Posts filed in: Embroidery

Buds and Birds

comments: 47

19Garden2

19Bunnies1

19GArden1

19Garden3

19Garden5

19Garden6

19Garden4

19Garden8

19Salad1

19Garden14

19Garden15

19Garden16

19Garden17

23CornSalad1

19Granola1

19Yard1

19Porch1

19Porch2

19Garden10

19Garden12

19Walk1

23Roses1

23Clover1

23Paint1

23Roses2

23Cherries1

23Lovey1

23Cherries2

23Cherries3

23Roses3

23Cherries4

23Cherries5

23Cherries7

23Roses4

Grandma Paulson was visiting all last week, and Mimi had an absolutely wonderful time playing with her grandma pretty much non-stop. She also had her last day of her lovely, wonderful playschool, wrapping up two years of this perfect experience that fills me with emotion. She has grown and changed and thrived there in every way. For an only child (in our family at least; thankfully she has three birthsiblings that she knows and loves and sees often, but obviously they don't live with her), having friends to play with, talk to, learn with, walk with, fight with, make up with, laugh with, and share her days among is invaluable. I'm so grateful for our time there. I'm excited for next year (she's going to a pre-school in the neighborhood, and her friends, only one of which is a close neighbor, are going elsewhere), but I will miss these sweet days. (I will also miss the free eight hours a week they afforded me when I don't have them this summer, but that's another story.)

The weather has alternated cold and rainy with only mildly cold and rainy. I haven't spent too much time reading in my Adirondack chairs, but when I have been out there I've been nothing short of enchanted by all the little birds that are coming to our new bird feeder — a suet feeder that keeps squirrels and bigger birds out. Black-oil sunflower seed got spilled on the porch recently and not cleaned up; the squirrels went absolutely mental after they ate it all, and attacked the plastic milk jug we've used for years to fill the feeders, and destroyed the cap to the jug, and threw the jug across the yard and down the stairs to the sidewalk, and then threw the two empty feeders off of the trees, and completely destroyed the squirrel-proof one (I have two seed feeders — one is squirrel-proof, and one is just for the squirrels) by shredding the plastic tube inside and losing half of the parts. ANNOYING. Anyway, when I went to the store to get a new squirrel-proof seed feeder, I also got the new squirrel-proof suet feeder for the smaller birds. And now we have the sweetest little bushtits and chickadees. We've always had a lot of very friendly hummingbirds. Andy told me my red feeder (not squirrel-proof) was down on the sidewalk again this morning. Hrmmmm. Obnoxious. One squirrel sits on the fence and stares at me and thwacks his tail with fury the whole time I'm out there reading. He's quite annoyed that I'm in his yard, apparently.

My roses, good lord. Too bad I can't remember what they're called. I have two different bushes and they have been nothing short of fairy-tale quality this year, I do say.

I made a barbecue-chicken chopped salad like California Pizza Kitchen's from this recipe, but I used this chili-lime chicken that I've been making about once a week since I discovered the recipe. The salad tasted EXACTLY like CPK's. Exactly. It was awesome. Andy ate it (standing, still in scrubs, watching ESPN) when he came home from work.

Him, shouting from kitchen: "This is good!"
Me, shouting from living room: "I know, it's the jicama."
Him, mouth full: "The WHAT?!?!?"

Pfffft. I used the chicken on another night to make chicken tacos with this Mexican street corn salad, a vaguely unappetizing picture of which is up there, but I assure you, oh man, it was crazy good. So, chili-lime chicken, soft tortillas, corn salad, Spanish rice (from a box, I think it was Zatarain's). Boom.

Up there as well, Molly's Granola #5, the only one I'll eat anymore, originally gifted to me by the lovely Andrea for Christmas and which I've made several times since. I use cashews, sometimes almonds, and sweetened coconut. Very, very excellent granola. Simple and plain and toasty.

And then, magic custard cake. When I made this last summer, it occurred to me that it is exactly what I always want a clafoutis to be, but never is. So yesterday morning I pitted a bunch of cherries and added them to the bottom of the pan before I poured the batter in. It worked perfectly, though next time I would use more cherries, and actually more sugar. The cherries were seriously tart, and the cake just needs to be sweeter. Maybe a pinch of salt, too. This cake is really cool. It's a little bit of work, with beating the egg whites and all, but I've never seen anything like this before, and it is really delicate and delicious.

