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!

Christa’s Soapbox – The Tale of Two Hobbies

For about the last year and a half I’ve been hustling – working like crazy to get my first book published (with more in the works), expanding my teaching schedule, getting my patterns into print and growing our precut store into a long-term sustainable income source. It’s been good, productive work that feels immensely satisfying. However, a couple of things have fallen by the wayside which I am to ready to remedy now that I can catch my breath again. They are (1) the state of my house and (2) my overall health and fitness.

Here’s the “before” picture of my sewing studio about 2 years ago just after I had cleaned and organized it, knowing I would be working in this space full-time each day. Ironically, the quilt on the design wall and those hanging over the rails haven’t even been basted yet, while the one the table has been finished and made it into my book. Deadlines are everything around here, LOL!!

sewingroomThe Before Picture

Here is the state of my studio today. I do have to say I just finished up a couple of big deadlines, and will get this cleaned up before moving onto the next project! I like to be a clean person and don’t thrive in creative chaos like some do, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided!!

sewingroom_messyThe after picture – but not for long!!

The biggest thing that has suffered during all this creative chaos has been my fitness. In addition to my obsession with quilting, I love to run! I have logged two marathons and several half-marathons  over the last 6 years simply because I love the feeling of being outside running for long stretches of time. I really do get that runner’s high that people talk about. However during the high-point of my busy-ness it was so, so easy to get up each day and NOT run, heading into the studio instead. I’m not one of those girly-girls who’s into looks and fashion and all that.

However, I do love the feeling of being healthy and having enough energy for everything I like to accomplish in a day. Right now I can barely run a mile, but I decided it was as good a time as any to hop back on the treadmill and start over. I’ll mostly be sharing my running journey over on instagram (@christaquilts) if you want to check that out. There’s even a hashtag #sweatnsew for other sewing/fitness enthusiasts!!

treadmill

The goal is to work my way back up to longer distances, one step at a time!

I plan to attack these two areas of improvement –  cleaning up and improving my fitness – with as much zeal and vigor as I’ve done with quilting. When I originally got into running, it was because I wasn’t quilting regularly and I needed a stress outlet. Once I got my sewing mojo back,  running began to take a back seat.  My hope is to now balance out both on a regular basis! Wish me luck. 🙂

Christa’s Soap Box – We Can Do Hard Things

We Can Do Hard Things

That is a family motto of ours. Jason and I did a really hard, yet fun thing this past Saturday night. We ran a half marathon, on a trail, in the dark. 🙂

desert_dashJason and Christa at the start of our race, before the sun went down.

The race started off at dusk and we were required to run with headlamps so we could see our way once the sun went down. I had been having a particularly rough day and wasn’t quite in the mood for such a stroll, but I was determined to see it through. After all, this race was a goal of ours, and if you know me, I like to set pretty high expectations for myself.

How the Online Community Saved My Run

I had shared the above picture on Instagram just before the start of the race. A couple of miles in I wasn’t feeling so hot, and was entertaining the thought of giving up right then and there. I took a walking break, checked my phone and had this nice outpouring of love and support from my IG followers, cheering me on. It was just the support I needed to keep going and to not quit!

city_lightsView of Las Vegas at night, as seen from my run.

Then, about 4 miles away from the finish, I hit another wall. It was fairly dark at this time, but man, I got a beautiful view of the city lights off in the distance!

I usually like to listen to audio books or podcasts while I run to help distract me. I was listening the latest episode of Modern Sewciety (which had been broadcast earlier) when all of a sudden, Stephanie the host gives a little shout out to me during the show! I couldn’t believe it! Little did she know that was like an extra spring in my step at just the right time. 🙂

Date Night

Jason and I train together, but when we run races, we go at our own pace. He was able to finish his run, and then he came back for me and ran me in to the finish. He’s not a competitive person with running (like I am with quilting), but he ended up finishing in 2nd place!

MedalsOur medals from the race.

Another one of our family mottos is “Work Hard – Play Hard.” We have a lot of hard but good things coming up in the next year or so, mainly due to some intense goals I’ve set for myself.

The next time things get tough, or I feel like giving up on my dreams, I’ll just remember back to this night, and how I was able to make it through with the support of so many of you!

 

 

Christa’s Soap Box – Running to Clear My Head

What do you do when things get hectic and it’s all you can do to keep up with the pace of life? I go for a run!

I’ve always enjoyed exercise as a way to clear my head and think about my daily tasks at hand. I do it first thing in the morning, before things get too busy, and it always gives me an extra boost of energy for the day.

20140415_christa_runRun, Christa, run!

Over the years I’ve dabbled in different types of running – short distances, long distances, road running and trail running. I’ve competed in the occasional triathlon and have even completed a couple of marathons (when I was in slightly better shape)! Lately though, I’ve really enjoyed getting out in nature and running with Jason out in the desert behind our house. We don’t worry too much about speed or distance, and it’s been very freeing just to run for the sake of running.

I compare running a lot to quilting. Some days I’m on and other days I’m not. At times, the task at hand may seem like it takes forever to complete. Sometimes I feel like one hurdle overcome is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I want to achieve. But when I step back and look at the larger picture to see how far I’ve come (with both quilting and running), I get a deep sense of satisfaction with a job well done. 🙂

20140415_run_skylineThe Las Vegas skyline off in the distance – what a view!

Sometimes I’ll listen to books or music while I run; other times I’ll tune into quilting podcasts, or have an impromptu business meeting with Jason while we run. Many of the ideas we have put into place have come about through nice long chats while we cover the terrain!

Many times while I run, I’ll come up with blog topics I want to explore. Ideas come to me when my head is clear, and it is very therapeutic to write down my thoughts into words and share them with so many of you. As I continue to grow my blog and expand my presence in the quilting community, I’ll keep reminding myself to keep things in perspective. There will be many things I’ll continue to share, and a few projects that will have to wait until the proper time to be revealed.

20140415_jason_runJason often leads the way on our runs. He’s a good man to follow!

Blogging for me is like a journal, chronicling my quilting life with a bit of personal narration thrown in from time to time. I enjoy it so much, that it has become part of my almost daily routine. I’ve made a promise to myself that no matter how busy I get, that’s one area that I don’t want to neglect. I’m just so grateful that so many of you are along for the ride!