Happy New Year 2014 – Live Long and Prosper!

Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014!

My husband’s family has this fabulous tradition of  dressing up and going on a scavenger hunt each year to find our big family Christmas gift. This year’s theme was Star Trek and we were on a quest to seek out new life forms and new civilizations while solving clues along the way!

It's Logical

Solving clues requires simple logic!

We had to answer trivia questions, solve puzzles and think like Captain Kirk while we journeyed through our quest.

Clues

Solving clues is logical, Captain!

Stark Trek

What would Captain Kirk do?

Each answer led us to another clue and we really had to work together as a crew to discover our final destination!

Seeking out new life forms on our journey!

Seeking out new life forms on our journey!

At the end of our journey we were rewarded with generous gifts and fun memories from our quest. You can see our antics from previous years here and here.

Christmas - the final frontier!

Christmas – the final frontier!

Live long and prosper!

Christa’s Soap Box – Looking Ahead to 2014

I set a precedent last year when I listed my 2013 New Year’s goals a month early at the end of the year rather than on January 1st. I kind of go my own way sometimes and realized I’m more likely to achieve my goals if I get a head start, LOL!

Lighting

An unofficial goal – learning more about lighting and photography.

My 2013 quilting goals were pretty bold and ambitious and I knew I was taking a risk by stating them so publicly. However, I’m happy to say that I was able to accomplish most of them and feel like a lot of the hard work paid off.

And those that fell by the wayside? Well I learned a bunch, even from my failures. Some of the most memorable achievements of the year were getting accepted into Quiltcon, winning viewer’s choice in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, getting my first quilt published in a magazine, and winning an award at a major quilt show.

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons at QuiltCon

String of Pearls at MQX

String of Pearls at MQX


So what’s on the agenda for 2014? In three words: Simplify and Focus. I only have two goals for the next year and here they are:

1. Write a book. (Notice that I didn’t say “publish” – that will be later.)

I’ve just submitted a book proposal to a publisher and now I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not it will be accepted. I know most people are usually hush-hush about this kind of thing, but since blogging for me is as important as sewing (or maybe breathing), I’m putting it out there (without revealing any of the juicy details). Besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen? They can say no, and then I’m really no better or worse off than I was before – other than having a ton of new ideas! So I might as well try. 🙂

Family Time

What we do to stay sane in between projects and deadlines.

The one effect this will have on my blog is that I will probably take a break from my Quilt Alongs while I work on other projects. However, I’ll leave the finished ones up and since I’m used to blogging nearly every day, there will be no lack of content around here!

2. Get back in shape. (Again.)

Beach Running

Gotta run!

I know, I know – this is everyone’s goal, right? Well, after blogging recently about mine and Jason’s trail-running, I’ve decided this is the perfect time to kick it into gear. I just feel so much better when my clothes fit. Plus, I have much more energy to sew when I don’t wake up with a “food-hangover” from the night before! I look to my previous weight-loss journey as inspiration this time around.

So how about you? What’s on your goal list for the upcoming year?

40 Is…

Christa QuiltsI recently read a blog post written by the lovely and talented Jennifer of Ellison Lane.

She titled her post This is 38: A Look at Middle Life and she made a list of things that came to mind.

That really inspired me, and since I’m a couple of years older than she is, I thought I’d write my own version, so here goes:

40 is….

  • Happy to be married with kids that are old enough to feed and clean themselves.
  • Being ok with the oncoming grey and a little relieved that it hasn’t taken over yet.
  • Lamenting with my hubby that he’s losing hair in places he doesn’t want, and I’m getting it in places it shouldn’t be!
  • Embracing the new direction in my quilting career and enjoying the child-like excitement I feel with every little success.
  • Christa's BerninaOld enough to think I am wise, but young enough to realize I still don’t know it all.
  • Finally being able to afford the car I want, the sewing machine I want…(the debt I don’t want, LOL!!)
  • Not being ashamed of mixing my personal life with my professional life and blogging about all of it.
  • So much better than 30 and even 20!

I’m sure I could think of many more if I tried. Here’s to more love, life and happiness in the next decade. 🙂

My Happy Family

My Happy Family

A Few Changes in Store and Some Help Needed

I’m not one to keep all my desires, goals and plans secret until they are all perfectly in place.  The good thing about this is that I feel like I have a great support network to encourage me in anything I do. The downside is that sometimes things seem to take forever to accomplish!

With that said, I’ll let you in on some upcoming changes around here. For some time now, I’ve felt myself being drawn more and more into the modern quilting movement and my store is starting to reflect that. I’ve decided to completely revamp my online quilt shop which is a scary and slow process, but it feels like the right thing to do.

Christa QuiltsI want to focus more on fabrics that I actually use and become more of a niche shop rather than trying to appeal to everyone. This will allow me to streamline my business and free up much of my administrative time to do more of what I like best – making quilts!

It boils down to this: I want to clear out nearly half of my store’s current inventory so I can make way for more Kona, Kaufman, Kaffe, and Kits.

Dr. Seuss BundleKaffe BundleQuilt Along Kits


So here’s where you come in to help. Without trying to sound overly commercial here, please help me clear out my huge clearance section. I’ve spent the last week combing through my inventory and marking down nearly 700 different fabrics anywhere from 20% to 50% off!

