Book Giveaway: Embroidery Companion by Alicia Paulson

comments (65) August 10th, 2010     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
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Photo: Potter Craft

You may have already heard of Alicia Paulson from her fantastic blog, Posie Gets Cozy. There she blogs about her daily life and crafting from Portland, Oregon. Now, she's back with her second book out today, Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living (Potter Craft, 2010). This amazing book showcases her whimsical style and fantastic color sense in a beautiful way, and teaches you how to embroider like a pro at the same time.

Get to know a little bit about Alicia with our interview below, and leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of her book by 11:59 August 11, 2010. We will choose 3 commenters at random to each win a copy of Embroidery Companion.

And check back here tomorrow for a project by Alicia from the book!

What made you first start your blog?

I started writing my blog at a period in my life when I was really overextended and wasn’t enjoying my business, or even crafting for pleasure, very much. I owned a boutique at the time and was starting to realize that I didn’t actually want to own a boutique. I didn’t think that I could afford to take the time to do something that I considered so indulgent, like write about myself. But doing so had an immediate and positive effect on my life. It helped me slow down, and made me almost instantly appreciate things about my daily activities that I definitely wasn’t noticing before. I’ll have been doing it five years this October, and I’m still inspired to keep writing it because I know that there are little things to be recognized and honored in every day.

I also call the blog kind of a daily love letter to my husband, who reads every post. I think I’m telling him the story of our life together, and it’s a life that, after my accident, we almost didn’t have. So, more than anything else, I think I write for him.

 
Where did you learn to sew?

I learned at home, from my mom. I don’t really remember anything specific – it just seemed like something we all “did.” I was really into clothes when I was a kid (and in high school and college) and we didn’t have a lot of money, so I made a lot of dresses for myself. My mom was a very experienced and fearless home sewer, so she helped me figure out anything I couldn’t understand from the directions. We were big DIYers in our family, so had tons of creative books and did all sorts of fun things.

 
What made you want to do a book focused on embroidery?

In March of 1998, I was in a bad pedestrian-auto accident (I was the pedestrian). I spent a year in bed, having and recovering from several surgeries, and embroidered my way through that difficult time. A few years ago, I wrote an article about that time in my life for Hallmark magazine, and received hundreds of letters and emails from people who told me how handcrafting had helped them, too, through injuries, illnesses, and other rough periods. I hadn’t done much embroidery in very recent years (more machine sewing and crochet), but reading all of those letters made me pick up the embroidery needle again and remember why I love it so much. When my editor called to ask me if I had any ideas for a new book, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

 
What are your favorite things to embroider?

Standard pillowcases! No question. I love good sheets, and I love to sleep, and I love making my bed. And I love that I am guaranteed to use them every day.

 
Describe your ideal creative space?

Well, coincidentally, I am working on that right now. My craft studio is 15 x 18 feet, with big doors that open to the back yard, and giant windows. It also has skylights (which I don’t actually like, because bees like to hang out up there and terrify me, and also the skylights actually cast a weird, almost fluorescent light into that room). But it is very bright in there, and almost like being outside. I just repainted it a very saturated grayish-blue, and we got a lot of brand new furniture: a desk, a table, a huge bunch of shelves, and a kitchen island for standing and cutting fabric. This is the first time in my life I have ever had the opportunity to pick out a bunch of new furniture all at the same time, and really design the space the way I want it to be. In the past, it was all hand-me-downs and thrifted stuff, with everything kind of jerry-rigged – which was fine for a long time, but all of the furniture had seen much better days, and second-hand stuff is not always super-practical, because you’re sort of just taking what you can get – it’s almost a miracle if it winds up being exactly what you really need. The new room has so much storage – crafting seems to require so much space sometimes! – and lots of doors to close on less-than-pretty things. We also ripped out the carpet (which came with the house, and which is awful for sewing) and installed “wood” flooring. It makes me want to tap-dance with joy.

I’ve been showing the redecorating of that room on the blog, and one of my readers said, “But Alicia, we know you do most of your work on the couch!” And I busted out laughing at that, because it is so true. The couch-y workspace has cable TV, big windows that open within arm’s reach, and snuggly pets sitting on top of me while I try to “work.” It’s my second office.

 
Where did you find inspiration for the projects in your book?

 Embroidery Companion showcases is a collection of designs influenced and inspired by so many of my favorite things: folksy motifs, natural wildflowers, vintage monograms, early American samplers, the modernism of Scandinavian design, even my own modern housewares. This is just all the stuff I truly love, expressed in needle and thread.

I really wanted to do projects that were fresh and fun but still very classic, because that’s what I love. I had been collecting out-of-print embroidery books, collections of folk-art designs, and vintage clip art for many years, and I had always been so fascinated by how so many really old motifs and designs actually looked quite fresh and modern. I wanted to find a way to unearth some of these old templates, breathe new life into them again, and make them accessible to a contemporary audience. And then the process of reinterpreting certain designs would inspire me to create something completely original. So, as the projects were coming together there was definitely a symbiotic relationship between the old and the new for me, and that became sort of an organizing principal for the collection.

 
Do you have any advice for aspiring crafters out there?

Be brave! You can do anything! You don’t have to make a ton of time, have a lot of talent or experience, or spend a lot of money to learn how to do dozens of types of crafts. I’ve learned almost everything I know how to do, including photography, from books – there’s a book out there for everything! Dabble until you find something that really appeals to you, and then give yourself permission to make time to do it. You might be amazed at the many different types of benefits (including health benefits), opportunities, and relationships crafting brings into your life. I know I have been.

posted in: sewstylish feature, book giveaway, giveaway, free, books

Comments (65)

LibbyJones writes: The cover of the book looks so cool and inviting in this hot weather! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win this book, and all the eye candy!
Posted: 8:33 am on August 11th
red_rubii writes: Wow I just looked at the blog and I am inspired! Alicia is very talented and her work is absolutely amazing! I would love to own this book because I am going to start embroidery. :)
Posted: 9:46 am on October 9th
red_rubii writes: Wow I just had a look at the blog and I am inspired! Alicia's embroidery is amazing. I would love to own this book, it would be absolutely fabulous! :)
Posted: 9:39 am on October 9th
Phanti writes: What an opportunity! I taught myself how to do stitchwork when I was in the hospital after being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I had a lot of time on my hands *giggles*, and learned quite a few different crafting mediums. Thanks for introducing Alicia to me!
Posted: 4:08 pm on August 28th
Little_NanaB writes: Alicia, I would love to do something special for you. Because, you are an inspiration. I was taught embroidery by me Granmother. My first Embroidery lesson was Cross Stitch on Gingham Fabric. From that first Embroidered apron, I have learned to Cross Stitch on Ada Cloth. I would be blessed to win Your Book. I need the inspiration and lessons I will charish and apply. I would love to have your book to hand down to my Grandaughters. I have shelves full of books on Knitting, Crocheting and the like. I have no charished books on Embroiery to leave my Grandaughters. I pray I win your book.
Posted: 7:45 pm on August 24th
greenbp writes: Wow! I would love to have this book. Just discovered Alicia's work. Thanks
Posted: 9:22 pm on August 14th
colourgirl writes: I succumbed to the hypnotic spell of embroidery at a young age and spent hours creating a wonderland of colourful embroidery. That was a trying time of my life and the art helped me cope with the challenges I had to face. Now I am on the path to re-discover this passion and was surprised to find this inspirational article at the right time.
Posted: 7:40 pm on August 14th
nimatitus writes: wow...what a great giveaway. please add me for the draw. thank you
Posted: 9:51 am on August 14th
rosemaryschild writes: Luv embroidery! Will luv to get this book! Thanks for a great giveaway!
Posted: 12:01 am on August 14th
rosemaryschild writes: Luv embroidery! Will luv to get this book! Thanks for a great giveaway!
Posted: 12:00 am on August 14th
rosemaryschild writes: Luv embroidery! Will luv to get this book! Thanks for a great giveaway!
Posted: 12:00 am on August 14th
Cacauate writes: <3 Thanks for hosting this giveaway!
Posted: 8:30 pm on August 13th
Kimbrah writes: What a wonderfully creative book! I have always loved embroidery. Thank you for hosting such a lovely give-away! :)
Posted: 5:50 pm on August 13th
hitimbr writes: Oh how I wish it were the 11th I just learned of this site at my local shops Shop Hop today...I needed to learn about needles and she told me about Threadsmagazine.com. .. now they showed me about your great book. . .please do additional drawings...I also have an embroidery machine and need good, easy , practical ideas...I love my grandmothers gifts to me of pillowcases hand donw...now I want to do some for my Grandchildren... and pillows too. . . Help... need your color ideas...that is my weaknesss... Toni
Posted: 11:34 pm on August 12th
tennknitter writes: Lots of embroidered pillowcases to send with my daughter to college - sounds like a good plan and the book would help me achieve it.
Posted: 1:22 pm on August 12th
jessicaandchucky writes: I frequent Alicia's blog & I truly admire all of her talent! I would love to own a copy of her book!!
Posted: 10:08 pm on August 11th
Dora_Quevedo writes: The book looks so nice, I would love to win a copy!
The interview is great!
Dora
Posted: 9:32 pm on August 11th
AUniqueDesigns2010 writes: Embroidering is one of the items on my bucket list to accomplish. For one I grew up around sewers, but no one knew how to do embroidering. To me it seemed hard, but I am determine that I will learn it one way or the other. When I chose my sewing machine, I purposely chose one without all the special embroidering. Now, I want to learn how but don't know where to start or who to teach me. Well, after registering for this account and reading the information about your book, I feel that this is the book to help me with my embroidering fears.
Posted: 7:38 pm on August 11th
reaton writes: I really enjoy following Alicia's blog. She has such amazing designs. I would love to win a copy of her book.
Posted: 5:52 pm on August 11th
blueacres writes: I am so excited to find this! I remember the Hallmark article. Looking forward to enjoying (hopefully winning!) the new book!
Posted: 4:32 pm on August 11th
pinkh2o writes: This book looks great! Cannot wait to be inspired by Alicia's work!
Posted: 4:22 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview, I feel like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend. The book looks fabulous; hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside?
Posted: 3:48 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview! It does seem like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend. The book looks fabulous--- hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside?
Posted: 3:46 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview! It does seem like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend. The book looks fabulous --- hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside????
Posted: 3:46 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview! It does seem like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend :-) The book looks fabulous --- hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside????
Posted: 3:45 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview! It does seem like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend :-) The book looks fabulous --- hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside????
Posted: 3:45 pm on August 11th
mamajuju writes: What a great interview! It does seem like I just sat down and had a chat with an old friend :-) The book looks fabulous --- hmmm time to pick up embroidering again me thinks.....but what to put aside????
Posted: 3:45 pm on August 11th
RainMomma writes: Makes me want to know her and have a cup of coffee!
Posted: 12:58 pm on August 11th
Anna_S writes: I love crafting and the healing powers of crafting. I took up knitting to recover from an accident and made a great group of friends in my neighborhood knitting and crafting group.
Posted: 11:26 am on August 11th
Anna_S writes: I love crafting and the healing powers of crafting. I took up knitting to recover from an accident and made a great group of friends in my neighborhood knitting and crafting group.
Posted: 11:26 am on August 11th
Anna_S writes: I love crafting and the healing powers of crafting. I took up knitting to recover from an accident and made a great group of friends in my neighborhood knitting and crafting group.
Posted: 11:26 am on August 11th
Anna_S writes: I love crafting and the healing powers of crafting. I took up knitting to recover from an accident and made a great group of friends in my neighborhood knitting and crafting group.
Posted: 11:25 am on August 11th
Anna_S writes: I love crafting and the healing powers of crafting. I took up knitting to recover from an accident and made a great group of friends in my neighborhood knitting and crafting group.
Posted: 11:25 am on August 11th
cindy_sews writes: That was a great interview. I would love to have your book!
Posted: 10:00 am on August 11th
missb_2000_2001 writes: Her advice is true. Crafting and sewing have definitely been stress relievers.
Posted: 9:57 am on August 11th
ThreeInaRow writes: Alicia's work is gorgeous and I've just recently fallen in love with embroidery--I'd love to have a peek at her new book and find inspiration for some new projects!
Posted: 9:53 am on August 11th
drautumnstein writes: I am just learning about embroidery and would love to take a look through this book.
Posted: 8:36 am on August 11th
Scrapknitter writes: Alicia has Great Work!!!!
Posted: 4:02 am on August 11th
awami writes: Looks lovely! I hope my name come out of the hat!
Posted: 3:53 am on August 11th
ohdearjessica writes: I would love a chance to win this book!
Posted: 2:52 am on August 11th
catsknit writes: Alicia's blog is amazing and her work is beautiful. I am an admirer, especially after reading about the horrific accident (my sister was in a similar accident--the driver in her case was drunk!)
I'd love to win this book--I've had a craving to embroider by hand again (esp pillowcases, as I did when I was five). Thanks for the great giveaway!
Posted: 1:38 am on August 11th
Sursi writes: I would love to embroider more often and this looks like a great book.
Posted: 1:05 am on August 11th
SuzOH writes: I used to embroider a lot. Somehow I stopped, and I'd really like to get back into practice.
Posted: 10:33 pm on August 10th
Just_Me writes: I love embroidery and Alicia Paulson is such a great example of overcoming obstacles. She is a very talented lady and I would love to own the book.
Posted: 10:25 pm on August 10th
dancingscottie writes: Wow, I can't wait to check out this book. I always complain how I love to embroider but don't know what to make so I'll actually use it!
Posted: 10:17 pm on August 10th
JoyK writes: Thanks for the inspiring interview - and the chance to win Alicia's great book!
Posted: 9:57 pm on August 10th
Risca writes: Her blog so inspiring. Love it!
I'm sure her book will be as wonderful as her blog (or even better?)

*wish to win this and have her book* ^-^

Posted: 9:53 pm on August 10th
ohsewsandy writes: This looks like a wonderful book that can be used for many projects.
Posted: 8:00 pm on August 10th
Kidnicky writes: I love doing hand embroidery and would love to get into doing it by machine. Her book seems very wonderful and helpful for those that need to a direction to get pulled into to get started. I learned how to sew from my mom and from there taught myself to go further with it. Books like these are such a blessing to those that can't afford to take classes but would love to do it on their own.
Posted: 7:12 pm on August 10th
catisakitty writes: I would love to win this book. Looks like it would be a lot of fun.
Posted: 5:44 pm on August 10th
etchedinthread writes: Looks like a fantastic book; my first projects in hand embroidery were pillowcases when I was about 8 or so. I made several and gave them all to my Grandmother. I'm going to check out the blog right now; thank you for interviewing Alicia and posting it here. Very inspirational!
Posted: 4:57 pm on August 10th
VinChic_Designs writes: I have been looking to start embroidery so that my long lost friend whom I recently discovered, have something new to share in.
Posted: 4:44 pm on August 10th
rlvourlas writes: So inspiring! Thank you for your interview and for sharing Alicia Paulson's new work.
Posted: 4:14 pm on August 10th
firesong43 writes: Oooh, thanks for the opportunity to win her book. I can't wait to see the project tomorrow.
Posted: 3:22 pm on August 10th
annielizabeth writes: Oh! I love Alicia and ever since I knew she was creating her embroidery book I wanted it! I want to win!! Thanks for doing an interview with her, I hope she sells tons of her books.
Posted: 2:50 pm on August 10th
sarathelaundress writes: I was just reading about the book today on her blog!! It looks fabulous, a skill I can strive to achieve.


Posted: 2:50 pm on August 10th
luluvision writes: I'm totally addicted to embroidery right now! Would love to win this! Thanks for doing the giveaway!
Posted: 2:46 pm on August 10th
Ilovecatsmore writes: How Beautiful! I've been working on the 50 State Bird Embrodery Quilt Project and definately could use a "shift of Projects" for a while... need to get my hands on this!
Posted: 2:00 pm on August 10th
baddabinda writes: I too follow and love Alicia's blog. She is a unique treasure. Can't wait to see this new book!! Fingers crossed!
Posted: 1:57 pm on August 10th
Sewandsews writes: I've always found handwork to be relaxing. I look forward to seeing what is in this new book.
Posted: 1:24 pm on August 10th
tilda2 writes: Looks wonderful, I'll be checking out her blog also. thanks for introducing us to a wonderful crafter!
Posted: 1:12 pm on August 10th
BeadsandBirds writes: well, I am going to check this book out. Sounds great and I am headed to her blog now.
Posted: 12:44 pm on August 10th
jsahawkwiz writes: My Great Grandmother used to embroider all of the time. One of my most prized possessions is a framed piece she did of the alphabet. I am not nearly as talented as she was, but I'd like to be some day!
Posted: 12:40 pm on August 10th
Mirja writes: What a wonderful book to own!
Posted: 12:35 pm on August 10th
feckless writes: Wow, I love Alicia's work and already follow her blog. I kid you not, just last night I was embroidering her Queen Anne's Lace pillowcase pattern from her site!
Posted: 12:21 pm on August 10th
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