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I was at the park early this morning, trying to beat the heat. It's going to be hot here these next few days. One hundred degrees plus. Naturally, I am terrified.

Summer Sweetness

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August has a glow. There was twilight birdsong all around us in the field. I cried in the sunset. My sister's visit has been wonderful. The world spins and spins. The flowers. The nights. The years.

Bloomsbury

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I finished my dress today and I just love it. The vast majority of things I try to make for myself look totally horrideous, which is why I hardly ever try to make anything for myself. But I love this (though I had to fuss with the pattern quite a bit). I used mostly cotton lawn, except for the bodice front/back which is regular quilting-cotton-weight. I apologize, but I don't really know what the fabrics are named or remember where I got them (but mostly all locally, and I have a decent size collection of Liberty Tana Lawn from local and various on-line sources). I just collect fabric whenever I see something I like, and am useless with the details. This dress is made mostly of rectangles or versions of rectangles. It's all very floaty and light, with lots of folds and drapes and gathers everywhere. Rather Vanessa Bell–ish, I thought.

The Sigur Ros show at Edgefield last night was exquisite. We have been big fans for many years but this was our first time seeing them live. Lovely, gentle, amazing people. The evening just couldn't have been more beautiful.

The garden is entering the late-summer phase. I think I'm supposed to be thinking about fall/winter planting. I replanted beets and kale already. Maybe I'll plant more beets where the potatoes were . . . ? Half of my butternut squash blossoms fell off, and a bunch of the leaves. A couple of the other little squashes just shrivelled up into little puckered things. Wah. :(

It's a quiet day here. Bright and breezy and we have no plans. Wonder of wonders. I shudder with pure delight.

Summer Swell

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Dude, did you see my garden potatoes? I AM PSYCHED.

Tonight, curried potato, corn, and shrimp chowder. And it's finally cooled off so we can make the choco cake. I'll write out the recipes when I get a sec.

You know how when your one sister goes out to lunch with your other sister for the afternoon and you should be doing some chores that you've been blowing off while you're home alone but instead you decide to make an Afghani nomad dress? So weird when that happens, I know.

High Heat

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Hot, hot heat this past weekend. We sat in chairs in the river all afternoon. Best day I've had in ages. Leaves fell from the trees on the bank and flashed silver as they spun toward the dark water. Even in the heat there was a glimmer of autumn. My sister made grilled peaches glittered with lemon zest and mint. August in a bowl. We've watched hours and hours of the Olympics. Coolest sport = trampoline! The electricity went out last night for several hours. I macrameed a bracelet until it was too dark to see. Needless to say, at 102 degrees no baking or oven cleaning has happened. Though we did make a trip across town to buy pearl sugar for yeasted waffles. Priorities.

Assemblage

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My crew was busy assembling floss packets for ornament kits this week. (Yes, amazingly, it's that time of year again!) For the majority of the early summer I had pretty much decided that I probably wouldn't design an ornament kit this year, just because I've been so busy with the web site and am fried. Then, one day when my computer was broken and I was sitting there with nothing to do for an hour and a half, I started drawing and wouldn't you know it three ideas for new ornaments popped out. I guess that's what it takes — a whole hour and a half with nothing to do and I can think of a major project to do. So the machine started it squeaky but irrepressible crank back up again. And so we will re-issue a limited edition of the past four years' ornament kits, as well as this new one, of which there have been glimpses around here lately and which is called Winter Cabin. Wouldn't you know it's probably my favorite one of them all. I love the palette for it so much. More details on the new kit (and the old kits) to come! For now, my trusty sidekicks assemble floss packs and I make them cappuccinos in the afternoon (good trade off for me, no?). I got this little stovetop espresso maker the other day, and the little milk frother I got last winter has been awesome. These were actually pretty good little cappuccinos, I was surprised!

Hot coffee in the afternoon will probably be a thing of the past this weekend — it's supposed to get up to the high 80s and maybe even 93 over the weekend. Once again, it's only 59 right now so I am enjoying that while I can. Thank you for the perfume recommendations!!! I ordered several testers from CB I Hate Perfume, which several of you recommended, I think. I can't wait for them to come. Maybe my sissy and I will spend a day searching around town for the others you recommended and having a smell-a-thon while she is here. I will report back. :-)

I didn't make the roasted corn soup above (it's from New Seasons), but I aslo have to think of some things to cook while Susie is here. Dear chocolate lovers, she says she has brought the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe in the Whole World with her. She told me I had to get this kind of baking chocolate (Cacao Barry Extra Brute), which I did, so I am ready to taste proof! I'm also hoping she might help me clean my oven with the self-cleaning function because I am afraid of it and need a professional chaperone. Do we know how to entertain our guests here, or what??? Perfume shopping and oven cleaning — thrilling!!!

***The seed pod in photo six is called scabiosa — thanks Jessica!

Best Weather Ever

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Mid-70s, sunny, gentle breezes. Perfect, rare, delicious weekend days. Best weekend weather I can ever remember in my entire life. We harvested beets and potatoes from our wee garden plot on Friday afternoon. It was silly exciting — you stick your hand in the ground and come up with a bunch of gorgeous Yukon Gold potatoes. Cube them up, add a couple of the tender onions you also pulled out of the ground, add one of the teensy heads of garlic you also pulled out of the ground, splash on some olive oil, shower with pepper and sea salt, bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, add some butter when they come out and you have the best dinner ever. Oh, and do the same thing (without the butter — or are they good with butter?) to the beets. That you pulled out of the ground. The best dinner to go with the best weather. I almost cried. To think there are probably twenty-plus more potatoes still out there? Oh my stars. Next year I may just grow potatoes, onions, garlic, and beets.

