Happy Day

comments: 225


My big, beautiful, bouncing, brilliant baby girl turned one whole year old yesterday. The three of us strolled through the neighborhood for hours, stopping for lunch and to get groceries to make lasagna and a chocolate cake. We talked and talked about everything, and crunched through the streets while the red leaves swirled overhead. It's hard to find words to describe my joy that she is in the world.

This morning she sleeps with her head on my lap; I type this one letter at a time with my left index finger while my right hand holds her little foot. It was a big weekend, with a big birthday party, and lots and lots of people, and grandparents visiting, and an apple festival, and a fancy lunch downtown, and lots of beautiful new things to play with. Today we're laying low; maybe a walk later to go get some rosemary-mint shampoo, and to take a ride on the swings. It's a gorgeous day here, with squirrels romping, and the smell of woodsmoke lingering, and this rosy, gorgeous, glowing October light filling the windows, which seems like the perfect present for my darling's first ever day of being one.

Wild and Wooly

comments: 87



















Hello, dear friends. How are you? It's a lovely fall morning here in Portland, Oregon. I'm drinking an apple cider. We've already been up to the store for more flour and more sugar, more apples, and some teensy little pumpkins. The packages for the day have already been picked up. My trusty helper girls are taking a very well-deserved day away from here. And Mimi and I are going to go to the party store later to pick out some balloons. It's a good October Tuesday.

* T H A N K   Y O U * to everyone who purchased an ornament kit, or supplies, or a pattern, or anything at all from us over the last week and weekend. I am truly astonished, and my heart's in my throat with gratitude at the response. Thank you. Almost every single one of order is already out the door (except for a few that had size #12 needles or fabric markers in them; we are waiting for another shipment of those that was supposed to be here yesterday, but it apparently got mistakenly sent to San Francisco instead — go figure — so it's on its way back [it originated in Portland, by the way]). But we expect that everything will be on its way out of here tomorrow or Thursday, depending on when that package arrives. It's been seriously intense here! In addition to Greta, I had Shila and Lauren (and of course Andy, and my mom) helping out, and if we could've bottled the energy flying around this place it would've probably blown the lid off the bottle. Lots of people, lots of work, lots of stress, lots of laughs, lots of everything. I love these girls. They are so special to me, and I could not do any of this without them. I owe every single person who helped me this week an enormous thank you. Being a working mama is no joke, man. Neither is being a working papa. I am exhausted! Thank goodness for take-out dinner, helpers, grandmas, mechanics who drop your car off at your house after they fix it (that was awesome), neighbors who have cans of tomatoes when you need them, groceries within walking distance, and playgrounds around the corner. Yeah!

I'm so sorry that not everyone who wanted a kit got one. That is the worst part for me, and I truly apologize that there is only so many that we can make. More of the new kits sold out in one day this year than we sold during the entire season last year, so it's just so hard to know how it will go. The PDF patterns for each ornament collection are available for immediate download if you missed out on the kits. And all of the older kits are all still available. If we wind up with any Night Before Christmas kits left over after everything has shipped I will definitely let you know.

The weather here has been classic fall, with probably one of the most beautiful weekends this past weekend that I have ever seen. It was sunny and crunchy and cool. At the end of each day, we took long walks up to get coffee, or go to the park, or get burritos, or spaghetti. I got to read some of my new Kinfolk cookbook, which came in the mail and is so, so, so pretty and makes me want to get my pantry in order (I haven't had time yet — bah!). Amelia wore a lot of things made out of yarn, I noticed. It's kind of awesome that she is now fitting into a lot of things I made so long ago, like her Springtime in Hollis sweater (which I honestly think is pretty much the perfect pattern) and her blue Mina dress (I didn't get a good picture of the skirt, but I was pretty psyched because that thing fit perfectly). Her adorable scarf and boots (not that I can keep ANYTHING on her feet, seriously) I got on sale last winter from Misha * Puff. Her Sunshine Day blanket is everpresent in our stroller three-quarters of the year. I finished that border on the Latte Baby Coat and one sleeve. My hands hurt so bad after I finished the border. I love the way it looks but agh, that was tricky to pull off for me. I used size 11 needles, too. But it is super cute and I am anxious to finish the other sleeve over the next few nights and get it lined with flannel. I've never lined a knitted thing before, I don't think. Any advice?

