Posts filed in: Pets

Rest and Recharge

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I made a quilt-comforter. I patched the top and pieced the back, and for batting used an inexpensive polyester comforter from Ikea. All of the fabrics I used for the top are old calicoes, mostly from the '80s, I think. I did not bind it, but layered and turned it: comforter on bottom, backing right-side-up on top of that, then quilt top face down on top of that. I stitched around the entire outside edge with a 1/4" seam, leaving an 8" gap, then turned it right-side-out and stitched up the opening. Then I tied the whole thing, through all layers, with black embroidery floss. The finished patches are 4" squares, set on point; I cut all of the squares on the edges of the quilt in half along the bias (effectively turning them into triangles along all of the edges) once the whole top was sewn together. I have wanted to make a quilt set on-point like that forever. I really, really love it. It's about 76 inches square, a "throw" for me to sit on the couch with. Our couch is freezing when it's cold because it's right in front of so many windows. When I was done tying it, at about 10 p.m., Andy ran it downstairs and threw it in the washing machine for me. He dried it the next morning and it was a fluffy, poufy cloud of 1980s-calico bliss when it came out of the dryer. I was so happy. I am so in love with pretty much every single one of those fabrics, which cause such a nostalgia-fit in my heart. My best friend, Martha, sent me a whole bunch of them several months ago, and I also search them out at Goodwill and online and I just can't get enough of them. I love the Peter Pan and vintage Joan Kessler ones, especially. I loved the exact same ones when I was a little girl and a teenager, so some things never change.

Oh ho, that snow. Full snow-loving disclosure: By the time it left I felt weary and limp as a colorless dishrag, ready to be flung toward the hamper and retired. "I need a hot shower and some alone time," said Mommy, the introvert, who scores nineteen out of twenty on the introvert portion of the Meyers-Briggs test. Nineteen is a lot. I surprised even myself the first time I took it. I've taken the test for twenty years now and it's always the same. It means: Shhhhhhh. Let me sit in this quiet corner and recovvvvvvver. Parents never do get to do much of that, and the past month and a half has been extra-challenging. The ice and snow stayed for eight days. We were in the house alllllllllllll the time. There was no driving, and, once things started to melt and then refreeze overnight, the walking, even with the Yaktrax, was pure treachery. By the time the ice finally melted, Amelia had only been in preschool for sixteen hours in thirty-six days, including holiday break (I counted), and I only left the house only three times (I counted) during the entire week of snow. The only people any of us saw during snow week were our neighbors, and, well, mercifully, we are a tight, loving crew. Our kids romped and rampaged, and we adults sat around all of our tables, in turn, over chili and beer and tea and tangerines and talked, and talked. Yesterday I swept piles, actual piles, of dirt and dog hair and dust and mini-legos and ponytail holders and half-Cheerios and pine needles from the floors. I sweep all the time but we've lived hard in this house lately and, Tomten-like, I dream of flowers, again. I loved that snowstorm, but I do love flowers, too.

I have plans to make a toddler-bed quilt-comforter, like an eiderdown (but without the down), for Amelia that fits the top of the bed and does not need to be tucked in anywhere. Her bed is IMPOSSIBLE to make. She has one of those extendable toddler beds from Ikea, extended right now to the middle length. The bed is perfect for her but every single time I go to make it I 1) stub my toe on that middle bed leg, 2) break my back because the bed is so damn low to the ground, and 3) curse the inventor of duvets and duvet covers, which I unapologetically loathe no matter what their size because they always look like such a sloppy mess with the cover sliding around over the duvet and the corners of the duvet never staying in the corners of the cover and the whole thing weird and bulbous and I could go on and on. I get duvet-cover rage over those things. I prefer to buy good old-fashioned comforters but they are hard to find. At least ones that I like. So, I'm going to make her one that's similar to mine, and I might even make a pattern and a limited-edition kit for the just the top (toddler-eiderdown sized), with all vintage calicoes for it. Would anyone be interested in a kit for that? I would take pre-orders so that we wouldn't run out or make too many. I'm kind of excited about this idea. There is still winter left to get cozy for.

I ordered three different rolls of wallpaper today so I can (or someone can) wallpaper a wall in the dining room (the one with the big window), a wall in the living room (the one with the mantel), and a wall in the kitchen (the one with the back door). Should be here in a week or so. Our house has been in need of a bit of sprucing up. I folded up our red gingham curtains and got gray gingham curtains (from Country Curtains, but they don't seem to have them anymore), and got a new braided rug for the dining room (ours had been dog-puked on just one too many times). Feels good. January changes. I trimmed six inches off of Amelia's hair right after I took that picture of how long it was. I think it immediately aged her approximately eight months. Approximately.

Thank you ever so much for the sweetest birthday wishes! You are so kind. Thank you!

I haven't forgotten to show you the dollhouse but I'm still waiting for a couple of things that I ordered for it to get here before I take pictures.

***Paintings and illustrations, from top to bottom: Illustration from The Story of the Snow Children; bunnies can be found here; Little Miss Fairfield (1850) by William Matthew Prior; amazing watercolor of Mimi riding a rabbit, which was a gift for her from the dearest Emily Martin; illustration of the tomten from The Tomten, my absolute favorite winter picture book ever. I just love this book and we read it almost every night. Doesn't Clover kind of remind you of the tomten?

Rainytown

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So. Much. Rain. It never seems to stop. If it does stop, it quickly again starts. We're used to doing everything in a downpour now. Pushing a grocery cart full of groceries and a toddler through a parking lot in the pouring rain. Walking the dog in the pouring rain. Eating Christmas cookies in the pouring rain. Christmas shopping in the pouring rain. Ah, I shouldn't complain. . . . It's very cold rain, though. And did I mention, it never stops? . . .

Wintertime in Portlandtown. Make some coffee, light some candles, turn on the made-for-TV Christmas movies (favorite new Christmas movie: Just in Time for Christmas. I absolutely loved it.) Knit knit knit. Have a party or two. We've been having or going to party after party, which is not our usual style, but it has been really fun. All different groups of people. We're having another party here next weekend! That's the neighborhood progressive dinner. We're doing appetizers here. Can you suggest easy, cold appetizers for twenty people? I don't really know how to do this, but I do know I don't want to be shoveling hot things in and out of the oven. Even when they originally came from the freezer at Trader Joe's. Dips, cheeses, crackers . . . er . . . what else . . . ? This is only the first course of several, so, I think it can be pretty simple. All advice welcome!

It's busy right now, isn't it? No matter how you try to slow it down. There are just lots of things! The Christmas cards I ordered should be arriving in the mail here today. I'm going to make some hot tea and find the address book. Doing the cards is one of my favorite things. I've been looking forward to this. Go slow, Monday: I'm gonna settle in, stay warm, and write to all our friends with an actual pen.

***To those who have asked, the dollhouse is one I got at a secondhand store years and years ago. :) Sorry, I don't have a lead on a new one!

 

Cold and Clear

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So cold these past few days, and the air tinged with blue, or silver, or some color I can't quite capture. Frost color. A ballerina's skirt color, frozen drops balanced in the air as evening descends. So begins my longing for snow. Maybe this year. Maybe this year. . . .

Inside, outside, inside, outside. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we go over the river to be with family. I've been thinking so much about forests and trees and little houses and fields. I was telling Andrea about my junior-high American history teacher who didn't use the hideous overhead lighting in the room (oh, it was wonderful, wonderful, and I still remember him for it) and gave us a new hand-drawn, hand-labeled map of somewhere in New England almost every day. The maps were absolutely exquisite, the names magical. Plymouth, Concord, Dover, Wethersfield, Salisbury. Every year at this time I think of them, and would give anything to find that binder full of those lovely maps. How do we ever know what will stay with us, and why? Will Amelia remember the tune of the lullaby I sing every night as we snuggle and read under the quilts in the big bed? By the light of our tiny lamp, with the winds blowing outside, overwhelmed with gratitude I wrap around her, and quietly sing of small things.

I wish you much peace and comfort and love this holiday weekend, and throughout the season. Thank you for your generous, peaceful, and kind presence here. May your days be merry and bright, and filled with love.