This week, ah . . . this week. I have a whole day — today — to myself. I'm sending the 'Night, Neighborhood cross stitch pattern off to the printer. Stacey's going to start pulling the floss tomorrow. The fabric should be arriving any day. This one has taken a while because I just have so many things going on at home right now. It's almost done, we just have to get it together around here. Things are a little rough around the edges. I could use a whole day to start smoothing them out. I'll be back soon.

***It's shaving-cream paint.

***The upholstered dollhouse furniture was a long-ago sweet gift from Leigh. Thank you for that, Leigh. Meems set up this Calico Critter phalanx herself. Xox

May Days

comments: 53

1Roses1

1Yard2

1Roses2

1Pesto1

1Roses3

3MakingZine1

1YArd1

1Dance1

1Dance2

2Garden1

2Garden2

2Garden3

2Garden4

2Gardener1

2Gardener3

3Yard2

2Gardener4

2Gardener2

2Snail1

3Yard4

3Yard3

1SleepingBag2

3Yard7

3Yard6

3Yard5

This season is my favorite. Everything is still so green and fragrant and glorious. The days alternate cold and rainy with bright, white sunshine that makes us squint and run. We've planted a bit in the parkway raised beds, which have been sorely neglected the past couple of summers. The hose just doesn't reach down there very easily and the place just fries. This year, a bean teepee for Amelia, cherry tomatoes, beets, nasturtiums. Peas. Keeping it simple. Maybe a bed just for pumpkins to turn into jack-o-lanterns this fall. I assure you I am dreading the hot temperatures I feel sure are coming, even earlier this year than ever. Over the weekend it was 85 degrees, and that ain't right. Our Adirondack chairs stay blessedly shady for a good portion of the afternoon. I read an entire book in three days (unheard of for me). That was Claudia Silver to the Rescue. That girl made some horrideous decisions. She reminded me a lot of the girl in the book I finished just previous to this, Twelve Rooms with a View. These are all library books I've been picking up quickly at the library, and pretty much devouring. I can't say enough how liberating this has been. I'm just mentioning them here mostly because I've been kind of excited about how much I've been reading lately and was wanting to keep track of the titles somewhere, because I'm usually awful at remembering. I usually pick up four or five every week and finish one of them. I read a few pages of the others and if they don't grab me immediately, for better or worse, I put them back in the return basket without a smidge of guilt. Everyone knows this, I don't know why this is feeling so novel (har) for me. . . .

Yesterday I worked on my new cross stitch pattern pretty much all day long, and by that I mean the actual pattern itself, which requires figuring out which colors I used, how much of each color I used (like actual strandage), making sure the pattern reflects exactly what I did on the fabric (you'd be surprised), picking out all those little symbol things which go over the color blocks in the pattern, and then chopping the pattern up into four pieces so it fits on the pages in a way that's readable. That last part almost destroyed me. As I was in my sixth hour of doing it wrong, in one way or another, I had a distinct sense of deja vu, and of having done pretty much every single (wrong) thing in pretty much the exact same order over the exact same (ridiculously long) amount of time for the Sweetiepie sampler (of which there are literally only nine kits left, so get those while you can because they're not coming back). By 5:00 p.m. I had figured it out — I was determined to figure it out before I got out of my chair. I did. It wasn't pretty (I could see my reflection in my computer screen). But, I did it. And now to order the fabric for those kits, and get that show on the road. Should be just a few weeks before the Night Neighborhood kits are available. I'm excited about these. The finished piece itself looks really, really cool. And thank you for the framing recommendations! I almost forgot. I wound up ordering frame samples and supplies on-line from americanframe.com (thank you, Sharon, for the recommendation!). I'll let you know how it goes. I think I'm going to paint the frame again, so I can get the exact color I want. The wood seems to have a veneer on top of it, though, so it may not work. . . .

Have you heard of the thoroughly talented Carrie Hoge's gorgeous new print magazine, Making? I'm so honored to have a little cross stitch ring, inspired by my next-door-neighbors' dogwood trees, in the first issue. Thank you so much for asking me to contribute, Carrie, and thank you for putting up with me. Usually I say no to things when I'm asked to participate because I'm an unreliable disaster when it comes to meeting deadlines or providing everything required. I stand in bewildered awe (as Hugh Grant would say) of you, and all people who can put incredible publications like this together while raising small children, seriously. Very, very well done, dear friend.

