May Days

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This season is my favorite. Everything is still so green and fragrant and glorious. The days alternate cold and rainy with bright, white sunshine that makes us squint and run. We've planted a bit in the parkway raised beds, which have been sorely neglected the past couple of summers. The hose just doesn't reach down there very easily and the place just fries. This year, a bean teepee for Amelia, cherry tomatoes, beets, nasturtiums. Peas. Keeping it simple. Maybe a bed just for pumpkins to turn into jack-o-lanterns this fall. I assure you I am dreading the hot temperatures I feel sure are coming, even earlier this year than ever. Over the weekend it was 85 degrees, and that ain't right. Our Adirondack chairs stay blessedly shady for a good portion of the afternoon. I read an entire book in three days (unheard of for me). That was Claudia Silver to the Rescue. That girl made some horrideous decisions. She reminded me a lot of the girl in the book I finished just previous to this, Twelve Rooms with a View. These are all library books I've been picking up quickly at the library, and pretty much devouring. I can't say enough how liberating this has been. I'm just mentioning them here mostly because I've been kind of excited about how much I've been reading lately and was wanting to keep track of the titles somewhere, because I'm usually awful at remembering. I usually pick up four or five every week and finish one of them. I read a few pages of the others and if they don't grab me immediately, for better or worse, I put them back in the return basket without a smidge of guilt. Everyone knows this, I don't know why this is feeling so novel (har) for me. . . .

Yesterday I worked on my new cross stitch pattern pretty much all day long, and by that I mean the actual pattern itself, which requires figuring out which colors I used, how much of each color I used (like actual strandage), making sure the pattern reflects exactly what I did on the fabric (you'd be surprised), picking out all those little symbol things which go over the color blocks in the pattern, and then chopping the pattern up into four pieces so it fits on the pages in a way that's readable. That last part almost destroyed me. As I was in my sixth hour of doing it wrong, in one way or another, I had a distinct sense of deja vu, and of having done pretty much every single (wrong) thing in pretty much the exact same order over the exact same (ridiculously long) amount of time for the Sweetiepie sampler (of which there are literally only nine kits left, so get those while you can because they're not coming back). By 5:00 p.m. I had figured it out — I was determined to figure it out before I got out of my chair. I did. It wasn't pretty (I could see my reflection in my computer screen). But, I did it. And now to order the fabric for those kits, and get that show on the road. Should be just a few weeks before the Night Neighborhood kits are available. I'm excited about these. The finished piece itself looks really, really cool. And thank you for the framing recommendations! I almost forgot. I wound up ordering frame samples and supplies on-line from americanframe.com (thank you, Sharon, for the recommendation!). I'll let you know how it goes. I think I'm going to paint the frame again, so I can get the exact color I want. The wood seems to have a veneer on top of it, though, so it may not work. . . .

Have you heard of the thoroughly talented Carrie Hoge's gorgeous new print magazine, Making? I'm so honored to have a little cross stitch ring, inspired by my next-door-neighbors' dogwood trees, in the first issue. Thank you so much for asking me to contribute, Carrie, and thank you for putting up with me. Usually I say no to things when I'm asked to participate because I'm an unreliable disaster when it comes to meeting deadlines or providing everything required. I stand in bewildered awe (as Hugh Grant would say) of you, and all people who can put incredible publications like this together while raising small children, seriously. Very, very well done, dear friend.

I hope May goes slowly. I feel like things are moving quickly, maybe because it's been so hot. But I want this green to linger, and I want to linger over it. I want to do some things that are just plain indulgent, like perfect my chai recipe for iced chai this summer, and read more library books in the front yard, and watch New Girl from the beginning, and make summer pajamas for Amelia to wear to her end-of-school almost-sleepover at her friend's house in a few weeks (they're all bringing sleeping bags, watching a movie, eating snacks, and then sleeping at home :). I want to make Indian food and go to the river. I want to pull some weeds and feed some birds and watch my little girl whirl and twirl in the sun.

***That's Barefoot Contessa's pasta, pesto, and pea salad, above. And I forgot to mention, for those who have asked about the quilt, we got it at the antique mall (Stars, in Sellwood) for $18 a few weeks ago. Score.

53 comments

Yes, spring is the BEST! I love it most when the weather fluctuates all day long with down pours and blue patches, clouds and then gusty breezes :)

I will have to check out the magazine, sounds super neat, and congratulations on being part of it!

Anyway, happy spring to you :)

Marica

I love all the photos. You have made me very excited for spring though it doesn't feel like Spring currently where I live. Thank you for mentioning books you enjoy. I have a difficult time finding books I want to read. I love reading about your process creating patterns. I hope to finish my Sweetie Pie sampler in a few weeks.

She is so beautiful and lucky to have you. The last post you mentioned big girl ways. I looked at the pictures today and saw a young girl and not the cute little toddler. She must make you so proud with her joy for life and inquisitive mind. She will gain so much from the creativity you are nurturing in her. She will always have a flair that others will find endearing.

Your backyard is always such an inspiration to me to get my backyard in order. I vow, it will be this summer that I make it all over into a space I can use and enjoy!

Beautiful pictures (as always). When Amelia grows up you will have to write children's books and use the pics of her to make drawings for the book! I love your contribution to the magazine. I clicked away and ordered the subscription. I don't do much in the line of handiwork but as I am getting older I plan on sitting and learning before long! (And also finish all your ornament kits I've bought in the past....some Christmas I will have a tree filled with them!) Andrea

Looks like a lovely start to May. I love May for the same reasons - the weather is so lovely and everything is so green and colourful and fresh. Almost-sleepovers are pretty much the sweetest thing ever. I can empathize whole-heartedly with the eyeball-glazing misery of turning a stitched pattern into something legible another person could have a hope of duplicating - especially cross-stitch patterns, which I am thoroughly terrified of attempting. Your patterns are always so lovely.

I agree with you: these temperatures aren't right. We are sweltering, hundreds of miles north of you just across the Canadian border, and it pains me to see all that snow melt vanishing in the torrential flow of local streams and rivers. But in the meantime, spring is certainly outdoing itself. I love how welcoming your garden furniture makes your yard: I agree that it looks like a marvellous place to while away an afternoon while reading. I'm sorry to hear that you're having a horrendous time with pattern-writing, but reassured at the same time. I've been planning to write and release quilt and knitting patterns, but as a newby to pattern-writing, I'm finding the process much more difficult than I'd anticipated. As my dear husband and I often say to one another when we're struggling with one skill or another, "If it was easy, everyone would do it." I salute you for the patterns you have so successfully and beautifully created over the years: I don't work in the kinds of media your patterns use, but the results are gorgeous.

I had been wondering if you still had your raised beds, Alicia...our household had two constructed out of pallet wood. They were each made waist high (on 4 legs). One collapsed. We didn't get the drip line watering done correctly on either. We haven't given up, though. I am beyond excited that for the first time ever I have some Sweat Pea vines growing from seed in the front flower bed. Now if they will just climb the trellis and produce gorgeous scented blooms, listen from your side of town and you will hear me celebrating way over here in Boring! I hope Amelia's bean teepee grows...something I want to try growing but haven't tried yet. Thanks for battling through all your new design work. I admire the patterns that you create and want to make them all even though so far I have just made a Maggie Rabbit. I posted pictures of our current duck families that are nesting around the front pond if you want to check out the wild life on our side of town :) Thanks for the links in your post, too. I'm off to check some out. Happy May to you and yours, Alicia xxxxxxxxx

Beautiful, delightful post, as always. :) Mimi adorable and the almost sleepover is possibly the cutest thing ever! Can't wait to see the finished Night Neighbourhood! Ah, spring.

Probably I will come back and compose a more thoughtful comment... but right now I am too utterly gobsmacked by how beautiful your pasta looks! And honestly, it's all beautiful, everything you see and capture, but seriously... the cheese curls, so delicate, tender spirals reflecting the noodles...
it's too much. You're just too much. Happy May, Alicia. Happy, beautiful, tenderly spiraling May~

You have such a beautiful yard! Every year your pictures of it just get more glorious. Yes, the hot temps are coming. We had a day in NC here recently that was near 90 and so humid. Ugh. Makes me want to stay inside and read, too. I just finished a book for book club and really enjoyed it. A Man Called Ove, have you read that? very sweet story and a good, easy read. Perfect for this time of year!

sharon stanley says: May 03, 2016 at 01:58 PM

oh my goodness i want to do all those fun-sounding things! river, food, books. complete bliss. enjoy all that may has to offer you and your sweet family.

I'm in love with all the green and the flowers! Here, in NY, it's been raining so hard and chilly that things are only just beginning to turn green. I can't wait to fill my pots with color. For now, I'll have to just look at your beautiful photos.

http://www.goodreads.com/

I may be behind the curve sharing this, I haven't read all of the comments. Track your books - have read, want to read. It's also a great place to find out if a series you want to start is just going to make you angry you wasted your time on it - you can move on to something you'll enjoy. Great site for book lovers.

I just love looking at her:) Ok ..and the vegetation..so far ahead of ours..
I love that she is a Garden Girl/Flower Fairy~

Did you know that you can grow a pumpkin up a tree? Just plant it near the base of the tree and it will climb up the trunk and wrap around the branches, then by October you will have pumpkins hanging off your tree like lanterns. They will need some support if they get too big, but it is too much fun! Happy planting!

Vicki K says: May 03, 2016 at 04:50 PM

Ohhhhhh...she is ready for (even) an Almost Sleepover???? ❤

When I see that you've put up a blog post.. I am happy. Even before I read it and enjoy the images and the text and your story. Pretty neat. We are green out here in Corbett, too. I went to a nursery out near Canby today with my 2 sisters and adopted sister.. after my birthday lunch at Oswego Grill.. and got a peony and a King Tut Papyrus! And some succulents to put together in a pot. Oh joy.. love this time of year! Mimi is just such a joy to watch grow and seeing her planting with dad.. just pure sweetness. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

What gorgeous photos. I love May. It is one of the perfect months!

Love that pasta salad. Your yard is always on point girl!

I use Goodreads for keeping track of my books. It can be a social site, but it doesn't have to be. You can mark books you want to read, and books you have read. You can label your books with custom labels, such as "didn't finish" or "cozy mystery," and then you can search by label so you can bring up a list of all the cozy mysteries you've ever read. You can rate the books and write reviews, but you don't have to.

There is a Goodreads app, which comes in super handy when I'm in a bookstore trying to remember all the books on my want-to-read list.

If you do start using Goodreads, I hope you'll still mention your books here. I love to know what other people recommend.

Jessica says: May 03, 2016 at 09:32 PM

Every year when you mention dreading the hot weather to come, I want to hug you! However, it would be too hot to hug. And creepy, since I'm a stranger. :)

You can keep track of books you read or want to read or are reading at Goodreads.com.

I always look forward to your posts, they remind me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of whatever season we are in. I also appreciate your book suggestions :) I read "Rose Cottage" from a previous post (or maybe it was Instagram) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm starting "Hild" soon. I love my local library for those very reasons as well, no guilt if I'm not that into a book! I also enjoy our intralibrary loan system, I can look on their site and request books from several Fort Worth area libraries and pick them up at mine. It's like a little gift in my email when they tell me a book is in :) Thank you again for your lovely posts, and for the projects in your shop. I've made a few Maggie Rabbits from your kits and one kitty, as well as a Christmas ornament kit that I made and was perfect for my sister living in Colorado. (The one with the log cabin, deer etc) I have enjoyed making each project, they all turned out beatifully! I also appreciate your recipes :) Again, thank you for your blog posts, always a bright spot in my day when they are in my email :) Speaking of recipes, this week I happened upon one for kolaches. We have a few Czech places in Texas that make them, I will email them to you along with my modifications. Thank you again, your posts are always a blessing!

I loved everything...per usual! I read the comments as well and am in amazement at the idea of the pumpkin in the tree idea. I think that I may need to try this...never even occurred to me that it was possible. How cool would that be in the fall?!! Can't wait for the new patterns. Have a blessed summer. ☺

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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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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.