Tuesday, 30 April 2013

This time last year - APRIL 2012 - 30th April 2013

Highlights from  APRIL 2012   -  (researched by Janine C)

Aussie Hero Quilts are not a work of art, 
but a work of the heart.

POSTING April 2012: April was a month of bulk posting of quilts and laundry bags.  When Jan-Maree told the Senior Chaplain in the Middle East that 160 laundry bags and at least 125 quilts were on the way, his response was   "WOW! WOW! That's totally amazing. Please thank all the women who help with the AHQs."

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: This message from Jan-Maree on the blog that month is one we all need to remind ourselves of: ' I should caution you just a little not to get too disappointed if you don't hear back from whoever receives your parcels.  It seems to really depend on where the individual soldiers are stationed and what sort of conditions they are living in.  As an example, when the Gumnut quilters sent off the original 23 quilts, 15 were for the lovely Warrant Officer and his group.  The rest went to other soldiers - no idea who - but 8 soldiers received quilts and we have only ever heard from one. There could be a good reason for this. The messages we do receive are so heart warming and appreciative that you know that all the quilts are appreciated even if not all of the recipients are in the position to express it. ' 

THE ROLL: Jan-Maree tried to create a Sewer's Roll as people kept asking her how many ladies were sewing for Aussie Heroes and she had no idea, but realised she could never make a perfect list as new people were joining in every week.

NAME IDEAS:  There was some discussion at that time on what to call those who sew for Aussie Hero Quilters as Jan-Maree was not comfortable with Aussie Hero Sewers.  Some suggestions on the list were - Aussie Hero Divas, Aussie Hero Darlings, Aussie Hero Friends, Aussie Hero Angels, Aussie Hero Sheilas, Aussie Hero Kylies .... and everyone had to wait until May to hear the decision - for those who don't remember last April, you'll have to wait until last May.

A SPECIAL GOAL: The Singleton Quilters set themselves a goal to make 60 quilts. Apparently a local lad was serving in Afghanistan and they set a goal to make 60 quilts so they could send one to each member of his team. It was a successful task for them and below are some of the quilts.

MAGAZINE: In April 2012  the Down Under Quilts Magazine, Issue 152, included a mention of Aussie Heroes on Page 7 ,explaining briefly what we do and how to get involved. It may have been the first time AHQ was seen in print - exciting for everyone!

REQUESTS:  A special request came in for a quilt for a VIP named Private Belvedere - just a small quilt was needed as  Belvedere is the mascot - turtle!  So cute. Photos next month.

Another request came from a man serving with SOTG in Afghanistan. He said, "A few nights ago my Padre presented a beautiful quilt and laundry bag made by you great folk at Aussie Hero Quilts.  Not only would I love to have one of these quilts for my bed space over here I would also love to give it to my 11 year old daughter on my return to Australia later in the year. I think she would love it as a keepsake for the time that her Dad was away."
Of course Jan-Maree wrote back and promised a quilt and a laundry bag and offered to make the quilt relatively gender neutral so that it would be acceptable for him during his time over there and then still suitable for his daughter.
The reply came back, '"Thank you so much for your quick response. Again your very kind words have made an old soldiers heart skip a beat and raised his morale tenfold. Please don't be too concerned about making the quilt "gender neutral" because after 20 yrs there is not too much of a hard time these lads could give me that I haven't heard before."

ANZAC DAY 2012:  After sending Anzac Day messages from AHQ to the troops Jan-Maree received this reply.

A response came an army Corporal:

Thank you for sharing this with me and I am hopeful that you don't mind me passing these words on. This morning I stood here on foreign ground to remember all those who have fallen for our country, those who have been injured and those who have and are still serving in all parts of the world.  I must say today being away from home and my children not only made the real reason of ANZAC day ring true in my ears, it made tears as it does every year run down my face.  So to hear these words of support to us serving members is wonderful and touching.  God Bless you all. 

and a reply from a Warrant Officer:

Well we are about half way through or ANZAC day here and to be honest it is one of the most remarkable ANZAC days I have ever had. To be paying tribute to the fallen in the country that they have paid the ultimate sacrifice is a feeling that is very hard to describe. The mixed emotions of pride and sadness come over you at different times but to be with mates you have shared the battlefield with is very satisfying.   I hope you have had a great day yourself and you and your loved ones are well.

