Posts Tagged ‘collage greeting cards’

Sleepless in Sienna Plantation

July 16, 2016



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

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

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

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

Design wall

Design Wall in my Studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Sewing Corner in the 1970’s

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

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


Patchwork and Lace Jacket for the Fairfield/Concord Fashion Show

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


Holly Modeling for Fashion Show

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

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

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


Open Door Creativity Center

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

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

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

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

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

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

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


Our Family



Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 22 Taco Soup

February 13, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it has been a couple of weeks since you heard from me. When I’ve been home, I have spent time in my studio every spare minute. I had a big order from the Texas Quilt Museum that I finally finished yesterday.

I made 20 collage greeting cards,


Happy Birthday, Jennifer



thirteen Design Packets,


Thirteen Design Packets

and twelve mug rugs or hot pads.


Twelve Mug Rugs or Hot Pads

I loved every minute of the hours in my studio. There are only a few other places I would rather be.

Now let’s think about cooking. We are getting near the end of my family cookbook. Here is the fourth from the end.

Taco Soup

In the middle 90’s, I went to Seattle to teach several of “That Patchwork Place” employees how to make the second five Jazz jackets. The jackets were pictured in my second book Jacket Jazz Encore. Marta Estes made this soup for our lunch one day. My husband loves this and will eat it for several days. Thank you, husband. I don’t feel guilty when I’d rather be creating in my studio than cooking in the kitchen. The soup is very easy.


Taco Soup


1 ½ lbs. hamburger

16 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can kidney beans and juice

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

15 oz. can chicken broth

1 can corn

1 chopped onion

1 small can rotel tomatoes (mild)

1 can hominy


Tortilla chips

Grated cheddar cheese

Chopped avocado

Sour cream

Sliced black olives

Fresh cilantro


In large kettle sauté meat and onion, breaking up with a spatula as it cooks.

Add taco seasoning and stir. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, hominy and broth. Stir and simmer for at least ½ hour or up to a few hours.

Serve by mounding broken tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl; add a dollop of sour cream, then the soup. Top with grated cheese, sliced olives, and chopped avocado and cilantro.

Ummm…I think I’ll make a pot this week. Those of you who are looking out your window at snow would love this hot, tasty soup.

Happy cooking and creating to you until we meet again, Judy

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 12 Lasagna

October 9, 2015

This week I’m a day early with your weekly recipe. Today we are going to College Station for a Letterman’s get-together of the guys who played on the first team Gene Stallings coached at Texas A & M. Needless to say there will be many embellished stories going around the next couple of days. It will be fun.

Yesterday I spent the day making another garment to wear at Fall Market and Quilt Festival. Fabric manufacturers and pattern companies, who exhibit with us, are happy to give us their new fabric line and pattern line for us to make and wear.

My latest garment is made from Vintage Modern fabric designed by Amy Barickman for RJR Fabrics. The pattern is Over the Top Tunic from Indygo Junction by Amy Barickman. Our Education staff will also be wearing a garment of their choice made in this same fabric line and color way. It will be easy to identify us on the days we wear them. Look for us on the third floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center. That’s where all the classes are held for 10 days. Come visit me in room 340AB. I would love to see you.


Over the Top Tunic Front


Over the Top Tunic Back

I have been sewing and creating since I was a little girl. Every where we have lived I have found friends who also love to create with their hands.

The recipe this week came from Emily Waldron, (from her grandmother) my best friend while Tommy was going to graduate school in 1969-71 in Boston. We each had a young son and did not work outside the home. We got together once a week, alternating our homes while our husbands were in school. We each had only one car so the husbands would come to the house where we were for dinner, and then we’d go home after dinner. It was always a fun day making crafts and dinner together while our sons napped and played with each other.

Best Ever Lasagna

Makes two 9″ X 13″ casseroles



2 lbs. ground meat

4 crushed garlic cloves


12 oz. can tomato paste

28 oz. can tomatoes diced with juice

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

2 tablespoons Oregano

Cover and simmer 30 minutes until slightly thickened.


1 lb. Lasagna noodles. Drain.


3 eggs

dash salt and pepper

¼ cup dried parsley

30 oz. Ricotta cheese

Fill casseroles with alternate layers of 

Meat sauce


Egg and Ricotta cheese mixture

Cheeses (2 pkgs. Grated Mozzarella and 2 pkgs. Parmesan)

Start with a thin layer of meat sauce. End with sauce and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil last 20 minutes of baking.

This is a great recipe to make for a group of 12. Serve with a green salad and chocolate dessert.

It’s my birthday this month, and I plan to celebrate every opportunity I get. My chemo treatments are working, and I’m thrilled to have another birthday.


Happy Birthday to Me

Lots of love, hugs and kisses until next week, 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

Quilt Festival/Chicago 2013

June 25, 2013

We were pleased to take International Quilt Festival back to the Chicago/Rosemont area and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Since we’ve been gone the area added the MB Financial Park–a new district with many restaurants and entertainment facilities located within walking distance of the Stephens Center. We enjoyed many of these places at the end of each show day but show first and then play. So with workbook and name badge in hand on June 20th, it was time to start Preview Night for the 2013 Chicago Festival. Let the fun begin!

Jill Benge and Judy

Jill Benge and Judy

The show was composed of Special Quilt Exhibits, Education on the show floor, and Exhibitors. It was hard for attendees to decide where to go first. Many started with the Special Exhibits to find their quilt or one they have heard about among the more than 500 quilts and pieces of fabric art on display. I checked out the quilts made by my friend Barbara Black in Traditional Treasures. This is a juried exhibit and Barbara’s quilts “Lone Star Garden” and “If it’s Purple…”were both among those accepted in the exhibit. Barbara’s work is perfection. They were a joy to see hanging in the exhibit.

Barbara Black's Quilts

Barbara Black’s Quilts

Among the other many quilt exhibits hung one of the masterpieces made by Libby Lehman from Houston, Texas.  I said a prayer for Libby as I stood in front of “Ripple Effect” and thought about Libby and the friendship I have had with her since the 80’s. If you don’t know, on April 30th Libby suffered a stroke after a ruptured aneurysm and is now in rehab. If you want to know more about Libby Lehman and how you can support her go to Caring Bridge for updates. God bless you, Libby. We all love you and miss you.

Libby Lehman's Quilt

Libby Lehman’s Quilt

There was much talk and delight over the “ChiCOWgo” quilt exhibit. From a pattern in the book “Out of the Box with Easy Blocks” by Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie McFarland, friends and students customized the “Purple Cow” into various themes. The cow quilts were accompanied by cow photography done by my dear friend Wilma Hart. I loved looking at her photography of Texas cows as much as I enjoyed the quilts.

ChiCOWgo Exhibit

ChiCOWgo Exhibit

The greater part of my time was spent in the Education segments held on the show floor. There were opportunities to create a project or learn a new technique in ‘Open Studios” and “Create on the Spot” areas. “Create on the Spot” was a great place to sit down for an hour and for $10 you could complete a simple, but fun project such as a Poppy Brooch and Light Up Trading Cards.

Create on the Spot

Create on the Spot

I taught one of the segments to a group of fun-loving students. They each went home with three “Cut and Paste” greeting cards and materials to make three more. It was a fun hour.

Teaching at Create on the Spot

Teaching at Create on the Spot

“Open Studios” had presentations on modern quilting techniques, hand piecing, machine quilting, dyeing and painting fabric, stamping and silk screening fabric and more. Over the course of the show, four quilt artists demonstrated simultaneously under the categories of “Embellish,” “Stitch,” “Quilt,” and “Paint” in four specially designed studio rooms. There were 40 sessions of demonstrations over the duration of the show. It was a busy place.

Open Studios

Open Studios

Each day I spent time demonstrating my “Collage Greeting Cards” to a group of interested attendees. I never tire of making these cards using vintage photos and embellishments.


What would a Quilt Festival be without things to buy? There were rows and rows of 300 booths selling everything from sewing machines to beads to threads to fabric to patterns and much, much more. Lisa and Nick Bongean, the owners of Primitive Gatherings have everything you could possibly need for your wool embroidery.  Check them out at their quilt shop in Wisconsin or visit them again at one of our upcoming shows.

Primitive Gatherings

Primitive Gatherings

A visit to our Commemorative booth is always a must. We have show totes, t-shirts, pins, and programs for sale there among other fun items. Barbara Youngflesh and Patty Teufel keep this booth running throughout the show. Stop by and visit them. They always have smiling faces and great things to sell.

Commemorative Booth

Commemorative Boot

Not that the time at the Convention Center isn’t fun, but it’s always enjoyable to relax at the end of the day with friends and co-workers. This night Karey, Nancy, Trix and I enjoyed a steak dinner at Morton’s. Even though we are out for the evening the topic most often turns to how we can improve on the next show. We hope you will join us back at Rosemont/Chicago in 2014. It will be fun!

Dining with Friends

Dining with Friends

Please join us for one of our upcoming shows.

August 2-4, 2013 at Long Beach Quilt Festival

October 31-November 3, 2013 at Houston Quilt Festival

April 3-5, 2014 at Cincinnati Quilt Festival

June 20-22, 2014 at Chicago Quilt Festival

August 14-16, 2014 at Portland Quilt! Knit! Stitch!

Busy Summer

September 3, 2012

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

Friend collage greeting card

Friend collage greeting card

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

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

Treasure Boxes

Treasure Boxes

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

Son Todd and wife Julie on Lake Oswego

Son Todd and wife Julie on Lake Otsego

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

Grandson Tyler before game at Dreams Park

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

Todd and our granddaughter Madison after baseball cap shopping

Todd and our granddaughter Madison after baseball cap shopping

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

French General Shop

French General Store

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

Before Troy's gig

Before Troy’s gig

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

Madison and Tyler creating in my studio

Madison and Tyler creating in my studio

Sydney painting

Sydney painting

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

Our new kittens are delivered

We adopted two kittens from Katie.

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

Lindsey with Tiger

Lindsey with Tiger

Sydney and Ashton with Tiger

Sydney and Ashton with Tiger

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

Kitties on work table

Kitties on my work table

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

Brothers always together

Brothers always together

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

Sydney and our daughter, Holly

Sydney’s birthday with Holly

My husband's birthday

My husband’s birthday

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

My sister Suzanne and me

My Sister Suzanne and me

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

Vintage quilt blocks

Vintage quilt blocks

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

Snow at my finger tips

Snow at my finger tips

What’s Up?

April 29, 2012

Life has been busy around here with a little of this and a lot of that.

The International Spring Quilt Festival in Cincinnati, April 12-15, has come and gone. It was a delightful show with entertaining Special Exhibits, much shopping with the exhibitors, and fun learning in the education department.

show floor

Cincinnati Show Floor

I loved shopping with Charmography where I chose the charms, and Robin put them together for me to make a dazzling three strand necklace full of glitter and favorite things. She and her husband were exhibitors at all three of our Quilt Festivals last year, and I didn’t get time to visit their booth or they were so busy I couldn’t get my turn. I was determined to enjoy a visit or two at this show and I’m glad I did. I love wearing my necklace, and every time I do I get lots and lots of compliments. Thank you Robin. Hope to see you at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.


Charmography Robin and Robin

The quilts in Special Exhibits flowed so beautifully in their setting this year. I took several pictures, but after looking at the ones Tom Russell posted on his blog I decided to guide you there for a much better view. Tom knows how to capture the most intricate detail with his “Magic Camera.” Check-out “Cinn City: 2012 International Quilt Festival Show” after you go to his blog.

The Special Exhibits department is led by Carmen Valls and Amanda Schlatre with a great team of helpers, and they do a smashing job getting those quilts selected, hung, and presented to all the viewers.

Carmen Valls

Carmen Valls Special Exhibits

Amanda Schlatre

Amanda Schlatre Special Exhibits

The Education Department has been my responsibility for more than 30 years. We have a great team led by Kim, Jill, and Marcia who come to all 5 of our shows. Some shows we have as few as 2 extra helpers, but for our long-standing Quilt Festival in Houston we need 17 extra helpers to get through the 6+ days of classes taking place morning, noon, and night.

Education Team

Quilts, Inc. Cincinnati Education Team

Among the outstanding teachers at Cincinnati Quilt Festival 2012, we introduced Heather Thomas to our staff for the first time. Heather is an artist, designer, instructor, and author in Mixed Media. I had the privilege of taking her full-day Mixed Media Collage Techniques class. She is a gifted teacher with an understandable art theory approach to guide her successful students. I continued to follow her classes throughout the 4 days in bits and pieces. What a treat to have her among us. I guarantee you if you select one or more of her classes at one of our other shows, you will be glad you did.

Heather Thomas

Heather Thomas teaching

I came home from the Cincinnati Quilt Festival on a Monday evening to an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for 20 more Treasure Boxes and 20 more Collage Greeting Cards. I love making both of those items, so it was exhilarating to have a reason to be back in my studio the minute I walked into the house again. I was able to complete 15 boxes and 15 cards by last Friday delivery. I need to collect more small boxes to finish the Treasure Box order, but I’m itching to get back in my studio to complete the other collage cards.

Treasure Boxes

Treasure Boxes full of things for collage making

Friends and Birthday Greetings

Friends and Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday

Congratulations and Happy Birthday

Miss You

Miss You

Congratulations and Travel

Congratulations and Travel

Get Radical and Smile

Get Radical and Smile

Friends and Wish You Were Here

Friends and Wish You Were Here


You've Got Talent collage card

Also when I arrived home, I sent the last of 15 Vintage Lace Challenge Packets requested. If you received one of the packets, it’s time to get a picture to me as Tuesday, May 1, is your deadline. On Friday, May 5, I will post the winner in my blog. To date, I have received two lovely photos of your completed challenges. It’s fun to recognize the laces I sent to you. I’m looking for a lucky 13 more photos as someone will be the winner of the little wooden sewing drawer full of vintage laces.


My Grandmother by Debra Bentley

Wilma Hart for my sister

For My Sister by Wilma Hart 14" X 18"

Do you have a hard time throwing out fabric you have cut and stitched, but then didn’t use? When friends and family find out you are a quilter, do they give you their cast offs or those of another family member? I can’t part with those things, and I always say yes to them. I can’t ever throw out something I used for a class sample or strips, squares or triangles that never made it into a project. I grew-up with the quote, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.”

If you have this same malady, I  have another challenge for you.  You will receive instructions for making something simple and useful. There will not be a prize, but I would love to post your results.  So join me again next Wednesday when we will be together for Play Date #5.

Use It Up

Use It Up

Until then keep stitching. Hugs, Judy

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