Archive for the ‘Studio’ Category

Pinterest Inspiration

January 28, 2017

I spend way too much time looking at Pinterest suggestions or “inspiration for the week” that shows up in my mailbox. No way can I delete them without taking a peek. The boards I most often pin to are photographs, vintage lace, quilt ideas, and hearts.

When I decided to make Valentines/hearts again to put in my etsy shop I  looked at all the hearts I had pinned to my Pinterest heart board. I made copies of 20 of them for inspiration for making hearts. I used 14 of the ideas. There were no instructions, just pictures. It was so easy to go my own direction with someone else’s idea. My apologies for not recognizing the designer of the hearts I used for inspiration. Rarely can you find credit for things posted on Pinterest. However, I thank you for your creativity.

I had so much fun this last week making the Valentines. It was like I was an artist in residence in my own home studio. My studio was a wreck, but I was so happy and content. There weren’t enough hours in each day. Even the two days I spent at MD Anderson I still came home and worked into the wee hours on another design or two.

Cutting Table

My Cutting Table

I have made stuffed hanging hearts for so many years. I posted some on my blog with a tutorial on how to make them five years ago. If you are interested, check-out my blog post on February 12, 2012, Play Date #2.


Hanging Hearts

I’ve also made collage Valentine cards for several years.

Assortment of Valentines

Collage Valentine Cards

The tutorial for those is Play Date #1. I’ve refined the process for making them over the last five years, but I think this post will get you going.

Looking at the heart pins from Pinterest and executing from the pictures was great fun. Below is a photo of each of the hearts I made on the left and the inspiration on the right. If you want to see more details of each of the hearts, go to my etsy shop.

My version is on the left. I had a painted canvas on which I attached my design.  The inspiration on the right.

I made a little wall quilt on the left from the inspiration on the right.

On the left I am back to making a hanging heart using the inspiration on the right.

The inspiration on the right of a hanging heart was different. Using a solid piece of fabric with just a little embellishment was a departure for me.

Using a cabinet card to make a greeting card was new to me. Following the inspiration on the far right, I made two cards using cards from my collection of original cabinet cards.

The inspiration on the right appeared to use wool felt for the foundation. I tried this and added a little stuffing to the fabric heart stitched on top. It was a different process for me.

My rendition of another wool felt flat heart from inspiration on the right.

So those are the 14 Valentines I made this week. If they have sold from my etsy shop, you can still view them under sold items. If you are a Pinterest pinner, I hope you will take the opportunity to use some of those pins for inspiration. I highly recommend it.

You inquire about my health.

There’s not much different to report about my journey with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). We now call it a roller coaster ride. We thought the 27 day stay in the hospital treatment was beginning to kick-in. However, one week we are up about my blood analysis count and the next we are down again. One week I need only a platelets transfusion and the next I need platelets and blood. We still go to MD Anderson twice each week. I still can’t travel too far between visits.

I had a second consultation with the stem cell transplant doctor at Methodist Hospital last week. He repeated all the statistics of someone my age trying a stem cell transplant and the possible year long recovery protocol. The fact that I wouldn’t be able to be around children under the age of 8 really makes me hesitate. We have a 19 month old grandson and another grandbaby due April 2. Being a grammy is at the top of my list of what makes me the happiest. I still believe God has a different plan for me than trying a stem cell transplant and I still have faith in my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero.

Through all this I feel good. I can still go to church, to the office once a week, participate in the lives of our children and their families, and work in my studio. My husband is always with me for hospital visits and our three children are caring and supportive. I am happy.

May you be happy too, my dear friends. Love and Happy Valentine’s Day,  Judy


Two of my Valentines. They make me happy.


Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 21 Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

January 26, 2016

Hello Friends,

I know it isn’t Saturday, and I know I am two weeks behind in my blog posts to you. I’ve thought of you, though. My every free moment at home has been at our kitchen table going through many interesting teaching proposals for our 2016 International Fall Quilt Festival.


