Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday's Messages

G'day all,

I hope you have had a good weekend.  I can happily say that I got lots of sewing in and lots of preparation for more sewing!  YAY!

For those in Sydney the sewing day this week will definitely be on Friday at my home.  We start at 10am.  BYO sewing machine and lunch.  I will provide the rest.  The plan is to sew some laundry bags.  All welcome.  If you can sew a straight line you can definitely sew a laundry bag (if not a quilt).  Please let me know if you can make it.  If you need the address just PM me on Facebook or email me.  I look forward to seeing you then.

Tonight we will have the gratitude post that we normally have on Tuesdays as tomorrow night we are launching April's Block of the Month.


Good Morning All,

I just want to thank Jan-Maree, Lenore and everyone at Aussie Hero Quilts for taking the time to create my beautiful Quilt. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi Stephanie N.

I wanted to say a massive thanks for the laundry bag. When JM told me she had found someone to make it I was excited to be getting it done and when the email arrived that it had been sent I was ecstatic that it was on its way. I really enjoyed reading your letter and about your family and also about your Grandfather, both my Grandfathers served on the Kokoda Trail so it was special to 
read about your Grandfather's experiences.

Your Grandfather is spot on about the mateship, loyalty, and sacrifice that we not only make but in my eyes, more importantly, the sacrifice our families and friends make as well.  It is not easy on the partners and families who have a loved one on operations.

In my opinion its organisations like Aussie Heroes that make it a lot easier to be away from home and for all the guys and girls on deployment with me it a special day when a quilt or laundry bag arrives and makes our rooms more like home rather than 4 walls and a roof.

Once again thank you very much for taking the time to make the bag and to also write the letter and thank you very much for the bag of lollies and tea bags they were great...!!


All the best.

Hello Jan-Maree,

I received an incredible gift from you and your fellow quilters, Lynn and Joan in the form of my quilt.  It was such a surprise to see how amazing it looked with such craftsmanship.  I have never received anything like this before.  
I have been serving for 24 years and completed several deployments, but have never received such a gift like this before. The work that must go into a quilt like this boggles my mind. There were some people quite jealous of the quilt as was my wife when I told her, so I will have to guard it.
It is an amazing thing you do for our deployed members who I know appreciate all the work you do.
Once again thank you so much for this wonderful gift it will be well used that's for sure.
Please also pass on my thanks to Joan and Lynn it is a great thing you do supporting our Defence force.

Kindest regards,

Dear Mrs Sue N.
I am currently serving in Afghanistan with the Australian army. I recently received a beautifully crafted laundry bag with a few very nice gifts inside, and I just had to thank you for your generous and thoughtful gift.
It really goes a long way to hear back from home and to be humbled by such selfless acts. I can't put in to words how appreciative I am for your thoughts, talented gifts and kind words. There is no need to thank us for doing our job, I think the thanks should go to you. After all, a soldier is only as strong as the people behind him, and you've shown me that, although we are a world away, we still stand together as one. Thank you again so very much. And send my highest regards to your daughter, two sons and your two cats. A very lucky family, to have such a selfless mother.
Thank you Sue.

Short and sweet but from my point of view - what more would you want when you make things for someone than to make them smile.  His email makes me smile every time I read it.  :-D  I did the applique for this quilt, Del embroidered the badge, Lynn pieced the top and Belinda quilted it.   The recipient is a doctor, hence the medically themed quilting pattern.

Hi Jan-Maree

Quilt in action - makes me smile when I see it!


Hi Lisa, 

I received the lovely laundry bag you have so lovingly made (and the lollies) - thank you for both. It was my first bit of mail received since being here and I was very excited. The bag is a perfect size and I can't wait to put away the old blue military issued ones and use something with a bit of colour.

Thanks once again for my gift and for your dedication to the serving members over here.


Hi Bev and Geoff,

I recently received my Aussie Hero Quilt that you both made for me. It is absolutely amazing and I love it! I couldn't have possibly imagined a more perfect quilt. Everyone has commented on how lovely it looks and I have to agree.

Thank you both so much for the time and effort I know was put into it. It is always great to receive parcels at sea and this definetly put a smile on my face. 

(Incidentally, Bev and Geoff were surprised over the weekend with unexpected visitors in the form of one of her recipients from last year who came with her family to see Bev's quilt shop.  Bev said it was a wonderful experience.  I knew it was happening and have been promised some photos which I will share as soon as I receive them.)

The following message and photo were left on Facebook for us. The lovely quilt was made by Angela and Amy for a fellow on HMAS Melbourne.

I just wanted to say BIG Thank You for my hubby's amazing quilt. He is home now from Op Slipper and met our son for the first time on the wharf, his quilt is a wonderful addition to our son Aiden's room.

And just for something a little different...

Say hello to Valda

I love it when some of our "senior" folk get involved in Aussie Heroes.  Many of them would have memories of passed wars. I would like to introduce you to Valda, Pennie's mother-in-law.  Valda makes a beanie to go with every quilt that Pennie sends and they are proving very popular.  I asked Pennie to write a little about Valda as she includes a bit about her in the letters she sends off with her quilts and their recipients are really responding to her which is just lovely.

