Thursday, March 31, 2011


Occasionally, we receive thank you notes from some of our quilt recipients. It is always nice to be reaffirmed isn't it? Well, this week we were reaffirmed twice--and by 'we' I mean all of the volunteers out there who are making quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest.  I can't say this enough--we would not be where we are today (which is on the doorstep of giving away 1000 quilts) without our marvelous, incredibly talented and generous volunteers!!

So, this first note was written to MHC but it really should have gone to one of our volunteer quilters named Linda.  Linda made these matching quilts for twin girls who were turning 3 this month.  The girls have a father in prison and are part of our 'Wrapped in Hope' program.
 Aren't they sweet? 
Here is what the girl's mom wrote: "My daughters Emma and Adrianna received the quilts that were made for them.  They are absolutely beautiful!  They call them their "special blankets" and carry around the birthday cards.  This quilt couldn't have come at a better time--we are convinced that there are caring and non-judgemental people willing to donate time and use their talents for others.  This solidified our faith in people and God.  We cannot thank you enough for such a wonderful gift."
 I love this note because it tells me that we are doing just what God has sent us out to do--bring hope and comfort and draw people closer to him. Excellent.

The second note I received is quite personal for the author so I won't share the whole thing. This young girl received a quilt from MHC last summer.  She had been sexually abused by an adult in her life and when that adult was about to go on trial for what he did--he killed himself.  He left behind a very confused and hurt girl.  Her mother (guided by the Holy Spirit for sure) chose just the right time to give her the quilt we had sent--this is what this precious child wrote to us: "Let me tell you....I really needed that quilt.  Somehow after getting it, I felt a calm come over and felt the warmth engulf me.  I was touched by your story and I'm truly thankful. Thank you so much! And oh man, it's being used a lot!  It is beautiful!"

So my friends,  please keep the quilts coming--they are finding new homes with the people that only God has the wisdom to arrange.  He is working out his perfect plan through me and you and Margaret's Hope Chest.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Works in Progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Welcome to Wednesday! I have spent my week stumbling out of vacation mode....there are clothes to be washed and children to be fed and deadlines swirling all around me.  First, I will show you what I did last WIP was spending time with my family and relaxing.  We visited my MIL on the Gulf Coast of Alabama--I had never been there before and was delighted to add it to my growing list of wonderful vacation spots in the United States.  We tried to ignore the BP employees roaming the beach in search of tar balls.  Of course, our sand castle had to have an artistic spin to it :) I wanted to sort the shells out by color and make a pattern but my 2 year old didn't see the need and he always wins.

 My daughter and I made these stars out of kite paper this week.
We needed a new decoration for our front windows. You can find a tutorial here--also, kite paper can be purchased here (small sheets) or here (large sheets).  We used large sheets.

Now on to quilting because I have gotten some of that done this week believe it or not.  Here is the Dr. Seuss top--the picture below is with the borders that I added. I am going to have it professionally quilted. period. I will not be quilting this myself--someone please hold me to this!  I am envisioning giant swirls.....
 And here is the hand print quilt with one square missing.  I wanted the two quilts to have totally different color pallets and be gender neutral.
 So, I have done no sewing for Margaret's Hope Chest this week--I have done plenty of e-mail writing and blog post planning but I have to get these other personal commitments out of the way before I can crack open the chest of MHC fabric that is calling me from across the room.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some Encouragement For Those Who Know Hurt and Loss

I didn't write this poem 
I feel as if I could have.
Maybe you could have written this poem too 
and it will encourage you today.

 An excerpt from the poem "perhaps our tears change us" - by Elizabeth High 

"perhaps our tears really do change us...
perhaps they change us on the inside...

you see...on the outside, after all my tears...I think I look the same.....just like a regular, everyday ordinary person...

but, if you had a special magnifying glass, to look way down deep inside of this...
you, perhaps would see that I'm different in an invisible-ish-kind-of-way...

that's the interesting thing, you know...

we can't tell from the outside how many tears
another person has cried...nor can they see that in us...and although we would never choose the tears...they came anyway

so...perhaps this page is about HOPE

hope that...on the other side of sorrow...down the road a ways...
when time has passed and we can look back over our lives...
we will be able to see that maybe...just maybe...our arms are a little bit longer, and our ears are more sensitive, and our heart is a little bit deeper, and our hands are a little more willing to help another...

or's as simple as realizing

we are
than we 
have imagined..."

Friday, March 18, 2011


It's late and I should be in bed by now but instead I am writing a blog post, downloading games onto my daughter's Leapster, gathering last minute sanity savers for the 20 hour car ride, and trying to find a needle big enough to embroider these squares (see pic. below) with. We leave tomorrow for warmer weather (praying) and a little relaxation (after the car ride is over of course).  If the kids weren't so excited I think my husband and I would have canceled the trip because we have so much going on right now but we would have 4 very sad kids and 1 very mad grandma :) so we will get as much done as we can and let the chips fall where they may. 

Anyway, the reason I am so far behind on my packing isn't because I chose to work on these blocks today--no way, not me.
Aren't they cute though? 
20 of them--all a little different.
I will stitch around the hats while I am away
and then figure out how to put it all together when I return home.
Please ignore the piles of fabric on the ground--I was supposed to be cleaning that up too :)

Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday--Time to Show What We Been Up To!

 It's time to give my weekly accounting of what's been going on in the world of 'Margaret's Hope Chest'.  I am enjoying linking up at 'Freshly Pieced' and seeing what other quilters are doing--I never fail to be inspired by something I see over there.  
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Plus, Lee is starting a new quilt-along-check it out.  Personally, I can't join right now because of the commitments I have made for the kids school fund raising auction.  Speaking of which--here is the start of the Dr. Seuss quilt.  I have to embroider around the hats and add the bow ties still but you get the general idea of where I am going-wonky, bright and fun!

 My big finish of the week was Steven's quilt.  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.  I love the colors and the boldness--and I think it might even pass for a modern-ish quilt--can I get a confirmation on that from a 'modern' quilter out there?  His birthday is the 24th and so I will send it out on the 22nd from Alabama--phew! And in other fantastic 'Wrapped in Hope' news......I only have 3 more available kids on the list!!!! That means we have matched 144 kids with volunteer quilters so far-only by the grace of God has this happened.  Current volunteers spreading the word through their own blogs seems to be our best form of advertising.  I am praying that those last three kids are picked up very soon and I can move on to the next project :) FYI- Those 3 remaining kids are:

7-9-99--Kevin from Georgia will be 12--sports, basketball, football
11-18-94--Kyana from Georgia will be 17--jewelry, blue, puppies
12-12-92--Santana from Georgia will be 19--Bright colors

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday WIP, a Giant FAIL and Quarterly Quilt Giving Update

WARNING: This is going to be a long post with lots to share!  
First of all, it's Wednesday--again--and I have been busy this week--again.
I am linking up to Lee at 'Freshly Pieced'
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I finished up this quilt for a 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday.  Tyler loves blue and football and it turning 12 on March 12th! I used Amanda Jean's 'Fair and Square' pattern--backed it with red--added some straight line quilting and called it good. 

Next, I started a quilt for Steven (also on the 'Wrapped in Hope' list) who turns 11 on March 24.
He likes football and maroon, gold, brown and tan.  I am sure there is a team with those colors that he likes but not being a football fan by any stretch of the imagination I don't know which team it would be.  So, my inspiration for this is a quilt I saw on Emily from Creative Chicks blog.  I e-mailed her and asked about the pattern and she was kind enough to tell me what she did.  Thanks Emily!  I have to add the sashing between the blocks--I think I will go with the blue that you can see if you click on the image to enlarge it.  I wish I had a navy blue but I don't and I am not going out to buy any fabric (today!). I have to have this done by next week because we are driving to Alabama for March break and I want to send it from the States. 

Last week I mentioned the hand print quilt that I am making for the fundraising dinner at our school...well, I am making another quilt for my son's class.  It is a Dr. Seuss  inspired quilt.  The kids all drew their face on a white piece of paper...I copied it onto fabric paper and now I will add a hat and bow tie to 'Dr. Seussify' everyone.  I am not following a pattern at this point--yikes!

And now, to be 100% honest with you, I will show you a giant FAIL.
I was making this quilt for the monochromatic quilt challenge.  It is inspired by a photo I found of the ocean in Bermuda--which is where our family is moving later this year.  Each piece is 2 inches high but vary in length for 2 inches to 5 inches.  I was really excited about this until I finished sewing all 28 rows together and I realized two things: 1) it is too small to enter into the contest--it must be at least 45 inches by 45 inches and this is 48 by 38 and 2) it arches--severely--it is hard to see from this picture but trust me it's bad.  So, does anyone have any advice on how to correct an arching quilt without taking the entire thing apart???

On a brighter note, remember this peace quilt for last week?  Yeah, it was sent on Saturday from Buffalo, New York and arrived in California on Monday!!  I LOVE THE USPS!! Truly, the US postal service is amazing--I have lived in 3 different countries and I will tell you-it is a gift to our country. 
So, Dallas (the girl in the picture) LOVED the quilt!  This is what her mom wrote-"I want to Thank you with alllllll of my heart and soullllllll the quilt is absolutely darling.. she is bouncing off the walls she is so darn happy........  Its as if God had a plan today.. "
God did have a plan for this quilt and all of the quilts that are being sent out each week through the 'Wrapped in Hope' program. 

So the second part of this post is a Quarterly Quilt Giving Update.

Here is where our quilts have gone since October 2010:
2 quilts were given to Safe Haven ministries-a place for abused women and children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
51 quilts were given away a prison giveaway in Muskegon Michigan.
7 quilts were given to a family in the Grand Rapids area as Christmas gifts.
4 quilts were given to 4 men around the country as part of Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway
1 quilt was given to Connie in Grand Rapids with many health concerns.
14 quilts were sent to Monterrey, Mexico and handed out to children and families living in very poor conditions.
1 quilt was given to Karen who is suffering from Breast Cancer.
12 Baby quilts were given away at a prison in North Carolina
1 quilt was given to Charisse in memory of her 9 year old son who was killed in a boating accident this summer.
7 quilts were given to a family with 6 kids who didn't have enough warm bedding for the winter.
25 quilts were given to family's and homeless individuals in Mississippi.
55 quilts were delivered to UCOM--an organization in Grand Rapids that serves a poor area of the city.
1 quilt was given to Ellie who has brain cancer.
3 quilts were given to children enrolled in an after school tutoring program at Eastern Ave church in Grand Rapids.

55 'Wrapped in Hope' birthday quilts were mailed to children all over the United States!
1 quilt was given to a family in Grand Rapids who recently lost their twin baby girls.
Amazing!  Our Quilt giving ticker (on the right hand side bar) is moving closer and closer to 1000!! Remember that we celebrate at 1000!  Can't wait!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bee's Nest of Activity

The potatoes are boiling and the meat is cooking but I wanted to jump on here and thank everyone for a very busy week.  Thanks to so many of you our quilting bee is completely full! I spent the week composing guidelines, e-mailing new and old volunteers and setting up a new Flickr group.  And it feels good.  I am so very thankful for the way God orchestrated this bee and I can't wait to see it all come together.
Speaking of 'Wrapped in Hope', I wanted to let you know that there are still 14 kids available between the months of May and December.  I am going to highlight those 14 here is hopes that someone reading will be able to help out:
5-24-94--Jamarcus from Georgia will be 17--purple, swimming, basketball, football, wrestling
6-10-94--Dominique from Georgia will be 17--purple, pink, horses, volleyball, ballet, dogs
6-23-09--Sabastian from Louisiana will be 2--dogs, hockey, football
7-9-99--Kevin from Georgia will be 12--sports, basketball, football
7-18-99--Krishay (girl) from Georgia will be 13--yellow, soccer, clarinet
8-16-02--Juan Carlos from Georgia will be 9--blue, white, green, Incredible Hulk
8-24-99--Alexis from Georgia will be12--Green, blue, yellow, NO PURPLE, clarinet, animals, bikes
9-9-94--Laron from Georgia will be 17--flying, Air Force, sports
9-12-97--Montevies from Georgia will be 14--sports
10-31-93--Swan from Georgia will be 18--purple, animals
11-2-95-- Keyleon from Georgia will be 16--purple, gold, green, football, basketball
11-9-03--Blakeston from Georgia will 8--football, blue
11-18-94--Kyana from Georgia will be 17--jewelry, blue, puppies
12-7-95--Alexsia from Georgia will be 16--basketball, orange, green  
In case you are new here--'Wrapped in Hope' is a birthday quilt giving program for children with at least one parent in prison.  Volunteer quilters sign up to make a quilt for a child in the theme indicated.  The quilter then sends the quilt directly to the child for their birthday as a gift from the incarcerated parent.  I don't think I am being biased when I say that this program is a real blessing to these kids and their families.  We are giving HOPE and care in the form of a quilt :) LOVE THAT!  
Here is a note a received a few weeks ago: 'Words can not be explained or expressed of how you and the volunteer have done for my son! His birthday was on Friday and it came on Saturday sadly I missed the mail and went on Monday once I received the box I told my son open it and he tore up that poor box lol. He was so happy to see the blanket! He loved the animals and colors, on the back has green with little hearts and he says he can now sleep with all his family because of the hearts. Your company made my sons 5th birthday weekend! His dad sent a card n we acted like there was $20 in it but he said that he could have just sent the blanket!'
Have a great weekend everyone! If the germ that is traveling around the Kindergarten class doesn't attack before tomorrow morning I am going across the border to New York to send out some quilts and buy some cheap American food :)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Works in Progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Time for another progress update:

 First of all, I want to point out that the above picture of the hand quilt is not mine--it is what I hope mine looks like :) I found it on a blog and for the life me I can't find the source.....when I find the blog I will give credit I promise. Anyway, we have a fundraising auction every year at school and I am in charge of the class projects--this is going to be the Kindergarten contribution--I ordered my colored jelly rolls from Fabric Depot and I hope they arrive in the mail today. This auction will consume my life for the next 2 months but I hope to produce lots of need things with the kids! It is nice to focus on something other than Margaret's Hope Chest now and again.

 My next work in progress is a football themed quilt for a birthday boy later this month.  I have it pinned and will quilt it this afternoon.  I just love the 'Fair and Square' pattern that Amanda Jean from Carzy Mom Quilts designed for MHC last summer.  I pull it out every time I need a big boy quilt--so easy.  I cut this out and pieced it on Saturday night (I know--exciting weekend!). 

 And the Peace quilt is finished and ready to be shipped this weekend! It turned out pinker than I had planned because I decided to sash between the blocks--I really hope she likes it.  My sewing machine is giving me some real troubles--none of my decorative stitches work and it won't even do a zig-zag stitch evenly anymore.  Grrr....I paid $90 last summer to have this same problem fixed--is it time to go shopping for a new machine???

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quilting Bee Update

Wow! Yippee! Awesome! 2 days after opening up the MHC Quilting Bee we are almost filled up! Joshua, Jordan and Frankee are FULL.  I still have 1,2 or 3 spots open for Meyon, N'Tari, and Harmony so please let me know if you are interested!  Refer to the original post for details on the original kids. At this point I am not even making any blocks--which is a miracle in and of itself--but I will be putting the first 3 quilts together and my mom will be putting the next 3 together.
I am working on an e-mail to all participants that will go out tonight with further details and guidelines.

Well, the noodles and sauce are on the stove so I don't have time to find the exact words to describe how good it feels to have so many people jump at the chance to join our Quilting Bee--thanks!!