Monday, August 30, 2010

Little Bits...

I was busy dillydallying all weekend ... you know a bit of this and a little of that ...

Mr. DillyDally and I continued our work on perfecting our version of a Blueberry Bar-B-Q sauce ...
... we went and picked more berries ... sorry ... I cannot seem to get my camera to take good close up photos.  UGHHHH!
So ... here is a shot of what the forest is like where our blueberries grow.
So far ... we've tested our version out on pork and chicken.  We have had to make numerous batches ... the heat, tomato or tang always over powered the blueberry flavor ... lots of experimenting!  But we both finally feel like we have found the right combination for our taste!  Now I have to get around to canning some!  We can't wait for Sister and Brother DillyDally to try it!

When the blueberries are ready to harvest ... you know that fall has begun in our little corner of this planet.  Fall comes early here ... quickly ... and doesn't stay long.  Which means that mitten weather is just around the corner.
I always have at least one pair of mittens in progress at all times.  Those of you who follow this blog know that I recently finished a pair ... you can see them again here.  I finished the second hand on this one over the weekend and have just the thumbs to finish.  These are the last pair I have in progress ...
... so it was time to design a new pair.  Usually I stick to Nordic designs, but yesterday I felt like something different ... so I worked with roses.  I have no idea why ... just dillydallying.  I usually start with pencil and graph paper ... then move to the computer.  I don't know if I can wait until I'm finished with the other pair to begin these ... I feel a trip to The Net Loft might just be necessary this afternoon. ;-)
I've also made decent progress on this cardigan for Sister DillyDally.  She didn't pick out the pattern or yarn on this one, but it is pretty basic ... so I think I'm safe.  I always ask myself ... does this look like something that Anthropologie would have on their rack?  If the answer is yes ... I make it ... for about 1/8 the price they would sell it for!
I bet you can't guess what this is?  Yes ... it might be a giant, white furry caterpillar!  It is for Sister's upcoming birthday ... so I can't show you ... you'll have to wait! 
Did some laundry ... now think about it ... how many bloggers share their laundry?  Just be thankful that I'm sharing clean laundry! ;-)  I was folding laundry and thought I'd tell you about my two favorite kinds of dishcloths.  Cleaning is such a necessary evil.  I knit the one on the right ... amazingly ... they last for years ... and are very inexpensive to make.  The one on the left ... I created over the weekend.  When our bath towels get worn, I cut them up into squares and zig-zag the edges.  I usually get nine out of each towel.  Of course it is always good to recycle ... but the real reason I do it is that I have been mostly unhappy with the ones that are available to buy.  They are beautiful, but don't work as well as these ... and in my dillydally life ... I expect a lot of work from my dishcloths!
Yep ... more laundry.  This pillowcase was embroidered by Sister DillyDally when she was in high school.  She made one for Mr. DillyDally too.  It says, Pop, and doesn't have flowers on it.  I sleep with it every night...
... gosh ... her birthday is right around the corner ... I miss my girl.  I even miss Mr. NaughtyPants ... a little!  He better not mess with that giant, white furry caterpillar! ;-)

Friday, August 27, 2010

All Kinds of Sunshine!

The Original Form of Sunshine
As those of you who follow this blog know ... we have had a serious lack of sun all summer.  Last Sunday night it began to clear off ... and we were blessed with three days of sunshine!  Yes ... in a row!  You guessed it!  I did not spend those days dillydallying indoors.  When the skies clear in our remote corner of the world ... we do not waste a minute of it! ;-)

On Tuesday, QBee Julie and her hubby Jerry invited me to make a quick trip with them to their cabin across the inlet ... I jumped at the chance!
Julie & Jerry at the harbor with their boat ... preparing to launch!
Leaving Cordova's busy harbor...
... all kinds of boats in a commercial fishing community.
Entering Orca Inlet ... could the day be more beautiful?
Their cabin in the cove ... gorgeous!
We use the ladder to get out of the boat ... jumping out is for the young bucks! ;-)

The view from their cabin ... a beautiful and very private cove ...
Returning to Cordova ... now you all know why we live in this remote corner of the planet!  The truth is that if we had weather like this even one out of every three days ... tens of thousands of people would live here.  So as much as we complain ... most of us like living in our secret little town in the middle of no where!  

