Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 16 Peach Cobbler

November 20, 2015

Hello everyone,

Just want to get your Saturday recipe sent before I’m off to Disneyland today. Yes, Disneyland in California. We are visiting our son, Troy, and his family here for a long weekend. I got to hold Thompson, and play with him most of the day yesterday. He’s still a sweet, happy baby at almost 6 months old. Troy and Michelle are also very sweet, happy parents.

Thompson

Loving Thompson Murrah

 

Peach Cobbler

This was one of the first recipes our granddaughter, Madison, could make by herself. She won our home rendition of Iron Chef contest with this recipe. I was the other contestant and Granddaddy was the judge. You can’t get much easier than this recipe and it’s yummy, yummy, yummy.

Ingredients

¼ lb butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon Baking powder

¾ cup whole milk

1 qt. pealed peaches or canned peaches drained

ingredients

Ingredients for Peach Cobbler

Instructions

Melt butter in 1 ½ qt. baking dish. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and milk. Pour over butter, but do not mix.

Pour fruit over the mixture, but do not stir. Bake 1 hour in 350 degree oven.

bake

Ready to Bake

Serve warm with ice cream. Scrumptious.

cobbler

Peach Cobbler Ready to Serve

So that’s it. So easy.

My day is starting off easy. Here’s our view from our room at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

view

Room with a View

It’s going to be a beautiful day. Make this cobbler and make everyone and yourself happy. Hope you have a beautiful day. Love you, Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 3 Chicken Salad Supreme

August 8, 2015

I love Chicken Salad and order it often when eating out. For many years that’s what I ordered at Victoria Country Club when joining friends for lunch. Now, when Tommy picks-up dinner from Hoggs-N-Chicks in Missouri City, I ask for their Chicken Salad. I also have my own recipe for Chicken Salad.

When our daughter-in-law, Julie Hartman Murrah, was pregnant with Tyler she was put on bed rest while waiting for his arrival. During that time I stayed with her for a few days to watch Madison. I made this Chicken Salad recipe then, and Julie really liked it. Every time I make this recipe, I think of those days. When I left to go home, both Madison and I cried like we would never see each other again. It broke my heart to see her standing at the door crying. I knew then we were forever playmates.

Julie, Tyler, and Madison Murrah 2000

Julie, Tyler and Madison Murrah 2000

Chicken Salad Supreme

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

(I use the Easy Bake Chicken Breasts recipe from page 2.)

1 cup seedless red or green grape halves

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

Instructions

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve on bed of lettuce with fruit or in a sandwich.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Fifteen years later, the Murrah Four Family is doing well with Madison taking off for Texas A&M later this month, Tyler starting his Sophomore year at Jesuit in Dallas, and Julie and Todd managing their ownership in Wing Stops Restaurants. Madison spent a week with us earlier this summer, and Tyler comes to stay next week. We are so pleased they still enjoy spending some of their summer vacation with us.

vacation

Madison, Tyler, Todd and Julie Murrah on their 2015 Family Summer Vacation.

Hope you are having a special summer. It’s hot as could be expected here in Houston, Texas, in August. The Chicken Salad recipe is a great one to make for the heat of summer. Try it and let me know what you think. I’ll be thinking of you. Hugs, Judy

 

 

 

Think Positive

July 12, 2015

When I started this blog a few years ago, I thought I would connect with other crafters. I had seven published books, a line of fabric, a garment pattern line and had taught quilting and fiber crafts extensively for 30 years. I was and still am involved in Quilts, Inc., but I no longer teach or write books. I missed my students and thought blogging would be a good way to connect.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Instead of reaching new friends through tutorials, I have connected more with family and friends whom I’ve made over the years in the quilting industry. I have written several “Play Date How-To” posts, but they are not the ones that get the most hits. My audience has been more interested in my every day life…our family and most recently my journey with bone marrow cancer.

Since I was a pre-teen, I have sporadically kept some sort of diary, journal, or thoughts for the day in various types of notebooks. Some I have since burned, others I read occasionally, but mostly they are just left behind somewhere on a shelf. I sometimes wonder if my children/grandchildren will run across them someday, or if they’ll just be hauled-off with the tons of other stuff my husband and I have collected over 49 years of marriage.

I guess my blog is somewhat like a journal or diary. I put it out there publicly not knowing if anyone will read it. I still like to tell my story even if there aren’t huge numbers of listeners.  I’m encouraged by the comments that are left behind on my blog or Facebook. It pleases me if I can make a difference in someone’s day by taking the time to visit.

It’s always good to hear back from a reader to learn a little about what is going on in her life. If what I have experienced can make me a better listener, then some of my day-to-day living makes sense. Being drawn to become a Stephen Minister eight years ago at First United Methodist Church in Missouri City has much to do with helping others by listening to their story. Recently the topic of our Stephen Minister supervision meeting was on Forgiving. We were instructed by our leader to bring books or articles we had read on Forgiveness to help facilitate the conversation. I recalled a book our friend and pastor, Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, had written and given to us over a year ago.

In looking for “The Forgiveness Project” written by Michael S. Barry, to my surprise it was with another book Mike had written in 2004. Mike had sent me the book, “A Reason for Hope” many years ago. I had read it and brought it to an earlier Stephen Ministry in-service supervision meeting. To date, I have not been assigned a care receiver who is battling cancer. My journey with cancer is new, but my experience is growing.

Books by Michael S. Barry

Books by Michael S. Barry

Finding Mike’s book at this time was a God-thing. I have no doubt. I took the little book to bed with me many nights and found much to read and ponder. Reading the fifth chapter, “Why Do You Want to Live?” was an “aha” moment. My prayer life is simple, but constant. However, I found difficulty in praying to God to let me live when others have died. Why was my life so much more important than all the others? Yes, of course, I want to live to see our grandchildren get older and pass milestones. I want to live so Tommy and I can do the traveling we have waited many years to do. It seemed selfish, but in Mike’s book, he gave me real purpose that I cling to and that is: I want to live to serve and glorify God. I can do that in my every day living with family, friends, and people I meet. I can stay positive and be supportive of them. I can listen and care. I can love as He loves us. It’s a big order, but it’s a reason to live.

Now let’s talk about being positive. Oh, my, I am challenged by that daily. I know being a positive person makes me and those around me feel better, but sometimes that’s a tough one. Tommy and I have been talking about and planning for our 50th wedding anniversary next year. We decided we would plan a cruise in Europe. Wait a minute. We have never been on a cruise. Maybe we should do something in the states to see if we even like cruising. So we researched and talked to many friends who have taken dozens of cruises. We settled on an 8-day New England Island Cruise on American Cruise Line. We were scheduled to set sail on July 4. Best laid plans of mice and men don’t always work out as planned. With my cancer treatment and transfusions often twice a week, I could not be gone that long. We knew this 6-weeks before we were to set sail, but we had missed the cancellation, money-back deadline. Even with a formal letter from my oncologist, to date the cruise line will not give us a refund or rain check.

Our Small Ship

Our Small Ship

But let’s think positive. With permission from my oncologist, PA and research nurse, I could be gone from MDA hospital visits for four days. I looked at Tommy and said, “Hey, let’s go back to Long Beach to see our one-month old grandson.” So we spent the 4th of July week-end with Troy, Michelle, and T.

Troy, Michelle, and T

Troy, Michelle, and T

To my surprise, Michelle and Troy gave me T to hold after each nursing, diaper change, bath, playtime, etc. Often he slept in my arms, and other times we talked, snuggled and kissed. I felt a renewal and healing holding that sweet little guy. What precious children to let Grammy have so much time with their baby.

Grammy Loving T

Grammy Loving T

We came home on Monday and then back to MDAnderson on Tuesday. I should have started my third round of chemo over a week ago, but my blood count has been too low. Dr. Garcia-Manero wants to give my body a chance to recover more from the chemo treatments. Last week my counts were higher than the previous week. We are hoping they will be high enough this Tuesday without transfusions to start chemo again.

You’ve asked about side effects with the chemo. There are few. My body does not feel like my body as it tires easily, and my muscles are weak and sore. My hair thinned, but I did not lose it. While I’m taking chemo I don’t feel much like eating, but that’s the extent of it. If I get to start chemo on Tuesday, I will take it in tablet form from home. This is a good thing because our darling 18-year old granddaughter is coming on Wednesday to spend 8 days with us. Yes, isn’t that amazing that our first grandchild, who goes off to Texas A&M this fall, still likes to be with us in our home. We are so lucky.

Madison Murrah

Madison Murrah

So there is always a positive to each day. We just have to find it and hold onto it. My positive will be Madison Elizabeth Murrah, or as I called her from the beginning “Little MEM,” will be my playmate once again. Let the fun begin.

Blessings and fun to all of you dear friends. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Hugs, Judy

 

Play Date #12 Texas Boot Stocking

November 28, 2014

We are all about being from Texas. Everyone in the picture below was born and raised in Texas, or being raised in Texas, except for our oldest son, Todd. He was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1968 when my husband was in the Army. We moved him to Boston, Massachusetts, after the Army stint, long enough for Tommy to get his MBA. We moved our new little family back to Houston as soon as we could. Our daughter, Holly, was born in Houston in 1972, and  baby brother, Troy was born in Houston in 1975. He also was raised in Texas, but after college graduation he moved to California and has lived there ever since. He has a loving wife and her family there, but we miss him here. We look forward to Christmas when he and Michelle will be with us. Then we’ll be the Murrah 13 and growing rather than the 11 you see below.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 was a grand celebration before the Texas A & M football game was played in College Station. We had turkey dinner, conversation, hugs, laughter, parking lot football, and just good family time. The highlight was the excitement of our oldest grandchild, Madison, being accepted into the 2019 class of Texas A & M. Her daddy graduated there along with her granddaddy and great-grandfather. Our daughter and her husband, Scott, also graduated from A & M along with great-great uncles and all my husband’s sister’s children. It’s a family tradition. We wish Madison Elizabeth Murrah many happy memories while she gets her education at Texas A & M.

Congratulations Madison

Congratulations Madison

Yes, we are about Texas and all things Texas. It’s hard to believe but more than 30 years ago I had a boot stocking design featured in a magazine which went out of business long ago. Does anyone remember Decorating and Craft Ideas? I still get orders for these stockings made from discarded denim jeans. My nephew’s wife just asked me to make more to add to her collection as her family grows with grandchildren. While making those for her I thought you might like to learn how to make them, too.

Texas Boot Stockings

Texas Boot Stockings

Materials Needed

Discarded pair of denim jeans for boot. One pair of jeans will make two stockings.

Fusible web with paper, suede cloth, ribbon, fringe, cotton fabric, felt scraps, etc. for applique

Christmas trim, jingle bells, studs, western charms, trinkets, etc. for embellishment

Directions

  1. Using the pattern provided, enlarge stocking to your desired size. I use the enlargement feature on my copier. My pattern for the width of the boot is 9″ at the top and 8″ at the bottom. It is 15″ tall. The foot is 7 1/2″ at its tallest and 11″ wide. You will make two pattern pieces. The A pattern is the leg of the boot. The B pattern is the foot of the boot. Make a pattern for these two pieces.

    Boot Pattern

    Boot Pattern

  2. Lay out blue jeans pant leg on flat surface with side seam decorative stitching on top. Using larger top half of boot pattern, place straight top edge even with bottom of jean. The side seam stitching will be center of boot starting in the middle of the top edge of the boot and ending at the scallop indentation where the foot of the boot is joined.
  3. Draw pattern on jean leg. Cut two wrong sides together on line drawn.
  4. It is not necessary to use the decorative seam stitching for the foot of the boot. Using foot of boot pattern, draw pattern on upper jean leg. Cut two wrong sides together.
  5. Lay the top part of the boot section under the foot part of the boot with right sides up. Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the two pieces together. Do the same for the boot back. Add trim over the zig-zag stitching.

    Stitch Leg to Foot of Boot

    Stitch Leg to Foot of Boot

  6. Choose an applique design for stocking. I have included several here. You will want to enlarge them. Trace applique patterns to paper side of fusible web. Fuse to wrong side of fabrics. Cuton line. Peel paper away and iron in place on stocking front.
    Deep in the Heart of Texas

    All About Texas

    The Lone Star State

    The Lone Star State

    All Things Texas Appliques

    All Things Texas Applique

  7. Machine zig-zag in place. You may prefer to replace the applique with a blue jeans pocket. Add embellishments.

    Deep in the Heart of Texas

    Deep in the Heart of Texas

  8. To construct the stocking, place front and back right sides together. Stitch boot front and back starting and ending stitching at either side of boot top. Clip curves every 1/4″-1/2″. Turn right side out. Press. My finished boot measures 19″ tall and 10″ across the foot.
  9. Use 8″-10″ of ribbon or cording for making a hanging loop. Fold ribbon in half with ends even. Tie knot near bottom. Stitch to inside corner of boot top extending loop beyond the top.
  10. Embellish further with other trinkets or treasures to personalize each stocking.
    Personalize Each Stocking

    Personalize Each Stocking

    Y’all come back now. Ya’ hear? I wish a great holiday season to you and yours no matter where you live. Merry Christmas,  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.

Fun

Fun

Love You Granddaddy

Love You Granddaddy

Laughter

Laughter

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

Instructions

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.

 

 

Vacationing Towards Our 50th Anniversary

June 16, 2014

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.     Thoreau

Three years ago, Tommy and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary week on a trip and count-down to our 50th. The criteria for each of these trips have been a place we haven’t visited, cool temperature, quiet, special accommodations, a few interesting things to see and near water, if possible.

Celebrating 48 years

Celebrating our 48th  year

This year we chose to go to The Manor on Golden Pond, an elegant bed and breakfast country inn, located in the Lakes Region in Holderness, New Hampshire.

Manor on Golden Pond

Manor on Golden Pond

Everything was accurate as they described the Manor’s fourteen-acre estate. However, I took them literally when they said Manor “on Golden Pond.” If I’d read more closely it said, with “exquisite views of Golden Pond.” Indeed from the windows and the deck off our room, the Mayfair, had an exquisite view.  However, it wasn’t on Golden Pond, but across the street. Now wouldn’t you believe you were “on the Pond” according to this picture of our room on their website?

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

We did enjoy quiet time reading on our deck in the sun and also on drizzly days. I happen to be a pluviophile, (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days, so the rain didn’t bother me. The weather was cool enough to have a fire in our wood-burning fire-place and snuggle-up  in our comfy bed to watch a movie on one of our four nights there.

View from Our Deck

View from Our Deck

The first day we arrived, we had dinner in the Van Horn room, an intimate setting with elegant décor, reminiscent of a fine English table with white linens, fresh flowers, and candlelight.  This is a Four Diamond (an accolade given to few New Hampshire inns) restaurant, which recognizes the exceptional cuisine prepared on the premises, as well as the sophistication, level of service, and attention to detail. We also relaxed here each morning over a warm breakfast of omelets, eggs Benedict, pancakes, or French toast, and numerous egg preparations. We anticipated breakfast each morning.

Van Horn Dining Room

Van Horn Dining Rooms

After a yummy breakfast on a sunny, cool day we headed to Moultonborough, New Hampshire to Lucknow, Castle in the Clouds, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1914 Arts and Crafts mansion includes 5,500 acres of trails and waterfalls on the land to the tops of seven mountains down to the shore of the lake. After extensively touring the home and interacting with the staff guides, we enjoyed more of the sumptuous views and a meal on the carriage house terrace.

Castle in the Clouds

Castle in the Clouds

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us at Lucknow

After the tour of the home we headed back down the mountains with a few stops on the way to look out over the lakes and take a few photos. Then we drove through many of the small towns and villages such as Meredith, Wolfeboro, Ashland, and Weirs Beach including a covered bridge. We headed back to the Manor for afternoon tea which was served every afternoon at 4:00. Nothing could make me happier.

Tea Time

Tea Time every day at The Manor

Cup of Tea

Cup of Tea in the Library

The next day, after another huge breakfast, we relaxed a while on the Terrace at the Manor. In the afternoon, with a picnic lunch in hand from the Manor kitchen, we headed for a 90-minute boat tour of the pristine Squam Lake. We viewed Purgatory Rock, the boat dock, and area where “On Golden Pond” was filmed. Our guide was humorous in pointing out all these locations plus the nesting places of loons and eagles. The flat-boat was equipped with binoculars as it took more than the naked eye to see some of the wildlife. We enjoyed the scenery and beauty of the lake and mountains.

Squam Lake

Squam Lake

We shopped after our boat tour in several fun and funky NH’s “no-sales tax” stores like the Red Barn, Veggie Art Girl,  and The Common Man. We made it back to the Manor before it turned really rainy and chilly.

Our last day, even after a long, hard rain all night, we were determined to actually get to the public beach and water. There are beaches all around, but they are private. We ate our substantial breakfast, did a little sight-seeing and then back to our room to put on our hiking shoes to walk to the shores of Squam Lake through the Chamberlain Memorial Forest. Our super hostess, Carol, assured us that it was a beautiful conservation area and would be a wonderful 20 minute walk through the forest and over a wetlands boardwalk. She said we would get to a small enchanting sandy beach from which we could enjoy a swim or bask in the sun. Well, there was no sun, and certainly too cold to swim, but we were determined. So we headed-out on what seemed like a very well-marked trail and nice and wide and dry. However, once we got well into the forest we were accompanied by small flying things and mosquitos and questionable trails and mud and darkness.

Tommy in Forest

Tommy in Forest

I clocked 9,000 steps on my fitbit and 14 flights of stairs by the time we got there and got back out of the forest. Yes, we did get there and found our way back. The major delight was that we accomplished it not unlike the sense of accomplishment we felt when we walked a marathon in 2002.

We Made It!

We Made It!

We stayed on the beach at the water for only 10 minutes and then headed back as fast as we could. After dinner and a long, hot bath, followed by a fire in our fireplace, bed was quite welcome. We took it easy the next morning packing and heading to the Manchester airport for a long day of traveling. When we landed at midnight we couldn’t find our car in the airport parking lot for about 40 minutes, but finally made it home to our own manor and our kitties, Snow and Tiger.

