Big Blossoms

comments: 69











That exact lilac is sitting on my desk right now, the first I've picked of the season. It's actually my neighbor's bush that hangs over our fence. It's way in the back of their yard where they never go and I'm not even sure they know it's there. Last night we had a FROST warning. I'm so over it. It's just freezing cold and raining every single day. We broke a rainfall record for April. My car is leaking from somewhere onto the passenger-side floormat. It's perpetually wet. I had wanted to have a few girls over for pie under my apple tree. I thought of this about a month ago. I even bought a new tablecloth for the outside table. But there hasn't been one reliably clear day yet during which I can do it. The garden is EXPLODING nevertheless. We kind of miss the show, however, as we run in our raincoats from the house to the car, trying to keep cold rain from hitting us in the face. My gosh, the flowers are so beautiful! The piiiiiiiiinks. I staunchly insist this is my favorite time of year but, I won't lie, I am freezing and kind of tired.

My May Tender Year design continues to be nowhere in sight, and I don't even have a drawing for it yet. It just doesn't feel like May! It feels like March. What things should I put in May? Help. I don't even have any ideas! If you're keeping up with me on these and you are waiting for May, feel free to yell at me. :| I know. I'm sorry. The days unroll in a scattering of pompoms and beads and blossom petals across the floor. I seem to be doing the bare minimum, somehow. Not sure why.

There is a month or so left of school. Amelia will go back to in-person next year. I am both happy and sad, worried and relieved. Or something. I don't know what I am. I'm trying to savor this time without simultaneously wishing it would change. I can see her growing up before my eyes. At bedtime (or actually, several hours before bedtime, as it turns out) we do our usual routine where we go upstairs (this is early, at about 6:00 p.m.) and we change into nighties and brush teeth, etc., and then I read to her like we always have. We used to snuggle on the big bed in the big pillows and read picture books from the library. But now she likes to play with this pretty fabulous Calico Critter apartment complex she set up in my bookshelves. There are several floors of rooms. It's a hive of activity. So I sit on the bed. She plays and plays and I read chapter books out loud. (Then I go downstairs and she stays up and plays. I need my mommy-TV time.) Right now we're on Anne of Green Gables. I read a chapter or two a night, editing it on the fly (there is a lot of negative adoption talk, among other things). Every night we say, worriedly, delightedly, "Oh, I cannot wait to see what trouble Anne is going to get into today!" Amelia, the child who had more homemade dresses than she could wear, is perplexed by all the talk of puffed sleeves, and Marilla's unrelenting refusal to provide: "Why doesn't she just make her a dress with puffed sleeves?" Genuinely nonplussed. :) I have not watched the newest Netflix version and Amelia has not seen any of the TV series. Not sure which one we'll watch when we finish the book. We read The Borrowers this fall and watched The Secret Life of Arietty shortly after. I didn't really like it, I remember. I didn't realize there was an actual live-action Borrowers (from 1997, apparently) but maybe I'll check out that one. I do remember liking the Megan Follows Anne series when I was younger. I've heard the Netflix one is violent? Or something? Disturbing? Maybe I'll preview it. Amelia recently finished reading the first Harry Potter book to herself, so we are all watching the movie at dinnertime, a half-hour or so at a time. It's the first "big" book that she's read alone to herself so it's been fun to wait for her to finish to watch the movie. Believe it or not, I have never read the books and I guess I had watched the first movie twenty years ago but remember almost nothing about it. My most vivid memory of anything Harry Potter–related is inadvertently going to Costco for one of the first and last times (we just have never really been Costco shoppers; the stores are really far from our house) on the Saturday morning that one of the Harry Potter books had just been released (I don't remember which book it was; probably the third or fourth) and the store was literally filled with children sitting in shopping carts — like, in the actual cart part of the cart — reading big huge Harry Potter books as their parents pushed them around and tried to stuff groceries in the cart around them. Like, fifty different shopping carts, each with a reading kid in it. Isn't that a funny image? Lol. It seemed very meta, actually, like something I could picture happening at Hogwarts itself. It was so sweet. :)

I've been trying to think of and make some props for my jewelry pictures I want to take, so I spent the weekend crocheting little things and making a big Perler bead girl. Maybe I can style them to figure out how to include them in my pictures. I really enjoy doing Perler beads! They have the same meditative quality as designing or doing cross stitch except that you can do them with your kids. We tried dyeing some white Perler beads with Rit synthetic dye, which dyes plastic buttons really well. But the dye did not strike the Perler beads nearly as well as it did the buttons so I don't know if I will try that again. The were pretty, though. But like, the red dye turned the Perlers to peach, and I couldn't get anything darker than that no matter what I did. So it's only good for certain colors. The peach was pretty, though.

Okay, better go figure out what's for lunch. Anyone else have a hard time figuring out what's for lunch? I literally never have a clue what to make.


solteronita says: May 09, 2022 at 12:15 PM

I'm currently watching Anne with an E and it's definitely not for children. Violence and very negative adoption talk/scenes. I'm also an adoptive mother and will pass on that one when my little is old enough for Anne--we'll stick to Megan Follows. But I'm enjoying it myself.

Sally Berg says: May 09, 2022 at 12:50 PM

Thank you for the beautiful photos and the post, needed this today.. I have such fond memories of reading the Harry Potter series with my now adult daughters. I am particularly smitten with your little crochet objects you use to stage your photos. I love the goose from the first photo on your April 12 post. Is this a pattern you are able to share??? Thank you again for maintaining your lovely blog!

Lunch is the hardest meal for me to figure out too. I try to use leftovers when I can, but sometimes they just aren't there. If I'm being organized (rarely), I'll try to cook some chicken, veg, and grains on the weekend and just make bowls and salads. It's great when it's there. I so agree with the weather too! I'm in Camas and want to plant my garden! Usually we put in most of our plants on Mother's Day weekend but held off due to the frost warning. I feel like I'm going to have grow everything inside at this rate! But, we say that and next thing we know, we'll be having some sort of insane heatwave. We must be careful of what we wish for!

I have lovely memories of reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series to my daughter when she was probably your daughter's age (she's now 32!) and well able to read books like Harry Potter herself. There's just something lovely about a mum and daughter sharing books about girls and women. I didn't read Anne to her, she did that herself and really enjoyed it.

Hmmmm, Things of May. Where I live, that would include magnolia blossoms, hummingbirds, porches, bicycles, a grill, flags (can you tell I have Memorial Day on my mind?).

Also, I’m with Sally in the above comment - I just love your crochet goose that appears in some of your stitchy photos. Please tell us about her and if there’s a pattern.

Oh, strawberry shortcake (back to things of May)! And painted toe nails, straw hats, garden tools.

Have a great evening. By the way, I envy you reading Harry Potter for the first time. 🥰

Kristie Hammond says: May 09, 2022 at 04:34 PM

I wouldn’t recommend the new Anne program. The actress that plays Anne is brilliant, but that doesn’t make up for the overall dark tones of the show. As for the embroidery, some things that come to mind are a watering can, a spade and packet of seeds, a sunshine and/or dark cloud with rain coming out of it, and a robin’s nest with eggs.

Kristie Hammond says: May 09, 2022 at 04:35 PM

P.S. I just thought of another one. Laundry hanging on a line!

I am a big fan of Anne but (like others have said) would not recommend the Netflix Anne series -- certainly not for kids. I did like the PBS one with Martin Sheen a few years back.

For May, I like maypoles, may-baskets, petit fours, lilacs (like your photo :)), peonies, maybe a vase of some kind to celebrate having flowers to bring into the house, asparagus, rhubarb...

Kristin says: May 09, 2022 at 05:50 PM

I completely agree with the comments about the new Anne series- it’s very dark. The Megan Follows series is classic and lovely even though it strays from the books. Please promise to re-read Anne of Avonlea after you finish the first book. My daughter and I read it together last summer and I forgotten how charming and wonderful a book it is. You would love the character Miss Lavender Lewis - the forty-something-year-old spinster who lives at Echo Lodge ( I connected with her since I’m a forty-something-year old too.) I wish one of the movies would include her storyline. And, also Davy and Dora (Marilla’s other adopted children) - we laughed so much at Davy’s mischief.
On a side note, please don’t ever read the young adult biography, House of Dreams, about LM Montgomery. I read this book to see if it would be appropriate for my 10 year daughter - and it’s not. Montgomery had a difficult, sad life and I was completely heartbroken by the end of the book.

I must give a shoutout to the CBC--Canadian Broadcasting Corporation--which produced both the original Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows, which then appeared on PBS, and Anne with an E, which is now shown on Netflix. Both shows were filmed in Canada.
Both are good but I do believe the intent behind Anne with an E was a more mature take where Anne wrestles with some difficult issues. It is excellent but probably not for a seven-year-o;d.

things of may...well, dear, just look at your may posts :)....dogwoods, lilacs.... how about ducklings? picnics, gingham, MAMA! canoe rides, water lilies, boats, hiking, slipper orchids......

You really should read those Harry Potter books. Back when they were first released all the kids at school (I'm a high school teacher) were reading them and I read them just to be on the same page as the kids. The books are different to the movies, Harry in the book looks nothing like Harry in the movie and there are lots of other differences.

There was lot's of talk back then about 'witchcraft' not being a healthy topic for kids but the books are about the value of friendship and kindness. I'm sure this is the message your daughter will take from them.

Love your garden. It is Autumn here which is the best time for flowers and it is super wet.

Allison says: May 09, 2022 at 07:43 PM

A bunny or ducklings would be darling for May!
Or perhaps tulips or cherry blossoms 🌸
Have a wonderful evening!

I love love love the Sullivan Anne of Green Gables movies (Megan Follows) almost as much as I love the books. My own daughter is 3 and I’m looking forward to reading them with her one day.
Those flowers are divine and I can’t wait to see all the beadwork you’ve created!
I’m a longtime reader here, and am just always so happy to see a post from you. Thank you for sharing your garden and your girl and your gifts with all of us. xoxo

I watched Season 1 of "Anne with an E" and was really disappointed with the way the original story has been twisted and turned into something a little dark...My two girls and I watched the Megan Follows version over and over and now they're in their 20's and one has a little girl of her own, we often say we need to do an "Anne Marathon" and watch them all over again.

I have just (yesterday!) finished watching the Megan Follows Anne with my 11 year old daughter. It’s still so good! We watched a bit each evening, the first film and the sequel. The first one is the best, it sticks to the first book very well. The sequel isn’t quite so good, I think because it covers several books and combines too many characters and incidents to do so. (The third film really goes off on it’s own course, I can’t watch that one!) My daughter really enjoyed the first film, the second not so much.
May makes me think of lilacs and blossoming fruit trees, nesting birds, gardening again, hanging washing out on the line, the trees leafing out, cow parsley billowing on the roadsides.

Jaki Rose says: May 10, 2022 at 03:30 AM

Have you read The Girl of the Limber Lost. Gene Stratton Porter. It's my life's favourite book. Jaki

Regarding lunch..I used to serve my family something my youngest called “melted bread on cheese”…that baby is 37, and we still use the name! Lightly toast some nutritious bread under the broiler, then cover it with some tasty cheese, and broil to melt. Tomato slices can go under or over the cheese, or leftover bacon, or a layer of parsley under the cheese. All fun to experiment with.
Continue to enjoy this stage, having a little one, great books to discover, and films and all that together time that can wear you down but is so precious in hindsight!

I make a large crockpot of refried beans along with a Barefoot Contessa batch of red sauce from her enchilada recipe. Then for several days people can fix their own “Del Taco” bean and cheese red burritos. With the batch I make you’d probably have food for a month, but maybe it would freeze. I have twin teen boys.

For May things, I think of graduation, irises and peonies blooming, and planting out our vegetable garden seedlings. I'm reading the Little House series to my daughter at night right now, and it's one of my favorite times of the day. Sometimes her older brother even joins in to listen :). It's interesting hearing you talk about the weather in the northwest. We live in the Midwest and this spring has been unusually windy, as well as having high swings in temperatures. Last week it was in the 50's, while today is 97. Lunches are hard for me too. We do fried rice, quesadillas, bean burritos, and sometimes things like French bread pizza or frozen meatballs w/bbq sauce and Mac-n-cheese. Sometimes I even look at school lunch menus for ideas.

I bet that beautiful lilac smells heavenly. On the East Coast, our spring has been the same. Blooms have appeared about a week later than usual, and while I normally love rainy weather I've had my fill.

Lunch here usually involves some form of melted cheese: quesadillas, panini, hoagies, mac and cheese, loaded nachos... Or dinner leftovers.

Your necklace experiments are amazing, especially the pressed flower pendants.

Carol in Texas says: May 10, 2022 at 07:43 AM

I loved the Megan Fellows Anne. I had never read the books so those shows were my first exposure to Anne and I loved them. The actors were top notch and the scenery was gorgeous. We have watched a few of the Netflix Annes and they will never compare to those earlier ones. They are harsher. I’ve never read Harry Potter books either. I did see the first movie years ago and bits and pieces of some of the others. We have been enchanted by Doc Martin. We joined Acorn to get all nine of the seasons of that wonderful show. We watched the last one last night and it was sad to come to the end….for now!

Susan from Tsawwassen, BC says: May 10, 2022 at 09:19 AM

Your necklaces are pretty and fun and make me smile!

Susan from Tsawwassen, BC says: May 10, 2022 at 09:35 AM

PS For May, I agree with so many others here ... definitely lilacs (love them!), tulips, duckling(s), lily-of-the-valley (May's birth flower), trees leafing out in glorious green, definitely a bird (maybe with some music notes) and garden tools (maybe a hand trowel).

I love this post! We are big Anne of Green Gables fans here too. My kids (two boys and a girl) loved hearing the books aloud, and we have the Megan Follows movie on VHS that we all quote from (that first Rachel Lind encounter!) And Richard Farnsworth who plays Matthew takes my breath away. He stars in a great movie called The Straight Story about an old man who rides his lawn mower across Iowa to visit his ailing brother, it’s based on a true story and just the sort of simple heartfelt tale that I like. There is a book I recently read myself, too, that is stirring in a similar lovely way called Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson. I think you would like it.

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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