Posts filed in: House and Garden

Spring Fling

comments: 83

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

10Sewing1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

11Ballet1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

12PartyHat1

The world is awash in silverlight, filled with rain and wind, like being on the edge of the ocean but with flowers. Everything's cold and soaked, the ground spongy and squelching as you walk. We always park blocks away from the ballet school and walk through the quiet neighborhood in the afternoons, on the way to class. Big old houses sit waiting for dinnertime. Things — petals and twigs and spidery stamen things — fall out of trees and swirl through the air as we walk. A cold wind blows up and a million drops of water land at once, a chilly, unwelcome wash. But the greens! Noticed nevermore than now.

Yesterday was one of those humbling parenting days, when the child lost her mind at go-home time, standing on top of the hill in the school play yard, enraged with desire to stay (though, naturally, we'd already stayed too long), shouting at the top of her lungs her intention to stay, furrowing her brow and stomping her boot as hard as she possibly could, running straight through a bed of thorn-covered rose bushes as if on fire, finally flinging a handful of pine needles and duff down the hill toward me at the bottom of it, standing in a group of parents, wearily pleading with my (bloodshot) eyes that she just come down now. Personally, I think I have an absolute shitload of stamina most days, but yesterday I hit the wall, a noodle cooked to the point of soggy. I stared back at her catatonically. The moms on either side of me recognized my glazed look and instinctively moved to prop me up, diagonal support-beams of commiseration and advice. "She's a very strong-willed child," said my friend Christina, mom of four, from four-year-old to teen, and a woman of experience. "That will serve her well, really." I nodded, all hope and fatigue. If I had been among any other parents than our Waldorf-school crew (a much more-evolved set than I, with few-to-no television-watchers among them), I likely would've been bellowing at the top of my lungs, "OH HO HO, MISSY, YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOW OR THERE WILL BE NO LITTLE EINSTEINS FOR YOU EVER AGAIN!!!!!" as I know for a fact that nothing would've gotten her down off that hill faster. But I couldn't do it, somehow, any more than I could, in that moment, bribe her with promises of mountains of sugar, though everything silent in me was frosting chocolate cupcakes and turning on Netflix faster than I could think. Anything, anything in that moment, where all I wanted was a hot bath and a book and a candle, or a down comforter to throw over my head, or a train ticket to Timbuktu. But somehow, at some point (oh, it got worse before it got better), I had hold of her hand and I didn't let go, Little Einsteins was (privately) denied her for the day (more howling), we made it home safe and sound, and all was soon enough right with the world. And today Andy is, thrillingly, blessedly home. Ah, sweet relief of reinforcements! 

Stacey was here yesterday, assembling most of the new (old) strips of fabric I have cut for new quilt kits, coming again in a few weeks. This time there will be fewer colorways but a few more kits available of each color. I've been thinking about how to offer these again and will talk about that next week, though I honestly don't have any very-much-better solutions, other than to say I will make more. I will make more, guys. I've got fabric coming in almost every day now. I'm by no means done with this, if you aren't. I'm committed to finding better ways to make it work, for both of us.

Dear little crocheted sweaters, I can't quit you. The green one (pattern from Mon Petit Violon), up there? I think it's finally the perfect sweater for Amelia, and she's actually been wearing it. Hallelujah. Success with something (anything! please!). Turns out light sport-weight crocheted sweaters are a great, swingy weight, and go fast, and look pretty, and are just all kinds of good for us right now. I used this pattern (my notes are on my own Ravelry page) and Swans Island Washable Sport in Fresh Water. For my next one, already started, I'm using the same pattern but in O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in Pasture Rose with the same (4.0mm) hook. Boom.

Time of Flowers

comments: 47

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

24Afternoon2

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I do love winter, but this time, on the far edge of winter about to tip into spring, is my favorite. The daphne is blooming. The daffodils nod, heavy with a thousand rainstorms. The sky is gray and bright, the ground soaked, the rivers high and brown. I went to Starlight Knitting Society for the first time this afternoon to get some yarn to make a sweater for Amelia's Easter dress (cutest little Laura Ashley dress that I found, used but in perfect condition, on eBay). I had parked a couple of blocks away and walked through the neighborhood to the shop. The air was deeply, darkly fragrant with wood smoke and magnolia blossoms and mud and oh, spring, you are deeply enchanting.

Thank you to every one of you for your orders and your kind words and your patience about the quilt kits. As I said in my update on the last post, I will be making more. I've already found more fabric and it is on its way. And I don't think I was able to find more than three or four of the original prints I had, if that, so this next batch will be entirely new. Now that the pattern is done I will have more time to just focus on kits, so, never fear! I will definitely do at least one more round, and I will keep you posted on this. But more than that, I just do sincerely want to say thank you, and I really will do my very best to deliver as many as I can.

This past week Stacey and I untangled all of the orders and got them organized. She went on vacation and I am going to start shipping them all tomorrow. At night I've been working on my Beatrix Blanket, although I was trying really hard to make this Anya cardigan and it just proved to be beyond me right now. I'm going to pick it back up, but I needed something easier after this week, when I also got together all of the volumes of paperwork for the accountant to do the taxes, too, etc. Bah. I need a vacation. Alas, for the next two weeks, Amelia is on vacation from preschool for spring break, so rest will not be forthcoming. But that's okay. It's spring and that is exciting. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet. It's still pretty wet, and I believe there's still a lot of rain in the forecast, so, I don't know. Lots of play dates. I feel like watching Anne of Green Gables. And making another rhubarb pie. And some egg salad. Currently it's raining so hard we can hardly hear ourselves talk.

Signs of Spring

comments: 64

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

1Dinner

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

9Sweater6

I'm mildly aghast at how much knitting I've done this winter.

The lavender vest was actually finished in November. The lavender cardigan-in-progress I just started last week. It's called Gilipeysa and will be a steeked lopapeysa cardigan, made not with lopi wool but with the Summer Wool. Yoke colors in olive green and cream. Ribbon to trim inside of button band to be chosen from the above, but will likely be the third from the right (and those were from here). For those who asked about how I added the ribbon to my Cricket sweater, I actually used a piece of purchased bias tape (I think it was from Fabric Depot, ages ago) and followed dear Mrs. Cleaver's tutorial, which is very good. Her sweet Little Buds sweater (the greenish-blue) was actually made (I just looked it up) right before she was born, when I knew she was coming but still didn't really believe she would be ours. Oh, knitting. You do help with everything, dear knitting.

Today is the first day that it hasn't been pouring cold rain in as long as I can remember. Spring is just starting to make herself known here, especially now that there isn't cold, pouring-down rain falling on my head every minute. Buckling a kid who won't sit down into a car seat twelve times a day basically sucks when cold water is pouring down on your head every minute of every day. I know I shouldn't complain about rain since I spend every minute from July through September longing hopelessly for it. But honestly, Portland, you have been trying my patience in a million ways lately so thank you, I say petulantly, for the one non-pouring, almost-sunny day out of about the past fifty thousand. Or so.

Quilt kits are in the homestretch, you guys. I'm hoping for next week? I have a few more things to do. You see, I have ZERO concentration at night. All I ever do after Amelia goes to bed is knit and surf Etsy for old patterns and eBay for used kid's clothes (because Amelia now has almost nothing that will fit her this spring) and watch Rosemary and Thyme episodes on YouTube. That's it. I've tried to change this but I'm so fried at the end of the day. I've been trying to stay up a little later, past 9:00 p.m. (seeeeeeeriously), but we get up so early around here that it is almost impossible. Ah, well. I've never been a night owl. But it is hard to only ever have about two hours a day, other than when the kiddo's at pre-school, to myself. When Andy's home I have a little more time. But a lot of the time the three of us do stuff together, then. Well, it's all good. It's just hard to balance everything. I don't know how people do it. I don't seem to do it very well. I get tired. There's really a lot to do. I really need to start the taxes, too. Ugh.

