Sunshine Day

comments: 77





















Amelia and I had a rare Saturday to ourselves. I honestly can't even remember the last time Andy worked on Saturday, but it will be a regular thing now, as his schedule is slightly rearranged. I was worried we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves — a Saturday! precious Saturday! — but we managed quite nicely and actually had one of the nicest days I've had in a long time. I made Irish soda bread from our local bakery's cookbook, and an Earl Grey latte (half water, half milk, a teaspoon of sugar, the contents of two tea bags, heated in the beloved Capresso then strained — yum. Isn't there a name for this thing? I can't remember it). My dear friend Sarah had given me some Kerrygold butter. What a lovely, grown-up breakfast for Mama! Amelia wasn't impressed with any of it (except the raisins!) but I was in a state of bliss, reading a book with my breakfast on a beautiful, sunny, late-winter morning. Sweet Saturday. Later we went to the big park, then took a long walk from that park up to get frozen yogurt, then walked around some more in the stroller, talking about birds and flowers and ducks at the duck creek. Came home in the late afternoon and she took a nap while I looked at quilts on Pinterest. Quiet, wonderful, gentle, sweet little day. We missed Andy but we made the most of it, I think. Saturdays just feel different from every other day.

My mixer's lowest speed is way too high. I need to take that somewhere and have it adjusted. Flour was everywhere, even with the towel.

I finished pillow #2 (that's it, on the sofa) and it was fun. The quilt-as-you-go technique is a lot of work. I think the pillows came out cute, but I want to wash them so that they pucker up and actually look quilted; as they are the quilting isn't showing yet, so it seems a bit unnecessary. Thank you for the advice about that — I think I'll wash them without worry. I still have the third pillow to make. I got distracted, though. I suddenly found myself randomly sewing strips together, inspired by this amazing quilt. Then I remembered that I had oh, half an entire Irish Chain quilt started . . . somewhere. I found it (miracle) and hung up my completed sewn-together blocks on the window. This was all from several years ago. As I looked at it I was kind of astounded by the memory of that time, a time when I'd had time to do anything like this. But everything that I'd used then was there, in the basket, including a bunch of blocks that hadn't been pressed, and lots of strips, and more fabric, etc. So, I'm going to try to finish it. It feels like it came from another life. It feels weird to work on it, in a way. I got emotional the first day I worked on it. I felt like I was literally reconnecting with the person I was back then. I thought of myself then, sewing all of those tiny squares, pressing those seams so carefully, hope in every patch. I'm not sure why I put it away — I just don't remember. My throat is tight while I write this. I'm not sure I can find the words to say any more except thank you, thank you, God. For getting her here. For getting me here.

So now I've got Irish Chain to finish. And Pibbow 3. And the new quilt I started made out of strips (strings? what's this lingo? I know nothing). The new strippy quilt fabric is coming out of the same log-cabin strip basket that I used for Amelia's log cabin and the first two pillows, and I'm also cutting up the scraps in my big scrap basket, little by little. This is a little-by-little quilt. Whenever I have a couple of minutes, I go back and do something — press and cut some scraps, sew some strips together, press some seams. All random. I decided that this would be a family quilt, for the big king-size bed, and that the scraps from all the things I've made over the past few years are going to go into it. Violet used to sleep in this scrap basket, and now Bridget does (unless she can find a little sunspot). All of this makes me so happy and content.


Your soda bread looks amazing. I have a red mixer just like yours and I use the plastic guard to stop the flour escaping. I saw a cookery programme where they popped a tea towel over it when mixing. I use it so much though and love that deep cherry red colour that I've replicated in lots of bits in the kitchen - Lyles Black Treacle tins are the exact same colour and lovely as pen pots (when the treacle's all gone)!!! I have a couple of quilt tops put away and am always distracted and needing to finish a new one or a commission. Just love quilts and pibbows though - pure homespun therapy. I guess the emotional connection with your quilt top is what it's all about - I say that every quilt marks a journey in our lives. So glad that yours has your happy ending.

Oh yummy - Kerrygold butter with soda bread.

My throat tightened too, reading your words. I have followed you along on this journey, and I am still filled with joy thinking of your family's current place on its path. Oh so happy for you! Thank you, as always, for returning to this space and sharing with us, your friends you have never met.

Alicia, the other day I was thinking about the flurry of quilts you made before Mimi's arrival, and I wondered if you still are quilting during this season of your life. Then I read this post and the last and had my question answered! As always I appreciate your efforts (and hope I am learning from them :) I am still celebrating Amelia's presence with you and your family, and I am prompted by your gratitude to celebrate having my loved ones around me as well. My 39 year old adopted son recently moved to Portland. We took a wonderful road trip to PEI last Fall before he moved here from the East Coast. I still remember and celebrate the intense joy I knew when he was born into my life 39 years ago! xx

earl Grey Latte in the milk frother - genius!! Am sipping my first as I type this comment - you have made my week!

If you enjoyed the Irish soda bread, you need to make some Irish potato bread next. It's a favourite here especially on St Patrick's Day

One of the reasons (there are many) that I enjoy reading your blog is because it is so filled with gratitude for things both big and small. Things that you capture with the camera, things you describe with words.…how many of us readers can also say…"Thank you God. For getting her here. For getting me here." Just wonderful sentiments…thank you.

It's so interesting to read your post this morning about finding a half finished quilt and thinking about how you were back when it was started. I did the same thing yesterday, first through pictures and then through an unfinished quilt. Life always keeps us guessing, huh?

so precious....all of it. the quilt looks like stained glass hanging. dreams do come true.

The first quilt I ever started making was a 9-patch in 1930s reproduction fabrics. I was in high school and it was the year Moulin Rouge came out and I remember sewing tiny squares (because I though strip piecing was cheating?) to the soundtrack on repeat. I have 90 or so squares completed in a box in my closet.

Someday I'll pull out that box and finish it, but I'm not quite ready yet. But 13-odd years later, I AM in the process of hand-quilting what will be my first completed (and much simpler) quilt.

I think one of the greatest joys of handmade objects is the memories they hold of the time and place they were made in - the fabric I bought on vacation, the first dress I sewed with a new machine, the socks I made when I lived in Chicago.

When I got that box of quilt squares from my mother's house, I also received a number of old scrapbooks from my high school days. In some ways I find them a little embarrassing and so far away from the person I am now, but at the same time it never hurts to have a reminder of where the journey has been before and how I got to where I am (gratefully) now.

Wow, this looks and sounds like a lovely time! Those scones and a London Fog. When I was a barista, I learned so many weird names for drinks, but I did always love that one, so prim, proper and delicious. Happy week to you friend!

"a time when I'd had time to do anything like this."

Yes! I'm still early in this motherhood thing but I'm already looking at my baskets of yarn and boxes of fabric and dreaming of the days where I had so much time to actually work on these things. Now all the sewing and knitting has been relegated to an hour each evening after my little one goes to bed... hardly any time to really get into anything big it seems.

lucyinlondon says: March 03, 2015 at 07:23 AM

Mimi has Sylvanian animals! My daughter (now 20) played and played with hers and I think she still has them. I hope Mimi has as much fun with hers.
Lovely, hearfelt post which made me teary just reading it. I made a quilt for my eldest (now 23) when she was 3 out of her outgrown baby clothes. She still has it and it makes me very thoughtful when I see all those fabrics from way way back.
Bless you for your honesty. xx

I love everything about your sunshine day... it's perfect in every way! Your homemade irish soda bread looks really good! I would love to make my own this year, or maybe I'll just buy a loaf from Whole Foods for St. Patrick's day. And I want a shamrock plant, too. We all have so much to thank God for each and every day. I love your blog, Alicia!

I think my mouth actually watered looking at that butter. Weird? Yes. But I bet it was delicious.

I'm so glad for your happy day with that beautiful girl of yours. Those moments when all of our gladness and happiness hits us, when we realize all the love we feel and have been given... oh those moments! They are achingly precious. I'm so thankful for you- and for your sweet girl. xo

ok … if the were a cuteness-o-meter, your last two posts would seriously be off the scale … how can there be so much delightfulness??? that little yellow dress, that sweet dumpling in the chair with her little friends on the table, the pibbows, the flowering buds, the sunshine … reality check … snowing here … love visiting your land of loveliness!!

Yes, the Earl Grey "latte" with steamed milk is called a London Fog and it's one of my favorite drinks! So good.

Also, they carry Kerrygold at Costco! Makes it so much more affordable. It's our usual spreading butter now. We buy less expensive unsalted butter for baking.

This is a lovely story. Back when you were making this quilt you could only hope for, the joy that was to come. You will be able to stitch your love onto the quilt now. I wonder if you can tweak it a little, maybe on an edge, for this. Saturdays are the best days, It's lovely to spend an entire day at home with no shopping or busying. Soon soon you can add in special treat DVDs: Frozen, Mulan, Singing' in the Rain, Brave, Mamma Mia, the Sound of Music.... all have been fun, and still are, for Saturdays with a pre schooler who is now seven. Fun for both of us. And baking together! I love these days.

i had to giggle at the picture of amelia peeking through your expedit...our little one does the same thing after she pulls the same baskets out of the way (and after strewing the basket contents near and far). i also paused to appreciate the delicate white flowers on my shamrock earlier this week. even though it's not remotely spring-like here yet, there is hope in those wee white blossoms. and, if you haven't tried it, a tiny splash of pure vanilla is a nice addition to your london fog :)

Valerie H says: March 03, 2015 at 10:33 AM

My mixer only does that when I overfill the bowl. Do you have a splash guard for it? They sell two piece ones I use when I am making something that calls for a lot of flour. I asked for and got a Capresso for Christmas after you posted about yours, and I love it. Now I make my own tea lattes and they are wonderful. Thank you for all you post about!

I love absolutely everything about this post!! Happy to hear you enjoyed your Saturday...sounds lovely!! And your projects are just beautiful....I also get that nostalgic feeling when working on something from the past. We don't realize how much of our feelings, emotions..our life is poured into our projects. I so enjoy visiting and hearing about your beautiful family and the 'goings on"!

I am tearing up a little, too. Traces of the hope I carried for you still linger; turning slowly into joy. Here's to many more happy Saturdays.

Cat McKenzie says: March 03, 2015 at 01:53 PM

Quilts do have a way of bringing back memories and helping us put our lives into perspective. I am so happy for you that your life has miracles like Amelia and joy in your whole family.
I am working on a quilt for my newest grandson, hoped to have it done by his first birthday but that passed by and now I am quite close to finishing. It's one I think you would like as well. It's called Patio and can be done either in a contemporary way (mine is like that) or a more soft palette like some of your wonderful quilts! Here is a link to the pattern, found on Pinterest naturally

What a beautiful day and beautiful life. I always feel calmer and more peaceful after reading one of your posts. Thank you.

I feel the same way when I find things from my pre-twin days. They are a whole new life for me.

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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.