fig tree mini stems quilt

I started and finished another Christmas quilt... in two days! It's the Mini Stems quilt by Fig Tree and Co. It measures just 19" x 25" and it can be made with a 5" charm pack and some additional background and border fabric. There is also a full-sized Stems quilt pattern that uses a jelly roll to create the leaves. I knew that the mini quilt would be the perfect way for me to test the pattern without a major time commitment. As an additional incentive, the mini quilt was this month's quilt along project hosted by A Quilting Life and Pink Pincushion

I've mixed red and green prints from several different Fig Tree collections. I used Strawberry Fields, Avalon, Tapestry, and the current Somerset collection. Everything I needed was already on my shelves. I didn't need to buy anything!

Each of those little leaf units measures 2" x 3". The corners are made with a stitch-and-flip construction, and I squared up my corners (with a square Omnigrid ruler and rotary cutter) throughout the process. This helped to ensure that my stems would grow straight up. I did not want wobbly stems! I tweaked the pattern slightly so that I could cut my borders from a fat quarter instead of buying yardage. It worked perfectly. My border is a taupe houndstooth Somerset print. It reminds me of wicker or rattan, and I think it's an elegant way to tone down the reds and greens. 

And Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! I think that many of you know that I live in NYC, and today I went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I LOVE this parade. It's magical to see those balloons in real life!

I've attended the parade several times over the years. There are the happy balloons that we all know so well - Snoopy, KoolAid, the fireman, the stars, as well as the newer balloons like Hello Kitty and the dragon from How To Train Your Dragon. The bands play as they march, and thousands of clowns throw confetti at the crowd.

But here are some things that you might not have known. The musical acts perform right in front of Macy's, and only invited guests can watch them. So the rest of the 3.5 million viewers (yes, really!) see floats go by with bundled-up anonymous performers. I didn't even see Kiss, even though they performed at the Macy's stop. And seriously, I am ok with that. After all, I saw Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch dancing in their house. I saw Mr. Peanut waving from his peanut-on-wheels. Who needs anything else?

Oh, and more details that you don't see on tv. There are metal barricades lining the parade route, and police shut off many of the streets. The bomb-sniffing dog was next to me while helicopters circled above. And yet, the crowd is cheery and friendly. While many people arrived as early as 6am to claim their spaces, I got there just as it was kicking off with Thomas the Train and I saw everything just fine. It snowed and I shivered. Should I mention that there are no bathrooms? But it's really a priceless experience. If you ever have the opportunity to see this, be sure to go, because I can assure you that you and your kids will remember it forever. Happy Thanksgiving!