Rein It In

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Routine, Routine, where have you been? I miss you! Come back! I flail like a flapping sail without you. Yesterday you returned, just for a bit, and I baked a pie. I put double topping on it, because it felt like the right thing to do, and I wanted you to stay. The days have been a little chaotic, the house tousled, the yard undone, coughing and Kleenex from one corner to the next and me unable to decide if I'm hot, or cold, or hot, or freezing, or if hellity hell I'm boiling up. Andy made us chicken soup. Amelia and I huddled under (and then on top of, and then under, and then on top of) quilts on the chaise lounge, watching The Aristocats three times in three days. Before things got really gross and I started blowing my nose without pause, we met her birth-grandparents down at the Flock and Fiber Festival (her grandma is an amazing spinner, weaver, and knitter, and her grandpa makes four-foot-long knitting needles, just for fun! So awesome). I bought a rag rug and came home with plans for a new knitted sweater-coat for my girl, but now can't decide on a pattern. If you have an iPad, you can surf Ravelry while your kid draws all over the TV screen with a taper candle and you will barely notice! Ah, Monday. And a slightly cleared head. Both came just in time. We planned to rein it in. We walked to the grocery store and bought apples and cheese. I made lunch at actual noon and brushed my hair. Andy mowed the lawn. I drank orange juice and water instead of doing shots of Airborne and elderberry syrup. Amelia ate an entire sandwich. We're back. Here we are. And that was September.

***Somewhere in there, I also made African Chicken Peanut Stew? And, if you've hung around here for even a second or two, you've likely heard me bleat about my apple pie. . . .

Natural Wonders

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Our girls' beach weekend was EPIC. The house we rented in Cannon Beach could not have been more incredible. It was seriously awesome. We had a great time. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we cooked, we lounged, we shopped, we sunned, we slept, we toasted marshmallows, we listened to the sound of endless waves and gazed at seemingly endless numbers of stars, and just generally marveled at the incredible beauty of the world. About a million times. I'm kind of at a loss for words, actually. It was so awesome to see my ladies altogether again. We calculated that it had been twelve years since all eight of us (two others couldn't make it this time) have been in the same place at the same time. What a privilege and honor it was to host everyone, and stay in this breathtaking location. Ah. Still thinking about it.

Back at home, we're sliding quickly into silvery fall weather, along with runny noses and sore throats and coughs. Amelia and I are laying low today. Getting back into our routine. The wind is blowing through my open windows and it is cool and rainy and sweet. How grateful I am to be here, right now, watching her play the ukelele in her pajamas, with a mitten on one hand and her toes curled under, our yellow lamps lit and the leaves rustling and red. Later we'll stroll up to the store to get more milk, then have some butternut squash soup I made on Wednesday. Oh, sweet mystery of life. How grateful I am for all of this! How blessed. How blessed.

I have about forty-five other things to tell you, but I'll be back next week, when we're all settled back in.

Here, There, Everywhere

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Oh, it's a bit of a blur around here these days. In the past couple of weeks we went on our vacation, Andy's mom came for a wonderful visit (that's her with my mom and Meems), we saw The Avett Brothers not just once but twice (yeah, we accidentally showed up a night early [duh], and bought more tickets, then went back again the next night, and Aunt Susie was there too!), and now I'm getting ready to take off again: In a couple of days seven of my high-school girlfriends are coming to visit, and we're going to spend the weekend at the beach. It's the first time I'll be away from Amelia for more than a few hours. I know she'll do great, and I'll try to do great! I will try. I haven't seen my girlfriends in about ten years. Beyoooooooond excited.

Try this pasta. It was awesome. I added broccolini and a touch of cream. Good.

When I get home, bulbs. Tiny duffel coats. Smallish wool coats. New dresses. Autumn. We'll talk.

***Also — I keep forgetting to say — thank you so much for all of your kind and generous comments on my last post, and all of my posts this summer (and always). I truly appreciate them. Thank you.

Once More to the River

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Riverside: To wake up to birdsong and mist rising in clouds of steam. To go to bed to crickets sawing and bats swooping and the big moon rising above the trees. To make s'mores near the firepit after dinner and have first coffee on the grass with your feet wet with dew. To sand on the chairs and the creakiest decks in the world and banana slugs that make your stomach drop. To rocks covered in crusty crud, ospreys that circle silently overhead, fish that jump, and happy babies that love boat-rides by sea or land. I love rivers. Thank you for all these gifts this summer, our many lounged-by, loved, and lovely rivers. You were so, so, so very good to us. Thank you.

September Starting

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The start of the month of new starts! Okay, then!

Honeygold

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Hasten, autumn. Bring your mellow yellows and your lowlights, your red leaves and blushing apples fallen into piles on the side of the road. They're already falling, and the fields are tinted russet, and dry. It's okay. The yards, my yards, have defeated me: the flowers, the pots, the hanging baskets, the watering — as usual, things have frizzled into colorless, wilting beggars, laced with spiderwebs from chair to pot to post every morning. I can't keep up. I cry uncle. I'd like to put the hose away, drain it for good and sit on the deck in my nightgown, nursing a big cup of strong coffee while Amelia throws blueberries into the yard, listening to birds make plans in the golden-leaved morning light.

The house is just as bad. Outgrown clothes, piles of catalogs I'll never order from, sofa cushions blobbing in every direction, pillows on the floor, sand-covered shoes in a heap by the door, dusty succulents on my windowsills, toys piled into bookshelves, books stacked next to the bed, half-filled bottles of shampoo and mismatched conditioner, slivers of gooey soap in the dishes, balls of yarn tumbling off of tables, stacks of fabric waiting to be cut, mail that hasn't been sorted in weeks, everything pushed into the centers of tables and counters to keep it out of the reach of a little girl who carries her mini-chairs all over the house and (quietly, looking back) stands on them, and reaches, reaches. There are only so many places to put things one shouldn't touch, and the things of summer, the sunglasses and sunscreens and sandals and beach towels and beach chairs and beach balls and pails and shovels and cups and water bottles, have filled every nook. I'd be happy for a good thunderstorm, and a cleaning lady, and a trip to Goodwill.

Instead, we go 'side. To the waterside. Woodside. Riverside. Fieldside. At sunset, where, in the relief of honey light, with a big baby girl heavy in your arms, it's nothing but beautiful. Where it washes over you, and makes you cry. Because it's August 23. It's been an incredible summer. I don't want it to end.

***The green cottage is my mama's house.

Quiet Colors

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At first I was thinking that these little dresses and the sweater I finished looked very springlike, palette-wise. But then we had a rare cloudy day, following by some  l o v e l y  sunny but cool days (oh sweet mercy, they are the rarest of beauties) and I realized that there's a quiet, silvery sort of beauty to the end of summer, when things are tufted and feathery and dried to a dusty powder that shimmers and floats. We've been outside so much these past few weeks, done so many things I can't even remember what, not the least of which has been spending every waking moment among the gardens and trees and leaves. This second wave of photos is the park where, a couple of years ago, the bagpiper came and honked us out on an afternoon much like the one we spent here last week. I have so many photos I've taken and haven't even posted. I've spent much more time outside than in. I've spent more time at rivers than I have at home. I've spent much more time rolling around on quilts with a big baby girl and our man, sand in my sandwich and sun in my eyes, than working. Is it any wonder, then, that the end of summer makes you teary, fluttering, a little melancholy. It's dark by 8:30, and someone had a wood fire burning in the neighborhood. The plums are hazed with dull plum blue. Our girl runs and falls and picks herself up and runs some more, dancing whenever she hears music playing (even a cell phone ringing), feeling at home now in the water and sand, carrying a green maple leaf like a flower. Soon, soon it will be autumn-leaf pink instead of green.

***The blue dress is my knock-off version of this one (I like the original better than mine; it's wider, and I like the flatter sleeve cap); the pink sweater is my finished Lottie; and the smocked dress is a little bishop dress I made based on this pattern, but I'm not that happy with it because I think it's too full, and there are so many pleats that you really can't see the smocking. I think I've done enough of them now that next time I'm just going to make up my own measurements. I'm very picky about this.

Clackamas County Fair 2014

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Oh, the fair, the fair. How we love it! Don't get me wrong — it has its share of knock-off sunglasses, hot tubs, monster trucks, greasy food, scary-looking ride operators (is there any other kind?), and it's usually hot-hot-hot. But where else can you see cows being hugged by girls? Dozens of bunnies lounging with their back legs stretched out? Roosters eyeing you as if they want to peck you in the face (I know they do)? Teenagers in barns playing cards? Sheep just generally looking hilarious at every moment? A pioneer village where you can learn to dip a candle? Pioneer dudes in calico smocks making horseshoes over a forge? Yards and yards and yards of calico sewn into big, giant lady-skirts? Zero entries in the Men's Chocolate Cake competition (wha???!!! With a trophy like that, and everything?)? Little baby goats you just want to kiss on the nose and take home and tuck into bed? Kids looking so proud you just want to hug every single one of them? Bright pink peppermint ice-cream cones so big they melt all over your hand before you can eat them? Themed table displays? Elephant ears tempting you every ten yards? Teeny-tiny gentlemanly horses and enormous, snorting fat pigs being devoured (apparently) by their offspring? A dairy princess with a smile that lights up the whole fairground? Young people and old people and country people and city people, all happy to be together in a place on a beautiful late-summer day? So many things for a little baby girl to do and see and exclaim over that she can hardly believe her eyes (until she just has to close them in exhaustion)? Nowhere, really, just nowhere at all except the Clackamas County Fair. I just think it's a magical place.

Here are our other trips to the fair. I really love it there.

2013
2011
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2008

Howdy!

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One of my favorite days of the whole year: Clackamas County Fair photos coming soon :)

Surf, Sand, and Sky

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And everything in between.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
August 10, 2014.

(The picture of Andy towering over the little people is just a weird optical illusion — the people are varying distances behind and around him, and I caught him mid-jump [and you can see Amelia starting to "jump"]. I did a double-take at this one myself!)

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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

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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.