Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions...DillyDally Style!

I love anticipating the new year!  It is always full of hope and promise!  It's an opportunity to look back...learn from the past...establish goals for the future...move forward with new energy!  Love it!

Since I've become a dillydallier my resolutions no longer come with any guilt or shame.  I no longer feel bad about projects that were started and left unfinished.  Fabrics, kits and patterns are part of a collection and not necessarily meant to be made into anything.  There are no deadlines concerning projects.  I am loving the dillydally lifestyle! are my DillyDally resolutions:
  • Will dillydally at least a little everyday.
  • Will only work on what feels good at the moment.
  • Will begin new projects on a whim.
  • Will only complete projects when there is the urge to do so.
  • Will continue to add to my current fabric, kit and pattern collections.
  • Will spend time dillydallying with those who understand the dillydally lifestyle.
  • Will actively recruit and encourage others to adopt the principles of dillydallying.
As a dillydallier, I have the right to change my resolutions whenever the mood hits me!  Ahhhh...dillydallying...such freedom!

Yesterday Brother, Kysa and I dillydallied our way out the road.  The scenery was great and so was their company!  In two days, Brother DillyDally will return to school in the midwest and I return to work on we reenter our "normal" lives, dillydally time will once again become limited.  A reminder to savor and treasure the dillydally time we do have...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Knitting...mission accomplished!

As many of you know, I spent most of December busy knitting projects that were Christmas gifts...yes...that is why Her Majesty was neglected...every spare minute was spent with my knitting needles...the pressure was on!

What is it you ask?  Is it some sort of knitted ameba?  Perhaps...I'm not sure what they're called...Sister DillyDally had one she had purchased and suggested that I knit one.  So I did!  It is like a circular scarf...that can be wrapped around the neck multiple times or can be worn around the shoulders like a shawl.  She liked the one she purchased...never had to deal with the ends falling like a traditional scarf...but she knew a hand knit one with quality luxury yarn would be better...needless to wasn't necessary for her to twist my arm!

I took measurements off her purchased one, and factored in the alterations she suggested.  The yarn is called "Showstopper" from Ironstone Yarns (could not find a webpage) in New Mexico.  It is actually three separate yarns balled up together...ivory colored Paris Nights, mohair and a gold/iridescent eyelash.  I used a size 15 circular needle and knit it in the round.  The picture doesn't do it justice...I was really pleased with the way it came out...great collaboration between the DillyDally women!  ;-)

This is a Christmas stocking that I designed for the child of a friend of mine.  I have been designing and knitting Nordic themed Christmas stockings for several years now and find it very rewarding.  Nordic knitting is really my favorite type of knitting.  I had knit Hayden's parents stockings as a wedding the new member of the family needed one as well!  Of course I used Norwegian yarn...Dale's sport weight, Heilo...100% wool...a dream to use in color pattern knitting!

My third and fourth projects were this hat and scarf set for Brother DillyDally!  Doesn't he look collegiate?  These were knit in his college colors...or...if he didn't want to own up to that...he could always say they were Gryffindor!  Speaking of which...he and I watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince yesterday...we were both very impressed with the Gryffindor Quidditch sweaters Harry's team wore...hmmmm...I'm tempted...yes, I dream of being Mrs. Weasley.  Back to the hat and scarf...they were knit with Frog Tree's 100% alpaca, sport weight.  The scarf is a K1P1 rib and the hat in a K2P2 rib.  Both the norwegian yarn and alpaca was purchased at our local yarn shop, The Net Loft.  It is easy to be inspired when you have a yarn shop of their quality in your front yard...they are a blessing in our little corner of this planet!

It always feels so good to finish up projects...but it is heaven to see those you cherish using what you lovingly made...gosh...dillydallying sure is good for our self-esteem...we all need to do more of it...later! ;-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Drunken Snowmen?

Saturday was the first time I had sat down at my sewing machine in over two weeks!  It is not uncommon for me to sew (at least a little) every day.  "Her Majesty" does not like to be ignored...and in truth...she had been neglected.  Suffice to say...she was ticked!

This weekend she decided to let me know just how angry she was...let me explain...

It took quite a bit of time on Saturday to find her in the mess called my sewing room.  While preparing for the holidays, all the DillyDallys were stuffing everything on to the sewing table inhabited by "Her Majesty"...she was not happy...she doesn't like to share...after all she is royalty!

Just for the record...I did apologize...told her how much I had missed her...and promised that she and I would have hours of quality time this week.  Foolishly I thought that amends had been made...

