July

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Already the plum leaves are starting to fall. The weather this past week has been hot and dry, and next week promises (threatens) more of the same. At the farmer's market the bounty is overwhelming. There is so much, and it is so big and beautiful. In the early morning, Amelia and I go out and water the front. She eats her breakfast in her high chair in the shade and watches me walk around with the hose, soaking everything well, trying to moisturize my little plants even as the morning sun grows hot and bright. She reaches out to touch the water while I shower the impatiens on the porch. When we move to the back yard, she takes cups of water out of her little pool and waters the pots for me. Later, a couple of cups, more water, and some shade are all we really need to be happy in the afternoon, as long as I know that back across town my little house waits, dim and cool and clean, the air conditioner earnestly humming, plenty of chilled cantaloupe and watermelon and blueberries waiting for us in the fridge. Summer baths after the pool, the fountain, the yard, the park, the layers of sunscreen, the raspberry smears; I cover her in suds while she plays with her toy boats and plastic cups, cries a little when the water washes over her face as I rinse her hair, pats at the bubbles, draws on her own round belly with the bath crayons. In the late afternoon, clean and cool and smelling of honey, she naps and I watch TV, the sound turned low, both of us splayed on the chaise lounge, the light dappling and twisting as the hot wind picks up, dusty and buzzing outside but silent to us, behind our closed windows. I like the late afternoon, 4:00 p.m., when it feels so good to go in. When you feel like you've earned it, somehow. It reminds me of the delicious chill of our grandparents' white ranch house, its perfectly, wonderfully, deliciously temperature-controlled interior so beige and soft and soothing after so much flashing sunlight and swimming and cicadas. Summer afternoon: sitting on the soft beige carpet with sunburned legs, watching General Hospital, eating a coconut cookie before dinner, listening to the soft whistle of cold air come out of the floor.

Little Flower

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I had a day out last week with my dear friend Aimee. We had lunch and then we shopped and then we sat by the fountain downtown and had milkshakes. I came home with a dolly umbrella stroller for Mimi, since she'd been walking off with everyone else's when she sees them at the park. She prefers carrying it around, bringing it onto the sofa, pushing it around without a dolly in it, pushing it around with a rock in it, dragging it both up and down the deck stairs y herself, pushing it on the gravel. It's pretty dang cute to watch her pushing it. Everything she does is just so charming and fascinating to me. Watching her become a little girl, especially this past month, is just . . . I don't even know. I actually just don't even have words. Maybe a couple of little sobs, because it's just so startlingly beautiful to watch someone growing up. Every day has so many beautiful little things in it I hardly know where to start to say.

I made a Suzanne dress out of Liberty Emma and Georgina A (with another kind of Liberty for the insert, but I don't remember the name of that one). The Suzanne that I made a few years ago I couldn't get on her — as designed, the back has no opening, and the bodice is just too tight to get little arms up and under and through armholes. I wound up cutting the back and the insert into two separate pieces and adding an inch extra to each, then creating a 6 or 7 inch opening in the back (just hemmed each side with a 1/4" double-turned hem, and added a couple of snaps on the insert part, to close). It's a pretty invisible fix, really, but makes all the difference. I don't know if the larger sizes have this problem (I made a size 2) but man, it's just such a cute dress. I love the cut and the blossomy effect of the skirt. And so fast and easy and sweet and light. More of them to come.

I got some simply amazing, luscious, soft, light, creamy, wonderful, incredibly gorgeous bulky handspun undyed Alpaca yarn from my beautiful friend Rebekka the other day. I'm thinking there can be no other future for this yarn than cowl. Maybe even mama cowl. . . . Maybe there's even enough for both of us. . . . Oh my word. If it weren't NINETY-SEVEN DEGREES HERE TODAY I would consider knitting. You know how much I love my vent. I would have to leave it to wind up the yarn so I might have to wait. . . .

Before the earth started to scorch in places, I was out on one particularly lovely gray afternoon (those are the lovely ones, as far as I'm concerned) becoming infatuated with my little spray of front-yard flowers. The purples, pinks, and poppies. (The first photo [that's Besaw's restaurant garden], the community garden photo, and the next two after that [the lavender poppies] are not my flowers, but all the ones after it are from our yard.) If I can figure out a way to capture the effervescence of this little garden in embroidery, oh but I would like to try. It's such a sweet little spot! Those seeds worked. (Well, they worked in the sunny places. In the shady places, not so much.) But the sunny spots — they're spotted with blossoms, and they are bringing me great joy.

***Here's how we make our shrimp bowls.

At the Beach

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For the very first time. What an awesome day, in every single solitary way.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
June 24, 2014

One a Day

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Cooking, cooking. Once I started I just . . . kept going. For Midsummer Day we made the same breakfast we'd made for Father's Day (because that was good), and then I made a strawberry shortcake for dessert after dinner. I didn't split it in half the way the directions say to because I didn't have enough strawberries, so I just buttered the thing and piled the berries on. But this shortcake recipe is good, and I've had it so long I don't even know where I got it originally.

Shortcake

2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cubed
1 beaten egg
2/3 c. half-and-half

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and half-and-half, and add all at once to the dry ingredients, stirring with fork just to moisten. Spread dough in a buttered 8" round cake pan, building up the edges a bit. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from pan and cool slightly. Slice cake horizontally and spread butter on inside layer. Add sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Cooking: I have a plan, now. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but suddenly I remembered my old friend: Apples for Jam. This cookbook . . . oh, I fell for it hard. I've fallen for all of the Tessa Kiros cookbooks that I have, actually, but this one, for me, turns out to have been the most cookable. This is the one that is full of family food; the one with the gorgeous, evocative photography of bowls of soup and children's playthings; the one with the sweet, memory-laden, slightly windy creative writing (well, they all have that, but this one is about kid stuff); the one that helped me become a mother before I became a mother. It feels familiar and friendly and also like the greatest privilege to be reading it now, making food as I do every day for my child, who is still, at this point at least, eating everything I serve to her  (until she is full and begins flinging it to the floor, and then hanging over the side of her high chair to watch the dog eat my fresh mozzarella . . . the meatballs that took me all afternoon . . . the fish that cost $8.99/lb., etc., while saying in her most I-am-adorable! voice, "Uuuuh-oh! Uh-oh Mommy!!! Uh-oh Mommy!!!" Pointing at the floor, dog licking franctically).

So Sunday I made the spaghetti and meatballs, and yesterday I made the fish parcels (with cod) and the lemon rice pudding with roasted (white) peaches, all from the book. It was all really good, though next time I'll use breadcrumbs and an egg in the meatballs (her recipe called for milk-soaked white bread, and I think that bread crumbs make more tender meatballs — I like them really soft and mushy, myself). Oh, and all of the brown sugar slid off my peaches and burned on the bottom of the pan, but oh well. Still lovely and fragrant (I used a vanilla bean and Meyer lemon and grated the nutmeg) good. I'm enjoying myself a lot, cooking, but wow, it is a LOT of work to cook this way with a one-year-old who no longer wants to sit still for any length of time. I'm trying to do as much as I can early in the day, or during naptime, but still, some things can't be done until dinnertime, and pre-dinnertime is still (and rather suddenly) proving to be kind of insane. I used to be able to have her in her high chair hanging out with me in the kitchen while I cooked, and lately she is not into it. She wants to — you know it! — go 'SIDE. AND NOW!

So, after yesterday I decided that I'm only cooking one thing a day, on these weekdays. Everything else must require nothing more than chopping up (cantaloupe, strawberries, steamed carrots, spinach, green salad, etc.) or come from the deli case at New Seasons (beet salad, caprese salad with those little mozzy balls, yum) in order for it to go on my table. I mean, that just makes sense anyway. I'm not sure why this is a Major Revelation but that just shows you how complicated I've been making everything.

Just as I got to the colorwork part of the light blue Fimma, I put it down. It suddenly felt too daunting in these evenings lazy, light-filled evenings. It's in hibernation. I started a pale pink Lottie cardigan, and I'm loving it. Easy-peasy and relaxing. Sometimes I think I should just forget anything that's not in garter stitch. When life gets a little hectic my GSB (Garter Stitch Barometer) alarms, and I must knit, robotlike, and then turn and knit again, and then turn and knit again (occasionally increasing at well-marked spots) and feel my breathing slow a bit. . . .

