Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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.

sewing

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,

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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

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.

IMG_2976

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

golf

Our Family

 

Happy 50th Anniversary

June 17, 2016

By the grace of God and love of family, we made it through thick and thin, sickness and health, outside interference, and just every day life happening to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. And we are so happy we did!

50

50 Years of Marriage

A close friend of mine told me what her Dad always says when people ask what’s the secret to a long marriage. “Don’t leave and don’t die.” I love that quote and used it on the elevator at MD Anderson this week. Lots of laughs from strangers who may not have been experiencing a very good day.

My daughter asked me over a year ago if we wanted a party to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. I told her the best party would be all 14 of our family members together to celebrate for a few days. She offered the house she and her husband own in Park City, Utah. We had to work around everyone’s personal schedules, including my care at MD Anderson, but we were all able to get together for several days, as a family, to celebrate our lives.

14

All 14 of us in Park City, Utah

The weather was beautiful, the house and grounds magnificent, and there were plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the week.

On Sunday we had a great brunch at Stein Erikson’s Lodge on the terrace overlooking the mountains. Then it was on to the “Sunday Silly Shopping” event on Main Street in Park City.

brunch

Sunday Brunch

On Monday, the grandchildren loved the ropes course and Museum at Olympic Park.

ropes

Ropes Course

We gathered back at the house where Troy decorated Thompson’s one-year-old birthday cake as Fenway Park. He used little plastic baseball figures that had been on his cake as a little guy.

cake

Fenway Park Cake

Todd arranged for us to go back downtown for pizza galore. The proprietor said, “You guys rock!”

pizza

Yummy Pizza Dinner

Then it was back to the house again to celebrate Thompson’s one-year-old birthday a few days late.

Thompson

Michelle, Troy, and Thompson

We all loved getting to celebrate our California baby’s birthday. We had a little cake for his very own, but he didn’t like that icing on his fingers.

candle

Blow out the candle.

Tuesday was a big surprise when Tommy and I woke to the living area all decorated with gold and white balloons, party decorations and pictures of all of us through the years.

decorations

Golden Anniversary Decorations

Julie, Holly, and Michelle had stayed up into the wee hours the night before pulling together all the things they had each brought for the celebration.

girls

Julie, Holly, and Michelle

After wonderful breakfast tacos, cooked by Scott, we headed for Park City Center for rides and miniature golf.

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In the afternoon we all headed back home for a rest while the caterers cooked and set-up a gourmet dinner in the Huebner’s backyard.

welcome

Ashton Welcomes Us

During the appetizers we enjoyed 60’s-70’s music. I took the opportunity to dance with my oldest grandson, Tyler.

dancing

Dancing with Tyler

We also took family pictures to commemorate this special Golden Anniversary.

4-family

Our oldest son, Todd, his wife, Julie, Madison and Tyler

They live in Dallas. Madison will be a Sophomore at Texas A & M and Tyler a Junior at Jesuit in Dallas.

5-family

Our daughter, Holly, her husband, Scott, Lindsey, Ashton, and Sydney

Lindsey will be in the 8th grade at Seabrook Middle School. Sydney will start 6th grade at Seabrook Middle School and Ashton will be in the 3rd grade at Ed White Elementary school. They live about an hour from us in Texas.

3-family

Troy, our youngest child, Michelle, his wife, and Thompson

They live in Long Beach, California, where they own and operate Olafson Creative. We get together with them several times each year.

We feasted on a gourmet dinner of salad, vegetables, elk and trout, fresh from the area. It was all topped-off with a delicious cake and happy singing.

six

Our six grandchildren and us

What an indescribably blessing our family is to us. As the evening cooled outdoors, we adjourned to the game room in the lower part of the house for beautiful gifts with emotion, gratefulness and love throughout. Troy read from a framed listing of the 50 things they all love about us. We all laughed and cried throughout the presentation. I can’t help but write a few of them for you.

  1. I love that you have made me a part of your loving family.
  2. I actually do love that you made us go to church and Sunday school. I realize now the great morals and ethics we learned.
  3. I love how Grammy taught me how to create–everything from little scrapbooks to crafts to quilts to gowns.
  4. I loved the Sunday picnics and playgrounds all over Houston.
  5. I love the two of you dancing the jitterbug, knowing you’ve been dancing together since you were teenagers.
  6. I love the warmth you show each other when arriving or leaving a family event. It may be as simple as Granddaddy gently rubbing Grammy’s back to comfort her or Grammy making sure Granddaddy has everything he needs to enjoy the special event.
  7. I love our family backyard wiffle ball games.
  8. I loved sharing the birth of our three babies with you, and I loved having your help for those first few weeks.
    moms

    Moms and Daughters continue reminiscing

    Then everyone geared-up for the action-packed Shuffleboard competition. It was close, but Tyler and Julie were named the champions.

