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

Ooh that photo of your sweet Mimi walking out of the water, with her back to the camera - she has such natural elegance grace, what a fine ballerina she makes! Not sure what's right for Portland climate (coming to you from the rolling hills of South Gippsland in Australia) but I have a longing for pink dogwood trees, en masse if poss, but if not just one or two... such pretty flowers... and the Ginkgo tree... and the tulip tree - both have such pretty shaped leaves...also on my tree wish list are chinese pistachio, himalayan birch, paperbark maple, smoke bush, golden ash and golden elm... I'm planning on planting an 'autumn grove' in our paddock one day so am obsessed with trees at the moment... love your words and pictures as always x

I am so VERY excited to sew the skirt via your pattern and with the beautiful mauve fabric I bought from you!!! It will be the FIRST item of clothes that I will be making since I was a child in 4H!!! :) I am really excited! It will be a little bit yet before I can sew it, as I need to get the elastic. But still, it will be good! If I don't understand something that seems unclear etc, will let you know but when I was reading it, I did think it was quite well written!

I am so excited that you are doing something for Christmas again! That's wonderful! God bless you and your dear family!!!

Oooh, wee, where to begin?!! I thought we were the only people on the planet to suffer a produce deficit. I earned two 10 inch straight neck squat that look and feel like gourds, one mess of curly mustards, two bunches of grapes, no muscadines for the first time ever, and five pomegranates. Nothing is growing and harvest season is as good as over. The pomegranates are stunted and even the figs failed this year. No okra, a lone tomato plant that refuses to grow taller--let alone produce tomatoes, no beans, no onions or garlic . . . nothing grew this year, and we had the first real winter and spring on recent record. Something is going on.

That cute little squirrel in the photo is so fat it looks like a possum with a case of mumps. :)

Mimi is growing tall and lean. :) Alex, my friend from next door, had a growth spurt too, while his sister, Fatima seems to have wilted to four feet and no inches. She's older but both of her parents are short. I measure Alex against the nails in the fence we share and where the top of his head comes to meet my chin. I no longer have to stoop for a hug. LOL.

Is that a fish? I don't want it to be an inner tube. :)

My grands had a plum tree that looks the way you described yours. It was old, and the fruit was stunted and wormy. Poor old thing.

I've enjoyed this post immensely. Thank you!

Charming as usual. Sweet childhood. Is that a big fish I see in the second to last photo? Love that you capture the moments for us all to see. Amelia is precious.

Jackie M. says: July 18, 2017 at 06:00 PM

My two favorite books this season: Uprooted by Naomi Novik and The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden -- both fantasy, but a kind of lush old world fantasy/fairy tale. Uprooted will probably end up as one of my favorite books of all time -- I kept thinking about it long after I was finished.

Love the photos of Amelia with her yellow crown. And that one of her standing at the edge of the river shows her ballerina's poise. How fast she is growing!

I recently finished "Goodnight from London" and loved it...stayed up too late to finish it. :)

I really enjoyed "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine"! Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Yes, I have read several...Fever 1793, The Dressmaker and The Kitchen...I just LOVE historical fiction

Loving Grantchester too! Right now I'm reading "The Rook" by Daniel O'Malley. Not what I typically choose to read (historical fiction) but fast paced, mysterious, and funny. A great summer read!

Alicia - I have been reading your blog for a long, long time. I recently took a photography course and the instructor asked us for 2 photographers we admired. You were my first pick! I love the light and colours and framing of your photographs. The subjects are pretty great as well. Thank you!

Kristen from MA says: July 18, 2017 at 07:58 PM

Excited to know that a new Posie cross stitch design is coming! Thank you for the squirrel picture. In all my years of squirrel watching, I've never seen one having a snooze in the sun. 🙂

Some of my favorites and a bit on the funny side...the sex lives of cannibals, old mans war, and the guersey literary and potato peel pie society. All fabulous - comedy, comedy/syfy, and drama

Brenda Weaver says: July 18, 2017 at 11:11 PM

Hi Alicia,

Been reading your blog for so long now. Years and years, but this is the first time I leave a comment. First of all, thank you for letting me see a glimps of your beautiful home and home life with your gorgeous daughter and husband. It always fills me with warmth. You take stunning pictures.
Maybe I can help a little on the veg front. Tomatoes and cucumbers are incredibly hungry plants. So don't be disheartened . Next year, as the flowers and then the fruits form, feed - feed-feed! You will see the difference it will make. I hope can read your blog for a long time to come yet. Thank you so much!

Bridgette says: July 18, 2017 at 11:13 PM

Four, isn't it a fun age? Still naive and silly and sweet, but smart, always asking questions and gathering information.
We have 4 garden boxes in the backyard and every year we plant the same things with varying results. This summer is so hot, today I told Jack and Cora it's like all the dragons are blowing flames. Oh to be 4. Back to gardening, I figure there are 2 kinds of people, the growers and the buyers. After figuring out that the one surviving pumpkin we had last year must have cost over $50.00 in water, let alone time, I am proud to purchase from a grower at the local farmers market.
Take heart :)

I bought the skirt pattern and can't wait to make it! I just finished the first book in the "Poldark" series called "Ross Poldark", by Winston Graham. It was a decent and not too gloomy read in the historical fiction genre. I have the next one in the series ("Demelza") on hold at the library. They are showing series three of "Poldark" on the TV here in Australia right now. I have enjoyed a number of your suggested book selections (thanks so much for getting me onto the Sigrid Undset books).

Oh my gosh I have a garden bench as well. My husband got it for me to make it easier for me to harvest beans and to weed. Sometimes I go out to weed and I find myself just sitting there thinking. I hear you about the money. I was just saying this year that gardening for me is more of a hobby. The amount I spend is above anything I save by having it. Love all your pictures!

"Grantchester" keeps getting better and better -- love that show. Another great one is "My Mother and Other Strangers", also British and fantastic and "The Durrells of Corfu" comes back on in the fall -- very funny one.

Just finished The Woolgrowers Companion - wonderful story.

Also enjoyed The Summer Before the War and

The Chilbury Ladies Choir.

Penelope says: July 19, 2017 at 06:28 AM

Hi Alicia, Have you tried the Louise Penny mysterys ? Oh so great ! Best to be read in order so that you get the development of the characters. I love your girl 💕

Adorable photos! We like Murdock mysteries and we get it through netflix. Father Brown is another wonderful program.

Dale Amann says: July 19, 2017 at 06:55 AM

Sister's Insecticidal Soap works great on cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower worms.

I have a flowering plants also and this year it has a bumper crop of little inedible plums. Be sure any tree you replace it with is a " street" tree, one whose roots don't sit so close to the surface that they lift sidewalks and driveways.

I've just finished Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stroud and then discovered it's a mini series. The book is really good, but I'm wondering how they've managed to make a mini series out of it.

Have you ever read Michael Raleigh's In the Castle of the Flynns? 1950's Chicago, human nature, family relationships...and, although it begins with a death it is far from depressing.

Laura Nelson says: July 19, 2017 at 07:28 AM

Such beautiful pics of Mimi, those are both portrait worthy. Makes me want to get my paints out, children are so hard to paint, their proportions are so different from adults. I know a really good book but it is all consuming and its a true pandoras box when you start to read them. First one is Outlander. I picked it up in a QFC when i lived in seattle 1993. Im still reading the series...seriously. but then you may have already read them.

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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.