Before Christmas

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The weeks fly by as swiftly as Santa's reindeer, coursing through the night sky. It's always that way; December's a spangled, sparkling whoosh. With a three-year-old, the whole month feels like a confetti shower of raindrops and cookies and elves and stars and fake snowflakes. Magic. Every morning she woke up and ran to put a new ornament on the advent tree. Every night I read her to sleep with Christmas books. The Night Before Christmas. The Snowy Day. Santa's Workshop. The Christmas Magic. It's astonishing how well I remember some of the specific illustrations from my own childhood, which makes me think they were special to me, even then. Oh, Christmas. You make me remember things, places and people that are gone or far away, things that I wished for and got or didn't get, days that I missed almost before they were even over. The cold, clear Sunday afternoons when I skated on the ice at Keystone Park for hours and hours, and walked home in the dark under the big, bare trees, the air filled with the smell of smoke and ice and wet wool and powdered hot chocolate, my skate blades hitting my back as I walked. I remember riding the Empire Builder through the snowy mountains of western Montana and across the plains of North Dakota to Chicago, reading The Brothers Karamazov, my embroidered pillow against the window and embroidered boots tucked under my seat. I remember midnight mass at St. Luke's, singing with Mrs. Miller in the choir, and the parties afterward at the Millers', how everyone in town would come, how delirious with fatigue I would be, and how beautiful it was to drive through River Forest late at night, looking at the lights.  I remember my dad burning frankincense and myrrh in a little log cabin incense holder, and the winter sunsets at the house, and our Christmas Eve parties, and my cousins and aunts and uncles coming over. I remember sleeping under the Christmas tree with Andy twenty years ago, in the huge, old house he lived in in Davenport, Iowa, and when he said, "This is my dream." I'm glad I remember some things, though they make me cry. I've forgotten so much.

I wish you a merry Christmas, filled with good memories and peace and love, and gentle moments, and children, and small gifts that feel big, and friends and family and warm animals curled on your feet, and I thank you for all of your many, many sweet words and the kindest generosities you share here throughout the year, and these many years. Your kindness and attention has given me more than I can ever say. I wish you good tidings, and great joy, and, most of all, peace during this season. Peace be with you, dear friends. May we have peace in this world.

With love always,

Alicia, Andy, Amelia, Clover Meadow, and the Lady Bee.
XOXOX

(P.S. I'll tell you all about the appetizers I made for the party sometime soon! Thank you again for the suggestions — it was awesome! :)

 

Evergreens

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the appetizer and party ideas!!! Seriously. VERY GOOD. Apparently, a lot more people enjoy cheese balls than I ever would've thought! Good to know!!! I am not sure exactly which appetizers I am going to make yet, but I'm feeling much better about the whole thing, so thank you, most sincerely. And there WILL be a cheese ball. Absolutely.

Oh, it's been quieter here. Quite nice. Quiet and nice. I'm heading off to Amelia's playschool Christmas party in a minute. (Then it's three weeks with nooooooo playschool. Ack! She's going to go crazy. Or one of us will.) The rain hasn't stopped much, but we did take a fairly dry walk to the grocery store yesterday. Aunt Susie brought calzones last night and Grandma's bringing chicken and dumplings tonight. Andy's on day three of four days at work in a row (they work twelve-hour shifts, so that's actually a lot). Play-date this afternoon, and maybe I'll get the rest of the Christmas cards done. Need to make a dolly-cradle mattress and blanket and pillow. Plenty of milk in the fridge for hot chocolate. Need cookies very badly. New knitting project going fast and very nicely. It's all good. Deep breath. It's good. I always think solstice comes to quickly. I'm trying to go slow.

Rainytown

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So. Much. Rain. It never seems to stop. If it does stop, it quickly again starts. We're used to doing everything in a downpour now. Pushing a grocery cart full of groceries and a toddler through a parking lot in the pouring rain. Walking the dog in the pouring rain. Eating Christmas cookies in the pouring rain. Christmas shopping in the pouring rain. Ah, I shouldn't complain. . . . It's very cold rain, though. And did I mention, it never stops? . . .

Wintertime in Portlandtown. Make some coffee, light some candles, turn on the made-for-TV Christmas movies (favorite new Christmas movie: Just in Time for Christmas. I absolutely loved it.) Knit knit knit. Have a party or two. We've been having or going to party after party, which is not our usual style, but it has been really fun. All different groups of people. We're having another party here next weekend! That's the neighborhood progressive dinner. We're doing appetizers here. Can you suggest easy, cold appetizers for twenty people? I don't really know how to do this, but I do know I don't want to be shoveling hot things in and out of the oven. Even when they originally came from the freezer at Trader Joe's. Dips, cheeses, crackers . . . er . . . what else . . . ? This is only the first course of several, so, I think it can be pretty simple. All advice welcome!

It's busy right now, isn't it? No matter how you try to slow it down. There are just lots of things! The Christmas cards I ordered should be arriving in the mail here today. I'm going to make some hot tea and find the address book. Doing the cards is one of my favorite things. I've been looking forward to this. Go slow, Monday: I'm gonna settle in, stay warm, and write to all our friends with an actual pen.

***To those who have asked, the dollhouse is one I got at a secondhand store years and years ago. :) Sorry, I don't have a lead on a new one!

 

Tiny Lights

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Christmas things, loving things, soups and breads and friends and parties, lights and candles to fill the December days. This morning it is raining as hard as I've ever seen it, and it's as dark as late afternoon. We have a busy week ahead (who doesn't), and I'm resisting the urge to climb back into bed and pull up the quilts and knit and knit and knit; but no, that won't happen. Instead I light candles and say a prayer for the world, the news of which I can't lately seem to absorb with anything but melancholy, though I strive for hope. In the mornings, we snuggle for hours (one of the benefits of getting up hours before light sneaks up on the windows). Andy and Clover sleep. Under the covers, I pull my daughter's warm body into mine. She holds my big hand on her small belly. She eats a banana (two bananas) and I drink very hot, very strong coffee by the light of the string of paper stars we got a few months ago. I've put them on a dimmer, and thus can turn them down to the barest, dimmest, almost-golden glow. We're under softest flannel sheets and wool blankets and wool-filled quilts, with a dozen pillows at our backs. Foxy, Pengy, Snowy Bear, Bruno, and Big Bunny — all here, too. Quietly, quietly she sings back to me the lullaby I sing to her each night. It's a tune I made up, with the words from a book. Her sweet voice, her lisp. Her whisper-singing: on key. Her warm, bare legs sliding along mine. She fits so perfectly against my shoulder, under my arm. I ask her if she can hear the rain and she nods (mouth now full). It drums, relentless, against the old windows just inches behind us. I hold her close and kiss her head, and press my cheek to her hair. Stay like this. Just here. We'll let it all swirl and rumble outside. I'll hold you tight. I'll hold you tight.

T-Day and Tree Day

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My sister was hosting Thanksgiving, but her whole family came down with the flu last week (ugh, poor dears) so we had a little dinner at our place. Amelia dragged her chair around the table so she wound up sitting next to each of her guests at some point throughout the afternoon. I love her. The weather has been so perfect — very clear, and just cold enough to feel like winter. I love the weekend after Thanksgiving. We always go and get our tree right away. I do so like to get things going early so I can relax and go do fun stuff. Tree is up, house is more-or-less decorated, stockings are hung. Parties need to be scheduled, but shopping is done. Wrapping and shipping is not. Cards need to be ordered. Amelia keeps saying, "Mom, is it Christmastime yet? Mom, is this Christmastime?" Oh, December! With a three-year-old, things are magical (and vaguely bonkers), already. I love this season and all it brings. So many gifts. So many beautiful, sparkling little things.

Last year at the tree farm, and the year before.

Cold and Clear

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So cold these past few days, and the air tinged with blue, or silver, or some color I can't quite capture. Frost color. A ballerina's skirt color, frozen drops balanced in the air as evening descends. So begins my longing for snow. Maybe this year. Maybe this year. . . .

Inside, outside, inside, outside. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we go over the river to be with family. I've been thinking so much about forests and trees and little houses and fields. I was telling Andrea about my junior-high American history teacher who didn't use the hideous overhead lighting in the room (oh, it was wonderful, wonderful, and I still remember him for it) and gave us a new hand-drawn, hand-labeled map of somewhere in New England almost every day. The maps were absolutely exquisite, the names magical. Plymouth, Concord, Dover, Wethersfield, Salisbury. Every year at this time I think of them, and would give anything to find that binder full of those lovely maps. How do we ever know what will stay with us, and why? Will Amelia remember the tune of the lullaby I sing every night as we snuggle and read under the quilts in the big bed? By the light of our tiny lamp, with the winds blowing outside, overwhelmed with gratitude I wrap around her, and quietly sing of small things.

I wish you much peace and comfort and love this holiday weekend, and throughout the season. Thank you for your generous, peaceful, and kind presence here. May your days be merry and bright, and filled with love.

Love always,
A+A+A+C+B. Xoxo

***The book pictured is The Big Book of Slumber, and it is one of our very favorites.

 

Autumn Leaves

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Hard week filled with terrible losses, both across oceans and across the street. I've had a bad cold since Wednesday and have been prone under layers of covers for a couple of days. The only crafting accomplished was when I effectively felted my hair to my head, rolling around while alternately broiling hot, then freezing cold, then scorching hot, then shivering — perfect felting conditions, along with the frustrated, erratic tumble-dry of my tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable. When I woke up (not entirely accurate, as that implies that I was asleep, which I really hadn't been in days), I went into the bathroom and saw that my hair had matted into a pretty decent Brillo-pad tower. Marge Simpson. Feeling a lot better today, but wow. I don't know what that was.

Amelia and I went out for a walk this morning, my first time outside at length in quite a while. It was sunny and lovely after days and days of cold, dark, howling rain. Autumn is hanging on, brilliant and sparkling with quiet beauty. I'm grateful for this, for eating biscuits at the bakery with my girl, for her dramas and discoveries, her sweet hands on my cheeks, crying because my skin was too hot, playing with her toys all yesterday afternoon in the warm house while the winds wrapped 'round, and we stayed quiet, and close. I wish you warmth and light this weekend, and peace. Peace be with you, dear friends. Xoxo, A

 

WIP Mash Up

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So then. I have a bit of a list. A whirling, swirling to-do. It's all because (I'm convinced) Stacey (Wonder Assistant) and I finally took the time to clean my office very well. We emptied every nook and cranny. We didn't get rid of stuff as much as we thoroughly rearranged. It had been a few years since the last time. Remember how pretty my studio was then. I'm sobbingly happy to say it now basically looks exactly like that again. Even better, in fact, because I folded all of that fabric in the glass cabinet onto the comic book backer boards. That project, though it took a long time, was a righteous success for several reasons. 1) Obviously, it's much neater and more functional now — I can actually see what I have and that means I am using it like crazy. 2) I became intimately acquainted with those fabrics again, and that was kind of nice. I feel like I really know what's there now, and it is inspiring to feel in control of that pile. And 3) There's a lot less fabric there than I thought (believe it or not). Not, perhaps, in terms of numbers of prints. But certainly in terms of actual yardage. To be wrapped on a piece of backer board, a length of fabric needs to be about 18" or it won't really fit nicely around it. Many of the pieces in my Glass-Cabinet Stash are between 18" and a yard. Some are 2 yards. Very few are longer. A TON were less than 18" (and those are all folded into shoe holders from Target, now on my sewing table). Anyway, all of this was very, very satisfying and also revealed to me that I have more quilts, toys, and patchwork dresses in my future, because I am determined to use up this stash (even though it fits oh so perfectly now I almost can't bring myself to touch it. But only almost) and this stash is made of smallish pieces.

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Okay. So, that's nice. Something else that's nice is that my dearest is now old enough to be in the studio with me. She watches Blue's Clues and Backyardigans on the computer, draws in her handy-dandy notebooks, eats an incredible number of bananas, sorts buttons into complicated rows, breaks a lot of colored pencils by smashing them, tip-down, as hard as she can, tries to get her hands on any marker or pen we accidentally leave lying around, "knits" (which means she takes yarn and wraps it around her hand or finger about two hundred times), sweeps, types, and generally keeps me very good company. This is a new development and it has been life-changing for me. For both of us, really. She's very proud to be "working" in here with me. I couldn't be happier.

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The other day I said, "Are you going to learn to knit and sew when you grow up?" And she said, "Yeah. I'll do that for you."

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[Insert wide-eyed emoji guy here.] Only if you want to, baby girl! Only if you want to, really! Wink.

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I just want to squish her all day long. MWAH. I love you.

Now, projects. Do you like her sweater? Apparently I knit an entire sweater without mentioning it once or taking any progress photos. It still needs to be blocked, but, yum:

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This is the Top-Down Garter Stitch Baby Jacket on Ravelry. My details (not many, sorry) are here.

