Thursday 31 July 2014

Thanks on Thursday

G'day folks.  Well what a busy few days I have had thanks to all of you who share my post on Monday night.  I have been typing as fast as I can to keep up with the enquiries and requests for information and that is a great problem to have.  Thank you so much to all of you who shared the post.   As of that time that I write this that post, according to the stats on Facebook has reached over 28000 people and has had over 380 page shares!  In addition we gained over well over 150 new followers.   Thanks so much for all your support everyone.  It means the world to me but more importantly, it means more quilts and laundry bags for our serving men and women.

We are a couple of days late but here are this weeks Gratitude messages.

This first photo is a special one.  Earlier this year there was an accident at Shoalwater Bay Firing Range and this young man was injured.   I was contacted before I went to Townsville at the end of June and whilst on my stop over in Brisbane I was able to hand over a quilt to be given to him at a later date.  He had a short time home with family on convalescent leave and then had to return to the base hospital.  He was presented with his quilt just after returning and was kind enough to consent to the photo and to having it published.  We wish him all the best in his recovery.

The quilt itself was made by Louise and although you can't see them in this picture it features some lovely embroideries by Donna.

As you know AB Cameron Green was presented with a quilt recently in hospital where he is waging his own war against cancer.   His quilt is emblazened in the Arsenal colours on one side and messages from his ship mates on the other side, shown here being held my Cameron's Dad and myself.  

Not long after delivering the quilt i received this message from the Captain of HMAS Darwin

Your teams efforts in making this quilt has been exceptional and I know it has been lovingly made from the greatest Aussie Heroes in Australia. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you all, for doing this for Cameron, his family and his ship mates. I truly hope that Cameron's beloved Arsenal, emblazoned on this quilt, is the one thing that can help him get through this difficult time and I hope that he can also see from his ship mates comments, that you have also lovingly stitched on this quilt, that 'he will never walk alone' in this fight. 

Next the following post appeared on the HMAS Darwin Facebook page.

Codename: Operation Cover Cameron, team members, 
Codename: Operation Cover Cameron.
Team Members : Jan-Maree Ball and her dedicated and loyal team of Aussie Heroes.
Mission: To make a special member of HMAS Darwin Ship's Company, Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Cameron Green, the most amazing Arsenal quilt and laundry bag.
Outcome: Accomplished

On behalf of all of the crew of HMAS Darwin, we would like to impart our most sincere thanks to Jan-Maree Ball, Maridy Morrison, Rita M, Debbie, Lynn and all the Aussie Heroes around Australia that volunteered their time and wonderful gift, to put a smile and lift the spirits of a ship mate that is going through a difficult time. All that you have done for Cameron and his family and all the crew of HMAS Darwin during our deployment has been amazing and we will all treasure our special gifts for the rest of our lives. Thankyou Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags) and speedy recovery Cameron, we will be seeing you very soon.

And finally we had a lovely message from Cameron's mother and the rest of his family.

Dear Jan and team

I would like again to give my thanks to your team of quilters for such great heartfelt work put into producing the Arsenal quilt. Cameron's grandparents and aunts and uncles back in the UK are also, I know, very touched by this act kindness from your team. I am now in Sydney whilst my husband Rob is back in Brisbane, so have been able see the quilt for myself, with Cameron also allowing me to read the messages on the back!

We are getting nearer to the time for his operation, and transfer up to Brisbane, which will make life easier for all. We will update you on his progress, especially when he is once again upright, and back to towering over us all.

Once again thank you,

Jo and family. 


And finally another special photo following on in the theme of hospitals.  Our three gorgeous quilts made from the Brisbane dinner challenge blocks have made it to Al Minhad Air Base and are now available for use as required by any of our Aussie who are admitted during their deployment.  

This quilt was made by Sue P and a thank you message shared last week but I had to wait to know I had permission to share the photo.


Hello Joan and Robin,

I am a deployed member within the ADF

I was just writing to thank you for your gift that I have just received. The brightly coloured laundry bag reminds me of my daughter back home in Australia. It is comforting to know that people like you still exist, 

My Regards, 


Hello Evelyn,

Thank you very much for the quilt (Black Diamond). There are a few other people overseas with me who have received quilts too, so at some stage we will get a group photo with them all to send back to Australia. I will also ensure I send you a personal copy too.

Your family sounds very nice and I am glad to hear they provide you with great support. I would agree with them, as it is excellent work you are doing especially for the charitable organisations. You are very good at what you do, as I can clearly see from mine.

Thanks again

The following quilt top and back were donated by Julie, quilted by Robin and bound and sent off by Evelyn

Hello Evelyn,

Thank you very much for your gifts. I received my quilt in the mail yesterday, but with our time difference, best to say sometime on the afternoon of Tuesday the 20th, our time, or late evening Australian time.

It is always wonderful to see how the folks at home appreciate what we do, and very delightful to get something so personal, hand made, aimed toward the recipient's tastes. Aside from charity collections and other forms of donation, I've never actually provided a gift like this for someone I have never met. It does bring a smile to think that people do this for others who aren't grandchildren, nieces, nephews or known to each other in any other way. 

Ancient Egypt, along with Greece and Rome, is one of my interests. I've always been an avid fan of the ancient world, probably more so because everything back then was new, life was something of an adventure, shorter though it may have been at the time. Most of the world hadn't been explored, and even a neighboring city, town or tribe was a new culture to discover.
That aspect of the trip is one of my favorites, being in a new place, with new people, and taking advantage of our rest and relaxation opportunities to take in the local culture.

I must confess I've never really studied my family roots for the past few hundred years. Of the Bristow side to our family, I know my grandfathers elder brother Frank, was a soldier, but not much else of that part of my family. My uncle, prior to his death, was our family historian. His theory was we originated with Stephen De Burstow in England, after the battle of Hastings.

As for myself, I'm a soldier in my 30s, who has never really chosen a life to settle into. I've been in the Victorian police for a while and I had joined my local CFA when I was younger. I spent some time in the navy before coming over to the army, and to be honest, I may move onto something else when I return from my overseas trip. Whether this be to a different role within the army, or leaving to do a similar  job as a civilian, I'm not sure yet. 

Fortunately, depending on your perspective, I have neither a wife nor children, so my erratic life will not impact others too harshly. 

It is good to hear of others success stories too. despite what you have lost, it is always good to know the human spirit can overcome such horrible adversities, but not easy to see why we need to. 

I have included a couple of shots of my new quilt in-situ, and while it may not be time to use it yet, later in the year will definitely see the need.

The crossword book will come in handy in the evenings between work ending and dinner, where we have just enough free time to actually relax, but no enough to carry out a game of football or anything like that. The lollies however didn't last too long. As is our custom here, we share the bounty we receive from home in that regard, and fruit tingles are somewhat popular, although a little bit of a shock to the one poor girl who had never tried them. 

Thank you again Evelyn for your work and support, and please give my thanks and regards to Robin and Julie.

Kind regards

Kind regards,

Hello Jan-Maree, Jill and Evelyn 

I have received my quilt and laundry bags.  I appreciated the kindness and the time you put into completing the quilt and laundry bags. I have deployed previously and it is the first time I have received such generous items from such genuine kind and thoughtful people. 

I appreciated the letters and the extra items have been shared around and consumed with vigour from everyone I work with.  I'm still waiting on someone to mess up the rubic cube. 

Your work not only to the ADF but to the other needy organisations makes me very humble and respect your dedication even more. Everyone here that receives the items show everyone and their eyes light up with genuine appreciation. It is a wonder to see and look forward to each mail day to watch the next person opening there package and enjoy the moment of normality. 

God bless you all. 


Hi Pennie,

Thanks for the care package. I have to say this is my forth trip and I've never received one from someone I didn't know. Considering it was my first package for the trip it brought back a lot of good memories from previous trips when you used to get some goodies to eat and items you are familiar with from home. You are right about the beanie, won't be needing that on this trip, but I will turn my A/C down as far as it goes to give it a test run.

I have a huge respect for nurses and I'm suprised you find the time to do what you do for us. From everyone here in sunny Dubai, thanks for the packages and don't forget to thank your mother in law as well. 


The following email is from the person who requested the quilt for a friend of her's.

Hi Jan-Maree!

I hope this email finds you well :)
The quilt looks fantastic! I was speaking with XXXXX's wife, Rachel, yesterday and she mentioned that it arrived safely. XXXXX LOVES IT! He was very surprised as he wasn't expecting anything in the post. It's now proudly being displayed in XXXX's room.

Thanks again! Aussie Hero Quilts is a brilliant organisation that brings so much delight to serving members who are missing home! I hope that you can continue all of this great work for a long, long time into the future! I have an auntie who does quilting and was thinking of recommending that she join up to Aussie Hero Quilts. What do you think?

Warm regards,

Hello Gale and Jenny,

I just wanted to write a quick note to say a very big thank you for my beautiful quilt.  XXXX gave it to me last week and it was a lovely surprise.   The orange and black go so well in my accommodation. 

This is a really wonderful gesture and very much appreciated.  I received another quilt during my deployment in 2011-2012 when XXX  (our postmistress from Egypt)  was here which I also treasure.  As you  may have been told I discharged from the Army in early 2013 (after 30 years’ service) and came back to North Camp as a civilian.  As you can see by the news of late that Israel/Gaza are at war and Egypt is still very unpredictable.  Makes our lives here quite interesting to say the least.

I wish you all the very best and thank you once again.

Regards to you too Jan-Maree


The following I thought I would share with you as it is part of a request email I received.

I wanted to let you know how much the quilts mean to the deployed members and the pride and sense of purpose that your quilts provide.  Although I haven't been deployed for too long, I have been called into many offices to view the newly arrived quilt.  The recipients are always very excited to open their parcel and we are all very impressed with the work and quality.


  1. The Adelaide chapter of AHQ met for a sew and lunch at Pennie's house last Friday. Present were Mary, Sue A and Anne D, and much was achieved!!  Great news ladies.

A quick shout out and happy birthday to Stephanie T who has quilted over 150 quilts for us in the last couple of years.  Stephanie snuck her birthday in ALMOST without me knowing so I hope you had a wonderful day Stephanie.  xxx

And finally, the following are those who have sent off their quilts and laundry bags this week (as far as I know at 130pm today).  If your name is not on the list and you think it should be, please let me know.  It has been frantically busy since Monday so I am not confident that I caught all the dispatches as I should have.

Barbara F
Deb B
Louise (and Debbie)
Louise from Dolphin Quilters
Adele (via Lynda)
Steph N
Sue A

AND absolutely last thing - I am going to be in Canberra over night next Thursday and most of Friday.  Now sure how many people we have in Canberra but if you want to catch up while I am down there let me know.

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

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Happy Mail 30th July

Hi Everyone, hope you have all had a great week and a big hello to all our new friends that have found us in the last couple of days.  There wasn't a Happy Mail post last week as I was late getting to the post office and when I did get there I only found a card to say collect from inside, but alas they were closed.

So we have some lovely BOM's that have been sent in.

Fabulous Aussie Blocks from Kim M

These are from Phyllis S, lovely July Aussie Blocks

Lovely Aussie Blocks from Mavis S

Lots more great Aussie blocks from S Nagel

S Nagel also sent in some lovely June BOM's as well.

That's it for this weeks Happy Mail.

If anyone is looking for somewhere to go this weekend to find that extra fabric you have been looking for, and you are in NSW and close to Penrith..... then why not come down to the "Mad Quilters Gathering" at Penrith Panthers.

It is on from Friday 1st August through to Sunday 3rd August, and situated in the Exhibition Marquee.   Open from 10am til 4pm.  Here is the link to the website.

If you do come down please come and say hello to me I will be at stand 40 
"Caroline's Stitching Studio"

OK Happy Stitching Everyone



No-reply Bloggers

This is for those who leave comments on the Aussie Hero Blog.  

I have had a few requests from people who have seen the blog for information but unfortunately they do not have an email address registered with their google account so I cannot contact them.  Jean S you are one of them.  I would love to give you the information you need but I need an email address or some other way of contacting you.

If you want to know if you are a No reply Blogger and want to know how to fix than the just google it.  There are a bunch of online tutorials that will tell you how to fix it.  

Would love to hear from you again.



Tuesday 29 July 2014

Welcome to the Club - New Aussie Hero Friends

WOW!   Well after last night's post I have been blown away by the response and the huge amount of support.  We will have our normal gratitude post on Thursday as I thought it was essential to write a post for all the wonderful new Aussie Hero Friends! 

To all the wonderful newbies who jumped on the bandwagon last night and today.  You are now eligible to become known as an Aussie Hero Friend.  That is what we are collectively called and personally I can think of nothing I would rather be, nor a more wonderful supportive group of people.  :-)

I thought I should briefly introduce myself so you know who is running this whole shebang!  My name is Jan-Maree, I am a 50 something ex-RAAF and ex-RAN officer of 15 years' service.  I live in Sydney with my very tolerant and supportive husband (also ex-RAAF) and our twin sons. If you email, PM or call Aussie Heroes you will get me.  

I could not do what I do without the wonderful volunteers and collectively we are called the Aussie Hero Friends.  We started operating as Aussie Heroes on 1 Jan 2012 and since then have sent nearly 3000 quilts and 4500 laundry bags to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and defence civilians deployed all over the MIddle East, including our currently deployed ship, HMAS Darwin as well as our Peacekeepers in South Sudan and the Sinai.

What follows is a brief rundown of how things work.  Hopefully there is enough info here to get you started.

Requests and how we manage them.

Each Monday I circulate a list of requests to all of the requests I have for quilts and laundry bags.  These are passed to me in a variety of ways but basically the members are told to tell me the following 

- their full postal address including rank and PM keys (PM Keys is like their service number)

- their email address
- the last full month they are deployed 
- and their favourite colour, hobbies and interests.  

We ask the latter because I have learned over time that many of the quilters like to have a starting point when making a quilt for someone else and just knowing their favourite colour is not enough.

If you are interested at the very bottom of this post will be the requests we have at the moment but here is an example.

Black Yellow Red Batman Jurrasic Park Navy

Barney the Dinosaur Beer


In this example you can see that this fellow has listed three colours, and various interests. Some of my quilters pride themselves on including everything someone lists.  That is wonderful but really not necessary.  If I can send this fellow a red, black or yellow quilt then I am happy.  If it has anything to do with Batman, dinosaurs or any of his other interests on it then that is a bonus.   Remember, the vast majority of the people we are sending to are MALE and most likely therefore not quilters so they just tell us whatever they can think of to give us point to work from.
They will appreciate whatever they are sent.  

The number 29 is a reference number that applies to this request for the day that this version of the list is circulated only.  

The "B" in column three stands for Both a quilt and a laundry bag.  You might also see "Q" for quilt only or "LB" for Laundry bag only.  

If you see a request on the list and want to take it on you need to copy this entire line and email me.  If noone else has taken it on I will send you the member's details and you can get started.  Most important that you take note of the deadline for posting and if you are not able to make it you need to let me know.  What we do is time critical as we are posting to members who are deployed.  If you are late posting they may have left and returned home and may not receive the quilt or laundry bag that you have put your time and effort into. 

A little more on Quilts 

You are welcome to make quilts that are not tied to a request at any time.  Once you have nearly completed a quilt send me a photo and I will send you the details of a recipient to send it to.  I do ask for your full name and address, preferably with phone number before give you the details of one of our members though.

The following link will tell you all you need to know about our quilts  - size, batting, and some suggestions about what to make. Quilt Specifics

Laundry Bags

If you wish to make laundry bags that would be awesome. These are certainly not the poor cousin to our quilts by any stretch of the imagination.  They bring the colour, variety and interest out of the accommodation rooms and are walked around the bases and ships with pride!

You are welcome to look at the request list and choose to make a specific one or you can just make bags and let me know when you are ready to post some off. You can fit 4-6 into a BX2 box depending on the weight of the fabric you are using.  You can send them off individually or as a boxful. Just email me with a picture of your bags and I will give you an address to send them to.  There is a link to the tutorial for the laundry bag below.  

Laundry bag Tutorial

Posting the goodies off

Everything we post is sent using the AFPO system which means that as long as we have an AFPO number on our box then we can post up to 2kg of contents in an Australia Post Bx2 box for free.  You can check out our Posting Information for further information.  I really appreciate it if you check that link  before you post for us for the first time.  

Finally some of you might be non-sewers.  There are still ways to help.  One really big way that would be a great help now is to donate some 3KG and 5KG prepaid satchels. I use them for posting quilts around the country to various quilters for completion.  It is the only way I can get as much done as we do.  Other ways non-sewers can help are listed on our How to Help page.

As promised here is the request list for this week.  Those in PINK are girls and the others are fellows.  

B=  both quilt and laundry bag (you can opt to make one or the other)
Q= quilt only
LB  =  laundry bag only 

I am asking that quilts and laundry bags from this list go in the mail no later than 4 September but if that does not give you enough time we may be able to negotiate depending on the request. 

If any of these requests interest you please let me know via email to

Till next time................KEEP SPREADING THE WORD and happy stitching!  JMxx

EDIT 26 August - NOTE these are now OLD requests but they will still give you some ideas of what is being asked for.  JMxx

Purple, sports
blue and dark purple american football and NRL
Aqua,  Basketball, Computer Gaming, Dirt Rally Racing
Purple, Motor Sports, Movies
Enjoy sport, AFL – Hawks, or favorite colour blue
Green, lifting weights/sporty activities (i.e soccer)
blue and purple, my family, wife and children, and motorcycle riding
Green,fast cars, loud music and nauticalia.
Blue. Fishing
Blue- Soccer, BRONCOS!, Surfing and the beach.
Yellow & purple/ paddle boarding and running.
Canberra Raiders (lime green, royal blue, yellow and white)
Black or Red- Cars, Holden and HSV (Holden Special Vehicle)V8 Super
Basketball Miami Heat
Purple/ mountain climbing/traveling
Blue, Black, Orange/music, (producing and DJ-ing), golf, cricket
blue, skydiving and navy aviation
Navy blue, house renovations, gardening, golf, family
blue surfing.
blue : motorsport, motorbikes, travel, fitness
Blue and red, Rugby League, Surfing/beach
Blues   hobbies Surfing   interests. Turtles
Black/ (Penrith Panthers), fishing and camping.
Black Yellow Red Batman Jurrasic Park Navy Barney the Dinosaur Beer Basketball
Blue or purple, fishing and all water activities
Basketball, Gaming Technology, Blue
AFL - Port Adelaide, Music, Sports, Gym      Green
NRL, Super Rugby, Melbourne Storm, QLD Reds, Purple, Red
cars, fitness  AFL, Carlton      navy & white

motorbikes, NRL maroon, yellow, white
Computers, Cars, AFL, North Melbourne      Blue
books, gaming social interaction, Azure
motorbikes, cars, Diablo 3, gaming, motorsports, bundy rum, blue, orange, aqua
Sailing, Cycling           Sydney Swans, WW 2 history.           Yellow
car, games      anime  blue
Golf and Rugby          Canterbury Bulldogs, blue
soccer, games, sports sports  blue, red
cars, rc, pc      cars     blue
4x4, games IT red
games, cars    IT blue
sport, fitness    sports, cars     green, black, white
diving, electronics yellow, hot pink
Car restoration            Dancing           Yellow
Online gaming Computers      Blue
Gym  Spearfishing/soccer      Blue
Cars/sports      Blue/Black
BMW, all things F1 and Hugo Boss. Geelong Football Club  - these suggestions submitted by a good mate- love that he picked out Hugo Boss  J
Loves the snow
Black and Gold of the West Tigers. fishing, motor bike riding, trail bikes