Posts filed in: Pets

Sunshowers and Flowers

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Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who purchased a new kit, or pattern, or supply, or all of the above!!! Stacey is here packing up kits and getting them on their ways to you as I write. I am so excited for these critters to get out into the world. I've been hanging out with them so much these past few months that it is kind of an indescribable feeling to watch them leave the nest. It really is. I love it, and am more grateful for your enthusiasm and support than I can truly ever say. Thank you very, very much. I think we've finally figured out how to make up quantities that don't give me a huge stomach ache of anxiety, too, either because there are too many or too few. I feel like the quantities are just right this time — we still have a good number of kits that I expect will get us through the summer in most of the fabrics; everything was ordered very evenly, and things like make that me so happy.

Thank you also for every single kind comment about the new web site and blog design! I truly appreciate them! Some people are not as happy as I am about the new designs, but I absolutely love them. I think both designs fit me and where I am in my life and work right now just perfectly. I expect I will probably still want to tweak the font and background color a bit for readability after I sit with it a while, and have some time to think. But in general I think both of the designs are simple and pretty and plain and clean, and that is exactly what I wanted. I like the larger photos, and I'm very happy to have the flowers that I drew and my special bunny (who was originally inspired by a snippet in a turn-of-the-century Swedish embroidery pamphlet that my friend Jeanne-Marie found in her grandma's attic, and sent to me when I was working on my embroidery book — I used him in that book and on Mimi's first Christmas stocking, in case you recognize him!) included. I know change is hard for some people, but after nine solid years of blogging on the exact same template (that I didn't ever really like in the first place, but I didn't have the skills to change much) I, at least, am beyond excited to start using something pretty and new.

Right now I need to run and finish the cake that's just come out of the oven and is cooling on the rack. It's Mr. Andy Paulson's forty-third birthday today, and I've got big plans with my sweetest little loves for picnics and playgrounds and presents. xoxo

***Yes, that is Greta's incredible rose-and-raspberry tattoo. (We love you, G. Have a very safe trip and text me when you get to Ohio, dear, dear girl. xoxo)

Rose Time

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Last night, everyone in this house slept at least an entire EIGHT HOURS. It was magical. I went to bed at 10:00 p.m. and I woke up at 6:00 a.m., even before the boo. She must have been a tired little boo. I really can't remember the last time any of us slept an entire eight hours in one whole stretch. It's weird how getting to do things that you used to be able to do that you really can't do anymore can just make you SO HAPPY, isn't it? Aaaaaaaah. It was awesome.

So, it's rose time here in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Can you believe those big peachy roses in the first photo? And if you could've smelled them, you would've swooned. These were just in someone's front yard, on on of our routes around the neighborhood. I did this:

The-soul-of-the-rose-1908-detailJohn William Waterhouse, The Soul of the Rose, 1908

Except I was wearing paint-covered sweatpants, glasses, and a bad ponytail. Bummer. It was still pretty awesome. The roses were as big as oranges and looked as heavy. Petal petticoats. Glorious with layers.



I take photos of our neighborhood's community garden (like allotments) every week or so, throughout the year. That's it up there, with the little wooden shed toward the back of the field. I like to watch the things in it grow and change as we walk by through the year. We walk by it almost every day. Behind it is the park and the baseball field. My meadow flowers in my own front parkway beds are still coming up. They actually look like a bunch of weeds right now — little weeds, sprouting willy-nilly. Hopefully it's not all weeds! I recognize some things. I know I see cosmos seedlings. That alone makes me very happy.

This week we're finishing up the new web site and the new kits and the new blog design and the new, I don't know, everything feels new. We've picked out a new (used) car. My dearest Greta is moving back to Ohio in a week [CRYING FIT]. I don't really have words to say how much we will miss her. She has been with us for two years and really is like part of our family. But I have a lovely and wonderful new assistant named Stacey who's been working with us here for the last month, and she is ready to receive the hand off. AND her favorite Pandora station is Wilco Radio so how lucky am I? It's gonna be good. We expect to launch the new web site and new softie kits and patterns next week, after Memorial Day, but I'll pop back in here before then and let you know exactly when!

