Posts filed in: Embroidery

New Designs Now Available!

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Evening Skate Blog

Update regarding Typepad problems: Apparently the problems at Typepad have been solved and the blog should be working these photos should look normal now — I truly apologize for the frustration, and thank you all for the orders! Back tomorrow with a normal blog post, fingers crossed everything works!!! Agh!

BUT: Hello! Do you like WINTER? Oh boy I do. I have three new designs for winter and Christmas for you! The first is EVENING SKATE, above!

This design was inspired by its frame. Weird, I know. But one morning I was browsing eBay for vintage frames, as I do, and I found four of these matching frames available for a pretty decent price, so I bought them. They're nice and generously sized — the frame opening is about 9.5" x 12.5" — and the frame itself was thin, the way I like. The wood color and finish just reminded me of some of my mom's embroideries from the '80s. And it got me thinking about what I wanted to design for this.  Since I had four of them I knew I would do a seasonal series for winter, spring, summer, and fall. And I've been wanting to do something kind of Grandma Moses–inspired for a while. So I had the idea of the ice-skating rink I used to go to in my old neighborhood, when I was a child. It was an outdoor rink at Keystone Park in River Forest (Illinois), a few blocks from the house where I grew up. Every year they would flood the park and make an ice-skating rink for the neighborhood. On winter weekends when we were growing up, my friend Monica Sloger and I would meet up at the end of my street and walk with our pom-pom-decorated skates hung over our shoulders to Keystone Park to skate. It would be so cold, so we'd have double-socks on, and hats and mittens and scarves. Sometimes we'd bring thermoses of hot chocolate to drink in the warming house there. Oh, we used to skate for hours and hours. They would shovel snow off of the rink and pile it up around the sides. Sometimes the big boys would play hockey on one side of the rink so you'd have to watch out. Neither Monica nor I had ever taken any lessons or anything like that, so we weren't very good. But we'd hold hands and try to help each other skate backwards, occasionally do a wobbling spin. When it got dark, we'd head home, walking under the train tracks and near the woods. Funny how I was never afraid then. If it was Sunday, I knew my mom would be making dinner, maybe spaghetti sauce (just "sauce," if you're Italian — we are [though apparently not by DNA, I've come to find out — story for another day]) or chicken and dumplings or beef Stroganoff. Something rich and warm. And my fingers and toes would be just bone cold, and I'd run them under warm water, trying to resist turning it up as hot as I could. Gosh, I just loved ice skating. I remember when I first moved to Portland twenty-five years ago I was stunned to find out it doesn't really snow here. I'd had no idea! I'd never lived anywhere that it didn't snow, and Portland seemed pretty far north to me? But no. Skating happens indoors here (and I have a reconstructed foot, so it doesn't happen for me now at all). But those starry, sparkling-cold nights walking home from Keystone Park still live in my dreams as one of the best parts of childhood, and one of the things that I look back on with longing.

So Evening Skate is my tribute to that place and that time. I have three more designs for spring, summer, and fall planned, and spring and summer are already designed. All four designs are similar in that they share the same alphabet and general design elements, though the details are different. Spring is has a group of people planting a garden, summer has them swimming in a pond, and fall will have them picking pumpkins in a pumpkin patch.

It is stitched on 32-count Belfast linen in Mystic Gray. The design area is 8.63"w x by 10.5"h (22cm x27) on 32-count, and 138 stitches wide x 168 stitches high. The work is done with DMC six-strand cotton floss. Almost all of the design is done with 2 plies of floss over 2 threads EXCEPT for the doggie, which is done 1 over 1. It's not as hard as you'd think, so please don't be intimidated by that. (I just needed that dog to be a dog, and I couldn't do it 2 over 2.) Kits include a printed full-color pattern with a four-page chart, the fabric, and all the floss you need. The frame is not included in the kit. :) The kit is available here. The PDF pattern-only is available here with both full-color and black-and-white four-page charts. This is a big pattern. I recommend printing patterns at 100% (no scaling) at high quality for best results.

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Next up is CHRISTMAS IS COMING! This is a cross-stitch ornament kit that includes everything you need to make the four ornaments here. The finished size of them is about 3" x 3" (and the stitching area is about 2" square). The pattern with the kit includes full-color charts as well as a photo-illustrated tutorial on how to mount the stitching to make the ornaments. The kit includes the cross stitch fabric (32-count Belfast linen in Stone Gray), the cardstock on which you will mount the stitching, the vintage calico fabric, quilt batting to make the stitching a bit puffed up, the ribbons, and four of these cute little "2022" charms with 8mm jump rings to attach to the back (or front, if you like):

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Cute! We have Andy Paulson to thank for these! (And I still have many extra charms on-hand, so if you are buying the PDF pattern for this but you need some charms, please email me and I’ll send you some!)

Anyway, these little ornaments were designed kind of on a whim – I don’t know but I have just been feeling so nostalgic lately, and yearning for things that remind me of home (as in, childhood home). I was remembering this time when I was around Amelia’s age, probably a few years older, and I was in a play called Ebenezer. It was a version of A Christmas Carol that was put on every year by the Village Players in Oak Park (Illinois) and I was a member of the children’s cast for several years (any suburban Chicagoans out there remember the Village Players?). We kids had a pretty small roll (it was a mostly adult community theater company) so the group of eight or nine of us kids spent a LOT of time just hanging out in a room backstage, waiting to go on. It was such a fun time. The production was Victorian and we had to have our own costumes. One year (this was sometime in the early 1980s) I saw the cutest outfit probably at Marshall Field’s or Weiboldt’s (those were two of our department stores in Oak Park) and it was a long skirt and a vest made out of dark green velveteen trimmed with cream-colored rosebud calico, worn with a high-collared, full-sleeved kind of prairie blouse with a little self-tie at the neck made out of the same calico as the trim. Oh, I wanted it so bad! But it was expensive and my mom said it was too expensive. At the time, Weiboldt’s still had a fabric department upstairs. And I remember we went up there and looked through the pattern books and found a pattern (seriously, it was probably this one, or something very similar to this) and found green velveteen fabric and cream rosebud calico and she literally made me practically the exact same one that I wanted but even better. It was perfect. I loved that outfit so much. I felt so excited to wear it every night of that play. My mom could and would sew me anything I ever wanted, even in college, and it was all beautiful.

