Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Happy Mail 30th September

Hi Everyone

Here are the lovely blocks and quilt tops that have arrived in the last week.

June A sent these ones in

More fabulous blocks from Joan B

These beautiful BOMs are from Claire Le M

Fab blocks from Pat A

Lovely blocks from Kerry B

Some beauties from Louis G

Awesome quilt tops by Sherrie M

Awesome job everyone keep up the great work.

Happy Stitching


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Grati-Tuesday 29 September

G'day folks.  So, has anyone been to see the Centenary Quilt yet?  Don't forget to send in your photos if you go. 

My husband went to Canberra on the weekend to catch up with his parents who were up from Melbourne.  Whilst there they made time to visit the Centenary Quilt 
(no truth they were under threat! LOL) 

Talk about a small world, while they were there they bumped into Chris.  

Joan, is one of our long standing laundry bag makers and Chris, her son, is one of our recipients from HMAS ANZAC, the first ship we looked after.   Chris was in Canberra on the weekend and sent in this photo of himself with the quilt.  He is justifiably proud that his mother contributed a square to the quilt and so took the opportunity to check it out.  Thanks for the photo Chris.

This message was posted on Facebook for us yesterday so thought I would share it again here for the non-Facebookers....

A big Thankyou to all at Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags) XXXXX took great delight at showing us his quilt on board HMAS Newcastle 06 yesterday Sunday 27-09-15. You guys do a great job supporting our Aussie Hero's many Thanks

Sandy received the following thank you for the two quilts that she and her group decorated for the Jacinda Baker Ward in the hospital in Iraq.  The quilt tops came from the North of the Yarra Quilt Group and Sandy and her team added to them.

On behalf of the New Zealand Medical Team I would like to thank you and your team for the quilts provided for the Jacinda Baker Ward.

Jacinda was a young medic killed on operations in Afghanistan. The Kiwi ward has been designed as both a functional space and as a memory of her sacrifice.

Most of us knew or worked with Jacinda and it has been a special and very meaningful experience to build and dedicate the ward to her. We have tried to give the ward a kiwi flavour both as a reminder to us of our homes and families, but also to give some home comfort to the ANZACs, Americans and others who are admitted to the ward. The addition of the quilts with their distinctive ‘kiwi-ness’ gives the ward the final touch.

We are very proud to serve in the NZDF on operations and very proud to be able to honour Jacinda in this way. Thank you for your wonderful contribution. You have brought a smile to our faces and I am sure to the faces of everybody admitted to the ward.

Thank you once again,

Dear Caroline and Sue,

Thank you so much for the laundry bag. I absolutely love it, you did a
fantastic job! I was so excited when I received it in the mail, it made my
week. Sorry it took so long to email you though.

I love the german shepherd on it, it looks like my 2 year old German
Shepherd. He's name is Ralph and he is a gorgeous little boy and I miss him
everyday. He brings so much joy to my life and I can't wait to see him. My
fiancé sends me a picture of him every week which always puts a smile on my

I hope all is well with you and your family and again I would just like to
thank you for all your hard work and support. It really means the world to

Hello Anne 

Thank you very much for the quilt it arrived during a recent port visit. The care and effort you have put into this kind gift is not lost on me and I thank you for taking the time out of your day to dedicate yourself to such a worthy cause. I have deployed five times now and regularly leave Australia for work, it was a wonderful gift to receive and it is much appreciated. 

I also enjoyed your letter and hearing of your and Chris’s travels.

Great to hear that there is a diving and ocean connection, I got into diving at an early age and when I joined the Navy it became my job, I am a Clearance Diver by trade, though like any profession as you move up the ranks you do less of the hands on and more of the supervision and managing. That said I am still current and I have been diving during this deployment, though not as often as I would like. 

I am married to a lovely lady  and we live in Sydney, we have a beautiful (all dads say that) daughter named who will be two years old in about 14 days. This is the first time I have deployed leaving behind a child and it makes the task all that more difficult.

When I return to Australia, I will only have to wait a month and we should be welcoming a baby boy to join us. In time, I believe the quilt you so kindly sent me will spend some time on the end of his bed and I can tell him all about its history. 

I am looking forward to the day my children are old enough that I can take some leave (6 months) and 4WD around Aus with them.

I thank you again for your kind gift, it means a lot and I look forward to showing my family  upon my return to Australia.
I wish you, Chris and your family all the best.


Good Afternoon,

                  I am writing to you from the Middle East Region to thank you for the amazing quilt I received in the mail today.

I am, as I'm sure all soldiers are here, very grateful for the support we receive from back home. It is very comforting knowing that there are people
like yourselves willing to go out of your way to improve our conditions and morale.

Forever grateful,

Hello Jean and thank you so much for what you have done, this laundry bag was better than I could have asked for!. It is so good I didn't want to use it for dirty clothes so I have begun using it as my pillow cover.
What you have done will never be forgotten and it means a lot to me that you do this, the design, colour, everything was amazing and it really does mean a lot. I wish you, your husband and your fur baby the best.

Dear Luisa,

I just wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you for the quilt that recently arrived!

It was certainly much appreciated, and it is nice to know that people back in Australia are thinking of us – it definitely helps make it feel like the job we are doing is worthwhile.

I particularly like the dark colour scheme of the quilt, and I will make sure that I have enough room in my baggage so I can take it home and use it there too!

I grew up in South West Victoria and my parents still live there. They have told me just how cold this past winter was – it was almost the exact opposite over here for summer! The weather was so hot it actually wasn’t funny. One day the temp topped out at 63 degrees! I can certainly understand your decision to only visit your son in Abu Dhabi in February.

Don’t worry though – we have much needed aircon in our accommodation, but they don’t really cool the rooms until late at night. However, I often wake up now around 2 or 3am and pull the quilt up around me, as it is easier than getting up to change the temp!

Anyway, I am glad that you enjoy making these quilts, and you can rest assured that everyone who receives one is grateful.

Once again, thank you so much for your thoughtful gift!

Kind Regards,

Hello Debbie
I'm writing back to say thank you so much for what you have done. People say its the little things that make a difference but to me this quilt is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I loved reading your letter and learning about your family, the quilt itself is better than I could have asked for. The colour, pictures and the way its put together just beautiful. 

I wanted you to know that what you have done is very appreciated and I hope the best for you and your family in the future.

Dear Jill,

Thank you so much for the quilt. I absolutely love it, you did a fantastic job! I was so excited when I received it in the mail, it made my week. Sorry it took so long to email you though.

I hope all is well with you and your family and again I would just like to thank you for all your hard work and support. It really means the world to us.

Hi Jean

I hope you are well!

Thanks so much for your amazing Laundry bag. You have done an amazing job,
incorporating the ANZAC theme was a great idea, it looks to good to be used as a laundry bag!!

I am blown away by Aussie hero quilts and laundry bags, the work that everyone puts in to delivering all the deployed members such quality items is phenomenal.
We are very lucky to have people such as yourself continually giving your time to put a big smile on our faces while we are away!

These items make such a big difference to many of the deployed members!

Thanks again for the amazing laundry bag and letter I will send you some pictures once I return home

Keep up the amazing job you all do!


Dear Pennie

Thank you so much for the amazing quilt - it was so much better than I could have imagined! It was so perfect - there reminding me of home, and remains perfect now reminding me of my time over there.I had a great time - met some amazing people who will remain life long friends and saw amazing places with some interesting medicine thrown in.


Dear Jan-Maree and Jas

What can I say, apart from a genuine, heart felt, thank you for my recent presents. Upon opening the quilt I was immediately surprised at the Unit emblem and my two favorite drinks (still working out whether beer or Pepsi gets the top position…). The personal touches really made the difference and anyone who knows me would instantaneously recognize the quilt as mine. 

It goes without saying Jan-Maree, that you and your team of Marie W, Carole, Emily, Jess and your husband David deserve a huge thank you for all the support and sacrifice you provide to Aussie Hero Quilts. I certainly feel honored to have a quilt and laundry bag so personalized and look forward to showing my son upon my return to Australia.

