Sunday, May 18, 2014

Recipe for a Beautiful Bed

What comfort I find in the common ritual of making the bed.
To float the white sheets over the expanse,
and watch them settle into place,
the way my mom used to do when I was little.
She made it look easy,
but for a child, it wasn't easy.
It required some height and some strength in the arms.

I couldn't wait to grow up,
into a woman who could hover gracefully around her bed
and shake, smooth, yank and toss the linens,
until everything looked wonderful.  

You don't need a Bed-in-a-Bag
(Please, please don't buy that).
You don't need to spend wads of money at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.
You do need to keep your eyes open, collect what you love as you find it,
and take your time.

Here are the ingredients:

Natural fibers (cotton, mostly. And a bit of linen, a scrap of silk)
White sheets, preferably with a stripe in the weave so it's easy to lay them correctly
A duvet insert
A duvet cover
2 pillow shams
2 euro shams
1 or 2 throw pillows
A quilt to toss or fold at the foot of the bed  

This duvet cover was $30 at IKEA. I know white can be scary, but white can be soaked in OxyClean overnight. Then it looks almost new again.
The big green shams were found at Salvation Army for $5 each, new in their packaging. I keep trying to figure out if they're the same color. They look slightly different from each other. No matter, perfection is not the goal here.

The scallop-edged euro shams, Ralph Lauren, a travesty at $175 each. WHAT?? Of course not. I found the first one at Marshall's for $10, then I had to hunt for the second one on ebay. It cost more, but was still a steal compared with the full price.

A striped bolster, the insert was from IKEA for almost nothing, the cover was on clearance at Pottery Barn for under $2. You gotta keep your eyes peeled! Good deals abound! 

This raw silk pillow cover was found new at the thrift store, originally from Target. But somehow, over the course of its life in our topsy-turvy house, it got ruined with paint. Burgundy paint, of all things. I don't even approve of burgundy. I dug it out of the closet a few weeks ago and decided it needed to be rescued. It got a linen flower to cover the paint daub, then a calico flower for good measure. To make the flowers, cut out concentric circles, using bowls and glasses as templates. Stack them up and tack them into place with a few stitches, finishing with a vintage button on top.  

The calico flower matches one of the fabrics on our quilt, made by a dear friend when I had Malachi.

What you don't see:
The bed frame, which isn't the Wesley Allen iron bed we used to have (it made a nifty antennae for electrical waves), 
or the dark wood headboard from my Grandma, which replaced the iron bed. 
We had to move the bed to another wall, the window wall, to further avoid electricity.

So the bed isn't perfect. It's a big, plain wooden frame (no metal anywhere), and I'm not going to show you pictures of it. The bedskirt doesn't fit well over the wooden corners. Maybe someday we'll figure that out.

For now, I do love to make the bed,
my white oasis in a a loud and busy house.       


  1. How lovely. I keep my bed really simple - two pillows with shams, some zari-worked throw pillows, a down comforter and fitted sheet. All in white and pale colors, like yours

    1. Ah wish I could see pics. When the baby was little I didn't bother with throw pillows. Yes you can't go wrong with white!

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