Warm and Water

comments: 72
















She would prefer to stay outside at all times. Around four o'clock, the time between (hopefully) nap time and before dinner time, she's lately letting out a plaintive scream: "'SIDE?!?!?!?!?!" and pointing toward either the front door or back door while scrambling to find some shoes/frantically signing "shoes"/jamming shoes on her [wrong] feet. "'SIDE?!?!?! 'SIDE?!?!?!?!" Oh my lord. This is after being outside for most of the day. The desperation and hysteria that follows if 'side is not an option at that moment is profound. The girl loves to be outside. With a bucket of water, a little pan of water, and sticks, stones, and fancy water cups she makes stone soup, and it is sweet.

I'm making stone soup too, just about. At night I've been watching cooking shows (I finished all of the Restoration Homes and I swear I have post-partum. I love that show so much. That is an awesome show.) Cooking shows are my go-to relaxing shows, and I'm trying to get some cooking inspiration. For something other than ice cream and salad rolls. My cooking of real food, for Andy and me at least, is a total fail lately. Amelia is so easy: tons and tons of fresh fruit and steamed vegetables, occasionally cheese, turkey, chicken, beans, tofu. I feel bored with everything I've made before and I'm not even sure what I want to do.

One thing I do want to do is switch out my plain white dishes for thrifted calico dishes. I seem to have inherited my dad's penchant for getting new dishes once a year. I hadn't been to Goodwill in ages but we went this week and it was so much fun. My little collection of dishes and candlesticks and that sweet little stripey dress came from my local GW the other day. I've missed Goodwill. I'm obsessed with the photo of that kitchen (from the book English Decoration: Timeless Inspiration for the Country Home which I just treated myself to recently). Maybe if I make my kitchen a little cuter, and thrift some fancier plates, I'll get my cooking mojo back. It's been gone for so long!

I just heard Andy talking to Amelia while getting her dressed. "And now we're going to pick out something to wear from the drawer. Most likely it will be what's on top." I busted out laughing. So that's how he does it!

Speaking of clothes, I made a skirt out of a pretty purply brown calico. I used the 'Tis the Season skirt in the book Sew What? Skirts: Sixteen Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics. This book teaches you how to take your own measurements and draft patterns for several different kinds of skirts. The one I made is a full circle skirt on an attached waistband with a side zipper and button. It was super easy (though it takes quite a bit of fabric), but the calculation for the waist cut on the skirt didn't come out correct for me at all. The skirt was way too big for the waistband. It wasn't a big deal to fix, but next time I'm going to be really careful about calculating that (I would take the exact waistband measurement [minus the seam allowances and button overlap], use that as the circumference of the top part of the skirt, calculate for the radius, draw that line on the folded fabric from the top corner, then cut 1/2" inside that line. This won't make sense unless you make the skirt, I wouldn't think. But it should work). Anyway, the finished skirt came out exactly as I wanted it to, and is a total joy to wear — very swishy and comfortable. More to come.

Oh, and thank you for all of your recommendations on hoses! I read through all of your comments before deciding what to do and wouldn't you know it, I decided to try the X-hose after all. So far is has been awesome (though I've only had it a couple of weeks, and it rained for one of them). I detach it after I use it and coil it up in a basket on the porch. It's so small and light that that is completely possible, and about fifty times easier than wrestling the maddening coil of filthy tubing onto its screeching wheel. So far the fittings have worked perfectly and have not leaked, but I have my eagle-eye out for the smallest spout (not that I'll know what to do about it if it does leak, since it's made of weird fabric, etc.). It seemed worth it to try this, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And I must remember to take pictures of the flowers in the raised beds. They worked — I have wildflowers! — and they are darling.


It's such a treat to come here and see pretty gardens, a cozy home and a very darling girl. She is so pretty...her looks have really changed lately, more little girl than baby.

I'm into thrifted dishes to. We just moved and hardly brought anything with us. I'm hoping to find thrifted ones...one at a time. You have a good eye for that with your candleholders and pretty potted plants.

Almost time for you to hear "side" again! enjoy. :)

I appreciate Amelia's penchant for 'SIDE !?!?!? lately, and at 63 I still want to pitch a fit if it is not the right time to go :) While visiting friends in CA recently I realized I had spent every minute I could on their deck...so much so they asked, "Don't you ever sit outside in Oregon?" [I need to work on that!]
Blessings on you and yours xx

I said a prayer of thanks today for your little blog. Oh the joy it brings! The joy you bring!

Troy Louise says: June 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Thank you for always making me smile! That darling pic of Amelia in the chair is so fun. My son loved being 'side too! And, even though at times it was difficult, I am so thankful that he enjoys the outdoors still after 20+ years. Have a wonderful weekend.

Try Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers for cooking inspiration, his books are a wonderful read too

I'm going to have to dig out my Sew What Skirts book. Thank you for always inspiring me to sew my own clothes. I don't do it often enough.

Amelia is the cutest toddler. I love your style for her, it suits her features perfectly.

It has been so hot here I haven't wanted to cook,[ plus I've been on vacation], but today I made
Ratatouille following this recipe...
I have her cook book, it's wonderful.

