Clackamas County Fair 2017

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The end of the summer here, and we go to the fair. It's one of my favorite days of the year and we had such a sweet time. There is no trace of toddlerishness in Amelia anymore — no stroller, no bulging diaper bags of tricks and treats, no tired tears — just pure excitement and joy at all there is to see and do. We sauntered and strolled, riding ponies, petting bunnies, buying prairie hats, eating kettle corn. How I love to see this child happy, love her smile and her laughter and her skipping and her jokes, her poses and her priorities, her excitement and her wonder and her hilarious nonchalance over things I think should spark wonder. I love it all, and I love her.

I must admit that I'm tired. Wonderfully, happily tired, but still — pretty tired. Heading into the homestretch of summer, that final sprint after the long, long marathon of summer, and I've apparently stalled out before even starting the last leg. Andy's been on vacation for almost three weeks and it feels like we've had something to do almost every single day. I know that can't be true but it felt true up until yesterday, when I huddled in my office, sewing school clothes and trying to organize my thinking about something, anything. Last week my childhood friend Jenny flew in to hang out with us just for a day (she's a flight attendant). We hustled out of swimming lessons, met her over at Kennedy School just after she landed, spent the afternoon having lunch and lounging in the soaking pool there, then we dropped Mimi and Andy off at home and she and I went up to Powell's and browsed books, then we went to Piazza Italia for dinner, then we got ice cream, then we sat at the fountain and talked, and then I drove her back to the airport around 9 p.m. It was so great to see her. I was collapsing into bed as she was getting on the plane to go back to Chicago (poor thing!).

Yesterday I cut out four pairs of corduroy pants and four calico peasant blouses with tiny gathered pairs of pockets for Amelia, who has few school clothes that fit her anymore. I ordered (from Etsy) the same back-to-school dress pattern that I'd made her last year and after I'd spent a half an hour ironing all of the pieces I realized that it was a size too small. I hurriedly ordered a size 5 and hopefully it will get here in time. We made a family trip to Fabric Depot to get thread and elastic and olive-green and rust-colored corduroy. I came home and sewed in happy isolation, breathing deeply, ripping out all my stupid mistakes and redoing stuff as necessary. It's been so long since I've sewn.

My heart is just breaking for the people of east Texas and Louisiana who are affected by the catastrophic flooding right now. I pray that the rain stops and they can rescue all of the people who are trapped and stranded all over Houston. I'm heading downstairs to box up five or six packages of unused diapers that we have leftover in the basement to send to the Texas Diaper Bank. I didn't know this but diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies. I'm praying for everyone who is struggling there right now. If you are from the area and you have suggestions for other groups to donate to, please let me know. I really want to help.

59 comments

Based on the photos, I feel like there could be a bunny in your future. We rescued a bunny (Gord) at the beginning of the year, and he lives happily with us and the two cats. He's pretty much free-range. All I can say is that I was totally unprepared for how cute and engaging he is.

Melissa aka Witchknit says: August 29, 2017 at 04:43 PM

I've been a lurker of your blog for a long time. Today I felt that I just had to write and say "thank you" for all the beautiful pictures, wonderful words and fabulous crafts. Love your home and gardens. Reading your blog makes me feel serene even on a bad day and when did Miss Mimi get so grown up?

So appreciative of the link for the diaper disaster. You have done a ton by just providing that.

I had to remind myself after looking at your pictures of the darling girl: nothing is ever all good or all bad. I admit my first clenching thought was: she's big! She's no longer a little! Congratulations or condolences, she's darling.

Donna Vaughn says: August 29, 2017 at 05:24 PM

I so love your pictures, it feels like I'm right there enjoying it all. the fair looks like it was so fun. Prayers and love to Texas!

There is something so sweetly heartbreaking about realizing a child is no longer a baby. I felt it looking at these photos. She's growing up, so beautifully. She exudes the love that is being poured into her. What a great childhood she is having. But still...I remember the newborn photos!

One of the first posts I ever read of yours was years ago about the county fair I look forward to your pictures of it every year. So much fun. Americana at its best. We took our grandsons to our state fair this year. What fun!

I live in a little town south of Houston, in Alvin. We hold the U.S. record for most rainfall in 24 hours - 42 inches, during Tropical Storm Claudette. During Harvey, we received 55" over 4 days. This was so, so much worse. We evacuated our home last night, and are going in tomorrow to see what we have. Water rose over 4" in 2 hours yesterday. We have to cross a bayou to get out of our neighborhood, and the bayou had overflowed its banks and over the bridge. My husband had parked our truck on high ground across the bridge, so we waded through sometimes thigh-deep water for 1/2 mile from our house to the truck. But we are safe. Thank you for wanting to help us.

Please don't forget those in Rockport and Port Aransas, who also lost their homes. HEB is our 'homegrown' grocery store. They have pledged $100,000 to Harvey victims and have been feeding volunteers and those affected. HEB is starting a 'tear-off' donation in the store, but I don't know if you can donate directly. Their website is HEB.com. (And I do not work for, nor know anyone who works for them. I just know they are very community-minded.) Also Feeding Texas https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/harvey-food-relief .
We have lived a nightmare the past several nights and days. But it has also been an experience that has restored my faith in our neighbors. Thank you for thinking of us.

