Wednesday 30 April 2014

Happy Mail Wednesday 30th April

Hi all, Caroline here, lots of happy mail to share with you today.  First we have some great things
from Jan-Maree's post office box.

This first group of beauties are from Bev 

Next up are some great quilt tops from Kitty

Some fantastic blue and red blocks from Kym

Great Stars from Pat A

More stars from Pennie T

Tania De M has posted in these next ones.  Excellent

Now for the happy mail from my mail box.

Alicia N has sent in these great 4 April BOM's

These next lovely BOM's arrived with no address, so please let us know if this was you.  They are fantastic.

These are just a few of the 29 pretty purple and white blocks that Pat A has sent in.

I'm loving the colours that have been used in these great BOM's from S Nagel.

That's all for now. Keep up the great work guys, these are going to make up into some lovely quilt tops.  I want to say a big thank you to everyone that put up their hand to put together the BOM packs from my last post.  All of the BOM packs have been sent out, and I have seen a few photo's of them made up.  Stay tuned for a future post on more BOM packs from the new blocks that have been sent in.

So are we all ready for tomorrow's new BOM??  I'm not.... better go and sew.

Happy Stitching


Tuesday 29 April 2014


G'day all.   I hope this finds you all with a smile of your dial.  

I know these messages never fail to put a smile on my dial.   
I think some of these are extra special so I have enlarged the font so that you don't miss them.  Enjoy!

First up we have some photos sent to me by one of the chaplains of some of our recipients.  

Alicia made this gorgeous quilt.  I am told he loves it!

Rachel made this gorgeous nurse themed quilt and to quote the chaplain "she is over the moon" with it.  What more could any quilter ask but for a response like that!

Sue N (SA) made this gorgeous quilt top.  It was quilted by Stephanie T, bound by Del and sent off by me.  Another response that made me smile.

I GOT MY QUILT!!! Thank you so so much Sue, Stephanie, Del and Jan Maree for all the work that has gone into it... before I read the letter I was looking at it so closely thinking how do they do all that quilting to it.. Then how do they do the border so neat... This has inspired me and when I get home from my deployment I will be trying to help make some of these too... I will write a letter and send it back to you soon. Thank you, there is so much work involved in making these quilts , we are all talking about you here and really appreciate what you do for us all.


Hi Fran,
You made me the most amazing quilt. Thank you so much, it is absolutely gorgeous.
It takes pride of place on my bed. Most Friday and Saturday nights, there is a group of us who have a movie night on base, and we all take our quilts with us (I will try and get a photo for you). I have had so many comments on how amazing mine is.
Thank you.



Thank you so much for the Laundry Bag. I can't being to tell you how much it made my day. 
We sit over here in the heat on long shifts away from the ones we love missing home, then this arrives to really makes my day.
I live in Qld on the coast and am looking forward to returning home.
Once again, thank you! and go QLD ! 


Hello Angela,

I have today received the quilt you made for me, I know that you sent if a little while ago but in the meantime I have moved locations and am now a little further away in country.

Takes a little while for the post to catch up sometimes.

Thank you so very much for the time and effort you put into this quilt, I was extremely happy with the way it turned out, even though I really had no idea how it would look.  There is certainly no way that I could replicate or buy something like this - it is certainly one of a kind. 

I know we have not met before but for those that know me, would know that this quilt fits me to a tee.

I have read your letter and was quite impressed with your group the Chatting Chooks. I am fortunate to have a few friends that I have had since primary school and I like to think that there are a few people in your life that you can call your lifelong friends, those that will be there for you with whatever you need. In some cases a good group of friends can provide a substitute when you don't have family close by.

It is probably difficult for you to understand the actual impact your quilt making has on soldiers over here.  Since I heard about what you guys do with these quilts I have noticed them around. Not on beds or being used as blankets but mostly placed on walls or doors, displayed proudly and often talked about. 

Whilst the quilts ultimately do serve a practical purpose, they achieve a lot more. The quilts give soldiers a sense that someone back in Australia cares and appreciates what they are doing. Some of these soldiers don't really understand why they are here and weather it is worthwhile or not, worst of all a lot of Australia do not even realise there are still soldiers operating in Afghanistan, some in harms way. The quilts tell them that someone is listening. 

