Flowers and Fruit

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My favorite part of summer is now, I think, when everything is still green and plump and hasn't been frizzled to a hollow. Barbecues with old friends, and baby is crawling. We spend our time together walking, or I ride my bike on the sidewalk so we can go as far as we want without my foot getting angry. Up and down the streets, past house after house and garden after garden. This is my favorite thing. The winding. The talking. He says we can go anywhere — and as far as — I want. Ending up at a restaurant, the bead store (yep, working on a new ornament kit), a pie shop. On and on. Amelia is so game. Amelia goes everywhere, does everything, and takes it all in with this placid, happy-go-lucky way she has. There's a sparkle in her eyes, but she is mellow yellow. There are no moments where I do not marvel at this quality. Knawing on her kitty, waving her foot up and down, she's watching. She shows me her bottle cap, her little deer. I like it. I kiss it, her. We rub noses. I ride in front, zig-zagging, about to fall off going two miles an hour and trying not to crash into everyone's rose bushes. Mommy the goofball. Andy buys a guitar made out of a cigar box and puts it on top of the stroller. Can't resist playing it while he walks. We're the ragtag parade, carrying a ten-pound sweet-cream raspberry pie and a stolen daisy.

By the way, brunch at the Woodsman was a delight in every possible way. I had pancakes and very strong coffee and I was about as happy as anyone's ever been about anything, I think.

I told you I'd tell you about Amelia's midsummer dress. It was inspired by a traditional Norwegian bunad, or folk costume. Each region has its own style of dress. Amelia's birthfather is three-quarters Norwegian, and his family is from the Dovre region of Norway. The dovrebunader, like this one and this one, are just so gorgeous. I have always loved these, so I was ridiculously excited to make her her own baby version. I made the pattern by tracing the bodice pieces of one of her basic little dresses from H&M, and then added a skirt that was 10" long by 44" wide. For the embroidery, I used the traditional dandelion-like design on the dovrebunader, and then just chose two other random designs from one of my clip art books. I traced everything onto copy paper and made a copy onto a special paper called Transfer-Eze. This stuff is VERY COOL. When you peel the top (printed) layer of the paper off of the heavy paper behind it, the top layer has a sticky backing. You press that smoothly to your fabric, then hoop it, and embroider away, right through the Transfer-Eze. (See the photo of my embroidery-in-progress in this post.) When I finished the embroidery, I cut out the bodice (adding a seam allowance) and then soaked the whole thing in cool water for just a few minutes. The Transfer-Eze dissolved and disappeared without any problem at all. It was wonderful to use, especially since transfering is kind of a pain, especially on dark colored fabrics. This was my first time using this and I will definitely use it again. The only thing I noticed is that my hand and fingers were a little bit sore after I worked these pieces; you do have to push the needle a bit harder as you stitch, but it's not too bad. I was doing a lot of satin stitch in a pretty short span of time. I haven't really looked into who manufactures this product but maybe I will try to carry it in my web shop because it is pretty awesome. I'll let you know if I do. Anyway, I thought the little dress came out very pretty and it was really cool to make something by pulling together parts and pieces of inspiration.

I also finished her midsummer sweater, and just have to put the buttons on. I think this is the first time I've ever done anything in reverse stockinette. Kinda cute. I think the yoke looks too deep, but maybe I'm wrong. I'll put the buttons (covered, I think, in Liberty lawn) on today and try it on her and see. It's cold and chilly today, so this will be good.

In our yard the rose mallow is blooming, and the hydrangeas are just starting. The apple tree had three tiny green apples but they all fell off already. We built a little teepee (using this tutorial — really easy, really fast, really inexpensive) on Saturday afternoon when it was still sunny and gorgeous. She played in it for a while, though it got kind of hot; there was no breeze, especially in the teepee. After Amelia went to bed, I sat out in the yard and ate pie and watched the darkness arrive and pretty much became infatuated with the teepee at dusk. So far we haven't really used our backyard lights that much because it stays light so late right now, and I can't stay awake! But I stayed out Saturday night and it was worth it. Oh, how I do love a good ambient light source!!! It's sooooo romantic back there now. We had the lights done by this company. I basically told them what I wanted — two strands of light bulbs crossing over the seating area, hardwired into a dimmer switch on the garage wall — and they did the whole thing (even more romantic). I don't fool around with electricity, and I knew we wanted this to be permanent. Neither do I have the details about the cord because Chris the electrician provided that, but it was twisted black and brown, and what I liked about it was that he was able to put the lights into it only and exactly where we wanted them — right over the chairs, and not down the entire length of the cord as they stretch from the corners of the garage to the pergola thing, and then across to the fence (they added a little 2" x 2" board so the cord would connect at the right height). The bulbs are 40 watt clear appliance bulbs. The dimmer is fantastic. I'm really pleased with how this came out. Now we just need to drink some coffee after dinner so I can stay awake and enjoy it.

