Happy Thanksgiving from Christa Quilts!

Happy Thanksgiving 2020, friends! I’m so grateful for each person who supports me and my family. If you’ve ever left a comment, given a like, used my fabric, read my books, made my designs, taken a class or forged ahead more boldly into machine quilting, thank you so much! I couldn’t do this without YOU!Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Quilt shown above is Modern Logs, made from my Good Vibes fabric.

Although it was just the 3 of us this year, my husband, daughter and I did our annual Thanksgiving trail run in the desert near our home. It’s the perfect place to social distance and still get the exercise we need.

2020 Thanksgiving Trail Run

Above, my daughter and hubby on a trail near our home. Below, my daughter and I at the finish.

2020 Thanksgiving trail run

2020 Thanksgiving trail run

Building our Pool Part 2: We have a Huge Hole in the Ground!

My “other” hobby besides quilting is swimming and generally being outdoors. I love the Las Vegas heat, but I also like to stay cool, so earlier this summer we decided to get a pool in our backyard! (Click here to read part 1 if you missed it the first time around). So far we have a giant hole in the ground and it is HUGE!! So let me tell you more about that…

Excavation Begins!

Before they were able to start digging the hole for our backyard pool, they excavators had to first remove everything that was there to begin with. In order to get those tractors into the yard from our super skinny side yard, we had to have the gas meter removed because it stuck out too far.

The gas company came out and removed the meter for us which meant no hot water for 2 weeks while the excavators dug the hole!! But we are so excited about this project that we didn’t care. We had some very accommodating neighbors and family members that let us use their shower, and we ate out a lot so we didn’t have to do any dishes.

It took 3 days to completely destroy and level our backyard, including jackhammering the entire concrete patio that was there to begin with. It was fascinating to watch them work and I got a great view from my bedroom window on the second floor of our home.

Once the backyard was clear, the digging began!! It took a total of 8 days to dig a huge giant hole in the ground!! Here are some progress pics:

Pool Lines Drawn and Stakes placed

Digging Begins!
Expanding the Hole
Framing the Walls

My Daughter in the deep end (6′ Deep)

The Hole is Done!!

Plumbing and Steel Framing

While this was all going on, we got to choose our tile and flooring colors. I want a very neutral backdrop that will contrast with the pretty teal/blue water color that I want. My inspiration for for the “decking” areas surrounding the pool was a friend’s decking that she recently completed. It’s a very pretty gray/tan travertine tile and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it:

Just like choosing fabric colors, we took the samples outside to see what they’d look like in real daylight. The square below is the travertine tile that will be the outside flooring. The rectangle tiles will be along the water line and the raised wall along the back of our pool. I was deciding between the gray and the tan, and I decided to go with the tan because it seems to blend better.

For the “plaster” which is on the sides and bottom of the pool, we chose to go with a pebbletec finish which is very durable and can give the water a lot of color. We chose the deep blue/gray color (circled below) which will produce a very pretty deep blue/teal water color. Thanks to youtube and internet research, I was able to look at a LOT of example pools with different finishes!!

We also finalized the landscape plan which will be very simple: colorful vines and bushes along the back wall and a couple of tall bushes behind the spa. Not shown is the patio cover that will be replaced along the back of the house, giving us plenty of shade The yard will be mostly pool and decking, but it will give us plenty of room to relax and enjoy!

Now we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the rest of the equipment to arrive. Next, they will pour the concrete – called shotcrete – and then finish it all up hopefully by the end of next month. I can’t wait!!

My New Summer Project – Building a Pool!!

During this crazy long stretch where I’ve been working from home and not traveling, I came up with the hair-brained idea that we needed a backyard pool! We are in Vegas. We are hot. We need to cool down. But mostly I’ll be home over the next few months so I can stay on top of getting it done! Here’s a digital rendering of what our pool should look like when it’s done:

Pool Rendering

We actually made a few slight tweaks to the design after these drawings were made, but it’s pretty similar to what’s shown here and we are super excited about it!!

Watsons pool design

The start of an Idea

If you live in Las Vegas, chances are you either have a backyard pool or know someone who does. Shortly after we moved into our new home last year, our next door neighbors put in a pool in their yard. They’ve been super generous in allowing us to use it, but after the pandemic hit, I began thinking what our yard would like like if we had one built, too.

I was pleased that I was able to use Electric Quilt Design software (EQ8) to come up with the rough sketch shown below. But even before that that I spent several days chatting with my husband Jason about what we would want in our pool.

Pool Designed in EQ

We both really like to swim for exercise, but knew that our yard wasn’t big enough for a lap pool. So after a bit of research, we discovered this device called a “fast lane” by Endless Pools. It basically creates a current in the pool, allowing you to swim in place continuously. We knew that we had to include that if we were going to make this pool idea become a reality.

Next,  I started asking a bunch of friends which pool companies they used, and I was referred to BYOP (Build Your Own Pool) of Nevada. (FYI this is NOT an affiliate post – I just want to share about my experience as it happens). The clincher was when I asked them if they were familiar with they fast lane idea and they said yes they had installed those before.

So just like I tweak my quilt designs over and over to get them just right, we worked with BYOP to perfect our pool design, That included figuring out how to incorporate the fast lane device and preserve a pretty pool aesthetic. It will be recessed as shown below and covered with pool decking so that it doesn’t stick out into the pool itself.

Fast Lane Swim Jet

It’s gonna take awhile!

So the hardest part about the whole experience is that it will take a total of 3-4 months to install. I jokingly say it will be done just in time for winter, LOL!! But we did opt for a heating unit AND a spa – so it will be functional year round. Christmas day swimming anyone??

First we had to submit our plans to not 1, but 2 neighborhood HOA’s. Then we had to secure permits for the construction. Fortunately that all got approved relatively quickly, so now we can begin excavation soon. That’s where they basically destroy our current backyard and dig a big hole in the ground.

Once the design was finalized, the pool company came over and marked up the yard so that when the excavators come, they’ll knno exactly where to dig.

As we were finalizing the design, I used bricks from the yard and empty fabric bolts to visualize how big the areas of the pool would be. It was actually pretty fun to see my idea begin to take shape!

Below are the construction lines for our “wet deck” – a trend that I’ve seen in newer pools. It’s like a suntan ledge where you can put a chair and umbrella in the water or dangle your legs into the pool while sitting in just a few inches of water. It will be a great play area for future grandchildren, too (not that there any on the way anytime soon, but I’m just sayin’ it’s good to be prepared…)!

The Start of Something Good

Because we decided to cover the entire non-pool area with the same tile and decking, the first big project was to dismantle our covered patio so that they could remove the concrete that’s already there. The cover will be reassembled once the pool is in place. Here’s the before shot:

Covered patio

Below is our poor house with no more backyard shade. So sad, but at least we know it’s only temporary!! It’s kinda crazy how small our yard is, but in the future we will just refer to it as “swimming pool” room, LOL!!

uncovered patio

So, in the meantime while I wait for work to begin, I will cool off the best way I know how – with a portable pool and some lounge chairs in the shade. I’ll post another update in a few weeks, when things really start happening. After all, it’s been a great distraction, and something to keep me occupied in between sewing sessions.

cool in the pool

Stay cool out there, friends!!

Mask Maker, Mask Maker, Make me a Mask! (And other creative endeavors)

Does anyone else have the tune from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in their head? “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…”

Masks Made from Layer Cakes

We made masks using 10″x10″ squares of Geo Pop fabric and leftover binding strips.

Well, I finally had some time to sit down and sew some masks with my daughter. She needed to do a community service project for her school and of course it needed to be something we could do from home.

I’ve been the only one going out lately to get groceries and mail, while the rest of the family has been at home (other than the occasional walk or jog outside). But now that things are starting to open up, I know we will all need to wear them on a regular basis, so we decided to get busy sewing!

Jenna Sews

See that little sneaky peak on my design wall? I can’t wait until July to tell you more about it!!

We used up some leftover 10″x10″ layer cake squares from my Geo Pop fabric line to make the masks, and I paired them up with some leftover binding strips and scraps. The layer cake squares worked great and were easy to cut down and make a variety of mask colors for family members to choose from.

layer cake for masks

Save 20% on Layer Cake Squares!

If you’d like to get some of my 10″ squares for mask-making (or anything other project), use code MASK in the layer cake category at shop.ChristaQuilts.com to save 20% off.

We had a great time working on them together and feel good knowing we can literally breathe a little easier now when we go out!

Colorful Scraps

I love all the colorful piles of fabric scraps!

Although my daughter is not really interested in sewing or quilting with me on a regular basis, she enjoys pursuing writing and drawing, so I had to share one of her latest creations.

For her art class at school, she routinely creates little vignettes around our home and then draws them with various tools. Here’s her latest creation, a grouping of candles…

I tried to clean off the candles, but she wanted to leave the dust on the candles to add to the “texture” of the composition!

Next, here’s an in-progress pic where she’s drawn the basic design but hasn’t added the details yet. She used a combination of charcoal and some kind of resist where she erased a bunch of the charcoal get the lighter color.s. It was amazing to watch it come to life.

work in progress

And now the final art piece: I love how she even captured the shadows below. I love watching her develop her talent and I can’t wait to frame it and hang it up!

Since I’m sharing a bit more family time in this post I also wanted to share a picture of the scenic desert near our home. It may not look like much, but I’ve taken up trail running again with my husband and daughter.

We are currently training using the couch 5k program and getting healthier in the process! That means more endurance for quilting and a great way to get outdoors and get some sunshine, too.

Christa Runs

Happy quilting, mask-making, sewing, exercising and breathing my friends!

Merry Christmas from the Watsons – 2019!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for supporting Christa Quilts and The Precut Store!

Merry Christmas 2019

We recently had the opportunity to be in charge of a fun pajama themed Christmas party for our church. We are just missing my other son who’s currently serving as a missionary in Hong Kong.

Star Wars posters are everywhere in Hong Kong right now!
Too bad our son will have to wait until he gets home to actually see the movie, though!!

At this time of year we want to give big thanks and huge hugs to all of you who support our family’s quilting business. You are supporting our flexible work schedule so that we can volunteer in our community.

You are supporting two of our children as they work in our business while attending high school and college. You are supporting our other son who’s currently serving a church mission in Hong Kong, China.

You supported us earlier this year when we needed to relocate our entire household and business in under month (without shutting down business). You’ve supported our crazy idea to see if we could raise our family while working full-time in the quilting industry!!

Christmas at the Watsons

First Christmas in our new place. It was fun to add touches of handmade to create a cozy home.

It definitely hasn’t been easy!! But through it all, I’ve been uplifted and inspired whenever you share something you’ve made from my books, patterns or fabric. And it brightens my day when I get a kind email or social media comment about how I’ve helped make your quilting life easier.

Merry Christmas

A friend of ours painted this window outside our home, welcoming all who pass by!

So thanks for a fabulous 2019, thanks for your friendship, and thanks for your continued support. I’m looking forward to an even better 2020!

A Quilt of Love and Grief – Remembering a Dear Friend

A sweet friend of mine passed away this week. Stacy Perry was a devoted mother of 4, loving wife to Mark, (an amazing realtor who helped us with our recent move), and one of the kindest souls you’d ever meet. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 3 years ago and fought a very valiant fight for her life.

Our family have been friends with her family ever since we moved into the same neighborhood a dozen years ago. She was always the creative type, and I was thrilled when she tried her hand at quilting a couple of adorable baby quilts a few years back. She always had that infectious smile that made the world a better place just by being in it.Oops A Daisy Charm Pack Quilt - Girl

Chrysalis Charm Pack Quilt - Boy

Many of you even helped in the fight when I donated one of my quilts as a fundraiser to help pay for her cancer treatments a couple of years ago.

When we got the news that her time was quickly coming to an end, loving friends and family members dropped everything to help me make a quilt of love and comfort for her and her family. Not having time to start one from scratch, I quickly finished quilting a top that I had laying around from a previous class.

I knew this was the perfect wip (work in progress) because it contained some of her favorite colors. And it has a lot of meaning for me since Stacy has always been a shining star in my life. Incidentally blue is also color of colon cancer awareness so I’m glad this quilt is a fitting tribute to her.

Once the quilt was quilted and bound, we arranged to get signed hearts from as many of her family and friends as possible. With the help of a another crafty friend and neighbor, we cut out nearly 200 hearts for friends and family to sign messages of love for Stacy and her family.

I applied fusible adhesive to the back before the shapes were cut, and with an army of volunteers, we stitched them all down by hand to the back of the quilt so Stacy would be wrapped in love. We desperately wanted her to enjoy the quilt for the time she had left, and we knew it would be a keepsake for her family to remember the joy and comfort she brought to others.

We finished hand sewing all the hearts in 3 days time, with people coming and going and others stopping in to sign hearts and find a little peace and comfort. It was a very therapeutic process for all involved. We knew we couldn’t cure cancer, but at least we knew we could let her know how much she’s loved. I kept the needles and thread loaded and taught many a friend or fellow church member how to stitch their grief into this work of love.

We finished the quilt and presented it to her exactly one week before she passed and included a list of names of all who had signed. I gave a note to her family about the quilt which read:

Scores of friends, family, and loved ones gathered from near and far to write heart-felt messages of love, while compassionate sisters spent countless hours hand sewing the hearts, and finding comfort in every stitch. We’ve included a list of everyone who was able to contribute a heart and while we know that we couldn’t reach everyone who loves her, we stitched in additional unsigned hearts to represent everyone whose Stacy’s life has touched.

She was touched to receive the quilt and the first thing her kids did was ask to find the hearts that they’d written for their mom. We spent a couple of hours with her so that we could say our goodbyes and she could have many of the hearts read to her. We laughed, we cried, and we shared sweet moments that I’ll treasure forever.

We love the Perry family.

Stacy was able to spend her final days surrounded by family and she passed away peacefully, with a smile on her face.

Now the additional work of helping comfort her family begins. There will be a funeral to plan and thankfully there are lots of family and friends nearby that can pitch in at a moment’s notice. But since she leaves behind 4 children and a heart-broken husband, they will need constant love and care during this difficult time. If you are of the praying kind, please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers. I am of the belief that she will see her family again, and that gives me comfort, though for them it will seem like a long time.

Stacy, Mark and the Kids. I believe that Families are Forever.

Of course I still have my own personal obligations to attend to, my family to care for, and work deadlines to meet. But part of my healing process is to share, so thank you for allowing me to share these words and find solace in writing (and quilting). xoxo

Catching up with Christa – A Bit of This and That

How’s everyone’s summer going so far? I thought I’d do a catch-all post today, letting you know what’s been going on around here in real time. I feel like I’ve finally got a good work-life balance going that’s allowing me to keep up with consistent online content, too.

Resting, Relaxing, and Getting Healthy!

Last week, my family and I took our annual beach vacation in Hermosa Beach, California. This was the first time in a long time I’ve gone on vacation and not done any work. It was a very nice break and now I’m geared up and ready to for for a busy fall season coming up later this year. I’m currently working on my next fabric and book deadlines, but unlike in previous years, I’m not ignoring the blog or social media.

Hermosa beach vacation

While I was on vacation, I kick-started my determination to get healthy again. I worked out every day and chose healthier food options. Over the past 5 years, I’ve let my healthy habits slip and am excited to get back into shape. I’m not doing anything too crazy – just tracking what I eat and how much I work out. Somehow that magically transforms into small but consistent weekly weight loss! I’ll be posting a few of my adventures on my instagram stories so be sure to follow my @christaquilts instagram account if you’re interested in that.

Gearing up for Travel Season

Although I travel year round about once a month, I’m gearing up for a busy travel season over the next couple of months. In fact, I’m excited to be hanging out with the gang from QUILT of Northwest Arkansas this weekend, and then I’ll be traveling from coast to coast. You can catch me at Dave’s BERNINA in Utah in August, and then a couple of stops in New York in September and October. I’ll also be debuting my next line of fabric at fall quilt market and am excited to be part of the inaugural Threads of Success event at Houston Quilt Market.

Click here to keep up with my current travel schedule and let me know if you’ll be attending one of my events. I look forward to seeing you!

Updated Website Navigation

I have a LOT of content here on my blog, which also functions as my website. I’ve made it easier to find my free patterns, tutorials, quilt alongs, online classes and other content. Simply check out the menus at the top of your screen, and explore all of the content I have to offer. My #1 goal with quilting is to be your cheerleader, so you can have as much fun making quilts as I do!

Upcoming Quilt Along

Here’s a sneak peek of the quilt along my friend Heather Black and I are hosting in September, featuring my Geo Pop fabric line. More details will be coming soon, but save the date. I have a few Infrastructure kits available for a limited time.

Infrastructure QAL

With this upcoming quilt along, I’m hoping to venture more into video. The plan this summer is to film while I’m making the quilt so I can offer a comprehensive tutorial on all aspects of quilt-making from cutting to binding! The quilt along itself is free; all you need to purchase is a copy of the Infrastructure quilt pattern to participate.

Quilting Podcast Series

I was happy to be a returning guest on a relatively new podcast called “Make and Decorate” with Stephanie Socha. She’s currently running a series on how to quilt your quilts and she’s interviewed several well known quilters in the industry. I had a great time sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks. Be sure to check out her website for other inspiring interviews from some of your favorite designers and teachers. I love Stephanie’s voice and her enthusiasm for the craft is very infectious!

Make and Decorate Podcast

Click here to listen to my podcast interview.

Shipping Update – Flat Rate of $5 to the US

Although I love supporting independent quilt shops, I also keep a stock of my fabrics, patterns, books, and threads on hand for those who simply can’t find them at their favorite shop or don’t have a LQS nearby. To make it easier on the wallet for online purchases, I’ve updated my shipping across the board to be a flat $5 per order, no matter how much you buy. Hopefully that gives you incentive to stock up on your favorites without breaking the bank! I ship internationally, too based on the current flat rates for each country.

Geo Pop Fabric

Click here to shop all of my Christa Quilts branded products.

That about wraps it up for this week! I’m trying to consistently post 2-3 times per week and I always appreciate the comments, questions, and feedback I receive. You all make my full-time quilting career so much fun!!!

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!


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!!