Monday 30 September 2013

This time last year - September 2012

Sorry for jumping in ahead Janine but don't forget the sewing day at my home on Tuesday.  All welcome and these days are always fun!  BYO lunch and sewing machine and hope to see you here around tennish. If you don't know where to come then email me  Over to you Janine.

This time last year... September 2012

I've had a great time reading through all the posts from last September and looking at all the quilts and laundry bags again.  September 2012 saw a total of 599 quilts and 610 laundry bags sent for the year. It was such an amazing achievement at the time. 

In September we said Welcome Home to Chelle - our lovely postmistress from Egypt who has been watching us on facebook and has now made the decision to buy a sewing machine and make quilts! Welcome to the world of quilting, Chelle.

Here are some of the wonderful messages and photos shared on the blog that month. Janine C

    A message for Kaye: This is just a quick email to say THANK YOU for the gorgeous quilt I received from you. It was such a pleasant surprise to  have this lovely gift waiting for me. The work that 'Aussie Hero Quilts' does is absolutely fantastic and we know that there is so much love and hard work put into everything you create.
Here is a photo of me and my new quilt!  All the volunteers working with 'AHQ' deserve all the recognition possible! What you have started is absolutely fantastic and it's really nice to know there are complete strangers who appreciate what the Defence Force does.
Once again, a huge thank you, not only for the quilt I received but also for all the hard work you put in to make this work. All the best and take care.

    To Pam M: Thanks so much for the package. I received it couple of days ago and have been using the Hero quilt and laundry bag since. Unfortunately the biscuits only lasted a few minutes in the office.

    Please give Heather T and Carol of the Turramurra Quilters my heartfelt thanks for an absolutely wonderful gift. They have brightened up my otherwise bleak and bare quarters, as you can see from the photos.  Once again, I would like to pass on my sincerest thanks to your wonderful group for providing the men and women over here a small piece of Australia to brighten their days.
Made by Heather
    One of our AHQers, Angela of the Chatting Chooks, has a daughter who loves to sew.   Amy is in Year 10 and when she wrote to Jan-Maree to ask if she could make some laundry bags for those on HMAS ANZAC she said in part -  I think what you do for these soldiers is great and something from home, which I am sure they miss when over there fighting, so thank you.
Amy busy sewing a laundry bag

     I found you on the Soldiers are Heroes page.  Keep up the fantastic work!!!!

    Hello, I saw one of your quilts here in Uruzgan, and also in the newspaper articles.  I realised that the laundry bag that I was given when I arrived must have been made by you - it is really beautiful and incredibly useful! Thank you for giving so much of your time to make these items for us. It is truly appreciated. I will keep the laundry bag when I return home later this year and I will always remember your kindness each time I use it.  Keep up the great work ladies

    Hi, I was just introduced to this page by my Dad, who is ex-RAAF and served in East Timor. When he was over there I made a few cuddly teddies for him to give to the orphans, and I would love to help out with this too. ........ I really think this is a great idea, because the service men and women serving overseas deserve to know that they are thought of and loved.

    Hi, I found your blog last night. Starting sewing a quilt to donate today. Wonderful work you are doing with Hero Quilts. I will be telling my quilting friends about you today. I am a War Widow - my late husband served 42 years in Brit Army and Aussie Army - commando in Brit Army. My two sons were in the army. I am so pleased to start doing this to help. I wish I had known earlier. I heard about the "Light The Way Home" group yesterday and then wondered about quilts and then researched and found you. I have downloaded the 9 patch pdf and first fabrics are on the table ready to cut. Thank you for your wonderful work.

    Hi. I Believe you are doing a wonderful thing. Thanks for looking after our service men and women OS, Thank you.
2012 Sept Quilt by Fran
    Great work ladies, my brothers and sisters in arms will greatly appreciate the hard work and commitment from each and everyone involved. I would like to tell you how much these gifts mean to all troops serving overseas. I had a group of ladies send over some beanies for our team to wear in the winter months and I still have mine with me today. Your support to the soldiers is amazing. Well done.
2012 Laundry bags made by Amy for HMAS Anzac
    Hi Angela, I am currently serving in Afghanistan. I am 22 years old and usually live in inner Sydney with my girlfriend. The other day as I was checking for mail I noticed a box in the mail room which said "FREE LAUNDRY BAGS". A bright orange laundry bag caught my eye and it is now sitting at the bottom of my cupboard holding my dirty clothes waiting to be taken to the laundry tomorrow morning!  My old drab laundry bag was starting to reach the end of its life and was ready for retirement , your laundry bag offered not only a solution but a colourful solution.  Every time I walk down to the laundry it makes me smile to picture the Chatting Chooks at Chook Church on a Sunday.  

