Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Birthdays and Storms

Thunder rumbled, lightening flashed, and the rain came down in sheets as our family gathered together last night and today to celebrate two birthdays.  Son #3 turned the big "18" yesterday, and little brother celebrated his 6th today.

We put Landon's candles on one corner of the cake, and Jackson's on the other.  We don't always celebrate their birthdays on the same today, but it just worked out easier that way this year.

Seven of my eight children together...that makes me so happy!  The days are getting fewer and farther between when that happens anymore.   Everybody seems to be growing up so fast. Two of my "chickies" have already flown the nest, and the third is getting close.

Late this afternoon, another storm moved in.  We had one yesterday, too, with lots of lightening, thunder, and rain.  But today's storm also brought hail the size of marbles.  Once the lightening stopped, I gave the kids the go-ahead to explore our flooded street.

It was over a foot deep in some places!

Sophie lasted about one minute before she started crying about her feet hurting.  With all that hail, the water was freezing.

The kids rode their bikes through the temporary lake with no problem, but every car that came down our street turned around and went the other way once they saw all that standing water!

And here's a short clip of our birthday boy, capping off his special day by floating down our street.  What six-year-old could ask for more?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My First Zippered Bag

I was putting together another care package today for my son in Afghanistan when I remembered that he had requested for me to send him some simple sewing supplies.  Often times, a rip needs to be mended or a button needs to be sewed back on and he doesn't want to wait the couple of weeks it will take for the army's tailor to get around to it.  As I was stuffing the scissors, thread and needles I had purchased into a Ziploc bag, I suddenly thought how nice it would all look in a little zippered pouch.  So I decided to make one.

I used scraps of fabric that I had leftover from a previous sewing project...the fabric is actually from an old pair of my son's army-issued pants.  The pouch is made from two, simple rectangles (an outside piece and a lining), with some interfacing for stiffness and a zippered opening.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out!  So simple, yet really rewarding.  And it's the first time I ever put a zipper into anything besides a dress!  I forgot to take measurements, but I think it ended up being about 7" wide by 6" high--the perfect size for a small pair of scissors, two spools of thread, a pack of needles, and some extra buttons and safety pins.  I have been wanting to make myself a new purse using more scraps of this fabric for a long that I see how nicely this turned out, I have lots of motivation to give it a try.  And when my older girls saw it, they both requested larger bags in which to store their toiletries when we go on vacation.  Hmmm...I have leftover horse prints for my horse-lovin' cowgirl, and there are tons of pretty, floral fabrics that would be great for my girlie-girl...the possibilities are endless!

This picture has really nothing at all to do with this post.  Except that it's cute.  And every post should have a little cuteness, right?  So this is Delilah, the cat, who lately thinks that MY bed is her bed.  Lucky for her, she's cute and oh-so-fluffy, or she would have been kicked off long ago!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Easter Dress That Wasn't

I bought this fabric last year, with the full intention of using it to make an Easter dress for Sophie.  Well,  that didn't happen.

But I didn't stress about it--I just figured I'd use it for this year's Easter dress.  Wrong again.

Somehow, time had slipped away from me, and so had two Easters.

As I was organizing my fabric bins last week, I came across the neatly folded fabric.  "I'm supposed to be an Easter dress" it seemed to say.   But Easter was last month.  Surely I could just save it for next Easter?

But then I realized that if I waited one more year, there definitely wouldn't be enough fabric to make a dress for an almost 4 year old.  I had only bought a little over a yard of the pink bunny print because at the time, Sophia was probably half the size she is now.  I also bought about the same amount of the coordinating brown print.  If I was ever going to make a dress out of these fabrics, the time was NOW.  Besides, bunnies are cute.  They don't have to be just for Easter, right?

I decided on a simple sundress.  Of course, once I got started, I couldn't leave it very "simple".    I love frilly, fancy, and froofy!  I started with a basic bodice pattern, and then altered it to create a sweetheart neckline.  Because I didn't have enough of the bunny fabric for a full skirt, I also added side panels of the coordinating brown print. 

The side panels needed a "little something", so I decided to add strips of ruffles.  I also added an underskirt with another ruffle along the bottom.  This gives the skirt lots of body.

All in all, I'm very happy with how this turned out.  The colors are some of my favorites--soft, peachy pink, warm brown. and cream.  It has great "twirl-a-bility" and lots of visual interest.  The only thing I would change is the depth of the armholes.  They ended up being a tad bit too large.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  I did, however, use everything from my "stash".  I did not have to go out and purchase anything to complete this project, not even the buttons!  I just happened to find three, matching buttons in the right shade of pink in my button jar.  It was meant to be, I guess!

We are finally having enough warm weather so that Sophie can wear this dress without a sweater.  Now that is something to be happy about!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Birthday, a Suit, and a Walk

Last Monday was my birthday.  Thank goodness my family didn't put 46 candles on my cake.  Instead, there were only three--one for the past, one for the present, and one for the future.  Bless their hearts.

My grandfather was born in 1901.  Here he is with his family in Germany, probably in the mid 1940's. (My father is the sullen looking boy standing behind his little sister).  I only met my grandfather a handful of times before he died.  I remember that he smoked cigars, was rather short and round, and that he had an "office" in his home right off the front entry.  This "office" was actually his sewing room.  My grandfather was a tailor.

He made clothes for others, as well as his own family.  He had to sew uniforms for Nazi officers during WWII.  He also made the wool suit my father is wearing in his wedding photo.  My father still has this suit...and it still fits!  Well, everything except the sleeve length.  He jokes that his arms must have grown over the years, because the sleeves are now a bit too short.  So he asked me if I could lengthen them.

My grandfather was a master at his craft.  I marveled at how well-made the suit was.  Welted pockets, button plackets on the sleeves, and a fully lined interior.  Much of it was sewn by hand.  This suit was made back in the day when pride was taken in workmanship.  Buttons were sewn on so that they wouldn't ever come off

Because my grandfather had left generous seam allowances, I was able to let out the sleeve length about 1 1/4".  Here is my father, in his newly altered suit.  He was quite pleased with the results, and I am just so amazed that he can still wear it.  It just goes to show that true quality and workmanship never go out of style.  I also felt very honored to have worked on something that my grandfather had made with his very own hands over 50 years ago.  I wonder what he would have been thinking while he made that suit, had he known his future grand-daughter would someday also add her own stitches to his creation?

Visiting my parent's home is always a fun excursion for us.  Since my mother passed away almost three years ago, it holds a lot of bittersweet memories.  I found myself getting misty-eyed when I reached for some spices in the kitchen cabinet, and found my mother's unmistakable handwriting on them.  The kids love visiting their "Opa"  because he lives out on five acres in the country, surrounded by beautiful woods.  And since there was a break in the rain, we decided to go out and enjoy a walk.  My brother and his son, Isaac, were also visiting.

Checking out the pond that my father made some years ago...the kids found lots of salamanders, much to their delight!

Because my father's property borders timber land, there are lots of beautiful trails to hike.

I just love those it wrong to covet my daughter's hair?!?

Coming back down the mountain...

Sophie and her Opa

We had a wonderful day.