Monday 31 December 2012

Farewell 2012 and Welcome 2013

Well, first and foremost let me say a very big 
Happy New Year!
I cannot believe where we have come in the last 12 months.
To see how far we have come in one year go this is the post from 1 Jan 2012 and have a laugh!!!   As many people have said to me, from little things big things come!

Tess from South Australia made the suggestion that I do some historical posts - i.e. look back over what we have done in the past and given that we have a lot of members who have joined in recent months that is probably a good idea.  So, standby to receive.  

2013 is going to be a big, big year.  
I feel it in my bones, though that could just be my arthritis!
I have lots of plans but I know that lots will happen that I am not planning for as well.  

A New Frontier
I wasn't planning to expand into another operation but I received an email just over a month ago from a Warrant Officer who had seen these, saw what we were doing and asked if it were possible for the contingent he was part of to be included.  Once I learned more about the conditions under which this wonderful group of around 20 people lived and worked I knew I had to say yes.

Watch this space as I have received a wealth of information and photos from this group and  am in the process of putting a post together for you that will leave you in no doubt also that we should be supporting them.

Continuing on in the theme of what is to come this year I met with the Chaplain for the ship that is currently on its way to take over from HMAS ANZAC chasing pirates and keeping the seas free in the Middle East.  We will do things slightly differently with HMAS TOOWOOMBA.  This time we will take requests for laundry bags and there will be no quota for quilts.  We will start a waiting list and just work out way through it.  I never made a big thing of it on the blog but in the end we sent over 75 quilts and well over a 100 laundry bag to HMAS ANZAC without a struggle and without having to say no to anyone else anywhere on Op Slipper and I expect we can do the same.  I expect to hear from the chaplain in the next few days or so, and we will start the ball rolling.

Penrith Sewing Day
Penrith Sewing Days are back starting at 10am on Sunday the 13th.  Please let me know if you are planning to come so I can keep an eye on the numbers.  We do not have unlimited space so I need to make sure that everyone can fit and I need to bring enough to keep you all occupied!  And I will!  I have plans!  

AHQ 2012 Challenge Block
Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is almost apon us I thought I would remind those of you who attended the dinner in Sydney about your Challenge Blocks!  I have received blocks from three of you.  No photos till the Reveal Day on 4 February.  Please have all blocks to me by 1 Feb.  Anyone else who wants to join in Caroline is all ready to go with fabric to send out - please send her a stamped self addressed envelope so she can forward the fabric and instructions to you ASAP - email me or Caroline for her address.

The last for the Year
Can't finish off the year without showing you the last of the quilts and laundry bags to hit the road for 2012

YAY!  I am loving having more sewing time.  This gorgeous selection of fabrics was a bunch of samples donated by XLN - thanks guys!  Love those colours!  And what do you do when you put one kangaroo on sideways?  Simple - add three more and noone will know -well, now you know, but you aren't going to tell anyone are you?

Just had to show you the backing - out of my stash and couldn't have been more perfect. Can't wait till this one arrives!

Melissa managed to squeeze in just a few more laundry bags!

And Beth sent of this gorgeous pink quilt

Julie Ann managed a couple more laundry bags and I was amazed to see that I had sent her two names with the same initials - at first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me!

Rita managed one more quilt and laundry bag too.

Hopefully this shot is good enough for you to see that all the navy blocks feature embroideries!

And a laundry bag to match of course

Roberta send off this gorgeous quilt.  I really love the wavy quilting.  So perfect for this theme. 

Terry brings up the rear with a great quilt - might have to copy this pattern and 

a bunch of laundry bags.

including one featuring Pigs!   Wonder who this is going to!

Change that - Liz scraped in with five more laundry bags!  Just had to have the last word!  LOL

957 quilts and 1379 laundry bags to Year's end!! 

And now to some reason to really celebrate this year   - the thank you messages that we all love to read.  These two young ladies made a pact to keep their parcels from Nancy till Christmas Day - such will power!