    Wednesday and Thursday we slowly began to go back to our homes. We’d had so much fun together. It was great for the older grandchildren to spend time with baby Thompson. He did not lack for attention and love.

    baby

    Backseat baby entertainers

    It was hard to say good-bye to him and his mommy and daddy. California is a long way away.

    goodbye

    Goodbye at airport

    But how thankful we are to have all these babies and their parents. Thank you for spending those precious days with us all together.

    Tommy and I had our own little morning celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2016, our actual wedding anniversary date. In the evening we attended a Sunday school party with many good friends.

    party

    Our Sunday school party

    They had a cake with candles and singing to conclude the special evening. Thank you everyone.

    50

    Happy 50th Anniversary

    May there be many more. We love you all family and friends. Life would not be the same without you. God’s blessings on you all. Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 19 Easy Cheesy Potatoes

January 2, 2016

Since Thanksgiving is so close to Christmas, each year I choose to have a Honey Baked Ham for Thanksgiving and Turkey for Christmas. These potatoes are easy and go well with baked ham and Green Bean Bundles.

The recipe came from members of my Stitch and Bitch group in Victoria, Texas. I was one of the original members of this stitching group and active for about 25 years.

judy

Michelle, Judy, Judy, Judy, & Betty Jo

The membership changed many times over the years, but it was always nice to get together once a month for stitching, talking and lunching.

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Una Mae, Judy, Michelle, Nell

We tried to keep 12 members in the group so each member took a turn once a year to host our group.

tanya

Tanya, Jimmie, Carol, Michelle, Judy

I moved back to Houston from Victoria nine years ago, but the group continues on today. I miss those relationships.

andra

Judy, Andra, Michelle, and Betty Jo many years ago.

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

potato

Potato Ingredients

Ingredients

32 oz. frozen hash brown potatoes

8 oz. carton of sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup

12 oz. grated Cheddar cheese

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 small onion chopped into small pieces

2 cups crushed corn flakes            Put these in a zip-lock bag and mash with your hand.

½ cup melted butter

Instructions

Place hash brown potatoes in 9″ X 13″ Pyrex dish sprayed with Pam. Stir in chopped onions. Mix together sour cream, soup, cheese, salt, and pepper. Spread mixture over potatoes and onions. Top with the crushed corn flakes. Drizzle the melted butter over the corn flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Everyone will go back for seconds. What is left over is good the next day heated in the microwave.thanksgiving

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I used to make resolutions every year, and they were always the same. Now I think of a word for the year. This year my word  is “courage.” I need courage for serious things and those that aren’t so serious.

On the less serious side this year, I want the courage to try to create wearables again, but different from the Jacket Jazz flavor.  I plan to make little dresses and tops using the vintage lace, embellishments, and garment pieces I’ve collected over the years.

Yesterday I started designing a little dress using a pattern from Simplicity called Dottie Angel. I noticed this cute pattern when visiting Michele Muska in her booth at Fall Quilt Market. She said she’d send the pattern to me. The pattern was waiting for me when I went to the office after Christmas. The timing was perfect.

DRESS

The Start of a Little Dress Using a Vintage Apron

I worked on the dress most of today. It’s almost finished. I’ll send you a picture later in the week with it complete. Would love to have your input.

In closing:

The following was a wish on a birthday card I received in 2013. I saved it because I thought the sentiment was a good message for a new year, too. Here it is for you.

May you have a moment to reflect on the past year and all you’ve accomplished and to look forward to all that may be waiting for you in the year ahead…

But mostly, in that moment, may you realize here and now what a gift your life is–not just to you but to everyone who knows you.

You are a gift to me. Thank you for being part of my life. Happy New Year! 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.

tunic

Over the Top Tunic Front

tunic

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

Instructions

Brown 

2 lbs. ground meat

4 crushed garlic cloves

Add

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.

Cook

1 lb. Lasagna noodles. Drain.

