thrashed back and forth in the bright sunlight. We replanted all of our containers that didn't make it through the winter. But it was just too hot and kind of crazy outside to really enjoy it. I find hot wind utterly unnerving. Monday morning Andy woke up and said, "Is it supposed to be nice again today?" And I said, "If by 'nice' you mean COMPLETELY HORRIBLE then yeah, it's supposed to be nice." Curmudgeonly me!!!

Babies in sleeveless onesies, though. OMG. Utterly, utterly sweet. My sweet, sweet girl. She's drooling so much I keep checking for a tooth, but no. Not yet!

***Shoot — I forgot to add that for those who have asked, the baby food book I am using is this one, given to me by my friend Ann. I like it a lot — it's nice and simple and straightforward. Making baby food is so much fun. Watching her eat it is completely amazing. I'm sure that sounds silly or something, but it's true. It's one of the best things in the whole wide world. The whole time she's eating I'm just sitting there thinking AW YEAH!

Big, Beautiful Spring

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The weather has been unbelievably gorgeous. This is perfect weather: Sunny, smooth, in the seventies, a bit of a breeze but only in lovely, dress-fluttering way. Mellow-yellow days. This has been the best spring weather I can ever remember. We haven't really had time to clean up the yard, even. And already the hydrangea (that's climbing hydrangea, on my fountain wall) has fully leafed out, and everything else looks fat and lush and happy. I think I actually have to water some of my wine-barrel hydrangeas already. That's unprecedented!

We've had kind of a quiet week, with sore throats and runny noses moving from one of us to the next. I'm last. I've been cooking and knitting generally laying low. Walking around the neighborhood a lot, especially in the mornings and the late afternoons. This morning Amelia and I saw a woman walking a baby (pygmy?) goat on a leash. Down a very busy street. Awesome. Everyone's yard is gushing greens. Everything smells so nice. The scent of cut grass is in the air. Lilac. Roses are starting to bloom already. This little pearly pink one sits on our woodshed. The bush that has probably been here eighty years. I put up a rosebud hair clip tutorial on my web site. Good for using up your extra felt scraps!

I made myself a dinner bowl last night of jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock and coconut water, black beans from this recipe, corn salad (I just used frozen corn) from this recipe, and a whole avocado. I would've added some shrimp but we didn't have any. It was pretty good, not great. Fresh corn would've been a major improvement. I like the concept of a dinner bowl. I think I'm going to start looking for recipes that go in a bowl. (Especially since I just bought myself a really pretty Japanese bowl with a lid on it this morning. Inspiration.) Rice, quinoa, noodles. Those are fast and good. I need a plan . . . that happens in bowls. And is not soup. Do you have any favorite bowl-food recipes?

There's always ice-cream bowl. In a pinch. I've done that.

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




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.