Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Much Needed Update!!!

Hi Friends!!!
It has been way too many months since I have updated our blog and about a year since I have given an update on where our beloved quilts have gone!
I have good excuses for not blogging (NOT ENOUGH TIME!) but I do apologize for not keeping everyone in the loop on recent happenings.  We do have a Facebook group that I update more regularily so check that out if you haven't already.

The big news is that we are up to 2130 quilts given away!  That means that since my last post exactly four months ago we have given away 130 quilts! Wow!  I have been to two prison giveaways in Michigan since then--and loved every minute of my time with the inmates and their children.

Here is a rundown of everything else happening over the last 12 months:
97 went to the mother-baby program at Pine Rest
10 baby quilts went to Kenya
10 went to an immigrant family with adults and children living near church
17 went to organizations serving low-income families
9 went to children with a parent in prison having a birthday
2 went to disabled children in Haiti
7 went to fund-raisers
these are the people who received a quilt when they were diagnosed with/being treated for cancer - Barry, Amy, Bob, An, Thelma, Randy, Elijah, Ruth, Jos
6 quilts went to people who were struggling because of disabilities, surgery, injuries
5 went to children and adults who were mourning a death in their family
we sent out 9 to people whose family member was in prison (mother-in-law, sister, non-birthday)
and 73 were given away at 2 prison giveaways through Forgiven Ministries
On Sunday, my daughter Anne and I will travel to Village of Hope in Guatemala and deliver 23 quilts to children living in an orphanage there! We are so excited!!! Lots of pictures to follow from that!
Again, we would like to thank ALL for helping us out over the last year(s).  Obviously, we cannot do this alone--and so we rely on God for guidance, and volunteer quilters for quilts.
If you have an extra quilt or some time to make a quilt we could really use more quilts for the mother/baby program at Pine Rest. They are seeing more and more women who need help navigating through post-partum depression.  They absolutely LOVE the quilts and always want us to thank those who have helped in the past.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 2000th.....

 This quilt was constructed by my mom.
She made it from fabrics that reminded her of the housecoats that her mom wore around the house many years ago--soft, flowery fabrics.
My mom thought of her 'Aunt' Thelm as she carefully fit the pieces together.  ('Aunt' Thelm is actually married to my grandpa's cousin Herm which would make her my mom's 2nd cousin--made more sense to just call her 'aunt' because their families were so close).
Aunt Thelm has colon cancer and is 86 years old.  As you can imagine, there is not much that can be done.  She is receiving palliative care and waiting....
We knew we were approaching our 2000th quilt given and we decided that it HAD to go to Aunt Thelm.  She was my grandma Margaret's best friend.  So close in fact, that in 1947 my grandparents and Aunt Thelm and Uncle Herm almost had a double wedding!  But as the story goes, my grandparents were 'over-eager' and got married two weeks before Herm and Thelm. 

 If my grandma were still alive and well enough to, she would have cared for her friend Thelm in any way she could.  My mom was my grandma's hands--creating a quilt of comfort and HOPE.  It was very sweet to see my mom give it to her.
 It was also special to see my mom embraced by two people who bring back such good memories of her own parents.   She didn't want to get up from the couch :)  I don't blame her!

And so, a big milestone for Margaret's Hope Chest---2000 quilts.  2000 people just like Aunt Thelm--grasping for HOPE and comfort is an uncomfortable and scary world.  Thank you Jesus for your blessings on our work.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Lots to Share

 Once again, I have been neglecting this blog! I can't believe how time is flying by me!  We move out of Bermuda to Michigan a week from today.  Perhaps I will blog more consistently there?!

My mom has been faithfully delivering a stack of quilts to the Mother/Baby program every few weeks.  Each stack a unique gift of HOPE and love.  Thanks to those who continue to support this program. 

This quilt was made by my mom with the log cabin blocks we collected last year-isn't it great?

On a personal note, I have been trying to use all of my scraps up before the big move.  This is only a fraction of the quilt tops I have made over the past month and a half.  These quilts will be added to the Prison Giveaway pile. 

 I made four tops out of all my girlie strips.  I can't wait to see them finished off!

Monday, April 21, 2014

What's Been Happening?

 I haven't written here in an embarrassingly long time!  I have a laundry list of excuses which include my family is moving internationally yet again, the weather in Bermuda has been amazing this winter/spring and so we have spent as much time outside as possible, I have finished several personal projects over the past few months, and last but not least I am the busy mother of five small children!

Don't mistake lack of blog posts for lack of quilting work though.  I have been busy trying to use up as much fabric as I can before we move!  I spent all of January and February cutting my scraps and smaller pieces into 3 inch squares.
 Now, when I want to throw together a scrap quilt, I just head for the bin and have some fun!
 Here is a quilt I made using those 3 inch squares and some blocks that someone donated to Margaret's Hope Chest.  It was fun putting it all together and I am sure it will make a little girl very happy!
 The backing was a piece of donated fabric as well.  Yeah!

 Most evenings you will find me with this monstrosity on my lap, slowly picking out the stitches of 100's of yo-yo blocks.  Someone donated this antique yo yo quilt to MHC almost two years ago (gulp!).  I decided to take it apart and reuse the intact yo-yo's to create something new.  It has been a fun challenge and I love inventing stories in my head about who made this quilt and where each of the 100's of fabrics came from.  Maybe I will be finished with it in another two years!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

More Quilts to 'A Mother's Hope'

 Look at these BRILLIANT quilts which were delivered to the Mother/Baby program this week!!  Again, I will gush over how each is so unique and special, just like the moms who will choose one to become a symbol of hope in their lives.
Please notice this quilt:

It is the first (of many) made from the log cabin blocks we collected earlier this year!  Isn't it cheerful?!  

A big thank you to those who donated these quilts of the last month.  You make our mission a joy!

We always need more quilts for this program.  This is an ongoing need.  Please see the details HERE and consider helping out!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Few Answers About Hearts of Hope

Here are the answers to some questions that have been raised concerning the Hearts of Hope project: 1.) The pixelated heart can be any size--it just depends on how big you make your squares.
2.) Finished tops/quilts can also be any size but our suggested size in 40X60.
3.) If you have a favorite heart pattern feel free to use it!
4.) If you want to make a rag quilt that is fine too.
5.) Marilyn, who has a long-arm quilting machine, has volunteered to finish off your quilts for you--you just have to send the quilts to her. Here is her address:  
Marilyn Lewis
425 Kirby Ct
Vacaville, Ca


And here is a picture of the boy-themed heart block I made last night ;)

Friday, February 7, 2014

A New Project--Hearts Of HOPE

As promised, we have a new project that we would love you to get involved with.  This program we are calling 'Hearts of HOPE' and hopefully, it will benefit many, many KIDS!!!
The quilts that we make from this collection will go to three separate programs:
1. Kids of prisoners.  This summer and fall we will travel to THREE prison camps and give quilts to approx. 150 boys and girls who have a parent in prison.  If you have been reading here for awhile you know that I love these camps and these families.  This is a HUGE commitment but one we are confident that we can handle. Currently, we have about 5 boy quilts and 25 girl quilts.

2.  Village of Hope in Guatemala.  We sent them a group of 20 quilts last year when they opened their new facility.  They have now started constructing more buildings to house more precious orphan children who are HIV+.  My daughter Anne and I will be traveling to Village of Hope in November for a service project.  We would love to give them an additional 20 quilts for these new children.

3. Mitchell's Journey--In July of 2005 Mitchell was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a catastrophic muscle wasting disease which results in progressive muscle deterioration and is fatal by late teens/early twenties. By the age of 10 it was that discovered Mitchell's heart function had deteriorated much sooner than expected. In less than a year he passed away from acute heart failure.
Mitchell's family has asked for quilts to distribute to other children who are in the hospital with heart conditions.  We are happy to help this family on their journey to healing and understanding. Here is something Mitchell's mom wrote about their quilt giving on Dec. 24, 2013:
On December 24th, just as we were about to spend time at home as a family we delivered some gifts and quilts to Primary Children’s Hospital CICU (the same place that cared for our little boy). Nobody has cardiac failure on their schedule so you almost always end up unprepared to stay there. With that in mind we took some quilts that were donated to Mitchell's Journey and other gifts we gathered along with messages of hope to give to some of the families that found themselves there Christmas Eve.

We would like to involve as many Mitchell’s Journey followers as are interested next year and try to bless as many lives as humanly possible.

These quilts were donated by loving hands and hearts from Pipestone Minnesota. A follower of Mitchell’s Journey, Nichole Rieck, who has since become a dear friend to our family mobilized people in her community to help Mitchell’s Journey last spring and the echo of that effort continued on this day as these quilts found a home and tender hearts to comfort. A few of these quilts were made by Mavis Holt, an 87 year old woman, who hand sewed the most intricate works of warmth and art. Karla Whipple, also from Pipestone, Nichole, and others generously made beautiful quilts and donated them in hopes that it might help.

Our greatest desire was that those who found themselves away from the comfort of home and the flickering light of a fireplace but instead lay under the flashing lights of monitors and endless beeps found a little comfort that night.

As we parked the car and walked to the hospital I found myself struggling to breathe. For a moment it was hard to go back there. Part of me wanted to run down the hall in desperate search of my son. My knees were weak and my heart was racing as my eyes began to swell. Even though it has been almost a year, it felt like we were just there a few days ago. But as we walked toward the building and I saw my wife and kids cheerful and anxious to help others, my tears turned from sorrow to love and appreciation. Suddenly my heart, which moments ago, was heavy as lead became light as snow.

I don’t know many things, but what I do know is our sorrows can be swallowed up in the service of others. The moment we set aside our own hurts to lift someone else, who also hurts, both burdens are made light.

Isn't that beautiful??   We too discovered that our sorrows can be swallowed up in service to others.

So, my friends, we have so much work to do!!!  Let's start with these fun and easy HEART projects!!
Project #1--Pixelated Heart.  This is one so easy.  All you need is lots of squares!  My squares were 3 inches but you can choose any size you have handy.  I separated the the rows so you can see the pattern in each row.  This project can be for a boy or a girl.  

Sorry I didn't trim my threads--I only have so much time each day!!
 If you choose this project you have three options--send us just the pixelated heart, add a few borders to the pixelated heart and then send the finished top to us, or finish the whole quilt and send it to us.  Of course, we would love as many finished quilts as possible but we also understand that the time, materials, and talent aren't always there so do what you can!!

Project #2- Be Good to Your Heart Block (by Amy Smart)

This block tutorial on Amy's blog Diary of a Quilter is great.  I followed it last night (and this morning) to make this block. * There are many steps and you do need to read very carefully though. *
This makes a 12.5 inch block that I think is just perfect for this project. 
These blocks can be boy themed or girl themed.  I will be working up a boy themed one tonight just for fun. 
Please make as many as you can and send them to us.  We will assemble them into tops and finish the quilts off.  What a special gift they will make to any of the children listed above. 
Share your work with others and encourage them to join in!

The Hearts of Hope project will run until March 20th. 
Please send all completed blocks and quilts to :
Margaret's Hope Chest
630 Griswold SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507

Again, we are very thankful for so many who help us to continue our work of serving others.  What joy this work brings to us and others.  THANK YOU!