Oh, and the other outdoor wicker pendant we have over the table we've had for several years, and it just plugs into an extension cord. I think it's like this one.

I did wind up ordering a battery-powered lantern for the teepee, too.

What else. I'm playing catch up today. I sincerely apologize to anyone who is waiting for me to answer an email. I am not good at this and the email just keeps piling up and up.

Wimbledon starts today. Yippee! Does anyone know the name of that little daisy-like plant (feverfew — thank you!), and the pink frothy one (spirea — thanks!)? Those were out in the neighborhood somewhere, but I'd love to plant both of them. Pretty.

***My tablecloth is from Powell's Books for Cooks; the teepee cover cloth is from eBay or Etsy; our bedding is from Pottery Barn; I made my skirt several years ago from cotton calico (don't know the name of it — I'm sorry); and I think the pillow cover was from Pottery Barn a few years ago, too.


Really beautiful, and the teepee is adorable. Thank you for sharing some of the details as you've improved your outdoor space. I keep showing my husband pictures of your back yard and saying things like, "see? isn't this lovely??"... you've made it really dreamy, and it's very inspiring!

Man with pie, oh yumma.

I love all the paisley and floral fabrics. I'm a paisley addict ! I want to drive cross country just to get to that bakery/ restaurant !

I agree these are the best days of summer !

Lovely!! I am relatively new to your beautiful blog and just wanted to ask you about your gorgeous fabric choices! Do you have a compiled list of fabric sources for us readers? I love your taste! What fabric did you use for the little teepee? Sending love Xo

Can't count how many times I've come back to read about The Ragtag Parade. Lovely, lovely, lovely and such fun summertime imagery. Makes me feel so darn good and smiley. Thank you!

Oh my word,your little sweet pea, Amelia, is too cute for words! She looks like such a happy girl. Gorgeous photos, very calming to look at. :0)


Errrrrrrr...I am so upset that Rafa is finished at Wimbledon. I love me some Nadal.

I absolutely LOVE the colors and fabrics you surround yourself with in your beautiful home.
Your baby is beautiful!

That little backyard teepee is absolutely precious! I am loving your updates ... your photos are dreamy, and make me even more thankful to live in Portland!!

I am very accustomed to beautiful things on your blog - beautiful babies (<3), beautiful pups and kitters, beautiful home and flora. It would not surprise me one bit if you posted a picture of the man with the raspberry pie without his head cut off - that would be both appropriate and appreciated. After all, not all of us have Andy in the living room to admire on a regular basis!

Happy Fourth of July to you and your wonderful family, Alicia! I love the way you share your life and your story in amazing photos. Amelia is so precious!

This post brought tears to my eyes. I just got a Trek bike and now can make it down the street with my 9 year old. I have FSH MD and walking after a long day is best put as your term, "angry". She used to ride circles around me because I walked so slow. Now, there is a smile so big on her face as the wind pulls her hair back because I can keep up. Bicycle=hapiness

I really enjoy your blog and your crafts. Amelia is such a little doll and I love that you make her clothes. The patio lights look soooo peaceful.

If you have a chance, it wouldbe great if you could give us all the recipe for your creamy pasta salad as seen in the third picture. It looks wonderful. If you don't have time, I completely understand.

Hi Alicia,

You can easily grow feverfew by throwing a few seeds on the soil or if you're brave, you can ask at the house where you saw it if they would give you a piece (make sure it has a bit of root attached)! Surely it's a compliment to the gardener of the house to have random strangers wanting cuttings of their lovely plants!

My name is Allison and I live in a little village next to the sea just north of Sydney, in Australia. It's currently about 85 degrees F (30 degrees C to us!) and my beachside lifestyle seems to be the opposite to yours- I really would love to visit Portland sometime as all the photos I've seen are SO beautiful (I love misty mountains & snuggling up in front of a fire on a cold night). One of my friends lived in Portland (Multnomah) for a few years and she loved it.

I've just started to read your blog after buying your Embroidery Companion book (and wanting to make EVERYTHING in it- I think I'll just start at the beginning & work my way through!) and the photos and lovely tales of your everyday adventures are enchanting and so different to my life- I really love reading your recipes & gazing at your photos (the ones of forests/trees/parks are especially beautiful!).

Well done and keep it up. I just read your latest update on my email! Thanks- and Happy Birthday! So glad you had a lovely day. Looking forward to ordering some animal kits from do ship to Australia, right?!

Hope this doesn't sound stalker-ish, but from getting to know you a little through your posts, I have a feeling that if we actually lived in the same neighbourhood, we'd definitely be friends!

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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




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.