Summer Season

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Amelia's in a morning day-camp down the street three days this week. I drop her off and water the garden. Today I filled the bird feeders. Then I emptied the dishwasher, made myself a bagel with avocado, cleaned up, answered emails, and now I'm sitting down for an hour to write here before I go back and pick her up and we go up to the library. I'm having groceries delivered in time for dinner. In between things, I ship orders, etc. I'm working on a new cross stitch pattern. My mom was here yesterday afternoon and I got to work on it a lot, and I love it. My mom took Amelia to the grocery store and then made dinner for us (chicken and dumplings, my favorite) and then Mimi and I read all our library books for the last time and then I put her to bed, and then I got to play with my cross stitch pattern (it's for Christmas) for several hours before Andy got home and then I went up to bed. The days are busy. They just are. They're wonderfully busy, but they're busy.

Thank you so, so much for the Scarborough Fair skirt pattern orders and the fabric orders! I'm so excited that people are going to make that skirt. Please send me photos when you do, or tag them on Instagram (#scarboroughfairskirt, maybe?). I've heard from several people who've made it already and, I don't know, it's thrilling. I haven't heard of any problems with the pattern but if I do I'll correct it right away and send out a corrected version automatically. Please let me know if you have any questions about it, or comments, or anything.

Standing by the veggie garden, Amelia is posing as a flower. We watch our squash and pumpkins and cucumbers take over the raised bed. It's been fun and also mildly heartbreaking. So far there are only two cucumbers and two big tomatoes, and two pea pods and about seven strawberries. There are some Roma tomatoes coming, and hopefully an eggplant. The broccoli and cabbage look terrible today. Tiny, tiny white bugs all over the cabbage. I blasted them off with the hose. Need the soap spray there, I guess. It's shocking how much money and how many hours I've spent to get two cucumbers, two tomatoes, two pea pods, and seven strawberries. Sigh. Well, as they say, it keeps me out of trouble. Having a little chair to sit on between the beds sort of changes everything down there. I mean, it's just a little gardener's bench, and I don't keep it down there or anything because it would get ripped off in about five minutes (our beds are about a foot away from the street), but I drag it down there from the porch every day and sit and contemplate the squash blossoms. It's a completely different experience sitting than standing. I know I keep saying this but it's true.

This year we need 1) railings on our front stairs down to the sidewalk (if anybody has recommendations for iron railing installation, let me know) and 2) a new tree to replace the half-dead plum tree in the parkway, which has just begun its yearly assault on me personally by dropping inedible plums by the millions all over the sidewalk and stairs and making me shriek with frustration daily. The thing is so gnarly and bad. It's listing so hard it looks like it's about to fall over. It never does, but one by one its big branches just stop producing leaves and get covered with some kind of lichen and completely die off. This doesn't stop plum production, however, and they are the sourest, darkest purple plums in the world. The tree is probably original to the house, which was built in 1928. We've had several arborist dudes come out and look at it and they trim it and charge us a ton of money and it basically just looks worse and worse, not through any fault of theirs, I don't think, but it's just a troubled tree. I'm loathe to lose the shade it provides so we've been dragging our feet on this. One guy recommended we plant a Katsura tree, and that is a gorgeous tree. He also said there was a book that lists where a bunch of different trees are planted around Portland so that you can drive around and go and see them in neighborhoods and stuff but I can't remember the name of the book. Anyway, these things are on my list of stuff to get done this fall, among forty-five other things. Plant new tree and install railings. Who has the time? Insert chin-scratching emoji guy here.

Anybody reading any good library books lately? I need a page-turner that's not depressing. Anybody watching Grantchester on Masterpiece? We're only halfway through season 2 (it's on Prime, FYI) so don't tell me anything, but man. I love that show. I got the first book but I didn't like it as much as the show. The show is so good. I watched season 1 when it first came out and then I lost track of it, but recently found it again. I keep thinking about it during the day.

136 comments

My last page-turner was "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street" by Susan Jane Gilman. Sounds like a kid's book, but it's not. Some parts a little sad, but not depressing. Quick review. Early 1900s, little immigrant girl living in Brooklyn with poor family of several sisters and parents. Mom is overwhelmed and not very kind. Father is loveable guy. Little girl goes looking for her father, runs into the street and is hit by vendor's horse and wagon. Badly injured, in hospital, Mom really annoyed and leaves kid in hospital, doesn't claim her. Italian man who hit her with wagon takes her home and raises her much to his wife's objections. Interesting stories here that follow her through her entire life into old age mostly in the field of ice cream manufacture. I loved this book and the writing style of the author. Hope you do, too, Alicia. I hope you can find it at your library. Tina

I'm enjoying the Vera and Shetland series of books by Ann Cleeves. Having watched both series on Netflix, I picture the TV version of Vera and Jimmy Perez as I read, and much prefer them to their descriptions in the books. That is not a criticism of Ann's writing however. I highly recommend both reading the books and watching the series.

Stephanie says: July 27, 2017 at 06:28 AM

I'm curious to see what tree you decide to plant. We're on the East Coast and have this gorgeous dogwood in our garden. I love that tree. Not sure if it's native to the Portland area though. Do plant something native to your area, that's my only recommendation.

And, read "The Mothers" by Brit Bennett. Such a beautiful story and writing. Highly recommend.

I'm reading the third book in the Outlander series at the moment, after becoming embarrassingly obsessed with the show.

Amber S. says: July 27, 2017 at 04:12 PM

These are some of my absoulute favorite books to read: The UnDomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall (children's novels but sooooo perfectly summery), Size 12 is Not Fat series by Meg Cabot (fun mystery reads), Fatal Fixer-Upper series by Jennie Bentley (fun mystery house flipping books), Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan, The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick, Cultivating Delight by Diane Ackerman (garden and nature fabulousness), Lila by Marilynne Robinson (I read this out of order but it was beautiful!), The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg, ANYTHING by Mary Kay Andrews and ESPECIALLY ANYTHING by Sarah Addison Allen (her books are perfection) - Happy Reading!!

jody mellenthin says: July 29, 2017 at 08:06 AM

The katsura is a GREAT choice - you'd love it. I planted one ten years ago and it is at least 12 feet tall now. In the fall the leaves turn buttery gold and smell like cookies. It's lacy and pretty and provides nice shade. I believe that it is the national tree of Japan!

Mims is becoming What a gift to have watched from the beginning!

Pamela Gregory says: July 29, 2017 at 09:46 AM

The photo of Amelia from the back, where she's standing in the water...she looks SO like a dancer there. You can just see the grace.

Stephanie says: July 29, 2017 at 12:11 PM

I too loved A Gentleman in Moscow. The Great Kitchens of the Midwest is a terrific story and oh so cleverly told. At the end of the month Louise Penny's latest mystery comes out and that is a great series set in a Quebec village where we'd all like to live.

I've never seen a sleeping squirrel!

Oh my . . . "little miss" is growing and changing into "little girl miss."
I love seeing, watching, enjoying your daughter.

I comment seldom but I read every post and savor your photos . . .
The Red Notebook . . . fast read, 150 + pages.
I read it a few days ago.
Will be on my "best favorites" list for always . . .
I am mailing it out to a friend, when it is returned, I can mail it to you . . .
Or maybe the library will have it.
Loved the writing style and of course . . . the story.

Chère Alicia , et chers tous , des dizaines de mois à passer et voir votre fille grandir ...de plus en plus gracieuse et de plus en plus grande..
Des dizaines de mois à observer la qualité de vos photos , de vos posts , et de votre engagement dans ce que vous êtes et souhaitez...
Je suis admirative de votre constance ....
Bravo et que la vie vous bien loin et bien haut !!!

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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.