Posts Tagged ‘Quilts Inc.’

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 23 Tortilla Soup

February 22, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a little retreat to Bide-a-While in Dickenson, Texas with Vicki Mangum


Vicki Mangum

and Willie Hart.


Willie Hart with Studio Cat

Teresa Duggan was supposed to complete our foursome, but she came down with the flu. We carried on without her, but truly missed her. We spent our two and a half days creating in Miss Sue’s Studio.


Miss Sue’s Studio

We spent our nights a few steps away in The Cottage. We each had our own unique bedroom.

The Cottage

The Cottage

The proprietor, Sue Bown, fed us morning, noon, and night. We had scrumptious meals in her large kitchen served on beautiful place settings complete with vintage linens. In the evenings she laid out an array of yummy snacks and treats in the Studio. We were well cared for in a shabby chic surrounding with so much to see and admire inside and out.


Miss Sue

My goal was, with instruction from Vicki, to complete several pieces of jewelry I had started in classes with Kaari Meng, the owner of French General. Vicki also directed me in remaking some jewelry pieces and repairing others.


Another Necklace Complete

I was in the middle of my tenth round of chemo during those three days, but it wasn’t a problem since I can take the drug on my own. Note one day’s dosage of chemo tablets in a dish along with my beading supplies.


Six Chemo Tablets

I’m so thankful that the chemo treatment continues to work for controlling my MDS. Because of that, I’ve been able to continue enjoying family, friends, creating, and working for Quilts, Inc.

As a thank-you for the weekend, I sent Miss Sue a complete copy of my family cookbook that you’ve received in small doses over the last several months. She said she wants to try each recipe. I hope she does, as she’s an excellent cook. After the addition of your recipe today, there are just two more for you to receive to make your cookbook complete.

Tortilla Soup

Andra Hrdlicka, from Victoria, Texas, at the time, served this recipe to our 4-member Canton Bunch during a retreat at her lake house. Several years ago Andra, Betty Jo, Michelle, and I also got away to create, shop, laugh and eat. Andra is always a great hostess with lots to teach about entertaining.


3 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped from a can

1 large can stewed red ripe tomatoes diced

1 can tomato soup

6 cups chicken broth

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon Corn oil

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

When serving

2 limes, juice

Shredded Cheddar cheese

Tortilla strips or broken tortilla chips

Chopped avocado


Sauté onion, garlic & jalapeno in corn oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer one hour. Makes 6 servings.

To serve

Place cheese in bottom of soup bowl. Sprinkle tortilla strips on top of cheese. Ladle soup over all. Sprinkle with lime juice and top with chopped avocados, cheese, and cilantro.

Andra served this with a Caesar salad and the flavors were yummy together.

I’m looking forward to the next get-away, the end of April, for a retreat with women from our church. Last year was the first time it was held and I heard it was lots of laughs, enlightenment, and fun. So I was one of the first to sign-up for this second year. Hope you have some time planned in the future to get-away with your girlfriends. Would love to hear about it. Keep on living life to its fullest. Love to 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.


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.


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, Jimmie, Carol, Michelle, Judy

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


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

Easy Cheesy Potatoes


Potato 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


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.


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 11 King Ranch Chicken Casserole

October 3, 2015

For most of my adult life, I crammed as much as possible into every day and often well into most nights. I was on deadline day after day. For many years I drew income from four different sources: teaching quilting/wearables, writing books, crafting to sell, and running the Education Department for Quilts, Inc. When this page showed-up in my Mary Engelbreit calendar one day last month, I thought, that’s me!  It’s so true.


That’s Me!

I don’t even like to go to the grocery store any more. My husband is the shopper in our home now. The family has always joked that he gets antsy staying home all day. He has to be out and about. So he is happy to run all our errands. I love it!

I started feeling a little guilty.  I needed to plan and cook a few meals each week. Several friends recommended Hello Fresh, a company that delivers ingredients to your front door once a week to make three healthy dinners. We received our first box this week. Last night Tommy, my husband, chopped while I sautéed our first dinner. We fixed a Thai noodle dish called Shrimp Pad See Ew with broccoli, mushrooms, and peanuts. I left out the Thai chili pepper, but included the garlic, basil, shallot, and ginger. It was good, and there was enough to serve a third person. Tommy asked if the meal was healthy enough to off-set the Chicken Fried Steak he’d had for lunch earlier at Tip-Top in San Antonio. Ha-ha.


Shrimp Pad See Ew

But this is not Page 11 for your recipe book. It’s King Ranch Chicken Casserole. My cousin, Mary Jane Fawver Nyberg, sent me this recipe she received from my mom. I didn’t have Mom’s recipe, but used one from another friend. After I received this one, I combined the two recipes.

Growing up, Mary Jane lived in Austin, Minnesota, where my mom and dad grew-up. Mary Jane, my mom’s sister’s daughter, is my age.  Every summer my parents would pile us all into our car and drive to Minnesota for Daddy’s two weeks of vacation. They both had many brothers and sisters to visit, who were still in the area. Mary lived on a dairy farm. What a special experience it was for me to stay with her those two weeks. We were little kids playing outside, and then we were teenagers interested in boys. We corresponded throughout the year, and she also visited us in San Antonio. I still get to see her occasionally at Fall Quilt Festival. Yes, she’s a quilter, too. The pictures below are of us swimming at Mary Jane’s friend’s house. I’m the one without a cap. Mary Jane is to my left. Such fun.


Summertime in Austin, Minnesota

King Ranch Chicken Casserole


4 lbs. chicken white meat with skin

12 corn tortillas

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 tsp. chili powder

1 small can diced tomatoes

1 onion cut into 4 pieces

3 stalks celery cut into 3 pieces each


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

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

In a large rectangular casserole 13 X 9 X 2 pan/dish, alternate layers of heated sauce, torn tortillas, chicken, and cheese. End with cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. It should be bubbling before removing from oven. Serve with green salad, tortilla chips and salsa.

We are off to another A & M football game in College Station. We’ll tailgate and sit with our son Todd, and his wife, Julie, and see our granddaughter, Madison. Family…what could be better or make me more happy? Nothing. Love you all, 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.


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


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



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.



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


  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!




Welcome to My Studio

June 28, 2014


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


Enter Here from Hallway

Enter Here from Hallway

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

On the Right Side

On the Right Side as You Enter

Details of Right Side

Details of Right Side

Collection of Wooden Spools

Collection of Wooden Spools

Antique Shelves & Drawers

Antique Shelves, Jars & Drawers Hold Important Stuff

End of that Wall

End of that Wall

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

Kitties Join Me

Kitties Join Me

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

Little Corner Next to Windows

Little Corner Next to Windows

Design Wall Begins

Design Wall Begins

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

Closet in Studio

Closet in Studio

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

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Printer's Box & Drawers

Printer’s Tray & Drawers

Shelves with Jars & Keys

Shelf with Jars & Keys

More on Walls

More Mementos on Wall

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


Leaving Studio

Leaving Studio

Button Jars in Hallway

Button Jars in Hallway


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.


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 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 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


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 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

Create…bring into being

August 29, 2013

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

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

My Sister Suzanne

My Sister Suzanne

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

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

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

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

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

Another bag of goodies

Another bag of goodies

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

I love ribbons and trims

I love ribbons and trims

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

Ribbon and trim closet

Ribbons and trims closet

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

Grey/silver combination

Grey/silver combination from Sheryl

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

And here it is.

And here it is.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

My most favorite magazine

My most favorite magazine

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

Important Page Numbers

Important Page Numbers

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

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

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

Good Bye Long Beach Quilt Festival

August 8, 2013

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

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

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

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

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

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

In class with Vicki

In class with Vicki

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


Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

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

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

Debbie, Gyleen, Charlotte with their quilt tops

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

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

Show Floor

Show Floor Shopping and Education

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



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

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

Jill, Vicki, Tommy, Me, Troy and Meesh

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

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

Abalone Cove

Abalone Cove

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

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


Natural History Museum

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

St. Elsmore

Lake Elsinore

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

Los Angeles memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy in his office

Troy in his office

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

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Queen Mary with my boy

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

Love you, too, Friends,


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