Kelly’s “college” quilt:16 years in the making

Back in 1995 Kelly decided that it was time to give up the flying business and go back to school, finish his undergraduate degree in music & get the teacher certification that he’d started in the late 70s.


To that end, he spent a year at Yukon College filling in the GUR gaps with 100 & 200 level courses and was making plans to either go back to Western in Bellingham (where he started the degree) or to transfer the credits to the University of Alaska and finish up there.Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Either route would take him away from home for one – two years, coming home for the summer & mid-year holidays. So I decided to make him a quilt to keep him company, and to keep him wrapped up and warm in something created by my hands.

083Michael helped me choose the pattern, and we chose stars because I’d just finished Michael’s “sky at night” quilt, and because Kelly loves astronomy, and well…because we just liked them.

105We chose the colours red, white & blue because Kelly would be going to school in the States.

068I finished the quilt top pretty quickly, and began the hand quilting. I was about 50% finished when Kelly decided that he wasn’t ready to give up on the flying industry after all and cancelled his university plans to stay home and go back to the air. With the deadline to finish the project gone, the quilt went on the shelf and there it sat.

073Oh, of course I’d take it down and poke away at it now and again, but for the most part it remained incomplete. Until this summer. This summer I finished it!

050The entire thing is hand quilted. Yes – HAND QUILTED. As in “by hand!” “By me!”

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Now that’s called a labour of love.

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This quilt inspected and approved by Samson.




Here we go!

I’m nervous. My classes for the fall 2011 semester start tomorrow…the first classes in the brand new schedule. After 10+ years of perfecting the old method, I’m embarking on something different. And I’m nervous! Well, I’m actually nervous at the start of every new teaching year, so this really isn’t new. But it feels new. I guess those butterflies are a good thing because they mean that I haven’t gotten blasé. They mean I’m still anticipating & looking forward to new things.

I’ve been putting a lot of time and thought into my lesson plans…probably more than usual because I really want to do it differently this time around. I don’t want to fall back into the same-old, same-old. I want to teach the things that interest me at the moment. How can my students not benefit by coming with me on a journey of exploration?

The first Special Topics class is going to be on finger cymbals. I love the finger cymbals, and I am actually quite a good player; however, I rarely play them in public. And in traditional classes, it seems we never had time to do more than the odd session here and there. I want to change that. I want to rediscover my love and ability with my zills, and I want to help my students to discover it for themselves as well. So we’re going to spend our first Special Topics class learning some patterns, watching a bit of video, and generally becoming familiar with having them with us while we dance. There is so much material to cover – so many ways to explore playing with the cymbals that I can promise you this will not be the only class on the topic. I expect we’ll come back to it a few times during the year. Maybe even in the very next class!  If there’s something you want to learn about, please let me know and I’ll see if I can work it in! How lovely to have this luxury to go in-depth and spend as much time as we wish on a subject!

The Repertoire class is going to learn a Reda-style Hagalla this term. I have always been fascinated with Mahmood Reda’s choreography and when I came upon choreography notes from a workshop I took a long time ago, I decided that I would like to spend time with that old dance, explore the folkloric theatrical Hagalla, learn as much as I can about the actual Bedouin tradition and share it with the class. 

The Introduction to Bellydance – Fundamentals level 1 will be pretty much the same as it always was. There’s just a certain amount of information & movement vocabulary you absolutely need to have in order to begin your journey and I always look forward to spending time with brand new dancers. And hey – for the first time ever in 10 years, this class is NOT full! I’m not sure what to think about that! But it’s okay – the students that are there will get extra attention – yay! There are still 4 spaces open, so if you want to sign up, let me know ASAP as classes start Wednesday.

Hang onto your hip scarves, ladies – here we go!

Fall Schedule is Ready!

As many of you know, last spring Idecided that it is time to reorganize Celebrations  Bellydance and do things a little bit differently. I’ve been teaching in Whitehorse for 10 years now (do you believe it?) and I am ready for a change from the level 1, 2 & 3 class
formats that I’ve been following. After 10 years I’m also really looking forward to having my weekends free to pursue other interests and spend time with my family.

One of the frustrations of being only a part-time dance teacher is in the lack of time to do more than skim the surface of any topic. Middle Eastern dance is so rich, and yet there is a limited amount of time each week to cover any topic. So I have always focused on what I
consider the basics, leaving the rest for another day. Well, people, another day has arrived!

I’ll still offer an introductory/level 1 class for brand new students & those wanting to work on essential skills, but will not be offering the standard level 2 & 3 classes this term: instead there are two new classes to replace them: a repertoire class with a heavy focus on choreography for use by the dance troupe, and a special topics class where we can really dig into the meat & potatoes of the dance. I am very excited about this offering! I’ve put myself on the hot seat with it, though –while I’ll be incorporating material from previous lesson plans, I will also be spicing it up with in-depth looks at movements, methods, history, etc. This is the stuff I’ve found myself wanting to focus on in my own dance training and in guiding yours. I’m thinking positive and have scheduled two separate offerings of this class. I hope there are as many students who want to take it!

Classes will be limited to 12 until I get an idea of what the room will accommodate. We will be in the theatre classroom at Yukon College for the first time ever. There are no mirrors (yet –hopefully those will come in the spring), and that is also an exciting and welcome challenge as I find that students often focus externally instead of internally (rely on watching themselves in the mirror instead of focusing on how the move feels in the body.)

With a limited class size, you will need to be sure and register early (like right NOW) to ensure your space in class. I won’t be squeezing in last minute folks this time.