Design Motif on the Rise: Hot Air Balloons

I've never flown in a hot air balloon, but I have a major soft spot for them because the Texan aeronaut Lee Scorsby is my favorite character in the His Dark Materials trilogy. When I saw Madeleine Sargent's handmade hot air balloon mobiles in last month's issue of Milk, I thought fondly of ol' Lee and his adventures in the sky.

Can I just say that though I have no intention of seeing the Golden Compass movie, the casting of Sam Elliott as Lee seems genius. Can anyone confirm? Now onto the balloons!

Have you ever flown in a hot air ballon? Would you ever? Who's your favorite character from His Dark Materials?

(All images as credited above.)