Mondiran Inspired Quilt Pattern


This is one of favorite quilts.  Super simple and it looks good to me every time I see it.  Here is the pattern.  I will post a more detailed pattern later but I wanted to get this one up today.



If you make one of these, I’d love to see it.  Email me a picture!




1.  While he was gone, I missed Paul playing the guitar and singing to me.  He bought this red cord because he thought it would make me happy.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

2.  My mom brought this sugar bowl back from Russia.  Mine actually has course salt in it and I always keep it on the counter next to the stove.

3.  I gave this hat to my grandmother one of our first Christmases in Texas.  It returned to me not long ago.  I wear it on the beach so my surfers and boogie boarders  can find me easily.

4.  I found this big clothes pin while shopping with my sister Sara.  I use it to hold pictures on the book shelf or piano.

5.  I bought several dozen of these red plates in Waechtersbach in Germany.  I planned to use them only at Christmas but I use them all the time.

6.  When I was morning sick with Robin the only thing I could eat for a while was garden tomatoes.  I can eat them in some form or another every single day.

7.  Regina gave me these earrings.  They belonged to her very sophisticated and super stylish mother.  They are also clip on’s because I can’t wear pierced. I cherish them.

8.  Ah! Jane Austen. My favorite book of her’s is Persuasion, I read it about once a year.

9.   I bought this barrette in a little boutique near the Russian Tea Room on my first trip to NYC with Regina.

Rikke Hat


I finally finished this Rikke Hat.  This took much longer than it should have but it was one of those projects I picked up and put down.  I’m happy to have it finished though.  Isn’t it cute!

I used this pattern from Happy Knits.  It is a great project to start with.  It knits up quickly and is cool enough for teenagery type people.

Sara saw it finished and immediately started one in blue.   It’s going to be so pretty!


Dropping the Ball



I made this quilt a couple of weeks ago for Sara.  It made me happy to be sewing again and it has my mind racing with ideas I want to try.



Back To Real Life


Paul went back to work yesterday and I’m sad. I like him so much and I have loved having him all to myself the past month or so. Since he came home we’ve eaten lots of sushi and visited family and gone to baseball games and put finishing touches on the house and watched movies with the kids.

Some of the best moments this month were watching Paul in the ocean. I know when he comes in after a few hours in the surf, his mind will be calm, he will feel centered and his eyes will look young again.  Plus, it’s just fun to watch him surf. He looks so great out there!

We’ve had a good time. It makes me look forward to retirement.

I took that picture of him when we were at San Elijo last week. How I adore that handsome face!

Our reintegration has been pretty smooth, both as a couple and as a family. It has been much much better than last time. Maybe it is because our expectations have been different or maybe we have established coping skills or maybe the kids are just older, it is probably a little bit of all of that. Whatever the reason, I am grateful and content.

Peace after turmoil, comfort after distress and joy after despair and discouragement; emotions, hard fought for, feel incredible.

I feel whole again.

Interestingly, our awful move actually made the family transition easier. Normally, Paul is the odd man out trying to fit himself into already established schedules and patterns. Because of the move we all found ourselves in the same boat as we adjusted to our new surroundings. Now, I am a long way from calling the move a good thing but that part ended up being positive.

Spring Break is this week. Usually for Spring Break I have the days packed with activities, but the kids need a rest. They’ve worked hard, juggling school and the move and their dad’s return and extracurriculars. They’ve hardly had a minute to breathe since Christmas! Man! I’m proud of them! I think they just need to sit around in front of screens all week.

I haven’t been able to see past Paul’s return for months now. It feels strange to be thinking about the future again. I need to take this time, before school starts again, to make some plans and figure out what direction our little family will go now.

I better get started!

Pioneer Pouch


The youth of our stake are going on a Pioneer Trek this summer.  I was asked to make a pattern for a little pouch that the kids can carry with them.  I’m posting it here so that people can see it easily.


1. Begin with a piece of muslin 8.5 inches wide by 24 inches long.



2. Fold each end twice, about .5 inches, and iron.  Ironing will help hold it in place while you pin and sew.



3. Pin in place.



4. Using the edge of the presser foot as your guide, sew along each end.


It should look something like this when you finish sewing.



5. Fold your fabric in half with the seams on the outside and press the fold.  Again, if you press the fold your fabric will stay in place better as you pin and sew.  Pin the sides together.



6. Using the presser foot as a guide on the edge of the fabric sew along each side.  When you finish sewing, it should like this.



7. Cut a piece of strap about 50 inches long.  Depending on your height you may want it longer or shorter.  You can adjust the length to your preference.



8. With the pouch still inside out, center each end of the strap onto each top corner of the pouch.  Pin in place.   Sew the strap in place. PP8

9. Reinforce the strap by sewing something like this.

10.  Turn the pouch right side out and you’re done!

Let me know if you see any mistakes or improvements I can make.

He’s home!


The day is here!  

Ribbons are hanging in the trees, the house is clean inside and out, we are all presentable and I feel ready.  

Its time to go and get him.

My heart pounds as we drive to the airport and as we wait at the gate.

Is the plane on time? *check flight tracker* They’re 8 minutes early!

Will the photographer be able to find us?

Instagram of the kids waiting.

How’s my lipstick?

The plane landed.

The news crew is here.

He’s at the gate!

Be calm and answer their questions.

Don’t say “um”.

He’s getting off the plane.

“No, I don’t want to wear the mic.”

Where is he?

Are these people from his flight?

I can’t see up the ramp!

Dan, how far do you think you could make it up the ramp before the TSA lady tackles you?

That’s him!  Those are his boots!  That’s his smile!

I run.

The TSA lady warns me not to cross the line.

I stop and then Paul gestures to run anyway.

He’s home!  He’s safe!  I can touch him!  He’s real!  I don’t want to let go!  Its over!

Hugs all around, happy tears, relief.  The relief is unbelievable.

Paul says a few words to the news crew.

It can’t stop looking at him, touching him.  Is this real?  Am I going to wake up?

We head to baggage claim and finally home.

Photo by Terry Hurst Photography

Survival Mode and Beyond


For me, survival mode means just trying to get through the day.  There is no looking to the future a month, a week or even a day ahead.  Do what has to be done now and just make it to bed time.  It means buffet style dinner because setting the table it too much.

It means I can’t worry about the project due next week, we will just focus on the the homework due tomorrow.  It means Dan needs a haircut and there isn’t any bread for lunches, and it means someone doesn’t have the right t-shirt for the field trip and I feel like a failure.  At the end of some of these days I wonder why I even try.

The worst part of it for me is that my children are the ones who are most effected.  Grades have slipped.  Opportunities have been lost.  Any self-improvement this year has been sporadic if it has happened at all.

These are the subtle consequences of war that nobody sees; nobody talks about.

Happily, that part is behind us now and we are looking forward.

Finishing up Christmas, being at the threshold of a hopeful new year and realizing that I am solidly in phase four, has given me an energy I haven’t had in a very long time.

The number one change made?  Lists!  I have a list of things the kids need to do before they get any screen time.  Among other things, Dan needs to practice the horn, Gloria needs to knit a square for a blanket, Sara will finish one lesson of code.  We were all spending way too much time in front of one screen or another and now that time, is just a little more measured.  I feel like we’re all back on track.

Adding to that energy, is the excitement  that Paul will be home soon.  My mind is racing constantly with errands and projects that need to be finished before he gets home.  I’m cleaning out closets and organizing drawers and making lots of trips to the Goodwill.  There’s weeding and planting and cleaning up to be done in the yard.  The carpets need to be cleaned and the baseboards need to be washed and if I showed you my “to do” list you would make fun of me.

Regina said, “Rachel, I didn’t think that Paul cares if all the cupboards are cleaned out.  I think he’ll just be glad to be home.”  ”I know, it is mostly for me so that when he comes home I can relax and just focus on him and won’t be worried about all the little chores that need to be done.”

The funnest project I’ve started is redecorating our bedroom so that Paul will have a comfortable, peaceful place to retreat as he reintegrates with the family.  He didn’t have that last time and I think it would have helped a great deal.  I am working with Decorist and they have given me the best ideas and insights!  I just order the print above (that they found) as part of that project.  It is by Kimberly Blok and it perfectly sets the tone for the room I want.

What do you think?


Because Jan. 1st was on a Wednesday and the kids don’t go back to school until Monday, I feel like I have a few extra days to finish up a a couple of things from 2013 before our year really starts tomorrow.

The last thing I was determined to finish before the year was up was to get these darn photographs scanned and saved to an external hard drive.  I sorted and began scanning them last summer but they were put on the back burner again and again.  And that box sat here mocking me every time I walked into the family room.

I have about 3/4 of them done and I am going to try and finish them up today.  I will be so glad to have them all safely on a hard drive and out of my family room!

Once that is done I get to start on this year’s quilts!  I have several quilts I want to work on this year:


1.This skill builder Block of the Month project  by Alyssa aka:Pile O Fabric looks so good to me.

2. A snowflake quilt, isn’t this one pretty?

3. A pixelated quilt, there are some great ones out there but I think I want to start simple.

4. A video game 8 bit quilt, Mario is the best.  I like this Tetris one too.

5, 6, 7, 8.  These quilts are inspiring me right now as far as baby quilts.  We have quite a few friends having babies this year and our very first great niece or nephew is expected in June!!

9. I would also like to try batik fabric dying.

Whew!  Wish me luck!

Some scattered thoughts about the new year.

I know it is extremely wasteful to have wished a year of my life away but that is definitely what I did in 2013.  If I accomplished anything it was because I was trying to nudge time along and get it to move a little quicker.  Doesn’t time move faster when we’re busy?


On New Year’s Eve I played with Flipogram and iPhoto for hours and made several slideshows highlighting different things that happened this year.  I found it very satisfying to see my year laid out in front of me like that.

I have always taken pictures of our family and things we are doing but it was sporadic.  Because I always have my phone with me now, I take a lot more pictures, as I’m sure is the case with everyone.  It’s so useful to be able to take pictures so easily and I love that I have several platforms (Instagram is my favorite.) to share moments of our life with friends and family who are far from us.

Not only do I get to share my life, even better is the fact that I get to see their lives too.  I love knowing that my brother and sis in law are always hiking the cliffs around the beaches near San Francisco and it warms my heart to see their new baby snuggled close to one of their chests on those outings.  I adored getting a peek at my sisters’ lives as they moved into new houses this year.  Jordan has a chocolate brown wall in her bedroom and a swinging reading chair.  Gabby has whitewashed hardwood floors and her kids love to climb the trees around their house.

In years past we would all gather and talk, we’re a pretty close family, but I never got those kinds of details.  I think it is magical!

Have I said lately how much I love social media and technology?

Now I turn to 2014 and this morning my head is full of nothing but Paul’s return.  When will he be here?  Will he fly into SLC or PHX?  How will we all adjust?  I need to order more yellow ribbon. Will he want solitude or will he want our attention?  I need to get the treadmill tuned up.  Will he want to eat all the foods he’s missed or will he want to eat like he’s been eating?  Will I be able to balance Paul’s needs and the children’s?  I need a new calendar.  How soon can I get him into the ocean?

I am looking forward to a year of lovely moments, challenges to be overcome, creative projects and facing fears.  I hope that you are looking at the same kind of year and wish you the very best.

Happy 2014!

Photo by Photography By Design