Monday, January 31, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I didn't quilt this weekend.
Did you read that carefully?
I didn't quilt this weekend--actually, I didn't quilt from Thursday-Sunday.
4 days.
I am still in state of disbelief myself.
You see, aside from being who I am here
I am a mother
and a wife
and an occasional worship leader at my church.
A few months ago I agreed (volunteered ?) to go to a worship conference
Well, the date crept up on me and before I knew what had happened it was last week Thursday and I was waking up at 5am and driving 6 hours to my alma mater Calvin College.
To say I was completely unprepared for this conference would be the understatement of the year.
I sat down in my first seminar on Thursday morning--Faith Formation in Children-- and the leader said "Please take out your Bible and turn to blah, blah (I don't remember what passage but it isn't important)"
I didn't bring my Bible.
Worse than that, it never even crossed my mind to bring my Bible.
Needless to say, it took the first day to wipe my mind clear of everything else--(read-quilting)
and concentrate on what God would have me learn in other areas of my life besides quilting :)

An added bonus of the weekend was that I was able to spend 4 days with the worship coordinator from our church who I knew before the weekend but didn't really know.
I now have eyes to see how important this time was for her
I have now gained a new wonderful sister in Christ.

But, the weekend is over and I am back in the saddle here at MHC.
While I was gone 
God was busy stirring hearts to service and you are never going to believe the number of available children on our 'Wrapped in Hope' Birthday list.....

Huh? How did that happen??
On January 19 we had 86 kids available---50 kids have been taken in less than two weeks.

You all are making my job so easy and enjoyable!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Not Sure How It Happened but......It's Wednesday Again

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I can't believe it is Wednesday again.
My weeks fly by.
Thank goodness I am joining Lee at Freshly Pieced each week
or I might never believe or remember that I get anything done.
I have finished my quilt top from last week--
a birthday quilt for Nichole.
I did ask for suggestions on quilting--and then had the nerve to completely ignore all suggestions and do my own large scale meander stitch.  I was running out of time and panicked. I was afraid if I did something unique I would miss my deadline.

 Next, I made these 3 bags for the beginning of my Craft Hope donation.
They are collecting birth kits for mothers in Haiti.  Since I was blessed enough to have had 4 wonderfully clean and modern births (3 in the US and 1 in Canada) I committed to making 4 of these sets for Craft Hope.  Have you had a clean and comfortable birth in the US or Canada (or elsewhere)?
Consider making a few of these kits. Here is what needs to be in each kit.
Contents of safe birthing kit:
1 small bar of soap (updated 1/16/2011)
1 piece of clean plastic sheeting (3 feet wide by 4 feet long)
1 piece of clean string, 24 inches long
1 packet alcohol wipe
1 set of sterile latex gloves
1 packet (or travel container) Purelle
1 handmade tote bag
receiving blanket–36 inches square
small “stuffy” toy
The bags are just the first step--I need to make receiving blankets and collect the other needed supplies.  The deadline is March 1st so I think I have left myself enough time.

And finally, I am sending out these bundles of 4 inch squares for an 'I Spy' swap hosted by FabriKate.
I am sending out 200 and getting 200 back--I love to see the fun variety of kids fabrics out there!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Home for Some Baby Quilts

Today, 12 of the baby quilts that our volunteers have made traveled to new homes.
Each was chosen by a dad who is currently in prison at the Western Youth Institution in Morganton North Carolina.  Each quilt was carefully wrapped around a baby that spent 6 precious hours with a father they hardly know.
Each quilt became a special gift to a child--a concrete symbol of comfort and love. 
I was unable to go to the prison this time but I know that Forgiven Ministries, who went into the prison to share Jesus' love with 12 young dads (this prison houses 13-22 year olds)  told them about Margaret's Hope Chest and our story of pain, forgiveness and HOPE.

We do accept baby quilts for uses such as this--we are running a little low right now so please consider donating one to us.  E-mail Carin if you need a mailing address.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

W.I.P. Wednesday

What is one way to brighten up a dreary winter week?? Collect the brightest cat prints and solids you can find and go to work.  This is my work in progress this week
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

and I have shared over on Lee's blog-- Freshly Pieced
Lee is a friend of Margaret's Hope Chest--she is making a quilt for Wrapped in Hope
I can't believe I forgot to share my big win on the blog--it must have been the excitement of the holidays.
Actually, I think I only entered her contest because there was actual skill involved because after entering a million other contests I have finally realized that the random number generator does not like me or my comment--EVER. 
Please don't think less of me when you read my entry--quilters can have a sense of humor too :)!
Do you have something you are working on that would could link up at her blog.  Get some feedback and support from others quilters!
 This quilt top will soon be a completed quilt for Nichole from Texas will be 12 on February 12--hey I just realized it is her golden birthday this year! She likes pink/black and cats and as you can see I took that quite seriously.  She is on our 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday list which, by the way, has only 86 available kids left.  Hurry and grab one before they are all gone (am I sounding like a broken record yet?)!

So, here is a question:  How would you suggest I quilt this?  Straight lines, meander-stitch, swirls?

I love this top and it is brightening my house this week--and I don't even like cats!

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Wrapped in Hope' Birthday Quilt Giving Program

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are

 you doing for others?" Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day in the States, I will once again draw your attention to our 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday quilt program.

Over the past few days I have added about 15 new children including lots of little girls who love pink, purple and princesses!  Who doesn't like to make a pink and purple princess quilt?  
I also added the 4th set of twins(July 12th--Craig and Gabrielle) on our list this year.

Maybe you already have a quilt made that is just sitting around and waiting for an opportunity to touch someone's life.  Well, I would say this is as good as it gets. The quilt you give will be the only present that a child will get from his/her parent this year.  Wow.  
It just might be the only birthday gift the child receives from that parent over their entire childhood. Here is an example from a family I just added yesterday:
4 kids-- Isaiah age 4, Destiny age 5, Hailey age 2, and Reyanna aged 4 months.
This is what mom said when requesting these quilts--
"I would love for them to have something to remember their daddy who was sentenced to 18 years before the holidays!" 
Reyanna will be 18 when her dad leaves prison.  You could be part of bringing HOPE and comfort to this precious child's life by making a quilt that she will always know was from her daddy.  

So, as Martin Luther King Jr. asks--so will I--
"What are you doing for others TODAY"

Join us!
and e-mail me with your choice!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Super Secret Project

The fabric for my super secret project arrived yesterday. This is why I have been sewing like a crazy woman this week--to carve some room in my day for these lovely blues.
Some of you may be able to figure out what I am embarking on...others will just have to be surprised and least I hope.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On A Roll

I am on a roll this week--I love deadlines--they put a fire under my sewing machine.
Actually, both of these quilts are for boys on our 'Wrapped in Hope' list.  Both with birthdays toward the end of this month.  

This basketball quilt is for Montinez.  He likes sports-so I used the 'Fair and Square' pattern that Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts designed for Margaret's Hope Chest.  Perfect! Have you used this free pattern?? 2 yards of a solid fabric and 33 print squares and viola! Here is an idea--go to the birthday list and pick a young man who likes sports (there are NINETEEN available) and use this pattern (if you need the pattern e-mail me) to make him a special birthday gift!
Each of these boys is looking for people to show them love and kindness...let's work together and give it to them!

This fire truck quilt is for Zachary.  He likes John Deere and fire trucks.  I thought for sure that I had John Deere fabric in the house and I envisioned a reversible quilt but lo and behold not even a scrap of John I went with the fire trucks.  I had fun with this one and my 2 year old son (who loves fire trucks) gave me some design advice.

And finally, have you seen the quilt ticker on the side bar??? 814 quilts my friends.  Can you believe it?  That number will be climbing to over 900 by the end of this month (we have two large giveaways coming up soon) and then we will celebrate! The celebration will continue until we reach the number that I never dreamed we would reach 1000 lives touched through a quilt in under 4 years! Only by God's grace and provision. So stayed tune for some celebration surprises!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recent Sewing

Thanks for all of the comments on the last post.  I feel a little bad about airing my dirty laundry on the blog--if you read here often you know that I try to keep things positive but this time I was having a pity party and I wanted some company blogged out of character.  I am back in character now and we are moving on....

So, here is what I have been up to lately.

In December I received the most amazing box of fabric from a very generous lady.  I used some of the scraps in the box to start this top.  I ran out of the grey Kona so until I can restock on that--it will stay this size.  I hope to add a few more rows to the width.

Although I prefer to use free patterns from the Internet--I do occasionally buy a quilt book.  In November I bought Cherry House's 'City Quilts' and I love every quilt in that book.
I tried out the City Sweets pattern on this 'Wrapped in Hope' quilt for a little girl named Naimbi.
She loves blue so I went with that and added the flower print to make it a little more girly.
Hope she likes it!

And this is what happens to quilts in my house.....

they become a playing surface for Josiah. 

I made this quilt in record time right before Christmas.  I had a special delivery to make on Christmas day to a woman named Connie.  I heard about Connie on the radio station I listen to. Connie has lived a very hard life--she has been abandoned by her family and is now living with a young family in the Grand Rapids area.  She has many health problems and she doesn't have health insurance (has been an illegal immigrant since she was 13).  The woman she lives with asked people in the community to help her give some Christmas presents to Connie.  As soon as I heard that Connie was blind I knew I wanted to make a quilt that was both beautiful to look at and beautiful to feel.  
I found fabrics that had different textures; voile, minky, and soft corduroy.
Together they made a wonderfully soft and warm quilt for Connie.

 And then on Christmas day my sister and I drove out to hand deliver it to Connie.  I tried to pull together a few Spanish words and tell Connie about the quilt-I failed miserably.  But she loved it spite of my terrible Spanish and immediately told us she would take it to her twice weekly trip to dialysis.
I hope that this quilt has and will bring HOPE and a measure of comfort to Connie's life.

And finally, I pieced this pink top together yesterday--I just love all of these prints.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I received a little ironic rejection yesterday. I had requested to join a quilting bee Flickr group called 'do. Good Stitches--A Charity Quilting Bee'.  Based on what the description of the group said "Welcome! Let’s use our love for color, fabric and stitching to make quilts for children in need. This modern charity quilting bee requires members to be active on Flickr."  I thought that if there was an opening I would be an excellent match.  Evidently I was wrong.  This is the message I opened last night: 
"Your request to join do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee} has been declined.

The group administrator gave the following reason:
I'm very sorry, but I don't feel that your quilting style , will fit in with the style of our bee. Wishing you the best! "

12 hours later I am cool with it but when I first read this I was sort of in a state of disbelief-feeling like I was back in High School again and I was being rejected for not being 'in' enough.  I don't want to sound too bitter and overdramatic here but I thought that the purpose of the group was to create quilts for kids in need--evidently there is a little more than that going on here.
So my friends, chin up--let's continue bringing HOPE and comfort to the people God leads to us--and rest assured--Margaret's Hope Chest will never decline a volunteer based on their 'quilting style'.  We love all of our volunteer's work!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Gentle Reminder

Sometimes I wonder if what we are doing at MHC is really worth it.  
Sometimes I doubt that I am doing it the 'right' or 'best' way.  
Sometimes I am tired and think about quitting.

Sometimes I ask God to send me a sign to verify that this is HIS plan.
Well, I asked on Monday.
I got this e-mail today.
A gentle reminder to keep working hard.

Dear Margarets Hope Chest:
 Your organization provided a quilt for my husband Rick, back in February 2009.  My husband had been diagnoised with Early On Set Alzheimers at the age of 53.  I can still see the smile on his face when he opened his package, a precious memory.  Shortly after I sent a thank you to you along with a picture of Rick and his quilt, the smile..... 
Today, I've been going through things and low and behold, Rick's Quilt.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I'm sorry to inform you that I lost my husband, soul mate and best friend this past July 22, 2010.  Rick was only 56 years young. The joy in his eyes and smile upon his face after receiving your quilt will never be forgotten.  I'm sure as he looks down upon us all now, he remembers.  I'll never forget, the quilt will remain with me now as a precious memory of my husband and the wonderful thoughtful people in this world who give without question. Thank you again for your kindness and the happiness you brought to Rick and myself.  I hope 2011 will be a better year and I try and re-build my broken life.