Yesterday afternoon I got to take the most delicious nap with Amelia on the sofa bed in the living room after we got home from the park. The window was open to the cool air and the sunlight was golden. The girls were working in the back of the house and Andy was out, so it was just us two, snuggled under the quilt together, Clover at our feet. It had been several days since we'd gotten to do that and oh, oh. Pure bliss for me. Pure bliss. When she wakes and her hair is all crazy and she is still warm and shy and sleepy and confused and [I'm right here, baby] buries her face in my neck, oh. Girl. Thank you.

Night Before Christmas Ornament Kits (SOLD OUT): Older Kits Now on Sale!

comments: 63

On the night of December 24, Santa will be getting ready to visit one little house tucked under some great big oak trees in a sparkly little city in the great Pacific Northwest. . . .

Introducing my new 2013 ornament-making kit: NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS


It has a Nestled Child, all snug in her bed with her kitters . . .


There is a mouse we call Notevena, and she is definitely stirring . . .


And there's that everpresent little dream I dream each year: How I would love (for my baby girl) to wake up to the new-fallen snow!


Each Night Before Christmas Felt Holiday Ornament Craft Kit contains materials to make one of each of the three ornaments, including:

16 pieces of wool blend felt in assorted colors
Coordinating DMC cotton embroidery floss
1/4 yd imported French gingham ribbon (for hanger)
1/4 yd imported French cotton lace (for hangers)
1/2 yd imported French cotton ribbon (for curtains)
Beads and sequins
Stitching instructions
Pattern templates
Illustrated embroidery tutorial

You will need to have your own:

Wool batting or Polyester Fiber-fill
Sharp embroidery needle
Dressmaker's chalk pencil or fabric marker
Dressmaker's wax-free chalk tracing paper
Tiny needles for sewing on beads
Sharp fabric scissors and paper scissors
Kitty-puppy foot warmers
Television to watch streaming Netflix documentaries
Someone to cook dinner and bring it to you because these will take you a while


We have also put together limited editions of previous years' kits, including 2012's kit, WINTER CABIN:


There is a Lighted Window, to welcome all passersby . . .


There is a Western Bluebird, to provide the winter song . . .


And there is a Whistling Tea Kettle, to make the Earl Grey . . .


And 2011's kit, SWEET HOME:


It includes a Blue Door, with a wreath to welcome you home . . .


A Glowing Candle, to light the night . . .


And a Wild Bunny to keep you company . . .


We also have 2010's kit, SNOW DAY:


It includes a Red Wool Coat, to keep you warm and dry . . .


A traditional Norwegian Selbu mitten, to keep your hands toasty . . .


And a Polar Bear, far from the Arctic Circle, peeking out from behind the trees.


2009's ornament-making kit, WALK IN THE WOODS, is also available:


It includes the Cozy Cottage, with the wood fires burning:


The Snowy Tree, sparkling with ice crystals:


And my favorite, the Little Deer, who watches shyly from the trees:


And last but not least, the first, 2008's kit, ICE SKATING AFTERNOON, as well!


There's the Hot Cocoa Cup, to warm you up:


The Ice Skate, with pom-pon for good measure:


And lastly, the Gingerbread Girl, the sweetest of all:


Please click on the links for each of the kits above to take to you the web shop pages, which list what's included in each and what you will need to have. Each ornament kit costs $30 each, plus shipping.

About the skill level needed to complete these: In previous years I said that, while I don't think of these kits necessarily as a children's or a beginner's project, if you have some experience working some basic stitches, these ornaments take more time and patience than skill. I will include directions on transferring the designs to the felt, and basic diagrams for completing the types of classic embroidery stitches you will need to know — backstitch, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch, French knot, and blanket stitch — but once you are comfortable working those stitches, if you just take your time and settle in, you will be fine. Someone asked which the easiest kit is, and I have to agree with Lori (I think it was my dear Lori) who said the Walk in the Woods kit is the easiest. Snow Day is the hardest, I think.

If you are interested in ordering any of these kits, the very best advice I can give you is do not wait to place your order. We will ship them out as fast as we can. In previous years, these kits have sold out every year long before Christmas. This year we are doing a slightly larger quantity than we usually do for the new kit, but a lot larger quantities of the older kits. Even so, once these are sold out, it is very unlikely that we will be re-issuing these kits again. This is it!

All six patterns are also now available as downloadable PDFs HERE. A list of the specific felt colors and piece sizes and floss colors you need can be found HERE. You will need that list, so don't forgot to click on it (and a link to it is available on each of the product pages, as well). If you are purchasing a kit, you do NOT need to purchase a pattern. Printed patterns come in each of the kits.

I also have new supplies like glue (though we can't ship that internationally; see below), sewing needles and tiny needles for adding beads, wax-free chalk tracing paper, and water-erase fabric markers that will help you make these ornaments. You can find them all HERE (and the specific items you need for each kit are suggested in the sidebar for each kit, too). I have a limited supply of these items, so if you are interested in them please order soon before they sell out!

We do ship internationally. Please read my information about that HERE. The only thing we cannot ship internationally is the fabric glue, because it is prohibited. If you are overseas and you do accidentally put it in your cart, we will refund that part of the order and ship the rest of your things.

Because we are shipping so quickly, PLEASE make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. In some cases, we are shipping orders the exact same day the order is placed, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address, or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to change your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. Because of the volume of orders that come in very quickly and the number of people that are helping me with this project, this is the only way that works for us to minimize mistakes on our end. I do not accept phone orders, or checks in the mail.

Okay. I will stop talking now. Thank you again, I truly and sincerely thank you, for your interest and enthusiasm for these kits for all of these years. Your generosity and your excitement mean so much to me, and it is a privilege to be able to make these kits and patterns for you. I love this job and I truly thank you for kind words and your purchases, every single one. Thank you. Xoxoxo

***UPDATE: To anyone who was trying to order the digital PDF of the Night Before Christmas pattern and was getting charged shipping, I made a mistake on the web site and had something check-marked that I shouldn't have — you should NOT be charged any shipping on digital patterns. This is fixed now and I apologize for the frustration (and thank you to those of you who let me know!). Sorry about that!

This and That

comments: 56















Thank you so much for all of your kind words about the new ornament collection. Thank you, thank you! I'm very excited that you like them. I will put them on sale tomorrow morning, Thursday, October 3. Just come here to the blog and I'll have all of the photos and links and information right here.

I've been tucked in the office for the past few days, really digging into this project that, up until now, Greta has spearheaded. It feels really good to be back in the office with the girls (we have backup this week, too!), listening to Pandora, soaking up the occasional sunshine coming in through the skylights, getting soaked by the almost-constant rain when we take the recycling out, getting frequent visits from Amelia as her dad or her grandma bring her in to say hello, eating breakfast at my desk, singing every word to "Wagon Wheel," Andy pulling late nights listening to old Willie Nelson concerts assembling Ice Skating Afternoon kits and texting me (upstairs in bed knitting) frequently about how much fun he was having (not kidding — hilarious), and also texting me a long list of ways we could improve the ergonomic correctness and general efficiency of our system. Ha! Kinda reminded me of the old days, when he and I did everything ourselves. I don't think things have changed that much, really. We just do different things now, and we have Amelia here, who makes everything wonderful. I had to re-photograph all of the kit photos for each collection yesterday, and spent a little bit of time with each ornament, remembering how each of them came about over the years. I really love them. They have been a pretty big part of our lives these past six years, actually.

