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.

Mid-Mod 1


Over at Pincushion,  I wrote about a wonderfully inspiring trip I took to Palm Springs a few months ago.  This quilt is my first to be born of that inspiration.

I’ve had this happy fabric in my stash for a few years now and was finally able to put it to good use.  I really like how it turned out although, I think if I make it again, I will use squares at the top.  I don’t think the rectangles are quite generous enough.


Below is the pattern I wrote for the one with the rectangles.  I will remake it using the squares and post that in a week or two.

This finished quilt measures approximately 37″ x 51″ and makes a generous baby quilt.  It took me about 5 hours from start to finish.  This is one you could definitely finish in one day.  (These instructions assume the reader knows how to quilt and bind.)


Let’s get started.

You will need three different colors of fabric plus a background fabric, back and binding, for this quilt.

Using the measurements below, (I added the quarter inch scant to these written measurements) cut your fabric pieces.  Remember to add 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Color 1:

  • 3 rectangles 4″ x 7.5″

Color 2:

  • 1 rectangle 4.5″ x 37.5″

Color 3:

  • 3 rectangles 30″ x 7.5″


  • 12 pieces 3″ x 7.5″
  • 2 pieces 36″ x 3.5″
  • 2 pieces 36″ x 4.5″
  • 2 pieces 10″ x 3″
  • 2 pieces 10″ x 4.5

Your back should be about 40″ x 55″.

Your binding should be about 190″ long.

Once you have your pieces cut, you are ready to piece your quilt top.










mid-mod-1-rec-step-5Woohoo!  You’re done!

Now make your quilt sandwich, baste, quilt and bind.  Please share your finished quilt with me.  Send your pic to [email protected]  I love seeing what you’ve done and how you’ve made it your own!

Abbigail’s Quilt



Last week we celebrated when our niece Kaydee and her husband Trevor’s baby girl was born.  She is the first baby born to the next generation of Rodgers and she’s perfect!

There is just nothing better than a new baby!

My sis in law Tonya sent me a picture of her sweet nursery.  They used creams and lots of happy colors to decorate.  With that in mind I set about making a quilt.


This is what I ended up with.  It was fun to use so many colors.  I quilted a simple criss-cross pattern to go along with the simplicity of the rest of the quilt.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.


Welcome baby Abbigail.  I hope someday you understand how many people love you and want the very best things in the world for you!


On that yes . . .

One of the many fascinating, creative people I met at Alt this year, is named Tammy.  She is from Iowa but currently lives in Australia working as a designer for a bank.

She and her firm use design to help the bank interact more effectively with their patrons.  Some of the examples she shared with me blew my mind.  Like instead of calling a department Mortgages, they renamed it Home Ownership.  Although they are prepared to talk about amortization and loans, they are also prepared to advise about other things people think about when buying a home, such as what kinds of things will improve a property and what things don’t.  I wish I could remember more details it was fascinating and so forward thinking.


She gave me her beautiful card which she had made at an SLC letterpress company on the Monday before Alt.  I didn’t understand the reference.  She told me it came from a poem by Walter Stevens and recited to me the fist two lines.



I’m not sure why but it resonated deeply with me and I’ve recited it over and over since that night.

It is one of those things that I will be mulling over for a long time.


Six Squares


I loved making this quilt!  Because the pieces are large, cutting and piecing them was simple and fast.

For some reason I though it was going to be a lot more complicated but it was simple.  I also enjoyed working with these colors.  I love the dramatic effect of yellow and black but I rarely choose to work with that combination.

This quilt is approximately 50″x 62″ when it is finished and it took me 2 days.  Day 1- cut and piece the top and back  Day 2- quilt and bind

Fabric you will need:

7 coordinating fabrics, 1/2 yard each. One for each square and one for the binding.

1 background color, (mine is in white) 2 yards

1 color for the back, 2 yards (You may use a fabric from one of the squares or another coordinating or contrasting fabric.

Batting, at least 55″x 70″ inches


Let’s get started.

Begin by deciding which fabrics will belong to which square and mark your pattern accordingly.

six squares blank

Now start cutting  your fabric using the measurements below.

As you cut each piece do two things.

  1. Write the measurements on the back of each piece of cut fabric as you cut.
  2. Separate your cut pieces into one of 4 piles, one for each section of the quilt.  These two things will save you a huge headache when you start piecing.

Tip: Cut all of the pieces of each color at once.

six squares measurements


Is everything cut?  If no, keep cutting.  If yes continue.