And two people — Erica, a long time ago, and recently Ms. Bibliosophy — suggested the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. Medieval Norway!!! I got the first book (The Wreath) and can't put it down. Thank you very much for the recommendation!

Oh, and by the way, I've been meaning to say this if I didn't before, I watched all of the Restoration Homes on YouTube through my television. There's a way to connect the devices through my TV; I'm really not even sure how to tell you to do it, honestly — the possibility just popped up on mine through TiVo, I think, and so I connected them. The picture quality is pretty bad but for some reason I didn't even care. And thank you also to those of you who have suggested things for further viewing, if possible (though we don't get to watch all of the shows, even on YouTube, here in the U.S.). I need to go back through your comments and check them out. If you feel like leaving a recommendation here (again) so they're all in one place, would you? Thank you!

Midsummer, already. She just turned twenty months old. A whirlwind of energy and emotion and curiosity and joy: Walking, running, yelling, laughing, crying, pointing, "talking," playing, freaking out, pulling it together, snoozing, cuddling, watering, hugging her animals so fiercely, staring at them lovingly and stroking their heads the way I do hers, kissing them throughout the day, or pressing her forehead to theirs and saying, "Mmmmmmmm." Lovable, kissable, squishable, sweet, dearest loving sweetest girl. I'm so proud of her.

P.S. By the way, all of the flowers on the table are from my wildflower cutting garden or my front yard. Very exciting for me!

Warm and Water

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She would prefer to stay outside at all times. Around four o'clock, the time between (hopefully) nap time and before dinner time, she's lately letting out a plaintive scream: "'SIDE?!?!?!?!?!" and pointing toward either the front door or back door while scrambling to find some shoes/frantically signing "shoes"/jamming shoes on her [wrong] feet. "'SIDE?!?!?! 'SIDE?!?!?!?!" Oh my lord. This is after being outside for most of the day. The desperation and hysteria that follows if 'side is not an option at that moment is profound. The girl loves to be outside. With a bucket of water, a little pan of water, and sticks, stones, and fancy water cups she makes stone soup, and it is sweet.

I'm making stone soup too, just about. At night I've been watching cooking shows (I finished all of the Restoration Homes and I swear I have post-partum. I love that show so much. That is an awesome show.) Cooking shows are my go-to relaxing shows, and I'm trying to get some cooking inspiration. For something other than ice cream and salad rolls. My cooking of real food, for Andy and me at least, is a total fail lately. Amelia is so easy: tons and tons of fresh fruit and steamed vegetables, occasionally cheese, turkey, chicken, beans, tofu. I feel bored with everything I've made before and I'm not even sure what I want to do.

One thing I do want to do is switch out my plain white dishes for thrifted calico dishes. I seem to have inherited my dad's penchant for getting new dishes once a year. I hadn't been to Goodwill in ages but we went this week and it was so much fun. My little collection of dishes and candlesticks and that sweet little stripey dress came from my local GW the other day. I've missed Goodwill. I'm obsessed with the photo of that kitchen (from the book English Decoration: Timeless Inspiration for the Country Home which I just treated myself to recently). Maybe if I make my kitchen a little cuter, and thrift some fancier plates, I'll get my cooking mojo back. It's been gone for so long!

I just heard Andy talking to Amelia while getting her dressed. "And now we're going to pick out something to wear from the drawer. Most likely it will be what's on top." I busted out laughing. So that's how he does it!

Speaking of clothes, I made a skirt out of a pretty purply brown calico. I used the 'Tis the Season skirt in the book Sew What? Skirts: Sixteen Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics. This book teaches you how to take your own measurements and draft patterns for several different kinds of skirts. The one I made is a full circle skirt on an attached waistband with a side zipper and button. It was super easy (though it takes quite a bit of fabric), but the calculation for the waist cut on the skirt didn't come out correct for me at all. The skirt was way too big for the waistband. It wasn't a big deal to fix, but next time I'm going to be really careful about calculating that (I would take the exact waistband measurement [minus the seam allowances and button overlap], use that as the circumference of the top part of the skirt, calculate for the radius, draw that line on the folded fabric from the top corner, then cut 1/2" inside that line. This won't make sense unless you make the skirt, I wouldn't think. But it should work). Anyway, the finished skirt came out exactly as I wanted it to, and is a total joy to wear — very swishy and comfortable. More to come.

Oh, and thank you for all of your recommendations on hoses! I read through all of your comments before deciding what to do and wouldn't you know it, I decided to try the X-hose after all. So far is has been awesome (though I've only had it a couple of weeks, and it rained for one of them). I detach it after I use it and coil it up in a basket on the porch. It's so small and light that that is completely possible, and about fifty times easier than wrestling the maddening coil of filthy tubing onto its screeching wheel. So far the fittings have worked perfectly and have not leaked, but I have my eagle-eye out for the smallest spout (not that I'll know what to do about it if it does leak, since it's made of weird fabric, etc.). It seemed worth it to try this, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And I must remember to take pictures of the flowers in the raised beds. They worked — I have wildflowers! — and they are darling.

Daisy Days

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The weather here has been very cold and very rainy and very gray and very dim this past week. Every night I've been piling several quilts on top of me and my sofa-seat and knitting, knitting, knitting, or taking warm baths by candlelight in the afternoon with my girl, who lounges in my lap and lets me pour warm water over her for an hour; we turn the hot tap a few times because we sit for so long it gets too cold. The swimming pool is supposed to open next week and I simply can't imagine this. A lonely, empty pool, and us Portlanders at home in the steamy bathtub.

So the midsummer festival felt more like late spring, with daisies and dancing girls and our college friends (and how lucky we are to have them here, thousands of miles away from where we all went to college!). Last year I made Amelia a baby bunad (a traditional Norwegian folk dress; hers was inspired by the beautiful dresses of the Dovre region of Norway, where her birthfather's family is from). This year I just happened to find this little red calico dress at the resale shop and it fit her perfectly. It is a handmade dress, too, so I couldn't resist. I planned to make her a new Norwegian dress every year so I'll just have to start planning for Christmas because I think little red will be too small by then. Super cute princess-seamed pattern, though. I love princess-seamed dresses. You don't see them too much lately (early '80s — I'm just sayin'!).

We had such a nice Father's Day, home all day alone together, cooking and playing. It was just a perfect day with my loves. I made a Dutch baby pancake and scrambled eggs with onions and mushrooms for Andy for breakfast. He made an awesome — possibly his best one ever — stuffed pizza last night. His recipe is the Edwardo's Famous Stuffed Spinach Pizza from the book Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. If you aren't sure what Chicago stuffed pizza is, I will tell you: Think of an actual double-crust pie. There's a crust on the bottom, and then inside is all of the mozzarella cheese and a ton of fresh spinach. You pack it in. Then there's another crust on the top, and you crimp up the edges, just like with a pie. And on top of this top crust you add a light layer of a lovely, chunky, light tomato-and-garlic sauce, and then just a bit of sprinkled parmesan cheese. The whole thing is a massive concoction. You bake it in a cheesecake pan (I waitressed at Geppetto's in Oak Park after college, and we had special springform pans for our pizzas there, larger and shallower than a typical cheesecake pan; I need to look for one because I think it would help our crust thin out a bit). It weighs — actually, I have no idea how much it weighs, but a lot! The recipe in this book really does taste so much like Edwardo's pizza (which I liked better than Geppetto's, or even Gino's [Chicagoans, you know all these, right?]). Andy makes this about once a year and it is one of my favorite things. I love it, and it tastes like home.

I also made the Bangkok peanut ice cream from my sister's recipe and that was very delicious. Someone asked if this was a Jeni's recipe and I didn't know what that meant, so I looked it up and discovered that yes, it is! (And I am so getting her book.) I found a recipe online for the Bangkok peanut here. I thought it was really lovely — very subtle but with some texture and a bit of a kick from the cayenne pepper. Making ice cream has given me a whole new appreciation for buying ice cream. I have no idea where this ice cream thing I'm going through came from, really. I have really been enjoying it — and by the time it's time to eat it, you really only need to have the smallest of scoops to be happy. I have a lot of ice cream in my freezer. Which makes one feels rather secure. So that's nice.

Today Amelia and I are going to go to the fabric store. I need some skirts. I have a lot of fabric in my stash but it's all small amounts. I think we'll go to Knittin' Kitten tomorrow and look for '80s calicoes, too.

***My Ravelry page for the Fimma sweater is here :)

Cocoa Custard

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My sister Susie (the pastry chef) gave me some of her ice-cream recipes (including brown butter ice cream, butterscotch ice cream, and Bangkok peanut ice cream [which has cream cheese, peanut butter, coconut milk, honey, fresh ginger, and cayenne pepper in it, holy egads, that's next]). I took her chocolate recipe and added it to my custard recipe and oh, my, cocoastars it was crazy good. Try this, try this:

Brown Sugar–Chocolate Frozen Custard

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean
4 oz. milk chocolate chips (I used Guittard, because that's what they had at my store)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Cocoa Barry, which my sister insisted I must buy)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

With a sharp paring knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the bean pod itself and the half-and-half to the pan and warm over low-medium heat until it just barely simmers.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the cocoa powder into the hot half-and-half until it is dissolved. Pour the half-and-half over the chocolate chips and let it sit for a bit until the chips are melted. Stir the now-chocolatey half-and-half until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt by hand or using a stand mixer (I used the mixer). Slowly pour a very thin stream of the chocolatey half-and-half into the eggs while continuing to whisk; this will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Continue to pour the half-and-half in a thin stream until half of it has been incorporated. Transfer the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the chocolatey half-and-half. Heat on low-medium (do not overheat here, or you will still scramble the eggs) while whisking continuously until the custard is thick and smooth, like pudding. Remove the vanilla bean.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a 9"x13" baking pan halfway with ice cubes. Find a smaller pan or a bowl that will fit inside of the 9"x13" baking pan. Place the smaller pan or bowl in the larger baking pan and nestle it into the ice so it doesn't fall over. Gradually add the heavy cream to the custard in the saucepan and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the smaller pan or bowl that is in the ice pan. Let it sit there (you can stir it occasionally) until it is cold. (I do it this way because I don't have that much room in my fridge and I don't want to heat up my refrigerator trying to cool this stuff off.) It will take a couple of hours for it to get cold (and this is about how long it takes us to walk around the block these days, stopping to sit down frequently). Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, spin this into delicious frozen custard. Give a little bit to your baby and discover that she suddenly is a pro with a spoon.

Amelia's birthfamily are serious chocolate and coffee connoisseurs! She has definitely inherited the chocolate-love gene. I've never seen her eat anything with such focus, and so fast, ever. I gave her about a tablespoon of this (and seriously, it is so rich adults hardly need much more) and the girl about lost her bananas when her little dish was empty.

I got some cute little paper cups and lids at the Cash & Carry. Now to find some cute labels so I can give ice cream to my friends so I don't get any fatter.

***Mimi's dress (it's a one-piece, with the knitted vest sewn in) is from JujuBunnyshop, but I don't see it listed anymore. Cutest clothes there, though.

June Afternoon

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Oh, summertime: Some days you really do live up to every possible winter daydream I've ever had.

***This post will tell you about that rectangle quilt :)

Strawberries and Cream

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After I made the lemon ice cream I remembered that I am obsessed with frozen custard. How could I have forgotten that I am obsessed with frozen custard? And by frozen custard I mean specifically the kind they sell in the middle of Illinois. With lots of eggs. It doesn't really exist out here, far away from cornfields, fireflies, and summer nights that stay so hot you go to bed hot and you wake up hot. Inspired by this recipe, I set out to attempt it (but even eggier, because I like eggs) when we had friends 'round for dinner Saturday night. I think I got it.

Frozen Custard like You Get in the Middle of Illinois

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

With a sharp paring knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the bean pod itself and the half-and-half to the pan and warm over low-medium heat until it just barely simmers.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar by hand or using a stand mixer (I used the mixer). Slowly pour a very thin stream of the hot cream into the eggs while continuing to whisk; this will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Continue to pour the cream in a thin stream until half of it has been incorporated. Transfer the eggs/sugar/cream back into the pot with the rest of the cream. Heat on low-medium (do not overheat here, or you will still scramble the eggs) while whisking continuously until the custard is thick and smooth, like pudding. Remove the vanilla bean and rinse it off; let it dry and put in a mason jar with some sugar which will give you some yummy vanilla sugar in a few days.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a 9"x13" baking pan halfway with ice cubes. Find a smaller pan or a bowl that will fit inside of the 9"x13" baking pan. Place the smaller pan or bowl in the larger baking pan and nestle it into the ice so it doesn't fall over. Gradually add the heavy cream to the custard in the saucepan and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the smaller pan or bowl that is in the ice pan. Let it sit there (you can stir it occasionally) until it is cold. (I do it this way because I don't have that much room in my fridge and I don't want to heat up my refrigerator trying to cool this stuff off.) It will take a couple of hours for it to get cold. Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, spin this into delicious frozen custard, serve with fresh June strawberries, and eat it up. You can transfer it into another container (with a lid) and freeze it if you don't finish it right away. But I think this is best when it's just out of the ice-cream maker.

As far as ice-cream makers go, I know nothing, but I took Amanda's recommendation last summer and bought this one, and it is wonderful. Ice cream in thirty minutes (though you do have to freeze the bowl overnight, at least).

Speaking of freezing, the mornings dawn quite cold and the afternoons heat up to almost 80 degrees. It reminds me of Montana, where I walked to school every morning wearing a heavy sweater, then left it in my office by afternoon when it got to about 90. At some point (when I ran out) I had to bring the truck to school to retrieve the gigantic pile of sweaters in the office because I couldn't carry them all home. We've been changing clothes here twice a day. I cleaned out my dresser and closet this morning. I usually do this twice a year, in spring and in fall. I think I'm the opposite of a hoarder. A reverse hoarder. If I don't have space in my spaces I get very uncomfortable and twitchy and huffy. I can't stand it when every empty space is filled. It leaves no room for inspiration to strike. In spite of my tendency to shed (and I don't think I really have that much stuff anyway), everything I own is completely disorganized and ridiculously wrinkled at the end of each six months. I'll have socks, dresses, pants, underpants, tights, and a bathing suit all in the same drawer. Dresses, in a drawer. It's really weird. Well, my closet is the size of a small bathtub, with two pretty much unusable shelves above my head which hold, for the most part, an empty computer box, one of those gigantic plastic foot spas that you plug in to make your feet jiggle (for about five minutes until you get sick of it), four gigantic pleather purses, and my English riding hat, none of which I ever use but can't seem to part with. Though now that I mention it I think I'll go right back upstairs and get those purses down immediately. I guess there are just some days when I literally stuff whatever is in the clean laundry basket into the most empty drawer, slam it shut and call it done. I don't know why I do that but I always have done. (Speaking in Britishisms now, since watching about eight episodes of Restoration Home over five days.)

Speaking of, I'm embarking on a new (old) decorating trend: Early '80s country. Everyone I've mentioned it to (two people) is appropriately horrified. "You mean like my ex-husband's parents' house?" Probably!!! I'll keep you posted. ;)

My Sweets

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Homemade Meyer lemon ice cream, Andy's amazing barbeque-pulled pork sandwich, and this beautiful face: my sweetest of sweet-treats. Someone has been using her sippy cup (ocassionally) and eating (ocassionally) from a spoon! So proud! Oh, sweet darling.

We always use my dad's cole slaw recipe with the pork:

Al's Cole Slaw

One 16-oz. package cole slaw mix
1/2 medium onion, grated
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Paprika to sprinkle on top

Mix the cole slaw mix with the onion. Mix the sugar and vinegar into the mayonnaise, pour over cole slaw mix, and stir to combine. Sprinkle top with paprika. Serve on pork sandwiches. Very sweet and very simple.

Is it the weekend yet? I can't wait.

Does anyone have an automatic hose-winding reel? Do they really work? I really want one. I also really wanted one of those expandable fabric-looking hoses (not the little tightly coiled ones but the ones that puff out when they're filled with water) but they've gotten terrible reviews, and everyone says they break and leak very quickly (some immediately, the first day). Wah. My wildflower beds are starting to bloom (very unevenly — I keep forgetting to take a picture) and I want to make sure I don't botch the watering this summer. I don't mind the watering, it's the hose re-winding that destroys me.

Martha's gotten me hooked on watching Restoration Home videos. Last night I watched the one on Coldbrook Farm. I love this show! My other indulgence is watching River Cottage videos and Delicious Miss Dahl videos.

***The vine all over the side of our garage is a climbing hydrangea (three of them, actually). It climbs in the shade without support (has little hairy feet that stick to the wall, which trouble Andy very much, but . . . ).

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.