M&M

comments: 52

24Bedding2

24Morning1

25Table1

25Morning1

25Morning3

25Morning2

25Squash1

25SequinsBeads1

25Morning8

25Morning9

25Knitting2

24Airport1

25Morning6

My dear Martha and Mila arrived yesterday from Boston. They're here this time for an entire week. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! So happy!

P.S.: Thank you for all of the sweet anniversary comments :) :) :) xoxoxoxoxo

Sweet Sixteen

comments: 211

19Dinner1

19Dinner2

19Dinner3

19Dinner6

19Dinner7

20Morning1

20Sauvie3

20Sauvie1

20Sauvie2

20Sauvie5

20Sauvie6

20Sauvie7

20Sauvie11

20Sauvie10

20Sauvie20

20Sauvie21

20Sauvie22

20Sauvie23

21Moon2

In the heart of summer lies our wedding anniversary. I remember the year of our engagement vividly. We lived in Montana. We drove down through the majestic Bitterroot Valley to a wedding-dress store in Hamilton. I was ridiculously excited, imagining. I couldn't wait. When we got there we laughed. There were garters and polyester satin and unity candles, but no paper flowers, handmade invitations, or eyelet-tied boutonieres. (I had been imagining those.) I made my dress myself, all through that year, trying it on alone in our tiny apartment while Andy was at work. I hated my job then but I had a lot of work friends who indulged me like crazy. I was the youngest in the group by far and everyone took care of me. I went to Nancy's friend's house so that she and her sewing friend could help me do the final alterations on the dress. The enormous windows looked out over a huge golden field backed by a snow-capped mountain range. I stood on a chair in the great room in the big white dress, surrounded by taxidermy, and the ladies circling, smiling at me.

Every year has been filled with more love than I've ever deserved. This one has been the best, far beyond words.

How Fast

comments: 68

13Lunch1

13Cousins4

13Cousins1

13BelatedBirthday2

15Morning1

15Zoo2

15Zoo3

15Zoo4

15Cousins1

17Breakfast8

17Breakfast3

17Breakfast5

17Breakfast9

17Lunch1

17Lila1

17SleepyMimi3

Amelia's Chicago cousins and grandma were here this weekend and we had a wonderful time! Oh, to be smothered in love like this girl is! After taking everyone to the airport Tuesday, she fell asleep before we were out of the airport parking garage, and conked out for the night at 5:30 p.m. Yesterday was much the same. Oh, my love. Happy girl and happy days.

I started a pink Lilla Koftan. It's funny how there can be so many variations of the same basic sweater and they all look (and fit) a little different. This one's worsted, very chunky. I'm using 7s. I can't find my size 8 needle tips. Second set I've lost. What project could they possibly be sitting on? Agh. Dumb things. I think this pink Lilla will have red buttons, and maybe a red outline, like this one. Pretty cute. The leaves are already drying up and falling off the trees. Autumn thoughts. Plums and seed pods. Knitting for size twelve months. As everyone says, the days go slow. But how fast the year is going! Oh, incredibly fast. Just incredibly fast. She was nine months old this past weekend.

Slow Summer Days

comments: 110

7Sunrise1

7TimeToRaiseTheSides1

8RoseGarden1

8RoseGarden2

8PearlBakery1

9PorQueNo1

9PorQueNo2

10Breakfast1

11Breakfast1

11Visiting1

11Cousins1

11Visiting2

11Visiting3

11Cousins2

11SummerColors1

11BasilBouquet1

11DessertForMama1

12BeautifulDay1

12MorningLight1

12Cookies1

12Play2

Wishing you a very glorious summer weekend, my dear friends. Thank you for being here, and for all of your generous words. You are so good to me. Thank you. Xoxoxoxoxo

Summer Babe

comments: 163

2Morning1 (2)

