Stem Cell Transplant

October 25, 2016

It’s the day before I move into the Hilton Americas for the International Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. It is also my birthday.

Sunday my husband and I went to James Avery after Sunday school, church, and lunch. I had chosen the wide Crosslet Ring for my birthday gift from him. While he was paying for it and giving instructions for the engraving, I went to Chico’s next door. fullsizerender-007-001

Really, I was looking for one item at our local Chico’s that I hadn’t found at the Chico’s near our office. One thing led to another, with a helpful, knowledgeable manager, and I came out with four new outfits to wear to the Fall Quilt Shows. Happy Birthday to me.img_3256-002

The Hilton and the George R. Brown Convention Center will be my home for twelve nights and thirteen days. However, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday my husband will pick me up at 6:30 am to go to MD Anderson Hospital for blood reviews, PA and oncologist visits and platelets and blood transfusions. I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 2007, but did not need treatment until March of 2015.

Those of you who have seen me running the Education Department for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival for the last 40 years, have no fear. I will be there sporadically. I feel fine and have energy as long as I have a current platelets and/or blood transfusion.

The shows are in good hands with Jill Benge as Manager, Barbara Cline as her assistant, Marcia Barker, who takes on all our special projects and new developments, and Shannon McGaw who works part-time for Education and a great help to me.fullsizerender-005

Part of our show team will arrive for Market and the remainder will come during Festival. We couldn’t do the shows without them.fullsizerender-007

Man or woman cannot live on transfusions of someone else’s blood products indefinitely. For a while one of the chemo trial treatments worked for me. But, after seven months of no transfusions we came to a dead end. My oncologist tried other treatments, but my bone marrow just won’t function properly.

So the only thing that is left is to have a Stem Cell Transplant. When my oncologist is satisfied I am healthy enough to go through the high dose chemo process, to eliminate my existing bone marrow cells, I will be admitted to the hospital for three to four weeks. After the conditioning phase is complete, the collected stem cells will be infused in my body. My blood counts will be monitored daily and any side effects will be managed. It will be a tough time. Initially I said I wouldn’t put myself through this voluntarily, but when that’s all that’s left, I had to change my mind.

Once I have engrafted, meaning that my white blood cells have recovered, and I am eating and drinking well, I will be discharged from the hospital. For 100 days I have to have a caregiver 24 hours a day. I will be monitored at the hospital generally every day for follow-up initially and that will adjust to every other day depending on my health and needs. I’ve been told to plan on a year to get back to how I was physically before the transplant. Needless to say, I am fearful. I am sad.

I won’t be able to be in public for quite some time because of infection possibility. I will have no immune system initially. The family gatherings I treasure so much will have to wait for a while.

During this process I won’t be able to be around grandchildren who are under 14 years of age. That breaks my heart. We have a 16 month old grandson and another baby on the way.


I will be strong and follow the rules so I can recover and have good times again with family, friends and TRAVEL. My faith, family, and friends will be of utmost importance through this process. God will be my constant companion. I won’t be alone.

Will you say a little prayer for me? God bless you and love, Judy


Play Date #16 Handmade Journals

August 28, 2016

For many years I have collected scrapbook paper, stickers, vintage photos and old and new ephemera to create collage greeting cards.

Recently I have read more and more about using these same resources for making journals/planners.


First Six Handmade Journals I Created

Curiosity and desire got the best of me, and I finally invested in a Cinch Book Binding Tool.


New Tool for Book Binding

It took lots of searching at different stores to finally find the Cinch Book Binding Tool by We R Memory Keepers. Armed with a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby, my husband found the only one left on the shelf. This black and white model has designer Heidi Swapp’s signature on the tool. It cuts square holes instead of round. I did not realize that until I got it home. If you want to buy one, I suggest you Google Cinch Book Binding Tool for many options of where to buy it, different prices and discounts, and also many tutorials on how to use it.

I was excited to get home and start transforming our great room into my book-making area. It wasn’t long before I took over four table top surfaces and several chairs, but I was so happy to finally start playing and creating.


A Creative Mess

It wasn’t long before I realized I needed another tool. If I was to make books with book rings, then I needed a Crop-A-Dile Eyelet and Snap Punch Tool. Google this tool, too, to learn how and why it is used and also where to purchase it. I found mine at Michael’s and again purchased with a 40% off coupon.



I have since become a customer of for easy access to grommets and binding wires in different colors and sizes. They also have good You Tube tutorials on We R Memory Keepers products.


Binding Wires and Eyelets

Here are other tools I use again and again for making books. You may have them on hand. If not, you can easily purchase them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Jo Ann’s. They are 1/4″ Easy-Tear tape, rotary cutter, ruler and mat, permanent holding glue stick in large size, wire cutter, small scissors, brayer and Aleene’s Tacky Glue.


Important Tools

You’ll also need chipboard, scrapbook paper, fabric, paper for inside your book, vintage photographs, embellishments, book rings, stickers, or any other ephemera you can gather.

To start, first decide on a theme and size. The chipboard for this little book measures 4 3/4″ X 7″. I got the photo from Pinterest and made the label “My Secrets” from my Smart Label Printer. You can cut quotes from magazines, fortune cookies, print your own, or use a rubber stamp to get words on your cover. You also need sturdy scrapbook paper or wrapping paper to cover the chipboard.


