Thursday, December 20, 2012

What's Coming in 2013

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.
-- Barbara Bush
Thanks to all who left such supportive comments on my post yesterday.  Isn't it a good feeling when you realize that you aren't alone in your thoughts?  It looks like many of us are ready to start 2013 by using what we already have to make our quilts.  I can't wait! 
So now I am here to write the post I was supposed to write yesterday--Margaret's Hope Chest 2013 Projects!
We have three major projects that we are looking at for 2013:
1. Wrapped in Hope--Quilts for children with a parent in prison.  We have committed to providing quilts for three camps in Michigan in 2013.  We need about 60 quilts for each camp--so we will need about 180 kid themed quilts!!!  The dates for the camps are April 4th, July 26th and September 13th.
We will not be creating a birthday quilt list this year for two reasons--1. God hasn't given us any children to add to it (that's a pretty big reason). 2. Things in my family life are a bit up in the air and will continue to be so until the adoption of our daughter is complete. The organization of the birthday list takes time and access to my home computer--both of which I will be short of over the next 8 months. I am sure that we will get requests for specific birthday quilts this year and I will post those on the blog when they come up.
We are asking that those of you who have, in the past, made a quilt for the Wrapped in Hope birthday list, choose a quilt(s) off of this year's list and send it to our address in Michigan. The 2013 list will be ready by next week--I will post a link to it here on the blog. These quilts will go to a child with a parent in prison. 

2. Postpartum Quilts--This project is so new that I don't even have a catchy name for it yet!  Maybe someone out there has a suggestion.  We have agreed to provide quilts for new moms who have completed inpatient treatment for postpartum depression.  These quilts are not for the babies--they are for the moms.   I had postpartum depression/anxiety after my 3rd and 4th child.  It was pretty terrible to be perfectly honest-especially after my 3rd child because it seemed to come out of nowhere.  I hadn't really had anything to this degree after my 1st and 2nd so it was a total shock to be virtually useless-sitting in a chair crying all day and awake and worrying all night.  I am so glad that in my hometown, there is a place where women can go to get help.  I am so glad that God is giving us a chance to give these ladies a quilt--a little piece of HOPE from other moms who know all too well (or could imagine) what they are going through.  I am working on my first quilt for this program right now.  Can't wait to show it and give you all of the details soon (including a program name).

3.  Project Hope-- I had a great time organizing four Project Hope collections last year.  It was a fun way for many people to get involved in a small way.  I have decided to go ahead and plan 3 projects this year.  More details to come on that too.

So, as you can see--God has led us to a new project and given us more work to do in areas where we have already been able to make a big difference.  We are confident that God has given us these projects and that he will give us the volunteers we need to complete them.  Thank you to all who will say YES to one or more of this year's projects. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Real Prize

Dear Quilting Friends,

2013 is mere weeks away.  I love the energy that comes alive in people as a new year approaches.  There is HOPE for new beginnings, new STARTS where there had been failures and new IDEAS abound.  This carries over into the quilting sphere as well.  New projects, new goals, and new energy create excitement for quilters everywhere.

But can I share one thing with you? 

I have noticed over the past year that the quilting blog community has been inundated with giveaways.  I have almost written this post three times over the past 9 months. It seems *almost* every blogger has sponsors who are giving away this or that in return for this or that.  Blog Hops provide endless possibilities for winning the next greatest fabric line, book or gadget. It seems that participation in just about any quilt-related activity also had some sort of prize or giveaway associated with it.

I have tired of the giveaways and prizes. I don't even read the posts on any blog (even my super favorites) that has the word 'Prize!', 'Giveaway!' or 'Sponsor' in it.  Why?



I have enough fabric.  I have enough rulers.  I have enough thread and gadgets.  I have enough books and patterns.

These giveaways only leave me wanting more instead of using what I already have.
I believe all of this commercialization takes a bit of the joy out of quilting.  I love to read quilting blogs for ideas, inspiration and a shared sense of community.  I have seen less of these good qualities and more of the not so good qualities lately.

Where am I going with this?

I guess what I want to say is--I would like to make a new start in the quilting blog world for 2013.  Let's turn from a world of 'got to have more' towards a world where we are so busy using the 953 fat quarters we already have that we don't have time to leave a comment for a 1 in 953 chance of winning more fat quarters.
I still believe that quilters are some of the most generous people out there--what else could explain the fact that Margaret's Hope Chest has given 1600 quilts away over the past 6 years without one single sponsor, giveaway, or prize for participation?
Our world is hurting and needs HOPE.  The gift of a quilt can bring that to a life--I have seen it happen over and over.  Don't lose sight of the real prize--make 2013 the year you use what you already have to serve others!

Blessings on your final days in 2012!

By the way, if you have a blog that is mostly giveaway free (I don't have a problem with an occasional giveaway) and supports the ideas that I have shared here--leave your link in the comments and I will add it my sidebar!  It will be fun to watch our progress as we use what we have to serve others!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

* I think I have received the majority of the blocks for the Project Hope--'Fun in the Middle' collection.
I am thankful for the 18 ladies who sent us over 400 blocks!!!  What fun it will be to put these together into 10 quilts for girls with a parent in prison!  My mom is coming to visit us after Christmas so I think we will have to take an afternoon or two to play around!

*Some have been asking what our plans for 2013 are.   While we fully recognize that God is ultimately in control of who we serve, we have made some changes for 2013.  Stay tuned later this week for our official 2013 announcements! We hope to have something that everyone can participate in!

*Thanks to all who voted for my daughter Anne's video----SHE WON THE GRAND PRIZE!!  We can hardly believe it!  Here is a link to the official announcement

*I have been a little absent from this space over the past few months.  I must admit that I have been distracted by a personal 'project'.  I spent the months of September, October and part of November making 180 laminated cotton bibs!

Our family is adopting a little girl from China and these bibs will hopefully pull in a little extra income.  I have opened a little Etsy shop so if you are in the market for a bib or a quilt (I have a couple listed) check it out!
Here is a picture of our little Tulip (her nickname until my husband and I can agree upon a name!).  Our family blog has loads more information on her and our process. So please forgive me if there is a little less activity here than normal over the next six months--we are busy growing this baby in our hearts!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Little Favor From My Quilting Friends

I wonder if you might be willing to do a little favor for me......

My oldest daughter Anne entered a video contest for American Girl.  She is a finalist--which is so very exciting for our whole family.  Out of over 500 videos, her video called "Sewing for Others" is one of the 6 finalists!  What you need to know about Anne is that she is the sweetest, most giving, and generous 11 year olds I have ever met.
 I wondered if my sewing friends would support my junior sewer by voting for her video to win the grand prize. 
Here is the link to the videos--her's is AnneV titled 'Sewing for Others'.  Thanks in advance!!

My sweet daughter Anne

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Project Hope--Fun in the Middle Blocks--LAST CALL!!

Project Hope 2012 is winding down.  These are the last few days to make some 'Fun in the Middle' blocks and send them in.  Here are the details on this fun and easy block!  Deadline is November 15th (but really if you are a few days later than that it's fine.)

I have received some great blocks so far and I am looking forward to putting them all together!
Just for peace of mind I have received packages from the following people (keep in mind that mail to my address can take up to 3 weeks to get to me--and Hurricane Sandy DID NOT speed things up in this department):

Gloria, Betty, Maureen, Lynn, Sandra, Norece, Cinda, a package from Galena, KS, and from Katy, TX.
Big thank you to these ladies!  Would be nice to have a few more for variety sake but we always take what the Lord provides through our volunteers!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quilts to Haiti--Yet Another Tale of God's Perfect Timing

We had been planning on sending a large group of baby sized quilts to Haiti for a long time. But it seemed we kept striking out. Our first contact moved away.  Our second contact didn't seem terribly interested.  Our third contact didn't have a good or inexpensive way to get them from here to there.
And then......a long time friend of our family told my mom that she was planning on going to Haiti to distribute eye glasses--while there she would be staying at an orphanage and visiting some hospitals and did we have any quilts that she could take.  The answer of course was, YES and how big is your suitcase?  She stuffed in as many as possible and promised to take pictures of where they ended up.  We all believed that they would end up at a hospital and given to children there.
But, as we have learned many times over, God has his own (much better) plans than us.
The quilts have a new home in the Notre Maison Children's Home in Port-Au Prince Haiti.

 Meet Sister Gertrude.  She runs this orphanage which houses forty three children with varying physical and mental disabilities. 

 Here are some of the beautiful children who live at Notre Maison Children's Home.
On the day that our friend was visiting the orphanage they were opening new dorms for the children.
Everyone agreed that the beds looked a little plain.  Good thing our quilts were there to provide uniqueness,  comfort and softness to that room full of bunk beds!  Good thing God had that all planned out ahead of time. Another happy tale of God's perfect timing!  Thanks to all who have sent baby or small children's quilts to us in the past year!  This is also were the quilts made out of HST's for Haiti ended up--you can see one on the far bed in the picture below. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Junior Birdman Quilt

Here is my Blogger's Quilt Festival entry!

There once was a little boy, who from birth it seemed, had one eye and ear to the sky-listening and watching for airplanes and other flying objects.  That little boy had a mother who wanted to make him the world's coolest airplane quilt.  She searched high and low for a pattern that she liked but couldn't find one so she made up her own (based on a picture of a quilt at the Tokyo Quilt show last year).  Then she pulled out all of her scrap boy fabric and went to work.  And work she did.  Three weeks later,  she had fashioned 63 eight and half inch blocks.  What fun she had creating this masterpiece for her little boy. After the top had been pieced, the quilt was sent off to a very kind and patient woman who hand quilted each of those blocks and the borders.
On July 12, 2012--that little boy received his very own 'Junior Birdsman' quilt for his 9th birthday. 
Isaac--my little Junior Birdsman-standing in front of a C-130 that he toured this past spring.
 Here are the details of the quilt:
Finished Block Size: 8.5 inches
Finished Quilt Size: 90"X 72"
Machine Pieced by Carin Vogelzang
Hand Quilted by Marguerite Petroelje
Best categories: Photography, Hand-Quilted, Scrap Quilt
 When I originally posted about this quilt last spring a kind and smart commenter said " I can't believe you cut all those pieces. I had a thought while looking it over. How about a paper piecing block? You could sell them to help raise $$ for Margaret's Hope Chest."
Now why didn't I think of that?  Paper piecing would have been so much easier. 
And so I made a paper pieced block template and if you are interested in one please e-mail me your mailing address and I will happily put one in the mail for you.  I ask in return that make a donation of $5.00 to Margaret's Hope Chest.   Details will come via an e-mail after you contact me.  Hope you have enjoyed my quilt and the others in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thanks to Amy for organizing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 'Nail in the Coffin' Quilt

This is the quilt that was the proverbial 'nail in the coffin'-for my sewing machine.
I had been saving this Busy Town fabric for about a year.  Our family loves Richard Scarry  and when I saw the fabric line based on his books I knew I wanted to make a patchwork quilt. 
When we returned to Bermuda in September I finally pulled it out and matched up scraps and precuts and began cutting and sewing.  The top turned out fantastically-despite my sewing machine's new formed habit of only accepting certain types of thread.  When it came time to quilt it, I decided upon a straight line pattern.  That is where the real problems developed.  I have straight lined quilted with this machine before--and I noticed a deteriation over the past year or so but I was still happy with the finished products.  Not any more.  Some of you see no problems with this quilt but upon closer inspection you will see all the blocks shifted so it has a wavy effect to it.  Everything which was once square is no longer :)

I have taken this particular machine (who I call Jan) to the shop two summers in a row to fix the same problem.  That problem still exists. I have had Jan for about seven years and  I have run her seven days a weeks for up to eight hours a day for the past four years.  She is tired and ready for semi-retirement.

And as of yesterday, she has been replaced by a Juki.  I am really excited {but please don't tell Jan because her feelings may be hurt}. 
And here is a question for my readers:  I would like to try and sell Jan for a minimal price--she still works but just not up to the standards that I am used to.  Does anyone have a suggestion for how I could word an ad that accurately and honestly describes her condition without scaring off potential buyers?
Any other Juki owners out there with a little bit of advice on my new machine? 
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wanna Help? Here's How!

So, you want to help Margaret's Hope Chest but you don't have the time or energy to make a quilt--I am here to tell you that there are still many ways to help us without making something new.

We accept the following items for donation:
- Fabric
- Batting - any type, any loft
- Partially pieced quilt tops
- Partially basted quilt tops
- Partially quilted quilt tops
- Orphan or leftover blocks

Great news, huh?
We use these donations to make quilts and also support other quilters who quilt for us (for example, there is a group of men serving life sentences in a prison in Michigan who make quilts for us--we give them fabric to use).  

Donations can be sent to:
Margaret's Hope Chest
630 Griswold SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
 our phone number is (616) 855-2862

One of the reasons I am posting this is because someone was nice enough to have alerted me to this post. Check it out!
UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

All of the quilts pictured below were donated--some came to us as blocks, some came to us as tops, some came to us as scraps.  We really do try to use everything we have been given to the best of our ability!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Random Summer Catch-All Post

I was gone from this blog for the summer but that didn't stop many small things from happening in the world of Margaret's Hope Chest.  Considering it is October-I should probably wrap up the summer posts with one catch all-totally random post.

1.) Many people have sent us quilt tops over the past few years.  We use them all--sometimes it just takes us months (or a year!).  Someone donated this lovely top a long time ago.  It was long-arm quilted this past winter and when we had a need arise this summer, I bound it and sent it off! Isn't it beautiful?

2.) We had a lovely summer work party in August.  Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts was the guest of honor and we had an amazing group of ladies together for the day.  We spent the entire six hours feverishly piecing the 1000+ ragged square blocks into quilts.  The day was a smashing success.  I want to thank Queen Bee Quilt Shoppe for offering their classroom space for the day and the ladies who came out for the day: Amy, Carol E., Stephanie, Dhia, Carol P., Lisa, Jessica, Jill, Pam, Arliss, Joan, April, Janet, and Lori.  Here are a few pictures of finished quilts!

3.) I restored/remodeled an antique quilt this summer.  Two antique tops were donated to MHC this spring.  They were waiting for me in Michigan when I arrived in June.  Immediately, I was smitten and spent a good deal of time over the summer deconstructing one top and then reconstructing it.
Here is how the top arrived:

 There were tears and stains and blocks that seemed to have disintergrated.  The lady who made this top handstiched it with very thick thread and even overlapping rows of stitching in many spots.  I picked each block apart (over 500 blocks), ironed them flat, weeded out the bad blocks, trimmed each block to 1.25 inches and sewed them back together again.  Easy to type out the steps, not so easy to actually do it!  But in the end, it was worth it....

Here are a few pictures of the final product.  I machine pieced the top but hand stiched the quilting :) a modern and quicker redo of an antique quilt top.  We are not quite sure what we will do with it--but for now my mom will use it on the display table when she goes and presents about MHC.

I stole this image from Pam's blog because I didn't actually have a full picture of it finished--so there I am holding it ;)
 Here is the second quilt that was sent.  A MAMMOTH yo-yo quilt.  It came to Bermuda with me and I have plans for it--but I just need a little more time and a few internet lessons on how to make yo-yo blocks...... anyone out there ever restored/remodeled an antique quilt before? 

4.)  I got to go to prison two times this summer!  Here is what 60 kid quilts look like in the back of my van:
I had a great day in the Jackson, Michigan prison in August.  We gave away 45 quilts to some really great kids.  Their dads were able to hear our story of forgiveness and HOPE and I pray that it impacted them in a positive way.  Again, the whole experience in overwhelming and gratifying. 
The second prison visit was a little different-and it requires a post of it's own but here is a brief summary.  There is a group of 'lifers' (people serving a life sentence) at a prison in Macomb County Michigan (all men) who are making quilts for MHC.  I was able to spend a little time with them, see what they are doing, donate some fabric and here is the best part----I gave them Amanda Jean's book 'Sunday Morning Quilts' for inspiration.  How cool is that?  I wasn't allowed to take my camera into either prison so no pictures :( but trust me it was strange and awesome at the same time-which pretty much sums up my life.  And so my friends with that-I will close.  I apologize if there are spelling, grammar, or other errors in this post--I am tired and it is late and homeschooling my children is slowly eating away at my brain.  Until next time I am afforded a few extra minutes.....keep quilting!!!