Posts filed in: Portland and Oregon

Halloweentime

comments: 31

21PAtch5

21PAtch5

21PAtch20

21Patch4

21PAtch12

21PAtch5

21PAtch5

21PAtch12

21PAtch12

21PAtch12

21PAtch12

21PAtch12

21PAtch20

21PAtch12

21PAtch20

21PAtch20

21PAtch20

21PAtch20

21PAtch20

28Morning1

29PAtch1

28Morning1

28Morning1

28Morning1

28Morning1

28Morning1

28Morning1

28Storm1

28Soup

28Storm1

28Storm1

28Candles1

28Storm1

Ahhhh, tomorrow is Halloween. It's never been my favorite holiday. I'm really not sure why. This year we put some orange lights on our fence and some fake cobweb stuff and now I like it a bit better. The yard looks cute and delightfully seasonal, I must say. My garden is one of those that is filled with grasses and meadow-type plants, and they look beautiful now. I love the season, I've just never been that into Halloween, even as a kid. The only costume I can really remember wearing is a giant footie sleeper — I was a "baby." I wore my hair in two high ponytails and carried a stuffed animal and sucked my thumb. In, like, fifth grade. Uninspired. I remember that I just wanted to be warm and comfortable and I didn't want to wear my coat. It was always such a bummer when it was cold or raining on Halloween and you had to wear a coat over your costume. I also remember one time, also when I was a kid, that I wanted to have a Halloween party in our basement because a character in a book I was reading had a Halloween party in her basement. Our basement wasn't finished. It was like a cellar. I colored about twenty pumpkins with colored pencils on notebook paper and cut them out and hung them around the basement. It looked pathetic. I don't know why I wanted to do this — it was not a good basement for a party. I think I stuck a notebook-paper pumpkin on the washing machine. It was there for the next twenty years. The party was a total bust. It kinda makes me sad for little me. I couldn't wait for it to be over. Amelia is obsessed with candy, so she can't wait for tomorrow. She never gets that much but even ten pieces of candy to her is like winning the lottery. She's really in it entirely for the candy. She went to a party this past weekend at a school friend's house and took her owl mask (she's an "owl princess," by the way) and wings off within five minutes of getting there. I asked her if she wanted more elastic for her upper arm, or another solution to those wings (not sure what it would be, but I could come up with something, I bet) and she said no, thank you, byyyyyyyyyyye. So we'll see. There's something to be said for the costume that's as wearable as possible. I'm not sure this is it. . . . But it sure was fun to make. (I used this pattern for the mask and this tutorial for the wings).

We went to the pumpkin patch with our dear friends the Montgomerys, with whom we've gone to the pumpkin patch every year since our kids were babies. I love these kiddos together so much, romping and falling and running and riding. Pure joy. They're getting big now. The weather this fall has been unbelievably gorgeous, mostly dry and crisp and golden. The rains came in suddenly on Saturday afternoon; Amelia and I were out in the country then, and we got dumped on. On Sunday afternoon, thunder rumbled across the sky from one edge to the other. Andy laid on the sidewalk and listened to it. The sky on the west side was steel gray; to the east, the bright-white sun was poking through holes in the clouds. Thunder . . . thunder . . . and swishing of yellow leaves on the trees. Soon, everything will have fallen, and it will just be cold rain. I'll like that, too, as I do, but I can see why people feel anxious about November. It's very gray and very dark. I honestly don't know how Portlanders who don't knit or crochet make it through the winter!!!

Here, we are allllllmost done with the yarn advent calendar. Now that Halloween is almost here, I feel like I can move forward with this. I know I haven't said that much about it, at least not in proportion to how thoroughly it has taken over this house and my life. All our lives, here. I'm going to put together a post about it and let you know the sale date and times (I think I'll offer it in two batches that day, at two different time — there are only fifty calendars available) early next week. I don't know how much to say about it, because I really, truly want it to be a surprise. That's been so much of the fun of it. I'll dish on the yarn details, but not the other stuff, I don't think. I'm doing so many things for it that I've never done before, and I have honestly loved every minute of getting all of it ready. That said, I'm also ready to be done with it, and send it all off into the world. It's almost time. We have thirty more skeins of yarn to wind and fifty more _______s to make and a whooooole lot of wrapping and tagging and assembling and boxing to do, and then we're done. . . . Yay!