Love always,
A+A+A+C+B. Xoxo

***The book pictured is The Big Book of Slumber, and it is one of our very favorites.

 

August

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August. Dry and irritated and fragile with longing. I was in the back yard this morning, shuffling like a shaggy bear through dead leaves, pawing my way through gossamer cobwebs connecting every object in a fine lace of shimmering silk threads. Everything is so, so dry. Everything is in the wrong place; the chairs are all at odd angles, the table tilted and shoved. There are overturned pots on the patio, toys filled with dust and dirt, broken saucers, sizzled stalks, lanky flowers. Two dirty washcloths left outside for weeks. Cups crusty with the remains of juice. Crushed sidewalk chalk, colorless leaves, apples fallen with wormholes the size of pennies. The hydrangeas, of which there are many and of which half are so parched they are dying, are dramatic in their need for attention, and still they suffer from my neglect. Some of them have some kind of bug that wraps itself in a little white pod, and slowly sucks. Some, the ones that climb the walls, are covered from head to toe in the sepia-brown remains of their once-white flowers, a wall of sepia-brown. Things have been let go. Once they start to go, my instinct is to flee. If only some water would fall from the actual sky! To the river we go.

Amelia has begun a new phase; I hold my breath while thinking this. It seems that she can now play by herself for long stretches, her own imagination occupying her for hours, in fact, especially at the rivers. Who knew this would happen? Everybody? Not me. She's still pretty much playing parallel to other children that are around, but she likes to be near them, easily sharing her toys and easily asking to use others', interested in what the bigger kids are doing, very concerned if any of the littles cry. But these stretches of play are suddenly so much longer, so much more interesting to her, so much more involved. I watch in fascinated admiration, listening to her made-up voices and made-up conversations between rocks and cups, sticks and sand. She squats and stirs and talks and trills. I sit half-deep in the cold river and try to breathe as deeply as I can. It's been years since I was able to sit for a long stretch, and it turns out you don't forget how. My whole body sinks with relief, warming a thin layer of water around me. I don't move at all, just let the green water run slowly past me, downstream, away from the sun. The most beautiful day in the world, right here.

There have been clouds. Some. I sang a rain song and she asked to put on her rainbow coat. There was no rain. But there could have been. I felt it. Sweet promise. These pictures are mostly from the front yard, which has benefitted from the sprinkler and some of my capricious attention. Andy's taking Amelia to the museum and making dinner (Indian) tonight. Today I'm staying home. I just want to be here, clipping hydrangeas and dragging the hose from place to place. I think it will be really nice when they get back.

For your dinner, might I recommend a fish sammie, or some yum woon sen?

The Usual

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Sunny, quiet days. Playing, working, cooking, watching the man fix the house, which is apparently falling apart all around us. Ugh. Stucco repairs, rotted sills. Blossoms abounding. Sunlight through soap-sketched windows. Sleeping puppers. French braids. Playing the drums on my back with her fingers. "Drumsticks." She points to the neighbor's flowers and says, "Daffodils!" How in the world does she know those are daffodils? She knows everything. We marvel. Oh wondrous, glorious child of spring! I scoop her up like a cradled baby and smother her cheeks with kisses. "No, Mommy!!!" New boxwood shrubs, finally. Piles of crumbled stucco in my flower beds. Dust on my hellebores. Cluttered studio. I can hear the man pounding on the house as I write. Love and squalor. The usual.

Sunday Drive

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Over the river and through the woods we go to get our tree. Breakfast high on the cliff above the river, and a short drive further to the little farm. We don't chop our trees down ourselves. We just buy one of the ones that are already cut at the farm for $10 then go on the hayride around the field, twice. The hayride's the thing. Amelia squinting at the sun, pointing at the trees, wobbling on the bales, calling, "Wheeeee! Wheeeeeeeeee!" as we bump and rumble through the field. It smells good out there, fresh and green and cold. It's very cold. We drive a bit further on to see the sheep (which say, "Baaaaaaaaaaaaa! Baaaaaaa!" She does an uncanny impression). The late-afternoon sun is flaring through the moss-covered trees, which always makes me cry. The impossibly huge, impossibly white moutain gleams behind us. We wiggle back through the woods, nothing else to do. We turn up the music, take detours over hills and dales, feel old and new. My love runs into Starbucks and brings back hot chocolates. It's Sunday, and I'm Sunday driving, with a little tree in the back of the car and a little girl singing in her baby voice to herself in the back seat. I'd go around twice, if I could.

