Posts filed in: Shop Talk

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.

Continuing my cat obsession I got this adorable paint-by-number for my birthday a few days ago and I worked on it a little this weekend. I have always wanted to do one of these. The areas are small. It's perfect for me because I like that. 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.

Natural Series

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

Natural Beauty

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I mean, what can I say. Mother Nature speaks for herself here, much more eloquently in a single arc of wild rosehips than I could ever hope to. I wish you could smell the forest, and hear the birdsong, hear the soft gurgle of the streamlets as they meander through the tangle of trees. Oh, soft days. Soft light. A line of black geese across the white sky. Amelia can't stop talking, bouncing ahead of me down the trail, carrying the trail map, looking for a spot to stop and have her snacks she packed. She's just so happy in the woods. After the arboretum (first set of photos; second set is from Mt. Talbert) we stopped at "elephant park" (it's near the zoo, and has a now-broken elephant statue in the sandpit) and then to Elephant's Deli and had lunch on the patio under the heaters, just us girls. It was just the absolute perfect day. After a summer of near-constant outdoor activity, it's rare that we have such perfect weather on the weekends, when she has no school. Wondrous nature and walks with my family, my healing salve, my joy. These days sustain me through the dark and the rain.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season will be upon us. I had lunch with my darling friend Beth Twist last week. We sat outside in our coats and scarves on the heated patio of the California Pizza Kitchen and ate and talked for four hours. We were the only people out there, ha! :) I had such a great time talking shop. My new design is coming, I swear — we just need to pull floss for it, but the fabric and the patterns are here, so I'll release everything early next week and we'll ship at lightning-speed. I never did show you the digital for it so now I guess I'll keep you in suspense for the real thing. It's my favorite yet in the series. Once we release this guy and the reissued winter kits next week we will be completely done with the reissues and this 2021 seasonal series. For once, the end of my work for the series is coinciding with the end of the calendar year. Aside from the wholesale-pattern-project I keep yammering on about, I have no idea what I am going to design for 2022! I really don't know! I have a lot of vague ideas but I haven't really dialed in a concept. Should I keep doing 8"x10" seasonal cross-stitch designs? Should I do some small little designs? Unique framing options (little grapevine wreaths as frames, for instance)? "Regular" embroidery (not cross stitch)? What should I do for 2022???

At night, I've been doing a lot of knitting. I just knit another sweater. I'll finish the last sleeve and then take a picture of it. I used bulky yarn that was in my stash. Bulky knitting on size US10 needles is not my favorite, but boy is it fast. I really like the CQ sweater and might knit that. I've been keeping my house pretty cold so I can wear all my knitted stuff. I've also really wanted to make a Gamaldags in this color combo for years. I need a hat. I never seem to have a hat for when it's really cold. Maybe this one. I love this sweater in this color. I bought myself two early Christmas/birthday presents and got this paint-by-number kit and this one. Are those not just so utterly adorable and weird??? I've been really indulging in the "selfish" crafting lately. You gotta kinda take what thrills you can get. I am reading this pretty spooky book called Madam that I saw on Melissa's Instagram. I'm about halfway through and I can't put it down. It's so creepy! I started reading it before Halloween but I am a slow reader. Fast knitter, slow reader! Update: I read the next thirty pages and then started skimming through to end and did not finish because it got seriously insane and disturbing. Do not recommend. Blech.

I wish you all a peaceful and abundant Thanksgiving weekend. I am so grateful for your friendship and presence here in my life! Thank you! XOXOXO P.S.: Amelia was horrified that the girls on the trail ahead of us pulled up the mushroom in the photo above and "left it alone there to die." I think they must have done it accidentally because I heard them talking but didn't know what they were talking about until we got to where they had been and saw the mushroom right there. Amelia wanted to replant it. Andy and I had recently watched this movie on Netflix so I didn't think it would work. It wouldn't have worked, would it have? Anyone know what kind of mushroom it is?

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.

COUNTRY HOUSE

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HOLLY JOLLY

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COZY RAINY DAY

Cozy Rainy Day Blog

 

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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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Miss Dandelion Doe kit

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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.

Summer Kits (and Lots of Soap) Now Available!

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Golly day! It's here! The day when I show you all the things! I was up at 4! Then I fell back asleep! Now I'm scrambling! This'll be short! You know what to do! It's Strawberry Season Cross Stitch Sampler Kit, above, and I love it! (Please note actual strawberries and actual flowers from our garden. Free photo props! Yay.) And here is the Strawberry Season PDF pattern.

