Archive for the ‘Getting ready’ Category

A Prize Awaits You!

November 23, 2015

We are completing our trip to Long Beach today, and it will be full steam ahead tomorrow. I have an appointment at MD Anderson at 8 tomorrow morning, and then I’ll go to the Quilts, Inc. office for the remainder of the day.

We’ve had a great time with our son and his little family at Disneyland, the Long Beach Aquarium, and Rancho Los Alamitos and lots and lots of eating at great restaurants.

troy

Troy, Michelle, and Thompson Murrah

My thoughts are turning to Thanksgiving and then Christmas decorating to start next Monday. We have a big, sit-down dinner for 40 Sunday school members at our home on December 5. Our other son’s wife, Julie, is coming to help us decorate early next week.

Table Next to Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

I’m thinking of the contest challenge I gave you a week ago to send your best Christmas project or recipe. I’ve heard from a few of you. Some have sent their entry to my email address as they did not want it to show-up on my blog. If you’d like to use my email for your project or recipe, feel free to do so. My address is judym@quilts.com. Remember there’s a prize for our favorite. It’s a bundle of fat quarters for each category.

stack

Stack of 24 Fat Quarters

I hope to hear from a few more of you. The deadline is Tuesday, December 1.

Happy Holidays to all. Love and hugs, Judy

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Play Date #14 Button Cuff Bracelet

March 24, 2015

Since I was a little girl I have loved buttons. I can remember hanging-out with my mom while she sewed in her bedroom in sunny California. I’d sit on her bed and go through her round tin button box time and time again. She had one large flat box and a smaller round taller box. I preferred the larger flat tin. It was black with small colorful designs on the top, as I recall. This was the beginning of my love for buttons.

I Love Buttons.

I Love Buttons.

Needless to say I have collected buttons since I was a young woman. I spend time sorting them, choosing the right one for a design, and gathering an assortment in a specific category for another project. I never stop buying buttons at Goodwill, flea markets, and antique shops. The price still has to be right. If you could see all the buttons I have, you would wonder why I need any more.

Button Jars

Button Jars

Button Boxes

Button Boxes

So when the founders of the Texas Quilt Museum asked me to make button cuff bracelets for the Museum gift shop, I was intrigued. They had each received such a bracelet from a quilt friend in Paris. I examined their bracelets and how they were made. I had to decide if I could part with some wonderful buttons, old and new, I had collected over the years.

Original Paris Bracelet

Original Paris Bracelet

It took many months before I decided to give it a try. The first one took me many more hours than was worth my time. I was happy with the results, but it was a tedious job.

My First Attempt

My First Attempt

The second bracelet went a little faster as I made some changes to streamline the foundation process. I also added batting to make the foundation sturdier for hand sewing.

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

The third bracelet took two nights of hand-sewing and watching the Season Two DVD of Downton Abbey. It had more buttons than either of the other two I had previously made. The original bracelet had a gold lame fabric for its base. I followed this same idea thinking it made it dressier. However, with the red buttons it was hard to hide the fabric peeking through.

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

So on my fourth attempt I chose fabric for the foundation the same color as the buttons I was going to use. Now that was much better. I’m very happy with the results and the amount of time I spent making the bracelet.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Bracelet

I feel comfortable enough about making these Button Cuff Bracelets that I can now share the instructions with you.

Materials Needed

  • Matching button color fabric for top, backing, and facing
  • Light weight batting such as Warm and Natural
  • Buttons small and large
  • Beads and trinkets
  • Strong thread such as carpet thread
  • 1″ piece of velcro

Instructions

1.  Make foundation template. Draw a rectangle 2 1/2″ X 7″. On one end mark in 5/8″ on both sides. From here draw a tab closure 1″ tall. This is the finished size for a 6″ wrist. Make template longer for a larger wrist.

Make Template

Make Template

2. Using template, cut a top and backing 1/4″ larger than template. Cut a lining same size of template without the tab. Cut batting same size as template.

Cut Matching Fabric

Cut Matching Fabric

3. Pin top fabric to facing fabric right sides together. Pin batting to one of these wrong sides. Stitch close to batting. Leave an opening for turning. Clip off corners. Clip to stitching where straight edge meets the tab.

Stitch Three Layers Together

Stitch Three Layers Together

4. Turn right side out making sure all edges are out and flat. Turn opening to inside and stitch. Cut Velcro round at one end. Pin one half to wrong side of the tab. The straight edge will extend into the foundation. Stitch.

Velcro to Tab

Velcro to Tab

5. Match the other half of the Velcro to the right side of the foundation. Straight edges of foundation should just meet. There is no overlap. Cut off excess on straight edge of Velcro.  Stitch with machine.

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

6. You are ready to stitch your buttons to the foundation. Depending on size of your buttons, you will need 30-40 buttons. Get them together with a few beads and trinkets in a flat box big enough that you can spread out your collection.