Good evening Jan-Maree, I opened my quilt on Christmas day and it was beautiful. Thank you so much. I immediately put it on my bed as it is quite cold here now. Much appreciated.   Hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Kind regards 

Good Morning Jan-Maree, I would just like to thank you and your organisation for such a precious gift. I will treasure it always. It was great to open it up on Christmas Day. Everyone remarked about the quilt.

Carolynne waited ages till we could get the address for this fellow so that she could send her red and green quilt to a Rabbitoes fan (NSW football team if you don't know).  Finally the address was passed and the quilt received.  This is the message and photo received by the lady who finally got us the address.

now i know why you wanted my address! Thanks for that mate, it's even the right colours!!!!

Hi Caroline,

I just wanted to thank you for the lovely surprise package from you!

I received your laundry bag just before xmas and it has been bringing joy to my washing days ever since.

Thank you so much for taking the time to make it and put the package together.

I hope you had a great xmas and I wish you all the best for the new year.

Please pass on some cuddles for Hunni too : )
Kind regards,

For Julie Ann.

Please accept my sincere thanks for the time, effort and care that you have obviously placed in making the ‘Hero Laundry Bag’ I received recently.
                It is already in use and its distinctive look will mean no more lost items of clothing. The snacks and goodies you also provided were most welcome and are
                occupying a place on my office work station….diminishing as the hours pass.

                I have e-mailed a photograph of the laundry bag (and extras) to my wife and our three teenage daughters in Brisbane to show her the support the troops receive
from ‘strangers’ across Australia. It has reaffirmed in my mind that ‘ Home is People… Not Just a Place’.

                My sincere thanks and the best wishes to you and your family over the festive season and for the best of health and happiness for 2013.

Hello Julie Ann,
I would like to thank u so much for making me a laundry bag, I actually needed one, all of the other boys are jealous of it, it looks great!
 I am a high risk searcher, which means me and my team search with metal detector for bombs in the road, which funnily enough I enjoy. This is my second tour to Afghanistan doing the same job.
I have attached a few photos for you, one of me and my team. 
Much regards,

Hi Julie Ann,
Thanks so much for your amazing laundry bag.  It is so beautiful and my initials make it even better.  Thanks for the goodies also.  I had already received my quilt from Kalgoorlie.  They really do help us here, it is very cold and they are lovely and snuggly.  There is snow on all the mountains around us and it should be snowing on the ground here by Christmas.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Chrissy and New Year and holidays.
Many thanks for your hard work.

For Kylie from her recipient's partner

I had contact with XXXX on Christmas day and he said he was thrilled to receive the quilt :) 

He said he loved it and it was amazing!Thank you so much! I hope to get a picture of XXXX with the quilt :)
Judy C

'I would just like to thank you for the laundry bag, not only is it pretty and practical, it shows your support to the troops and I thank you deeply for that.'...

Good Morning Stephanie,
Letting you know that the fabulous quilt and laundry bag you sewed for me have arrived! 
Spending so much time creating something so beautiful for someone you don't know is really appreciated!  One thing I am hoping to do when I return from deployment is to buy a sewing machine and learn how to sew properly.  I don't think I will be able to come up with anything as elaborate as a quilt to start with, but I will see how I go!
It is getting very very cold here, the puddles are starting to freeze, and hopefully we will get some snow soon!  I spend most of my time working outside, and yesterday was the coldest day we have had yet, despite wearing a balaclava and my jacket pulled up over my face, I couldn't feel my face.
I hope you and your family had a great Christmas, we had a good Aussie Christmas lunch at the mess, and I even got some pavlova - a bit of a must have in my family for Christmas and Boxing Day lunches!
Thanks again,

And now this is a special one.  Earlier this year we sent around 30 quilts to the Special Ops Task Group without knowing who they were going to specifically.   We are not able to do that any more though I would in a heart beat if I had a contact (HINT HINT!!!)  We never heard who most of the quilts ended up with but I was told that they went to those that were doing a good job or those that were injured.

That was until I received this email late last night - and it just made my week!!!

My fiancĂ©e is currently serving in Afghanistan.. About 2 months ago, he was injured and shrapnel ended up in his knee.. It was only a minor injury but it scared me to death when I got the  call! It's a 7 month deployment and he was able to come last month for a 10 day holiday. During this time, he showed me the quilt which was given to him when he was injured..

I just wanted to send this email to thank you kind people for this.. It's so easy to forget just how much everyone else is also affected by our boys serving overseas. It's one of the most treasured pieces in our house as it comes with such a story.. As I wait the final weeks for his return, I sleep with the quilt in our bed - just a reminder of how appreciative others are for what our boys do..

If you could kindly pass our thanks on to everyone involved in your organisation.

Thank you again:)

With love,

I wrote back and asked if it would be possible to see a pic of the quilt so that I could track down the quilter and pass on the message specifically to her. Here is the response

Oh of course I can! Attached is a photo of the quilt :) you kind ladies are exactly the reason why our boys love our country so much that they go away and fight for it.. And that's exactly the conversation XXXXX and I had when he showed me the quilt..

He said this is why he's a soldier, to protect a country that is full of such good people.. I can't wait till we have children and I bet there is a fight over who has "daddy's special quilt" on their beds!

Thanks again for giving us something to treasure..

Yep, it made my eyes go watery!  and yep,, I was able to work out that this is one of Hilary's quilts.  Some days you just know you are doing something matters!

A sweet way to end the very last post for our very first year of being!  Happy New Year everyone.  No matter what you are planning for tonight please be safe and make sure you are fit and well to come back and join us in the fun next year!  We need all of you - those here who sew, those who support those that we sew for and OF COURSE our wonderful Aussie Heroes!
I am sure that 2013 is going to be a great year!
See you in the New Year!

Till next year.............keep spreading the word and Happy New Year

Friday 28 December 2012

Quilts of the Week 28 Dec and farewell 2012

2012 is nearly gone.  Bring on 2013!!
952 quilts and 1361 laundry bags to date! 

Given the holidays it might be a little quieter in Aussie Hero-ville than usual but there are still a few quilts making it to the mail each week and after the New Year I am sure the numbers will start to rise slowly again.

Liz, with kangaroos on point this time 


 Heilie has completed her first AHQ

Liz sent it on its way with a matching laundry bag perfect for a West Aussie lad.

and the back - minus the initials.

A few extra laundry bags made it into a box and off to some 7RAR ones.  I reckon there might be a bit of competition for some of these.  Rock, paper, scissors anyone? I think my favourite is the skate boarder though!

Claire did a tutorial for this one if anyone is interested

Caroline created this and it is worth noting this is all the scraps left over from one meter pieces that Caroline has bought for laundry bags.  Great use of scraps!

Caroline went a little APE over this one!  LOL


Excuse the smudgy patch - covering up the letters!

Lynn made this gorgeous top, I took it to Paul and Paula for quilting and then I finished it off with black roo.

Can I just say that I love these robots!!!

Michelle put her sewing machine to good use again with more of "My Country" plus the map of Australia and the popular quote PLUS, my current favourite, the Rising Sun!

Gotta love the Garfield Bag!

This is a laundry bag that I sent off earlier and had to wait till his mum let me know that it has arrived safe and sound.

Two Wounded Warrior Quilts were sent on their way to re-stock supplies.  This one is by Vicky

and this is one by Tarnyia.  
 I have taken to making Aussie Laundry bags to go with the WWQs as the soldiers get to take nothing with them when they go- a nurse travels with them with enough money to buy emergencies bits and bobs and I believe that they receive a backpack full of basics from the RSL but I figured the laundry bag would come in handy for carrying the quilt home or even once home, for use in the hospital.

I had had a ball sewing this last week.  This is one of my projects.

Every surfie needs a dog right - modelled after my own little girl of course!

And of course the obligatory laundry bag to go with it.

