Check This Out ~ A Checkerboard Game With Lots of Class!

Anne M. ordered this custom checkerboard game as a teacher appreciation gift for her kids’ great teacher. I LOVE this idea – it’s useful AND unique!

Games make learning fun and a quilted game board can stand up to lots of youthful wear and tear.  Plus it’s so different from the usual goodies or tchotchkes teachers get by the handful.

Maybe your kids have a great teacher whose classroom could use it’s own quilted checkerboard game? If so, visit Whimzie Quiltz on Etsy to see what I have in stock today or order your own custom version, too.

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Oversized Chess Pieces Inspire Oversized Chess Board

checkerboardpiecesI’ve been working on a new batch of quilted checkerboard games for my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy shop, so when Lori G. contacted me about a custom board, I said, “No problem; happy to help.” I figured I’d just add it to the growing pile. Then she showed me the oversized playing pieces she wanted the board for – they were freaking gorgeous! That’s when I knew this project would not be a typical quilted checkerboard…GundersenCheckerboardQuilt

The custom board need to be large enough to accommodate her 3″ diameter, non-pawn, chess pieces. So the squares are 3 ½” each; with the two borders, the total size comes to 40″ x 40″.

She had a wonderful color scheme in mind – black, cream, dark coral, gold and turquoise. To make sure the fabrics coordinated with the shabby chic design of the pieces, I bought a crackly black print. Then I tea-stained the black and white striped binding, as well as all the other cream choices, so everything matched. All the other fabrics came from my stash – it was definitely fun picking out patterns and marbles that would work with her request for “funky”.

I’d actually had smaller diamonds in the draft design I forwarded, but once I started piecing them, they just kept getting lost in that sea of black. In this larger size, they “popped” so much better; now Lori can really enjoy the bright, happy accent colors she chose!

I love how the finished quilt works with the wonderful chess pieces she already owned. Here’s hoping she and her family enjoy many games in the years the come!

It’s a Funko Me! Custom Whimzie Quiltz Funko Pop

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I love to collect things and my newest collection obsession is Funko Pops. They are just so cute!

While I purchased a few standard Pops – Wonder Woman, Leslie Knope, Allison from Orphan Black – the crafter in me started wanting to make custom versions. Especially a Funko me, or as I like to call her, Funko D.

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arielfunkopopI started with a standard Ariel (the Disney princess) collectable because the hair was pretty close to the way I wear mine and the hands were in the perfect position to hold up a quilt. I don’t normally wear a corset and long skirt to work, but I have been known to quilt in my jammies, so let’s call it a nightgown. And while I don’t wear big bows in my hair usually, I am a child of the 80s, and I can’t say there’s never been an oversized hair bow among my beauty accessories.

After a few YouTube tutorials, I figured out how to remove the head for painting (a hair dryer to heat the glue) and the best paint to use (standard craft paint, watered down.)  It does take several coats of the paint to get a smooth look, but the new hair color matches real me’s perfectly and the pink and orange outfit works great with my Whimzie Quiltz colors.

I carefully cut the glasses off another Pop (Diane Nguyen from BoJack Horseman) and glued them to my now re-painted version. Zap a Gap glue turned out to be a godsend for adding the glasses and for putting the head and body back together. A couple coats of Matte Finish Rust-o-leum literally sealed the deal and made her look factory fresh.

I created the quilt using orange and pink scraps in my fabric stash and now I’m pretty positive I will never be a miniature quilt maker.  I’ve seen fantastically detailed miniature quilts online, and after making this rather simple quilt, I’m much more appreciative of all the work people put into those. But this one is great as a representative of what I make – bright and scrappy, warm and happy, “whimzical” quilts!

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I am THRILLED with how Funko D turned out and already have some ideas in mind for more custom Pops. As I always say, it isn’t a true collection until the display case overflows! 😀

 

 

Enter Your Pin Pincushion

I have wanted one of these clever little “Enter Your Pin” pincushions for years and I finally get to add one to my (ever-growing) pincushion collection —

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The embroidery file came from ESBests Embroidery on Etsy and it stitched out beautifully. I’m a little over half a year into owning my embroidery machine and so excited to finally be able to make projects like this that I’ve had my eye on for years.

If only it actually dispensed cash so I could buy more fabric…

RIP TV ~ A Graveyard Quilt for the Modern Age

Quilts and mourning have long been associated with each other ~ there’s the custom of viewing the deceased laid out on a quilt or of burying bodies in quilts when wooden coffins were unavailable. And you may have heard of the Kentucky Graveyard Quilt, or Coffin Quilt, a pre-Civil War quilt created to memorialize deaths in Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell’s family.

kentuckygraveyardquiltMs. Mitchell initiated this tradition when her two year-old son, John, died and was buried in Monroe County, Ohio, in 1836. Shortly after, her husband moved the family to Kentucky and, not wanting to forget John, she began a quilt that featured a fairly accurate appliqué of the graveyard where he was laid.

Surrounding her “graveyard” are eight-pointed star blocks alternating with directional calico fabric blocks. For the outer fence border, she created dark coffin shapes and embroidered on them the names and birthdates of the members of her family, placing these around the outside of the quilt. To John’s coffin she added the date of his death and appliqued it inside the graveyard. Later, a second son’s coffin and the coffins from two other relatives were moved to the center.  Today, both a practice quilt top and the finished graveyard quilt are located in Kentucky museums.

Though an unusual method, the Kentucky Graveyard Quilt was Ms. Mitchell’s way of dealing with her grief. After a pretty serious illness in my family, I was looking for a quilt-related way process my own feelings and decided to build on the idea of a coffin quilt while at the same time laugh in the face of death.

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I created a modern version, with blocks and layout influenced by the original, but in contemporary colors and fabrics. Instead of family, the names on my coffins were of TV characters who died on some of my favorite shows.

RIPTV2Even though they were on the small screen, many of these deaths touched me deeply. As the meme says…

There are certain fictional characters whose deaths I will never recover from. Ever.

Each of the names was machine embroidered by my friend, Shirley W., at Embroidery by Shirley. I cut the coffins and machine appliquéd them in similar places to the original. The surrounding fence is also machine appliquéd (although I cheated a bit and used black Quick Bias for the fence chain.)

The eight-pointed stars are done in scrappy purple fabrics with a single grey or single black depending on placement. I’m not sure if Ms. Mitchell meant to have the stars on varying light and dark backgrounds or if some of the fabrics have faded over time, but I went with layout as it now appears. My setting squares are a striped fabric, which I also carefully placed to get the same directionality as hers.

I’ve not been able to visit the Kentucky museum where the original Graveyard Quilt is located and online photos only show portions of the quilting. So I contacted Barbara Brackman, quilt historian and author. She is literally one of the most famous quilt historians on earth and I knew my chances of actually getting a reply were slim. But I did have an in – she lives in my old hometown of Lawrence, KS.

RIPTV3 copyTo my surprise, she graciously did respond! Although she said she hadn’t seen the quilt in person, she sent a link to a blog post she wrote about  Ms. Mitchell’s quilts and suggested that, since I was doing a modern take on the old piecing to go twenty-first century with the quilting, too.

So I did. My version has double batting so the outline quilting around the coffins and stars makes them pouf up nicely. In the setting squares I matchstick quilted diamond shapes (the center of the diamond poufs up, too.) In the graveyard and the outside border, I did my classic stipple quilting – it wouldn’t be a Whimzie quilt if I left that technique out!

Even blown up, some of the names are difficult to read in these pictures, so if you are wondering, here’s the list of characters clockwise from the top left corner (see if you can guess the shows in the comments!) ~

  • Trudy Monk
  • Amy & Rory Pond
  • Snowball I
  • Snowball II
  • Snowball III
  • Snowball IV
  • Bleeding Gums Murphy
  • Mr. Hooper
  • Bill McNeal
  • Jadzia Dax
  • Jock Ewing
  • Professor Proton
  • Richard Bay
  • Henry Blake
  • Lenny Briscoe
  • Chuckles the Clown
  • Susan Ross
  • Joyce Summers

and in the graveyard center ~

  • Tasha Yar
  • Eddie LeBec
  • Frank Grimes
  • Sister Mary Duvall

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Last Minute Reindeer Bunting ~ Just in Time to Guide Santa’s Sleigh!

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While most of our home becomes Who-ville for the holidays, we have a separate room that is reindeer-themed. Mainly because I couldn’t stop myself from making this quilt

Dash Away All Dressed

This year, I added to the reindeer decor with a embroidered scrappy fabric and ribbon garland, which I finished just three days before Christmas!

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I’d kind of hoped that the bunting would be easy enough to make and sell in my Etsy shop (always looking for new ways to use my embroidery machine!) but it was WAY more work than I thought it would be. Worth it in the end, though!

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This is my last project for the 2017 holidays; so glad to have everything Christmas-y finished and ready to go — even if it is just three days ahead of time.

I am hoping to finish one more (non-holiday) quilt before the end of the year. It’s still on the long-arm and I’m close having it quilted, but I might be binding right up until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Keep your fingers crossed for me to get it done!

Warm Ho Ho Holiday wishes everyone!

A Quilt that Could Be Yours… If My Husband Doesn’t Get It First

miserbrosI posted a picture online of the quilted Miser Brothers pillows I made for husband last year – it was seen by a woman who then contacted me to see if I could make similar Miser Brothers quilt for her son. She ultimately decided not to have the quilt made, but now my husband wants me to make the matching quilt for him!

Before I capitulate to his unreasonable demands 😀 , I decided to show off the design here in case anyone else wanted to have it custom made. It does seem like a pretty popular idea, so if you are interested, contact me a deidre@whimziequiltz.com for more information…

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The quilt design is a mixture of piecing and appliqué. I’ve divided the quilt down the center, with Snow Miser on the left and Heat Miser on the right.

Each face would be pieced out of 4 or more fabrics, mainly blues and white for Snow and red, orange and yellow for Heat. Although I’m showing solids, I’d actually use tone-on-tone small prints or marbled fabrics in these colors to give the quilt depth and dimension.

Surrounding each face would be a large field of a dark blue or dark red. To break up the large expanse of color, I will machine applique the phrases in white and add a pieced stripe in appropriate colors above and below.

This quilt is approximately 80” x 90” (large enough to cover a full-sized bed) and would cost $775. A lap size version, at approximately 60” x 68” would be $450.