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?


Yes please on the kit!!! Where do you find the rugs?

Beautiful cosy post. I would love to pre-order for a quilt top please. Now off to google what a comforter is... i thought it was an American word for duvet but now I don't feel so sure. Please add me to yoir distribution list :)

I love the little hat that your daughter is wearing , did you make it .

Introvert here too, but with three LOUD boys it's difficult. I need to be quiet! And alone! Did you know that the entire Iceland harvest of eiderdown fits in one small truck. Quite amazing. They take it (eider momma breast down) from the nests after the ducklings have fledged. A tip someone gave me about duvets - stitch a ribbon to each corner, and then four more to each inside corner of the duvet cover and you can tie the corners into where they're supposed to stay. But, yes, I hear you, my double duvet is driving me nuts at the moment. CJ xx

I would SO LOVE a kit like that! Please please please, I'm in need of coziness... 😍

I LOVE your quilted throw! It's gorgeous. When you say "comforter", do you mean quilt or duvet? I wasn't sure since yours turned out square and quilts/duvets are usually rectangular. I would love to make a puffy one like yours, if you could say which comforter you used that would be great.
For cot-bed tidiness, I tuck in a fluffy fleecy throw (usually in white or cream which looks pretty) all round the sides and the pillow end. To make the bed, I just drape the quilt/duvet on the bed, then the throw on top and tuck the whole lot in under the sides of the mattress. Looks so cosy and also it keeps them snug at night. In summer I have cotton cellular blankets on the top which are cool and lightweight.

Beautiful pictures! Nice horse in your window..I have those horses too 😊 They are made here in Dalarna in Sweden where I live. ♥ 🐎

The secret to duvet covers that I learned from the absolutely lovely Tricia Rose at Rough Linen is that they should be up to six inches smaller all around than the duvet that is inserted. That will keep them fluffy and not shifting around. Unfortunately most manufacturers make duvet covers that are the same size, or sometimes (annoyingly) slightly bigger than the standard sized duvet that goes inside. It irks me greatly! Her company is so incredible, this is not a paid promotion but I want everything she makes. This post was absolutely lovely.

i'm with you on the duvet rage. there are lots of comments, so probably someone has already posted this tip, but just in case they haven't, here's what i do: i find four tiny ponytail holders (either the toddler kind, really small, or now that my girls are teenagers, the clear plastic ones that are almost invisible when you put them in your hair), then i lay the duvet, inside-out, on the bed and lay the comforter on top of it. i then attach the corners of the comforter to the corners of the duvet with those ponytail holders. it doesn't matter if they bunch up a little, you can't even tell once you've turned the whole thing back rightside-out. it's magic!

of course, i like your quilt comforter idea much better! so pretty! (=

Yes please to the kit! Happy to preorder. Down here in Australia, we are having heat wave conditions. So the snow is looking like a very attractive prospect right now!

Just chiming in to say I too have ribbons sewn into the corners of our duvet covers with corresponding ribbons on the corners of the duvets. Quick to do and it keeps them in place.

Your new quilt is gorgeous. The patterns and colours and so snugly warm. Love that you set it on point - new term for me. Very inspiring. Using a pre-made comforter must have made it easier to line up and keep it in place when you were sewing it up. We love Tomten too, and the snow children. No snow here, but plenty of frost, which I love as it freezes the mud and makes it easier to walk. I remember cutting inches of hair off my eldest,at the same age, as I just got fed up of detangling. She won't let me do it anymore, but then again, she is 14!

I am VERY interested in a quilt kit, although since I don't have toddlers anymore, I would prefer a throw sized quilt for the couch. Your quilt is beautiful. I have never made a quilt but have always wanted to, this would be a great way to learn.

Oh yes! I would love a quilt kit!

Your new quilt is so pretty. Our apartment is getting spruced up, too. Where did you buy your braided rug?

Me, Me, Me! Please, Please, Please! A square of Peter Pan would put me over the moon too!

Kristen from MA says: January 24, 2017 at 05:51 AM

Oh, I love the new quilt/comforter! I don't sew, but if I did I'd be all over that kit.

Love all the pictures! I would love to buy a quilt kit!!
Thanks for sharing.

Per usual---I loved everything! I was glad to see Clover being her adorable self in a few pics today. We have a Cardigan Corgi that could be her twin--named Vanessa. They are my favorite breed by far. I like the idea of stitching around the comforter and turning it inside out--so much easier. While you were having the snowstorm of the century for your part of the country, we have had rain, gray-skies, and 40's and 50's here in northern Indiana. It seems old man winter has our locations flip-flopped. Thanks for the inspiration you provide us with in your posts. Yes to the quilt kit ☺.

Indoor enchantment! Wonderful Clover approved quilt you have created.
Love the photos. Time is passing and your babe is growing. |I feel I am aging like the fellow in the bottom photo!

My girls hade Amelias hair:) I just scanned photos..such her shalw Alicia..the neckwarmer:)

Tout..tout est beau et réconfortant!
All beautiful and comforting.

The duvet covers that work best for me have ties in the internal four corners. You tie each of your duvet into a corner, seal up the bottom and it seems to work decently.

Your kit sounds awesome.

Oh yes, that kit sounds very interesting......

Victoria Bell says: January 24, 2017 at 07:15 AM

Yes please to a comforter kit!!!

I'm with you on the duvets and also being an introvert. I love your quilt! I have always loved calicoes's funny how certain prints can feel just like your own family and take you back to very early moments in your history if that makes sense. We've basically just had rain so far in Lancaster this winter. I need some sunshine!

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About Alicia Paulson


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




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.