And then there is this one that I prepared, well sent, earlier but for obvious reasons, (look at the bottom left) I could not show till it had been received.  Well it arrived around Christmas Eve I think!  This is just a simple quilt with a few aircraft and fish and interesting prints but then I sent it off to Paul and Paula!
They knew it was for a very special Doctor (well that is what everyone tells me he is!) and they went to town on it.  It is quilted with BANDAIDS




 Don't you just love it!  I was like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting for this one to arrive.  And when it does I received a lovely photo 

and a gorgeous thank you message.

I personally have been so touched and blessed by your generosity and thoughtfulness, and by those that contribute to your wonderful work (in particular Paul and Paula).  XXXXX (medic) (quilt by Kaye) and XXXX (nurse) (quilt by Terry) who I work with have likewise been deeply touched and are very grateful for your time, effort and the amazing gifts you send.

That AMAZING quilt!!  I was stunned!!  I've got it laid out on my examination couch at the moment (it will be on my bed soon!) and have spent quite some time studying it; delighting in all the little, ever-so-thoughtful, intricacies sown into it!!  I would very much appreciate it if you could pass my gratitude to Paul and Paula too for their part in crafting it.  The quilt is something I will always treasure and also take with me whenever I deploy.  There is something very comforting about having it that's impossible to really explain but just 'is'.  

Well, this is it!  The last post for 2012.  Aussie Heroes is almost one year old.  Amazing where we started and where we have come to. Fitting that Tarnyia has a quilt in the last post for 2012 when she was one of the very first quilters to come on board before Aussie Heroes had officially been born!

We didn't make it to 1000 quilts in the first year but we are very close and I am more than happy with that.  We currently have 43 requests on the books that are not allocated, though most of them are not due home till June/July and 61 requests that are currently under construction.  So I guess you could say that we have over 1000 quilts on the books as of year's end!  YAY!

Just a little point.  We would not normally have that many requests unallocated but I am not sending out a lot of emails at the moment calling for quilts as I know people are taken up with family and holidays.  As quilts become available I am allocating quilts based on return to Oz dates.  Those coming home soonest get the first quilts.  If you want to make a quilt for someone do not hesitate to let me know.

And the last word tonight is for the Navy.  HMAS TOOWOOMBA, the vessel that will take over from HMAS ANZAC on pirate patrol in the Middle East sailed today!  I have already met with the chaplain, we had coffee just before Christmas and he is a lovely man, as you would expect.  We are going to start working on quilts for HMAS TOOWOOMBA pretty soon so if you are interesting in sewing for them please let me know.  Mail for HMAS ANZAC was woefully slow and unpredictable it seems so we are going to try and get goodies in the mail to TOOWOOMBA much sooner if we can.

To those on TOOWOOMBA we wish you fair seas and following winds.

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

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Boxing Day

Hi Everyone.  I hope you all survived the battles of the wrapping paper and the rigors of the turkey, ham and seafood followed by the pudding or, in our case, homemade pavlova.

I received a couple more photos to start the post off - first a quilt that Caroline and I made together.

And then a quilt made from donated fabrcis and stitched by Chris's group.  The cute laundry bag was stitched by Cheryl.

A thank you or two for Nancy - first from a wife ...

Yes his quilt has recently arrived. Just in time for Christmas!
It was very fitting that it came from WA too as it is his home state.
He was very touched that there are all you lovely ladies out there sewing quilts for our men and women overseas.
I have attached a photo of the quilt that my husband sent me this morning.
Thank you to all the busy sewers and yourself and of course the lovely lady from Kalgoorlie who made his quilt. 
My husband, myself and our four children are grateful to have so many people out there thinking kind thoughts towards our soldiers.
Many thanks 

Thankyou so much for the quilt, it's so very much appreciated. I'm very grateful for the time and effort you have put into it and the laundry bag. I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year

And a few more happy messages...

Hi Pam (that is Pam from VIC)
I received your package in the mail yesterday, which was a great surprise, thank you very much. 
I would like to report that after 24 hours there is still some Tim Tams left, but that's just not the case. Luckily they all weren't consumed by me though, my roommates also say thanks. Tim Tams never last long around here.
Loved the gifts, the quilt especially, it’s pretty awesome and there’s a few jealous individuals within the detachment. You’ve done an excellent job, can’t imagine how much effort and time goes into something like that, it’s definitely made a otherwise very boring / dull room a lot more homely and colourful. Best gift ever and it is ever much appreciated. At first I thought the laundry bag (hope it is) was a Santa’s stocking, given the Xmas colours, so I have tried to sell that to the girls here in the hope that they will attempt to fill it with gifts and lollies……I will keep you posted on how that turns out.
Almost 30% through my deployment this time around, the XXXXX being my return to Australia date. It’s going well, helped by a great group on the detachment (35 people), we all get along really well and add a lot of fun to what can only be described as ground hog day. We get one day off a fortnight to chill, do washing, cleans rooms etc, but every other day is normally 12-14 working day.  
Its starting to cool down especially at night (0-5) but the days are still in the high teens. Sometimes it snows during winter in XXXXX, so there’s that too look forward to. Snow but nowhere to go skiing, how frustrating is that, this place is nothing like Denver.
Thank you again for the care package and thoughts.

Good Day Angela,
                                     I received your amazing laundry bag a month ago. Your bag has been incredibly useful and avoided messy piles of clothes in overcrowded living spaces. Your support means a lot to the boys and myself. Keep up the good work!
Many thanks,

 I have received my quilt. I absolutely love it and have taken a photo. I will send the photo very soon, we are extremely busy at this moment... but it will come... I love mine so much and I feel a connection to Fran and Bev as they enclosed a photo of them with the quilt. XXXXX also got a quilt and he did not even order one... He is in country at the moment and says he is very grateful as it is freezing there.  From all of the soldiers over here, we are eternally grateful of the effort and work that you and your fellow quilters do for us, it is comforting to know that so many people care and are selfless in giving to provide us with the quilts. I for one know the hours, cost and care that goes into making just one quilt, let alone thousands. 
 MERRY XMAS to you all 

Dear Lorraine, 

I am writing this email to thank you for the quilt I have just received. I greatly appreciate the quilt and all the work and time you put into making it for me. It was a great gift just before Xmas and at a perfect time seeing it's dropping temps over here and getting cold at night. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and great New Year enjoy the holiday's back at home.
Thank You

Hi Stephanie,
 Thanks heaps for the quilt and laundry bag! Getting parcels over here
 is a highly anticipated event. Love the colours, looking forward to a
 better season next year - after such a good start this year.
 The weather here has turned sub-zero over night so an extra quilt is
 spot on. And the laundry bag is being put to good use as well. We all
 appreciate knowing that there are people at home willing to support us
 in a foreign hostile land. Especially over Christmas where we really
 miss home the most.
 I would tell you my location and bit about my job but my security
 officer might have a heart attack...
Kind regards, please keep up the good work!

The quilt and LB's arrived today... the quilt is Amazing.  I got all excited when I seen all the boxes for me, I feel bad for everyone else in the mail slot, it was packed full of things for me from family and quilters.
 Siobhan has done a wicked job.  Makes me miss the end of winter diving off Sydney though,  thats when all the interesting baby fish/sharks start heading out to deeper waters. At least I'll catch the end of the summer diving season, still plenty going on then.
 The laundry bags have slowly been distributed. Everyone is so happy with all the laundry bags. There is going to be a scissors/paper/rock off for the para bag and the aussie animals one.  The shark/ fish bags were a hit.  We're currently writing up some thank you's for Pauline, Sue and yourself for sending them (and trying to get a photo, but keep our faces hidden at the same time so you could possibly use it for the webpage).
 Thank you so much.

A small amount of Happy Mail for today - and it is a good number of block of the month blocks from Dorothy.  I really do love the wonky lines in these blocks.  It works so well where there is a good contrast between the lights and darks.

Not bad for a week when everyone has been busy with Christmas.  See you on Friday with Quilts of the Week - and Yes,  I already know of some that have made it into the mail and more to go.

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