Archive for July, 2013

No More Excuses

July 29, 2013

The middle of May I was in Portland, Oregon for Spring Quilt Market and met with my good friend and former editor, Barbara Weiland Talbert. She’s one of those friends that you can just pick-up where you left off the last time you were together without getting reacquainted. She excitedly told me about an on-line course she had completed and knew it was something I would love. As she said, “You have all the supplies for it.” This was almost true, but there were a few things I didn’t have on the supply list even after spending two days organizing my craft closet. It had been a long time since I had attempted working with paints, brushes, pens, and  glues.  Much of it was dried out and had to be thrown away.

Organized Craft Closet

Organized Craft Closet

Now I was ready to sign-up for Christy Tomlinson’s on-line She Art Workshop. So, I did. After reviewing some of the sessions, I was so excited about the class that I told my friend Willie about it.  She also signed-up for the course. She started right in and made three canvases before I had bought my remaining supplies. I had one excuse after the other for not starting. First I needed to get a blog post done. Then I needed to get things in my etsy shop again. Then I didn’t want to get all the supplies out because I was expecting grandchildren visits.

Then I read a post from Daily Om which comes in my email daily which was entitled “Protecting Your Flow/How Fear Blocks Creativity.” Was I afraid of failing as Madisyn Taylor said in her article? When I’m in my sewing studio, I feel safe and assured.  My creativity unfolds without conscious effort. Madisyn says, ” When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops.” I tried often to reassure myself that I could do this. I remembered an art teacher from college who liked my abstract painting and the words of my artist nephew, Jimmy D. McDonald, who said “just paint over it if you don’t like it.”

So off I went to Texas Art Supply to get the 6″ X 12″ canvases I didn’t have and to order on-line the dryer Christy recommended for the class. You know you must have all the toys to start a project. Right?

Shopping Finished

Shopping Finished

OK. There are “No More Excuses.” So I started this week with the She Art Workshop. It’s a three-week course and I have made it over the hurdle and completed the first three canvases. Yippee! I have learned a lot, experienced a lot, and am relatively happy with the results so far. However, what a mess it creates. I have to keep my very curious kitties away while I am painting in the great room upstairs. I have to admit that over the last week, I have wanted to be in my sewing studio at times rather than in  what’s now my paint studio/TV room.

So Much Mess

So Much Mess

This is the first on-line class I have taken. Christy Tomlinson is a great teacher, and the instruction is excellent. She’s a darling young woman with lots of talent and eagerness to share. I had a great time and look forward to continuing after I return from Summer Quilt Festival in Long Beach. I head there tomorrow.

Christy’s instruction is very specific and I followed her every step by watching the video and then pausing it as I completed a step. Here’s a quick run-down of how the first part progressed. First, she instructs you to cover your canvas with pattern tissue, ephemera, and scrapbook paper. She recommends Mod Podge for gluing and sealing.

Cover Canvas

Cover Canvas

Then, step by step, we learned different ways to use paints, rubber stamps, rub-ons, and permanent pens to enhance the canvas background. Wait. You mean some of this work will be covered-up?

Mixed Media Canvas

Mixed Media Canvas

Now we were ready to create our first girl. With the patterns downloaded it was like playing paper dolls again. Here’s my first girl who says “She kept her little girl heart.”

Little Girl Heart

Little Girl Heart

Feeling fairly safe  with the first canvas done and with a kind husband who made me feel worthy, I went on to create the second canvas. Christy’s instructions moved a little more quickly, but I was catching on somewhat. I thought my canvas got a little dark and tried to correct it in different ways, but kept going and finished “She kept the faith.”

She Kept the Faith

She Kept the Faith

With one canvas left to go this afternoon. I was determined to finish it and post a blog to you. So my third girl “She wanted to grow old by his side” was the conclusion of this trilogy.

She Wanted to Grow Old by His Side

She Wanted to Grow Old by His Side

Friends and family who know me well will guess this is all about me and it is. It’s my story and it was fun to tell.

My Story

My Story

I’ve signed-up for several more of Christy Tomlinson’s on-line classes, and I look forward to doing them as well. But, after I finish the rest of this class. Yes, there is still much to learn in this first class. Can you believe it? Maybe I can do as Madisyn Taylor suggests in her article when I start on the next canvases. She says to take a moment to bathe in  the warmth of a feeling of protective energy and unconditional love. Then, fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you. I’ll give it a try. How about you?

Until next time I wish you power to create.

Love and hugs,

Judy

Open for Business

July 21, 2013

It’s been many months since I have put any items in my etsy shop until this last week. Recently, I’ve had a burning desire to get back in my studio and cut, paste, stitch, paint and design again.  I love all my toys and treats for creating which I’ve collected over many years. Here’s my sewing studio today in disarray, but I have a lot going on in there right now. I have so many ideas and so many supplies, but I just need more time. Does that sound familiar?

Studio in Disarray

Studio in Disarray

Besides feeling the love to create, I need to be prepared to be a vendor at our church’s 19th annual “Country Affair.” I will be sharing a booth with Joan Hill, another quilter/sewist and also fellow Stephen Minister. Our Fall Festival is on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 10-4. It includes 90 craft vendors, outdoor games and rides for children, a food court, clowns, entertainment, Hattie’s Home Baked Goods, a Silent Auction and a lovely Tea Room. If you live in the Houston area come to First United Methodist Church of Missouri City at 3900 Lexington Blvd. There will be something  for the whole family.

So,  back to my etsy shop.  The kinds of things I like to make will usually fit ten categories.  I’m trying to put something in each one.   Take a look.  There may be something you like for yourself or a loved one. Everything I make has been created with love and joy.

In the Holiday category, I completed several boot stockings from repurposed jeans for the cowboy or cowgirl in you. I love making stockings from vintage quilts and dyed chenille bedspreads, too. Christmas happens to be my most favorite holiday all year long, and I love to decorate everywhere in anticipation of celebrating with family and friends this joyous season.

Repurposed Jeans Boot Stocking

Repurposed Jeans Boot Stocking

In the Pillow category, I have made several patchwork pillows from old and new fabrics, ribbons and laces. Each has a removable posy that you can wear. The pillows can also be used to pin on more jewelry for added embellishment and for ease of finding when you are ready to wear it.

Vintage Quilt Hearts and Flowers

Vintage Quilt Hearts and Flowers

Check out the Necklace Eyeglass Holder I made from a vintage Crazy Quilt Piece and old costume jewelry piece. You’ll find it in the Jewelry category. You might have caught a theme here in what I use to create. Yes, I do love to recycle when I design something. I grew-up with a quote from my mom that goes like this. “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without”. We pretty much lived that way with 5 kids in the household.

Vintage Eyeglass Holder Necklace

Vintage Eyeglass Necklace

For years, I have collected wooden boxes and have tried my hand at making assemblages/collages with them. It’s exciting combining my love of quotes, old photographs, and vintage lace to create little stories in these boxes. This one started with the photograph of the three young ladies in their white dresses standing before the dapper guy in the corner. There’s another guy looking on behind the ladies. I can only imagine the ladies sitting at their vanities preparing for this evening of suitors.

Country Chic Collage

Country Chic Collage

Now here’s a blast from the past…a pattern I designed many years ago that was also in my book “More Jazz from Judy Murrah.” My seven books in the “Jacket Jazz” series are out of print, but I do have a handful of the Tabard patterns, but none of the others. Amazon. com has many of my books and patterns for reasonable prices, if you are interested. Just Google my name once you go to Amazon.

With Modern Quilting all the rage, I have had several people ask me to get back to designing wearables for them. This would never work because I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I think this pattern would be a great foundation for building a wearable for the Modern Quilter. It has only shoulder seams and is three flat pieces on which to sew your patchwork or just strips of fabric. The pattern has cutting lines from size 6 to 24 and easy to fit because it ties at the sides. In the book, the pattern is made from coordinated patchwork pieces. It does not have to be a Christmas design.

Tabard/Tunic Pattern

Tabard/Tunic Pattern

Also in the Pattern and Supply category, I will periodically put together design boxes or, as in my recent inventory addition,  Craft Supplies Bonanza Boxes. I could never live long enough to use all the buttons, beads, fabric, ribbons, laces, books, vintage pieces, patterns, etc. that I have collected over the years. So periodically I will put coordinated Design Boxes together as well as larger Hodge Podge Boxes of whatever’s on my work table that I can part with when I’m clearing off for the next project.

Craft Supplies Bonanza

Craft Supplies Bonanza

I love making Collage Greeting cards.  I have made hundreds.  I’ll get some of those back in my shop soon. Periodically I will make  quilted and bound collage cards  which I call “Love Notes.”  These were  featured with instructions in one of my last published books, “In the Studio with Judy Murrah.”

Thank You Love Note Quilt

Thank You Love Note

So shortly it’s back into my Studio again for the rest of this evening, because tomorrow it’s back to the Quilts, Inc.. office. Last week we had our 5, 8, and 10-year-old grandchildren here for a few days, and I helped the girls create their own designs when we weren’t at the pool, movies, or out to lunch. Sydney designed a little tote just her size with gigantic artificial flowers glued to one side. Lindsey worked with a packet of Riley Blake squares to design a quilt on which she plans to machine applique on her next visit. Until you and I visit again, keep having a great summer.  Bye for now.

Sydney, Lindsey, Ashton

Sydney, Lindsey, Ashton

Love and hugs, Judy

Galveston Mini-Vacation

July 7, 2013

When opportunity arose for us to use our daughter and son-in-law’s beach house we took a short, mini-vacation over the 4th of July Holiday to see an old friend of ours—Galveston, Texas.

Beach House

Beach House

Galveston looks much improved from Hurricane Ike’s damage five years ago and still boasts some of the same fun spots that pre-date our honeymoon visit in 1966.

We spent a lot of time on the balcony of the house relaxing, talking, reading “Where Women Create,” eating ice cream and people watching. No, I did not do any running on the beach. Those days are long behind me.

From the Balcony

From the Balcony

Reading my favorite magazine

Reading my favorite magazine with ice cream

Even though it was a long Fourth of July week-end, I had a deadline the afternoon we arrived to get hotel rooming lists to the Westin and Hyatt Hotels where many of us will be staying for the Long Beach Quilt Festival in August. Besides setting off the house alarm, I could not get hooked-up to the internet.  So, off to trusty Starbuck’s for refreshment and Wi-Fi.

Starbuck's and Wi-Fi

Starbuck’s and Wi-Fi

Work is done. Now we can play. Using “self-guided” tactics in our car, we drove by many Victorian homes in pristine condition and others that made us sad they were in such disrepair. We created a game new to us that provided lots of laughs. Maybe you had to be there, but give it a try. We call it “Words of Wisdom.” With each taking a turn, we went on and on with quotes you have heard all your life such as “A stitch in time saves nine,” “A penny for your thoughts,” “Easy is as easy does,” and on and on. Tommy tried to use the titles of songs when we were running low on more quotable quotes. Do you think I let him get by with that?

So it was on to look at the adaptive re-use of hurricane Ike damaged tree stumps by transforming them into artistic sculptures throughout Galveston’s Historic East End neighborhood. Tommy poses with Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, by Jim Phillips, is at 1702 Winnie Street. These oak carvings stand as a playful symbol of the island’s resurrection.

Tin Man and Tommy

Tin Man and Tommy

We dined at three different informal restaurants we highly recommend. The first night we went early to Shrimp ‘n Stuff near Galveston College for what else, shrimp. It was delicious, and our tummies were full right along with all the locals also eating there. If you go there, go early to O St. and 39th because it fills up quickly.

Shrimp & Stuff

Shrimp & Stuff

On July 4th, we went to Olympia Grill for lunch on Pier 21, Galveston’s busy harbor. We ate outside where there was a cool breeze and lots to see. I highly recommend the Avocado Greek Salad with Salmon.

Pier 21

Pier 21

Just a few blocks away is the refurbished Galveston Island Railroad Museum where “rails have met water” for years. Nostalgia with a comic twist added to our fun.

Railroad Museum

Railroad Museum

What would a vacation be without visiting an antique/junk shop or two?  Tommy and I both can dig around just about any of them and come up with a treasure or two. Now our children would ask why we would be buying any more “stuff” for them to have to dispose of some day. My excuse is that I bought things at Past Perfect on Post Office to paint for my booth with Joan Hill at our church’s Fall Festival in November.

Antique Shop Finds

Antique Shop Finds

We settled-in early on July 4th, on the balcony of the beach house with a few snacks, as people gathered below us on the beach with their lawn chairs. As it grew dark fireworks came from 3 sources to the east of us and another source to the west. When it seemed they were finished, we headed to bed on the third level of the beach house. Tommy fell fast asleep, but I was up reading email when the pop-pop started again around 11:30 PM. I tried to rouse Tommy, but he was happy in bed. So by myself, I witnessed grand fireworks from  our bedroom balcony just in back of the house. They were loud, but beautiful.

Fireworks from Balcony

Fireworks from Balcony

We were up bright and early on the 5th so we could get a few chores done in the house to leave it as nice as we found it. We were on a mission to get to the Sunflower Bakery and Café before the crowds appeared. And the crowds did appear. The menu is endless with eggs, bacon, waffles and other tasty treats well worth waiting for. Mid-morning, we bid Galveston and the Fourth of July a pleasant good-bye and headed home to find our kitties waiting for us.

Snow and Tiger

Snow and Tiger

Thank you, Holly and Scott, for loaning us your beach house. We loved staying there, but as the “Words of Wisdom” say “East is east, West is west, but home’s best.”

Keep enjoying your summer. There is still more to come. A visit from our three youngest grandchildren is next. What’s in store for you. I hope to hear from you. With lots of love, Judy


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