Teacher Selection Files for Scheduling

I’m happy to report I completed the class and curriculum selection at midnight Sunday. The four crates went with me to the office yesterday. Our Education staff is busy now getting everything in order to send out teaching contracts. Those of you who eagerly await the class catalog will be happy to know you will have well over 100 qualified teachers with over 400 special events, classes, lectures, and luncheons from which to make your selections. I’m excited now with the line-up, and it’s still 9 months away. That’s like waiting for a baby to be born once you know it’s going to happen.


On the Way to the Office

February is soon approaching. What better recipe to offer you this week than my tried and true sugar cookies. I make these sugar cookies at least every Valentine’s Day and Christmas season. Last fall, I added another occasion and that was our whole family tail gate party before the first Texas A & M football game. Todd’s family thought Grammy should make “Gig ’em” Aggie cookies for this momentous get-together. Of course I did.


Madison Murrah Freshman at A & M

This recipe is my most requested recipe from friends. 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.

You’ll find this same recipe in one of my early posts. I thought about referring you to it, but decided to be consistent with the page numbers for those of you who are keeping count.

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

cookies ready for tea

Please come for tea.

Ingredients and Instructions

Cream together:    

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

Blend in:

2 whole eggs

Sift together and add to mixture:

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

4 cups flour

Add to mixture:

1 tablespoon vanilla

After mixing, 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 and roll.

Dough part

Turn Dough on Floured Cloth

Roll out dough 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. Some fans will request baking cookies until they are barely browned. Others want theirs crispy, and some others like them slightly burned. Go figure? Cool on waxed paper.

bake and cool on waxed paper

Crispy or Barely Browned

With teacher selection complete, I have earned some time in my studio. It’s all set for making collage greeting cards and design packets for a Texas Quilt Museum order. Oh, be still my heart.


My Studio with Work in Progress

Love you all, Judy



Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 15 Meringue

November 14, 2015

The party’s over, but my studio is still suffering from the projects before and after Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival. I’m embarrassed to say that I just move things over or onto the floor or another table to make room to create.


Messy Studio

The shows were full of color, classes, shopping, events, and friends. Whenever I could, I spent time in classes taught by Julie Craig from Wichita, Kansas, where she has a dreamy Attic Heirlooms Needlework Shop. She never stops coming up with new ideas using patchwork, trinkets, trims, buttons, and lace. I love all her classes. I had the opportunity to take her big “Crazy Tomato Pincushion” class. Students love Julie’s classes. Everything you need is provided in a kit. Often the machine sewing is done for you before class, so you can start creating immediately.


Crazy Tomato Pincushion

Maria Shell, from Alaska, taught for International Quilt Festival for the first time this fall. I enjoyed spending Saturday in her “Blogging for Beginners” class. She taught us a few tricks for streamlining our blogs or starting one. I enjoyed the interaction with group discussion and one-on-one consultation with Maria.


Class Catalog

My thoughts now are focusing on the holiday season. I put some new Christmas items in my etsy shop today including Christmas stockings. I hope you will take a look.


Stockings made from a Vintage Quilt


Red and Green Patchwork Stockings

It’s time to get out my boxes of Christmas fabrics, trims, and ephemeral to create more. My sister wants me to make stockings out of this crazy quilt vest. Should be fun to do.


Crazy Quilt Vest

What will you be creating for the Christmas holidays? Will it be a special recipe or a new project?

For Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always make two or three pies. Everyone has their favorite. At least one of them will be topped with meringue using my mother’s recipe.


People told my mom she should make pies to sell because she was a superb pie maker. It took me many tries before I could make a good. tall meringue. 


3 egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

½ cup sugar


Separate egg whites from yolks. Let set out at room temperature while you make pie. Beat egg whites on high speed with heavy mixer and blade. Add cream of tartar once you have started mixing. When egg whites are just starting to get thick, slowly add sugar as whites are beating.

Continue beating until soft peaks form. Stop beater when you think meringue is ready, and lift with spatula. If peaks remain for a couple of seconds, then it is ready. It’s hard to over beat, but very easy to under beat the egg whites.IMG_2051

Spread on pie filling all the way out to crust with spatula. Lift meringue with spatula to form peaks.