2Morning1

2Morning2

2Morning3

3Fountain1

4Picnic1

4Picnic2

4Picnic3

4Picnic4

5Breakfast1

5Breakfast2

5Breakfast3

5Breakfast4

6Sweater1

6Sweater5

6Pool2

6View1

6Flowers1

6Dinner1

6Ken2

6Ken5

7Annuals1

7Pepper1

7Basket1

7Garden1

7Lunch1

7PlayYard1

7WimbledonWatching1

8Morning2

It's in full swing now, this lovely summer. The weather has been glorious, the nights long. The sun shines and the breeze blows. The flowers bloom and fade, and the plums are already starting to fall. The baby is learning to chew, and every day brings new foods to try. My lady loves the water, and taking her to the pool (we went three times last week) is like a dream. She is mellow and trusting and fearless, though quiet at first; she presses herself deeper into my arms as we walk onto the deck, and sits heavily, with her cheek pressed to mine, as I hold her up to see: This is the pool. It's zero-depth, so it's like a beach — you can sit in only a few inches of water if you want. I rub water on her arm, trickle it down her belly. Rub, rub, trickle, trickle: You know this water. And yeah, she does; within minutes she's sitting on my submerged lap, and in a few minutes more she's waving her foot, splashing. Soon, it's all hers: Hands slapping, feet slapping. Her toy boat squirts, her whale-shaped cup drains. Shoulders, arms, belly, legs, back, hair, everything's wet now, and it's good. The sun is white bright and the water shines. Big kids splash and chase and scream with delight, erupting past us. Her face drips; she ducks her head and blinks the water away but then looks right back up, eyelashes dark and glistening. She doesn't cry. She says, "Da da da da da da da da DA." She presses her forehead to mine, still talking, holding her boat. It's the best day of my life. The fountains shoot long arcs of giant droplets or gurgle up small towers of white froth, but all are met with the same quiet observation, and then, eventually, the determined reaching-toward: Give me. Is there anything better than watching someone reach for a column of water with her dimpled baby hands for the first time? Clutch the bars of her crib and try to stand? Open her tiny mouth for even more ricotta cheese? Stretch to touch a bobbing allium blossom, just beyond her fingers? Keep reaching, my dearest darling dear sweet lovey lovey love. Reach, and reach, and reach. I will help you.

From Sweaters to Scorching Hot

comments: 124

24SummerSweater3

24SummerSweater4

24SummerSweater6

24SummerSweater7

24DaddyApproaches1

24DaddyApproaches2

24SummerSweater8

24SummerSweater10

24Kitchen1

25BarleyMill1

27Songbird1

27Breakfast1

27MtTabor1

FreeFlowers.PleaseTakeOneForPeace.

27SeeTheGoat1

27Poppies1

27Raspberries1

27CookingDinner

27TikkaMasala1

27TikkaMasala2

27EatingDinner1

27TikkaMasala3

28Mantel1

28SidewaysSweater1

29ShrimpBowl2

29ShrimpBowl1

30SummerColorSweater1

30BathTime1

30BathTime2

30BirthdayFlowers1

Wow. It's July. And supposedly will be 97 degrees today. [SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM.] Ugh. The heat takes every — any — the single — ounce of energy I have and vaporizes it. Poof. There it goes. That one ounce. Up in a puffball of steam.

Previous to reaching this shameful state, I was managing quite nicely. It was cold and lovely. I finished this sweater. I started this one. I made this (which is a great recipe but if you make it, do NOT add 4 teaspoons of salt to the marinade and 3 teaspoons to the sauce — those have got to be typos; add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher at the most). I made that quinoa salad. I worked, I watered. My lady love and I had breakfast here. We walked in the woods and looked at people's gardens. We saw a goat in someone's back yard. Everything was so green and cool and lush and fresh. Then, the temperature rose: Oh no, oh no. I turned on the AC. It kept going up. I waved my arms hysterically, from inside the house, at people walking down the sidewalk: OMG! What are you doing? Be careful! It's too hot to go out!!! I saw a woman running on the track. That was when I was in the air-conditioned car for a minute. I was just agog.

I am nuts.

Pooooooooooool. I need the pool. Going today. Can't wait. Baby's first swimming pool!