Soldiers are a funny breed, it is not often that they stop to appreciate things, in fact some of the things that come out of their mouths would shock and disgust even the most crude of us. Their job is to always be on the front foot, keep moving forward. SO when a quilt comes it is an interesting site to watch. They are never made fun of, often they all gather around to have a look, see if the quilt captures the personality of the person. 

Anyway I am sure that you know these are appreciated or else you would find something more worthwhile to do with your time, I just thought my point of view might help.

Angela I am truly grateful for the quilt and for the effort that you put in for all of the soldiers. For now like others my quilt will sit proudly slung over my bunk where it can be seen. 

Enjoy your time with the Chatting Chooks.

Kindest Regards, 


Dear Anne,

I received your very thoughtful care package yesterday afternoon. I would like to start by thanking you for taking time out to put the package together. I would also like to offer my appreciation for the long hours you must have spent making the laundry bag which is now in use. A special thanks for the NSW Fire Fighter T- shirt which I know is hard to get and has become my pride and joy. Please pass my thanks on to the ladies who give up their time to make the quilts and laundry bags, they are very much appreciated by the military personnel overseas.

The temperature is starting to warm up here, yesterday we had 50.8 degrees and although we have air-conditioning it is quite warm. We have ice vests to lower the temperature and they are used quiet frequently. By the time the cooler weather arrives here it will be time to go home to the summer at Katherine. We are currently working 12 or 24 hour shifts although the 24 hour shifts are sleeping shifts.

Easter has passed and I hope you had quality time with your family. Tomorrow is ANZAC day and I am sure you know that this day is a special day for military personnel. We are all looking forward to the dawn service and as it will occur whilst we are on active service it will be more special.

Once again thank you for the care package it will keep me going for ages. 

All the best for now and don't forget to pass on my thanks to the ladies.


Hi Jan-Maree just letting you know my laundry bag arrived today. It's absolutely beautiful and receiving the package really brightened up my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to make it - the effort you put in really shows.  You are such a special person to do this. Thank you again!

This email is from a fellow who received his quilt lately.   He wrote to me as well as to his quilter, Jillianne.  

Again, I am truly moved by all of your support.  Although you have called us heroes, I would like to turn that around and highlight that you and your wonderful team of volunteers are certainly my (and I can speak for some others onboard HMAS Darwin) our heroes.  Your organisation is the only one (outside of RSLs) that I know of that takes the time to remind us of all the good things about home and makes a lot of what we do that much easier.  I will certainly be contacting Jillianne via email and letter to personally thank her for the wonderful quilt - her work is a masterpiece.  It will be commissioned into service tomorrow and is expected to serve with pride and distinction during what remains of our Middle East deployment and beyond.  

and to his quilter.....note he has assigned his quilt a PM Keys :-)


I hope that this email finds you well.  

The Aussie Hero Quilt 8520XXX arrived onboard HMAS Darwin today (28 Apr 14).  It is an amazing work of art and your loving attention to detail is evident in each stitch and graphic.  I also note that it has been custom made to accommodate my little larger than average frame!  

To try and convey my sincerest thanks in an email is difficult as your act of kindness has moved me deeply.  It is exactly what I wanted and I do not think that I could have designed it any better than what I see before me.  I chose aeroplanes as the topic for the quilt as my son has a love for all things airborne and so this item of fine stitching and graphics allows me to connect with him when I miss him the most.  Your choice of colours has also brought a dash of brightness to what is otherwise formal uniform colours within a warship.  It certainly has added a dash of personality to my cabin and has brightened up my day.  HMAS Darwin's Aviation Department have made a number of substantial offers to have it transferred into their care - but am happy to report that it is being jealously guarded. 

I would also like to point out to you that I received this item the first Monday after Anzac Day and so for me personally it has a little more meaning in that I will associate it with great Australians both abroad and more importantly at home who sacrifice for our welfare.  That includes you wonderful ladies of the AHQ organisation - your act of kindness and charity is received with a warm heart and will be well maintained, used and cared for through out what remains of our deployment and beyond.

AHQ 8520XXX will be commissioned into service tomorrow morning.  The reason for this, is that it is so perfect that I am struggling to put it to use for fear of spoiling it.  

I will be sending you a separate letter to thank you and to provide you a little about my background.

Once again, thank you so much for your wonderful gift - it certainly has made this sailor's day.   

And this one is kind of special ....
from a quilter's son to the lady who made him a laundry bag.

Hi Linda,
I recently received a laundry bag from you. I just wanted to write and thank you for your generosity! It was such a nice surprise to receive one as I hadn’t signed up for the program as of yet. My mother is a keen quilter from Adelaide and I believe she organised it. It is such a nice gesture to receive a laundry bag from back home. The post card is also really nice, I love Perth and think its a beautiful city.
> On behalf of all of us over here receiving laundry bags and quilts, thank you for your time and effort providing us with just a little bit of home.
> Kind regards,

Have a great night everyone!  Sewing day here tomorrow and the sewing day in Penrith on Sunday.  Please let me know if you think you can make it to either day, even if you are a regular as the regulars can't come every time and I need to be organised for it.

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

Monday 28 April 2014

Monday Messages....and Show and Tell

First up today some reminders about the two sewing days coming up.  The first one is at my home on this Wednesday.    We start around 10am and go through till about 3-ish.  we will probably be doing some binding and odds and ends this week - not very exciting but it has to be done.  The next sewing day will be in Penrith at Penrith Patchwork on Sunday.  Again the start time in 10am and we finish at 2pm (3pm depending on the store).  There may still be binding to do but I will have some other things like laundry bags to do as well.  Email me, call me or PM me on facebook if you need any details. 

Oh and if you can't sew....I still have plenty you can help me with.

Now a bit of a story for you about spreading the word.

AHQ Friend, Debra ,S exhibited 2 AHQs at the Roma Patchwork & Crafters Inc., Quilt show in Roma Qld over the Easter weekend.  

There were certainly some beautiful quilts on show!

 Oh look there is one of ours!  Anyone recognise their BOM blocks?

There were 2 quilts with an AHQ blurb on display.

As she had a recipient name for the Wallabies quilt, she had placed note paper out for people to leave a message of support if they wished. 

They didn't disappoint and the pile of messages has been added to the parcel to be sent on Monday.

These 2 quilts definitely raised the profile of AHQ in Roma & she has had a few people 'hunt' her out to say thank you for the contribution we are making to our soldiers.  Her local RSL was 'shocked & stunned' that people with seemingly no connection to the military would want to be doing this.  They are hoping to add AHQ to their local service information.

Not only a great job displaying the quilts and spreading the word Debra but also a great job writing it up for me to share and taking the photos!  Anyone else who wants to follow in Debra's footsteps feel free.  No matter how you spread the word it all helps!

Thanks Debra! 

And finally..... a message for Michele 

Hee Hee you didn't think I knew did you!

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

Friday 25 April 2014

ANZAC Day messages

I asked people to send me messages for tonight.  I asked people to write about their motivations for participating in Aussie Heroes or to share their ANZAC Day memories.   

I suppose I should go first.  You may know the reasons I started Aussie Heroes but I hope you will bear with me if I explain it again for those that do not know.  

Firstly I was ashamed at the way that our Vietnam Veterans were treated.  I felt strongly that we could not let that happen again.  
The next motivator for starting Aussie Heroes was being told about a wounded Aussie soldier that a friend of mine had briefly met in a rehabilitation hospital here in Sydney.    My friend told me how our wounded Aussie Hero sat in his wheel chair with a beautiful red, white and blue quilt over his legs.  He was given that quilt in the hospital in Germany by the Americans.  I was immediately indebted to the Americans for being so generous but I was so ashamed and saddened that there was nothing for our Aussie Hero from his own country.  These days when I tell that story I can also tell you that Aussie Hero now has an Aussie Hero Quilt of his own which I am told he uses all the time.  
Not only that, but his wife has started to sew with us now because she has seen the value of what we are doing.  
The final reason I started Aussie Heroes is because I felt that we, the Aussie public, needed to be able to say thank you to those that serve in our name.

So that is why I started to sew for our Aussie Heroes.  And why do I continue after nearly two and a half years?  That is so easy for me to answer.  
Because I believe, without reservation, that we are doing the right thing, that it is important to let our troops, OUR AUSSIE SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN and AIRWOMEN know that we are proud of them, 
that we appreciate them 
and that we are grateful for their service and sacrifice.

So now to what some of the others had to say.

"I have been sewing for Aussie Hero Quilts for the last 18 months and during that time have learnt a lot about the Defence Forces and the war in the Middle East.  In particular I have learnt about the human face behind it all through the many emails I have received from those who are the owners of  my laundry bags - thank you very much for those emails.  I continue to sew for AHQ because of the motto 'we care about the people - not the politics or the mission'.  To have the opportunity to sew laundry bags, and contribute blocks for quilts for our defence personnel in the Middle East seems like we are all working together as one team. 
Thinking of you this Anzac Day as we all remember and honour those who fought and lost their lives not only at Gallipoli but in wars since then."

Liz J

Greetings to all our deployed personal. On Anzac Day we remember those who gave their lives in service of their country. Also on Anzac Day, and every other day of the year, we honour the servicemen and servicewomen who give up time with their family and the freedoms of everyday life to deploy in service to their country. Every Aussie Hero quilt and laundry bag is an expression of this respect and gratitude, and our hope is that seeing them in use day after day will be a daily reminder of this for the recipients and everyone around them. We hope that every one of our deployed personal is able to stand with their mates, as their family today, knowing they are appreciated by so many back home. 
God bless you all on Anzac Day and every day.


I love going into the city here in Melbourne to watch the ANZAC Day parade along St Kilda Road.  I usually get all emotional when I think of what the people in the march have done and been through - mainly what they have done to keep us here living a free life.
The best day, for me as a Kiwi, was when a group of Kiwi ex-military marched past, there were a lot of Maori personnel and they were singing The Maori Battalion song - that brought me to instant tears!!! I felt super proud watching the ex-service people and their families going by.

The best local experience of ANZAC Day for me was one time my parents were visiting here from NZ. My Dad had served in WW2 as a trainer, he was not allowed to go overseas as he had flat feet and varicose veins. Twice he took another mans place and tried to embark on a ship, but both times the officer watching the men boarding knew Dad and told him to go back to where he should be or he would be court martialled.  

After the war Dad applied to the RSL in NZ but was not allowed to join as he had not served overseas. He always said he did his best with training to keep men alive when they went away to war. He was deeply offended that he couldn't join and march with his friends who did go overseas and who were lucky enough to return home.  So when he was visiting here, we went to the local ANZAC Day march as my husband and sons were in the Scouts and they went to march, so Dad asked the march organiser if he would be allowed to march, he explained the situation, he was told there was no problem he was welcome to join in. It was the only ANZAC Day march he ever participated in and was so proud! 
I was so proud!

So on ANZAC Day I think of my Dad, my Dad’s brother and several of his good friends who went to all parts of the world to keep us safe - I think of the currently serving people who are away from their families, still doing what they do to keep us safe and to keep our country free. And I send out many thoughts of thanks.

Sue P
"Hi just a message from Penrith NSW. We thank you for the service and protection you provide not only here in Australia but worldwide. Your selfless service and dedication is very much appreciated. Stay safe and well. Thank you again from Keryn M"

Dear brave soldiers, sailors and airmen,

We can't thank you enough for your dedication in serving your country.
Please know that we are behind you in your efforts and that you are all heroes to us.
We pray for your safe return home to a grateful nation.
With respect and appreciation from the Doyle family.


My Dad was a WW2 Veteran, he fought in Borneo.
I grew up in a large country town in NSW, and as a child, Anzac Day was a big deal.
Mum and I would watch Dad march every year, standing on the same street corner, across the road from the War Memorial.
Years on, I took my children to watch Grandpa march, not as many old diggers now though.
My Dad never missed marching on Anzac Day. If Mum and he happened to be on holiday, he would at least attend Dawn Service wherever he may be.

He will not be marching this year, he passed away in January, two months short of his 90th Birthday.

My nephew, as the oldest Grandson (Dad had only daughters), will march in his honour.
The family is going home to inter his ashes in the RSL Remembrance Wall.
This will be one Anzac Day I will never forget.

Julie Ann
And this is perhaps my favourite message of the night.  

It seems so typically Australian!

My Father, Arthur Charles (Charlie) Jasper was WWII Navy.  At Cessation, Dad re-upped.    As a result, Dad was in the Fleet that went up into the Islands to bring the POWs home. 
The short fellows were assigned to stretcher bearing, the tall ones, like Dad were assigned to helping the allegedly mobile up the gangway.  Dad had the POW on his left with the man’s right arm around his neck and Dad’s left arm around his upper torso. 
Going up the gangway, the POW suddenly and rapidly dropped to the gangway.  Dad, in his best Petty Officer voice roared:  DON’T YOU DIE ON ME NOW YOU BASTARD! ! ! ! ! I’M HELPING YOU GET HOME ! ! ! ! !
The POW started to laugh and the laughs got deeper and richer and deeper and richer.   Dad was trying to lift the man but it was like trying to pick up a jellyfish.  It didn’t take long and rude versions of “Hurry up Charlie” came from behind.  They were holding everyone up.  Finally, Dad scooped the man up in both arms like a sleeping toddler and walked him to the Medics on the top deck.
About Dad’s third run later, the Medics asked Dad what he had said to the earlier POW.  Dad said he hadn't meant to upset him and asked if he was alright.  
The Medics said “He’s still laughing.”
The story finally came out.  
The POW thought that what was happening was too good to be true and was frightened he was going to wake up and find himself back in the camp.  However, when Dad bellowed at him like he did, the POW knew he really was in Australian hands, he really was going home.
Dad never learnt the POW’s name and probably the POW never learnt Dad’s name but there was a bond between the two.  Whenever the story came up every few years, as family stories do, Dad always spoke affectionately about his POW mate.
I’m sure the POW never forgot such a dinky-di welcome home.
Told by Yvonne Jasper, daughter of PO (later CPO) A.C. Jasper 243924


A special ANZAC Perspective.......

Good morning on what is a very special day for many of us.  

One soldier once described ANZAC Day as "our favourite day of the year".  

I know many of our past and present uniformed men and women look forward to this day of commemoration.  

They look forward to sharing it with their mates, 
those they serve alongside, 
in many cases their brothers and sisters by choice, 
and they look forward to sharing it with their friends and family.

And their friends and family look forward to PROUDLY standing by their uniformed loved one on such a special and meaningful day.

There are plenty however, who are not able to share it with their mates or their loved ones as duty calls for all sorts of reasons.  Please spare a thought for them.  

And there are many, as we know, who will mark this day on foreign land.  

ANZAC Day Kabul 2013

I know you will be thinking of them.  
Today we are lucky enough to have a message from someone who is overseas as we speak and who shares with us his thoughts on spending today in a foreign land with people of other nations.  

As I look forward to my third ANZAC Day on operations, I reflect that it’s quite different to back home. For starters there’s always 100% participation – sleeping in is not an option! And neither is a trip to the pub or RSL after the ceremony. ANZAC Day on ops provides a brief pause and point of focus in our battle rhythm – the continuum of nameless days that become weeks, that become months. Australians and Kiwis are a small force amongst a large international Coalition, a long way from home. ANZAC Day is our day to share with Coalition partners.

Imagine my surprise last year when I arrived in Kabul to find the Australian contingent was accommodated in the Turkish barracks. This turned out to be a great thing, as the Turks’ small eatery was a home-cooked, fresh alternative to American Army ‘chow’. It also meant I learned some Turkish phrases and, luckily, found one other important opportunity. That was the chance to host the Turkish Commanding General during the ANZAC Day commemoration which the Turks co-hosted. ANZAC Day is theirs too, although Turkey does not commemorate 25 April; their memorial day is the anniversary of the start of the allied Naval bombardment of the Dardanelles peninsular. Events of WW1 and the Dardanelles/ANZAC Campaign impacted as significantly, and were a turning point in Turkish history, just as they were for Australia.

The Turkish General knew by heart the words of Mustafa Kamel Ataturk, inscribed in stone at the Turkish memorial site at ANZAC Cove. 

We discussed our shared history; the fact that two militaries, which that should never have met on the battlefield one hundred years ago, are now joined in force somewhere equally unlikely. The Turks also have a shared history in Afghanistan and are now leading many of the international Coalition efforts to maintain peace and stability. So, as I look forward to another ANZAC ceremony in Afghanistan with the Turks, my personal hope is that one hundred years from now, ANZAC Day commemorations will reflect that our collective involvement in Afghanistan was successful – in the eyes of the Afghans, as well as both our home nations.

In case you cannot read the quote from Mustafa Kamel Ataturk on the stone here they are

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. 
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; 
your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
Ataturk, 1934

  • Lest we forget.

Thursday 24 April 2014

ANZAC Day Laundry Bag Challenge - the Winners

Oh My Gosh! 
As far as I am concerned you are all winners!  

I know I was going to post the ANZAC Day messages tonight but our Judge didn't want to keep you in suspense and so skyped me with the results late last night so that I could share them with you. 

Standby for TWO extra special posts tomorrow, 
one in the morning and one at the normal time.

Now back to the judging...

I fear it is not going to be long, and as we get more and more well known, people are going to wise up and will not be so keen to accept the responsibility of acting as Judge for these challenges!  Do you remember how hard Money Honey and SuperDad found it last December to pick the winners of the Brisbane dinner laundry bag Challenge?  You can check that out here.   It seems the job has not become any easier.  

First let me introduce our principal judge - this is how she spent yesterday morning, baking up a storm with her Kiwi mate making 10kg of chocolate dipped ANZAC biscuits for ANZAC Day morning. Now that is what I call ANZAC spirit and when it comes to spirit this lady has it by the bucket load.  You have no idea and I can't tell you half the stories I know but trust me - she is one in a million!   

When I asked her to be the Judge she said she would LOVE to do it.  The last few weeks and days have been really busy for her with Easter and then ANZAC Day and I checked that she was still happy to do it and she said OF COURSE and added that it was going to be a PLEASANT job to do.  Hee hee.  That was until she received my email with all the pictures in it!  

Oh and here is what 10kg of chocolate dipped ANZAC's look like! 

Mmmmm YUM!!

Anyway, back to the story.  
When she received the email with the photos her responses changed a tad.

First there was 


And finally

And that is pretty much what happened.   In the end THE JUDGE selected two others, also non-sewers, so that she had a tri-service team of judges and together they hammered it out until they had the final group.  

There are five that I will call the finalists.  

First the numbers were reduced to seven clear runners.   A winner was chosen unanimously and that left six.  More deliberations and the second place was chosen.  That left five from the seven finalists.  More deliberations and finally two more were selected and the decision had to be made - which one would be in third place.  I have to tell you I am assured that it was by the skinniest of whiskers so I decreed that we would have a special mention for the runner up for third place.  And then there was one that the Judge said she just loved and that has rated a second special mention. 

So, without further ado here are the winners starting with the special mentions.

Firstly we have the fabulous laundry bag that our JUDGE really loved.

Made by Katrina!

Our second special mention, just beaten by the narrowest of whiskers, was this awesome one made by Chelly

Third place went to (GO RAAF!!) Pennie for her classic RAAF Roundel 

Second place went to Julie Ann's very patriotic double sided bag


By a clear margin...

Unanimously chosen by our tri-service team of Judges....

Was made by Louise 

featuring the poppy (very appropriate for ANZAC Day) and the slouch hat!

Congratulations everyone, especially our five winners.  As far as I am concerned though you are all winners and the lucky people who receive these laundry bags are going to be over the moon!!!
 You will have to wait a little for your prizes as they are on their way from Afghanistan but I will let you know when to start watching your letterboxes! 

Don't forget - two, YES TWO special posts coming up tomorrow which I hope you enjoy.   I have a very special one scheduled for 10am and then the ANZAC Messages will come later at the normal time.  

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