Show and Tell – Christmas Cookies

For show and tell this week I thought I’d share my oldest son’s favorite sugar cookie recipe with you! He has become quite the baker in our family and can somehow turn out a better product even when we are using the same recipe. (It must be that he’s able to be focused on the task while I am multi-tasking a million things while cooking and baking, LOL!!)

Cookie Dough

Jason Jr. made the dough while Jenna helped me roll it out and cut the shapes.

Rolling the Dough

It was fun trying to get as many shapes as we could into one batch – sort of like tracing out applique shapes on quilt fabric. Hmm, that gives me an idea – cookie cutter appliques!

Cutting the Shapes

We decorated the cookies for family night and then dropped off a few batches for friends and neighbors. They think we were just being nice – in reality I could eat all these cookies myself which would NOT be good for my waistline, so I had to share!

Decorating the Cookies

 Jason Sr. and Ryan really enjoyed decorating. (My hubby really does have an eye for color when helping me pick out fabrics). We have a creative family!

Here’s the recipe which my son found online from Picky-Palate.

  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 6 Cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In an electric or stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.
  2. Chill for at least 2 hours for best results.
  3. Once chilled, roll and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Remove and let cool. Frost and decorate as desired.

And here’s our favorite creamy frosting recipe to go with it, from You know what the special ingredient is? Sour cream! It blends well with the powdered sugar for some yummy creamy goodness.

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • food coloring

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Stir in powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Divide the frosting into as many bowls as you have colors. Add food coloring until desired color is achieved.

Yummy Cookies


Paper Pieced Wreath Berry Christmas – Part 2 of 2

I’m back with the second part of my Paper Pieced Log Cabin Christmas Wreath. You can see part 1 here.

Today I will demo the rest of paper piecing the blocks, finishing the top, and machine quilting my mini-quilt to finish.

Here is a refresher of the paper piecing process from last week with a few more detailed pictures. My favorite method of paper piecing uses a straight edge and an add a quarter ruler. Be sure to click the images below for closeups.

Paper Piece 1Paper Piece 2Paper Piece 3

Paper Piece 4
Paper Piece 5


Step 1 – Paper Piece all of your Log Cabin Blocks from Last Week

(You can download the log cabin foundations for free or you can purchase a set of printed foundations on lightweight see-through vellum paper from my store.)

  • Add your next log to a freshly trimmed side.
  • Flip over and sew from the paper side following the  numbered lines in order
  • Press your sewn seam with a wooden seam roller
  • Fold the paper on the next seam number that you will be sewing (use a business card or postcard as a straight edge)
  • Pull back your excess fabric, use the add a quarter inch ruler and trim the excess.
  • When all 16 blocks are sewn, trim from the paper side leaving 1/4″ seams all around

Wreath 1

Wreath 2

Wreath 3

Wreath 5
Wreath 5

Step 2 – Sew The Top

  • Lay out your 16 Log Cabin blocks so that they form a wreath shape.
  • Sew each row into pairs and then the pairs into rows of 4 blocks
  • Finger press your seams open, or press with a wooden seam roller
  • Join the rows to complete the top
  • Once the top is complete, carefully remove all the papers
  • Add the thinner red borders to the sides and top
  • Add the wider green borders around the outside

Log Cabin Wreath

Step 3 – Baste and Quilt

I quilt everything on my regular Bernina home sewing machine and I love it!

Straight QuiltingI use Pinmoors and flat flower pins to baste all of my quilts because they are so easy to remove while machine quilting.

Quilting Loops

Before basting, I marked straight lines around the wreath design with a water soluble pen. Always be sure to test your fabrics for marking removal and to make sure they won’t bleed when they get wet.

I quilted the straight lines with my walking foot. Then I added double loops in the borders and smaller loops in the background with my free-motion foot.

I used matching solid red fabric for the binding. For this quilt, I tried a Sewline glue pen to keep the binding in place on the back while finishing by hand.  It keeps my binding nice and tidy!

Sewline Glue PenYou can see an in-depth binding tutorial here.

Voila! It’s finished!

Log Cabin Wreath, Pieced and Quilted by Christa Wason 18" x 18"

Log Cabin Wreath, Pieced and Quilted by Christa Watson
18″ x 18″

I have tons more ideas of what you can do with these blocks:

  • Use as the center of a larger quilt.
  • Sew a pillow, wall-quilt or table topper
  • Make more blocks for a larger throw sized quilt
  • Turn one block into a Christmas Ornament
  • Make matching placemats

That was fun. Be sure to email me pictures when you make one, too!

Paper Pieced Wreath Berry Christmas – Part 1 of 2

Paper Pieced Log Cabin WreathThis is a Christmas Wreath quilt I designed and made from paper-pieced Log Cabin blocks.

Since I can’t make anything anymore without feeling the need to write a tutorial for it, here you go:

I will demo making the log cabin blocks today. Part 2 covers completing the top and machine quilting.

The finished block size is 3″. The finished mini quilt (or table topper or pillow) is 18″ x 18.”

Step 1 – Gather Your tools and supplies. These are not a necessity, but as with any project, they make the job easier!

  • Rotary Cutter
  • Wooden Seam Roller for pressing
  • Add a Quarter Ruler for neatly trimming while piecing
  • A straight edge surface such as a postcard or piece of template plastic
  • Vellum Tracing Paper to print the foundations on
  • 1/2 yard of red fabric for centers, borders and binding (or scraps to equal that much)
  • 1/4 yard of cream to tan fabric for light half of log cabin blocks (or scraps)
  • 1/2 yard total of assorted green fabric scraps for log wreaths and border
  • FQ of green for outer border
  • Size 90 sewing needles for sewing through paper foundations
  • Small scissor snips for trimming
  • Cotton Thread for piecing
  • Your choice of decorative thread for machine quilting

Step 2 – Cutting all the logs. I prefer to have everything cut out before I begin my sewing. The pieces are cut bigger and will be trimmed later. Although there are 4 sizes of  light logs and 4 sizes of dark logs, I cut only 2 sizes for each. It wastes a tiny bit more fabric, but it’s easier to keep things organized, especially if I change my mind on fabric placement.

A little note on cutting pieces to fit – measure the finished size of your pieces and add 3/4  inch to this measurement (more if working with triangles). The units used for paper piecing have the extra 3/4 inch added in already.

Fabric cuts are based on 20-22″ long strips for working with fat quarters.

From the red fabric cut (if you cut very carefully you can get it all from just one fq):Red Fabric

  • 16 – 1.75″ squares for centers
  • 4 – 1.25 ” x 16″ strips for inner borders (to trim down later)
  • 4 – 2 .25″ strips for binding (2 strips if using 42″ wide fabric)

From assorted white, cream, or tan scraps, cut 10 – 1.25″ wide Cream Fabricstrips. Cross-cut into:

  • 32 – 1.25″ x 2.25″ rectangles
  • 32 – 1.25 x 3.25″ rectangles

From assorted green scraps, cut 12 – 1.25″ wide strips. Cross-cut into: Green Fabric

  • 32 – 1.25″ x 2.75″ rectangles
  • 32 – 1.25″ x 3.75″ rectangles

From green border fabric, cut 4 – 2.25″ x 22″ strips (trim later)

Step 3 – Printing the Paper Foundations

You can download the paper pieced log cabin block pattern by clicking the image below. There are 4 per page, so you would need to print 4 pages for a total of 16 blocks. Be sure to set your printer to print the PDF at actual size, not print to fit.

Paper Pieced Log Cabin Blocks

You can print on copy paper but it is much easier to see what you are doing if you use see-through paper (vellum) instead. Cut apart your paper foundations leaving a seam allowance all around. It is printed in grey-scale so you can tell which side of the block is light and which is dark. The blocks are printed as a mirror image for this technique.

Step 4 – Sewing the Paper Pieced Log Cabins

There are a lot of pictures for this next section so I have shrunk them down in order. Just click on any picture to enlarge so you can see the details.

Line up your red square so that the BACK of the fabric touches the BACK of the paper. (Kind of tricky with solids – I know!) With right sides together, line up your first short white log on top of the red square, with about 1/4 inch overlapping your sewing line.

This first two pictures show the back side. You will be sewing from the front.

Log Cabin 1

Log Cabin 2

Log Cabin 3

You can see a shadow where the fabric is sticking out far enough for the seam allowance.

Remember to start and end 1/8 to 1/4 inch before and after the line. Use a smaller stitch length and a larger needle. Sew on the line between A1 and A2.

Log Cabin 4

Log Cabin 5

Log Cabin 6Log Cabin 7

Remove the block from the machine and clip threads. Use a wooden seam roller to press the newly sewn piece to the side. Flip the block back over to the front and using a straight edge (like a business card), fold over the paper on the next sewing line (between A1 & A3).

Log Cabin 8

Log Cabin 9Log Cabin 10Log Cabin 11

The excess seam will be exposed. (You may need to tug the fabric from the paper a bit to get it to lie flat.) To trim it neatly, use the add-a-quarter ruler to create a ridge on top of your block, paper, and straight edge. Trim off the excess. Flip the block over and add your next light log along the newly trimmed edge. Sewing on the printed side, sew the next seam.

