Thursday, April 11, 2024

Prairie Tea

 Hello readers,

I want to thank you for continuing to visit my blog, even though my posting has become sporadic at times. I really appreciate your visits!

I am putting on Afternoon Tea for the ladies at my congregation near the end of this month. The theme is Prairie, and my mother and I had fun gathering old-fashioned and old-fashioned-looking items from our stashes for some of the d├ęcor. 

We both love the pioneer look, and the tarnished and worn style is "in," so we were in luck. Out came the faded and well-used quilts, the poor McGuffey's 5th reader who has been handled by five children in my family and looks none the better for it (but lots more prairie-ish!) and the ruffled dress and eyelet-trimmed petticoat from my closet. 

(Note: We bought this reprint brand new and now it looks like an authentic antique!)

A trunk, obviously being packed for a young schoolteacher who is migrating West, but who still clings to a bit of feminine refinement in spite of her destination being rough and dusty. The trunk and the dress form below will likely fill a corner of the room. 

This is a jumper I sewed awhile back, embellished with a blouse my mother made, fine lace and satiny-trim, and a prized possession from back when I put on my sunbonnet and made my brother "walk to school" with me so I could be like Laura and Mary:

my very own cameo pin.

This is the invitation, and the base for some of our colors and themes. That being said, since patchwork and calico are quite prairie, I have departed from my base colors...a use any fabric that looks soft and pretty and old fashioned and suits our purposes. 

I plan to overlap the smaller pieces and put them down the middle of the table for a table runner. I was also thinking of loosely braiding some larger yardages together and running them over the table runner. It will add another dimension to the table decorations and capture another side of the prairie look.
 For the party favor location, I'd like to take some wood slats and lay them across a side table, and add a bunting to the front of the table or a quilt angled across the top. The party favors can be arranged on top. Speaking of party favors, we haven't completely hashed out what the little "thank you" bags or boxes will hold (we haven't figured out whether they are bags or boxes either, haha) but I know I want them to hold a white-chocolate-orange-cream scone in them and a tea bag among other things.
Speaking of scones and tea...

So far, I have cut the scones out, and they will live happily in the freezer until we are ready to bake them the day of the tea. I also made the strawberry orange thumbprint cookies and am working on the lemon roulade. I am using a lot of recipes/ideas from Tea Time magazines - my favorite inspiration for affairs of tea and dainties.

to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

From Prairie Visions: The Life And Times Of Solomon Butcher

Tuesday, March 26, 2024


Hello all!

I made my first Summer dress earlier this month, when the warm weather was getting into my bones. Not quite practical for the sun-then-snow nature of March in the High Desert, but I'm sure it will become quite useful when it is scorching in a couple of months. For now, it can be transformed into a warmer jumper with the addition of a cute blouse.

I made it using this Simplicity pattern. It was a good pattern and after I found the particular pieces for my size and cut them out, whipped up quickly. It did have an invisible zipper in it, which always complicates things, but I was satisfied with how it turned out. 

I came up with an idea for a "one piece wrap blouse" earlier this year. 
Well, alright -- it isn't quite one-piece, but it's pretty close. Here's a diagram I've drawn up:

The basic idea is a bodice that is completely one piece like the one in the picture above (minus the attached ties you see.) Technically, all that you'd have to do is hem the entire shape, attach ties and sew the shoulder fronts to their backs, and voila, you have a blouse. 
 I did add sleeves to mine, as well as Velcro at the lower neckline to keep it shut for modesty's sake. Oh yes, I added a bit of blue eyelet trim as well, for modesty's sake to say nothing of pretty accents. The blouse pictured above was my first try at this concept and holds lots of room for improvement, but it was as good start. I like the idea of making sewing simple, and especially with blouses since they tend to daunt some of us. This idea uses ties as a closure instead of buttons, clasps, or a zipper, which greatly simplifies things. 
The blouse could definitely benefit from shaping, for wearing comfort as well as for not looking like this:
Flattering, eh?

(It looks much better worn on a person than on a dressform, by the way.)

So that's a work in progress that I may return to sometime to perfect.

Aside from sewing, I made a birthday card today with the theme of wildflowers.

It was rather busy - or shall we say elaborate instead?

I had fun with all those decorative borders!

Spring is crowding out the brown around here. I LOVE it when the valley turns green. It makes me so happy!
In a few months, it will look like this. Can't chase away all the brown!
It's funny how this scenery, with its small amount of spring growth compared to many places, has grown on me over the years. Coming from a wet Oregon valley as a little girl, I sure disliked the dryness of this country, but now I love it. (With a sort of love that still appreciates it when the farmers below irrigate their pastures! Relative dryness, not Sahara please.)

Brave little souls!

to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6:3-5

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Every Little Girl Wants A Twirly Dress

Hello All,
Recently I made my first little girl's dress. I made it free-hand style, using most of the same techniques I'd use to make a dress for myself. Girl's dresses are so much easier to make than women's clothing!

