Tagged: WINQ

Display or Display Not, There is No Dining Room

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.

Prior to retiring, my husband worked in the biotech industry, mainly manufacturing medical devices. Not surprisingly, expertise like his has been fairly in demand during the COVID quarantine, so he’s picked up a few consulting gigs on the side. After a little encouragement, he decided to splurge a bit with the money he made and help out a small craft business at the same time, buying a custom-built Star Wars lightsaber from Ultrasabers.com.


Ultrasabers makes a really high quality lightsaber replica – this model lights up, makes all the right sound effects, comes with a specialized battery charger, etc – but I was still a bit worried about it getting damaged if we didn’t come up with a way to carefully show it off. So we worked together to build a display rack that will sit in the middle of our dining room table and store the piece when not in use. (Yes, he plays with it; how could you not? 😉 )

The rack itself is made from a couple of pieces of poplar wood. I’d have preferred pine, but finding wood that can be delivered to your home in a pandemic is surprisingly difficult. Ok, maybe that’s not surprising, but you know what I mean…

The upright braces have “U” shaped holes cut out of them to hold the each end of the lightsaber. Using a hole drill and jigsaw made the cuts fairly easy to do; finding the right height for each piece so that the saber would be level while resting was the hardest part.

The words were added by graphite transfer and filled in with Sharpie markers and then the whole piece was stained. A little bit of wood glue holds the braces in place and there’s also a few felt pads on the bottom so it doesn’t scratch up the table surface. For a final touch, we added some adhesive felt to the insides of the “U”s so that the lightsaber isn’t resting directly on the stain.

We’re really pleased with how it turned out! It looks great in what is becoming more and more a place to show off our fun Sci-Fi related memorabilia and less and less a place to actually eat. Maybe our next project should be a Star Trek food replicator…

It’s a FAAAAKE! :: ‘Fabric’-ated Plant WINQ

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.

Sorry for titling this post with an obscure Star Trek:Deep Space Nine quote, but I do love that particular episode (In the Pale Moonlight). And even though the scene had nothing at all to do with the mock fabric plant I was making, while working on this WINQ, the actor’s over-the-top line reading kept going through my head over and over until it stuck.

In any case, the real reason I decided to make a fake plant was that our kitty would eat any real ones I put out. So I pulled a bit of fun green fabric from my stash, found myself a tutorial online and made this cute little addition to our living room decor ~


It’s definitely a fake; no one’s going to mistake it for a real plant. But it’s just what the coffee table needed and was very easy to create. In fact, I’ve started looking around to see if there are any other spots in the house that could use a splash of pseudo-succulent color. This may not be my last ‘fabric’-ated plant! 😀

Lookin’ Sharp :: Cactus Table Runner WINQ

A person cannot quilt 24/7/365. At the very least, you 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.

We recently had to reupholster an oversized chair in our living room, which kind of led to a moderate freshening of the whole space. A little paint, some new art, a rug, and, most recently, a new table runner for the coffee table…


Originally, the runner on this table was a sunflower design embroidered on bright red felt by Steph at TwoKazoos. While I’d done some felt crafting in the past, Steph is so amazing – I actually own several pieces of her artwork! – that it’s really inspired me to up my embroidery game. The result was this cactus-themed decor piece ~


Steph does her stitching completely by hand, while I had to sew mine with ¼” inch guides, but I’m still really happy with how it turned out. I tried a few new-to-me embroidery stitches, the running stitch and 8-point stars, so it was a fun learning experience, too.

My plan now is to have the cactus-theme decor up for winter and spring, then switch back to the sunflower designs for summer and fall. I read somewhere that if your artwork and home decor doesn’t change once in a while, your brain starts to take it for granted – you walk right past and forget to appreciate it the way you did when it was first displayed. In other words, it’s good shake things up occasionally!

While looking for cactus inspiration on Pinterest I came across this quotable that was just too funny not to share


Yeah, that’s going to need to go somewhere in our new decor at some point, too. 😀

Feminist Funko Finished!

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!


deanThough 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?)

BobbleFixAnyhow… 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.



Women’s March Marcia, proudly wearing her pussy hat and carrying a protest sign, displayed with some of the other female Pops in my Feminist Funko Pop Collection.

All my thanks again to Monique at The Crafty Crusader for knitting the pussy hat that really brings Marcia to life!

Giving a WINQ, Up the Chimney It Rose

stikwoodAlthough I hoped to finish a quilted tote bag I’ve been working on instead, this weekend was set aside for a When I‘m Not Quilting (WINQ) project – adding wood paneling to our upstairs fireplace.

The fireplace is designed to be a divider between two rooms (we don’t use it much here in Southern California, but it’s come in handy on a few winter nights when the desert chill rolls in.) The chimney part that hides the vent rises to the ceiling and was done in traditional drywall and orange peel. It was calling out for something more dramatic, though!

So we decided to add Stickwood paneling.

We hadn’t planned to do this project until later in the year, but Stickwood was discontinuing the Honey color wood we wanted; luckily, we snatched up the planking before it sold out (at clearance prices!)

Since this was our upstairs fireplace, and the table saw was downstairs outside the garage, we hired a friend’s son to be the runner between us. (It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that our ancient knees couldn’t take the repeated strain and don’t let anyone tell you differently. 😀 ) Having his help cut the time in half; we finished measuring, cutting and attaching all the planks – including some not quite level rip cuts along the top – in less than 4 hours.

Although Stikwood offers edging, I found the metal corner trim we decided to use online at Home Depot. It did require a special metal blade/grinder to cut, but with the right tools it wasn’t a problem.

We’re really pleased with the way it turned out – it does make the fireplace focal point much more dramatic!

However, in the interest of being completely truthful, I’m going to mention one note of caution.  If you are a stickler for precision, Stikwood may not be for you.  It’s a natural product, made from reclaimed or sustainable wood.  There are tiny gaps here and there and some edges that don’t match up exactly. I’m sure some of that is installer error – our first attempt! – and some is caused by a 15+ year old house which was never level to start with.

But you definitely end up with a rustic look. Which is perfect for what we wanted, but may not be for everyone. I have to admit, though, the whole time I was working on this project, I kept imagining an entire accent wall of wood with an antique quilt hanging in front of it.  It would be absolutely lovely!  Maybe that’ll be my next WINQ…


Halloween “Please Take Some” Sign

Since Halloween was on a Monday night this year, we didn’t want to sit out in the driveway greeting trick-or-treaters like we have been the last several years.  And, even though we were home, we’re getting too old to get up and down every time the door rings. (Sad, but true.)

So we decided to leave candy on the porch with a sign encouraging kids to take just a couple…


Using our Ring door monitoring system we watched kids come by for an hour or so.  Most read the sign and stuck to the plan, but as the night wore on, the kids got greedier… and we ended up with far less candy than we should have.

To all you gluttonous little goblins and ghouls – thanks for keeping us from eating the leftovers! 🙂