Pennie wrote 

"My mother-in-law is Valda, and she is 86 years old. She is an Anzac Day baby, born to a WW 1 veteran who spent his 18th birthday on the battle field in France. His experiences shaped Valda as a child, who was taught the importance of service and giving. She learned to knit as a child  during WW2, making socks for the troops deployed over seas. She also had friends with fathers who were interned in Changi Prison.

During the Korean War she was the wife of a Petty Officer in the Navy, and more recently she has had two grandsons in the forces. She has a great admiration and respect for all our Defence Force personnel, and despite being legally blind she likes to continue to contribute.

As a child Valda's father sold war bonds, and as a result she got to go for a ride in the Lancaster bomber "G for George" which is in the Australian War Memorial.
She is full of lots of interesting little stories!"

Thanks so much for your contribution Valda, both to our current heroes and to those who went before them.  
Your efforts are much appreciated.

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

Friday, 28 March 2014

Weekly Dispatches 28 March

Hi All,

I know it is Weekly Dispatches but I have a few others bits and pieces for you first.

Sydney Sewing Day

Well, I don't know about you all but we had a productive day here yesterday.
Rita C got stuck in and made a whole quilt top for someone on HMAS Darwin (not saying who!) and it looks pretty cool.  Stephanie T arrived carrying the ten quilts that she has most recently quilted.  She matched up the next 11 quilt tops with backings (from the ones that Debbie, Evelyn and Robin pieced and pressed the week before last) and they went home with her for the next quilting storm.  So, yes, now I have ten quilts that need binding so if there are any voluneers in Sydney who love a bit of hand sewing or machine binding now is a good time to speak up.  :-)  

Kim M, another of our quilters brought over another super cool quilt that she has been working on for HMAS Darwin to get some fabric for the binding. 

Stephanie T stayed on and worked in tandem with Gale cutting out laundry bag kits.  They did such a good job. So good to see nice neat stacks of laundry bag kits where there used to be stacks of random fabrics.  

And I packaged up more quilt tops, backings, battings, bindings and covering letters to go to Jennidee, Joyce and then sorted the navy and white Carlton stars from the Mystery quilt with binding (thank you Carolyn EM) to go to Pennie for completion.   In case I haven't mentioned it the Pink Stars for the other Mystery Quilt are on their way to Cath to be put together.   I still had a little time to start cutting out a new quilt. 

ANZAC Day Laundry Bag Challenge

Just  reminder about the ANZAC Day laundry bag challenge.  So far Pennie, Joan and Julie Ann have submitted photos of their challenge entries.   Guess they are looking pretty good for first, second and third prizes (order to be determined) unless some more of you put in some entries.  I have tee'd up my friend in Kabul to do the judging and she is also going to be supplying the prizes.  Personally, I wish I was entering!  

Allocating quilts

This has been a really busy week and I have not managed to get around to allocating names to the quilts in the Quilts in Waiting File.  If you have a quilt that you are waiting for a name for you can you please message me so that I make sure it is on the list to be allocated this coming week.  Thanks for your patience.

And now for this week's Show and Tell and the running tally.

193 quilts and 320 laundry bags for 2014.  

2555 quilts and 4047 laundry bags in total.

These laundry bags were sewn by Carolyn and Rachel at the sewing day in Penrith on Sunday and have now been dispatched to HMAS Darwin.

Credit for the Noah's Ark bag goes to Kiwi Karen who made it to the sewing day for an hour but still managed to make a laundry bag.



Jenny and Gale 


Julie Ann


Kiwi Karen



Louise T

Lynn created this quilt top, I appliqued the name and Stephanie T quilted it.

Maddy and Kylie 


note the cute fabric in the inside.

Pauline and Elaine

Deputy Nut, aka, Caroline, has now got her mum Susan, sewing laundry bags for us! YAY  These nine headed off this week.

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

Thursday, 27 March 2014

With thanks from HMAS Darwin.

I have a bit of a treat for you tonight.  I usually make it a policy not to ask for anything from the contacts I make over time as I figure that they have enough to do whilst on deployment without trying to do things for me.  Also, I don't want people to feel they have to say "yes" because they "owe" us.  That is not the way that AHQ works.  However I made an exception with HMAS Darwin as I felt more comfortable, having actually met and chatted to the Captain before they sailed.  

I asked if they could send me some photos for the blog of life at sea.  Luckily for us they have a photographer on board and she was given the task, one that she seems to have willingly taken on (she is a recipient by the way).  

The photos arrived and were great but I needed someone to tell me what was going on in most of them as photos alone are not so good without the explanations.  Thankfully I have some other contacts who were well placed to pass on some information - and I might add, savvy enough to know what to share and what not to share.....always an important consideration. 

So sit back and enjoy a little look at life at sea on HMAS Darwin.

This is the Bridge during a Damage Control Exercise. Also known as DCEX, this is a training serial practised by the whole ship to Exercise responses to a fire, battle damage or other major incident onboard. The two officers you can see are the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and his Assistant Officer of the Watch. The OOW (two Stripes) is completing a checklist of responses to the emergency while his assistant is conning the ship (giving steering instructions to the helmsmen, the Able Seamen seated to the right in front of the helm). They are all wearing anti-flash, a fire retardant covering, to protect them in the event of fire. The AOOW is looking up at the gyro repeat (gyroscopic stabilised compass), which indicates the ships heading.

These two Communication Information System sailor’s (CIS) are hoisting flags up the mast as a means of communication with another ship. Each of these flags has a meaning or letter that read together allow ships to pass information between them.  Despite radios and such, flags are still an effective means of passing messages and indicating what the ship is doing.

Recovering the boat after a man overboard exercise. The three guys would be the boat coxn, his bowman and a SMET (Ships Medical Emergency Team) and "Oscar" the bright orange dummy. Oscar is so named because of the flag hoisted by a ship which is the letter O which indicates that you have a man overboard.  The seat-boat or RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) is launched and recovered from the ship using a crane or hoist. The RHIB crew attach the crane to the boats lifting strops before climbing a ladder back onto the ship.

These sailors are lowering the flagstaff so that it can be secured for sea. When the ship is at anchor or alongside the two poles, the jackstaff (located in the bow (front)) and the flagstaff (located in the stern (back)) are raised and used to hoist the ANF, (Australian National Flag) and the AWE (Australian White Ensign). When the ship sailed these are lowered and stored so that they are not damaged.

The ship’s cooks in the Galley or happy Cheffo's.  Looks like this was some of the goodies cooked up for Australia Day. 

Moral can go up or down based on the quality of the food served. Doesn't look like the ship is doing too badly in that regard.

These sailors are heaving in on a hawser while the ship comes alongside. The line has been passed ashore and attached to a bollard on wharf and is now being tightened by hand. These lines hold the ship to the wharf.   Sailing or berthing somewhere important, hence the whites uniforms.  We used to have to put whites on nearly all the time when sailing or berthing but with the advent of DPNU's (the grey camouflage uniform) its not as common as it was so this would be a non operational visit, or had the requirement to look pretty. If it was an operational visit then they would be in DPNU's.

Note the large 04 - it is also painted on the side of the ship.....a good detail to add to any quilt  going to an HMAS Darwin recipient.....

The ship’s crew are conducting their daily physical training (PT) on the ships flight deck. PT can be organised and run by the ships PTI (Physical Training Instructor) or individually managed by the crew. PT is conducted every day.    The Flight deck is one of only 2 places where there is somewhere flat to go for a run. Looks like there quite a fitness driven crew.

Photo 8
This is an image of Combat System Operators (CSO) conducting their daily duties in the Operations Room. This is the brains of the ship.

T9. Damage Control training. The guys are in intermediate rig which is DPNU, Anti Flash (The white hoods and gloves) and  breathing gear called OCCABA (Open Circuit, Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus) The guy to their right would be the Damage Control Instructor who would be telling the other two guys what they were seeing with regards to the fire.These two sailors are conducting an entry into a smoke filled compartment under the watchful gaze of  (DCI) during a DCEX. The smoke is generated to add realism to the training.

Flight Deck Marshalling during some winching training. The rod the two guys standing under the aircraft is an anti static rod to ensure the aircraft is earthed prior to the person being winched touching down and being zapped.  This form of transfer is practiced so that the helicopter crew can recover people who need help from vessels too small for the helicopter to land on.

These Marine Technical (MT) sailors are conducting maintenance on the ships Gas Turbine. This is the ships engine and is the same engine found on planes.

The RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) in operation.

The ship is conducting Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with a supply ship. All the fuel, food, and other supplies (including mail) the ship needs are transferred from the supply ship during this evolution. The helicopter that can be seen above the supply ship will be lifting and transferring boxes of stores between the ships.

At sea on a typically calm day in that part of the world.

This amazing image is of the phosphorescence disturbed by the ships wake.   It is called Bioluminescence. This is heatless light generated chemically by small marine plants and animals when they are disturbed.  These are little membranes that not very much is known about, but inside the clear membrane there are two cells, one positively charged, the other is negatively charged, when the ship disturbs them they rub against each other causing a spark and hence the blue light in the water. 

The ships writers with some of the much appreciated mail from home. 
It will be a very happy day onboard.

More PT, this time on forecastle. 
All the female members of the ship's company raising awareness for the breast cancer foundation 

and with an appropriately decorated ships helicopter.

and finally

One of Jenny and Gale's happy recipients with her quilt (and friend).  

Thanks so much for the photos Darwin and for the explanations (you know who you are).
I hope you all enjoyed the post and found it interesting.  

Just before we go - these ladies have sent off quilts and laundry bags this week.  If you are not on the list and should be can you please let me know.

Jenny and Gale
Julie Ann
Kiwi Karen
Louise T
Pauline and Elaine
Rita M
Stephanie D
Sue N
Sue G

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