Mix 

3 eggs

dash salt and pepper

¼ cup dried parsley

30 oz. Ricotta cheese

Fill casseroles with alternate layers of 

Meat sauce

Noodles

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.

birthday

Happy Birthday to Me

Lots of love, hugs and kisses until next week, Judy

 

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 2 Baked Chicken

August 1, 2015

I had to add this recipe to our family favorites for Todd, our oldest son. I have found out over the years how much he disliked much of my cooking when he was growing-up. What a polite boy not to tell me when he lived under our roof. He especially disliked having chicken as often as I served it. Weight Watchers was a big advocate for eating baked chicken. I was forever trying to get to 124 pounds like I was before I approached age 40.

Joanie Olafson McDonald gave me this recipe early in our marriage. I still bake it often as our meat course or to put in recipes that call for baked chicken. Joanie was our middle sister. She was killed in a car accident on June 1, 1989. She was only 50 years old. I remember playing Jacks with her with a golf ball when we were young. She was the most generous and caring person I have ever known. She also was very curious. How often I wish she could have been with me over the years. Gosh, I’ve missed her.

Our Middle Sister, Joanie

Our Middle Sister, Joanie

Easy Bake Chicken

Ingredients

4 boneless chicken breasts without skin

¼ cup butter

Juice of half of lime or lemon

Lemon pepper

Garlic powder or minced garlic

Instructions

Wash chicken and drain on paper towel. Melt butter in baking dish in oven set at 350 degrees. Coat chicken on both sides with melted butter. Place meaty side up in dish. Sprinkle with juice. Generously shake lemon pepper and garlic on top. Put in oven for 30 minutes. Take out of oven. Turn over breasts and coat with more lemon pepper and garlic. Bake 20 more minutes. Turn chicken meaty side up again and bake 10 more minutes.

Joanie, My Sister and Me

Joanie, my sister, and me

This picture was taken at a going-away party for me in 1982 at Great Expectations Quilts where I taught for many years. Karey Bresenhan, the owner of the shop, organized the surprise party for me plus the quilt of hearts hanging in the background. Each heart was made and signed by one of my students, family member, or friends. It was so special to have Joanie there at the party.

I hope you are having parties and fun this summer. Make each day count. They are so precious. Much love, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 1 Banana Nut Bread

July 25, 2015

Rarely have I been known for my talent in the kitchen. For many years I really didn’t like to cook. I’d much rather be in my studio spending time creating something that lasts than spending time in the kitchen making something that is gone 20 minutes after served.

As our children grew, married, moved away, and started families of their own, I hoped they would come home for birthdays and holidays. If I wanted them in our home, I needed to feed them. So cooking something they would look forward to eating became important.

I relied on recipes my mom had cooked for family gatherings and recipes I received from friends. Eventually my children would call and ask me for a particular recipe I had served. Friends began asking for my recipes, too. So Grammy’s Cookbook was created as Christmas gifts for family and friends in 2009.

Grammy's Cookbook

Grammy’s Cookbook

I use this cookbook more than any other I have in my kitchen.  Over the six years since I compiled the first cookbook, I have added a few more recipes and made additions to others. Recently I made a second edition with a new cover to include the children and grandchildren as they have changed. When we get our newest grandson in our home for the first time this cover will be outdated. It will be a while before T will be able to cook with Grammy in the kitchen, but I look forward to it.

In the Kitchen with Grammy

In the Kitchen With Grammy

The cookbook has been fun to compile as it’s a reminder of family, friends, and special occasions in the past. At the top of each recipe I write a little memo about where I got the recipe. Since others have requested my little book of a couple of dozen recipes, I thought you might like them, too. So page 1 of my “special” recipes follows. I’ve compiled them in alphabetical order. If they are easy for me, they will be easy for you. However, I don’t promise they are calorie-free.

Banana Nut Bread Recipe

 This recipe came from Willie Hart, a dear friend. She and I have been Vice Presidents of Quilts, Inc. for many years. She brought some slices of the Banana Nut Bread to me in the airport when we were flying out for a quilt show site inspection. I had other Banana Nut Bread recipes, but never used them again once I received this one from Willie. It’s very moist and tasty.

 Ingredients

½ cup Wesson Oil

¼ cup oleo margarine or butter

2 cups of sugar

4 whole eggs

7-8 ripe bananas

I freeze bananas that are too ripe to eat. Peel them and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer until you have enough to make Banana Nut Bread. Thaw before mixing. Don’t be alarmed as they will be brown and watery when thawed. They work just fine.

