Midsummer

comments: 68

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The middle. The greens have deepened. The sun is hot and rich. If there were cicadas here they'd be humming in the afternoons, but instead they hum in my memory of them humming. It's a Midwestern memory, one of many. There was a scent in the air the other day as Amelia and I got out of the car to have our lunch at a Thai restaurant I've only just started going to, needing a change. Something was blooming but I don't know what. It was the smell of a field, or a meadow, though we were nowhere near one. Far from, in fact. A sob caught in my throat. Our neighborhood feels urban in the worst of ways, lately. Overcrowded, filled with cars, crime, and a general crustiness that has me world-weary. I long for a Queen-Anne's-lace-lined gravel road, birdsong, a lake with a pier I could sit on and dangle my toes, a rowboat with which I could row Amelia into the shade to nap. No noise but nature's noises. I long for these things. Everything feels so far from them, somehow. I don't know why. I can't seem to find the right place for us to go to find them. It seems like just a small, quiet, ordinary place but I can't find it. It must be more extraordinary than I thought. Sometimes I wished we lived in the country.

Instead, I tend my little garden. It's not doing very well, actually, and seems rather stunted. The gourds and cucumbers seem stressed, their lower leaves turning yellow and getting brown splotches and falling off. The broccoli leaves, those beautiful, leathery, spruce-green lobes, are getting eaten by something. I guess everything else is actually doing okay, but it just doesn't seem to be growing very much. I've been watering every day and this is the first time I've been so diligent about doing anything in the garden for years, since before Amelia was born. It feels good and I feel ready to do it again. I mean, I'm still terrible at gardening. I learn things and then I forget them immediately, or I don't learn anything at all. I'm super into it for a while and then I'll get totally neglectful (and, well, busy) and won't water for a week, usually right when it gets super hot and the plants need it most. Well, we'll see. So far I'm doing okay with it, and it feels good.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your orders during my quilt kit sale the other day. I am so incredibly happy that these are selling, and yes, I have more coming. I have at least twenty new fabrics that haven't even been cut yet. I'm working on my skirt pattern — and yes, to those who've asked, it is the skirt hanging next to my basket on my post last week — and I'm going to be selling a limited amount of yardage of these vintage calicos to go with my skirt pattern. The pattern has no pieces for you to print out or cut out or anything like that — the skirt is made entirely of rectangles cut with a rotary cutter and ruler, and you can make it any size you'd like. I've literally made five of these skirts in the past few weeks as I've been working on the pattern, and I've been wearing one or another almost every single day. I put my phone/wallet in one pocket and my keys in the other and I go. So practical. I'm haaaaaaappy with this particular summer solution. It's good.

Andy Paulson. The kind of dad I wish every child in the world could have. Happy Father's Day, my dear, dear irrepressible, darling love. XOXO

68 comments

What a priceless picture of your baby girl with her papa. So sweet. :)

Though I just moved to Florida and am loving it, your lovely words made me long for my Midwestern home state (Michigan). I can hear the cicadas at night so clearly in my memories :-)

I like your earring assortment. Your neighborhood looks very charming, but maybe that's your good photography. I hope, if you really want to move, you find what you crave. :)

It sounds like you need to come visit me. So much Queen Anne's Lace. :) We'll walk in the woods, and go fossil hunting, and maybe dye some yarn.And swim! The new house has a pool. It's a party house.

My broccoli and cauliflower got ate up too. It was little green wormy caterpillar things. I wish I had been more aggressive picking them off (they hide in plain sight). Even though the plants produced crowns, they all went bad before I could harvest. It all looked so good until it was just bad. Oh well—such is gardening!

Summer, we've had a gentle start to summer here in SC. At least compared to the Southwest. It sounds as though your summer has truly begun as well. I love the gardening story how you sometimes are diligent about tending to it and sometimes not. That's kind of the way of everything, isn't it?

The collection of earrings is lovely. Danglies are my favorite.

The photo of Andy and Amelia in the yard laying down is lovely as well. It's a wonderful father-daughter-dog moment.

I hope your neighborhood returns to a less urban feel and that the meadows return to you.

Thank you once again for sharing these moments.

I hope that you get to live on the country some day. I love the space our 5 acres gives us.. the kids can run and run through the pasture and in our little forest. I think you're a country girl at heart. You've waxed poetic about it before.. I hope you can make it happen! :-) . ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

The scent! Maybe it was the fragrance of sweet clover. I used to smell it when we visited my father's half-sister in the country in Pennsylvania. They took it for granted but to me it was the most beautiful of fragrances. You won't have it where you are in the city but there are other plants that have that same fresh, wonderful, sweet scent. These days I still often I smell it when we're travelling along country roads where they've just mowed. Sweet Woodruff is a cultivated plant, easily grown, that becomes a ground cover in shady spots. When picked and dried the fragrance remains. Sweet Grass can be purchased and grown in your yard. It likes a bit of moisture in the ground but no other needs than that. It also holds the fragrance when cut and dried. In fact, if may not smell at all until it's cut. I want a whole yard of sweet grass! I hope you learn what the scent was.

Just make sure it's really Queen Anne's Lace and not Water Hemlock! I only recently learned to distinguish between the two myself and had a minor freakout that it had been growing around my kidlets unbeknownst to me. Luckily they never touched it!

We live in a townhouse community and I long to live in a place with no noise but nature sounds, to be able to hear the wind in the trees! Or sometimes I even feel almost claustrophobic just thinking about all of the stars we can't see in the night sky because of light pollution. Your words and pictures are always a gift of beauty though!

I'm so surprised, I always thought that you live in quiet place. And was a little jealous because we have a bad climat (no summer so far, still wear my coat) and so urban and nosy place of leaving. I dream of home in some little town, a place from my childhood, warm and slow. But this is so impossible at the moment, it make me sad.
I love Amelia's hat! So sweet:) and the picture of her and Andy is great, full of sun and love.

That place you describe with the birdsong sounds just like the place I went to last year in Sweden. It was so so quiet and peaceful. We stayed on a lovely farm in such a tiny community. Only fields, flowers, and forests carpeted with creeping blueberry bushes! It was magical! Here is a little video:

https://instagram.com/p/BGEoUpDpMte/

I hope you find your meadow, Alicia!

Oh this pic of Andy and Amelia, so much love ! You have such an eye!
I'm SO waiting for your pattern, and hope I can get some of your fabric too, pockets are the best!!
About your country-thoughts, we've moved into a valley one year ago, and we feel so free! Now were almost panicked when we get into the city!

The grass is always greener....? I live in the country. Minutes from a lake. With a dock. But I find myself wishing at times I lived more near a town where I can walk to the library or store. A place where my kids can have friends just down the street. Maybe we all need to trade places once in a while? I hope your broccoli does better. Mine is getting eaten too. I think it may be snails and slugs that come in the night. I put out some beer to catch them. Could be green worms too. They blend right in. Check your leaves under and in the creases. Good luck!

Beautiful photos, beautiful family. The grass is always greener. I long for more fresh air and nature, too, but I also know that rural areas at least here in the Midwest are plagued with no jobs, opioid addiction, few healthcare resources, and Walmart. Heartbreaking. So we make the best of what we have and muddle on, trying to do the best we can in this world.

I hope you find the place you are looking for. It's out there! Sounds to me like you would be very happy living in the country or maybe by the lake! I do love all the amenties that come with living in a city, but not the crowds, crime, and just general feeling of constant hustle and bustle.

Hi Alicia,
When I see that you've put up a new post I get so excited. You have such a way with words and pictures it makes me feel so relaxed and content. I live in the country and summertime is my favorite season here. I love everything about it. The sounds, especially the cicadas, the smells, the summer wildflowers, the longer days. Thank you for sharing all that you do. You are a very sweet person. Oh and I remember that
Anais Anais. Takes me back! Love, Janelle

Here is my unsolicited advice:
Move to a place that makes your heart sing! We moved to northern Wisconsin in 1978 and have not regretted it for a minute! Lakes, rivers, woods, fresh air. Long winters but we cross country ski, snowshoe and ice fish.

I walk three miles every morning. This morning I saw 2 does and 4 little fawns prancing along behind them. So sweet.

Not much shopping if you are into that kinda thing, but since we have the interwebs, one can go buy half of a former quilt store to keep oneself busy. :) We have a strong arts community and a vibrant dance studio with lessons and an annual recital.

We grew up in the Chicago burbs as you did, but give me the Northwoods any day of the week!

Your gardening efforts sound very much like my own! Good intentions and all. :)
After a life-long (57 years) love affair with Portland, it became apparent that my little city was being loved to death. 4 years ago we moved a 90 minute drive away and have never looked back. Our new little hometown is a throwback to another era - in a good way - and life in the slow lane suits us just fine.

That picture of Andy and Amelia is EVERYTHING! I got teary when I saw it.
Just beautiful.

Oh, Alicia, I fear that there is no safe place left in the world ...

I am looking forward to the skirt pattern! I teach (pre-K and K), and I wear a little handmade waist apron to carry my phone, keys, and mini-wallet. Also pockets for pencils, glue sticks, highlighters, scissors, tape, hand-sanitizer ... I'm only a basic sewer, but I love skirts, so maybe your new pattern will suit me. (I may need to add more pockets if I don't wear my apron ...).

I have been buying your books and reading your blog for years. I share so many of your sentiments and style preferences! At this part of my life, I do my best to live in a world of craft, Georgette Heyer novels, and British television. And cultivate my little gardens of "kinders."

By the way, have you read the book 'Katy No-Pocket' with Amelia? I think you both will enjoy it.

J. Kelley says: June 24, 2017 at 02:04 PM

My sister used to make skirts for me, simple and easy. They were one seam down the back, casing for the elastic waist and the hem. I would always get soft flowy fabric. I love that you added pockets! They are so handy!

Loving your life photos, as always. Out some nitrogen on those cucumbers!
Hugs from South Carolina!
Valerie

Bridgette says: June 24, 2017 at 06:02 PM

I think the political climate has many of us yearning for a gentler time. I go between wanting a shack on the beach, but everyone wants that so it would be crowded, to a cabin in the woods. I'm leaning towards the cabin. To sit near a window and sip tea, watch the light play in the pine boughs, the scent of fresh air. Not a neighbor in sight, no sirens, no blaring stereos......

I remember you writing a post once. It was beautiful and I wrote it down and saved it. It was about moving to a little cabin with flowers in the window and it was amazing. I don't know if I could find that post again. We are moving and I remember packing that slip of paper away where I wrote it down, but I don't know where it is. Anyway, I hope you find a piece of country land for your sweet family. Your pictures are beautiful, as always. <3

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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.