Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Happy Mail 10 Feb .....

Short and sweet tonight. What a day. Big thanks to all the ladies that came to the sewing day.   Clarissa, Jenny and Bev came to their first sewing day at my home today and have all said they will come back so I think they enjoyed it. Then Lisa flew up yesterday from country Victoria and headed back today.  She brought a bunch of quilts that she had quilted and bound and took back another whole bunch to do.  Trooper!!! and she worked hard today with everyone else.   And sewing day regular Gail managed to come along too and we had a ball.  Two quilt tops were completely finished from start to finish and then a backing was appliqued and pieced, labels sewn on and binding completed!  Woo Hoo. Great day.....

and then when everyone left I realised that I had not got the blog post written this morning! LOL so I am squeezing it in now before I get dinner for the boys!!!

So  happy mail... some lovely goodies this week.. enjoy!

First up from Norma...






And from Sherrie





How about a huge bunch of laundry bags from Maureen Cwho tells me that she is an aged pensioner 
















Finally these are from Margaret R (NSW) who came to see me at the Welcome Expo I was as on the weekend.  Margaret has not sewn for us for a while as she has not been too well so she brought me two completed quilts, a partial quilt top and two bags of material as a contribution till she can sew again. How lovely!



Margaret, you might like to know that Lisa has taken this one home to make it up to the required size and finish it off.  :-)


Thanks so much to those that sent things in and thanks so much to the ladies who came today.
Much appreciated.

Till next time..........................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree  xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Grati-Tuesday 9 Feb 16......

G'day all.  Some great messages tonight starting off with one that needs no words. 
I think he is happy with his quilt.  :-)



Next as the first quilts have started to wing their way to HMAS Darwin the chaplain sent the following message....


Thanks for all the news of quilts on the way. We are expecting to get our first mail, God willing, in a short while.

We have had a very demanding trip so far, with many challenges still ahead.  
Please remind your quilters how much they are respected and valued for the work they do. The email  that  a quilt is on the way brings a great deal of joy to every sailor and officer who receives one. Thanks again Jan- Maree and to all your team of quilters.

....

Hello Jan E  

I would like to thank you for the awesome laundry bag you sent me a while back, it was especially appreciated as I had lost my other one at the start of this posting and was using a garbage bag. I would also like to apologise for the lateness of this reply.

Regards 
.....

Good afternoon Diana and on behalf of the team, thank you for the laundry bags.

They are much appreciated and are the envy of our coalition partners!  I also very much appreciated the post cards - I am from the Brisbane area and have an Aunt who lives in XXXXX so they now have pride of place in my office.  Iraq is an interesting place - developed yet third world all at the same time. Its currently winter here but no where near as cold as it gets back home. Once again thank you for your generosity. The team love them and it definitely made our day/week! You provide an amazing source of morale to deployed soldiers.

Happy New Year and I hope this email finds you and your family well!
....

Hi Jan Maree,

I am a soldier currently located in Malaysia with Rifle Company Butterworth.  A few weeks ago I received one of your laundry bags and wanted to say thank you for the effort and thought that yourself and fellow sewers have put into creating them.   

It was a much appreciated gift, thank you again.
.....

Dear Joan,
Thank you so much for the laundry bag (and the mentos!).  I really love the colours and the chickens!
I'm a dentist working at the NATO hospital Afghanistan.
We see all the dental emergencies from all the different nations on the base.
Can't wait to get back to summer and escape the cold here.
Thank you again 



......


Hello Jan E,

Thank you for the laundry bag!

It is very well made I have been putting it to use frequently throughout the last month.

I was quite happy to receive the bag as I left my laundry bag back in Perth and had been making do with a plastic bag.

I hope you are having a good new year and thanks once again on behalf of all the diggers here for your support!


Kind Regards,
.....


Hello Rosemary


Firstly thank you very much for your kind words and your laundry bag.  It is quite simply amazing and I can tell that you put a lot of time, effort and thought into it. The lollies and biscuits were very much appreciated too. I have used the laundry bag several times now and it works a treat. 

