Monday, June 17, 2024

Make The Most Of Your Special Day....Week....Month....year....

Being that it's graduation season, and I am partaking in the excitement this year, I deem it appropriate to post something of this category! 

Being a homeschool graduate is great, because even when you graduate you can never stop being homeschooled or homeschooling yourself. When your every day life is learning, you never stop! The same goes for public-schoolers too, I know.


Most everyone asks about college, so here you go, and you're welcome.

I got my "home-college" assignments long before I finished my last schoolbook, and I've already started in on this exercise of Home Management. It's all fine and nice (and really wonderful) to know how to cook, or do your own laundry, or keep your little brothers busy with school when your mom is gone to town. It's also great to be able to clean a toilet or organize a kitchen cupboard. 

But can you do all those things, (plus shopping, hospitality, menu planning, more cleaning, dishes, more cleaning, AND self care) all by yourself, all day, week, month, long, without help? Well, that is what my parents wanted to see, so I've started to gradually get into the project of being the main homemaker on Humphrey Hill. I haven't done a "complete takeover" yet but that is planned for a week, in a couple of weeks. 

Beyond this interesting and creative exercise, I am writing a book that is near to being stamped as a first-draft. I have been writing it for years actually, but my goal is to finish it this month and my goal is coming along nicely. I plan to publish it, and well, I don't know, but doesn't that sound college-like to you? 

Between these things, perhaps starting a business, improving my skills with musical instruments, some travel Lord Willing, and daily life (don't forget the new ideas that pop up from time to time) I'm busy!

Oh, I didn't mention sewing in that list, but it deserves a place there and I have some projects planned for this summer. I am working on an A-line dress made with a very slippery imitation wool dobby fabric, a first experience working with specialty cloth. So far I don't like sewing with specialty cloth - please give me back the cotton I was raised with!!


There are so many fun ways to celebrate life accomplishments like graduations. We're having a family camp-out complete with hot-dogs, s'mores, snacks, and a river with 1,110 rocks to maneuver in a kayak. In addition to this, my mom and I have been scheming a girl's day out to "do the shops" in our local quaint, charming little town. But there are so many more ways to celebrate!

Most everyone has a party* with their friends and family when they graduate. Will you have a themed party or a free-for-all fun party? 

*Note: Parties do not have to be wild; in fact, as you already know, parties are more fun to look back on when you don't have to regret being stupid and childish as a celebration of your adulthood.

Many graduates are into sports. ("Ah, all that youthful energy," sigh the visiting grandparents.)

If your family or friends are collectors of outdoor games, I can think of few things better than having a evening of back-yard sports, when it's deliciously warmish-cool outside. Don't forget your coolers of fun pops and juices and iced teas. 

Of course, not everyone is into passionately flinging objects at other passionate people and expecting them to catch those objects, screeching hysterically when they do and when they don't. If you are one of those young persons who would rather sit with dignity in a decorated room and have a fun, interesting conversation with others your age, I think you would enjoy an Afternoon Tea or Literary Dinner. Of course, you can't really stay inside the house on a nice summer evening, so a game of croquet or a stroll about the grounds might benefit your party.

There are also those in-between people who don't fit in either box. They are serious hikers, outdoorsmen & women, fishermen. Sometimes they are the kind of people who would rather not bring 15 teenagers on a fishing trip, and instead would enjoy a group hike in an amazing location they've been wanting to see for awhile, or an organized white-water rafting trip with a picnic or hotdog roast at the end. 

Anyhow, whatever way you celebrate, (and I would happily celebrate all 3 ways) keep in mind that the celebrating ain't over when the guests leave. Entering a new time of life is exciting! And since that was so completely cliché, let me put it another way: Celebration, when done right, is so, so good for people. A merry heart does good like medicine, and celebrating, when done right, brings family together and friends together and strengthens important relationships with the bond of happy memories. Ever since I was born I've been one of those kids that wanted to make a cake for most everything, and I'm not stopping now. I love what God has given me in my life, and though I don't need a special reason to make my life, and my family's life, special, I've got one now so I want to milk this one for all it's worth!

Which could mean many things*: bribing my brother to take me hiking, baking that basket weave cake and giving brother No.'s 4 & 5 the icing bowl to lick out, buying those long-needed organizers for my fabric shelf, taking a walk through the tall, stickery grass at sunset and just enjoying being God's happy creature in His creation.

(*Here's the translation of this thought: "Ooooh! I just LOVE this planner!! Oh, I'm graduating. I'll get it. And those chocolates look so good that I should really get them for myself for graduating. I really, really don't want to do the dishes right now. I'll ask [un-named brother] to do them for me since I'm graduating.)

Just kidding - sorta. Don't get any bad ideas!

Congratulations on your accomplishment, whether it's finishing high school, 9th grade, your new dress, a project, or that pile o'dishes that's indwelt the kitchen for a week.

to God be the glory,

Miss Humphrey

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Oregon Is Officially A Northern State

 Oregon is officially a Northern State. In fact, we're practically as good as Alaska at this point. We have seen the Northern Lights!

Boasting and the fact that we are already a north(west)ern state aside, I feel so blessed to have been able to see this once in my life, especially living in an area of the US that doesn't often get to see this special treat.

It was spectacular, humbling, awesome, gorgeous, and a bit overwhelming when it first started. 
We knew there was a chance of viewing on Friday night from 10PM to 2 AM. Being an adventurous, night-owlish family, we hopped in the car at 10 and headed north of our mountain for our "unobstructed view to the north." It turns out that we could have stayed home and seen it just as well, but since we had a 5,000 ft. mountain behind us and no prophets in the family, we drove north to find a side road in the sagebrush flats to watch this great piece of space weather. We found our gravel road off of the highway (as did a number of other people) and we began to see the beginning of the Lights. The sky had a hazy, white "space-bow" arching over the sky. You know, if I hadn't been expecting the Northern Lights I might not have noticed it as anything out of the ordinary. It began to look a little green, as I assured myself over and over again trying to see it. Then, we discovered that if we looked away from the lights, we could see streaks in the sky out of the corners of our eyes. That was exciting.
The lights from the highway nearby, and the noise, were bothering our celestial experience, so we packed into the car and drove to a more remote road to see if we could see better. 
A few minutes later, it was getting very late, and the sky, while interesting, was hardly colorful at all and not your iconic Northern Lights experience. Oh well, it was what we should have expected - this was Oregon after all and we were south of the best area for viewing the Aurora Borealis. We headed home, thinking we had seen a cool thing. 

Part way home, I looked out the back window and broke out into exclamations. The sky was changing  -and turning green!!!
Fortunately we were coming up on another gravel road, which we turned onto pronto and bailed out of the car. There, right over that mountain supposedly blocking our view, was 

the most remarkable thing 
I have ever, 
ever seen
 in the night sky.

The striation was becoming more intense, and a gorgeous, blooming pink had formed above an amazing neon green. 
It was overwhelming - so vast and bright and nothing like anything that had ever took over our sky before. 
We hurried home and watched the show behind our own hill, where it showed up quite well.
We were some of the few people in this viewing who got to see colors with our naked eye  - and they were vivid! The ground was colored in pink light, and when we did finally head inside, pinkish aurora light was filtering in our windows and giving us light to walk by. 

The total eclipse has been eclipsed in our family by this amazing phenomenon!
to God be the glory,
Miss Humphrey

Monday, May 6, 2024

Free-Hand Nightgown

 Hello Readers,

I made a nightgown recently that I thought I'd share with you. It is a very simply, but comfy design that is easily made without a storebought pattern. 

We were gifted with some Lanz flannel years ago, and I finally got around to doing something with it.
This is the basic idea of the layout I did on my fabric. I didn't measure how many yards of fabric I used (!) but I'm guessing it was 2 yards. I had to really squeeze the neckline facing out of some scraps, and it is not a nice, finished facing by any means, so I would suggest using another piece of fabric for facings if you're dealing with only 2 yards of fabric. I held the fabric up to myself to get the neckline and shoulder in the right places for the yoke and cut it out. If you'd like more in-depth instructions on this, here's a blog post that has a yoke tutorial in it.

{unfolded skirt}
Then I loosely stitched two rows of gathering across the top of skirt. On the front skirt, I clustered gathers on each side as shown below:

On the back skirt, I did roughly even gathers all the way across. I attached the skirts to the yolk front and back. 

I sewed up the side seams of my skirts to the corners. I don't remember the exact order I sewed the rest of the nightgown in, but I can tell you the steps :) 
I hemmed the skirt and set the sleeves in, and hemmed them as well. If you'd like to see how to set-in a sleeve you can find a tutorial in this post. I made a pleat in the top of each sleeve because I had extra material.

I put the neckline facing in and tried the gown on, only to realize...
The back of the skirt looked rather ridiculous. It just had way too much yardage in it! The front of the skirt had managed pretty well, but not the other side. So I took in two vertical tucks on either side of the back skirt, just below the yoke. They were ~6-7" long and were effective in gathering up some yardage. However, the look was not professional and next time, I would probably just cut a narrower skirt for the back! 
Well, you learn something new every time. I really like this nightgown and it whipped together in one evening. If you try something of the sort let me know!

to God be the glory,
                                                                   Miss Humphrey

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Prairie Tea pt 2: The Report

 Hello all,

Well, we did it. the 2nd annual Scripture Tea for the ladies at my congregation has happened!