Over the weekend, it seriously poured. Wind, rain, wind, rain. We had a great, sopping-wet time despite it at the flock and fiber festival with Amelia's birthgrandparents. Ten minutes after we got back home the power went out because of the storm, and was out most of Saturday afternoon, until early evening. It was kind of nice not to be able to work, especially because Andy was home, too. I took a long candlelit bath, and Meems came in with me at the end. The girl loves water and I love playing in the water with her. I got to sit on the sofa-bed and read Vanity Fair (the magazine, not the book) while she napped beside me. When the power came back on on Sunday, Andy went to work and Amelia and I cooked. Butternut squash macaroni and cheese (I kinda made it up), black bean soup, no-knead bread. Our friend Sarah came for lunch on Monday. I bought a reproduction of a painting by Edward Hicks called David Leedom Farm, 1849. I love it. It's over my dresser. At night I've been working on the little sweater coat I've started for Amelia. I'm planning to line it with flannel. The pantry is installed and finished and I literally haven't had any time to stock it. Big preparations are underway for Amelia's birthday party. I really just can't believe it's been a year. Sweetest love, a whole year.

***To those that have asked about the book with the lamby pattern, it is I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale. I'll tell you more about my lamb after I give it to Miss Mimilove.

Ornament Kits Update

comments: 87


Here's a sneak peak of the Nestled Child, the Newfallen Snowflake, and little Notevena Mouse, the stars of my newest felt ornament collection called Night Before Christmas, inspired, of course, by my little one and how excited I am to begin sharing traditions (as this story is for so many people) with her!

I will give you ALL of the details about this collection (as well as my previous five collections) when the kits go on sale next week, probably Thursday or Friday. I'll keep you posted, don't worry. We did things a little bit different this time in terms of felt. We had the manufacturer cut most of it for us this time, and, for reasons to boring to go into, you will notice that you will be getting more felt than you need to create these ornaments. That is because in order to have them cut it, we had to simplify the number of sizes of pieces we had, so we sized up on many of them. That's okay for you because you can use the felt scraps for so many other things (like flower clips). We also did things different in terms of floss. This time, instead of including individual skeins of every color you need (sometimes up to nine or ten skeins per kit, I think, and often you would only need a few inches of floss of that color!), we pulled floss from giant cones and cut it into small, customized hanks for each kit, the way we've done with our Maggie Rabbit kits and the Winterwoods kits. This is how we will do all of the floss for all of our kits from now on. We've tried to be generous with the amount of floss, but of course if you ever need any more to finish the project, just let me know. We had to determine amounts retroactively for the first five kits this time, so there was some guesswork, but I feel good about it, and I think it will be fine.

I've also added some new supplies to the web shop to help you complete the kits. Wax-free dressmaker's transfer paper, fabric markers, tiny needles for sewing on the beads and sequins, and fabric glue (though this can't be mailed overseas) are all new in the shop.

Digitally downloadable PDFs of each of the previous patterns are currently available in the shop, and one for the new collection will be available as well. If you already have lots of felt and floss at home, these are a good option.

I think that's it for now, but I'll check back in after the weekend and let you know where we're at! Have a good one! xo, a

Fall Food

comments: 112




















Aw, yeah: I cooked and baked and brewed. Buttermilk oatmeal bread, hearty mushroom and sausage pasta sauce, pumpkin spice pancakes, and homemade chai. All of it was very good! (The raviolis, by the way, were these, and they were AWESOME awesome awesome — I am really weird and picky about my ravioli because we do not have the same brand here that my mom used to buy when we lived in Chicago [she says it was Mama Celeste? does that brand still exist in the Midwest, or beyond?], and these are the closest I've ever tasted to those, my childhood favorite food, so I'm rather joyful now, because I just love ravioli, and you know how there are some things that you just want to taste a very certain way?).

(Speaking of, calling all Chicagoans now living in Portland: RUN to Bridge City Pizza in Woodstock [or just past Woodstock — or maybe it's still Woodstock there]. Oh. My gosh. You will completely freak out. The guy [nicest guy ever] who owns this place is an actual south-sider and he actually makes Chicago pizza the way Chicagoans think of pizza. And cuts it in sqaures. And puts it in the big white bag with the staples at the end that is transparent with cheese grease by the time you get home. You guys, this is the pizza. This is not the stuffed pizza. This is not the thick-crust pizza. This is the heavy, cheese-and-sausage, white-bag pizza. And you know what I'm talking about. Tell him the girl from River Forest [me] and the guy from Elmhurst [Andy Paulson] sent you. [And if any of you are from River Forest and you grew up eating River Pizza, you may start almost-sobbing like I did.] It really, really tastes like home. Andy actually called the pizza place back after we got home with our pizza the first time we tried it and he said, "This actually changes the whole city of Portland for us," and I was just standing in the background chewing and nodding vigorously with tears streaming down my face, unable to speak.)

I'm kidding. But he did call and say that. And I think his voice had a little quaver in it.

Mimi and I walked up to the get the chai ingredients yesterday in the rain. It's been raining for a couple of days, though it is still warmish, which is just delighting me. In the effort to get the mud room space ready for the pantry (which arrives tomorrow), I've been thinking about what's going in the pantry, and thinking about how to reorganize all of our kitchen storage space in general. I started to get a little excited about cooking again. It's really been a while. It's hard to admit this, but summer food just doesn't appeal to me that much, cooking-wise. This past year I really haven't cooked that much because of the baby, but now that she's older and much more willing to hang out with me in the kitchen for longer stretches, and now that it isn't four thousand degrees in the kitchen and we can use the oven again, and now that it's pouring rain and there really isn't anything calling us outside ('bye river, 'bye park, 'bye woods) for days at a time, I guess I finally hear the call of the Dutch oven. Of the slow-simmering sauce. Of the bread that takes hours to rise. Of the chopped onions, the butternut squash, the apple pies, of the long, lazy, candlelit mornings, of the bubbling Irish oatmeal I so love, of the spicy chili, or the black bean soup. Yeah. I like fall cooking a lot. I'm pretty excited about it again, especially because every day Amelia is trying new foods, and this girl loves to eat!!!

Anyway, that pasta sauce above was really nice, especially, I thought, because of the green pepper. A little sweet, but I like it sweet. The pumpkin pancakes, well, yum; we've made those many times and I think they are my absolute favorite pancakes. That's just a good recipe. (And I do have one of those beautiful crepe pans [mine's from the Mirador] that makes making pancakes pure pleasure.) The bread was good and dense and salty. The chai was a little too delicate and a little too rich; next time I will make it stronger by cutting the milk to only one cup (instead of four) and adding one more cup of water, and keeping everything else the same.The flavor was just what I was looking for, but I want a bit more intensity, on a cold, rainy, glistening, beautiful, cozy little old September afternoon.

It's Pie Time

comments: 104



















The weather here has been so glorious: rainy mornings, sunny afternoons, cool breezes, an occasional thunderstorm to nap through (or, if you're the dog, to tremble through :( poor thing). We made our most beloved sour cream apple pie with only two and a half apples instead of five — it was raining, and we didn't feel like walking up to the store. Still so good. That pie. It's such a great pie. IT IS A GREAT PIE.

I'm in a rush today so I'm talking fast and loud. We are having our mudroom turned into a an honest-to-goodness pantry, with shelves and cabinets and drawers and doors and those kinds of things. I'm so thrilled. There will even be room to hang coats. EXCITING. Storage. It makes me so happy. Today Andy is going to clear out the room as it is right now, filled to bursting with an enormous rack of metal shelves, canned goods, dustbuster, paper towels, dog food, turkey-cooking pan, popcorn maker, cake decorating tackle box, bags of pasta, various Tupperware that doesn't belong to us, oh ugh. Just, disorganized stuff that will now, hopefully, have a nicer home. The cabinets will be white MDF with Shaker doors like our nicer built-ins but not as nice (and not as expensive). We need to repaint the room to match the kitchen, I guess (and by the way the name of the paint color in there is Terrazo Gray), even though they are not physically connected. This is my inspiration photo.

My little bird has so many pretty little teeth now. Four, with a fifth, and a whole bunch of others just poised for erruption. This girl. Oh my sparkling stars how she lights my world. I just love her so much. She now gives kisses, which are kind of like face smooshes, to everything — us, her animals, her books, her toys, her blanket, her pillow. It's all I can do not to sob every single time.

P.S. I got Clover to smile for you, too :) Sweet darlings.


comments: 59



















We did something cool today. We had breakfast at the Original Pancake House (bring cash, and bring lots of it, because this place is ridiculously good but also ridiculously expensive) and then went to the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation garage sale at Fogelbo, the home of Ross Fogelquist, in southwest Portland. I was walking around the garage sale and had bought my stuff and was about to leave when Ross asked me if I wanted to come inside and look at the house. I was so excited. Ross was the acting Swedish Consul for Oregon for several years. The home is filled with incredible Scandinavian (and other Europen and American) antiques. Ross's parents purchased the house, which is a Steiner log cabin, in 1952, and he grew up there from the age of thirteen. He said the neighborhood used to be all farmland. (Now it is totally suburban.) He was so friendly to us and let me take photos all over the house. It's very lived in and very well-loved. What a treat to get to go inside. I'd seen photos of it on the Internet but it was so cool to actually get to go in. You really feel like you're in a different world there.

At the garage sale I got the cutest apron, two little prints, and a candle holder. Andy got a completely disgusting fake-fur Viking hat that he keeps putting on his own head and trying to put on mine. Mimi was either so happy to be home or so tired that she laid her cheek right down on the dining room floor and it looked like she might take a nap. But it only lasted a second before she was off to the races. I realize that this is a very paneling-heavy post. But there's apples. Yay, it's almost fall!

(The first two pictures are from the pancake house, and the last four are from our house; the rest of them, including that exterior shot, are at Fogelbo.)

Summer Wanes

comments: 99




















Some days dawn chilly and cloudy and cold, only to heat up; by mid-afternoon the sun blares and glares, glinting and golden at its low, desperate-seeming angle. On the river, where we lounged with neighbors and kids all Sunday afternoon, it blazed straight along the path the river took, no shade, no blue. All the blues are greens. Even water feels shallow and warm and cloudy, rocks dry and dull. There's a promise in it, somehow; our picnic is lazy. There's nowhere else to be right now. School is starting, leaves are falling. Eagles and hawks circle high above, and I close my eyes and make this memory for later, when it's raining: Tall trees rising up the side of the ravine; a tiny house high on the hill; the shade flickering, flashing; our babies babbling in the sand, and our great luck, to have our neighbors as friends.

The day before had been our annual neighborhood block party. Our other neighbor Barbara took that darling picture of Amelia, head in her plum bits. Isn't that the cutest picture??? Holding her chin. Be still, heart. After I put her to bed, I went back out and sat talking until late with the ladies. I never go out at night; that night I didn't want to go in. It got dark so early I was surprised. Above us, oak trees towered, starting to drop their acorns in the dark. Around us, our houses sat, starting to glow with evening lamps and flickering shapes of the husbands at home, watching the game, the kids. I talked and talked, saying my things. These ladies are so nice. How kind they've been to me, all these thirteen years we've lived here. How generous with themselves, and their hopes for us, and their love, now given so joyfully to Mimi. So blessed I am.