The kind words you have sent from your "Army" of workers have been passed on to the boys and they are very grateful. To know that people, from all generations, are supporting us in our task is not only encouraging but also very humbling. We really do thank you and your crew from the bottom of our hearts. 
As I watch the celebrations from back home, and from around the world for that matter, it is pleasing to see that the young people are going to carry this tradition well into the future and beyond.  To see them in places such as Gallipoli, France and Turkey and of course Australia really is fantastic. You would have to be an extremely hard person if those pictures didn't bring a tear to the eye and a swelling to the heart. The ANZAC's are in very good hands.

On behalf of the SOTG I wish to thank you and your AMAZING staff again for EVERYTHING they are doing for the men over here. I fear that these words in an email can never really express the gratitude we wish to express to you all. Please pass on our thanks and best wishes to all your ladies and may they be safe and always free from harm.

PHOTOS from APRIL 2012:

Pinwheel blocks - March BOM
Singleton Quilters' Group

More quilts from the Singleton Quilters Group

Laundry Bags by Verandah Post Patchworkers

Laundry bags by CAZ

Debra's quilts

Quilt by Marienne

A golfing quilt for the Head Chaplain by Jan-Maree

Flag laundry bag by LIZ

Flag quilt by LIZ

 Laundry bags by RHONDA

BOM for April 2012

April BOMs on quilt wall

Crazy scrap quilt by Rita

Pinwheel quilt

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

Monday, 29 April 2013

Monday Early or Late Happy Mail

Only a little happy mail post tonight as Thursday was a public holiday and I couldn't check the mail today as I am away for a couple of days.  

Still there are some great things in the mail.  First up we have Bev and Geoff's laundry bags.  I just love these tea towel laundry bags.  In the last lot Bev sent me there was a QLD one, a hunter tea towel and one from London Court in Perth and I have found perfect recipients for each of them.

If any of you have Aussie or novelty tea towels that you have bought during your travels, or which you have been given, please don't hesitate to send them to me if you no longer want them.  I am sure they will make great laundry bags.

Bev and Geoff

Sarah T
Rabitoes fan perhaps?

 Sarah T  also sent this block - love that feature fabric

Janine also sent in these BOMs and love these colours too.

Now on Saturday morning I also received a parcel from Dorothy of lots of BOMs and another parcel including a quilt top from Janet V but I am afraid I didn't have time to photograph everything for happy mail so they will feature next week.
I am quite looking forward to having a good look at them when I photograph them too.

Sorry this is so short.  Great post coming up tomorrow night - Janine has written about "this time last year".  I cannot believe how far we have come in one Year.

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

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sharing on Sunday

Happy Birthday Michele!  

I hope you have had a lovely day today.

  The laundry bag I just received is PERFECT.  I had a chuckle at the clueless hunter on it.  Very cool indeed.  Funny thing is it can feel that way hunting sometimes!  You're right it has started to heat up here, its really jumped up a notch or two!  It was 46.6 the other day (yep in the shade). Not much fun in that heat!

I'd just like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the time and effort you put into helping look after us over here.  There are so many people back home that seem to have us in their hearts and minds daily, and I am really touched by the support we get.  I am a fitter and turner here and know what its like to make a beautiful item and not get any real acknowledgement for the effort and skill that goes into it. 

So from one craftsman to another, THANK YOU to all the people out there that pour their heart and skills into this wonderful morale boosting organisation.  

This is the laundry bag he received courtesy of Bev and Geoff.

Dear Rita Mee,
Just letting you know I received my quilt and it's amazing so thank you so much!
Happy 50th anniversary to you and your husband Bob for last September, that's an amazing amount of time to be married. Im getting married in Nov this year, Can you give me any advice to help stay happily married for that long?
I was luckily enough to be on leave this month so I went home and got to go to the Brisbane vs Crows game it was great to see the Crows win.
I hope your husband Bob is now well and has now recovered from the cancer.
Thank you again for the quilt and wash bag, the time and effort you put into making it really means a lot to me.
Have a wonderful night,

Dear Cath,
I want to take the time to write my thanks to you and your mother. I am extremely grateful to you for the quilt that you have sent me and my belly is very appreciative of the lollies from your mother.
I appreciate all the trouble you took to make me such a wonderful generous gift. It is a pleasant reminder of the kind generosity given from Australians back home and this will be a treasured keepsake.
These words cannot fully express how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but once again THANKS.
Yours Sincerely,

Dear Cath, 
I received you lovely quilt and would like to convey my deep appreciation for your gift, not to mention all the yummy chocolates your mother so kindly provided. 
Little acts of kindness are truly appreciated and I consider the time and effort put into making your quilt and chocolates such an act.
Thanks again 

Dear Joan,
My name is XXXX and I manage a Army Workshop responsible for servicing and repairing all the vehicles, weapons and communication equipment used on operations in Afghanistan.  
I received you lovely laundry bag and would like to convey my deep appreciation for the gift you so kindly provided.
Little acts of kindness are truly appreciated and I consider the time and effort put into making this laundry bag such an act.
Thanks again

Hello Joan and Robin
Thank You so much for the laundry bag it will be with me for the rest of my Army career.
Thank You

Hi Joan,
I just wanted to say thanks for the laundry bag that I received today.
It definitely brightens up the room and adds a bit of flair to it.  My daughter will love the bag when I get home!
Once again Joan, thanks.

Dear Joan,
I received you lovely laundry bag and would like to convey my deep appreciation for the gift you so kindly provided. Little acts of kindness are truly appreciated and I consider the time and effort put into making this laundry bag such an act. Thanks again.

Hello Sue,
My name is XXXXX and I am currently deployed in the Middle East Area of Operations with Combat Support Unit – 9. 
I was lucky enough to receive the laundry bag you so thoughtfully took the time to make.  It will come in very handy when I have to wash my uniforms, which is almost a daily occurrence due to the amount of dust and dirt over here.  But now I will have no worries with getting the wrong digger’s clothes with my distinctive new Buzz Light Year bag.
My wife is due to give birth to our first baby one month after I return home (fingers crossed) and your laundry bag will be something that I can give to him or her when they are born.  Judging by the quality of your work my family and I will be able to appreciate your gift for many years to come.
Again thank you and please give my regards to your family and of course your two cats.
To infinity …….and beyond!!!! 

Dear Julie-Ann,
Just a short email to thank-you for the laundry bags and treats you sent us recently.
Its the support back home from people and organisations such as yourselves which make our deployment here so much more bearable.
On behalf of the Airmen of Multi-National Base Command - Tarin Kot, thanks once again for your generous donation.  
Kind Regards,

Hi, My name is XXXXXXXX I received my Aussie heros quilt you sent me, thank you very much for the effort you put in the quilt. I love it. Thank you 

Dear Jan-Maree, Just wanted to give you and your team of quilters a big THANK YOU for the awesome work you are doing. I received my quilt and laundry bag and I love them. Myself and everyone else onboard HMAS Toowoomba have really appreciated the gifts. Keep up the great morale boosting work and again, thank you :) Cheers, 

Good evening Judy,

I would like to pass on my thanks for the awesome quilt and laundry bag that you sent me. I got them on Monday, I must say that you have put a lot of work into them, the quilt has made my bed space look a bit more homely and the laundry bag is a marked improvement from my plastic bag, I have attached a photo of myself with your quilt out the front of our accommodation building in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  (waiting for permission to publish it)

Once again Judy thanks for the time and effort that you have put into the quilt and the laundry bag they are amazing,  and thanks for letter is was a very good read.

Have a great day Judy

Kind regards,

Hi my name is XXXX and I am currently deployed in the Middle East  in the Royal Australian Air Force.  I received a lovely quilt and laundry bag from Leanne Mac yesterday. I have only been here for just over one month but being away from family and friends makes you miss the small things in life that are often taken for granted.

The support that you all show by taking time out of your day to make the quilts and laundry bags is greatly appreciated. It's amazing how some colour can brighten your day even in the most hectic moments.

Thank you Leanne and to everyone at Aussie Hero Quilts for your support.

Best Wishes

Dearest Evelyn,

I would just to like extend a very warm and sincere thank you for the outstanding 'Aussie Sailing' Quilt that you so kindly made for me. I have been in touch with Jan-Maree and I am honestly very touched by what you do. I received the quilt in the mail two days ago (just prior to ANZAC Day).

I have been deployed to Afghanistan for 3 months now and have a further 1.5 months to serve.  I have enjoyed my time here, but I do miss Australia; the people, fresh air, beautiful beaches and my beautiful wife.

I have been married to my wife for 2 years now and she is now pregnant which is very exciting news for us. If we do have a little boy (we are going to keep it a 'surprise'!), I have told my wife that the very special quilt you have made for me, will in fact be a perfect and most appropriate companion for him. I also said to her that if we have a girl, the Aussie Sailing Quilt will also be a perfect companion, even if it does err on the boy side!! :)

Well I hope you did have a memorable ANZAC Day this year. We had a great day here. We had a moving dawn service out at the cenotaph in the Australian compound which was surrounded by lush green grass (it has rained quite a lot here in the last month or so). We then had a BBQ lunch with a two beer ration per person. We were lucky! The beers were thoroughly enjoyed.

I will be sending you a photo of what I look like with my new quilt when my good friend receives his quilt in a matter of days now.

Once again, thank you for your very kind gift. It makes me very proud to serve for decent, kind-hearted Australians like yourself, Evelyn.

Kindest regards,

A few more responses to our "Why I Sew For AHQ" have come in.  There is no way you can read these messages and fail to be touched by them.


Good morning/afternoon 

I haven't asked for or wish to burden anyone with making a quilt for myself plus there are others that need it more than I do. In saying that I still wanted to thank you for what you are doing and the letters that you and your team have sent in.

It makes what we do easier know that people are supporting us. Hope you take great pride in the work you do. Just like the mums that sent ANZAC biscuits to Gallipoli. You are do the same to the soldiers in Afghanistan and will be remembered as such.

thank so much.  

To the members of Aussie Hero Friends, I would like to express my thanks for your efforts in support of our troops. As a deployed member, I can tell you with certainty that your efforts do not go unnoticed.
For me, your quilts and laundry bags add a little bit of colour and comfort to our deployment. As well, I've always found that receiving real mail (tangible mail, not electronic mail on the internet) is a special surprise for deployed members.
But more importantly, your quilts and laundry bags highlight that there are those in our community who appreciate our service. This can sometimes be overshadowed by those in our community who are negative towards us. It's nice to be reminded of the true decency of Australians. With gratitude

Thanks Jan-Maree,
They were lovely messages and its easy to forget when you've been here for a while that there are people back home that really care about what were doing here and the sacrifice (some the ultimate) that we and our families have to make as a result.
Have a wonderful ANZAC Day

How wonderful it was to read your team's thoughts regarding why they do what they do. I'm so deeply humbled to be mentioned in connection even in the slightest way with those truly selfless Australians who by their deeds forged our present and established the worthy legend of the ANZACS and the veterans who followed them.

 Again, my deepest thanks to you and them.
Australia gave me and my family a home many years ago, for which I am sincerely grateful. It is the very least I can do, to help pursue our interests overseas - it is a mighty honour to have been given this opportunity - your support is most welcome validation of our work.
 Best wishes to you and the AHQ team,

To the team at Aussie Hero Quilts,

Thank you so much for your continuing selfless efforts and kind words of support. The work you do is extremely appreciated by the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Crew. The smallest gestures mean so much over here for those away from their home and families and your large contribution to there morale and well-being can not be overstated. You have inspired me to partake in similar activities when my body can no longer endure the physical aspects of soldiering as I am now aware of the power of goodwill from strangers to those in less fortunate circumstances and how good it feels to receive from a good samaritan. I only hope that you and your team feel as good for making the items as the soldiers do receiving them and that a humble letter expressing a fraction of the appreciation from myself and others will suffice. You all deserve the upmost acknowledgement and recognition for your efforts and I salute you.

Your team and its efforts embody the ANZAC spirit in its entirety and I am proud to serve my country for you.   

And to add a little colour to tonight's post, here are two quilt tops made from the March BOMs. These were put together by Rita C, our resident American member.  It was pretty ironic that the one putting the quilts together was not a native born Aussie and Rita would occassionally say things like "What is a thunderbox?" and "what does BEWDY mean?" Don't worry we translated for her.


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

Just a little note from me (Deputy Nut) Caroline, those of you waiting to see the post on Jan-Maree's special Aussie Hero Quilt that was presented to her on Anzac Day.  The post will be published on Thurday 2nd May.


Friday, 26 April 2013

Weekly Dispatches 26 April

The tally so far-

22  quilts this week and 95 laundry bags.

393 quilts and 869 laundry bags for 2013

1410 quilts and 2243 laundry bags in total.

Debbie is new to AHQ and this week she sent off this awesome quilt and a fabulous laundry bag - can't show you the bag as it would give the game away.


Jill M sent me this quilt top, backing and batting - it was beautifully quilted by Stephanie and then I added the Air Force Motto before sending it off.  it is much more red, white and blue and vibrant that has shown up in the photos.


Judy D


Karen B



Don't you love the little details.

Leanne M

and the back

Leslie is a newbie for AHQ and spent ANZAC Day sewing  laundry bags for us.  
Well done Leslie.



These were laundry bags were made for a team fom 17 Construction Squadron by Wendy, her husband, Michael, his mother, their next door neighbour and another friend.  

You can see that they all have the 17 Construction Squadron emblem on them which Wendy arranged to have printed on fabric.  Now that they have all been received we can share the pictures.

And here is the message of thanks

Thank you for the lovely parcel of goodies that you sent. All the laundry bags were a massive success and received jealous looks from the other members of the TG. I personally will keep and use my laundry bag for many more years to come. It was fate that you sent them, I actually needed one having had my laundry bag go missing on Friday.


Sue F




Check out the Aussie words embroidered on the quilt!

Lynn made the next two quilt tops and Stephanie quilted them.

This is the 2CDO logo which I appliqued after the quilts were completed.

To cover up the messy bit on the back where the scroll was embroidered I added an embroidered patch courtesy of Michele.

Foras admonitio means "without warning".  Perfect motto I think!

Lynn also made this pretty quilt top and Liz B was kind enough to quilt it and make a laundry bag as well.

Another of Lynn's quilt tops, this one quilted by Stephanie.

Louise made this quilt top and Stephanie quilted it.......

with a sheep!!!  which made it perfect for the farmer I sent it to.

Louise also made this quilt top and it was quilted by DeeEmEss


Now on Tuesday I published the "Why I Sew for AHQ" post and after that I transferred it to an email and sent it to as many of the those overseas as I could manage.  I know some of you found it hard to write your piece but I am sure that the following letter sent as a result of someone reading it  will make it all worthwhile.  Incidentally, this fellow had the email forwarded to him, I did not send it direct to him.  I have had other responses as well and they will be shared on an upcoming post.

Hi girls,

I am currently serving in Afghanistan and received my quilt a few months ago. I was so excited and touched that a stranger would make this for me.
I transferred to ADF almost 3 years ago and having served with the British Army for almost 24 years I don't recall ever having something special made for me like this.

I have deployed many times in the past and will treasure my quilt and laundry bag as much as my medals for what it stands for.

I read your AHQ blog, sent to me in an email, recently and I was moved by your individual motivation and I consider it to be very worthwhile.

I have decided to mount all of my memorabilia when I return home, framed for my wall. The laundry bag will be the backing. When people ask me why I have a black and yellow backing, I will tell them the story of you girls and the morale that you bring to the troops, something that you can't buy.

Camp Baker RTF have donated money to assist you in your great effort and I know that many people appreciate what you do for them.

A big thank you to Jan-Maree, Angela, Jeann, Joan, Liz, Carol, Claire, Debra, Janine, Carolyn, Caz and all the other helpers that I do not have names. Thank You all.

Carolyn, I was lucky enough to attend the 90th Anniversary of the Somme, in France, and saw the fields of gold and the trenched area where our Grandfathers fought and was moved and honoured to have that experience.
I have also seen the poppy field painting in Kensington Gardens described by one of the girls, I too would love to have it on my wall.

I am spending ANZAC Day on Operations in Kandahar,  Afghanistan and during the dawn service it was an honour to stand where others have stood and listen to the names of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice being read out.
At the same time in Darwin my son marched for the first time with the Army cadets, a very proud day for me indeed.

I will have stories to pass on to my children and among those tales will be one of kindness and support from you girls at AHQ.

Keep up the great work that is much appreciated by all.

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