The first time we did this tea, I was so overwhelmed/exhausted afterwards that I remember driving home afterwards and not being sure how it even went! But this time, I can positively say that it went well. The second time you do something it will always be better than the first, right?

Except that we were still 1/2 hour late getting the food out, even with help, just like '23. Oh well, no body cared, at least not enough to come into the kitchen and demand why we were taking so long :)

Two of my obliging brothers were kind enough to do some behind-the-scenes kitchen work for my mother and I, and we would have been sooo late if we hadn't had help!

The tea happened on Saturday, April 20th, but preparations happened weeks ahead of time. I chose a theme, collected recipes, and stashed one of our freezers with tea party food. What did it look like? Carbs from top to bottom. Eek!

My mom and I collected decor, which you can see here.

That Wednesday, we went to Bible class early and sorted out matching sets of forks and knives from the church's vault of donated silverware. Last time, we made the mistake of doing this the morning of the tea. Never again!

On Friday, we began the task of decorating. This took longer than it should have (always do this THURSDAY, Miss Humphrey. Don't kid yourself.) I also made the chicken salad up in the church kitchen and stowed it in the fridge overnight. I really like that we brought food to the church fridge/freezer throughout the week and didn't leave all the hauling for Saturday. 

The Party Favor Table

About Saturday...

Saturday began a bit late, and it was in the 10 o'clock hour when my mom and I pulled out of the driveway to purchase our fresh flowers for the tables. 

We got a few minutes down the road and realized that I forgot to load a mixer of any sort into our van. This was important because what are scones without whipped cream at a fancy tea party?

So we turned around and lumbered up the hill again. We got the hand mixer and something else we thought of, and then started once more for town, only to make it as far as a sharp turn at the bottom of the neighborhood this time. Our faithful, 18 year old van was making a very peculiar chafing sound when we took that curve. We live 25 miles from the town where the tea was being held, and, not knowing what sort of car trouble we were experiencing, two women like us were not going to risk landing ourselves in a cattle field in the middle of nowhere particular with a dysfunctional vehicle. Especially on the day of an all important tea party that we must get to!

So we turned around and went home, moved everything from the van to our other car, and started out for the LAST TIME, late but still optimistic.

We bought bedding plants at Bi-Mart and my mom trimmed the blooms she wanted for bouquets. Now the plants sit happily on our porch, furnishing us with a beautiful flower garden. If we had bought florist flowers, they would likely be on their way out with no hope of revival. Getting bedding plants served our purpose for the tea and will give us joy during the late spring as well!

From there everything went relatively smoothly. Picking out flowers on that warm morning soothed our yet-to-be-breakfasted minds and made me feel better. We then went to the church building and dived into panic mode, chomping on leftover pizza from the night before for our breakfast-turned brunch while we worked and making tea to keep us going until we could drink tea with everyone else. Are we tea addicts? Oh, not a chance! We can stop anytime.

The rest of the morning was not terribly interesting. We tried to keep the panic factor down to some extent while whipping cream, filling tarts, making sandwiches and slicing things. By the time we were heating things up and early birds were coming, there was no use in keeping the panic down. It was survival mode.

By 3, I think we had the first batch of food out. I say first batch because, while I made enough for 40 servings of at least most of my food selections, I figured that we just needed to get ~20 servings out in the tea party room, because there shouldn't be more than that many guests, and I could whip up the rest of the sandwiches, etc. while they ate their first servings. 

As it turns out, only 15 of the 20+ guests who signed up showed up, which was not a problem. To the contrary, I made, as usual, Way Too Much Food, and didn't have to spend the tea party making more sandwiches in the kitchen, which was nice. My mother did a wonderful job on tea service and the ladies enjoyed talking amongst themselves and eating, and consuming tea. I actually didn't drink tea, opting for lemonade instead. I have a funny tendency to skip the tea when I make one of these parties, which I am the first to admit is strange.

Some of the food that was lucky enough to get its picture taken. On the table to the left, a bit of the dessert is to be observed. 

Perhaps this menu will help your imagination with the food, since I am lacking a lot of photos. For the sweets course, we had small plates of roulade cake with berries and cream, a plate of thumbprint cookies, and cream cheese chocolate tarts with strawberry slices in their tops.

After our tea, we had a rich Scripture sharing time. We went around the room and shared passages we had picked out, and the edification was wonderful. 

We had some wonderful help cleaning up, and before 7 pm we were driving home. It was a blessed, stressful good day! 

We came home and ate leftovers until we were feeling unwell from all the rich, 80% cream-and-butter food. Now we still have some scones, cookies and lemon posset to finish, but all in all these are not such bad trials to face.

to God be the glory,

Miss Humphrey

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 décor. 

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

Make The Most Of Your Special Day....Week....Month....year....

Being that it's graduation season, and I am partaking in the excitement this year, I deem it appropriate to post something of this categ...