Yesterday Amelia and I walked all over the place, then down to the cafe for some gelato. She sat on my lap, pressed her cheek to my face, placed with my necklace, touched her nose and forehead to mine, watched the trucks and dogs go by outside, ate mango gelato, pointed at every light on the ceiling (there were many), and snuggled shyly on my chest whenever anyone spoke to her. At home, Greta (dear Greta) assembled Christmas ornament kits in preparation for the Big Release, a date for which we haven't yet set (but I'm really hoping we'll be ready to put them on sale by the end of September). This year — oh lawd — we're going big. Three thousand kits — five hundred of each one we've done for the past five years, and a new one for this year — are in progress. We had the felt cut by National Nonwovens. Over thirty thousand individual pieces of felt. I just broke out in hives, writing that. Piles and piles and piles of felt are taking up every possible inch of space in our offices. We had to do those quantities if we wanted them to cut the felt, and we did. Please buy our kits or I'll probably have a nervous breakdown. That's my sales pitch.

More on them later!

I very, very much like to make chicken stew with sweet-potato biscuits when in need of reliable, terribly yummy stuff.

I'm beyond ready to be finished with the yoke of my Chanterelle sweater. I have four more little sections to go and then I'll scream with glee. Taking too much of my already-sucky concentration. I'm teaching Andy how to crochet today. He wants to make an acorn rattle for Mimi for her birthday. He seems to be better at crochet than at embroidery. So it could all work out just fine.

That Color

comments: 135





















It's weird that a woman with no time and a baby that is crawling all over the free world pretty much every minute of the waking day would do something like hand-pleat a big piece of fabric and then smock it by hand and then block it and then baste it and then cut it and then sew it into a tiny dress that needed a ton of hand finishing (linings sewn in, a giant hem). Weird but true, people.

Meems goes to bed at 7 p.m., and I swear, the minute I turn on that monitor and click that nursery door closed my basket explodes, and out bursts the yarn, the floss, the needles, the thread, the fabric. The flying fingers. A flurry of quiet industry ensues, until . . . I pass out around ten. . . . I like it. I like to sit and think about her, about the day, about the year. It's especially nice to do it with my feet up, and my face washed, and my nightgown on, and a breeze blowing through the evening window, and a puppers or a kitters on the bed. Nothing else to do. A deep, deep sigh. Slowly the fingers find their rhythm. One of my favorite parts of the day.

I bought vintage McCalls pattern 2447, intending to use the smocking iron-on transfer that was included, only to find that forty-some-odd-years later the transfer didn't work. So, plan B: hand gathering, using this tutorial. That went fine. I made up my own smocking design and colors. Random. Don't overthink these things or you'll never get anything done. I followed the directions on the pattern for finishing the rest of the dress. It was a handful, but I was in too deep to turn back. Need a hook and eye for the back. Boom. Can't wait to see it on her. The color is just dreamy to me. I must really like this color. It's a dusty pink but warm. I must think of it as Amelia's color because I keep using it for her.

My Lilla koftan? Meh. It's okay. Came out sort of oddly proportioned. Didn't like how the placket didn't overlap. I've seen other peoples' versions of this sweater and they are much cuter. I think I would use a plied yarn and larger needles next time. Make it drapey. The Milk Glass Pink came out quite pretty, though it's still on the blocking board. Too hot lately to put these on the poor child. We had an enormous thunderstorm the other night, however, and that was just awesome. Cool and cloudy today and I am beyond delighted.

Now on my needles is Ravi Junior. Isn't that the most gorgeous pattern? I look at patterns all the time but I only just ran into this one. I'm using Quince and Co. Chickadee in the color Chanterelle. It really is such a lovely color. Or kind of a non-color. Sort of brown, sort of pink, like the underside of a mushroom, or a very old ballet skirt, or an antique book about flowers, or the wallpaper from the back bedroom in your grandmother's house in Iowa. That kind of a color. One that's just right for summer's slide into fragrant, cloudy, rose-hipped early autumn.

embroidered A


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




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.