Dad, Airports and Disneyland

The things I’ve been thinking about today are scattered and don’t have much cohesiveness.

20 years ago, we had just arrived in Germany. We had our first taste of jet lag, waking up at 2am with sleep nowhere in sight.  Paul left to go to work at 6am. I promised I would keep the kids up and none of us would sleep until that night. Paul called the hotel room, waking me up, at 10:30am, “Hello.” “Rachel, your dad died.”

The last time I saw my dad, he was in a hospital bed, intubated. He kept coughing without sound. He was restrained so that he wouldn’t pull his tube out. I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t comfort him. I cried and told him I loved him. I left him, feeling that I might not see him again. A few hours later I was flying to Germany with my little family.

I dropped Paul off at The Ontario Airport yesterday morning as I do often and I thought of my dad. Although nothing looks familiar, when I see the sign at the entrance a flash flood of very specific memories, careens into my head.

I was 9 or 10 and we were dropping Dad off. I remember he was going back to Houston where there was a business opportunity. He had driven to Houston a few weeks earlier and was home visiting, we were dropping him off to go back. I remember my mom and dad not thinking very highly of Ontario. I don’t know why, but I feel that every time.  I remember that we had family prayer before he drove away the first time and we all cried and hugged because we knew we were going to be separated. I remember feeling like it was the end of the world.

I submitted my resume to Disneyland today, for a job that looks good to me. I thought he would have liked that.

I miss him.


Bauhaus Quilt Expanded


This quilt is one of my favorites.  It combines bright colors, simplicity and structure perfectly for my taste.


Although I made this one using traditional primary colors it could easily be made using any fabrics you like.

I would love to make one with big blocks of Kaffe Fassett or Amy Butler fabrics!

The construction of this quilt is simple too and the top sews up quickly, so cut your fabric pieces and let’s get started.

Shortcut: I didn’t want to have to stop every little while to sew black strips together so I cut the black into a bunch of 2.5″ strips and then sewed them into one long strip.  Then I would sew black strip onto the block and cut it off when I got to the end.  No measuring!

I broke the blocks up into 3 main blocks.



Block #1


Bauhaus-deconstruct-block-1Block #2


Block #3



Sew the blocks together as shown.

Sew on the black boarder.



Make your quilt sandwich, I used white for my backing.

For the quilting, I recommend a simple meandering.  I think it does something to soften the hard square edges a little.

I bound mine with black.

I can’t wait to see yours!

*Please note in the comments that some of the measurements are wrong. I haven’t been able to fix them.


Dragon Kites



have been meaning to write about the kites I made last summer.  Thankfully my sister Gabby beat me to it.  I made one for each family.  I really only got to fly the first one.  I was so busy with details for my mom’s party that I didn’t even have time to try out the others.  

Since then I have been in school and haven’t had the time to make anymore but school is almost out and and I am itching to get going again.

Watch for a tutorial to make your own.

Photo by Designmom

Fire-Breathing Dragons, Yoga Pants and Agency

2014 was a good year for me. It was an emotional year but a good year.

It started out with the highest of highs when Paul came home, the memory of which still makes me giddy. 2014 also brought me the lowest of lows as I grieved with my closest childhood friend.

I faced and conquered fears that were terrifying to me. As they almost always are, the fears turned out not to be the fire-breathing dragons I’d seen in my head but rather annoying pebbles that needed to be shaken out of my shoes.

Fear is a liar.

I worked hard and accomplished some things I was very proud of and I put off other things I just didn’t want to deal with. I’m looking at you, running shoes and yoga pants.

Our family reached some happy milestones like the purchase of a new house. I found a few apron strings cut as well and this is something I always find painful and I rarely do willingly.

I felt real maturity and development in many of my personal relationships when I learned, yet again, to be as kind as possible but also very honest. My favorite parts of the year were made of these moments.

As I look forward to 2015, I see challenges and celebrations; I see happy times and without a doubt, some uncomfortable growth.

I have always loved the idea of being a part of a team, adding my small part of make a giant whole. This year, however I feel like the captain of my own ship, directing my life and acting for myself, rather than being apart of a crew, with someone else deciding where I will go and how I will contribute.

For the first time in my 45 years, I feel my agency in the purest way and I feel empowered and eager and equal to any tasks that lay ahead.

Back to School



So a few years ago, I decided I wanted to take some classes at the local community college.  Because I was trying to get everyone settled here in AZ and then I was dealing with the deployment, I only took online classes.

This fall is the first time in many years that I am taking two classes on campus.  I really like it.   I’m taking two classes, one on color theory and one on photography.  Our first assignment in the color class was a color wheel.  That’s mine up there.

Going to school (on campus especially) has been really good for me, for many different reasons.

First, I like having somewhere new to go and I love having something new filling my mind and my days.  My adult life has been dominated by child rearing, church and responsibilities relating to the army.   It was exactly what I wanted and was happy, that the choice to be home and focus on my family was mine to make.  For a few years now though, I have been looking for something new.  Something different, something I haven’t done before.  Taking these classes has been exactly what I was looking for.

I like having something that is just for me.  For a very long time my thoughts and actions have been geared toward others.  As I said before, it was my choice and one I would make again.  It is so nice, however,  to have something that doesn’t have anything to do with the kids or Paul or church or PTA or moving or the army or the neighborhood or anything  else.  It feels selfish but in a good way.

I also like that the kids are having to be more independent.  They know that I’m not going to be around on certain days and that they better remember their lunch/schoolwork/signed papers. They are having to get themselves to and from school and activities too.  I think it’s been good for all of us.

Well, I’m happy and thankful that I have choices like this at this time in my life.  I’m already looking forward to next quarter and thinking about what classes I want to take then.

Quilt tip #5

Consider Using Sheets


There is nothing like working with good fabric made specifically for quilters however, don’t turn your nose up at sheets or sheet sets.

There are several reasons I like to use bedding:

1.  Sheets are almost always 100% cotton that do not shrink.

2.  Any prints are made to be heavily used and washed, without fading.

3.  They come in great, coordinating sets and if you need a solid, lots of different colors.

4.  I get to decide what thread count I want to use.

5.  They start in large single pieces so there is no seam nor is there a need for a design on the back.

6.  They can be much less expensive that the same amount of fabric from a quilt store.

7.  When I want to make a cozy Christmas/Winter quilt, seasonal flannels are awesome.

I love using sheets sometimes.  I especially love them for whites and creams. And you can’t beat them for classic stripes and polkdots.

My favorite finds have been at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s and Pottery Barn Kids (clearance).

What is your take?  Do you ever use sheets in your quilting?

Photo: PB kids online catalog

This Week 1Sep13




























I’m am working on some fun projects right now.

I’m finishing up Lexy’s quilt.  That’s her fabric up there and it is wonderful fabric to work with.  This is one of the first designs I’ve made that is all my own and I’m really proud of it.  I love how it is coming together, it is even better than I had planned.   The quilt is for her baby and I have been daydreaming about how it is going to perfectly compliment her nursery.  I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’m also starting on a quilt for Liz.  She and my brother are expecting their second child in November.

Because of Labor Day the week is short and I need to finish my book for book club and I’m spending Wednesday with my friend Sue.  If I do have extra time I will be working on finishing several quilts.  The quilt tops are all done, it is just the quilting and binding that need to be completed.  Some are personal and some are for friends.