Chipboard, Photo, Theme, Scrapbook Paper

There are many tutorials on You Tube on covering journals, but I’ll quickly show you what works best for me in a few photos.

Directions for covering front and back of journal:

  1. Choose paper for front and back cover. For front cut it 1″ larger than chipboard measurement. I cut my paper  5 3/4″ X 8″. Cut one for the front cover and one for the back cover. They do not need to be the same patterned paper. Cut corners of paper on the diagonal close to corner of chipboard. Put 1/4″ Easy-tear tape on all 4 sides of extended paper. Use handle of scissors to add pressure to make sure tape adheres securely to paper.IMG_3140
  2. Put glue stick on one side of chipboard. Place glue side of chipboard down onto wrong side of prepared paper. Use a brayer to roll paper from front side to get rid of any bubbles or buckling.
  3. Remove tape covering from one short side of paper. Fold paper  up and over to back side of cover. Do the same to the other short side.
  4. Add a tiny dab of glue at 4 corners of chipboard. This will make the corners nice and secure as you fold over edges. Remove tape covering on one long side and fold paper over to back side. Repeat for second long side. Repeat these 4 steps for the back cover of the journal.


    Back side of front cover

Directions for decorating the front and back cover of the journal:

  1. On the front side of front cover and front side of back cover, arrange paper, photos, stickers and ephemera until you are pleased. Use glue stick and tacky glue to adhere each piece in place. Use brayer to smooth edges and remove air bubbles. Bring any strips of paper to wrong side, if necessary to wrap-around. Adhere to back side, too.
  2. Cut paper for inside of covers 1/2″ smaller than chipboard. Place Easy-tear tape on wrong side of  all 4 sides. Remove top layer of tape. Use glue stick to cover chipboard on inside of covers. Note the butterfly theme emerging. I will use it throughout the pages of the journal. Carefully center prepared paper to chipboard. Now your covers are ready for punching holes for binding wires or book rings.

    Inside front and back covers


    Outside Front and Back Covers

    My original plan on this book was to use the Cinch tool and punch holes on the left side of the cover for binding wires. Unfortunately, this chipboard was slightly thicker than most. So, when I inserted the left side into the tool, it did not go all the way to the back. The holes it made were too close to the edge and would have pulled out with much use.

    I never throw anything away. Instead, I glued two layers of paper over the hole punches and folded and glued paper to the back side. More sticker trim was added to the edges of the front and back correction. I couldn’t punch holes again over that weakened area. Instead, the book will be held together with book rings. I used the Crop-A-Dile tool to punch the two top holes and add the eyelets to the holes. You will find good videos on how to use this tool on the internet.

The Cinch tool has a difficult time punching holes through fabric. I learned that on the first journal I made that is pictured below. Cinch tool did not cut all the way through fabric. I had to finish cutting each hole individually. This journal is spiral bound.


 After that first attempt, I  figured out a way to make the cover with fabric and still punch holes with the Cinch tool or Crop-A-Dile.

  1. Stitch your collage to light weight batting such as Warm and Natural. Batting should fit the chipboard on three sides. The side where holes will be punched should be 1″ free of collage. 


2. Cover chipboard with paper as shown in the earlier directions.

3. Glue fabric collage to paper with tacky glue. Stay clear of punched holes. Use Washi tape to hold edge of collage next to punched holes. Use a marking pen to draw quilting stitches.

The next sample is from a kit I bought on clearance from Michael’s. The cover is a spongy material that was meant for painting. I machine stitched a collage on the right side of the front and back covers adding a quarter inch to turn and to glue onto the inside of the covers.  I had to clip the fabric over the grommets, turn it under and glue. Cover stitching with scrapbook paper on inside covers of journal.



Front Cover


Back Cover

This journal was made the same as the Travel journal, but finished with wire binding on the side of the book instead of book rings.

strip pieced

Strip Pieced onto batting and glued to journal front paper.

Once I got started making these journals, the next idea came to mind before I could finish the one I was creating. I used half of a page from a vintage photo album for the front cover of this journal. I colored the album page with inks, then added colored string with charms, washi tape and rub-on stickers.



Inside Cover

When your front and back covers are complete, it is time to cut and punch papers for the contents of your book. Use a variety of papers such as cardstock, heavy magazine pages, discarded book pages, water color paper, and ledger paper. The fun part is adding surprises to the pages such as quotes, tags, pockets, journaling cards, embellished paper clips, fold-out journal page and tab dividers.


Pockets with Surprises


Small File Folder with Note Paper and Envelope


Pocket on Back Cover


Pages Ready for Journal

Hope this gives you the inspiration to create your own journal or planner. If not, and you would like one I have created, visit my etsy shop to see more. You may find one you would like to purchase. I love making them and would be thrilled for you to have one.

Our older son’s wife, Julie, has requested I make one for her to record family memories. Her birthday is next month so this will be so fun to create for her.  I’ve started gathering family quotes, stickers, and papers for this special journal.  I’m thinking the cover photo will be a recent photo of the four of them. I’ll use a feature in Picasa to make the photo look vintage. I need to spend more time at home so I can start on Julie’s Journal.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I am at MD Anderson for blood work and usually a transfusion. I was there today, a Sunday, because they found a platelets match for me. Thanks to the perseverance of Jill, my favorite PA, for the first time for more than a year of platelets transfusions I had an HLA platelets transfusion. I’ll be back at MDA tomorrow for blood work and to see my MDS oncologist. It will be interesting to see if today’s transfusion made any difference than a random one from the blood bank. My hopes are high, my confidence in Dr. Garcia-Manero is strong, the love of my family and friends, and my faith sustain me.  The passion I have of loving to create keeps my mind, hands and heart happy. Thank you, God, for this gift. And thank you to all you kind and loving friends. You are so appreciated. Judy


Sleepless in Sienna Plantation

July 16, 2016



It’s early Saturday morning and I cannot sleep. It’s still dark outside in Sienna Plantation. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday this week we were out the door by 7 AM on our way to MD Anderson for blood work, review, and transfusion or appointment with my oncologist. On Thursday, I was on my way to La Grange, Texas for a Quilts, Inc. Executive Committee meeting. Today was my day to sleep in. I love to sleep late, but not today. There’s too much on my mind.

Was it the excitement of yesterday’s blood work revealing  my  platelets count went up since Wednesday’s results? Or was it the fear of needing a stem cell transplant if my numbers don’t elevate to at least 20,000 over the next few weeks?

Yesterday’s results were reason to cheer and hug with my two favorite Physician’s Assistants. However, just last week we were nervous and worried about dipping to 3,000 platelets until it got to 1,000. Starting back up, instead of dropping lower, was reason to cheer. I was on a high when we got home even after a stop at the Quilts, Inc. office for a few hours of work.

Over the last few months I haven’t felt like concentrating on anything in my studio other than an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for collage cards and design packets. When I got home yesterday late afternoon, I went into my studio and decided it was time I spend some time creating or catching-up on adding merchandise to my etsy shop. Or maybe I start with straightening my design wall clutter and work table mess.

Design wall

Design Wall in my Studio

My whole studio is a far cry from the order it was in for the photo shoot of my work space for the publication, Where Women Create. My studio is featured in the Nov/Dec/Jan2015 issue. What a fun day with my kind friend, Jo Packham, the editor of the magazine.

So last night I had the energy and desire to add to my etsy shop two little frocks I made early this year. When our children were here for Easter, our granddaughter, Madison Murrah modeled the frocks while another, Lindsey Huebner photographed them. The garments have been hanging in my studio since then. It was good to get those posted last night. The pattern I used is Simplicity 1080. The frock on the left is made from a vintage cutwork tablecloth. The frock on the right features a 1930’s embroidered hostess apron I imagine was worn by the hostess for a bridge party. Both pieces are in excellent condition.

I have collected vintage linens, laces, patchwork, and trims since I started having an interest in sewing and embellishing when I was in my twenties. I have boxes and closets full of everything you would ever need for a lifetime of stitching and creating. Madison would take all those things in a heartbeat, if she weren’t just 19 and going to college.

Where did all this begin? How did a young woman with a degree in Elementary Education, who just wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and wife to an executive husband have a life-time career as a teacher, author and show planner?

It all started when our youngest son, who is now 41, was an infant in arms. His brother was 6 and his sister 2 1/2. I was sewing fabric squares together to make quilts when I had a few minutes to myself. There were no books to follow, but occasionally an article in Women’s Day or Woman’s Circle on quilting.

One lucky day I learned of an antique shop teaching quilting classes at night. What joy I found that one night out each week that I could be with other quilters and learn how to make a quilt. In a little over a year, my first full-sized quilt was hanging at Great Expectations Quilt Show, and my quilt was featured on the advertising postcard. There was no turning back.

Quilting and creating became my passion. I started teaching classes in a Continuing Education program at our church while Todd was in second grade, Holly was in pre-school, and Troy was in the Mother’s Day Out program at our church. I was actually using my degree. As a thirty-three year old young woman, I loved teaching women many years older than I how to create something beautiful. They were of a generation where women did not work outside the home. For many it was the first time they were so proud of their accomplishments. It became a mission for me.

Quickly the word was out and I started teaching at a couple of small shops. I sewed well into many nights once I had the children to bed. I couldn’t get enough of it. Oh, to have just a little of that energy today.


My Sewing Corner in the 1970’s

It wasn’t long after that that I had a meeting with the owner of Great Expectations, Karey Bresenhan. She had added fabrics to her antique shop and wanted me to make some samples for her. That led to teaching classes for her on how to make tote bags, bibs on pinafores, notebook covers, etc. from the quilt blocks I had learned while taking classes from her mother, Jewel Patterson. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t taken that first meeting with Karey. I have worked for her for 40 years now.

My career took off. Wait a minute…I didn’t plan to have a career. Remember I am raising three little children. I’m a mom. Somehow I was propelled and soon teaching at Quilt Fair ’78, designing a garment for the first Fairfield/Concord Fashion Show which later became the Bernina Fashion Show,


Patchwork and Lace Jacket for the Fairfield/Concord Fashion Show

designing and creating large fabric pieces for a debutante ball, being published in magazines, becoming VP of the Greater Houston Quilt Guild, part of a two-woman fashion show,


Holly Modeling for Fashion Show

creating special decorative items for antique shops from vintage quilts and linens, designing and making rodeo vests for a trendy dress shop, etc.

Then in 1982, my husband moved us to Victoria, Texas, so he could run an independent bank there. Did my career or my association with Karey Bresenhan end there? Guess again. She did not want to see me go, but that didn’t mean she let go. Shortly after we moved, I came back to Houston to a wonderful surprise going-away party Karey had in her shop. I was presented with a quilt full of hearts and signatures from my students at Great Expectations Quilts. I continued to go back to Karey’s shop to teach a full load of classes.

What’s next? It wasn’t long after I arrived in Victoria, Texas that I started teaching quilting and related decorative classes at the Open Door Creativity Center.


Open Door Creativity Center

Quilting caught on quickly. The classes were popular and it wasn’t long after that that Susan Manning and I formed the Quilt Guild of Greater Victoria under the umbrella of the Nave Museum. I was their first President and remained active in the Guild for 20 years. I also became very active in the Victoria community. Soon one of the Guild members opened a quilt shop where we gathered for classes. I taught there and in a shop in Edna, Texas on a regular basis for many years.

During that time teaching picked up in other towns, more of my designs were published in books and magazines including Virginia Avery’s book Quilts to Wear. In 1983, I took charge of the Education program for Quilt Festival and Quilt Market and became first President of South/Southwest Quilt Association which is IQA today.IMG_2977

Later in the 80’s we started taking Quilt Market to other cities in the summer. Not long after that, we took Quilt Market to European countries along with Quilt Expo. That made for lots of over seas travel for 20 years, but what a delight to see all those European countries and to meet so many wonderful people. Life was busy and children were growing older.

In the early 90’s I was approached by the Editor in Chief, Barbara Weiland, of That Patchwork Place to write a book on the garments I was creating. I had started a series on collage patchwork jackets about that time. After much hesitation, I did write the first book, Jacket Jazz. A series of 6 more books and a pattern line followed over the next 10 years. The first two books put me on the teaching circuit map. I began teaching all over the country for many years. That was gratifying, but hard, exhausting work. I also designed a line of fabric with a Jacket Jazz flair during this time.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Kids continued to grow, went off to college, graduated, married, had babies. I quit teaching in 2006. We moved back to Houston in 2007. Since then my life has been filled with being with my husband, VP of Education and Administration for Quilts, Inc., mother and Grammy, and active in our church.

Now my focus is on getting well so I can enjoy these golden years, play in my studio, be with our family and travel with my husband. I want to be able to manage MDS. I know the only cure is a stem cell transplant, if it’s successful. Please keep praying for more platelets. Your prayers sustain me, and I am so thankful for you, my friends. God bless you all. Judy


Our Family


Pray for Platelets

July 13, 2016

It’s been two weeks since I posted on social media about the journey of my Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Facebook friends and people whom I do not see often are beginning to ask what has happened since my last post. They say, “You’ve been silent.”

Two weeks ago, I started another round of a mild dose of chemo by IV. I had Decitabine for three days in a row at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I had no adverse reaction to the drug. My problem is that my bone marrow does not manufacture white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets like a normal person or a person who has controlled MDS.

For the last three weeks, I have received platelets via transfusions three times a week and red blood cells once a week for the last two weeks. We still have a Friday appointment to  see if I squeak  by with a count high enough to not need any blood. The platelets are another story. A normal low of platelets is 140,000. I have 1,000.

Yesterday we met with my oncologist, Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero. He is very concerned that I have not had a platelets boost from the transfusions. He emphasized that at these low platelet numbers, the primary concern is bleeding in the brain or lungs.The hope is that my platelets will rebound now that I’m 14 days past chemo treatment. He doubled my dose of Eltrombopag, which for some people  has successfully raised platelet count. He also started me on a 4 week cycle of oral Prednisone steroid starting at 60 mg. This could increase platelets, if my immune system is preventing platelet production.

So I am armed with whatever Dr. Garcia-Manero can put in my body at this time to try to jump-start those platelets. The rest is left to prayer.

Twenty-two years ago I had single by-pass open heart surgery. None of our three children were married yet and two were still in college. I prayed I would recover, which I did, so I could see them all graduate from college, marry and start their families. God granted me that. Now when I pray, I sometimes think I’m being greedy. Now I’m asking to be with my grandchildren for many more years. I have so much more I want to teach them. Is God telling me I already got one extension on life and I’m back asking for more? I feel guilty, but I do want more. Tommy, my kids and our grandchildren need me.

Each of our children and their spouses have been to the hospital to sit with us during the long days at MD Anderson. The grandchildren 12 and over have been allowed onto the treatment floors. They all provide entertainment and love and laughter. It certainly helps the time go by.

Yesterday my oncologist encouraged us to continue to pursue the stem cell transplant possibility. After going through the three hour orientation at MD Anderson two weeks ago, we learned that the insurance I have with Humana will not cover stem cell transplant at MD Anderson. However, it is covered at Methodist Hospital. Dr. Garcia-Manero was very open to me receiving a transplant there. He thinks we should start the process to check for matches in case we decide to go that route. It’s a long, hard process for someone my age, with no guarantees. It’s hard to think about it.

So that’s the latest, my friends. I feel good. My energy is good. I don’t feel sick, but I am. I believe in miracles. I believe in prayer. I believe in you and the power of prayer. Thank you for your love, concern and prayers. Love to you all, JudyIMG_2749





Happy 50th Anniversary

June 17, 2016

By the grace of God and love of family, we made it through thick and thin, sickness and health, outside interference, and just every day life happening to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. And we are so happy we did!


50 Years of Marriage

A close friend of mine told me what her Dad always says when people ask what’s the secret to a long marriage. “Don’t leave and don’t die.” I love that quote and used it on the elevator at MD Anderson this week. Lots of laughs from strangers who may not have been experiencing a very good day.

My daughter asked me over a year ago if we wanted a party to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. I told her the best party would be all 14 of our family members together to celebrate for a few days. She offered the house she and her husband own in Park City, Utah. We had to work around everyone’s personal schedules, including my care at MD Anderson, but we were all able to get together for several days, as a family, to celebrate our lives.


All 14 of us in Park City, Utah

The weather was beautiful, the house and grounds magnificent, and there were plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the week.

On Sunday we had a great brunch at Stein Erikson’s Lodge on the terrace overlooking the mountains. Then it was on to the “Sunday Silly Shopping” event on Main Street in Park City.


Sunday Brunch

On Monday, the grandchildren loved the ropes course and Museum at Olympic Park.


Ropes Course

We gathered back at the house where Troy decorated Thompson’s one-year-old birthday cake as Fenway Park. He used little plastic baseball figures that had been on his cake as a little guy.


Fenway Park Cake

Todd arranged for us to go back downtown for pizza galore. The proprietor said, “You guys rock!”


Yummy Pizza Dinner

Then it was back to the house again to celebrate Thompson’s one-year-old birthday a few days late.


Michelle, Troy, and Thompson

We all loved getting to celebrate our California baby’s birthday. We had a little cake for his very own, but he didn’t like that icing on his fingers.


Blow out the candle.

Tuesday was a big surprise when Tommy and I woke to the living area all decorated with gold and white balloons, party decorations and pictures of all of us through the years.


Golden Anniversary Decorations

Julie, Holly, and Michelle had stayed up into the wee hours the night before pulling together all the things they had each brought for the celebration.


Julie, Holly, and Michelle

After wonderful breakfast tacos, cooked by Scott, we headed for Park City Center for rides and miniature golf.

IMG_6456 (002)

In the afternoon we all headed back home for a rest while the caterers cooked and set-up a gourmet dinner in the Huebner’s backyard.


Ashton Welcomes Us

During the appetizers we enjoyed 60’s-70’s music. I took the opportunity to dance with my oldest grandson, Tyler.


Dancing with Tyler

We also took family pictures to commemorate this special Golden Anniversary.


Our oldest son, Todd, his wife, Julie, Madison and Tyler

They live in Dallas. Madison will be a Sophomore at Texas A & M and Tyler a Junior at Jesuit in Dallas.


Our daughter, Holly, her husband, Scott, Lindsey, Ashton, and Sydney

Lindsey will be in the 8th grade at Seabrook Middle School. Sydney will start 6th grade at Seabrook Middle School and Ashton will be in the 3rd grade at Ed White Elementary school. They live about an hour from us in Texas.


Troy, our youngest child, Michelle, his wife, and Thompson

They live in Long Beach, California, where they own and operate Olafson Creative. We get together with them several times each year.

We feasted on a gourmet dinner of salad, vegetables, elk and trout, fresh from the area. It was all topped-off with a delicious cake and happy singing.


Our six grandchildren and us

What an indescribably blessing our family is to us. As the evening cooled outdoors, we adjourned to the game room in the lower part of the house for beautiful gifts with emotion, gratefulness and love throughout. Troy read from a framed listing of the 50 things they all love about us. We all laughed and cried throughout the presentation. I can’t help but write a few of them for you.

  1. I love that you have made me a part of your loving family.
  2. I actually do love that you made us go to church and Sunday school. I realize now the great morals and ethics we learned.
  3. I love how Grammy taught me how to create–everything from little scrapbooks to crafts to quilts to gowns.
  4. I loved the Sunday picnics and playgrounds all over Houston.
  5. I love the two of you dancing the jitterbug, knowing you’ve been dancing together since you were teenagers.
  6. I love the warmth you show each other when arriving or leaving a family event. It may be as simple as Granddaddy gently rubbing Grammy’s back to comfort her or Grammy making sure Granddaddy has everything he needs to enjoy the special event.
  7. I love our family backyard wiffle ball games.
  8. I loved sharing the birth of our three babies with you, and I loved having your help for those first few weeks.

    Moms and Daughters continue reminiscing

    Then everyone geared-up for the action-packed Shuffleboard competition. It was close, but Tyler and Julie were named the champions.

    Wednesday and Thursday we slowly began to go back to our homes. We’d had so much fun together. It was great for the older grandchildren to spend time with baby Thompson. He did not lack for attention and love.


    Backseat baby entertainers

    It was hard to say good-bye to him and his mommy and daddy. California is a long way away.


    Goodbye at airport

    But how thankful we are to have all these babies and their parents. Thank you for spending those precious days with us all together.

    Tommy and I had our own little morning celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2016, our actual wedding anniversary date. In the evening we attended a Sunday school party with many good friends.


    Our Sunday school party

    They had a cake with candles and singing to conclude the special evening. Thank you everyone.


    Happy 50th Anniversary

    May there be many more. We love you all family and friends. Life would not be the same without you. God’s blessings on you all. Judy



Little Red Shoes

May 6, 2016


As a child, Christmas Eve in our house was the best day of the whole year. Santa delivered gifts to our home on this day. It seems like I received a doll every Christmas. I always loved dolls. Even when I was twelve years old I still had dreams of receiving a doll for Christmas.


My Ballerina Doll and Me at 10 Years Old

My daddy worked on Christmas Eve day. He received his yearly bonus at the end of this work day. We couldn’t wait for him to get home so Santa would come, and we could open gifts. The tree was always loaded with gifts for our large family.

Daddy did his shopping for my mom on Christmas Eve, after he received his yearly bonus check. He also celebrated with a little Christmas cheer before he came home to his excited family. When Daddy finally arrived home, it was time to open gifts.

We all settled into a comfy place in the living room. Daddy sat on the floor next to the tree and would hand-out one gift at a time to one of our family members. He loved Christmas. We watched as each gift was opened. Each child tried to be patient and wait for the next time a gift was handed to him or her.


Daddy and Little Brother Tom

The Christmas of 1955 was one that will stand-out in my memory for as long as I live. I dreamed of receiving a Madam Alexander doll named Cissy. I spotted her in Bruner’s Department store on a high shelf one Friday evening as my mom and dad shopped for groceries in a connecting store. My little brother and I would look at the toys in the department store, and Mom and Daddy joined us after they bought the weekly groceries.



I showed the doll to my mom and dad on a whim; never really expecting to find her under our Christmas tree. Cissy, released in 1955, was the first of the modern fashion dolls. What set Cissy apart as something new and different was her mature figure with high-heeled feet. She was an expensive doll at the time and certainly not in my parents’ budget.

Each Friday night through December my little brother and I would look at the toys in Bruner’s while my mom and dad did the weekly grocery shopping. The Friday before Christmas Eve, Cissy was no longer on the shelf. My heart sunk. Could it be possible my mom and dad bought her for me? I couldn’t allow myself to think of such extravagance.

Christmas Eve finally came. We all were waiting Daddy’s arrival home so we could open our Christmas gifts Santa left. As we settled around the tree, I noticed the pair of little red high heel shoes from Cissy hanging on the tree. I was beside myself with excitement. I couldn’t sit still.


As the Little Red Shoes Hang on Our Tree Now.

Near the end of our gift opening, Daddy asked me what I was so excited about on the tree. He was grinning from ear to ear. I told him it was the pair of shoes belonging to Cissy. He looked at them and said there was a note that went along with them. Daddy had made a map I had to follow to find her in the house. One clue led to another until I finally came to the most glorious doll you will ever see. I think it was my happiest moment to date.


My Christmas Doll and Me at 12 Years Old

I still have Cissy and her original hat. Somewhere along the way, after many years, I no longer had her shoes or dress. I thought about those shoes so often over the years and wished I had them. Amazingly, I came across another Cissy in an antique shop 12 years ago. She still had her original dress and shoes. However, she had dark hair rather than blond like my Cissy. She was in a locked, glass case with other vintage dolls. I looked at her shoes longingly as I had done many years ago when I was 12 years old.

I asked the shop owner if I could buy just her shoes. Silly me. She said no. I told her my story, but she still said no. I couldn’t leave the store without those shoes. So I bought the doll for many times more than my parents had paid for my original Cissy. The elastic on the shoes was stretched-out with age beyond anything that would stay on my doll. I put the dark-haired Cissy dress on my blond Cissy and some hand-made clothes on the recently purchased Cissy. The shoes I put aside.


My Original Cissy and Dark Hair Cissy After Trading Clothes

When the following Christmas came around I showed the shoes to my oldest granddaughter, Madison, and told her the story. She was seven years old at the time. I told her I would hang the shoes on our family tree every Christmas from now on to remember such a happy time. I asked her if she would take-over the tradition when I was gone so the red shoes story would live on and the shoes would always grace a family Christmas tree.


Madison and Me Christmas 2015

When my husband and I decorate for Christmas each year now, he leaves the little red shoes for me to hang on the tree in the area I remember them hanging on my family tree when I was twelve years old. Such happy memories of my father and our family return to me for a few quiet moments of my own. This is one of the best memories of my childhood. I will love this Christmas Eve story for the rest of my life.


I always love our Christmas tree.

I wrote this memory to be included in a book that will come out this fall called Christmas Quilts, Christmas Memories. The book, compiled by Karey Bresenhan and Nancy Puentes, will be accompanied by a special exhibit of quilts featured in the book at International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall. The exhibit will also be seen at Festival in Chicago in 2017.FullSizeRender (003)

I hope you have a special memory today to make you smile. Love to you, Judy

Play Date #15 Embellished Glove for Mother’s Day

March 8, 2016

For more than 25 years, I have collected vintage cotton gloves at flea markets, junk stores, antique shops, garage sales, etc.


White Glove Collection

Often I purchase just a single glove. It’s match was lost somewhere along the way. That’s not a problem because often I need only one glove to add to a quilt, a collage on a pillow, or now as a hanging pocket for a Mother’s Day gift.


Embellished Glove

In my collection of gloves, I have some that belonged to my mother and to me. Yes, Mother definitely wore gloves to church along with a hat. As a little girl and a young teen, I also wore gloves for church attire and for high school and college formals.


Chi Omega Christmas Formal

Sigh…and I married that young man. I think I can smell those gardenias on my wrist corsage. That was only a few years ago.

But today I want to tell you how to make one of these sweet little embellished gloves for a Mother’s Day gift or as a wedding tribute.

Supplies Needed

White cotton formal glove no longer than 9″.