Snow and Tiger Waiting

Snow and Tiger Waiting

East or West Home is Best

East or West Home is Best

The summer still stretches before us. Tomorrow I’ll be in the skies again heading towards Chicago for Summer Quilt Festival in Rosemont. Will I see any of you there? When I land back in Houston next Sunday I’ll go straight to our granddaughter, Sydney Huebner’s 9-year old birthday party at Jumping World. The day after that, Madison (17) and Tyler Murrah (14) will be here for a week for Camp Grammy and Granddaddy.

I will spend the rest of today in my studio preparing for an Open Studios demo on making embellished messenger bags from canvas totes we have received at shows for many, many years. Next time you hear from me on this blog it will be a tutorial on how to make the bags. So until then have a happy summer.

Messenger Bag in Progress

Messenger Bag in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going to the Chapel

March 19, 2014

The day finally came when we left for Long Beach and Troy’s marriage to Michelle Lee. We couldn’t be happier with the wedding preparations and all the excitement that led up to this joyous celebration. Michelle’s nephew and Troy’s nephew were both ring bearers, and I made their pillows. They are identical, about 7″ square with the wedding invitation photo transferred to the backs.

Invitation on pillow

Ring Bearer Pillow

The wedding itself was on the Queen Mary where most guests also stayed. Our family and close friends stayed on the ship, so it was fun gathering multiple times throughout the week-end.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

The wedding rehearsal took place on Saturday afternoon in the ship’s Royal Wedding Chapel. Originally, the chapel was the smoking lounge for second class passengers and women. Now it’s a lovely chapel that seats 200 guests. After the rehearsal, we went across the harbor to Shoreline Village Parkers’ Lighthouse for a delicious dinner in the Lantern room. Guests could see the Queen Mary across the water.

Lantern Room

Lantern Room

Our family and the Lee family joined the wedding party for lots of introductions, visiting, and getting to know Troy and Michelle. We were so happy to have my husband’s sister, brother-in-law and their oldest daughter and family join us.

Cousins

Lindsey, Grammy, Holly, Callie and her mommy, Tamara. ( Troy, Holly & Todd’s cousin.)

My friend Willie Hart reproduced 32 photos of Troy and Michelle as children.  We placed them on the tables with the bouquets of flowers created by Romantic, Etc.

Flowers

Flowers and Photos

All the younger generation partied-on after the dinner, but Tommy and I were happy to go back to our room on the ship for a good night’s sleep. We were to meet at the chapel at 10:00 AM the next morning for photos, and this was the first day of Daylight Saving Time. The guests started arriving before we could finish the photos as the word was out that the chapel held 200 people.  250 guests were expected. With Troy’s childhood preacher conducting the marriage ceremony, all was special and went smoothly.  There were big smiles on all our faces when Reverend Dr. Mike Barry pronounced them husband and wife.

Vows

Vows Made to Each Other

Then the guests were invited by Michelle’s mom and dad, Farida and Kwan Lee, to the Promenade for cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres.

Farida and Kwan Lee

Farida and Kwan Lee

The relatives of the bride and groom were invited to a Chinese Tea Ceremony in the Queen’s Salon. Michelle and Troy served each of the family members tea and candy and in turn the family gave them red envelopes of money. I think most brides and grooms would like that Chinese tradition.

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

When the Tea Ceremony was complete, all the guests came to the Queen’s Salon for toasts, Sunday dinner and dancing.  It was time for Troy and Michelle’s first dance. They danced to their song, a ballad from our era by Sam Cooke, “You Were Made for Me.” The words are so meaningful, they make me tear-up each time I hear them. Oh, BTW, Michelle wore pearls that were a wedding gift given to me from my husband. They are hers now to pass down to any family member who would like to wear them.

First Dance

First Dance

Each of the guests was given a thank you CD with “their song” on it plus prelude, recessional tracks and the song that played for the Father/Daughter & Mother/Son dance. The guests had fun wearing temporary tattoos like the cover artwork found at their seats.

Favor at Reception

Favor CD of Wedding Music

My friends from Quilts, Inc. and my sister thought the music CD and temporary tattoos were such a great idea that they made plans to have a similar thing done for our  Quilt Festival’s 40th Anniversary Celebration this fall.

Nancy, Suzanne, Karey

Nancy, my sister, Suzanne, and Karey

It was so great to have them join us for the week-end along with our daughter Holly and her husband, Scott.

Holly and Scott

Scott and Holly

Their children were in the wedding as flower girls and ring bearer.

Holly's kids

Sydney, Lindsey, and Ashton Huebner

Our older son, Todd and his family were also there.

Four Family

Madison, Julie, Tyler, and Todd Murrah

Todd toasted the Bride and Groom with many childhood remembrances. It was emotional for him to deliver his toast so his daughter read it for him. Troy was pleased and appreciated his brother’s words.

Brothers after toast

Brothers

It was hard to believe when the reception ended around 5:00. I was having such a wonderful time that the time flew by. It was so special to meet so many of the Lee’s family and friends plus those of Troy’s and Michelle’s, and being with our own family and friends. Having Kay and Reverend Mike Barry with us was an added treat. We continued our visit later in the afternoon on the deck of the Queen Mary.

Tommy, Judy, Kay, Mike

Tommy, Judy, Kay, Mike

We later met Troy and Michelle and family and friends at the Observation Bar on the Queen Mary. The sunset was beautiful to end a beautiful day.

Sunset

Sunset from the Queen Mary

Troy and Michelle Murrah left the next evening for a week-long honeymoon in Costa Rica. We loved seeing the pictures posted each day. Best Wishes to the newlyweds. May you have love and happiness every single day of your lives.

Honeymoon outing

Honeymoon outing

Honeymoon Dinner

Honeymoon Dinner

Happy Birthday, Hubby

August 22, 2013

It’s August and it’s birthday time for my hubby.  So, the question is, what do you want for birthday lunch? His request is King Ranch Chicken and Yellow Cake with Chocolate icing. The cake is easy. It’s from a Duncan Hines mix. I don’t make King Ranch Chicken Casserole often because it’s a night- before process if you want it for lunch. It must have turned out really well, since just about everyone had seconds including Julie, our daughter-in-law. She doesn’t go for seconds unless it’s red Jello with fruit cocktail and bananas with whipped topping. It’s lunch time, and the first of our family start to arrive. Our oldest son Todd and family arrive from McKinney, Texas.

Todd and Family with Dad

Todd and his wife  Julie, and son Tyler, and daughter Madison with Tommy

Oh, here’s the King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe, if you like.

Ingredients: 2 lbs. chicken white meat, 10 corn tortillas, one can cream of mushroom soup, one can cream of chicken soup, one can Rotel tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 3 garlic cloves chopped, 1 onion chunked, 3 stalks celery cut into 3 pieces each

Instructions: Low boil chicken with skin on with garlic, onion, and celery added to water. Cook until chicken starts to fall away from bone. Remove chicken to cool. Strain onion and celery from broth. Puree in blender with 1/3 cup chicken broth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Strain 1 cup chicken broth and reserve in refrigerator. Discard chicken skin. When chicken is cool to touch debone chicken and cut into chunks.

One hour before serving combine in medium saucepan pureed mixture, soups, Rotel tomatoes, and chicken broth to make sauce. Heat to a slow boil.

In large rectangular casserole dish alternate layers of heated sauce, torn tortillas, chicken, and cheese. End with cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. It should be bubbling before removing from oven. Serve with green salad, tortilla chips, and salsa.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole is ready to take out of the oven, and Julie has made the salad. Yippee! Our second family arrives from Seabrook, Texas, and we can eat birthday lunch.

Holly and Scott

Our daughter Holly and her husband Scott Huebner

Lunch is finished and now it’s birthday cake delivered to Granddaddy by our FIVE grandbabies. We thank God for them every day. We are so blessed.

Birthday Cake with Grandkids

Blow out the candles, Granddaddy

Here are our boys…Tyler Murrah who is 13 and about to start the 8th grade and football plus Ashton Huebner who is the baby for now at 5 years old and starts kindergarten in a few days.

Our Boys: Tyler & Ashton

Our Boys: Tyler and Ashton

Our girls…so much fun for a Grammy in her sewing room. They are Lindsey Huebner, our softball player, who is 10 going into her last year of elementary school, and Sydney Huebner who would rather do cartwheels than anything else, but will start third grade and Madison Murrah who is 16 and thinking about colleges and her next theater performance as she starts her Junior year at Ursuline Academy in Dallas.

Our Girls: Lindsey, Sydney, & Madison

Our Girls: Lindsey, Sydney, & Madison

Lunch celebration is complete and Todd takes over the clean-up while I can visit with the girls. I love it when someone else cleans-up. Don’t you? Thank-you, Todd.

Mom cooked/Todd washed

Mom cooked/Todd cleaned-up

Dishes done and Todd was ready to take his Dad and son away to see an open scrimmage of their alma mater, Texas A & M in College Station. The  Huebner family had to be on their way to another birthday party, so the rest of the afternoon was spent introducing Julie and Madison to Downton Abbey. I don’t think I was able to make fans of them, however. How could that be?