Let it begin, let it begin: The Christmas season is here. I found Milla's post (and its comments) very poignant. I think I was meant to be Finnish. I'm channeling Finnish Christmas. It's funny how Christmas makes you want things — things that have nothing to do with money. Our yard is dark with mud and muck. Bee the cat is sleeping in Amelia's sled, the one that's layered in buffalo-check polarfleece and hiding in the office until we go to the snow. My friend tells me about the ice-skating party she was invited to. There were kids, dogs, cocoa, and a bonfire. I howled with envy. Do you want to build a snowman? Yes, I do!

I cultivate a collection of candles. I make too many runs up to Pip's for cinnamon mini-doughnuts and their (quite awesome) chai (Heart of Gold) in the pouring rain. Amelia stands on her changing table in her pajamas and we look at the bright winter moon out her nursery window. The window is cold, condensation drifting like frost. "Bubbles," she says of the drops of water, and pulls her tiny finger along the glass. Goodnight tree. Goodnight stars. Goodnight moon. In the big bed, I listen to her snore softly beside me. I pull her hair out of her mouth, tuck her under the quilts, snuggle close. I say my prayers: Let me give. It's all here. Go slow, winter. Go slow.

 

That Second Sleeve

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Is there a stretchy cast-off that doesn't flare? Lately I have been making stuff that doesn't fit over anyone's head. Paranoid, I'm now stretchy-casting-on and -casting-off, though I find the look of it quite inelegant. Am I right in thinking the wrong side of a Jeny's stretchy cast-on looks better than the "right" side, or did I not turn it properly? And I don't like how the cuff is flaring (on my Bloomsbury Kids sweater, the terra cotta one above, which was inspired by this pin). That's too big, and I went down a needle size, too. If I weren't so lazy I'd start the second sleeve and get it over with. This sweater's construction is pretty rad. There's a lace panel down the center of the back, too. I think everyone says, this but I am so in love with Quince and Co.'s Lark yarn. I used it for the Dogwood Lottie (the pale pink sweater, also above) and it's just so squishy and soft and yummy and bouncy and makes you feel like you could knit all day (and night?). Until you get to the second sleeve, which not only is the second sleeve but also has a lace panel. . . . Bah. I watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix (yippee!) and knit as if in a trance. The lace isn't hard but it's still . . . lace. How awesome is it that a new season of Railroad Alaska starts on Saturday? I'm tempted to re-watch the entire season of Ice Lake Rebels. Now if I could only stay awake past 9:00 p.m., just think how much more knitting and TV-watching I could get in. Alas, now that the cold, dark, rainy nights are here there's so little incentive to stay downstairs and not crawl into my wonderful, lovely bed to wait for Andy to get home from work. At least I've limited myself to one mini-Snickers per night. That's one of the only things I like about Halloween. Mini candy.

Garter stitch is more my night-time speed, and night-knitting is all I have these days. Garter stitch also just . . . what's not to love. Knit knit knit. Then knit knit knit. Then knit knit knit. Etc. That's what I can handle. We've talked about this. When will I learn this? Apparently never. I finished the pom-pom flaps hat (which was inspired by this pin) by actually making and attaching the pom-pom. A couple of people asked me about the pattern that I used, which is in French. I used Danielle's translation, and I'm sorry I didn't put that on my Ravelry page initially. I'm not very good at adding notes to that thing. The hat was knit with Rebecca's gorgeous, gorgeous acacia-dyed alpaca-merino-silk yarn from Camellia Fiber Co. You've gotta be fast to get this stuff before it sells out. Her yarn is such a delectable treat. I spoil myself.

Clover Meadow had a very hard day yesterday. Thunder, pouring rain, and then later, once she had finally settled down, fireworks. The trifecta of canine misery.

Do you like caramelized butternut squash?

I'm on an organizing tear. So far I've gone through all my clothes, all of Amelia's clothes, all of the books in the master bedroom, the living room toys, and I'm about to hit the hats, gloves, and scarves next. I donated a lot of clothes and books. Now I have nothing to wear. I'd like several of these dresses and tunics, particularly this one and this one and this one. But they're too expensive. I went to the fabric store and bought some similar patterns and fabrics. I also got an idea for a gathered calico skirt. Now, I actually have to make the effort to sew. And start the second sleeve. But there's time. There's time now. I'm glad it's October. I feel much more like myself than I ever do in July.

Hot and Bright

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Artichaut

It's been kind of a challenging week, and I don't even know why. I feel like I have a million things to say but no time to say them, here or in real life. I'm whirling and scattered, and trying to keep track. To simplify, I apparently started to do the same things over again — same clothes, same dinner, same places. I like that. Eliminate the variables when possible. The heat last week was ravaging. I felt like I was in survival mode. Yesterday it broke with beautiful rain, beautiful thunder, beautiful lightning, more beautiful rain, beautiful gray clouds, beautiful purple clouds, and me, sitting on the back porch sobbing with relief. But today the sun is back, bright and flashing, and I, though rejuvenated, am wary: 99 degrees forecasted for tomorrow. We've been meeting friends in the park in the morning, or heading back down to farmer's market on Saturday mornings to sit in the shade of the big trees, or spending a lot of time at the pool and the fountain (water water water. I love you water).

The knitting project above is my little Artichaut, and she has given me fits, as well. I'm almost finished with her and I'll be glad. I knit her while watching this other cool British show I found on YouTube (I think it was recommended because I liked Restoration Home) called Turn Back Time: The Family. It's one of those shows where they re-create historical environments and the put people in them to "live" within history; this one follows three families through the Edwardian era, the Interwar years, the Second World War, the 1960s, and the 1970s (I haven't seen the last one yet). It was really good. In one of the episodes they mentioned the book Swallows and Amazons, which I realized with a jolt I've still never read (so I promptly got it). And that reminded me of the Summer Reading Booklist for kids that you and I put together four summers ago now. This list was made entirely out of Posie Gets Cozy reader suggestions. Do you remember it?

Illocolored

(Just click on the illustration to download the list.)

I'd completely forgotten about this list. I found it and printed it out the other day and was so delighted that Amelia is the perfect age for me to start keeping it for her. We already read several of the little-kid books on the list together every single night. But I'm going to start collecting and reading all of the older-kid classics on the list, and creating a special shelf to hold all of these for her for when she gets older. I am so excited. I also pulled out my dear friend Jane's book, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats, and thought I would try to read the list of titles she includes, as well (and of course we'll have to make some treats, too!). I've kind of needed a project like this, honestly. Something to focus me! And maybe I'll be done by the time she starts reading.

I also finished Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath. This book blew me away. I don't even really know how to tell you about it. The last fifty pages or so of this book are some of the best I've ever read in my life. It reminded me of James Joyce's The Dead (though it's completely different, but if anyone's read both of these, do you know what I mean?). My heart was in my throat as I finished this book. It was very intense. I picked up the second book of the trilogy but haven't started it yet. You'd think I had a lot of time to read or something?!? I don't.

Do you like fish tacos? I used the baked fish parcel method from Apples for Jam: Cover some cod filets in panko and a bit of Mexican seasoning (you can slice a few limes and place on top, too), drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then wrap in parchment and bake at 400 degrees (either with indirect heat on the grill or in the oven) for 20 minutes. I added some of my dad's coleslaw, a little bit of sour cream with chipotle sauce stirred in, and some big chunks of avocado, and these were just perfect for a hot summer night. Andy made a really nice Mexican bean salad (but he used fresh corn, and I would definitely recommend that!).

Thank you very, very much for all of your kind comments on my last post. You are so good to me. Thank you. Xoxo

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 . . . ).

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

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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.