Sunday, May 30, 2010 of life's milestones...

I am in beautiful Bemidji, Minnesota.  The home of Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox.  Many happy childhood memories were first experienced here in the shadow of Paul and Babe.
Traveling down memory lane is not the primary reason I'm here...this handsome young man is one of  the real reasons I'm in Bemidji.  This is my nephew, Shane who graduated from Bemidji High School yesterday! 
Shane is the oldest son of my "baby" brother, Eugene and sister-in-law Sue.  I just couldn't resist adding the fact that he is my youngest is a compliment to refer to him as my baby brother... ;-) our age anyway! 
The ceremony was held on the Bemidji State University campus.  Here we are with Sue's mother, Helene, waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Shane had 325 classmates graduate with him.  The ceremony consisted of several musical performances as well as speeches.  It was interesting to see how another school conducts their graduation ceremony after 20 plus years of participating in Cordova High School's.
 The reception was held at their home just a few miles outside of Bemidji.  It is already summer here ... it was a gorgeous day ... mid 80's with a breeze ... perfect!
The party was set up in their garage ... it was cool and shady ... yet people could choose to be outside if they wanted ... great idea to hold it there!
Minnesotans know how to celebrate ... they prepare terrific food ... and love to socialize!  There were people of all ages ... all having fun and celebrating Shane's accomplishments!
This is one of those 007 projects I've been working on ... a quilt for the new graduate.  My mother was not a quilter, but a neighbor, Flora Wallin was, and Mom always had her make us a quilt for graduation and weddings.  It was important to me to continue that family tradition ... the pattern is "Slide Show" by Terry Atkinson and is made using the 2009 Minnesota Shop Hop fabrics.  It was machine quilted by Sheryl Glasen in Cordova.  I'm really pleased with it ... Shane is a Minnesota boy in everyway ... and the design and fabrics are timeless ... he will never out grow it!
My brother inherited this antique school bell from my grandfather.  It originally hung at the Alida Country School, where I attended grades 1-6.  Grandpa would always ring it on New Year's and other special occasions ... here Shane is ringing it to celebrate his big day!  
I'm so happy that I was able to be here for this family event ... it is important to celebrate life's milestones together.  Shane will continue to make all of us proud ... his future is filled with promise ... it will be a pleasure to watch him travel along life's journey ... I wish for him every happiness! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Give-A-Way Winner!

Sister DillyDally and I at a coffee shop in Minneapolis...prepared to complete the drawing for the pillow  in the first Dilly-Dally Days Give-A-Way!  Those who commented were placed in the drawing...those who are also followers were added again...drum roll please...
...and the winner is... (more drum roll...yes...everyone in the coffee shop thinks we are nuts)...
...Susan, from North Pole, Alaska!  Congratulations to her!  Check out her blog,  she is a fantastic photographer and chronicles her life here in Alaska.  I have enjoyed getting to know her via her blog and know you will too!  And the news just keeps getting better...she and her husband are traveling to Cordova later this summer!  Not only will I be able to give her the pillow in person...I'll get to meet her live as well!   Love it!  Love it!  Love it!

Internet service is a bit of a hassle, so am unable to blog every day...but you know you're in Minnesota when your fish tacos are made with...
...walleye...instead of salmon or halibut!  They were delicious!  I'm having a great time enjoying an urban life with Sister DillyDally...tomorrow I travel up north to my nephews graduation! in the fast lane...I'm loving it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Finishes and Beginnings

A ton of work related finishes recently... graduation... finals... grades... requisitions... reports... curriculum changes... packing up the school year... the last two weeks of school are always crazy!  But it is also a time surrounded by traditions ...memories ...student achievement ...future plans ...hope.  As crazy as it is...I quite it!
One of the signs of my dillydally life looks like always feels good to see bindings hanging in my sewing room just waiting to be the finishing touch on a quilt!  
 While sewing the binding on this 007 (top secret) project...the binding was 3/8-1/2 inch short!  Can you believe it?  Usually I cut far too many strips when I prepare binding...and have too much left over!  Honestly!  This is the first time in my quilting career that I came up short on binding!  And believe me...I've been at this quilting stuff for awhile! ;-)
Sheryl, one of our long arm quilters took this mystery quilt on very short notice and quilted it for me in only three days!  I needed a quilt that was a minimum of lap size with the binding sewn on for a quilting event I'm attending in Minnesota (more on that when it happens)...this is twin size...and Sheryl was such a peach to get it done for me.  Just so you know...I had enough binding for this one! ;-)
Well...Teacup definitely picked her favorite!  This is Christmas Lights...a Bonnie Hunter mystery that was published last fall in Quiltmaker magazine.  Another long arm quilter, Linee did this one for me.  

I really tried to stay true to Bonnie's philosophy...and scrapped it up...using prints that I normally would never put together.  Can you see the sea otter and bright strawberry prints in the same block?  Look how Her Highness, Teacup had to attempt to get in the picture...she is soooo vain! ;-)  Linee did a terrific job on the quilting!  We are so fortunate to have two long arm quilters in our remote little corner of the world.  I wish I knew how to photograph quilts better so that I could capture their talent.  I am so grateful for their creativity and availability!  No time to put the binding on this one now...but look forward to doing it later.  Finishing feels so darn good!

Now...about the beginnings...summer vacation began today!  Brother DillyDally returned home from college today!  I leave for Minnesota to visit Sister DillyDally tomorrow!  I plan to spend my summer vacation visiting family...continuing to finish old UFOs...creating new UFOs...reading books...napping occasionally...and dillydallying my way through the season.  

Don't forget to comment on the May 16th (my 100th) post to win a chance at the hand embroidered pillow!  It is my first Give-A-Way, so I'm excited to send it to one of you!  Remember you must comment by May 24th midnight Alaska time!

Go dillydally...finish some...begin some...enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Results of Dillydallying on a Whim!

As you might recall...I spent much of Mother's Day dillydallying on a whim...what a perfect way to spend that day!  Let me begin with the objects of inspiration...
It was three years ago that I accidentally stumbled upon the Minnesota Shop Hop and bought this commemorative bag.  I loved the retro 1950's stylized fabric and it was extremely inexpensive.  What surprised me after using it was how much I liked its size.  It is the largest of any bag I own...its about 18x18x5 inches.  Perfect for taking supplies to quilt gatherings, I'm always amazed at how much I can pack in it.  It is very simple in its has no closing at the top.  The drawback is that my things often get wet...I live in a temperate rain forest after all... ;-)
Two years ago I attended the Valdez Quilt Festival.  We received this bag as part of our registration.  Its dimensions are about 15x17x4 inches.  It has a zippered top and is made with heavy canvas which I love!  On the is just a bit small.

Sooo...what I tried to do is make a bag that had the characteristics that I love from these two plus add some of my quirky personality!  Here it is...drum roll please...
You have to is pretty quirky!  I found this fabulous fabric last summer while is a hoot...I had to buy it even though I had no idea what I'd do with it!  The bottom of the bag is made with vinyl fabric that we got free from one of the Minnesota shops last summer.  Now I don't have to worry about the bag getting muddy...I can just wipe it clean!  The bag's dimensions are 20x18x6...just slightly larger than the other bags.  It has pockets inside to hold rulers and other well as a zippered top!  It's not perfect...but I am excited to use it and see how it works out!  I had fun making reflects my "out of the ordinary" personality...and I found a use for this fun fabric!  Dillydallying at its most enjoyable!

 On a local note...the commercial fishing season for salmon started last week!  Yummm...our mouths begin to lather in early May as we anticipate the coming of the season!  We are not commercial fishermen but fortunately we have friends who are.  They shared some fresh Copper River King with us... doesn't get any better than just melts in your mouth.  Mr DillyDally grills it with our secret is to die for!  I'll end this post with a picture taken from our front deck as the fishermen were returning to town...the tide was out...but the fish are in!
Don't forget to leave a comment on the May 16th post!  I'm celebrating my 100th post with Give-A-Way!  Happy Dillydallying!  

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let's Celebrate! A DillyDally Give-A-Way!

I can't believe it!  When I was working on the last post, it came to my attention that this post would be my 100th!  I was completely caught by surprise...and am still in an odd state of shock...or disbelief.  

I felt that we should celebrate somehow...but wasn't sure how to go about it.  Many of the blogs I follow are those of designers and/or shop owners...I am neither.  They seem to mark these occasions by offering products or services as "give-a-ways" I thought...what could I give away?  Especially on short notice...this is not something I anticipated. 

Soooo...I decided to have my own sort of give-a-way!  The next question was obvious...what do I give away?  Of course it had to reflect dillydallying of some kind...finally it occurred to me that I did have some class samples available.  Yes...I confess...I spread the dillydally gospel by teaching others.

This pillow is the sample I used for an Embroidery 101 class that I have taught for The Net Loft, our local needlearts store.
Here are my Give-A-Way perimeters...
  • You must leave a comment on this, my 100th post by midnight (Alaska Time) on May 23rd.
  • One comment per person.
  • If you leave a comment and are also a follower, you will be entered twice in the drawing.
  • On May 24th, a random drawing will determine who receives the pillow.
  • I will personally mail or deliver the pillow to the drawing winner!
Your chances of receiving the pillow are high...this is a very humble blog...I'm just an average in a remote corner of the planet...promoting the dillydally lifestyle. Thanks for celebrating with me! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I am so blessed...

I love living in my little corner of this world for many reasons.  One is that I really enjoy teaching in a small community where school has a direct relationship with the families we serve.  Having lived here nearly 26 years and taught in the Jr/Sr High School for 22 of those years, I have a strong attachment to and affection for the students I teach.  I've watched many of them grow from infancy...and I've even had some of their parents as students! 

This week we are celebrating there have been academic awards, concerts, baccalaureate, etc. every evening this week.  Our whole community participates in the many traditions surrounding the graduates and their accomplishments.  In Cordova...the saying that "it takes a village to raise a child" mostly true. 

But with all the celebration...there is some sadness.  It is hard to say good-bye.  It tugs at our hearts to let them go.  Today was the last day of attendance for the seniors in my classroom...I am so excited about their futures...they are was hard.

After school of my seniors returned to my classroom with a gift she had made for me.  I was sooo touched... the thought, effort, and time it took her to make it...for me.   I was and continue to be overwhelmed by such thoughtfulness.  She and this wall quilt will always have a special place in my heart.
As teachers, we are mostly missionaries at heart.  We hope to touch the lives of our students positively.  But today...with her gesture of kindness...I was reminded that it is they who impact my life positively.  I am humbled by this realization and hope that I am deserving.  I am so blessed...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Double the Fun!

Sunday was double the fun at the DillyDally household!  It was Mother's Day of course, but it was also Mr. DillyDally's birthday!  Every Mother's Day for as long as we both can remember,  Mr. DillyDally prepares Eggs Benedict for brunch.  We decided to keep that tradition and for his birthday I would make a dinner of his choice that evening.  All day long...he just couldn't decide what he wanted...late in the afternoon he finally settled on...homemade spaghetti!  Now...I know what you're thinking...what's the big deal?  It was a big see...I hadn't made him spaghetti in the past 26.5 years!  The only spaghetti sauce that man has gotten since then has come from a jar!

Mr. DillyDally grew up in a suburb of Chicago...a Scandinavian...surrounded by Italians.  He loves Italian food, especially spaghetti.  When we were newlyweds, I would make it often.  Here's what happened...while pregnant with our first afternoon I was busy preparing a long simmering spaghetti sauce...I lifted the lid to stir the sauce...looked down as the small air bubbles rose to the surface and popped...and became immediately sick!  That was it.  I couldn't bring myself to even eat any kind of red Italian sauce after that!

Now...we all know you can't raise children without feeding them spaghetti...on a regular basis.  So...I made spaghetti, but it came from a jar...and I would have either Parmesan cheese or soy sauce on my noodles.  Just recently (in the past 5-8 years) I've been able to put sauce on my noodles...I won't say that I like it...but I can keep it down.

His request put me in a panic!  It was late in the afternoon...there wasn't time to make my 26.5 year old recipe...what is a loving wife to do?  Well...America's Test Kitchen crew came to the rescue via their Family Cookbook!  Mr. DillyDally enjoyed a homemade spaghetti dinner...and you know wasn't half bad!  Now year he'll probably request Lasagna!  Humph! ;-)

Other than the spaghetti challenge...I accomplished a lot this weekend!  On Saturday, I took one of my "undercover" projects to one of our local long arm quilters.  Gosh it felt good to hand it to her...I have the binding ready and should be able to finish that gift in time.  On Sunday, I put the borders on this mystery quilt we made earlier this year.
It too is ready for the quilter.  Sister DillyDally and I are attending a quilting event while I visit her in Minnesota, and I am to bring a lap size or larger quilt ready to be bound.  I guess we'll see if I can pull this longarm quilter is especially busy this time of year...I'll keep you posted!  Don't you just love dillydally drama? ;-)

I had the quilt done by decided that since it was Mother's Day I would dillydally on a whim!  Here's a hint of what I'm doing...
...I am making this project up as I go...there is a good chance it won't turn out as I envisioned...but...I'm having fun!  And you know what?  Dillydallying should be fun!  Now...go dillydally...have some fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring is here! I think.

This was our view this morning at 6:00 am...the hope of a clear spring day.  We're getting ready for the annual Shorebird Festival in our small community.  It is always fun to watch the migration of birds each spring as they work their way farther north to their summer breeding grounds.  A definite sign that spring has arrived!
Mother Nature kept her promise...the day remained clear...and warm.  Most of the ice has melted on Lake Eyak.  Kysa and I decided to take a walk late this afternoon...soaking up the sun and seeking more signs of spring...we found them!
Skunk Cabbage...always the first wild plant to sprout and bloom.  Who said Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor?  The first sign of spring smells like a skunk...yes it is her version of a cruel joke! ;-)
The blueberry blossoms were thick and leaves are beginning to sprout!  My camera does not take close up photos well...they were so beautiful...bright spring green color with pink flowers...a favorite color combination for many quilters.
More pink and green...salmon berry blossoms this July they will have turned into large berries that range in color from a light peach to a deep red...looks like we might have a bumper crop!
After all that running around in the sun looking for signs of spring, Kysa decided to cool off in the lake.  She is still wearing her winter that very cold water probably felt good...but it is far too cold for those of us without fur coats!
Kysa and I had a great time dillydallying with Mother Nature this afternoon.  She has kept her promise...and her sense of humor... ;-) ...all the signs suggest that spring truly has arrived!  I think!  The day ended as beautiful as it began...I hope that spring has arrived in your corner of this planet...and that you have time to dillydally with Mother Nature too!