Wind in the Willows

comments: 48

27RiverPacking1

28River3

28River3

28River3

28River3

28River3

28River3

28River10

28River10

28River10

28River10

28River10

28River10

28River18

28River18

28River24

28River18

28River18

28River18

28River24

28River18

28River18

28River24

28River24

28River24

28River22

28River3

28River10

29River7

28River24

29River7

29River7

29River7

29River7

29River7

29River7

29River15

29River15

29River15

29River15

29River15

29River15

29River15

30River3

30River3

30River3

30River3

30River3

30River10

30River10

30River10

30River10

30River10

30River10

30River10

30River16

30River16

30River16

30River16

30River16

30River3

30River16

Ohhhh, I want to go back. Three days at the river. It was short but felt long, in some ways. You follow the sun, there, moving chairs and blankets to stay in shade or face the river, from morning until dinnertime. The day passes in quiet arc of meals and trips down to the river and trips back up the hill to get out of wet, sandy swimwear and rinse off the sunscreen. Bald eagles circle lazily above. Ducks splash and dive and surface. It's absolutely incredible to be in a place where there are no roads, no cars, no other people. Where there is complete freedom to do whatever you want, for as long as you want, for Amelia to just wander around and find things to do, or not do. For me to be able to hear her wherever she was, even when she was out of my sight, building fairy houses or stacking dominoes or taking a bath. At dusk, the crickets come out and their chirping is the loudest sound around. Each night, after Amelia went to bed, Andy and I sat around eating bowls of cherry ice cream and watching a Christmas movie on Amazon. I don't know why we watched that but it just felt like a vacation thing, and required nothing from us in any way. I read (I did not finish my book, nowhere near) and knit (I ran out of yarn) and none of it bothered me one bit. I spent countless hours just watching the river roll by, and watching the light change, and watching the birds. The air smelled like mud and green things. Amelia saw a snake in the brush — twice — and screamed the house down. Andy pulled her up and down and across the river in her raft, going ashore often to explore, looking for the beaver carcass they found last year, finding a beaver den, finding crayfish claws, gloopy seaweed, snail shells soft as fingernails. Families of ducks flew up and down the river roadway from morning until night, landing with a collective sploosh. We rolled around on quilts on the grass and took long showers. We all slept so late that we missed the mist rising off the river in the mornings. We cooked and ate and let the house get so messy you would've thought ten people were living there instead of just us, just us three. It was just wonderful.

On the way home, we stopped off at Amelia's new school for her first meeting with her new teacher. As the teacher led her around her beautiful new classroom, and introduced her to the class bird, and showed her cursive letters and told her she was going to learn how to write them this year, Andy and I sat off to the side and whispered quietly to each other, talking about the room and the teacher and Amelia and everything, and feeling so full of hope and nervousness and pride and a thousand other emotions I don't know how to name.

A Happy Birthday

comments: 62

29Cake4

27CM4

11Yarn2

11Yarn2

28Sweater1

11Yarn2

15Yard4

15Yard4

19BangersMash2

15Yard4

15Yard4

15Yard4

15Yarn5

15Yarn5

15Yarn5

19BangersMash2

19BangersMash2

19BangersMash2

19BangersMash2

20Rhubarb3

20Rhubarb3

20Rhubarb3

20Rhubarb3

20Rhubarb3

27CM4

28Sweater1

27CM4

28Sweater1

27CM4

15Yarn5

28Sweater1

28Sweater1

29Creek7

29Creek2

29Creek7

Birthday4

Birthday3

29Creek11

29Creek7

29Creek7

29Creek11

29Creek11

Birthday2

Birthday1

29Creek11

29Creek18

29Creek18

29Creek18

29Creek18

29Creek18

29Cake4

29Cake4

29Cake4

29Cake4

29Creek2

29Creek2

29Creek2

The  most marvelous Andy Paulson had a birthday this week and we celebrated in style, picnicking at the creek and playing in the woods. A crow flew off with Amelia's entire sandwich — an untouched 6" turkey sub — right off the picnic table while we were down at the water's edge. It was actually kind of amazing to watch. He stalked it, then he took it. I was amazed that he was able to carry it. Amelia and I baked Andy a cake and decorated it when we got home. She picked everything, the colors and style and the decorations, and I just helped. We used my go-to birthday cake recipe (it's the best chocolate cake in the world, I think, if you need one) with plain buttercream frosting. Andy laid on the chaise lounge out back and read his book while we shouted hints out the back door toward him about what we were doing. "Oh, this looks good!" "Yeah! And we hope you like things that are green!" "We hope you like things that are pink!" "We hope you like things that are LURID!" He said he did, on all counts, so we carried out our plan fearlessly. Neon frosting, geranium flowers, rose petals, giant sprinkles, traffic-cone-orange powdered food coloring, and lots of blobs. I think it's one of our best ever, myself, and it was by far the most fun. Happy birthday to you, my darling, darling husband. I love you beyond words and am so thankful every day that you were born.

Thank you so much for all of your gentle and generous and thoughtful comments on my last post. I've been thinking about it all a lot and just kind of . . . absorbing, I guess. I was particularly touched by the people who said something like "well, of course you want to know these things — that's what we, as people, do." In reading those comments it struck me how, even in writing what I had written and sort of saying "oh, well, I'm not sure why this matters" in it, I was still on some level denying myself permission to be doing it. The looking. Or rather, I was trying to keep myself from feeling the need I felt to know, as if I wasn't really allowed to have feelings about it. But I think  I am. And I think that's something unexpected that I've gained from this experience: I'm just letting myself go there, and feel whatever it is I'm going to feel, or not feel, about it all. I'm encouraging myself just to be . . . human. Knowing names and dates and places doesn't necessarily answer the important questions. But maybe it is a start. It may also be the only part of the story I ever find. I don't know. I don't know yet.

Coincidentally, I started reading Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (which just won a Pulitzer for biography) several weeks ago and was struck by this:

Discovering how Charles Ingalls and his family came to find themselves a few miles from the shores of Lake Pepin, just a few years after Pepin County was first marked on a map, is a detective story tracking generations into the past. Pieces of the family portrait survive, but the whole remains elusive, obscured under the soot of time. It may never be complete.

That is always a problem, in writing about poor people. The powerful, the rich and influential, tend to have a healthy sense of their self-importance. They keep things: letters, portraits, and key documents. . . . 

But the Ingallses were not people of power or wealth. Generation after generation, they traveled light, leaving things behind. Looking for their ancestry is like looking through a glass darkly, images flickering in obscurity. As far as we can tell, from the moment they arrived on this continent they were poor, restless, struggling, constantly moving from one place to another in an attempt to find greater security from hunger and want. And as they moved, the traces of their existence were scattered and lost. Sometime their lives vanish from view, as if in a puff of smoke.

So as we look back across the ages, trying to find what made Laura's parents who they were, imagine that we're on a prairie in a storm. The wind is whipping past and everything is obscured. But there are the occasional bright, blinding moments that illuminate a face here and there. Sometimes we hear a voice, a song snatched out of the air.

That said, this book is so depressing, I must confess. A lot of it is about Rose, of whom I knew nothing, and now I sort of wish I knew less. (I haven't even read all of the Little House books themselves, but Mimi is super into the junior versions of them right now, so there has been a lot of prairie talk around here lately.) I'm on page 347 of 515 of Fires and although I don't like it very much I can't seem to actually stop reading it. But when I do finish it I plan to read something utterly trite, so please feel free to recommend all manner of beach-reads because I'm all over it.

Andy made bangers and mash with brats for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, and Mimi and I finally did wind up making the rhubarb pie. If I could pick my wedding dress over again I'm pretty sure I'd pick this one:

PrincessCarolinePhilippeJunotWedding2

Princess Caroline's in 1978 (I think). From the pictures it almost looks like it has a gathered — like, elastic! — waist. I would totally do my hair like that, too.

Some of my new labels for stitch markers, lotion bars, and yarn should be starting to be delivered this week. I'm ridiculously excited to see them, and to launch these new things I've been working on for what feels like forever now. Andy and I drove out to pick up my very first wholesale order of bare yarn a few weeks ago, and I've been dyeing it little by little when I have time. I will tell you more about it as soon as I get myself organized enough. I went to a really fascinating lecture the other night about the state of the wool industry and our place in it given by Clara Parkes. I learned so much and I have so many more questions. There is so much more I want to know. I feel like I'm at the very beginning of a whole new phase of my creative life, and it is quite thrilling. And a bit overwhelming, honestly.

I also have finished stitching my next cross-stitch design, the third in my little series of seasonal pieces this year. This one is called "Summer Storm" (at least, that's what I'm calling it so far) and if I can collect myself enough to take some pretty pictures of it in the next week or so, we'll open pre-orders sometime in June. If you're not finished with Time of Flowers, don't worry — it will be several weeks before the fabric arrives and we have time to pull floss, etc. But still, I want to mention it because yes, there are two more in this seasonal series, this summer one and then one I'll do for the fall. And because the Time of Flowers fabric has been discontinued, we will probably do around five hundred of these next two and then call it good, and I don't want you to miss out.

I'm almost done with my Flax Light sweater I'm making for Mimi, and I've started a knitted dress for her that kind of looks like Selekjolen by Hoppestrikk. I wasn't able to find the pattern for it, and then when I did find it it was in Danish. I bought it, hoping to figure it out, but instead I just kind of started winging it. When I tried it on Mimi she told me she liked it while at the same time ripping it off her body as if it was on fire so, might not be worth starting over. . . . This is how kid-knitting is lately. I knew this day would come.

Spring Snow

comments: 49

20Snow1

20Snow2

20Snow3

20Snow4

20Snow5

20Snow6

20Snow7

20Snow8

20Snow9

20Snow10

20Snow11

20Snow12

20Snow14

20Hill1

20Snow15

20Snow16

20Snow17

20Snow18

20Snow19

20Snow20

20Snow21

21Snow1

21Snow2

21Snow3

20Sled1

20Cutie1

Ohhhhhh, it was wonderful. It's always like a dream. Just when I thought our chances for snow were gone for the season, we had a few of the most beautiful days I've ever seen. The first day, it had been lightly snowing without sticking most of the day. Around dinnertime, though, I looked out the back door and saw flakes as big as feathers. I've never seen such big snowflakes. They fell and fell, into twilight and through the night. It piled up. Sunrise was every shade of pink and white. I stood in the front yard in my nightgown taking photos at dawn. The day was like a dream. And then it all melted in a rush. By the following day, everything was gone. Spring snow. It was perfect and unexpected and even better for that.

Thank you soooooo much for all of the Time of Flowers kit pre-orders (and other orders)! I'm so happy with the response and thank you very sincerely for all of your orders. Right now we have 63 Time of Flowers kits left for pre-order. Andy cut fabric this weekend and we could even have another sixty extra, based on how much fabric we received, but I want to wait to make sure before I add them to inventory. I'm so glad that all of the numbers worked out okay. I always make my best guess on this stuff and this worked out just fine, which is such a relief. I get very stressed.

So, things are on track, fabric is getting cut, floss is on its way, the pattern just needs a final proofing and then it is off to the printer, and everything's well in hand. I even designed the next kit, for summer, last week and I'm hoping to start stitching it later next month. Yesterday, though, I was back to working on my new dolls and all of their MANY new outfits. I am hoping to have all of those launched for the fall, FYI to those who have wondered. This is going to be kind of a massive project for me, which will include reissuing a lot of the older clothes patterns separately from the animal patterns, either bundled or completely a la carte so that you can get lots of new clothes patterns for your doll when the dolls are launched. Today I'm trying to finish the ballet wrap sweater, now that Amelia is back in school (they had no school for conferences week last week), and will try to source some angora yarn for my shop. I'm going to start carrying a whole new line of yarns (still sport-weight wool, but in a really pretty color palette) for all of the new knitting patterns, too. Anyway, rambling again, but I have a ton of things on my mind, I'm sorry.

Anyway, I'm chipping away at everything, including the cross stitch tutorial I promised (the fabric for my samples for that post is on its way, too). Thank you again for all of your sweetness and and kindness and enthusiasm. I honestly can't express how much it means to me. I hope you know. It means so much. Thank you.

***I wish I could remember where I got the cookie cutter, but I can't! I searched my Etsy purchases and it doesn't look like it's in there. I got it online somewhere but I'm not sure where. I'm sorry. :(

Not Much

comments: 68

15NewSWeater1

15Curtain1

19Pillows1

19Pillows1

15NewSWeater1

15Curtain1

15Curtain1

15NewSWeater1

15NewSWeater1

15Curtain1

15NewSWeater1

19Pillows1

18Breakfast1

19Pillows1

19Pillows1

15Curtain1

Doing not much. Knitting and knitting and knitting. I have so many chores I should be getting to but . . . it's January. I just want to knit. So I am. And trying not to feel guilty about that. I'll catch up (won't I?) in February. . . .

Cinnamon rolls from Scandikitchen Fika and Hygge cookbook :: Sweet little baby Mimi :: Shawl is My Shetland Adventure pattern in Sunday Knits Angelic fingering in aqua :: Breakfast with my loves at our favorite, Besaw's :: Illustrations from My First Little House Books (which I like as much if not more than the original novels) Going West and Sugar Snow :: Andy and Mimi at the store right now getting ingredients for chicken soup tonight, as we all try to stay healthy :: Ranunculus sweater yoke in Arranmore Fine in progress :: Watched all of the first season of Victoria. Wow. So good!

Anyone watching or listening to good knitting podcasts? I am familiar with Woolful, The Gentle Knitter, and Kammebornia. Are there any others I should check out?

Fall Frolics

comments: 80

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

24Sweater2

28Woods9

24Sweater2

28Woods9

28Woods9

28Woods9

28Woods20

28Woods9

28Woods20

24Sweater2

28Woods9

28Woods9

28Woods20

28Woods9

28Woods9

28Woods20

28Woods9

28Woods20

28Woods20

28Woods20

28Woods20

28Woods20

29PAtch9

28Woods20

31Kitty1

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

29PAtch18

29PAtch9

31Kitty1

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

29PAtch9

31Kitty1

31Kitty1

24Sweater2

31Kitty1

Happy Halloween to you! We have a fluffy pink kitters here that hasn't stopped meowing for three days. She's also hardly taken her plushy duds off since they were finished (by me, and no, I don't enjoy sewing polarfleece, but this is what she picked out, and it is, at least, very forgiving to sew!). Her fur is already matted and filthy, mostly from crawling around on all fours (while meowing), which cracks me up. She's showing you her paw here, FYI.

Thank you sooooo much for the First Snow pre-orders! Yaaaaay! I'm thrilled. We are going to go ahead and make all 600 kits that we have enough floss for. This should get us all the way to Christmas without selling out, so I'm very pleased that there is interest in this. The fabric has been ordered, the pattern is finished will be sent to print tomorrow, and Andy is going to pull floss for me this time. So we are on-track, and I will keep you abreast of our progress. We'll ship as soon as we have everything together; I'm still thinking it will be about three weeks (and the PDF-only option will be available at that time, too). But again, thank you so much for your enthusiasm for this design. I couldn't be happier with the response, and I will be doing a few informational cross-stitch posts between now and ship time. I've been meaning to do these for a while, so I'm looking forward to them.

The weather here has been ridiculously excellent. We never get autumns like this — crisp, cool, colorful, crunchy, perfect. We've been sincerely spoiled this year, and it's really nice. We've been able to get outside quite a bit and it's been wonderful. Today is Halloween, and the weather is gorgeous. I'm so happy for all of the kids!

I've been toying with the idea of moving my office out of the house. I would love to hear what those of you who work at home OR have space to work outside the home think about it. I've been working at home for seventeen years. It has mostly been a wonderful experience. But as Amelia gets older I'm wondering if we need more space for living instead of me working. Posie is pretty bulky. Right now my business takes up two fairly large rooms in our fairly small house. We've thought about building a second story over my studio, which is already an addition (built by the previous owner). But it's too expensive. We've thought about maybe putting a shed in the backyard, but the yard's too small and I think the shed would be too small for what I really need. I really like the convenience of working at home. But it does feel isolating sometimes. I feel like I'm in the house too much sometimes, and I get antsy. But maybe I just need to take myself out to lunch. I've thought about getting a studio space closer to where Amelia will be going to school next year, which is about twenty-five minutes away, so that I can be working while she's in school and I'm not driving back and forth quite so much. But that neighborhood doesn't really seem to have any spaces available, at least ones that are advertised. You know what neighborhood does? My own neighborhood. :/ Womp womp. Sort of defeats half of the purpose. Also, I don't know if I could afford to pay rent on a space outside of the house, because my dumb neighborhood has gotten so trendy and expensive. Oh, decisions, decisions. What do you think? Any thoughts about this? I'm in no rush, but this will be a future consideration, and I feel like I want to get my bearings on it. If you've lived either of these experiences, I'd love to hear your advice.

Slowly, Surely

comments: 39

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

4Butte12

Hello, my dear friends, hello. I hope you are so well. I have few words lately, watching with worry as Hurricane Irma plows through the ocean on its way toward the southeastern United States while we in the west deal with the devastation wreaked by thousands of acres of forest burning in more wildfires than I can count, including the Eagle Creek fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge, close to Portland.

(That, by the way, is the moon in a very smoky sky, in case you've never seen the moon in a smoky sky before. It actually seemed even more red than it appears above.)

This fire is hard to talk about. I extend my endless gratitude to the men and women working tirelessly to fight these fires. The gorge is so dear to my heart, and to the hearts of everyone here and almost anyone who has ever visited it, however briefly. I have cried about it this week. I have blogged about the area many times and I will write about how I feel about it again, but not today. The pictures above are from a morning hike we took almost a week ago on Powell Butte, when the skies around the area were only just starting to fill with smoke. (Powell Butte's not in the gorge, but it's another nearby place dear to me. You can see how unbearably dry it is here. Eighty days, or something close to that, without measureable rain.) Today I'm glued to the TV watching images of the storm devastation in the Caribbean, which literally defies belief, and hoping that all of the people in south Florida who haven't yet evacuated (please, please, please) do evacuate. Today I want to pick up Amelia from preschool and take her to the cool, clean library, where we can sit and snuggle and read books all afternoon, and have tea and juice and treats at the cafe next door, and forget about the ravages of the world for just a little while during this, her thrilling, wonderful, truly delightful first-ever week back to school. And here she was, my sweet darling, in her new dress (it's McCall's #7590 from 1980; I made a blouse, too, but it was 100 degrees so she didn't wear it) on Tuesday, her first day. She came home supercharged, with a new, more mature voice (!), a totally new spring in her step, and her big, bright, beautiful eyes sparkling with excitement. And it is so exciting to be the big kid at school. We've talked all week about how she is helping all of the "little" kids at preschool, and how she is "showing them around." She was thrilled and proud when the teacher asked her and Dalia to show the little kids how they "stack the story stools" and she told me about it several times. And so, this joy, it salves my aching, anxious heart.

5FirstDay1

Oh, these days. To my friends in Florida, including my best friend's parents and her in-laws, we are thinking of you and praying for your safety. To those in the Caribbean who have already been affected by Irma, and to those in Mexico who have been hit by the earthquake there last night, my gosh, you are in my prayers. What in the world is going on, honestly. I wish you all peace, health, and safety, dear friends. Let's stick together. Be careful, and be well.

Clackamas County Fair 2017

comments: 59

18Fair1

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

18Fair35

The end of the summer here, and we go to the fair. It's one of my favorite days of the year and we had such a sweet time. There is no trace of toddlerishness in Amelia anymore — no stroller, no bulging diaper bags of tricks and treats, no tired tears — just pure excitement and joy at all there is to see and do. We sauntered and strolled, riding ponies, petting bunnies, buying prairie hats, eating kettle corn. How I love to see this child happy, love her smile and her laughter and her skipping and her jokes, her poses and her priorities, her excitement and her wonder and her hilarious nonchalance over things I think should spark wonder. I love it all, and I love her.

I must admit that I'm tired. Wonderfully, happily tired, but still — pretty tired. Heading into the homestretch of summer, that final sprint after the long, long marathon of summer, and I've apparently stalled out before even starting the last leg. Andy's been on vacation for almost three weeks and it feels like we've had something to do almost every single day. I know that can't be true but it felt true up until yesterday, when I huddled in my office, sewing school clothes and trying to organize my thinking about something, anything. Last week my childhood friend Jenny flew in to hang out with us just for a day (she's a flight attendant). We hustled out of swimming lessons, met her over at Kennedy School just after she landed, spent the afternoon having lunch and lounging in the soaking pool there, then we dropped Mimi and Andy off at home and she and I went up to Powell's and browsed books, then we went to Piazza Italia for dinner, then we got ice cream, then we sat at the fountain and talked, and then I drove her back to the airport around 9 p.m. It was so great to see her. I was collapsing into bed as she was getting on the plane to go back to Chicago (poor thing!).

Yesterday I cut out four pairs of corduroy pants and four calico peasant blouses with tiny gathered pairs of pockets for Amelia, who has few school clothes that fit her anymore. I ordered (from Etsy) the same back-to-school dress pattern that I'd made her last year and after I'd spent a half an hour ironing all of the pieces I realized that it was a size too small. I hurriedly ordered a size 5 and hopefully it will get here in time. We made a family trip to Fabric Depot to get thread and elastic and olive-green and rust-colored corduroy. I came home and sewed in happy isolation, breathing deeply, ripping out all my stupid mistakes and redoing stuff as necessary. It's been so long since I've sewn.

My heart is just breaking for the people of east Texas and Louisiana who are affected by the catastrophic flooding right now. I pray that the rain stops and they can rescue all of the people who are trapped and stranded all over Houston. I'm heading downstairs to box up five or six packages of unused diapers that we have leftover in the basement to send to the Texas Diaper Bank. I didn't know this but diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies. I'm praying for everyone who is struggling there right now. If you are from the area and you have suggestions for other groups to donate to, please let me know. I really want to help.

River Rats

comments: 57

Iphone3

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

Iphone2

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

Iphone4

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

15River30

Oh, sweet river days. Vacation time. Breezes and birds and messy hair. Dirty feet and slivers and games at the table. New Shakey Graves on repeat day and night (perfect river music). Bubble baths and raft rides and so many rocks. Darling girl running wild and free. I laid on the blanket reading my book for hours. I sat in the river reading my book for hours. I couldn't sleep, any of the nights, and stayed up way too late, reading my book for hours. Despite this, I'm still not finished (this is officially the longest book I've ever read). Campfires and conversation. Two shooting stars, two satellites, one bald eagle, tiny sandpiper, a beaver carcass, turkey vulture, many ducks, countless crayfish, three owls (heard). Mist rising in the early mornings and quilts and coffee on the porch and a ridiculous number of marshmallows for dessert. Dahlia bouquet from the honor stand on the way back. It's always too short and I'm always glad to get home.

Birdland

comments: 76

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

6Garden2

No sooner did I threaten to cut down the plum tree than did about a million birds show up, acting so adorable and sweet and storybookish within its branches that I'm torn, now, about chopping it down. What to do!!! What also happened is that we instituted "mom time" out in the front yard in the very early mornings when Andy's off for the day so that I'm able to sit out there alone and drink my coffee, listen to birds, water the garden, and oh, you know, think quietly for just a few secs. I get up and, before I take my shower, I hightail it out and enjoy what has always been my favorite part of the day: earliest, earliest morning. Eventually I fill up the bird bath and sit in the chair in the shade across the yard and wait. Within five or ten minutes, birds come bathing. It's the cutest, sweetest thing. They — especially the robins — splash around in the water and then fly up to the bare branches of the plum tree to fluff and dry. It's just adorable. On Sunday morning, a super-adorable thing happened when I got to watch a mama robin feed a teenager robin — see the picture of them up there? They're hard to see, being totally camouflaged by the tree, but my gosh. How cute is that. I swear the robins are coming just to visit me when I go out there, especially when I'm alone. They do always seem to show up within a few minutes! My own little Mary Lennox moment, and I just love them.

I feel so very behind on everything. I can't get my chores done and I'm stressed, so birdwatching feels desperately necessary but also crazily indulgent somehow. Summer at home with a little kid is seriously chaotic. There are so many things that I want to write about and talk about and think about, but I just won't have time or brain or breath until preschool starts again and I have a few more unengaged hours. And there aren't enough kids home during the day in our neighborhood to make it easier. I mean, there are no kids at home during the day in our neighborhood. Back in My Day, everyone was home. Everyone. We played outside or at each other's houses on the block every. single. day. To the point of utter, complete, blissful boredom. Sigh. Sometimes I worry. Where is everyone?

Nevertheless, in spite of having a scant amount of free time/me time, I checked five of the books on last week's book list out of the library, even though I'm only halfway through Coming Home (by Rosamunde  Pilcher). The librarian said that the damage I did to the book wasn't even worth noting, so that was a nice surprise. I renewed it, because it's taking me forever to read. That book is enormous! But it's really nice to read. Sort of slow, with a mildly remote protagonist (which is, oddly, relaxing). But it also just feels measured and capable and . . . professional . . . I need not worry . . . and that alone is chillaxing me down to my toes. Also, her descriptions of place are so on-point I sometimes read them twice. I mean, this:

    August, now, and a wet Monday morning. Summer rain, soft and drenching, streamed down upon Nancherrow. Drifting in from the south-east, low grey clouds obscured the cliffs and the sea, and heavy-leaved trees drooped and dripped. Gutters ran and drain-pipes gurgled, and the weekly wash was postponed for a day. Nobody complained. After a long spell of hot, dry weather, the sweet coolth was welcome. The rain fell with relentless steadiness, and thirsty flowers and fruit and vegetables absorbed the moisture with gratitude, and the air was filled with the incomparable scent of newly damp earth.   
    Loveday, with Tiger at her heels, emerged into the outdoors by way of the scullery, stepped out into the yard, and stopped for a moment to sniff the air and fill her lungs with this sweet invigorating freshness. She wore gumboots and an old raincoat, pulled over her shorts and a striped cotton sweater, but her head was bare, and as she set off in the direction of Lidgey Farm, the rain descended upon her hair, causing the dark locks to curl more tightly than ever.
    She took the road that led towards the stables, but turned off before reaching them, following, instead, the rutted lane that led up onto the moors. Here the ancient lichened stone walls were divided from the lane by a deep ditch, now running with water, and gorse grew in prickly thickets aflame with yellow flowers smelling of almonds. There were foxgloves too, in profusion, and pale-pink mallow, and tangles of wild honeysuckle, all the way up the lane, and the dark granite of rock wore velvety patches of saffron-colored lichen. Beyond the wall were pasture fields, where Mr. Mudge's Guernsey milk cows grazed, the grass a brilliant green between the random whale-shaped crests of hidden boulders, and overhead gulls, flying inland with the weather, wheeled and screamed.

How pretty is that! By typing it out I'm attempting to conjure a rain spell, because we haven't had any in over fifty days and last week our temps were over a hundred degrees.

How are you guys? How's your summer? How's it all going out there, anyway?

 

***Mimi just found this picture floating around somewhere in our bookshelf (I have not seen this one in years!), and I realized I forgot to say thank you for all of your incredibly sweet anniversary wishes. Thank you very, very much. We really appreciate them! You are so kind. Thank you. XOXOXO

P.S.: I made my dress from a Style sewing pattern but I can't figure out what number it was. It was really fun to make and is one of my favorite memories from being engaged.

Wedding

About Alicia Paulson

About

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

Archives

Photography

Photography

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.