Pre-Party Prepping

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* * * T H A N K      Y O U     E V E R Y B O D Y ! * * *

so very much, for all of the orders!!! I am so thrilled that you like the new kits. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I am beyond pleased. We are shipping at lightning speed because

s o m e o n e  is having a little birthday party tomorrow. Someone is turning two! My dearest darling, already two. Preparations — and present making and finishing — are seriously underway. Details to come. But later! Right now it's bake, wrap, sew, fuss, fiddle, blow up balloons. My very favorite things to do. Oh, girl. I just love you more than I can say.

A Cold Day Outfit Kits and Pattern (and Ornament Kits, Too!)

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If your Little Animal Family is getting chilly, you might want to consider making them a duffel coat, stripey sweater, jeans, boots, and a scarf this fall. Introducing A Cold Day Outfit Kit, available in two colorways. One is with a blue coat, butterscotch-stripey sweater, and an oatmeal-colored scarf:

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Or with a pink coat, blue stripey sweater, and a pale pink scarf:

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Yay! I'm excited about these!

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial,  knitting patterns, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your colorway from the drop-down menu. Each kit costs $30 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of or individual pieces of felt or fabric.

If you would prefer a downloadable PDF pattern only for the Cold Day Outfit, please get that HERE.

Please note also that the Cold Day Outfit kits and pattern do not include instructions or materials for making the actual animals themselves. Please see the whole collection of animal kits or animal patterns for individual animals and their original outfits.

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And now I want to say that I'm really happy to bring back last year's kit, NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The Night Before Christmas collection sold out too quickly last year, and I felt bad that some of you who have been collecting my ornaments for a long time now did not get a chance to purchase one. So we have reissued a limited edition of this kit this year, and it will be in the shop until it sells out. 

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

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

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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!

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We also still have limited numbers of previous years' kits, including 2012's kit, WINTER CABIN:

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

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

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

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And 2011's kit, SWEET HOME:

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

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A Glowing Candle, to light the night . . .

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And a Wild Bunny to keep you company . . .

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We also have 2010's kit, SNOW DAY:

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

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

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

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 2009's ornament-making kit, WALK IN THE WOODS, is entirely sold out! I'm very sorry!!!

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

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

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

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

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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.

All six ornament patterns are always 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 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 item details for each kit, too). I have a limited supply of these items, so if you are interested in them please order soon. I doubt I'll be able to restock before Christmas.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

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. This will be Stacey's first time shipping a lot of orders at once and I would love for this to be as manageable as possible for her (so that she stays with me forever). That said, of course if you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order do not even hesitate to email me immediately and I will help you with whatever you need!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support of these animals and these ornaments over these many (many!) years. It has been such a great adventure for me to design these things, and the greatest privilege to make them available to you. My trusty crew (Stacey, Greta, Susie, Andy, and the amazing fabric-cutting and floss-packaging ladies, Dana and Sarah at Spooltown) and I design, write, illustrate, photograph, assemble, and ship every one of these kits all by ourselves. There are now thousands of Posie critters big and small on and under Christmas trees all over the world, and it's my true honor and sincere delight that you have welcomed all of them into your homes. I have so many more ideas I want to explore. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that, and share my ideas with you. Your interest and enthusiasm is so very, very appreciated by every one of us here, but especially me. Thank you so much, dear friends. Thank you.

Sewing Round-Up

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No, I'm not even trying to be funny with these wrinkled dresses (but I'm dying laughing looking at them now — seriously?). This is actually the best I can do. We'll have to use our imagination to visualize what these clothes looked like before they went through the wash and then sat . . . around . . . for a while . . . whatevs. I think it's funny that while you're sewing you're sort of, I don't know, pressing every seam so carefully, etc. And then it all winds up looking like this anyway. So don't worry about it too much.

M'kay. Here we go:

Skirt = McCall's 7882, circa 1982. How cute is this with a black turtleneck onesie. I used vintage bias tape for the trim, and failed to overlap the edges. Why? I don't know. Andy asked if we were going to a poetry slam.

Salmon-Pink Coat = Dear My Kids Double-Breasted Coat, size 2. This was very enjoyable to make, until I got to the buttons. The buttons — no, I didn't even try.  In my opinion, the quickest way to mess up the double-breasted coat is to totally wonk out on the buttons. I saw a lot of examples of unsatisfactory button placement while browsing double-breasted coats. In my life, buttons are the elephant in the room. I pretty much suck at them. That's a lot of work, to get to the point in the making of the coat where you mess it up. People seemed to be putting the buttons all over the place. I had no confidence that I'd do anything but that. I bit my nails fiercely at the idea of making the buttonholes straight, let alone symmetrical. The lady at the fabric store told me to sew the buttons on the front, then put snaps behind them. Brilliant! Still, even just this took me one entire day, and I had to re-sew one of the buttons three times. Now that I've been done with it for a week, I'm happy. I can't get tooooooo worked up about it. I mean, look at the wrinkled clothes I find totally acceptable. These are first-world problems.

Wrinkled Blue Thing = Make It Perfect Mini Poppy, size 2. I shortened the hem and shortened the dress, but it still feels too long (I like short dresses, and I think they're more practical, too). All went well until it was time to try it on, and it wouldn't go over her head. GAH! The bias trim precluded an easy fix. I chose a pathetic fix, and slit it down the front. We were in a hurry. What can I say. Fail. Run out door.

Peachy Dress = Brownie Goose The Hattie, size 2. Adorable dress. Love everything about it. I had to stitch down the seam allowance to get the collar to stand better. That's our friend Katie in the picture with Meems. This dress just suits her.

Brown Dress = McCall's M5693, size 2, circa 2008. Cute. I can't resist a brown calico peasant.

More to come. I love my boo. She's such a good sport.

Guess what? Next week: New softie duffel coat and sweater kits, and Night Before Christmas ornament kits, too. Come back on Tuesday, okay? Have a good weekend, dear friends. xoxoxoxo, a&co.

Rein It In

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Routine, Routine, where have you been? I miss you! Come back! I flail like a flapping sail without you. Yesterday you returned, just for a bit, and I baked a pie. I put double topping on it, because it felt like the right thing to do, and I wanted you to stay. The days have been a little chaotic, the house tousled, the yard undone, coughing and Kleenex from one corner to the next and me unable to decide if I'm hot, or cold, or hot, or freezing, or if hellity hell I'm boiling up. Andy made us chicken soup. Amelia and I huddled under (and then on top of, and then under, and then on top of) quilts on the chaise lounge, watching The Aristocats three times in three days. Before things got really gross and I started blowing my nose without pause, we met her birth-grandparents down at the Flock and Fiber Festival (her grandma is an amazing spinner, weaver, and knitter, and her grandpa makes four-foot-long knitting needles, just for fun! So awesome). I bought a rag rug and came home with plans for a new knitted sweater-coat for my girl, but now can't decide on a pattern. If you have an iPad, you can surf Ravelry while your kid draws all over the TV screen with a taper candle and you will barely notice! Ah, Monday. And a slightly cleared head. Both came just in time. We planned to rein it in. We walked to the grocery store and bought apples and cheese. I made lunch at actual noon and brushed my hair. Andy mowed the lawn. I drank orange juice and water instead of doing shots of Airborne and elderberry syrup. Amelia ate an entire sandwich. We're back. Here we are. And that was September.

***Somewhere in there, I also made African Chicken Peanut Stew? And, if you've hung around here for even a second or two, you've likely heard me bleat about my apple pie. . . .

Natural Wonders

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Our girls' beach weekend was EPIC. The house we rented in Cannon Beach could not have been more incredible. It was seriously awesome. We had a great time. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we cooked, we lounged, we shopped, we sunned, we slept, we toasted marshmallows, we listened to the sound of endless waves and gazed at seemingly endless numbers of stars, and just generally marveled at the incredible beauty of the world. About a million times. I'm kind of at a loss for words, actually. It was so awesome to see my ladies altogether again. We calculated that it had been twelve years since all eight of us (two others couldn't make it this time) have been in the same place at the same time. What a privilege and honor it was to host everyone, and stay in this breathtaking location. Ah. Still thinking about it.

Back at home, we're sliding quickly into silvery fall weather, along with runny noses and sore throats and coughs. Amelia and I are laying low today. Getting back into our routine. The wind is blowing through my open windows and it is cool and rainy and sweet. How grateful I am to be here, right now, watching her play the ukelele in her pajamas, with a mitten on one hand and her toes curled under, our yellow lamps lit and the leaves rustling and red. Later we'll stroll up to the store to get more milk, then have some butternut squash soup I made on Wednesday. Oh, sweet mystery of life. How grateful I am for all of this! How blessed. How blessed.

I have about forty-five other things to tell you, but I'll be back next week, when we're all settled back in.

Here, There, Everywhere

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Oh, it's a bit of a blur around here these days. In the past couple of weeks we went on our vacation, Andy's mom came for a wonderful visit (that's her with my mom and Meems), we saw The Avett Brothers not just once but twice (yeah, we accidentally showed up a night early [duh], and bought more tickets, then went back again the next night, and Aunt Susie was there too!), and now I'm getting ready to take off again: In a couple of days seven of my high-school girlfriends are coming to visit, and we're going to spend the weekend at the beach. It's the first time I'll be away from Amelia for more than a few hours. I know she'll do great, and I'll try to do great! I will try. I haven't seen my girlfriends in about ten years. Beyoooooooond excited.

Try this pasta. It was awesome. I added broccolini and a touch of cream. Good.

When I get home, bulbs. Tiny duffel coats. Smallish wool coats. New dresses. Autumn. We'll talk.

***Also — I keep forgetting to say — thank you so much for all of your kind and generous comments on my last post, and all of my posts this summer (and always). I truly appreciate them. Thank you.

Once More to the River

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Riverside: To wake up to birdsong and mist rising in clouds of steam. To go to bed to crickets sawing and bats swooping and the big moon rising above the trees. To make s'mores near the firepit after dinner and have first coffee on the grass with your feet wet with dew. To sand on the chairs and the creakiest decks in the world and banana slugs that make your stomach drop. To rocks covered in crusty crud, ospreys that circle silently overhead, fish that jump, and happy babies that love boat-rides by sea or land. I love rivers. Thank you for all these gifts this summer, our many lounged-by, loved, and lovely rivers. You were so, so, so very good to us. Thank you.

September Starting

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The start of the month of new starts! Okay, then!

Honeygold

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Hasten, autumn. Bring your mellow yellows and your lowlights, your red leaves and blushing apples fallen into piles on the side of the road. They're already falling, and the fields are tinted russet, and dry. It's okay. The yards, my yards, have defeated me: the flowers, the pots, the hanging baskets, the watering — as usual, things have frizzled into colorless, wilting beggars, laced with spiderwebs from chair to pot to post every morning. I can't keep up. I cry uncle. I'd like to put the hose away, drain it for good and sit on the deck in my nightgown, nursing a big cup of strong coffee while Amelia throws blueberries into the yard, listening to birds make plans in the golden-leaved morning light.

The house is just as bad. Outgrown clothes, piles of catalogs I'll never order from, sofa cushions blobbing in every direction, pillows on the floor, sand-covered shoes in a heap by the door, dusty succulents on my windowsills, toys piled into bookshelves, books stacked next to the bed, half-filled bottles of shampoo and mismatched conditioner, slivers of gooey soap in the dishes, balls of yarn tumbling off of tables, stacks of fabric waiting to be cut, mail that hasn't been sorted in weeks, everything pushed into the centers of tables and counters to keep it out of the reach of a little girl who carries her mini-chairs all over the house and (quietly, looking back) stands on them, and reaches, reaches. There are only so many places to put things one shouldn't touch, and the things of summer, the sunglasses and sunscreens and sandals and beach towels and beach chairs and beach balls and pails and shovels and cups and water bottles, have filled every nook. I'd be happy for a good thunderstorm, and a cleaning lady, and a trip to Goodwill.

Instead, we go 'side. To the waterside. Woodside. Riverside. Fieldside. At sunset, where, in the relief of honey light, with a big baby girl heavy in your arms, it's nothing but beautiful. Where it washes over you, and makes you cry. Because it's August 23. It's been an incredible summer. I don't want it to end.

***The green cottage is my mama's house.

Quiet Colors

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At first I was thinking that these little dresses and the sweater I finished looked very springlike, palette-wise. But then we had a rare cloudy day, following by some  l o v e l y  sunny but cool days (oh sweet mercy, they are the rarest of beauties) and I realized that there's a quiet, silvery sort of beauty to the end of summer, when things are tufted and feathery and dried to a dusty powder that shimmers and floats. We've been outside so much these past few weeks, done so many things I can't even remember what, not the least of which has been spending every waking moment among the gardens and trees and leaves. This second wave of photos is the park where, a couple of years ago, the bagpiper came and honked us out on an afternoon much like the one we spent here last week. I have so many photos I've taken and haven't even posted. I've spent much more time outside than in. I've spent more time at rivers than I have at home. I've spent much more time rolling around on quilts with a big baby girl and our man, sand in my sandwich and sun in my eyes, than working. Is it any wonder, then, that the end of summer makes you teary, fluttering, a little melancholy. It's dark by 8:30, and someone had a wood fire burning in the neighborhood. The plums are hazed with dull plum blue. Our girl runs and falls and picks herself up and runs some more, dancing whenever she hears music playing (even a cell phone ringing), feeling at home now in the water and sand, carrying a green maple leaf like a flower. Soon, soon it will be autumn-leaf pink instead of green.

***The blue dress is my knock-off version of this one (I like the original better than mine; it's wider, and I like the flatter sleeve cap); the pink sweater is my finished Lottie; and the smocked dress is a little bishop dress I made based on this pattern, but I'm not that happy with it because I think it's too full, and there are so many pleats that you really can't see the smocking. I think I've done enough of them now that next time I'm just going to make up my own measurements. I'm very picky about this.

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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

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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.