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?


I'm with you on the duvet covers never fitting the duvet properly. I've sometimes seen snaps on the inside of the cover and edge of the duvet to keep it better aligned. Your quilt is darling and inspiration for me to finish my quilt - almost all of it from leftovers and summery colours. Many thanks for your stories and photos - always a joy to take in.

It turned out beautifully! And the fabrics are really lovely. Thank you for the inspiration!

Here in northern Arizona, we are buried in snow! It hasn't stopped since last Thursday. My dear brother has been over three times to plow my driveway in case I have to go out (I am blessedly retired and don't have to!) and I have been putting crockpot meals together every day. I have a very bad cold too and go between my bed and the living room to watch TV or a movie. So there's approximately 3 feet of snow now, drifting to 4-5 feet. My Gem (German Shepherd) loves to run and jump in the snow but even he is scared of it this deep! Ready for a thaw here! Thank you for the lovely post. I would love, love, love a kit! Yes, put me on the list!

it's so lovely!!!! oh I love that quilt!!! I hear you about duvets! So, the kit would be for a smaller version of the one you made? the top only or back also? I am VERY interested! I would love to know pre-ordering info!!! I am *almost* done with my first quilt (thomas the tank engine for my godson), half way done with one for my god daughter (patchwork pinks, orange, yellow, white/creams) and am dreaming of many more!!!! Do tell us about the pre-orders, I can't wait to hear about that!!! I hear you about the introvert need for quiet!!! sending cheer and kindness your way!!!

I remember many years ago, before Amelia, you were asking for children's book recommendations and I suggested The Tomten. It is my favorite!!!! I never get tired of it. <3

I would love to pre-buy a quilt-comforter kit. I love all your quilts and can never find similar looking prints.

Carol Hulse says: January 23, 2017 at 04:30 PM

Yes Yes Yes 😀😀😀

"Approximately 8 months." You are so cute!

While I was reading this post my 4.5yo son came and looked over my shoulder. He pointed at some pictures and said, "Mommy, who's that?" "That is Amelia." "Can I please go play with her?" "Sorry sweetie, she lives far away from us." Just thought it was sweet.

Love the quilt. I can't say I've seen one on-point like that before. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

And I loved seeing a picture of sweet puppers. I miss seeing her here.

Thank you so much for explaining about the quilt. Lovely photos.

Kathryn Stephens says: January 23, 2017 at 05:36 PM

Do you take commissions for quilts like the one in your pictures here? It's beautifullll but quilting is not in my toolkit :( Let me know if you would consider it!

Such a lovely quilt-comforter! I'm excited to see what wallpaper you decided to go with. Where is the dining room rug from? It's beautiful!

What a lovely new comforter! Thought I would give a little tip about the dog puke on the rug. We used to have a little terrier that made various messes often and I always felt like scrubbing the rug really didn't clean it. One day we were at Lowe's and purchased a mini shop vac. It was gallon sized and we only used it for wet yucky messes. It worked like a charm. After picking up as much of the big mess that we could, we would then vacuum up the rest then use warm water with a little soap and pour over the stain sucking up the water and re-reapplying until it came clean. I never scrubbed so nothing got ground into the rug. We had light cream carpet and it worked marvelously. I still have the vacuum and now have used it for any kind of wet mess even on furniture. Just thought this might save you a little money in the future. :)

Yes on the quilt kit!

glad you've recovered from the snow & stormy weather. we had a similar time between thanksgiving and january 3. epic. not with weather but with one or another child home sick or because of random not matching school vacation days mixing everything up. lovely? a little. really hard? mostly.
are you reading The Orrchardist? i listened to it years ago on audible and it.was.amazing. I still can hear the storyteller in my head~the parts about the train. The parts about, all of it. I also read The Orchard by Theresa Weir at the same time and loved it also. Different but similar. If you enjoy The Orchardist, I would go all in for Kent Haruf. Start with the first one he published and go from there. Midwest, trains, girls, old men. Pardon me if I have already recommended any of these~
Be well in these new days of, well, so many things. Always lovely to hear from you~

The Orchardist. You're not too far Read it a few summers ago and man alive. I don't want to spoil it for you so *fist bump* and hope you like it as much as I did. Whew. We didn't have snow but had a big freeze for us in S Tx and killed all my succulents. I'm sad. Will buy more. WTG on comforter quilt.

What is the pattern for the pink shrug for Amelia.

MariaLiesl says: January 23, 2017 at 08:01 PM

I love duvets- on all ours I turn the washed new cover inside out and sew around each edge a few inches so the down duvet fits snugly, then I sew a piece of bias tape or cord on each corner and every 2 feet or so on each side of the inside cover and do the same on the duvet. Then, with the cover still inside out I place the duvet on top, tie each corresponding tie and then turn correct side out. It takes a wee bit of time but I find it eliminates frustration and greatly adds to my enjoyment. And yes, I would by the suggested kit. Cheers to 2017.

Another absolutely lovely post! Is Japan the only country where duvets come with discreet loops in each corner, and usually a loop in the middle of each side; and the covers come with corresponding string ties or snapping tapes on the inside, to secure the duvet in place? I feel your pain.

Oh, the joy I get when I find vintage Peter Pan at thrift stores. Your quilt is beautiful and I'm so happy to hear I wasn't the only one going crazy during this last snow. When I was finally able to leave my house I was just so giddy in the car saying, I'm free, I'm free! I love my children dearly, but a mama just needs to get out sometimes! BTW, your pics of Clover are seriously making me want a corgi - so cute!

I enjoyed each and every photo.. my favorite is her silky long hair. *LOVE* I hope you got your fill of snow.. lol. I'm sorry to report our 2 HUGE Koi froze to death. I guess we'll be getting a few more little ones in the Spring. We also lost one of our chickens in the worst of it. New chicks in the Spring, too. I can't wait to see the dollhouse photos. I was in Michael's today and they had a whole wall of miniatures, you should go look. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Oh oh to everything here. I love the little snow babies and the bunnies and the painting of the little wide eyed girl who follows after the photo of your sweet little wide eyed girl. I laughed at how the hair cut aged Amelia exactly 8 months. But, really, she is looking older now. For years I found that it worked to have a down duvet sitting on the bed and the cover thrown over it. I always use a top sheet anyway. It sits surprisingly neatly and doesn't shift. I love the hand tied quilt. I would be interested in the pattern but I don't need one that is toddler sized. If you have time, would you mind explaining what 'the squares are set on point' means?

I was just thinking...gee, I hope she makes this a kit! I adore the colors.

Kathy Stewart says: January 23, 2017 at 09:40 PM

She is at that age. Am I 5 ? Or am I 25?

Constance Ward says: January 23, 2017 at 10:50 PM

Lovely post. The snow has been off the charts here in Utah- or maybe it just seems that way because it continues to fall and fall. I would love to be on your list for a quilt top kit should you decide to make them up. Thank you for keeping your space so warm and welcoming, a spot of peace in an angry world. I love the respite of coming to your blog.

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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