Saturday, May 2, 2015

I am a Farm Girl!

Today, May 1st, is my mother's birthday!
My parents, 1973
She was a farmer's wife ... married to a dairy farmer.
Mom & her four chicks.  We'll discuss my (age 8) hair style later ... very long story!
Her life was busy with four children, a huge garden, a herd of dairy cattle, crops to tend, 4-H to lead, and Sunday School to teach!  And that is the tip of the iceberg ... I marvel when I think about all she accomplished every day!
Three generations of farmers ... Mom made my (age 10) cowgirl outfit!
My farmer father, took over the farm from his parents.  His brother and parents also worked on the farm.  Our farm was filled with family and it took everyone working to make it productive.  I loved our life on the farm!
College graduation, May 1979
While in college, I really missed my family ... and farming.  Even though I attended a small college, living and working on a campus with three thousand people was a huge adjustment for me.  I always believed and dreamed that in my adulthood I would return to farming.
Alaska bound - July 1979 - everything I owned was on my back!
After college I took a job teaching in Alaska and had every intention of returning home in two years.  That was 36 years ago.  Little did I know when this picture was taken, that I would never live a life filled with agriculture again.  Even this many years later, I miss farming.  But in my heart ... I am still a farm girl.
Easter 1978
Since I am no longer able to celebrate my mother's birthday with her, I try to think of some way to honor her in my heart.  My mother's death in 2006 was a catalyst for the development of the "dillydally lifestyle" I promote!  She continues to inspire me every day!
Earlier this month, I preordered Lori Holt's new quilt book, Farm Girl Vintage!  It had won my quilter's heart even before I held it in my hands!  Once it arrived, I knew that I would make the sampler ... so many of the designs reflect parts of my childhood on the farm!  I even ordered a fatquarter pack of fabric to add to my stash!
Then ... a few weeks ago, Lori announced that she would be having a Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along!  And that it would begin May 1st!  Yep ... Mom's birthday!  The perfect way to honor her this year!  Every Friday, as we work on a new block, memories of my life on the farm will resurface ... oh the fun!
I pulled fabrics from my stash Wednesday evening!  I have been pressing and cutting for two days!  I stuck with a bright colored palette of green, yellow, orange, pink, blue, red, turquoise, and violet.  I'm using navy and grey as my neutrals and a white polka-dot on white for my background!
After looking through the book, I cut a strip of different widths from each fabric.  That accomplished a bit of "pre-cutting" so that I can just pull a strip of the fabric I need rather than having to go through a pile of fabric each week just to cut a 1.5 inch square.  Miss Marshmallow and Mr. Brown Bunny were actively involved in the fun! ;-)
Flicka isn't allowed on the dining room table ... so she pouted by sitting in her recliner on her throne with her favorite quilt!  Don't worry ... we played a lot of fetch, hide n' sneak, and ambush while I prepared fabric!  And she received kitty treats and loads of affection!
A good friend and I went for a long walk this morning ... we talked about our mothers ... and felt them with us.  Today was a wonderful day!  Happy Birthday Mom!  Am so happy you raised me as a Farm Girl!

Do what you love! Honor your Mother!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Oregon Bound!

A large portion of every day here in DillyDallydom ...
... is spent dreaming about working on The DillyDally Trail trip!  Seven courageous quilters have chosen to join me!  Now that the participants are known, I've been busy tweaking arrangements and reservations!

Meet the DillyDally Pioneer Women!

The Sassy Stitchers from southern Minnesota ... QBees Maureen, Karen, Carol and Sharlene!
Metro QBee Mary Ellen, from the Twin Cities!
My QBee partners in crime, Barb and Terry!
And then there's the Fruit Loop Trail Boss ... me!  See?  When I refer to these women as courageous, I'm not kidding!

First "Make n' Take"
When I organized the Minnesota Shop Hop in 2011, I made everyone luggage tags using MN themed fabric.  While in Oregon, I couldn't find fabric specifically "Oregon" themed ... sew ... this dillydally brain went to work!
I am taking these women off the tourist trail and we are going deep into "real life" cowboy country ... bandana and wagon trail themed fabric "seams" to fit the bill perfectly!
Each pair of roommates will have the same colored bandana fabric tags ... making organizing luggage easier while checking in to hotels every night!  At least ... that's the theory! ;-)
Flicka has a hard time accepting that I'm the trail boss of this trip, she is used to being in charge ... as evidenced in this picture.  She is in a bit of a pout about the trip... as she wasn't invited to tag along!  I explained that she was needed ... at home... to supervise Mr. DD in my absence!
Two tags were made for each traveler, one for each suitcase...
... and one for their tote bags.  On the trip home they are likely to be checking two bags ... ;-) ... just saying!
Sixteen tags ... all done!
These boots were made for walkin' ... through fabric shops across the state of Oregon!
A brown paper bag ... stamp and ink ... denim themed tape ... faux leather fringe ... became cards to congratulate them for their bravery welcome them to the DillyDally Trail! ;-)
Mailed and delivered today!  I'm so excited ... sometimes, here in the privacy of DillyDallydom ... I literally squeal with delight!

Do what you love.  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally
P.S.  Am looking for a good pair of oxen.  Must be strong enough to pull 8 women and their fabric.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DillyDally Fun @ Spring Retreat!

Guilty as charged ... I often share how wonderful I think our local quilt guild is!  I honestly feel that way!  The time we spend on the business side of being a guild is minimal with the primary focus spent on providing our membership with fun-filled opportunities to quilt!  If you'd like to see the fun we had last weekend at our annual Spring Retreat, visit the guild blog here!
 As described in the last blog post, Girlfriend and I were well prepared for the fun!
These six women were the committee that planned the fabulous weekend!  What an amazing job they did!
GF celebrating her birthday while Flicka supervises! 2.22.15
Each committee member made two items to be used as door prizes.  GF shared with me her nervousness at the time.  She worried that as a beginner (at this point she had only used a sewing machine 5 times) she wouldn't be able to make adequate items.  I assured her that I would guide her through anything she chose to do.  She went through my piles of patterns and found an apron that she liked.  On the night we celebrated her birthday, all she wanted to do was sew!  We all had dinner in the living room ... she even ate her cake while sewing!  ;-)  I knew then that she was hooked!
QBee Neva was the lucky recipient!
Neva insisted on using props to model it for everyone!
The apron is reversible too.  We all got the giggles as Neva commented on how she planned to show it off to her husband!  When you've been married 30+ years you can behave "that" way!  OMGosh how we laughed!
The second item(s) GF made was a set of cup cozies!
QBee Marianne won those!  They will be great for picnics and drives out the road!  One of the side benefits to these projects is that they provided additional opportunities for GF to expand her sewing skills!  Win/win for her and those who received the fruits of her efforts!
Friday night and Saturday I concentrated on making the pieced blocks for my Shadow Song quilt!  It was tough for me to work with only two solid colors ... I always like the scrappy, mix it up in a blender project ... but I finished 12 blocks ... I have another 12 to make!
Sunday morning I set the blocks aside and played with the strips!
Yeah!  All the strip units are pieced ... I love the results!
GF made great progress on her Confetti in the Corner blocks too!
During retreat she pieced an additional 12 blocks ... making a total of 18 finished!  We celebrated that she has over half way done with the pieced blocks!  Whoot! Whoot!

Another fun activity the guild sponsored was a "secret sister" type of event. This go around we called it the "Rip Roaring Exchange".  Everyone who wanted to participate placed a selection of fat quarters in a paper bag and then we exchanged them anonymously.  We were free to use some or all of their fabric and add some of our own choosing!
I was thrilled when I discovered that I had drawn QBee Susie!  She is such fun and I am very familiar with her fabulous home sewing studio!  As soon as I found out I had her ... I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  The metallic oriental teal fabrics she had in her bag ... were just not working out for what I wanted to make.  Yep ... I ignored bent the rules (common practice for me) and went to the fabric store and bought new "sewing themed" fabric to use for the outside and used her teal for the lining!
Susie is one of the most fun quilters I know ... we always have the giggles when we're together!  So I wanted the front to reflect the fun we have when we sew together!
As a side benefit, I was able to blog about it while making it.  I was careful not to show any photos that revealed the lining!  I confess ... I allowed everyone to think I was making it for myself.  Yep ... I do have a bit of a deviant disorder ... just ask Neva!  The blog post can be found here.
I loved making this sewing machine cover for Susie!  I hope it makes her smile every time she sits down to sew!
Girl Friend DD also drew a close friend!  Sally is not a beginner quilter, but she is a new member of the guild.  Brother and Sally's husband work together.  The two of them have forged a friendship that is not limited to quilting or the men in their lives ... fun for them both!  GF carefully went through my piles files of patterns again and chose two that she thought Sally would use and enjoy!
Again, these projects enabled GF to learn new sewing skills.
She is such a quick study ... it is fun to watch her master every task she takes on!
I love this picture ... I can't decide who's cutest, the items or the quilters!  Happy faces ... happy quilters!
I had put Vintage Modern (one of my favorite fabric collections ever) scraps into my brown bag!  Shannon used her magic and turned those odds and ends into treasures!
The Stowaway bag on the right is the perfect size ... 8 inches long and 3 inches square!  I like to keep containers like this packed for a specific purpose ... easy to grab and go!  This one is going to serve as my Binding Bag!  All the tools and equipment I need to do binding will be stored in here ... when I need it, I'll just have to add thread for that specific quilt and I'm ready to go!  Perfect!
This Knitting Needle Case is specifically made for double pointed needles! Shorter pockets in the front for 5 or 6 inch needles and taller pockets in the back for 8 inch needles!  I plan on storing my crochet hooks here too!
When ready to fold up, a fabric flap covers all the points to prevent them from falling out!  This is just what I needed ... my double pointed needles are a mess and I had not found a way to organize them!  Both patterns are by genius designer, Terry Atkinson ...
... but were lovingly made by Shannon!  She is Susie's daughter ... I've known her since she was a 7th grader in my language arts classroom.  It was then that Shannon introduced me to her mother!  I love this woman and it has been such a honor to watch her grow into the wonderful person she is!  Shannon has always been a blessing!
Girlfriend DD is a beginner ... sew ... of course she had no scraps.  Ever resourceful and not wanting to miss the fun ... she went online and ordered a fat quarter pack!  And look what QBee Diane turned those fat quarters into!  GF was so touched ... and overwhelmed with gratitude ... wonderful in every possible way!
There was also a guild "Swap Table" at the retreat!  Every day new items were added by members ... and any member could take what they wanted.  Girlfriend was very excited when this quilt top became available ... she couldn't believe her luck that the maker was willing to pass it on!  She plans to add borders and finish it!
Flicka agreed ... GF had come home with yet another quilt treasure!
After we had shared our treasure and enthusiasm with the DillyDally men ... they began preparing dinner for us ... GF grabbed her new quilt and made herself comfortable in the recliner!
Within 10 minutes she was fast asleep!  This picture just makes my heart sing ... it says sew much on sew many levels!  Can this much fun packed into a single weekend be legal?  Fortunately for quilters here in our remote corner of the planet, the answer is yes!

Do what you love.  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally