Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Friday, November 2, 2012


We don't "celebrate" Halloween.  No witches, evil characters, or celebrating anything gory.  However, my kids, like probably every other kid, love to dress up.  For us, it's all about the costumes and the candy!
So every year since my oldest was about three (almost 21 years ago!) I have made them costumes.  We have NEVER resorted to a store-bought concoction.  I enjoy making costumes that are sturdy and will hold up for hundreds of hours of make-believe play throughout the years.  That said, I haven't made a new costume for several years now.  As each Halloween comes around, the kids dip into the dress-up box and see what might fit them.
I had thought I was going to have to sew a new costume for this one since we couldn't find anything that fit.  But at the last minute, her older sister remembered the 1950's poodle skirt which I had made several years ago that was hiding at the back of their closet.  We paired it with her daddy's letterman's jacket and voila!  Instant 50's girl.
"Daniel Boone" has been a favorite for many years now.  The coon skin cap is really made from fake fur.
Notice the pillowcase he's clutching?  I used to make matching trick-or-treat bags for each costume, too, but the kids envisioned collecting more candy than the bags could hold, so they opted for pillowcases instead!
My little "Indian".  Isn't he just the cutest?  This is third of my sons to have worn this costume.  It's still a little roomy on him, and I had to temporarily hem up the pants (with masking tape!) about 6 inches so he wouldn't trip on them. 
Both his and the Daniel Boon costume are made from a fake suede material.
My little froggie!  I made this for son #4 when he was a little guy, so she is now the third child to wear it.  It is made from a nice, soft, corduroy.  The collar used to have little jingle bells attached at each point, but I noticed this year that they were missing.  Hmmm.  Some little person must have pulled them off.  I'll have to fix that.
It makes me a little sad to think that this is the last time any of my kids will ever wear this costume, since next year, she will be too big for it.  I suppose I'll have to pack it away for future grandkids!
Besides the costumes, this is what it's all about...the CANDY! 
My 50's girl and Daniel Boone went trick-or-treating with the neighbor kids, but my two youngest were escorted by their oldest brother and his girlfriend.  Since Jackson still has a cast and can't walk, he enjoyed being carried the entire way.  Sophie, on the other hand, ran from house to house, the excitement of filling her bag with candy spurring her on!  (This picture was taken after the costumes had come off, and son and his girlfriend were getting ready to leave.)
So now, suffice it to say, there are candy wrappers everywhere.  I pretty much just let everybody eat their candy until it's gone.  I find it's easier that way than trying to ration it out, and constantly having someone begging me for candy.  When it's gone, it's gone.
And speaking of gone, I'll leave you with this image which was fading quickly by the time I noticed it and could grab my camera.  Such a beautiful reminder of our creator.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Babies and some Knitting!

These two, sweet, baby dolls joined my doll collection over the past couple of months.
On the left is an Armand Marseille 341, also commonly known as "Dream Baby".  She has blue sleep eyes, celluloid hands, and a cloth body.  She is approximately 12" long, and wears an antique dress.  Her little friend is an 8" Bye-lo Baby, just like the one I dressed for a fellow doll club member and posted about!  I wanted one so badly after holding my friend's doll, and I just happened to find one on Ebay shortly thereafter.  She has brown, stationary eyes, celluloid hands, cloth body, and her original gown and socks.  It's always exiting to find an old doll that still retains it's original clothing.  These dolls were made as playthings, and little girls back then liked to undress their dollies as much as little girls do today.  So quite frequently, I suppose, the outfits were lost.
While this one's dress is not original, it is still from the same era and definitely appropriate.
Sweet little Bye-lo was just begging for a sweater set, so I hauled out my knitting needles, found a pattern, and made a trip to JoAnn's for yarn.  I wish we had a local yarn store, but the few we've had over the years have all shut down due to the economy.  So sad.  However, JoAnn's came through with this fine, wool, sock yarn.  I really wanted 100% wool, but that wasn't to be found.  So I settled for this 80% wool/20% nylon blend and I think it turned out pretty nice.
I have never knitted anything so small before, but didn't it turn out sweet?  I used a pattern from a book by Marjory Fainges called "Classic Knits for Baby Dolls".   Both the sweater and the bonnet tie shut with silk ribbons.
The sweater was knit in five, separate pieces and then joined together at the seams. I'm not sure I did a very professional job with the seaming, but I think it turned out okay.
The sleeve cuffs are quite snug, and I almost couldn't fit them over her hands. Almost. 
Dream baby is next on my list for her own little sweater and bonnet.  I have enough of the wool yarn left, so I'll probably use that.  The knitting book I used has patterns for many different sized dolls, so it shouldn't be hard to find one to fit her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Applesauce and Casts

