Thank You and Some Christmas Cheer

Thank you all so, so much for your kind thoughts, sweet comments and prayers for our family. Reading through all your uplifting comments was so special and I really appreciate all the virtual hugs and love. We fly out on Monday and the funeral for my Nana will be on Tuesday in Waynesville, NC (a small town near Asheville). We’ll get back in time on Christmas Eve to celebrate the season with our children.

You may need to plug in headphones to hear the audio.

I will share some holiday cheer with you today. It’s video of my daughter’s first piano recital, playing Angels we Have Heard on High. She started lessons this year and she was so nervous to perform in front of others. I think she nailed it and she was so proud of herself for overcoming her nervousness.

2015 Piano kidsThe piano teacher gave chocolate pianos to the performers. My other son got one, too!

My older son also performed, but it was a longer song so I wasn’t able to get a good video of all of it. The two of them take lessons from the same piano teacher, while my middle son takes both piano and drum lessons from a different instructor. He performed for us in the showroom after the recital. We love having musical children. :-)

2014 Ryan PianoThe family that plays (music) together, stays together.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Posted in Personal Life | Tagged | 8 Comments

Remembering My Nana

My sweet Nana passed away a couple of days ago so I’m getting ready to go to North Carolina for her funeral. I am at peace with this and was unsure whether I wanted to mention it on the blog in such a public way; but then I realized it’s very therapeutic for me to let everyone know what a fabulous and classy lady she was. She is my mom’s mom and she lived a very full and active 91 years, dedicating herself to the care of others. She was one of my most favorite people in all the world.

Nana-&-Grandaddy-1945Bud and Helen, 1945

Nana was a nurse back in the days of WWII and she met and fell in love with her high-school sweetheart. They were married for over 50 years until he passed away almost 18 years ago, a few months after getting to see his first great-grandchild – my oldest son. Nana was one of the most kind and loving people I ever knew, and I never heard a cross word come out of her mouth.

Nana,-Mom,-Laura,-ChristaNana, Mom, my older sister, and me – circa 1976.

Nana was a southern belle who grew up to be the most fabulous southern cook. Growing up, I spent two weeks with her and my Grandaddy (Bud, they called him) every summer in the mountains of North Carolina. It was such a special place to be, and I knew whenever I visited, they were excited to have me and my siblings over for a visit. We also saw our grandparents each Christmas, and Nana went out of her way to make sure we all felt loved and spoiled (in a good way). Although we lived on opposite ends of the country, we were always super close.

Nana-&-Grandaddy,-christmasThey always made me feel loved – especially during the teenage years! 1991-92.

Nana was the one who always taught me to be kind to others, to follow the KISS principle (Keep it Short and Sweet) and to keep-on-keepin’-on even when things got tough. Although we practice different religions, she always reminded me to pray and stay close to Heavenly Father. After all, she would tell me, “we all pray to the same God: some just do it on their knees, some bow their heads, some clasp their hands, and some fold their arms, but he hears it, all the same.”

2010 Christmas 4 generationsFour generations of women: Nana, my mom, me and my daughter. Christmas 2010.

I sure will miss her this Christmas, but I have such sweet memories to cherish. Although not a sewer herself, she did some needlepoint over the years, always encouraged me in my artistic efforts, and bought one of my first quilts when I used to sell them years ago. The whole family went on a cruise together over the summer, and Nana kept up with all of our shenanigans without any complaint.

2014-Family-CruiseFamily picture from our cruise this summer – such sweet memories!

Nana left a legacy of two daughters, three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. We all miss her, but we will Keep On Keepin’ On! :-)

Posted in Personal Life | 50 Comments

Fabric Friday – Kona Solids Designer Palettes

It’s no secret that I love Kona solids. When I look back at the quilts I’ve made this year, the majority of them have been made with solids! I think Robert Kaufman is smart by partnering up with some of your favorite bloggers to create curated designer palettes. Let me introduce you to a couple of them:

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Elizabeth Hartman’s Designer Palette includes 25 luscious shades of lilac, pink, yellow, teal and grey. The fat quarter bundle is perfect for anyone’s gift list, and it comes in all of the other standard precuts as well.

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With the release of Elizabeth Hartman’s new book, Patchwork City, there are 3 color groupings to go along with it: Patchwork City solids in Autumn, Winter and Summer. Aren’t they just luscious??

 

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Next up, popular blogger Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts has her own blogger bundle consisting of pretty pinks and purples with a touch of brights and neutrals. I’m already thinking about what I could make from this palette!

20141212_rita_bundleThere will be more designers on tap for 2015 and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

 

 

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Christa’s Soapbox – On Acceptance and Rejection

First off thanks to those of you who responded to my post from yesterday! The response has been great so far and I truly appreciate it!

For this week’s soapbox I wanted to tread lightly on the whole notion of acceptance and rejection, alluding to the very vibrant and passionate discussion that has been going on in blogland and on instagram since people received their notices about their QuiltCon entries. As I mentioned earlier, I got 3 accepted and 2 rejected so I got to experience both emotions.

20141101_creative_processRemember this? It really is how the process works most of the time!

I think most of everyone’s disappointment stems from the fact that we are so used to uplifting and encouraging each other in the online community, so it can hurt when all of a sudden that seems to be taken away, even momentarily. We begin to question ourselves, our worth, and even our reasons for making. That’s totally normal, and fortunately, for most people, that initial frustration and disappointment dissipate with time so we can get back to the fun part of making.

I will admit that I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist. My friend Leanne (from She Can Quilt) put it best when she said that anything she enters she expects to get rejected. I totally echo that sentiment. You guys know quilting is my career and I try to do all I can to further that career in an uplifting, positive way. But trust me, I have had my share of rejections along the way.

header.jpgIf at first you don’t succeed –  just keep sewing, just keep sewing!

I was sharing with some friends at a quilting meeting last night, that it’s not a smooth path to success. For every positive experience I’ve had, there have been an equal number (or more) negative ones, too. The thing is, I just don’t dwell on them. I move on to the next thing because I just don’t have the time to waste on negative energy.

I know my perspective may be a little different in respect to this. Because quilting is my business, along with my passion, I just see a rejection as something that didn’t work out on my way to my goal. But I don’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do.

So if you experience rejection, disappointment or frustration in anything you do – please don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals either. As I said in an earlier soapbox, the only one standing in your way is you. :-)

Now, what fun things are you working on this week??

 

 

Posted in Soapbox | 5 Comments

Help for Sydney – Doing My Part, Spreading the Word

I just read about the idea that Josh from Molli Sparkles has come up with to help comfort those affected by the tragedy in Sydney, (which occurred near where he works). He’s inviting the online community to come together to donate their time, money, or quilt blocks so that he and his fellow Glitterati in Australia can make at least 6 quilts for family members consisting of about 1080 blocks plus materials for batting, backing and quilting.

Click here for complete details.

molli_sparkles_helpI made a small paypal donation to help defray the cost of materials; then I got to thinking – how could I contribute more?

So I decided to make you guys this offer: from now through Sunday, December 21st, I’ll donate 50% of the sales of all my PDF patterns to the cause. (Of course, you are also welcome to donate directly or help out in the other ways stated on Josh’s blog).

CQ-PatternsI currently only have 5 patterns for sale, so it may not make a big dent, but every little bit helps, right?

It sickens me when I hear of such tragedies in the world, but it does give me comfort when I see quilters band together to offer love and support where they can.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged | 6 Comments

Check out Me Being Crafty Podcast and Listen to My Interview

Hey guys, have you heard of this great new creative podcast? It’s called Me Being Crafty and it’s hosted by Tsoniki Crazy Bull. When Tsoniki reached out to me and invited me to be on the show, I immediately listened to all the past episodes to get a feel for her audience and presentation style. After just a few minutes of listening, I quickly said yes!

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Tsoniki encourages you to find your creativity every day, no matter what you do. She interviews fun people like quilters, sewists, lifestyle bloggers, and all sorts of creative folks. On the podcast, Tsoniki shares her passion for creativity along with snippets of her life as a mom and military wife currently living in France, along with a touch of her Native American culture.

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Click here to listen to my interview. There’s a player at the top of the page. Just click play to listen on your computer.

You can also subscribe to the podcast via Itunes or Stitcher.

Me Being CraftyTsoniki and I chatted about modern quilting, the importance of quality tools, why I love teaching, and a little bit about my journey as a quilter.

She publishes podcasts twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with one guest per episode. Each podcast runs about 20-30 minutes. They are fun to listen to while sewing!

Click here for my publicity page to check out my other interviews and features. :-)

 

 

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Make a Modern Mini Quilt with My Mini Churn Dash Pattern

I’ve jumped on the mini quilt bandwagon with one of my latest finishes, Mini Churn Dash. I actually made it over the summer, but I’m able to share it with you now that it’s been published in the latest issue of The Quilting Quarterly by the National Quilting Association.

Mini-QADI was actually able to use this mini for two features in the magazine – the pattern on how to make the mini quilt, and my regular recurring column, Quilt As Desired.

Mini_patternI used a few fabrics from Bonnie & Camille’s Miss Kate line, generously provided to me by Moda Fabrics. I had so much fun making this mini!

I wanted to keep both the quilting and the binding in scale so I reduced my quilting stitch length and I finished it with 1/8″ binding rather than the standard 1/4″. It really wasn’t that hard to do. I used single-fold binding strips that were only 1 1/4″ wide and sewed with 1/8″ seams.

mini_bindingI love using Wonder Clips for binding my quilts. The more clips, the better!

In case you missed the magazine issue, you can purchase the individual pattern here.

I’ve been enjoying seeing quilts made with churn dash blocks and am so glad I was able to combine two trending ideas, mini’s and churn dashes into one quilt. If you are inspired to make your own Mini Churn Dash, I’d love to see it! You can share a picture with my via email, on my flickr page, or on Instagram with the hashtag “minichurndash.”

Posted in Christa's Quilts | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Optical Illusion – The Finish

I was able to finish Optical Illusion just in time to submit it to QuiltCon (the all-modern quilt show and conference). Then I got the exciting news that it was selected for judging along with two of my other entries, Abacus and Spiraling Out of Control. There were over 1300 entries submitted this year which totally blew away the amount of entries received the first time around. What an awesome show it’s going to be!

cwatson_Optical_Illusion_1800Optical Illusion, designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

Here’s a detail shot where you can see the quilting a little better:

cwatson_opticalillusion_detI had a lot of fun sharing this one on Instagram, because when my followers scrolled the reduced sized picture up and down, they could get the lines to move. What a fun trick! See if you can get it to move when you scroll this blog post up and down – it’s an interactive quilt!

Another “optical illusion” for this quilt was totally unintentional but added a fun surprise: when you hold it up to the light, you can see the geometric backing fabric shining through the white squares, creating a “stained-glass” effect. Cool huh?

stained-glassThis quilt is as fun to play with as it was to make! Since I finished ahead of schedule, I took a little time to make a not-so-fancy but utilitarian label for it, using the embroidery stitches on my machine. (It’s a Bernina 710 – since I know you are going to ask!)

labelI know several of you have asked for a pattern for it, so that’s in the works. I probably won’t release it though until after QuiltCon, to give me plenty of time to get it ready (and to see how it does during the judging process, LOL!!)

Now, it’s onto the next quilt….

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Christa's Quilts, Quilt Events | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Enter Your Modern Quilts into NQA’s 46th Annual Show

Ok guys and gals – you are going to see me blogging a lot about the National Quilting Association as I gear up to do a lot of fun things with them over the next year!

Web Banner2First up on the agenda – enter your quilts into their show! Of course they have all of the regular show categories, but I am so stoked that they also have a Modern category. And you know what’s even more exciting? It’s not a juried show which means that you are automatically guaranteed to get in! But here’s the catch – the show is limited to the first 400 entries! Wouldn’t it be amazing if so many of them are modern?

The deadline for entries is April 1st, 2015 and NQA members get a discounted entry so please become a member if you haven’t already! I will be going to the show myself (more about that later) – and I hope to see your quilts!

Posted in Quilt Events | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sneak Fabric Peek of Some New Projects

I’m excited to get a jump start on some quilts I’m hoping to finish next year. I wanted to play around with precuts and scraps and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to sew with so many colorful pieces of fabric!

Pat SloanTriangle TipsI’m currently making a quilt using Pat Sloan‘s latest fabric line The Sweet Life which will be in shops (including ours) around February of next year. These are some leftover triangle trimmings from the quilt blocks. I decided they are so fun and colorful that I think I’ll make a bonus project from all of the leftovers. Got any suggestions?

Scrappy Charms_1I also started cracking open some mini charm packs and regular charm packs that I have accumulated over the last couple of months (and this is after attending quilt market and giving most of it away already!!)

Not quite sure what I wanted to do with them, I first sorted them into piles of lights and darks because I knew I wanted high contrast. I was able to flip over quite a few of the medium prints and they turned into pretty low-volume pieces on the back. I just love versatile fabric, don’t you?

scrappy_charms_2I just love the contrast between bright prints and more muted low-volume designs!

I’ve now got the perfect idea in mind – it’s based on a traditional quilt I made years and years ago that I’m going to tweak into a more modern design. I’ve been having a blast sewing together all of these little squares and playing with all these luscious colors and prints!

Posted in Christa's Quilts, Fabric, Sew and Tell | Tagged | 14 Comments