Flowers and Fruit

comments: 113

16Yard2

17Lunch1

18BBQ1

18BBQ2

19Clover1

22LazyDay1

22LazyDay4

22LazyDay5

22LazyDay6

22LazyDay7

22LazyDay8

22LazyDay9

22Teepee1

22Teepee2

22WatchingUsBuildATeepee1

22Teepee3

22Teepee6

22Teepee10

22Teepee12

22Teepee16

22Teepee17

22Teepee18

22Teepee19

22PeasPorkRadish1

22Pie1

22Teepee21

24Sweater1

24Basket1

24Morning1

My favorite part of summer is now, I think, when everything is still green and plump and hasn't been frizzled to a hollow. Barbecues with old friends, and baby is crawling. We spend our time together walking, or I ride my bike on the sidewalk so we can go as far as we want without my foot getting angry. Up and down the streets, past house after house and garden after garden. This is my favorite thing. The winding. The talking. He says we can go anywhere — and as far as — I want. Ending up at a restaurant, the bead store (yep, working on a new ornament kit), a pie shop. On and on. Amelia is so game. Amelia goes everywhere, does everything, and takes it all in with this placid, happy-go-lucky way she has. There's a sparkle in her eyes, but she is mellow yellow. There are no moments where I do not marvel at this quality. Knawing on her kitty, waving her foot up and down, she's watching. She shows me her bottle cap, her little deer. I like it. I kiss it, her. We rub noses. I ride in front, zig-zagging, about to fall off going two miles an hour and trying not to crash into everyone's rose bushes. Mommy the goofball. Andy buys a guitar made out of a cigar box and puts it on top of the stroller. Can't resist playing it while he walks. We're the ragtag parade, carrying a ten-pound sweet-cream raspberry pie and a stolen daisy.

By the way, brunch at the Woodsman was a delight in every possible way. I had pancakes and very strong coffee and I was about as happy as anyone's ever been about anything, I think.

I told you I'd tell you about Amelia's midsummer dress. It was inspired by a traditional Norwegian bunad, or folk costume. Each region has its own style of dress. Amelia's birthfather is three-quarters Norwegian, and his family is from the Dovre region of Norway. The dovrebunader, like this one and this one, are just so gorgeous. I have always loved these, so I was ridiculously excited to make her her own baby version. I made the pattern by tracing the bodice pieces of one of her basic little dresses from H&M, and then added a skirt that was 10" long by 44" wide. For the embroidery, I used the traditional dandelion-like design on the dovrebunader, and then just chose two other random designs from one of my clip art books. I traced everything onto copy paper and made a copy onto a special paper called Transfer-Eze. This stuff is VERY COOL. When you peel the top (printed) layer of the paper off of the heavy paper behind it, the top layer has a sticky backing. You press that smoothly to your fabric, then hoop it, and embroider away, right through the Transfer-Eze. (See the photo of my embroidery-in-progress in this post.) When I finished the embroidery, I cut out the bodice (adding a seam allowance) and then soaked the whole thing in cool water for just a few minutes. The Transfer-Eze dissolved and disappeared without any problem at all. It was wonderful to use, especially since transfering is kind of a pain, especially on dark colored fabrics. This was my first time using this and I will definitely use it again. The only thing I noticed is that my hand and fingers were a little bit sore after I worked these pieces; you do have to push the needle a bit harder as you stitch, but it's not too bad. I was doing a lot of satin stitch in a pretty short span of time. I haven't really looked into who manufactures this product but maybe I will try to carry it in my web shop because it is pretty awesome. I'll let you know if I do. Anyway, I thought the little dress came out very pretty and it was really cool to make something by pulling together parts and pieces of inspiration.

I also finished her midsummer sweater, and just have to put the buttons on. I think this is the first time I've ever done anything in reverse stockinette. Kinda cute. I think the yoke looks too deep, but maybe I'm wrong. I'll put the buttons (covered, I think, in Liberty lawn) on today and try it on her and see. It's cold and chilly today, so this will be good.

