April Flowers

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Oh my goodness, thank you for the sampler orders. Thank you VERY much!!! I am so happy. I truly appreciate your orders and all of your sweet words. I'm really excited about this project and this kit and I really can't wait until they start arriving in mailboxes and you get stitching. Stacy is packing and shipping like a rock star. I'm very proud of this one and I truly hope you'll be pleased! Thank you so much for your interest and your enthusiasm and your support. It means the world to me.

Answers to questions, mostly about what was represented by certain letters: Yes, J is for Jam (or Jelly, or Jar); V is for Violet (after my sweet Violet girl); P is for PIE (blueberry, in this case). AND yes, there is a PDF pattern available if you have floss and fabric of your own — it is available for immediate download here.

As far as making the design in a fabric of a different count (i.e.: one with fewer stitches per inch, presumably), yes, you can do that. Please read through my tutorial which includes a discussion of stitch count (and how it's related to the "thread count" of your fabric). Theoretically, you can work a counted cross stitch pattern on any thread count evenweave fabric you prefer, though it's important to have an understanding of how changing the thread count will change the look and the overall size of your motifs and your entire design. Most cross stitch patterns will give you the dimensions in stitches, as well as inches (or centimeters) on whatever count fabric has been used for this sample. In this case, the finished size of the design area (that's from stitch to stitch, not including any margins) on My Sweetiepie is 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); that's 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric. If you are using a different thread-count fabric, it's important that you recalculate the dimensions in inches or centimeters so you know how much fabric you will need (plus framing and handling margins). For instance, if you are using 28-thread-count fabric, that's 14 stitches per inch; divide 210 stitches by 14 to get the width of the design area in inches, and divide 165 stitches by 14 to get the height (of the design area) in inches. It works out to be 15" x almost 12". So you'll just want to make sure you understand that before you use a fabric with a different thread count.

Ahhh, the days have been busy! Four days, no naps. You know what I mean. Funny things being said. Yesterday, after dinner, I'm in kitchen loading dishwasher, Mimi's in high chair in dining room, starting to wimper.

Me: "Meemers, are you sad?"
Amelia: "Yes."
Me: "Why, honey?"
Amelia: "Because I want to go to sleep in my little crib!"

Later, we're both lying in the big bed and she's pretty much completely asleep. She suddenly pops straight up and says, loudly, as if startled, "I love APPLES?!?!?!"

I whisper, "Yes, you do." She lays back down and goes to sleep.

Easter was lovely. On Saturday there was a neighborhood Easter-egg hunt, which was very sweet. We had brunch with my family on Sunday and then spent the rest of the day gardening and going to the park. She got a watering can from the Easter bunny and watered in all the new plants. Remember my wildflower garden from the seed packs in the parkway beds last year? Well, tons of those flowers were perennials, and they're coming back. I threw a whole bunch more seeds in, too. I thought they were incredibly pretty, though the beds got pretty scrappy as the really hot weather moved in. But, what didn't. I get pretty scrappy when the really hot weather moves in. 

Today, though, it's wonderfully cold. Birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. Leaves are busting, so juicy looking you want to munch a mouthful like a little bunny. Favorite spring dinners? Any suggestions? I need cooking inspiration, yet again. Last night I made my shrimp bowls. Thinking about doing that again, with quinoa and chicken. What are you making? What's good?

***Her sweater details are here, and her dress and pinafore here. :)

My Sweetiepie Sampler Kits Now Available!

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Well, good morning! Do you know your ABCs? We're learning them here, and we want to share ours with you!

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My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit is now ready to order here!

You can click on both of those images above to see them enlarged. :)

This counted cross stitch sampler was inspired by the delightful experience of living with two-year-old Miss Amelia Paulson while she learns, among billions of other things right now, her ABCs. It is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss. Suitable for boys and girls of all ages, it is, to date, possibly my favorite thing I have ever designed.

Finished Size of Design Area: 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric

My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit contains:

One 20" x 18" (51cm x 46cm) piece of 32-count Zweigart Belfast linen in Stone Gray
(79) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
Stitching instructions
Illustrated stitch tutorial for special stitches
Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer
*Frame not included.

You will need your own:

#24 tapestry needle(s) for cross stitch
Embroidery scissors
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop
Frame and framing supplies

If you are new to counted cross stitch, or need a refresher on the basics, please see my "how to do counted cross stitch" tutorial here.

This is not a hard project, and can definitely be done by beginners, but it is big! And the stitches are small! And there are a lot of colors! There are 47 colors in this sampler. But come on, that is why it is AWESOME!!! Using so many colors gives these little motifs so much depth and richness, especially relative to each other. Besides, you don't want this project to go fast. You want to sit with this and watch every episode of Outlander and then start the new season (which just started).

That said, I think one of the "hardest" parts of making this sampler will be organizing the 79 lengths of floss (in 47 colors) that you will receive in the kit. The floss will come to you in three separate hanks, with about twenty-six or -seven 24" lengths in each group. The pattern includes a list of floss colors and numbers, along with their symbols as used in the chart, organized into the three groups. I've included a piece of chipboard (thin cardboard) and the instructions for making floss organizers like mine.

Floss

To help you separate the colors, which can be a bit tricky but not really too bad (since you are given the number of lengths included and the color name, which provides a general description of the color itself) I've put some large photos of my floss, all organized, up on my web site here. This should help you figure out how to tell the colors apart, relative to each other. 

Remember, you need to separate two plies away from the six-ply embroidery floss length to work the cross stitches throughout the sampler. Special stitches, including backstitches and French knots, use one or two plies, as indicated in the instructions. If you don't know how to do these stitches, I've included illustrations and directions for working them in the pattern.

The chart you will receive is quite large, larger than the actual size of the finished piece, and it is broken into four separate one-sided pages. You can use them individually or cut them out and tape the chart together, overlapping the grayed areas. Each color has its own symbol, keyed, as I mentioned, to a list of color names and DMC's assigned floss-color number. To work the design, you follow the chart, counting stitches as you go.

It also really helps to have something dark on your lap as you stitch. The holes in the fabric that you need to stitch through are so much easier to see.

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Also, as you probably know, I also carry my favorite supplies in my web shop, should you need lovely, high quality tools. For this project, we have:

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Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.

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Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.

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Twill tape to wrap around the inner hoop. You don't need to do this, but it's nice, and provides more tension to keep the fabric from slipping out of the hoop as you stitch.

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And size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch on linen.

All supplies will be shipped along with your kit.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

What else do I need to tell you. I don't even know. Other than that I am crazy excited about this! If you do have questions, please ask them here and I will pop back in throughout the day to answer. Thank you!!! Xoxoxoxoxo, A&Co.!

Spring Joy

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Afternoon at the river, which we had (gloriously) all to ourselves, until Amelia said, "Home!" and put on her own shoes and started walking by herself across the sand back toward the car :: Dark storms and ruby-glowing dogwood trees :: Andy-made chocolate chip cookies from this recipe, and they were indeed very good (Denise's suggestion — thank you, Denise!) :: A rhubarb pie from this recipe, which is delicious (if you like goo, which I do) :: A spinach souffle from this recipe which I thought was just . . . meh (needs more spinach, less egg, in my opinion) :: A chocolate cake from this recipe (which has replaced Hershey's Deep Dark for me — this one is better, and you can let the kiddos lick the spatula because, no eggs [irony]!) and our favorite frosting :: Cake baked by me and decorated by Meems (which made Andy laugh his head off when he got home and saw it) :: An attempt to take a photo of the vest, of which I am already knitting another, as this thing is just what I've been wanting :: Going out to get a columbine plant, a dozen more eggs to bring to the Easter egg hunt tomorrow, and Thai food for lunch with my dearest, darling, sweetest, most wonderfully wonderful girl.

Wishing you all a truly joyful weekend filled with love and springtime things! Xoxoxoxo

Some Things

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Oregon, there are some things you do very, very well, tulips and hazelnut fields being two of them.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm with friends; March 27, 2015. (About a month earlier than we went last year. And weirdly, I made the same pie in that post the other day, too.)

Rainy-Day Dress

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Last week, those trees in the photo above were covered in blossoms. Only last week. Already, now, they are spattered in spring green, and growing leaves by the day. Spring is both fast and slow. In Oregon, sometimes spring lasts well into June. That's the perfect spring, as far as I'm concerned, one that hits with a bang in February but lasts until June. Yes, please!

I've had a stressful week, filled with lots of little and large stresses and struggles, mostly in my own mind and of my own making. Ahhhh, modern life, you challenge me. Some days, especially the lovely rainy ones, I'd like to lay on the sofa and watch Outlander all day (though, wow, it's so intense, isn't it? I think it is). I feel quite certain I could do that, maybe alternating with episodes of Kipper the dog, all day. There's no such chance, but I bet you I could. I'd knit, like, 50,000 yards of worsted weight into tiny toddler vests for my boo and feel quite satisfied in every way.

The majority of my creative energy has been put into knitting versions of this pattern until I get the one I like. I made longer shoulders, knit the wrapped stitches (after all the short rows) on the wrong side so that I could get two mirror-image halves, joined them in the back before picking up the rest of the stitches to go up the back, then cast off the neck edge and made little back shoulder straps. None of which is yet pictured here, but I'm just saying. I'll show you when I get a picture of it. It worked. I've been wanting something like this for Meems for spring. Now if I can just get her to wear it. She calls all of her sweaters and knitwear her "fuzzies." Sweet love!

The slide picture (note pine cone being hurled) and the Mt. Hood picture (taken from work — he sends me these almost every morning) are all by Andy and his iPhone. He is amazing with that thing, seriously. He is amazing, period.

***She put almost every single thing that was on the stove and on the shelves into the oven or down the sink hole.

***The teddy is mine, from when I was her age. :)

Pretty Petals

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Oh, apple trees! My favorite of the flowering trees. So humble and sweet and pretty. And their scent. My gosh, I love them.

I made a pillow and a pizza and more dresses. Thank you so much for all of the zipper advice! I tried what sounded like the easiest thing, and sewed straight down both sides from top to bottom (instead of going down one size, across the bottom, pivoting and coming up the other side) and it worked perfectly! Yippee. That was nice! Thanks! From left to right I used Simplicity 6713, c. 1966, and added a few inches to the length (fabric from JoAnn's); McCall's 8152, c. 1965 (fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn Mae [D]); and McCall's 9525, c. 1968, and added 12" to width of the front skirt, and 6" to each of the back panels, as well (fabric is from Mill End Store). These are rainy-day dresses, things you would wear at Bloomsbury while pressing flowers gathered in the bluebell woods. I soooooo enjoy sewing for my boo. I can't stop.

It's been raining here a bit, and I have been happy. The gardens are just exploding. Everything is fresh and fragrant and frothing with green. Our walks are filled with rainbursts and wild rambles, just to stay outside for longer. The sky the other night was so dramatic, with layers of cloud and light and dark. When I look out the windows in the early evenings, everything glows with bloom and late light.

Slowly but surely, My Sweetiepie ABCs sampler kits are coming together. The materials are finally starting to come in (it takes forever for this stuff to come in). The fabric has arrived in Wisconsin and is being folded. The embroidery floss is on its way, and then will get pulled (all 79 strands per kit, egads). I'm just finishing up the pattern, then that will go to the printer. More on all of this in a couple of weeks, when we're closer to being finished and ready to put them in the shop. I'm ridiculously excited. Oh I love seeing a plan come together. It's kind of thrilling, honestly.

***Oooops, forgot to link to the pizza — it's here, and I added some fresh mozzarella this time, too. Got a bit soppy, but if you let it stand for a few minutes, it's still very delicious.

Sweet Green

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We got some rainy, cold, wet, blustery, dark weather this past weekend. Finally, our winter arrived. As did yet another cold for me. I have been sick about three times so far this winter. More than I can ever remember. Oh well. Lots of cloudy, cold afternoons and knitting for mama. Not too bad. :)

Thank you very, very much for all of the Maggie orders!!! Stacey has been shipping every day and we are all caught up now, so that's always a good feeling. A few of the colors have sold out but many are still left. The most common question I get asked about my animals is whether they are suitable for beginners to make. And my answer to that is always pretty much the same — they are not specifically designed for beginners, but everything you need, including illustrated stitching instructions and step-by-step process photos are included in the pattern. I have received several emails over the years from people who have never made anything before who have successfully made Maggie Rabbit and her cousins. Isn't that amazing? I think that's amazing and so cool. My advice — about everything crafty — is always this: Pick the project you love, and the best materials you can afford. Don't worry about whether it's too "hard" for you; if you love it, you will be motivated to learn it, and a little practice and patience goes a long, long way. Let yourself enjoy the process and don't get hung up on whether it is "right" or "perfect." Let it reflect where you are right now, and let that be enough. Working with beautiful, high-quality materials can be so pleasurable in itself. They can often motivate you to try a bit harder, and stick with it a bit longer, and I'm fairly certain you'll always be glad for it.

Andy's been hanging out with Amelia in the mornings and I've been able to do some serious power sewing while we wait for the rest of the fabric and floss comes in to make all the new kits. My girlie needed some pretty spring dresses and I must oblige! These new dresses hanging up are all made from vintage patterns. And, shoot, speaking of things not right or perfect, my zipper installation is just tragic. Always uneven. I must work on this because I think I can do better. Vintage patterns often call for zippers. I don't think they get used as much in contemporary patterns, but maybe I'm wrong. The zippers themselves are disgusting. Why do they make them out of the stiffest, grossest material? Am I missing the place where they keep the nice, comfortable cotton zippers or something? Are those the invisible zippers (no pun even intended, seriously)? Help. Zippers make getting a toddler dressed very easy, but I want them to be less uncomfortable, especially when paired with nice, soft, floaty fabrics.

The Liberty dress with the pockets (with the flowers in them) is from Simplicity 8940, circa 1970. Skirt is not very full. This one is a size 3 and its a little bit big on her. The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn in Katie and Millie (D). I love this shape on her.

The dusty pink pinafore is, again, from Butterick 9315, circa 1960 (and the under-dress I showed and talked about here). I made the pinafore out of really pretty cotton lawn dotted Swiss from Mill End Store. The skirt is so full, which I love. And you need that 3" hem for everything to just hang right. In fact, all of the little dresses I've been making have a 3" hem, and I absolutely love those wide hems. They really make a difference. I wish I hadn't top-stitched the bodice because it really shows. Ah, well. I might take that out, and slip-stitch the lining. That would have been the right way to do it. I was just being lazy.

The green dress is made from Simplicity pattern 6066, circa 1965. Ohhhh, I love this dress. It has darts. Darts! And again, just the fullest skirt ever. The fabric is Amy Butler's Windflower in Zest from the Glow Voile collection. I got it at Fabric Depot. Note tragically uneven zipper. Wah. She wore this dress yesterday and seemed to really like it!

(The light blue dress she's wearing I talked about here; her groovy green and blue smock she is wearing here but I don't seem to be able to find an original post for it from when I made it.)

My hexagons: Sheesh. Fingers destroyed. But pillow cushion cover DONE. I'll tell you more about this when I take its "finished" picture. Before I even finished I proclaimed that no one besides me is allowed to even touch this pillow. I never feel this way about stuff but seriously, if I see this pillow tossed casually on the floor instead of placed in its heralded position on the chaise lounge I will immediately begin shrieking like a banshee. Do you know how to make hexagons? I can't figure out if I ever talked about these particular hexagons, pictured, which I started sometime last year. But I did make some once before here. I will not be doing them again for quite some time. But I LOVE MY PILLOW COVER. I've been very indulgent, making things for myself lately.

We had a little St. Patrick's Day party last week and Andy made corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. I love him. He's the most Irish person I know who's not actually Irish. I also made a broccoli quiche last week using the Enchanted Broccoli Forest formula. I've been making this since college and it's always so nice. I use a Pillsbury refrigerator crust. Easy, fast dinner.

***Susie made an Irish apple cake with custard sauce and it was incredible!!!

Queen of the Neighborhood

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We stumbled upon this incredible tree a couple of weekends ago, right at golden hour. Isn't it just breathtaking? All of these pictures are from the same tree, over about a fifteen minute period, just after dinner. Beautiful tree.

Silver Spring

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Although the temperature has been getting into the seventies regularly, you can tell it's still late wintertime in the woods. There's a silver haze on the green. It feels quiet, and a little empty, and a little chilly in the shade. Everything is delicate and spare. She prances and chirps. She lies down and looks around. Thursday afternoon, March 5: We have nowhere to be, nowhere else to go but all the way around the evergreen loop. Few people are here now, this early in the season, but this is Hoyt Arboretum, in the heart of the city, and it's a popular place. Sometimes I long for a little piece of land of our own, away from the sounds of traffic and other people, where we could spread a blanket, build a fort, make fairy houses, read in a patch of sunlight, make a fire when it gets cold. But there's something so precious about this preserve, and so sweet about its convenience, just across town. Birds are so easy to hear right now — no leaves on the trees to muffle their excited trill — and so are other things. What's that noise? She halts and gasps and asks dramatically, several times a day. What's that noise? An airplane, a bird, a tiny stream gurgling through a culvert. A far-off truck, a motorcycle, a leaf blower doing its work in the neighborhood just around the bend. There are so many things to hear in the urban woods. What a beautiful city we live in! What a beautiful state. Yesterday I drove home from the children's museum while she slept, tired from her play. Weaving for a couple of miles through these same woods, past the garden, past the playground, past the flowering trees and the view of the city below, I couldn't drive slowly enough, listening to her breathe softly behind me in the back seat, paint on her face, roses in her cheeks. Down the hill, through downtown, over the bridge, back to the house. What a commute. Let it be long, and slow. My favorite season has arrived.

More Maggie Kits Now in Stock for Easter!

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I was supposed to tell you this two days ago but I am a little behind, I'm sorry: We have more Miss Maggie Rabbit softie kits now in stock for Easter! Yay. This is good. I love Maggie. We put together a whole bunch of kits with various Liberty of London dress fabrics and yarns that we have used previously, or used for other animals. Available right now (in limited quantities) are:

Danjo

Elysian

Betsy

Meadow

Edenham

Each of these images will link to the Maggie Rabbit kit page, and then you can choose your option from the drop-down menu (click on the tiny arrow at the right edge of the product options box to see the drop-down menu). To see the original post I wrote about Maggie Rabbit (which has answers to some questions you might have), click here. To see so many adorable Maggies that people have made over the past two years, click here!

My new ABC cross-stitch kit, along with more Juniper Kitties, Basil Foxes, and even more Maggie Rabbits will be available sometime in April — but not before Easter, so I wanted to make sure we got these out to you in time to fill baskets.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Back very soon with arboretum pictures. Xoxo, A & Co.

***If you would like a kit for another animal, all of the animal kits can be found here. Digital PDF patterns (and more sweaters, clothes, and accessories) patterns can be found here. Thank you!

***I'll remove any of these fabrics that sell out, so no, you aren't seeing things if you come back and something's missing! That means it has sold out. Sorry! And thank you very much!

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.