Sunday, May 29, 2016

Congratulations Bill!

Congratulations to my oldest son Bill who yesterday graduated from law school. While that in itself is an admirable achievement, the fact that he did it while working full time to support his wife and 4 children, serving in the church and community and doing all of the things a busy dad does is really and accomplishment. We are proud of our our Juris Doctorate and know that he will do his part to promote the laws of "one nation under God with liberty and justice for all."

In a few weeks he will take the bar. Well done WiIlliam, well done.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Etching, Drawings, Paintings and Photographs

Drypoint Etching 
 The Light of the World


 Old Ugly Charcoal
 Skull Charcoal

Watercolor Paintings

 Shepherdess after Bouguereau

 Tulips and Daffodils from my Garden
 Autumn at Garden Park Ward

Oil Paintings

 An American Kitchen
 Warts and All

Photos from Manuscripts and Newspaper Articles 

 The cover of A Harvest and Halloween Handbook published as an ebook and currently under consideration at Covenant Publishing

 Gingerbread House from A Christmas Handbook under consideration at Covenant Publishing; an article for the Long Island Pulse, the Deseret News and other newspapers


A holiday window decoration created for the 
City Creek Macys in Salt Lake City made with 100 pounds of candy.

 Easter article for the Deseret News, other newspapers and A Holiday Handbook manuscript under consideration at Covenant Publishing

 Feast of the Tabernacles Sukkah from  
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

 1 of 32 coloring pages from A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

 Button and scrap crafts from 
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

I say it every year, but I am so very grateful for my wonderful mother. She inspired my creativity, love of family, good grammar and every lovely thing in my world. I wrote this poem about her and my other special women who have loved and taught me so well. So once again, Happy Mother's Day to my favorite mom! 

A Tribute to Mother
“Mother I love you so,” said the child.
“I love you more than I know.”
She laid her head on her mother’s arm
And the love between them kept them warm.”
Margaret Florence Smith
Happy Mother’s Day to my


and Friends;
The women who give life,
and give joy.

Who bled,
and fed,
and hid Easter eggs,
and wrapped gifts
and dyed Halloween costumes.
Who took me to the zoo

and Disneyland,
and grew pumpkins,
and taught me to play chess
and feed my babies.
Who taught me to write thank you notes
And have good manners
and remember birthdays
and ancestors
(and love them).

And gave me crayons

and dolls
and retainers
and fishnet nylons
and a radio to take to the beach.
Who took me to visit my grandparents
and on road trips
and swimming
and had a barbecue.
Who taught me to pray
and love
and find joy
and set a beautiful table.
And to watch out for little ones,
and spell correctly,
 and feed stray kittens,
and read books.
And to try,
and fail,
and try again.
Who found our great grandfathers were kings
and great grandmothers were queens.  
Who took pictures,
and listened as I learned to read,
and filled a piñata.
And eat Thanksgiving at the beach like Pilgrims,
and go on bike rides,
and read Luke on Christmas Eve,
and sing carols,
and find treats in my stocking.
To share with those in need,
and love art and beauty,
and wear bows in my hair
and shoes that fit,
and remember God and go to church.
Who sewed clothes,
and prayed for soldiers,
and firemen,
and missionaries,
and me. 
Who baked cakes
and arranged flowers,
and made 20,000 meals,
and made me brush my teeth.
And bought sugar sticks,
and made drawings,
and bread,
and Beef Stroganoff.

And soothed wounded hearts,
and took us to movies,
and to the woods,
and the sea.
And played
and prayed
and gave time and love and life.
Thank you.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter!

My first experience making public art came at Easter time. I was in Mrs. Bond's 6th grade class at Valley Jr. High in Carlsbad, California. I practically begged her to allow me to decorate a bulletin board with a large rabbit and the oh-so-clever (at the time) phrase HOPPY EASTER. She gave permission and butcher paper and I went to work creating my first exhibition. Looking back now, the funny thing is, I was not afraid at all. Critics? Who needs them.

While the Spring weather here in Utah is a bit bi-polar; sunny one day, snowing the next, you might be able to squeeze in an Easter tea between egg hunts and snowball fights.

To me the real meaning of Easter is remembering and thanking Jesus Christ for his Atonement which places us back in line with God's love and grace and hopes for our futures. I wrote this analogy to help explain why we need a Savior and how much His love means to me.

I put this on my bog every year because I love it so much. This activity helps children learn about their Savior and his experience at the first Easter.