In our yard the rose mallow is blooming, and the hydrangeas are just starting. The apple tree had three tiny green apples but they all fell off already. We built a little teepee (using this tutorial — really easy, really fast, really inexpensive) on Saturday afternoon when it was still sunny and gorgeous. She played in it for a while, though it got kind of hot; there was no breeze, especially in the teepee. After Amelia went to bed, I sat out in the yard and ate pie and watched the darkness arrive and pretty much became infatuated with the teepee at dusk. So far we haven't really used our backyard lights that much because it stays light so late right now, and I can't stay awake! But I stayed out Saturday night and it was worth it. Oh, how I do love a good ambient light source!!! It's sooooo romantic back there now. We had the lights done by this company. I basically told them what I wanted — two strands of light bulbs crossing over the seating area, hardwired into a dimmer switch on the garage wall — and they did the whole thing (even more romantic). I don't fool around with electricity, and I knew we wanted this to be permanent. Neither do I have the details about the cord because Chris the electrician provided that, but it was twisted black and brown, and what I liked about it was that he was able to put the lights into it only and exactly where we wanted them — right over the chairs, and not down the entire length of the cord as they stretch from the corners of the garage to the pergola thing, and then across to the fence (they added a little 2" x 2" board so the cord would connect at the right height). The bulbs are 40 watt clear appliance bulbs. The dimmer is fantastic. I'm really pleased with how this came out. Now we just need to drink some coffee after dinner so I can stay awake and enjoy it.

Oh, and the other outdoor wicker pendant we have over the table we've had for several years, and it just plugs into an extension cord. I think it's like this one.

I did wind up ordering a battery-powered lantern for the teepee, too.

What else. I'm playing catch up today. I sincerely apologize to anyone who is waiting for me to answer an email. I am not good at this and the email just keeps piling up and up.

Wimbledon starts today. Yippee! Does anyone know the name of that little daisy-like plant (feverfew — thank you!), and the pink frothy one (spirea — thanks!)? Those were out in the neighborhood somewhere, but I'd love to plant both of them. Pretty.

***My tablecloth is from Powell's Books for Cooks; the teepee cover cloth is from eBay or Etsy; our bedding is from Pottery Barn; I made my skirt several years ago from cotton calico (don't know the name of it — I'm sorry); and I think the pillow cover was from Pottery Barn a few years ago, too.

Midsummer Magic

comments: 140

15Morning2

15Kitters2

15Mimi1

15Bunad3

15Midsummer5

15Midsummer10

15Midsummer9

15Midsummer29

15Midsummer17

15Midsummer14

15Midsummer19

15Midsummer23

15Midsummer24

15Midsummer26

16Breakfast4

16Table2

16Park4

16Park6

16Park16

16Park10

16Yard3

Oh, in the midst of summer! What a lovely weekend it was: glorious weather, great fathers and grandfathers, a festival, lazy mornings, good company, good food, tiny lights, sun spots, a picnic on the hill, cool breezes through the pine trees, ukelele songs, a wedding in the distance, baby singing, bright nights, rose mallow blooming, a sleepy kitty in my spot on the chaise, a baby bunad, a band playing. Birds singing. A blue jay that visits us in the back yard lately, making me feel like little Mary Lennox. I was buzzed by a hummingbird. Oh, June. You've been so good to us, June.

***I will definitely tell you about the dress and the lights when I have a minute more to write. And to make the daisy chain you just pick a bunch of little daisies that grow in the grass at the park, keeping their stems as long as you can. Braid the stems tightly together (with the flowers at the top), adding new daisies in when you have about an inch or so of stem left on the previous daisy. The stems are flexible so just tie the end of the chain gently to the beginning flowers when the crown is big enough. Place on baby and kiss one thousand times.

Rainy Day Cooking

comments: 136

13Rainy

13Rainy2

13Rainy5

13Rainy7

13Rainy8

14RoyalDynasty1

14Garden1

14Garden2

14Garden3

14Garden4

14Garden5

14Multnomah1

14Multnomah2

29Multnomah36

14Darling1a

Oh, it was nice: A rainy day, and just us girls here. We walked up to the grocery store and bought chicken and mushrooms and spinach and egg-roll wrappers, and a fancy magazine. We worked on making this lasagna through the afternoon, and then napped, and read, and sat in the rocking chair and cuddled. We played with the new toys and my earrings and my nose. I ate the lasagna (good, except every time I use anything other than cooked lasagna noodles [in this one I used egg-roll wrappers] in a lasagna I always wind up wishing I had used cooked lasagna nooodles), and she ate acorn squash and oatmeal. I knit and she traveled (she does something that looks like a dog paddle on dry land, almost crawling, but it works) the four corners of the room.

