Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Word about Craft Hope

While we have officially launched the Hope Squared project here on our blog and around the Grand Rapids area, you may have noticed that our partner Craft Hope has not. I just wanted to take a few sentences to assure you that they will be launching us as their 5th project in about 2 weeks. Craft Hope's founder, Jade, is delivering a new baby TODAY-enough said :).
We have a growing interest is what we are doing. There was a small annoucement made at the West Michigan Quilters Guild meeting last week. Charlotte heard the announcement and promptly got involved and donated 4 quilts-yahoo! Slowly, quilters are adding our button to their personal blogs. Some have even taken the time to write a short post about our project. Thanks so much. Each little bit helps get the word out. Do you have a quilt blog where you could add our button?
We will get a HUGE boost in publicity this weekend when Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood will write a article for the Grand Rapids Press and feature a podcast interview with yours truly (and my mom) on her Craft Sanity site. I believe that she will also do a quick quilt tutorial on Take Five and Company on Friday morning. Wow. Do you believe that we can collect 400 quilts in a month and a half?

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Weekend Challenge

Despite the fact that I just launched our Hope Squared project this week and I am knee-deep in 4,5,and 6 inch squares, I have joined Prairie Moon Quilts for her weekend challenge. The biggest challenge for me will be finding room around my house to cut out and organize the pieces needed for this quilt! I started this quilt at a class last month at my neighborhood quilt shop.
It is a bit challenging and you have to be paying attention but I think I will have time seeing as it is supposed to rain this weekend in Toronto. My goal for this quilt is to finish it (novel idea!) have it quilted by our volunteer long-arm quilter, and give it to another non-profit organization called Conquerors to auction off and raise money for them.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Introducing HOPE SQUARED

I am literally bursting with excitement over MHC's fall project-HOPE SQUARED. We are partnering with Craft Hope to get the quilts made. Not familiar with Craft Hope? Click on their button on the side bar to see what they have been up to for the past few months and then take a few minutes and read what we are doing and consider helping us.

Margaret’s Hope Chest was born out of tragedy. Margaret Herrema was my spunky 81-year-old grandmother. She was also a wife, mother, great-grandmother, and volunteer quilter who was murdered in the parking lot of a grocery store in April of 2005. What prepared her family to walk the long and painful road of violent crime? Nothing. What guided them through the days and months of grieving and confusion? HOPE. Hope that there were people who cared. Hope that good would triumph of evil. Hope that her death was not an end but a beginning.
Margaret’s Hope Chest is a quilting non-profit organization that serves other people in seemingly hopeless situations. We strive to share with people around the world the HOPE that we have been given.
Over the past two years we have given over 100 quilts to children, adults, families, and organizations. Each quilt has joined a journey- a journey of sickness, death, abuse, fire, disease, disability, or new beginning.
This summer we stepped out in faith when we agreed to provide a quilt for each child in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public School system who is homeless during the Christmas season. The exact number will not be clear until November but considering the economic climate in Michigan it will more than likely be high (200+). Consider the journey of a homeless child. No house to walk into at the end of a long day, no couch to cuddle on and read books with mom or dad. No kitchen to walk into and help themselves to a snack. No bedroom to sleep in- nothing to give that child the security that a home brings.
What might a handmade quilt mean to a homeless child? It might bring warmth to a 5-year-old boy in a drafty room. It might give hope to a 12-year-boy who never had a handmade gift before. It might give comfort to an 8-year-old girl who wants something pretty to snuggle under.
This project is easy. We are calling this quilt pattern HOPE SQUARED. Make a quilt out of squares. Any size, any number, any color. Use up some scraps. Dig out your kid-themed fabrics and pair them with some bright solids. Please consider that all ages of children will be receiving these quilts-boys and girls. Base the size of your quilt on the size of the child you have in your mind as you create it. **If you are new to quilting and don’t know how to finish and bind a quilt or if you have limited time, you can construct the top of the quilt (the squares) and send that to us and we will gladly finish the rest for you.
The word excitement doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about being this month’s project. I am hopeful that many of you read this and feel led to join Margaret’s Hope Chest as we bring hope to children, one quilt at a time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And Here It Is

I started this beauty on Thursday of last week. My husband asked me tonight, "Why are you working so feverishly on that quilt?" I didn't think I was working feverishly-I have been eating and sleeping (10 hours last night:)) but I was inspired and determined. Just for the record, there are 720 squares and I followed a pattern that I found at Moda Bake Shop. Now I can give this top to our volunteer Longarm quilter this week and very soon it will be ready to give away......can't wait!

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Just Wait.....

until you see what these are turning into.

You are going to drool over this quilt. Truly. It's that amazing.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


My neighborhood quilt shop was having a big birthday sale today and since I NEVER pay full price for fabric
I was one of the first customers in the door this morning. I am most excited about the Moda Layer Cake-my first ever! I wonder what I can make with it? My little helper, Clara, helped me pick out the fat quarters-good choices sweetie. I walked away with 8 yards of fabric, 1 layer cake, 2 charm packs, and 7 fat quarters for less than $80. Look for quilts made from these fabrics and our donated fabrics in our upcoming Hope Squared project!

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Monday, September 14, 2009


Last Friday this quilt was sent to Angie. She is brave. I'm not sure she would acknowledge that but anyone who tells their story as truthfully as she did is brave in my book. I don't know Angie but I read an article that she had written in a magazine and instantly, I knew that I needed to make her a quilt. You see, I struggled with Post-Partum Depression after two of my pregnancies. I understand a little of what Angie describes below;

"September 21, 2007, I walked into a local emergency room after struggling with depression for two years. I was done. I spent the day in a quiet, dark room, curled up in a chair while waiting for a member of the crisis team to assess me.

I wanted to die. Thoughts of oncoming gravel trucks filled my mind.

I was admitted to the hospital. I remember asking my sister-in-law, “How do I go home?”

I was done. Little did I know that my descent into the dark was only beginning.

Depression is a brutal illness. Imagine forsaking all you hold dear. I walked away from my husband, my children, my home, the activities surrounding it, the love intertwined through it, the security I felt within. It felt foreign. I knew no way to return."

This is only part of what she wrote. She did an excellent job describing depression and it's effects on normal life. When I read this next excerpt a picture of a quilt was painted in my mind.

"I still deal with depression. It sneaks in when I am tired or when life becomes overwhelming. I am not always comfortable in my own home, and I deal with anxiety on a daily basis.

But I have been given much. I treasure color: oranges, yellows, blues, greens. I treasure my bright orange bowls and green spatulas. I send myself colorful cards full of words of encouragement to open on bad days. I buy myself bouquets of bright flowers. I still wear dresses, not to hide the ugliness but to enjoy their feel. And every morning I wrap myself in a warm cotton sweater and enjoy a walk with my dog through the trees. And if the wind is in the trees, I can feel the breath of God settling into me. He is there.

I love the colors in the quilt I created for Angie. It is my prayer that this quilt will provide comfort and hope for her journey ahead.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One True HOPE

I came across this ad on Facebook this morning. It upsets me a bit because I feel as if 100's of people are going to be misled at this conference. According to their advertising you can create HOPE in your life simply through positive thinking and step by step techniques. I would rename this the Optimism Conference. I believe one can create positive thinking and optimism in their life but HOPE is a deeper issue.
I believe that true HOPE comes from a belief is Jesus Christ. A belief that there is a plan for your life beyond this earthly life. Life on earth (both the good and bad) is only part of God's plan for each of us.
At MHC we try to share the HOPE that we have with others who feel HOPELESS. We are completely aware that some of the people we give quilts to don't share this true HOPE. We don't force our beliefs on them but we strive to serve gently and carefully.

2009 Hope Symposium

On the weekend of September 19/20, 2009, the NLP Canada Training community will gather at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto for the HOPE Symposium. NLP is the art of replicating excellence: it offers a direct, effective way to promote and sustain the HOPE that good things are attainable in our lives, work and relationships.

Almost 20 speakers, all NLP practitioners trained at NLP Canada Training, will offer compelling stories of how they have integrated NLP into their work in fields as diverse as training, coaching, entrepreneurship, alternative health care, counseling and IT. It is an ideal opportunity for NLP enthusiasts to learn more about the difference that NLP practices make in the way people see the world and shape it. A limited number of weekend passes will be reserved for sale to newcomers who are curious about how NLP offers tools for making a positive difference in themselves and the world.

Why you’ll be glad you came:

  • Speakers with success in consulting, coaching, teaching and alternative health
  • Presentations that combine concepts with stories and suggestions you can use
  • Hope is contagious! You’ll catch some at the conference and spread it to those around you.