I didn't have a pattern to reference for girl's size 7-8, which was the size of the recipient, so I mostly went off of some measurements we found on the back of a pattern catalog. I only used a few, making this one of the most "free-handed" dresses ever. 
It turns out, you don't need every pattern made to make the style of dress you want. Have confidence in your abilities. You can design anything you like, and you can sew anything you can design, with practice.

A sweetheart neckline for a sweet little girl...
A short slit in the back for ease of putting on closes with a button and elastic loop. Another dress that I didn't have to put a zipper in = happiness and fond memories.

Little girls aren't the only ones who like circle dresses. I confess to having 3 in my collection right now with plans for another at some point. I did outgrow one of them, made of a lightweight pink fabric, but I couldn't stand to repurpose it. It holds too many happy, summery, running-through-the desert-grass-and-breeze feelings that are worth feeling again.

to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

Monday, February 5, 2024

My First Western Blouse

 Hello all,

Well, the Year of the Blouse is off to a good start. I received this pattern for Christmas and it was the first sewing project I plunged into after the holiday. I really like the results!! The a little bit of connecting loose ends...will produce a professional-level Western shirt. What do I mean by connecting loose ends? Well, there's a little guesswork in this pattern. Nowhere in the pattern does it instruct you to connect the back of the shirt to the front at the shoulders, though it clearly shows them connected in a later step. There's also no specifics for what size fastening snaps to use; so we ranked this pattern as "not the best quality." In addition, the sizes also seemed to run a bit small. However, I am still happy with my results!

(Side note: I don't usually sew with patterns, anyway. I'm used to connecting 110 more loose ends than this pattern gave me ;) )

Let's see what it made!

I used view C of the pattern - the simplest view.

For this shirt's material, I re-used the skirt of a dress I had made that fell out of favor with me.
This pattern included a lot of shaping that is quite nice. 

I don't think I've ever done so much topstitching on one project in my life. This shirt was full of it! I love the resulting "store-bought" look it gives.
I also learned to set snaps during this project. I like the western look of the "pearl" snaps. 

The "sleeve-strap" (or whatever this is called) can keep my long sleeve snapped out of the way of whatever I'm doing. I dislike that you can see the raw edges of the sleeve seams when you roll the sleeve back (though this defect is hidden in the pic above.) If I were making this shirt for someone else, I would finish the sleeve seams so that you didn't have threads dangling down and looking messy.

My apologies for missing a week in posting - I hope, as all good bloggers do, and always say - to be more consistent in posting ;)
I have lots of content for the blog now, so perhaps that will motivate a more rigorous posting schedule. 

to God be the glory,

Miss Humphrey

Monday, January 22, 2024

Crafty Projects

 Hello all,

I've made some crafty projects in the past few months that I thought I'd show you; some of them sewing-related, and some not!

I used a pattern to embroider classic cars on T-shirts for Christmas for my younger brothers. 
The older one got a '67 Mustang and the younger one got a '57 Bel Air. 
I did not realize how long it takes to embroider images like these! But I got them done in time for Christmas, which is what matters :)
A note to those who might try this: I had difficulty seeing the embroidery pattern after I had ironed it onto the dark grey shirt, because the color of ink and the shirt were so similar! Our patterns, at least, applied more vividly to a lighter colored shirt. I would recommend using a light-colored shirt if you're not confident in your free-hand embroidery skills!

I've been doing quite a bit of water-coloring recently. 

Not all of my family thinks that the blue-and-white humps in the background have a striking resemblance to mountains. I hope you can tell what they are...

I painted this picture using an old Country magazine picture for reference.

This is a birthday cake I love to make every year. It uses about every form of chocolate you could crave, I suppose. It all starts with three layers of moist chocolate cake. Between the layers is a rich dark fudge frosting. Covering all of this is a smooth Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream. A crown of homemade cakey brownies is placed on top and drizzled with glaze. It's homemade...with organic it's good for you, right? Haha.

I made a book for a Christmas gift - an edited version of the public-domain The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Perhaps in future days I will be able to bind my signatures more closely together.

Do you recognize the fabric covering the book? I used the same combo on my Christmas dress.
to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

Monday, January 15, 2024

What Do I Do With My Scraps? Make This, Of Course!

Hello all,
I discovered a fun sewing project recently. It consumes scraps and turns them into useful items for yourself or great gifts for others! 
Enter the Zipper Pouch. 
I made a few of these for Christmas and let me tell you, it was good practice working with zippers, which are a sore spot for me ;) 

These pouches are a relatively fast sewing project that you can accomplish without taking too much upon yourself.
If you are a very detail-observant reader of this blog, you might recognize this dark blue fabric from my 1830's dress. 

This one was made with fabric pieces and lace given to me by a friend. I like the look of a bead string attached to the zipper pull.

You can develop or practice quilting/patchwork skills in a small project like this.

I monogrammed the back of this one...can you spot the letter?

Well, that's all for today...Enjoy your January!

to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

Prairie Tea

 Hello readers, I want to thank you for continuing to visit my blog, even though my posting has become sporadic at times. I really appreciat...