I hope May goes slowly. I feel like things are moving quickly, maybe because it's been so hot. But I want this green to linger, and I want to linger over it. I want to do some things that are just plain indulgent, like perfect my chai recipe for iced chai this summer, and read more library books in the front yard, and watch New Girl from the beginning, and make summer pajamas for Amelia to wear to her end-of-school almost-sleepover at her friend's house in a few weeks (they're all bringing sleeping bags, watching a movie, eating snacks, and then sleeping at home :). I want to make Indian food and go to the river. I want to pull some weeds and feed some birds and watch my little girl whirl and twirl in the sun.

***That's Barefoot Contessa's pasta, pesto, and pea salad, above. And I forgot to mention, for those who have asked about the quilt, we got it at the antique mall (Stars, in Sellwood) for $18 a few weeks ago. Score.

Big-Girl Ways

comments: 70

18Dogwood2

18Singer1

18Singer2

18Dogwood1

18Bubbles1

18School1

18School2

18School3

18Walk1

24Yard3

18Yard1

24Yard2

24Cutie1

24WithFlemishGiant1

24FairyDough

24FairyDough2

24Lilacs1

24Yard1

25NightNeighborhood1

I couldn't be more proud of my girl these days. Every week brings new challenges and new accomplishments, and it's all just so thrilling to me. I'm starting to feel nostalgic about entering the last month of her little playschool. For the past two school years (they don't go in the summertime), she and three of her friends have attended a little "school" at a neighborhood grandmother's house, and it has been just the best experience for all of us. Next year she will go three mornings a week to an official pre-school, and while I know she will be very ready for that, I will miss our bouncing morning walks through the neighborhood (because she can't wait to get there), our lingering after-school traipses to the bakery together, the ease of walking home with friends for playdates. The Portland school system being what it is, and our location in it being what it is, these past two years will likely be the only time in both of our lives that I will get to walk her to and from school. Her new school for next year is about a mile and a half away, and that's too far for me to walk there and back on my bad foot (and too far for a three-year-old to walk anyway). Her kindergarten, if she winds up going to our local public school, will also be just over a mile away, as well. Next year, I'm probably going to drive but park several blocks away, so we can still get that walking experience together. One thing I can do is ride my bike very slowly on the sidewalk so that I'm basically just sitting on it next to whoever is walking. I'm not very good at this and there are a lot of crashes/near crashes/crushed toes, and it's hard to hold someone's hand when they're walking and you're riding a bicycle. But anyway. I'm enjoying every minute of our current playschool walks, and every minute of this time. My girl is growing up, and I am so excited for and proud of her. She loves everything and everyone and every day, and is doing so many new things that it's really quite exhilarating and awesome to watch her. Her sweet, funny, cuddly, goofball personality is blossoming, and I love it.

Weaving all but abandoned, I've been stitching like a madwoman, watching the Night Neighborhood come to life. Pattern and kit will be forthcoming. I have a 65%-off framing coupon for JoAnn's if I can finish by Wednesday, but I'm not sure I can. . . . I hope I can because framing is so expensive, and, for various reasons, I'm looking for a new framer. I always stretch my pieces on foam core myself (trust me, unless you have some sort of master-craftsman-framing connection, you want to do it this way; you will do a better job than anyone else will on your piece, and it really isn't that hard, just time-consuming) and I'm not sure JoAnn's will let me do that. I've never had anything framed there before. I'll keep you posted.

In between all the stitching, I actually designed yet another cross-stitch sampler. Two, in fact — these are birth announcements, one for a boy and one for a girl. It's just bizarre to me, even after all of these years, how the creative process works. I never, ever seem to know what I am going to do, and sometimes I'll feel like I don't want to do anything at all. I'll go and do something else, something that has nothing to do with work (recently, the weaving), and I'll be totally consumed by it, and having a very, very good time when suddenly, zombie-like, I just get up and walk away as if in a trance and go straight into my studio and put my little head down for several hours in a row and BLOOP, out pops something else entirely. There must be some whole other process happening that is just totally invisible to me that brings this condition about. It feels like magic, though.

