Tips on How to Plan Your Quilting, Sewing Room Update

Hi all – I’ve been super quiet on the blog this week because getting my new sewing room up and running has been an all-consuming process! For those following the Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Along, the next post will be up soon, I promise!!

Plan Your Quilting

In the meantime, be sure to check out this informative post about planning your quilting. I shared it over on my buddy Amy Smart’s blog at Diary of a Quilter. It’s an inside look to how I plan my quilting. This will be helpful for those of you quilting along with me, or wishing to figure out how to plan your own quilts!

This week I’m getting my Ikea Sewing room cabinets installed and I can’t wait until they are finished! They are actually from their custom kitchen department but they will work wonderfully for my space! The whole unit will have covered doors with sleek handles so that I can keep the mess out of sight.

Sewing Room Ikea Cabinets

Once the cabinets are finished, the flooring will be installed and then I can start moving my sewing stuff into the space. I can’t wait to share the final reveal! I have to say that working with Ikea, and their authorized partner Traemand installation has been wonderful. There have certainly been hiccups along the way, but they’ve handled everything with such professionalism that I would highly recommend them! Here’s hoping I have room for all my stuff, LOL!

Home Update #8 and Fabric News

I’m still recovering from my awesome trip to QuiltCon last week, so more about that later. But I wanted to give you all an update of what I was able to accomplish in the new house before I left. We’ve now been in our home for nearly 2 months and it’s coming along nicely. My busy traveling season has now begun so most of the remaining work will need to happen in chunks of time in between teaching trips! Here’s the latest and greatest:

Watsons New House

My living room area is nearly put together. We started with the teal green leather sofas and I had ordered some upholstered swivel chairs with a really fun print to create enough seating. Because it was a really large U-shape, I knew we needed an oversized coffee table that could be reached on all sides. I found one online and took a risk buying it without seeing it in a a store first. But when I found out it was called the “Watson” table I knew it was meant to be!! It fits the space perfectly and I’m very pleased.

We purchased contrasting red barstools to give the kitchen area a pop of color and added in some yellow pillows to get away from the green monochromatic color scheme. Now I need to add in a few more red/yellow accents to complete the look and of course find the perfect area rug to pull it all together.

Sewing Room Lights

Sewing room renovation in progress: flooring and electrical

Upstairs, my sewing studio is a bit of a mess. We had additional lighting installed in the ceiling and it makes such a huge difference! I’m currently waiting on getting cabinets installed from Ikea and then we can finish the flooring. We added a floor plug in the center of the room for my sewing machine table, and moved a couple of electrical outlets so the space will function how I’ve envisioned it. Cabinet installation is scheduled for next week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!

Get My Fabric By the Yard

Fabric Storage

My yardage for sale is stored in the guest room which was most recently used by my son Ryan before he left for his mission. My older son Jason is moving back from Idaho to live here and work for us for awhile, so now I’m glad I have the extra room!

In getting my house organized, I realized I needed to re-arrange my little Christa Quilts store, too. This is where I offer all of my own designed patterns, threads, books and fabrics for sale. I’ve been getting requests to purchase my fabrics in one-yard increments so now you can!

Click here to order yardage of any of my collections: Modern Marks, Fandangle, and Abstract Garden. To purchase more than one yard, select the color you want, and click “add to cart” for each yard. Then I’ll cut it into one continuous length.

Now I need to go plan which room to work on next! So much to do, so little time!!

Home Update Week 6 – Save 10% on Your Entire Order!

Whew! I can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since we decided to move. We’ve now been in the home  for 3 weeks and there is still. So. Much. To. Do!!! But we are making great progress each week.
The interior painting is finally done, and Jason installed shelves for me in the laundry room.

Laundry RoomI’m enjoying adding touches of color to our home!

In our previous home we had really nice wood cabinets in the laundry room, but discovered that we never used them. Things got shoved in there, never to see the light of day. So this time around, I think shelves will be much more functional and will provide tons of space for all of my cleaning essentials. I’m excited to have a utility sink and there’s plenty of room for a folding table too, once the appliances are moved in.

Dining Room Before and After

Dining Room before and after: darker versus lighter teal.

