Friday, September 28, 2018

Black Bears and Fika Friday!

Autumn this far north is very short in comparison to those of my childhood in Minnesota.  Fall has always been my favorite season ... cool evenings ... temperate days ... and all the color!
We have had an exceptional Autumn!  From August 31st to September 21st we enjoyed sun and primarily clear skies!  Unheard of for this time of the year here in my remote corner of the planet!  It has been wonderful!  Nissa and I spent most of our time outdoors enjoying the gifts Mother Nature offers this time of year!
As September's unusual weather has leaned on the positive side of conditions ... the entire summer leant towards the negative!  Not only were our temps low and rainfall high ... in addition, the berry production and salmon returns were unusually small.  Wild berries and salmon are the primary food source for both brown and black bears.  They have been hungry and have come into town seeking food.  Humans and wildlife do not coexist well ... it has been a mess ... several bears have had to be destroyed ... there are no winners in this scenario.
On Friday, September 7th a large black bear decided to spend the afternoon in our neighborhood.  Specifically on the beach under my and a neighbor's house.  I bolted the outside doors, making sure that both furbabies were inside with me.  It was apparent that the best thing to do was to wait until the bear decided to leave.  Even though the sun was shining, it was going to be an inside dillydally day!
I had recently re-read First We Have Coffee ... it is a book I picked up in the mid 90's!  It reminds me so much of my Grandmother ... whenever I miss her, I turn to this book!  So ... it has been read multiple times!  A few years ago, I received Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break for Christmas! It too, was a joy to read!  My grandmother was 100% Swedish ... she always had a minimum of three treats available for when friends or family dropped by for coffee!  This book helped me understand why that was so important to her and the origins of her opinions concerning  hospitality and what makes a good hostess.  I always intended to try some of the recipes in this cookbook ... the first Friday in September of 2018 seemed perfect!  Yep ... Fika Fridays in DillyDallydom were about to be established ... thanks to a black bear!
The very first recipe in the book is Vetebullar ... Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns!  A yeast dough recipe would take most of the afternoon ... and our resident bear looked to have moved in for a long nap!
Compared to my grandmother's recipe for Cardamom Tea Ring, this authentic Swedish recipe uses a lot less sugar and at least 4 times the cardamom!
I used one of the shape variations suggested in the book!
Omgosh!  The house smelled like heaven ... and I would guess it tormented the bear too!
The recipe made two ... so Brother came by after work to pick up one!  By 5 pm the bear was rested and had moved on!  The buns were delicious!  Light and not overly sweet!  I will make this again ... it may even become a family tradition!  Because of the black bear, we enjoyed our first Fika Friday!
As September rolls along ... our colors change quickly!
It was my turn to host our weekly DillyDally Playdate!  Since we were meeting in the morning, coffee would be served ... yep, a Fika event!  I made Apple Pie Upside-Down Pumpkin Cake!  Quick and easy ... just what was needed for a 10 am coffee break!
I love Fireweed in the fall ... this pic shows their brief color change that goes from vibrant red to dried up brown.
Another Friday and another authentic Swedish recipe from the Fika book!
The only thing I do not like about making cookies is having to bake multiple sheets of them!  So when ever I come across a log shaped recipe that only requires baking once ... I'm in!
This is Muskotsnittar or Nutmeg Slices!  It is like a nutmeg flavored shortbread cookie.  They were super easy to make ... again relatively light on the sugar ... and the smell lingered in the house for days!
Talk about creating Hygge!  I froze and served them at our Knit & Lit meeting earlier this week!  Saving a few to have with my mid day coffee break as well!  They are Fika fantastic!  Another recipe I will use again!
Yummm ... nutmeg cookies ... and Mother Nature's use of nutmeg inspired color!
Today is the last Friday in September!  I made Ina Garten's Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts!  The recipe's yield is a dozen, but with my Wilton pans I ended up with 21!  Mr. DD took them to work after his lunch break!  His coworkers can enjoy one with their afternoon coffee ... it is Fika Friday for them as well!
Our autumn's colors have peaked.  I did find this one Fireweed at it's finest earlier this week, but most have gone brown.  I am so grateful for their burst of color ... their promise to return next spring!

Do what you love!  Both in the kitchen and outdoors!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Literary Magic!

