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!

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!