Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

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



Play Date #15 Embellished Glove for Mother’s Day

March 8, 2016

For more than 25 years, I have collected vintage cotton gloves at flea markets, junk stores, antique shops, garage sales, etc.


White Glove Collection

Often I purchase just a single glove. It’s match was lost somewhere along the way. That’s not a problem because often I need only one glove to add to a quilt, a collage on a pillow, or now as a hanging pocket for a Mother’s Day gift.


Embellished Glove

In my collection of gloves, I have some that belonged to my mother and to me. Yes, Mother definitely wore gloves to church along with a hat. As a little girl and a young teen, I also wore gloves for church attire and for high school and college formals.


Chi Omega Christmas Formal

Sigh…and I married that young man. I think I can smell those gardenias on my wrist corsage. That was only a few years ago.

But today I want to tell you how to make one of these sweet little embellished gloves for a Mother’s Day gift or as a wedding tribute.

Supplies Needed

White cotton formal glove no longer than 9″.

For embellishments, you will need vintage laces, embroidery pieces, ribbons, white buttons, pearl beads, white fabric scraps, large beads, vintage bridal illusion, lace motifs, tiny flowers, hankie or napkin corner piece.

Polyester stuffing in very small amount.

For collage card you will need sturdy scrapbook paper, vintage photo, appropriate quotes and sayings, lace tidbits.

Let’s Start

I can make one of these embellished gloves in an evening in front of the TV watching a movie or documentary with my husband. I work with all of these items held on a tray on my lap as I sit in my chaise lounge. Often I have a sleeping kitty lying on a quilt next to my legs.


Everything I Need

  1. Get all of your supplies together.
  2. Select a glove. I choose one that’s about 8-9″ long. They seem to work best. Each glove is different from the last. Look at the glove you have and create some sort of plan of how you will proceed. I find it’s easiest to create if the glove does not have details on the front that you do not want to cover up. I’m going to demonstrate for you on one such glove.
  3. Gather-up lace or an embroidered piece or existing ruffle to stitch to the top of the glove. I stitch by hand. It’s relaxing stitching and creating. This ruffle does not go to the back. Stitch down sides of ruffle to each side of the glove.

    Gathered Skirt at Top of Glove

    4. Add an extending piece of lace or trim to the top edge of the glove. This can be stitched inside the glove or on top. This extension goes all around the top of the glove.


    Extend Top of Glove with Lace or Trim or Ruffle

    5. Add lace and buttons where the top two pieces come together. This lace goes all around to the back of the glove. The buttons are only on the front.


    Add Lace and Buttons

    6. The little bit of lace added to the bottom of the ruffles was definitely a snippet. I cut a stray embroidered flower off another piece to tack to the lace piece. Stitch it to the bottom of the ruffle.


    Lace to Bottom of Ruffle

    7. Now let’s add a 14″ piece of ribbon for hanging the glove. I used old hem tape I spritzed with spray starch and “squenched” together and left to dry. Leave about an inch of ribbon below where you tack it to one side of the glove. Bring remainder of ribbon to other side and tack it. Leave an inch of ribbon below where tacked. Add a loop of lace, a small yo-yo, tiny flowers, button or whatever you have to embellish where you tacked the ribbon to the glove.


    Embellish Tacked Ribbon Hanging

    8. Let’s make a little card to insert in the glove. This I do on the sewing machine. Choose a paper that can easily be written on for a message. Cut 2 pieces of heavy cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper 2 1/2″ X 6″.


    Scrapbook Paper

    9. Choose a photo, a few snippets of lace, the word Mom or Mother, and an appropriate saying or quote.




    Lace Snippets

    10. Using a glue stick, place photo and lace in place on scrapbook paper. Stitch on machine. Second piece of paper is for the back of the card. It will be glued to the back to cover the stitches.


    Create and Stitch on Scrapbook Paper

    11. Trim lace even with paper. Add sentiments with glue stick. Stitch through paper. Glue second piece of scrapbook paper to back of card. Zig-zag stitch outside edges to hold together. The back of card is a place to add your own personal sentiments.


    Add Words of Endearment

    12.Now it’s time to add a little polyester stuffing at the top of the gloves fingers. Do not stuff into the fingers. This is only a tiny amount on which to put your card. Insert completed card. Add this same amount of stuffing to the lower front of card and lower back of card. This will keep it in place. There is also room in the glove to add a small gift.


    Polyester Stuffing

    Now your one of a kind Mother’s Day greeting is complete. Aren’t you proud? Hang it by the ribbon and admire it for a while before you give it away.

Here are a few more samples for you.

If you want a closer look, go to my etsy shop for more details. They are so much fun to make. Send me pictures of what you create. I would love to see what you make.

Until next time…Love and stitches, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 22 Taco Soup

February 13, 2016

Hello Everyone,

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

I made 20 collage greeting cards,


Happy Birthday, Jennifer



thirteen Design Packets,


Thirteen Design Packets

and twelve mug rugs or hot pads.


Twelve Mug Rugs or Hot Pads

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

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

Taco Soup

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


Taco Soup


1 ½ lbs. hamburger

16 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can kidney beans and juice

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

15 oz. can chicken broth

1 can corn

1 chopped onion

1 small can rotel tomatoes (mild)

1 can hominy


Tortilla chips

Grated cheddar cheese

Chopped avocado

Sour cream

Sliced black olives

Fresh cilantro


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

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

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

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

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

Play Date #14 Button Cuff Bracelet

March 24, 2015

Since I was a little girl I have loved buttons. I can remember hanging-out with my mom while she sewed in her bedroom in sunny California. I’d sit on her bed and go through her round tin button box time and time again. She had one large flat box and a smaller round taller box. I preferred the larger flat tin. It was black with small colorful designs on the top, as I recall. This was the beginning of my love for buttons.

I Love Buttons.

I Love Buttons.

Needless to say I have collected buttons since I was a young woman. I spend time sorting them, choosing the right one for a design, and gathering an assortment in a specific category for another project. I never stop buying buttons at Goodwill, flea markets, and antique shops. The price still has to be right. If you could see all the buttons I have, you would wonder why I need any more.

Button Jars

Button Jars

Button Boxes

Button Boxes

So when the founders of the Texas Quilt Museum asked me to make button cuff bracelets for the Museum gift shop, I was intrigued. They had each received such a bracelet from a quilt friend in Paris. I examined their bracelets and how they were made. I had to decide if I could part with some wonderful buttons, old and new, I had collected over the years.

Original Paris Bracelet

Original Paris Bracelet

It took many months before I decided to give it a try. The first one took me many more hours than was worth my time. I was happy with the results, but it was a tedious job.

My First Attempt

My First Attempt

The second bracelet went a little faster as I made some changes to streamline the foundation process. I also added batting to make the foundation sturdier for hand sewing.

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

The third bracelet took two nights of hand-sewing and watching the Season Two DVD of Downton Abbey. It had more buttons than either of the other two I had previously made. The original bracelet had a gold lame fabric for its base. I followed this same idea thinking it made it dressier. However, with the red buttons it was hard to hide the fabric peeking through.

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

So on my fourth attempt I chose fabric for the foundation the same color as the buttons I was going to use. Now that was much better. I’m very happy with the results and the amount of time I spent making the bracelet.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Bracelet

I feel comfortable enough about making these Button Cuff Bracelets that I can now share the instructions with you.

Materials Needed

  • Matching button color fabric for top, backing, and facing
  • Light weight batting such as Warm and Natural
  • Buttons small and large
  • Beads and trinkets
  • Strong thread such as carpet thread
  • 1″ piece of velcro


1.  Make foundation template. Draw a rectangle 2 1/2″ X 7″. On one end mark in 5/8″ on both sides. From here draw a tab closure 1″ tall. This is the finished size for a 6″ wrist. Make template longer for a larger wrist.

Make Template

Make Template

2. Using template, cut a top and backing 1/4″ larger than template. Cut a lining same size of template without the tab. Cut batting same size as template.

Cut Matching Fabric

Cut Matching Fabric

3. Pin top fabric to facing fabric right sides together. Pin batting to one of these wrong sides. Stitch close to batting. Leave an opening for turning. Clip off corners. Clip to stitching where straight edge meets the tab.

Stitch Three Layers Together

Stitch Three Layers Together

4. Turn right side out making sure all edges are out and flat. Turn opening to inside and stitch. Cut Velcro round at one end. Pin one half to wrong side of the tab. The straight edge will extend into the foundation. Stitch.

Velcro to Tab

Velcro to Tab

5. Match the other half of the Velcro to the right side of the foundation. Straight edges of foundation should just meet. There is no overlap. Cut off excess on straight edge of Velcro.  Stitch with machine.

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

6. You are ready to stitch your buttons to the foundation. Depending on size of your buttons, you will need 30-40 buttons. Get them together with a few beads and trinkets in a flat box big enough that you can spread out your collection.

Collection of Black Buttons

Collection of Black Buttons

7. Thread your sturdy hand-sewing needle with double strand strong thread. Knot. Starting in center bring the needle from back side to front. The side without the Velcro on the tab is the front side. Start with largest buttons in the center. It’s OK for knots and threads to show on the wrong side. It will be covered with facing fabric when you are finished. Stitch through each button three times. Back tack before moving to the next button. Feature your most impressive buttons in the very center. Sew through buttons that have holes on top through each hole once. Then sew again with beads or smaller button to cover button holes. Add smaller buttons on both sides tucking them under the larger buttons you stitched down the middle.

Cover Foundation with Buttons

Cover Foundation with Buttons

8. When you are satisfied with the look, turn bracelet to wrong side. Turn under raw edges of facing fabric and pin to cover all the button stitching. Hand-stitch to edge of cuff using matching thread.

Facing Stitched to Back

Facing Stitched to Back

9. Cuff bracelet is complete and ready for you to wear. The closure will not show so you can choose to wear the bracelet turned the direction which is your favorite. Or, you can alternate the sides with each wearing.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

I have an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for more button cuff bracelets. My next one is going to be made with mostly gold buttons. I’ve collected them and can hardly wait to get started.

Gold Buttons

Gold Buttons for Next Cuff Bracelet

Tomorrow I leave for Chicago for the Spring International Quilt Festival. I would love to start stitching on this fifth bracelet, but I need to bid you good-bye and pack. I’ll be teaching in Open Studios and Make It U on the show floor and have a few more things to gather and prepare for that. So it’s time to put this away and get my head focused on a really great show. I hope to see you there. Bye-bye.

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

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!




Play Date #11 The Stockings Were Hung

October 6, 2014

by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there.

Family Stockings

Family Stockings

“Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” is a quote I grew-up with in the 50’s. Being the fourth born of five children, I knew what hand-me-downs, cleaning your plate, share with your brother, etc. meant. Therefore, it’s easy to realize the origin of my game of using every little scrap of fabric, taking what someone else has discarded, and making it into something desirable. For Play Date #11, come along with me to make a one-of-a-kind Christmas stocking.

To create a stocking foundation on which to embellish, you can do one of three things:

  • Cut a stocking from an old damaged quilt. You may need to piece sections together to get a piece large enough for your stocking size.
  • Use a quilt top and add batting to the wrong side of the top before embellishing it.
  • Piece fabric scraps onto batting that has been cut into a stocking shape.

The stocking I’m showing you here was made from pieces of a vintage quilt. The ten stockings pictured below were made from the same quilt.

Multiple Stockings from Same Quilt

Stockings from One Quilt

Santa won’t be able to resist filling these vintage-looking stockings. They are fun to make in different sizes and shapes and easier than they look. A unique construction method makes them a cinch to line, sew and turn.

Finished Stocking Measures 7" Across top and 17" tall.

Finished Stocking Measures 7″ across top and 17″ tall.


  • Backing and lining for stocking, 1/2 yard for a stocking approximately 8″ X 18″, much less for small or tiny stockings
  • Assorted small pieces of trim, lace and ribbon
  • Jingle bells and other Christmas trinkets
  • Photo transfer and quote transferred to fabric
  • Vintage quilt or quilt pieces
  • Stocking pattern of choice

Instructions for Stocking front

  1. Piece together vintage quilt scraps or use a piece from a damaged quilt. My sister gave me these scraps she had left-over from one of her projects.
    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    I pieced them together and ironed the piece flat.

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

  2. Cut stocking pattern from quilt piece.
    Cut Stocking

    Cut Stocking

    There are stocking  patterns to be found on the internet. Or, you may have one in your pattern collection. You could use my pattern pictured here. It is possible to use a copy machine to enlarge or reduce the size of your pattern to get an assortment of sizes.

    Stocking Patterns

    Stocking Patterns in Various Sizes

  3. Embellish seam lines with lace, ribbons, and trims. Sew trims in place by machine whenever possible. Some will require stitching along both edges and others through the center only. If there is a row of visible stitching in the trim design, try to stitch on top of it with matching thread for the most invisible application.

    Embellish Stocking

    Embellish Stocking

  4. Embellish the stocking to your heart’s content.

    More Embellishing

    More Embellishing

Magic Lining

  1. Cut 2 pieces of lining fabric, right sides together, the same shape as the pieced stocking, but 1″ longer at the opening edge. Choose this fabric carefully as it will show at the top edge on the outside of the finished stocking.
  2. Place the finished stocking front face down on top of the backing fabric (the back side of the stocking) and cut the backing piece.

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

  3. Layer the 4 pieces in the following order and pin together:
  • Patchwork stocking, right side up.
  • Backing, face down on right side of stocking
  • Two lining pieces right sides together on top of backing.

4. The two lining pieces will extend above the stocking. Stitch 3/8″ from the raw edges through all layers, leaving the top edge unstitched.

Layers together

Stitch 4 Layers Together

Clip the curves to the stitches being careful not to cut the stitches.

5. Turn the backing piece over the stocking so the backing is on the outside and lining is inside. Use a long, blunt tipped tool to push out the edges for a smooth, rounded finish.

6. Turn the lining down over the top edge of the stocking and turn under at the raw edge. Tuck decorative piping, lace or ribbon under the turned edge, if desired.

Turn Lining to Front

Lining over top

Edge stitch along the fold through all layers using a decorative stitch, if desired. A free-arm sewing machine makes easy work of this on the larger stocking. The smaller stocking you will need to stitch by hand. Press carefully.

7. Attach 4″ to 6″ long piece of trim or ribbon to the top corner edge for hanging. Hot glue or stitch any additional embellishments to the stocking front until you are pleased. Isn’t it darling?

These stockings are so much fun to make! Once you’ve made some for yourself, you’ll want to make them for everyone on your gift list this year. The tiny ones are precious on packages and the medium size ones make great hostess gifts. I’ve used them as place cards for dinner parties with the guests’ names peeking out of the stocking. Your guests will be so delighted when you tell them to take their stockings home.

Tiny Stocking

Tiny Stocking

2" Across Top and 5" Tall

2″ Across Top and 5″ Tall


Great on a Gift Package


Check-out my etsy site for more ideas. Go to

Merry Christmas everyone from the Christmas Angel. Love, Judy


Double Fun, Love, and Laughter

July 6, 2014


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



Love You Granddaddy

Love You Granddaddy



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

Tyler's List

Tyler’s List

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

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

Madison is Winning

Madison is Winning

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

Tyler Wins

Tyler Wins

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

Grammy’s French Toast

Ingredients (Makes 8 Pieces)

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tyler Licks the Beater

Tyler Licks the Cookie Beater

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

Playing on Wii

Playing on Wii

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

Catch with Granddaddy

Catch with Granddaddy

Shooting Baskets

Shooting Baskets

Running on Treadmill

Running on Treadmill

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

In Grammy's Studio

In Grammy’s Studio

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

My Personal Model

My Personal Model

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

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

Taco Dinner for Outside

Taco Dinner for Outside

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

At Astros Game

At Astros Game

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

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

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

Bye Tiger

Bye Tiger

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



Welcome to My Studio

June 28, 2014


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


Enter Here from Hallway

Enter Here from Hallway

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

On the Right Side

On the Right Side as You Enter

Details of Right Side

Details of Right Side

Collection of Wooden Spools

Collection of Wooden Spools

Antique Shelves & Drawers

Antique Shelves, Jars & Drawers Hold Important Stuff

End of that Wall

End of that Wall

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

Kitties Join Me

Kitties Join Me

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

Little Corner Next to Windows

Little Corner Next to Windows

Design Wall Begins

Design Wall Begins

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

Closet in Studio

Closet in Studio

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

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Ironing & Treasures Wall

Printer's Box & Drawers

Printer’s Tray & Drawers

Shelves with Jars & Keys

Shelf with Jars & Keys

More on Walls

More Mementos on Wall

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


Leaving Studio

Leaving Studio

Button Jars in Hallway

Button Jars in Hallway


Create…bring into being

August 29, 2013

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

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

My Sister Suzanne

My Sister Suzanne

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

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

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

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

Dyed Patchwork Pumpkin

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

Another bag of goodies

Another bag of goodies

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

I love ribbons and trims

I love ribbons and trims

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

Ribbon and trim closet

Ribbons and trims closet

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

Grey/silver combination

Grey/silver combination from Sheryl

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

And here it is.

And here it is.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

My most favorite magazine

My most favorite magazine

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

Important Page Numbers

Important Page Numbers

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

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

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

Play Date #6 Spool Pin Cushion

June 29, 2013

Seems like it’s time for another Play Date! We haven’t created anything together for quite some time. How about making something useful from supplies you most likely have in your sewing room? This is a simple project and the result could be given as a little gift to a friend or make several for multiple friends. This Spool Pin Cushion could even be a holder for a place card at a luncheon for your guests to take home with them. Just pin their name into the pincushion.

Spool Pincushion

Spool Pin Cushion

I have a passion for vintage lace, linens, and ephemera, so anytime I can use even little pieces of it, I am happy. Has anyone asked you what is your passion? I like to ask that question of family, friends, and new acquaintances. Most often it leads to an enlightening conversation. My passion is working with my hands to create something that makes my heart sing. Since I was a little girl I have created with needle, thread, and fabric, paper, scissors, and glue, Crayola, paint, and brushes. I was fortunate that my mother allowed me to sew on her Singer sewing machine when I was 6 years old, and my two older sisters allowed me to have a crafting spot in the corner of our large shared bedroom.  My messes were always stacked high.

Recently, I was with long time friend, Trix Buhlmann-Epple from Berne, Switzerland. She is in the process of clearing out a family home and brought me a bag of vintage laces. What a treat to look at the treasures piece by piece. This inspired me to create something with lace, and I thought about the Spool Pin Cushion I had seen amidst other things in a blog I like to follow. If you like crafts made with lace, check out Shabby Chic Inspired. There are not tutorials on the projects, but much inspiration and eye candy.

Vintage Lace Treasure

Vintage Lace Treasure from my friend, Trix

So let’s start.

The materials you will need are simple.

21″ of flat vintage lace about 3/4″ wide

1/2 yd. of 1/2″ wide ribbon

5″ diameter of  muslin or linen to fill

5″ diameter of vintage linen for outside of pin cushion

4″ diameter of light weight batting

Lace applique piece for top

Crushed walnut shells or other pin cushion filler

Vintage button  (I used one 1/2″ in diameter)

Whitewashed wooden thread spool 1  1/2″ diameter and 2″ tall

Materials Needed

Materials Needed

The instructions are easy.

1. Machine stitch lace on right side of raw edge of outside linen circle. Stitch applique piece on top of circle.

2. Gather muslin circle with double strand thread.

3. Fill with walnut shells or your choice of filler. Pull thread tightly. Back stitch about three times to close.

Circle Preparation

Circle Preparation

4. Use hot glue or your glue of choice to adhere filled circle to top of spool.

Glue to Spool

Glue to spool

5. Glue batting circle to top of filled circle.

Batting Circle to Top

Batting Circle to Top

6. Sew button to top of lace applique on circle. Using double strand heavy thread gather-up lace edged circle. Make stitches just above the top of lace. Put gathered circle on top of filled circle like a little cap. Draw up thread tightly. Back stitch several times to secure.

7. Tie ribbon with a bow. Isn’t this the prissiest pin cushion you’ve seen?

Add your new little pin cushion to a special place or give to a special friend.


Pin Cushion Friends

Hope you enjoyed this little Play Date. I would love to hear from you and pictures would be great too. Stay inside and keep cool if you live in Texas temperatures like me. Until we meet again, dear friends, I hope your days are filled with your passion.

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