From the brilliant ladies in Newport Beach; thanks for sharing.
A simplified account of Christ's atonement is told in these Easter Miracle Eggs. Each egg contains a scripture and tiny object that represents part of the Easter story. After the eggs are gathered, open them in order and read each scripture.

All you need are a dozen plastic eggs and a few items to tuck inside. Number the end of the eggs 1 -12 with a permanent marker. Print the following text, cut into strips and place inside the corresponding numbered eggs by highlighting them, pressing control and "p" on a p.c. (choose "selection") , or command and "p" on a mac. The objects inside the eggs are:
1. a small cup (check craft stores for a small unfinished wood thimble)
2. 3 dimes
3. 2 - 3" of twine
4. a chunk of soap
5. A tiny red robe shape cut out of felt
6. wooden or heavy paper cross
7. dice
8. 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" square of white fabric, torn almost in half
9. a 1 1/2" x 11/2" square of white fabric
10. a small rock
11. a few whole cloves and a bay leaf
12. This egg will remain empty
Tell the story about the sacrament of the Last Supper and Christ's night in Gethsemane, how he paid the price for all of mankind's sins if they repented and that they might be able to return to heaven and live with the Father . The following scripture verses are taken from the New Testament in the Holy Bible. 
1. "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." (Luke 22:42 - 43)

2. Zechariah, a prophet of the Old Testament foretold that Christ would be ransomed or betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for 
thirtypieces of silver. " (Matthew 26: 14 - 15)

3. "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to 
Pontius Pilate the governor. (Matthew 27: 1 -2)

4. "When Pilate saw that he 
could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. (Matthew 27: 24)

5. "And they stripped him, and put on him a 
scarlet robe. And when they hadplaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head." (Matthew 27: 28 - 30)

6. "And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross." (Matthew 27: 31 - 32.)

7. "And they 
crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." (Matthew 27: 35)

8. "Jesus, when he had cried again with 
a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." (Matthew 27: 50, 51, 54)

9. "When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named
Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth" (Matthew 27; 58 - 60)

10. "And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great 
stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." (Matthew 27: 60, 65, 66)

11. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for 
the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow...Andthe angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (Mark 16: 1, Matthew 28: 2 - 5)

12. "He is not here: for he is 
risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead" Matthew 28: 6 - 7) 

 These oh-so-delish butterscotch egg nests are edible and do double-duty as a Easter meal place card. Here's a tidbit of Easter history and the recipe:


While we are enjoying our Easter dinner we will be thinking about our family far away and our gracious Savior who made forever families a reality. Our son Andrew and his family will be joining us in 3 weeks as they come from Virginia to say good-bye. He will be stationed for 3 years in Italy with the US Army. Our reunion and celebration will occur then, our children will gather  and we will meet his new baby Ender and say farewell for now. But Sunday we will enjoy our favorite traditional Easter menu.
McMurtry Easter Menu

Glazed ham - we like Costco's red foil-wrapped cooked ham 

Green salad with dried cranberries, feta, sugared pecans and Girard's light campagne dressing

Au gratin potatoes, this year we are trying a variation with
jalapenos, mmm.

Roasted asparagus

Green bean and onion ring casserole

Coconut pineapple ambrosia

Bunny buns (rabbit-shaped croissants)

Light carrot cake with pecans and cream cheese frosting

From the McMurtrys' home to yours, have a blessed and happy Easter!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Erin Go Bragh!

It's said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, so put on your best green and get ready for a little magic on the Kim Power Stilson show. 

March 17th at @ 3 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Mountain

Find out just how much you know about one of the world's greatest missionaries and the Emerald Isle. 

Here's the transcript:


Leprechaun Cottage Garden                    Pam McMurtry Designs

For your St. Patrick's Day dinner, this Leprechaun cottage garden is a nutritious craft that does double-duty as a appetizer and centerpiece 

To make your own leprechaun cottage you will need:

A medium-size unfinished wooden birdhouse ($4.99 @ Michael's craft store)
White gesso or tempera paint
Burnt umber acrylic paint
Light green acrylic paint
Large and small paintbrushes
A handful of large and small pebbles
Dry green moss
A hot glue gun and glue sticks or thick craft glue
Shamrock or decoration if desired

  • Whitewash the birdhouse with 3 – 4 coats of gesso, allow to dry between each coat. 
  • Paint the door and base green and the eaves and doorknobs brown.
  • Hot glue small pebbles around the door and larger ones around base of the house, filling in with the tiniest ones.
  • Glue the twigs along the front and back of the roof edges and over the window. Glue moss to the roof and tops of the pebbles.
  • Add an ornament if desired. Hide a few gold foil-covered coins inside the cottage.

Decorate your St. Patrick’s Day dinner table with a leprechaun garden crudités that does double-duty as an appetizer and a centerpiece. 

It's easy to create; just set the leprechaun cottage on a tray or in a shallow basket. Trim off the stem ends of a four-pack of washed mini lettuce heads or a bunch of kale and place in a bowl of water to rinse and refresh like you do with a bouquet of cut fresh flowers After you shake off excess water and drain upside down for a few minutes, place around the cottage for the garden base.. Prepare small vegetables as directed and place them in the lettuce heads in rows or bunches. Serve with your favorite garden or ranch dip, tinted green, in a hollowed bell pepper.


Bite-size potatoes; wash, lightly coat with canola or olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees, or until soft. (I bought these at Sprouts in Salt Lake City)
Blanch the following vegetables for the leprechaun garden. Boil 3-4 quarts of water in a large pot. Add vegetables, blanch for the recommended time, remove with a slotted spoon then immerse in cold water, drain on towels until you assemble the crudités.
Asparagus: wash and break off stem ends, boil for 3 – 5 minutes, cool, cut in half
Broccoli: wash and cut into individual branches, blanch for 3 minutes
Brussels sprouts: remove outer leaves, wash and boil for 8 minutes
Snow peas, trim off ends and remove strings, blanch for 30 seconds
  • Wash and cut the following vegetables into bite-size servings:
Mini carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, celery, bell pepper


This mild-tasting bread is delicious with butter and jam.
        Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with          foil, lightly butter and set aside.
        Sift together
3 ½ C all-purpose flour + extra for rolling out the dough
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
        Make a crater in the center, add
1 C buttermilk
¾ C cream

        Using your fingers or a large fork, stir the dough until it           just holds together. Add
½ C dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
       Flour the work surface and gently mold the dough into a          6 inch round loaf. Dust the bread with flour and cut a              cross into the top, place on the baking pan. Bake for 42          – 45 minutes until hollow-sounding when tapped.                    Remove from pan, serve immediately with butter and              strawberry or blueberry jam.

Glazed Corned Beef                      Pam McMurtry Designs
And here is the recipe I promised for our favorite mustard and brown sugar-glazed corned beef:


            Preheat oven to 350.
            Place fat side up in a baking pan
1 corned beef brisket, rinsed.
            Cover with foil, bake for 2 1/2 hours or until fork-                     tender. Drain, score meat with a knife, stud with
whole cloves
            Baste with
ginger ale
            Brush on glaze, return to oven and bake for 30 - 40                 minutes uncovered.
            Let cool for 15 minutes and slice across the grain.

1/2 C prepared mustard

1/2 C + 2 TBSP brown sugar


            Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish
2 C boiling water
            Stir in until dissolved
1 large lime jello 
2 C cold water
            Refrigerate until partially set, then stir in           
1 can crushed pineapple, drained. Refrigerate until firm.
            Fold together and spread over jello
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7 oz. marshmallow creme
            Refrigerate at least one hour, top with whipped                       cream, sprinkle with green sugar crystals
            Serve on a
curly green lettuce leaf

Welcome Spring!                           Pam McMurtry Designs

To help set the mood for a fun and silly evening here are my favorite Irish-themed movies:

Darby O'Gill and the Little People: When aging Darby O'Gill is facing an unwanted retirement, the king of the leprechauns steps in to help him out of his dilemma. Worth watching to check out Sean Connery in his youthful splendor. This Disney film is great family entertainment but the scary banshee could be a bit intense for your little people.

The Secret of Roan Inish: Young Fiona is mourning the loss of her mother, baby brother and island home when she hears rumors that the seals are looking after him until her family returns. Beautifully filmed, especially the scenes on the island of Roan Inish.

Waking Ned Divine: A winning lottery ticket means a change of fortune for one lucky townsperson; if he can get a little help from his friends. Adult themes and a naked tush shot make this a movie for older teens or adults. 

Magical Legend of the Leprechauns: A charming Gaelic interpretation of Romeo and Juliet with Whoopie Goldberg reigning in the little people and 2 love stories.

                  My daughter Heather Touchet's art!

Here's a story about St. Patrick - did you know his color was blue?