Today, I made applesauce.  Lots and lots of applesauce.
As you can see in the above picture, they weren't the prettiest specimens.  Most, if not all the apples were covered in blemishes.  But that doesn't matter for applesauce!
I don't even bother peeling the apples.  I'm kind of lazy like that.  Besides, isn't the peel where all the vitamins are?  At least, that's what my mother always used to tell me!  I simply slice the apples into quarters and cut out the cores.  I throw them into a pot with a tiny bit of water and cook them until they're mushy.
After they've been cooked, I puree them in my Vitamix blender for about 15 seconds.  And Voila!  Instant, delicious applesauce.  The pot in the above picture is holds 16 quarts!  But that wasn't all of it--I had to use another pot to hold the remaining applesauce.
All together, I ended up with 20 quarts.  Not bad for a bunch of free apples and a little time.  Okay, a LOT of time.  It probably took me 4-5 hours from start to finish.  I can't even imagine how long it would have taken if I would have peeled the apples, too.  But in the end, you can't even detect the peels.  I promise.  And once you've tasted homemade applesauce, you will never want store bought sauce again.  There's just no comparison.  This applesauce was so good, that it didn't even need sugar.  My kids were hovering around the kitchen all afternoon, sneaking licks and sampling spoonfuls.  We love this stuff.  I don't bother with canning it either; I simply freeze them away in our big chest freezer.  It's so satisfying to know that we have delicious applesauce waiting for us this winter, whenever we get the hankering. 
In other news, my broken-limbed little man went back to the clinic to have his leg x-rayed, just to make sure it is healing properly.  And it is.  In the meanwhile, they removed the old cast and put on a new one.
The little saw-thingy they use looks a bit scary, but apparently, they've done this a few times and seem to know what they're doing.
A "thumbs up" from my little man.  He was looking forward to maybe getting a smaller cast for the next 3 weeks, but the doctor decided that an active little boy really needs to be in a full leg cast to prevent possible re-injury.
I couldn't help but notice how dirty his cast had become, especially in stark contrast to all that hospital white!
He chose "glow-in-the-dark" again for his new cast, because, well, he's six.  And glow-in-the-dark is cool, right?  And if you don't believe me about how dirty his old cast really got, the above picture with his new cast next to the old one should pretty much sum it up.  Again, I will say just two words:  he's six.
So, there you have it.  I know this post is probably pretty boring, and you may be wondering if I'll EVER post about a new sewing project again.  Sometimes I wonder that myself!  But I do have a couple of projects in the works, so don't give up on me yet.  I have a doll club meeting in a couple of days where I'm supposed to design and sew an outfit for a doll, and one of my kids needs a new halloween costume.  I'm hoping to get both those items completed tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Target Tour and a Little Window Shopping

We like this store.
My eldest is a manager at a brand-new Target in our area that will open this weekend.  Today was the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a select few people (friends and family of Target employees) got to attend by special invitation before the store is officially opened to the public.  My son gave us two invitations, and because my husband couldn't go, I had to choose one of my children to accompany me.  Hmmm.   Not easy, since everybody wanted to go!  In the end it was decided that son #4 should be the lucky one, since he doesn't get to go many places with me on his own, and it was his birthday last week.
Upon entering the store, we were handed coupons for free Burgerville meals and a donut.  We also got gift bags with assorted coupons.  Then we hung out in my younger son's favorite aisle until my oldest son could join us.
This kid still has some birthday money to spend, so he was debating about which Lego set he could afford.  Speaking of, I cleaned the playroom yesterday--deep cleaned, to be more specific, and I spent over an hour cleaning and sorting the HUGE box of Legos we already own.  Among other things, I also found silverware, Barbie shoes, underwear (don't ask) and rotten banana peels mixed in with the bazillion trillion Lego bricks.  I really don't think we need any more Legos.  When I happened to mention that to my son, he responded that he didn't think I needed any more dolls, either.  Okay.  Point made.
So this is the one he decided on.  I have to admit, it's a pretty neat set.  And I always like it when there are characters included.  Lego people are so cute!
Eldest son took us behind this mysterious door...(okay, so it's pretty self-explanatory and not very mysterious! but still...)
He has his own desk and phone and everything.  Although I didn't see a picture of his wonderful family pinned on the wall.  I'll have to remedy that.
We did a little window shopping in the toy aisles, and I found some games that might make it under the Christmas tree this year.  This one looked like lots of fun for the kids.  A lot like Pictionary, but instead of drawing, you have to create the item from Legos.  I would seriously lose at this game, since I am horrible at building with Legos.   I could possibly make a little house, or maybe a very simple car, but that's about it.  My boys, on the other hand, come up with the most intricate, creative things that really work.  Like money banks that have electronic motors attached which open secret compartments.  Or remote controlled cars.  All out of Legos.  It blows my mind.
We love Apples to Apples, and already own both the adult and junior versions.  But this is Disney.  Enough said.
I've heard lots of good things about the adult version of this game, and now that there's a kid's version, I'm even more interested.
Ahhh, the Fur Real animals.  I must admit, I love these things!  I have several that I've bought over the past few years just for myself--like the little lamb, duckling, chicky, and squirrel.  The lamb is my favorite.  So, so cute.  And now they have these bunnies that hop.  My 3 year old would LOVE one.  They are soft and cute like a real rabbit, but unlike a real rabbit, it wouldn't poop on the floor or be mauled by the dog.  I think this is a win-win situation.
And last but not least, Target now offers these adorable animal families (probably competition to the Calico Critters line sold in specialty toy shops).  This is the Whooswhoos owl family.  How cute are they?  There were several others, like a beaver, turtle, and rabbit family, but I loved the owls the best.  After close inspection, I noted that the heads and arms are movable, but the legs are stationary.  They happened to be on sale for around $7, so I didn't think the price was unreasonable.  These may end up at my house someday.  Although now that I'm looking at them again, I'm finding it kind of odd that they have arms instead of wings.  Shouldn't owls have wings?  Of course they should.  Maybe I'm over thinking this.  Regardless, they are still really cute.
In other news, I haven't sat down at my sewing machine in over two weeks.   No, I am not proud of myelf.   Yes, I feel guilty.  I am seriously falling behind on my New Year's goal of sewing at least one new thing every week.  Hopefully, I will remedy that soon.  I STILL have my queen sized bed quilt that needs to be finished, so I suppose I should just buckle down and do it.  It will definitely make it's debut here on this blog, as soon as I do!

Monday, September 24, 2012

School, Emergency Room, & a Tiny Bit of Sewing!

Has it really been 2 1/2 weeks since I last posted?  I didn't mean for so much time to slip by, and I don't really have a good excuse.  However, now that I think about it, we did start up our home school again, so I suppose that has kept me busier than I remember.  This is now my 18th consecutive year of teaching my children at home.
My oldest three have already graduated and my youngest is only three, so that leaves the four in the middle as my pupils this year.
They really are a bunch of smart kids!  (And I'm not just saying that because I'm their mother!)  They each tackle Math, Language, History, Science, Reading/Literature, Bible, Journaling, and Cursive Writing every day, and Art is sprinkled in here and there.
Our daily goal is to start school by 9:00, and all morning chores must be finished ahead of time.  We generally finish up around noon.  I love how schooling can be accomplished much faster at home than in the public school setting; there is so much less wasted time.
This one is learning how to read.   I won't lie and say that homeschooling is easy, because it's not!  Sometimes (okay, a LOT of times) I fantasize about how much more I could get done at home if they were all gone at public school during the day.  But then I remember why we're doing this, and the benefits we're reaping, and it makes it all worthwhile.
When we're not schooling, and the weather is still summer-like, you can find any number of my kids on the backyard trampoline.  Which is also why we ended up at the emergency room this weekend.
This little guy had a much bigger child (a neighborhood friend) accidentally land on his leg.  The other children present said they heard a "snap".  That's never good, at least not when it applies to kids and trampolines.
Several hours at the hospital and one x-ray later, it was finally determined that his little leg was indeed broken--the tibia, half-way between the knee and the ankle.
During all those boring hours of waiting, we watched the movie "Cars".  My husband was really getting into it, since he'd never seen it before!
Here we are, waiting for my husband to bring the car around.  I couldn't resist snapping a picture of our reflections.  My little man was so brave.  He never made a peep.  Even the doctor and nurses all commented how calm he was.  He is wearing a temporary cast for now, until the swelling goes down, and then he'll get his permanent cast tomorrow.  I'm glad this all happened at the end of summer, rather than the beginning.  Most 6 year olds are balls of energy, and this one is no exception.  I know it's killing him to lay on the couch all day while his siblings run and play.  However, the Xbox has been a nice consolation prize.  And the trampoline?  We've had it for 9 years with no injuries until now.  I still love it; it was one of the best purchases we ever made.   But there's a new rule:  Only two jumpers allowed at any one time.  The seven kids bouncing when the accident occurred was just way too many.
I haven't been sewing, although I've done a lot of thinking about sewing.  My bed quilt is still waiting to be finished, mocking me from the ironing board where it's been languishing for the past several weeks.  Shame on me.  I've been feeling so guilty for my lack of sewing, that I decided to crank out a little project today, just to get back into the groove.  I've been wanting a camera strap cover for forever, and I figured, how hard could it be?  It wasn't.  It took me more time to figure out the dimensions that to actually sew it.  Once it was finished, I realized that I couldn't get a good picture of it since it's attached to the only camera I own.  But I think you can get the idea.  I won't show you how I did it because I didn't take any pictures, and seriously, there are about a million tutorials online if you're interested in making one.  It's simply a long rectangle, folded in half, with batting inside.  I used a double layer of batting for extra padding.  Turning it right side out was the most difficult thing, but it just took some time.  I love how it turned out.  And how I'll instantly be able to pick it out at family functions when there are several other cameras just like mine laying around!  I think these could make some nice Christmas gifts...