Saturday, April 30, 2011

Guest Blogger--My Mom

Six years since Mom was declared brain dead, and she was considered a murder victim.  So much has happened since those April days.  Our family did not have to wait many years or even many months before the two young women were arrested and had their days in court.  Our loving families, friends and communities surrounded us with prayers every step of the way.  Dad was amazed each time a new great-grandchild was born.  There were 16 from the time of Mom's death until his death in early September, 2010, and 7 more since then.
     But the most amazing gift of all was the start of Margaret's Hope Chest, and its continuing good work to people around the country.  One thousand quilts given away in less than four years!  None of this would be possible without the generosity of all of you who are reading this post today.  God has worked through you to bring comfort and hope to us, and we have been able to pass on that hope and comfort to so many hundreds of people - some we know, so many more that we will never meet.  This is what I had published last year in our local paper as a memoriam to Mom on the fifth anniversary of her death.  "If you but trust in God to guide you, and place your confidence in Him, you'll find Him always there beside you, to give you hope and strength within."  Thank you, everyone, for partnering with us in this work that Carin lovingly started in Mom's memory.  And all praise and thanks to God for blessing the work that is Margaret's Hope Chest. 

Friday, April 29, 2011


 Thanks to all who entered our anniversary giveaway! It was fun to read all of the comments--from ladies who have helped out in the past 4 years and from new friends who have expressed interest in helping us in the future! 
Thanks also to those who sent us quilt tops! In my mind I had a goal of collecting 25 quilt tops--enough to keep us and other volunteers busy for several months--can you believe that as of today we have received 70 quilt tops and 15 finished quilts! We always receive so much more than we could imagine :) I love that! THANK YOU!
Many commenters mentioned that they would like to help us out in the future.  We are ALWAYS accepting unfinished quilt tops and finished quilts.  In fact, last week I found out that we are going to be providing quilts for 5 prison quilt giveaways this year--last year, we did 3----that means God will have to move in a powerful and mysterious way in order for us to meet this need--all this to say, if you weren't able to help before the end of April--please know that a future donation will be happily received. 
There, now we can get to the best part--announcing the 4 blessed winners of our giveaway!

CRAFTYMAMA!! She said, "Congratulations on all the big news!
I've sent it several quilts/quilt tops. Last year I made 3 quilts for children of prisoners and am doing 2 so far this year. I'm so glad to be able to something to help those in need. I really feel that God has blessed me with quilting so that I can bless others and seeing how happy the children are who recieve these quilts blesses me as much as them, I think☺"
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RENAE!!  She said "I've helped with random quilts for your prison visits as well as your latest quilting Bee Blocks.Congrats and it really has been a pleasure to help out."
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SANDRA!! She said "Congratulations on reaching the 1,000th quilt milestone! I've been wanting to get involved in your ministry for quite some time. For my contribution, I'll be mailing two finished baby quilts next week, along with the 4 blocks I made for the Quilting Bee. I also posted info about the MHC giveaway on my blog. May God richly bless your efforts:)"
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SARA!! She said "I dropped off a baby quilt top and backing last week. Previously I have given you 14 tops and 6 finished quilts. I really am glad that I DON'T have to do the quilting. Kudoes to your happy quilters who do the finishing for me!"
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

6 Years Ago Today

My mom and I have these matching necklaces that were made at 3 Little Birds Boutique

Thursday, April 28, 2005.  Thursday, April 28, 2011.  Six years since Margaret Herrema was pushed to the ground by a young woman stealing her purse.

6 years ago today
HOPE took on a whole new meaning to me.

HOPE began on the plane ride from Monterrey, Mexico to Chicago. I hoped that once I arrived in 
Grand Rapids my grandma's condition wouldn't be as grave as everyone was telling me it was.

After it was clear that her condition was indeed very grave and she was not going to recover from her head injury HOPE continued to buoy our family through funeral planning, burial, and rebuilding of lives without our wife/mother/grandmother.

HOPE stood strong through a murder trial and sentencing.

HOPE took on new life when Margaret's 10th great-grandchild, a sweet baby girl named Clara Margaret, was born on January 27, 2008--almost exactly 9 months after Margaret's death--coincidence? I don't think so!

Because of this thing called HOPE, Margaret's HOPE Chest started it's work 4 years ago.

1000 little pieces of this HOPE are now spread all over the country.

We have so much to be thankful for over the past 6 years--really it is overwhelming to think about sometimes.  
We have been blessed with generous amounts of fabric, thread, money, quilts, quilt tops.
This blog has become a place where strangers can meet and work together to spread the gift of HOPE.
I feel as if my grandma's legacy isn't about murder anymore
God's grace has covered over that sin, transformed and renamed her legacy to
 LOVE, COMFORT, FORGIVENESS and most importantly


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rejection Part Two

I have been rejected---again.
Over a month ago I was on vacation with my family--happily jumping in waves and building sandcastles--when I received a message on my phone from a producer from CBS's TV show 'The Talk'.
I want to make it clear that I nor anyone else (that I am aware of) contacted them--they saw something on the internet that led them to call us.  To be honest with you, I was quite skeptical at the beginning.  This wasn't the first time that we have been contacted out of the blue by a person from the media.  A couple of years ago someone from 'Family Circle' magazine called and wanted to do an article about us---but I never heard anything else beyond that first call.  I figured this would turn out about the same.  But these producers were persistent.  They called me a few times over the next few days and then contacted my mother several times.  Actually, they were like flies on tar paper for about a week.  They had me really believing that we were going to do this.  They had me contacting non-profits that we work with in Grand Rapids, giving them information about where my grandma was buried, asking for permission to use pictures of past quilt recipients (which meant I had to contact them).  About 4 weeks ago I got a call from another producer who I had a wonderful conversation with.  She said "We are planning on being in Grand Rapids April 12th for a minimum of 8 hours.  Please let me know if that would be a problem.  We have scheduled your show for May 2, 2011.  We will be in touch about the travel arrangements as soon as we confirm all the details."  (exact quote from e-mail following our talk)
And that is when I believed that this really was going to happen. "Would you be able to send me your mom's house address for our field production office?I am in the process of contacting all of the locations you passed on to me and then I will send to **** (name deleted) our field producer.  You will receive a call from her in the next coming days. I can't believe this is all happening next week!  :-)" (another quote from an e-mail).
The reason I am posting these quotes is to show how I was led on and to this day I am trying to figure out what happened.
 I won't bore you with the rest of the details of the past two and a half weeks but it wasn't until I had taken all of my kids out of school to travel to Michigan for the supposed "on location taping" and shared this exciting news with just about everyone that the producer writes me an e-mail saying that "I thought it best to let you know that nothing officially has been approved for our Mothers Day series." 
And basically, that is the last I have heard from her--I have tried calling and e-mailing but keep getting the answer that the execs haven't made their final decision.  I am not sure what is going on but I am terribly disappointed in myself for believing that this would happen and doing some things that are terribly uncharacteristic of me over the past month--like:
1. Buying fancy clothes that weren't on sale.
2. Spending lots of money on coloring and cutting my hair :)
3. Invading people's private lives just because a stranger asked me to.
4. Letting my anxiety get the best of me--causing loss of sleep and bouts of self doubt.

So, my friends, who would have known that 6 years ago when my grandma was murdered that the direction of my life (and my mom's) would lead us to this day where I am writing a blog post about being rejected by a TV show.  It seems our brush with fame was just that--a brush. I let myself be distracted from our goal which remains the same--Bringing Hope and Comfort Through Quilting.

Thanks for all of the kind comments that you have sent over the past few weeks--we have some of the greatest supporters out there!  Our journey continues--never knowing who will call out of the blue or what God's purpose for this whole fiasco has been but confident that we are doing everything here for HIS glory not our own.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Just Couldn't Wait!

 I just couldn't wait to share with you some non-Margaret's Hope Chest related stuff....
My month (or two) has been consumed with creating unique student generated artwork for our school's fundraising auction.  I have spent countless hours now making quilts, editing photos on the computer, spending $$$$ at the Staples copy center, attending meetings etc.
Yes, if you have kids that go to a school you know what I am talking about!
But I do love it so that is why I do it.
I will start with the eggs above which myself and four other mothers created this morning for the centerpieces at the dinner.  I found the tutorial HERE and instantly I knew I wanted to try it.  Ours aren't quite as beautiful as hers are but hey, I still think they are darn cute. Plus, it was a good break from quilting!

Speaking of quilts.....
here is the completed Kindergarten hand print quilt!
It turned out just as I imagined it and trust me that does not happen very often!

That's my daughter Clara's handprint--isn't it cute? :)

 And does anyone remember that I swore I wasn't going to quilt these myself?? Yeah, well guess what, I did! The longarm quilter I had lined up totally flaked on me and I was stuck doing them myself.
The handprint one turned out fantastic--really, I think that is the best stippling I have ever done. 

And here is the Dr. Seuss quilt! Each child in my son's class drew a self portrait--I copied them onto printable fabric and then added the hats.  It's wonky and bright and a little crazy--just like the characters in Dr. Seuss's books I think (personally, his books scare me a little).

This is my son's block--he gets his art skills from his father--hehe!!

I have several other projects that I will share when I am finished--I have to be done with everything before the end of this week! Yikes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mistakes and GRACE

I make mistakes
in every area of my life

I had a day yesterday where not one, or two but THREE people brought to my attention that I had forgotten to add their child/grandchild to the 2011 Birthday List.
I don't think you would believe HOW COMPLETELY GRACIOUS they were?
One grandma called me and was so kind to me and at the end of the conversation 
God's grace in my life.

So, I make mistakes and so do others around me.
I want to follow these ladies example and practice GRACE.

Thankfully, we have such a nice variety of children's quilts right now I only have to make one
SUPER HERO quilt for little Nathan.  Hold on buddy--I will get to it as soon as I can!
The other two girls will receive their quilts by the end of the week.

Hoping the rest of my week and yours is filled with GRACE and HOPE!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Tops are Starting to Arrive!


 Well, the tops and finished quilts are starting to roll in!  This makes for exciting mail days at my mom's house!  Thankfully, I was at her house for the past few days and now I get to show off the beautiful work that others have shared with us.  Thank you to all those who have send us tops/quilts so far this month!!!  There is still time to send an unfinished top and get extra entries in our giveaway--you have until April 29!

Personally, I finished this quilt--the blocks in the middle were donated--I just happened to have all of the coordinating fabrics in my stash.  This quilt will make some little boy very happy!

And it is that time of year again--time to make sense of all of the fabric I have in my house.  My frustration level over not being about to find certain fabrics was growing daily.  So, no new projects until this is sorted out! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The 1000th Quilt, 4 Year Anniversary, Giveaway, a Quilt Top Drive!!!

WARNING: don't skim over this post--read it carefully--you don't want to miss any of what I am saying today!
Happy April Everyone!
April 2011 is an amazing month for Margaret's Hope Chest.
We celebrate our 4th year of service 
We celebrate the giving of our 1000th quilt
We are having our first ever "Volunteer Appreciation Giveaway"
and our first ever Quilt Top Collection Drive
Phew, so much to be thankful for.

Let's start with good stuff.
Our volunteers.
Where would we be without ladies all over the country making quilts for little kids with a parent in prison?
Where would we be without quilters from all over the world who have sent us a finished quilt or quilt top over the past 4 years?
Where would we be without quilting angels who drop off or mail us beautifully finished quilts that we get the pleasure of sharing with others?
Daily, I am amazed at where God has led Margaret's Hope Chest over the 4 years! Only He could bring this much joy and HOPE out of my grandma's murder.
So, thank you volunteers--everyone who has sent us something over the past 4 years--deepest thanks and blessings to you.

We sent out our 1000th quilt this week--actually quilts #990-1000 will be going to Japan via someone at Quilter's Newsletter. Woohoo!
So, it order to celebrate those 1000 quilts and thank our volunteers.....

We are having a Giveaway!!!

As a way of saying thanks we are giving away 4 sets of what I am calling 
"The Charity Quilter's Basics Bundle"(catchy huh? Yeah, I'm creative like that)

Each bundle includes
1. Four Fat Quarters of Fabric
*Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts was kind enough to donate these fabrics for one of the winners--thanks Amanda Jean!  The other 3 bundles will have equally cute but different fabrics.

2. Batting-Twin Size Hobbs Heirloom Cotton Batting
3. Thread-the Essential Thread Set in Neutrals or Colors from Connecting Threads

4. Pins-you know you can never have too many pins.
 5. My New Favorite Tool-One roll of Heat Press for putting smaller pieces of batting together.

6. Book- 'In a Twinkle' book by Kay Mackenzie

** The value of each Charity Quilter's Basics Bundle is about $70!!

So this is what you need to do to enter--PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!!!

1. FOR THREE ENTRIES: If you have EVER sent Margaret's Hope Chest anything (fabric, top, finished quilt)
 or been a 'Wrapped in Hope' volunteer quilter leave a comment and tell us how you have helped.
2. FOR TWO ENTRIES: Send us any unfinished quilt top before the end of April (make sure it is clean and usable).  Come on, you know you have AT LEAST one quilt top laying around that you may or may not finish.  We love forgotten quilt tops! Send it to us--we will finish it and give it a new life with a very deserving person. Any size.  Leave a comment telling us you are sending us a top.
3. FOR ONE ENTRY: Just leave a comment--any comment (as long as it is nice of course).
4. FOR ONE ENTRY: Share the love--Do a really quick (or long if you prefer ;)) post on your blog or on your Facebook or Twitter account, call your mom or friend from your quilting bee--just share the information about this post with someone else and BINGO another entry. Leave a comment and tell me who you shared it with.

So all together you have the potential of having 7 entries. 
  By the way, besides the fabric that Amanda Jean donated MHC paid for all of the giveaway items out of our own pockets (don't tell my husband)--no one is paying me to give away these things. 

So to sum up so far,  enter the giveaway---tell others about the giveaway, look for a quilt top to send us, send us the quilt top (this seems to be the hardest part!), and come back here on April 29 to see if you are one of the 4 winners!

***When leaving comments--make sure I have a way to contact you if you win!!!
**and just because I know someone will ask....YES, you can send us a finished quilt instead of a quilt top and still get the entries--we will happily accept it!