For embellishments, you will need vintage laces, embroidery pieces, ribbons, white buttons, pearl beads, white fabric scraps, large beads, vintage bridal illusion, lace motifs, tiny flowers, hankie or napkin corner piece.

Polyester stuffing in very small amount.

For collage card you will need sturdy scrapbook paper, vintage photo, appropriate quotes and sayings, lace tidbits.

Let’s Start

I can make one of these embellished gloves in an evening in front of the TV watching a movie or documentary with my husband. I work with all of these items held on a tray on my lap as I sit in my chaise lounge. Often I have a sleeping kitty lying on a quilt next to my legs.


Everything I Need

  1. Get all of your supplies together.
  2. Select a glove. I choose one that’s about 8-9″ long. They seem to work best. Each glove is different from the last. Look at the glove you have and create some sort of plan of how you will proceed. I find it’s easiest to create if the glove does not have details on the front that you do not want to cover up. I’m going to demonstrate for you on one such glove.
  3. Gather-up lace or an embroidered piece or existing ruffle to stitch to the top of the glove. I stitch by hand. It’s relaxing stitching and creating. This ruffle does not go to the back. Stitch down sides of ruffle to each side of the glove.

    Gathered Skirt at Top of Glove

    4. Add an extending piece of lace or trim to the top edge of the glove. This can be stitched inside the glove or on top. This extension goes all around the top of the glove.


    Extend Top of Glove with Lace or Trim or Ruffle

    5. Add lace and buttons where the top two pieces come together. This lace goes all around to the back of the glove. The buttons are only on the front.


    Add Lace and Buttons

    6. The little bit of lace added to the bottom of the ruffles was definitely a snippet. I cut a stray embroidered flower off another piece to tack to the lace piece. Stitch it to the bottom of the ruffle.


    Lace to Bottom of Ruffle

    7. Now let’s add a 14″ piece of ribbon for hanging the glove. I used old hem tape I spritzed with spray starch and “squenched” together and left to dry. Leave about an inch of ribbon below where you tack it to one side of the glove. Bring remainder of ribbon to other side and tack it. Leave an inch of ribbon below where tacked. Add a loop of lace, a small yo-yo, tiny flowers, button or whatever you have to embellish where you tacked the ribbon to the glove.


    Embellish Tacked Ribbon Hanging

    8. Let’s make a little card to insert in the glove. This I do on the sewing machine. Choose a paper that can easily be written on for a message. Cut 2 pieces of heavy cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper 2 1/2″ X 6″.


    Scrapbook Paper

    9. Choose a photo, a few snippets of lace, the word Mom or Mother, and an appropriate saying or quote.




    Lace Snippets

    10. Using a glue stick, place photo and lace in place on scrapbook paper. Stitch on machine. Second piece of paper is for the back of the card. It will be glued to the back to cover the stitches.


    Create and Stitch on Scrapbook Paper

    11. Trim lace even with paper. Add sentiments with glue stick. Stitch through paper. Glue second piece of scrapbook paper to back of card. Zig-zag stitch outside edges to hold together. The back of card is a place to add your own personal sentiments.


    Add Words of Endearment

    12.Now it’s time to add a little polyester stuffing at the top of the gloves fingers. Do not stuff into the fingers. This is only a tiny amount on which to put your card. Insert completed card. Add this same amount of stuffing to the lower front of card and lower back of card. This will keep it in place. There is also room in the glove to add a small gift.


    Polyester Stuffing

    Now your one of a kind Mother’s Day greeting is complete. Aren’t you proud? Hang it by the ribbon and admire it for a while before you give it away.

Here are a few more samples for you.

If you want a closer look, go to my etsy shop for more details. They are so much fun to make. Send me pictures of what you create. I would love to see what you make.

Until next time…Love and stitches, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 25 Wausaukee Gullion

March 5, 2016

This is the last recipe in my family favorites recipe book. You have a total of 26 recipes in all. Remember, I gave you page 26, Hot Wassail, in December 2015.

Today’s recipe came from Carrie Dee Murrah, my husband’s mother.


Carrie Dee and Tommy

She gave it to me at a recipe shower before Tommy and I were married. It’s one he liked as a child. It’s so easy to make for a newly wed. And it is so quick when you have hungry children at dinner time.

Wausaukee Gullion Alaskan Dish



Ingredients and Frying Pan

1 pound of ground beef

1 can 16 oz. whole kernel corn  (do not drain any of the cans)

1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes

1 can 16 oz. Ranch style beans or Kidney beans

½ onion chopped

2 slices of bacon


Since we were married, I have used an electric skillet to make many of our meals. Over our almost 50 years of marriage, I have probably replaced our original electric skillet four times. This was a typical wedding gift in 1966. Now many young women haven’t even seen an electric skillet. I make Wausaukee in my electric skillet.

Fry bacon. Remove from skillet. Add chopped onion and sauté. Add meat and brown. Break-up meat and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt, pepper, and minced garlic to taste. Break-up fried bacon into small pieces and return to skillet. Add beans, tomatoes, and corn. Simmer for 30 minutes.


Wausaukee Gullion

You can serve with rice and a salad for a hearty meal.


Dinner is Ready

That’s it, folks. When we meet again, I will have Play Date #15 for you. Learn how to embellish a vintage glove made for hanging. A small card for Mother’s Day is inserted in the top of the glove. Oh, so sweet. I’ve made six of them for the Texas Quilt Museum and three for my etsy shop, which I’ll add to the shop tomorrow.


Mother’s Day Glove

My mother and mother-in-law are no longer living, so it makes me happy to be making these mementos for someone else to give to their mother. Think of your mother today.


Mother Love

Love and hugs to you until we meet again, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 24 Baked Turkey the Easy Way

February 27, 2016

For so many years of my married life we had Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s home and Christmas dinner at Tommy’s mom and dad’s home. So I rarely baked a turkey until our kids were grown and married.

Many friends told me, over the years, that it’s not hard to bake a turkey. I tried it a couple of times, in different ways, but it seemed like a lot of trouble to me. My assistant for more than 20 years at Quilts, Inc., Kim DeCoste, told me of an extremely, fail-proof easy way to bake a turkey.


Kim Cheering Me On at a Silly Quilt Festival Luncheon

Now, I have no problem baking a turkey for Christmas Dinner. Troy has always been our turkey carver and Todd our mashed potato maker. I love having family in the kitchen with me. Makes me so happy.


Troy Carving Turkey

You need

Turkey Roaster with lid


Turkey Roaster Inherited from My Mother-in Law

Extra Wide Reynolds Wrap

Thawed turkey                    I choose a 23-25 lb. Butterball Turkey


Line roaster with Reynolds Wrap long enough to wrap around the turkey and seal it. Use two sheets of wrap. Lay one down the length of the pan and the other on top of first wrap laid down the width of the pan.

Empty insides of turkey and wash inside. Pat dry with paper towel. Put pepper all over the turkey skin.

Place turkey in Reynolds Wrap lined pan. Pull all four sides of Reynolds Wrap around turkey two at a time. Wrap tightly. The turkey should not be exposed anywhere. You won’t open and peak at any time so the juices and steam stay inside.

Follow cooking time on packaging that came with turkey. We use a meat thermometer in the end to make sure the turkey is cooked. Troy has patience and won’t take the turkey out until it’s time. Instructions for this will be with the turkey.

The last 30 minutes of baking, peal back foil to brown skin.

This makes a nice moist turkey. I’ve been happy with it every time.

Next week will be the last of the Saturday recipes I will post for you from my family recipe book. After that, I will post a new “Play Date” tutorial for making something with a vintage glove for Mother’s Day. It makes me think of my mother.

Mom in her apartment

Mom a Few Years Before She Died in 2001

May you have happy memories today of people who have passed through your life and made a difference in who you are. Love and hugs, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 23 Tortilla Soup

February 22, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a little retreat to Bide-a-While in Dickenson, Texas with Vicki Mangum


Vicki Mangum

and Willie Hart.


Willie Hart with Studio Cat

Teresa Duggan was supposed to complete our foursome, but she came down with the flu. We carried on without her, but truly missed her. We spent our two and a half days creating in Miss Sue’s Studio.


Miss Sue’s Studio

We spent our nights a few steps away in The Cottage. We each had our own unique bedroom.

The Cottage

The Cottage

The proprietor, Sue Bown, fed us morning, noon, and night. We had scrumptious meals in her large kitchen served on beautiful place settings complete with vintage linens. In the evenings she laid out an array of yummy snacks and treats in the Studio. We were well cared for in a shabby chic surrounding with so much to see and admire inside and out.


Miss Sue

My goal was, with instruction from Vicki, to complete several pieces of jewelry I had started in classes with Kaari Meng, the owner of French General. Vicki also directed me in remaking some jewelry pieces and repairing others.


Another Necklace Complete

I was in the middle of my tenth round of chemo during those three days, but it wasn’t a problem since I can take the drug on my own. Note one day’s dosage of chemo tablets in a dish along with my beading supplies.


Six Chemo Tablets

I’m so thankful that the chemo treatment continues to work for controlling my MDS. Because of that, I’ve been able to continue enjoying family, friends, creating, and working for Quilts, Inc.

As a thank-you for the weekend, I sent Miss Sue a complete copy of my family cookbook that you’ve received in small doses over the last several months. She said she wants to try each recipe. I hope she does, as she’s an excellent cook. After the addition of your recipe today, there are just two more for you to receive to make your cookbook complete.

Tortilla Soup

Andra Hrdlicka, from Victoria, Texas, at the time, served this recipe to our 4-member Canton Bunch during a retreat at her lake house. Several years ago Andra, Betty Jo, Michelle, and I also got away to create, shop, laugh and eat. Andra is always a great hostess with lots to teach about entertaining.


3 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped from a can

1 large can stewed red ripe tomatoes diced

1 can tomato soup

6 cups chicken broth

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon Corn oil

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

When serving

2 limes, juice

Shredded Cheddar cheese

Tortilla strips or broken tortilla chips

Chopped avocado


Sauté onion, garlic & jalapeno in corn oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer one hour. Makes 6 servings.

To serve

Place cheese in bottom of soup bowl. Sprinkle tortilla strips on top of cheese. Ladle soup over all. Sprinkle with lime juice and top with chopped avocados, cheese, and cilantro.

Andra served this with a Caesar salad and the flavors were yummy together.

I’m looking forward to the next get-away, the end of April, for a retreat with women from our church. Last year was the first time it was held and I heard it was lots of laughs, enlightenment, and fun. So I was one of the first to sign-up for this second year. Hope you have some time planned in the future to get-away with your girlfriends. Would love to hear about it. Keep on living life to its fullest. Love to you all, Judy




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