Friday, May 29, 2009


The Story Behind the 2009 Depp-Community Birthday Project

I want to share with you a beautiful account of a diverse community coming together to celebrate a very special man.

In spring of 2008, Longtime DeppFan, a moderator for Depp Impact’s message board, asked for suggestions for what the membership would like to do for Johnny Depp’s upcoming birthday – not an unusual activity for any fan board. Many good suggestions were submitted and one was chosen. At the same time, discussion began for another suggestion for Johnny’s 2009 birthday. Wanting to do something in which each person could be personally involved and would also include those who aren’t able to be part of a fund raising project, a quilt made from blocks signed by Johnny’s admirers was chosen.

Planning for the quilt began immediately. Quilting books were consulted. Rough patterns were sketched out on graph paper. A color palette and fabrics were chosen. By June it was set to go. All that was needed were participants to sign the blocks. Just days into September the call went out.

The first notice of the project appeared, surrounded in secrecy, on Depp Impact’s message board. The information revealed was only that something special was being planned and that it required lots of hands. Those interested in receiving more information were encouraged to respond by email. Inquiries came in and details of the project were sent out.

Early in the planning it was decided that this was to be a special gift – one that would tear down the barriers between the many individual Depp-communities. Administrators and moderators of the larger individual communities were sent information and invited to participate. Those communities that so kindly decided to support the project recruited their members in a manner similar to Depp Impact - surrounded in mystery. Additional requests for information poured in. Details were sent out. The smaller Depp-communities became aware of the cause from the larger communities and joined in spreading the word.

In the end, nearly two hundred inquiries were received. Fourteen individual communities participated. One hundred forty squares were mailed out and one hundred twenty-one were signed and returned from Depp-admirers all over the world. The result was an amazing gift filled with love, admiration and respect.


Yes, it's me.

Time Line
*Click on the thumbnails to view photos*
Please excuse the quality of some of the photos

April 2008
  • Suggestions for Johnny’s 2008 Birthday Project were requested on Depp Impact
  • Quilt selected for 2009

May 2008
  • Rough draft of the quilt pattern created
  • Color palette chosen

Pattern Draft

June 2008
  • Fabrics chosen

September, 2008
  • Recruitment of participants began

Instructions sent with fabric square

September 19, 2008
  • 48 squares mailed

September 21, 2008
  • 70 squares mailed

September 23, 2008
  • 1st signed square received

September 25, 2008
  • Goal reached of 120 squares mailed out
  • Wait list started for potential use pending the number of squares returned

September 27, 2008
  • 6 signed squares received

First 6 squares

September 30, 2008
  • 3 blocks pieced

First 3 blocks

October 5, 2008
  • Do to popular request from participants to keep informed of the quilt’s progress, periodic email updates began.
  • Total of 29 squares returned

October 11, 2008
  • Total of 52 signed squares returned, 36 pieced into blocks

35 pieced blocks

October 18, 2008
  • Total of 72 signed squares returned, 52 pieced into blocks
  • Wait list activated
  • 20 additional squares mailed out.

October 25, 2008
  • Total of 80 signed squares returned, 63 pieced into blocks

80 squares

November 1, 2008
  • Total of 88 signed squares returned and pieced into blocks
  • Request for quilt name suggestions opened

Piecing a square into a block

November 8, 2008
  • 55 quilt name suggestions submitted.
  • Three selected for a vote by the community: Namaste - Symbolic of love and respect. Popular interpretations include "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me." and "Your spirit and my spirit are ONE." Caravan - A group of people traveling together. Of Hearts and Hands - A more poetic way of expressing our sentiments

November 16, 2008
  • Polling closed – Namaste was chosen by popular vote

November 26, 2008
  • 7 columns of 13 blocks assembled
  • Last 4 squares in route

December 18, 2008
  • 9 columns of 13 blocks assembled and joined
  • Borders added
  • Quilt top complete

Completed quilt top

January 3, 2009
  • Layers assembled to create the quilt
  • Quilting complete around 3 columns of signature squares

Quilting around a signature square

January 18, 2009

  • Quilting complete around 5 columns of signature squares

The quilting continues

January 31, 2009

  • Quilting complete around 7 columns of signature squares

Moving the quilting ring

February 17, 2009
  • Quilting complete around 9 columns of signature squares and border
  • Binding attachment in progress
  • Dedication Square ready to be attached

February 27, 2009
  • Quilt complete

Sections of the completed quilt

Dedication square

April 27, 2009
  • Quilt mailed

Preparing the quilt for shipment

May 6, 2009
  • $213 donation made to Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care from surplus donations toward the cost of materials for the quilt

June 1, 2009
  • Letter of appreciation received from Johnny


  1. A big HUG and a THANK YOU to Susan and all those who organized this! I am so grateful to you for your hard work and effort and feel very lucky for having the chance to participate. I had been on the waiting list. Thanks for everything!! :-)

    From Ellen
    Carrboro, NC

  2. Hi Johnny,

    I hope that you will have a wonderful time with your family and friends on your very special day. All my love!

    Andrea (Johnnygirl24)

  3. Susan,

    This is very cool and a great idea! Thanks so much and blessings to you and your family.


    Lori Goodner, PA

  4. I was thrilled to be a part of this - you're wonderful Susan!

  5. What a truly beautiful and heartfelt project. Much love went into this-from everyone involved. I am happy and proud to have been a part of this project.
    Thank you, Susan.

  6. Susan, the quilt is beautiful, you are beautiful. Simply put, I thank you!

  7. Susan,

    Thank you so, so much for allowing all of us to be a part of something so special, and for your many hours of loving work. The quilt is gorgeous, and Johnny's response is a treasure ♥

    Ellensburg, WA

  8. And how about the Markers that went Round the World? Hee hee! (I wonder where they wound up?)

    Thanks for organizing this, Susan. It's been great fun.

    ~ California

  9. To all of you - it was my pleasure. I mean that sincerely.

    I received so much more from being a part of this than I gave. Your trust and support was and continues to be an amazing gift that I will treasure. Thank you so very much.

  10. From Cathy in Maryland:

    What a monumental, beautiful, awesome achievement! Thanks to you Susan for all of your hard work and beautiful artistry. And thanks to all the wonderful Depp fans all over the world for coming together to contribute! I am proud to be just one small part of this!

    And all the best and sincerest wishes to Johnny on his 46th Birthday- may it be a wonderful one for him!

  11. Ditto what all have said, and djarum99's response says it for me, too.

    Namaste, Susan!

  12. From Rita in Indiana
    The quilt is beautiful!!! I wish I was able to be a part of it but I was too late in replying to the notice and all the squares were gone. At least I can still send a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY out to Johnny Depp and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  13. Seriously,*-* It was the best gift someone did for an actor! *-* Incredible,hon! You ARE ROCK!! Thank Youuuu sooo much for sharing this to us. MuWAHHH! :3 Regys

  14. I really can't believe I didn't join that project. My mom makes patchwork herself and I love it.

    I'm glad you got a so beautiful reply from Johnny, he is so lovely!

  15. How beautiful. You are all lovely. And so is he.

    Pat from Toronto, Canada

  16. I'm loving all the wonderful birthday wishes. I've shared this blog with friends and family. they're all impressed. Thanks again for making the website as well as lovingly stitching the quilt and making sur Johnny received it, and sharing his reply with us.
    I'm a little sad that there was one birthday comment that had to be deleted.

  17. ^No worries. The comment was deleted because it was a duplicate. It's all good.

    All of you comments are very touching. I am just so very happy that I was able to do what you so generously gave me your trust to do. Isn't it amazing what we can accomplish when it is love that unites and guides us?

  18. I'm from the third coast, STx and I'm Pearlseed on live journal. This is to Miz Susan. You are a gracious and generous human being and this demonstration of such is just flat out one of the sweetest gifts, self. Thank you for this idea made real, proves to my heart that I'm right--life is good. Blessings on you and yours and whenever it might be, Happy Birthday from an old hippie girl what's just rocked on about your spirit. If you're ever in STx, I'll buy you a beverage of your choice and we can settle the problems of the world--don't imagine it would prove much of a challenge to one as creative as you.

  19. How sweet, pearlseed! I'm flattered by your generous praise.

    Thank you for your birthday wishes. I may take you up on that beverage of choice some day. I don't know that we could solve any problems, but we sure could laugh an afternoon away.

  20. BRAVO Susan, on a project beautifully planned and perfectly executed! Johnny is a lucky man to have such dedicated and lovely fans ... and such a QUILT! BELLISSIMO! xoxo

  21. Hi!
    I hardly believe that I took part of this marvelous masterpiece.
    Arnelle, thank you very much for telling me about the project, Susan, thank you for all your lovely work and congrats to all who take part of it.
    And Johnny... you know Love changes the world, and you change our world.

    São Paulo - Brazil

  22. Hi!!! I am Jackeline from Brazil.
    I liked your Blog and your gift to Johnny!!!!
    I have a gift for him too... hehehe
    Please, I have a Blog too, so, check it out and leave a comment.

  23. This is absolutely beautiful. So what will be done for his 2010 birthday. I'd love to be involved but have no idea how to match, let alone top this most most wonderful and unique gift.