If you've been reading this blog for a while you might have heard me mention cherry soap, specifically Crabtree and Evelyn cherry soap. This was my favorite soap back in the 'eighties, when I was a young lass. This soap was discontinued sometime in the early 'nineties and I've never stopped longing for it. Occasionally, through the years I would surf eBay looking for some and could never find any. Well, I finally found some a few weeks ago and was practically sputtering with excitement. I've never hit that "buy now" button so fast in my life. ALAS, the soap came and the scent is completely gone. SOB!!! This is what you get when you buy twenty-five-year-old soap, I guess. But was there ever a prettier box in the history of the world???

More February Flowers

comments: 68

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

10DiningWallpaper1

Oh, I've been poorly. Sick all week. Hot, cold, sore throat, headache, so tired, no sleep, lots of sleep, achy. Ugh. I actually felt too gross to knit. I'm feeling better, a little bit better, but not great. I started the above, Pickles' Thousand Tiny Tulips, yesterday. It was a rough start, with incorrect counting on my part (duh), too-big needles to start (corrected), some wandering off before finishing an entire row (nope) and coming back and re-starting at the wrong place in the pattern. Pfffft. I really wanted to do it but I was outmatched, even by simple counting. The yarn, however, the yarn. Pickles' Summer Wool. It's 70% cotton, 30% merino. The palette is gorgeous. I've never liked knitting with cotton before but this is so nice (except that there are little tiny fibers in it that I have to pick out — not a huge deal, but they would definitely scratch her if I left them in). The fabric is smooshy and super soft. She's rejecting all my knits lately because I just can't find something soft enough for her. She says they feel soft enough on the skein but then when the sweater's done, she wants to take it off. If she won't wear this, I'll throw up my hands in defeat. I made Amelia another ballet wrap, this time in baby alpaca (and she's still saying that's too scratchy). I wish I had made it out of Summer Wool. For those who asked about Amelia's cowl in my last post, the pattern was this one, but I didn't follow the pattern exactly. I can't seem to tell you what I did do, because for some reason I can't find this on my Ravelry page and I made it years and years ago. I don't even know what yarn I used. Malabrigo, or maybe Madeline Tosh? That one she actually will wear.

Last weekend Andy put up wallpaper on three walls in our house — one in the dining room, one in the living room, one in the kitchen. All of them are from Brewster and the collection is called Andover Miniatures VI. I've been wanting to do this for ages and I really love it. A true testament to Andy's incredible cheerful spirit is that he actually enjoyed wallpapering for two straight days. I did it for approximately seventeen minutes over the two days and it was sixteen minutes too much. He is amazing. Thank you, sweetheart. I love it.

Amelia and I made Valentines inspired by these yesterday. I think they're very sweet. I wound up doing most of them while she brought half of her dollhouse stuff over to the table, plunked it down on top of all the craft supplies, and preferred to play rather than craft. I tried to get her to sign her name and I think she made it through two. (Andy had more success with it this morning than I did.) I sat at the table all afternoon making twenty-eight Valentines. It was really fun, but it was a lot. They're suncatchers, so I need to hang some on the window. Today it is beautiful and sunny, but all week it's been pouring rain. I've never seen so much rain. I got to teach Amelia what the phrase "sheets of rain" means first hand, because we literally couldn't see across the street. Flooding, sinkholes, landslides. We've got it all here this week. My sister Susie lives way out in the country now, up on Dairy Creek, and she slept over a few nights this week because she wasn't sure she'd be able to get out of her area and go to work. It's intense.

I love this Irish soda bread from our local bakery. Love it. I just started watching The Great British Baking Show and it's really fun. It reminds me of that recent Onion headline: "Mom Just Wants to Watch Something Nice." And I do. :)

Took a break from working on the quilt kits while I was at my worst but received five eBay boxes of fabrics this week, all stacked up in my office, waiting for me, so when I'm up to it it will be full-steam ahead. Thank you for all the suggestions on displaying these kits when it comes time to sell them — I was thinking along the exact same lines, so that's good. Fabric previews coming up. Stay tuned.

Oh jeez. It's pouring again.

February Flowers

comments: 66

29Park3

2Morning3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

2Morning3

2Morning3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

31Ballet1

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

29Park3

2Morning3

2Morning3

29Park3

2Morning3

2Morning3

2Morning3

2Morning3

2Morning3

2Morning3

2Morning3

29Park3

29Park3

Hello dears. The wind whips around the house today. Out every window is flashing daylight and blowing branches. Something on top of the roof of the studio clanks and clanks. It's some sort of metal flap. Over and over again it's slapping against the roof. The power went out once this morning and then came right back on. Every few minutes comes a raging, howling gust. I'd better write this quick, before all electricity leaves, as it seems it surely could.

I've been tucked into the studio, spending most of my free time with floral fabrics. This is good medicine. Why should it soothe? I don't know. Thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm about the new quilt and the pending quilt-top kits! I couldn't be more thrilled, and am trying to collect so many fabrics that I want for these. They're more rare than I thought. I can't believe how beautifully they all work together, though. In the back of my mind I'm constantly thinking about how to offer these kits. The amounts of each fabric that I'm able to get are so varied. I'm not sure exactly how to display what you'll be getting, as there will be too many different arrangements to photograph each individually. Maybe I'll have to describe them in general terms and let you trust my design sense. I'm not sure yet. I'm pretty much finished with the pattern, which offers a toddler size, throw size, twin size, full/queen size, and a king size. It's been kind of fun working on all of the layout diagrams for each size. It's not all there yet but it's getting there.

February. I don't feel quite ready for it. I think we'll make Valentines today. Spread a little love around.

Rest and Recharge

comments: 127

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

23Quilt5

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15Hair1

15MimiBunny1

18Quilt2

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

23Quilt1

15MimiBunny1

23Quilt6

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

23Quilt4

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

15MimiBunny1

23Pretty1

23Quilt7

23Quilt3

15MimiBunny1

I made a quilt-comforter. I patched the top and pieced the back, and for batting used an inexpensive polyester comforter from Ikea. All of the fabrics I used for the top are old calicoes, mostly from the '80s, I think. I did not bind it, but layered and turned it: comforter on bottom, backing right-side-up on top of that, then quilt top face down on top of that. I stitched around the entire outside edge with a 1/4" seam, leaving an 8" gap, then turned it right-side-out and stitched up the opening. Then I tied the whole thing, through all layers, with black embroidery floss. The finished patches are 4" squares, set on point; I cut all of the squares on the edges of the quilt in half along the bias (effectively turning them into triangles along all of the edges) once the whole top was sewn together. I have wanted to make a quilt set on-point like that forever. I really, really love it. It's about 76 inches square, a "throw" for me to sit on the couch with. Our couch is freezing when it's cold because it's right in front of so many windows. When I was done tying it, at about 10 p.m., Andy ran it downstairs and threw it in the washing machine for me. He dried it the next morning and it was a fluffy, poufy cloud of 1980s-calico bliss when it came out of the dryer. I was so happy. I am so in love with pretty much every single one of those fabrics, which cause such a nostalgia-fit in my heart. My best friend, Martha, sent me a whole bunch of them several months ago, and I also search them out at Goodwill and online and I just can't get enough of them. I love the Peter Pan and vintage Joan Kessler ones, especially. I loved the exact same ones when I was a little girl and a teenager, so some things never change.

Oh ho, that snow. Full snow-loving disclosure: By the time it left I felt weary and limp as a colorless dishrag, ready to be flung toward the hamper and retired. "I need a hot shower and some alone time," said Mommy, the introvert, who scores nineteen out of twenty on the introvert portion of the Meyers-Briggs test. Nineteen is a lot. I surprised even myself the first time I took it. I've taken the test for twenty years now and it's always the same. It means: Shhhhhhh. Let me sit in this quiet corner and recovvvvvvver. Parents never do get to do much of that, and the past month and a half has been extra-challenging. The ice and snow stayed for eight days. We were in the house alllllllllllll the time. There was no driving, and, once things started to melt and then refreeze overnight, the walking, even with the Yaktrax, was pure treachery. By the time the ice finally melted, Amelia had only been in preschool for sixteen hours in thirty-six days, including holiday break (I counted), and I only left the house only three times (I counted) during the entire week of snow. The only people any of us saw during snow week were our neighbors, and, well, mercifully, we are a tight, loving crew. Our kids romped and rampaged, and we adults sat around all of our tables, in turn, over chili and beer and tea and tangerines and talked, and talked. Yesterday I swept piles, actual piles, of dirt and dog hair and dust and mini-legos and ponytail holders and half-Cheerios and pine needles from the floors. I sweep all the time but we've lived hard in this house lately and, Tomten-like, I dream of flowers, again. I loved that snowstorm, but I do love flowers, too.

I have plans to make a toddler-bed quilt-comforter, like an eiderdown (but without the down), for Amelia that fits the top of the bed and does not need to be tucked in anywhere. Her bed is IMPOSSIBLE to make. She has one of those extendable toddler beds from Ikea, extended right now to the middle length. The bed is perfect for her but every single time I go to make it I 1) stub my toe on that middle bed leg, 2) break my back because the bed is so damn low to the ground, and 3) curse the inventor of duvets and duvet covers, which I unapologetically loathe no matter what their size because they always look like such a sloppy mess with the cover sliding around over the duvet and the corners of the duvet never staying in the corners of the cover and the whole thing weird and bulbous and I could go on and on. I get duvet-cover rage over those things. I prefer to buy good old-fashioned comforters but they are hard to find. At least ones that I like. So, I'm going to make her one that's similar to mine, and I might even make a pattern and a limited-edition kit for the just the top (toddler-eiderdown sized), with all vintage calicoes for it. Would anyone be interested in a kit for that? I would take pre-orders so that we wouldn't run out or make too many. I'm kind of excited about this idea. There is still winter left to get cozy for.

I ordered three different rolls of wallpaper today so I can (or someone can) wallpaper a wall in the dining room (the one with the big window), a wall in the living room (the one with the mantel), and a wall in the kitchen (the one with the back door). Should be here in a week or so. Our house has been in need of a bit of sprucing up. I folded up our red gingham curtains and got gray gingham curtains (from Country Curtains, but they don't seem to have them anymore), and got a new braided rug for the dining room (ours had been dog-puked on just one too many times). Feels good. January changes. I trimmed six inches off of Amelia's hair right after I took that picture of how long it was. I think it immediately aged her approximately eight months. Approximately.

Thank you ever so much for the sweetest birthday wishes! You are so kind. Thank you!

I haven't forgotten to show you the dollhouse but I'm still waiting for a couple of things that I ordered for it to get here before I take pictures.

***Paintings and illustrations, from top to bottom: Illustration from The Story of the Snow Children; bunnies can be found here; Little Miss Fairfield (1850) by William Matthew Prior; amazing watercolor of Mimi riding a rabbit, which was a gift for her from the dearest Emily Martin; illustration of the tomten from The Tomten, my absolute favorite winter picture book ever. I just love this book and we read it almost every night. Doesn't Clover kind of remind you of the tomten?

Birthday Dream

comments: 110

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnowy1

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

ISnow3

Boy did I ever have a great birthday. The self-timer picture above, with the camera on the tripod, was taken just an instant before Andy blew out all of my birthday candles. We were going to do it altogether but I don't know what happened. We tried again with just three candles, one for each of us, and that time Amelia blew all of those out one note before the song was over. There was a three-fold stunned pause followed immediately by the most sheepish little "Sorry, Mom" you've ever heard in your life, and then Andy and I, on exactly the same beat, burst into huge peals of laughter. It was the funniest, sweetest, dearest thing, and I'll never forget it. I love these two so much. When it started snowing around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night, I thought I might explode with pure joy. It took Andy two and a half hours to get home on the streetcar and bus; he was giddy with delight though frozen solid when he finally walked through the door, neither of us realizing that it was even supposed to snow that day. Indeed, getting more than eight inches of snow here overnight pretty much threw the whole city into a complete state of wonder and disarray (and a few other things, I'm sure). Snow absolutely paralyzes Portland, Oregon, and this much snow hasn't fallen in this short amount of time in almost forty years. It was just extraordinary. It's still on the ground, and will be for several more days. Snow day after snow day after snow day. They hardly plow anything here, and they almost never salt. It all shuts down, and they tell you to stay home (though medical personnel never can, so Andy always has to go in, but he has had the past several days off). It's glorious. Everything's canceled, everything's quiet. The light in the house is so clear and bright I can hardly believe it's the same house. I put on the Yaktrax (bless those things — I've had them for about five years now and they have been life-changing) and we walked and walked. It's a bit colder now, and a little icy, but for the first three days it was just perfect snow — cold but not too cold, no wind, perfectly white. I mean, it was just . . . totally . . . excellent. We had lunch and hot cocoa at the bakery, went sledding at the park, hung out with all the neighbors, made waffles, ate dinner by candlelight (and thank you for all of the birthday wishes and birthday-dinner ideas; I wound up taking Nickie's suggestions of chicken à la king over rice and it was great snow-day food — thank you, Nickie!), played with the dollhouse (I'll tell you more about that later), took baths. Made miniature baskets. Hung out with neighborhood friends. Read books. Watched movies. Watched birds. Saw the full moon rise last night, and cut out old fabrics for a new quilt. I don't know. It was the best. It was just the total best. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo.

Happy New Year!

comments: 94

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

29Dollhouse1

Oh, the messy, bright blur and wonder of all of these days! For goodness sake. Where does the time go? I would've written sooner but I was too busy making a dollhouse floor out of Popsicle sticks and looking at every miniatures web site ever constructed for the perfect diminutive wallpaper. I certainly am enjoying Amelia's Christmas present! And everything else about the holidays. It's been a glorious few weeks. Christmas with a four-year-old is the absolute best.

Today the winter sun is shining ever so brightly, and it's so windy that my office is flashing with light. It's freezing cold. It's Amelia's first day back at preschool in three weeks. Ahem. Mummy is a bit  e x h a u s t e d. The holidays, no matter how "simple" you try to make them, wind up being crazy busy. At least for us. Yesterday I got to spend the day by myself, and that was the first day that I haven't spent pretty much all day (and night — she keeps waking up) with Amelia in the past weeks. I went out to lunch at the brewpub all by myself, and they gave me such an awesome table, right in front of the roaring fire. I ate fish tacos and read my book and texted my friends. Then I went to the bookstore for a few hours and then I went to JoAnn Fabrics. At JoAnn's, which was pretty much empty, I wandered aimlessly and thought about things like should I buy these seven little silver cones (apparently jewelry-making findings) for $3.49 or should I use an old toothpaste cap for a tiny pendant-light-fixture (made out of a drawer pull) escutcheon??? I think about things like this now, when I have time to think of things. It was quite wonderful to wander aimlessly. I even looked at a magazine. Yes. It was a really nice way to finish the "vacation."

I wish you all a very happy new year and hope that you had a wonderful holiday season! It's my birthday in a few days and I want to make something good for dinner but I don't know what. Any ideas?

***The raspberry thumbprint recipe can be found here; the dress pattern I made for Amelia is Simplicity #9297 from 1979, and the fabric is from the wonderful Pioneer Quilts; the dollhouse I got used on Craigslist (but the same one is here) and I was totally inspired to get it because of Artemis's darling version — seriously, is that not the cutest ever; and I made Meyer lemon pudding with some gorgeous lemons my dear friend Sarah gave me for Christmas the recipe is here. I honestly don't think you need to add the butter, and a little zest could easily replace half the lemon juice.

Moon on Their Wings

comments: 105

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

Phone17SalArm1

13Lucia3

13Lucia3

16Snow8

13Lucia3

16Snow8

13Lucia3

Phone17Drawing1

13Lucia3

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

Phone17Ballet1

16Snow8

13Lucia3

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

Phone17Rolls1

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

16Snow8

Phone17Nutcracker1

16Snow8

13Lucia3

16Snow8

It's Sunday night, the fourth Sunday of Advent. I'm watching The Sound of Music on network TV. The colors and the clothes, if not certain details of the interiors (Maria's room: my dream) and, of course, the songs and scenery trigger some deep holiday memory within me that I can't even identify. They play "My Favorite Things" and "Do-Re-Mi" on the children's Pandora station we listen to in the car, and, even though she's never seen the movie and has no context for the songs, Amelia always listens intently to them. They hold up. Julie Andrews's voice is comforting and confident. Would that we all had such an enchanting, capable governess in a dangerous world.

Typepad has a new function where you can upload a whole bunch of images into a blog post all at once. I flung every picture in this post at the screen in one fell swoop; they uploaded successfully, but were placed in some random order only Typepad knows. Usually I string my photos together more-or-less chronologically from top to bottom; here they lay (more or less) where they landed, and I am too tired to reorder. Happy accident! Their (dis)order seems better reflective of our life this week than any chronology I could've mustered. Wild snow-blur — more snow, more ice, lovely sunshine, long walks, lunatic child, freezing pipes, sleds and snowpants, kindest neighbors, cold hands, cold swings, tomato soup, starry nights. These days of December. Impulsively and though she has never expressed interest in such a thing I buy a used dollhouse one night on Craigslist, and first thing the next morning Andy and I, giddy with excitement (and haste over the forecasted snow), drive out to pick it up while Amelia is at school. We hide it in the basement. Coincidentally, as if channeling my suddenly appearing and rapidly filling Pinterest board of tiny teapots and miniature fireplaces, Amelia starts pointing to every dollhouse in every catalog and every picture book she sees, saying, "I want that for Christmas." I literally gawk at her. So much for the big surprise! Your wish is my command. This morning she said, "I want a wind-up cow that runs around the house. "

A wind-up . . . huh.

Me: "You're eating a lot today. Are you having a growth spurt?" Her: "No, I'm not. I'll have one when I go upstairs."

Kids and cookies and carols and Christmastime. Age four is truly magical. It's all just starting to sink in, and I marvel each time, at each holiday or event, at both their sense of wonder and their nonchalance. She liked the M&Ms I got her at intermission as much as she liked The Nutcracker; I, however, was trying not to cry as the curtain went up. The beauty! The orchestra! The snowflakes? My lord. I had forgotten. She sat on my lap in the dim theater and swayed, pivoting occasionally to throw her arms around my neck and lay her head on my chest, yawning dramatically. My heart, my heart. At bedtime, by the glow of the twinkle lights, she asked me again about the Mouse King, and, after much questioning, was vaguely relieved to find out that he only pretend-died, a fact I hadn't even thought to make clear from the start. Dearest, sweetest, darlingest girl. I try to get her to make ornaments for everyone and it is almost impossible. I taste-test hot-chocolate mixes and buy fabric for her pinafore. Andy makes Swedish meatballs and we eat by candlelight. The snow we've had this past week is my Christmas gift; I want for nothing. I wish you hours of love and joy as we glide into this last week before Christmas. Slow and steady. I can see my breath in the cold air. I lift a prayer into the dark for the homeless, and the hurting. Peace be with you. Peace, if only peace, on this earth.

Snow Day

comments: 70

7Mantel2

7Gnome1

7Mushroom1

7Bunny1

7Girl1

7Mantel3

7BunnyPortrait1

7Owl1

7Raccoon1

7Bear1

7Mountain1

8Spiral1

8Snow2

8Snow1

9Morning3

9Morning5

8Snow5

2Bath1

8Snow4

8Snow3

9Morning1

9Morning2

9Morning7

9Morning9

9Nailpolish1

9Morning8

9Morning6

9Nightgown1

Oh, snow. I wait, I wait. When it comes, I'm beside myself, even though, almost every time, snow in Portland quickly turns to ice. I can't get off my own front porch. The enormous orthopedic shoe I wear on my left foot has as much traction as a salad plate, and is almost as big. Nevermind; the winds were too strong to brave going out, anyway. The branches on the black trees whipped and whistled. The air was ice cold. I pushed open the back door against the wind and scooped cup after cup full of snow; she ate it with an espresso spoon. We sat in the upstairs windows and watched the slice of neighborhood we are granted to observe. No one came, no one went. The mail lady came and quickly went. Inside, Amelia nibbled on raspberries and watched Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I drank hot chocolate and took a bath and read Farmer Boy. By dinnertime it was raining ice. I flung salt toward the front path from the front porch. Not even from the porch — from the door. Ice covered everything. On the way home, around 9:00 p.m., Andy's bus broke a tire chain on the bridge. Everyone but Andy got off the bus and onto some other bus. He sat and chatted with the bus driver, who was from Cleveland. Eventually, someone came with new chains. He made it home and I relaxed. This morning, ice still covers everything but it's raining hard. We're having a party tonight.

Above: the ornaments I made for Amelia's little tree and our mantel. I loved making every single one of them. The gnome and mushroom and raccoon and owl are from Little Dear (Aimee Ray); the running bunny and animal portraits are from Bumpkin Hill; the angel is from I. Manufatti; and the winter girl is from Mimi Kirchner. I bought a bunch of these patterns last year and just never got around to making them. I made almost all of them over Thanksgiving weekend, and stitched the year on the back of each (unless I forgot, which I did sometimes). I got the stockings from Etsy, too; just search for "vintage quilt stocking." There are tons of them.

Every night, for weeks now, I have been knitting Amelia this sweater. It's bottom up, and I'm not even to the sleeve join. I've never knit anything so slow in my life. I love it but . . . ugh. Every. Single. Night. That lace pattern just doesn't grow. I've looked at a few versions of it on Ravelry and I like the look of the lace unblocked and sort of squished down, so, there ya go — even slower, then. Hopefully I'll finish it while it's still cold out. Last night while I was putting her to bed, we were lying in the dark and she said, "Mom? I want you to knit me a [insert me bolting upright here] sweater . . . with buttons on it, in the front." Me [feigning nonchalance]: "Oh, a cardigan? Sure, baby. I'd love to. What color?" Her: "Pink . . . no, rainbow!" It took every ounce of strength I had not to jump out of bed and run downstairs and start surfing Ravelry for patterns. Fifteen hours later and I've got pattern picked and yarn on order. . . . Hurry up, Faunajakke lace!!! I've got an order for a sweater from my kid.

Another conversation: "Meems, don't you think it would be nicer to keep your room cleaner and not have so much stuff on everything and falling off of everything all the time?" Her: "No." Me: "But don't you think that when it's too cluttered and there's too much stuff on your nightstand you can't see what you have to play with because there's too much stuff everywhere?" Her: "No."  Me [flailing]: "Oh. But if there's too much stuff in your way it's kind of overwhelming and you can't, like, play with it . . . very well . . . because it's falling . . . everywhere?" Her: "No." Me [twitching]: "Um. . . ."

Santa Lucia nightgown at the ready. Milk-white flannel. Tiny lace trim and a silk ribbon. Simplicity 3586. We do agree about this.

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.