Monday, February 22, 2010

My Life, My Ministry

***Welcome to readers from Kelly's Korner****

My life was somewhat normal until April of 2005-that's when my 81-year-old grandmother, Margaret was murdered in a grocery store parking lot. The last few hours of her life would shape the next 5 years of my life in ways I never would have imagined.
2 years after her death, my mom and I joined together to form Margaret's Hope Chest-a quilting ministry that brings HOPE to people in tough situations. Over the past 3 years we have given over 500 quilts to people all over the United States. This blog has documented every step of the way and is a testament to God's amazing plan for us. Our current program, 'Wrapped in Hope' is a ministry to the children of at least one incarcerated parent. One of the women who was convicted of my grandmother's murder has a young daughter--I think of her often (though I have never met her) and can imagine the pain and emptiness in her life without her mom. I have always wanted the mission of Margaret's Hope Chest to come full circle and to serve the people who had caused my grandma's death--'Wrapped in Hope' is our first step in that direction.
Maybe some of you have been a victim of a violent crime and know how hard it is to forgive. We want to encourage you to take a small step in that direction and ask God what it is that he would have you do to serve others. If you are a quilter or a quilt-lover--we would love for you to help us give a child a special quilt of HOPE for their birthday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wrapped in Hope Update

Good Morning Hope lovers! Did you know that there are currently 11 kids in our Wrapped in Hope program who need a volunteer quilter? That means there is room for you to help!! Here is how this program works:

1. Take a look at the children who are AVAILABLE on the right-hand sidebar. Right now we have about 11 children available--but new kids are added every day. If you see one that interests you--e-mail Carin at and she will confirm that you are quilting for that child.
2. Please make the quilt with at least one of the interests that are listed. Minimum size of the quilt should be 40X60. Quilts can be tied or quilted. Make sure the quilt is clean before sending--no pet hair etc.
3. Start the quilt whenever you choose--but the quilt must be finished 2 weeks prior to the birthday. 2 weeks before the birthday please post a picture of it on the Flickr site and e-mail Carin.
4. When she receives your e-mail, Carin will send you the mailing address for the child.
5. You will be sending the quilt directly to the child but please use Margaret's Hope Chest mailing address as the return address--just in case there is trouble.
6. Please add a small birthday greeting with the quilt--a simple card that says "Happy Birthday _______! This quilt was made just for you because you are special to your dad!" or something like that!

It's that simple. We are getting amazing feedback from the mothers and fathers of these children--the quilts are a physical reminder that mom/dad still love them and miss them very much--something that the kids can WRAP around themselves. Here is a note we received from the mother of a little boy who received his quilt about 2 weeks ago: "I don't know where to begin. . . My son Aaron loves his new quilt. My other children can't wait for their birthdays for one (laugh). Aaron sleeps with his quilt and picture of his Dad. He absolutely loves his quilt from his dad. It is beautiful! You made my son feel as if his dad made the quilt with his own hands. I can't thank you enough for what you've done. Thank you. Thank you! Thank you!!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Winner!!

The winner of this quilt is an 11-year-old girl named Jessica who has two different types of kidney cancer that has spread:" one to her pelvis bone and one type to her lungs. There is no chemo, no surgery or clinical trial available for her, just radiation to try and slow it down. Her family is in so much pain. "

The woman who nominated this young lady is named Michelle- she is a cancer patient herself--she met Jessica and her mother at the hospital while receiving radiation treatment. We actually gave Michelle a quilt too-back in January and so the quilt giving has come full circle once again--and that just warms my heart! I have added a link to Michelle's Care Page on the right hand side of the blog.

Please pray with me that this quilt will bring HOPE to this family that faces such a scary and unknown future.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quilting for Hope

Quilting for Hope is the name of the class I am teaching at my daughter's school during the month of February. Each Tuesday afternoon I have the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with 11 eager and prolific young quilter-designers. It is a multi-age class, so the kids span in age from 8-12. To say I am enjoying this would be an understatement. What a pleasure it has been to help these children learn to serve others through quilting. The quilts they are designing will be donated to children who are staying at an emergency women and children's shelter in Toronto. I won't say more--I will let the pictures speak for themselves. (the students designed all of the tops by themselves-I gave a few suggestions-most of which were ignored :))

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jazmen's Quilt

Jazmen is a 'Wrapped in Hope' child--and her birthday is Feb. 23! I finished this today--well, the washing and trimming part of it! I quilted it using a stitch that I saw on Crazy Mom Quilts blog a few months back (hey, does anyone miss her like I do??)--she called it a double swirl I think--her 'practice' runs were better than my finished product but hey, it's done--and it will be in the mail this week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why 'Wrapped in Hope'?

As I drove my kids to school this morning, I started writing this post in my head--I would use brilliant words to inspire every reader to sign up to be a volunteer quilter for our 'Wrapped in Hope' quilt program. And then I came home- sat down here at my computer and nothing I wrote felt right. I am not sure what to say to convince more people that what we are doing is worthwhile without sounding conniving and desperate-neither of which I consider myself to be. And so the only thing I could come up with is to share with you a few things that the non-incarcerated parents have written to us when signing up their children for this program. Remember that these words are not written to me but to each volunteer quilter-I am only the go between :)

"This is wonderful! I am glad I saw your thread here on Prisontalk. My husband has been in prison 5 years and has 5 more years to go before coming home, and we have 2 daughters ages 8 and 5."

"My son, her father has been in since she was 4 1/2 months old. I am raising her. She will be 18 when he gets out. Anything special means a whole lot to her. We had a box of special things saved for her and it was stolen two years ago from a storage unit we had. Now we are making a new box. This is such a wonderful thing for you to do."

"What you're doing for us families is just remarkable and we are truly blessed to have someone so generous to provide hope for our children. May God bless you and the other volunteers!"

"Your a God send thank you so much for what your doing I think its a great thing. Our daughter will be 16 this year. This has been really hard on her shes a daddys girl & has never been away from him til this happened she misses him hes 5 hrs away we cant afford to visit very much."

I know that many women (and men) reading this are already doing volunteer quilting--there are dozens of great organizations out there who are doing wonderful things. But if you have a few extra days in your year to give to one of these children--look over the list on the sidebar (which is growing daily!) and pick a child and e-mail me at margaretshopechest at yahoo dot com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Finish and a Near Finish

First, the near finish. Well, it is only a top--but my goodness, it turned out way cuter than I thought it would. This quilt will be set to Jazmen later this month for her 11th birthday. She is one of the 'Wrapped in Hope' kids--and she loves pink, green and Tweety Bird. I used Crazy Mom Quilts tutorial on zig-zag quilts and it was so easy! I started this on Sunday and today it was done! You will surely see this pattern again!

I used Sew Inspired square in a square tutorial for this baby-themed quilt. I love the simplicity and brightness of it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is our 3rd quilt of HOPE. We are taking nominations for a GIRL that could use a gift of HOPE.

This quilt measures 59''X 69". It was donated to us during our HOPE SQUARED program and we thought it was so special that we set it aside for this program.
So, just like last time, if you know someone please leave a comment with a first name and a brief description of the situation. You can also e-mail your nomination to Carin . I will pick a winner on FEBRUARY 15-and as always SPREAD THE HOPE!
* Please only recommend a child that you have an address for (or could get an address for)
*The quilt will be directly sent to the child.
*More than one recommendation per person is great-just leave a separate comment for each child.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bursting at the Seams With Good News!

Wow, it is good to start Monday with lots of good news!
GOOD NEWS! Last night I posted the winner of the 2nd Quilt of Hope winner--we are praying that quilt is a comfort and source of HOPE to that young woman!
GOOD NEWS! We now have 37 children signed up to receive a birthday quilt through 'Wrapped in Hope'. We have 32 quilters from around the country who have committed to making a special quilt for a special child!
GOOD NEWS! We need more volunteer quilters! On the sidebar is a list of the kids we are serving--when you see a big red AVAILABLE it means there is room for YOU to help!! Leave a comment and e-mail Carin if you are interested.
GOOD NEWS! I finished making this quilt for Aaron who just celebrated his 6th Birthday (don't worry, his mom knows it will be a late delivery!) -it's on it's way to Pennsylvania tomorrow!

GOOD NEWS! I found a woman who is collecting blankets/quilts/fleece blankets/knitted afghans etc. to be sent to Haiti with a group in March. A few readers had asked for this information-I added a button on my sidebar that says 'Blankets for Haiti'--we will be sending her a few-will you?
GOOD NEWS! I have made contact with a woman who works with Prison Fellowship in Michigan and they are interested in 'Wrapped in Hope'! Can't wait to get the details ironed out!
GOOD NEWS! Tomorrow I will be posting our newest QUILT OF HOPE--this time be thinking of a GIRL who could use some HOPE!