While in Bemidji, Minnesota this November...I needed serious retail therapy and went to one of my all time favorite quilt shops, Emily's Country Cottage.  She always has a ton of samples...and many of them are her own design.  I picked up a couple of these cute candle mat kits.  They inspired me on that is what I pieced after cleaning up the piles around Her Majesty.  The piecing went moderately well...Her Highness was a bit pouty...and I assumed all would be well the next morning.

Sunday morning came...I had slept well...made my coffee and turned on NPR...changed my needle...selected the thread I would quilt it with...put on my machine quilting in position...all systems were go!  When I hit the foot pedal, that needle went every where but the direction it was supposed to.  I could not figure it out...was I dizzy?  Were my glasses extremely dirty?  Surely it wasn't the caffeine...I hadn't finished my first cup!

I forced myself to continue...things did not improve...I really began to my blood sugar too low?  Is it too high?  Am I having a stroke?  Or maybe a heart attack?  Should I call for Mr. DillyDally?  By the time I had convinced myself to call 911, I had finished quilting the eight pointed star.  It did not have the soft "loop-da-loops" I had tried to do...they were more like "loop-da-loops" on serious illegal drugs!

I was confused...distraught...somewhat frightened.  And then I noticed the control panel on "Her Majesty".  It was set on a decorative stitch!  I had been trying to do free motion quilting while she was doing decorative stitches that had the needle going in every direction possible.  It wasn't me after was....

Remember..."Her Majesty" is royalty, so she refuses to take responsibility for any mishaps we might experience...according to her, everything is "operator error"...yes everything is always my fault!  But just this once I decided to have the courage to stand up to her...I was not about to take the fall this time.  To save face we decided to blame the snowmen...yes, that's right...the "loop-da-loops" look like that because the snowmen were intoxicated!

Her Majesty and I are now at peace...I made another one today...the snowmen were sober...the loop-da-loops have loops...and from now on when we have differences, we'll find a third party to take the blame!  ;-) Go dillydally!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Half-Way Mark on Cobblestone Travels!

The "Lucky Seven" traveling down "Cobblestone Lane" have completed half of their journey!  QBee (Quilt Buddie) Diane invited us to lunch in her home to celebrate!

It was such fun to see Diane's collection of Snowmen Cookie Jars!
She inherited many of them from her mother, and has added to it over the years!  Each one was so unique and has a story attached to it...I loved it!

Her snow people collection was not limited to cookie jars...
...there were snowmen everywhere...this is just a small representation of her was wonderful!

One of the "Lucky Seven" is traveling over the holidays, so there were six of us who enjoyed the luncheon Diane (on the left) prepared.  She made Spicy Pulled Pork from the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook.  If you are unfamiliar with the Pioneer Woman, check out her blog here.  We are some of her biggest fans!

After a leisurely three-hour lunch, we shared our third block and took home the kit for the fourth. 

Dillydallying...spending an afternoon in the company of QBees...sharing our lives...talking about quilting and almost everything else...eating great food that was lovingly prepared...surrounded by a snowman's version of Disneyland...yup...for those few hours it was the "happiest place on earth"...dillydallying = happiness!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!
The DillyDally Family

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Much to Celebrate!

We're thinking summer!
Yesterday was the winter solstice...the shortest day of the year.  The sun rose around 10:00 am yesterday and set at 4:00 pm.  Starting today...our days get longer!

It is easier to enjoy winter with the assurance that summer is on its way!

Brother DillyDally comes home today!
Teacup and Kysa are very excited that Brother gets home today...they haven't seen him since August!  His flight from Seattle has already been our fingers are crossed...
Brother at Cordova airport in bound...
...traveling in Alaska this time of the year can be very unpredictable.  Mr. DillyDally and I are pretty excited about his homecoming as well.  It feels so good to have a child home...back under your own roof...

It is only fitting that we are having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner tonight, at Brothers request.  Celebrations should always include thanksgiving.  Wishing you have much to celebrate as well... 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Second Day of Christmas Vacation!

Over the past week we've received about four feet of looks and feels like a winter wonderland!  However, it makes the Christmas tree hunt a bit more complicated...

...Yup...after careful contemplation (all of 3 seconds) we decided it would be best to postpone what is sure to be a major expedition this year until Brother DillyDally gets home on Tuesday!

The vandal has been the act...very naughty kitty...she is sure to be on Santa's naughty list!

Teacup is famous for having a serious sweet tooth...after all...she is a DillyDally!  I'm not sure if you noticed, but in the photo of the Gingerbread barn yesterday some of the scroll work on the front and the tip of the tree was missing...I'm just trying to keep it in one piece until Brother gets home to see it.  When the kids were little...after they had made their houses...every morning they would rush down stairs to see what Teacup had eaten during the night!  She only likes the royal frosting...and will bite off pieces of candy only to chew and lick the frosting off of it! 

I spent most of today dillydallying in the kitchen...

Swedish Pepparkakor is a thin, crisp ginger cookie...excellent with a cup of coffee or tea...I frost mine with vanilla candy coating rather than the traditional icing...the icing tends to make them soft and we like them crisp.  It just isn't Christmas without them!

Many years ago, life was especially hectic one Christmas...and the traditional lefse did not get made...young son declared that it was the "worst Christmas ever"!  Well...we can't allow that to happen today we made lefse.  Mr. DillyDally served as assistant...and took his responsibilities very seriously...

...he even dressed for the occasion...drank coffee from an "Uff Da" mug...and turned the lefse while I rolled.  Making lefse is a huge job...we were both covered in flour from head to toe...the kitchen was a mess...but lefse was a tradition for both of us growing we've continued...and this year our family Christmas will be lefse. ;-) 

It's beginning to feel more and more like Christmas...

I wish you peace...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Catching the Holiday Spirit!

My has been a crazy week!  December is busy for everyone...for obvious reasons!  But I've given the finals...students have turned in their work...and the grading is close to being is the first day of Christmas I can finally allow myself to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas. 

Since 1973 I have begun every holiday season the same...reading a lovely book, Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes.  It's funny how some of our memories are so clear...that we remember every detail.  I was 16 years old and had stayed in town after school that day because we had home basketball games.  To kill time, I was wandering down town (Bagley, MN) doing a bit of Christmas shopping.  I was in Iverson's Rexall Drug Store, when I came across this book on a spinning rack.  I'm not sure why, but I decided to buy it...I recall feeling guilty about buying something for myself. 

I guess the book would be placed in the genre of historical fiction, the author took the biblical story and retold it with historical reference to the life and faith of that time.  It took her three years to write it...and six years to find a publisher with the courage to finally print it in 1972.  It became one of the ten best selling novels that year.

Of course, I knew none of that when I purchased a paperback copy.  That is where the details of this memory next memory was how I felt that Christmas after reading it.  I was often chosen to be the narrator of the Christmas Pageant in our little country church, so I knew the King James version word for word.  Yes...I can still recite it...those words are precious to me.  What this novel did was bring to life for me the miracle of Christmas.  Mary and Joseph became human beings with problems like all of us.

Fortunately the book has never gone out of print, because I have had to replace my personal copy many times.  I would lend a current copy out to a friend and often it was not returned...which is OK with me...good things should be shared! No matter the life circumstances at the time...this book never fails to revive in me the spirit of the holiday season.  I read it slowly...savoring it...allowing it to speak to my heart...

Three years ago, Brother DillyDally gave us the snowpeople mugs.  They have become the first thing I unpack for the holidays...every time we lift either a hot or cold beverage to our lips, they make us smile!

When the DillyDally children were very young (a long time ago) our local grocery store had gingerbread house kits.  Each child put one together...and a new family tradition began.  The next year, there were no kits available...and they were intent on making we learned together how to make them the old-fashioned way...from scratch! 

While in Minnesota last month I purchased a kit the day before I left so Sister DillyDally would have one for her apartment this year.

As you can see...Peder (Mr. NaughtyPants) thinks he is in charge and had to assist!  If I recall correctly, we began this project about 10:30 was a late night.  But there is a gingerbread house standing (where Peder cannot reach it) in her Minneapolis home...a DillyDally family tradition continues!

Brother DillyDally is spending some extra time in Minnesota with his sister before he comes home...we talked about it and decided he wouldn't have time to decorate a house before Christmas Day, sooo...I decided to make one without him.  Mixed emotions...knew I had to change things up...then chose to do one in honor of my father and my childhood on the farm...

...and made a gingerbread barn this past turned out much larger than I had anticipated...I actually enjoyed myself.  Gingerbread building is a four day process and turns my humble kitchen into a complete mess...but now the DillyDally home smells like Christmas.

Dillydally time was very limited this week, but I managed to dillydally my way through a favorite book...found comfort in hot tea and coffee from favorite mugs...and maintained a family tradition...dillydallying enabled me to catch the holiday spirit!  Soooo...even though you are busy and perhaps hope is that you find a little time to dillydally...Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

St. Lucia Day + Quilter's Anonymous

Happy St. Lucia Day!  Neither Mr. DillyDally or I grew up celebrating this day, even though we're both half Swedish.  It is a tradition that our daughter brought to the family.  When she was 10, she attended Swedish Language Camp for the first time.  There she learned many Swedish customs...some familiar to her...others new to her.  It was there that she was introduced to St. Lucia Day and its significance to Swedish culture.  It was all she could talk about...she dreamed of someday being chosen to be St. Lucia...she retold the history of St. Lucia over and over...sang the hymn in both English and Swedish...and her mouth would water when she described St. Lucia buns...her enthusiasm was infectious!

That very Christmas we celebrated St. Lucia...not on December 13th...instead we incorporated it into our Christmas Day traditions.  Christmas morning Sister dressed as St. Lucia while Brother wore a Tomten costume...then they would serve us hot glogg and St. Lucia buns in bed!  A new family tradition was born!

St. Lucia Buns
Recipe from Scandinavian Feasts by Beatrice Ojakangas 

 Now that the nest is mostly empty...we began honoring it on the 13th...we still have glogg and buns Christmas morning...but without the pageantry. I made St. Lucia buns and glogg...and forced the tradition on several QBees (Quilt Buddies) at our Quilter's Anonymous meeting today!

Yes....we have a Quilter's Anonymous organization...and noooo...our disease is not our addiction to is the guilt that is often associated with quilting.  Q.A. meetings are a NO GUILT zone!  We meet monthly...share projects...share lives...and just support one another.

A few of us QBees have been participating in Bonnie Hunter's "Christmas Lights" mystery quilt published in Quiltmaker magazine.  Three tops are finished and two attended the QA meeting with their owners.
 We are all huge Bonnie Hunter fact she is coming to teach and lecture September 2011!  Even though that seems like a long time from now...we talk about it all the time...she is such an so many ways!  I love mystery quilts and it is challenging to do one using fabrics from your stash.  Bonnie's instructions are always very clear...her techniques teach new skills...and she is so generous with her talent!

St. Lucia's Day was a blessing...dillydallied in the kitchen...dillydallied with some QBees!  She is the Saint of Light...dillydallying brings light into my day...may it do the same for you!  Go dillydally!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life is Good!

I really haven't much to blog about...the projects I'm currently working on are gifts, so I can't post any photos of them...I don't want any recipients to know what they are getting!

The secret is everyone will know why it takes me soooo long to finish a knitting project!  Teacup DillyDally insists on sitting on my knitting while I knit!  UMPH!  I have spent the last fifteen years teaching her knitting manners, with little or no success.  Someone forgot to tell me that it is impossible to teach cats anything!  Every cat family knows that it is they who train us! Life is good?

Those of you who know me personally, know that I love testing recipes...and often need to tweak them a bit.  The Martha Stewart vs. America's Test Kitchen Pie Crust competition continues.  Martha's is easier to handle, but the Test Kitchen's is flakier and tastes I am still in the process of tweaking!  I love the challenge...Alton Brown (Good Eats) would be so proud of me.  I'll share the verdict when I'm satisfied with the results...stay tuned!  Life tastes good! 

Speaking of tasting good...I tested a Williams-Sonoma recipe this weekend, Potato-Leek Gratin.  Both Mr. DillyDally and I thought it was great!  Of course, not all of the ingredients were available here in Cordova, so I had to substitute Havarti for the Gruye're cheese.  Why Havarti?  Because that was what was in my refrigerator! ;-)  I halved the is just the two of us...Mr. DillyDally barbecued chicken...we made a salad...had a lovely dinner and watched the Star Trek is good!

Gosh...I was so touched by the comments made on my last post.  Two came from former is so great to hear from you both!  And it was fun to hear from someone I met briefly while visiting my favorite shop in Bemidji, Minnesota!  I have tried to respond to comments left, but haven't successfully figured out how to do that.  Please feel free to email me if you would like me to respond...if you click on "view the complete profile" email is just a click away!  It is soooo exciting to know that there are people out there reading my very humble be in contact with old friends and to be making new is good! 

Well...I have rambled on long enough...winter in Alaska means very short days, but beautiful sunsets.  We appreciate the sunsets because during the never sets! ;-)  This was taken this afternoon around 4:00 pm from my front deck...

Life is good...take time to dillydally and enjoy the sunsets...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Travels Down Cobblestone Lane Continue!

The "Lucky Seven" (two were out of town) continued their travel down Cobblestone Lane on Saturday at a local restaurant.  Here they are showing the second block...we all got the giggles when one came with her block in progress...she is second from the right...she had pieced one right triangle!  Too fun!  Actually, we are not placing any pressure like deadlines on ourselves or one another...there will be NO GUILT associated with this block of the month...just a shared experience and quilt with some QBees!  QBees stands for quilt buddies...I came up with that because it is easier to say and write!

After a leisurely lunch of catching up with one another we headed for a local quilt store...of course!  Look what was greeting us when we got there...

Can you see the scissors coming out of their heads?  Sort of scary, isn't it?  Hee-hee!  We laughed so hard!  Look what we have to do to entertain one another during our long dark winter...we just have too much fun!

Find some QBees...laugh till it hurts...dillydally with them...result is a shorter winter...I promise!