Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011-Quilt Finishes

 I decided to go through my pictures and count up all of the quilts that I have finished this past year.
I came up with 32.  That doesn't count the donated quilt tops that I have finished off--which I would guess is another 15 or more (?).  I remember making each of these quilts and it is my prayer that they are all doing their job of comforting and bringing HOPE to the child/adult it belongs to now. Yes, with three exceptions (the large pinwheel quilt I kept, the Dr. Seuss and handprint ones were donated to a school auction) all of these quilts have been given to someone on behalf of Margaret's Hope Chest.  Each has a story behind and ahead of it and for that I am thankful.  After almost 6 years (I can't believe that!) of serving hurting and sometimes hopeless people I KNOW that each quilt is going to the person that God has chosen.
I know my personal quilting will be slower in 2012 because of family commitments but I trust that the collective work of Margaret's Hope Chest will fulfill the desires of God's heart.
Blessings on your new year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Emergency Christmas Request


It's the time of year when we have a chance to give something meaningful to others: our time, our love, a gift.  We have a mother who contacted us today and she would like her two children to have a special gift from their imprisoned father for Christmas--money is tight for her and a friend told her about Margaret's Hope Chest--and the gifts that we give children like hers. We have a quilt for her daughter ready to go but we are looking for a quilt for her son AIDAN who is 8 YEARS OLD and loves ARMY MEN and anything BOY.  Do you have a quilt that is already made that might be given to this precious child?  Army themed would be great but I think anything boy happy would be fine.  Please e-mail me if you have a quilt that you would be willing to ship out asap.  Thanks!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Very Own Quilt Shop

My kids were very into Lego last week.  After school was done each afternoon they would flood into the boy's room and building, chatting, giggling, and a little bit of bickering would begin.
On Wednesday my older son Isaac found me in the kitchen and asked me what he could build for me.
 I pondered his question for a moment and then I answered with a grin
"I have always wanted my very own quilt shop."
His eyes lit up and he ran off and spent every available moment of the next 2 days creating a huge surprise that I wasn't allowed to look at.
On Friday I was eagerly called to the Lego workshop for the unveiling of
My Very Own Quilt Shop
Here it is!

Friday, December 9, 2011

'Plans to Give you HOPE and a Future'

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremian 29:11

Wow, it has been some time since I have shared what is going on in the world of Margaret's Hope Chest. God has a plan for our future service to people who need HOPE--it is always humbling (and exciting) to sit back and watch our coming year of service fall into place. 

Our 'Wrapped in Hope' list is looking great! I just added 4 more children--it changes every day.  Thanks to those quilters who have signed up to make a special quilt for one of these children.  Again, we invite anyone reading this blog to sign up--there is no membership here, we don't require certain skills or fabrics, we are looking for people who want to serve others (in this case, children with a parent in prison) through the work of their hands-that's it.

We are fundraising this month. Yipee! (that is me trying to make you believe that I love asking people for money-which of course, I don't)  Thankfully, we are a small operation and most of our 'donations' come in the form of quilters who use their own fabric and materials to make the quilts.  But we do need to keep a small budget for shipping quilts, rolls of batting, travel costs to prison giveaways, and creating promotional materials. 

Enter 25 days of Giving--something I have created this year for fundraising.  We have been asking friends, family and supporters of MHC to choose a day in December to donate any amount of money to support the work we will do in 2012.  There are 7 days left with no sponsor and so as a last step, I came to this blog last to see if there are a few people who would be interested in taking a day to support us financially.  Of course, I know that if you are reading here you believe that what we are doing is important--and if you already volunteer quilt for us--you really believe that a handmade quilt can bring HOPE  to someone who is hurting so please don't feel obligated.  I live my life (at the fundraising part of it) under the adage; "The worst they can say is no" and it is working pretty good for me so far!
 I do want to share one exciting donation that we received last weekend.  My mom's church held a 'Tour of Tables' event (which I won't describe here but you can Google it) on Saturday and there was a collection for Margaret's Hope Chest. My mom spoke briefly about what we have been doing recently and she must have made an impact because these women donated over $1000!!!!  Wow! A huge thank you to them.