Collection of Black Buttons

Collection of Black Buttons

7. Thread your sturdy hand-sewing needle with double strand strong thread. Knot. Starting in center bring the needle from back side to front. The side without the Velcro on the tab is the front side. Start with largest buttons in the center. It’s OK for knots and threads to show on the wrong side. It will be covered with facing fabric when you are finished. Stitch through each button three times. Back tack before moving to the next button. Feature your most impressive buttons in the very center. Sew through buttons that have holes on top through each hole once. Then sew again with beads or smaller button to cover button holes. Add smaller buttons on both sides tucking them under the larger buttons you stitched down the middle.

Cover Foundation with Buttons

Cover Foundation with Buttons

8. When you are satisfied with the look, turn bracelet to wrong side. Turn under raw edges of facing fabric and pin to cover all the button stitching. Hand-stitch to edge of cuff using matching thread.

Facing Stitched to Back

Facing Stitched to Back

9. Cuff bracelet is complete and ready for you to wear. The closure will not show so you can choose to wear the bracelet turned the direction which is your favorite. Or, you can alternate the sides with each wearing.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

I have an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for more button cuff bracelets. My next one is going to be made with mostly gold buttons. I’ve collected them and can hardly wait to get started.

Gold Buttons

Gold Buttons for Next Cuff Bracelet

Tomorrow I leave for Chicago for the Spring International Quilt Festival. I would love to start stitching on this fifth bracelet, but I need to bid you good-bye and pack. I’ll be teaching in Open Studios and Make It U on the show floor and have a few more things to gather and prepare for that. So it’s time to put this away and get my head focused on a really great show. I hope to see you there. Bye-bye.

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

A Christmas Home Tour From Our Home to Yours

December 18, 2014
From Our Home to Yours

From Our Home to Yours

Since the first year my husband and I married, I have decorated for Christmas. Like most newlyweds in 1966, we were barely into our twenties and lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

I grew-up with a Daddy who loved Christmas as much as I do and was the chief decorator. He made a big production of buying our live tree and letting it set in water in the garage until the limbs had opened sufficiently. Then he’d untangle all those big, colorful bulbs and test them all until he had many brightly lit strings of lights to put on the tree. Naturally I assumed all husbands came equipped this same way.

I think that December 1966 was a rude awakening for this 23 year-old woman. My new husband did not have a clue how to properly put lights on a tree or how to prepare them before starting the task. And further more he really wasn’t interested. As our family grew it became a family tradition to decorate the tree together. We eventually bought an artificial tree with lights attached.

Fast forward many years and now my husband has assumed the task of getting the tree out and up and decorated. I hang a few ornaments here and there, but he meticulously decorates for days before it’s complete. I add the finishing touches and eventually all the empty ornament boxes go back to the attic. I love the Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

And this year my husband bought a taller ladder so he could put an additional lighted tree on the inside ledge above our front door. He was determined to get it up there and positioned without calling an electrician to finish the job. He loves our house decorated and prepared for the kids to come home for Christmas as much as I do.

Tree Above Front Door

Tree Above Front Door

We did manage to get that first tree together and place a small, pretty angel at the top. She graced our tree through the birth of three children and through their college graduations. We retired her to a lower branch on the tree when we added a much larger and colorful angel. We still love our first tree top angel. We wouldn’t have Christmas without her on our tree.

Our First Christmas Angel

Our First Tree Top Christmas Angel

When I was 12 years old I received my last doll for Christmas. She was a Madam Alexander Crissy doll. I spotted her in the department store with my little brother on a Friday night. My mom and daddy were grocery shopping next door, and I could hardly wait to show them this glamorous doll. She was expensive for our family, and I wished with all my heart for her. I also had an older brother and two older sisters who were married with children. When I looked for the doll the next Friday night, she was gone. I was one sad little girl. I still wished and hoped for her.

On Christmas Eve, when we gathered around the Olafson Christmas tree, I spotted her red high heel shoes hanging on our Christmas tree. Can you imagine my excitement? My daddy made me wait until all the gifts were opened before he’d let me have those shoes. Then I had to follow a map he had created to find the doll that went with the shoes. My daddy died when he was only 51 years old, so this memory is very special to me. I still have the doll, and her shoes grace our tree every Christmas.

Crissy's Red High Heels

Crissy’s Red High Heels

For several years our dear, sweet friend Claudia Joines, came from Victoria for a couple of days to help us decorate for Christmas. She worked for an independent furniture store there where we bought a lot of items for our home. Claudia knew how to place everything in just the right spot. Sadly she died three years ago, and we weren’t sure how we could even get into the Christmas spirit without Claudia to bring in the season with us. We still miss her all through the year.

Judy and Claudia Decorating

Judy and Claudia decorating 2011

Thankfully, Kim DeCoste, my assistant at Quilts, Inc., came to the rescue as he often does. Now each year he comes for a day to work with us. He starts with the banister at the front entrance following exactly what Claudia had done when she was here. We are so grateful to Kim.

Welcome. Please Come in.

Welcome. Please Come in.

From the front entrance, Kim  goes to the dining room and decorates the light fixture over the table.  My joy is setting and dressing the table in a slightly different way each year. This year I extended the table so all 13 of us can sit at the same table. No one wants to be at the “kids’ table” any longer. Note the “poppers” at each place setting. Before we start eating our Christmas dinner everyone pops theirs simultaneously and then wears their paper crown throughout dinner.

Christmas Table set for 13

Christmas Table set for 13

We also do “poppers” at our Christmas Eve Day “children only” tea in the kitchen also. I started that tradition when our 17-year-old granddaughter was a year old to teach her tea manners. When her little brother came along, he wanted to join us because he liked the sugar cubes and other fancy treats. Now we have five grandchildren who participate. Next year we’ll have six. Oh, happy day!

Kim places decorative poinsettia and gold pine cones on top of the breakfront and the Spode Tea set on the lower shelf.

Breakfront Decorated

Breakfront in Dining Room

He decorates the buffet and mirror.

Buffet in Dining Room

Buffet in Dining Room

He places the Italian Crèche on top of my Mom’s china cabinet exactly as Claudia had done. Fortunately, we have photos to follow that we took when Claudia decorated. Each year, Tommy and I take pictures of all the vignettes around the house to follow for the next year. Some have stayed just as they were the last time Claudia decorated, but some have changes as I have retired many items and added some new.

Creche on Mom's China Cabinet

Crèche on Mom’s China Cabinet

We also decorate the living room, den, kitchen, great room upstairs and backyard. Following are some random shots of some highlights. It takes me the better part of a week to get everything the way I want it. Tweaking and handling special memories is my favorite part of Christmas decorating. So many things are gifts from friends which some they have made. You’ll note a repeating theme throughout of family pictures over the years, stockings, quilts, and nativity scenes.

Come on a little bird’s-eye tour. When we finish we’ll have sugar cookies and wassail which I make every Christmas. Just call me Martha Stewart.

Table in Entranceway

Table in Entryway

Corner Table in Living Room

Corner Table in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Pewter Creche in Living Room

Pewter Crèche in Living Room on Pie Safe

Coffee table in Living Room Waterford Creche

Coffee Table in Living Room Waterford Crèche

Entranceway to Den

Entry way Leads to Den

Thirteen Stockings Hanging with a tiny 14th one

Thirteen Stockings Hanging in Den

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Den Coffee Table

Den Coffee Table

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Toys at Window in Den

Toys at Window in Den

den

A Corner in the Den

Chilren's Desk in Den

Children’s Desk in Den which leads to Kitchen

In the Kitchen Island

In the Kitchen Island

Jim Shoar Creche at Kitchen Sink

Jim Shoar Crèche at Kitchen Sink

Butler's Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

Butler’s Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

Six years ago I made a recipe book of things I have made over the years that are family favorites. This year I  revised it with additional recipes the kids request and a new, updated cover. I have given you the recipe for the Sugar Cookies and Wassail I make each Christmas season.

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours

Family Favorites

Recipe Book of Our Family Favorites

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

I make these cookies at least every Valentine’s Day and Christmas season. Our grandchildren love to participate, but it takes lots of time with their help.

This recipe is the one most people ask me to give to them. I got the recipe with some Tupperware cookie cutters when Tommy was a Lieutenant in the Army. We were stationed in Joliet, Illinois at the Army Ammunition Plant during the Viet Nam War. Lucky us he stayed at APSA for his whole tour of duty. Todd was born during this time…1967-1969.

Ingredients

Cream together:    1 cup margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

Blend in:                 2 whole eggs

Sift together and add to mixture:

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

4 C. flour

Add to mixture:    1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

Do not refrigerate. Divide into 3-4 balls. Roll one ball at a time. Use left-over dough from each rolling all together for last ball.

Roll out 1/8” thick on floured pastry cloth using a floured sock on rolling-pin. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on waxed paper.

Hot Wassail

I received this recipe in 1982 from the wife of the man Tommy replaced at First Victoria National Bank in Victoria. She served it to us in their home the first Christmas we were there. I’ve made it multiple times each Christmas since then. My son-in-law makes a joke about me offering it to everyone who comes in the house during the Christmas season. “Would you like some hot wassail?”

Ingredients

1 gallon apple cider

1 quart ginger ale

1 8 oz. package of cinnamon candies

8 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

Instructions

Pour liquid into bottom of electric coffee maker. Combine remaining ingredients in the top basket.

Perk until ready.

Makes 30 cups.

wassail

Hot Wassail and Sugar Cookies for You

 

 

Play Date #11 The Stockings Were Hung

October 6, 2014

by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there.