Morning Light (and Night Neighborhood)

comments: 50

17Morning2

14Yard2

17Morning3

17Morning4

17Morning5

17Morning11

17Morning7

16Yard1

17Morning8

17Morning10

17Morning6

17Kitters1

17City1

17Park1

17Park3

17Park4

17Park2

18NightNeighborhood

Oh my, the mornings! Honeygold and fragrant with apple blossoms and lilac. We moved some chairs to the front yard and that one hour, from about seven a.m. until eight, is now my favorite of the day. Andy had the whole weekend off, which rarely happens. The weather was consistently beyond glorious, which rarely happens. I said I wasn't going to make a cross stitch pattern and then five minutes later I did, which often happens. Good thing my capriciousness is so predictable. It keeps me employed. And out of trouble. More or less.

Honey Bunnies, Lovey Lamb, and a Spring Ring

comments: 51

IMG_9104

IMG_9205

IMG_9244

IMG_9192

IMG_9264

IMG_9161

1

IMG_9154

Beauty4

IMG_9276

IMG_9274

IMG_9226

IMG_9223

IMG_9135

IMG_9113

IMG_9282

IMG_9245

IMG_9256

IMG_9288

IMG_9307

Beauty2

I just couldn't pick a favorite. Have you ever tried to do a product photo shoot with a three-year-old? It's a free-for-all. You get FIVE MINUTES. Maybe four. Then it's total chaos and stuffed animals are flung hither and yon, the phone is ringing, the dog is trying to get on the bed, the toddler is under the covers "napping" with all the stuffed animals (that she drags, alarmingly, by ears or tail out from under the dog), and then she's up and out looking for "their friend," the prototype bunny who did not make the cut, who differs significantly from the finished bunnies who did and who will just confuse people who see it who think they're getting a pattern for it but won't get a pattern for it, because there is no actual pattern for exactly that bunny. I dare you to try to explain this (even to yourself) while she's looking at you with her bunny-rabbit eyes, hugging and kissing only her prototype (new best) friend that you don't actually want to photograph before she's off, and down the stairs to get some juice. I never want to forget these days. I love it all. It's pandemonium, but I love it.

Meet the Honey Bunnies and Lovey Lamb softie crochet patterns! They are now available for your after-hours very-relaxing crocheting enjoyment.

The Honey Bunny Crocheted Softie Pattern has two color variations (greens for a boy bunny and pink/white for a girl) and is available HERE.

The Lovey Lamb Crocheted Softie Pattern is available HERE.

 

We also are offering yarn packs that include all the yarn you need to make one critter, along with the plastic safety eyes and nose, and a length of embroidery floss to stitch the mouth. Details about the specific yarns are included on the web pages for these packs (as well as on the pattern pages).

HoneyBunnyYarnPack

The yarn pack for the BOY bunny is available HERE.

HoneyBunnyYarnPackGirl

The yarn pack for the GIRL bunny is available HERE.

LoveyLambYarnPack

And the yarn pack for Lovey Lamb is available HERE.

Please note that these yarn packs do not include a printed copy of the pattern. You must purchase the pattern separately and print it at home (you'll have an option to purchase it from the yarn pack pages in the web shop, as well).

Also: We will be taking orders for yarn today and then ordering quantities directly from Brown Sheep Company tomorrow (and we'll keep doing that this week, and next, etc. — so we definitely won't run out). Since this is my first crochet "kit," I really wasn't sure what the sales would be like, and I just didn't want to guess and run out, or guess and get stuck with a whole bunch of yarn in colors that weren't best sellers. This yarn, Lambs Pride Superwash sport is technically machine washable, though I personally wouldn't ever throw one of these critters into the washing machine. But you can easily spot clean them, which I thought was important for a kid's toy. This sport-weight yarn, which is manufactured in Nebraska, is not the softest yarn in the world but it is really durable and it resists pilling very well, in my experience, and I just love it. Brown Sheep Company is one of my favorite companies that I work with. I have carried one of their other yarns (Nature Spun Sport) for years, and designed all of my Little Animal Family knitwear with it, and I love that yarn, too, but it isn't a superwash. Lambs Pride Superwash Sport is almost the exact same yarn as Nature Spun Sport, as far as I can tell, except that it comes in different colors and it is (as I mentioned) washable.