My babies always wanted to be outside too! :)

Our stretchy hose, a gift from my mother, exploded.
But! I think it's because someone forgot to turn off the water at the bib,
so it built up too much pressure... maybe it would have lasted longer, if not for that.
It was great, while it lasted. If yours survives the season, I may try again.
As for dishes... sigh. I am weak for dishes. A new-to-me set could inspire all sorts of domestic

Goodness how I adore Ben Pentreath. Sunday evenings are made when I find he has published yet another perfect blog post about his extraordinary life. I dream of a London flat and weekend house in Dorset in the former Parsonage. And his garden! It is perfection.

I know that when I became a mother, much of my cooking mojo flew to make way for a new fascination with baby feeding and wrangling. Slowly, it reemerged but was altered/expanded quite naturally by the inclusion of a budding palate taken into consideration.

That darling girl of yours is like sunshine!

I am so not sure how your kitchen could get any cuter? Seriously. I always end up wanting to live in your house when I see your photos. So cute and cozy. Also, I went through the cooking blahs last summer. I say that is what garden season is for. Plain fresh veggies (steamed, salted, buttered...so many ways to keep it simple!) are my go to. I feel myself drifting toward that same tendency already...

as always, i love everything you've said and all the photos. two things that made me smile (well, more than two, but...y'know): dishes at goodwill. i found a whole bunch of dishes from my first "apartment away from home". i bought all of them. (how many dishes do we really need/use?) the second was the "screeching wheel". that really made me laugh as ours does that and is so embarrassing. good choice...quiet little ball of squished hose, no screeching allowed.

Susan from Tsawwassen says: June 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM

"Stone soup" ... lol ... priceless! As always, I just love your posts. They make me feel light, breezy, warm, comfy ... (seems like an odd collection of words ... just typed what came into my head).

I love water play! Check out Discovery Toys, if they are still around, for some fun water wheel things. Also, I'm sure you've had her use big paintbrushes to "paint" with water too? So much fun, that age. Love that you share her with us.

I had the same problem making skirts from that book. I decided the author just wanted a lot more ease than I wanted in my waists. So I took the waist ease down and was completely happy with it. Fun, cute skirt!

Have you read "Truck" by the same guy that wrote "Coop"? It was my favorite of the two. I found an oval-shaped Talavera pottery bowl at GW last week to put on my end table and use as a yarn bowl. I thought, "someone got a trip to Mexico and all I got was this lousy bowl. At Goodwill." (Remember the t-shirts that said "My mom & dad got a trip to Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"? I am dating myself.)

Sometimes kitchen inspiration only comes after long spells of of forced perseverence and consistency. Grit yer teeth and bear it! Make old boring dinners through this drought and inspiration will come!!

Kim Benham says: June 20, 2014 at 01:58 PM

My neighbour lent me her copy of VIETNAMESE HOME COOKING by Charles Phan.
I've cooked nothing but Vietnamese recipes lately and am really having fun learning a totally new style of cookery. I've even watched you tubes to help with understanding.

So, I've looked for the series you enjoyed so much, Home Restoration, but cannot find it. How are you watching it?

Thanks for sharing your stories

Ah, that little girl knows her own mind I think. How nice that she loves to be outside. The skirt is wonderful, the book sounds really useful. I have a skirt that I want to copy, but I'm a bit intimidated. I hope you guys have a good weekend. CJ xx

I remember my darling girl girl a few years ago saying "side" "side" all the time it was the cutest! She was, and still is at five always happiest to be outside! The book English Decoration looks lovely!

oh my goodness! i had a baby of my own in january, so i haven't been on blogs in ages, i just checked in today and i can't believe how big she's gotten, and she's just BEAUTIFUL!!!! :)

now I am inspired. I've wanted to sew a little shift dress or top for ages but have avoided the attempt as I am total pants at sewing clothes...absolutely the worst. they never fit, always hang in a droopy sort of way and end up in the rag bag. I cannot do it. tote bag? quilt? animal? pillow? I'm your woman, but the simplest top, no. but I think I shall try again, thanks to you! she is the sweeeeeetest muff ever and I love seeing her play with sticks....she's a country girl at heart you know...

Mary Ann says: June 20, 2014 at 04:38 PM

A pan of water, some tupperware and leaves and flowers torn from Poppy's plants and my granddaughter Ilika is content for a very long time. Too bad that stage doesn't last longer!! Looks like a lovely start to what I hope will be a very magical summer...outside!!

It is so funny how kids seem to gravitate to summer like that. All they want to do is be outside from dawn until dusk. The only time my kids ever wanted to come in was to get a drink of water and go to the bathroom. And the first part only lasted until they could turn on the backyard faucet =D But it is so wonderful to see their little minds get so creative that who has the heart to call them in. And when you told of Andy's conversation .. I busted out laughing. My husband's thing was 'jeans go with everything' and 'ponytails don't have to be centered .. remember the 80s'. Hahaha Have a wonderful weekend Paulson family!

There's a little neighbor girl who is Mimi's age and she toddles over to our house when the big girls are out playing and she points to my door and says 'Kitty?' -- she is always longing to come into our house and find the kitty! SO sweet.

Ok.... YOU GOT BEN PENTREATH'S BOOK??!!!! I'm way into his blog, do you read it?? The photos he posts of the surrounding countryside near to where he lives.....oh my. Amazing!

Michelle says: June 20, 2014 at 06:18 PM

You have such a beautiful yard, it's no wonder she wants to be outside all the time. It looks like she's having so much fun out there! Maybe she is a future gardener/landscaper.

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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 aliciapaulson.com