Aggie Scrimmage

Tyler and Todd at Aggie Scrimmage

The next day, August 18, was Tommy’s real birth date. Todd and Julie took off, and Madison and Tyler stayed with us for a few days. They have spent a little summer time with us every summer, and we feel so fortunate that as teenagers they still think it’s fun to come for a stay at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house. They started the day with a little piano playing and singing for the birthday boy. Tyler still rides around the house on “Giraffey,” an inside riding toy we have had since Madison was a toddler. All five grandchildren drag it out of the closet each time they are here.

Entertainment for Granddaddy

Entertainment for Granddaddy

We took Granddaddy to the movie to see “Jobs” a movie all four of us highly recommend about Steve Jobs, the Apple creator. After a late dinner of Tommy’s bar-b-que ribs, we had ice cream (Yes, we are huge fans of Bluebell ice cream.) and cake again. Tommy got to blow out candles again on his “real” birthday with a little help from Madison and Tyler. He’s had lots of wishes come true in the last 9 months, but maybe there’s more in store. As we started our traditional Monopoly marathon, a Happy Birthday phone call came from our youngest son, Troy, who lives in LA. Now Tommy’s birthday was complete with good wishes from all three of our children.

Second round of cake

Second round of cake

There was still more fun for Madison and Tyler to have on their vacation with us. We spent several hours at Zuma Fun Center playing miniature golf, arcade games, and riding go-carts. We also saw “Sea Monsters” and they played Laser Tag. They are such fun-loving, happy kids that we were sorry when it was time for them to go back home.

Fun Day in the Sun

Fun Day in the sun

So it’s Happy Birthday to my hubby. We all hope it’s your best year ever.

Hot Rod Madison

Hot Rod Madison

We know it will be ever-changing with our growing family as the year zooms faster than we can imagine. As I’ve said before “Family is Best” and always will be at the top of our list. Love you all, and thanks for making Dad’s birthday such a happy one.

Happy Birthday to my friends out there when it’s your special day, too. Hugs and stitches, Judy

Good Bye Long Beach Quilt Festival

August 8, 2013

Quilts, Inc. has held a Summer Quilt Festival in California at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center for the last six consecutive years which included exhibitors, special exhibits, classes, lectures, tours, and special events. We held the last one in this series to an awesome crowd of class and show attendees August 1-4, 2013.

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

While we have enjoyed the years producing International Quilt Festival/Long Beach and meeting all the wonderful quilters from this area, our non-Houston-based Festivals are regional shows that we periodically move to different cities. This allows a wider audience of quilters and quilt aficionados to enjoy what Festival has to offer. However, it is hard to say good-bye to such a magical area with delicious climate and the good friends we have made. Our many thanks to the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for their partnership and friendship. We hope to see you again another time.

My job with our multiple shows throughout the year is VP of Education. I choose the teachers, classes, and special events and spend most of my time at the shows in the Education Office or the classrooms. The Education staff that comes to our shows are all quilters and crafters, too. Barbara Black, quilter extraordinaire, had two quilts in the Special Exhibits and showed Vicki and me how to use a new tool to make a simple, but complicated looking quilt. I plan to use the pattern to make Fall and Christmas table toppers for our church Fall Festival in November.

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

Because of a well-balanced, trained staff in our home office and at our shows, I am able to spend more time in the classrooms now than ever before. This year, I attended a half- day button bracelet making class with Vicki Thomas and taught by Kaari Meng whose shop is located in Los Angeles. Last year, we toured her unique shop, French General, that was full to the brim with home fabrics designed by Kaari, vintage paper crafting materials, books, jewelry and notion kits and much more. If you live in the area, put a visit to her shop on your bucket list. If you don’t live in the area, visit her website for a smaller treat.

In class with Vicki

In class with Vicki

Several of us also took Kaari’s half-day Beaded Embellished Cuff Bracelet. So much fun.

IMG_2114

Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

Check out Kaari’s July 8, 2013 blog post, The Warp and the Weft for better bracelet pictures than I have. You’ll also enjoy her blog.

Awesome classes went on for three days taught by Esterita Austin, Wendy Butler Berns, Patt Blair, Melinda Bula, John Flynn, Jane Hall, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and Judith Baker Montano to name a few. The final Special Event for the show was held on Saturday evening and was as active as a three-ring circus. The Iron Quilter Challenge was sponsored by Bernina of America. Three teachers and their hand-picked teams battled it out for bragging rights as they were challenged by time and the provided fabric palette to create a spicy wall quilt. Attendees mingled, ate and drank, danced, cheered on their favorite team, won door prizes and waited to vote on their favorite quilt. With a drum roll and plenty of excitement, it was announced that Charlotte Angotti’s team won the challenge followed by a drawing for the winner of the Bernina 550QE sewing machine. Thank you Bernina. Check out rayssewcrafty.com for more details with pictures of the Iron Quilter Challenge. It was a lively way to end our last event at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.

Debbie, Gyleen, Charlotte with their quilt tops

Debbie Caffrey, Gyleen Fitzgerald, Charlotte Angotti with their quilt tops

Our Quilt Festivals are not complete without doing some shopping, learning, and looking at the Special Exhibits on the show floor. I don’t spend as much time there as I’d like, but on the last day I get a little time for the fun and excitement of shopping and visiting with our excellent exhibitors.

Show Floor

Show Floor Shopping and Education

On Sunday I did a little early morning power shopping and made purchases at sew-blessed, Helen Gibb Design Inc., Walk the Walk, Cupcakes and Cartwheels, and Mary Jo Hiney Designs. My husband, Tom, had joined me by now for a little vacay away from the Texas heat, so he was a super bag carrier.

sew-blessed

sew-blessed

He has joined me at the end of the Long Beach Quilt Festival a couple of other years also because we have a son, Troy, who has lived here since he graduated from college in Texas. It’s hard to believe that I started working for Quilts, Inc.  37 years ago when he was one year old. I also had a preschooler and a child in elementary school at the time. I had a lot more energy then than I have now, there is no doubt.

Troy is a musician and custom design contractor in the LA area. We were able to hear his band, Restavrant, play very late one night at the historical Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood just yards from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Jill Benge, who works in the Education Department full-time, never misses a chance to dance and went with us. We had a great time, but it was one in the morning when we returned to Long Beach. I loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have missed it.

Jill, Vicki, Tommy, Me, Troy and Meesh

Jill, Vicki, Tommy, Me, Troy and Meesh at Roosevelt gig

The two days after the show were a whirlwind of adventures in the Los Angeles area with Troy. He and Meesh wanted us to see and do as much as possible. We spent several hours at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.

Abalone Cove

Abalone Cove

Friends, I climbed down and then back up that hill with a lot of help from Troy. Everyone else with us had no problem. I need to start walking again for exercise, but it’s hot in Texas and when is there time? What do I give-up to do that? My sewing? My crafting? Dinner with my husband? Maybe I should retire…

We spent time at the Natural History Museum especially to see the “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit. The Museum  is an indoor-outdoor museum with 3 1/2 acre Nature Gardens. We didn’t see those, but did see Dinosaur Hall, Age of Mammals, African Mammal Hall, and Gem and Mineral Hall, but there was much more.

Museum

Natural History Museum

Early evening we drove to the city of Lake Elsinore to see the minor league baseball team, Storm, play. Our boys and Tom played baseball in high school, and it’s almost always on our list of activities when we are together. The home team won, the hot dogs were good, and it was a nice evening to be together.

St. Elsmore

Lake Elsinore

We also made a stop at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum so Tom could see where the Summer Olympics were held several years ago.

Los Angeles memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Troy is starting a new company called “Olafson Creative” in LA. His middle name is Olaf and my maiden name is Olafson. Do you think that makes a mama happy? We visited his warehouse and his office he has constructed within his warehouse. It’s an exciting time for him with new beginnings. We are so happy for him.

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy in his office

Troy in his office

We flew out late Tuesday so we were able to fit in one more adventure. We went to the Queen Mary for lunch in Diana’s tea room and did the Glory Days tour with James as our theatrical tour guide. The ship is magnificent and caters to weddings and receptions for really special memory makers.

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Queen Mary with my boy

Our last Quilt Festival for now in Long Beach is a special memory I will keep with me always. Love you Long Beach.

Love you, too, Friends,

Judy

Galveston Mini-Vacation

July 7, 2013

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

Beach House

Beach House

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

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

From the Balcony

From the Balcony

Reading my favorite magazine

Reading my favorite magazine with ice cream

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

Starbuck's and Wi-Fi

Starbuck’s and Wi-Fi

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

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

Tin Man and Tommy

Tin Man and Tommy

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

Shrimp & Stuff

Shrimp & Stuff

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

Pier 21

Pier 21

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

Railroad Museum

Railroad Museum

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

Antique Shop Finds

Antique Shop Finds

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

Fireworks from Balcony

Fireworks from Balcony

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

Snow and Tiger

Snow and Tiger

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

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


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