up, up and away in my beautiful balloon

It's time for the July Snapshots sew along block!

Actually, it's a little past the time for this block. Ahem. I might have forgotten to show it to you last week because I was surrounded by moving boxes, small AND large bubbles, white newsprint and tape guns. You all know about the Snapshots sew along, right? And how it benefits St Jude Children's Research Hospital? And how we are making one block each month that represents a snapshot of our lives? If you need a refresher, just hop over here to get all the details, plus links to the patterns, video tutorials, kit and donation page. 

This block represents my 20 trips to New Mexico! Every fall, a massive Balloon Fiesta is held in Albuquerque. (And if you're curious, here's a time-lapse video showing the balloons taking off at sunrise. It's amazing.) The fiesta is in October, but I usually visit in mid-November - it's my annual birthday tradition - so I haven't seen the balloons yet. Balloon imagery is found all over the state, and even on some license plates. Of course I would want to take a ride in a cute fabric balloon. (Actually, the truth is that I'd be terrified to get into that balloon. I'd need Dramamine. And cookies. And somebody to hold my hand. But I'd enjoy watching them take off and float around.)

Once again, I used the kit as a starting point, but I changed some of the Daysail prints and I added a Scrumptious tiny floral. The same floral was also used as "whipped cream" on last month's ice cream sundae block, so the finished quilt will have some continuity. I felt that the smaller, repeating prints would be more forgiving in the seams than the intended stripe would have been.

Ok, so get your balloons sewn up! The next pattern will be released on August 15 and it's the bicycle!

Finally, while making the balloon block I had to listen to Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension. Maybe I'll need to play this while I float over Albuquerque in my quilted fabric balloon!

fig tree mystery quilt - month 2

Hi everybody! I'm just back from a week of travel and now I can get BACK TO SEWING. More about the trip in a few minutes.

As soon as I got back I cut up fabric for month 2 of the Fig Tree mystery sampler quilt. The two weathervane blocks in the third photo went together really quickly. The single plum colored pineapple block was fun to make - Joanna Figueroa's pattern for this block uses the stitch and flip corner construction so you don't need to cut any weird shapes or use any awkward rulers. I made a quilt with this pattern a few years ago and it was simple to put together.  

The three nosegay blocks at the top are my favorites. I've been wanting to make these blocks for years but I was scared of the pattern. Joanna originally called it Coney Island. I love that name because I visit the Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn every summer. I don't do the rides, but I like to walk on the boardwalk and visit the aquarium. It's a little seedy and very old timey New York. Let's go on a little visit to Coney Island now, ok?

That was a fun diversion, right? But back to the quilting. The nosegay/Coney Island blocks actually aren't that difficult to construct as long as you pay attention. I had to do a few steps over with new fabric because my seam ripper really messed up some of the bias-cut pieces. But I absolutely love the finished blocks. I'd really like to do a whole quilt full of them.

Last week I traveled to Houston on business. I was a guest speaker at a military convention. I taught ten classrooms of managers about my company's current fragrance and cosmetic promotions. This involved a day of classroom setup, then 10 solid hours of talking, talking, talking, and finally the classroom teardown. Chocolate and tea helped. Exhausting but rewarding. As a treat, I flew to Santa Fe for a few days to recover. Of course it rained the entire time I was there, but that didn't stop me from eating amazing food like the pumpkin waffles with vanilla cinnamon cream at Inn at Loretto. I got to listen to my favorite cabaret performer, Doug Montgomery. And I visited some of my favorite museums, where I found a painting by American Indian artist Fritz Scholder done in Fig Tree colors.  It really doesn't get much better than that.

I've even started a new quilt using the blogger bundle that I put together for Fat Quarter Shop! It's cute and happy, and I'll tell you all about it next time!

moda modern building blocks - month 2

Howdy, everybody! I recently returned from a short trip to New Mexico (yes, again!) and immediately got back to sewing. It was exciting to find an envelope from Eric Figueroa at Fig Tree and Co crammed into my tiny mailbox. That could only mean one thing - the September fabric pack for the Modern Modern Building Blocks sampler arrived!

Last month I made one 36" block and four 6" blocks, and this month's fabric made an 18" block and four more 6" blocks. Working with Moda Bella solids is fun! I don't think that I've ever used solid fabric for blocks, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. I love that tiny coral pindot fabric from Fig Tree's recent Mirabelle collection. It adds just a bit of texture without being too overpowering. 

The Flower Sugar fabric for my Another Year of Schnibbles "Whit" pattern also arrived while I was away (I could barely open my mailbox!) and I quicky starched and cut it. Here are my fabrics, just waiting to be sewn into flying geese.

So when I wasn't sewing or blogging last week, here's what I was up to. My sister took me on a trip to New Mexico to celebrate my upcoming birthday. She's traveled around the world but never to the Southwest US! First, we visited Taos Pueblo, which has been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years and has no running water or electricity. 

And we had to have a snack at the pueblo. I love this sign. 

No running water or electricity, but they managed to find Sue Bee honey and a plastic tablecloth. That cracks me up. 

Then came a 2 1/2 mile hike in Bandelier National Monument. It's breathtaking to see caves carved out of ancient volcanic ash where primitive people made their homes. There are still traces of their artwork thousands of years later (swirls, zigzag serpents, and... people with marshmallow heads?).

We saw these sunflowers EVERYWHERE we went, growing wild and out-of-control along the highways as well as in the park.

Surely this volcanic ash home could use a nice quilt with pointy-points and heirloom quilting?

After visiting the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos to learn about the secret mission to create atomic bombs during WWII, we then stopped at Camel Rock, just outside of Santa Fe. We joked about how silly this rock formation looks, but after driving by it 8 times we decided that we just needed to get a closer look. I think that if you look at it head-on it turns into a cobra instead of a camel, but never mind. I wouldn't want Camel Rock Casino to have to change its name!

And, of course, we spent time in Santa Fe, where the annual Fiesta was taking place. And the green chile pepper harvest was being roasted in giant rotating metal drums. We really had a great time. I got to spend time in one of my favorite locations with my favorite little sister!