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And this is your new hoop for summer, the eponymously named Summer Wreath. The kit comes with the printed pattern, floss, fabric, ribbon, and hoop for framing.  The Summer Wreath PDF is here. There will be a fall coming in 2021 and then we will be done with this sweet series.

Also, we still have MANY Spring Wreath kits, Winter Wreath kits, and Whan That Aprille kits (the first in the 2021 cross-stitch series) left available.

Now, as you might know, Andy and I made a whole lot of soap this spring and it is all now ready to come home to you. We make our soap by hand with all natural ingredients using the cold-process method. We have various but very limited quantities of eight different kinds of soap available today. They are all available here, along with our beautiful handmade, natural lotion bars (finally restocked!). Please enjoy browsing the soaps. I'm running late so I don't have time to post a picture of them each here, but they're nice. They're huuuuuge bars, they're gorgeous to use, I am super proud of them, and I mean seriously — I don't know if we'll ever do this again. We're funny like that. This was kind of a weird lark we both got on for a while during lockdown and I don't know if it will stick.

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I also just got a little bee in my bonnet to make these little mini Handmade Bubble Scoops, mostly for Amelia's baths but I also made some for you. Filled with natural butters, oils, and skin-loving ingredients, they'll bubble a little in your or your kid's bathtub and just make you smile. I think it would also make a sweet little gift. They're scented with blueberry, buttercream, summer berry, and apricot and smell delightful.

We have also issued 46 Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler Kits! Yay! You may remember these from many, many years ago. These kits include fabric, nine skeins of Appletons crewel wool, and a printed pattern with all the instructions for transferring and stitching the design you need. This fabric is discontinued by the manufacturer and once these are gone they are literally gone forever. We happened to have these pieces of fabric left over from our original launch in 2011 and I'm really glad. I loved this kit and am happy to have a few of these for you here.

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I had to include this picture because I literally laughed out loud when I saw the horizontal lines of the wainscoting and the picture frame tilted in opposite directions. I honestly don't know how the heavens I managed to do that, but I can't seem to correct it now so, there it is, my photography circa 2011. Not that I'm much better but I can see it now in a way I probably couldn't then. Or maybe I saw it then. I don't know, I can hardly remember 2011. Anyway.

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Anyway, because look, yay! We have 109 Things of Summer in stock!

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And I just wanted to remind you: We still have 53 Flower and Frond kits left, and these will never happen again, so please enjoy making jewelry this summer. I think you will love it. I'm really proud of these kits.

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This is a lot of stuff. Are you freaking out? I kind of am. My new assistant, Anna the Great, has been working overtime to stuff these kits and wrap soaps and cut fabric and bundle crewel wool while I've been snowed under a cascade of pattern writing and reprinting and printing. Anyway, I wanted to keep you busy this summer, too, so let me know if you have any questions, and as always, thank you for the bottom of my weary little heart. I love you.

P.S. I'm really rushing here so if any of these links are broken or go to the wrong place please let me know and I will correct, etc. Thank you! Also, I've changed my shipping charges to calculate based on the total weight of the order, so I'm praying that works — it's essentially untested because I couldn't figure out how to test, but yeah, let's do this! What could go wrong! :)

A Weekend at the Farm

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Hello! How are you?

Summer is here and I am thrilled. Amelia has three more days of school and then we are FREE. I've never been so happy about the end of the year before in my life!

Andy Paulson turned FIFTY a week or so ago! I spent the week before his birthday making a secret video (which turned out to be over 38 minutes long). I texted all of our friends and family and asked them to make a quick video of themselves saying "happy birthday" to him. Like, everybody. Literally every single person did it. It was epic. Some people were so creative they made entire little movies and wrote original songs! And so many people dropped in little comments in their videos about something very specific to themselves and Andy together. That was so moving to me (let's just say that when I showed Andy the video on his birthday morning I literally wept, sobbing, through the entire thing, ha!). But some people remembered stuff from college, from Missoula, from childhood, just all sorts of inside–Andy Paulson jokes that kept adding up into something just . . . I don't know, but it was pretty spectacular. I am a genius for thinking of this and feel free to steal the idea because it was epic!

The day before his birthday we went for a two-night stay at Dolan Creek Farm. What an enchanted place. From the minute we got there it was so pretty, the weather was so nice, the birds were so vocal, the sunset was so rosy, the breezes so cool. I mean, it was literally magical. The pictures above of Mt. Hood in the distance? Those are taken from the porch of the studio. Just, right from the porch. Where you sit and drink your coffee. And cows come up to the fence to say hello. And swifts swoop across the fields. And bullfrogs call across the pond. Agh. Andy kept saying, "It's just so big! There's so much space here! I'm never in this much space!" Amelia was beside herself with delight, getting to help gather eggs, bring the chickens in, and feed the horse her dinner. On the full day that we were there, I carried a quilt and my little chair to a big tree down by the pond and finished my book (All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews). Birds and bullfrogs kept me company. Andy and Amelia explored the farm and found another hidden pond. They played cards and ran through the fields. At night we barbecued and the owners, Kirk and Chris, started a campfire for us and showed us around the barns and talked to us about the history of the farm and the pumpkin patch they have in the fall and what it was like for their kids to grow up here. (Several nights later, Amelia stayed up way too late listening to music on her iPod and when I came upstairs she said, "Mama, I just listened to a song that reminded me of the farm ["Thank God I'm a Country Boy," which she and Andy had been playing all weekend] and I'm so sad! I want to go back to the farm! I want to go to the farm! Why can't we go for my birthday! [We can, but we can't stay overnight, because they don't let you stay overnight in October because pumpkin patch, etc.]" Anyway, she just utterly melted down, went downstairs to get a drink, came back up with her dad and did the whole thing again, crying true tears. I turned into broken pieces of hay. My god, my darling girl, I would give you a life on a farm if I could. It was my dream when I was a little girl, too, though I've never really mentioned it. Farm Fever is real. I was a bit older than she is but I used to cry myself to sleep I wanted a horse so bad. My parents' garage fell down in a snowstorm when I was ten and they rebuilt a new garage and painted it barn red with white trim and I thought I'd die of longing. No horse in there, just bikes and floaties and tools. Evermore.)

Anyway, it was the first time that we had been off the property at home in almost a year, and my god, it doesn't take much for us Paulsons. Two nights and a day at a farm forty-five minutes away on the backroads and we are REBORN. Ready to tackle these last few weeks of school, make some plans for the summer that involve rivers and trees, text friends to invite them along, hope for our own invitations, etc. Let it be, let it be! Vaccines!!!!!

My electric bicycle has arrived, and though I need to make some modifications to one petal so that I can fit my wonko orthopedic shoe on it safely AND figure out how to lift it into the back of the car (it's so heavy! it's so heavy!), I am further on the road to freedom and reinvention and I need it. Yesterday I saw a video on Instagram of a bunch of people dancing and singing to a band on the road by the reservoir in Mt. Tabor and I've never vicariously related to anything more. If only I had my pedal and could join them! I will get there. I'm meeting a bike guy on Thursday after I visit my friend in her rose garden and . . . just . . . life on earth. It can be so hard and so beautiful.

Much of the soap that Andy and I made six weeks ago and beyond six weeks is now cured, and wrapped, and ready to go! I think I'll have a launch. I've got two new patterns/kits, one a hoopdy and one a cross-stitch that will be ready within days of June 16, which is when all printed patterns get here. We'll have some reissued older kits, too (and just, for the record, this is literally the only time ever that we are reissuing kits — it is happening, and has already happened for some), and we'll have seven kinds of soap, and lotion bars. No, guys, I don't know how I do it either! I'm thinking Monday, June 21, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Here's a cool chart that tells you when that is for you!

So, I'm making fish balls for dinner tonight, and this is one of those recipes where you can make almost all of it in the morning and then fry it up at dinner time. And I need more recipes like this, because I am good at things in the morning and I am bad at things in the evening, especially at dinnertime. I recently had my knives sharpened by a mail-in service called Knife Flight and I cannot recommend doing this enough. It is unbelievably great to have nice sharp knives — today I sliced green onions into transparent wafers (not like I have awesome knife skills, but that's how much having a sharp knife will do for you) and chopped up a pound of cod, and it was pure pleasure. I've also cut myself five times just by waving the knife around carelessly and touching it where it used to be dull (the bottom corner edge, hello; the tip, ow). Anyway, it was really perfect timing because I'm trying to cook a lot more. Here is my cake I made over the weekend and other stuff on Instagram, too.

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I mean, just look at this. I can't wait to go back either, Amelia. It was just so, so nice.

Spring Things Now Available!

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Oh man, this morning I was just lying in bed in my nightgown drinking a second cup of coffee watching soap-pouring videos on Instagram at 8:50 a.m. thinking, "Gosh, Andy's got some work to do, he really needs to make sure Amelia is logging in for school, yeah buddy" when I remembered, "Oh mercy mercy me I'm having a sale in one hour and ten minutes and I haven't written my blog post!" Forgive! I am linking every one of these pictures to its product page, which, according to Shopify's new feature, is scheduled to automatically go live at 10 a.m. PDT. Let's see if this works! Above is Whan That Aprille, the first in my 2021 seasonal series. There will be one for each season, starting with this one for spring. The Whan That Aprille PDF pattern is here.

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Above is my new hoop=framed design, Spring Wreath. The kit comes with the printed pattern, floss, fabric, ribbon, and hoop for framing. I just love this one. The Spring Wreath PDF is here. There will be a summer and a fall coming in 2021.

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Okay, this: This is my baby. This is the Flower & Frond  embroidered jewelry kit. It contains a whole lot of what you need to make four embroidered necklaces and one pin. I think my method for mounting the jewelry is a bit different than other tutorials I've seen. Mine is better. I'll tell you all my secrets. We are only making 200 of these kits. I never know if I am going to reissue kits once they are sold out. There is no PDF-pattern-only available for this design. The instructions and templates are specific to exactly these findings that I have sourced. I'm excited and nervous to launch this one! I've never done a kit like this before! In fact, there is nothing even remotely like this available anywhere that I can find. I can't wait to see what you make with it.

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I dyed some yarn. There isn't much but it sure is springy. The worsted-weight skeins are here.

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Fingering-weight is here.

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There are stitch markers made by me.

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A very, very small amount of soap. But we're definitely making more.

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A few Early Spring lotion bars. (And we are definitely making more lotion bars, though probably not any more of these, very soon.)

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Oh! And some finished hand-embroidered jewelry! You know I never do this. But I did it.

We also have restocked Dovegray Doll kits, Time of Flowers kits, Love and Joy kits, and a few Misselthwaite Mitts kits.

Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so very, very much for your interest and support! XOXO, alicia

UPDATED, 1:03 p.m.: Andy and Amelia just made a few Forest Flower and Summer Day lotion bars! Homeschool!

UPDATED AGAIN, 1:19 p.m.: Yep, I can combine shipping if you place two orders. No problem! :) You don't even need to let me know; the computer should find them and I will refund extra shipping charges from multiple orders at the end (refunds are on a different app on a different computer than shipping).

Web Site Update: Tomorrow, March 18, at 10 a.m. PDT

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Been busy! Lots of pretty new things for spring! I'll be back to talk about them tomorrow! XOXO, a

Catching Up and New Designs

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Thank you so much for all of your kind words to me on my last post. I really appreciate the encouragement. Man oh man. I am feeling pretty good this week. I have been working a lot and things are coming together that way, which makes me happy. I like to be busy and really dug-in on my projects, and I think that's been part of the problem — it's just so hard to get into flow now, you know?

Time is kind of all broken up in a different way now, and there is very little quiet time. BUT Amelia is doing really well and continuing to thrive in lock-down. She never complains. Well, there was one time that she completely fell apart. She was at a Zoom birthday party for her friend Lillian who moved away last year. Lillian lives in Detroit now, so the party started late for them in Michigan but before school was finished for us, with the time-zone change, so by the time Amelia got off her school call she was ten minutes late to the party. Lil's mom had sent a little envelope of treats and a packaged cookie and a party horn and a party hat for all the girls to wear. Mimi was really into it. I went upstairs to sit down but just a few minutes later I suddenly heard howling. She came running upstairs with her tiny party hat on crooked and her party horn in her hand, crying, "Mama! Mama! The call cut off!" She collapsed on the bed and she was sobbing so hard I thought my heart was going to shatter. Lillian's mom texted and said they had restarted the call for a few minutes so everyone could say goodbye but Amelia was having none of it. I just held her while she cried and I tried not to cry myself. She just cried and cried. She said, "I just want to go back to school!" And man, that was a hard moment. "I know, baby. I know." That is the one and only time I've ever seen her completely lose her shit during all of this. Most of the time she carries on with a smile and a sparkle and really good attitude. I don't think I've ever seen her cry that hard about anything else, ever. I write this because I don't want to forget that she felt this.