So, because we will have to wait a week for the yarn to arrive, we won't be shipping these yarn packs lickety split, as we usually do. But we will ship them as fast as we can once the yarn arrives so you will have plenty of time to make everything in time for Easter! I would expect to have everything ordered today out by the end of next week.

And if you don't want to crochet a lamb, maybe you would rather cross stitch one?

Beauty1

Do you wonder how I have time to do these things? So do I, mamas. So do I. But I've got mouths to feed, people, and my honey bunny can eat a six-dollar container of organic blueberries faster than you can say 28-count Cashel linen by Zweigart in Smokey Pearl.

This is my Spring Ring. It's just a little counted cross stitch design that can be finished with a 4" (10cm) hoop. It's got fifteen colors and is done on 28-count Cashel linen. It will come as a kit and as a pattern.

 Kits include:

  • One 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm) piece of 28-count Cashel linen by Zweigart in Smokey Pearl
  • Sixteen DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss in 24" (61cm) lengths
  • One 5” (12.5cm) square piece of wool-blend felt, for back
  • One 8½" x 11" (22cm x 28cm) piece of white chipboard for making floss holder
  • Stitching instructions and full-color cross-stitch chart

But you will need to get your own:

Note that a full-color printed copy of the pattern is included with this kits, but the hoop is not included (but is available for purchase separately here).

 

The Spring Ring Cross Stitch KITS are available HERE. They will be shipping at the beginning of next week.

The Spring Ring Cross Stitch PATTERN is available HERE. It is available as a digital PDF for immediate download.

 

Thank you for listening and thank you for shopping! Tell me if you have any questions — I'll be home for the rest of the afternoon and evening! I'll be sprawled on the sofa, but I will rouse if you need me! OVER AND OUT. And happy almost-spring, loves. Xoxo

***Oh yes — forgot to mention, temporary bunny tattoos (see Amelia's hand) go out with every order. :)

***Also: The link to digital patterns that appears on the screen after you finish checking out doesn't seem to be working properly. Skip this link and look for an email that will come (immediately) to the email address you used to place your order. That email will contain a link to your patterns for you. Sorry about that. I have a query into SendOwl and will hopefully have a fix soon. Problem solved. Sorry about that!

A Birthday Quilt for My Girl

comments: 315

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this pin on Pinterest. It was a set of embroidered coasters designed by Japanese embroidery designer Hiroko Ishii in the (all-in-Japanese) book Stitch Ideas Volume 11 (ISBN 978-4-529-04826-2). Before I knew it, I had ordered the book, planning to make a birthday quilt for Amelia.

In the book, there is the pinned picture, another detail picture of a few of the coasters close up, and a tiny set of line drawings — each one about 2" square, maybe. I enlarged the drawings on a copy machine so that they were almost the width of a letter-size piece of paper, so about 8" square. I spent a day gathering my fabrics and planning colors and transferring the designs (I always trace my designs on a lightbox with either a fine-tipped permanent marker or a fabric marker, or in the case of the black one, a white quilting pencil). I kept most of the fabric colors, most of the floss colors, and most of the designs exactly the way they were in the original. (I changed October somewhat, to be more birthday-ish.) And then I started to stitch. And stitch. And stitch. And stitch. Every night, after she went to bed, I hurled myself onto my chaise lounge with a cup of tea and a bag of Raisinettes and some Ice Lake Rebels (obsessed) and got to work. Last week, I finished the embroidery. This week, I framed the squares with 2" calico strips and stitched them into the quilt top. Today, allow me to show you the months of the year that have occupied my every August and September night at the end of this glorious summer we had, the one just before our girl turns three years old.

January:
1January1

February:
2February1

March:
3March1

April:
4April1

May:
5May1

June:
6June1

July:
7July1

August:
8August1

September:
9September1

October:
10October1

November:
11November1

December:
12December1

The whole year:
Quilt1

Oh man. Someone draw me a bath and bring me a good book and pick up my kid from playschool and make some dinner for me, please. Then it'll be right back to work to make some money to start saving for the pony for her fourth birthday because there's just no possible way I can top this thing on my own, ever.

I'm rather proud of this. Andy came in while I was working on it and said, "Oh wow, that's awesome! That's too nice to use!" I said, "I know." He said, "But we are going to use it, right?" I said, "No." Then I said, "Just I am." Then he made that face like the emoji with the big eyes and the straight line for a mouth.

I actually did cry about four times while sewing the top together the past few days. One time was when I was listening to the song Little Waltz by Basia Bulat. Another was when I was remembering the day Amelia was born. And there were two other times. It was just getting so big and I was really happy with it, and kind of weirdly relieved that it was coming together, and my baby girl is growing up. It's strange to have hours to myself, sewing, and thinking, thinking about her, which is what I had over these past few days, alone in my studio. I did little else but work on putting this together, using some of the strips of fabric from clothes I had made her over the past year, the October block framed by the fabric that I'd used to make her birthday dress last week, the background fabric one I've just always loved — salmon-colored flowers against an opal-gray background, like the bright leaves on our dogwood tree against the autumn sky, as it was the October day we brought her home — and that solid-colored frame around the first calicoes the color of moonstone. Oh, my love.

. . .

The top's big, about 54" x 72", so she can use it on her toddler bed and hopefully on her double bed when she moves into it. The back will be 1/2" gray gingham and the binding a sort of pale mustard with lilac dots. I'll try to finish the back today. I'm using cotton for the batting because I have it already. Everything for the top and back I already had in my stash, or got out of my scrap basket. All of it, even that, felt really good. I can't say enough about how much I love Hiroko Ishii's design. It's like a sweet, quiet, wistful, charming poem. What an privilege it's been to make this. I think it's my favorite thing I've ever made, ever.

Now to make the quilt sandwich, and then to sit under it while doing the quilting and binding. By hand (it can be no other way, I don't think). I may not finish it by her birthday. I doubt I will. It'll be close though. You can't rush hand sewing. You don't want to.

It was really hard to photograph this, for some reason. I apologize for the wrinkles. I dragged it all over the place looking for normal light in my house which apparently I don't have. Nevertheless, thank you for indulging me. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll answer them here. I'm gonna go eat a sandwich now and watch Judge Judy.

Still Summer

comments: 116

11Nightie1

11Market9

11Market8

11Market7

11Market1

11Market6

11Market4

11Market5

11Market10

11Market11

11Market17

11Market14

11Market18

11Market19

11PSU1

11Park1

11Park4

11Park2

11Park3

11Park6

11Park5

11Park7

11Grassa1

11Table1

12Embroidery1

12Pie1

12Pie2

12Chicken1

12FlowerGirl1

12Dinner1

12Dinner3

12Raincoat2

12Raincoat3

12Raincoat4

12Raincoat1

13Rain1

13Rain3

13Rain2

13Rain4

15Flowers1

13Chili1

13Dishes1

15Party6

15Party2

15Party4

15Party5

15Scarf1

16Tacos1

Wah! Here, there, and everywhere. Often in the kitchen. I'm surprised, with all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning, and the broken dishwasher, there's been time to go anywhere, seriously. And yet, I have a moment every single day where I ask myself, "Can what I'm about to do wait until fall?" And if the answer is yes (and it's almost always yes, though I'm so anxious for it), we go back outside. These days. There is so much to do. Andy's two-week vacation starts today, and we are staying home this time. Already, most of the days are accounted for. I picture myself running around a track, knock-kneed, arms flailing wildly; I cross the finish line, and fall dramatically to the ground then do a really fast volleyball roll where I land flat-out on my back, and then someone pours an entire bottle of water directly onto my face — and that's September. I bought Amelia her new yellow raincoat and she put it right on. It's very wishful thinking but we girls can dream. We had one lovely, rainy moment that we watched from the kitchen door and I tell you, no two-hundred-and-fifty raindrops and ten whole minutes were more appreciated in the history of the world.

THANK YOU thank you for all of the party hat kit (and pattern) orders. Thank you!!! Things started slowly but have been rollicking along, and I truly thank you. It's a weird time of year to be launching a new kit, but I have so many plans and projects coming up. I'm sort of just whacking at things and hitting them back over the net. But I'm so excited that these hat kits are out there, and I hope you like making them. I'm already working on stuff for Amelia's birthday in October (that embroidery project above, which will be a quilt, bumped the log cabin out of the queue, and that's now planned for Christmas). I absolutely love where her birthday falls in the year. I think it would be my favorite day of the year anyway, but this is the first special occasion we've ever had that falls in October, and wow, what a treat.

Is this not an insane amount of cooking above? Agreed. And much of it repeated recipes, which I'm finding is, as you mentioned, the way to go. I'm ridiculously happy with how this is all going. Above please find blueberry custard pie (without the streusel this time and just a sprinkle of demerara sugar; much improved, in my opinion), chicken with peanut sauce and ginger rice (and steamed broccoli; and I have made a LOT of peanut sauces, and this one is my favorite by far), Sarah's quinoa salad with tequila shrimp added, my dad's Chili Lobo, and another round of blackened fish tacos (which I now make regularly, baking the tilapia in parchment paper at 400 degrees F for twenty minutes, and serve with my dad's coleslaw, avocado, and mango). Amelia and we are in negotiations for a big-girl chair, so she can sit at the table and not be in the high chair. I have mixed feelings about this, as it will change dinnertime from what is now a pretty relaxing scene (because she is fully restrained in her high chair, and seems rather content to be once she is actually in it) to one where she constantly wants to leave the table (cue ensuing negotiations, etc.). She may be ready but I'm not sure I am. Especially with all this 4:00 p.m. cooking, I really can't even express how much I love collapsing into my chair for dinner knowing that she's happily strapped in, unable to destroy anything else. We successfully negotiated the stop-throwing-your-dishes thing (which was a big problem here); I used my Parental Reverse Psychology on her (yay!) and bought a bunch of Very Fancy china salad plates and bowls at Goodwill ($1 a piece, cheaper than plastic, quite frankly), explaining that she now had her own set of Very Fancy Dishes and needed to take care of them, and could not throw them, drop them, fling them, or otherwise. Weirdly, this totally worked. She carries them in to me after dinner as if walking a petri dish across a crowded lab — very, very carefully (she assures me). I make a big deal over this, and she is proud. And I am so proud of her. Any advice for the chair?

Also, yes, I should advise you that I intend to fully embrace the whole toddler bento phenomenon when she starts playschool two mornings (including lunch) a week next month. Whaaaaaa? What is happening here?!?! How have I never heard of such a thing? It's too adorable. I'll now be spending approximately all of my free time in the kitchen cutting stars out of cantaloupe and piercing hotdog bites with dry spaghetti. I can't wait.

***Garter scarf to go with new toddler raincoat. Not at all impressed with my edges or weaving in of ends. May rethink concept, or actually Google proper way of doing this. Go through back loop on first stitch? You can't slip it, when changing colors? . . .

***Her coat is from here.

My Sweetiepie Sampler Kits Now Available!

comments: 46

CoverNew

Well, good morning! Do you know your ABCs? We're learning them here, and we want to share ours with you!

Detail4

My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit is now ready to order here!

You can click on both of those images above to see them enlarged. :)

This counted cross stitch sampler was inspired by the delightful experience of living with two-year-old Miss Amelia Paulson while she learns, among billions of other things right now, her ABCs. It is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss. Suitable for boys and girls of all ages, it is, to date, possibly my favorite thing I have ever designed.

Finished Size of Design Area: 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric

My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit contains:

One 20" x 18" (51cm x 46cm) piece of 32-count Zweigart Belfast linen in Stone Gray
(79) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
Stitching instructions
Illustrated stitch tutorial for special stitches
Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer
*Frame not included.

You will need your own:

#24 tapestry needle(s) for cross stitch
Embroidery scissors
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop
Frame and framing supplies

If you are new to counted cross stitch, or need a refresher on the basics, please see my "how to do counted cross stitch" tutorial here.

This is not a hard project, and can definitely be done by beginners, but it is big! And the stitches are small! And there are a lot of colors! There are 47 colors in this sampler. But come on, that is why it is AWESOME!!! Using so many colors gives these little motifs so much depth and richness, especially relative to each other. Besides, you don't want this project to go fast. You want to sit with this and watch every episode of Outlander and then start the new season (which just started).

That said, I think one of the "hardest" parts of making this sampler will be organizing the 79 lengths of floss (in 47 colors) that you will receive in the kit. The floss will come to you in three separate hanks, with about twenty-six or -seven 24" lengths in each group. The pattern includes a list of floss colors and numbers, along with their symbols as used in the chart, organized into the three groups. I've included a piece of chipboard (thin cardboard) and the instructions for making floss organizers like mine.

Floss

To help you separate the colors, which can be a bit tricky but not really too bad (since you are given the number of lengths included and the color name, which provides a general description of the color itself) I've put some large photos of my floss, all organized, up on my web site here. This should help you figure out how to tell the colors apart, relative to each other. 

Remember, you need to separate two plies away from the six-ply embroidery floss length to work the cross stitches throughout the sampler. Special stitches, including backstitches and French knots, use one or two plies, as indicated in the instructions. If you don't know how to do these stitches, I've included illustrations and directions for working them in the pattern.

The chart you will receive is quite large, larger than the actual size of the finished piece, and it is broken into four separate one-sided pages. You can use them individually or cut them out and tape the chart together, overlapping the grayed areas. Each color has its own symbol, keyed, as I mentioned, to a list of color names and DMC's assigned floss-color number. To work the design, you follow the chart, counting stitches as you go.

It also really helps to have something dark on your lap as you stitch. The holes in the fabric that you need to stitch through are so much easier to see.

Chart

Also, as you probably know, I also carry my favorite supplies in my web shop, should you need lovely, high quality tools. For this project, we have:

Scissors1

Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.

Hoop1

Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.

Tape1

Twill tape to wrap around the inner hoop. You don't need to do this, but it's nice, and provides more tension to keep the fabric from slipping out of the hoop as you stitch.

TapestryNeedles1

And size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch on linen.

All supplies will be shipped along with your kit.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

What else do I need to tell you. I don't even know. Other than that I am crazy excited about this! If you do have questions, please ask them here and I will pop back in throughout the day to answer. Thank you!!! Xoxoxoxoxo, A&Co.!

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.

Winterbrights

comments: 120

1Table1

2Mantel2

2Naptime1

2Naptime3

2Naptime2

2Dollies1

2Lovey1

2Storytime1

2Storytime2

2Storytime3

2Dinnertime1

2Dinnertime2

4Crib1

4Breakfast1

4Room1

4Curtain1

4Kitchen1

4Shirley1

4Wallpaper1

4Flowers1

4Flowers2

4Chart1

4Floss1

4SweetiepieSampler1

It's the winter that feels like spring. Without flowers. I see daffodils and irises and other little spring bulb-type things popping up through the mud, though. The rest of the country is covered in blizzard after blizzard and foot after foot of snow. ALAS, poor us, we have nothing but sunshine and 60-degree weather. Sigh. I am possibly the only person in the Pacific Northwest who's bummed out about that.

The days at home have been lazy and lovely, nevertheless. I made this chicken tartiflette (channeling après-ski fantasies) with the new mandoline I got for Christmas, and it was very, very good. We've been playing and reading and sleeping and stitching. I've been working on version 2.0 of the sampler and I really love this. The new sampler kits should be available in about eight or nine weeks. The fabric is on order, and we're still calculating amounts and colors of floss. This thing has forty-seven colors in it. I'll print the chart very large for you to try to compensate for the small size of the stitches. Also, yes, we're in the process of ordering more materials to make more Maggie, Juniper, and Basil kits. Those are a few months out, too.

Does anyone out there from River Forest or Oak Park or Forest Park remember the smiley-face cookies with the chocolate eyes from Kay's Bakery? Man, those things were the best. And the chocolate bismarks from the bakery next to River Forest Market on Lake Street. Is the market even still there? I loved that place. Thinking about it, and home, lately. I wonder why. I think it's the snow. I remember standing in front of the bakery eating a bismark, waiting for the bus in the freezing cold. Chocolate and pastry cream. The smell of exhaust on the icy morning air. Rush hour. I miss that.

Amelia carries her dolly around, cuddling her and kissing her on the forehead. I say, "Mimi, you're such a good mommy to your baby." She, impatiently: "Oh, I know, I know.

***The book she is looking at is A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books. One of our favorites.

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

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.