I tried to be very generous on marking it down because I’d like to move it quickly. The sooner I clear it out, the quicker I can get in more of an eclectic mix of fresh, modern and fun fabrics!

Kona SolidsFor those of you wondering where all the precuts went, they are now on Amazon. I can now carry about 10x the amount of precuts that I used to because Amazon stores and ships them for me! You can visit ChristaQuilts on Amazon here.

As for more upcoming plans, I’ve mentioned a few times that you’ll start seeing some of my quilts in a few of your favorite quilting magazines this fall. If all goes well, I even may start writing a book.

I will have kits available for the magazine quilts once they’ve been published. Plus, I’m putting together kits for another popular blogger friend of mine whose quilt will be published in another big magazine in September/October, so please be on the lookout for that.

I’ve realized I love putting kits together almost as much as I love making the quilts because picking fabrics is half the fun. So I will expand my selection of kits, especially unique ones that you won’t find anywhere else.

One thing I will definitely continue doing is my series of Quilt Alongs. This has satisfied my need to create (on a schedule) so I already have more fun projects in the works!

Christa's Quilt AlongIt’s been very gratifying to sit down with Jason and really determine the direction we want to take with our business. Being your own boss is always a risk, but for the last few years that we’ve been doing this, it has its own rewards. 🙂

Family Picnic

To Mom With Love on Mother’s Day

The following is an essay I submitted to Quilter’s Newsletter’s writing contest, “300 Words about Quilting – The Person I Taught to Love Quilting”. They have selected it for publication on their website coming up in August/September as part of their “Web Extras”. (You can see my previously published essay here.)

I’ve chosen to dedicate this post to my mom for Mother’s Day – Love ya Mom!

Mom and Me

Mom and Me

Quilting Bridges The Generations, by Christa Watson

When I was little, my mom taught me to sew. When I became an adult, I taught her to quilt. As a child, Mom fueled my desire to be an artist. Growing up, we participated in all sorts of community crafts classes together like candy making, chocolate molding, needlepoint, and even a short stint with ceramics. One of my fondest memories was picking out brightly colored cloth bands and making piles of woven potholders. (You can guess what everyone got for Christmas that year.) Mom taught me how to make clothes for my Barbie dolls and how to stuff a pincushion. To this day, she has kept my very first project.

As I grew older and life got in the way, I buried my inner artist. Mom divorced, I survived my teenage years, and we really didn’t have that much to talk about for awhile. Then, about a year after I married, Mom decided to give me a sewing machine for Christmas, thinking I could put it to good use. Before long, I stumbled upon quilting. (How did we miss that before?) All of a sudden, I could create again.

Three Generations of Fabric Lovers

Three Generations of Fabric-Lovers

Soon after, I became the teacher, and Mom signed up for every one of my quilting classes. She was my number one fan, and I don’t know which she loved more: learning how to quilt, or spending time with me. We joined a guild, started attending quilting retreats, and drooled over colorful new fabrics together. We found something in common once again. The joy I felt in teaching this exciting craft was even more meaningful with Mom as one of my students.

Now that we are both a little older with quite a few quilts under our belts, Mom spends a lot of time these days taking care of her mom and keeping her warm and cozy with quilts we’ve made together. I now have my own young daughter who’s old enough to sew and has just completed her first quilt. I’m beginning to see that spark of desire that my mom first kindled in me, and I look forward to the time my daughter is old enough to attend her first quilting retreat with Mom and me!

My Mother's Day Shirt

My Mother’s Day Shirt From My Daughter

Weight Loss Week 14 – Surviving Vacation

I was in vacation mode last week while we were at Hermosa Beach, California with our family. It was the best time I’d had in a long time but I still had to be careful not to throw caution to the wind and give up my healthy habits for a week.

Last Week, I lost weight before I left, and today I’m happy to report that I kept it off, and then some. I lost .6 pounds this week for a total of 17.6 pounds. I’m almost halfway to my goal! Here are a few tips on how to survive a change in routine while on vacation:

1. Eat lots of fresh produce. Early in the week we stopped at a local farmer’s market that was just a short walk from the beach. We picked up fresh fruits and veggies and used those to snack on and cook with all week.  Sure, we had some treats, but we we rented a beach house that had a full kitchen and kept our eating out to a minimum!

Fresh FruitFarmers Market Veggies

2. Find fun ways to exercise on vacation. The boardwalk in front of the beach house included miles and miles of smooth cement for rollerblading! It was very kid friendly and safe. I also ran barefoot on the beach with my oldest son. I’ve always wanted to try that and I found that I really enjoyed it!

Rollerblades are fun!Barefoot Beach Running

If I had a beach at home, I’d do this every day! I wonder if there are any beach marathons?

3. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Well, I still have a little too much of it – that’s why I’m working so hard to lose it! But I did feel much more comfortable in my bathing suit this year. This is the suit I bought when I lost my first 10 pounds. I still have another one waiting for me when I get to the next 20!

Christa & Jason at the BeachNow that I’m home again and back to a regular routine, I hope to have another great week!