Daisy Days

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The weather here has been very cold and very rainy and very gray and very dim this past week. Every night I've been piling several quilts on top of me and my sofa-seat and knitting, knitting, knitting, or taking warm baths by candlelight in the afternoon with my girl, who lounges in my lap and lets me pour warm water over her for an hour; we turn the hot tap a few times because we sit for so long it gets too cold. The swimming pool is supposed to open next week and I simply can't imagine this. A lonely, empty pool, and us Portlanders at home in the steamy bathtub.

So the midsummer festival felt more like late spring, with daisies and dancing girls and our college friends (and how lucky we are to have them here, thousands of miles away from where we all went to college!). Last year I made Amelia a baby bunad (a traditional Norwegian folk dress; hers was inspired by the beautiful dresses of the Dovre region of Norway, where her birthfather's family is from). This year I just happened to find this little red calico dress at the resale shop and it fit her perfectly. It is a handmade dress, too, so I couldn't resist. I planned to make her a new Norwegian dress every year so I'll just have to start planning for Christmas because I think little red will be too small by then. Super cute princess-seamed pattern, though. I love princess-seamed dresses. You don't see them too much lately (early '80s — I'm just sayin'!).

We had such a nice Father's Day, home all day alone together, cooking and playing. It was just a perfect day with my loves. I made a Dutch baby pancake and scrambled eggs with onions and mushrooms for Andy for breakfast. He made an awesome — possibly his best one ever — stuffed pizza last night. His recipe is the Edwardo's Famous Stuffed Spinach Pizza from the book Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. If you aren't sure what Chicago stuffed pizza is, I will tell you: Think of an actual double-crust pie. There's a crust on the bottom, and then inside is all of the mozzarella cheese and a ton of fresh spinach. You pack it in. Then there's another crust on the top, and you crimp up the edges, just like with a pie. And on top of this top crust you add a light layer of a lovely, chunky, light tomato-and-garlic sauce, and then just a bit of sprinkled parmesan cheese. The whole thing is a massive concoction. You bake it in a cheesecake pan (I waitressed at Geppetto's in Oak Park after college, and we had special springform pans for our pizzas there, larger and shallower than a typical cheesecake pan; I need to look for one because I think it would help our crust thin out a bit). It weighs — actually, I have no idea how much it weighs, but a lot! The recipe in this book really does taste so much like Edwardo's pizza (which I liked better than Geppetto's, or even Gino's [Chicagoans, you know all these, right?]). Andy makes this about once a year and it is one of my favorite things. I love it, and it tastes like home.

I also made the Bangkok peanut ice cream from my sister's recipe and that was very delicious. Someone asked if this was a Jeni's recipe and I didn't know what that meant, so I looked it up and discovered that yes, it is! (And I am so getting her book.) I found a recipe online for the Bangkok peanut here. I thought it was really lovely — very subtle but with some texture and a bit of a kick from the cayenne pepper. Making ice cream has given me a whole new appreciation for buying ice cream. I have no idea where this ice cream thing I'm going through came from, really. I have really been enjoying it — and by the time it's time to eat it, you really only need to have the smallest of scoops to be happy. I have a lot of ice cream in my freezer. Which makes one feels rather secure. So that's nice.

Today Amelia and I are going to go to the fabric store. I need some skirts. I have a lot of fabric in my stash but it's all small amounts. I think we'll go to Knittin' Kitten tomorrow and look for '80s calicoes, too.

***My Ravelry page for the Fimma sweater is here :)

Cocoa Custard

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My sister Susie (the pastry chef) gave me some of her ice-cream recipes (including brown butter ice cream, butterscotch ice cream, and Bangkok peanut ice cream [which has cream cheese, peanut butter, coconut milk, honey, fresh ginger, and cayenne pepper in it, holy egads, that's next]). I took her chocolate recipe and added it to my custard recipe and oh, my, cocoastars it was crazy good. Try this, try this:

Brown Sugar–Chocolate Frozen Custard

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean
4 oz. milk chocolate chips (I used Guittard, because that's what they had at my store)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Cocoa Barry, which my sister insisted I must buy)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