There are those moments ... they appear from nowhere ...

... they are fleeting ... and they are magical!  But first ...

Our local library sponsors a Knit and Lit book club!  In August we actually read two books, both related to WWII.  The Boat Runner was new to me ... a very good and thought provoking read.

I had read the second, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, when it first came out ... and throughly enjoyed reading it again!

For our meeting, I went online and found this video on how to create an authentic Potato Peel Pie!  I did not use any of our modern kitchen conveniences ... using only the tools available in the 1940's!  Oh ... how I wanted to pull out my food processor!  It was sobering to think about what their lives were like during the the Nazi occupation.  Just as predicted ... the pie won't win any culinary awards ... it had a much more important purpose, it sustained people during very difficult times.  Book club members all had a piece ... no compliments ... but no complaints either! 😄 Actually they were good sports ... the pie brought a small bit of realism to our discussion!

Books are haunting for me ... they mull around in my thoughts ... and often stay for long periods of time.  Such was the case with these two.  They just wouldn't allow me to move on.  One day, while walking ... my mind lost in the atrocities of WWII ... I looked to my right side ... and was gobsmacked by this site.  I gasped ... and held my breath ... in my head I heard a faint, but distinct ... chant.
"Scrum a too rye hey, scrum a too rye hey
Dig those paddles deep today!"

I recognized those words ... I knew their source ... it was Log-A-Log, Chieftain of the Guossom shrews!  I had stumbled upon Redwall!

My senses heightened ... I looked to the left ... Mossflower Woods!

And of course ... the many broadstreams that crisscross that magical world of Redwall!

"I'll sing you a song of the river-o,
Where the water's clean and clear,
And the long fast Guossom logboats go.
We're the shrews that know no fear,
So bend your back and use those paws.
From gravel bank to sandy shores,
Your cares and woes will disappear,
Just sitting paddling here. "

Big Island Lake ... where mysteries lurk in its depths and are hidden by it beauty.

And then ... The Island ... home of the "ghost" badger, Urthwyte!  It was all here ... the magic of Redwall had exposed itself to me ... I was compelled to revisit and relive an adventure there!

I taught 7th Grade Language Arts for many years ... we would always end the year with the Redwall novel, Salamandastron.  Brian Jacques began publishing his Redwall books in the mid 80s ... he brought literary magic to readers of all ages prior to J.K. Rowling !  His back story is amazing and worth a quick look.  The books truly are magical ... many fond memories of sharing them with my own children and in the classroom!  As soon as I returned home that day I downloaded the audiobook and submerged myself deep in the magic of Salamandastron! 

"I'll sing you a song of the river-o,
It belongs to me and you.
O're deep and shallows we'll both go,
With the finest Guossom crew,
Wheb other creatures bound to land
Will not feel half so free or grand,
Or know the water shrews' great skill.
So paddle with good will!"

Do what you love.  Embrace the magic!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Patchwork Birthday!

Like many with adult children, I often find gift giving difficult.  As adults they are self-sufficient, so gifts from me are usually simple and often handmade.
Sister has a September birthday!  I celebrated by making her three patchwork pillows for her couch.
For her 5th birthday she had received a new baby brother!  Yes ... her name is Elsa!  As a child and teenager she complained about being given an "old lady" name!  None of us ever imagined that she would one day share that name with a Disney Princess!  We refer to Sister as the "Original Princess Elsa"!  And yes ... that is a Daisy Kingdom dress that I made specifically for her big day!  Oh ... how we loved that company and everything they designed!
While visiting her this summer I saw that they were using pillows that I had made for them in the past!  Makes my heart so happy when I see people using the things I have made for them!  My dillydally spirit soars!
Their couch is a beautiful blue velvet ... as seen here in this photo.  Hmmm ... my wheels began turning!
In 2016-17 I had pieced this "Winter Lights" quilt ...
... Sherri Falls had taught from her Holiday Wishes book (can be found here) at our guild's 30th Anniversary event (can check it out here) in the summer of 2016!
I fell in love with piecing this block and envision it in many different colorways!
Sister lives in southern California ... I love the sunsets there ... so I based my fabric choices on that color palette! 
Two blocks quickly became two pillows! 
While visiting her, I discovered that she really enjoyed the use of pineapples in home decor!  I came across this pattern by Elizabeth Hartman and just had to make her a pillow!
I used the warm colored fabrics from the stars!  Here I am auditioning backgrounds!
What a fun pattern to piece!  I foresee more pineapple patchwork in my future!  I ended up choosing the lighter background because it had a broader range of soft colors in it ... the blue was just too monochromatic for me!
Done!  I kept the quilting simple ... stitch in the ditch around the piecing and simple horizontal lines!
Here are all three ... on my couch ... ready to travel to California!
I was able to visit Sister twice this summer ... I treasure every moment with her!  She has grown into a competent, intelligent and extremely capable woman ...
... but each time I look at her ... this is what a see.  A five-year-old ballerina wearing knee high socks!