Place on middle rack in pre-heated oven set to 350 degrees. Check after 10 minutes that it is lightly brown all over. If not, bake up to 15 minutes total.

Try making meringue for your cream pie. Your family will be so impressed with the magic you create for their Christmas dinner.

Christmas Table

Christmas Table set for 14

I have an idea. I think it would be fun to share your favorite holiday recipe or Christmas project with our friends on my blog. What do you think?

I’ve created two stacks of 24 fat quarters of Christmas fabric. I made them from a variety of some of my collectible Christmas fabrics. Some I couldn’t part with because I didn’t have enough to share. There were many that I had plenty of yardage and could share with you.


Stack of 24 Fat Quarters


Ready for a Creation

Send me your favorite holiday recipe or Christmas project. I will have a small committee to choose one of each as our favorites. The winners will receive one of the fat quarter bundles. If it’s OK with you, I will post the winners on my blog with reference to you. I’ll let you know the results on December 1, 2015.

Soon my husband and I will be going to Long Beach to see our younger son and his family. We haven’t seen our new grandson for two months. I know he has changed and grown so much. Can’t wait to kiss those fat cheeks and get all that sugar in his neck.


Thompson Murrah

We will go to Disneyland while we’re there. I can’t wait. I was 14 years old the first time I went to Disneyland. I loved it then and still do. The photo below is me in the hat holding my nephew Jimmy D. My sister, Joanie, is holding his brother, Timmy. They are now in their 50’s. My mom is in the center. Family get-togethers are the best.


First Visit to Disneyland

Make plans for some family or friend time. What could be more special? Blessings and hugs to you all, Judy



Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 10 Jello Fruit Salad

September 26, 2015

When Troy, Michelle, and Thompson were here for a visit recently, we went through old photographs of my family. It was interesting to see history repeat itself. My daddy was six feet tall. That was tall for a man born in 1912. My mom wasn’t quite five feet tall.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad in Love

Troy, our younger son, is 6’3″ tall. Michelle, his wife, is not quite five feet tall.


Troy & Michelle in Love

I love family photographs and family traditions. For many years everyone in the family came to Mom’s house for Thanksgiving Day. It was not unusual for her to welcome thirty-six people in her home. My husband’s parents joined us the years they did not go to College Station for the A & M vs. Texas game.

Mom’s Red Jello Fruit Salad was always on the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Our children grew to expect it for holiday dinners. When Mom moved from her home to independent living, we no longer celebrated in her home. It was time for me to make these holiday dinners for our family.

It’s rare now that we have Thanksgiving dinner in our home, as none of our family is here. Everyone does come together for a few days before Christmas for our Christmas dinner. Red Jello Fruit Salad is on the menu. One or more of our grandchildren is usually on hand to help me make it. Julie, Lindsey, and Tommy are the biggest fans of Red Jello Fruit Salad. They always have more than one helping.

Red Jello Fruit Salad


Following ingredients can be doubled easily to serve more than 8 people.

1  six oz. pkg. of strawberry Jello

1 can 15 oz. fruit cocktail (drained)

1 yellow banana (firm)

Cool Whip for topping


Jello Ingredients


Use the following speed method for making jello in a mixing bowl that is heat-resistant.

Dissolve gelatin mix in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Add 3 cups of ice cubes. Stir into jello until slightly thickened. Remove any  ice pieces that didn’t melt.

Fold-in drained fruit cocktail and sliced bananas. Pour into a pretty bowl.

Put  in refrigerator to congeal completely. When ready to serve, top with Whipped Cream. Mom made the real thing. My family is just as happy with Cool Whip added to their own helping.


Jello Fruit Salad

I made jello fruit salad for our dinner last night. Tommy grilled steaks and fixed everything else. He takes good care of me. I am so thankful to have him. He brought this heart home as a surprise for me recently. I hung it in my studio and look at it every day.


Brave Girl

Tomorrow will be a month since my last blood transfusion. In the last 6 months this is the longest I’ve gone without a transfusion. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that when I’m at MD Anderson for my weekly appointment on Tuesday, the news will continue to be good. When I saw my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero, this month he said the chemo is working on my MDS. I see him again on October 12. I should start the sixth round of chemo that day.

The good news is I won’t be on chemo when I move downtown for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival on October 23. Will you be there? I would love to see you. I usually can be found on the third floor of the George Brown Convention Center. That’s where the classes, lectures, luncheons, and special events take place. Come by for a hug and a chat. Until we meet again, blessings to you and your family, Judy


Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 8 Green Bean Bundles

September 15, 2015

Here it is Tuesday again, and I am sending your recipe for last Saturday. We have had our son, Troy, and his family here from Long Beach for a special visit. It was hard to do anything other than love our youngest grandson, Thompson. It was a joy to see him laugh, smile, talk and squeal. He was easy to please and liked looking around at all the colors and things in my studio. Of course I loved that.

Thompson in My Studio

Thompson in My Studio

We spent time with Todd and his family and Holly and her family when we could. Last Saturday, we all met for the Texas A & M football game in College Station. It was great to have all 14 of us together for a tail gate lunch before the Aggie win.

Huebners, Murrahs, Murrahs, and Murrahs

The Huebners, Us, Todd Murrah and family and Troy Murrah and family

It will be Christmas time before we are all together again. I will make all the things the family expects for our early celebration Christmas dinner including Green Bean Bundles.  A friend from our First Presbyterian Church in Victoria Sunday school class brought these to a pot luck Christmas party at our house. I made them for our family Christmas dinner that year, and they’ve been on our holiday menu ever since. Everyone in the family likes them including the grandbabies. These are so easy that anyone helping in the kitchen can make them.

Green Bean Bundles


3 cans whole green beans (Drain)

Package of bacon (Cut each strip in half and cut off excess fat.)

1/2 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar (packed)

Minced garlic to taste (I shake in a LOT. My guess is a tablespoon.)


Melt butter, brown sugar, and garlic in saucepan. Stir until comes to a boil.

Loosely wrap 5-6 green beans with a half strip bacon. Place in rectangular Pyrex dish with small space between for browning bacon. Use all the green beans and bacon. Your dish will be full unless you use two smaller dishes.

Cover with all the melted mixture.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Brown under broiler for 10 minutes.

Beans Ready for Oven

Beans Ready for Oven

We are soon approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which are all fun holidays. I wish they were spread out a little more throughout the year. There’s very little sign of Autumn approaching in Houston, Texas. I’m looking forward to it getting here. I hope you have something to look forward to this fall. May you receive many blessings. See you again next week. Hopefully, it will be on Saturday. Hugs, Judy



Where Have You Been?

March 9, 2015

I’ve thought of you often and wondered about sending you a post on different things I’ve done since Christmas, but nothing seemed interesting enough to write more than a Facebook hello. So here I am with just a newsy letter as a catch-up from the last two months. I’ve missed you.

We have spent time with our children and their families here in Houston, in Dallas and in Long Beach, California. Our daughter’s daughter, Lindsey Huebner, played basketball on Saturdays, and we made many of her games. Often Holly was off with Sydney at competitive cheer venues, and Scott was with Ashton at his very early basketball games.

Lindsey Huebner after Basketball Game

Lindsey Huebner After Basketball Game

Lindsey is playing softball now. I love watching her play softball, but the weather has been so cold, my husband has gone to the games without me. I’m having trouble with Sciatica right now and hoping for relief when I see my internist this Wednesday.

In January, we made a trip to Long Beach in California to see our son Troy, and his wife, Michelle. He has recently renovated their duplex in a charming historical neighborhood, California Heights. We loved seeing what he has done and also seeing Michelle pregnant with our sixth grandbaby. When the baby comes in late May, we will have three granddaughters and three grandsons. We are so excited and so blessed. Troy and Michelle celebrate their first wedding anniversary today. You can look back to my March 2014 blog post to see their wedding on the Queen Mary.