The other big change we accomplished was swapping out the dining room paint for a lighter, more muted teal. At first we had painted it a very dark turquoise, which I loved on the sample card, but realized quickly that it was way too intense and didn’t quite match the rest of the house. Once we changed it to a softer tone I was much happier. Yes, it cost a little extra for paint and labor, but in the end, It was totally worth it!

Kitchen

The kitchen area was a huge selling point for us and is truly the heart of this home!

Our kitchen area is in the focal point of the home and really sets the color palette for the downstairs area. The backsplash is a really pretty teal/green/blue combo which looks fantastic against the dark gray/brown cabinets and silver appliances. I’m waiting to purchase barstools until the rest of the living room furniture has been acquired to ensure it all harmonizes together. So be on the lookout for more updates as they happen!

Quilt on a Couch

I want to incorporate more quilts into my decorating, too! I’ve draped my LatticeWork quilt on the couch which adds a fun pop of color, while being super cozy for cuddling!!
Now I’m just waiting for the rest of the living room furniture to arrive.

Use code MOVE6 to Save 10% on Your Entire Order

My sewing room will be the LAST thing to get set up in the house but that’s okay since I don’t have any sewing deadlines until the end of next month. In the meantime, you can take advantage of this week’s sale: 10% off anything and everything in my store at shop.ChristaQuilts.comUse code MOVE6 at checkout, and thanks for your support of our latest adventure!!

Moving Update Week 5 – Buy 2 patterns, get 1 free!!

Yep – we’re still moving, LOL!! On the one hand it feels like this process is taking forever. But then I realized that most people take months to pack or even make a decision about purchasing a home. From the time we decided to purchase until we started moving was less than a month, so there really hasn’t been much time for dilly-dallying, much less planning and packing ahead of time! We’re getting as much ready in the new house as possible, moving a bunch of stuff and then immediately putting things away – no living out of boxes!

Our dining room (above, right) is nearly finished. I really love color in my home, but I fear the teal is a bit too intense for the softer seafoam green couches in the living room (in progress on the left). Some accent chairs are coming soon, and then I’ll make a final decision as to whether or not I’ll need to repaint.

We’ve gotten in most of the new furniture we ordered, and have moved in most of the essentials (except my sewing room – that will be the last thing to get organized!) We are living in the new house now while we work between both houses.

My daughter is thrilled with her finished room. Since this pic was taken, she’s arranged all of her collectibles and keepsakes on the shelves and it looks great! Now all she needs are a few final accent pieces – a mirror on the wall above her dresser, and a comfy bean bag chair under the window. (Thank goodness for Ikea assembly or we never would have gotten it finished!!)

Since we are self-employed, we can’t shut down work during the transition so that always makes things a bit tricky. I’m processing and printing labels for shop.christaquilts.com at the old house, while cutting and filling orders at the new place. Jason is keeping things running smoothly for ThePrecutStore during the transition, and of course my email in box is about a mile long. So thanks for your patience to anyone who’s reached out to me this month. I’m slowly working my way back down to “inbox zero!”

Fabric Storage

In the guest room next to my sewing studio we added shelving in the corner to hold bolts of my fabric yardage for sale. There’s plenty of room for a bed, dresser and desk. Plus, there’s lots of storage space in the walk-in closet. My son is currently living in this room until he leaves for his mission in China next month, so he took over some of the empty shelf space in the meantime.

This week’s sale: save on all printed patterns

We got a lot done this past week, but we haven’t moved over the printed patterns yet. you’d be surprised at how heavy a box of patterns can be! And with 14 patterns under my belt (with more to come) that’s a LOT of boxes!!

So do a girl a favor and scoop up your favorites with this great deal:

Use code MOVE5 during checkout at shop.christaquilts.com to buy 2 patterns and get 1 free.

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here and use code MOVE5 at checkout for the pattern discount.

My kids will thank you as this means less for them to pack up!!

Don’t worry, even with all of the moving craziness, my Blooming Wallflowers QAL still starts on Friday, so watch for the first post. If you haven’t purchased the Blooming Wallflowers quilt pattern yet, now is a great time to grab it, along with 2 more of your faves.

Now it’s time to pack up more stuff!!

Moving Sale Week 4: Save 10% on Precuts, Bundles and Kits

We are making great progress on our new house, but there’s still a ton left to do! Last week, we got several of the rooms painted and started moving things into closets. My daughter is thrilled with her new pink room and now we are just waiting for her furniture to arrive from Ikea. Since she will be the only child living with us once my son Ryan leaves for his mission in China, we wanted to make sure she’d be happy in the new place.

Painting before and after

Before and after pics of painting Jenna’s room – she loves it!

My sewing room will probably be the last room to get organized, so I’m continuing to have a different weekly sale to cut down on the amount of things we’ll need to move!

Click here and use code MOVE4 to save 10% on all precuts, bundles and kits.

Abstract Garden Charm Packs

All precuts are on sale, from all 3 of my fabric collections.
Use code MOVE4 at checkout.

It’s kind of crazy to think that from the time we thought about moving to the time we closed on the house was just 3 weeks, but that’s kinda how I roll. When I’m ready to do something, I usually throw all of my effort into it ASAP!! Fortunately, my schedule doesn’t get busy again until mid February, so for now, getting moved and settled is my full-time focus!!

Moving Sale Week 3: Save on Fabric by the Yard

Today’s the day!! We close on the house and get the keys – whoo hoo!! Although we are giving ourselves some extra time to decorate before the big move, I want it to be done like NOW. But last week was very productive. I ordered a new set of couches for the living room – leather in a very pretty seafoam green that will match the blacksplash in our kitchen.

Sofa Shopping

Jason is testing out the sofa while I rearranged the furniture in the store. Fortunately the sales person was very accommodating of our request to move things around, LOL. I grabbed the red pillows from another couch and paired it with a dark leather ottoman from another display, just to see what it would look like. I haven’t settled on the final accessories yet, but we ended up purchasing two of the longer couches to fill up more of our living room space. They are super comfy!!

Save $1 Per Yard: Use Code MOVE3 at Checkout

Click here to purchase yardage from all 3 of my fabric lines.

Christa's Fabric

Right now I currently have bolts of fabric from all 3 of my collections stashed in various places in my sewing room. In the new house, we plan to build shelving to display it and add a pop of color to the room. However, the amount of storage will be limited, so please help me clear out a few of the extra bolts before we move!

Use code MOVE3 at checkout to save $1 per yard. You can order the fabric in 2 yard increments and I’ll cut it into one continuous piece.

Click here to get yardage from Modern Marks, Fandangle, and Abstract Garden.

Merry Christmas 2018 and Some Exciting Family News

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from the Watsons

Merry Christmas from the Watsons: Jenna, Christa, Jason, Jason Jr. and Ryan

This month has seen a lot of excitement for our family, with the decision to buy a new home, and now some amazing news about our son Ryan! He has chosen to serve a church mission for the next 2 years and we just got the notice that his assignment will be in Hong, Kong, China!

For those of you that our curious, all young adults of our faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints) are encouraged to serve for 2 years after they graduate from high school. Young men can choose to serve once they turn 18 and young women when they turn 19. They can submit their applications any time before they reach the age of 26.

Missionary Calling

Ryan received his call the same day we traveled to visit family for the holidays. It was so special to gather together and share the exciting news with them.

It’s a very special time when a missionary decides to make this huge sacrifice and they never know ahead of time where they will be called. For example, some of my kids’ friends have recently gone to such diverse places such as Liberia, South Africa; Rome, Italy; Auckland, New Zealand, Kansas City, Missouri; and Salt Lake City, Utah. So it can really be anywhere in the world. As you can guess it will be quite an adventure!

They first travel to the missionary training center in Provo, Utah for a few weeks to prepare before they head out to their assignment. Those that will be learning a foreign language will stay at the MTC longer so that that they can begin to learn the language. It’s always amazing to see a young adult not know how to speak a particular language and then come back fluent in that language 2 years later.

Missionary Letter

Ryan will be speaking Mandarin Chinese on his mission and he’s up for the adventure!!

Ryan leaves in February which will be here before we know it! When he first applied, I was a little worried that his leaving date would coincide with my busy teaching schedule which picks up again in February. Fortunately, he leaves about a week before I go to QuiltCon, so thank goodness the timing works out!

The coolest thing is that at the end of his mission, we have the option to fly to China to visit him and bring him home.  I’ve already told the kids we’ll plan a family trip in 2021. I’m not sure if there are many quilters in Hong Kong, but if you know of any – please them know I’m coming!

Needless to say our family will have a busy 2019 but I’m ready to bring it on!

Christmas with Cousins!

Christmas with cousins is the best! Even though they are much older, my children love hanging out with my sister’s kids: Jacob, Katelyn, and Ethan. And as moms out there already know – it sure is hard it is to get pictures of kids with everyone’s eyes open and looking at the camera, LOL!! 

Here’s to a fabulous 2019!!

New Home Journey – The Decision to Move

So we just did a crazy thing. We decided to buy a new house!! After 13 years of living in the same home, we started thinking about how we could expand my studio space – because thanks to all of you – I’ve outgrown my current situation. So my husband Jason and I sat down and started planning out whether to renovate our current home, rent out a separate office/studio space, or just buy a bigger home.

Our New Home

This will be our new home very soon, if all goes according to plan.

Being the former CPA that he is, Jason was able to crunch the numbers and realize it made more sense to find a bigger used home in great condition. The perfect place for us would ideally be not too far from our current home, since we love the area and we have established roots here.

So we thought it would take a while to find exactly what we needed, and I was worried about the timing. Next year starts getting really busy for me in the spring and summer, which are usually the most popular times of the year to move. But low and behold, a few days after we started looking, we found the exact floor plan we were looking for at a price we could afford, and it’s ready for immediate move-in.

Kitchen

The sleek modern cabinets, wide open spaces, and gorgeous kitchen really sold us on this house.
Now to start making some cozy quilts to match…..

The best part is that this house is just a few minutes away from our current home, and (super important for our kids) in the same church community where we’ve spent years developing friendships. And to make it even more perfect, it’s on the same street as one of my daughter’s really good friends. So this really seems to be another case of the universe leading me where I need to go. (I love it when that happens!)

So here’s where the timing gets super interesting. Although this particular home had been on the market for several months with no offers, once we quickly decided it was “the one,” it seemed as if everyone else wanted to buy it, too! The day we decided to put an offer on the house, we were notified that there were already two other offers and they weren’t accepting any more after the end of THAT day. Oh no… but this is OUR home we thought!!

Open plan downstairs

I love open floor plans with lots natural light.
Decorating this space is going to be so much fun!

As luck would have it, we were able to get a quick pre-approval from the bank, and thanks to the excellent (and quick) work of our realtor friend, we were able to make a strategic offer that was below the asking price, but still the highest offer on the table. If we had waited one extra day to decide… we would have lost out on it!

Image from Ikea – not my home, though I wish!!
I imagine this cheerful Ikea couch would look so fun in my new home.
Or maybe one in teal, or navy, or seafoam…. it will be fun to decide!

So now, we need to get ready to move! Of course there’s paperwork to finalize and there’s always the chance that something could fall through. But I’m an optimist and prefer to think about what could go right and the steps I need to take to make it happen.

Dining Room

Here’s my friend’s dining room, who recently purchased the exact same home. I love the accent walls and want to achieve the same look, but with more of a modern vibe.

Now the plan is to measure all of the rooms, budget out some improvements, and begin the moving process while still living in our current home.

In order to avoid the horrors of having to temporarily move to a smaller rental, or even worse, trying to move an entire household AND business in one weekend, we are going to move a little bit at a time over a few weeks so as to avoid any major disruptions with our business. After all, if we don’t work, we don’t eat – one of the “joys” of being self-employed! 🙂

Sewing Room

This will be my new sewing studio. The camera angle makes it look long and skinny, but it’s more of a square. I imagine built-in cabinets along the left wall, my sewing table under the window, and a humongous design wall along the right wall (which needs to be repainted first).

And here’s another fortunate miracle of timing: after being busy with deadlines, projects and travel non-stop for the last 4 years, I actually have a bit of a breather over the next few months.

My next book deadline isn’t until later next year, I don’t have any sewing deadlines until fabric samples arrive in the spring, and my next teaching event isn’t until QuiltCon in February. So rather than sewing in December and January, I’ll be “piecing” together my new creative space!

Sewing Studio part 2

This is the view from the opposite end of the sewing room. The corner nook would be perfect for more built in shelving, with a cozy chair for hand-work or reading. The guest room is nearby with a large walk-in closet for extra storage and my husband gets a larger office, too.

I’m excited to document this process in real time, and hope you’ll indulge me as I focus a little bit more on home-making and a little bit less on quilt-making.

But don’t worry, I’m still planning to host our next quilt along in January, but with a slightly later start date. Fortunately the quilt along steps have already been sewn and photographed, so you all can sew-along, while I’m setting up my new workspace. I’ll approach this new venture like any other large project: one step at a time!

Backyard

The backyard isn’t very big since the house footprint takes up most of the land. But I love the low- maintenance landscaping, and there’s still plenty of room to spray baste my quilts.

Stay tuned for the next part of my new-home adventure. I can’t wait for the journey!

My Trip to Australia 2018

Now that I’m back and rested from my trip to Australia, I thought I’d share some of the highlights. I was invited to travel to Tasmania and Adelaide to teach machine quilting and it was soo amazing! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring my family with me. They had lots of adventures while I was teaching, and I was able to participate with them on my days off.

Welcome to Tasmania

If you’ve never gone on a long haul flight, I have to admit it was pretty tough. It took us about 24 hours to get there with multiple layovers, one long 14 hour flight in which we had to sleep on the plane (so not fun) and of course a huge adjustment in time zones. But the hubby and kids were up for the adventure and fortunately our first day there was a recovery day so it didn’t slow us down too much.

Flights to Australia

The kids loved walking on the tarmac to board the plane on one of our connecting flights.

Sleeping on the Plane

Sleeping on the Airplane is not very comfortable!!

I had a full play day scheduled in Tasmania before I had to teach and we were able to visit a local museum and animal sanctuary. I learned a bit about the country’s history and got to cuddle with some koalas and kangaroos!

Art Piece from Tasmania

This art piece from the museum looked very quilty. I enjoyed learning about the region’s history.

Bonorong Sanctuary in Tasmania

The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania got most of their animals as rescues. Many times the mama kangaroos are killed on the roadways while carrying Joey’s (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. They raise the babies and protect other native wildlife so they can thrive.

Kangaroos in Australia

It was fun to pet & feed the kangaroos. Can you see the joey sticking out of mama’s pouch??

Jason was our designated driver and it took him a few days to recover from driving on the “wrong” side of the road, but fortunately I was able to use that analogy when teaching free-motion quilting. I told my students that It takes learning a new motor skill while both driving AND quilting, LOL!!

Driving in Australia

It took awhile to get used to the view from the “wrong” side of the street while driving!!

My students in Tasmania seemed to have a fabulous time learning both walking foot and free motion quilting. Thank goodness that “driving” a sewing machine works the same no matter which country you are in (though of course we had to pack a few plug adapters to use our electronics.)

Student work

Student work in class – I love the variegated thread!

Tasmania MQG

Souvenir from the Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild – I’ll wear it with pride!

While I taught, the kids were able to travel to what they called “The End of the World” – the southern most tip of Australia. Really you can’t travel much further south without being in Antarctica!

Views from the End of the world

View from “the end of the world”! It wasn’t really but the kids had fun calling it that!

By the way, I loved taking notice of all the cultural and language differences between our two countries. The most interesting thing I noticed at each restaurant we visited was that they gave us a container and glasses for us to pour our own water, rather than serving us glasses of ice water and constantly refilling it. It’s actually more efficient I think, and my younger son who prefers not to have ice in his drinks was thrilled.

Water at the Restaurant

There’s a large Asian population in Australia which meant lots of yummy Asian restaurants to try!

The Lift at the airport

The word LIFT at the airport certainly takes up less space on a sign than “elevevator!”

Just for funsies, here are a couple of wording differences that the kids had fun pointing out. The first word is the Australian version, followed by what we call it here in the US:

  • Lift = elevator
  • Holiday = vacation
  • Trolley = shopping cart
  • Chips = french fries
  • Sauce = ketchup
  • Toilet = restroom
  • Take away = take-out
  • Way out = exit
  • Pram = stroller
  • Jug = pitcher
  • Biscuit = cookie

Australian Tim Tams

TimTams are the best “biscuits” we’ve ever had so we made sure to stock up!!

After our jaunt in Tasmania (with delicious food and amazing hospitality) we took a hop over to Adelaide for the next leg in our journey so I could teach at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival. I lectured and taught for 3 days straight and the most fun thing to realize is that quilters are amazing and enthusiastic, no matter where in the world I travel!

Cindy Needham, Helen Stubbings and Christa Watson at AMQF

I enjoyed chatting with Cindy Needham and Helen Stubbings from Hugs ‘n Kisses after a day of teaching. Cindy was one of those inspiring teachers who came to my guild about 10 years ago that made me realize I wanted to travel and teach, too! Helen invited me to her guild in Tasmania and it’s her sister who invited me to teach at AMQF. I love a creative quilting family!!

I taught 3 machine quilting workshops and one piecing workshop. Students worked on their versions of my Modern Logs quilt pattern and it’s one of my favorite piecing workshops to teach because everyone’s blocks turn out so differently, but are still soo amazing!

Modern Logs Workshop in Australia

I love hanging out with fun quilters worldwide!!
BERNINA Australia generously provided sewing machines in class for everyone to use.

While I taught in Adelaide, the family had even more adventures. They went bike riding out in the country, and did some rock climbing guided by my oldest son.

Watsons and Koala

This Koala knows how to pose for the camera!

We were there for a total of 12 days including travel and my daughter who is still in school diligently kept up with her homework while we were gone. I’m so glad the timing worked out for all of us to go (the older boys head out on their next life adventures this fall).

Biking in Australia

The kids had as much fun with their outdoor adventures as I did teaching!

Rock climbing in Australia

This is the one adventure I was ok to miss! My oldest son is quite the climber so he took the rest of the family on a SAFE rock climbing adventure during one of my workshop days.
I’m so glad they use LOTS and LOTS of ropes!

More Kangaroos!

More Kangaroos!

One of the highlights of the quilting festival was getting to put a teacher ribbon on my favorite quilt. Not only was I blown away by the quilt in the shape of Australia, but the maker machine quilted it herself, adding lots of wonderful texture to the surface, without overpowering the pieced design.

Australia Quilt by Barbara Kukulies
Land Girt by Sea by Barbara Kukulies – Faculty Choice Ribbon

I had such an amazing time and hope to return to Australia again someday. This was my first international teaching trip and it’s definitely made me open to teaching at other international locations, too! So if you live somewhere exotic and fun, feel free to pass my name along to your event organizer or guild. 🙂

Do you have a fun place that’s on your bucket list to visit? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Christa’s Soap Box – I love Blogging! (with Highlights from our Vacation in Mexico)

I just returned from a fun, but busy two weeks away from home – one week teaching in North Carolina, and the following week on a family vacation to the Riveria Maya in Mexico (near Cancun). I’m interspersing some pictures of our family vacation with my thoughts about blogging so you have something interesting to look at while you read.

Family Vacation in Mexico

Snorkeling at Xcaret, a natural theme park in the jungle of Mexico
We also visited two other eco-parks: Xplore and Xel-ha and they were all amazing!

While I was away on vacation, I had one of those moments of clarity that only happens when I’m away from my machine or relaxing and doing something else. Last year I wrote a post about my need to simplify social media. I followed it up a few weeks later with another post about what it was like a few weeks in. Now that a significant time has passed I realized what channel I enjoy the most – blogging!!

I enjoy being able to go in depth about thoughts I have, and being able to share multiple pictures to tell a more complete story.  I still share in-the-moment experiences and projects on Instagram and Facebook (find me on IG @christaquilts and my FB group ChristaQuilts) but I love being able to think about and express longer-form thoughts here on the blog. In fact what I usually like to do is gather the pictures and snippets I’ve shared on IG or FB over a period of days or weeks, and then turn that into a more complete story here on the blog.

Snorkeling in Mexico

Our family motto is work hard – play hard! We work a LOT so we can enjoy fun family vacations on a flexible schedule. Near the end of our trip it got very rainy and windy but that didn’t stop us from having a great time! The waters are warm and the views are spectacular!

When it comes to my thoughts on blogging, I’ve resisted the urge to follow the standard monetization model: churning out daily content to increase page views and qualify for google add revenue. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that model and plenty of bloggers earn a successful income doing that. (It’s also one of the reasons there’s so much free content out there – to attract more viewers and clicks.)

For me, the blog is more of a way for to document my quilting life (and occasional personal life) in real time. Of course I’ll still blog about new product announcements, workshops I’m teaching and quilting events I’m attending because after all, quilting is my full-time job and marketing is a huge part of that. But my favorite posts to write are process posts, sharing tips and techniques along the way while I’m creating. I also enjoy penning the occasional thought-provoking soapbox post, too!

Jason hamming it up in the Sea Turtle exhibit

My husband Jason, hamming it up at the Sea Turtle Exhibit

You’ll also notice I don’t do as many giveaways either. Although they are always fun and generate lots of traffic, it’s really too much to keep up with the flood of comments. I much prefer the thoughtful interactions we can have when you all leave comments or email me directly on a post of substance. I do try to respond to each comment personally (which you won’t always see in the comments section unless it’s something that everyone else needs to read, too).

Because I’m one of those people who tends to think out loud, blogging also helps me process things and get them out of my system. So it really IS true that quilting, or even writing about quilting is great therapy!! Since I recommitted to the blog at the end of last year, I’ve found that it’s easier to do consistently the more often I try.

Baby Sea Turtle

I fell in love with Sea Turtles on our vacation – the babies (above) have the most beautiful patterns on their shell! I’d never seen a full grown one (below) in real life until now – they get huge!!

Big Sea Turtle

It’s hard to tell the scale of this turtle but this one is at least 10x bigger than the baby. There was an even larger one but I missed getting a pic – trust me – they are huge!!!

When writing my blog, it takes me a long time to finalize each post, adding links and images where necessary and double, triple, quadruple checking for typos each time! But I heard once that if you “create before you consume” you feel a whole lot more productive. That seems to work for me as I usually try to start a blog post in the morning as part of my routine before I get into the flow of my workday.

It usually takes me a couple of days to knock out a blog post – so once I quit worrying about trying to blog daily and settled on 2-3 posts per week, I felt that’s something I can easily manage. That means if you see a week where I’ve only managed to write once, you’ll know there’s something big happening behind the scenes, or I’m just way behind on my work, LOL!!

Running in the Jungle

I did manage to get in a bit of exercise while on vacation. Our resort had lots of winding pathways that were perfect for jogging through the lush jungle. We saw all kinds of critters, too: iguanas, monkeys, coati and even racoons!! But alas, they were all too fast for my camara!

I try to keep a running list of topics I want to write about and will keep an editorial calendar so that I can be thinking about what I want to convey before I sit down to write. By keeping a running list, I can also pick and choose what I feel like writing at any given time. For example, I’m writing this one just as I returned from vacation, but wrote two more “evergreen” posts ahead of time while I was on vacation. They were faster and easier to crank out in in small snippets of time. Because I’ll have lots of catch up sewing to do when I get back, knowing I have a couple of posts in the queue waiting to go lets me relax and start writing more without feeling like it has to be done RIGHT NOW!!

Blogging is actually very similar to how I design and quit: I’ll think about something for awhile, block out time to work on a project, and then settle in for the actual work time without distractions. Also, when I’m not trying to cram something in last minute – either blogging or quilting – I can be more relaxed about it and enjoy the process more.

ziplining

Another thrilling part of our adventure was zip-lining through the jungle – most times it ended in water which was refreshing after a fun, heart-thumping ride!

Every now and then I hear about people lamenting the downfall of blogging and others questioning whether or not blogging is still relevant when there are so many other choices. Just like with anything else in life, writing a blog or even reading a blog isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok, too!

Ironically what I’ve found is that be because fewer people are blogging these days it actually allows my blog to be seen more, unlike the “blogging boom” of a few years ago when everyone was doing it. Because there’s not such a drive for me to monetize the blog – or stress about whether my “SEO” is “MIA” –  I can can focus more on being a quilter who blogs, not a blogger who quilts.

Hammock Time!

Proof that we’re not working ALL THE TIME though sometimes it might seem like it!

And with that said, now it’s time for me to unpack, do some laundry, and start thinking about the next quilt. It was a fabulous vacation, but now I’m excited to be home and I’m ready to get back to my sewing machine!!