Do what you love!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sweater Weather!

Gosh ... where did summer go?  Actually, here in my remote corner of the planet, we all agree that summer didn't really happen in 2018!
June 2018 
It truly was a cool and very wet summer ... but I remind myself that is to be expected!  In other words ... "it comes with the territory"! When you consider our longitude and latitude ... add to that our location on the north end of the Pacific Ocean ... yep, we can expect cool and wet summers! 😃
But ... here is the good news!  First ... we enjoy sweater weather year round!  Second ... we wear wool year round!  After the Fiber & Friends event in June (you can see my recap here) The Net Loft sponsored a local Hand Knit Show!
I feel so fortunate ... I am surrounded by many talented knitters!  I have known many for 30+ years and some for their entire life!
The truth is that we have evolved as a community of knitters because of our local yarn shop, The Net Loft!  Before the internet, youtube, instagram, etc ... she brought the knitting world to us!  Initially her shop was only open in the summer, as she lived in California.  She would take classes and attend knitting events during the winter and then share those resources with us in the summer months while her husband commercial fished in Prince William Sound.  Our community proves the importance of supporting your local shop!
Here are the items I had on display at this event.  This is a Nordic influenced sweater that I designed and knit for my daughter in 2011.  You will find the back story here and here ... I love looking back.
I patterned it after traditional designs found hand painted on historical household items in both Sweden and Norway.  She lives in southern California where there is little opportunity to wear it!  But she does wear it when visiting!
A few pairs of mitts ... I love designing and knitting all types of mitts.
This is the Viking Gansey that I designed for my son.  This journey began in 2015 (details here) ... Beth is an amazing designer/instructor ... I was so excited to begin!  At the time, I was dealing with extreme chronic pain ... it was so intense that I truly was living on Advil.  When a person is coping with that amount of pain ... it takes over your entire life.  I was unable to make much progress that winter ... chronic pain truly is debilitating!  We had all hoped to have our gansey's finished by the 2016 Fiber & Friends event ... but as you can see in this post, I had not gotten far.  At the 2016 event, I was in recovery from a total knee replacement six weeks prior.  The pain before surgery and the post surgery meds made it impossible to knit much!
I remember waking one morning ... six months after the surgery ... without pain!  It was life changing ... it had been years!  Gradually my original personality began to reemerge (as declared by Mr. DD) ... and this spring I felt truly like myself ... and can live and function like intended!  It had become a three year journey ... I was committed to finish this Viking Gansey!
With the body done and a start on the first sleeve, I had Brother try it on to determine sleeve length. This photo was taken at a family picnic in late May.
I took this sweater with me everywhere in my efforts to have it done by Fiber & Friends 2018!  First sleeve is nearly done in this photo!
Second sleeve started, and nearly out of yarn on this cone ... after three years I had to dig deep to find the remaining cone!
Two days before the event ... I decide to rip out the bottom edge.  I could tell that Brother wasn't really happy with it ... he preferred a rib stitch over the traditional gainsay edge!  I want him to wear it ... so he needed to like it ... so I reknit it.
I finished it at 3:00 am Friday morning ... with luck it would be dry by Saturday night for Brother to model it!  Whew!  It was a bit damp ... Brother was a great sport ... he looked so handsome in it!
Omgosh!  I still ... three months later ... have not come down from the personal high of finishing this viking themed gansey!  So much about my journey and my hopes for my son are knit into every stitch!  Next I need to finally get a few photos of him wearing it!  And because he lives here ... he will be able to wear it year round!

Do what you love! Embrace sweater weather!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally