Foot Pedal

The foot pedal on my sewing machine had some sort of short in it and would stop and start randomly when I was pressing it. Not cool!

I took it apart to rewire it but I couldn’t find the break.


I gave up and ordered a new one.   It came this weekend and now we’re back in business!

Happy Trapezoid Pattern


This quilt is 38″ x 50″ and took me approximately 15 hours to make from start to finish.  I did it over 3 days, which is how create most of my quilts.  

Day one, I cut and arrange.

Day two, I piece the top and baste the quilt sandwich.

Day three, I quilt and bind the quilt.

Tools you will need:

  • Circular cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Cutting ruler with a 20° mark or a template
  • Pins
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron

Materials you will need:

  • 10-14 different fabrics, 1/2 yard each    When choosing your fabrics you will want even numbers of prints and solids as well as even numbers of dark and light.
  • Fabric for the back, 2 yards
  • Fabric for the binding, 1/2 yard
  • Batting


Begin by cutting your fabric into trapezoids.

I start by cutting 4.5″ strips and then sewing them together to make one long strip.  The length will depend on how you many colors you use.  Each trapezoid will be 13.5″ long.  Knowing that, if you need three trapezoids of that color, the length will be about 40″ long.

happy trap 11

Then using the 20° mark on my ruler, I cut a 20° angle creating the first edge of the first trapezoid.

happy trap 13


Then I measure and mark 8.5″ and 13.5″, line up the marks and made another cut.

happy trap 12

You may find an easier way to do this step.  If you do, you are bound by Quilter’s Law to share it with me.  🙂

You will need to cut a total of 50 trapezoids.  Base 1= 8.5″   Base 2=13.5″   Height =4.5″

happy trap 2

When all your fabric is cut, begin arranging.  Five down and ten across.

Tip:  If the arraignment isn’t what you imagined, don’t be afraid to change things up.  It is hard for me to switch gears when things don’t work out as planned, so I’m saying this mostly to myself.

With this quilt, I planned on doing red solids with red prints and blue solids with blue prints but I ended up with a solid-print-solid-print sequence.  Play with it until it looks good to you.

This is what I ended up with and I love it.


*Tip: Take a picture of your arraignment so you have a reference if you need it.

Begin piecing each column.  There should be five trapezoids in each column.happy trap 6

Piecing angles can be tricky at first.  If you line up your corners and then sew it together, (as shown below) your edges won’t line up.  Booooooo!


You will need to stagger the corners using the 1/4″ scant seam allowance (as shown below) then your edges will look like this.  Yea!!!


I pin my first five or six pieces to make sure I’m right on but after sewing a few I can usually eyeball it.  

Double check the edges after each seam is sewn, to make sure everything is lined up correctly.

Remember to press each seam as you sew.

Repeat until all ten columns are sewn.


happy trap 7

Now we’re going to start sewing the columns together.  Pin column one to column two, where each of the seams meet and sew.

happy trap 10

Confession: Normally, I go to great lengths not to pin.  This is one instance, however, that lots of pinning is worth my time.  Pinning will make sure all your seams meet together.

Continue to pin and sew each column until all 10 columns are sewn together.

happy trap 4



happy trap 5

Press all your seems one more time.  This will help to make sure the edges of your quilt are nice and straight.

Square up the edges by cutting off the extra fabric.

happy trap 9Your top is done!

Next, make your quilt sandwich.

Quilt Sandwich

Baste your quilt.

Quilt your quilt.

I quilted along the angles to make this chevron design.

happy trap quilt 1I felt like it needed a little more quilting so I went back and quilted the inside of every other trapezoid.  In this case it ended up being all the solid trapezoids.     happy trap quilt 2

I love how it looks.



Bind your quilt.  There are many ways to bind a quilt.  If you are new to quilting there are a zillion tutorials out there.  I think Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew has a great tutorial for machine binding.  

You’re done!  This is mine.


I’d love to see your finished quilts!  Please send any pictures you’d like to share to [email protected].

Pat’s Run

This week has been very introspective for me.  I have a lot on my mind.


Everything I’ve been feeling and thinking about came to a head yesterday when I went to register Paul for Pat’s Run.  If you don’t remember or are unfamiliar with the Pat Tillman story, click here.

If you’ve been there before, you know that the atmosphere surrounding a race is electric with excitement and is so intense, it is almost tangible.  Whether they have been working for months to put the race on, training for months to be in it, working to help make the race run smoothly or are just there to cheer someone on, all that positive energy is being put toward one thing, a successful race.  There is just something so intoxicating to me about all these small parts suddenly become one amazing thing.

When I went to the Pat’s Run Headquarters yesterday the feeling was different.  The excitement I described was there, people were happy and helpful.  At the same time, there was a quiet reverence underlying everything.  Every tent, sign, t-shirt, handout and person there, seemed to act as another reminder of a heartbreaking tragedy.

I can’t tell if I just identify with the story or if I was surprised by the emotions but it was overwhelming and I sat in my car and cried before I drove home.

I don’t know which part of me identifies most.


Is it the “mother of sons” part of me?  Do I see Pat as a beautiful boy with a future so full of hope and promise; the epitome of health and courage and character that I wished for when I smiled at my baby boys?


Or is it the “wife of a soldier” part of me, who is familiar with the feeling of sending the most important thing in the world to me, into harm’s way?  At best, knowing that he would be uncomfortable and exhausted and lonely.  At worst, that he would return changed or not at all.

Either way, I have a visceral reaction when I think of Pat’s story and I ask all the same questions.

What did his wife say when they told her?

How did his mother react?

Why did he die?

Does his death have meaning?

Is anyone/anything really directing these things?

What other paths did President Bush have to choose from?

Does America really understand or appreciate or even simply acknowledge the treasure that has been lost in the deaths of these valiant men and women?

Pat Tillman represents everyone who joined the military after 9/11 to serve their country.

He represents everyone who joined with friends and brothers or because their grandfathers and dads served before them.

He represents every beautiful boy or girl whose life was cut short in the most violent ways imaginable, far from home and the people they love.

He represents those who returned home with horrific injuries to body, mind and/or soul.

His death represents the stupidity and utter waste of war.

I remember when Pat joined the army and I recall a man on a morning talk show saying, “I can’t believe he left a professional football career to join the army!  I don’t know anybody who would do that.  I didn’t know people like that really existed.”

I guess I’m just lucky because I know hundreds of people who are just that extraordinary; the very best our country has to offer.  Educated, accomplished men and women who could be captains of industry, making great deals of money but instead chose a life of service and discipline. Men and women who think it a privilege to be a part of something bigger then themselves.

Photos found on various websites, not sure who to give credit too.

Happy Trapezoid


The  super talented Jenean Morrison sent me this gorgeous fabric last spring.  Jenean designs fabrics among many other things.  All her creations are fresh and bright and playful and I love all of it!  Click through to see her 2014 summer line call Lovelorn.  I can’t wait until next month when I can order some!

This line of fabric she sent me is called Beachwood Park and it is interesting because it uses reds, whites and blues but really isn’t patriotic.  Jenean used several different hues of reds and blues and patterns that take my mind places other than the 4th of July.

This quilt from MQG inspired the the pattern and quilt I made for Jenean’s Fabrics.

trapizoid inspiration

When I saw it I knew is was perfect for what I had in mind.

I sat down and planned the quilt.  Here is my first draft.

Untitled-1Once I had my plan Sue and I headed to the fabric store and bought some matching solids.  I’m terrible at matching colors so I love having an extra pair of eyes with me, plus Sue is just one of my favorite people.  Win-win!

Here they are all cut into pretty trapezoids.  (I need to clean my iPhone camera)


I cut out all the trapezoids and then set to work arranging them.  I think I spent more time arranging and rearranging them than I did anything else but this is what I ended up with.


Once I had everything in place, I started piecing.  I was really happy with how the top turned out.


For the quilting, I followed the lines of the angles and ended up with this chevron pattern.


To add a little more quilting, I quilted around each of the solid trapezoids.

For the backing I used one of the larger patterns in this line called Reunion Blue and bound it in Rendezvous Red.


I couldn’t be happier with it.  What do you think?






Mondrian 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.