Family Stockings

Family Stockings

“Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” is a quote I grew-up with in the 50’s. Being the fourth born of five children, I knew what hand-me-downs, cleaning your plate, share with your brother, etc. meant. Therefore, it’s easy to realize the origin of my game of using every little scrap of fabric, taking what someone else has discarded, and making it into something desirable. For Play Date #11, come along with me to make a one-of-a-kind Christmas stocking.

To create a stocking foundation on which to embellish, you can do one of three things:

  • Cut a stocking from an old damaged quilt. You may need to piece sections together to get a piece large enough for your stocking size.
  • Use a quilt top and add batting to the wrong side of the top before embellishing it.
  • Piece fabric scraps onto batting that has been cut into a stocking shape.

The stocking I’m showing you here was made from pieces of a vintage quilt. The ten stockings pictured below were made from the same quilt.

Multiple Stockings from Same Quilt

Stockings from One Quilt

Santa won’t be able to resist filling these vintage-looking stockings. They are fun to make in different sizes and shapes and easier than they look. A unique construction method makes them a cinch to line, sew and turn.

Finished Stocking Measures 7" Across top and 17" tall.

Finished Stocking Measures 7″ across top and 17″ tall.

Materials

  • Backing and lining for stocking, 1/2 yard for a stocking approximately 8″ X 18″, much less for small or tiny stockings
  • Assorted small pieces of trim, lace and ribbon
  • Jingle bells and other Christmas trinkets
  • Photo transfer and quote transferred to fabric
  • Vintage quilt or quilt pieces
  • Stocking pattern of choice

Instructions for Stocking front

  1. Piece together vintage quilt scraps or use a piece from a damaged quilt. My sister gave me these scraps she had left-over from one of her projects.
    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    I pieced them together and ironed the piece flat.

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

  2. Cut stocking pattern from quilt piece.
    Cut Stocking

    Cut Stocking

    There are stocking  patterns to be found on the internet. Or, you may have one in your pattern collection. You could use my pattern pictured here. It is possible to use a copy machine to enlarge or reduce the size of your pattern to get an assortment of sizes.

    Stocking Patterns

    Stocking Patterns in Various Sizes

  3. Embellish seam lines with lace, ribbons, and trims. Sew trims in place by machine whenever possible. Some will require stitching along both edges and others through the center only. If there is a row of visible stitching in the trim design, try to stitch on top of it with matching thread for the most invisible application.

    Embellish Stocking

    Embellish Stocking

  4. Embellish the stocking to your heart’s content.

    More Embellishing

    More Embellishing

Magic Lining

  1. Cut 2 pieces of lining fabric, right sides together, the same shape as the pieced stocking, but 1″ longer at the opening edge. Choose this fabric carefully as it will show at the top edge on the outside of the finished stocking.
  2. Place the finished stocking front face down on top of the backing fabric (the back side of the stocking) and cut the backing piece.

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

  3. Layer the 4 pieces in the following order and pin together:
  • Patchwork stocking, right side up.
  • Backing, face down on right side of stocking
  • Two lining pieces right sides together on top of backing.

4. The two lining pieces will extend above the stocking. Stitch 3/8″ from the raw edges through all layers, leaving the top edge unstitched.

Layers together

Stitch 4 Layers Together

Clip the curves to the stitches being careful not to cut the stitches.

5. Turn the backing piece over the stocking so the backing is on the outside and lining is inside. Use a long, blunt tipped tool to push out the edges for a smooth, rounded finish.

6. Turn the lining down over the top edge of the stocking and turn under at the raw edge. Tuck decorative piping, lace or ribbon under the turned edge, if desired.

Turn Lining to Front

Lining over top

Edge stitch along the fold through all layers using a decorative stitch, if desired. A free-arm sewing machine makes easy work of this on the larger stocking. The smaller stocking you will need to stitch by hand. Press carefully.

7. Attach 4″ to 6″ long piece of trim or ribbon to the top corner edge for hanging. Hot glue or stitch any additional embellishments to the stocking front until you are pleased. Isn’t it darling?

These stockings are so much fun to make! Once you’ve made some for yourself, you’ll want to make them for everyone on your gift list this year. The tiny ones are precious on packages and the medium size ones make great hostess gifts. I’ve used them as place cards for dinner parties with the guests’ names peeking out of the stocking. Your guests will be so delighted when you tell them to take their stockings home.

Tiny Stocking

Tiny Stocking

2" Across Top and 5" Tall

2″ Across Top and 5″ Tall

Tiny

Great on a Gift Package

 

Check-out my etsy site for more ideas. Go to judymurrahdesigns.etsy.com.

Merry Christmas everyone from the Christmas Angel. Love, Judy

 

Create…bring into being

August 29, 2013

This past week has been a fun week of creating in my studio with my sister Suzanne. Each summer, she visits me for an extended week-end, and we have a sew-athon. With the exception of Sunday, we avoided putting on nice clothes and make-up or fixing an elaborate meal. We were fortunate to have my husband who most nights ran to the grocery store, fixed a yummy dinner or  brought dinner home.

One night, Suzanne’s daughter brought dinner to us. She knew we wouldn’t be all “dolled-up” and told us so. She reminded us of the sewing marathons we had at our family lake house when she was in elementary school, and I was in college. She called us “sea hags” then, and she wasn’t expecting much more than that the night she came over. We had a laugh over that. Some things just don’t change.

My Sister Suzanne

My Sister Suzanne

Suzanne spent our time together getting many projects ready for her booth, “Apples of Gold”,  at Quilt Festival/Houston. She cut pumpkin wedges from dyed cutter quilts and stitched a few together. We have been making these pumpkins for at least 10 years, and they are still popular among her customers. Suzanne has made hundreds of them. Being the big sister (actually she’s much smaller than I am) she of course knows how to make the best pumpkins. She told me I wasn’t using the correct color of dye or strong enough solution on my cutter quilts. Being the “little sister,” I took it all to heart and, after a day at the office on the day she left, I dyed my quilt scraps in my jammies. It’s important to make my big sister proud.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Yesterday, I cut and sewed patchwork pumpkins from those “dyed-again” cutter quilt scraps. I put one in my etsy shop, but there will be more to come in six different sizes and from different quilts. They are so much fun to make and decorate. They take a little more time and effort  than the pumpkins cut in a circle that I showed you in our last Play Date #7.

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

Each time Suzanne comes for a visit or I see her in San Antonio she gives me linens, fabrics, laces, and trinkets she has cleaned-out from her collections. I never turn down any of it,  because it’s very possible I will use it and often I do. I just keep adding it to another cupboard, drawer, or closet. I told her I hope I have an opportunity to give-away all my collections before my children have to deal with it. My three granddaughters would take a lot of it home with them now, but I know their mommies wouldn’t be happy about it. Oh, well I accepted another full bag of goodies. My husband had to carry it upstairs it was so heavy.

Another bag of goodies

Another bag of goodies

Suzanne isn’t the only one who cleans out her closets and brings me what she wants to get rid of, but aren’t I the lucky girl? My good friend Teresa brings me boxes and bags of fabulous sewing supplies. It’s like Christmas. The latest batch of discards was all kinds of ribbons and trims. I love them and had a great time stroking them as I sorted them and wound them on cards for neatness.

I love ribbons and trims

I love ribbons and trims

I’ve read recently that you are not a hoarder if your collections are organized. Just want to show you proof that I’m not a hoarder, as each of my ribbons and trims are categorized and labeled in boxes. I do need to add some larger boxes, however.

Ribbon and trim closet

Ribbons and trims closet

My friend Sheryl also gives me decorator fabrics and heavy trims that are left from her very successful custom drapery and bedspread business. Do you think these friends feel sorry for me, or are they glad someone will take the excess off their hands? Sheryl sent me a box of goodies recently, and I was able to coordinate them to make large tote bags. I have put four of them in my etsy shop recently. Sheryl chose some of her left-over fabric for a tote for her and gave it to me in Long Beach. I’ll make it and give it to her when I see her again in Houston. She comes to our Festivals and is a great worker on our Education Team.

Grey/silver combination

Grey/silver combination from Sheryl

And ta-da, here’s a tote from Sheryl’s scraps. “Waste Not, Want Not” my mom always said. Maybe she shouldn’t have taught me that mantra. I do live by it. Oh, dear.

And here it is.

And here it is.

While Suzanne was here for her visit, I finished that tote plus a couple of others and fall table runners and toppers that are in my etsy shop or will be for sale at our church’s Festival on November 9th. I’ll share a booth with my dear friend Joan Hill, and I hope it’s full to the brim and that we get lots of shoppers.

I do love to create and am reminded often of it’s importance by my friend and mentor, Lesley Riley. She will be teaching and coordinating some Artist Development classes at Fall Quilt Festival/Houston  that I highly recommend. Check out her blog for lots of inspiration. Her recent post, “Did You Forget Where to Look?” on August 26 hit home with me. This paragraph in particular was another one of those a-ha moments.

“I am again on a search for myself! Yet, as many times as I’ve found myself, I seem to always forget where to look. Why do I go seeking elsewhere when the very thing I desire can only come from my heart, my soul, my hands?”

When I get it right, I feel like my granddaughter Madison who has no problem finding her true self. She has created from her heart since the day she could move and talk, and has let that creative energy flow and take flight at any time all her 16 years. Love your creative spirit, Little MEM.

Myself

Myself

Another place I look for inspiration when I know I need to create with my hands is my most favorite magazine in the whole world, “Where Women Create.” Jo Packham, another mentor and dear friend is the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of this quarterly of inspiring work spaces of extraordinary women. Jo will also be teaching at Fall Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. Check out both schedules on the Quilts website.

This issue was given to me in a welcome basket from our sales person in Long Beach. Even he knows it’s my favorite magazine. I was so delighted I would have it to study on the flight home.

