Quilter’s Spotlight: Donna Sciandra

August 15, 2017

This month our Quilter’s Spotlight is shining on the person who we’ve officially dubbed QBB’s Most Prolific Quilter, Donna Sciandra. I believe that Donna has been quilting for Quilts Beyond Borders longer than I have, and I was one of the early ones! When I say “Prolific”, I really, really, REALLY mean PROLIFIC!! Donna makes us between 50 and 100 tops and quilts every single year, and has since 2007!  Every time she hears we have a new initiative or we’re sending quilts to a new country, she makes sure she has at least one top or quilt that can make the trip!  And she does this somewhere in between working full time and family responsibilities. I think she’s amazing!

We asked Donna to send us some pictures of her favorite quilts, and of herself.   Some of you might recognize her from the years she’s flown from her home in New York to Houston to work with us in our booth at the IQF.   Below you see Donna with her late father who passed away earlier this year at the age of 99.

Here’s another picture of Donna with (from left) her mother, her cousin John, her Uncle Joe, and on the other side of Donna, her cousin Mary Alice.

Here’s one of the quilts Donna pieced, which was quilted by Terri Desmond, and a picture of her holding up another of her favorite quilts, quilted by her friend Arlene Berndt, at the IQF in Houston in 2011.  Both of these quilts were sold at the IQF for fundraising to help us pay for postage to get tops to longarmers and quilts to people who were delivering them to children.

Donna provided some information to allow you all to get to know her a little better.

Hometown & State:    Buffalo, NY

Years Quilting:    Since 1991

Favorite Quilting Style:    Scrapping

Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders?    It is extremely rewarding for me to know that by making a quilt for someone I can bring them comfort and know that someone truly cares for them.

How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders?   I was reading a quilting magazine and towards the back of the magazine there was an article about QBB.   That was in 2007.

How did you learn to quilt?    After my daughter was born I traded in my Suzuki motorcycle for a Bernette machine and then began classes at the Bernina dealer.  I always enjoyed sewing and another student was making quilts and I always wanted to try it.

Where do you get quilting inspiration?     Of course I check out many of the blogs and I enjoy seeing what other QBB quilters are making.

What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique?    I love my Bernina 440, and I when I do quilt I enjoy writing inspirational words and meandering to get the job done.

What else should we know about you?    Quilting has become a form of relaxation and helping me deal with a large amount of stress in my life.   I really don’t know what I would have done if I had not been linked up with Carla and the many regional directors and other QBB people, that I have enjoyed becoming friends with.  I have a Juki that has been sitting in its box for 2 years now, lol!

Donna, I don’t know what we would have done if you hadn’t linked up with us!   When you consider that you’ve made between 50 and 100 quilts and tops every single year, and you’ve been quilting for us for about 10 years, there are somewhere between 500 and 1000 children in 25 countries all around the world sleeping more warmly and comfortably because of your generosity and talent!  Thank you so much for everything you do!







July Fat Quarter Challenge

August 11, 2017

During the month of July I did not receive any fat quarter challenge quilts.  I know everyone is busy probably spending time outside during the summer months; I sure am.  Even though no quilts were turned in, once you submit a quilt, you are entered in each month’s drawing.  Congratulations to Kathy Thomason from Tampa, FL for being this month’s recipient of a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Kathy’s name was randomly chosen as the winner.  She had submitted her fat quarter challenge quilt in April and it is pictured below.  She is also a Sunshine member.

FQC Apr - K.Thomason

For those of you still thinking about entering, please do so.  You still have the months of August and September to send in your quilt and to also be entered for the annual $100 cash drawing.  QBB has many initiatives right now and your quilt would really help brighten the life of and bring warmth to someone.

Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for being our monthly sponsor.  Please take some time to browse their website because they have an awesome choice of goodies.

Cheers!  Tina



South West Report

August 8, 2017

Dozens and dozens of quilts have come to my house this year.  I have sent 80 quilts to the folks who supply the Syrian refugee camps with quilts and other supplies.  Your quilt may have been one of them.


Many people have seen Quilts Beyond Borders on line and decided to donate quilts.  Some folks have come to our booth in Houston at the International Quilt Festival.  We pass out kits for quilts and people take them home and make a quilt and send it to the nearest Regional Coordinator.  Other folks offer to quilt the tops that are donated at the quilt festival and throughout the year.  It is wonderful to know the world is filled with compassionate, caring people who make quilts for needy people they don’t even know.  The world is a better place because of all the people who have participated in this endeavor.  The quilt makers are a very creative group.  Just look at the variety and beauty of these quilts.  It seems no two are the same. The patterns range from simple squares to circles and triangles.  Each and everyone will be treasured by the recipients.  Your quilt will make a huge difference in the life of a needy person.

Sunshine is a group of online quilters from all over the US.  Many of the quilters in that group donate quilts to Quilts Beyond Borders.  They are a generous and prolific group of quilters.  Several of them participated in the Fat Quarter Challenge.  Sunshine had a retreat in July and 17 members attended and made 187 quilt tops.  All of them will be quilted and some will be donated to QBB. 

A huge thank you goes to each and every one of you who worked on these beautiful quilts.  They will certainly make someone warm and comforted.  Thank you for your generosity and compassion.  You have made a difference.

Ann Drake, Regional Coordinator for the South Western US.

From the Northwest & Beyond: Syrian Refugee Quilts

July 18, 2017

These 155 quilts and 34 baby quilts are going overseas to No Man’s Land (a strip of land between Jordan and Syria). They were put aboard a container ship the first of April to make the month long journey to the 75,000 Syrian Refugees living there.   Some time during the middle to end of May they were delivered to the Refugees. The container was full of many other supplies that are desperately needed there.

Also if you scroll to the very end, there are pictures from Rita and some of the refugee quilts that had been distributed to a National School for Disadvantaged Children.

Thank you to all of our quilters for the beautiful and colorful quilts that traveled there. You can see the pictures below and click on them to see who made and quilted them.  I know they will be loved and cherished by the children who receive them!!

First the baby quilts:

Now the children’s quilts:

From Rita Zawaideh of the Salam Cultural Museum:  I thought you might want to share with your members pictures of the distribution of Quilts that arrived in the last container that were distributed at National School for Disadvantaged kids – Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian. We did a distribution of 200 quilts at the school. Look at the kids and the teachers faces as they are giving this to the kids. Thank you so much for everything that you and your members are doing.

This was a long post, but oh so worth it!  Thanks everyone.

Susan Schmidt     Northwest Regional Coordinator

Giles Early Education Project (GEEP)

July 14, 2017

This past October I moved permanently to Eggleston, VA nestled in Giles County.  It’s a beautiful area in southwestern VA not too far from Blacksburg, VA.   Having met some wonderful people here, I asked about the need for quilts for any of the children that live in the area.   It just so happens that there is a wonderful group that works with foster children in Giles County.  Quilts Beyond Borders has since partnered with this group and has provided about 40 quilts for these children.

Ann Goette, my neighbor, wrote the following about GEEP:

Giles County is nestled in the mountains of southwestern Virginia nudged up against the West Virginia border. It is a place of rolling vistas, meadows, dappled creeks, and waterfalls; the ancient New River runs through the very heart of the county. In addition to a county seat with a population of  2,700, there are a number of small towns, some of them too small to even boast a mayor or lay a sidewalk. There is a strong and proud Appalachian tradition in Giles, great storytellers, wonderful musicians, and a tenacious sense of community.

There are also isolated hollows of misery, 47 percent of county citizens live in poverty.  Some of the children emerging from the darkest of those hollows arrive for a first day of school never having touched a book, or sat in a chair; they have no idea of how to hold a fork or take-a-turn. They are left behind before they even begin.

The Giles Early Education Project (GEEP) formed in early 2012 with the conviction that the best way to lighten the dark places in the county was to begin with its very youngest citizens. GEEP is a small but determined group of very hardworking idealists. In the past five years they have advocated for early childhood with the county board of supervisors and have seen the establishment of five pre-schools within the public school system; GEEP has put books into hundreds of small hands and opened three “little libraries” within distressed communities. The group also runs an arts program each summer concurrent with the county’s Free Lunch Program; they have sponsored early childhood teacher trainings and small children’s festivals. Through working with other agencies, and with help from a private contribution, GEEP has given every at-risk new mother a book on childcare and a beautiful board book for her newborn. Early this spring GEEP wrote and produced SMILES OF GILES – A County Alphabet Book.

SMILES OF GILES was created as a literacy project, but also as a way to give the children of the county a sense of place and community. Giles County Administration and a philanthropic couple pitched in the funds to make it possible for every three, four and five-year-old enrolled in any of the county’s early child centers to own a copy of the alphabet book. “We have a waterfall!” a four-year-old exclaimed as she pointed to C is for Cascade Falls. The small book is illustrated with drawings by the children from the summer arts programs and with fabulous nature photographs by the county’s gifted official photographer. You can order a copy here. All the proceeds go to early childhood projects, bringing brighter smiles to Giles County.

As you can imagine, being able to provide this group with quilts was a wonderful opportunity for QBB.  The quilts came from all over the US and from 3 different Regional Coordinators.  I hope that I have included all the names correctly.  If you do see your quilt and your name is not mentioned or was not properly identified, let me know.  These quilts were made by the following people in no particular order:  Shirley Elliott, Terrie Kremer, Chrissi Vergoglini, Sunshine Quilters, Joy McAuley, Mary Verrico, Joan Nar, Kathryn Zurek, Carolyn Pike, Kay McKinnon, Linda Roush, Linda Weaver, Linda Mullins-Spirio, Sally M, Delleen Kompkoff, Trudy Pickle, Donna Sciandra, Linda Lupton, Suzanne Gaensbauer, Beth S, Linda, Brenda Lou Scott, Gail Hardy, Donna Crook-Jones, Cathy Labath, Hope Crook, Misty King, and Tina Freudenberger.

Such a beautiful display of quilts and we really want to thank all of our volunteers for making these quilts.  You’ve made some children feel very loved.

Cheers, Tina

June FQ Challenge

July 10, 2017

Summer is in full swing and most of my time has been spent outside, so I apologize for the delay in posting our June winner.  Without further ado, Carol Egan, a Sunshine Member from Mendota Heights, MN was our June winner.  Carol submitted her quilt in March (pictured below), and has been a long time volunteer for QBB.  Congratulations Carol on your $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Many thanks to the FQ Shop for generously donating our monthly prize for nearly 3 years now.


I also received two other beautiful quilts during June.  One was from Brenda Lou Scott of Jordan, MN and the other was from Lynn Smith of Spring, TX.   Both of these quilts have already found homes with some foster children that I will soon be blogging about.

Thanks to all FQC participants.  We appreciate your lovely works of art.  For FQC participants that have not sent in a quilt yet, you still have through September to send in your quilt and be eligible for the monthly and yearly $100 cash prize.

Cheers, Tina

Camp Heartland Quilts and Many Others

June 15, 2017

One Heartland is an organization in Minnesota that strives to improve the lives of children, youth and families facing significant health challenges or social isolation. One of their programs is Camp Heartland, which is a summer camp for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. This is the second year that QBB has partnered with Torina Stark to provide quilts for the children at Camp Heartland. Torina recently sent us this picture which shows her and the Camp Heartland staff with the 120 quilts we sent this year —

And here’s a picture from last year’s delivery —

Here are the quilts I received earlier in the year.  Some of them went to Camp Heartland.  Others will be going to Salaam Cultural Museum to go to children in Syrian Refugee camps.  Others will be headed to Guatemala and to other initiatives over the summer, and a few will be saved for selling in our booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Whenever we sell a quilt in Houston we’re able to raise enough money to pay postage and baggage fees to get quilts to many more children.  These quilts were made by Andrea Johnson, Carol Egan, Carol Williams, Cathy Skrypek, Fern, Helen Baczynski, Jeanne Cockrell, Lorie Riopel, Mary Benz, Pat Compton, Susan Getchell, and the Sunshine Quilt Guild.  Hover your cursor over the quilts to see who made each one, and click on a quilt to see a larger view.

Great thanks to Torina for facilitating our donation to Camp Heartland, and to all the wonderful quilters who made all of these wonderful quilts!  They will all be appreciated so much by the children who receive them!







May Fat Quarter Challenge Quilts

June 9, 2017

It’s hard to believe that May has come and gone already and we are into the heat of the summer.  This month I received two fat quarter challenge quilts from Trudy Pickle of Austin, TX.  These quilts already are destined for a home in the Appalachian area of my new hometown. ( I will be blogging about this initiative soon.)  Here are Trudy’s quilts.

Now for the other news about the FQC, Kathleen Rountree of Castro Valley, CA was our random drawing winner for May.  She had submitted her FQC quilt in March.  Kathleen will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Thanks Fat Quarter Shop!  We have been so fortunate to have their support for the past 3 years, so please check them out if you haven’t already.

Just a reminder to those who still have that fat quarter fabric sitting around.  You still have 4 months (September is the last month) to enter our monthly challenge and also a chance to enter the $100 cash drawing at the end of the year.

Cheers, Tina

A Peruvian Christmas

May 21, 2017

I’m very lucky to have some really great neighbors! Paul is originally from Peru and most of his family still lives there. One Christmas their family decided to visit Grandma in Peru. When his wife, Melissa, saw the poverty there and all the homeless children, she vowed to make a change. For the next year, they planned and saved in order to take their whole family (4 awesome kids; Ashli, Shanda, Alex and Cariella!) to Peru at Christmas but with a twist. In order to help down there, the kids had a choice to make: Christmas for themselves or Christmas for others. They very unselfishly decided to bring some cheer to their dad’s hometown and when word got out about their decision, many, many people donated stockings, fillers, candy, etc to their cause. Quilts Beyond Borders teamed up with them as well and we opened up a new continent with this trip, South America!


On a snowy, wintery day in December, the kids and Melissa came to the house to load up 30 bundles of sunshine to take in their suitcases to some children who really needed the love.

As you can see, we had a good time sucking all the air out of them so more would fit in the suitcases and duffle bags (the best part was using the vacuum to squish them down. They thought that was the coolest thing EVER!!!)


The end result? A stack higher than Cariella!!

Being an empty nester, it was so heartening to have them in my home and to see and feel their excitement about something that they’re not even getting to keep but willingly sharing with someone they don’t even know, have never met and will probably never see again! That’s what Christmas is really all about, right?

Once they arrived in Peru, they found a private orphanage that is only funded with donations, no government funding. All of the children here have been abused and range in age from children barely walking to midteens. Just having visitors made it a special day for them but when they were handed a quilt and a stocking with sweets in it, I’m sure it was the most memorable Christmas they’ve ever had!

It was also memorable for my neighbors. Just like the man who saved the starfish one at a time, they made a difference in a child’s life, one at a time. In a talk at church after they returned, young Alex said, “Skipping our Christmas to help other kids was challenging to do but I felt we should go to Peru and help the kids there. Doing this made me happy and it made me proud helping other kids.”  I hope all of you can share that happiness because if QBB didn’t have you and your unselfish acts of kindness, children all over the world in already heartbreaking situations would never know the kindness of strangers. I like to think of all these quilts as little dots of light scattered throughout the world, little pinpricks of love!

Thank you so much!



Volusia County Homeless

May 10, 2017

This winter Quilts Beyond Borders joined with the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild from New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida, to work on an initiative to provide quilts to homeless students enrolled in the Volusia County School District.  There are currently more than 2000 homeless students enrolled in school in Volusia County, and while it doesn’t get as cold in Florida as it does in the North, during the winter temperatures regularly dip into the 40s and 50s at night which can be very cold when you are living in a car, a tent in a campground, or a public space.

Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild became aware of the desperate plight of these children and asked us to help them achieve an initial goal of giving at least 100 of these kids a quilt via the district’s Homeless Education Liaison.   Between the Guild and the generous donors of Quilts Beyond Borders, I think the final total was closer to 125.   They were very gratefully received, as you can see from some of the thank you notes we received!  (Names of the children have been covered to protect the privacy of the children.)  If the picture is too small to read, click on it to see it larger.

The following 10 quilts were sent to us by Karen Matheson, our Northeast Regional Coordinator and Secretary, who received them from  quilters in the Northeast. To determine the number of the picture, please hover your cursor over the picture:

  • Picture #1: Made by Barbra Buckley, Made by Pat Wildman, Made by Sandy Morawski, Made by Donna Dellacamera and Corrinne.
  • Picture #2: All three quilts made by Frances Fink.
  • Picture #3: Made by Kit Gibby, quilted by Terri Desmond; Made by Jan Bennett, quilted by Karen Matheson; made by Fran Fink.

The next quilts were received from Noreen Fling, our Regional Coordinator located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Contributors included Rare Quilting LLC of Indiana, Audrey Murphey, Sharon Pudwell and Barbara Fyffe.

Noreen picture 1Noreen picture 2

The following quilts were sent by our Northwest Coordinator, Susan Schmidt in Oregon.

  • Picture 1 –  Quilts made by: Anna Karras; Tomme Fent; Susan Ainsworth; Theola Breaux and Mary O; Carol Egan and Carla Triemer.
  • Picture 2 – Quilts made by:  Barb K and Becky G; Marci R and Rhonda A; Sunshine Quilters of CA; Donna S and Heidi’s Garden Quilting; Linda Fujimoto; Sunshine Quilters

Susan picture 1Susan picture 2

Thes next quilts came to us from Tina Freudenberger, our Vice President, who received them from Mary Verrico Joy McAuley, and Barbara Petersen.


Quilts from Tina

Kim Bell, our Regional Coordinator in Cedar Park, TX, sent us the following quilts:

  • Picture 1: Quilts made by: Sunshine Quilt Guild;  Joy McAuley and Donna Sciandra; Doris Miller; Tammy S and Doris M; Linda Rogde and Jean Clarkson; Doris M – Sunshine Quilters.
  • Picture 2: Second quilt made by Doris M.  Other three quilts made by Trudy Pickle.
  • Picture 3:  The quilt on the left is by Doris M. and Tammy S.  Unfortunately I don’t have the name(s) on the other one.  If anyone can help me identify it, please send me a note or comment below and I’ll be happy to edit this post to give credit where credit is due.  Thanks!

And here’s a picture of a quilt made by one of our Regional Coordinators, Loretta Kelldorf, which came in just in time to make the delivery to the Volusia County initiative.

Loretta 1


Finally, a picture of my friend and fellow Pelican Piecemaker, Dottie Monville, who was the guild’s liaison to the Volusia County School District Homeless Program manager.  Dottie was the one who brought this need to the guild, and she took a real personal interest in this wonderful project, making many of the quilts that the guild donated herself.  We hope to work with her again as future needs arise.


I am grateful for the generosity, enthusiasm, and talent of all the wonderful piecers and quilters that made these beautiful quilts for the homeless students of the Volusia County School District.  I know the quilts are cherished by the children, and their warmth will be appreciated when the nights get cold!