Troy and Michelle in their in process Renovated Kitchen

Troy and Michelle in their “in progress” Renovated Kitchen

We have had unusually cold weather in Texas this winter. We weathered ice and freezing temperatures to make it to Dallas last week-end for our son’s daughter’s Senior Presentation in the National Charity League. It was a lovely Dinner Dance and a special time with Todd, Julie, Madison and Tyler. I loved seeing Todd and Madison dance the Foxtrot around the dance floor with the other four senior girls and their daddies.

Madison Murrah at Senior Presentation

Madison Murrah at Senior Presentation

During the week we have continued our usual schedules with Bible Study on Tuesday nights, church on Sunday, me at the office twice a week or in La Grange at Texas Quilt Museum board meetings or for Quilts, Inc. Executive Committee Meetings or Staff Retreat last week. (Note to self: Need to photo-shop Bob, Rhianna, Vicki, and Marcia.)

Quilts, Inc. Staff Retreat

Quilts, Inc. Staff Retreat

There is still time at home for entertaining and creating. The house was adorned for Valentine’s Day and a sweetheart dinner for our pastor and his wife and two other Sunday school couples. It’s time to decorate for Easter now.

Decorated for Valentine's Day

Decorated for Valentine’s Day

Tommy and I get together most evenings for dinner and a movie or documentary on Netflix. Every Sunday night we have been glued to the TV for the latest Downton Abbey episode. He loves it as much as I do. Since the season is over, we have started watching the DVD series for Season 1. We are surprised at some of the things we have forgotten. It’s good to see Sybil again.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

During this cold winter (Yes, I know I don’t know real cold living in Houston, Texas.) I have had some delicious studio time. The Texas Quilt Museum orders my collage greeting cards on a regular basis. I love making these mixed-media small pieces. I recently completed another order of 24.

Anniversary Collage Card

Anniversary Collage Card

Embellished Lady

Embellished Lady

Sweet Anniversary

Sweet Anniversary

Recently I also completed an order of 18 embellishment packages for the Museum. I enjoy making these packets of the same types of things I use for making the collage cards. I understand people buy them for crazy quilting also.

Embellishment Packets

Embellishment Packets

Something new I have started making for the Texas Quilt Museum gift shop are button cuff bracelets. Scads of vintage and “not-so-vintage” buttons are sewn to a fabric cuff which closes with Velcro. It’s fun to use buttons from my endless button collection. This means I have to sort and examine my collection which makes me quite satisfied.

Bracelet in Brown and Black

Bracelet in Brown and Black

Bracelet in Pastels

Bracelet in Pastels

Yesterday I made the first set of six strip pieced blocks for a block exchange with some of our support Education staff. Barbara Black has organized us and will demonstrate how to make these blocks in Open Studios at Quilt Festival in Chicago at the end of this month. You can go to her blog at to see a tutorial on how to create these blocks. We each will hang our completed blocks made into something in the Education Office at Fall Quilt Festival in October/November.

Tanya's Blocks

Tanya’s Blocks

I am making kits to teach also at the Chicago Quilt Festival in Make It U on the show floor. If you are attending, please join me. I will teach it two different times. Check out the Make It U schedule. If you won’t be there, stay tuned for Play Date #13 where I will post a tutorial on how to make these darling pin cushions.

Triangle Pin Cushion

Triangle Pin Cushion

So that’s the update for now. I’ll see you again much sooner with a little class time. Until then, have a great time creating, enjoying family, and staying healthy. Love and stitches, Judy


I Cannot Tell a Lie

August 3, 2014


As I think about the upcoming feature of my studio in the November issue of Where Women Create, I cannot tell a lie. The photos Jo Packham and her photographer took of my studio show it in its best light. It’s kind of like the lyrics to the old song, “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake.” Many of you will remember this song, but you young ones will have to Google it. Well, I knew they were coming and I didn’t bake a cake, but I did spend time preparing my studio for them.

Studio Ready for Company

Studio Ready for Company

I love my studio. It’s my sanctuary. I love to create. It sustains me. However, my studio is a working studio. It gets messy and unorganized and I love it just the same.

Cutting Table During a Project

Cutting Table While Assembling Design Packets

It is the truth. I am highly organized, and everything does have a drawer, or a plastic container, or a shelf or a slot, etc. Everything is labeled and put away neatly AFTER a project or order is complete. However, in the midst of a project, containers come out of the closets, down from the attic, off shelves and onto the floor or on to one of my work tables. I need it all there and easy to choose from as I work. Sometimes I have multiple projects going on at the same time. That’s not my favorite way to work, but it happens when I have more than one thing going on.

Studio Work in Progress

Studio with a Work in Progress

Having a reason to go into my studio each day, even if it’s only for an hour, energizes me and gives me purpose. I’m grateful for the orders I receive from the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas. Each time I get an order from Julie Maffei, the Museum Director, I’m delighted. She’ll order 24 of my embellishment packets at a time and almost apologize, but I love it. Being able to coordinate threads, trims, buttons, yo-yos, silk flowers, vintage photos, quotes, trinkets, etc. is fun. I love choosing the elements and attaching them to a card covered in a piece of silk, sliding them into their cellophane envelope and sealing it for someone else to caress and love.

Design Packets

Design Packets

Also, the Museum has been selling my one-of-a-kind collage greeting cards since the day it opened in November 2011. To date, I have made over 200 cards for them to sell in their gift shop. I LOVE making these cards. I am thrilled when I get another order from Julie. Each card I make is a special little collage with sentiments from my heart for someone I could know. Two of the workers for the Museum have told me mine are their favorite cards to give to family and friends. That made my day.

If you want to know how I make these cards, go to my blog post on January 6, 2012, to Play Date #1, Making Valentines. The only thing I do differently now is to use Temtex or Peltex as the foundation and zig zag the outside edges. Following are a few of the cards from the Museum’s most recent order. Maybe they are still available.

For a Good Friend

For a Good Friend



For Life

For Life

Miss You

Miss You

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

It’s just about time to gear-up for making pumpkins from dyed vintage quilts, dyed chenille bedspreads and from white candlewick or chenille bedspreads for a more elegant look. My sister orders the latter from me for her booth at the Houston Fall Quilt Festival and her shop, Apples of Gold, in Artisans Alley. If you refer back to my August 13, 2013, post, Play Date #7 , there are instructions on how to make the chenille pumpkins.

Chenille Pumpkins

Chenille Pumpkins

Smaller Pumpkins

Smaller Pumpkins

Starting in September, I’ll also have the white pumpkins and orange dyed pumpkins in my etsy shop and my booth at the Old Alvin Emporium in Alvin, Texas.

Orange Pumpkin Family

Orange Pumpkin Family

Pumpkin Assortment

Patchwork Pumpkin Assortment

Last October, I started renting a tiny booth in Alvin, Texas at the Old Alvin Emporium where I can play shop owner on a very small scale. I sell things I’ve made, but also things I have collected that I no longer need. Yes, I’m a collector of stuff other than things for creating. My husband also loves to collect. God bless our children when the time comes to get rid of all our stuff.

Tommy, my husband, is so kind to humor me in  my passion for creating. He patiently looks at my latest projects and tells me his favorites or comments on the bright colors or the humorous vintage photographs. He also carries, loads and unloads for me without a single complaint. Last Friday he helped me move a new shelf into a vacant spot in my little shop booth after a display piece sold.

Tommy, My Helpmate

Tommy, My Helpmate

After moving the heavy pieces around for me, he left me alone to sort and play. He knows I can concentrate and enjoy much more if I don’t have any distractions. He doesn’t even warn me of the time or that we need to be somewhere. He’s a kind man. When he returns, after I’m finished, he says it looks great and takes my picture.

Ta-Da. It's finished!

Ta-Da. It’s finished!

What do you think? Sometimes I like something I’ve made so much that I shop in my own booth for a gift. Silly me.

Come See It!

Come See It!

My thanks to you, dear friends, who support my creative spirit with your compliments, your purchases, and your interest. May your creative juices flow. Love and hugs, Judy

Double Fun, Love, and Laughter

July 6, 2014


Our oldest grandchildren, Madison (17) and Tyler (14) Murrah, have come for a visit from Dallas every year since they were little.  In years past, they each had their own week so each day was filled with exactly what they wanted to do. As they have grown older, their interests are very much the same. Their free summer days are limited so they have spent their week with us together. It makes for double fun, love and laughter. Tommy and I are amazed and delighted they still want to spend a week at Camp Grammy and Granddaddy.



Love You Granddaddy

Love You Granddaddy



This summer it was a little hectic getting them out of Dallas Love Field and to Houston Hobby Airport because of bad weather. So a flight that was supposed to arrive at 6:30 PM was closer to 12:30 AM the next day. They were tired little puppies when they got to our house. They went straight to bed, but not before Tyler showed us his list of things they wanted to do.

Tyler's List

Tyler’s List

We accomplished most of the things on his list and added a few others such as comic book store, Cheesecake Factory, Hogs ‘n Chicks, Sunday school and church. It’s hard to know if Monopoly Marathon or Bluebell ice cream every night is the number one thing on his list. We certainly did them both this year.

Most often Tyler wins at Monopoly. Our marathon this trip lasted three nights. At one point Madison was in the lead. She took out Granddaddy and enjoyed counting her money and property much to Tyler’s dismay.

Madison is Winning

Madison is Winning

Unfortunately Tyler was able to take me down and take all my money and property. He then put hotels on most of his property. Sad day for Madison as she lost to Tyler in the end. He’s such a good sport about winning. Don’t you think?

Tyler Wins

Tyler Wins

Most days started with Grammy’s French Toast. This is a simple recipe that came from my childhood Olafson home. Our boys loved it, and each of our five grandchildren expect French Toast most mornings when they wake-up at our house. Here’s the recipe.

Grammy’s French Toast

Ingredients (Makes 8 Pieces)

White bread, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, dash of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla (secret ingredient), butter, white sugar


You must have an electric skillet! You know the kind that was given as a wedding gift to all those who married in the ’60’s. You can still buy one. I’ve probably had 3-4 in our 48 years of marriage.

Beat together egg and milk in pie tin. Stir in salt and vanilla.

Melt butter in heated skillet set on high. Quickly coat bread in batter on both sides. Place in skillet. When slightly brown on one side, turn and brown on other side. Add more butter to skillet. Remove to plate when brown on both sides. Butter one side and top with white sugar.

Yes, I know it’s not the most healthy breakfast to offer our kids, but it’s what happens at Grammy’s house. I know Madison and Tyler are back on their gluten-free, sugar-free diet now that they are home. Their mommy has always said it’s OK at Grammy’s, but we’ll eat differently at home.

So after being fortified with this healthy breakfast, on our first full day they went on to play laser tag, bake cookies, and eat Granddaddy’s superb bar-b-q ribs with all the extras.

Tyler Licks the Beater

Tyler Licks the Cookie Beater

Madison sleeps a little later than Tyler, so he entertained himself by occupying my new chaise lounge while playing a few games on Wii.

Playing on Wii

Playing on Wii

He also kept physically active each day. Catch anyone, or a little basketball on the sport court or a run on Grammy’s treadmill? A guy has to stay in shape if he’s going to play baseball in high school in the fall.

Catch with Granddaddy

Catch with Granddaddy

Shooting Baskets

Shooting Baskets

Running on Treadmill

Running on Treadmill

The second morning was spent at home in Grammy’s studio. Madison made a small tote like one she had when she was a little girl before it was lost.

In Grammy's Studio

In Grammy’s Studio

She also modeled a few tote bags I’ve made for my etsy shop.

My Personal Model

My Personal Model

In the afternoon, we went to the movie theater to see “Godzilla,” played laser tag at a different place, and then ate pizza. Madison and Tyler agreed they may have over-done it with rich food on this day.

The third day was spent at home with various activities including watching super hero movies on TV, drawing, and making tacos for dinner outside. The fun, love, and laughter continued with lots of singing, talking,  and ice cream before bed.

Taco Dinner for Outside

Taco Dinner for Outside

Day four, Granddaddy and Tyler went to an Astros game. The Astros didn’t win, but they enjoyed the game any way. Looks like a lot of people missed this game.

At Astros Game

At Astros Game

Madison opted out of going to the game and declared it a stay-at-home in jammies day. She drew and painted all day long while watching past episodes of “The Office.” The guys called at the end of the day and suggested eating chicken fried steak at a near-by restaurant. Madison quickly got herself into clothes and off we went, but she and I chose chicken salad.

The fifth day everyone was up early to go to First United Methodist Church in Missouri City. Granddaddy taught the Sunday school lesson, and then we went to church. The kids thought Granddaddy did a good job at teaching and liked our new preacher, Marty Vershel. Then it was off to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and then to the Comic book store  near my office.

This was our last night together. Granddaddy, our kitties and I will miss them.

Bye Tiger

Bye Tiger

It was off to the airport early the next afternoon. Madison and Tyler checked-in like pros.  I got lots of hugs and kisses before they went through the security line. What a great time we had with these sweet, intelligent children. Soon Madison will start her senior year at Ursuline Academy and Tyler his freshman year at Jesuit in Dallas. I’m sure we will see him on the baseball field and her on the stage. It’s one of the best things in life being able to enjoy grandchildren. Thanks, Todd and Julie, for sharing your super kids with us. We were filled with fun, love, and laughter.



Welcome to My Studio

June 28, 2014


A grand tour awaits you in the fall issue of Where Women Create, but here’s a little amateur sneak peek from me. Yes, I am so delighted I will be one of the featured studios in my most favorite magazine to come out the same time as our 40th Quilt Festival Anniversary. There’s a lot to look forward to this fall. I’ll keep you posted on some exciting things to happen at Fall Quilt Festival 2014, but today here’s my little tour of my studio.


Enter Here from Hallway

Enter Here from Hallway

I love displaying things on my walls that have special meaning to me such as small antique boxes, pieces I made in classes, things from friends, my children, grandchildren, photos taken and works by artists I admire. I feel surrounded by love and inspiration.

On the Right Side

On the Right Side as You Enter

Details of Right Side

Details of Right Side

Collection of Wooden Spools

Collection of Wooden Spools

Antique Shelves & Drawers

Antique Shelves, Jars & Drawers Hold Important Stuff

End of that Wall

End of that Wall

Then there are three windows that create a bay where my sewing machine is facing the windows looking out onto a park. It’s really pretty in the green of spring and summer. My kitties like to join me in my studio and sitting where I need to be is a favorite spot.

Kitties Join Me

Kitties Join Me

Then there’s a little corner before turning to the left and my design wall and then studio closet.

Little Corner Next to Windows

Little Corner Next to Windows

Design Wall Begins

Design Wall Begins

My studio is upstairs in our home and the room was meant to be a bedroom therefore the drapes and carpeting. Before we moved-in 7 1/2 years ago, I had a few things done to make it workable as a studio. The walk-in closet was outfitted with shelves. Two full-spectrum fluorescent ceiling lights were added. A design wall was created out of Celotex covered with Warm and Natural cotton batting on the largest wall.

Closet in Studio

Closet in Studio

Then we turn the corner and after the closet is the wall for my ironing board and wire drawers with more cubbies on the wall for treasures.

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Printer's Box & Drawers

Printer’s Tray & Drawers

Shelves with Jars & Keys

Shelf with Jars & Keys

More on Walls

More Mementos on Wall

And that takes you around the perimeter of my studio. Where do I sew, cut and design you ask? It’s in the middle that you didn’t see. I said this was just a teaser. Get the professional tour in the fall issue of Where Women Create.  Hope you enjoyed my little tour.


Leaving Studio

Leaving Studio

Button Jars in Hallway

Button Jars in Hallway


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.



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

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