When I got back to the office I had another copy of this issue from Jo. So, now I have two. One has lots of writing in it, and the other one is pristine. Would you like to have a chance to win it? All you have to do is answer this question at the end of this post where it says “Leave a reply” and “Enter your comments here.” “Where do you get your inspiration to create?” I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday after Labor Day. 

My most favorite magazine

My most favorite magazine

I devour this magazine from cover to cover and have since the very first issue. I literally read every single word. On the inside cover, I write page numbers I want to refer back to. Often I have underlined or starred parts on those pages. Page 91 was so important to me that I wrote the number on her skirt on the cover of the magazine so not to miss it.

Important Page Numbers

Important Page Numbers

So what was so important on page 91 of the August, September, October 2013 issue? It was a tip from Jessica Swift, a painter, surface pattern designer, and author from Portland, Oregon. I’ll leave you with her words.

“Follow your intuition wherever it takes you, even if it’s scary or feels confusing. Listen closely to your inner voice because it’s pointing you in the exact direction that you need to go. You never need to listen to what someone else is telling you you’re “supposed to” do. The answers you need are already within you. Get quiet, listen, and then act accordingly!”

Until we meet again, I wish you lots of “bringing into being.” Judy

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

Busy Summer

September 3, 2012

Goodness, it’s been a long time since I have visited with you here on my blog. I have thought about you many, many times.  I even started a blog or two and  created many things to share with you.

Friend collage greeting card

Friend collage greeting card

But, the summer has been chock-full of travel, deadlines, work at the office, meetings, sewing, visitors, etc. You know, since your lives are busy, too. Hopefully writing this post will get me back on the track to completion again.

It’s the beginning of September, and I’m working on some new beginnings and some “start overs.”  On September 1, I started back to my Dahn Yoga class after being away for almost two months. What a gift to give oneself. It’s there waiting. You just have to open it. This afternoon I had a healing session with Master Joy and then attended an invigorating evening class. I truly believe yoga feeds my body, mind, and spirit. Why would I allow myself to leave that off my list of things to do? I’m back again now and so happy to be there.

Treasure Boxes

Treasure Boxes

The last I wrote to you we had just returned from our delightful anniversary trip to Mackinac Island. Shortly after that trip my husband and I joined our oldest son and his family for a week in Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. They had rented a lake house elevated above a dock on Lake Otsego. We enjoyed more cool weather as the heat was continuing to climb in Houston, Texas.

Son Todd and wife Julie on Lake Oswego

Son Todd and wife Julie on Lake Otsego

It was a great get-away and so much fun to watch our 12-year old grandson play in a 5-day baseball tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Grandson Tyler before game at Dreams Park

Our son is the coach of this select team so it was fun to watch him in action also. Being with his super-mom wife and our 15-year old precious granddaughter made this family vacation the best it could be.

Todd and our granddaughter Madison after baseball cap shopping

Todd and our granddaughter Madison after baseball cap shopping

The latter part of July, I was off to Long Beach, California for Summer International Quilt Festival. Aww…more cool weather and so many wonderful places to eat just outside the convention center. The pre-show tour was a hit with my favorite being Karri Meng’s French General store. It is loaded with vintage and new French textiles, notions, fabrics, trinkets, kits for making jewelry, etc. I would love to return again. I also took a charm bracelet class from Karri at Festival.

French General Shop

French General Store

The show went off without a hitch, and it was great to see our quilt friends from that area. Classes, Special Exhibits and exhibitors were filled with energy and new sights. Our youngest son is a musician and artist who lives in LA, so he is always an added attraction for me. Several of the Quilts, Inc. staff went to the venue where he played on Saturday night even with a full-day of work scheduled the next day. Troy’s band, Restavrant brought everyone to their feet, including me, when he played.

Before Troy's gig

Before Troy’s gig

Each of our 5 grandchildren spent some vacation time at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house. Some came together,  and others spent special nights, one at a time. My studio is always a popular spot for sewing and crafting.

Madison and Tyler creating in my studio

Madison and Tyler creating in my studio

Sydney painting

Sydney painting

The big excitement for these visits was our new kittens. We adopted them in early August when our older grandchildren were visiting.

Our new kittens are delivered

We adopted two kittens from Katie.

We originally named them Tiger and Sugar, but Sugar has been renamed by our younger grandchildren as Snowball which I shortened to Snow and then later by my sister to Snowy.

Lindsey with Tiger

Lindsey with Tiger

Sydney and Ashton with Tiger

Sydney and Ashton with Tiger

Having these two little guys is somewhat like having a toddler again for me. They love to be with me wherever I am. It’s not good enough to be “with me”, but they want to be on the keys at my computer, or grabbing whatever I am working on at the sewing machine, or playing catch with each other up and down from my lap as I sit in my chair with sewing.

Kitties on work table

Kitties on my work table

Snow is learning when not to use his claws, but Tiger has yet to learn grabbing onto my clothes often goes into flesh. As soon as I yelp, he’s off and running. I don’t remember having this happen with our other kittens. Have I just forgotten? Whenever they decide to nap, I sneak off to another area to get something done as I am doing now. What funny little guys.

Brothers always together

Brothers always together

Among these summer activities have been anniversary and birthday parties, baby and wedding showers with births of babies and weddings.

Sydney and our daughter, Holly

Sydney’s birthday with Holly

My husband's birthday

My husband’s birthday

Our sons have each spent a few days with us here, and we have traveled to Austin, San Antonio, and Kerrville, Texas. My sister came for a few days for our annual sewing marathon to kick-start her preparation for Houston Quilt Festival. Her shop, Apples of Gold,  has been an exhibitor at our show for 30+ years. Her focus is vintage quilts.

My sister Suzanne and me

My Sister Suzanne and me

While she was here, I spent three days getting all the vintage blocks I have collected over the years sorted, ironed, packaged and ready for her booth at Quilt Festival in November. Now I am knee – deep in sewing pumpkins from chenille bedspreads for the Texas Quilt Museum.

Vintage quilt blocks

Vintage quilt blocks

So that just about brings me up to today. Hope you’ve had a great summer and are looking forward to lots of great things this fall. From here on out, my focus will be on the International Quilt Festival/Houston, but I vow to keep better in-touch with you. Meanwhile, I hope to hear from you. Keep stitching, Judy

Snow at my finger tips

Snow at my finger tips

Clean Closets Campaign

May 31, 2012

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the long absence. Life and work sometime take precedence over chatting. I’ve missed you.

Most recently I have been to Kansas City for the International Spring Quilt Market. To get a great idea of the trends you will soon see in your fabric and quilt shops go to Pokey Bolton’s blog. She reported extensively in two different posts on Spring Quilt Market and what we saw there.

Quilt market

Kansas City Quilt Market

Quilt Market is for the trade only so as one of the show organizers I am not eligible to buy other than at the wild and crazy Thursday night Sample Spree. Among other things I bought great bundles of fabric from different manufacturers with designers such as Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, Laura Gunn, and Kaffe Fassett. The colors are so bright and so happy I couldn’t go home without a bag of new treats. Now the problem is where to put all these new treats. Right now they are just stacked on my over burdened cutting table.

fabric

Fabric Bundles Purchased at Sample Spree

For weeks my upstairs has been in disarray as I’ve been trying to clean out six closets that house all of my “stuff.” Three of the six closets are in pretty good form. I can get in there and find what I need, but the other three have become a mess and a chore to find what I want. I need to get rid of some of my sewing and crafting supplies, but it’s so hard to do.

book closet

Book and Ephemera Closet

fabric closet

Fabric Closet

studio closet

Studio Closet with some boxes removed

beads closet

Beads and Buttons Closet

After buying and hoarding and teaching and designing for 30 years I have way too much stuff! Cleaning the closets is of no avail no matter how neatly I sort and organize. There just isn’t enough room for everything I have and how could I ever use it all? Recently I’ve been buying supplies to paint and collage on canvas. I just know if I keep trying I’ll finally be pleased with something I create. I’ve cleared out a space in a guest bedroom for a painting corner, but first I have to get all those things sorted and back in the closet so there is room to paint.

paint corner

Paint on Canvas Corner

Lesley Riley suggested I offer “surprise grab boxes” to you. As I clean out and organize I am filling medium and large flat rate priority boxes with all sorts of treasures I’ve been gathering and stashing away for years. I’ve tried just about every craft imaginable so my stash consists of fabric of all types and textures, books, patterns, sewing notions, threads, old photos, fabric, fabric, and fabric, lace old and new, papers, ribbons, trims, shells, trinkets, beads, buttons, found objects, costume jewelry, ephemera, yarns, quilt blocks vintage and new, patchwork started, cut squares of fabric, etc. The list goes on and on and I continue to find treasures long forgotten. Some boxes were moved here seven years ago and I’m just now opening them.

boxes on floor

Boxes From Closet

I’d love to send a box of fun to you so all these treats can find new life. I’ll be doing this for the next week. If the interest is great enough and I still have cleaning and clearing to do, I will continue. I really do want to be able to use my studio space and some of the things I loved when I purchased them, but it’s not possible with the disarray I’m in right now.

cutting table

Mess on Cutting Table

mess

Mess on Sewing Machine Cabinet

If you are interested in a surprise box this is how it will work. I’m charging $25 per medium cram-filled flat rate priority box which includes $11 postage and $35 for the large size flat rate priority box  which includes $15 postage. I have a few of the boxes ready to mail and I haven’t made a dent in all my sewing and crafting stuff.

boxes

Priority Boxes loaded and ready to mail

Please leave a comment here with your name and stating which size you wish to purchase. You can pay through my paypal account at judym@entouch.net or send a check in the mail. Once I’ve received payment I will mail your box.

large box

Large Box Full

box full

Medium Size Box Full

box contents

Medium Flat Rate Box contents

While cleaning out closets and my studio I came across a blog which featured photos of studios. I went to Mamie Janes blog and was inspired by all the vintage shelves, boxes, and drawers she uses for storage and display in her studio. Check out her “Welcome to My Studio” post on July 14, 2011. I love all of her posts, but this one is of particular interest right now.

I am prone to clutter my living space with these kinds of things, but I tried not to use them all when we moved into this house. After seeing the “Where Bloggers Create” post I couldn’t help myself and went on a hunt in our garage. I found and dusted off shelves, printers trays, and little drawers to add to my studio. Now I have more places to put things.

shelf

Add Shelf from Garage

buttons

Jars of Buttons and Trinkets

We all would love to see pictures of your studio and how you organize it. Please share with us. And if you don’t have enough stuff to put in your studio, please let me be of assistance.

My next post will be another Play Date. Please come back for a visit then.

Until then keep stitching and enjoy life, Judy

Happy Easter

April 8, 2012

It’s the eve of Easter 2012 and my thoughts are of faith, family, and friends and all the memories they have brought me. I’m thinking of all of you, and hope that you have much to reflect on this Easter Sunday that makes you happy or gives you peace or hope.

He has risen.

He has risen. John 11:25-26

My husband and I will attend our Methodist Church Easter service and then scurry home to hide eggs before our daughter, her husband, and three children ages 9, 6, and 4 come for Easter egg hunt and dinner. We have planned many of our traditional dishes for family celebrations.

He will grill pork tenderloin after the egg festivities. We will also have green bean bundles which have become a favorite of everyone in the family, scalloped potatoes with cheese, a tradition from my mom of red jello with fruit cocktail and bananas, Sister Shubert rolls, and white cake with coconut grass icing topped with jelly bean eggs.

Easter Egg Cake

Easter Egg Cake with Coconut Grass and Jelly Bean Eggs

The dining room table is set with china my mom gave to me before her death in 2001. These were the dishes that were used every holiday when I was growing up and when I returned home again with my family for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I feel so fortunate to have them to remember so many family get-togethers.

Table set with Mother's China

Table set with Mother's China

The center piece is a collection of laces, eggs collected over the years, an assortment of bunnies, and chickens. Many of these were gifts and others are reminders of other Easters when our other grandchildren, daughter-in-law and sons have been at the Easter table with us. It’s a great day when we all can be together for celebrations. Miles do keep us apart.

Center Piece Egg Nest

Center Piece Egg Nest

Each holiday my husband carries boxes of decorations down from the attic for me to sort and arrange each special piece. I’ve posted a few shots of those areas you may recognize when there were Valentine decorations in the same spot.

Here are a few of my tea pots where Valentine boxes were in February. The one on the far left is a Susan Branch design my daughter gave me along with many other pieces. The set in the middle is a child’s set purchased with my sister on one of her visits and the last one came from my husband one Easter with a flower arrangement. Notice they are on top of a special vintage linen piece.

Spring Tea Sets

Spring Tea Sets on Vintage embroidered Piece

Here’s a little glimpse of what’s in the window at our kitchen sink. It always has grandchildren pictures along with the season to gaze upon as we are busy in the kitchen.

Kitchen Window

Kitchen Window Enlightenment

And the island always has a little seasonal vignette.

Vignette of Easter Plates

Vignette of Easter Plates and Grandchildren

Along with getting ready for Easter I have been sewing for the Texas Quilt Museum Store.

Gift Store at the Texas Quilt Museum

Gift Store at the Texas Quilt Museum

The Museum manager keeps me busy with making all the things I show you on my blog or etsy shop. The latest things she has requested are pillows with vintage lace. Her special request is for Mother’s Day right now. This pillow measures 12″ X 16″.

Mother's Day Pillow

Mother's Day Pillow from Vintage Textiles

Here’s another one that measures 12″ X 16″. I like working with this size and shape.

Happy Mother's Day Patchwork and Vintage Lace Pillow

Happy Mother's Day Patchwork and Vintage Lace Pillow

And one more for a friend using a 14″ square pillow form.

True Friends Lace Collage Pillow

True Friends Lace Collage Pillow

How are those of you doing who have joined my Vintage Lace Challenge? I’ve sent out several envelopes of laces. If you haven’t requested a packet and still want to join, it’s not too late. Read my blog before this one that gives details. You could win this little sewing drawer of vintage laces.

Sewing Drawer

Laces in Sewing Drawer

I will send out the last of the packets when I return from the International Quilt Festival/Cincinnati. Will any of you be going next week? If yes, please look for me in the Education Office located in classrooms 260/261 at the Duke Energy Convention Center. If I’m not there, they will know where to find me. I would love to see you or meet you for the first time.

Until then have a wonderful Easter and may all your new beginnings be the best you could imagine. Hugs, Judy


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