3 cups of flour

2 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

Combine oil, butter, sugar, and bananas. Cream until smooth.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Add to the banana mixture alternating with the eggs.

Add pecans.

Spray 2 loaf pans with Pam. Pour batter into pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

Remove from pans when cool. Keep one for yourself and give the other away. You’ll make someone very happy.

My Friend, Willie, and me

My Friend, Willie, and me

Hope you’ll try this recipe from Willie. If you do, let me hear from you. I’ll post page 2 from my recipe book next Saturday. Until then, I hope you have a great week. Hugs and kisses, Judy

 

 

The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned During My First Month of Chemo

May 31, 2015

When I last posted, it was the eve of my first chemo treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). There have been many MD Anderson visits since then for chemo, transfusions, clinical studies, reviews, and blood draws. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my family, my friends, and the hospital since then.

In the true David Letterman style, here are those top ten things starting with number ten.

TEN        A great place to eat while at MDA is the Rotary House. From the main building, on the third floor by elevator A, you cross the sky bridge to another building. It’s pricey, but very nice dining. We entertain all our guests there.

Holly and Lindsey spending the day with us.

Holly and Lindsey spending the day with us.

Nine     I cannot stitch during the long hours of transfusions. The IV line prevents me from being too active. I can’t listen to Audible books either as there are too many interruptions. The iPhone has given me many hours of diversion.

Eight     Some technicians are better than others at finding a vein from which to draw blood or give a transfusion.

Seven     When my pulse rate rises and I’m so short of breath I can barely walk any distance, these are signs I need a transfusion. Don’t wait for a sign of bleeding.

Six     My PA reads my blood results and knows what to prescribe. My Research nurse is my record/appointment keeper and constant contact. When my PA says I shouldn’t be going to Minneapolis Market for eight days without any blood work, believe her.

Jane, my research nurse

Jane, my research nurse

Five     If a technician is in training and you’re the guinea pig, you can refuse to have her perform such services as putting in a Central Venous Catheter. Ask for the expert.

Central Venous Catheter

Central Venous Catheter

Four     Thoughts and prayers from Facebook friends are uplifting and encouraging. I love getting messages while I’m spending the day at the hospital. I don’t feel so alone. Thank you, friends.

Comforting Facebook friends

Comforting friends

 

Three     Having our older son with us when we meet with the oncologist is reassuring, comforting and supportive.

Todd lending moral support

Todd lending moral support

Two     Our children, their spouses and grand children give me a boost when I’m with them. I forget I’m tired or worried about my cancer thanks to their love and distractions.

Beach with Ashton, Sydney and Lindsey

Galveston beach with Ashton, Sydney and Lindsey

Madison's graduation in Dallas

Madison’s graduation in Dallas

One     My husband is a trooper. We drive to MDA many days every week. Most mornings we are on our way at 6:00 AM. He’s behind the steering wheel and ready to get us there. We’ve had some laughs and some bored moments, but somehow we know this is the way it has to be for now. He never complains and sticks with me all day, each day we are there.

My man. He calls himself the driver.

My man. He calls himself the driver.

Bonus to come     Our youngest son, Troy, and his wife, Michelle, are in Long Beach, California expecting their first baby. Her due date is today. I have chemo all this coming week, but hope to get there for a couple of days the following week. I can’t wait to hold our newest grandson in my arms. Now what better peace could there be?

Little Mommy, Michelle

Little Mommy, Michelle

 

Play Date #13 Triangle Pin Cushion

March 13, 2015

This silk pin cushion has been on a library shelf in our Quilts, Inc. office for many years. I did not pay much attention to it until I attended a Quilt Camp led by Heather Thomas in La Grange, Texas. I sat next to a woman who had a version of this same octopus-like pin cushion. However, hers was made with eight smaller cotton fabric triangles rather than six like the one pictured here.

Vintage Pin Cushion

Vintage Pin Cushion

So, like we all do when we admire something, I asked if I could take a picture of her pin cushion and make a few measurements. She was gracious and told me how she made it.

Original Pin Cushion

Original Pin Cushion

I scribbled down a few notes about the pin cushion.  They’ve been tacked to my design wall for over a year now.

Instructions

Instructions

When I was asked to do a short, small project for Open Studios at the 2015 Chicago Quilt Festival in March, I thought about the Triangle Pin Cushion.

My First One

My First One

As I made this first one I realized students wouldn’t be able to make it in an hour, even with the triangles stitched for them. I knew they would need to go home with pictures and good instructions. I thought you might like the same things, so here we go.

Materials Needed

  • 8 different fabrics. They should coordinate, but have contrast.
  • 1 yard of silk ribbon 1/4″ – 1/2″ wide
  • 1″ button
  • stuffing

Instructions

  1. Cut a 4 1/2″ square from each of the eight fabrics.
    Eight Fabric Squares

    Eight Fabric Squares

    2. Fold each square right sides together on the diagonal. Stitch two short sides together leaving a 2″ opening in the middle of one short side. Clip off three points.

    Sew Triangle

    Sew Triangle

    3. Turn right side out making sure points are pulled out.  Use a chop stick or dowel to push stuffing firmly into points. Then stuff the remaining triangle lightly. Stitch opening closed. You’ll have 8 little triangle cushions.

    Stuffed Triangles

    Stuffed Triangles

    4. Arrange in contrasting order. Thread hand needle with double strand thread. Knot. Hold 2 triangles together with long, unseamed side facing out.

    Long Unseamed Side

    Long Unseamed Side

    Hand-stitched side should be facing in. When triangles are together, you will not see hand-stitched side.

    Hand-stitched side

    Hand-stitched Side

    5. Stitch 8 stuffed triangles together at top. Go through each triangle a couple of times. Turn over and stitch triangles together on bottom.

    Stitch Together Bottom

    Stitch Together Bottom

    6. Thread needle with double strand thread. Knot. Loop one yard ribbon back and forth in approximately 2″ loops. Tack each time to hold. I use my fingers to loop the ribbon.

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    7. Stitch to the top of Triangle Pin Cushion. Add button on top of ribbon.

    Finished Pin Cushion

    Finished Pin Cushion

    8. Have fun stitching.  Get some friends together and stitch, chat, and eat. How much fun is that! Thanks for stopping by. Until next time I wish you fun, friends, love and stitches, Judy

    Make Your Life Fun!

    Make Your Life Fun!

     

 

 

A Christmas Home Tour From Our Home to Yours

December 18, 2014
From Our Home to Yours

From Our Home to Yours

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

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

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

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

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

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

Tree Above Front Door

Tree Above Front Door

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

Our First Christmas Angel

Our First Tree Top Christmas Angel

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

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

Crissy's Red High Heels

Crissy’s Red High Heels

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

Judy and Claudia Decorating

Judy and Claudia decorating 2011

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

Welcome. Please Come in.

Welcome. Please Come in.

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

Christmas Table set for 13

Christmas Table set for 13

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

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

Breakfront Decorated

Breakfront in Dining Room

He decorates the buffet and mirror.

Buffet in Dining Room

Buffet in Dining Room

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

Creche on Mom's China Cabinet

Crèche on Mom’s China Cabinet

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

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

Table in Entranceway

Table in Entryway

Corner Table in Living Room

Corner Table in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Pewter Creche in Living Room

Pewter Crèche in Living Room on Pie Safe

Coffee table in Living Room Waterford Creche

Coffee Table in Living Room Waterford Crèche

Entranceway to Den

Entry way Leads to Den

Thirteen Stockings Hanging with a tiny 14th one

Thirteen Stockings Hanging in Den

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Den Coffee Table

Den Coffee Table

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Toys at Window in Den

Toys at Window in Den

den

A Corner in the Den

Chilren's Desk in Den

Children’s Desk in Den which leads to Kitchen

In the Kitchen Island

In the Kitchen Island

Jim Shoar Creche at Kitchen Sink

Jim Shoar Crèche at Kitchen Sink

Butler's Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

Butler’s Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

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

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours

Family Favorites

Recipe Book of Our Family Favorites

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

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

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

Ingredients

Cream together:    1 cup margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

Blend in:                 2 whole eggs

Sift together and add to mixture:

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

4 C. flour

Add to mixture:    1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

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

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

Hot Wassail

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

Ingredients

1 gallon apple cider

1 quart ginger ale

1 8 oz. package of cinnamon candies

8 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

Instructions

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

Perk until ready.

Makes 30 cups.

wassail

Hot Wassail and Sugar Cookies for You

 

 

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


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