Well, these little calicos are vintage ‘80s and remind me exactly of that outfit, and the cream rosebud one might have even been the exact fabric that my mom used for my outfit. It looked exactly like that. I wanted to design something that was very simple with very few colors that would be really good for beginners, or if you just wanted to whip something up for a friend or co-worker in one evening. And if you want to make all four for your own tree I think that would be wonderful. And I hope they spark a happy memory of days gone by for you, too. The Christmas is Coming! kit is available here. And the PDF pattern is available here. :)

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Now on to what I think/hope might be a memory for Amelia. This past summer, the ballet school she’s been going to since she was three closed down permanently. Amelia is a casual dancer – I mean, I don’t think she’s serious enough about it (or anything yet) to really pursue it to any great extent. But she enjoys it well enough and I want her to do some kind of after-school sport (I have a lot of thoughts about this that I find myself needing to express to someone, anyone, somewhere, but I will spare you here and save that for a post for another day), so we decided to keep doing ballet but at a different ballet school (further away, more expensive, but we’ve decided to give it this year to see if it’s still something she wants to continue to do. This school is lovely (from what I can tell; parents aren’t let in the buildings anymore, unfortunately) and they do quite a production of The Nutcracker every year.

When Covid hit, Amelia was in first grade and she was a couple of months away from being in her first ballet recital, which was scheduled to be held in the big theater at a nearby community college. That got canceled and never was rescheduled. Then they had a very small in-person performance for just parents this past summer, but it was basically in their regular classroom and not particularly fancy. So this year, she will be in her new school’s production of The Nutcracker and it feels like kind of a big deal! She is a “party girl” from the “rich family” (which of course she is thrilled by, ha!). This is in the party scene at the beginning. She is wearing a fancy white dress (and apparently her sash is purple, though I didn’t know about the purple sash when I designed this, or I might have made it purple instead of blue; though I guess blue feels more traditional) and also a “wiglet” (I wish I had a video of the first time I showed her the wiglet – her face was hilarious – she just stared at it like she was trying to figure out what it was and then she finally understood it and burst out laughing – it’s basically a cluster of ringlet curls that they wear over their buns).

Anyway! I personally love The Nutcracker and I designed this for Amelia because I think, even if she doesn’t decide to continue to dance, this will be a memorable experience for her, just like my childhood theater stuff was for me. Aside from singing one song onstage with her first-grade class at parents’ night a few years ago, she’s never been onstage before. I just wanted to make something to celebrate this ballet that is beloved to so many people during the Christmas season. In my design, NUTCRACKER SWEET, Clara wakes from her snowy, sweet dream under the giant tree. . . .

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I had more fun stitching this than I have had in a long time! It is done on 32-count Belfast linen in Blush with DMC threads. You could easily change Clara’s skin tone and hair coloring to reflect your own dancer’s with a little bit of extra floss that you might have, or if you need some let me know what kinds of colors you need and I’ll be happy to send along. My favorite parts of this design are the owl clock and the mouse crown (which Amelia herself suggested). I will say that it has been really difficult to get this Belfast Blush here – I’ve been waiting for it for way over a month, and they were only able to send me seven yards. (“Supply chain issues” are real, and really frustrating.) So we have a total of only EIGHTY kits in stock right now – if you want this one, don’t wait. We will make more when more fabric comes in, but I’m having a very hard time pinning my distributor down on when exactly that will be. So I honestly feel incredibly grateful that they were able to send me seven yards, and I’ve been waiting to launch these here until I had it in my hot little hands (because mama has been burned before, people). Anyway, we have eighty kits in stock right now and will be shipping all orders next week. The Nutcracker Sweet kit is available here. And the PDF pattern (with both color and black-and-white charts) is available here.

And to go with this, my gosh this is a lengthy post, but we also have a new lotion bar, called SUGARPLUM lotion bar:

Sugarplum Blog

Yes. I could not resist. This would make such a sweet little stocking stuffer. It is a bit more petite than our other lotion bars. It is made with beeswax from the local bees of Mickleberry Gardens (and their beeswax is absolutely the best, and I have tried a few); coconut oil; shea butter; lanolin; and a natural fragrance oil from my favorite trusted source for apothecary supplies, Brambleberry (you can read about the difference between essential oils and their natural fragrance oils here). It has a sweet, fruity scent that is a mix of grapefruit, raspberry, melon, sweet pea, rose, and coconut. It is perhaps a less sophisticated scent than our other lotion bars made with essential oils. But it is just delightful and I’m so happy to add it to our collection for the holiday season. We have just restocked ALL of our lotion bars after being sold out for a while (they go quick) – but Andy made a ton of these for me last week while he was home on vacation, thank you babe! So they are ready for you and make great little teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, or hostess presents. As always, they come in a reusable tin, ready for gifting.

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Okay guys, I have rambled on for a long time here. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to post this but as I said, I needed to have that pink fabric in hand before I said a word about any of these, and on top of that, Typepad does not seem to be working properly, either (I can see that these photos are cut off on the side, but I think it's on their end, so will try to investigate). I also think I will trot out my backlist winter designs (I forgot to do it for fall) again here soon because I do like to do that on the blog to see all the seasonal stuff together, but that will wait until next week. I’m so excited to have these new things out here, and I truly wish you many happy hours of stitching these designs in the coming colder days. Much love to you all, and thank you for being here. Xo, a

Also: I'm just so curious: What are your memories like this, that you find yourself returning to? Specifically, I mean? Do you have a certain winter memory that just makes you smile, or cry, or . . . something in between? If you have time please share them here with me, especially the little details. I'm feeling so strangely full of longing these days (maybe this happens when your baby turns 10? I don't know) and I really want to hear if anyone else can relate.

Pumpkin & Moonshine, and Something for the Birthday Girl!