With a sharp paring knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the bean pod itself and the half-and-half to the pan and warm over low-medium heat until it just barely simmers.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the cocoa powder into the hot half-and-half until it is dissolved. Pour the half-and-half over the chocolate chips and let it sit for a bit until the chips are melted. Stir the now-chocolatey half-and-half until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt by hand or using a stand mixer (I used the mixer). Slowly pour a very thin stream of the chocolatey half-and-half into the eggs while continuing to whisk; this will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Continue to pour the half-and-half in a thin stream until half of it has been incorporated. Transfer the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the chocolatey half-and-half. Heat on low-medium (do not overheat here, or you will still scramble the eggs) while whisking continuously until the custard is thick and smooth, like pudding. Remove the vanilla bean.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a 9"x13" baking pan halfway with ice cubes. Find a smaller pan or a bowl that will fit inside of the 9"x13" baking pan. Place the smaller pan or bowl in the larger baking pan and nestle it into the ice so it doesn't fall over. Gradually add the heavy cream to the custard in the saucepan and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the smaller pan or bowl that is in the ice pan. Let it sit there (you can stir it occasionally) until it is cold. (I do it this way because I don't have that much room in my fridge and I don't want to heat up my refrigerator trying to cool this stuff off.) It will take a couple of hours for it to get cold (and this is about how long it takes us to walk around the block these days, stopping to sit down frequently). Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, spin this into delicious frozen custard. Give a little bit to your baby and discover that she suddenly is a pro with a spoon.

Amelia's birthfamily are serious chocolate and coffee connoisseurs! She has definitely inherited the chocolate-love gene. I've never seen her eat anything with such focus, and so fast, ever. I gave her about a tablespoon of this (and seriously, it is so rich adults hardly need much more) and the girl about lost her bananas when her little dish was empty.

I got some cute little paper cups and lids at the Cash & Carry. Now to find some cute labels so I can give ice cream to my friends so I don't get any fatter.

***Mimi's dress (it's a one-piece, with the knitted vest sewn in) is from JujuBunnyshop, but I don't see it listed anymore. Cutest clothes there, though.

June Afternoon

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Oh, summertime: Some days you really do live up to every possible winter daydream I've ever had.

***This post will tell you about that rectangle quilt :)

Strawberries and Cream

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After I made the lemon ice cream I remembered that I am obsessed with frozen custard. How could I have forgotten that I am obsessed with frozen custard? And by frozen custard I mean specifically the kind they sell in the middle of Illinois. With lots of eggs. It doesn't really exist out here, far away from cornfields, fireflies, and summer nights that stay so hot you go to bed hot and you wake up hot. Inspired by this recipe, I set out to attempt it (but even eggier, because I like eggs) when we had friends 'round for dinner Saturday night. I think I got it.

Frozen Custard like You Get in the Middle of Illinois

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

With a sharp paring knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the bean pod itself and the half-and-half to the pan and warm over low-medium heat until it just barely simmers.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar by hand or using a stand mixer (I used the mixer). Slowly pour a very thin stream of the hot cream into the eggs while continuing to whisk; this will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Continue to pour the cream in a thin stream until half of it has been incorporated. Transfer the eggs/sugar/cream back into the pot with the rest of the cream. Heat on low-medium (do not overheat here, or you will still scramble the eggs) while whisking continuously until the custard is thick and smooth, like pudding. Remove the vanilla bean and rinse it off; let it dry and put in a mason jar with some sugar which will give you some yummy vanilla sugar in a few days.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a 9"x13" baking pan halfway with ice cubes. Find a smaller pan or a bowl that will fit inside of the 9"x13" baking pan. Place the smaller pan or bowl in the larger baking pan and nestle it into the ice so it doesn't fall over. Gradually add the heavy cream to the custard in the saucepan and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the smaller pan or bowl that is in the ice pan. Let it sit there (you can stir it occasionally) until it is cold. (I do it this way because I don't have that much room in my fridge and I don't want to heat up my refrigerator trying to cool this stuff off.) It will take a couple of hours for it to get cold. Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, spin this into delicious frozen custard, serve with fresh June strawberries, and eat it up. You can transfer it into another container (with a lid) and freeze it if you don't finish it right away. But I think this is best when it's just out of the ice-cream maker.

As far as ice-cream makers go, I know nothing, but I took Amanda's recommendation last summer and bought this one, and it is wonderful. Ice cream in thirty minutes (though you do have to freeze the bowl overnight, at least).

Speaking of freezing, the mornings dawn quite cold and the afternoons heat up to almost 80 degrees. It reminds me of Montana, where I walked to school every morning wearing a heavy sweater, then left it in my office by afternoon when it got to about 90. At some point (when I ran out) I had to bring the truck to school to retrieve the gigantic pile of sweaters in the office because I couldn't carry them all home. We've been changing clothes here twice a day. I cleaned out my dresser and closet this morning. I usually do this twice a year, in spring and in fall. I think I'm the opposite of a hoarder. A reverse hoarder. If I don't have space in my spaces I get very uncomfortable and twitchy and huffy. I can't stand it when every empty space is filled. It leaves no room for inspiration to strike. In spite of my tendency to shed (and I don't think I really have that much stuff anyway), everything I own is completely disorganized and ridiculously wrinkled at the end of each six months. I'll have socks, dresses, pants, underpants, tights, and a bathing suit all in the same drawer. Dresses, in a drawer. It's really weird. Well, my closet is the size of a small bathtub, with two pretty much unusable shelves above my head which hold, for the most part, an empty computer box, one of those gigantic plastic foot spas that you plug in to make your feet jiggle (for about five minutes until you get sick of it), four gigantic pleather purses, and my English riding hat, none of which I ever use but can't seem to part with. Though now that I mention it I think I'll go right back upstairs and get those purses down immediately. I guess there are just some days when I literally stuff whatever is in the clean laundry basket into the most empty drawer, slam it shut and call it done. I don't know why I do that but I always have done. (Speaking in Britishisms now, since watching about eight episodes of Restoration Home over five days.)

Speaking of, I'm embarking on a new (old) decorating trend: Early '80s country. Everyone I've mentioned it to (two people) is appropriately horrified. "You mean like my ex-husband's parents' house?" Probably!!! I'll keep you posted. ;)

My Sweets

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Homemade Meyer lemon ice cream, Andy's amazing barbeque-pulled pork sandwich, and this beautiful face: my sweetest of sweet-treats. Someone has been using her sippy cup (ocassionally) and eating (ocassionally) from a spoon! So proud! Oh, sweet darling.

We always use my dad's cole slaw recipe with the pork:

Al's Cole Slaw

One 16-oz. package cole slaw mix
1/2 medium onion, grated
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Paprika to sprinkle on top

Mix the cole slaw mix with the onion. Mix the sugar and vinegar into the mayonnaise, pour over cole slaw mix, and stir to combine. Sprinkle top with paprika. Serve on pork sandwiches. Very sweet and very simple.

Is it the weekend yet? I can't wait.

Does anyone have an automatic hose-winding reel? Do they really work? I really want one. I also really wanted one of those expandable fabric-looking hoses (not the little tightly coiled ones but the ones that puff out when they're filled with water) but they've gotten terrible reviews, and everyone says they break and leak very quickly (some immediately, the first day). Wah. My wildflower beds are starting to bloom (very unevenly — I keep forgetting to take a picture) and I want to make sure I don't botch the watering this summer. I don't mind the watering, it's the hose re-winding that destroys me.

Martha's gotten me hooked on watching Restoration Home videos. Last night I watched the one on Coldbrook Farm. I love this show! My other indulgence is watching River Cottage videos and Delicious Miss Dahl videos.

***The vine all over the side of our garage is a climbing hydrangea (three of them, actually). It climbs in the shade without support (has little hairy feet that stick to the wall, which trouble Andy very much, but . . . ).

Home and Away

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Long birthday weekends are pretty awesome. Andy's involved cake (and yes, I must tell you that I truly think that the cake Martha made for us last summer trumps my longtime go-to chocolate cake, the Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake! I do still always make the Cloudburst Frosting (scroll down on that page a bit), though; I don't know if I'll ever love a frosting more than this one, but I'm willing to give it a go [I love frosting, especially frostings that are mellow, like this one]); lots of salad rolls, both take-out (as was the entire green-curry-shrimp birthday dinner) and homemade (I used this recipe, and added silken tofu, and it was wonderful); lots of driving (we got our new car); lots of waterfalls and gorgeous views (and babies signing "rain," as she is doing, above [draw both hands down with straight fingers, like rain falling]); and lots of backyard laziness and baby lovin'. It was such a nice weekend, and soooooo nice to have some time off, for both of us. Oh, so nice.

I don't think I realized how stressful buying a car was until it was over. I firmly believe that Andy and I are probably the worst possible car buyers on earth. Everything I read about how to act when you're buying a car is pretty much the exact opposite of what we did. I'm still feeling bewildered about why cars should have different prices for different people, depending on how they negotiate. It reminds me of when I was in Italy (twenty-three years ago), at the post office, asking how much it cost to mail a postcard. The post office dude literally looked me up and down, leaned back, crossed his arms, and said, appraisingly, "For you? Ninety thousand lire!" or ninety million lire, or ninety lire, or whatever it was. I stood there thinking, "No, not just for me, for everyone!" (And I swear, after I paid it, he just tossed the postcard over this shoulder, anyway. Okay, I might be exaggerating that. But seriously, Martha, did you ever get my postcard from Rome?)

And that's how I feel about car shopping, too. Shouldn't there just be a price, and then you pay it if you want to? And if you don't want to pay that you keep shopping? I don't know. There's this point in the process where you're basically like, "Okay, just gimme the damn thing already and let's go home!" Sadly, that point is reached about five minutes into the process for both Andy and me. We're looking at cars but we're thinking, in tandem, "Where should we eat? Is it gonna be sunny all day? Do you want to watch Psych musical again tonight?" and it's all kind of a cool-customer bust.

Eventually, by some miracle, I knew exactly which car I wanted. Certified pre-owned in the model I liked, 2013, and silver. Boom. But none were currently available within 100 miles. :( I stalked the web site of the dealer where we bought our first car (which actually was a pretty good experience, as far as I recall). Suddenly one came up — a miracle! — just when I needed it. I called the dealership so fast I could hardly talk: "Oh my gosh! Hold that car! I'm so excited! I want that one!!! Don't let anyone look at it! I want it!!!!!!!!" I had no idea what the price was, at that point. I told my friend what I did and she about fell off the phone she was laughing so hard. The salesman was probably like, "Awesome, easiest rent I've ever made in my life, lady right there in the blue."

And yeah, we did buy that car (amazingly, from the same guy who sold us our 1995 Volvo sixteen years ago). It is quite lovely. It has Bluetooth. I didn't even know what that was. Our old car didn't even have a CD player (and it had started breaking down every six months or so, and, lately, every week). I said from behind my new steering wheel to Andy as we wound through the gorge on the historic highway, through tall trees and forests of Queen Anne's Lace, watching the blue and green ridges fade into the haze of a perfect summer day,  "You don't even realize how used to all your stuff not working right you really get." And then we were all, wow, look at us entering the new millenium! Cool! It's an absolute delight to put a baby into a car seat without having to first fold your body into an origami crane, then bump her head on the ceiling of the car, then basically sort of toss her toward the seat in the middle, and hope she lands more or less square, then rearrange her from the side while your back is getting completely jacked, and then tighten the straps (while she's reaching for her doll, or her milk, or her shoe). She's always been a really good sport about being put into the car seat (I really don't know how, but that's kind of her style, and more proof that she does not have my DNA), but I see now that there were times when, especially toward the end of the day, I just didn't want to do it again. When I put her in the new car it's like boom, in, and I'm all, "What? That's it? People do it like this? And we can go to a place, and then maybe go to another place?" I don't know. Anyway, the new car feels very safe and very functional, and I suddenly want to go everywhere. . . .

Sunshowers and Flowers

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

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

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

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

New Animal Sewing Kits, a New Web Site, and a Brand New Look for the Blog!

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Well, good morning! Yes, you're in the right place! Welcome to my new . . . everything! I have so much to tell you. But first let me tell you about the newest members of the Posie Little Animal Family.

There are four new members of the family. The first is Miss Juniper Kitty. She wears an empire peasant dress, a knitted wool cowl, and removable Wellington boots. She has two dress and yarn options. This is Emma and Georgina dress fabric with Lemongrass yarn:

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EmmaGeorgina

And this is Edenham dress fabric with Dark Magenta yarn:

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Edenham

Next there's Miss Dandelion Doe. She's a shy little doe in a mini-dress, knitted kerchief, and removable embroidered boots. Here she is in Fairford dress fabric with Blue Fog yarn:

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Fairford

And my personal favorite, Thorpe dress fabric with Arctic Moss yarn:

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Thorpe

Then there's Miss Phyllis Mouse. She, too, wears a mini-dress but with knitted wool leg warmers and moccasins. Here she is in Elysian dress fabric with Lavender Cloud yarn:

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Elysian

And this is the lovely turquoise colorway of Betsy dress fabric with Lullaby yarn:

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Betsy

Mwah. Love her.

