Thanksgiving is just around the corner… talking about gratitude… I want to talk about the other side of giving, which is receiving. It is often easy to give of ourselves, but it can be difficult to accept help when we need it. I love this quote by Maya Angelou, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” It reminds me that in every situation where there is a giver, there is also a receiver…
It’s wonderful to be on the giving end, as we so often are, but what about those times when we are the ones in need? I hope you know that it is important to ask for help when you need it and that you are worthy of the help when it arrives.
So often, as quilters, we find ourselves in the role of the giver. Thank you for giving so freely of your talents and sharing your gifts with so many. Thank you for being there when others need you and quite literally wrapping them with love. The need for sincere acts of kindness is only increasing in this world. And when the moment arrives when you are in need of some kindness, smile and simply say, “Thank you.” You don’t need to justify your need or excuse yourself. It’s okay to accept help. I am learning more and more to ask for help when I need it and express gratitude instead of trying to explain the need away. Thank you for being there for me with all your support and love. This time of year and always, I am grateful for you!
When we first opened our doors back in 2008, we never would have dreamed we would begin our very own magazine just six years later! Now, in 2020, we’re celebrating our 12th company birthday and seven years of BLOCK!
Although this year is a little different than our previous annual Birthday Bash Extravaganzas – you can still celebrate with us ONLINE! You’re invited to our second ever BLOCK Party to kick-off our Birthday Bash Online starting this Thursday! Put on your comfy pants, grab some snacks, and tune in HERE on Wednesday, September 23 at 6 PM CT for a sneak peek into our October Issue with Jenny & Natalie!
Here’s an extra little sneak peek of what’s coming in Volume 7, Issue!
Better Bindings for Beautiful Results
Circle Magic Casserole Dish Holder
Jenny’s Journal (Sewing Bird Baby Quilts)
And sew much more...
A look behind the scenes with photo-stylist, Jennifer Dowling
“Every time a story comes along in BLOCK that calls for food I have so much fun trying out new recipes and creating foodie art! I wanted to share with you how I made this cake (found on the cover of the next issue) so you can enjoy it from home during our online birthday celebration this week!
Your favorite cake mix will do, I prefer Duncan Hines, but the real secret to an incredibly moist cake is two tablespoons of yogurt! If you haven’t tried it – I promise you’ll be delighted with the results. The super simple buttercream frosting is so simple and a family pleaser! You’ll need:
– 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened – 3 oz cream cheese – 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted – 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract – 3-5 tablespoons of heavy cream
Cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla then add your sugar slowly, could be more or less sugar just look for the consistency you like. I use a serrated knife to cut completely cooled cake into layers, The frosting is fluffy enough to fix any mishaps along the way.”
– Jennifer Dowling, Photo Stylist
Subscribe to BLOCK Magazineby Sunday, September 27 in order to receive this issue at your mailbox in October! (Pst, subscribe now and receive an extra FREE digital issue your account today!)
BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. Quilting isn’t just a hobby for some. For many it’s a way to cope, stay inspired, or even honor others.
Thank you, Barb, for sharing your story.
“Prior to my sister, Susan’s, untimely death from ovarian cancer at age 49, we had the opportunity to go through some of her “stuff.” There were a lot of boxes to go through and at the bottom of one of her boxes, I found several unfinished projects including multiple finished Christmas tree blocks and already cut fabric ready to piece into more blocks for a quilt.
At the time, I had never quilted but I had an older sister who was an devoted quilter and I asked Pat if she would like the squares from Susan. She agreed to take them and although there weren’t enough squares or fabric to make a quilt, there were blocks that could be used for some other form of remembrance.
The first Christmas tree square Pat used was on the back of a quilt that she made for me as a way of thanking me for helping Susan. Pat came up with the idea of using the squares to make pillows for the four living sisters. Unfortunately, every time Pat opened the squares to work on them she became emotional and tearful and couldn’t really start. Now I’m new to quilting but I’m up to the challenge of making pillows for my 3 remaining sisters.
Susan died before she ever became a grandmother, but loved babies and knew at some point her two girls would have children of their own. Because she knew she was going to pass before seeing her grandchildren, she wanted them to have something special from her. Crocheting was easy for her to do when she was ill and something she could do without having to sit at a sewing machine. In the year before she died she crocheted six baby Afghans all in different colors. I was the keeper of those gifts until such time she had grandchildren. Twenty years have passed and she has six grandchildren. Each baby was taken home from the hospital wrapped in one of the afghans made by their grandma. It is comforting to know all of her grandchildren have a piece of Susan’s work.
Susan was a remarkable woman and we both learned to sew early. We were only 13 months apart in age. Our first project when we were about eight was a green and white skirt that we made with our maternal grandmother. She made Alaskan parkas for my kids, she made Mukluks, and there wasn’t much she couldn’t do when it came to sewing.
Sometimes our projects get ahead of us and sometimes a little mistake in one project makes it difficult to continue and so it goes to the bottom of the box. Now as I take these squares and make pillows for my sisters I will finish the “unfinished” quilt in a different form. My sisters will have a remembrance of Susan knowing she is wrapping us all in her love with a piece of her quilt.”
This year has been so completely out of the ordinary, and challenging in so many ways, that I find myself simplifying again and experiencing great joy in the things that I have often taken for granted. Now, preparing for the holiday season is less about the hustle and bustle of finding just the right present, but taking the time to help create a warm, welcoming spirit in my home and in my community.
As I contemplate the spirit of generosity, I recognize that giving comes in many forms. Some give of their time and energy, some share love abundantly and easily, some can listen for hours, some give the biggest hugs, and some create handmade gifts to share. There are many ways to be generous and no matter how you like to give, your intentions absolutely matter. As we’ve experienced, the simplest gift from a child—a crumpled flower, a scribbled picture, or a sloppy kiss—can mean so much. Their intention comes through, as does ours. Never give in to the thought that your offering is insufficient. If you’ve given from the heart, that’s all that truly matters.
Considering the state of our nation, we could all use an extra boost of kindness. Let’s make this season a time to truly give from the heart and reach out to our loved ones. Let’s slow down, savor the simple moments with friends and family, and do the things that bring us joy. Please remember, you’re always welcome at Missouri Star and you are all family to me.
WHAT IS BLOCK MAGAZINE?
BLOCK Magazine is a great way to become a part of the Missouri Star Family. The goal of this “idea book” is to empower others to learn, get inspired, and create! With more than 10 quilting projects in every issue, plus stories that warm your heart, BLOCK Magazine is sure to deliver something for everyone and become a trusted source of inspiration for your sewing room!
Produced and published right here at Missouri Star – each issue comes to you completely ad-free. We incorporate personal stories from our family and our dear readers, provide tips on favorite notions, and teach skill-building techniques.
“I don’t usually feel the need to contact the company of the magazine I purchased, however, this is a different circumstance. I just received my first issue of BLOCK Magazine. I wanted to let your company know how thoroughly impressed I am! The quality of the magazine is far more than I have come to expect from different companies. The quality of the images right down to the print stock… just fabulous! Thank you for putting so much thought and effort into your product. This is the type of publication that you hold on to. I am just so very pleased, I had to let you know.”
– Lora Andera, BLOCK Magazine subscriber
WHAT’S IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF BLOCK MAGAZINE?
Planning ahead for the holidays with Christmas decor patterns and a Halloween bonus!
Learn English paper piecing and how to make a pincushion with Sue Daley!
Get helpful tips and tricks for fun with fusible appliqué.
In Jenny’s Journal, join her in her home studio to see what she’s been working on for her friends, grandchildren, or just for herself and her home.
Plus part three of our Ruby Sensation Sew-Along >>>
HERE’S A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES OF OUR NEXT ISSUE!
When you flip through BLOCK’s fresh, glossy pages you’ll find gorgeous photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories! Those are all brought to you by a team of almost 30 people who bring BLOCK Magazine to life! Take a peek into all the hard work, creativity and love that is poured into each issue:
“When we were reviewing the quilts for this upcoming issue of BLOCK, there was concern expressed that the advent calendar project was not reading as a tree in the center with the first fabric choice made (as seen below)! We decided to see if the sewing team could redo the project using different background fabric. With deadlines coming quickly, that seemed very concerning. Luckily, our team is filled with creatives that are always thinking up innovative solutions”
– Christine Ricks, Creative Director of BLOCK Magazine
“I pondered this for about six hours. Then, while driving home from dinner with my husband the ah-ha moment struck. I kept thinking about the Triple Play that Natalie, Jenny, and Misty did using hexies. Misty turned her hexies around and used the back for the front, so it dawned on me that we could turn around those red hexies to the front. We did it, and the tree is much more defined (as you can see above)!”
– Courtenay Hughes, Missouri Star Academy instructor
Subscribe by Monday, July 27 to receive this next issue to your doorstep (with no shipping cost!) by mid-August! Pst! You’ll also receive April and June’s digital issues completely FREE so you can jump right in to our Ruby Sensation sew along without missing a beat!
BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together.
Today’s, What’s Your Story?, will touch your heart (you may want to grab a tissue!). It’s one of love, fate, and hope that all stem from a single quilt.
Thank you Marie D. for sharing your beautiful story…
About seven years ago, I was involved in a quilt guild that was making quilts to send to Wounded Warrior. The quilts were given to men and women who had served in the armed forces and returned wounded. Like all of the other ladies in the group, I made a quilt to send which was a scrappy stars and stripes pattern. The quilts could not be labeled and all donations were anonymous. As I finished the last stitch in the binding, I hugged it tight and said a little prayer for the recipient and packaged it for shipment and didn’t think another thing of it.
Five years later, I’m scrolling through Facebook and I get a message from a boy I had dated in high school. We were high school sweethearts, but our lives took different paths. Mine took me to college and a career and I never knew where he ended up until I received that message. We began chatting frequently, talking about everything from spouses to children to everyday life. I found out that he had enlisted in the Army shortly after I left for college and was with the 101st Airborne. During his career, he had been to Afghanistan and came home wounded.
One day while we were chatting he asked me if I fixed quilts since he had seen my posted photos. He said he had a quilt that he needed to be repaired due to wear and tear. He said he had received it while in the hospital and it was very important to him to get it fixed. I responded that normally I don’t do repairs, but for him, I would make an exception. We then made arrangements to meet so I could see what I had gotten myself into.
On the day we were to meet, it seemed that nothing could go right. Traffic, car problems, and the weather had me praying to just make it to my destination safely. When I did finally make it, I was exhausted and cranky and honestly wanting to pick up the quilt and go. Of course, I couldn’t simply do that, so I met with my friend and his lovely wife and we chatted for a long while waiting on the weather to clear.
When it came time to depart, I remembered the reason for the trip and asked to see the quilt. I was thinking in the back of my mind that this could be next to impossible. When he brought the quilt in and showed me the damage, you could have knocked me over with a feather. He brought in the very quilt I had donated to Wounded Warrior. The tears immediately began to flow. What are the odds that someone I knew would end up with that quilt, especially when he needed it most? Once I composed myself enough to speak, I explained why I was so emotional. Then it was his turn to be speechless. He then explained how he had always felt comforted whenever he covered up with the quilt and how he was still using it to cope with severe PTSD.
After that, I was so happy to repair that quilt. To this day, he still uses it whenever he has a bad day and it still does the trick. So now whenever I make a quilt to send to our servicemen and women, I always hug it tight and say a little prayer for whoever receives it so that they may also know the comfort of a quilt made with love.
– Marie D.
As we listen, learn, and grow, greater inspiration enters our lives and our capacity to care expands. No matter how simple you believe your story to be, it’s worth sharing. Share your story >
Behind every quilt is a story, and we want to hear yours! BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. As we listen, learn, and grow, greater inspiration enters our lives and our capacity to care expands. No matter how simple you believe your story to be, it’s worth sharing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when submitting your story:
– We prefer stories under 500 words in Microsoft Word or Google Documents format. – There is a limit of 2 photos per article. – Stories should relate back to sewing and quilting. – When sharing personal details, do keep in mind that your story could be published. – We won’t publish your name without your permission, and we reserve the right to edit your story. -If your story is chosen to appear in an issue of BLOCK, we’ll be sure to send you a complimentary copy!
Here are some examples of quilting stories and comments that have touched our hearts and made us smile:
“Back in February 2019, there was a horrific snow and ice storm that hit our little corner of the world, and I was snowed in at Hamilton (I live about a 45-minute drive away from Quilt Town, USA.) At this same time, a group of gals were attending a retreat in town, and being that quilters are some of the best people around, they took me in as part of their retreat (and even added me to their Facebook group!). Some taught me how to use a machine and cheered me on as I stitched together a charm square pillow. They shared their meals with me, and completely welcomed a stray right into their little family. I still keep in touch with some of the wonderful friends I met at that retreat!” -Mary B.
“I think I was born to quilt. I remember as a little girl walking through the dime store and wishing I had money for packets of fabric squares. My dad was a JC Penney manager. Managers received packets of 8” x 10” pieces of paper with small pieces of fabric glued on them. That is how they ordered fabric for the stores. Dad often would bring his “book work” home with him and order while watching football on Sundays. Once ordered, he would throw the papers away. I would take them, tear off these tiny bits of fabric, and try to hand sew them together. My favorite department in the store was pieced goods. My favorite people were Bernadine, a farm wife who worked in that department, and Dad, who always had a dime for a skein of embroidery floss. I was a teenager before I earned enough money to buy fabric, but I remember going down to the basement and being happy the fabric came in three different color ways. Then my grandpa gave me his mother’s quilting frame. In my 20’s I would save my lunch money and buy fabric. Dad’s store closed in 1989. When I first saw the story of Missouri Star Quilt Company, I saw that JC Penney sign in the store and cried. And then I had to show that article to Dad! Your store will always hold a place in my heart, how fitting you opened it in an old JC Penney store. I love your story! Dad is 89 now, and in a nursing home, but the pieced goods was both our favorite department. I’m in my 60s now, and I still tuck away a little money until I can buy fabric. And my favorite thing, still to this day, is taking bits of fabric and sewing them together.” -Erin D.
UFOs By Lisa B.
“I suspect that, second only to stash size, the number of unfinished projects a quilter has is the greatest cause of shame and guilt. We’ve spent a good bit of money on whatever we have sitting there half sewn together, and probably considerable time as well. So it seems a waste, doesn’t it, to allow the effort it would take to finish it keep us from doing just that. Half-finished objects are simply of no use.
“Like most quilters I know, I had multiple unquilted tops and multiple projects that were in various stages of completion. I had begun working full-time and didn’t have the time and energy to devote to it like I once had. One week, I received the terrible news that someone very close to me was experiencing severe medical issues. The week I found out, I remembered a top I very much liked that would be perfect for this person and I was able to quilt it and gift it by the end of the weekend! I had fretted over that beautiful top sitting in a drawer for two years, but I was so very thankful to have it that week. Had I quilted it any earlier, I would have surely given it to someone else, and then had nothing when I wanted it most.
“After that top, I started noticing that my sewing machine was not being as dependable as it once was. Since I still had very little time to devote to the hobby, I didn’t replace it and found myself sewing less and less. Then, I saw my dream machine for an incredible price. I decided it was the perfect time to replace my machine, and jumped on the offer before it was gone. Now, you may have noticed that I have twice already mentioned that I don’t have much time to devote to the hobby, so what better to work on than my own unfinished objects! It’s patterns and fabrics that I picked out, and half the work is already done! I am thoroughly enjoying making the most of the time I do have to finish quilts and table runners and pillows—whatever I started and abandoned years ago.
“Obviously, it makes no sense to keep cranking out half-projects and letting them pile up, but within reason, I would try not to let it weigh me down too much. There very well might be a time in the future when you’re very glad to have them.”
“I heard of Project Linus after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when Missouri Star sent thousands of blankets to Texas. I researched the organization but discovered there was no chapter to serve NW Missouri. So, I called the nationwide headquarters, applied for a chapter and began making blankets for kids. Blankets are security, a sense of comfort when life is hard. We attach a poem to each blanket we give, that reads, ‘Linus has a blanket that’s all his very own. It comforts and sustains him when he’s feeling quite alone. He knows that others love him for ’twas made with special care, and because it means so much to him, it’s carried everywhere. You too can have a blanket that’s created just for you to comfort and support you when you’re feeling rather blue. It’s yours to keep forever, so you may always know that others out there love you and to you, our blessings go.’”—Barbara O.
Rainbow Quilts By Mary G.
“I had only been quilting, if you want to call it that, for less than a year when I found out I was pregnant at the end of 2016. I was all geared up to make a baby quilt for my new arrival and turned to Missouri Star on Youtube to teach me how to make one properly. Sadly though, I lost my baby girl 18 weeks into my pregnancy. The little blanket I had started for her, I finished quickly and had with me to wrap her in at delivery. I cherish that I was able to give her at least one present from Mom.
“In the months that followed, I found out I was pregnant again. I decided this time to make a rainbow-colored quilt for my soon-to-be rainbow baby. I watched many Missouri Star tutorials before getting started because I wanted to get it right! Plenty of time and money was spent getting beautiful fabrics in every color of the rainbow. After I had made it through the first trimester of this pregnancy, it was time to get started on the rainbow quilt. I only made it through the beginning stages of my rainbow quilt, however, before I found out that my rainbow baby didn’t make it. I lost another baby girl at 18 weeks again, all in the same year.
“Although my grief was intense, I decided to finish the quilt and gift it to my sister who was also pregnant at the time, with her own rainbow baby. This quilt became my therapy. It meant so much to me to be able to finish it and hand it over to her as a gift from my babies to hers. It took me a long time to finish the quilt, but I did and I was able to gift it to her just before she gave birth to her son. It was a really special moment for both of us and she now keeps the quilt hanging in her home.
“At the beginning of 2019, I found out I was finally pregnant again. I was determined to keep my mind occupied during this anxiety-filled pregnancy with some quilting therapy. After sewing up a few receiving blankets, I figured I’d give making another rainbow-colored quilt a shot. I really, really wanted to wrap my newborn baby in one. While searching for some more baby quilt ideas, I came across a Missouri Star tutorial on how to make a rag quilt. I thought it was so cute and simple enough; I could do it without feeling anxious about the results. Happily, I gave birth to my double-rainbow baby boy on September 11, 2019. I couldn’t believe I was finally able to wrap my baby in that rainbow-colored blanket and bring him home.
“I know to some people, they just see blankets, but to me, quilts are so much more. There are prayers and hopes and unspoken dreams all sewn into those fabrics and given to others as an expression of warmth and love. Rainbow baby quilts have become a passion for me. I understand deeply what they represent and I am always humbled to give one.”