comments: 50


It's been the most non-summery summer I can ever remember. Most days are cool and cloudy and damp. Rainy. This morning, thunder. Rolling from one edge of my dimly perceived 5 a.m.–world to the other, for seconds it seemed it was part of the dream. Then, no: just the rare tympani of an imploding storm rather than the quiet, mousy drizzlesound we normally barely notice or hear. Outside our bedroom window is a strange sound tunnel. The house next door is so close to ours, both of them perched at the far edges of their skinny plots, built originally by the same person in 1927 and '28. Perhaps inhabited by members of the same family? They did not mind having their bedroom windows directly opposite and only feet away from eachother? Our shades on these windows are almost always drawn, drawn in both houses. I imagine each of us — our neighbors and we — hear dawn more than we see it: the lone and insistent calling of crows, the paper deliveryman talking at the top of his lungs on his cell phone then peeling off in his jingling car, the slap-slap-slap-slap of the determined jogger. All of them, I imagine, preferring that still, gray, magical hour, when it's possible to feel you might be the only one here. Anywhere.

In the back yard, we moved chairs, planters, lanterns, and leaves in order to stain the deck this weekend. The color was called Nantucket Mist. I was down with that name. A pale, gray wash. Today the yard is still and quiet. The color of the light is so flat it doesn't look quite real. There is barely a breeze, hardly a leaf moving. For some reason, I hear no traffic, either. One of our other neighbors is talking to his cat. Sitting in my office, I hear every word. There is a bolt of thrifted eyelet on my work table, enticing me (as eyelet will do). I have not sewn in weeks and weeks and weeks. I would love to make a new quilt but it feels like there isn't time for it lately. Suddenly the quilts we use all the time have all decided to fall apart at once, the fabric ripping like tissue paper. This may be the first summer in quite a while that I haven't made a quilt. But it feels like more work than I can muster out of myself right now. It feels good to just sit around a bit.


Wow, I can't imagine a summer like that. :) Like most of the country, we've been having a heat wave here in Virginia. And our heat is very humid and sticky. I long for fall.

I've never made a quilt before but I've been doing some research and seriously considering it. I'd love to have one for my bed when things cool down!


Poetic! Isn't there something about the heaviness of thunder that makes you want to just indulge in its fabulousness! Enjoy the sitting around x

I always forget that my neighbors likely hear me talk to my dogs and when I remember, I'm so embarressed. They hear me bellow at the barker when he is so busy barking he can't perceive me saying no and then they hear me saying things like, "don't eat the dirt! leave that poop alone! don't roll in that."

Ugh, just thinking about it makes me cringe.

It's been much the same in Ireland this summer (and, sadly, for the past three or four summers too). As an expat here from Illinois, it was enough to nearly bring me to tears last week when it was a particularly cold and rainy day. It's no wonder I get most homesick during the summer.

What I wouldnt give to be able to trade you summers! Its been so hot and miserable here. I long for a rain, a cloud, a mist, anything ;) Your new back deck looks lovely! Hope you get lots of enjoyment from it~

That fabric would entice me too!! I welcome the gloomy weather today because just last week we broke heat records here in Connecticut.
Your mornings sound lovely.

Our weather this spring and summer in Portland has been very conducive to sitting around--reading, sewing, knitting--I think we're all waiting for the expected summer weather to arrive--for more than 2 days in a row. Perhaps your quilts are falling apart right now from overuse--due to our unseasonably cooler, wetter weather... Your backyard looks wonderful; along with all the rooms of your beautiful home you have shared with us.

Our summer has been ones of extremes. We've had temperatures in the low to mid 60s as well as days where it topped 100. I'd be happier with the lower end of the scale, but days of it are coming.

You have such a wonderful way of writing about the everyday (oh unintended rhyme, love those!). It makes your days seem so easy to relate to and yet a little magical.

Me too. I heard the thunder in the dark of the pre-dawn, rattling the windows. I have given myself permission to indulge in this quiet Portland summer day.

It sounds like a lovely, although perhaps a little melancholy, morning. I fantasize about mornings like yours instead of enduring the endless, monotonous, brutal onslaught of a Texas summer.

It is the same in Holland, cold and rainy ,
News is at the moment more about the weather than about anything else. Let's hope that the sun will return soon

Your description just draws me in, I can feel the quiet, the smothering of closeness and then the aloof - the barging in of noises, and the peace of tranquil. Beautiful~

A cool summmer here too, but enough sunshine that actually it's been rather lovely overall. Very conducive to enjoying the outdoors and not getting much done, and where's the harm in that. Enjoy your break from quilting, you'll probably enjoy the next quilt you do make all the more!

Don't be too hard on yourself. You'll get your quilting mojo back!

I would gladly take some of your rain/drizzle and thunder right now. LA is and has been in the upper 90's so it's going to be one long summer. At least we don't have the humidity that the other half of the country is suffering through. Your new deck dock looks wonderful, can't wait to see how the stain turned out! Hope you get some summer soon.

Hi Alicia!

I have made 2 quilts (my first) so far this summer, all thanks to your post about the heat and the a/c vent! We've had 90+ and humidity. I am longing for a cool front!

And don't forget you did make a log cabin quilt, does that count? :)

I love being up early like that and hearing birds and the stillness with not many people up yet and the early light. Also, I am staring at bins of fabric - and I have a coupon for the local fabric store that's tempting though I don't need more by any means! Maybe an August quilt will come along.

MB@YarnUiPhoneApp says: July 25, 2011 at 03:49 PM

where do you buy thrifted eyelet, I want to know?? Cuz I'm all over anything eyelet. Is it vintage or just thrifted? Important difference. I like vintage. Anyhow, I haven't sewed in ages either. You are not alone.

Christine says: July 25, 2011 at 04:05 PM

Oh, I can relate so much with this post, Alicia. Especially with the "wanting" or "needing" to do something. But feeling like it's all so much work and not enough energy to get going. I blame the fall-like summer we've been having here in Vancouver. Not enough sunshine to energize us all. Ho-hum-cloudy-summer-extra-lazy days.

oh my, for a little cool mist...any mist we have here in virginia is anything but...heavy heavy hot steamy air punctuated by bouts of extremely hot sunshine that just heats the wet air to what feels like a boil. but, i have a feeling that if you were here, your poetic spin on the heat would make it seem less dreadful and more dreamy....

Melissa L. says: July 25, 2011 at 05:30 PM

This is the weirdest summer ever in Portland. The lightning woke me up about 4 AM and for a minute I wasn't quite sure what was going on.

Java Venus says: July 25, 2011 at 09:48 PM

I feel it....the okay-ness with the just being...the need to just sit around for a bit.

Thank you for the permission. ;)

Hi Alicia... indeed it's been a non-summer so far.. but when seeing weather maps of the rest of the country in the *red* of heat and humidity I accept our cool cloudiness with gratitude. I somehow only heard the thunder briefly before falling asleep again. Buddy, our dog barked at the sound, but again, it only roused me halfway. Take heart, we still have August! I tell people, we have 2 seasons, Winter and August. :-)
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I heard that thunder at 5 a.m. this morning in Fairview, OR. So did my sweet doggie girl, Shasta, and she was not amused!
Luckily, with the one leaky slide in our motorhome, last night we had pulled in said slide and were able to smile & go back to sleep! Whew!
Looking for some sunny days coming up!

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About Alicia Paulson


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