Occasionally it occurs to me that, although I love what I do and it's perfect for me, there might have been a few other jobs that, maybe in an alternate universe, would have equally suited. Beach bum/surfer/surf-shack owner (yep). Paint-chip color namer (I know I'd be good at this). Pioneer-village re-enacter (still hoping to do this one someday). Stonemason (not even kidding). Royal watcher (totally). Just sayin. There are a few other things.

Does it help to rinse the egg-roll wrappers in water before putting them in the lasagna, so they steam in the oven? I think I layered them too thickly, so the ones in the middle were still a bit dry and floury. . . . Other than that, the lasagna was fantastic, and the wrappers were delightful to use, so I wish they had tasted better, really. But I think it can be remedied. Just not sure what would be easiest, so as not to defeat the purpose (which is to make life easier) of using them. (I've used the no-boil lasagna noodles before and I think they go too mushy for me.)

I found buttons at Fabric Depot for the Multnomah Falls sweater that reminded me of the cow parsely (I'm pretty sure it's cow parsely) on the side of the road everywhere up in the Gorge. Cute little buttons that sweeten the sort of Classics-[with-an-emphasis-on-epigraphy]-major-study-session feeling of this sweater, the same way those sweet, pretty flowers lighten up the rather Gothic nature of the old highway with their frothy fronds. I'll get it on her this weekend, I think. My sweet, sweet dear darling. Aw, girl. I love you so.

***The magazine is an Us collector's edition I got at the grocery store :)

Home and Away

comments: 63

6Kitty1

6Yard1

6Room1

7TastySons1

7TastySons2

7Spielwerk1

7Spielwerk2

7InkPeat1

7RubyJewel1

7RubyJewel3

8ForResale1

8City2

10Multnomah1

10Toys1

10Toys2

10Toys3

10Sleepy2

10Fern1

I like to stay home but sometimes I really like going out. On Friday we had a super-fun time up in north Portland at Tasty 'n' Sons, Spielwerk Toys, Ink and Peat, and Ruby Jewel. We love to eat out. We take Amelia to a lot of restaurants. She's been going out to eat since she was very wee, and she's always down with it. I take her out to lunch with me quite frequently by myself, but it's really fun when it's the three of us together (and easier, too). Now that the weather is nice it's just so nice to walk around and do stuff all together. The weather on Friday was gorgeous. We bought fancy soaps and a couple of darling little new toys. She had her first ice cream (brown-sugar sour cream — yummmmm). Really great day. I need to remember to take her to different parts of town just to walk around, even if it means driving to get there first. We're getting a bit bored with our own neighborhood day after day after day, and there's just so much else to see.

I finished her Multnomah Falls sweater (except for the buttons) and it's on the blocking board now. I think it came out really pretty. The color is so hard to capture and I don't know why? (Greens are the hardest for me to get right.) It's kind of a classic, dark-moss green. Next on the needles is this one. Reverse stockinette, but in worsted weight. It's already going so fast (being worsted, instead of sport). The yarn I'm using is crazy-gorgeous. Feels like butter compared to the Nature Spun. Amelia's goes to bed between six and seven every night (she is a great sleeper, and has been doing this since she was two months old), so I have several hours of uninterrupted knitting every evening. It's kind of the time where I'm too tired to do anything else (I used to try working, or sewing, or answering emails at night, but it just didn't work well — I am so totally not a night person), so it's really nice to just sit with my feet up and knit (or embroider — I'll tell you about that  little navy-blue dress I'm working on, I keep forgetting) and relax. It's such precious time to me. I'm really lucky for it, I know.

We're having some light-bulb strands installed over our seating area in the back yard, so that we can just turn them on at the garage wall with the flick of a switch. I'm hoping that happens in the next week or two. Summer is here and I just want to be outside before the weather turns scorching and I have to go in and cry in front of the air-conditioner vent. Bah.

***The kitty doll is by Maileg and is from Ink and Peat; the little mouse is by Moulin Roty from Spielwerk Toys (and the mushroom is from Spielwerk, as well). Such adorable toys at both of these places.

embroidered A

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.