Drops of Dreaminess

comments: 99


Wow, I did something other than crochet or cat-croon. I also found a space in our house that wasn't blue already. I saw this idea at the Purl Bee via Amy and Amanda and thought it was darling, and would be perfect in our sort of whimsical, patchworky downstairs hallway.

I ordered several Liberty cottons from Purl Patchwork. To me, there is no more beautiful fabric. I love calico lawn the way most people love chocolate. I don't love chocolate, but if I did, I would think that lawn, especially calico lawn, is like the truffle of the chocolate world — so luscious and wonderful it can only be consumed in nibbles. I cannot personally conceive of anything so wonderful as a whole dress in cotton lawn. (Though I had one once, one that I made in college, from fabric bought at a Amish fabric store in Kalona, Iowa. I sold the dress for $5 at my garage sale before I moved to Portland, along with about fifteen other of my homemade dresses. THAT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA. I hardly ever let myself think about it. That dress in particular was so gorgeous. It was dark gray with lilac-colored flowers and felt like a summer nightgown. Actually, let's not think about it.)


I even went to the Liberty of London store once. It was in 1990, and November, early evening, and they were lighting the Christmas lights on Regent Street that night — I think there was a parade? It was the most beautiful thing. I never wanted to leave London, really. I weaved my way across the road to the Liberty store. I found a chair in the store on the second floor and just sat in it. For about half an hour. From the windows I could see the street and the lights. The fabric was so expensive, and I was living on Nanaimo bars and coffee as it was. I was 21. I didn't know anything about fabric other than JoAnn's and that amazing store in Kalona where we'd gone on a school field trip. I don't know what it was called or if it's still there. They had Liberty lawn, but didn't have electric light so after you bought your fabrics and took them outside, you would see that you'd actually bought gray instead of green. But it didn't matter. It was all so pretty.


These are scrapbook papers that I put in a bunch of inexpensive frames at the bottom of the stairs a few years ago. It was meant to be temporary — we've intended to do a bunch of little canvases, invite our friends over and set out paint, glitter, and glue and let them have at it, but I forgot to make that happen once I put these up. Maybe someday. There are a few more hallway pictures here, going further up the stairs. I like the hallway. Please don't ask me what color it is because I don't know. I don't really keep track of my paint colors. There is no particular paint that I like; I just get the urge and stop at the nearest paint store and pick out a chip. I rarely test or do the things you are supposed to do when painting, so believe me, you don't want my advice. And photos do make color look SO different. I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw my own paint colors in print and was shocked at the difference between the real thing and the printed thing.

Hallway4_2Thanks for the idea, Purl girls! They've created a lovely tutorial here. I didn't glue my fabrics in, just in case I wanted to change them out; I cut the edges of the bird print too soon, too. It clearly needs to be tightened, but there's almost nothing to grab and pull. Oh well, what can you do. I don't want to cut into any more of this precious stuff. I just want to hoard it, folded in precious, butterfly-wing-thin stacks.


Unfortunately, that Amish/Mennonite quilt shop out on the highway between Kalona and Iowa City is closed. The owner decided to retire, and no one took it over. I still miss it horribly---she had EVERYTHING.

I love this idea. I will so have to try it.

Dear god, how beautiful, your home! I am overwhelmed with the colors and the juxtaposition of shapes and colors on the walls. I am so inspired. I painted my bathroom a similar color--I love it, I could paint the whole house that color! I've painted my hall a pale blue. I am not sure about it yet--I don't feel the same about it as I do my green. You have combined the things I love--paper and fabric!

To fix the bird pic you might try using some bonding (stitch witchery) and put it on some muslin. Then you can pull away and you can then cut away the muslin.

Give it a shot!

Alicia...my mind boggles at the ideas presented in just this one post! Your blog is a favorite of mine. Wowwowwow, love the fabrics.

Oh how beautiful....I just love this idea...Thank you for sharing.....Very inspirational....

beautiful! i went and bought paper to put in frames yesterday. merry weekend!

How odd--I was just talking to my husband about an idea I had about these metal embroidery hoops with fabric in them a week ago...and voila!The universe works in odd ways.

It looks beautiful.

I just got that liberty bird fabric for my roman blind! I looooove it and I love all that you've done to your house. Sometimes when I need inspiration I just look at all the photos of it and it makes me sooo happy!

Lovely lovely lovely! I have a little shop.. and I have just been reading all your trials about your little shop.. and I just wanted to say that it is comforting to know that someone else understands the trials of having an interesting shop in this high rent/time poor age.. sigh! Thanks for posting your shop love and loss story! It looked sooo beautiful! xx

Oh my! What a great idea and I just love the fabric!! I have a perfect spot in my bedroom to do this. I love visiting your blog!!

very nice pictures as usual, I too loved the idea but as it is now my room is filled with things I have to look for somewhere else to hang them.

What a fabulous idea... I've always come across embroidery rings while thrifting and collected a few. I never knew what to do with them and certainly did not think to use them as frames for fabric as art. So clever.

mwilliams922 says: April 10, 2007 at 06:54 AM

Alicia, your house is beautiful! I was looking through the JCrew catalog last night and saw that they are now paired with Liberty of London and are making adorable shirts from their fabric, you should check it out! You could be completely decked out :)

Oh, this is gorgeous! I purchased the hoops not long ago after seeing it on the Purl website. I juste need to choose the fabrics among my colletion now;-) Liberty is defuinitely like candy!

Oh, this is gorgeous! I purchased the hoops not long ago after seeing it on the Purl website. I just need to choose the fabrics among my colletion now;-) Liberty is definitely like candy!

I love it. Thank you for being so inspiring to so many.

I love your house, and this turned out so cute! I am green with envy at your talents.

I just went into Liberty's last week. I just spent a good hour feeling all the gorgeous fabrics which were far too pricey for me...£30 per metre!! Still, they're beautiful to look at.

I love the embroidery hoops with fabric. I have lace in one in on a wall and then a bigger hoop over that.

Your home is so lovely! And I love the fabric circles decorating your wall. So funny. I love my scrapbook papers, too & have often mentioned wanting to hang them as wall art. Unfortunatley I cannot find inexpensive 12x12 frames. The ones I find are nearly $20 each. Would you mind revealing your source for the inexpensive ones?
Thanks bunches!

I know this is something of a long shot, but I absolutely love the colour of your walls in these shots. You wouldn't happen to remember the colour name or brand of paint, would you? I'm about to move into my very first house, and I'd love my craftroom to be this lovely.

Maybe you and the Purl people are my fancy twin? I did this a few months ago, with EMPTY embroidery hoops! But I love the fabric inside look too. Thanks for a fancying up idea!

This is a hugely belated reply to this post, but I was meandering through your blog tonight and noticed you writing about Kalona and the sewing shoppe that used to be there. I grew up about 7 miles from Kalona and visited that shop with my grandmother one or twenty times and I'm pretty sure it was Ellen's Sewing Center. ;) Those embroidery hoops are beautiful and an idea I'm going to happily pilfer. Thanks!

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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 aliciapaulson.com