In huge gratitude,

P.S. I am happily increasing my weight with the sweats, especially during brief episodes of normality during Australia matches in the Rugby World Cup. 


Dear Robyn,

Firstly thanks very much for the quilt that you made. It is quite simply amazing and I can tell that you put a lot of time, effort and thought into it. I am a big fan of Game of Thrones and I love that you put the symbols of the main houses onto the quilt. I like pretty much everything about it but I also like the little helicopters (ours is bigger). My role in the navy is as an ATA which is an aircraft maintainer, and I work on Seahawks (which are similar to Blackhawks, but more specialised for ships).

The courthouse on the card reminds me of XXXX which is where my Aunt and Uncle live. Funnily enough I think that my aunt quilts for Aussie heroes as well.

The deployment is going well for HMAS Melbourne so far and I have been to a few different countries since leaving Australia.  We stopped in Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Bahrain spending a few days at each to have some R&R. I have enjoyed these ports and I have experienced much variety of culture and some very chaotic traffic, particularly during the Colombo (Sri Lanka) visit.

Once again, thanks so much for the quilt and lovely letter that you sent, you are a hero too. The biscuits and lollies were appreciated very much as well, and promptly consumed.


Dear Lynn

I arrived home from work earlier this week to find the Aussie Hero quilt that you had made waiting for me.  I'm guessing when you receive the requests and not knowing the person, it would be difficult to be sure what the person is looking for.  The quilt you have made is perfect and I couldn't have wished for anything more.

I enjoyed reading your letter and the story of how you came to sew for Aussie Hero Quilts.  It is comforting to know that people at home are aware of what the Australian Defence Force does and are appreciative of our efforts.  I know that friends that I was deployed with all appreciated the quilts that they received and they brought a little boost to morale when away from home and loved ones for an extended period.

I can't thank you enough for the time that you have devoted to making the quilt.  Jan-Maree tells me that you have made quite a few, so thank you for all your efforts and the time that you devote to putting them together.

Thank you for taking the time to make my quilt.  Best wishes to you and your family.


Dear Lyn K

I just wanted to say thankyou so much for the beautiful laundry bag and quilt. I absolutely love them! The weather here is pretty warm at the moment (averaging about 45˚) but our tents get pretty cold at night so the quilt is a welcomed addition to my bed. It also gives my room a much more homely feel.

Thankyou for all the time and effort that you put into making the laundry bags and quilts. I can definitely speak for everyone when I say that we all really appreciate it.

Take care!

PS Thankyou for the Tim Tams too. Im pretty sure they made everyone in the office’s day 

Dear Lyn,

I have received your beautiful quilt this morning and thought I would take the opportunity to say thank you. It is always good to receive mail when over here, but receiving your quilt has been particularly nice. It is currently sat on my bed, and has added a certainly homeliness to what is otherwise a rather drab room, so thank you.

Although I am now in the Australian Army, I am a Brit by birth and spent 8 years in the British Army before marrying and emigrating to Australia in 2004 - I have been in the Army ever since. This is my sixth deployment, so am getting used to being away from home.

Again, thank you so much for the care and consideration in sending me the quilt. It genuinely does mean a lot, and I will continue to use it whilst I am here and when I get back home.

Yours fondly,

Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

Monday, 28 September 2015

Welcome Home HMAS Newcastle!!!

It may have drizzled and rained on us all but that could not dampen our enthusiasm for being there yesterday to welcome home the crew of the very successful HMAS Newcastle.  Lynn (on the left) and her sister-in-law, Wendy F, joined me.  It was a lovely surprise to see Commander Terry Morrison was filling in for the Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul this time.  Terry was the captain on HMAS Darwin when they deployed and received a quilt that I made. He has remained a good friend of myself and also of Aussie Heroes. 

The chaplain had suggested that we made a banner to hold up and Lynn took on the task and what a great job she did.

