Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

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...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bye-lo Baby

Isn't this just the sweetest little face?  This is an 8" Bye-Lo Baby, designed by Grace Storey Putnam in 1923.  She was made to represent a three day old infant, and became an overnight success.  Every little girl wanted one!  I believe that this particular doll is the smallest size they made with the cloth body--smaller Bye-lo babies were made but they were all bisque.  She has the typical "frog style" cloth body and celluloid hands.  The good news:  I got to play with her (dress her!) and enjoy looking at her in my sewing room for a full month.  The bad news:  she doesn't belong to me!  A friend from my doll club is the lucky owner, and she asked if I would dress this little sweetie.  Of course, I said yes!
She came to me wearing the dress in the photos; however, it was several sizes too large and had no sleeves.  My friend also wanted me to make her a bonnet from a vintage bonnet that was meant for a much larger doll.  After studying it for quite a while, I finally gathered up the courage to cut into the lovely, delicate fabric.  Once I made that first snip, there was no turning back!
There was some sweet embroidery that I was able to incorporate into the crown, and I also unpicked the lace from one area and moved it to the brim.  I reused the silk ribbon ties from the original bonnet.  I gathered the neckline to better fit the neck, and I made some sleeves from a scrap of antique fabric I had that just happened to perfectly match the existing dress.  The sleeve cuffs are also gathered with a loose running stitch to fit the wrists.
This photo shows the unique construction of baby's body.  Up higher, across the chest (but not visible in the photo), she is stamped "Bye-Lo Baby" in red ink.
I love this baby.  She is such a perfect size to display, and hardly takes up any room at all.  I did let my friend know that if she ever wants to sell her, I get first dibs!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Bears

This is my family of bears.  Dolls are my first love, but the bears come in a very close second.
Here are the boys, Andrew and Buster.
Andrew (left)  belonged to my husband's grandfather, Andrew Cravens.  He was born in 1909, so I'm assuming this little fellow has a similar birth date.  He has seen a lot of love!  His paw pads have been replaced, and he's lost part of his smile.  His limbs are wobbly and his stuffing is lumpy, but he's full of character.  I don't know what his original name might have been, but I thought it fitting to name him after the family member to which he once belonged. 
Buster is a new-ish bear.  I picked him up several years ago at a local doll show.  I think he was commercially made (not handmade).  His limbs and head are jointed like the old bears, and there was just something so appealing about his expression that made me want to take him home.  I named him Buster because it just seemed to suit him, don't you think?
Penelope, Olivia, and Phoebe are the girls.
Penelope (left) is a newer Steiff bear, made as a reproduction of the very first teddy bear that the company created.  Her fur is mohair, and she even has a "growler" voice box that makes a sound when she is tipped over.  I bought her several years ago from a toy shop in Missouri.  She was my Christmas gift that year.  She was a big purchase, but I have never regretted her.  I smile every time I look at her.
Olivia (middle) is the newest addition to my bear family.  She is an antique, most likely made by the Hermann Bear company.  She is made of mohair and fully jointed.  Isn't she adorable?
Several years ago, I decided to try my hand at bear making.  Phoebe (right) was the end result.  Bear making is so fun and rewarding, I can't believe I haven't made any in a very long time.  Maybe it's time to remedy that!  Anyway, Phoebe is made like the old bears, with disc-jointed limbs, a humped back, and mohair fur with wool felt paw pads.  I love her.  She was the very first bear I ever made, and I think she turned out adorable.  I did make several other bears after her that I gave away as gifts.
This bear is simple called "Teddy".  He is nowhere as dignified looking as the above bears, but I love him just the same.  He was given to me when I was a very little girl, I think, for Christmas.
He is made by Knickerbocker.  His red fur has been worn away in several places.  I remember stroking his fur over and over because he was so silky and shiny--I must have rubbed the silky right out of him!
This picture of me and Teddy was taken in 1969.    I am about 2 1/2, and Teddy appears to be dressed in some sort of a sleeper and wrapped securely in a kitchen towel.  I know there are other pictures of me with this bear at my parent's home, but this is the only photo I have in my possession.
Two, wonderful children's books by Jane Hissey.  They are all about the adventures of some stuffed animals, among them a few bears.  These are the two titles I own, but there are many more.  The illustrations are delightful.
I love vintage/antique bears, and hope to add more to my collection.  But they tend to be very pricey and hard to identify.  So I will love the ones I have, and if more happen to come my way for a decent price, than they just may find a new home!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Another Look

We took another drive out to "our" property today.  At least, that's what I'm calling it until we know otherwise.

I know I'm putting my heart out there, because if we don't get it, I'm going to be disappointed.  I'm trying to tell myself that if it's not meant to be ours, then there is something better waiting for us.  Still, it's hard not to get attached.
We brought along our walking shoes, grabbed a big stick, and whacked the underbrush so we could explore.
This is the land that borders the property on one side.  Isn't it breathtaking?  I can envision my horse-crazy daughter galloping her horse across this beautiful expanse.
An old tree stump that just begged to be climbed.  That's what they're there for, right?!?
The field was scattered with daisies.  The big, plump kind, just perfect for picking and sniffing.
I am of the personal opinion that all little boys (and little girls, too!) are perfectly happy with a stick and a walk in the woods.
There were lots of these.  Ripe and luscious, perfect juicy morsels.  Our fingers became stained with the purple/red juice.
Annie, right in the middle of the thicket, where the best blackberries always seem to hide.
Jackson made a new friend.  Okay, so maybe a little boy only needs a stick and a friendly bug to be truly happy.
I love this oak tree.  Or is it a maple?  Whichever it is, I'm already planning the swing that will hang from it's sturdy branches.
Our fuzzy friend was released back to his home when it came time for us to leave.
And here we are on the drive home, daring to hope that the dream of building a house on this property might actually come true.  It only took us moments (seconds!) to decide that we wanted this to be our next home.  We turned in all the paperwork to the house builder so we can be approved for the financing, and we made a call to our realtor and put in an offer.  Now, we wait.  I'm not good at waiting.  But that's just the way it is.  I will try to enjoy my weekend and not dwell on what may or may not be.  I will relish these last days of summer before autumn hits, and the rain comes to stay in place of the sun.  I will eat a popsicle and pick more blackberries and take a nap on the trampoline.  I will practise my patience!