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.


I think every Goodwill must have that same blue and white pattern on the cup and sauce in your picture! I have a few soup bowls and plates from two or three different Goodwills. I love it and it mixes well with other random patterns. Lovely!

You sound like me with cooking lately. I am going through a phase where nothing is capturing my attention (food-wise) or I'm just not in the mood to cook. I have a ton of recipes from magazines (cut out; some filed, but mostly not), a lot of cookbooks, and of course, many recipes pinned on my Pinterest boards. But I look through them and...blah. So cute with Amelia wanting to be outside all the time. I don't blame her! Question about your windows: are you able to leave them open there without screens? Aren't there any bugs or flies in Oregon? Or, am I just not seeing the screens?

Smart girl loving the outside! Especially your neck of the woods, Portland and the surrounding area is just gorgeous. Your photos are equally as beautiful, I always love reading your posts!

When I'm stumped for cooking ideas I often turn to easy seasonal favorites. In the winter when I'm longing for the taste of summer, I make tomato soup from cans of Italian tomatoes. Grilled cheese from thick chewy bread and a sharp sharp cheddar. I love frittata with roasted veggies. Whole roasted chicken from Alice Waters Simple Food. Anything from Simple Food actually. Best cookbook ever. Make chicken salad with the left over roast chicken using green olives and something crunchy like water chestnuts or celery. Chicken adobo is so simple and filled with flavor. I made a delicious batch of falafel recently and served it with dates warmed in olive oil and sprinkled with a flakey salt. Hope you find a bit of inspiration in this.

I LOVE that kitchen too! Also, Jonny loves Michael Perry and has read most of his books.

I don't know how you do all you do, and cook and make everything so lovely! I never get tired of seeing pics of Amelia and your house and garden. Truly inspiring and so cozy!

Amelia is going to have the most beautiful photo albums to look back on, all of your pictures are so wonderful! My poor mom had a habit of being very out of focus and cutting off heads so if you could make out what it was you usually didn't know who. Also I wanted to thank you for this sweet blog I come to quite often when things are really bad here! I've been in a mess with a Dryvit contractor for a year. If your stucco ever falls off of your house DO NOT call this company. I had all new Andersen windows and doors installed just weeks before he started and a brand new custom fiberglass roof put on, he did damage to the roof and 12 of the 28 windows have to be replaced! Also the stucco he did do will have to be CUT off of my house, thank goodness we fired him so it's not on the whole house, and this is who the company sent as their #1 applicator. Seeing pictures of your lovely home keep me going and fighting for my castle.

The blue and white cup and saucer you thrifted is my everyday crockery I've been using for around 25 years. Dinner guest always inquire as to where I got it from, as here in Australia too, these days most people have plain white. I originally bought two dinner sets and was then lucky enough to find a store selling loose pieces so I once had enough for a setting of 16. Some pieces have gone missing over the years... and I haven't broken one piece. My husband is always very quiet when questioned. A few pieces are also chipped, but I keep using them (but are carefull not to give these to dinner guests). Always on the look out for more too.

Oh you are a lady after mine own heart - for we share the love of Restoration Home. Everytime I watch it I want to "be" Dr Kate and find out everything about my house to restore and then triumph at the end of my long, enduring struggle, camping while I restore my property...aaah but to dream. Have you watched all of Grand Designs?

Aaah you are a lady after mine own heart - for we share a love of Restoration Home. Every time I watch it I end up imagining that I am Dr Kate, methodically researching the history of my home while I endure struggle and hardwork, camping while I complete my restoration....aaah the dream. Have you watched all of Grand Designs?

So clearly I thought my comment did not publish, only to discover another page of comments!

Andy's comments while dressing Amelia - "whatever is on top" - made me smile... That's total "guy thinking" there. My husband recently asked me why I don't rotate the clothing in the dresser when I put things away. What?? He then tells me that the same shirts are always on top and if I rotated things, he wouldn't have to wear the same ones over and over. I was flabbergasted! I had no idea that was how guys dressed, and we've been married 14 years! Apparently his Mom rotates his dad's clothing for the same reason. I always dress based on what I want to wear, not what's at the top of the drawer! Too funny!

Michelle says: June 21, 2014 at 06:27 AM

Love the "'side" pictures. When my son was that age, we spent so much time in the backyard with him "playing water", pouring it back and forth with one large dishpan full, and many small cups to fill and empty.

Please, please tell me where you found episodes of Restoration Home to watch?? I still have 3 long months of bed rest due to pregnancy complications and am on the hunt for distraction that is not just mindless trash. This show sounds perfect!

I love your blog, your pretty photos, and your sweet baby girl. Thanks for sharing them with us!

My granddaughter is Amelia's age and instead of side she yells "OUT", and she yells it until she is out. I have the fun of tending her a couple of days a week. It is more wonderful than I could have imagined, having a little girl in my home again. Water in the yard is our go to afternoon activity, as well. Enjoy these years and maybe you'll be as lucky as I am in 20 or 30 years and have the chance to do it all again!

As always, beautiful photos. Amelia is precious. I'd love to know what's going on behind those facial expressions of hers. :-)

I'm in a wheelchair so the messy, grit-covered water hoses you speak of are a nightmare for me, too. A friend gave me an X-hose and I was amazed at the ease of using it! My error was I got distracted; left the water turned on and it laying in the sun. EXACTLY what the instructions say NOT to do! It sprouted a pin hole, much to my dismay (it's still usable). Knowing it was my fault, I purchased a new one and have emptied it of water, returned it to its little "house" after every use and it's worked out perfectly. It says to keep it indoors when not in use so I do put it in a plastic bag in storage during winter months. Whoever designed that water hose did us a wonderful favor. :-)

You're an inspiration and I wonder how it is that you get so much done in one day. Thank you for the beautiful photos and motivation you provide.

Love the skirt! I have the same book, as a matter of fact my daughter just a little younger than yours, loves to look through it. Now if I can just find the time to make a skirt!

Meant to post a comment earlier, I had the type of hose you're talking about. It worked great until my rabbit, decided to bite a hole in it. I'm adding to his bill! Even after the puncture, it held up for another couple of months. I will be getting another one (or two) just like it and make sure not to leave it in the chicken/rabbit yard!

I really like your new blog format!

I know I'm about 30 years older than Amelia, but I really want to copy her wardrobe. All those little flowery skirts and hair clips! And the yellow Wellies! :-D

Beautiful photos. My children were always total outdoor little people. Now that they are grown, they love to remember and tell stories of all they did with their friends and with each other. It was like the childhood I had growing up in the 50's and 60's. I never wanted my kids to "waste" childhood. Such precious years. I have always enjoyed reading the stories that you tell us about your own childhood, Alicia.

Karen on Bainbridge Island says: June 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I admire that you are setting up your daughter with some everyday items and allowing her to play with them however she chooses. When left to her own imagination, she appears to be putting those enamel bowls and pans to good use.

Love the skirt. I love wearing skirts in the summer, and not just because I happen to believe that after a "certain age", women should abandon shorts. And I am well beyond that "certain age"!

If you like thrifting -- please check out Community Warehouse's Estate Store on NE Mlk blvd and Shaver. All proceeds benefit Portland's only non-profit furniture bank!

Mary Martha says: June 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Have you seen or heard of the book "Feeding the Whole Family" by Cynthia Lair? It has been a wonderful cooking inspiration for me. I make 18-20 meals a week for me, my husband, and my son so inspiration is required!

It's funny, but my cooking mojo has been gone for a while too. Wonder what we could do to make it come back...

p.s. I LOVE the skirt!

My Mother used to give us a clean paintbrush and a bucket of water and we would paint the steps. Over and over. I did it with my kids and my granddaughter. It is such fun and I'll bet Amelia would love it also! One question... where did you get the overhead light in the first picture?? Good luck with your cooking mojo. Summer is hard. Often times we have corn on the cob and tomato sandwiches!

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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