Posts Tagged ‘Valentines’

Fleeting February

February 28, 2017

How can this be the last day of February? Yes, it’s a short month, but so much of significance happened during this month. It has been a roller coaster ride with happy times, disappointing times and times of serious decisions.

At the beginning of the month, I spent a few days making 20 various Valentines for my etsy shop. Spending time in my studio is one of my happy places. It was invigorating to sell more than half of those hearts. Thank you to those who purchased my creations of love.

hearts

Created 20 Hearts

Decorating our house for the different seasons brings lots of joy to me and to those who enter our home.

table

Our Kitchen Table

Valentines

Vintage Valentines

Round Robin

Round Robin Heart

The incentive for decorating for February was hosting a sit-down dinner party for 32 Sunday school class members. We provided the house, and the kind members provided the pot luck dinner. Then they cleaned-up everything before they went home. The class members are so caring and supportive of the health issues I have been facing. They are a meaningful part of our lives.

loving

Loving Class Members

party

Sunday School Party at Our Home

Another happy time is spending time with our children and their children. Tyler Murrah made the Varsity baseball team for Jesuit in Dallas. We joined his family this past weekend in Austin for a round-robin. Madison came from College Station with her precious boyfriend, Jack. It’s the first time we met him. So much fun to be with all of them for a couple of days.

Murrah

Murrah Family

Back in Houston we support the Huebner kids in their selected sports. Sydney’s competitive cheer team won National Champions in Dallas this past weekend. Her bigger sister, Lindsey, is playing tennis and softball. Here we are supporting Ashton at his basketball game.

basketball

With Sydney and Lindsey at Ashton’s Basketball Game

My husband spends much time with Ashton and Lindsey at their practices. He coached our boys when they were in school.

coach

Granddaddy Still Loves to Coach

Our 21 month old grandson in California loves playing sports, too. His daddy is his coach unless he’s with us. Then his bigger cousins love to teach him how to play anything that includes a ball. He thinks he’s a big boy, too.

Our Three Grandsons

Our Three Grandsons

So you ask what are the disappointments and big decisions.

Today was the last day for Shannon McGaw at Quilts, Inc. She has taken on a dream job for her as manager of a new quilt shop to open in April. I came to depend on her for many aspects in the Education Department and innovative ideas for the company. I will miss her every day, but wish her well. Thank goodness we still have Barbara, Jill and Marcia to carry-on.

Shannon

Shannon McGaw (in white shirt) Moves On

 

And yesterday was a huge decision-making day. I was released from my oncologist, Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero, at MD Anderson Hospital. For two years he has tried to get me into remission. At one time I lived without any transfusions for seven months. That hasn’t been the case for over a year now. So all that is left for me is to try stem cell transplant.

I will be moving to Methodist Hospital because my insurance will not pay for stem cell transplant at MD Anderson. Next week I will go through two days of heart, lung and viral testing to determine if I am well enough to go through with a stem cell transplant. So our prayer is that I will pass these tests so I can move forward.

It was hard to tell Dr. Garcia-Manero goodbye. He has been a hard-working, intelligent, and caring presence in our lives. Our daughter-in-law, Julie, Tommy, me, Holly, and Kelly Yeger, my PA, have been present at so many of my MDA visits. They have been such a great support system. I can’t thank them enough.

dr

Dr. Garcia-Manero in center

And thanks go to you, my friends, for all your love, support, interest and prayers. I’ll keep you posted. Much love to you all, Judy

 

 

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Pinterest Inspiration

January 28, 2017

I spend way too much time looking at Pinterest suggestions or “inspiration for the week” that shows up in my mailbox. No way can I delete them without taking a peek. The boards I most often pin to are photographs, vintage lace, quilt ideas, and hearts.

When I decided to make Valentines/hearts again to put in my etsy shop I  looked at all the hearts I had pinned to my Pinterest heart board. I made copies of 20 of them for inspiration for making hearts. I used 14 of the ideas. There were no instructions, just pictures. It was so easy to go my own direction with someone else’s idea. My apologies for not recognizing the designer of the hearts I used for inspiration. Rarely can you find credit for things posted on Pinterest. However, I thank you for your creativity.

I had so much fun this last week making the Valentines. It was like I was an artist in residence in my own home studio. My studio was a wreck, but I was so happy and content. There weren’t enough hours in each day. Even the two days I spent at MD Anderson I still came home and worked into the wee hours on another design or two.

Cutting Table

My Cutting Table

I have made stuffed hanging hearts for so many years. I posted some on my blog with a tutorial on how to make them five years ago. If you are interested, check-out my blog post on February 12, 2012, Play Date #2.

Hearts

Hanging Hearts

I’ve also made collage Valentine cards for several years.

Assortment of Valentines

Collage Valentine Cards

The tutorial for those is Play Date #1. I’ve refined the process for making them over the last five years, but I think this post will get you going.

Looking at the heart pins from Pinterest and executing from the pictures was great fun. Below is a photo of each of the hearts I made on the left and the inspiration on the right. If you want to see more details of each of the hearts, go to my etsy shop.

My version is on the left. I had a painted canvas on which I attached my design.  The inspiration on the right.

I made a little wall quilt on the left from the inspiration on the right.

On the left I am back to making a hanging heart using the inspiration on the right.

The inspiration on the right of a hanging heart was different. Using a solid piece of fabric with just a little embellishment was a departure for me.

Using a cabinet card to make a greeting card was new to me. Following the inspiration on the far right, I made two cards using cards from my collection of original cabinet cards.

The inspiration on the right appeared to use wool felt for the foundation. I tried this and added a little stuffing to the fabric heart stitched on top. It was a different process for me.

My rendition of another wool felt flat heart from inspiration on the right.

So those are the 14 Valentines I made this week. If they have sold from my etsy shop, you can still view them under sold items. If you are a Pinterest pinner, I hope you will take the opportunity to use some of those pins for inspiration. I highly recommend it.

You inquire about my health.

There’s not much different to report about my journey with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). We now call it a roller coaster ride. We thought the 27 day stay in the hospital treatment was beginning to kick-in. However, one week we are up about my blood analysis count and the next we are down again. One week I need only a platelets transfusion and the next I need platelets and blood. We still go to MD Anderson twice each week. I still can’t travel too far between visits.

I had a second consultation with the stem cell transplant doctor at Methodist Hospital last week. He repeated all the statistics of someone my age trying a stem cell transplant and the possible year long recovery protocol. The fact that I wouldn’t be able to be around children under the age of 8 really makes me hesitate. We have a 19 month old grandson and another grandbaby due April 2. Being a grammy is at the top of my list of what makes me the happiest. I still believe God has a different plan for me than trying a stem cell transplant and I still have faith in my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero.

Through all this I feel good. I can still go to church, to the office once a week, participate in the lives of our children and their families, and work in my studio. My husband is always with me for hospital visits and our three children are caring and supportive. I am happy.

May you be happy too, my dear friends. Love and Happy Valentine’s Day,  Judy

img_1566

Two of my Valentines. They make me happy.

Art Party

February 7, 2012

What is a craft person like me doing among “real” artists?

For several months, I have known that my nephew Jimmy D. McDonald, a “real” artist, and his wife, also an artist, were having a fourth Art Party and Sale.

Jimmy D. McDonald

Nephew in studio

My husband and I have helped them at each of the previous parties by keeping the buffet table replenished. Kindly, my nephew has asked me to bring some of my work to sell. I have taken wearables, patchwork totes, Christmas stockings, mini quilt-covered journals, and mixed media collages.

Stockings for sale

Stockings for Sale

This time, I took  Valentines and Heart Pillows like the ones I have shown you how to make via posts on this blog.

For a month or so leading up to the Art Party on Saturday, February 4th, Jimmy D. had numerous posts on facebook telling about the upcoming show. This past week, he showed a few of the galleries hung with fabulous art of all types. The galleries converted what was once their home into a showcase for canvas pieces hung all over the walls. When I saw his posts, I questioned Jimmy D. as to what I was doing in such a show. Being a kind and supportive person,  he encouraged me to bring my Valentines.

Art work at party

Art Work at Party

I was doubtful, but decided they needed our help to keep the food coming.  So, I took the Valentine cards and Heart pillows plus a few other things. At one time, I thought I would take the 6″ square canvas pieces I was making like my Valentines, but not after I saw the amazing art shaping up in his galleries. What was I thinking? I am a crafter, not an artist.

Valentine Canvas Complet

Valentine Canvas Complete

My husband and I showed up at 12 noon to help my nephew, his wife and other folks put the finishing touches on a party that was to start at 2 PM. Jimmy Dee  saved a table for me in his studio, the first room when you walk into the house/galleries from the main entrance.

Nephew's studio

My Nephew's Studio

So I layed out the things I brought. I felt a little silly. I had priced the items double what I have priced them on my etsy site as I was instructed to do by my nephew and art coach. I felt foolish, and when a friend bought some of my work at these prices, I was a little embarrassed.

My display

My Little Display

A few of my Valentines and Heart Pillows sold at the Art Party. My husband and I worked the party until we left at 10:00 PM. We met some really talented people, visited with other family members and friends and just had a good time. When we got in the car to go home, my feet were aching, and I was so tired. I told my husband that we’d probably experienced the last time I’ll be foolish enough to think my craft mixes with art.

Jimmy's ARt work

My Nephew's Art Work

The next day, I took Valentines to show a couple of friends in our Sunday school class. I lowered the price back to what I felt was reasonable and sold several cards. I sold cards again today to people in our office at the same prices as I have them listed on etsy.