Now your going to sew each section.  The pieces in each section has a blue number, to show the order in which I sewed them together.  If you see a way that makes more sense to you, do it.  Then, without delay, send me a note telling me how you did it.

Sew each section.

six squares section 1


six squares section


six squares section 3

six squares section 4

Next, your going to sew the sections together.

six squares construction


Square up the edges and your done with your quilt top!

Make your quilt sandwich and baste.

Quilt your quilt, I used a meandering free motion stitch (as usual).

Bind your quilt

Send me a picture of your finished quilt.  I’d love to see how you made it your own plus I can steal your ideas while I’m at it. 🙂


Usually I like to take advantage of our summer days by packing them full of activities and field trips.  I have found in the past, if I don’t at least have a loose plan in place, nothing seems to get done and everything gets put off until tomorrow.

Last year was a little different, I over-planned.  We traveled and quilted and practiced instruments and traveled some more and did crafts and grew tomatoes and went to sports camps and swim meets and scout camp and band camp and girl’s camp and cousin’s week.  It made the time go by quickly, which was the point, but by the end of the summer I was beyond exhausted.  It was too much.

This year is different as well.  The year, up until now, has had a lot of challenges, some big some small but all emotional.  It has taken toll and I just don’t have the energy to do the extras I usually like to do.  Luckily, the kids are much more independent this year.  Dan is driving so he can get himself to his activities.  We live two blocks away from the pool so the girls can walk to and from practice.  They all want to be with their friends more than in the past.

They each have a list of things that need to be done each day; things like reading a chapter in a book, practicing the horn, knitting a square for a blanket we’re making.   As soon as they are done though, the day is theirs to be with friends or sit in front of screens.  I’m okay with that.


The only thing really different is that my friend Sue and I are getting together with our kiddos (her grandkids, my kids) to do some sewing projects.  She and I made little pouches awhile back (above) and that is going to be our first project.

She told me the only rule, no more white zippers. Ooops!


Did you know that I love to fast.  Well, I do.  I’m not exactly sure why but the last few hours of a 24 hour fast is the best. My mind is a peace, I can see solutions to problems more clearly, my priorities are well defined and my plans are more precise and logical.

I really love the feeling and for almost 20 years I have fasted more than the one time a month it was expected of me.


While Paul was gone I always had my phone with me.  In my hand, in whatever room I was occupying, in my purse next to me, plugged into the car while I was driving.  Calls and texts from Paul were too precious to gamble with.  I never took a chance at missing any contact with him.

When I am already in survival mode, a missed phone call had the power to send me into an unrecoverable tailspin.

Since he’s been home I’ve tried not to be so connected but it isn’t easy to walk away.  Facebook, Instagram, blogs, email, phone calls, texts, even Words With Friends, I love them all.  Those are all ways I stay connected to my kids, my friends, my siblings and I feel like I’m being left out when I’m not checking in all the time.

At the same time.  I’m tired of always being on alert, on call. I find myself feeling relieved when I am running errands and realize I’ve accidentally left my phone at home.  And I was surprised at how pleased I was when our book for book club this month “On Hundred Years of Solitude” was not available on the Kindle and I was going to have to order the actual book.

Lately, I have been feeling a little off too.  I am distracted when I should be paying attention to my kids, I’ve been getting headaches and I’m not sleeping well.  There are other factors as well, but I feel like the phone/kindle/computer is a big part of that.

I need a break.  I need to clear my head and realign my priorities.  I feel like some kind of  ‘technology fast’ is in order.  Any suggestions?

The transition from school year to summer is a good opportunity to make some changes, don’t you think?  The last day of school is tomorrow.

The photo is the home screen on my phone.  *Sigh* What a hunk!

Regina’s Wedding Quilt

This week I made this quilt for my dear friend Regina.  Her son was married last June.  At the wedding she asked people to write marriage advice on cards she put on each table.  Then she printed the advice onto fabric.

Rooney upclose

A few weeks ago she sent me the printed fabric as well as a bunch of other fabrics with a note to put it together somehow.

When Regina gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted, one design came to mind.

PS-1I knew it would be perfect to frame the advice squares.

I’ve seen several of them that I like, this one and this one and this one;  I’ve been wanting to make one for years.  This was my chance.

With the fabric Regina sent me I made a light-dark, light-dark pattern.


I was able to quilt it and bind it and send it off in plenty of time before the newlywed’s first anniversary.

What do you think?

Watch for the pattern, I should have it up soon.