The wee sidewalk garden has been such a good experience. I have loved it all so much this summer. I was sitting out there on the stairs last night, watching the beautiful twilight come on after such gorgeous weekend weather. I thought about how the butternut squash and the cucumbers are now trailing up the teepee where the peas grew last month. I thought about the day we put the peas in, months ago. Having a vegetable garden makes the summer seems different, somehow. I've never noticed all of it, or appreciated all of it — the ground and the water and the sun and the season — quite so much as I have this summer. Cliched but true. I like sitting out there every morning and every evening, watching it all change. I like fussing over the tidy little squares of rows. I don't really know what I'm doing at all but the stuff still grows. It's much different and a lot more satisfying to me than growing flowers and shrubs. I love the flowers and the shrubs, but the vegetables are different. Maybe because it's just a smaller area, with defined boundaries, and it feels like the right size for me when the rest of the yard feels too big and like too much (even though it's really not all that big). The vegetables also appeal to my utilitarian nature. I have always liked to make things that get used.

Also, it's just still so bewildering to me that it all worked. We put it in the ground and then it just worked out. I'm not used to that.

Something's blooming in the woods right now that makes allergic people go crazy but makes me happy. It's some kind of weed that I like the smell of but I don't know exactly what it is. I'd like to bottle the scent. Speaking of, I was thinking of buying some perfume. I haven't bought any in years and years. I want something that smells like the summer woods. Any recommendations?

On Thursday night we went to Edgefield with friends. I sat on the quilt and knit while listening to Steven Martin and his bluegrass band. He was hilariously funny. Our friend's eleven-year-old niece was visiting from Texas. She sat next to me and watched my hands while I knit. She asked me questions: Is it hard? How many things have you made? What's your favorite thing that you've made? Who taught you? We talked through the night and I won't deny that I hoped she might go back to Fort Worth with the spark of an idea about little sticks and string.

Summer

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Ah, yes. It speeds up now. I remember.

Works in Progress

comments: 59

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I finished my own Alpine Frost shawl over the weekend. I had actually started mine a few months ago and I liked it so much I wanted to make one for Julie's birthday. When hers was finished I immediately went back to mine. And then finished it. It's quite a bit longer than Julie's — mine is about 90" long and about 25" wide. I blocked it like crazy, stretching it in every direction as far as I could. A pin holding every picot point. (I added the picot edging; it's not in the pattern as written, but the details are on my Ravelry page for it.) What I love about this yarn is that it really has no shine at all. It's completely matte. And downy soft. And light as that feather. And tumbles into a copious mound of frothy billows around my neck. Where it sits right now since it's 56 degrees out. Which I don't mind now that I have this thing.

Now on the needles (as it has been since May, also) is Quill, Quill the color of antler, its garter stitch center section complete and on round 12 of its Old Shale border. Fingering-weight yarn feels heavy after so many hours (and hours and hours) or crocheting lace-weight.

It's been a really busy few weeks. I've spent my time alternating between building my new web shop and working on the new ornament kits. Neither is finished. The web shop — it's shocking how many hours it requires. I'll be beyond thrilled when it's finished and functional. Occasionally I have my doubts that it will ever be either. Occasionally I feel that I've taken the DIY thing too far in trying to do this mostly myself. But that's what I can afford. And I want it to be a certain way that doesn't quite fit the standard template. I'm hoping it will be up and running sometime next month. I will be so happy!

I meant to say thank you for all of your sweet anniversary wishes last week. Thank you so much for those! I haven't had a chance to even scratch the surface of the iced tea recipes, partly because the weather has turned so cold again that it makes hot tea more appealing than cold. Not complaining, but . . . it's strange. I suppose it makes for good TV-watching weather, though, with the Olympics coming up. (Actually, there's nothing I like more than all of the programs leading up to the Olympics that explore different aspects of the host city [especially when it's London]. I love those!) The news of the world has been so sad lately (my heart goes out to Colorado this summer) I'm hoping that the Olympics can truly foster a spirit of brother- and sisterhood on an individual and international level.

My own little sister, Susie, comes to stay with us for a two-week visit a week from today. Andy has ordered the sour-cream-and-onion popcorn seasoning and I need to get stovetop espresso maker to cook up her quadruple-shot lattes. I can't wait. We're planning a movie marathon of our individual and family favorites. Obviously, Seems Like Old Times tops the list. Oh I adore that movie. Can't wait to see my sissy.

Birds Bees Butterflies Blooms

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A walk through the summerfields on Oak Island. If you were a landscape, what would you be? He said the mountain woods, with a river, and huge trees overhead. I said a meadow, with tall grasses and wildflowers. Soft blue hills and silver water in the distance. Exactly like this. Especially on a bright gray day, where the clouds stack up like ruffles coming in from the sea. Where the berries are not quite ripe. Where the bees buzz along the edges of the hedgerow. Where the little birds swoop and dart. Where the soft seeds parachute to down to soft landings. Where the lacy blossoms and the golden grasses line the path for miles and miles.

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Ah, one more gratuitous hottie shot, for good measure. It's Monday.

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

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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.