Okay, and then we have the long-awaited and ever-dapper Mr. Basil Fox, here sporting a gray gingham cotton lawn shirt with denim jeans, a scarlet wool scarf, and removable boots:

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He has four shirt/yarn options:

Graysoldout

Sage

Blue

Pink

And of course last but not least, you know Miss Maggie Rabbit. We still have kits for her, and she has a new scarf color to go with her Meadow dress fabric:

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Hello, little girl. It's good to see you again! :)

CLICK HERE to see all of the KITS in the Little Animal Family!

And CLICK HERE if you'd just like to download the digital PDF patterns for any of these animals.

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial, a knitting pattern, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your fabric/yarn from the drop-down menu for each animal. Each softie kit costs $34 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of any fabric.

All of the clothes and accessories that have been designed for these animals are interchangeable between animals. Dandelion's knitted kerchief includes ear-holes that only really fit her and Maggie, but the kerchief can be worn as a little shawl by the other animals. (And Basil's pants and shirt are pretty much the same pattern as the original Little Pants and Shirt for Rabbits pattern, FYI.) But if you purchase a kit for one of the animals, you might also want to look at the rest of downloadable animal patterns for making more clothes and accessories for your particular critter.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

Because we are shipping so quickly, please make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. Since Greta is literally moving to Ohio tomorrow, but wanted to be in on this first day of the sale at least, we will begin shipping orders today, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to add anything to your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. I do not accept phone orders, or checks in the mail.

My best advice is that if you like a particular fabric/yarn combo, do not wait to order it. I can never predict exactly how things will go, but in the past, new kits have sold out very quickly. (I will update this page as things sell out.) We WILL make more kits if they sell out, but we will use new fabrics and new yarns, because it's just a lot more fun that way. I rarely like to do the exactly same thing twice! But we can talk about that more if/when it happens.

Last but not least, before I let you go I just have to say exactly how incredibly thrilled I am to show you my new blog and web site designs, built by the amazing, lovely, and extraordinarily talented folks at Aeolidia. I'll talk more about the process of how this all came together after I get some sleep, but for now I just want to invite you to explore these new designs and thank you so much for being here!

P.S. If you have any questions or problems today, just let me know in a comment and I will answer here (as soon as I can). Thank you!

***Okay, a few answers  sorry for the delay! Regarding skill level to make these: So, I always say that you need more enthusiasm than skill to make my projects  although they aren't designed specifically for beginners, my patterns do include step-by-step sewing instructions with photo illustrations, along with drawings and instructions for particular sewing and embroidery stitches. That said, in the pattern I do encourage everyone to practice stitching on scraps of felt, or to make a practice dress (or shirt, or pants) out of other fabric first, to practice. The clothes  especially Phyllis's and Dandelion's dress  are challenging, because they're really small! If you have clothing construction experience it helps, because you understand the order in which dresses (and shirts) kind of get put together. That all said, as I also always say, it's just stuffed animals, not brain surgery! So just go for it and have fun! I have had several people write to me in the past year since Maggie was developed to say that she was the first thing that they've ever made and they enjoyed making her very much, so I think you can do it! And if you ever don't understand something, just let me know and I will help you!

***I don't teach people how to knit in the knitting patterns, however. You do need to know how to knit  cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, cast on in the middle of a row (I use backward loop), and read knitting directions  in order to follow the directions for the knitwear. There are so many videos online that can teach you these basics, so if you have a hankering to knit, these patterns are small and pretty simple, and are good first and second projects.

***I've gotten a couple of emails from people who are having trouble finding their digital patterns after payment. So, after payment is completed, the screen will display a link toward the bottom of the box that says "Click here to download your pattern." Just click it, and then save your pattern to your harddrive. Then print it out for your use. If you should miss this link, a separate email  not the order confirmation or the Paypal, but an automatically generated email from the server that hosts the patterns  will be sent to you at the email address you used to place the order, and that will also include a link to download your patterns. These emails do bounce sometimes, so do check your junk folder. If all else fails, don't even worry  just email me and I'll send them to you via email, no problem!

Tuesday, May 27th

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At 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time is when I'm planning to make the four new animal kits (and their respective PDF patterns) available! I'll post all of the information and links here, so stay tuned!

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo

Rose Time

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

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

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

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

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GOOD GRIEF THEY'RE PRETTY.

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

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

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

embroidered A

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.