Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairy Quilt

Look what I made in little snippets of time over the past week...a quilt!  (Yes, I do still have a queen sized quilt top that needs to be layered with batting, backing, and then quilted, but we won't talk about that right now!)  The design is my own.  Each square measures 6", and the whole quilt is approximately 59"x 77".
On a recent trip to my favorite fabric store, I came across this lovely panel of fabric by Michael Miller, depicting the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies.  I fell in love with the vibrant blues and purples and instantly knew it had to come home with me, especially since it was the last one.  (I couldn't let it slip away and regret it later, now could I?)  I had all the fabrics I needed in my stash to complete the piecing for the top, except I did splurge and buy the white print with pretty bluebirds in the snowball block because it matched so perfectly.  But it really wasn't too much of an expense since the fabric was on sale for only $4 a yard.  I adore little birds, and I figured that since fairies and birds both have wings, they could work together on a quilt.
Close up of the sweet, little, bluebird fabric.  I bought 2 yards and still have over a yard left over from this quilt, so I'm sure this print will show up in some future projects.
This quilt has two layers of cotton batting, as all my recent quilts do, because I love how warm and substantial this makes them feel.  I also always use flannel for the backing.  This one matched so perfectly with it's purple and green flower design on a crisp, white background.
I used a simple geometric quilting design across the blocks and borders, but since I didn't want random stitches possibly wandering across the fairies' faces in the center panel, I outlined each fairy with a simple machine stitch to hold all the layers together.
Before this quilt was even pieced together, Sophie claimed it for her own.  She was the only one of my kids for whom I hadn't yet made a large quilt.  Problem solved!  She was so excited when I said it could be all hers.  Every day she inquired about it's state of completion, and whether or not it would be ready for her to snuggle up with that evening.  Tonight is finally the night!
And just because I don't have enough fabric to keep me busy for the rest of my life, I purchased a second  Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairy panel.  How cute is it?  Stay tuned...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yet Another McCall's #5793, and a Little Something for Myself

Here we go again with McCall's # 5793!

This pattern goes together so nicely.  I can definitely see making it many more times.
The main fabric was an Alexander Henry print I've had in my stash for quite some time--vintage children that remind me of Dick and Jane.
The upper bodice, sleeves, and apron are made from the same, floral Riley Blake fabric that I used in the Happy Ric Rac dress several posts ago.
The apron is edged in red ric rac and permanently attached at the waist seam.
Yellow cotton ric rac trims the upper bodice and the hem band.
Here's a close up of the ric rac edging the cute and retro looking!
Yellow buttons close the back.  Sometimes I'll use an invisible zipper, but I really prefer the look of buttons.
The apron has a center pocket, cut from an antique, embroidered table linen.  I love the vintage feel it gives to the dress.
  I realize that I am very fortunate to have a child that's willing to model all my creations, and truly loves wearing dresses.  I hope it lasts for awhile!
And here's a little something I whipped up for myself--a new skirt, based on a favorite, thrifted skirt  I already own.  It has a simple, elastic waistband.  I found the fabric on a super-sale, and just fell in love with the print and color.  I instantly knew it was going to become a skirt.
Okay, here's a dorky picture of me.  Since I always ask Sophie to twirl around in her dresses, I decided to twirl in my new skirt!  The beautiful, warm weather we have had for the past several weeks decided to take a vacation, so today it was quite windy, cool, and rainy at times.  That is why I am wearing leggings.  I hate having cold legs!  But I do love the feeling of moist earth and grass between my toes.  My 16 year old behind the camera was so embarrassed.  I think it's kind of funny.  Hopefully, someday, she'll look at this picture  and joyfully reflect on the memory of her mother acting silly.
This picture has nothing at all to do with sewing.  But I just had to show the fresh radishes I picked straight from my garden for dinner tonight.  They were delicious!  I remember sprinkling salt on them when I was a little girl, and eating them by the handful.  I've trained myself away from the salt, but I could still eat these in large quantities.  Radishes are so easy to grow and provide near instant gratification--they germinate quickly and are ready to eat in less than a month.  I will be planting other varieties throughout the summer, just to taste-test and see which ones I like best.
Tomorrow I'm off to teach the same little group of girls (whom I taught to make the pillowcase dresses a couple of weeks ago) how to make a pair of pants for their dolls.  Should be fun.  I'll be back with a report, and hopefully some pictures.  I don't intend to forget my camera this time!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day, Gardening, and a New Bye Lo Baby!

This is me, at about 3 months of age, with my mother.  Can you tell I'm a child of the 60's?  The bouffant hairdo, pedal pusher pants and smock top totally give it away.  I just love the baby carriage.  Can you believe my father threw it away many years ago?  He is not sentimental when it comes to "stuff", and probably figured that it was just taking up space.  'Sigh'.  I have, however, forgiven him.  He is my father, after all!  This picture is especially precious to me, since my mother passed away almost four years ago.  I can't believe it's been that long since I last saw her smile, heard her voice, and felt her touch.  If you are fortunate enough to still have your mother around, give her a hug and tell her you love her.  One day, sooner than you expect, she won't be there anymore.  And then there will be so many things you wish you would have said.  Trust me.
For the past week, we have been having some "too good to be true" weather for our neck of the woods.  Temperatures in the 80's and plenty of sun...enough to make one think that summer has arrived!  Sophie loves helping me in the garden--here she is, working the dirt in one of my garden boxes.
This is my compost area.  The bin on the left is finished compost, ready to be used.  The one in the middle has compost partially finished, and the black bin on the right is for our fresh food scraps.  I like that it has a lid so that it keeps out any wild critters that may be attracted to it.
I never in a million years thought I'd be taking a picture of dirt, much less posting it on my blog, but I'm just so proud of my finished compost pile!  Isn't it beautiful?  I suppose you'd have to be a gardener to appreciate it, but it just makes me so happy to think that all those food scraps, grass clippings, and leaves turned into this awesome, nutrient rich soil.  My plants are going to love it.
I currently have seven raised beds.  One is filled with perennial herbs and a birdbath, but the others are open for whatever I feel like planting this year.  Today I planted one of the boxes with five heirloom tomatoes, nine melon plants, a row of yellow carrots, and marigolds to deter bugs.  Our beautiful weather turned to rain today, so I didn't get to spend as much time outside as I would have liked.  I hope to add some radishes and onions into this bed tomorrow, if it doesn't rain too hard.
Here is my version of a mini greenhouse.  I've wanted a full size greenhouse for a long time now, but it just never seems to be in the budget.  However, a few weeks ago, I finally bought a cheap one made of narrow metal pipes and a plastic cover.  I was so excited, but alas, it only lasted about two weeks before it started to fall apart.  So back to the store it went.  I have since improvised, and discovered a system that works fairly well.  The above picture shows a clear, plastic storage box, filled with seeds planted in 5 oz. plastic cups.  I keep the lid on until the seeds sprout, and then I set the box out on the patio with the lid off during the day.  At night, the lid goes back on to trap the warmth and keep the little seedlings warm.  Once the seedlings are big enough, they are transplanted into the garden.  Because they have been spending their time out on the patio, they are already acclimated to the weather and don't need to be "hardened off".
Here's a close up of the box.  I picked it up at Walmart for around $5.
The seed starting mix and the little plastic cups are also from Walmart.  I believe I paid $1.98 for 100 cups, and the seed mix was $6.
Here's a sampling of some of the things I planted today.  The box holds 53 of these 5 oz. cups.  If you decide to try this, make sure and poke holes into the bottom of the cups for drainage before filling them.  I used an awl.  The nice thing about this method is that you can use a Sharpie to write directly on the cup, and then they can be reused next year, if you like.
Have you read this book?  It's a great help when it comes to squeezing in as many vegetables into a small of a space as possible.  It's also great for telling you which plants like to be planted with others, and how to make a great garden soil.  I refer to this book a lot.
Here's my Happy Birthday/Happy Mother's Day gift to antique Bye Lo Baby!  Ever since I got my tiny, 8" one, I've been dreaming of also owning a large one.  This one measures 18" in length, with a head circumference of 15"--life size!  I'm going to dig through my vintage, baby, clothing stash tomorrow and see if I can find her a sweater/bonnet set.  I think she'll be fun to dress.
My husband cooked me a wonderful meal for Mother's Day (salmon on the barbeque, my favorite!), and snapped this great picture of me with six of my offspring.  My oldest son was sick and couldn't make it, and my second son is currently stationed in Colorado with the Army.  He and his wife will be transferred to our area by the end of the year, so next Mother's Day I look forward to having all my children around me again.  I can hardly wait!  Hope you had a great Mother's Day, also.  Now, get outside and plant something!