Wednesday, September 26, 2012

… late summer

it seems like everyone out there in blogland is totally on the autumn bandwagon. people are drinking pumpkin spice lattes and making wreaths with dried leaves and roasting squash and putting up halloween decorations. but seattle hasn't fully embraced fall yet. we usually have a nice indian summer here, with september being one of our loveliest months, and this year september went all out. many days in the 80s, nonstop sun, and one of our longest dry spells ever (something like 40-50 days with no rain… crazy!).

don't get me wrong, fall really is one of my favorite seasons and summer is, well, not my favorite. but i find myself holding onto these last few days of the season. the sun is bright, but the air has a bite in the mornings these days. everything smells burnt and sweet and delicious. in chinese medicine we talk about the five seasons of the year: fall, winter, spring, summer, and late summer. late summer is exemplified by sweetness, worry, earth, the color yellow, dampness, and fragrant smells. even though this is probably more specific to asia, i think it sounds just about right for the pacific northwest, too.

iced chai

to embrace this fleeting time between summer and fall, i've been brewing up endless bottles of this delicious chai concentrate. i'm looking forward to drinking it hot when the weather turns cooler, but for now i'm enjoying it over ice. (and, in a nod to autumn, i somehow bought a bag of pumpkin spice hershey kisses, which are absolutely disgusting but i just can't seem to stop eating them.)

wonky pinwheel blocks

i also whipped up some bee blocks for natalie. she made this great tutorial for wonky pinwheel blocks and the color palette she chose was absolutely gorgeous (warm and rich plums, fuchsias, reds, oranges, golds, yellows and brown… yum). kind of perfect for late summer, no?

finished x&+ quilt top

and, okay, this is not seasonally related, but here's a glimpse of the do. good stitches august quilt top i put together. i asked everyone to make x & + blocks using this tutorial in whatever scrappy fabrics they wanted. isn't this just amazing? i'm so excited to quilt this it's actually already basted and ready to hit the machine for some quilting.

i'm sure in a week or so you will find me bundled up in a big scarf and cradling a hot pumpkin-spiced something in my hands, admiring the changing leaves and picking out an array of gourds for the porch, but for now i'm pretty happy to be right here, enjoying this last bit of late, late summer.


  1. And have you seen the sun rises lately? They have been spectacular! (Yes, it's Because all of the smoke in the air from the wildfires but still they've been breathtaking)

  2. I love late summer too! Although it's pretty much fall already here. Your bee blocks are so fun, I love the colors!! And your + and x quilt is gorgeous, the border is so fun!!

  3. i am so in love with your +&x quilt i can't even tell you! between this one and jessica's i really want one! and i am excited to try that chai!

  4. I like that quilt top, someday I'll make one, too.

  5. Yeah, I'm a little jealous of all the fall talk! And oh, I love your wonky pinwheels. Did you enjoy making them as much as I did?

    The + & x top is so fabulous. LOVE. I especially adore the way you did the border!

  6. I hear ya, Ara Jane. We just went to the beach in Sept, and it was funny cause everyone was talking/thinking fall. But, I admit - I'm there now too!

  7. Your post *really* resonates w/me! I've always appreciated & been fascinated by seasons and seasonal changes/transitions. As you may know, I started getting acupuncture 10 yrs ago this fall. It was my 1st exposure to the 5 elements and 5 seasons and all of their associated elements/colors/emotions etc. Somehow it rang true for me. Years later, I met someone who was (is) very influential in my life who identifies as Pagan (nature-based religion). She explained that in her worldview/faith, the four seasons and their elements, and what she calls the "turn of the year" according to the originally Celtic "wheel of the year" calendar are what ring divine to her. In some ways I see a parallel between her thinking and 5 element thinking. And more recently, I found out my late maternal grandmother was like this w/o putting a formal name to it. She observed solstices and equinoxes with her own rituals, just like they were holidays, and my mom thinks I'm a lot like my grandma in being drawn to the earth's seasonal cycles. It resonates with me and has recently helped me to start defining my own...spirituality (not sure if that's the right word for it). The name isn't important. But I do think whatever it is helps explain why I respond so well to Chinese Medicine and why it's so healing and great for me. Every year, as much as I like fall, I struggle greatly w/ the transition to autumn. My body rebels throughout Sept into Oct, and my energy levels drop and I feel crummy. Acupuncture/herbs helps. My practitioner reminds me to eat warming foods and be careful about things that are cold or too damp. So it's lots of soups and teas for me. She also said interestingly that cherries are warming, and I love cherries (including dried cherries). One of these days, perhaps my "lungs" will be strong enough that I won't cough and have to use an inhaler for months after catching a cold, and I won't catch colds as fall arrives. :-) Hope you're well these days.

  8. Seattle sounds like such a wonderful city, my husband got to work there for a couple of weeks and loved it. It was a perfect place for him with the wonderful coffee and he totally got crazy about the half and half!