For several years now, I’ve been making each of my 16 nieces and nephews a very special quilt – I call them N ‘N’ N quilts 😀 – starting with the oldest and working my way by birthdate down to the youngest. And I just finished the quilt for #14!
The last time our nephew Gregory visited us here in San Diego he walked in the door and the first words out of his mouth weren’t, as I expected, “Hi Aunt D!” Instead I hear ~
“You have a gold Funko?!?”
Admittedly, my Funko POP collection is visible from the front door, but it’s not like it’s in your face… still, I couldn’t help but giggle at his priorities. I guess collecting runs in the family 😀 (Just FYI, the gold POP I have is Jill Masterson from Goldfinger. Too young for Bond movies, he wasn’t as interested once he found that out.)
So when it came time to create Gregory’s N’n’N quilt, I decided to memorialize this moment in fabric ~ with a quilt designed to look like a Funko POP! featuring my mint-in-box nephew himself!
I’ve done a lot of appliqué quilts over the years, but this quilt has the largest ones I’ve ever created – the ‘doll’ part alone is nearly 3 feet tall! In fact, they were so big, and so layered, that I cut out the backing behind the appliqués for the first time ever so that the finished quilt wouldn’t be too thick to drape. (Because of this, I ended up with a bit of ‘ghosting,’ or seeing the background through the top fabric, in a couple of spots. But I’d rather see a bit of that than him not be able to curl up comfortably with the quilt.)
Like most kids, Gregory is obsessed with video games, so I chose a fun fabric from Camelot called Game On for the back. The colors of the video game controllers definitely influenced my choice for fabrics on the front of the quilt, but when I asked for a photo of him to use as a reference he was wearing that same neon green! So the color scheme will probably be a hit…
When it comes to the actual quilting, I may have over quilted this quilt just a bit. My thinking was, because of there was so much appliqué, that I needed a lot of stitching to hold everything in place. And everything is definitely held in place 😀
I chose a mix of quilting techniques ~ there’s pebble quilting, stippling and, in the outside border, an interesting blend of pebbles surrounded by stippling that I’ve never done before. Also, there’s some stitch-in-the-ditch and some quarter-inch piano keys in the white areas. I like the way it all came together in the end, though; the various textures have a nice flow. And the drape did finish nicely. Definitely curl-up-able (of course that’s a word.)
I lived through the Beanie Baby craze, even purchased a few (still have a Germany bear around here somewhere.) I know fads like Gregory’s ~ and my ~ current interest in Funko POP!s won’t last forever. But, sometimes timelessness isn’t what’s needed. Sometimes all a quilt needs to do is reflect a shared experience, a fun memory. It’s the little moments that I have with my nephew that are truly collectible, and, ultimately, that’s what this POP! Gregory quilt represents.
*Regarding that headline ~ Doing my part to help the Every Little Thing (ELT) podcast get the word nibling added to the dictionary (the more a word is used in daily life, the more likely dictionaries are to include it.) A non-binary word like nibling to collectively refer to all my siblings’ offspring would be so handy! Seriously, with 16 nieces and nephews (plus 3 great nieces and nephews), I’m definitely on board with the campaign to make nibling much more common.
IIRC, it’s usually around second grade that kids start to study the Greek myths in school. Those first lessons baited the hook… but once I found a copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology on my grandmother’s library shelf, it was all over. I’d begun a life-long love affair with the stories of Zeus, Hera and the other gods and goddesses from Mt. Olympus.*
Naturally, as a little girl with an extreme love of learning, Athena, the goddess of wisdom**, was my favorite.
Now that I’m an adult, I have additional obsessions, one being collecting Funko POPs. They have a line of myth-themed POPs, including creatures like Cyclops and the Minotaur. Since there are no gods or goddesses yet, (and, as usual, way more male characters in the line than female,) I’ve had to customize my own Athena POP ~
She started as a Hippolyta figure from DC’s Wonder Woman movie. I wish the hair had been curlier, but the body of the doll was pretty close – Greek-style clothing, check; body armor, check; sword, check.
Although modern research shows that statues of gods and goddesses were often brightly colored, when I was first learning, images of Athena always showed her dressed in white. So I painted most of the clothes on my doll Titanium white. And painted. And painted. You would not believe the number of layers of white paint there are on her! Eventually, though, it was opaque enough and I could move on to other things.
To personalize her a bit more, I fashioned an accent for the bottom of her cape and a breastplate from modeling clay (some Sculpey I had leftover from another project worked great.) After baking, both were spray painted gold and then attached with Zap-a-Gap glue. I also changed her hair color to black to more closely resemble women of Greek-heritage.
Finally, it was time to focus on the most important part ~ her aegis, complete with Medusa head! I knew I didn’t have the skill yet to create a monster-headed shield out of clay, so I started searching for an option online. Eventually I found a Medusa pendant on Etsy that was the right size and splurged on having it shipped from Turkey.
I had to cut the bail off the top and sand it down, but once that was finished, the piece was really starting to resemble a shield. After a couple layers of gold paint, I added the black accent and glued it to the figure. From the front it looks like it’s always been there! (If you look closely at the side, her arm as molded isn’t actually holding it, but you work with what you have…)
In the end, my Athena POP looks just like little 7- to 8-year old me would have imagined, if I could have seen into a future where Funkos existed. 😀 I couldn’t be more pleased!
*Just FYI, I get my mythological fix nowadays with Jason and Carissa Weiser’s Myths and Legends podcast. Highly recommend!
**I had forgotten that, in addition to being the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena is also the goddess of crafts! No wonder she’s my favorite! 😉
Have you ever have one of those projects that you just can’t make work no matter how hard you try? Welcome to my latest disaster…
Although I was originally on a wait list, I ended up getting a Funko Harry Potter Advent calendar when they were released last year. It was a lot of fun opening the doors each day during December. But, while the Pops themselves were nice quality, I worried that the cardboard box they came in would not hold up long term and I started looking for a different option.
Ultimately, I purchased a wooden Advent calendar that looked like a book ~ perfect for Harry Potter, am I right? ~ back in January and have been working to update it off and on for about nine months now.
I HATE it.
The paint is both too thick AND too thin (don’t ask me how).
The pearls look so cheesy.
And the hinges don’t line up.
I thought I found the ideal numbering system in the wax seals, but they aren’t coming across like I’d hoped.
The interior picture keeps coming loose in spots.
And to top it all off, the drawers themselves aren’t large enough to hold some of the Pops!
I’ve finally decided to give up.
I’m just tired of looking at it and fussing over it. I’m tired of spending money on it and I’m really tired of spending time on it.
So, for now, it’s off my to-do list. In a few months, I might come back to it… or I might throw it out.
It’s always disappointing when an idea in your head doesn’t come together like you hope. But, as much as I’d like to be, makers aren’t magicians. Sometimes, a project just fails.
It’s been a couple of weeks since The Crafty Crusader and I exchanged items as part of our International Feminist Craft Swap ~ I quilted her a Serena Williams pillow sham and she knitted me a miniature pussy hat for my Feminist Funko Pop Collection. I’ve spent the last few weeks customizing a Pop to wear the hat and she’s finally finished!
Though I don’t watch Marvel’s Runaways, I started with a Karolina Dean vinyl figure because of the placement of her hands. I suspect she’s supposed to look like she’s casting a spell (?) but for my purposes, they were perfect for holding a protest sign!
Also, I liked that she was young, because I’m very impressed by the next generation of female activists like Emma Gonzalez, Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg. Having nearly reached my 5th decade on this planet, I’m really rooting for these younger women to fix what my generation has (tried and) failed to!
Unfortunately, it turned out that the Dean figure was a bobble head. Because Funkos are newer on the toy doll scene, some other company already has the “non-bobble” vinyl figure license from Marvel, so Funko’s agreement with them states all Marvel Pops have to have bobble heads (who knew small doll heads were such a big deal?)
Anyhow… that means the first thing I had to do to customize my pussy hat Funko was remove the bobble. I researched a few different ways online, but ended up going with my initial idea of a balsa wood connector for her head to rest on. While I couldn’t match the skin color precisely, I don’t think people will be able to tell once she’s on display.
Then it was time for the fun part!
I decided that my Pop was a activist from a long line of activists and wanted to honor those who had come before her. Early 20th century suffragists wore green, purple and white, so I customized her hair to ‘suffragette city’ green, her pants to ‘votes for women’ purple and her tank top to ‘a woman’s place is in the House – and the Senate’ white! I also managed ~ and I honestly didn’t know my hands were this steady ~ to paint VOTE on her shirt with the “O” as the female gender symbol. (Check out her teeny tiny green shoe laces, too!)
Now when she wears her pink pussy hat, it’s like she’s linking the historic women’s movement with the movement of today – plus, that pink yarn really pops with her green hair!
I have also made a series of little protest signs for her to hold. Most of these sayings I got off the internet, looking through pictures from various rallies. I’ve decided I’ll change her sign depending on what administration action offends me most that day. Sadly, as you can see, there are a LOT of signs!
(ETA: These were all made before impeachment proceedings started in Congress. Looks like I need to get my markers back out…)
All this time, I’ve been referring to this as my “pussy hat Funko” or my “Women’s March Funko”. But the more I got into it, the more I felt she needed an actual name. Given the state of world today, Hillary or Elizabeth were strong contenders; Ruth would have been great, too. But ultimately, I settled on Marcia.
My pre-quilting career in public administration started in a small suburban Kansas community called Leawood. Originally hired as an intern, I moved into a special projects role with an emphasis on economic development that worked closely with city’s elected mayor, Marcia Rinehart. This was the first time in my life that I truly realized that a woman could be in a position of power (sadly, I was in my mid 20s at this point.)
Mayor Rinehart was an amazing woman. She was confident and assertive, even forceful when needed ~ city council meetings she chaired never got out of hand no matter what the topic! Yet she was also easy to relate to and really cared about her community and what the residents** needed. Mayor Rinehart was re-elected several times between 1987 and 1997, and when she retired, she’d been Leawood’s longest serving mayor to date.
Leawood was a pretty conservative area, so there’s a chance that Mayor Rinehart might not appreciate having a pussy hat-wearing, feminist Funko named after her. But she was a powerful woman with a powerful influence on me and I hope she’d realize that I truly mean it as an honor.
**Funny aside – Mayor Rinehart is also the person who taught me that people who live in a city are properly called residents, not citizens; you can only be a citizen of a country! 20 years schooling, including a political science undergrad and a public administration graduate degree, never taught me THAT distinction.
All my thanks again to Monique at The Crafty Crusader for knitting the pussy hat that really brings Marcia to life!
A little background first… I’m a collector. Part of it is in my genes (I come from a long line of hoarders) but part of it is also necessary – what kind of quilter would I be without a stash?
Outside of fabric, one of my favorite current collections is Funko Pops. In an effort to reign in my natural instinct to overdo, I’ve limited myself to only female Pops. I call it my Feminist Funko Collection ~
A couple of months ago I started thinking what my collection needed was an actual feminist Funko, a pussy hat wearing representative of the Women’s March movement. Looking around online, I came across Monique over at The Crafty Crusader. She had knitted the perfect pussy hat accessory for one of her Pops and even provided directions!
Unfortunately, my knitting days are long past. I think I last picked up knitting needles as a teen, so we’re talking decades of skill loss. On a whim, I contacted her to see if she’d be willing to knit me one, too. A few conversations later and we’d created our own International Feminist Craft Swap – a miniature pussy hat for me, a Serena Williams quilted pillow sham for her.
ISN’T THE HAT AWESOME?!? I’m hoping to customize this Pop a bit before she goes into the permanent collection – change her hair color, add a feminist symbol to her shirt, maybe pull in some additional suffragette imagery – but the knitted pussy hat is EXACTLY what I hoped for. (True story – when Monique went to look for hat yarn, she found a skein actually called “Pussy Hat” in her stash. It was meant to be!)
Monique seems happy with her quilted pillow sham, too. She shared that Serena Williams is her favorite feminist icon; I agree she’s totally amazing, but I don’t watch a lot of tennis. So I went looking for inspiration online and found this image of Serena’s face by RGB_Rao – their work is stunning and just called out to be recreated in fabric.
I chose solid fabrics to complement the modern, stylized image and created the sham using a mixture of reverse appliqué, machine embroidery and classic grid quilting. This was my first attempt at reverse appliqué and I really hope I did the original artist proud.
This craft swap was so much fun – and it was my first craft swap ever, too! I mean, I’ve exchanged gifts with friends who craft before, but this was an actual, official, quid-pro-quo. I got to give a really cool pillow, with a design that I normally wouldn’t have thought of doing, and, in return, I received a really cool knitted hat that I couldn’t have made myself. It’s like the best of both worlds!
I’d totally be willing to do one again, so if you are a crafter or craftivist looking for someone to swap ideas and inspiration with, let’s hook up – contact me at deidre [@] whimziequiltz.com anytime!
A person cannot quilt 24/7/365. At the very least, I need to stop to eat and – briefly – sleep. And, I’ll admit it, I sometimes get a thrill out of cheating on my quilts with other crafts. I call them WINQ projects, or things to do When I‘m Not Quilting.
While Funko’s motto may be “Everyone is a fan of something,” if you aren’t a Marvel or a Stranger Things fan, your fandom has a large chance of being ignored by the vinyl doll maker (don’t get me started on their dearth of female athletes!) So, in addition to creating a Funko Me, I’ve started making custom Pops to fill in the blanks.
I LOVE Gregory Maguire’s idea behind telling the “true” story of the Wicked Witch of the West, but I’ll tell you a secret – I’ve tried four times to read Wicked and have never made it past the first page. (My favorite author is Robert B. Parker. If you’ve read any the spare dialogue / minimal descriptions from his Spenser series, you’ll probably understand why I find Maguire’s prose just too dense.)
Like I said, though, I love the idea, so I wanted to try my hand at the very popular Elphaba Funko Pop, too…
I chose an Elsa Pop as the base. Not the most original idea, as most of the other custom Elphaba versions I’ve seen online are Elsa Pops, too, but why reinvent the wheel?
Her hair, skin and clothing were all painted with watered-down craft paint (an innovation I read about over on I Like Comics Too that has literally changed my life! I can’t believe how much smoother the paint goes on.) I had to cut a large brush down to about 5 bristles to paint around her hands and feet – and to about 3 bristles for the details on her eyebrows and lashes!
This was my first attempt to create Funko accessories with modeling clay. I know the witch hat isn’t perfect; still, for using nothing but my hands (I didn’t want to purchase a lot of expensive tools) I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
Since I’ve never read the book, I don’t know if Elphaba actually has a black cat, but I do. And while I thought about purchasing a Funko cat to customize as her familiar, there was modeling clay left over after I made the hat and, well, waste not, want not.
Can’t wait to add this Wicked new Funko to my collection. I’ve got more custom Pops in mind that I hope to get to soon, so keep your eye out here for upcoming When I‘m Not Quilting projects!
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.
I 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!
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! 😀