I love this post every year. I too am wondering what pants pattern you use? My oldest is 5 and started kindergarten this year (whaaaaat? howwww?) and mostly wants to wear crazy colored $4 leggings from target but I would love to make her some corduroy pants for when it cools down

Jody, Michelle R., and Sylvia, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the links Jody -- I was trying to fix the one in your comment but I just can't figure out how to fix it above. But the link to Feeding Texas is https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/harvey-food-relief . I'll keep trying to fix that. I also donated to Houston Food Bank http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/ which is local as well, and hopefully that's a good place to donate, too. We are wishing you health and safety tonight and keeping you close in mind in the hard days to come.

Alicia, I saw the first photo and I said out loud, "Clackamas!" and felt my face smile and my heart lift as I said it. I've been reading your glorious blog for years and I look forward to Clackamas. Thanks so much for your always beautiful photos and your words from the heart.
PS I seriously have to go and buy a bunny rabbit now!

Laura Nelson says: August 30, 2017 at 07:28 AM

Gee i just can't believe how grown she is in these adorable pics. You seem to be very adept at capturing how she views the world. And the fair looked like so much fun, just the way it should be. Did you make that adorable lil dress. I am scheming how to get my old Nova Necchi oiled and conditioned to start sewing again. I really loved that my mom made so many of my clothees when I was young. You should be very proud of your efforts, the work it takes to handmake, knit and sew.You are imprinting a Handmade life on her

Lori Lynn says: August 30, 2017 at 07:40 AM

Nice. I look forward to this post every year for the memories. My family moved to Molalla in 1962. We had come from Southern California and at the tender age of 10 this former city girl experienced her first fair at the Clackamas County Fair. My newly-met cousins were in 4-H and I spent most of the time in the barns. Oh, the smells!!! So alien, but I loved every minute of it. I relive it with your post every single year.

I absolutely love your photos. You manage to capture the true magic of the moment every time. I want to live in your photos! Even though my children are grown and out of the house, I still remember the scurry at the end of the summer to get in all the activities everyone wanted to do before heading back to school. And I still physically feel the excitement that the beginning of the school year holds. Enjoy the little quiet during the school days... Thank you so much for sharing your gift with photos and words - your entries always make my day better.

Could you provide a link to the school dress pattern, please?

You always take such beautiful story telling photos! I especially liked the log cabin quilt this time. Your words Don't Forget the Black (when describing how to select fabric once upon a post) popped in my head when I saw it. The black just makes that quilt doesn't it?
The cucumber banana wiener dog cracked me up !!

sue collins says: August 30, 2017 at 05:35 PM

What fun... :)

It seems like every time I turn around on your blog it's Clackamas County Fair time. Which is wonderful! But goodness, how quickly the time passes!

Clackamas should hire you for PR photos, you really capture the atmosphere perfectly. We had such a great time there and your photos brought all the memories back. I hope we get to go again one day. Love the photo of Amelia with the moccasin man

Stacey J Schmidt says: August 31, 2017 at 11:57 AM

Hi Alicia!

NPR has a legit list here of all the places one can donate to Harvey. So good to know about the diaper need. I passed this info along to my local mom's group here in Wisconsin. Thank you!!

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list

the fair post is always one of my favorites. there is just something about old fashioned fairs that has a charm that never ages. amelia looks so old in these pictures...no longer a tot but a regular little girl enjoying all the delights the fair has to offer. please please post pictures of each little dud you make her for school...what says fall any better than corduroy? oh my goodness and i know she will have many little blouses and sweaters and of course a liberty dress or three! does anyone dress a little girl in a tiny plaid anymore? that would be so divine. blessings for a happy fall season.

Most of my family & friends (and I) have been so, so fortunate in our pockets of Houston. We didn't even lose power! Our damage is very minor, though a couple of coworkers and one friend have lost pretty much everything. It's just heartbreaking.

I've learned so much during my days off work - about how lack of zoning laws in Houston and its effect on city planning, about how the freeways are SUPPOSED to flood like that, because they're intended to pull water away from residential areas.

One thing I hadn't ever really thought about before is the difference between "relief" and "recovery" - that is, the support and care for people in an immediate crisis (e.g., shelters) versus long-term support to help them recover their lives. I had no idea! And I thank Lin-Manuel Miranda for tweeting about this local Houston recovery outfit, which will be working with folks around here for a good long time: https://www.bakerripley.org/get-involved/donate

Sharon Beam says: September 01, 2017 at 11:25 AM

I have loved watching Amelia grow up. Thank you for sharing photos with us. Much love to you both

Joan Lesmeister says: September 02, 2017 at 08:44 AM

Beautiful - every word, every picture! Thank you! xo

I always love seeing all your fair pictures each year. We live in an area where it's so darn hot, and going to the fair is just not an option for me. Luckily I no longer have little ones to feel guilty about not taking them hahah. My favorite fair was in Humboldt county where I went to college.It's by the sea and nice and cool. the animals always look happy and the fresh sea air is wonderful. A few years back, my husband and I made a special trip just to go to that fair. Thanks for sharing as usual :)

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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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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.