Tiny Pastries Made of Thread

comments: 81

Embroidery1_1 I have a love/ugh relationship with embroidery. I love doing it, I ugh transferring the pattern. Ugh ugh ugh.

I've been embroidering since I was a little girl. My mom used to do enormous (like two by three feet) crewel embroidery kits and get them framed at Lee Wards (remember that place?) and, as with so much that she used to do, there was no fuss about it, and she did several, though I can tell you that if I were doing half of what she did I would've sent out a press release to the whole neighborhood and gotten one of those bullhorn things and announced it from the front porch to every single person walking by. "I. AM. EMBROIDERING. SOMETHING. PEOPLE." That's what I'm doing here, really.

But that is all just to say that needles, wool, and floss were around and no biggie. I seem to be the only sib that picked it up and did it regularly, as a matter of course. I always had a pillowcase going somewhere, even in college: I'd sit at the bar in my vintage dress and Doc Marten boots, drinking a beer and . . . embroidering a pillowcase (of course). My favorites were vintage pillowcases already stamped, but they were hard to find; you could buy them new and already stamped at the craft store, but the quality of the fabric was always crappy. The obvious alternative is buying nice pillowcases and transferring the design yourself, but that's never been my favorite part of embroidery.

Lightbox2 There are several ways to transfer designs, of course. You can buy iron-ons. You can make your own by getting an embroidery transfer pencil and tracing designs backwards onto tracing paper then ironing them on. You can use dressmaker's carbons under the pattern and trace them with a pencil. Or you can use a lightbox with a wash-out fabric marker, which is my preferred way. (There are probably a few other ways of doing it that I don't even know about of course.)

I like the lightbox way. But then again, I actually have a lightbox, so that's helpful. Mine's kind of like this one, and I got it quite a while ago when embroidered stuff was part of the Posie product line (er, no more). I don't use it very often anymore but it does come in handy and is nice to have around, when the need arises.

Embroidery2 This is a little dish towel I'm doing for my friend Linda's birthday. She's a lawyer who dreams of being a baker. These little pastries are probably an inch and a half big. I did four of them in one afternoon/evening. Still have to do the pie. I like the Japanese-craft-book embroideries because they have this straightforwardly sweet, naive kind of quality, but they don't iron-on. I also bought some Stitchettes from Hillary but I haven't done those yet. She kindly made the iron-ons for us, so that transfer operation will be painless. Just gotta figure out what I want to put them on. So cute. And Jenny's stuff is always super cool. I always give her little La Petite embroidery kits as gifts to people who haven't embroidered before but have expressed interest. They have everything you need to get going (except for the fabric, but she even sells blank stuff like bibs and tea towels now, too).

Embroidery3 Anyway, it's really fun. I'm almost done with my ripple blanket (soooooo ready to be done with the ripple blanket, I have to say) and though I have plans to start a new granny-square one, I think I'm going to do some more tea towels for some birthdays coming up. I think those make cute presents, maybe with some sugar roses or a bottle of sprinkles for cupcakes. Wouldn't that be a cute little prezzie for a girlfriend?

Dogandpillow2 I woke Audrey up again to show her the new blog banner that was replacing her.

Dogandpillow1 I think she felt kinda bad.


this takes me back to the time in high school when i crafted a way to get in-school supsension so i could have an entire uninterupted day to finsh embroidering my jean jacket. lord i should have been homeschooled! i still have the jacket, but do not embroider much. i'd love to get back into it, that kit seems like a good place to start. thanks. i hope audrey understands you need to redecorate once in a while-love the new banner!

I am loving those cakes! I exclaimed out loud when I saw the banner change yesterday. Not a great plan considering I was secretively checking it out at work!

Where did the cakelettes come from?

Your blog is a sweet little spot of light in my day! And might I say, as a connoisseur of charismatic and eccentric dogs (like my own grumpy, geriatric darling), that Audrey is hauntingly magical. What a beauty of a beast.

Oh, lovely. All of it.

And yesterday's post was excellent - the way it sparkled and flowed and made me laugh. Amy is still on the floor, in my mind, with you bellowing at her from above.

Your embroidery (and designs) is beautiful. Isn't it great that embroidery floss is so cheap and so beautiful? When I stand infront of the DMC display I feel anything's possible!

I do love the embroidery banner, but I will say that I can't blame Audrey for being a little hurt for being bumped. My daughter (1 and half yrs) loves looking at her. She is awefully cute sleeping!

I love embroidery~I started learning this craft when I was very young also. I miss those old stamped pillow cases too. Your work is quite impressive. Do you ever do the little crocheted scalloped edges on pillowcases? Your little french knots ~ superb! Thanks for sharing and giving inspiration ~ for all good things!


I even like to iron-on a pile of projects all at once so I have them ready to go and don't have to transfer too often. And I'm loving redwork so I don't have to choose colors and can just keep stitching!

Your stitches look just perfect Alicia! And here I have been, all this time, taping my stuff up to sunny windows, contorting myself on top of tables and chairs to trace my designs. I need a lightbox!

Tell Audrey that I miss her sweet face. I love your new banner too, but maybe keep that to yourself :)

It's like you read my mind because I've been itching to do some embroidery all morning and was just about to some iron on ones now that little one is down for a nap. Would you mind sharing where you found this patterns or did you make them up yourself? Thanks.
Love Love Love the banner and embroidery

Hugs to Audrey... such a cutie

I have not done embroidery or cross stitch in a while. I have about 3 or 4 cross stitch items that have been hung and are around the house. A few more that need to be stretched and framed. I am always amazed I have the patience to do work on linen. Must be from my grandmother. She died when I was 4, but I have the most amazing crewel pieces from her. I actually have a forest kit she never finished. May have to get back into it since Em now has soccer practice. It is easy to tote along. Yes, that will be the soccer project, to finish my grandmother's forest kit.

I am trying to find some cool pictures of horses that can be transferred for the horse freak in my house. I do have the stitchettes from Hillary as well. I went to Aveda the other day and joined their "club" and you get a free gift when you join. It has shampure and conditioner and hand and foot cream.. but.. it is in this neat little linen bag. Think I am going to do some of Hillary's stuff on it! At least for starters.

I am going to have to look for the Japanese book you bought. Lovin' the pastry stuff! Too cute : )

Poor Audrey! It's ok, puppy! I'm sure mommy will put you up again soon!

I am in awe of those sweets, Alicia! Like every other project I have been working on, I am just learning embroidery, and so far it is my favorite!

Did you use one strand of floss or actual silk thread? Can you even use thread for embroidery? (something tells me that was a stupid question, lol!)

Your posts are always written to coincide with my own thoughts, sometimes it's a little eerie! This isn't the first time its happened...

Anyway, I've been staring at my daughter's drawings, that she sticks up all over the wall in front of, next to, and above my computer, wondering how best to transfer them so I can turn them into wall quilts. I use a lightbox, too, but usually just with a mechanical pencil (lazy, lazy me), so it inevitably smudges and leaves my hands or the work a little grey. Do you mind telling me what washable fabric marker do you use? I've only found ones that are quite thick and I've never been able to do much with them. I love embroidery, it's so soothing and simple. Have you seen the new Martha yet...?

I want to kiss that dog all over her face! And I'm not a dog-kissing type. I'm more of a cat person, but when I looked at those pictures I wanted to hug and squeeze that little sweetheart. Thanks for the lovely pictures...again and again.

Oh man, I LOVED LeeWards (fellow Illinoisian). When I first moved to Elgin, there was a LeeWards Outlet - spent many a paycheck there.

You can still can still get stamped pillowcases at Herrschner's (I cannot vouch for the quality of the fabric):

Love the pastries!

Audrey actually looks kinda sad in that last shot, but I love the new banner and the cute pastry towels which your lawyer/baker friend will adore. Wish I could make that kind of stuff, but I am almost afraid to add sewing stuff to the painting stuff. I'd have to move!!!

ooh!! the new banner is very pretty.

Delurking to say ahhh yes, Lee Wards. And Ben Franklins. Those were my two favorite stores as a kid.

Audrey is the cutest dog on the world wide web. There, I said it.

what a sweet lil' puppykins! I love Audrey's facial expressions.

As far as embroidery is concerned, it takes me forever to do something. I'm much quicker at knitting... I think it's because I can knit and watch tv without stabbing myself.

Perfect gift! Your friend is going to love it.

And Miss Audrey, at least you are still over there on the sidebar. =)

Ah, embroidery. My mom taught me when I was in grade school, but I lost interest and put it aside. Then, one night down in the dreary basement of my college dorm (my roommate was a light sleeper and didn't appreciate my all-nighters) I was suddenly swept away by ideas for embroidery, different than any I had been taught. I revelled in images of color and texture, and tumbled through so many possible designs (all from my own head) that I had to write them down. It was all I could do to drag my thoughts back to Thomas Aquinas and finish the paper I was supposed to be writing (not my best), and as soon as class was over the next day I raced to the nearest fabric store for embroidery floss. I have embroidered ever since, but now I think embroidery was just the crack through which my real love, textiles in all their forms, pushed through my dull academic aspirations. It took a long time for me to realize it, but when I look back, that night was my first experience of my rightful path.

Terrific new banner. Love the fabulous embroidered pastries. Great stuff you're doing.

[And I was resonated with the whole "no fuss about it" statement about your mom and her handiwork. I think about all the amazing stuff my grandmother made, and how she did it so matter-of-factly and then just gave those things away to all of us, and there was no fanfare, no blogging, no "isn't this cute?" She just made her things and gave them away, that was it.]

Swooning over the embroidery and the banner...I have been craving some embroidery busy-ness, and I picked up Jenny Hart's book to get me started~thanks for more inspiration!

lucky chicken, i wish i could go eat curry with you. i finally found your magazine at my local bookstore. wow, so fantastic. so happy for you :)

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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 aliciapaulson.com