I think I started that back in September. Or maybe it was after I'd finished the birthday quilt, in October. Regardless, I like to have easy projects for nighttime. Really easy. We wake up early around here (5:00 a.m., every morning, no matter the morning) and go to bed early — Amelia is asleep by 6:30 (since the time change) or 7:00 p.m. every night. That gives me about two hours of total and complete leisure time before I fall asleep. I get every single chore finished before I put Amelia to bed so that there is absolutely nothing left to do other than drink tea, watch TV, and knit/embroider/crochet. I like this schedule. A few weeks ago, I saw these lovely photos (I actually saw one first on Pinterest) and decided to make a blanket exactly like the one pictured (I just figured out her color scheme, chained 160 to start, and am simply doing V-stitch), using my fairly substantial stash of DK- and sport-weight yarn.

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This will have a border like the one in the picture (white, I think, with blue, and black?) and is, ostensibly, for Amelia's future big-girl bed, which we've been talking about a lot around here and which I think will be this one, because those head- and foot-board panels are calling out to be wallpapered, aren't they? Cuteness. I told Amelia that when she goes potty only on the potty seat we can get rid of her changing table and crib, and then she can have a big-girl bed. She was very excited. The next day she told me, "When I get my big-girl bed, then I'll go potty on the potty seat!" Errrrrrr, um, no that's. . . . I did not see that coming. . . .

NEXT. Thanksgiving dress for Meems:

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Blue gingham for the blouse, vintage calico (from Knittn' Kitten, I believe) for the pinafore. Probably the long version because I have such a soft spot for a long dress for the holidays. Interestingly, this blue gingham fabric (which is like a voile, super light) is on my work table in one of the photos in the studio re-do post I linked to above, from five years ago. I believe it was from Mill End Store. Will probably go for a brick-red ribbon on this. Eighty-five cents for a pattern back then. Wow.

For me, I've been making skirts like this:

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This takes 2 yards of cotton calico, with extra for the patch pockets. It's gathered crosswise, from selvedge to selvedge, onto a 2" waistband with elastic in the back. It's pretty much the skirt I've been wanting for years and just never really got around to making for myself. I've made two so far (the other one was teal calicos), and wear them with some really soft cowl-neck sweaters  (I wear them tucked in) I got from Ann Taylor Loft, and really soft and wonderful over-the-knee socks from Sock Dreams. And a chunky clog. Good, classics-professor-at-the-grocery-store winter uniform. Hoop earrings. Another skirt planned in these fabrics:

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I'll write a tutorial or pattern or something when I get some time. Really easy. (And by the way, that orange poppy fabric I just got last week at JoAnn's. The smaller brown calico was in the stash.)

NEXT. Amelia's nightgown and robe. She wanted both, and I just couldn't resist this pattern, or fabric (double-sided pre-quilted cotton, also from JoAnn's).

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I'm not sure how she even knew what a bathrobe was. We don't wear them, but I may rethink that because:

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Aaaaaaaaaagh!!!! I love it so much! It has a drawstring waist. I did the neck with binding using toothpaste blue vintage bias tape. I want one exactly like this for me. Mommy-and-me robes? Too Grey Gardens?

The nightgown (flannel, also from JoAnn's [yes, I used about four coupons there that day] with a vintage embroidered ribbon from I know not where) is from a vintage pattern, Simplicity 4719, and there are a couple more planned. Next is one out of this dotty grayish-blue.

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I have a few more nightgown patterns, too. Just realizing now that she needs a new one for Santa Lucia. Last year's is so worn out it's dingy, and too small. This is a problem I relish.

NEXT. A winter sweater. And a swingy skirt (I need to adjust the waist, because it's too big). I don't have the pattern in front of me but I don't recommend it, either way (it was vintage). Next time I'll use the same formula I developed for my gathered skirts above. This one is kind of a circle skirt.

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The sweater pattern is Trixie on Ravelry, and it's quite darling, though there are no projects to date, so I'm not sure what it looks like on. I'm making the 2-3T size in House of a la Mode Stunning Single Ply yarn in Candy Cane Lane. Love this yarn, and it's local, too, from Happy Knits, my happy place (and Amelia's, too):

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Yay! Isn't it brilliant of them to have a play area? With chalkboard-painted walls? Oh my stars, how I love these guys she is drawing every single day. They are so cute. The arms? Or legs? Love.

What's next. Advent calendar. This goes closer to the top of the list. I don't want to be late with this.

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This is the Advent calendar pattern from Purl. They have a kit, too, but I have a ton of felt I'm trying to use up. I did order their sequins and beads, though, just for something special. I've never really had an Advent calendar before. I think we had paper ones, with little windows, but they weren't a big tradition with us. Andy says this one is similar to the one he had growing up. I changed the pattern a bit and am adding Velcro dots to stick the little ornaments on the tree (instead of straight pins). I finished the number embroidery and added the dots yesterday, and it's cute. The dots look like snow.

Lastly but certainly not leastly, a Friendship Quilt based on a beautiful quilt that Lucy made.

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I'm making this with my BFF for the past twenty-six years, Martha. She lives in Boston. We were college roommates, and sewed Laura Ashley dresses together waaaaaay back then in our little white cottage with the big blue table on 8-1/2 Avenue. She wore flats with hers, I wore Doc Martens. She has a wicked-awesome stash of rather proper '80s calicos. I have a mish-mash with mutt-like provenance. We're trading 30 or so 2" selvedge-to-selvedge-cut strips, then doing something like this with a mixture of our own and each other's strips:

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Each little square on the grid represents 1.5". Colored rectangles are blocks of horizontal strips. I've been wanting to do a quilt like this since I re-pinned this one a long time ago. I really love my quilting Pinterest board. Sometimes I just look at it and feel generally extremely happy that someone invented quilts. They are so beautiful. This one is going to be special to me.

This post is very long.

THANK YOU!!!

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* * *  T  H  A  N  K      Y  O  U      Y  O  U      G  U  Y  S !!!!!  * * *

I am gob smacked. Thank you for your orders and all of your kind words. You guys are seriously awesome. And I am truly grateful. Super-stellar awesome-assistant Stacey has shipped almost everything, with the rest going out on Monday. Then there will be more five thousand Maggie and her animal cousins' kits all over the world at this point, and I'm so proud of them. Thank you ever, ever so much for buying and making my patterns and kits. I love designing and producing them more than I can say, and am very grateful for your enthusiasm and support. Thank you so much.

So, it's deep fall, isn't it. October was really busy. Halloween came and went (in a torrential downpour). The Red Riding Hood cape (McCall's M4567) was a total fail. It was so crazy big and so heavy (I even shortened the thing by about a foot or more!) it wouldn't stay on her shoulders at all, and I couldn't blame her for not wanting to wear it even once! I tried a few solutions, including buttons at her shoulders (her hair wound around them horribly) and tying it on like a backpack under the arms but nothing really felt functional. Halloween morning I made a run to JoAnn's for yarn and a giant hook and wound up speed-crocheting a new hood in a few hours. The pattern was also sort of nuts and no one was more amazed than I when, lo and behold, a hood came off my hook, and the child donned it willingly. Until it started raining cats and dogs and every one of us and our friends were in a ton of rain gear, slogging through the drowning neighborhood in a downpour to get about twelve pieces of sopping candy. Man, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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It's a gorgeous, gorgeous morning here today. Andy and Amelia are headed out together for the day and I'm sitting in my newly reorganized office trying to collect myself. My office is so clean and tidy and . . . where am I, seriously. It hasn't been like this in years. This morning I made a giant list of all of the things I want to make this fall. Bathrobe (she wants a bathrobe, which cracks me up) for Meems. Nightgown (she wants nightgowns) for Meems. Thanksgiving dress and pinafore for Meems. Thanksgiving skirt (gathered, with pockets — I've made two already and love them — will tell you how I did it as soon as I get my act together) for me. Friendship quilt with Martha like this gorgeous one by Lucy. This sweater for Amelia. An advent calendar. A crocheted blanket I am halfway done with but I don't think I've shown you yet. A kooky flowered skirt for Amelia. Christmas dress for Amelia.

Seriously??? It does seem like a lot. I think it will be okay. The quilt's obviously a long-term project. And a lot of the other stuff can be done on the sofa while watching Christmas movies, so what could be better?

I've also been cooking a lot. I made Ann's No-Knead Bread. I made Thai curry lentil and sweet potato soup. That was excellent. I made Tessa Kiros's meat sauce from Apples for Jam, which is one of my favorite cookbooks (though the font they used for the recipes is seriously unreadable). I made dirty chai (that's chai with espresso, FYI) cinnamon rolls using the one-hour dough from this recipe and the filling and frosting from this recipe. OH MY STARS WHAT AN AWESOME PAN OF CINNAMON ROLLS THOSE WERE. I made butternut squash and spinach lasagna. That, too, was very good.

I guess I made a runner for my dining room table, too. Apparently Andy had the whole week off and I got a little excited.

Fall Sewing (and Free Shipping)!

comments: 41

Oh, fall! I love you. Even the torrential rain you sent us all day long on Halloween did not dampen my enthusiasm. We came home with ten pieces of sopping wet candy and one soaking wet Little Red Riding Hood. Amelia conked out and I put on new pajamas and made a list of things I want to make. I reorganized my studio last week. I have been sewing LIKE CRAZY. I'll show you when it's not so incredibly dark all day long and I can take some photos both of the studio and of my new projects. Wool, yarn, floss, tiny buttons, tiny stitches, quilts, sparkly things, ornaments, little animals, granny squares, teapots, knitting needles, bring it on. My fake fireplace is lit and my chai is hot. It's very good!

I've been getting a lot of questions about whether there will be a new ornament kit this year, and no, I will not be doing a new kit this year. I didn't do one last year, either. Back in 2012, when Amelia was born, I kind of made the decision that I would stop doing them. I did do one that fall (Night Before Christmas), and I loved it, but for several years — six, in fact — ornament kit design and production kind of took over our lives here, in a way. It definitely took over our space, and it really took over our time. And because Christmas ornaments are such a deadline-oriented project, I was just feeling like there was no wiggle-room in it, schedule-wise, for me. I'm a pretty impulsive crafting person. I get an idea and I get on it. If I'm feeling it, I bust a move. If I'm not, I don't even try. I didn't think I could design for Christmas in April, and I really want October to be about birthday stuff and pumpkin patches and Halloween costumes, and getting ready for our own family holidays. Also there are other ideas I have for new projects and designs that I, in my limited amount of work time right now, just want to be free to follow. So, I never say never, but for now and indefinitely, I won't be doing new ornament collections. I walk to do some other things — a new quilt pattern, quilt kits of a sort, new crochet patterns, a softie bed kit. I have a million ideas for 2016.

We still do have ornament kits available: Ice Skating Afternoon, Snow Day, Sweet Home, Winter Cabin, and Night Before Christmas are all available in the shop. Walk in the Woods is totally sold out and will not be restocked (though it, and all of the other patterns, are always available as downloadable PDFs). Winter Cabin has less than 50 left, and it won't be restocked when it sells out.

I found out recently that the Mr. Basil Fox kit is going to be featured in the holiday gift guide in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. EXCITING! This was an awesome and totally unexpected surprise. The magazine comes out in mid-November, and although it can be hard to predict the response, I do expect that the web shop itself will see a surge of new traffic around that time. We do not plan to be restocking anything between now and Christmas. So if you are interested in buying a Basil Fox (or Winter Cabin) kit especially but even anything else in the web shop, I would do that in the next two weeks, before mid-November when the magazine hits mailboxes and newsstands, because there is no time for us to restock anything this year.

If you click on the images above each photo should take you to the page in my web shop where you can buy the pattern or kit for yourself. And because I love you, we are offering free shipping on all domestic (United States only) orders today through Thursday, November 5 at 9 p.m. PST (because that's when I go to bed). You don't need a code, just go on over. The image above is made of thumbnails that will take you to all of the individual product pages for items pictured. Happy sewing, dear friends! And thank you so very much for all your interest in my work over these many (fifteen!) years that I've been making patterns and kits. You are the absolute best, and I'm so grateful. Thank you. Xoxo

***Gina asked a question that I get asked a lot — what is the best project for a beginner, or someone with enthusiasm but not a lot of sewing or needlework experience? I honestly think that the Winterwoods ABCs Sampler Kit is the best project. You can read my counted cross stitching tutorial here, which will teach you everything you need to know. And with a bit of practice you'll have such a good, cozy time with this one. Each motif is small, and the gorgeous hand-overdyed thread means you hardly have to make any color changes to have a rich, textured piece. I have gotten more emails from people who say they have never stitched anything before making this one and they loved it. It's one of my very favorites, and I hope you have a great time with it.

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

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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.