It is always a privilege and an absolute pleasure to join the families and friends on the wharf to welcome home the ships when they come.  A number of family members, realising who I was, made the effort to come up and thank me for what we do.  There is so much gratitude out there for what we do.  But I am always telling you that and trying to describe what it is like to welcome the crew home and meet those who have received our goodies. This time you can hear from Lynn and Wendy.

Dear Jan-Maree

Thank you.  Thank you asking my SIL, Wendy, and I to accompany you to yesterday morning's event.  The Welcome Home for HMAS Newcastle was something that I have been looking forward to for some time.  Not having any military connections, and not meeting more than a couple of recipients of my quilt tops, I was looking forward to the experience.

Once the crew started landing Wendy and I worked as a team.  I was 'accosting' the crew members as they walked past us and asking if they had received a quilt or LB. If they said yes (which most had) could Wendy take a photo of them for the blog and for the quilters to be able to see their recipient.  Without fail, the faces broke into smiles and the thank you's were so heartfelt and genuine.  Some hugged us, some shook hands and they all beamed. They ALL said how grateful they were and just what it meant to everyone on board.  They all said how much the gifts meant to them and how opening the AHQ parcels and viewing the contents moved many to tears.  I cannot tell you how that made me feel.  

Yes, it drizzled with rain. Yes, it was quite chilly and yet you know what? 
I did not care one jot. 

 Now I am waiting for the next Welcome Home.  Count me in as today was just such a wonderful experience.

Lynn x x

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet numerous sailors and waiting families from HMAS Newcastle. The weather certainly didn't reflect the anticipation of the ship and her crew's return.
Even before the ship arrived I really began to understand, for the first time, the impact of what we do, not just on the recipients, but their families as well. Parents and partners, recognising our AHQ badges, thanked us for supporting their loved ones. It meant a lot to them.
Once the ship had docked, quite an emotional event in itself, and the stampede down the gangway to waiting family and friends eased, we had the opportunity to speak to quite a few crew, most of who had received either or both a quit or laundry bag. We were usually greeted with "I sure did!" It was overwhelming to have the recipients very happily stand in the rain and tell me how much their quilts/LBs meant to them, the impact they have in their daily lives and to know someone from home took the time and trouble to make something for them. There were many smiles and thanks.
Jan-Maree has often said on the blog how much of an impact we have.
Yesterday made that a reality!

Wendy F

So on with the photos....

 Federal Member for Gilmore, the very lovely and friendly Ann Sudmalis MP and with her Commodore Peter Leavy.   Ann was particularly interested to hear all about Aussie Heroes.

Mrs Andrea MacNamara,wife of the Captain, and one of  their sons, with Mrs and Commodore Phil Spedding, one of Caroline's recipients. Caroline you will be pleased to know that your quilt lives on the spare bed at home.

Here she comes, right on time...

This lovely fellow received a quilt when he was on HMAS Darwin and he stepped out of the crowd when he saw me going past to say hello and thank you for the quilt and bag he received.   You see people, time passes but more and more I am finding that the appreciation of our quilts and laundry bags does not.

The Ship's Warrant Officer (one of your recipients, Anna and Kitty) was more than happy to stop for a photo

As was the captain, Commander Dominnic MacNamara and his family.

Now for the rest of the photos I will name the quilter and the person who made the laundry bag in that order. Hope that works for you.  The names ABOVE the photo will be the relevant ones.

Michelle Mck and Joan

Skye C and Jean B

Marie B and Helen P

Cheri and Jill S

Kay C and Joan

Jenny F

Marilyn S and Cheryl DP

Kaitlin P and Jackie J (on the LHS) and Jill S and Joan

Sorry about the rain drop on the lens.... Lola and Cathie S

Yvette and Joan.
(this for gorgeous fellow's mum is one of our quilters and she was there today. 
So sorry to have missed meeting her)

Lynette S and Joan

This fellow's quilt was made by Cathie L and you might remember me telling how Cathie L and her recipient's mother, also Cathie, met up.  Apparently there are plans to meet up again. How lovely!

