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Friday, December 12, 2008

The Big 5-0

We have reached a milestone here at Margaret's Hope Chest. Last week we gave our
away our 50th quilt! Some of you may remember that it was my goal to give 50 quilts in the first year but that appears to have been overly ambitious! Now that I realize how much time and work is involved in running this, I am quite happy with what we have accomplished! Praise be to God for his wonderful plan for Margaret's Hope Chest.

Our 50th quilt was given with 9 others to The American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids. They will be given to fire victims this winter season.

We also gave 3 quilts to a family in the GR area who is really struggling this year. My sister-in-law and some of her co-workers have adopted this family for the Chirstmas season. We are happy to provide a warm and cheery gift to each of the 3 girls in that family.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

There's a New Quilter on the Block


The lack of posting is due to a new member in our family-Josiah Peter. He was born Nov. 7th and he a big bundle of love. Needless to say, there will not be much quilt-making going on in our house anytime soon. It's OK though, we have more than 20 quilts waiting for new homes and I needed a break. I will use this time off to do some administrative work-like new brochures and a newsletter. I have also made it my goal to cut scraps into 2 inch squares for a big project we are planning for next Christmas (yes, we are thinking that far ahead!). Keep checking back though for additional updates on where our quilts are going!
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doll Quilts


My daughter Anne and her friend Alison (who was staying at our house this weekend) designed these 4 doll quilts for the Santa Claus Girls in GR. This Christmas, these blankets (and many others) will be distributed to little girls who might not have ever had a homemade gift before. Anne and Alison are blessed with mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers who make them lots of homemade treasures. It is important to me that my daughter's earliest memories include giving CONCRETELY to others. If you have a daughter or granddaughter please consider giving her the gift of these memories too. Everyone has something to give someone else.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October Quilts


Nothing like the impending birth of a new baby to light a fire under my sewing machine. As of today all 6 of these quilts are bound and ready for a label and a new home. 3 of the quilts are monkey themed. The fabric is flannel and so soft! I bought 6 charm packs of the same fabric earlier this year at The Fat Quarter Shop (online) for half price! So far I have made 5 quilts from them and I still have more left. Charm packs (for those who don't know) are precut 5 inch squares of matching fabric. If I find them half price I always buy them-it's a fun way to see a whole line of matching fabric without having to buy large quantities. Off to start some more projects!
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Hope and Love in This Life and the Next

One of our quilt recipients in on the brink of death. Her name is Emily and she is only 15 years old. She has a rare genetic disease that has been slowly robbing her of life for about 5 years now. Her mother Lindsey keeps an inspiring CaringBridge website updating family and friends. The following is what she has written today-as she watches her child die. I want you to notice with me what she says about HOPE and LOVE.

"She is tired. I think it really hit her hard today, the realization that she was completely on the brink of death the other night. She still continues to startle the medical folks by even being alive.

For some reason, the sadness is hitting me today... I guess I had, inside, hoped that today would yield a marked turning point, that we could start to begin to picture her coming home with us again, sometime. No one else is holding out that promise... it must just be another time of waiting, waiting, waiting without knowing the eventual or immediate outcome.

One learns to be patient in the waiting... and GRATEFUL. But such lessons of the soul do not occur easily, or without distinct cost. Thankfully, there is One who has gone before us, an Example who has paved the way along the road of suffering... and Who has borne the far greater brunt of the load, to achieve at the end of it all what we as humans could never completely achieve.

For WEEKS now, I have given some thought to the end of 1 Corintians 13, which is that famous treatise on LOVE from the New Testament. 'And now abide faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love.' Somewhere in the back of my mind, and with these very words often repeated familiarly to me, I had latched onto a notion that faith, hope and love were three great things but that love was the only one of the three that would last forever... but, after further reflection on the words, I had to realize that it was simply not true. The statement actually indicates that all THREE will remain, but that in their remaining, the greatest of the three is actually LOVE.

When you are in a life-and-death situation like ours, it is actually HOPE that weighs in pretty heavily. Understandably. But I guess in all my musing recently, and especially culminating in my thoughts today as I watch Emily, I have suddenly caught a grasping of the fact that LOVE is even greater than hope. Am not even sure that words can be found to unravel such a great mystery... but something poignant has been spoken to my heart, by the Spirit of the One who is God, the One who amongst many things is known as The Revealer of Mysteries, in this life and the next. And today, I quietly have found a measure of consolation in that."

Please be in prayer for the Yeskoo family as they travel the through the valley of the shadow of death. If you have an account with CaringBridge you can read her page by using emilyy as the login.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Recent Gifts of Hope


I am trying to keep myself updated on where the quilts are's a bit hard because my mom is "Central Command" in Grand Rapids and I am in Toronto trying to crank quilt tops out before baby #4 arrives in less than a month! Thankfully, my mom is a meticulous list maker-I know I chose her for my partner for a reason! So here are our recent gifts of hope.
We sent a quilt to Nigeria (our furthest destination so far!) for Megan, whose mom was diagnosed with brain cancer about a month ago. Megan and her husband are missionaries in Nigeria. Her mom lives in Iowa. For two years I lived far, far away from my parents and I was always scared that something terrible would happen to them and I would be have to choose to care for my husband and kids or my parents....we are praying for their family, specifically for healing (number 1) and wisdom to know when it is time to travel "home". We also sent a quilt to Megan's mom, Cella. Actually, they are matching quilts, just like the one pictured above.
We gave three more quilts to Safe Haven Ministries for families that are being served there.
Finally, two more quilts were given to Children's Assessment Center. My mom was supposed to go on a tour there last month but because of the heavy rain, thier office was flooded. I'm sure that caused a bit of discouragement. They provide a very important service to our community.
So, the total number of quilts we have gifted is up to 38! I really, really want to make it to 50 before the new year (we have MANY quilts finished and ready to go) so I need referrals!!! Please don't hesitate to e-mail me with an individual or family that could use HOPE!
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

West Michigan Quilt Show




Just wanted to let you see the quilt that Margaret's Hope Chest had displayed at the area quilt show this weekend. It was made from donated material, pieced by myself, quilted by Phyllis Myers of 'Quilts Completed' and bound by my mom. I LOVE it, I think the quilting by Phyllis makes this quilt so cool. She did a great job. We haven't decided what to do with this quilt but we have discussed donating it to Silent Observer of Greater Grand Rapids who helped our family after my grandma's murder-as I understand it, they have auctions every once and a while to raise money....we'll see. The other quilt is one that I entered personally. I made it for our best friends last year. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quilting Kits Now Available


I have 9 kit quilts now available for volunteers to piece. If you have ever thought of helping us THIS is the kit for you-it is sooo....easy and quick-and downright attractive too! All of the fabric you need is cut, labeled and ready to piece. A great use of 2 hours!
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Join the FUN!


We are trying something new here at Margaret's Hope Chest and I wanted to invite our entire blog audience to join us. Starting in October, Margaret's Hope Chest's VIRTUAL QUILTING BEE will be leading virtual volunteers through one quilt pattern a month. The quilt pictured here is our first quilt. I will be providing COMPLETE PICTORAL INSTRUCTIONS for each quilt. Even people who have no idea how to quilt can follow the instructions and make these quilts. I have set up a brand new blog for the Virtual Quilting Bee- Click on the link on the sidebar to visit, and consider joining us!
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just When You Least Expect It.....

There is a song that I hear each day on the Christian radio station that I listen to and here are the first few lines of the lyrics...

"You do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes *its* demands
you hold on as well as *you're* able
You've been here for a long long time
Hope has a way of turning *its* face to you
just when you least expect it."

It's called 'It might be HOPE' by Sara Groves and it describes our work at Margaret's Hope Chest for the last year and a half. We work hard and it seems like it will take a FOREVER to get this whole thing off of the ground, and then just when we least expect it.....

Even though we are in the business of sharing hope with others, we still are in need of some ourselves from time to time. Praise God we received some HOPE yesterday just when we least expected it. This story could get long and complicated so I will simplify as much as possible. There is a writer at the GR Press Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, who has a craft column and blog and a few weeks ago she was preparing a for a community quilting bee. I wrote her an e-mail, offered my mother's attendance at the bee (your welcome mom!), and watched to see how everything unfolded. You can read what happened when you click on the link in the side bar.
Anyway, there was a woman there named Sally, she went home and read our website and blog. She liked what we are doing and thought she could help. Fast forward to the second quilting event last night that, once again, my mother attended (she IS a saint). She met Sally in the parking lot and Sally gave her 5 TOTALLY COMPLETED QUILTS and 2 boxes of fabric. HOPE-right there. People DO care, they think that what we are doing IS important. They want to support us. My mom and I really needed that. This was the first time in our short history that anyone has donated completed quilts. Cool.

The quilt top pictured below was finished and sent off this week to Well of Grace in St. Joseph Michigan. This is a special place where young ladies who are suffering from depression, eating disorders and other difficulties are living and recieving the help and hope they need. This is the second quilt we have sent them. We heard they are using them in the living room/TV area-hey I like a quilt to snuggle under when I watch TV too!

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Quilts for Oliver and Waverly



These two monkey quilts are for Waverly and Oliver, brother and sister who also share a rare genetic disease. I have added a link on the side to thier mother's blog which is called 'Exploring Holland'. Even though the quilts are for the kids, Mom and Dad need some hope for the future as they navigate this awful disease.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This one is for Baby I


We just delivered this quilt to Baby I. Sorry this picture was taken before it was finished off-I guess I forgot to take a photo after it was finished-oops! Baby I has a severe cleft palate and lip which will need lots of attention and patience over the next months and years. I grew up with his mom-Kim. Her and her husband have now adopted 9 children from all over the world-Baby I just arriving home with them last week! They truly have a heart for orphans and are doing their best to show God's love to them. If you click on His Hands-His Feet on the sidebar, you will be taken to their blog-quite interesting. You can scroll down a bit and see a picture of Baby I snuggled in his quilt-so sweet!
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Thursday, August 28, 2008


I got some disappointing news yesterday from the powers that be at the West Michigan Quilt Show. I had asked if we could set up a small display about our ministry and leave out brouchures for people to take at the upcoming Quilt Show. I guess I never expected the answer I was given.

"Carin:Unfortunately, we must deny your request to promote your non-profit at the upcoming quilt show. The Quilts on the Grand 2008 is intended to draw attention and support to "The Tie That Binds" and "Habitat for Humanity of Kent County". They need to be the main (and only) focus during this event. As you probably know, "The Tie That Binds" is the guild's ongoing cause. The second charity changes with every biennial quilt show. To be considered for the 2010 show, you will have the opportunity to turn in a written request to the show committee"

In my mind I feel like there should be room for any group who wants to use quilting to encourage people in our community. The Tie that Binds gives quilts exclusively to NICU babies. Habitat for Humanity doesn't give quilts to anyone....
Anyway, you better believe that I will apply to be considered for the 2010 show but in the meantime I feel discouraged. I was really looking forward to sharing what we are doing with the largest quilting audience in West Michigan. Now we must find other avenues to reach that same group. Please pray that we will find these ways and continue to progress in a positive direction.

The good news is that I have two quilts displayed in the show, one is personal, and the other is a Margaret's Hope Chest quilt. If you are in the GR area the first weekend of Oct. check them out at the DeltaPlex.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Emily's quilt


Here is a picture of a quilt we gave to Emily yesterday. Emily is the 15 year old daughter of a co-worker of my husband's. She is in the final stages of life on this earth due to a rare genetic disease. Her favorite color is purple and when I heard about her I was finishing this quilt-God's provision is amazing.
We also sent a quilt to the Biemers family from Texas. The father of the family (a former employee of Holland Home in GR) returned from military sevice in Iraq only to be killed in an auto accident leaving behind a wife and 3 little boys.
Both families are in need of hope and courage, we pray that we have shared a little with them.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Don't take the lack of blogging as a sign of inactivity here at Margaret's Hope Chest. No, we have been busy, busy, busy. We are busy finishing off all of the quilt tops that have been accumulating over the winter and spring months. At the beginning of June we only had 3 finished quilts left to give away. Now we have 20-and the number is growing daily!! I am so thankful to have had a wonderful babysitter to watch my kids for the month of June and a wonderful husband who had the entire month of July off from work. I have gotten so much done! Take a look at some recently completed quilts.





Now we have the joy of giving them away. We started last week by giving a few more quilts to the Child Assessment Center here in Grand Rapids (this is the second time we have given them). Basically, they provide assessments to children who might have been sexual abused. They give our quilts to some of those children.
I sent out a quilt today to itty bitty baby Becca who was born very early and is very tiny, but quite a fighter. Here is a link to her parent's blog if you are interested
We have identified a couple of other families but we are waiting for addresses.
God continues to surprise and bless our ministry!
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Quilt Kits



I have selected the next two quilt kits that we will be assembling for volunteers to piece. The first one is called "Block in a Box", and the second is called X's and O's. We hope to cut 10 patterns of each quilt. Think of all of the fabric we will use up....
I am also toying with the idea of the first annual "Margaret's Hope Chest Quilting Retreat". I was inspired by an article in my Better Homes and Garden quilting magazine. I am thinking August....two night.....I am still thinking. Let me know if you are interested.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

A Unique and Useful Gift

Maybe you struggle with finding the perfect gift for the person who has everything. here is an ingenius birthday/end of the year gift my Aunt Marcia received a few weeks ago. This is an excerpt from an e-mail she sent me:
"This week was our last in kindergarten--what a wonderful class I have been blessed with...
As a surprise the room moms arranged for the children to bring "gifts" on the day we were having a Kindergarten Kafe--it was to be a birthday celebration (my birthday is in August)...:
65 pieces of fabric (and they told me of their selection)
20 spools of thread
6 pkg of needles
3 scissors (1 is a pinking shears)
1 tape measure
2 marking pencils
I cannot think of another birthday celebration that I have enjoyed!!!

Aunt Marcia"

Her class is aware of Margaret's Hope Chest and all of the supplies she received
will be used to make more quilts! I haven't seen the fabric yet but my mom tells me it is cute, cute, cute. Thanks so much for this creative donation!

Friday, May 30, 2008

One or Two??

Should these make one quilt or two seperate quilts? Initially, I thought the first quilt would be the pieced backing for the square quilt (or vice-versa). But now that I look at them, I wonder if they should be two seperate quilts. What do you think? Anyway, I had fun creating these using a Moda jelly roll. If you don't know what that is just google it. Fun and easy to use. Not a whole lot more going on as I am spending most of my time preparing for a move back to the Grand Rapids area for the summer. By late June we should be in full swing-finishing off the 20+ quilt tops we have created and finding more creative uses for the loads of donated fabric. Can't wait!
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Quilt Tops

Hey Everyone! My mom and I have been busy quilting over the past two weeks! We have finished 11 quilt tops for MHC! The slide show to your right shows them all. It's amazing how much you can get done tandem quilting. She was the pinner and ironer and I was the sewer. This summer we have to get serious finishing all of these tops. If any blog readers want to finish any of these tops just let me know. They can be tied or quilted (by hand or sewing machine).
In the last few weeks we gave one quilt to the Morren family who all (mom, dad, and four boys) survived a devastating house fire. They received a quilt that had angels quilted in the corners because surely, there must have been angels protecting their family that day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy One Year Anniversary!

Margaret's Hope Chest is officially one year old today. We launched ourselves on April 30, 2007, the two year anniversary of my grandmother's death. I have had many hopes and dreams for MHC over the past year and some have come true while others haven't. It was my goal to give away 50 quilts in our first year. We actually gave away 19. It turns out it is a much harder process to take groups of quilts from start to finish. It also turns out that it is hard to gather a faithful group of volunteers. Despite not reaching our goal we remain positive and sure that this is what God would have us to do. We know that the families that we have given quilts to were in real need of hope. We were honored to share that with them.
Here is a list of who the first 19 quilts were given to.

-Mother of one of the two girls charged with my grandma's murder
-baby in NICU
-baby in NICU
-baby born with Spina Bifida
-a woman dying of cancer
-a man living in a nursing home with Cerebral Palsy
-5 families coming out our abusive relationships
-a woman living in an abusive relationship
-a group home for troubled girls
-a woman living the waiting area of a hospital while her husband was dying
-a family who's father/husband died very unexpectantly
-Children at Risk program (x2)
-the wife of a farmer killed in farming accident
-the grandfather of the farmer killed in farming accident

What I like best about the list when I read it over is that there is so much diversity. We aren't just serving one "type" of hopeless person, we are open to giving to anyone who has a need.
I hope you will continue to pray for MHC. Specifically, we would like to see the formation of a core group of quilting volunteers (not just me and my mom!!). I know I say this alot but if you know of someone who might like to help us please let me know. Also, if you hear of someone who needs a bit of hope drop me an e-mail.
Thanks again for your support and prayers over the past year. God is good-all the time.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Show Quilt Finished-I Think


So here is the quilt that I have been working on for the Grand Rapids Quilt Show in October. What do you think? I could still add another wide border to make it bigger...I like how it turned out. It looks sort-of grandma-ish to me and that is exactly the look I was going for. Now I will enter it into the show and figure out how to quilt it and finish it off.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Still Here


Hello everyone! I am still here-and I am still quilting. I was working on a personal project for a few weeks but I have been concentrating on the quilt pictured above. In October there is a quilt show in Grand Rapids and so I am feverishly trying to put together a quilt for Margarets Hope Chest using all donated material. I hope to be able to showcase MHC a bit to 1000's of area quilters. So, I am spending a little more time on this quilt than I do on some of the others. The deadline for entry is July but I don't like to wait until the last minute. I will post a picture when it is finished which will hopefully be in the next week!

I little update on our activity here. We gave 2 quilts last week to the victim witness unit for their program called Children at Risk. These quilts along with many others (from other people) will go to children who have been identified as "at risk" for many potentially harmful behaviors. We pray that these children will get the help and hope they need to stay out of trouble. I have a referral for a family who lost their dad in a farming accident-still waiting for an address. A reminder that we are always looking for referrals. Just e-mail me!

At the end of this month, Margaret's Hope Chest will officially be 1 year young! I will post on that special day and recap our first year of sharing hope with our community.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Think Pink


A few months ago, someone donated a Ziploc baggie full of different sized pink strips. It looked like a good challege to me, so yesterday I took them out and sorted them and put this quilt together. It was fun and a great reminder that scraps are not trash! Maybe we will be asked to give a quilt to a women with breast cancer in the near future. I think this quilt would be fun to give her. We'll see.

On another note,(I always seem to have two points to my blogs) I wanted to mention a newer partnership that MHC has developed with another non-profit organization called Until Journey's End (UJE). UJE was started by a family that we gave a quilt to last November. I read on a blog about Tiffany Evans and her family. They were living in a Ronald McDonald house in Ohio while they waited for their precious baby Isaac to grow big enough to travel home to Grand Rapids. It was a long journey for them but Isaac is home and doing great!! I actually met Tiffany and Isaac in February and we had a great talk. She is a very energentic and inspirational person. Based on her experiences away from home and family, she has felt called to help other families in a similar situation by sending them a care package and notes of encouragement over a period of time. When appropriate, she will add a quilt from us to a care package. You can learn more about Until Journey's End from her She is always looking for more families to help and for items for the care packages.
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Friday, March 14, 2008

Quilt Update




I promised an update before the week was over and here it is Friday so I better not disappoint! We gave out two quilts this week. The blue one pictured was given to Angie and her four children after the unexpected death of her husband and their father. The purple/pink one was given to a women named Hong who is a Vietnamese refugee who is enduring an abusive marriage relationship. In February we sent a quilt to a women in West Virginia who's husband was dying and she was living in the ICU waiting room. A few weeks ago we heard that her husband had died. I hope now that the quilt will give comfort to her and her four children as they navigate a new life together. So I guess the theme this week is giving hope to marriage, for better or worse, in sickness and in health till death do us part......It amazes me how we seem to give out quilts in themed groups. Sometimes we hear of 3 babies in one week, sometimes 2 tragic deaths in one week.
I wanted to highlight one more thing about the pink/purple quilt and the yellow quilt pictured. I hope the picture picks up the amazing quilting that was done on these. Phyllis Myers is our volunteer long-arm quilter. She has now quilted 6 quilts for MHC and she has done a fabulous job each time. If you are ever in need of long-arm quilting please consider her. Her business is called QUILTS COMPLETED. Thanks Phyllis!
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Monday, March 10, 2008



During February my sister, mom, and I FINALLY sorted out all of our donated material. I HUGE thank-you to my sister, Amy who spent most of her time one weekend rolling and organizing it by color. If you are reading this and have donated fabric, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!! We are literally overwhelmed with fabric. When we look through these bins at all of the varied styles and colors it seems we will never run out of ideas for fun quilts. God only knows who will lie under these quilts and cry out for hope. We continue to work for His glory. Later this week I will give an update quilt giving and new ways to help.
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Monday, March 3, 2008

Pictures from the Quilt-a-thon



Here are the hard working quilt-a-thon volunteers having lots of fun on a cold winter afternoon. The second picture is the work we completed-8 quilt tops. Thanks again to all of our volunteers. I must add that I forgot to mention and thank one of our volunteers-my dad! He ironed the finished quilt tops for us! I am looking forward to finishing off these tops and making more at our next event!
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