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BlogBeauty

Hello! This is my new kit and pattern for Halloween! It's called Pumpkin & Moonshine (inspired by one of our very favorite books). I have always wanted to do some little silhouettes and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! These designs are done on 32-count Belfast linen in the color Antique Ivory, which is sort of like this wonderful, warm pale pumpkin-rind color. And they are stitched with two skeins of DMC six-strand cotton floss in color #3371. The kit is $23 and includes a full-color printed pattern with a black-and-white chart, a 14" x 16" piece of fabric that you can use to stitch both designs, and two skeins of floss. The kit is available here. The downloadable PDF pattern is available here.

The framing supplies are not included in the kit, but here's the story of how I framed these: I often surf eBay for vintage and antique frames for my cross stitch. Some old frames come in really weird sizes that are not standard. I found two little 3" x 7" frames, new in their package, and the price was right so I ordered them. Before they came I was excited and I went ahead and designed these based on the reported frame opening. By the time the frames came, the stitching was done — but the stitched pieces looked really bad in the frames. (The frames were too dark and heavy, and the stitching went way to close to the opening edges, and I just didn't like it.)

So I cut two pieces of 1/4"-thick foam core that were 4" x 8" and wrapped my stitched fabrics around them. (By the way, I buy these boards to use for my cross-stitch pieces, and cut them with a sharp Exacto knife if necessary, and I use short sequin pins to secure the fabric through the edges of the foam core — if you are interested in a tutorial for how I do this, I have details here.) Then I cut a few pieces of kraft cardstock (you could use a cereal box, or some cardboard pieces, or a leftover flat mailer) that were just 1/4" wider all the way around than the mounted embroidery (so, 4.5" x 8.5"). I happen to have a plum tree out front with very straight twigs on it, so I cut some of those perfectly to size (keep the top one a bit longer) and hot-glued them to the cardstock just on the verrrry edges of the cardstock. Make sure you can fit the mounted embroidery in the space and then you can glue that in, too (though I just used fabric glue for that — hot glue around actual embroidery kind of scares me because I'm not that good with it and the glue gun is always falling over and getting on everything). Then I tied a little piece of leather cord (kinda like this one, which comes in a bunch of colors) to the longer ends of the top twig. And voila! I really like them!

I am using a new printer and all four of my new patterns that I am kitting (including three Christmas patterns that I will be releasing in the next week or two) were sent to the printer last week and they are due to arrive here on Monday, September 26. As soon as they get here we will get Pumpkin & Moonshine orders out the door on Tuesday, as I have all the fabric cut and the floss is waiting!

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I have also designed this sweet little treat, called Birthday Girl. I made it for Amelia's upcoming birthday because this girl just loves her candy, and her cute little things, and balloons, and everything sweet. (It didn't seem right to use her actual name and birth date for something I was going to sell, so I just purposely made up a name and date that would fit her name perfectly, but I apologize if this bears any resemblance to someone's actual name/birth date! I'm going to frog all of this and replace it with Amelia's details when I get a chance.) I think it would also be so cute as a birth announcement for a new baby! It's quick to work up and really fun to stitch. The Birthday Girl pattern comes with both a full-color chart with symbols and a black-and-white chart with symbols, as well as a full alphabet chart with both capital and lowercase letters, numerals from 0-9, and a blank worksheet for you to create your own text at the bottom of the pattern. It is available only as a downloadable PDF pattern, not as a kit.

I am going to start designing more patterns that I release only as PDFs. This just sort of frees me up as a designer sometimes, as I don't have to worry so much about which fabric I am using and whether it's going to be available by the time I go to kit it, and which floss colors I'm using and whether I have enough to kit, etc. And also — it's just easier and faster to do a pattern, for obvious reasons! So yeah, more patterns coming in the future!

That said, as mentioned above, I have three more new Christmas/winter kits/patterns coming, and they are all finished and printed and are being shipped to me as I write. I don't want to launch them until I have the fabric in hand (that's the most important thing to have, and let me tell you, it can be tricky to get fabric in large quantities these days) and the fabric has been ordered, and some of it has been shipped (and some of it is on its way from Europe). I'm crossing every finger until it all gets here and then I will show you pictures and have all the information! I'm really excited. It feels so good to be making things!

Summer Stitching 2022

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Oh, you know it! I still want to be invited but I'm not coming! I'm staying home with my kitters, and my needle and thread, and my Monty Don shows and my nightgown and my Stella light and maybe the teensy-tiniest bit of guilt/regret, but I'll get over it! I can't help it. I'm an INTJ! And no matter how many times I take the personality test it never changes, for better or worse. Knit knit knit. Stitch stitch stitch. Make another cup of teeeeeea.

This piece is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss. Please note: Most of this piece is stitched "2 over 2," or 2 plies of floss over 2 threads of fabric. But the text is stitched "1 over 1," or 1 ply of floss over 1 thread of fabric. That's tiny! But you can do it.

Finished size of design area: 6.25"w x 5.2"h (16cm x 13cm); 100 stitches wide x 83 high on 32-count fabric

This design is available as a kit, and contains:
  • One 9" x 10" (23cm x 25cm) piece of 32-count evenweave linen from Wichelt in Mediterranean Sea
  • (29) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
  • Stitching instructions
  • Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
  • One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer

You will need:

If you'd like just the downloadable pattern available as a PDF (which contains color and black-and-white charts), please CLICK HERE.

To learn how to do counted cross stitch, please click here.

For help with framing your finished piece yourself, please click here.

 

Beauty3 blog

Here we finally have A Tender Year: June.

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This design was stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Dusty Peach) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. (If you'd like a tutorial on wrapping canvas with embroidery, please see this page.) It uses DMC floss. The pattern includes illustrations for all the stitches included, so if you are a beginner you should have no trouble. If you'd like to stitch along with the entire series, here are the January, February, March, April, and May patterns.

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We still have many kits left for some of my summer designs from previous years. This one is Strawberry Summer, also stitched on 32-count linen to fit in an 8" x 10" frame. It is also available as a downloadable PDF pattern.

Summer Wreath Cover Shot web shop

Here is Summer Wreath. It is available as a kit, with everything you need included, or a downloadable PDF pattern. This is part of an entire series, so if you are interested in stitching all four seasons, please see Spring, Autumn, and Winter Wreath kits. All PDFs for them are available here.

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Here is Things of Summer! It's probably one of my very favorite designs I've ever made. We have kits available, and also the PDF pattern. (Things of Autumn and Things of Winter kits are still available; unfortunately, the fabric for Things of Spring has been discontinued so that kit has sold out and will not be back in stock. PDF patterns are available for all.)

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There are a few sweet Summer Storm kits left. I feel like I have more of these in overstock but I will need to find them. It is also available as a PDF.

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This is the Midsummer Sprigs design. I cannot find where I ever did post about this, but I know I did! We never made this into a kit, but it has been available as a PDF pattern for many years. It is stitched with hand-dyed Weeks Dye Works floss, but DMC conversions are given in the pattern. I love this design. I have it hanging in my upstairs hallway. It's done on 28-count black linen fabric. If you think you might have trouble stitching on black, try stitching with a white dishtowel on your lap. It will really make the holes in the fabric pop, and you'll be able to "see your stitches" much more easily.

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I know I said that I would do a Scarborough Faire skirt sew-a-long! I think I'm going to have my hands too full this summer to organize that but I am going to make some of my vintage calicos available for sale. This skirt is just cool because there are no actual pattern pieces: Instead, you will take your measurements, plug them into my formula, and cut a bunch of rectangles based on that formula. The pattern walks you through the whole thing, with illustrations for every step. The pockets will fit your phone, keys, and wallet. I have four or five of these skirts now and I wear them constantly. Make it is short or long as you want.

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Have you stitched the Daisychain ABCs Sampler?

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If you have been wanting to, I have four crewel-wool packs for this pattern available in my shop right now. We found them when we were doing some spring cleaning and I've just listed them. You can also do this design in DMC floss, but it looks so cool in wool, I think.

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I have a few Summer Day lotion bars right now. We will try to restock all of the scents in the fall, when we have more time.

Last but not least, if you want to stitch a pretty Queen Anne's lace flower on something, I have a free pattern for that:

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I hope you find one of these projects to your liking. I love stitching in the summertime when the light seems to last forever and there's more time to linger with needle and thread. Please let me know if you have any questions about these patterns and kits, and thank you, as ever, for your interest in and support of my work. I appreciate it beyond words! XOXO

A Tender Year: April

comments: 14

Beauty1 blog

A Tender Year: April embroidery pattern is now available!

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This design was stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Bone) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. (If you'd like a tutorial on wrapping canvas with embroidery, please see this page.) It uses DMC floss. The pattern includes illustrations for all the stitches included, so if you are a beginner you should have no trouble. If you'd like to stitch along with the entire series, here are the January, February, and March patterns.

Thank you so much to every single person who purchased the March design last month. One hundred percent of all sales of that pattern in March was donated to the Ukrainian Bible Church here in Fairview, Oregon, to aid in their efforts to support displaced Ukrainians with food, shelter, and medical supplies. We were able to send checks totalling $360, and I hope that it helps in some small way, though the need is still so great. I know that all of us around the world have heavy hearts over what we have seen of this terrible war, and I continue to pray for peace and relief for all Ukrainians.

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I wanted to list here my other patterns and kits that you may find pleasing for spring, in case you missed them in the past. Above is a cross-stitch design called Whan That Aprille, and it is probably my favorite thing I have ever designed. It is stitched on 32-count Wichelt linen with DMC floss.

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The Spring Wreath kit is quick to stitch, and the kit comes with everything you need, including the instructions and designs as well as the fabric, floss, framing hoop, felt backing, and ribbon for hanging. I think it would make a perfect Mother's Day present, either in kit form or already stitched and ready to hang (if I do say so myself).

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The Time of Flowers cross stitch kit is also stitched on 32-count Wichelt linen with DMC floss. I originally designed this in 2018 and it was reissued last year. It's my homage to the springtime woods of the Pacific Northwest and it makes me want to go find some sheep to visit sometime soon (anyone have any sheep nearby that want visitors? Let me know!).

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I still also have kits left for my embroidered jewelry designs, called Flower and Frond. They include everything you need to make the five pieces of jewelry, including the chains, pictured here. This is so much fun to do, and quite detailed and fiddly, and I think you will be very proud to either wear of gift these finished pieces.

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Blackberries and Heather-bells is a PDF pattern; the kits sold out long ago and were not reissued (nor will they be). This is an embroidery project done with DMC floss on Kona cotton that frames in the 6" hoop. It is done mostly with one ply of embroidery floss. It was part of the Secret Garden collection that I did several years ago. This was my inspiration post for that, and these items were what was included in the collection. That was really fun. I should do something like that again. I did find a great vintage clothes-drying rack at the antique mall over the weekend that makes me want to dye a lot of yarn so hopefully I'll get that done for sale sometime this spring or early summer. We don't have anywhere to dry yarn in the house so I need to wait until the weather warms up so I can do it outside.

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Things of Spring is, alas, not available as a kit because the original fabric that I used is discontinued by the manufacturer (32-count evenweave linen from Wichelt in Provence Lavender, though you might be able to find it in fat quarters online, I don't know). It was done with DMC floss. I still love this one and think it could be equally effective on a pretty pink or darker purple.

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And you might like this little guy, the Spring Ring pattern. It's done on 28-count linen with DMC floss and will fit into a 4" embroidery hoop to frame. Simple but with lots of color changes, so you'll be done quickly but it will hold your interest as you stitch the flower wreath. I recommend having several needles threaded with different colors and using them like crayons to do a few stitches here and there as you go around. Keep them all threaded.

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Also, I made a black calico Scarborough Fair skirt last weekend in anticipation of warmer weather soon, and I thought you might like to make one. Maybe we should do a sew-along? I've never done one so I'd have to Google how to do that, but I would be up for it. This skirt is made entirely out of rectangles that you calculate based on your own custom measurements, so you can make it in any size up to a 44" waist (and you could go bigger than that if you want it a bit less full). If you haven't made one yet, give it a try. I have four or five of them and I wear them constantly throughout the summer. Keys, wallet, and phone in the pockets and boom, you're good to go.

I do have a new cross-stitch kit that I will be ready to launch next month. It's not seasonal for once so I've been kind of lax in getting it together, but I'll sneak you a preview in a bit and see what you think. It's small and sweet and a little bit silly. :) Thank you for being here and for your orders and please let me know if you have any questions! I am sorry I am late with this!

P.S.: By the way, the snow from yesterday is entirely melted and it's like it never even happened (except for many downed trees and crushed houses/cars), but now it's supposed to snow again tomorrow!

A Tender Year: March

comments: 4

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I designed this piece a few weeks ago, when the daffodils were just starting to emerge and the threat of war against Ukraine was not yet a reality. As the days have unfolded in more and more fear, sorrow, and destruction, my heart is breaking for the people of Ukraine and their children. A Tender Year: March PDF pattern is now available and all proceeds from the sales of this pattern through the month of March will be donated to the Ukrainian Bible Church here in Fairview, Oregon, where my Ukrainian friends go to church and which is collecting funds to help Ukrainians who have been hurt and displaced by Putin's invasion. I pray for peace for these devastated families and wish you all peace and thank you sincerely for your help.

A Tender Year: February

comments: 6

Cover Beauty 2 blog

A Tender Year: February embroidery pattern is now available!

I ordered a cutter quilt from Etsy the other day and it's supposed to be here today. I'm really excited. It's better than the one I lost. When it gets here I'm going to cut it up and make some hearts! I've been wanting to do this for many years! I don't know what's taken me so long. It's a big quilt so I think I'll be able to make some to sell here, but I'd better hurry — tomorrow is February already. Here is A Tender Year: February and I can't wait for you to embroider this little strawberry chiboust. It's so much fun to do these tiny little treats!

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This design is, as January's was, stitched on Kona cotton (this time in colorway Petunia) and wrapped around an inexpensive 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas. It uses DMC floss and one color of Appletons crewel wool, and there is a DMC substitution color listed if you don't happen to have Appletons lying around (obviously you could also use any tapestry or crewel wool, or even laceweight yarn). I still need to do a canvas-wrapping tutorial, I'm sorry — that really is on my list, I swear. I made a quilt over the weekend and decided to KEEP it for myself, so that was bonkers. I made a little cross-stitched label for it with the date on it and I actually put "2/2022" because I thought there would be no way I would finish it in January, and I actually finished it on Saturday, January 29. Ha. I swear, I get an idea in my head and I don't stop. I'll take pictures of that for you, too.

But, for now, here is the next design for A Tender Year. If you'd like to see January, it is in this post. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you! XO

January Morning

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Cold and rainy this morning. Dark. Sloppy muddy outside. Most of the kiddos are having trouble with Zoom this morning. I feel sorry for the teacher. He is trying hard to suss out the problems (we're suddenly having problems, too) and the kids are totally helping and agh, you know there are other skills being learned right now: patience, perseverance, cooperation, listening. The teacher methodically asks each one whether making the copy is working for them, and what kind of computer they have. School-issued Chromebooks like ours aren't working. And then: A kid just figured out how to get the copy to work on Chromebook and explained it to everyone, and then it worked for Amelia. My god, I secretly feel like crying! Success! Success! This moment was successful, and they all got there together. Over and over and over again. January. We can do this.

Thank you for all of your comments on my last post. I so appreciate them.

Meanwhile, Agatha does what Agatha wants. Agatha sits on the table. Agatha sneaks onto the counter. Agatha methodically drags every loose ball of yarn up the stairs overnight, meowing like a lunatic. In the morning we wake to a dozen skeins tossed around the upstairs hallway; she works hard. She has her own sweater (it's this one) and it is so disgusting, felted and stained and full of holes, a mere rag now, when, in its day, it was so beautiful. She drags it around, too, and every half a day it's in a different room, crumpled up on the floor. Agatha, since her spaying, now that her belly fur has just started to grow back, has reverted to type. She won't let you pet her, won't sit on your lap, will only really let Amelia pick her up consistently while she moans resignedly, plaintively (fifty times a day, until I have to say stop because I just can't take it anymore). We finally filled our neglected bird feeders and she spent two days perched with her front paws on the windowsill and her back paws on the chair, staring with wild eyes at all the squirrel, sparrow, and chickadee action, her pupils down to paper-thin shards. Mesmerized. Mostly what she likes to do is eat, and the vet says she's at the top end of her recommended weight at 8.5 pounds. If she has no food in her bowl, she will come down and try to beat up Clover. You'd think all the dragging-of-things-upstairs would burn a few calories for her. Apparently not enough.

I do love her so, though. My goofy little kitters.

Amelia has joined the chess club after school. Isn't that cool? I am so proud of her. Her teacher runs it, every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 until 4:30. They play on a digital board that looks fun, and she really likes it. She plays with her dad on a regular board in real life occasionally. I've never learned to play. Andy is good at games and so is Mimi and they play stuff a lot. I was never that good at them, even as a child, though I remember I really liked Mastermind and Battleship. I don't think we even have those right now. We should get them. Maybe she's too old for them now. We probably have thirty games we should go through and pass on. I know I should be reorganizing my kitchen cabinets right now, too. Cliched but true. They're a mess. I've got teetering towers of baking pans stuffed into every shelf, forty-five little bottles of desiccated cake sprinkles stuck to the bottoms of their jars, bags of Andy-chips and popcorn falling off of piles of cookbooks on the top of the freestanding cabinet. It's not terribly terrible, but neither is it nice or helpful.

My next-door neighbor, Gretchen, gave me this delightful book and I finished it in one day (probably the fastest I've ever read a book in my life). When I was done I wanted more like it and remembered I had this book which I'd never finished, so now I'm reading that. I sat in the cold car waiting for Amelia to do ballet class (they don't let parents inside anymore, and although it's only five minutes from the house it doesn't seem worth it to go all the way home just to come back in an hour) reading it yesterday after going to four coffee shops to get a chai to keep me warm (luckily it was this brand, my favorite) before I found one in the neighborhood that was open. Life. At night, I watch documentaries about the Windsors or mountain climbers or gardening. Just when I thought I'd watched everything ever made!

I'm not sure why but in some strange burst of energy I designed the first of a new series of embroidery patterns, even though I literally, in December, said to myself that I was done doing seasonal stuff (the deadlines!) for a while. Classic. So now I'm going to do one not only every season but every month. I'm not kitting it — it's only available as an instant PDF download. It uses Kona cotton in Fog and DMC 6-strand cotton floss (and one Appletons crewel wool, but you could easily substitute DMC floss for it).

The series is called A Tender Year, and this is January:

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It wraps around a 5" x 7" (13cm x 18cm) stretched canvas and is tacked on the back. I should do a tutorial on that for you, but I haven't yet. (It's easy, but let me know if you'd like to watch me do it.) You can get canvases pretty cheaply. Here's a pack of five for $5.99 but there are lots of places you can pick them up. It's kind of a cute way to finish a piece without a frame or without putting it in a hoop.

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The pattern costs $6 to download and there will be a new one every month. I have February's stitched and I will be better about launching the next ones on the first of the month. (I got this idea pretty late, so I apologize that it's already the second week of January, but it goes quick. You can probably finish it in a couple of days.) The product page has a list of supplies needed and details what is included in the pattern. I really enjoyed doing this and I hope you like it. If this isn't in your budget just shoot me an email and let me know and I will send it to you, on me. I want everyone who wants to be able to do this to do it. XO, a

Edited: I think Shopify is having some problems right now so the web site might not be working properly. Their status report says they're investigating, so I'll update when it's solved. Thank you! Update, 4:30 p.m.: Looks like they fixed it! Sorry about that!

* Winter Rabbit Now Available *

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Oh, I got so lucky with this design! It just hopped out of my fingers into the design program. Like, I drew the rabbit the way I wanted to on the first try. That literally never happens for me. I just really love this little guy. He scampers happily through the first snow of my imagination.

This embroidery is done on 32-count Natural Brown linen from Wichelt with 2 plies of DMC floss. The stitching area at this fabric count is 6" x 8" (15cm x 20cm), and that's 96 stitches wide by 128 stitches high. You can fit this in a ready-made 8" x 10" frame. All of the floss is included in the kit, along with the fabric, and the printed full-color pattern (if you prefer a black-and-white chart, as always just email me and I will send you the PDF for your use).

To order the Winter Rabbit KIT, please click here.

To order the Winter Rabbit PDF pattern only, please click here.

Cross stitch is done with #24 tapestry needles, so don't forget those if you need them. Our beautiful Hardwicke Manor hoops and Bohin heart scissors are back in stock, too.

And if you need any of the other kits in this series so far, we still have them all in stock. Click on the image to take you to the "Embroidery Kits" page where they all live.

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Thus ends the "natural" series, as we called it around here, never having come up with a better name. I was inspired by old-fashioned seasonal woodcuts for this series, and I really haven't exhausted that inspiration so it might come back. Gosh I love how they all look together. I don't know. 2021. The work of 2021 was rough. It makes me feel so many things to look at these, and to see beauty in them after all. I can't stop looking at them all together. How strange. I feel like crying. Why am I crying!

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Here! This is the Winterwoods ABCs Sampler Kit, now back in stock. It might have been the first cross-stitch kit I had ever designed. It is stitched on 28-count Cashel linen in Smokey Pearl with Weeks Dye Works hand-dyed floss.  I will design more kits with hand-dyed floss in 2022, I think. I love it but it's very expensive and it's nice to have kits, I think.

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We also have First Snow kits restocked. This was the first in a series from a few years ago. It's done on 32-count linen with DMC floss and fits in an 8"x10" frame.

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And Things of Winter is also now back in the shop!

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And we also still have Winter Wreath kits in the shop (along with the other designs from the hoop series). These are so quick to stitch up and make such nice little gifts.

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Last year we reissued one of my very favorites, Love and Joy. We still have them in the shop. It's done on 28-count linen with DMC and fits in an 8"x10" frame. Easy to change that year to 2021.

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And Anna has made a new batch of lotion bars so all of them are in the shop right now (but they go fast, so don't wait on them). They make perfect stocking stuffers! This one is Peppermint Cream.

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I also still have packages of pretty winter postcards available. Eight postcards with eight white envelopes.

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And ornament patterns (just one kind of kit left of these, Sweet Home).

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And don't forget this free pattern for A Flow'ret Bright crown for Santa Lucia Day. Just look at that sweet girl. Gosh. Four whole years ago this was, now.

I hope these early winter days are warm and cozy for you. Thank you again as always for your orders and your interest in my work. I'm more grateful that I can say. I wish you the simple joys of stitching this season. I will be back with more of what I'm up to next week and show you how we decorated our house this year. Our tree is up, our mantle is fancy, and want to bake some gingerbread cake right away. Love you guys. XOX, a

Autumn Designs Now Available!

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My third design in this year's seasonal series is called The Mist and All, and it is now available! The name of it is taken from this lovely poem by Dixie Willson:

I like the fall,
The mist and all.
I like the night owl's
Lonely call —
And wailing sound
Of wind around.

I like the gray
November day,
And bare, dead boughs
That coldly sway
Against my pane.
I like the rain.

I like to sit
And laugh at it —
And tend
My cozy fire a bit.
I like the fall —
The mist and all.

I just love that poem. I'm not sure when it was written; it appears in a book called Poems for Boys and Girls which was compiled by Marjorie Barrows in 1945. I love those old books of illustrated poetry compilations for kids. My mother had a few of hers from her own childhood that I remember just staring into for hours when I was a kid. I need to find them for Amelia. They're so cool.

This embroidery is done on 32-count Natural Brown linen from Wichelt with 2 plies of DMC floss. The stitching area at this fabric count is 6" x 8" (15cm x 20cm), and that's 96 stitches wide by 128 stitches high. You can fit this in a ready-made 8" x 10" frame. In this design I combined one ply each of two separate colors of floss for the areas of the owl head and wing, the mushroom cap, and the oak leaf. All of the floss is included in the kit, along with the fabric, and the printed full-color pattern (if you prefer a black-and-white chart, as always just email me and I will send you the PDF for your use).

To order The Mist and All KIT, please click here.

To order The Mist and All PDF pattern only, please click here.

Cross stitch is done with #24 tapestry needles, so don't forget those if you need them. Our beautiful Bohin heart scissors are back in stock, too.

And if you need any of the other kits in this series so far, we still have them in stock. Click on the image to take you to the "Embroidery Kits" page where they all live.

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Now, here is our hoop design for fall, Autumn Wreath.

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This is the fourth and final 4" hoop design of 2020-2021 and I have loved developing these. They are inexpensive, quick to work and frame, and make great gifts. The kit includes a printed pattern, two pieces of muslin fabric (one for stitching, one to use as a liner when framing), all of the floss you need, a hoop for framing, a piece of felt for the backing, and a ribbon for hanging.

To order the Autumn Wreath KIT, please click here.

To order the Autumn Wreath PDF pattern only, please click here.

You will have to trace the design onto your fabric so it can be helpful to use this fine-point water soluble marker for that (sold separately).

And if you'd like to purchase any of the other kits in this series, we have those as well. Click on the image to take you to the "Embroidery Kits" page where they all live.

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We also have re-issued a limited number of autumn kits from last year and the year before.

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This is the Things of Autumn kit from fall 2020. It's also done on 32-count fabric with 2-plies of floss. It's part of the "Things Of" series, and yes, Things of Winter kits will be reissued in a few weeks, too. (Things of Spring kits are entirely sold out because very unfortunately the fabric has been discontinued. Things of Summer kits are still available.)

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This is The Leaves by Hundreds Came from fall 2019. It's also done on 32-count fabric with 2-plies of floss. Its reissued companion pieces, Summer Storm (summer) and Time of Flowers (spring) are still available, and First Snow (winter) will be reissued in a few weeks.

Last month Andy was putting things away for me up the attic and let me know that there were four boxes filled to the brims of already-cut fabric strips for Calicozy ComfyQuilt top kits, just waiting to be assembled. I honestly do not know why these were up there and why I had not yet made them into kits, but now I have. You might remember these quilts from when I originally made them several years ago:

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They are made almost entirely of vintage cotton calicos from the 1980s (some might be before, some a bit after) and Kona cotton solids. This quilt is set on-point, so the square patches actually display as diamonds. It is designed to be turned inside out instead of bound, tied at each patch intersection, and filled with a poufy, inexpensive comforter from Ikea (though you can use batting, if you like). The Ikea comforter can be purchased both at the Ikea store and on-line.

To make the Calicozy ComfyQuilt, you will also need to purchase the Calicozy ComfyQuilt PDF pattern, available only as a digital download, HERE.

And then if you are interested, you can purchase a quilt-top kit of ready-cut 4.25" solid and calico strips (please note that the kits are for the TOP ONLY — please review the pattern page to see what other supplies you will need to finish this quilt) in one of several colorways, shown below. The kits that I've made up come with all of the fabric, including calicos and solids, you need for a Throw size quilt (58" x 58" [147cm x 147cm]). That is the only size I am offering. The fabrics are already cut into 4.25" strips so all you need to do is cut those into 4.25" squares and go, go, go! I made these composites on my computer to show you the fabrics that are likely to be included (though you might not get every single one, and you might get one or two that is not pictured). Click on each image to be taken to my web shop where you may purchase a kit in the Throw 58" x 58" (147cm x 147cm) size.

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Okay, now! We also found some Phyllis Mouse and Dandelion Doe supplies in the attic, and I have made these up with vintage calicos as well. Do you remember these girls?

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We no longer have Liberty fabric dress fabric available for these kits, but I've used a large range of vintage calicos (with 100% wool sport-weight yarn from Brown Sheep) for them instead. Click on all of the little thumbnails on each product page to see all of the prints that are available for each animal. All of the items included in the kit are listed in detail on the product page, so please have a look at those and let me know if you have questions.

And last but not least, we have more Autumn Woods lotion bars, too! These are made with beeswax from local bees; coconut oil; unrefined shea butter; lanolin; and essential oils of cedarwood, fir, balsam Peru, and a drop of cinnamon. They have an earthy, spicy scent, and are perfect for fall. I just used mine last night on my elbows and it was nice.

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WHEW. That was a lot. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope these projects bring you some joy and peace this fall. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to respond directly. Thank you!

UPDATE, 9:30 a.m. PST: The USPS has temporarily suspended all First Class International shipments to Australia, as of September 17, 2021. I have disabled shipping to Australia on my web site for now. When the USPS resumes shipping, we will be able to ship to Australia again. So sorry for the frustration. If you are in Australia and you would like me to hold items for you until further notice, please send me an email or leave a comment here and I will get in touch to arrange that, no big deal. Thank you! Xo, a

Also: We ran out of the temporary tattoos we have included with orders for many years! It looks like the original company we used doesn't make them anymore. Let me know if you liked having those and want me to find another company to make them. Or let me know if you didn't care either way! It's always good to know these things and I don't think I have ever asked!

August Days

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I’m doing this post from my iPad. This is a first so I wonder if these photos will format correctly (ed: they did not, but I fixed them on computer :((( ). Forgive, it seemed better than nothing. These were all on my iPad from the past few weeks. This was August. I’ve had a keen, poignant sense this month of wanting to not “waste” a moment on Amelia's behalf. I try to get us out all day, every single day. I’ve never really done that before, except by accident. This week it’s been morning tennis lessons at the park. The tennis courts are way off in the corner of the park, overlooking the dry hill and the railroad tracks down below. Beyond the tracks is the multi-use path and then the Willamette River that cuts our city in two, east side and west side. We are decidedly east-side people this summer, sticking close to home and, in fact, going to Sellwood, a neighborhood a few miles south. Suddenly everything we do is in Sellwood: Sellwood Park and Sellwood pool and Sellwood tennis lessons, and the rhododendron garden near Sellwood, and my fish-burrito place and Reed College canyon, and my mom’s house and then, I don’t know, back to Sellwood for something again. Too bad we don’t just live in Sellwood. But we've been outside all month nevertheless.

My god, the tennis lessons are terrible. Twenty-five little kids, two teenagers literally on their phones. The “teachers” are sitting on the ground looking at their phones. The kids throw balls across the court for a half an hour. That’s the activity. Just throw balls across the court while the teachers take a break at 10:30 in the morning. Then at 11:00 they do their main activity. That’s stand in line, wait your turn, then go to one side of the court and "serve" a ball over the net. They can barely hit a ball. Amelia throws it up fifteen feet in the air and backwards over her head. If they whiff it, and most of them do, too bad, that’s their turn. Then they go to the other side of the net and “receive” (mostly nothing). Then they go back and wait in line again. They do this for another hour (the teenager, lobbing balls dolefully toward them, gives them no instruction, no advice) and then the lesson is over. There’s only one other mom who stays for the lesson, as I do, knitting at the picnic table up the hill. She, chasing a toddler, is apoplectic (love!), has already emailed and called the director with complaints, and we’ve both spoken to the teenagers — alas, this is all on plan. After the lesson, we compose: Amelia is thrilled, pink-cheeked and delighted that she hit two over the net. She’s with her bright-pink backpack and her racket and her pink water bottle, in shorts, knee socks, and a button-down Peter Pan–collared blouse over a long-sleeved striped t-shirt with her hair in two long, tangled braids, smiling and telling me that tennis is her new hobby, that she’s going to be in the Olympics when she’s a teenager, she will be, in the Olympics, but for gymnastics. All of this breaks my heart in a hundred thousand different ways. I feel pieces of it exploding weakly up into the parched, ancient pine trees above. The air is cool and scented with pine and chlorine. It’s the end of summer and I ache with love and sorrow daily, in every moment. I love her so much and want every good and golden thing for her, every day. She screamed at the park yesterday when the ice-cream man came and she got her Powerpuff Girl ice-cream bar, literally screamed like she'd been bitten; I froze with alarm and turned to look at her but she was just that happy, and we all, even the kids, bubbled with laughter.

I won't tell you about the hellscape of the hospital or what it's like right now, the things that Andy tells me and how tired he is, how hard it is day after day, the beds in the hallways and the skeleton crew, and I burn with a helpless and bewildered fury that it has come to this. Every day, tears in my eyes, trying, trying. We've been instead focused on organizing some of the house a little bit, and had a big shelving unit delivered yesterday to replace Andy's desk, which has become a catch-all for his stuff in general. It's basically become a shelf that really sucks as a shelf. The only time he actually sits at the desk is the day, maybe twice a year, that he cleans off the desk, and that only lasts minutes, at the most. Seems dysfunctional to have a desk that only gets used for fifteen minutes a year. So, once again with the giant wall of cube holes, and storage cubes, and putting things away, and fixing the smallest spaces in a futile effort to assuage the greater chaos and terror of the world at large and all that we cannot control in it.

The weather, hallelujah, I have zero complaints about, and today it will be 75 degrees, max. This makes doing outside things (oh you pretty things!) so doable and delightful, and today, after tennis, we'll go (again and again) to the park.

I have two new fall designs, the next in my seasonal series, coming out soon. I’m still stitching them — well no, I’m still stitching ONE of them. I haven’t even started the hoop-design stitching because the cross stitch is taking forever! It has large areas of solid color. This series has been kind of a departure for me but I have really grown to love it (though I might be the only one — it has not been a bestseller) But did you see the digital on Instagram??? It's adorable. I’m hoping they’ll both be out by early October, at the rate I’m going. I’ll also be reissuing Things of Autumn from last year, as well as The Leaves by Hundreds Came, from 2019, and Andy still has to pull floss for all four of these designs and you can see why things take us a while. . . . But we will get there.

Amelia will stay home this fall and will be enrolled full-time in our school district’s online-learning option. I reorganized her half of the office we share, and got an IKEA pegboard for various supplies and headphones, a computer-monitor riser to raise up the computer (which she doesn't actually use but I use for all my order shipping) and give her room to put her school-issued Chromebook beneath it, and a new filing cabinet for her folders and papers. I spent a few hours over the weekend sharpening every single colored pencil that would fit in the desktop carousel I bought for pens and pencils. I wish that I had done all of this for her last year. I don’t know why I couldn’t figure out that I needed to do this, and I think the disorganization of that desk space — it was all sort of an afterthought, and never didn’t feel like an afterthought, even eighteen months in — did not contribute to her success in any way, though, I mean, she generally succeeded in spite of my failures. I also think that the way we did it (working with her in the mornings on Oak Meadow [the Waldorfy curriculum that we purchased separately] and then having her go to virtual morning meetings with her class and then back to virtual math with them in the afternoon) was actually just hectic and confusing and divided her attention and ours in stressful and unproductive ways. Andy had much more fun with it (and she with him) than I did. But I’m always trying to do my own work in the margins, and that’s hard. Posie is a business and has always needed to be a business, not just a hobby; we rely on the money I make, and not working much these past few years has been really stressful financially, on top of it. We calculate each risk, and make decisions, and worry whether they are “right,” and try to get it all done the very best we can. Like everyone. But wow.

Shows I am OBSESSED with: Clarkson’s Farm and the fourth season of This Farming Life. Oh my gosh I love both of these so much. I love them and every single person in them. I guess I’ve secretly always wanted to live on a small British sheep farm. I didn’t know how much. I love Gardener’s World, too, of course, and there are a gajillion seasons of that, as well as Escape to the Country. But these farming shows. Aghhhh, they really have my heart.

To end, I made the sweet romper (out of luscious Woolfolk Far) for darling Emily’s new baby. And I cross stitched this adorable design by Samantha Purdy for my little sister’s birthday. I can also heartily recommend two Instant Pot recipes that I’ve made that are just awesome. Salsa verde chicken (I might’ve mentioned this one before, but I make it every single week now) and this chicken teriyaki, which Amelia inhaled (no surprise, it’s smothered in honey; you could probably reduce that easily). Also this sumac chicken was great. I like chicken and rice. One good thing about pandemic life is grocery delivery, which has been absolutely wonderful for me and I’m very, very grateful that it exists.

Thank you for the comments on my previous few posts. Your words mean a lot to me and I’m very grateful for your presence here, and for your orders and interest in my designs, at all times. Thank you.

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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