Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Grati-Tuesday 31 May 16

This was brought to my attention today.  I had not seen it. In truth I had not had time to read it and it was sitting on my desk waiting.... but my friend Fiona saw it and posted it on my FB page.  I am not sure about the Celebrity tag (LOL) but it gets the Aussie Hero name out there so I am pretty pleased about that.   Also nice to see another new Aussie Hero Quilter, Helen Godden (Facebook page, Helen Godden Quilts check it out here) in the list as well. She will be demonstrating the new Simply 16 Quilting Machine with Caroline at the Handi Quilter Stand at the times indicated. If you come to the show make sure you stop in and say hello to Helen and Caroline and show them some Aussie Hero love.

The show is on at the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island June 22-26 from 9am to 430 and I will be there every day with a selection of other Aussie Hero Friends.

I hope you will stop by and say hello!!

Now straight into the messages for tonight..... enjoy!

Thank you the 3 lovely ladies from Yass/Dalton really appreciate the laundry bag. Nice and bright so I know which one is mine all the best.

Very kind regards 

G'Day Sue N,
I am just writing to say thank you very much for the quilt and laundry bag. Clearly you went to a great deal of effort and it is very much appreciated. They both go a long way towards making things feel more homely over here. 

Once again I'd like to say thank you very much for your hard work and effort. I have included two operation OKRA patches as a small token of my appreciation.

Thanks again,

Dear Pennie

I would like to thank you so very much for my beautiful quilt and laundry bag. I really love it. It will come in very useful here and at home when I return.
It is a lovely feeling to know that we are appreciated and not forgotten when we are out of the country. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile.
You put so much thought and effort into it, I would like to send my individual appreciation. I also sent a photo to my family, they asked me to send their gratitude and they think you are so talented. Also impressive is that you are able to find time to complete such a great piece  of art. That's what I think it is.
Thank you so much for bringing a smile to my face every day. 

Hi Jan-Maree,

Sorry for the late response, I have just returned to work after a short roctfa break visiting family.

My quilt was there waiting patiently for me at work, all I can say is WOW thank you so much to yourself and Aussie Hero Quilts, I never expected that result in a million years. I now know why it took longer than usual and I can definitely say I was happy to wait, especially after seeing the outcome! 

I will get a photo of myself with the quilt to you within the coming weeks once I settle back into my work routine.

Once again thankyou!

Kind regards,

Dear Serena,

Words cannot explain how thankful I am for the quilt and laundry bag you made me.
It is absolutely beautiful and I will cherish it forever.
Thanks for being so caring.
Thanks for being so thoughtful.
Thanks for volunteering.
Your actions are priceless.                                                                                                                                                                  

Again, I cannot thank you enough for the amazing quilt and laundry bag.
It means the world to me.  Thank you for your time and dedication, you truly are a wonderful person.
I hope this card finds you well.


Hi Clarissa,

Thank you so much for the dhoby bag (washing bag), I received it in the last mail drop. It is a definite improvement over the plain white fish-net bag I have been using for the previous year.

I really appreciate the effort you and others put into these quilts and bags. It definitely adds that little bit of homeliness to our cramped homes whilst we are deployed. That little bit of colour mixed to the navy gray we work in every day is such a relief. 

Thank you again for your bag and effort.

Kind Regards

Good afternoon Julie, Margaret and Jill,

I would like to thank you for the time and effort that the three of you (and the many other groups of quilters around this great country of ours) have put in to making the laundry bag I have received today (pic to come).
I am a sailor with the RAN and have been for the past 10 years serving mainly on Patrol Boats out of Darwin as well as postings to HMAS Creswell on the NSW South Coast where my partner and daughter currently reside and seeing this came from Yass/Dalton district (just up the road) really made me think about home and what I have to look forward to when I return.
Again I can't thank you and your fellow stitchers enough. You didn't have to do this but you chose to and it really makes me proud to be a service member knowing that my line of work is being appreciated far and wide.

Many Thanks and Kind Regards,

Hi Jenny,

I just wanted to write you a quick thank you letter for the beautiful quilt you made for me.

I was so thrilled to accept it after my deployment and I honestly feel it will be my most treasured souvenir from the experience.

Thank you for your dedication and the time you gave to make it, as well as for your ongoing support to service men and women. It made the whole experience more meaningful...and bearable knowing there are so many people back in Australia who are supporting us each day.

My Auntie ( an avid quilter) invited me to a party last week at her house in Picton, and so I decided to take the quilt to show her. It wasn't long before it was the talk of the whole party and all her quilting group friends were asking about it and the work of Aussie Hero Quilts. So you certainly got their admiration!

Thanks again and best wishes,


Hi Jean,

I was very surprised and excited to receive my laundry bag from you today. I am overwhelmed with the exceptional level of quality that you have put into it. It is exactly what I hoped for and I cannot thank you enough.

I have been in the Air Force for nearly 20 years as a aircraft technician. I have fixed C130 Hercules and am now coordinating the maintenance on the F/A-18 Hornet. I have thoroughly enjoyed my whole career so far and hope to continue it for another 20 years (if my body and soul can get through it). It is very hot over here at the moment, was 51 degrees the other day. It was like standing in front of your blow dryer for the whole day.

I have a family, wife who is also a Air Force member and two small boys (6 and 4) and we also have a fur baby Fonzie. He is an Italian Lagotto Romagnolo. 

This is my seventh deployment to the middle east in 13 years. I could probably qualify for dual citizenship. The work that the Aussie Heroes team including yourself is a fantastic initiative and is completely appreciated by all the serving men and women. My wife still has her laundry bag made for her when she was here in 2014 and she cherishes it dearly.

I wish you and your family the absolute best. I will cherish this gift and pass it down to my children when they are old enough to appreciate its worth. Thanks once again for your time and dedication.

Warm regards, 


Hi Beverly, 

I'd like to personally thank you for taking the time to make my Laundry bag. I received it and it's perfect! Thank you very, very much. Your work is really appreciated.
It is kind hearted people such as yourself that really make our time over here in the Middle East a lot more bearable.

Anyway again your work is honestly so appreciated and I can say that a group of us have now received our laundry bags and quilts and we are amazed at the level of detail and care you guys put into them.
I sincerely wish to thank you again,

Kindest regards,

Good Morning Maree W,

Thank you very much for your time and effort to produce my laundry bag. I trust your ankle is healing as required. Life where I am is very taxing. We get one day off per month and I have a phone 24/7. Having a laundry service allows me to do other things I want and not have to spend time washing. Thank you so much for the bag it is of great use.

I am over my half way point now so my tour is coming to an end


Hi Diann,

Thank you so much for the quilt, lollies and letter, I really appreciate it. I received it last week and I have been incredibly busy at work (long hours), so apologies for the late reply. The quilt will definitely be handy when I get back to Newcastle and will get good use out of it.

Thanks again,


Hi Jenny, how are you?

Unfortunately a bit of a delay in getting back to you as I've been moving around a bit for the last month. In saying that the quilt is much appreciated and will be put to good use, especially since we run the A/C 24/7 in our rooms now so it gets quite cold during the night and naturally we're too lazy to get up and turn it down. My room mate is actually quite jealous of the quilt and thinks its pretty awesome as well.  The washing bag was also a great surprise and will be replacing the one I acquired about 3 years ago. Once again the roommate is very jealous haha.

I hope everything else is going well there, send my regards to Steve

P.S. the chocolate is all gone... it was melted.. but its gone hahah

Hi Sandy, Jane, Carol and Anne,

Thank you very much for taking the time to make and send the Aussie Hero Quilt. It arrived safe and brightens up my otherwise bland room and reminds me of home. It sounds like you have a good time catching up on Tuesday and it definitely shows is your work. I do not have too much longer here on my deployment and look forward to coming home in July. I am based in Vic and live there with my wife.

Although we may never meet, the effort you have put into the quilt will remind me of you, sitting around in your she shed drinking wine, painting, quilting and laughter. Sounds like a pretty good life to me.

Thank you once again for your tireless work..

Hi Jean,
I am a Combat Engineer from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Brisbane. I would just like to take the time to thank you personally for the Laundry bag you have sent myself over here in Malaysia. This laundry bag couldn't have come at a better time as I left mine in Brisbane and was about to purchase something for washing tonight at the shops, Thank you :) 

Thank you again and keep up this amazing work. We all here at Rifle Company Butterworth 114 appreciate this kindness you and the other Volunteers at Aussie Heroes have sent us boys and girls.
For a quilt pieced by the WPH ladies and quilted by Pam R

Hello Jan-Maree and Beverley,

Wow - let me say how impressive the quilt and laundry bags are!  You and your team are certainly talented and have done an outstanding job.  The Quilt arrived about 3 weeks ago (sorry for the late response, but I have been travelling) and the Laundry Bag arrived yesterday.  Opening each of the parcels provided instant memories of the types of Australian Flora (not to mention the yummy Australian treats that you snuck in).  I have shown the Quilt and Laundry Bag to some of the coalition members who were also extremely impressed by the quality of the workmanship and support provided by your organisation.

It is heartening to know that you and your organisation voluntarily provide these comfort items to help our service men and women think of home and to provide a level of luxury.   Seeing the detailed work in each of the items and knowing they have been handmade is quite touching.   It helps remind all of us that our service is valued and that the Australians we are representing appreciate what we do.  You and your organisation do display the best of what Australians are, by being so supportive, generous and caring.

I must admit that I am a bit reluctant to use the Quilt and Laundry Bag; they seem too good to use over here!!  I will however use them with great care as a treasured memento of my time here.  It is now a bit warm for the quilt, however as I am here for 12 months, it will definitely come in handy during the run up to winter.

The various flora you have picked on both items have hit the mark.   The waratah, wattle, bottle brush and kangaroo paws have especially struck a chord with my memories of my travels back home and are the ideal choice.

Could I ask that you pass on my appreciation to Pam in Wagga Wagga.  The fancy stitching is an excellent way to finish the Quilt. 

It was of interest to read about both of your family's connection with the military.  Thank you.  Closer to home I am a Sydney Boy, born and bred.  Even though I am based in Canberra at present, I still have a house in XXXXX with a desire to return one day- quite close to where each of you reside and have produced the Quilt and Laundry Bag.   It is a small world!

Finally, all of you should be very proud of what you are doing.  It is spoken about amongst the troops and, most importantly, well appreciated.   Thank you for being so supportive and truly great Australians.

Yours Sincerely,

Hello Ruth! 
I got the quilt you sewed for me. Its fantastic. Thank you for doing that for me, I appreciate your support so much.
Leura and the Blue Mountains are one of my favourite places to visit. Me and my partner will be having a few days up there when I get back.
I hope its not too cold up there for you.
Thanks again for the quilt. You are amazing.

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

Monday, 30 May 2016

Raise Your Glass....

I have been invited to do some wonderful things since starting Aussie Heroes and, in truth, some of them were quite unexpected at the time...... but I think my latest adventure is the most unexpected off them all.

Last week I received a text message from my friend (and past quilt recipient from the Sinai) Lisa.  She wrote.....

"Hi.  I've been asked to see if you would come in a music clip for Aussie troops.  In Windsor with a quilt......"

Hmmmm, for the troops.... how can I say no....

afterall I was only going to be part of the crowd..........

I packed up a selection of quilts and headed off at the appointed time with Lisa.....

The band is called Simply Bushed.  I guess you would describe them as Aussie Bush Band but that seems far too simple.  Their music ranges from humourous Aussie songs to much more serious and meaningful ballads. I popped one of their CDs in to my car's player and learned very quickly that there are a some hilarious songs, some that are just great singalongs and a few that I need to skip over whilst driving as they are quite evocative. 

They were part of the Forces Entertainment team in the Sinai in 2014 and that is where Lisa met them and formed an enduring friendship.  From my point of view you could not hope to meet a lovelier bunch of gentlemen, courteous, patriotic and very supportive of our troops. 

The idea was that we would start off in small groups and gradually build into a band of people marching to the final destination.... 

Lisa was filmed leaving this beautiful old house, chosen I assume for its gorgeous old style and perfect picket fence. 

We gradually combined into one large group that marched solemnly across an old bridge whilst being filmed by from the back of a moving car, all the while being directed by Duncan Toombs of Filmery.

Everyone was carrying photos of veterans, ANZACs or current serving members. Some carried or wore medals of loved ones. 

Here is our group, waiting to march to a point in the road where we would be joined from left and right by two other groups and then we went on to march across a bridge holding our photos, medals and in my case, the quilt made by Lynn.   I had expected to be "one of the crowd" but unwittingly ended up, with the quilt, being central to the video.  That was certainly not what I had expected.

 At the end of the march we all ended up in one of those wonderful old community halls that are few and far between these days and all the photos were pinned up on a white sheet which became a poignant backdrop for part of the video.

We started around 1230 and I think we finally called it a wrap around 730pm.  It was a long day, LOTS of walking and standing.   We were all pretty much exhausted by the end of the process but I don't think there was one person who was not pleased to be there and it really did feel like quite a special tribute to our past and present serving members.

The song is called "Raise Your Glass".  The first time I heard it my eyes may or may not have watered a little..... but that could have been the wind.......

This is me with band members Paully and Chris and Duncan.  Three nicer, more considerate gentlemen you could not hope to meet. And below with Lisa, my partner in crime for the day.

Those of you who know me know that I have chronic arthritis and at some point in the near future I have to take a break to have two knee surgeries.   All that walking and standing was tough but I wouldn't have missed it for quids.   These guys really appreciate the sacrifices our serving men and women make to keep the rest of us safe and it was a privilege to be part of their musical tribute. 

The music video should be up and running in a couple of weeks and I will be sure to share it with you. In the mean time.... you can check out another of the Band's songs here.

Til next time..... keep spreading the word and happy stitcing!
Jan-Maree  xx

Friday, 27 May 2016

Weekly Dispatches 27 May 16

So far for 2016 we have sent off 1457 laundry bags 

which brings us to a total of  9277 since we started...


We have also sent 642 quilts 

bringing our total since we started to over 5897 quilts.

We are starting the parade of quilts off with a super special one this week.... this quilt was designed and made by Caitlin.......
Aged 16!

Awesome effort Caitlin.... can't wait to see what you come up wit next!



Bev C 

Bev U 

The next three quilts are blocks of the month 


Carol N 

Carol W 

Christine C



Galston Uniting Church Craft Group created the quilt and I added the parachute rigger's badge

Jackie J

Jan E



Jen S 

Jess T 


June A 


Kaye G 


Lisa N and a very special helper who shall remain nameless to protect the (not so) innocent.  :-D

Louise and the Dolphin Quilters 

Pieced by Lynn and quilted by Tess

Lynne V

Maureen J


North of the Yarra Quilt Group

Patricia F 

The Penrith ladies and quilted by Kym

Raeleen W

Donated quilt tops.... please let me know if you recognise yours so I can give you credit.

June A 


Steph N 

This was a joint effort, cut out by Stephanie T, pieced by Jenny P, silverfern by Jan-Maree and quilted and bound by Tess.

Sue N 

WPH ladies and quilted by Kym 

Awesome collection again folks.

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