    Hello, this email is to express my gratitude for such a nice gesture.  Its little things like this that renew our will, to know that good people back home in our beloved Australia are thinking about the boys over here and what we are doing.  Its good people like you guys that make our national community what it is.  Best of luck for all your kids in their final year 12 exams and rest assured that my washing will not go astray any more.  Regards - PTE X

AHQ laundry bags with recipients
    Thank you for the quilt and laundry bag that I recently received from Aussie Hero Quilts, I had never heard of you prior to this and was very pleasantly surprised when my tiger coloured gear arrived, I now have no worries locating my laundry in the shared facility. The designs are fantastic and I am so glad that my wife bumped into Jan-Maree, and honoured that you deemed me worthy of such a gift and would like to thank you for your efforts in supporting the troops over here, it means a lot to us to know that people believe in the work we are doing.
Tiger coloured laundry bag
    To Jan-Maree:  Many thanks for my personalised laundry bag – it makes such a difference searching through the tons of other bags at the collection point! I can instantly recognise mine (there are truly no  others like it) and will be a great souvenir to take home at the end of the tour.  Hope you’re well, thanks again for your time and thoughts. 
AHQ laundry bags send in Sept 2012 - such an amazing variety
    Naomi - I received one of your amazing quilts a couple of weeks ago.  I am writing to tell you of my appreciation for this fantastic thing.  I would have written to you earlier but shortly before receiving your package we had some particularly bad news with the loss of some of our lads which required a bit of involvement and we have been extremely busy in the time since then. 
Thank-you for the quilt, it is one of the nicest things I have received and proudly sits on my bunk. You are a very special lady and very clever to make such a nice thing. Your work is really appreciated and is a huge morale boost for people like myself. Thank you and thank you to my beautiful wife.

    Hi Angela, I'd like to thank you for your laundry bag. we received a box of them here in TK and within a matter of maybe 2 hours they had all been claimed. When something like that arrives the box is placed in the mail room and it's first come first served. Luckily I happened to have walked past as it arrived and took first dibs on the black laundry bag with the giraffes, rhino's, gorillas and elephants (not going to lie, it was the first one I looked at and didn't let go of)  I'm not sure if any other members have sent you a thank you email yet, and if they haven't I thank you on behalf of all of them. It makes it so much easier to find our laundry when you have a awesome laundry bag instead of the simple white net bag everyone seems to turn up with.

    Hi Marg: The bags arrived yesterday and you should be receiving three emails from three boys (P, T and B).  I will pass on your email address this morning.   Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you - they look fantastic!!  They were very excited, so we got a photo of all four of us with the bags. B got the upside down one, because he had the highest rank. Thanks again Marg - you are wonderful!

West Coast Eagles laundry bag holders
    Marg : A quick note to thank you for the lovely west coast eagles laundry bag, it is a real treat and a real boost to morale to get such a lovely gift. I have attached a photo of the team holding our bags out the front of our Headquarters. I'm the bloke in the middle next to XX (the female)  who helped organise from this end. I personally love that my eagle is upside down, I like things a little unconventional.  We will likely send the photo to the West Coast Eagles to show them that we are supporting them from afar.  Anyway thank you again and best wishes B. 

    Thank you for the laundry bay, our padre bought this into me today, he was looking for a cook to give the bag with the tea pots too, seeing I am Cook/Caterer in the middle east, I suppose I fit the bill. 
2012 Laundry bag made by Lyn in WA

       Good Morning Jan-Maree and everyone at Aussie Hero Quilts, I am currently serving on HMAS ANZAC conducting OP Slipper and have been lucky enough to have be chosen to receive one of the quilts that you are so kindly making for us.  I think that this is a great thing that you guys are doing for us and is something that will definitely help boost the morale with the ship being away for a long period of time.  I am finding the trip to be alright so far. My husband is also in the Navy, we have been married for 2 and a half years and have only spent approx 4 months together all up in that time. We are both looking forward to actually spending some time together when ANZAC returns home early next year.  I'd just like to thank you for what you are doing for the ship it is amazing.   Hope you are well and have a lovely weekend.   Thank you again and please thank all of the ladies and persons who do this fantastic work supplying the laundry bags and quilts, and for the support all of you give us here in the Middle east. Smiles all round.
2012 Sept. Quilts made by Jill and Caroline with their intended owners - look at the smiling faces
        For Jill:  I would like to thank you for the quilt you made me, which arrived today! I absolutely love it, and the meaning behind it. The time and effort, and your kindness, is truly appreciated and I cannot thank you enough. This quilt will forever be special to me, and will remind me that there are people out there who were thinking of us and were so kind to give to someone they don't know.I spoke with my friend XXX today and passed him your email address. He seemed a bit bashful (as we all are) to ask for a quilt, but I know he really would like one, so I hope he plucks up the courage to email you.  One of the girls at the camp XXXX received her quilt just recently and it has brightened up her office so beautifully. The quilts provide such a positive discussion point out here. We all feel a bit spoiled really! Our loved ones at home really enjoy looking at the blog, as do we. I know it helps my Mum knowing that there are such lovely Aussies out there who are thinking of us.I was hoping that I might squeeze in a sneaky request for a laundry bag? I've been using a woolies green bag, but it had a bad run in with the dryer yesterday and now I'm using a pillow case. Thanks again, from all of us.
Made by Chris
    For Caroline: I am writing to pass my heartfelt thanks to you for the wonderful laundry bag you made for me.  I am a Pilot, father of two boys and married to my childhood sweetheart and we live on the south coast of NSW.  I deployed to the Middle East in April this year.  I am very proud of being part of the Australian effort in the Middle East, but as you would imagine, it is a difficult task that requires us to make large sacrifices, both personally and professionally. Leaving my family for eight months has been extremely challenging and I hope to be home with them soon. 
Your bag arrived here during a particularly tragic time for us as we had just had five of our soldiers killed in action. I was very involved in the process and found it heart wrenching to deal with.  I deployed with the hope that I would not see a loss of any of our troops, but it was not to be.  Your laundry bag, bright and covered in stars, brought me a small piece of happiness during one of the darkest periods of my service career. 
Thank you very much for your kind support of the Australian troops and our efforts to bring security and freedoms to Afghanistan. Whilst I still don't like doing my laundry- the laundry bag you made for me will always bring a smile to my face!

    Hello Caroline, when I arrived at work today there was a parcel containing the beautiful quilt and goodies you kindly sent over. It was a great surprise to me to receive this; receiving mail from Australia lifts the spirits of everyone within a workplace and makes us feel honoured to represent Australia.  Thank you very much for your kind generosity and keeping up the tradition of sending comfort packages to those who are deployed.
Made by Caroline
    Hello Angela, Just wanted to say thank you soooo much for the quilt...I love it, and even more love the fact that you guys are thinking of us and the dogs. It really does mean a lot. The pics are not brilliant, but I hope you like them. MWD Pax was more than happy to pose. 
Thank you again. Love your work!!
At last - a serving member who can be named - meet Pax.
(This fellow's Mum requested a quilt and laundry bag for him and she wrote to say thank you.)  I have attached a photo of my very happy son with his brand new quilt by Miranda. Thank you so much to Miranda for making the quilt, Jill, his laundry bag, although I don’t think he has received this yet, and to Jan-Maree for organizing everything. He is the envy of his mates - so much so that he has asked if I would pass their names on to you. He has had a real morale boost – and looks so very happy! THANK YOU!! 

Maria passed on the clipping below, about Nancy, who is one of our quiet achievers.  She lives in the Eastern Goldfields of WA and as the headline says, her life is all about quilts.  She not only quilts for Aussie Heroes but has quilted for all sorts of Charities for years and continues to do so.  She seems to have her whole town sorted to donate or helo out in one way or another. Nancy has finished more quilts for Aussie Heroes that any one other quilter.  I send her quilt tops to finish, blocks to put together.  She has several ladies who make tops for her and with her - she is just remarkable ...and very humble!

September 2012 ended with 122 followers on the blog - compare that with September 2013 and see what a long way we have come. Below are a few more of the amazing quilts from this time last year.

2012 Made by Tracey in Vic

2012 Wounded Warrior Quilts made by Tarnia, Gail and Carol

2012 Star crazy made by Kat

2012 Made by Linda

2012 Made by Nancy

2012 Made by Deborah

2012 Made by Liz

                    Thank you everyone. There are many more works of fabric art in the archives above.

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

Sunday 29 September 2013

Say please with a cherry on top - for lots of reasons!

G'day all,
Firstly thank you to all of you who sent me messages of support in one way or another last night.  I was too distracted to take them all in at the time, but I have to admit that later in the evening, when I had time to reflect, I was really touched and there may have even been a little unexplained sand storm around!  No idea how that happened.  ;-)

If you missed it please don't email me for an explanation - answering those emails just takes too much time, time I don't have now after losing most of last night's hours which were supposed to be devoted to writing the Block of the Month post and other AHQ activities, like SEWING!!!  Suffice to say someone sought to run their own little Aussie Hero mission, and in doing so created a problem that needed to be fixed by Defence. Please no further comments with regards to the specifics.

Please note, the laundry bag tutorial will stay down for a little while longer until I am more confident that the message has been received.

I am posting the request list tonight as tomorrow is the end of the month post, "This Time Last Year" written by Janine. On Tuesday I hope to have the new BOM post completed. That was supposed to be last night's task, or one of them!

Before the requests though, a little lesson in Blog Etiquette that I am sure most of you don't need, but which obviously some do.

Firstly, if you would like to "borrow" or use any of the photos on the blog the very least you should do is give credit to the source you took them from.  If you intend to circulate them in an email or a newsletter to a group of people, it would be nice if you checked first that I was happy for our photos to be used that way and for that purpose.  I have given lots of people permission to do just that and it is usually not a  problem - it is just a matter of courtesy.  

Secondly, if you wish to link to one of the tutorials on the blog then it is also polite to ask permission first.  I am sure if a quilt shop posted tutorials on their blog, or handed out free patterns, they would be pretty upset to find those tutorials being used elsewhere in large numbers without even the courtesy of a call or an email.  It costs nothing to be polite but pays huge dividends in good will.
I have, in the past, looked into Copyright and Trademark protection for Aussie Heroes but have decided not to go ahead for two reasons.  The first is cost - it is around $1200 to Trademark a name or a product and that buys a heck of a lot of quilting supplies!  I just can't justify using the funds, largely donated by our wonderful Aussie Heroes who wish to pay it forward so that others may  benefit, in such a manner.  I am constantly humbled by the fact that the donations provided by the Heroes themselves are what keeps us ticking over just nicely.  Spending that money is a responsibility I take very seriously!

The second reason is time.  I just don't have the time to research all that is needed to turn us into a registered charity etc.  I am not sure what the ramifications of that would be and don't have time to find out.  I hope it is not necessary.  In the nearly two years I have been doing this only a couple of people have sought to do things their own way. Out of the hundreds of wonderful volunteers I deal with every day that is pretty good.  I deeply appreciate the support and respect I am given by those who volunteer their time and efforts for us, and who are more than happy to abide by the rules and procedures I have set in place for the benefit of all concerned. 

Finally, if you learn of a group of Heroes who are deploying and wish to take on the responsibility of arranging either their quilts or their laundry bags all you need to do is contact me.  Again that is courtesy and surely I don't need to copyright everything to expect courtesy.  Additionally, you may not be the only person with the same idea and I can make sure that your efforts are not being duplicated elsewhere. Finally, had I known what was being planned I could have advised a safe way to get the necessary info out without releasing details that were not needed at all. 

So, now that the business is out of the way let's get down to the really important stuff - making quilts and laundry bags for those who are deployed to represent Australia overseas.  Here are the requests for this week.  As always I will remind you that those who have given preferences understand that they may not get what they have asked for.  They have been told to provide that information because most quilters like a starting point when making a quilt for someone else.  Often they have listed a favourite colour and theme. The two do not always go together.  For example if someone has requested nautical in green and you can to nautical in blue then do blue!  It is no big deal.  Remember we asked them to provide this info - they will be just happy to receive a quilt or a laundry bag that has been made just for them, especially if it comes with a heartfelt letter that explains why you sewed it for them.

I have one priority request that I would really like to see done fairly soon if someone feels so inclined.

It is for a fellow who would love a nautically themed quilt, favourite colour blue.  If anyone is interested please let me know.

Postal date for these ones are 1 DEC at the latest please.

