May Days

comments: 53


























This season is my favorite. Everything is still so green and fragrant and glorious. The days alternate cold and rainy with bright, white sunshine that makes us squint and run. We've planted a bit in the parkway raised beds, which have been sorely neglected the past couple of summers. The hose just doesn't reach down there very easily and the place just fries. This year, a bean teepee for Amelia, cherry tomatoes, beets, nasturtiums. Peas. Keeping it simple. Maybe a bed just for pumpkins to turn into jack-o-lanterns this fall. I assure you I am dreading the hot temperatures I feel sure are coming, even earlier this year than ever. Over the weekend it was 85 degrees, and that ain't right. Our Adirondack chairs stay blessedly shady for a good portion of the afternoon. I read an entire book in three days (unheard of for me). That was Claudia Silver to the Rescue. That girl made some horrideous decisions. She reminded me a lot of the girl in the book I finished just previous to this, Twelve Rooms with a View. These are all library books I've been picking up quickly at the library, and pretty much devouring. I can't say enough how liberating this has been. I'm just mentioning them here mostly because I've been kind of excited about how much I've been reading lately and was wanting to keep track of the titles somewhere, because I'm usually awful at remembering. I usually pick up four or five every week and finish one of them. I read a few pages of the others and if they don't grab me immediately, for better or worse, I put them back in the return basket without a smidge of guilt. Everyone knows this, I don't know why this is feeling so novel (har) for me. . . .

Yesterday I worked on my new cross stitch pattern pretty much all day long, and by that I mean the actual pattern itself, which requires figuring out which colors I used, how much of each color I used (like actual strandage), making sure the pattern reflects exactly what I did on the fabric (you'd be surprised), picking out all those little symbol things which go over the color blocks in the pattern, and then chopping the pattern up into four pieces so it fits on the pages in a way that's readable. That last part almost destroyed me. As I was in my sixth hour of doing it wrong, in one way or another, I had a distinct sense of deja vu, and of having done pretty much every single (wrong) thing in pretty much the exact same order over the exact same (ridiculously long) amount of time for the Sweetiepie sampler (of which there are literally only nine kits left, so get those while you can because they're not coming back). By 5:00 p.m. I had figured it out — I was determined to figure it out before I got out of my chair. I did. It wasn't pretty (I could see my reflection in my computer screen). But, I did it. And now to order the fabric for those kits, and get that show on the road. Should be just a few weeks before the Night Neighborhood kits are available. I'm excited about these. The finished piece itself looks really, really cool. And thank you for the framing recommendations! I almost forgot. I wound up ordering frame samples and supplies on-line from (thank you, Sharon, for the recommendation!). I'll let you know how it goes. I think I'm going to paint the frame again, so I can get the exact color I want. The wood seems to have a veneer on top of it, though, so it may not work. . . .

Have you heard of the thoroughly talented Carrie Hoge's gorgeous new print magazine, Making? I'm so honored to have a little cross stitch ring, inspired by my next-door-neighbors' dogwood trees, in the first issue. Thank you so much for asking me to contribute, Carrie, and thank you for putting up with me. Usually I say no to things when I'm asked to participate because I'm an unreliable disaster when it comes to meeting deadlines or providing everything required. I stand in bewildered awe (as Hugh Grant would say) of you, and all people who can put incredible publications like this together while raising small children, seriously. Very, very well done, dear friend.

I hope May goes slowly. I feel like things are moving quickly, maybe because it's been so hot. But I want this green to linger, and I want to linger over it. I want to do some things that are just plain indulgent, like perfect my chai recipe for iced chai this summer, and read more library books in the front yard, and watch New Girl from the beginning, and make summer pajamas for Amelia to wear to her end-of-school almost-sleepover at her friend's house in a few weeks (they're all bringing sleeping bags, watching a movie, eating snacks, and then sleeping at home :). I want to make Indian food and go to the river. I want to pull some weeds and feed some birds and watch my little girl whirl and twirl in the sun.

***That's Barefoot Contessa's pasta, pesto, and pea salad, above. And I forgot to mention, for those who have asked about the quilt, we got it at the antique mall (Stars, in Sellwood) for $18 a few weeks ago. Score.


I've been reading a lot, too, and, I'm sure someone else has already mentioned it, but GoodReads!! You can keep track of everything you read PLUS you can set up yearly reading challenges for yourself. I love it!

Congrats on the magazine project! I love craft magazines and I'll definitely check that one out.

I've only recently learned of Making and I subscribed right away. It looks like such a lovely collection of projects. When I saw a preview of the cross stitch ring I wondered if it was yours.

As others have suggested, Goodreads is an excellent place to keep track of books - those you want to read, those you've read, and ratings too. I'd love to see you on there, as I often search my favorite bloggers for book suggestions.

Ditto on the recommendation. I love that I can look up the books I've previously read. Also, the recommendations are a plus.

i can't explain how much i want to be in your yard! it is so soft and welcoming (just like your home). we're in transition right now, and our 'yard' is gravel and exposed and unwelcoming in every way. enjoy your beautiful space!

Catherine B says: May 04, 2016 at 07:18 AM

I so appreciate your writing. I want those things for May too, as it is already getting warm. I am a teacher and this time of year is so hard for me as I have so much to do for work and all I want to do is enjoy my family and the "spring." Back to work, used my break to soak up a bit of goodness!

Sabrina says: May 04, 2016 at 07:20 AM

Yes, Goodreads! It helps me keep track of all the books I'm read or have read.

Paula Laramie says: May 04, 2016 at 07:21 AM

HI Alicia, several readers of your wonderful blog have recommended Goodreads. I will too as it's the best way I've found for cataloging all those "to read" and "have read" books at your fingertips. Also if your frames are too shiny and you want matte paint consider painting them with chalk paint. It covers everything with no prep. You do have to seal it though with a couple of coats of matte varnish or sealer. Super simple or leave it to look chippy with some distressing. I love your blog and look forward to it each week. It's like a chat with an old friend catching up on life. Never stop doing what you do, it's a breath of fresh air each week. ❤️

I use to keep track of everything I have read and would like to read.

Rena Guth says: May 04, 2016 at 09:43 AM

I have a wonderful little journal called "What I Read", I got it thru Owl Crate but you can find it or many just like it on Amazon.
I can keep track of all my reading and even thoughts and ratings. You might check it out.
always love reading your blog.

The "almost-sleepover" sounds great. Little Miss Cleaver loves to "pretend" sleep all the time, so she'd probably love doing that with her friends.

I'm hoping to try a mini-camp out in the backyard like that this summer too.

Melissa L says: May 04, 2016 at 01:06 PM

This spring has been wonderful so far.
Your post reminded me of one of my favorite poems, by Katharaine Tynan: "O year, grow slowly. Exquisite, holy ...By little steps, and by little skips, Like a lamb or a child."

DebbyMc says: May 04, 2016 at 01:36 PM

Beautiful days, beautiful family. There is so much to say about each of your posts, every time. I can feel the lush green in this one! I hope, hope, hope you share your perfected iced chai recipe with us! It sounds so good! Happy May!

What is that beautiful quilt your daughter is laying on? Has this been on the blog already and I missed it?!

This article gives us a good insight about. Highly appreciated, very thoughtful.

Chalk paint will cover anything! (Annie Sloan is great, if you can get it in the States?)

Charming post as always, love the floral May Day wreaths. One of my favorite things to do!! Could you share the pattern of the lovely bowl ~ just gorgeous. Love the "almost" sleepover, how adorable ~ great sleeping bag ~ need that!!

I don't read as much I would like to, so when I do read, the book has to grab me immediately. I'm not one to suffer through a boring beginning to hopefully get to a more interesting read for me. Also, for some weird reason, I like all of my books to take place in the USA. If it's in another country, I won't even consider reading it.

Diane Smith says: May 05, 2016 at 12:39 PM

For painting your frame without worrying about the finish, make your own chalk paint with plaster of paris.I get the small sample size of paint at Depot or Lowes or Ace and and the plaster and voila- custom chalk paint color for cheap! Tons of tutorials online, enormously simple and that stuff sticks!! For post painting sheen you top with paste wax.

Oh, how I would love 85 degrees! Right now it's about fifty. I'm cold. And the headline in the paper the other day was that the peach crop in this state has failed. No peaches in CT this summer. :(

There is so much goodness in this post! I did NOT know about the Making magazine but it looks stunning. Thanks for linking to that.

I just finished the Sweetiepie sampler this very evening, backstitching detail and all and I am so in love with it. I have made dozens of cross-stitch samplers and framed as many as two so far because I'm lazy. I'm way better and finishing up knitting projects, probably because it doesn't cost anything, ha! However, this sampler is getting framed as soon as possible; I am so delighted with it. Thank you, thank you, for your inspiring creativity that you share with us.

Your little Mimi is so precious.

I can't stop looking at the photos of your yard! We are going on 14 straight days of rain here and I am ready for the I'll just hang out in your backyard in the non-creepiest way possible haha! Sidenote, I really love the twine (?) fence around the garden. Did you make those?

As always, lovely, lovely photos. Do you mind if I ask where you got your woven stick flower bed border? It's the perfect height and I'm having trouble locating one that size.

Thank you!

Congratulations, your work for the book looks beautiful! I like embroidery but I am just a beginner. Love that quilt! You have a wonderful outdoors area. Precious time for dad and daughter in the garden, so cute! The quilted pillow is also so pretty. Happy Mother's Day!!

'almost' sleepovers are the best! This is what I do with my teens (almost 17 and 16!)- they stay at the sleepover until 10:30 or 11- then I pick them up- my husband- not American- is bewildered by the cncept of a full sleepover....don't you have your own bed? In any case, it is much less troublesome to do it this way. They can have real sleepovers with first cousins.

Your yard is glorious, just have to say. About the library books: I, too, have become emboldened and unapologetic in recent years when I decided if a book doesn't catch me soon, it's going back. And congrats on the magazine publication!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

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