Most mornings I sit at my desk with Amelia on her school meetings at the computer behind me and I can hear her teacher and her classmates on Zoom. Every day I give thanks for her teacher and her friends. They make me laugh every single day. Teacher: "Maybe someone in your house can help you with this later today." Seven-year-old: "Maybe. But when my dad gets home from work he usually puts on a tank top and plays video games for a while." Ha! Tank top. I don't know how the teacher doesn't dissolve in peels of laughter every single day but she keeps it cool. I miss the kids and my time reading with them in their classroom every week. They are just all so cute and so sweet to each other and so willing and so adorable. I miss them and I miss Amelia being with them. But I am grateful that she gets to connect with her people on screen, at the very least. Kiddos are resilient but it doesn't mean that things don't still hurt, and thank goodness for the consistency and familiarity of screen-school.

I have DECIDED to make myself a sweater. Out of fingering-weight yarn. Tiny stuff. It's a sweet sweater, called Porty Cardigan. There's a knit-along happening for it on Instagram, I think. I'm going to join in as soon as my yarn gets here. I'm not much of a joiner and I've never done a knit-along but I am excited. This is a steeked cardigan. I had started another steeked cardigan for Amelia last week but I'm frogging it. I just didn't like my color choices (I was using all stash yarn). I ordered all new yarn for my Porty. I bought Jamieson & Smith 2-ply like the pattern calls for. I don't like shopping for yarn that I don't know well online. It's so hard to know what the colors will really be like! I looked at several different web sites and they all had slightly different colors for the same yarn. So who knows. I wonder if I can get the tracking number and stalk it every step of the way until it gets here. Hopefully I'll like what I get but if not, WHO CARES. Alicia, you just need to dig in and FINISH SOMETHINGGGGGG. Finish it. Stopping starting things and then putting them down.

I have a new assistant. She is delightful. Her name is Ivy. She is taking alllllll of the kit supplies home and stuffing all of my kits at her house now. This is amazing. This is life-changing for me because it has been a while since I've had an assistant, and I've NEVER had one that worked from home. It is excellent, though I do really miss getting to work with her here in the office the way I used to do with all my previous assistants, especially Greta and Stacey. I love working with those girls. But someday. Ivy goes to a local college here and is taking a year off. Not only is she willing to model things for me she is also gorgeous, which is just so convenient. I mean:

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Like, ADORABLE. It was literally pouring rain not two minutes before we took this picture yesterday on my front stairs. She's modeling the cowl I designed last month. It's called the Drip Glaze Cowl because it reminds me of the Zoom pottery class that Andy and I took a few weeks ago and the many nights we have enjoyed watching The Great Pottery Throw-Down (love it). The cowl is done in fingering- or sport-weight yarn and I recommend having one of those be hand-dyed and speckled, because it looks cool that way. I used 100% cashmere for the neck ribbing. I love cowls and I love this one and I hope you do, too. To purchase the downloadable PDF pattern on my web site click here. To purchase it on Ravelry, click here. Thank you, Ivy, for all of your help.

I also have an embroidery kit for you. It is quick to do and to hoop-frame; I finished it in a single day. I think it would make a lovely gift. I'm selfish and am keeping mine for myself. I forgot to list the ribbon on the list of things included in the kit, but you get that included (and the Hardwicke Manor hoop, too).

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This is done on plain muslin with two plies of DMC embroidery floss, and that's all included, too, of course. To purchase the Winter Wreath kit, click here. For the PDF pattern only, click here.

And, last but not least, I have the last installment of this year's seasonal series, Things of Winter:

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I have really enjoyed doing this series, and I loved stitching this one in particular. Thank you to every single one of you who has stitched the designs for every season this year. I really like doing seasonal stuff and I have no idea what I will do next year. Throw some ideas at me and I'll see what I can come up with. To purchase Things of Winter kit, click here. For the PDF pattern only, click here. Since last spring, all of my PDF patterns include both color chart and black-and-white charts. Kits only include printed color charts. But if you buy the kit and you want the black-and-white PDF, just email me and I'll send it to you.

I'm going to be doing all of the shipping of these kits myself, and I'm hoping to get every single thing out by Thanksgiving. That's my goal. I wish you all a peace-filled week and I thank you again for every kindness you show you here. It helped me a lot, and I am thankful for you. XO

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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