All of It

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People, Mama went DOWN. Like a felled redwood. I hit the forest floor. Then curled up like a roly-poly bug and moaned. Everything was going well until Saturday night. I thought I was feeling pretty good! We had a great day on Thursday, a wonderful Mother's Day party here with Amelia's birthfamily on Friday, and then Andy worked on Saturday, and Mimi and I had the best time going out to lunch and then shopping for a birthday present for her cousin. We got home around three. Amelia had just fallen asleep on the sofa-bed and I went out on the back porch to read — first quiet moment in days. I was so happy. But no sooner did I get four or five pages in (I'm actually trying to read this, which may have been partially to blame? Not exactly easy reading, what am I thinking) than my ear seemed to spawn an enormous puffball mushroom on the inside. I shook my head like a dog. I stuck my finger in my ear. I tipped my head upside down. I shook my head harder. What in the hell??? I Googled "my ear just filled up like a water balloon and it's gonna blow!" I had no idea what was happening. The next morning, I was at Zoom Care the minute they opened. "Ah yes, you have a little ear infection brewing." My first ever. All my life I've heard people talk about ear infections but I never really knew what they meant.

Sad face! :(((( If you don't know, try to keep it that way, seriously.

Ah, well. No brunch, no rose garden, no new dresses. Instead it was just lots of snuggle time on the sofa yesterday with my sweetest boos, Charlie and Lola episodes on repeat, Andy-made stuffed shells for dinner (my favorite food), sunshine and sitting around in the back yard when we got bored, me endlessly describing my symptoms in great detail. It was actually pretty wonderful, aside from the fact that I couldn't hear anything anyone was saying, and felt like my ear was going to burst, Mt. St. Helens–style, right off the side of my head. I kept looking at my ear in the mirror like, really? But it looks so normal! I just couldn't believe it was skin-colored (and not chartreuse) and regular sized (not gargantuan, like an elephant ear). I thought maybe I was hallucinating the fact that it appeared normal.

In spite of it all, my God, I must be the happiest, luckiest, most-blessed mama on the face of this earth. I kissed my girl a thousand times yesterday, and said my prayers, and I say them for you, too. I wish for all of it, every bit of it, for you. Not the ear infection part. Just everything else. Xo

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Ah, there's a fair amount of dishevelment among our number this morning. Runny noses, sneezing, coughing, and general incapacitation. Andy has it the worst. I have never, ever, EVER been sick as much as I have this year. Ever. It's possible we're on the other side of it, or possibly possible this is only the middle. I think tomorrow will tell. I'm picking up very hot, very spicy Tom Yum soup with tofu and plan to knock every germ out of my system with a blast of chili. Right? Gah.

This past week, when I wasn't watching Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery while lying in a tangled pile of quilts and feeling like a battered sweat sock (?), I wasn't cleaning out drawers or reorganizing shelves or going outside, either. I was making a bodice sloper (fever-induced mania? I am bewildered by my own self). Do you know what a sloper is? It's a basic custom fitted pattern that allows you to design whatever you want (in a nutshell). I ordered and used this one. I don't have any pictures, or any current thoughts about the process because I was essentially in crisis (both sewing-wise and sick-wise) the entire time I was doing it. It's actually really hard to do it by yourself and I don't recommend it. BUT, I finally got a really nice fit (and wow, am I crooked, and wow, my boobs are bigger than I thought — no wonder nothing fits — hello, full bust adjustment, as if I didn't know that).

Completing it successfully was nothing short of seriously empowering!!! [Cue sputtering germ-spreading coughing fit of enthusiasm.]

No, really. I haven't made a sloper in twenty years. If I were to do it again, I might use this blog post to help me draft it from scratch. (I might still do that when I feel like I can lift my hand to do more than change the channel or cuddle Meemers.) The coolest thing about it is just that you learn so much while doing it, and clothes suddenly seem much less mysterious, and you really do feel like it's just all a bunch of measurements and adjustments that you can make based on those measurements, and not that you are somehow a human anomaly that just shouldn't wear clothes.

Do you know what I mean? Have you made one?

Oh jeesh, and THANK YOU so much for your very kind comments about my new quilt!!! It's been making me very happy as I sit under it shivering and sneezing. Thank you! :)

My Quilt is Finished!

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My quilt is finished! I love her. I think she came out so nice. I had her professionally quilted by my friend Sherri at Bumblebee Quilting. She did the quilting and the machine stitching of the binding, and I stitched the back side of the binding down by hand. It was really nice to finish that part myself after making this thing. It's definitely one of the fanciest things I've ever made in my whole life, and it's by far the most (only?) traditional quilt I've ever made. It's nice and big — a very generous square throw. I can't remember the dimensions. I don't like throws that are small. I've been carrying it around with me — sitting under it on the sofa at night, carrying it up to the bed to go to sleep, snuggling under it with the crew in the morning, dragging it back downstairs during the day. I love it so much. It got super puckery and poofy after washing. I used cotton batting this time because I happened to have some; for the past few years I've been using wool batting and . . . I probably still prefer it. It's lighter. But I was surprised at how fluffy this got after its wash. I'm one of those people that never pre-washes any fabrics for quilting. I make the quilt then wash it on hot and dry it hot. One of my favorite things in the world is taking the quilt out of the dryer the first time it's washed (and subsequent times are pretty awesome, too). Ah, that's the best! Fluffy wonderfulness! I love my quilt. I'm so happy.

Grandma Paulson is here visiting so I've been generally goofing off, doing all sorts of things I don't normally do, fabric shopping by myself, going to Knittn' Kitten where the ladies let me look through several huge boxes of '60s and '70s patterns (seriously awesome), going to a MOVIE with Andy where I completely freaked out over the fact that they were serving ice cream — like, the kind that you scoop — at the movie theater: "Oh my goodness! Is this new? Did you just get this? I haven't been to a movie in a long time! Oh wow! How exciting!" And the dude's like, "Uh, no, we've had it for . . . a long time." Me: "Oh!!! Really? Oh my! I need to get out more!" Bounce bounce bounce, down the aisle to the auditorium. We saw The Age of Adaline and we loved it! I'm not going to tell you anything about it because it's better if you don't know. But we both loved it. We're sappy like that.

Rainbow! And sun-lit rain! I love spring.

Outside, Outside

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Andy worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so Meems and I were out and about most of the weekend: children's museum, Crystal Springs garden, farmer's market, a picnic with friends, playground, watering our plants at home (can you believe it? Everything already needs water), a little bit of napping  and breezes through the window. It was HOT out. April, and summer is here.

Inside (and this is why I really don't want to be inside) it appears that every single drawer, shelf, and cabinet in this house needs to be emptied, organized, and refilled. Like, every single one. I can't open anything without a tangle of toothbrushes, skirts, books, cans, piles of patterns, dresses (yes, I keep my dresses in a drawer), cough-drop wrappers, toys, dolls, parts of toys, parts of dolls, doll clothes, cars, ribbons, washcloths, muddy shoes, lone socks, ponytail holders, more books, piles of fabric, and take-out Thai containers falling on me. HOWL. I am a disaster. My house is so disorganized right now. I can't stand it. When in the world am I going to have time to do all this? I don't know.

I seriously think that because we spent so much time outside this "winter," the normal nesting things that need to happen when you've lived in a house for fifteen years (I can't believe it's been fifteen years), didn't happen, because we just kept going outside. And now that it's summer, it's . . . summer. And we keep going outside.

I need a plan. And to stay home occasionally.

***Details about her dresses are here. :)

Two and a Half

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Playing with Phyllis Mouse and a Calico Critters' cottage. Phyllis is wearing Juniper's boots. Amelia is exactly two and a half. I don't want to forget what this time is like. How she can take Phyllis out of her high chair and put her back in twenty times, and I'm fascinated. How she's starting to talk in pretend voices, especially the floaty, high, very sweet voice, with a lisp (that's not pretend), doing dialogue for her animals and objects, sometimes so softly I can't hear what she's saying. How she can keep herself occupied now for long stretches with the smallest of things, without needing anyone else's attention. How she loves her routines, and talks about the things she regularly does when she's not doing them (for instance, talking at length about going to the museum when she's taking a bath). How amazing her memory is, and her eye; encountering any new thing that reminds her of something she already knows makes her exclaim it with delight. How sweet she is, putting her animals to bed under pieces of Kleenex, with blocks for pillows, kissing their noses and saying, "Good night, I love you, sweet dreams." Oh, oh. I love you, girl. I love you so much.

I just finished a hilarious book: Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe. My gosh. I laughed out loud while reading the dialogue so many times I lost track. So deadpan. No plot. Lots of swearing (be warned!). Totally prosaic details of everyday life. I loved it. Now reading The Swan Thieves, which my mom gave me for my birthday. I didn't read any of the reviews or blurbs or even the back cover (sometimes I just like to read from cover to cover without knowing even one word of the summary, so I have no expectations), so I can't really tell you about it yet, but I'm 165 pages in. It's a little dark, and a little slow, but I'm sticking with it. Have you read it? I do love nanny novels. I've read several: The Country Life (super weird, I loved it), The Diary of an American Au Pair (terrible title — apparently the original title was Do Try to Speak as We Do, which I think is waaaaay, better, personally; however, I loved this book and have read it several times), The Nanny Diaries (not so much, kind of depressing). Wait, what other nanny novels are there? I feel like I've read others I just can't remember. I love the genre.

Dearest Ginny and Grace are having a stitch-along for My Sweetiepie sampler! Please join them if you want to stitch along and post progress photos on Flickr and Instagram. I actually got a little teary-eyed last night when I read Ginny's post and the sweet comments, and then read some sweet emails I received after people started getting their kits in the mail. I can't even really explain why, just so many things. I always feel like crying after I put something new out there and someone says something nice about it. Thank you, ladies. You made my day, truly. Xoxo

Don't you just love this picture of Joni Mitchell at her house in Laurel Canyon (1970)?


"At night it was quiet except for cats and mockingbirds. It had a smell of eucalyptus, and in the spring, which was the rainy season then, a lot of wildflowers would spring up."
                                                                                                                                                    — J.M.

Photo (by Henry Diltz) from an article in last month's Vanity Fair, the only magazine I seem to read every month, my grocery-store guilty pleasure, along with Harry's chocolate pudding and already-cut-up cantaloupe. I've been dabbing the house with eucalyptus oil every other day now and listening to Blue.


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Spent the day with my sister Susie at Edgefield; April 6, 2015. Spring there is green, soft, quiet, a little enchanted, a little haunted, a little empty, certainly lovely. I've been to Edgefield many (wonderful) times in full summer, on golden evenings, with beers and bands and blankets. But now, in the spring, on an overcast afternoon, you can see its dim, gentle, melancholy beauty, and I almost prefer it.

April Flowers

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Oh my goodness, thank you for the sampler orders. Thank you VERY much!!! I am so happy. I truly appreciate your orders and all of your sweet words. I'm really excited about this project and this kit and I really can't wait until they start arriving in mailboxes and you get stitching. Stacy is packing and shipping like a rock star. I'm very proud of this one and I truly hope you'll be pleased! Thank you so much for your interest and your enthusiasm and your support. It means the world to me.

Answers to questions, mostly about what was represented by certain letters: Yes, J is for Jam (or Jelly, or Jar); V is for Violet (after my sweet Violet girl); P is for PIE (blueberry, in this case). AND yes, there is a PDF pattern available if you have floss and fabric of your own — it is available for immediate download here.

As far as making the design in a fabric of a different count (i.e.: one with fewer stitches per inch, presumably), yes, you can do that. Please read through my tutorial which includes a discussion of stitch count (and how it's related to the "thread count" of your fabric). Theoretically, you can work a counted cross stitch pattern on any thread count evenweave fabric you prefer, though it's important to have an understanding of how changing the thread count will change the look and the overall size of your motifs and your entire design. Most cross stitch patterns will give you the dimensions in stitches, as well as inches (or centimeters) on whatever count fabric has been used for this sample. In this case, the finished size of the design area (that's from stitch to stitch, not including any margins) on My Sweetiepie is 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); that's 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric. If you are using a different thread-count fabric, it's important that you recalculate the dimensions in inches or centimeters so you know how much fabric you will need (plus framing and handling margins). For instance, if you are using 28-thread-count fabric, that's 14 stitches per inch; divide 210 stitches by 14 to get the width of the design area in inches, and divide 165 stitches by 14 to get the height (of the design area) in inches. It works out to be 15" x almost 12". So you'll just want to make sure you understand that before you use a fabric with a different thread count.

Ahhh, the days have been busy! Four days, no naps. You know what I mean. Funny things being said. Yesterday, after dinner, I'm in kitchen loading dishwasher, Mimi's in high chair in dining room, starting to wimper.

Me: "Meemers, are you sad?"
Amelia: "Yes."
Me: "Why, honey?"
Amelia: "Because I want to go to sleep in my little crib!"

Later, we're both lying in the big bed and she's pretty much completely asleep. She suddenly pops straight up and says, loudly, as if startled, "I love APPLES?!?!?!"

I whisper, "Yes, you do." She lays back down and goes to sleep.

Easter was lovely. On Saturday there was a neighborhood Easter-egg hunt, which was very sweet. We had brunch with my family on Sunday and then spent the rest of the day gardening and going to the park. She got a watering can from the Easter bunny and watered in all the new plants. Remember my wildflower garden from the seed packs in the parkway beds last year? Well, tons of those flowers were perennials, and they're coming back. I threw a whole bunch more seeds in, too. I thought they were incredibly pretty, though the beds got pretty scrappy as the really hot weather moved in. But, what didn't. I get pretty scrappy when the really hot weather moves in. 

Today, though, it's wonderfully cold. Birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. Leaves are busting, so juicy looking you want to munch a mouthful like a little bunny. Favorite spring dinners? Any suggestions? I need cooking inspiration, yet again. Last night I made my shrimp bowls. Thinking about doing that again, with quinoa and chicken. What are you making? What's good?

***Her sweater details are here, and her dress and pinafore here. :)

My Sweetiepie Sampler Kits Now Available!

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


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

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

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

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

My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit contains:

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

You will need your own:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.


Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.


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


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

All supplies will be shipped along with your kit.

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

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

Spring Joy

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Afternoon at the river, which we had (gloriously) all to ourselves, until Amelia said, "Home!" and put on her own shoes and started walking by herself across the sand back toward the car :: Dark storms and ruby-glowing dogwood trees :: Andy-made chocolate chip cookies from this recipe, and they were indeed very good (Denise's suggestion — thank you, Denise!) :: A rhubarb pie from this recipe, which is delicious (if you like goo, which I do) :: A spinach souffle from this recipe which I thought was just . . . meh (needs more spinach, less egg, in my opinion) :: A chocolate cake from this recipe (which has replaced Hershey's Deep Dark for me — this one is better, and you can let the kiddos lick the spatula because, no eggs [irony]!) and our favorite frosting :: Cake baked by me and decorated by Meems (which made Andy laugh his head off when he got home and saw it) :: An attempt to take a photo of the vest, of which I am already knitting another, as this thing is just what I've been wanting :: Going out to get a columbine plant, a dozen more eggs to bring to the Easter egg hunt tomorrow, and Thai food for lunch with my dearest, darling, sweetest, most wonderfully wonderful girl.

Wishing you all a truly joyful weekend filled with love and springtime things! Xoxoxoxo

Some Things

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Oregon, there are some things you do very, very well, tulips and hazelnut fields being two of them.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm with friends; March 27, 2015. (About a month earlier than we went last year. And weirdly, I made the same pie in that post the other day, too.)

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




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.