Log Cabin 12

Log Cabin 14Log Cabin 15Continue sewing in this manner until all of your logs have been added. Remember to Sew, then Press, then Trim each seam.

Once the block is complete you can trim off the excess leaving 1/4″ seam allowances.

Make your first block completely to test your process. Once you are satisfied with the results,  Repeat to make a total of 16 blocks. You can sew all of the same steps at the same time to speed up the process. When you are done with the blocks, you may remove all the foundations, or keep them on until your complete your top.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In our family, we have a tradition of running a 5k in the morning before we celebrate the rest of the day with thankfulness. This tradition was started by my mother-in-law at least 10 years ago (or more)!

Last year, we simplified things and hosted our own 5k around our neighborhood instead of running a more formal organized Turkey Trot.

Thanksgiving Day Race

This year, friends and family showed up to run, bike, scoot, or walk around the block. My oldest son won last year’s race so he was the “turkey” to beat this year.

In addition to an active lifestyle, I have so much to be thankful for. Here are just a few on the top of my list:

  • My Family – Jason and I both run our business full-time from home and we also homeschool our kids.  We figured as long as we were going to have a crazy lifestyle,  we may as well throw that into the routine, too! It allows us to spend A LOT of time with our children and have some wonderful non-traditional education experiences, too.
  • My Faith -If the above didn’t keep us busy enough, Jason is also a Bishop for our church. What that means is he spends countless volunteer hours with members of our congregation as an unpaid clergy member. It has really helped me learn the value of service and how much Heavenly Father loves each of his children on this earth.
  • My (Quilting) Friends – I didn’t realize how much I needed friends, both to sew with and to share with. As a mom of teenagers with middle age in the not too distant future (I’m 39 & holding!), I appreciate the value of connecting with other women, both young and old who love to share my passion for art and creativity.
  • My Drive to Succeed – The number one thing I love about having my quilt shop is the satisfaction I get from seeing a happy customer. People often ask me how I have to time get everything done that I do. My answer? I don’t watch much TV and don’t spend a lot of time cleaning my house. I’d rather be doing something more productive! Nothing beats receiving a friendly email from a customer showing me their latest finished quilt.  It  makes all the hard work worth the effort.

I hope you are having a wonderful day, too!

Happy Halloween 2012

From our family to yours – Happy Halloween! This year we dressed up as Star Trek cadets. Yes, I’m in a red shirt so that doesn’t bode well for Halloween night, LOL!!

Star Trek Family

I actually dressed up twice this Halloween season. A friend of mine held a Witches’ Brew for all of her friends. We each dressed up in our scariest witchy frock and enjoyed some devilishly decadent desserts! There were about 30 witches in attendance but I could only get a few of us to stand still under the light long enough to snap a picture. As you can see from our scary eyes – it was a very low-lit party.

A Witches' BrewHere are a few more fun pictures of costumes from Halloweens past. We love to dress up!

I made Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes for Jason and myself in a rare attempt at creating something other than quilts! I sewed the pants using Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat fabric. I purchased red shirts and then appliqued letters onto circles that I cut out of fabric. I found the wigs for $3 each at Target which inspired the costumes to begin with. What a deal!

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Halloween Costumes

Our Toy Story debut was actually part of a previous Christmas dress-up scavenger hunt. But now these costumes have done double duty for Halloween, too!

Toy Story CostumesHmm, I wonder what improvements I could make using Mr. Potato Head fabric now??

Sew and Tell – Holiday Projects

Are you looking for a couple of quick and easy ideas for the holidays? Well thanks to a couple of my blog readers I have just thing to inspire you!

I know that Halloween is just a few days away, but my friend Stacy whipped up a couple of “Spooktacular” strippy skirts for her girls using just one Monster Bash Jelly Roll. She got them done in record time, too!

Jelly Roll Skirts

Aren’t they just adorable? (And the girls are cute, too!!) Stacy found a pattern for her skirts over at the Moda Bakeshop. She’s planning on making a Christmas version next. I think she should also make one for herself and they should all go caroling together this winter!!

Monster Bash Halloween Skirt

Moving onto Christmas projects, Wendy S. took my Baby Bricks quilt and scaled down the design so it was suitable for a set of holiday placemats.

She cut her bricks into 4 1/4″  x 2 1/4″ rectangles and used a thin 1 1/2″ strip of black. I think this makes the sparkling Christmas prints really pop!

Christmas Bricks

Thanks for sharing, gals. These ideas would make super fun holiday gifts and are much quicker to sew than making a quilt!

Christa’s Soapbox – Celebrate Your Fabric Independence!

With the 4th of July holiday coming up next week, it reminds me of all the things I have to be thankful for – like freedom and independence, and entrepreneurial spirit!

I’ve always had a dream to own my own business ever since I was little. When I was just a little kid, I earned money selling home-made suckers from my front yard,  renting out video game time on our neighborhood’s first electronic game console,  and going door to door selling carwashes that I provided myself!  I’ve always had the belief that if you work hard enough, anything is possible!

About a week after I learned to quilt (almost 20 years ago) I was hooked and immediately thought of ways to support my habit and start making money from my craft. I sold quilts, taught quilting classes, and for the last 6 years Jason and I have been selling fabric full-time.

It’s been rewarding, exciting, time-consuming, frustrating, heart-wrenching,  and thoroughly exhilarating. We are not getting rich by any means, but it sure feels great to get up each day and love what we do.

Shop IndependentIn the spirit of independence, I’d like to introduce Fabric Shoppers Unite, a worldwide network of independent quilt and fabric shops, e-tailers, and design studios who have joined forces to promote shopping independents.

According to their statistic, 95% of fabric purchases are made through chain stores, and they are trying to change that, encouraging people to shop “local” whether that’s around the corner, or across the world!

By shopping independent shops, you support that movement and join with consumers just like yourself to ensure that you will have access to the best specialized quilting and sewing supplies, no matter where you live.

Here are three top reasons as to why you should support independent and local business:

1. Excellent Service
At independents, you can expect caring attention to your needs.

2. Superior Knowledge
Independent shops are staffed with enthusiastic quilters and sewists, and have
unsurpassed knowledge that they pass on to you.

3. Count on Quality
Fabrics, notions and tools available at independents are of the
best quality.

This Independence Day, make a concerted effort to shop  independents!

Sew and Tell – Christmas Runner

Barb N from Idaho recently completed this beautiful Holiday runner and is this week’s Sew & Tell star!

Barb's Christmas RunnerBarb made it as a commission piece for a client of hers who wanted an extra long table runner, 90 inches in length. What a great way to use up a piece of vary narrow but very long batting! It’s a simple to make yet very effective piece.

Barb chose “Holiday Hoot” from Alexandar Henry  for the middle and cut it wide enough to really show off the print. She surrounded it with a thin red sashing (Nature’s Gift by Deb Strain) and then a wider piece of Chistmas teal (Adoring by Sandy Gervais , which she got from me).  Don’t you think she did a great job of blending fabrics from 3 different collections?

This is what Barb had to say about her holiday runner, “With such a great focal fabric, I let the fabric do the talking and simply machine stitched around the rectangular borders to give it hold and definition.  I also made matching placemats and a smaller version of the runner.”

Christmas Table Runner DetailBe sure to check out Barb’s blog at

Share Your Project

If you would like to share a project you’ve made with at least one piece of fabric purchased from me, please email with your high quality photos and what makes your project interesting or special to you. If you are selected as my show and tell star of the week, you’ll get a $5 gift certificate as my way of saying thanks!

Lovely Mother’s Day

What a nice Mother’s Day I’m having today, and I want to wish all mothers and mother-figures out there a blessed peaceful day.

After church this morning, my son Ryan made me a healthy lunch all by himself and my son Jason offered to make a tasty low calorie-treat for dessert (he’s saving his specialty high-calorie ice-cream cookies – my favorites – for later after I’ve lost a few more pounds.)

My daughter Jenna made me this lovely Mother’s Day T-Shirt to wear:

Mother's Day Shirt

And the best part is, my husband (who is a Bishop at our church which usually means super busy Sundays) cancelled the rest of his Sunday afternoon appointments so he could play games with the kids and let me have some nice relaxing quiet sewing time for the rest of the afternoon. Too bad every day can’t be Mother’s Day!

Boys at Play


New Year’s Hike

It’s January and I’m already behind on my blogging. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any kind of resolution about that!! We had a wonderful holiday full of family and friends. To kick off the new year in a healthy way, we took a hike with our friends to the top of Calico Hills in beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

Hiking FriendsJanice and I have been friends for nearly 18 years and we still feel and think of the other as the friend we met in our 20’s!!! She has one daughter the same age as mine and our husbands are great friends, too. We loaded up the crew and took them all up the mountain on a clear January morning. It was unseasonably warm and our spirits were high.

Climbing UpJanice is about as passionate about photography as I am about quilting and she snapped this family picture for us. Here’s to a great new year!

Family Photo