This blog is for those of us girls (and guys) who love everything artsy and enjoy the challenge of discovering new and exciting ways of creating something wonderful. We do not discriminate against any artform but are willing to try them all and pass on our knowledge to you. In addition, we love to feature our ATA Girlz (and guys) so that those people who can't draw a straight line - but love unique and handmade items - can help support our wonderful friends. Visit often to discover what we're "playing" with next!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Announcing new Etsy Store: My Murdock Designs LLC: Great Hand Made Bags and Totes and More

Hi Friends, It might be a little early in the game, but My Murdock Designs LLC at Etsy is an ATA Girls favorite we wanted to share.  A new endeavor by our friend Cynthia Frozena Monty, she will be selling handcrafted, original pattern designed and crafted bags, totes, jewelry, totes and even dog collars.

The idea for the business came from her love and loss of her beloved pet Murdock. Family member for over 14 years and best buddy, the loss of Murdock left Cindy with a void to fill and a wish to honor his memory in a creative way.  My Murdock Design LLC was born.
Cindy started out as an artist, and art therapist, and although her path has taken her on a winding journey through a few healthcare/therapy jobs, raising three boys, and freelance sewing/design work -her passion shows in her work on My Murdock Designs.

Although the beautiful work and attention to detail is worth a visit alone, the backstory to this amazing business is worth another look.  Get the tissues out... and read the local news story that talks about this unique relationship between Murdock and the Monty Family.  Meanwhile, visit her store, and drop her a note of encouragement. We artists have to stick together!


Family had one last weekend with an aging friend

Murdock posed last fall with Cindy Monty and her sons, Christopher (from left), Noah and Benjamin.

Murdock posed last fall with Cindy Monty and her sons, Christopher (from left), Noah and Benjamin.

It was time. Murdock's hips were failing, his hearing was gone and other ravages of age had caught up with him.
So his family, the Monty family from Wauwatosa's west side, convened a tearful meeting at the dining room table. It was decided that they all - mom, dad and the three boys - would go with Murdock to the vet's office the following Monday and hold him close during the final moments of his life.
But first, they would spend the weekend doing the things Murdock liked best, spoiling him with treats and giving neighbors a chance to say goodbye.
Such is the love that people have for their dogs. This is not an uncommon story. That's the beauty of it. It happens all the time.
That Saturday, Jan. 21, they took 14-year-old Murdock to the sledding hill at Currie Park. He couldn't run and chase the kids like he used to, but he could remember those days.
Cindy and Joe Monty got this dog before any of their children were born. It was 1997 and they were vacationing in Door County when they saw a roadside sign for free puppies. All of the eight puppies were black and white except for one brown one. That's the one they took home, giving the owners some bakery in exchange.
The dog is a mix of malamute, black Lab and Australian shepherd. Joe came up with the name Murdock, after a loopy character on "The A-Team" TV show.
From the beginning, Murdock hardly ever barked, and he went everywhere with the family. The tellers at the drive-in bank got to know him by name. He carried a backpack and sat in the canoe during several trips the childless couple made to the Canadian side of the Boundary Waters.
The family grew. Christopher is 12, Noah is 11 and Benjamin is 9. Until now, they have never known life without Murdock.
On the final two nights with their dog, the whole family bedded down in sleeping bags in the living room to be close to Murdock. Saturday night they watched a movie together.
"Everyone said it had to be funny," Cindy said. "We could not watch 'Marley & Me' or anything like that. We watched 'Grumpy Old Men.' "
Murdock was given free access to a bowl of popcorn. Everyone slept right there on the floor.
On Sunday, they all went to Elm Grove Park, another favorite destination. When they got home, the boys pulled out Murdock's favorite toys from over the years. Then they made a steak dinner. Murdock didn't often get table food, but tonight he would have his own steak.
"He looked at us like, you gotta be kidding me. He ate it with gusto, and he hadn't been eating that terrifically in the weeks before. His hips were so weak that it was hard for him to stand at his bowl of food for any length of time," Cindy said.
Word got around about Murdock, and neighbors stopped over to say goodbye. Some brought comfort food. Murdock had a reputation as a friendly rover who would show up in people's yards. They said he would be missed.
Monday morning came. Joe, a UPS driver, had a day off, and Cindy didn't need to go in to the bakery where she works. The boys did not have school.
They decided to take Murdock on a last walk, even though it was rainy and dreary. They would skip the leash this time and let him lead.
In recent weeks, it was hard for Murdock to walk more than half a block. He used to love running along on bike rides, but it got to the point where Cindy would include him by putting a comfy pillow in the kids' bike trailer and pulling him behind her bike. Aging calls for compromise.
Limping along, Murdock led the family to Eisenhower Elementary School more than three blocks away. It was a walk he had done many times as Cindy accompanied the boys to school.
After they returned home, they toweled the dog dry and got in the minivan for the ride to Elmbrook Veterinary Clinic. Benjamin tried to comfort his mother by telling her, "It's the right thing to do." Cindy and Joe and the boys sat on a blanket on the clinic floor with Murdock. It was time.
When the weather warms up, they plan to bury Murdock's ashes in the yard and mark the spot with a concrete angel. In the meantime, they put his leftover treats in a bucket near the curb and urged neighbors to take them for their pets.
It's too soon to consider getting another dog, Cindy said. They will know when it's time.

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  1. Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via GFC)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Found you through Friendship Friday. I would love it if you follow me back

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  2. Murdoch's story really got me all teary-eyed. He's a great inspiration to the misus who apparently owns the shop; the items for sale look great! And she already has a fan in you, so she's definitely doing the right thing! Thank you for sharing this story, and I hope it inspires others to create beautiful things out of the memories of whom they loved.

    Clint @ Franchise Match


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