Valentines for sale

Valentines for Sale

It just does my heart good to know that there are some people who know me and like what I make enough to want to buy it and give it to family and friends or keep it for themselves. That’s enough to get me back in my studio again.

I just wish I could do something with all the canvases and paint I keep buying. Maybe I’ll take some art classes. I think I want to paint, but how long will it take me to become proficient enough to have something I’d be proud  to show? I painted in college and even have a minor in art, but that was a long time ago.  Maybe I just need to go back to making wearables.

Jacket Jackpot book

Jacket Jackpot, my last published book

But, that’s enough of my ramblings about this past weekend. I hope good, productive things are happening in your studios, and you’re having fun, too!

I don’t know what’s next in my studio.  When I do, I’ll let you know.

studio

Studio Clean & Ready for Next Project

Until then, hugs and stitches, Judy.

Valentine Vignettes and Cookies

January 30, 2012

Last night, I finished the arduous task of Fall Quilt Festival faculty and curriculum selection. The file boxes are parked by the back door waiting for my husband to load them in my car to take to the Quilts, Inc. office tomorrow. My faithful assistants, Kim and Jill, will take them from there to get out the contracts this week.

Files to office

Files Ready to Go to Office

So today is my day to invite you in for a visit. I’ve baked heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorated our home with multiple Valentine vignettes just for you. Want to come in?

Welcome

Welcome

This morning, after going to my much loved and needed yoga class, I came home and started right in to make cookies for our visit. I turned on the Love Channel on our XM Satellite Radio, lit a vetiver and shaved vanilla soy candle, and got out all the ingredients.

gather all ingredients

All Ingredients Ready

The recipe I use is one I have had since early marriage and have given to many friends. There are a few things I do differently than most sugar cookie recipes. I’ll tell you about those as I make the cookies along with the recipe.

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients: 1 cup margarine or butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 whole eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream together margarine or butter and sugar.

Blend in eggs.

Sift together the salt, baking powder, and flour.  Then, gradually add to the mixture.

Add vanilla to mixture and beat until smooth.

dough in mixer

Mix Dough Until Smooth

Do not refrigerate dough. Divide into 3 parts. Roll one part at a time. Put left-over dough from each rolling all together for fourth and last part.

Flour pastry cloth and sock by rolling pin on floured cloth. Take one part of dough and turn over a few times on cloth to coat with flour.

Dough part

Turn Dough on Floured Cloth

Roll out 1/8″ thick on pastry cloth. Each time, you take another part of dough to roll out, you need to flour the pastry cloth again.

At Christmas, a friend of mine wanted to make my sugar cookie recipe, but she was stumped when I told her to use a pastry cloth and a sock on the rolling pin. She searched the internet and found these items.

I’ve had mine since I was married many years ago. I’d since worn out the sock, but used the top of one of my husband’s tube socks…washed of course. Now I have a new pastry sock thanks to Willie. She bought a set for me when she got hers. I use the pastry sock, but still using the old pastry cloth as it hasn’t worn out yet. I also roll out pie dough using the pastry sock and cloth. Wash and dry these by machine after each use before putting away.

When dough is rolled out, cut with cookie cutters. If the dough does not come up with the cutter, use a spatula to lift it off the pastry cloth.

Spatula

Use spatula to Remove from Pastry Cloth

Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.

sprinkle cookies with sugar

Sprinkle Cookies with Sugar

I have a large assortment of heart-shaped cookie cutters and can’t begin to use them all each time I make Valentine cookies. I have a friend who loves these cookies and likes nothing better than to receive them at Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Recently her sugar intake has been cut back drastically, so she loves the little cookies that are just bite size. Then, she’s able to still have bits of sugar cookies. So all sizes come in handy.

cookie cutter assortment

Heart-shaped Cookie Cutters

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. I find I have better luck if I bake only one cookie sheet in the oven at a time. Cool single layer on waxed paper. I bake different sizes on a single cookie sheet because some friends and family like their cookies cooked crispy while others prefer theirs barely brown. This way everyone is happy and that’s a good thing.

bake and cool on waxed paper

Crispy or Barely Browned

Cookies are finished, and tea is ready. Would you come for tea now?

cookies ready for tea

Please come for tea.

Now would you like to see the Valentine vignettes I did for you? As the quote goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Valentines at window

At My Kitchen Window

round of hearts

Hearts with Covered Basket

table runner

Table Runner on Coffee Table

Friendship Heart quilt

Friendship Heart Quilt

vignette on entrance table

Table in Entrance

vignette 4

Valentine Collage

Valentine

Handmade Valentine

Vignette 3

Vintage Valentine Hankies

Vignette 2

Things for Little Hands to Touch

vignette one

Vignette with Granddaughter Pictures

hanging heart sample on chair in entrance

Hanging hearts can also be pillows on chairs

Happy February and Valentine’s Day from my home to yours with love,

Judy


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