Lynn, quilted by Cath M

Jackie J and Jill S

Now I am a bit biased but this fellow received a quilt that was a top made by the North of the Yarra Quilt Group, that I embellished using details on a coin that he had sent me as a thank you for Aussie Heroes, even before he knew I had anything to do with his quilt.   Today he found me and gave me another coin as a thank you for his quilt. What a gem!

Happiness Fairies and Joan

Now folks, this is the lovely lady who was responsible for spending much of her own time taking the many photos of people with quilts and laundry bags that we were sent. A massive job and I am indebted to her for her wonderful efforts.  She received a quilt from Ruth F and a laundry bag from Julie H (who is actually deployed herself at the moment)

Ahhhh, I don't usually name the troops but no prizes for guessing who this is with one look at the lovely laundry bag she received from Pam Y. She also received a quilt from Sue N.  I met her family too - they were very grateful.

Aww now this is one of our favourites.  In the past Lynn, with the quilting help of Belinda, had made a lovely turtle themed quilt for a sweet girl called Sheree.  The problem was that Sheree's request came too late for her to receive her quilt whilst deployed but she and her husband were more than happy to come to my home to pick it up.   Lynn was able to be there too which was lovely.  At that time Sheree came with her husband.  When I received the list of requests from HMAS Newcastle I immediately recognised Sheree's husband's name..... let's just say his name is not JOHN SMITH!  LOL  It is a little more distinctive.  Well of course Lynn wanted to make his quilt as well and a fabulous quilt was made with some help from Michele with some great Disney embroideries and then it was quilted by Debbie.  It was so lovely to catch up with them together.

And it was especially lovely to meet their little girl!!!  Truly an Aussie Hero family!

Happiness Fairies and Glenys T

Julie Ann (LB only)

Leesa O'Connell and Robyn B

Queanbeyan CWA and Cath S

Sue P and Joan 

Jillianne and Maree J 

Jackie J and Joan 

Glenda Joy and Joan

Debbie O and Jean B

Tina C and Maree J 

One the left Julie Ann and on the right
Jo-Anne H and Lisa C

Kathy L and Julie H (ACT)

Stephanie D (Q and LB)

Kay C and Rosemary H

Dolphin Quilters and Pennie

Glenys T and Joan


Rowena and Julie Ann

Kaylee and Janette

Wendy H

Marilyn S

Val G and Jill S

We didn't get the name for this fellow so if you recognise your quilt please let me know.

Val G and Lisa C

Rebecca and Maree J

Happiness Fairies and Maree J 

Sharon Mc and Jackie Jubb

Debbie T and Julie H (ACT)

No names for this fellow either  - does anyone recognise the laundry bag they made?

Jill M and Maree J 

Michelle H and Jill S

Laurene and Lisa C

Queanbeyan CWA and Joan

Queanbeyand CWA and Pennie

and right at the end of the day... just as we were getting back to our cars, this lovely lady appeared having had her car park next to ours. Lisa was largely responsible, with a team of others, for keeping the HMAS Newcastle Facebook page undated constantly. What a bonus for the families.  When there are 1100 family members and friends jostling to see their beloved crew member when the crew disembarks it is easy not to catch up with people.  We were delighted to catch up with Lisa briefly and Wendy especially so as she had just said to me that she had made laundry bags for two girls on HMAS Newcastle and had not seen either...... until Lisa walked up!  I think that rounded Wendy's day off just nicely!

I nearly missed finding the chaplain and actually forgot to get a photo of him.  Thankfully Wendy actually managed to snap a photo of him with his beloved grand-daughter. I reckon this little girl does not know just how much her grandpa wanted to see her.  :-)

And finally, because I know that many of you do not see Facebook.... this is a photo that I shared yesterday.  I met this lovely fellow and he asked if I had seen the pic.  It was sent to me straight away by text.  I was assured that it has been cleared so I hope you enjoy it. Can't have you missing out just because you can't look on Facebook.

His quilt was made by Rowena and his laundry bag also made by Julie who is currently deployed herself.  

OK so that is quite a nice note to end on I am sure.

Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree  xx