And two more things--looking ahead to next year--we have agreed to collect 25 quilts for the Home of Victory in Honduras.  This is a private orphanage that cares for BOYS who are ages 4-14.  So we are looking for BOY QUILTS to send to them--there is no firm time frame right now but I would like to shoot for April.
Also, we will be collecting BABY QUILTS for a program in Haiti.  Mothers who are attending prenatal classes at the Heartline Maternity Center will get to pick out a quilt for their unborn child.  These quilts are an incentive for these moms to attend each class--and get educated about proper nutrition (for themselves and their unborn child) and newborn care. Also, no set timeline but I would like to send a group as soon as we have about 20-25.
So....if you have time to make one or more quilts we have people to share them with!

Well, I should go and teach my kids a few things since the stomach flu put us a few days behind!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wrapped in Hope 2012 List is Up!!!

Hello everyone out there in Blogland!!  Hope you are all looking forward to a wonderful day of THANKS this Thursday.  Of course, in Bermuda it is not a holiday but there are scores of people here who like America enough to celebrate it anyway!  Our family will go the Aquarium, have a picnic lunch and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the evening--at least that is the plan right now.  
So, just in time I have posted the new Wrapped in Hope 2012 list here on this blog and also HERE.  If you are interested in quilting for one of these precious children (looks like some fun choices available!) please e-mail me and I will send you all of the information you will need.  If you are new to Margaret's Hope Chest and Wrapped in Hope, you can read more about this program HERE.
Lord willing, I will have some more sweethearts to add to the list very soon--but God needs to connect a few more dots :) until then, we have 36 children to serve--blessings!!!


January 10--Orianne (female) will be 3--brown and pink, polka dots Jill

January 18--Oren will be 5--red, black, superheroes Tina

January 20--Elessia will be 10--pink, purple, turtles, butterflies Brittany

January 24--Rachael will be 16--pink, back, red  Carol


February 9--Tyler will be 10--cars (not the movie) blue

February 13--Alyssa will be 13--hot pink, Hello Kitty and Zebra print (twin with Alessandra)

February 13--Alessandra will be 13--red, Paris, cheetahs (twin with Alyssa)

February 19--Jacob will be 2--blues, browns, and Goofy Teresa

February 24--Giuliana will be 6--purple Lynn

February 24--Dartavius will be 10--basketball, blue, red

MARCH 2012

March 1--Chauncey will be 18--cheerleading, blue gold

March 8--DeMariay will be 10--legos, baseball, basketball, soccer

March 26--Isis will be 11--pink, soccer, peace signs Janet

March 27--Dominique will be 18--blue, Colts (football team) Brittany

March 28--Nayla will be 7--yellow, pink Anita

March 30--Aaliyah will be 8--hearts, purple, light blue Dorothy

APRIL 2012

April 4--Taeler will be 9--purple and black, or teal, birds, peace signs, stars Catherine

MAY 2012

May 5--Tre will be 13--dogs, cats, football, blue, black, white Sherry V.

May 12--Dion will be 18--green, Patriots football team

May 19--Corey will be 13--football Katie

May 24--Addison will be 1--zebra, lime green, hot pink Dorothy

JUNE 2012

June 3--Ebony will be 18--pink, Winnie the Pooh

June 10--Mariha will be 9--fashion, music, purple, light blue Carol

June 18--Tahoni will be 10--blue, cheerleading

June 22--Luke will be 7--red and black, skateboards, Chargers (football team) Kelsey

June 29--Ethan will be 10--black, red, gray, soccer Catherine

JULY 2012


August 1--Dayvhoun will be 11--black, gray, blue, orange, dogs, tigers, elephants, cats, football, baseball, basketball (twin with Dayjon) Christene

August 1--Dayjon will be 11--red, black, green, blue, lions, tigers, dogs, football, basketball, soccer (twin with Dayvhoun)Christene

August 12--Darius will be 14--any colors, please put his name on the quilt somewhere. Sherry V.

August 27--Juicy will be 10--shopping and drawing


September 5--Rell will be 11--red, green, football, cheetahs, black

September 15--Areal(female) will be 12--basketball, gymnastics, football, soccer, yellow, purple, blue, puppies Joan


October 9--Tony will be 11--fishing, bike riding, all sports Sherry V.

October 30--Gabriella will be 4--pink, purple, brown, puppies and polka dots Char


November 2--Alyssa will be 7--pink, purple, hearts Vicky

November 14--De'Marco will be 11--red, black, gold 

November 27--William will be 12--blue, green, gold


December 13--Taleia will be 6--purple, butterflies, Barbie, princesses Sherry V.

December 15--Destiny will be 2--Winnie the Pooh, pink, some green, flowers, and her name Maureen

December 25--Bobby will be 11--wrestling, Nascar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My 3 Wishes

I wish......
that my rotary mat wasn't locked away in a long term storage facility in Hagerstown, MD....
that I could quilt and homeschool my kids at the same time....
that I could play around with these fabrics today and start creating quilts for my two little boys...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Wrapped in Hope 2012

The middle of November means many different things to many different people--it may signal the beginning (or ending) of Christmas shopping, it may mean it's time to nail down the Thanksgiving dinner menu--and for crafters it may produce a sort of anxiety over those unfinished homemade Christmas gifts.
For us at Margaret's Hope Chest it means it is time to pull out the ever growing list of birthdays for 'Wrapped in Hope' and share them with our faithful volunteers.  January birthdays are right around the corner and I want to give everyone ample time to plan ahead.
At this point, our list is smaller than last year--we have a smaller group of kids from the Atlanta, GA area that we are serving this year.  The other names on the list have come to me through a few different avenues:
1. Prison Talk (an online support group for families of the incarcerated)
2. Word of mouth--some of the families who have received quilts over the past 2 years are sharing what we do with their friends.
3. Prisoners that we are meeting in the prison giveaways are sharing our program with other inmates.
I see God's hand in all of this and know that he will send us the people that he wants us to serve.

If you are new here and what to know the process of this program here are the guidelines that I send each quilter when they sign up for a child:
1. 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.
2. 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.  If you don't know how to load pictures onto Flickr--please e-mail a picture of the quilt to Carin and she will add it for you.
3. Please add a small birthday card with the quilt.  Add the message that the parent has provided (see below)
4. Please don't add any extra gifts with the quilt.  Many of the children have siblings who are also receiving a quilt this year and we would like to keep everything as equal and fair as possible.
5. Please don't delete this e-mail because it has the mailing address for your child and what the birthday card message should be.  I do have a hard copy of this information so if you do lose it I can provide it to you again.
6. You will be sending the quilt directly to the child but we ask that you use Margaret's Hope Chest mailing address as the return address--just in case there is trouble.  That address is: MHC  630 Griswold SE  Grand Rapids Michigan 49507. 
7. After sending more than 200 quilts through the United States Postal Service over the past 3 years- a word of advice--consider paying the extra 70 cents for DELIVERY CONFIRMATION.  It gives you the piece of mind that the quilt arrived when and where it should have.  Many of the families will send a thank-you e-mail to me when they receive the quilts but many do not--and that leaves the quilter worrying that it was never received.  Plus, it seems that packages with the delivery confirmation get a little more attention and are delivered a bit faster :)
8.  If you have a blog where other quilters read we would love it if you would share your experience quilting for 'Wrapped in Hope' with them!
9. Have fun and don't hesitate to ask any questions!

A couple of 'housekeeping' items before I get to the list.
1. I will be sending you all the information about the child right away this year.  Please don't delete the information.  I ran into a problem this year after the addresses for all of the children were accidentally packed up in my household goods when I moved out of Toronto.  There are a handful of children who will not receive their quilt this year because of the error I made--I don't want this to ever happen again--so I am taking new measures to insure that.
2. If you sign up to make a quilt and then for some reason can't carry through with the task--please, tell me as soon as possible.  I have always found someone else to make the quilt but the more time I have the better.
3. Each year, a couple of the families on the list disappear off the face of the earth and the quilts are not able to be delivered. That is sad-and I always feel bad when it happens--but please be aware that is does happen.
4. Later this week I will update the 'Wrapped in Hope' blog with the full list of birthdays--this list is just for January, February, and March birthdays.
5. If you would like to choose one of the kids I have listed please e-mail me.

Wrapped in Hope 2012 Jan-March

January 18--Oren will be 5--red, black, superheros Tina
January 20--Elessia will be 10--pink, purple, turtles, butterflies, cheerleading, dancing-Brittany
January 24--Rachael will be 16--pink, black, redCarol
February 19--Jacob will be 2-blues, browns, and Goofy
February 24--Giuliana will be 6--purple Lynn
February 24--Dartavius will be 10--basketball, blue, red
March 1--Dominique will be 18--cheerleading, blue, gold
March 8--DeMariay will be 10--legos, baseball, basketball, soccer
March 26--Isis will be 11--Pink, soccer, peace signs
March 27--Dominique will be 18--blue, Colts (football team)
March 28--Nayla will be 7--yellow, pinkAnita
March 30--Aaliyah will be 8--hearts, purple, light blue Dorothy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quarterly Quilt Giving Update

Well, it's been a long quarter :) I believe the last time I reported on where our quilts have been going was in March- so lots to report here in November.
*100 quilts have been given to children on the 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday list.
*133 quilts have been given away at prison giveaways
*A quilt was given to 8 year old Hannah after her mom passed away.
*A quilt was given to John after a devastating stroke--it was unknown at the time whether or not he would live--but I am happy to tell you that he is at home making progress every day.
*10 quilts were sent to Japan through Quilter's Newsletter.
*3 quilts were sent to 3 sisters in California after a terrible car accident.
*A quilt was given to Anna--a young woman with leukemia
*A quilt was given to Holly for Mother's Day-one of her sons has passed away and the other has leukemia.
*5 quilts were given to homeless mother's in Grand Rapids for Mother's Day.
*2 quilts were given as part of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day--Jamie in Maine and Johnnie in Alabama.
*A quilt was given to a couple who lost twin babies through miscarriage.
*A quilt was given to a Bosnian immigrant in the Grand Rapids area who was struck by a car while walking with her family.
*7 quilts were given to Safe Haven Ministries in Grand Rapids to honor the lives of 7 murder victims.
*A quilt was given to Deb as she endured chemo treatments for cancer.
*12 quilts were sent to an orphan's home in Guinea
*10 quilts were sent to organization that helps needy person in Traverse City Michigan.
*12 baby quilts are in process of going to a new orphanage in Costa Rica--they should arrive before Thanksgiving.

And so, as of today our grand total has jumped to 1265! Once again we are humbled and awed by the work that many hands have done in honor of my grandma.  Deepest thanks to all involved!

Upon seeing that my family has moved out of the country, some people have been wondering if Margaret's Hope Chest will be affected.  The answer is NO.  I actually started MHC when I lived in Armenia--I had a computer speed there that hardly let me load pictures onto the blog :) that was interesting.  Truth be told, I have never run MHC while living the the United States....maybe some day.  Our mailing address remains the same--that is my mom's house and she is not moving any time soon!
I have a nice computer speed here in Bermuda and I will continue to make quilts and send them back with whoever visits me and has room in their suitcase.  Thankfully, most of my work can be handled on the computer.  The only thing that will change is that I won't be able to make quilts for the 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday list because I don't have a way to mail them from here without paying $$$.
I am so thankful that there are so many reading this right now that will take up the slack for me :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beyond Thankful

Thanks to so many of you Margaret's Hope Chest will be traveling to a prison in Muskegon, Michigan tomorrow morning with 70 quilts!!! Can you believe that?  We only had about 15 quilts left after our giveaway in early Sept.  We put the word out--God arranged a few things and boom!  70 wonderful quilts to share with about 54 kids who will spend the day with their father in prison tomorrow. You can join me in praying for these fathers--they are excited and nervous to see their kids--some of these dads only get to see their children once a year (because of distance)--and some of them are serving a life sentence.  Tomorrow may be the only time they see their child face to face this year.  The quilt that they give their child will be a concrete reminder of them--and their love--and the power of forgiveness.  My mom will be traveling by herself tomorrow to share the love and mission of Margaret's Hope Chest.  I will be praying for her.
This will be the last giveaway of the year--but we are already looking forward to next year--it's never too early to start making kid quilts--because we never seem to have too many! Again, many thanks to those who sent us quilts over the past year for 'Wrapped in Hope'--this ministry is ALIVE and THRIVING because of you!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome to Our New Home!

 Welcome to our new home! 
The main living area is on the second floor--the first floor is the laundry, guest room, guest bath and school room. 
The second floor has a living room, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, kitchen and dining area.
I will show you more areas of the house as soon as they are presentable.
Currently, the only room that is picture worthy is the school room because we start school tomorrow!

View from the deck--Atlantic Ocean and the rain comes from that direction

neighbor's house across the street

The view from my rocking chair

Construction across the street--reminds us of Armenian construction

Ready for school!

So where is my sewing room?? Yeah, that will have to wait.  Maybe by December?????
My husband drove up our street as I was taking pictures-Bermuda is left hand drive--totally confusing!

Showing off our milk purchase (??) a gallon of milk costs about $12!

View from the other direction

School room is the bottom windows