Thursday, 19 October 2017

Aussie Hero Quilts Annual Thank You Dinner...... Festooning the Mess......

I am still trying to get all the posts written to share as much of the weekend with you as possible, especially those of you who could not make it. 
Tonight, I thought I would share photos of the Officer's Mess once we had decorated it with about forty quilt and I don't know how many laundry bags. 

An awesome crew assembled at the mess on Saturday morning to help get everything done. All the quilts and laundry bags were tied to railings with lengths of black tape which was sewn on in advance.  It brought the mess to life with a mass of colour and warmth. As someone said to me on Sunday morning, there was a definite "WOW" factor. 

Just an example of the before (below) and after (above).....


These two quilts were our Auction Prizes but more on those later.

All the quilts were taken down after the dinner and most of them are heading off to the Middle East or elsewhere this week.

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

Jan-Maree xx

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Aussie Hero Quilts Annual Thank You Weekend.... A Quilters Gathering .......

and what a gathering it was.....

There was certainly nothing black about Friday the 13th at the Diplomat Hotel in Canberra.
Sixty plus quilters came along to the conference room at the Diplomat to share a night of fun and friendship prior to the BIG Night the following night.

Fiona and Shannon, the lovely ladies from Sweet Bundles, came along and set up a mini shop to tempt all the ladies to spend a few of their weekend dollars.  I am just sorry that I did not take a photo of their display... they had some gorgeous goodies and I am told that their poppy fabric sold out in no time flat. 

Fiona's husband popped in to say hello.  I am not sure if I have told you before but he is one of our recipients, actually one of mine, as I made him his laundry bag (Lynn made his quilt). I asked him if he would stay around and say a few words to the assembled about what it meant to him and his men to receive their quilts.  He is a wonderful humble man and when he speaks about AHQ he speaks from the heart.     I know quite a few ladies were moved by his words.  I am so glad he was able to stay.

Next I invited Shannon, on the left, and Fiona, on the right, to say a few words and to explain what Sweet Bundles is all about. 

Next along came our very own Quilting Chief Petty Officer Cath.  Cath has deployed since our last dinner and she was able to tell a few stories.  She told the story of one on her recipients who was deployed to Kabul but left before she got there. She mentioned to some people in location that she had made his laundry bag but had not heard from him.  They told her that when he got it he wore it over his uniform for two days as a cape!!  OK I guess that means he liked it!  :-D  That will do me! 

Cath was also on the receiving end of care packages from us in the way of muffin mixes, cake mixes and ANZAC Biscuit ingredients....  She talked about how her daily round of baking, often at 9pm at night or later, made a huge difference to the morale of the troops around her.   It started conversations with young men about their mums and sisters baking in the kitchens at home. 

After BC, the Sweet Bundles lovelies and Cath it was time for some show and tell and we enjoyed several lovely quilts.... love this one......

This young lady, Jessica, took on making a quilt as a school self improvement project. In all she made this gorgeous quilt for a specific recipient and 29 laundry bags as her commitment... what an awesome effort for a 14 year old!

Another awesome quilt on display...

Sharon did not have anything to show but she talked about the students at her school have a working bee to sew for Aussie Heroes.... awesome effort kids! 

And finally it was time for the lady herself...... Helen Godden.

Now just so you know, initially Helen said she could not make it to our dinner as she would have just come home from NZ the day before (I think) and then had to head off again on the Monday.... she literally squeezed us in in the middle of all that travel. Thanks so much Helen.

Starting with a bulging suitcase full of quilts Helen showed us quilt after quilt after quilt and all of them absolutely fabulous......

Many of them were painted and then amazingly quilted.....

This one, if my memory serves me correctly, was couched wool.... amazing!!!

and so many more awesome quilts......

I am not even a Collingwood fan.... but I loved this one..... amazing quilting....

and this is my absolute favourite... 

All hand painted, the Vivid quilt...

AMAZING and the photos do not do it justice!

From the humble BC, to the fabric mavens from Sweet Bundles, the captivating Cath and then on to the incredibly talented and funny Helen, the whole night was a feast for the AHQers!!!

From all the feedback I have received everyone had a ball... 
now to think of something for next year......

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

Jan-Maree xx

Happy Mail 18th October 2017

Happy Mail 18th October

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who make
If ever you feel that you are "just making a few blocks", please remember, YOUR blocks enable the Coffs Harbour Sewing Team to make wonderful, personalised quilts for our Heroes.
With these blocks, the quilts can be made quite quickly and time is devoted to personalising the quilt to meet the specific requests of each Recipient.
I had the privilege of attending Jan-Maree's Thank You Dinner in Canberra last weekend, where many Defence Force Officers spoke to the gatherings and told us about her it feels to receive a Quilt or Laundry Bag while deployed and it was wonderful to hear how our contributions are really make a difference in their times of deployment.
Many Officers and Servicemen and Servicewomen also spoke to us individually,
with such sincerity and gratitude for our gifts to them.

Block of the Month volunteers...this gratitude is extended to you as you make
it possible for us to make many, many quilts for these Heroes.
If you would like to make a block or two, please go to this link for the tutorial.
Until next month...happy Heroes sewing.

Joan H

Glenda S

Alma Y

Bobbie S

Bobbie S

Judy D

Ann W

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Lost and lonely glasses.....

Hey folks.....

Did anyone leave their glasses behind in the Officers Mess at ADFA??. I found them on a lounge chair close to the Lucky Door Prize table 

I would love to be able to reunite them with their owner.


Jan-Maree  xx

Aussie Hero Quilts Thank You Dinner - RMC Tour by Clarissa Luxford......

An enthusiastic group of AHQ sewers, accompanied by a handful of husbands, gathered in the beautiful grounds of Duntroon House at The Royal Military College Duntroon (RMC-D) last Friday.

The afternoon started with a much appreciated cuppa and generous table of afternoon tea delights. We were joined by a good number of RMC-D staff, many of whom were recipients on recent deployments and who appreciated the opportunity to meet the AHQ volunteers.

Host Major Will Orgill welcomed the tour party and made special mention of AHQ founder Jan-Maree Ball who was able to be present.  Laundry bags were presented to our hosts as is now the customary AHQ "thank you".  

As it turned out, the Commandant of RMC (on the left)  is a recipient of Jan-Maree's from 2012/13 along with a few others present in uniform.  

Jan-Maree just happens to be friends with this fellow's father (below) and this photo was taken especially to show "Dad" that she and his son, a quilt recipient himself, that they had finally met. 

Major Orgill expressed appreciation for his AHQ laundry bag, noting that it would soon be packed in his bags as he is deploying on just after Christmas!

Formalities over and afternoon tea consumed, we then gathered on the Duntroon House lawns for the much-anticipated tour.

Major Orgill started off giving us a history of the House, the Campbell family and RMC Duntroon.

The house, built in 1825, is the oldest residence in Canberra and has been included as part of the National Estate by the Australian Heritage Commission. Overall RMC Duntroon is valued as a heritage landmark feature of Canberra.

The Duntroon Estate was a large sheep station on the Limestone Plains. Duntroon House, the family home of the estate, is now part of the Royal Military College. The property was established in 1825 by Robert Campbell, a Sydney merchant 1769 - 1846, who also built St John's Church and Schoolhouse. At that stage it was one of only six properties in the area.
A two story extension was added in 1862 as well as the outbuildings. Further changes and additions were made to Duntroon House in 1876. The house stood empty until the development of the Royal Military College commenced in 1910.  In 1902, the first Commander of the Australian Military Forces, Major-General Sir Edward Hutton, recommended that a military college be established. The government instructed then Colonel William Throsby Bridges to visit and report on the military colleges in England, Canada and the United States. As its first Commandant, with the rank of Brigadier-General, Bridges chose the sheep station at Duntroon, then owned by the Campbell family, as the site for the Military College. By June 1911, the essential buildings had been constructed, the staff appointed and the first intake of 32 Australians and 10 New Zealanders admitted. Duntroon House became the officer’s mess.

On the 27 June 1911, the Governor-General, Lord Dudley, opened the college and announced that it would be called the Royal Military College of Australia (RMC). The curriculum at RMC was designed as a four-year course, with half military and half academic subjects. Due to the outbreak of the First World War, the first intake was specially graduated for overseas service. The next three intakes were also shortened and the majority of cadets in the first four intakes served with either the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or the New Zealand Army. Currently direct entry training for Staff Cadets is 18 months duration.  ADFA students receive six months ‘credit’ following completion of their undergraduate studies.
At the start of the First World War, Major-General Bridges was given command of the 1st AIF Division. He died at Gallipoli and his body was returned to Australia and buried on the slopes of Mount Pleasant, overlooking the college. In total, forty of the 117 Australian graduates died in the First World War - their names are listed on one of the five flagpole memorial tablets.

In 1931, the Royal Military College was transferred to Victoria Barracks, Sydney. With the new location in Sydney, the Royal Military College became known as 'Duntroon Wing, Victoria Barracks' but the college returned to Duntroon in Canberra on 27 June 1936.

We continued our tour observing the botanical specimens in the glorious gardens including many aged trees, some unexpected such as the Himalayan Cedar. 

As we proceeded Major Orgill drew our attention to the architecture and architectural groupings being the pattern of a British-style military institution with its formal areas and hierarchy of residence, their hillside setting with its bushland backdrop, the focal feature of the picturesque Duntroon House and the formality of the Parade Ground with its flagpole and guns (facing inwards!!). 

The Colonel Kathleen Best Memorial gates, erected by the Women`s Royal Australian Army Corps, commemorate their first director and are symbolic of her life and work. The gates were formerly at the WRAAC school, subsequently relocated to the Royal Military College, Duntroon and now stand at the entry to the grounds of the Commandant’s House. State Emblems also feature on the gates. 

Major Orgill also educated us to a not unexpected number of College traditions and legends including some of the 'Seven Wonders'; the bell that doesn't toll, the stairs which lead nowhere 

and most intriguingly, the room within a room which particularly captured our interest. We were 'introduced' to Casey, a 'left behind' cadet whose skeleton was found but his ghost still haunts the corridors and cavities of RMC. 

As he will never graduate, to appease his spirit, a place is set for him at every Graduation Dinner and his skeleton is present at each Graduation Ball.

The college dining room (with Honour boards and College Colours on display), the Staff Cadet Mess and the handsome Duntroon House Officers Mess completed the afternoon's tour.

Thanks goes to RMC-D and, in particular, Major Will Orgill for offering his time and for the most entertaining and informative tour. 

Many thanks to Clarissa for recording this for us.... 

Til next time..... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!