Wednesday, September 18, 2019

down in New Orleans

Earlier this year I got to attend the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in New Orleans. I've never been there before & was glad to be able to visit somewhere new from one river city to another! A coworker and I made the trip together, and ended up driving down - which takes about 10 hours - but was pleasant and non-trafficy so that's a win. 
It also meant we hit 7 states on the trip: KY - IL - MO - AR - TN - MS - LA

There was some heavy rain as we drove into New Orleans, but we saw a double rainbow.  :) Came across the Manchac Swamp bridge which I discovered is one of the longest bridges over water. It was pretty cool to drive!

Of course, after hitting the hotel our first stop was hitting the streets of course. We walked the French Quarter & Bourbon Street, saw several second lines and caught some beads from people on the balconies (probly other tourists but whatever).

Then my friends, what I was really waiting for: Cafe du Monde beignets! It was delicious. What a treat :D


Attended Mass at the Cathedral which is beautiful

The conference is hundreds of museum people and it's fun to talk shop with others from museums all over the place. Typically you have the option to sign up for some extra excursions (think field trips) to see & learn how other museums do things. Honestly these are so fun because there's nothing we love more than getting an insider look at how programs or exhibits are put together. 

My first excursion was at Preservation Hall - a small venue with a rich history. We had an introduction and then a Q&A with their All Stars jazz band before we got a private concert. WOW
Friends it was Phenomenal!! Above is a quick photo of the street entrance and clarinetist and then the drum kit. They don't allow photos or video during concerts because they keep it true to the '60s experience. They play several shows a day and I highly recommend going to one if you're in New Orleans.

After the amazing concert, I grabbed some gumbo for lunch (so good!) and headed out to Lake Pontchartrain for a tour of the PT-305. It's the only fully restored combat veteran PT boat form WWII. Neat to learn about how the restoration was done over the years, and how many volunteers helped out to do it! Good tour and I enjoyed learning about the history & service of the boat. Ended up at the Gumbo Stop for dinner because you can never have enough gumbo in your day! 

I volunteered to help with sessions and in addition to some of the ones I attended, I got to listen to several others that were interesting as well. Sparked a few ideas while hearing about Impact of Awe, Interactive exhibits, Museums at Play and more. The opening night party was at NOMA & their sculpture gardens so it was nice to mingle, meet some new friends & eat more good food! 

Above: local art and signs that made me laugh

Had some free time to visit the WWII museum which I was also looking forward to - it was really good. Loads to see and read so I did a quick-walk through everything to get a glimpse of it all. I was impressed with how they set up the exhibits & scenery for each theater of war: jungle pacific, desert, European winter, etc.

WWII reenactors & me (I got the dress memo)
They also hosted the Closing party with the Ogden art museum - more good food - and talking with museum people from MD & ID! Not only is it neat to chat with people from all different types of museums, but once I mention quilts people chime in with quilts in their own collections, families or personal connections. Proof that quilters are Everywhere!

Caught the St. Charles streetcar out to the Garden district and wandered around. Gorgeous! All in all a good trip full of new adventures. Below are some detail shots from around town.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Pineapple Surprise!

EEEEEEEE! You guys check out this awesome quilt! My momm made this for me & brought it with her when she came for Spring Quilt Show and WOW was I surprised! I had no idea this was coming my way and I absolutely LOVE it. :D  Thanks Momm!

Back in early March, Momm texted me this picture asking what I thought about her fabric pull for a new project. This, dear reader, was not an unusual question as we consult and brainstorm quilt ideas constantly! I replied that they were very summery & looked good, then promptly forgot about it. 

Momm says it was really hard to keep as a surprise since we quilty talk all the time, but she managed it really super well. Of course, keeping it under wraps meant it couldn't be shared online anywhere either, which can be tricky to do in general. 

After picking her up at the airport for her visit, Momm presented the quilt to me and I was gobsmacked. It's the first quilt someone has made for me, just because. I had to take it into work and show & tell to my coworkers (also not unusual as I work at a Quilt Museum). One asked if I was actually going to use it - the answer is of course! It went onto my bed immediately and it's been there ever since so far.

Pineapples are my favorite fruit to eat. I also love them, because I watched the TV show Psych where they had pineapple in every episode. It was a fun thing for me & friends to spot it each week and now we look for pineapples in real life too. So this is the perfect design! :) 

Momm did take progress pix with all these fun HSTs and trimmings to show me afterwards. She also managed to make it all from her stash - well done Momms! We took the quilt around town for a photo shoot and had fun popping into a local restaurant for some pix with their island-style decor. 
Thanks again Momm for such a cool quilt. Love you lots!


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Watch Me Soar

What happens when a coworker is pregnant and you work at a Quilt Museum? 
You have the whole staff help make a baby quilt of course!

This is the third staff member baby quilt we've made over the past 5 years and like the others before it, was a lot of fun to pull together! H&J, the parents, chose a space theme for the nursery (a popular choice) so we went space themed on the quilt. I went into stealth mode & pulled other staff members down the hall so that everyone was involved. Each person chose a fabric for their planet and I showed them how to use the Olfa circle cutter to cut out their planets - what fun!

 Planets were fused onto this starry fabric to create our own little galaxy for baby boy L. It was fun to see the creativity from my coworkers - making rings, moons, comets, & detailed planetary positions. Once all the planets were in place, I pieced together the backing with some scraps leftover of space, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek fabrics and this colorful space ship fabric. How else does one travel from planet to planet?

I machine stitched around each planet to secure it, add quilting & durability in anticipation of multiple washings to come. Using glow in the dark thread I quilted in some stars, a bumblebee, and a UFO, before using matching black thread to quilt swirls in the background. It's machine bound with a star print and then I got all the staff members to sign the label on the back.

It's named "Watch Me Soar" which is from a quote from the TV show Firefly " I am a leaf on the wind, watch me soar." This was gifted to H a few weeks ago. So love it well baby L & reach for those stars!
Linked up with: My Quilt Infatuation's Needle & Thread Thursday & Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Woop Woop Finished Friday and From Bolt to Beauty Finally A Finish.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Take the Sky

"Take my love, take my land,Take me where I can not stand
I don't care cause i'm still free 
you can't take the sky from me."
- Firefly Theme Song

This quilt was a lot of fun to make! It's a baby quilt for friends of mine, J&R, who went with a space-themed nursery for their baby girl. They're fans of sci-fi shows so I wanted to bring that into the quilt and make it extra special. I've named it Take the Sky, pulling from the theme song to the TV show Firefly, one of J's favorites.

Here's the front & back of the quilt - you can see I dug out all the space-like fabrics I owned (and borrowed from Momm too!) to make this gift. Fabrics feature: Star Wars, Harry Potter, general space & planets, astronauts & space shuttles, and constellations!

I pulled coordinating colors and all the black & star print fabrics I could find in my stash. I made some wonky star blocks to start, along with the crescent moon using a technique I learned from the July NQM Block of the Month Club

Then I pieced the Big Dipper constellation, the paper pieced TARDIS (free pattern from FandomInStitches) and drew my own paper pieced pattern for the Star Trek insignia block. 

a glow in the dark bee!
Then it was time to puzzle piece the elements together filling in blank spots with fabric, randomly pieced segments and fussy cut space bits. I love joining these together to make the whole and it turned out pretty cohesive at the end.

Next it was on to quilting, no easy feat with such a mix of blocks and fandoms. I started by stitching in phrases to add some extra nerdiness. Things like: Expecto Patronum, I aim to misbehave, To infinity and beyond, wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey, Beam me up Scotty, Use the Force, a golden snitch & Nova Corps symbol. Then I personalized the center moon block with the baby's name and had fun filling in the rest of the quilt with stars, stippling, and general free-motion fun using several Aurifil threads.

I got to meet baby A and gift this quilt the the other week and am happy to know it will be well loved by the whole family. They'll have fun searching for the special details stitched into the quilt over the coming months & years. Baby quilts are pure joy to make & gift! Love it well A: Live Long & Prosper! 
 Linking up with Needle & Thread Thursday with My Quilt Infatuation & From Bolt to Beauty Finally a Finish.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Washington Quilt Shuffle

One of the perks of my job is getting to talk about quilts to everybody, & I do mean everybody: kids, tours, daily visitors, adults, workshops, classes, family, other quilt friends, coworkers, strangers in town, etc. It's even better when I can travel and bring quilting to a wider audience. That's exactly what happened earlier this month when a coworker & I traveled to the Tacoma, WA area to speak at the West Sound Quilt Guild! We shipped 12 quilts from the Museum collection and headed westward for an adventure. 
Airplane views over MT or WA
Our actual presentation and talk at the guild was so fun. We had a great crowd who enjoyed seeing the quilts up close & in person as L & I talked about the Museum, our programs, the quilts, and how we strive to honor today's quilter. We brought several quilts by Washington artists, and one came to the meeting! What a joy to speak with the artist in person, and have her speak about her work to the guild.

We had two fabulous hostesses from the guild for our stay. J provided transportation and local stories as we adventured through Gig Harbor, to several great quilt shops (including the Quilt Barn which had the most Batiks we've ever seen!), crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and toured the WA State History Museum. 

Another Guild member, B, was our hostess overnight and she treated us to homemade breakfasts, excellent hot chocolate, quilt stories and dragons! Thanks ladies for being so kind and welcoming.

We even got to see a glimpse of Mt. Rainier on the way back to the airport!