I'm nearing the end of my deployment now and I am looking very forward to getting home to my friends and family. I'm also looking very forward to being able to ride my bike and drive my car, things that you take for granted when you are at home but you really start to miss after a few months away. 
I hope that you and your family are well. 

Once again, thanks so much for the laundry bag and lovely letter that you sent, you are a hero too.

Kind regards,

.....



How cute are these pics of the niece of one of our recipients with her laundry bag. This little angel has just had a liver transplant. I know you will all join with me in wishing her a long, happy and healthy life.  


.....

Hello Tracey,

I wanted to write and thank you for the quilt that you would have spent many hours making for me. I just love the owls and the use of the colours I had asked for, I have placed it on my bed to make my room feel a bit more like home.

I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas and New Years and thank you again for such a beautiful quilt.
.....



Hi Jo H (QLD),

Firstly, a huge thank you for the quilt and laundry bag, they are both excellent. I proudly displayed the quilt when it arrived and there was plenty of praise for your work. It is a fantastic morale boost for everyone when a quilt arrives and we all get to see the great work carried out by the quilters and the smiles on the faces of the recipients admiring their requests come to life.

The quilt that you have made for me is a perfect memento of my time here in the Middle East and looks great on my bed.  
The job has me travelling around quite a bit and liaising with Host Nation officials. This is the basis for my design with the desert which is the majority of my scenic outlook on my travels and the camels I see roaming the sand dunes each day.  The UAE flag is significant because I am residing in the UAE for the duration of my deployment and spend a lot of time with the UAE officials. The palm trees that you have included are also a great addition as dates from the date palm are one of the UAE's big exports. I especially liked the Hornets that you added to the quilt as well, as my day job back in Australia I am an aeronautical engineer working with the FA-18 Hornets. 

Motorcycles are also a part of my weekends back home with road bikes and dirt bikes. Both of my boys also ride dirt bikes. Thanks also for the magazine, I do enjoy relaxing with a bike magazine when I have some down time.
Wishing you all the best with work and your retirement outlook and any future quilts.

My sincere thanks and appreciation for the time and effort that you have spent creating my quilt and laundry bag.

Kind Regards,
.....




Hello Cheri & Graeme,

I hope this email finds you both well. The Postie just dropped off mail - I have received my TIGERS/P!NK Quilt and it is absolutely beautiful. I just cannot believe the wonderful job you have done. I am so taken back.

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort making it for me. Thank you also for the lovely letter. Believe it or not, I was born in XXX, raised in XXX, then left when I was 18 to join the Army. After 28 years I have scored a posting to XXX - so to receive the wonderful quilt from someone who lives in XXX is extra special to me.  

Pls pass on my regards to your husband , Signals is close to my heart (when I first joined the Army I was a Signalman Driver).  Your farm sounds delicious - I love raspberries and blackberries. 
I only have two weeks left then I return to XXX - after six and a half months I am looking forward to returning to the fresh air.

Thank you sincerely once again - I absolutely love my quilt.
Keep up the great work! You should be proud because everyone over here is so grateful. 





.....


Hi Anne,

Many thanks for the thought in sending up the laundry bag all the way to Malaysia. It has certainly helped to lighten my day, and been received warmly. Although our trip here is almost finished, I still wanted to make the effort to respond to your letter before we are shipped off back to Australia.

Thanks as well for your previous service. It is always nice to hear of other peoples positive experiences serving with the ADF, 21 years for your husband is a very impressive length of time to serve!

Also, Congratulations to you and your Husband’s up and coming 50th Anniversary. What an exiting time for you both!
Thanks again for your efforts and kind words. All the best for the future.
Kind Regards,
.....

Jan-Maree,
I have to thank you very much for my quilt. (made by Kaye S)    It arrived several days ago and I have immediately placed it on my bed. It has brightened my room considerably. I am looking forward to taking it home and showing my wife and family. I have just the place in mind for it at home. I will proudly display it on my lounge and it will be perfect as a throw when relaxing.
I must admit when I got here I had some misgivings about the worth of the quilts. However one day I saw another quilt sent for a another person and was quite surprised by the quality and love that had gone into the quilt. That was what inspired me to request one. The other surprise is that I was not sure what it may look like based on a few guides sent on an request form. I guess that is part of the fun of this whole program...waiting in anticipation of the outcome. I am very happy with the pattern and inclusions on my quilt, which is a sentiment I have heard many times.

Once again thanks very much and keep up the great work.
.....

Hello Ailsa, 


This afternoon I received the package with all the goodies in it you sent. Thank you so much for making my laundry bag, such a huge effort, I really do appreciate it and I absolutely love it already. Thank you also for the treats you sent. I’ve distributed some of the books between the people here,  one guy was particularly excited about the western books. 

I’m surprised you hadn’t heard of the North Queensland Cowboys after all they are without a doubt the greatest Rugby League team in the NRL. 

Thank you again, such a huge effort has obviously gone into making my Laundry Bag, I’ll definitely get a lot of use out of it. 

Regards & Thank You !! 
.....
Hi Alison
I really appreciate the effort that you put in to making the laundry bag that I received. Knowing that people like yourself back in Australia care about the job we are doing makes it all the more rewarding. It has already had good use while I have been here in Malaysia at Rifle Company Butterworth. The trip has been worth while but I'm really looking forward to going home and seeing my family which will be soon thank goodness. All the best and I hope everything is well and that you have had a good start to the year.
Thanks
Regards
.....



Dear Pennie,

Thank you very much for the effort and time you made into making the laundry bag for me. I offer my sincerest apologies for the delay in writing this email as I had misplaced your letter with contact details. Since the arrival of the laundry bag, I have used it every day and it hangs proud on my locker. 

As we get close to the end of our last patrol at sea and our subsequent voyage home, I say thank you to you and the efforts of the other ladies who have put in their time to support me and my fellow sailors at sea. We all appreciate the support from the home front.

My best wises to you and the all the best for 2016.

Thank you.
.....


For a quilt where the top was made by the North of the Yarra Quilt Group and embellished and finished by Anna and Kitty and a laundry bag made by Anna.



Good morning Jan-Maree,
The quilt was brilliant, I loved it. It was exactly as I requested and reflects where my children are in their lives at this present stage. I'll always be able to look at the quilt and remember this operation and how young my children were when I conducted this. I cannot express how much I love the quilt and it will be with me for many years to come. I  also appreciate and acknowledge the amount of time and effort that was placed into making it.

The dhoby bag is spectacular. I have used it over 100 times, it is easily identifiable, especially when there are lots of bags piled up high, I know exactly where mine is. Once again, I cannot convey how much I appreciate this gift and the amount of time and effort that went into making it.

Your organisation of quilters has improved the morale onboard Melbourne, everyone was excited, including myself, when they were presented.

Once again, 
.....




Dear Pennie,

Thank you very much for the effort and time you made into making the laundry bag for me. I offer my sincerest apologies for the delay in writing this email as I had misplaced your letter with contact details. Since the arrival of the laundry bag, I have used it every day and it hangs proud on my locker. 

As we get close to the end of our last patrol at sea and our subsequent voyage home, I say thank you to you and the efforts of the other ladies who have put in their time to support me and my fellow sailors at sea. We all appreciate the support from the home front.

My best wises to you and the all the best for 2016.
.....



Anna,   


I would you like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for taking the time and effort to make me an amazing quilt, it was a welcomed and very unexpected surprise from the normal day to day routine on deployment. Even though the quilt arrived towards the end of my deployment it will become an everlasting memory and something to cherish for the remainder of life. 

Thank you for your kind words in the card. It is comforting to know the Australian public are willing to take time out of their busy lives to say thank you. I have attached a picture of myself with the quilt.

Cheers,





.....

For a quilt made by Julie Ann




Hello Ma'am,

Thank you for your email.

I am very pleased to be able to reply to you and confirm that I have received my quilt and laundry bag. I am extremely grateful to be fortunate to have one sent to me.

I would like to thank all those that have, and continue to, create these quilts and laundry bags for the sailors that are deployed. It is great that there are people out there thinking of us while we do what we do and to receive something that must have taken a long time to make becomes very sentimental in my eyes. I will be sure to hold my quilt for years to come so I can tell my children where it came from and what amazing work Aussie Hero Quilts do constantly.

Once again I send my deepest gratitude to all those that help with Aussie Hero Quilts.

Thank you very much!!!
.....




Hi Marilyn S (Vic)

I received my quilt around a month ago which was half Anzac theme and half hawthorn - I was amazed and loved it and responded which was also passed onto Jan-Maree. I received an email back from her in which she stated that I had to be sitting down when I received my laundry bag.  I actually thought that she was joking but when I opened the package I could not believe what I was looking at and the actually amount of effort you have put into the bag let alone getting it signed by everyone as well. I will just say that I was in shock for several minutes - I have also already had several offers to buy the bag which were turned down before they even finished their question. 
It is absolutely amazing and there is literally nothing I can say to show you how much I love it. 
I am a reservist and with the police force back home. I'm married with 3 kids and work out of XXXXX. My kids are 5, 8 and 11 and they are the reason this deployment has been so hard. Luckily I was able to go home for Christmas and see them but it went far too quickly. I have been with defence for close to 15yrs now and with the police for close to 13. I have been on several short trips but this is my first long deployment in all that time.  I enjoy both and defence is a good way to get away from the stress and paperwork that comes with the police force.

Again I honestly cant state how much I love my laundry bag and just want to say that everyone here appreciates what you lovely ladies do for us. I share out all the food etc with all the guys in my section and they love them and said to say thanks as well
.....

Dear Cathie,

I would like to thank you for all of your hard work, the quilt is brilliant and will look great in my Sons room.

This is my fourth deployment overseas and while it never gets any easier being away from your family, the little things like this really make a trip away that much easier to endure.
Your skill and attention to detail is fantastic, and I would like you to know that your support to all of us here is much appreciated.
While you cannot see it, the look on each person’s face in my office when they received their quilt, I can tell you, it always brings smiles and much happiness to each and every one in the office.


I hope you had a great Christmas and 2016 brings you everything you desire.
....

It was a very pleasant surprise the other day when I received the laundry bag from you.
I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for the gift and for what you do for all of us who serve.

The weather is not the best at the moment and getting colder.

We are going to organise a few of us who have laundry bags to use them as Santa sack so we can give the local kids some toys for Christmas.

Wishing you both a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Best wishes,
.....

Dear Jan-Maree,

I am writing to express my heartfelt thanks for the amazing work that you and all your friends at Aussie Heroes do.
I was lucky enough to receive a laundry bag tonight at our unit Christmas Carols, and I’m absolutely thrilled with it!
It has a fantastic red, white and blue pattern and looks like it’s come straight out  of an old-time county cottage – it’s right up my alley and really brightens up my quarters, I couldn’t be happier!

The letter with the bag said it was sewn by Sue M in Sydney.  If possible, could I ask that you pass on my thanks and gratitude to her?
I feel incredibly lucky to be here chipping in, and I know everyone here is so grateful for your thoughts and great work.
Your quilts and laundry bags are hugely popular here I can tell you!


Thank you once again, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
.....

Dear Joan and Robin,

A very very sincere thank you for the beautiful laundry bag that I received at Christmas. My apologies for the belated reply. I'm unsure of how many laundry bags that you have made but the one I received has pictures of well dressed 1940's women on it. It has been used many times over already and my Army issued laundry bag has now been decommissioned as my beautiful new handmade laundry bag holds a lot more dirty washing. I was also lucky enough to be sent a quilt and posted a picture on the Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags Facebook page. (I'm the one smiling happily holding up a multi coloured quilt).

I love that you and Rob make the bags together (I'd love my hubby to do that with me) I'll have to suggest we get involved when I get home. The effort that you and all the other volunteers go to is very much appreciated. The laundry is full of coloured bags now and it is so lovely to see.

Once again thank you so much, you really made my day when I received my laundry bag. Well wishes to your son too. I worked with the RAN for 6 months last year on Op Resolute and they do a wonderful job.

With the very kindest regards,
....


Hello Sue,


I'm just wanted to send you a email about the quilt you sent to me......AMAZING I absolutely LOVE it!!!!.

This is my second deployment and being away from my two little girls and husband has been hard, but its the support and generosity from people like yourself that remind me why I'm over here and that is well worth it.

Your quilt couldn't have come at a better time it really cheered me up (nearly had a sook lol) and made me smile, its definitely me and my work mates had a laugh at the coffee first lettering you had sewn on it, they know to give me 5 minutes to have a coffee before ANYTHING lol :)

So thank you again your a wonderful woman and everyone that has received a quilt has absolutely loved it you gals do a great job xx
.....



First of all I cannot begin to say how amazing your work and the other members of Aussie hero Quilts is.
What you are doing for the deployed troops is absolutely amazing!!!

I have received the quilt and it is everything I imagined and more! Absolutely fantastic!

I will have to take some photos of it and share to the Facebook page :)

Once again I cannot thank you and your team enough, your generosity is immeasurable and greatly appreciated by all.
.....


Dearest Rita M,
You don’t know me but you sent our son the most amazing gift.
He skyped us last week and draped over his shoulders was the most beautiful dinosaur quilted bed cover.
The grin that spread from one ear the other made me want to cry.
The gift you have given him and us, his parents, is immeasurable. 
We are truly thankful for your time, effort and the love that has gone into making such an heirloom.
He said the quilt will have pride of place on his bed while away, and at home.
We are so proud of him and all of our men and women who are serving their country.
It warms our hearts to know that this pride is shared.

Dearest ‘Granny Apples’, thank you once again.

Lots of love,
.....



Kaye,

thank you very much for the laundry bag, coffee and reading, the aircraft magazine was an especially nostalgic blast from the past...... The days over here are long and we all miss being away from our families for the holidays but everyone believes in what we are doing which is good. I am halfway through my time here and on the countdown until I return home which is a good feeling.

Hope all is well with your family and again, thank you very kindly for the gifts
.....


Dear Jan-Maree Ball,

I am writing to let you know that I have received both a quilt and a laundry bag. Both were unexpected as I thought I would just get one or the other.
Both came with touching letters that made my day, I was extremely happy with both the quilt and the laundry bag and the detail that had gone into both. Both ladies are very talented and have produced two very impressive items of sewing skills.
I have been on a few deployments in my career and haven’t received anything like this before. Usually a box of nibbles and a card, I am still blown away thinking of the time someone has spent doing something for someone they don’t even know.
The boys were a bit jealous of my laundry bag made by Marianne B with the nautical theme and embroidered ship silhouette of Melbourne and colours, the quilt was just as impressive made by Margret R SA. I will be sending both lovely ladies a personal thank you email as I am now in XXXX waiting to get back home next week to my family in Perth. 
Thank you again for the work that you do to brighten up the days for someone away from home - knowing that other people think of you is a pretty good feeling.


Regards,
.....

Dear Julie-Ann,

I received your terrific laundry bag a couple of days ago.  It is absolutely fantastic; too nice to use.

Thank you so much for the effort you put into it.  I'm sure you get great satisfaction from producing them and congratulations on having made your 400th.  What a great achievement!  While I really don't know who specifically might have received one of your bags, I can say for certain, the folks who have received one are very grateful for the effort and enthusiasm people such yourself put into them.

My job here is working with a Japanese military construction engineer company.  I'll show them the bag and explain what you do.  I'm sure they will be amazed by the great support that the ADF has from home.  Also, the Japanese flag you used is what they call their Regimental Flag, so it is commonly seen at Japanese Army bases. Perfect!

Fingers crossed for an improvement in the SA weather.  Dusty, smokey and  40+ most days here; no complaints, we all volunteered.

All the very best to you, your husband and of course the grand-kids.

.....


Lynn (and Arthur),


I find myself in the extremely privileged position to be thanking you for the beautiful Aussie hero quilt that you personally made for me. Words can't explain what it is like to receive, or even to watch your friends receive a quilt or laundry bag from Aussie Hero Quilts. The look on peoples faces when they open up their parcels and see what someone has taken the time to make for them, honestly, I can not find the words to explain it. Lynn, you are a wonderful lady who has given up her time to make me a beautiful quilt, and I will forever be in your debt. Thank you. I truly appreciate it more than you will ever know.  You explained in your letter that you particularly enjoyed putting together the reference to the Police Force. I think that is my favourite part of the quilt also. Could you please pass on my sincere thanks to your son for me for his service. I can't imagine being a policeman is an easy job, and I don't believe we are thankful or grateful enough for the tough work they do.
I have to tell you, your letter brought a smile to my face for a few different reasons. My mum and dad also moved to Australia from the UK the year before I was born. In addition to that, my sister who is 3 years older than me grew up dancing and my mum would make her costumes so my dad and I can definitely relate to knowing how Arthur feels finding a loose sequin here and there around the house and the sound of the sewing machine late into the evening! 

You also mentioned in your letter that there were other people involved in making my quilt as well as getting it sent to me. Would you please pass on my sincerest thank you to them as well? It seems so insufficient, the word 'thank you', but I truly am so very grateful to everyone that has contributed. It means more than you will ever realise.

I would like to leave you with a quote much like the one of your fathers that you shared with me. "It doesn't matter who he is or where he's from, you'll learn something from him". What I have learnt from you is that there are truly thoughtful people out there that make the lives of others better without asking for anything in return. That being said, I hope I can find an opportunity to thank you in person once I have returned to Australia. I will keep your letter with your contact details on it and I promise to let you know when I am back.


One last time, THANK YOU, LYNN.

Kindest regards, 
.....


Good Morning Graeme and Cheri,

It is absolutely perfect and I have slept with it on my bed every night. Its like a little slice of home on my bed every night. 

My mum was a quilter before she passed away and absolutely loved it. Sadly I never got a quilt from her before she passed, however her friend spoke to my dad and arranged for my mums quilting group to finish all the unfinished quilts and distribute them between the family. I finally received a beautiful black and white quilt from her and her quilting ladies which I have finally brought home to XXXXX with me. I know how long they take to make so I really appreciate you spending your time making me something I will cherish forever.
Australia really is a beautiful place to live and we are so lucky. Being over here really makes me appreciate everything about our country I think. 

20 years of service is amazing. Thankyou Graeme for your time in the army & your tours away from your family. It must have been very different back then to what it is now. 

I hope you both have a great day and thank you again :)
.....


The following was shared on the Facebook page and but I don't want the non-facebookers to miss out. 

When we started back in 2012 little by little I started to connect with some people who helped me spread the word about Aussie Heroes. One of those guys was deployed to Tarin Kot at the time. I lost touch with him when he left but then a couple of years later he got back in touch and when I visited Townsville in 2014 I met him. Well now he has returned to Afghanistan and I was interested to hear his thoughts on AHQ having seen it when we were just getting started and how it is today.... I received this message from him recently and just had to share it with you....


"Hey JM. Had been meaning to drop a line. To say AHQ is famous over here is an understatement. Everyone knows. AHQ is actually mentioned in the induction briefs as part of the welfare and morale options. Not surprised at all that the work you are all doing has caught on. Everyone I've spoken to thinks it's the most amazing thing. And the smiles your work brings isn't something that can be described, it has to be seen"
Well that put a smile on my face!!

Till next time.....................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!.

Jan-Maree xx