Dillydallying - An Alternative Form of Sun
My dillydally lifestyle allows me to have sunshine in my life in a way that doesn't require sunglasses or sunscreen.  Not much chance of developing premature wrinkles living here! ;-)  This week that "dillydally sun" came from the Green Fairy Quilter, Judi.  I received on Monday the two quilts I had sent her to be quilted.  For more back story look here
When I opened the box ... they were packaged in this bright green bag ... isn't that just the cutest!  Love it!  Also had a  personal card from Judi ... too sweet! 
When I saw the quilts on her blog ... I was overwhelmed by how she had quilted them ... so I expected them to be outstanding.  But ... when we pulled them out of the box ... neither Mr. DillyDally or I could speak...
... we were in total awe.
Simply put ... Judi's talent is incredible in every way.
All week I have been trying to figure out how to take pictures ...
... that would capture how beautiful her work is ...
... I wish you all could see and touch them.
The Green Fairy really did work magic ... her quilting turned my humble quilts into pieces of art ... I am still overwhelmed.  

Yep ... we all learned early in our education that the sun warms the earth and  is responsible for all that lives and grows on our planet.  
But the warmth that lives in our hearts comes from the people in our lives.  Thank you Jerry, Julie and Judi for bringing sun into my life ... I am grateful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Giggling and Dillydallying...

Yep ... I'm still giggling ... all those memories that the book brings to the surface ... and the people involved ... make me smile.  Yes ... The Fascinating Girl (and the initial book, Fascinating Womanhood) is still available for sale ... they are the polar opposite of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.  All books were written about the same time ... I've never been one with a black and white view of the world ... I always seem to land somewhere in the middle when it comes to controversial issues.  Don't get me wrong ... I am very opinionated ... it's just that my opinions usually fall somewhere in the middle! ;-)

Now ... on to dillydallying ...
  Our Alaskan blueberries are ripe and Q/KBee Barb and I went on a picking adventure last week.  I've been dillydallying in the kitchen, trying to create the perfect Blueberry Barbecue Sauce.  This is a picture of sauce #2 ... the first had too little blueberry flavor and not enough heat ... the second had enough heat but not enough blueberry taste ... the quest continues!
QBee Valerie is taking her only child to college this week.  Her daughter made a quilt for her dorm room that represents our life here by the sea as she will be far from the Pacific in Bozeman, Montana.  So this was a 007 project I made for her, to match the quilt.  They had so much to pack ... I gave it to them unstuffed with $ to purchase stuffing down there.  I love these gumdrop pillows, have made them for both my adult children ...they are fun for all ages!
Making progress on my Cobblestone hand applique' blocks ... slow ... somewhat steady ... really tests my patience ... can't quite say that it is fun ... more like a necessary evil ... ;-) !
Finished piecing together the top of my Popsicle Sticks quilt!  I like the combination of the two Bali Pops!  This is by far my favorite jelly roll pattern to date ... thank you Terry Atkinson!  I just need to get backing and then it is off to one of our local long arm quilters!  Yipee ... it always feels so good to finish a quilt top!

As usual ... I have a few Secret 007 projects in progress, but can't show or give hints yet.  Undercover work is hard only because you're making progress, but can't share it ... never did like keeping secrets!  But I do love starting new projects!  ;-)  I love my guilt-free dillydally lifestyle!
This is a wool felt kit I purchased while in Minnesota earlier this summer.  After finishing the Welcome wool felt quilt ... I have new confidence in my ability to master (and maybe even enjoy) wool applique'!  
I have pieced the background and begun layering the wool pieces ... am enjoying it so far ... there is hope ... always!
Teacup DillyDally likes to remind me that she is in charge by occasionally interrupting the dillydally process ... hmmm ... she seems to have forgotten her quilting manners!
We've finally had some decent weather ... this is sunset from the front deck on Sunday ... lovely way to end a day ... lovely way to end this post.  Off to dillydally ... you do the same ... don't forget to giggle too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Serious Case of the Giggles!

I have been giggling nonstop for the past 48 hours ... yes ... I was even laughing in my sleep!  I'm not sure I can communicate what was so funny ... it might be one of those instances where you had to be there ... 33 years ago!  So let me begin by apologizing ... there are only a handful of friends involved and they may not even find it as funny as I do.  Remember ... we have already established that only a few unfortunate people "get" my odd sense of humor!

I best begin with the back story...
I have loved books and reading my entire life.  These three books are from my childhood.  We didn't own many books as a family, Heidi and The Five Little Peppers were gifts from two of my great aunts.  The Bobbsey Twins book I bought myself.  I believe that I owned a few other Bobbsey Twins books but was never able to locate them later as an adult.  I was and continue to be an avid reader ... I am sure that I read nearly every book available in the closet sized library located in the one room country school I attended. 
Heidi was by far my favorite book ... I read it multiple times during the summer months when I wasn't in school.  As you can see, it was given to me as a Christmas gift from my Great Aunt Rose in 1965 ... I was eight years old.  I learned at a very young age that reading allowed me to travel to places far away or to places that only existed in the imagination of the author.  It allowed me to time travel ... to the past and into the future.  The point here is that as a family we didn't own a lot of books, and only received them as gifts rarely.

Fast forward to spring of 1972 when I was nearly finished with my freshman year of high school.  Of course my favorite class was English and my favorite room was the school library ... lets just say that the library felt like heaven ... the smell of books was intoxicating!  It still is!

Mrs. Jensen, my English teacher was my favorite ... very professional ... but encouraged my writing and reading.  She asked me to participate in a local writing competition held that year, and I won!  Yes ... that was the beginning and end of my writing career ... obviously ... but what I want to show is how supportive and nurturing she was.  You can imagine our shock and surprise when my mother received a request from Mrs. Jensen for a parent conference.

Now ... when it came to my family ... the teacher was always right.  This parent conference was taken very seriously, by my parents and myself.  I was so nervous ... my parents were very concerned.  I can remember being very anxious as I waited at home for my mother to return from her conference with Mrs. Jensen.

Please know that Mrs. Jensen's intentions were motivated by her sincere concern for me and my future ... and remember ... it was 1972.  Basically, she was deeply concerned about my development as a young adult, she was worried about the type of books I chose to read in my free time ... I wasn't reading the books that were "normal" for young women my age.  I remember that during that year I had read all of Jack London's books and short stories and had discovered Tolken's Lord of the Rings.  It had never occurred to me that they were unusual choices ... I only knew that I loved them.

My first response was that this was making a big deal out of nothing ... I even said that I thought it was silly.  Lets just say that my mother did not think it was silly ... she insisted that I begin reading appropriate books ... and that the discussion was closed.  Being mostly obedient, I started reading the books my friends enjoyed ... brought them to class ... and gave book reports on them.  But secretly ... under my covers ... in the middle of the night ... I continued to read what I loved.  Yeah ... is case you haven't noticed ... there is a bit of deviant blood running through my veins. ;-)

School ended ... the summer of 1972 began ... and out of nowhere ... a box arrives in the mail and it's addressed to me!  I remember it lying on the kitchen table ... Mom saying that it was for me ... I recall asking what it was, and she said she didn't know ... I picked it up and read the return address, it was from California ... I was confused.  I opened it ... this is what was inside ...
  Gosh!  I was excited ... a new book!  Remember ... we didn't own many books!  I immediately opened and began reading the jacket cover ... this is what the first two sentences say ... quote ...

"THE FASCINATING GIRL is written to single girls and provides a step by step guide how to gain the attention and interest of men and eventually win the particular man of your choice.  It explains how to understand men -- their characteristics, peculiarities and sensitive masculine nature -- and how to be the kind of a girl that men adore."

I put it down and demanded, "Who sent this to me?"  Mom was surprised by my reaction and said that she didn't know.  Over the next couple of weeks it became evident that all the important women in my life knew that I had received the book, because they would ask me about it!  Ugh!  Eventually it occurred to me that they all had become concerned about my development ... as had been Mrs. Jensen.  True ... I was a tomboy ... loved working in the fields ... showing horses ... but I also loved sewing ... cooking ... needlework ... decorating.  I thought that was all pretty normal ... at least it was normal for me! ;-) 
Table of Contents Very Funny!
At first I refused to read the book!  I was upset that anyone would think that my femininity was underdeveloped!  Eventually I did read it ... at 15 years of age, The Bobbsey Twins, Heidi and The Five Little Peppers don't quite fill an avid readers appetite.  Mostly I found it entertaining ... although once you get past the "man trap" behavior there are valuable concepts.  I never shared this book with any of my friends ... yes, I was embarrassed by the content ... but mostly, I was demoralized that people were concerned about my feminine development.  I hid the book in my room.

Fast forward again to fall 1975 ... my freshman year of college ...
Heidi (my roommate), DeeAnn (H.S. friend), Me, Kim(Dee's roommate)
... my mother helps me move into my dorm room ... you know, all the usual things on that day.  Later that evening, while my roommate and I are getting settled ... guess what I find in one of my boxes?  You guessed it ... A Fascinating Girl!  I immediately hid it!  My mother had slipped it in ... I was embarrassed all over again!

Now we travel to my sophomore year (76-77), my friends and I are questioning the values we'd been raised with ... we're between the ages of 19-21 ... we're young, ambitious, invincible, and we think we know everything.  For the first time in our lives we were exercising defiance ... of course we called it independence ... remember, we thought we knew everything!  ;-)  It was with this superior attitude that I finally took this book out from hiding and shared it with my friends.
We spent many an evening reading aloud from this book!  Laughing ourselves senseless.  I can't speak for the others ... but I refer to it as my "man hater" stage ... which of course made the book even funnier.  What is really humorous now ... isn't the book so much ... but rather this picture which shows us being about as "wild" and defiant as we ever got!  What a hoot! 

Over the years, these girls and I have laughed about the book and ourselves every time we see one another.  I thought the book had been lost during my move to Alaska in 1979.  Saturday, Mr DillyDally and I were unpacking some boxes that we hadn't looked at since our move to Cordova in 1984 ... I know, we're pathetic ... and I found the book!  All the memories surrounding it came to the surface ... and I have had a bad case of the giggles ever since!

On Saturday night ... just like the Saturday nights 33 years ago ... I opened this book and read segments of it  aloud ... it is still entertaining ... Mr. DillyDally and I laughed until we couldn't breathe ... what fun!

Nearly forty years later I'm still an avid reader ... I like all kinds of books ... occasionally that deviant behavior surfaces ... I will probably never find out who ordered that book for me ... but Mr. DillyDally says that I don't need to worry about my feminity any longer ... ;-) ... yep, I'm convinced that I'm normal ... and ... I cannot stop giggling!     


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dillydally Virus! Hope you catch it!

The weather returned to heavy rains Monday and Tuesday ... great dillydally weather!  I have been busy on a couple of 007 projects, but my enthusiasm for the Minnesota Shop Hop just couldn't be tamed.  Remember ... one of the characteristics of a dillydallier is to work on what ever they feel like.  So I finally "gave in" and pulled out a wall kit I purchased from Emily's Country Cottage.  She designed it using the shop hop fabrics...

... the center square is from the panel print ... fussy cut snowflakes from another print ...
 ... fussy cut flakes become 2 inch snowball blocks ...
 ... finished with the piecing ... 12.5 inches square wall quilt.
It was a fun, fast project that eased my MN Shop Hop fever!  I also ordered from Emily a half yard pack of all the fabrics ... fever began to rise again as I thought about how I would use them ... started doing some drafting ...
 ... we'll see ... still thinking ... want to work in the panel print ... gosh ... I love it when my head goes off into a dillydally spin!
Also got around to finishing this table runner ... quilted it last week ... did the binding over the past few days!  So between working on 007 projects, finishing a UFO, making a very small wall quilt and drafting a new quilt ... my dillydallying the past two days has been pretty productive.  Gosh!  Dillydallying fever is the kind of illness I welcome! ;-) 
Look at the view from my front deck this morning ... I think Kysa and I are going in the woods to check out our secret berry patch ... this afternoon might mean a dillydally date with my favorite berry picking partner!  

May you all catch the dillydally virus!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy UnBirthday to my QBees!

Introducing the project for the UnBirthday Party!  The pattern came from Heather Mulder Peterson's (yes...a Minnesota designer) book, Charmed and Dangerous and is called The Everyday Table Topper.   
Those of you who know me, know that I love working with the precut charm square packs!  For me they are like working out a puzzle.  They force me to work with fabrics I might not normally choose and because the number of squares you have are limited, it becomes a brain tease.  I love it!  This pattern was a good choice for a group to do because it only required 32 charm squares which allowed the QBees a bit of choice in which charm squares to use.  It also was easy to piece.  I had pieced the two samples months ago ... quilted and bound them last week ... Saturday night, I was dying to get into the Minnesota Shop Hop fabrics and just had to piece another one.  It actually worked out well to have one sample that wasn't finished so they could see the back side. 
Each party participant received this gift bag.  When I found them this summer at Mall of America I thought they were perfect for a Minnesota themed party.  Each bag contained a project kit (charm pack with coordinating fat quarter for binding), the Minnesota Shop Hop publication as an invite to attend 2011, and a Minnesota themed trinket.  I placed one at each sewing station ... they had no idea where they would be seated and no idea what fabric they would be working with ... they were so mixed up by this point ... neither did I! 
If you have been following this blog, you know that we have had the coldest and most wet summer since 1951 ... it truly has been miserable!  Wouldn't you know it?  Yesterday the skies cleared and the sun shone for the second time all summer.  I honestly didn't expect even half of those invited to come ... when you live in our climate and the sun shines, you don't spend it indoors.  The party was scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm ... when I went to unlock the door and post this sign at 12:45 three QBees were lined up outside the door!  Isn't that just the cutest?  ;-) 
I collected several simple and a few slightly valuable Minnesota themed door prizes while there earlier this summer...
... Roseann Kermes of Rosebud's Cottage from White Bear Lake contributed lots of goodies as well ...
... and Emily of Emily's Country Cottage in Bemidji contributed a charm pack in the official shop hop fabric!  I put the door prizes in the 2007 shop hop bag ... every QBee got at least two door prizes ... it was fun ... lots of giggles!
The party included an invitation to attend the 2011 Minnesota Shop Hop.  So I took a road map and placed a sticker where each shop participating this year was located.  I put stars on the stickers that marked shops that I have visited.  We all had fun looking at the map ... dreaming of where we would like to go and places we wanted to see ... I so hope some will join me next year!
I placed a number sign on the chair at each sewing station ... every person drew a number and that was their assigned station ... it mixes everyone up and they end up with tablemates that perhaps they've never sewn with before!  Mixing it up really increases the fun!  Here they are setting up and finding out what fabrics they'll be using ...
... QBees Julie, Cece (grew up near Fergus Falls, MN) and Barb C...
... QBees Renee, Susie and Terry ...
QBees Barb H., Lila, and Diane!
I decided to approach this project like a mystery ... and broke it down into steps ... here Renee is sorting her charm squares!
QBee Susie is busy piecing her right triangles.
Lila and Terry are trimming.
The machines were humming ... everyone had a different charm pack collection ... so no two projects were alike!  That was deliberate on my part ... I loved seeing how even though the pattern was the same, each one was different!  Love it!
Cece and I tried to explain "talking Minnesotan" to the group ... we gave lots of examples ... I think the others thought we were nuts ... lots of giggles!  ;-)
Everyone looks so serious ...
... I think it is because I only thought to take pictures when they were busy and we weren't talking!
This is Terry's layout...
...Lila's too.
Susie with Neptune...
... Barb H. with fall themed fabric...
... Barb C. with contemporary fabrics...
... Julie with contemporary holiday fabric...
... fellow former Minnesotan Cece ...
... Diane is all smiles with her brightly themed fabric ...
... Renee was pleased with her pastels!

It was so fun to see everyone's tabletopper come together ... they were each so different, just like the women who made them.  I love our differences ... our individual quirks ... it truly is what makes each of them endearing.
Happy UnBirthday QBees!  Thanks for spending a sunny afternoon quilting with me!
Next year we celebrate on the road in Minnesota!