The first things I'm going to make as soon as everything webby is finished are baby sunhats. Not that she'll keep them on her head, but I'll try. I've got the baby rash guard, the baby sunscreen, the baby water shoes, need the baby sunhat and a cute baby beach towel. I must be ready for the day the pool opens (late June!). I know you're not supposed to run on the deck, but I'm going to sprint to the water's edge. Look out.

Rosy Little Things

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Hello, dear friends. Is the weather as beautiful where you are as it is here? With the dandelions sprouting and the birds singing and the sun warming your face? Oh, I really hope so! Amelia is in a wonderland of flowers, twigs, mud, mulch, rocks, birds, balls, boots, and a first for her: stickers. Every day there is much walking and much stumbling and much almost-running, and swinging and sliding and standing on the ottoman when she should be sitting. She gets up there and turns to see if I am noticing with a half faux-innocent half utterly impish smile on her face. Big belly out, cornsilk hair in her face, blue eyes twinkling, blue eyes wide. Yes, my love, I see you. On your bottom, please. Thank you. Twinkle twinkle.

Dude, I have been working constantly this past week. Agh. I don't live like this anymore, so I'm quite out of shape. I couldnt focus. I listened to every single version of "Everything is Free" (by Gillian Welch) on Spotify about a hundred times (great song). I drank about seven chais from Roman Candle. I ate a fried-egg and avocado sandwich. I shooed the cat off my table about fifty times. I opened the door and I closed the door when it got too cold about fifty times. I read the biography of Ryan Adams (on Pandora) again. I tried to memorize "Everything is Free" but I still can't get it entirely right. Check out The Holmes Brothers version of it — I love that one. I looked at versions of my new web site. I looked at the new Liberty collection for spring/summer 2015, inspired by the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice and Wonderland and It. Is. Amaaaaazing. And I proofread approximately forty-eight pages of patterns oh about six hundred times. And a bunch of other stuff that involves getting things wrong and then trying to make them right. Story of my life. Of anyone's.

Meet Miss Phyllis Mouse. She's a wee bit shy, but she's been very anxious to meet you! :)

Spring Scramble

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Since daylight savings time, we have not been sleeping through the night again. At the three a.m. wake-up call (and sometimes, that's the third wake-up call of the night) I do my Nancy Kerrigan, clutching at my knees and howling, "Why??? Why???" into the darkness. (I don't know why everyone made so much fun of N.K. for doing that; I do it quite regularly for far, far lesser catastrophes, and even then it feels like I could still stand to dial it up a notch or two.) Like clockwork (ha ha), our nighttime routine got garage-saled — parts and pieces everywhere, everywhere — on the night we turned the clocks forward, and has yet to be cleaned up. We are scrambling. As everyone says, this too shall pass, so I don't worry. But I am tired. I can't tell you one thing I've had for dinner (let alone made for dinner) in the past week (aside from the Irish soda bread, corned beef, and cabbage [and apple pie Andy made for Pi Day, 3/14]) though I know we ate. I can't remember where we went or what we did, though I think it was fun. The days sort of pass in bright, breezy, flower-sprinkled blurs. The yard is sunken and scuzzy, the sidewalks wet, the stroller wheels caked in mud and petals. In a fit of nostalgia, I buy Crabtree & Evelyn Spring Rain shower gel and some hyacinth oil. I pre-wash fabrics and plan spring dresses for me and for Mimi, having gotten rid of nearly everything in my closet recently, leaving only two new pairs of pajama-jeans, five old pairs of knit pants from Target that are supposed to be actual pajamas, eight variations of the same Dansko clog, and fourteen navy-striped long-sleeved t-shirts. Uuuuugh. Turns out I wasn't actually wearing anything else in my closet. In my head, I don't dress like my junior-high volleyball coach but like a Bloomsbury poet, all Liberty smock tops with bell sleeves and big pockets holding my garden pruners, ready to clip off frothy cones of lilac blossoms shining with raindrops. Or like Jane Birkin in a peasant dress and market bag. Or Tasha Tudor in a calico apron and Gunne Sax skirt. I need new clothes so bad.

I do know that we got some flowers (from one of my favorite nurseries, Cornell Farms) on the weekend and planted them in the front porch pots with help from our little flower girl. Clover's incredulous expression — she votes "no confidence" daily in our ability to successfully wrangle Amelia — is typical. I see that face several dozen times a day. She thinks we are quite incompetent. And Amelia did fall down on Friday afternoon and smash her lip on the floor. There was a big fat lip and a lot of tears (and baby crying always means dog howling at the same time — the cacophony of them plaintively wailing in stereo is seriously deafening). But Amelia gets over stuff so quickly (faster than Clover). It's inspiring. So the porch looks better, the lip looks better, and we'll probably uncover the back yard furniture today. That's my "confidence" vote for you, spring! Bringing out the pillows.

In the studio, the kits continue to come together, and concurrently, I'm having a new logo designed and new web site built. I know. It's a big project and we've been working on it for a few months now. We just finalized the logo this week. It's so pretty. I love doing stuff like this, but it's nervewracking, too. I care so much and drive everyone insane. I have a vision for things but can't do them myself. I'm planning on having the new web site finished at the same time that the new patterns/kits — for four new animals (kitters, doe, mousie, and fox) and their clothing, which is all interchangeable between animals — done sometime toward the end of May. That's the plan!

Grandma Paulson comes from Chicago for a visit this weekend. Andy and I talked this morning about going to a movie! I think it has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's been a year and a half since we went to a movie. Hot popcorn! Giant sodas! Movie trailers! No cell phones! People do this!!! It's really quite thrilling. Ohmigosh. I can't wait.

Afternoon-Morning Quilt

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On Tuesday afternoon I felt the stirrings of a fit of restlessness. Usually when this happens it means that I'm on the verge of a creative tantrum. Thus it was that I found myself going to JoAnn Fabrics at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Also known as almost rush hour. Andy was home with napping Mimi, texting me to "take your time out there, honey." Ha! I scanned the quilting cottons as I approached, like an alpine skier at Rosa Khutor before the Super-G. [Horn blows!] I hit the aisles: Into my cart they flew, bolt after bolt, peach, pink, navy, olive, coral, lilac, pale mustard, cream. Groovy flowers, tiny flowers, gingham, whales. Elephants! A couple of solids, a couple of Little House on the Prairies. A couple of really?!?s. Eighth yards of most, quarters of a couple. Home by dinner, done, and done!

Apparently now my only shopping speed is lightning fast. This from the formerly slowest person on earth. Who used to be able to saunter the aisles at Goodwill for hours straight looking for the right tea pot without getting even slightly bored. No more, people. The next morning (Andy's day off) I was at the sewing machine by eight, drinking a smoothie so I wouldn't have to sit down to breakfast.

Oh, silly, silly lady. :)

I decided not to rotary cut anything — I literally took the 1/8-yard-cut-at-the-store strips, cut a couple of them into chunks (with scissors), cut one lengthwise into two skinny strips (eyeballed that), and then just started sewing strips together randomly. If you look at the photos you can kind of see how I did it. Sometimes I'd take a piece of a few sewn-together strips and cut off a few inches of it and sew it to another strip. When I had a few pieces I hung them all up on the sliding-glass door to see what I had. I didn't measure anything; I just kept sewing pieces together and trimming them a bit, or adding strips to get "blocks" that would match in length along one edge. Eventually I could kind of see how I could fit pieces together to make a big rectangle that would fill most of the door. And then I was done with the top by lunchtime.

Aw, it was so much fun. You have these ideas and not a lot of time, so you don't overthink it. And that can be really  liberating. If you're intimidated by the idea of making a quilt you should try one this way! My quilts are always simple and done pretty randomly, without patterns. I've never been one to belabor my fabric choices, for sure. I've always been a pretty intuitive and impulsive color picker. And I've never had the stamina (or the room) to lay a quilt out beforehand to see if everything is going to balance or match (except maybe for the Spring Rain quilt that I made a couple of years ago from that pattern I did on the computer; if you click on the links in that post's text you can see how that came together). That said, I don't know that I've ever made a quilt that I didn't look at immediately after finishing and wish I had done something different, added something, not added something. But before I can worry too much, the poor thing is put into service. Our quilts are so hardworking here. They've been sat on and under thousands of times and washed dozens. They've covered babies and cushioned dogs and been picked on by cats. They've been in the trunk of the car, on the front lawn, and at the beach. They've had formula spilled on them, tears cried on them, diapers changed on them, and feet running across them. We love our quilts but we do not coddle them; they earn their keep, like draft horses.

Now for the backing. And the binding. And the quilting. I want this to feel like a flowery, groovy, puff. Maybe two layers of batting. And some hand quilting, with big running stitches.Worked on my lap at the end of the night, when the house is warm and quiet.


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On yesterday's menu we had butternut squash soup from the book. It was awful. It was a lot of work and ultimately tasted raw and boring and made me mad. Don't make it.

Earlier this week, however, we made Cat's suggestion, Honey Sesame Chicken, which, everyone, including Amelia, agreed was delicious. So I think I've made four things now and three of them have been good so I am pretty psyched. I know, I'm still talking about this! What's really tricky is that every single time I have put a bunch of stuff into the crock pot and turned it on, I have looked at it and said, "Gross." Because it really does not look like it's going to work. So far, 75% of the time it has. The other 25% of the time, you're hungry and mad. But I will keep trying, because the schedule is just too tempting. IT works great. Just gotta keep trying to find those seven or eight recipes I can rely on. . . . The Honey Sesame Chicken stays.

I've been something steaming hot to drink every afternoon. Today I made hot chocolate. But usually I make tea. Some people asked what my little hot-pot thing was in a photo a few posts ago. It is this little milk frother/steamer. It is awesome. It holds 12 ounces of milk, and you can froth it or just spin and heat it. Much, much better than the microwave or the stove. I've been obsessed with the chai from Townshends lately. My favorite is the Masala Chai. What I do is pour 6 ounces of milk and 6 ounces of water into the little pot (with the flat disk, so it doesn't froth), add 1 and a half tablespoons of tea, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Then I press the button with the three plumes of steam coming up (that means "make it hot"; two plumes mean "make it kinda hot"). That takes about six minutes, so I leave the tea to steep in it for two more minutes while it's still on the hot plate, and then I strain it (I use this strainer). It is so yummy. They have about ten different chais there and I am working my way through them all. So far I have tried the Kashmiri chai, the Bond Street chai, and the Pumpkin Spice. Masala is my favorite.

My girl is so sweet. She napped today for quite a while while I played with the dog and read. I've never seen anyone who wakes up happier than she does. All sleepy and drowsy and fuzzy and smiley. Oh my gosh I love her so much.

What I also love about these November days is that they are already playing Christmas movies. MY FAVORITE GENRE. I watch Christmas movies every day, from the minute they start playing them. I should make a list of my favorites. I will. But someone asked me which Netflix documentaries I have watched and these are the ones I can remember (though I swear there were more that they have taken off of streaming and just made DVDs now?):

You've Been Trumped — Trump builds a golf course in Scotland. Ugh. This guy.
First Circle — Three families in the foster care system. Heartbreaking. Discouraging.
Park Avenue — Disparity of wealth in the U.S. Depressing. Discouraging.
Somewhere Between — Adoptees from China. Very moving. I cried.
Fatherhood Dreams — Gay men who are fathers. Very moving. I cried.
First Position — Young ballet dancers in competition. LOVE.
No Impact Man — NYC couple with toddler give up electricity and more for a year. (I think this one is only on DVD now, but it was good.)
Nursery University — I don't even know what to say!

I love documentaries. I like that the Netflix thing suggests ones to watch, too. I need that. What are your favorites?

Today it's freezing! Frost! Excited! Can't wait to go out.

This and That

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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.

It's Pie Time

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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.

That Color

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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.

How Fast

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Amelia's Chicago cousins and grandma were here this weekend and we had a wonderful time! Oh, to be smothered in love like this girl is! After taking everyone to the airport Tuesday, she fell asleep before we were out of the airport parking garage, and conked out for the night at 5:30 p.m. Yesterday was much the same. Oh, my love. Happy girl and happy days.

I started a pink Lilla Koftan. It's funny how there can be so many variations of the same basic sweater and they all look (and fit) a little different. This one's worsted, very chunky. I'm using 7s. I can't find my size 8 needle tips. Second set I've lost. What project could they possibly be sitting on? Agh. Dumb things. I think this pink Lilla will have red buttons, and maybe a red outline, like this one. Pretty cute. The leaves are already drying up and falling off the trees. Autumn thoughts. Plums and seed pods. Knitting for size twelve months. As everyone says, the days go slow. But how fast the year is going! Oh, incredibly fast. Just incredibly fast. She was nine months old this past weekend.

About Alicia Paulson


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.