Cricket, NRL Club Broncos - pink
Elephants, birds, owls – pink
4  +LB
Waterfalls, the beach, nature – sky blue and yellow
AFL Tigers black and yellow
National Hockey League (team - the Capitals) red and white
NRL Team Nth Qld Cowboys - blue
Shopping, volleyball, reading- purple yellow and orange
NBA Basketball – celtic green (celtics fan)
Chess Midnight blue, dk purple
Golf, squash, gym, beach – blue
7  +LB
Animals green
AFL Club  Hawthorn – gold and brown
12  +LB
Rugby League red and white
22  +LB
Dirt bikes, 4WD, spearfishing, anchors, skulls dk green
24  +LB
Navy Theme navy blue
AFL Club Collingwood, Navy – black and white
Swimming – blue
28  +LB
Whales and Pelicans – blue green white
29  +LB
Drag Cars, Road Bikes- royal blue
30  +LB
AFL Team St Kilda and a frangipani – red, black and white
NRL Team St George red and white
Bodyboarding – black
40  +LB
Exotic Sports Cars blue
Any blue
Swimming and Rugby – blue
49  +LB
Science fiction, fantasy books, Battlefield Game, Warrhammer 40,000 – blue and green

Postal dates for these vary - some before December and some after - please check on the one you are interested in.

QLD Reds or the Wallabies. movies  Godfather trilogy or The Monty Python series.
Triple J style music but loves classic bands like The Doors, The Ramones, Rolling Stones, The Beatles.
Aussie flag colours with aircraft
Photography,  technology/gadgets, earthy colours but would appreciate anything really.
Your choice

Engineer jokes – this guy is an aerospace engineer

If you have read the list you will see that the very last fellow has requested a quilt featuring Engineer Jokes.   If you are interested in this one, but are not sure where to start, please contact me as I have been doing some research.  I do have to tell you though that I am married to an ex-Airforce Electronics Engineer now turned satellite communications engineer. He takes his job very seriously and would not want a quilt with engineer jokes on it! LOL

I told him about this request and said I needed a good selection of one-liner Engineer jokes!  

He looked at me deadpan and quick as a flash said 
"No such thing!  Engineering is a serious business!"  
LOL  Just goes to prove what they say about engineers is true, though I do love him!  
Not sure what that says about me!  :-D

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

Friday 27 September 2013

Weekly Dispatches 27 September

G'day all.  

Hope this finds you all doing well and looking forward to your weekend.  I always feel a little guilty when I go to write that on a Friday night as I know for our troops on Op Slipper there is not really a weekend to look forward to.   So, if you are at home with your loved ones, make sure you make the most of it and spare a thought for the guys and girls who get up and go to work on Saturday and Sunday just as they do on the other days and also spare a thought for those families back home who are missing someone over the weekend.  

I happen to know that some of our recipients arrived home this passed week and so this weekend will be extra special as it will be the first they have spent with their families for sometime.  Hope it is everything you have been dreaming of for the past few months!

The tally so far.  

27 quilts this week and 33 laundry bags.  

1085 quilts and 2003 laundry bags for 2013.  

2093 quilts and 3369 laundry bags in total. 

Anne M

Beth completed this quilt and it wasn't until she went to send the photo to me later that she realised that she had photographed the quilt upside down.  LOL

Di P

Fiona made this quilt and there is something a little special about it.  Some of you might remember that last Christmas those who came to our Aussie Heroes Dinner were given a piece of fabric that some thought was ugly (which is why they were given it!) and the challenge was issued to make a block with it.  There is still plenty of that fabric leftover and Fiona put some to good use in this quilt.  It is the dark coloured sashing and if you didn't know what it was you would never pick it!  Love it!




Kiwi Karen and I had a sewing day last week.  I had prepped some laundry bags with the names or initials already ironed on them and ready to go and Karen sat and completed then, including the applique - which I had not realised she had not done a lot of beforehand!  She rose to the challenge though and did really well.

I even managed a finish myself this week, including the quilting!
Woo Hoo

Julie Ann

Julie created this quilt top, I added the roo and Stephanie T quilted it.

Karen B





Louise created this awesome quilt top and Kim M quilted it and I added the true blue binding!

Louise T

Lynn and I collaborated on another.  I did the applique and sent the pieces to Lynn along with the photos.  She completed the quilt top and Kim M quilted it for us.

Another joint effort.  Appique by me, quilt top by Lynn and

Check out the quilting by Belinda!

Quilt top by Lynn, applique by me and quilting by Joan Y

Applique by me, quilt top by Lynn and quilted by Jo.

Quilt top by Lynn, quilted by Stephanie T


Pam Y

Sandra Mc

Wendy B

Love the soccer player quilting!

That is all for this week.  
Till next time....................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx