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 
WHAT THE HECK!

Then 
OH MY GOSH - TOO MANY TALENTED PEOPLE

And finally
 I  MAY NEED HELP JUDGING I THINK.  I'M PRINTING THEM OUT AND LETTING THE AUSSIES PIC FAVOURITES.  

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


AND THE WINNER ...

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

ANZAC Biscuits

This is an extra post but it is appropriate to share it this morning. Tonight I will share all the ANZAC Day messages I have gathered  but this morning I thought it would be good to share my ANZAC biscuit recipe, which is probably much the same as everyone else's recipe.  I always bake ANZAC Biscuits on or around ANZAC Day.  I have decided that this year I will be baking them while I watch the march on TV.  I vacuum seal them and send them to friends whenever I get the chance so it seems fitting to bake them on ANZAC Day to send to my deployed friends, afterall is that not how the recipe became so popular?

Why don't you gather your Golden Syrup, coconut and oats and bake a batch yourself.  


ANZAC BISCUITS

2 cup rolled oats
2 ¼ cup plain flour
2 cup sugar
1 ½  cup coconut
250g butter
4 tabsp golden syrup
1 teasp bicarb soda
2 tabsp boiling water
1 egg


Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut.  Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat til melted (or zap in a microwave in in 30sec spurts a special coffee mug fro Tarin Kowt like I do but put a plate on top to avoid splatter).  Mix the bicarb soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture.  Be careful as it is likely to react and bubble over so best to do this over the bowl.  Stir in dry ingredients with lightly beaten egg.  Place rounded teaspoons of mix onto trays, allow room for spreading.  Cook in a slow oven 20 minutes.  Loosen while warm, then cool on racks.

NOTE - this makes a big batch - around 72 biscuits - and I have a special large ANZAC Biscuits mixing bowl.    

Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy baking!  JMxxx

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

ANZAC Day Laundry Bag Challenge - the Reveal.

WOW!! 

Well at last it is time to reveal the entries in this year's ANZAC Day Laundry Bag Challenge and what awesome entries we have.   I don't want to bias the judge by commenting on any of the bags so I am just going to list them under the name of the creator. It will be up to the Judge, my contact in Kabul, to select the first second and third place.   I will be forwarding a copy of this post off to her so that she can make her decision but I don't expect an answer till after ANZAC Day at some point so I will keep you posted.  

So, now sit back and enjoy the parade of laundry bags!

Chelly 1


Chelly 2


Chelly 3


Joan 1 (front)


Joan (back)


Joan 2


Joan 3


Julie Ann - Front and Back


Katrina


Kim M 1 (Front) 


Kim M 1 (back)


Kim M 2


Liz J


Lorraine


Louise

 Mary


Pennie 1


Pennie 2


Pennie 3


Pennie 4


Pennie 5


Pennie 6


Pennie 7



Rita M 1


Rita M 2


Rita M 3


Steph N


Sue P


What an awesome bunch of bags! 

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

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Grati-Tuesday

Hi all,
 I hope you all have had a Happy Easter.  
Sit back and enjoy some lovely happy pictures and some great messages.  

First up four happy recipients..with quilts made by (from left to right) Nancy, Lynn/Belinda, Nancy and Leanne.



Another happy fellow with a quilt made by Nancy





.....


Katherine,
I just wanted to write to you and pass my sincere appreciation for the quilt that I received in the mail a couple of days back.  My Wife and I were talking about buying a quilt for our daughters bed when she moves from her cot shortly, and thought the hero quilts program was the perfect way to do it.
I genuinely appreciate the effort you have gone to and love the design which have you used. It will certainly take pride of place in the XXXXX household in the future.
Again many thanks for your efforts and consideration, it is truly appreciated, 

.....

Hello all,
            I am currently deployed in Camp Baker, Kandahar Afghanistan. I have been in the Air Force for 25 years this November and have had a great career in the defence force. This is currently my fourth deployment and my second time in Afghanistan.

Having deployed previously I found it awesome for the support and amazing things the people of Australia do for us members serving overseas. That said, nothing pleased me more then receiving a parcel today 18 Apr, Good Friday with a laundry bag created by a member of this group. The work that has gone into making this item and the stunning design matched my current posting area perfectly. I am currently based at RAAF Base Darwin in the Northern Territory and found the aboriginal painting on the bag was such a refreshing and homely thing to receive. I was so happy to receive this gift That I proudly showed it off to all the members of my team.
I would like to express my gratitude to Pennie from S.A. Who made the bag for me and as I can see by your letter you must be an amazing person to do the work you do and also still care for others.
Once again from every member of the defence force who have received a gift from this group we are truly appreciative and also cannot express our gratitude for the well wishes and the support we receive. Every one of your members should be congratulated on the beautiful work they do and the comfort they bring. 
.....

Hi Norma and Nancy,
I just wanted to write and say thank you so very much for the beautiful quilt you made me. It is stunning and something I will treasure forever! Makes my little corner here a bit more homely so thank you!  
I hope you both have a very Happy Easter and take care! 
Many thanks again for brightening my day and my room with the beautiful quilt!
Kindest regards


..... 


Hi Su, thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag. It's great  to receive a gift now and then. I'll put it to good use and after I've deployed I'll give it to my son.


Thank you so much,


Kind Regards,
.....

Hello Gale and Jenny,


I am just writing to thank you very much for my AMAZING quilt! I received it in the mail yesterday and I absolutely LOVE it! You really made my day :) :)  It's on my bed and has brightened my room up. It's my birthday on Sunday so it was so nice to receive it before then :)  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the work you both put into making my quilt, it really does mean a lot.

I hope you are both well and have a lovely weekend, and I cannot thank you enough for what you both do for those of us deployed overseas - it's things like sending us quilts and laundry bags that really help when you are homesick and missing your family and friends and make the time over here more bearable... 


Warmest wishes

.....


Hi I got my quilt and am very thankful to Jill S.  She did an amazing job.






.....

Dear Ed

It is with great pleasure and appreciation that I write to thank you for the considerable time, effort and thought that has gone into the crafting of such an exquisite quilt and laundry bag. The theme for both the quilt and the laundry bag is ideal as both I and my wife are avid animal lovers, especially of the Canine variety, generally the larger the better. 

Naturally, when the Padre advertised that a quilt for a dog lover was available, I snapped it up quickly as I knew that both my wife and I would get use out of it over the years to come. The embossed text of “Constant Companions” is amazingly apt as any one who has owned a Great Dane can tell you that they adore being with the pack and are like a constant shadow for affection and other rewards. The only problem is they do not understand that they are too big for lap dogs and you generally will give up at least one of your couches for them.
 I think that the quilt will also find duty on the home couch during the winter months as well as on upcoming future deployments, and the Laundry Bag will no doubt get no end of use on this deployment as well.
Finally, I would like to express how grateful I am in receiving one of your elaborate creations, as it is reassuring to know that people back home are considerate of the crew of HMAS Darwin as we continue to serve the Nation’s interests, so once again, thank you.

Yours Sincerely,
.....

Dear Sue.
Firstly thank you very much for the laundry bag it is fantastic exactly what I needed. It is a blue lined check one with Mickey Mouse lining.
 We all appreciate all of the hard work that you and all the sewers do in making the bags and quilts for all the service personal.  I think it is amazing that you take time out of your day to do this.
 I have a friend who quilts and I will be telling her about this and hopefully she will become a volunteer.

Again thank you
.....

Dear Sue N,
Thankyou so much for your support & kind gift. Being away from family & loved ones, it is nice to receive packages that remind us of home. I am coming up to the 1/2 way mark in my tour and I am counting down the days until I am reunited with my wife and three girls ages 8, 2 and 4 months.
Once again thankyou for your support.
Regards

.....

Hi Evelyn,

How are you?

I happened to receive one of your gorgeous quilts :) thankyou so much for it, it really is what I wanted. I know I was a little broad with what I wanted, but I knew I wanted something blue and I thought it might be easier for you to go with whatever you liked. I have it pride and place on my bed and am using your laundry as well.
I have attached a picture of me with my quilt, for you to see. Once again thankyou so so much for the time and effort you have put into it, its keeping me extra warm on cold nights! 



Dear Joan & Robin,
I wanted to write to say thank you for the laundry bag. It arrived on the perfect day - my birthday!
I really appreciate all the effort that you have gone to for me (someone you have never met.) It is heartening to know that you have sent me a gift and also your best wishes for my deployment.

I have five month left on my deployment - so the laundry bag will definitely be put to good use. I will also be able to use it on my next sea posting.

Thank you again for your kind gift and thoughts

Warm regards,
.....

Dear Jan,

I received my quilt the other day from Coral W. Unfortunately there was no details included in the parcel for how I could pass on my thanks to her. Could you please pass my thanks to her. The quilt has made my small little space on my bed feel more like home. The detail in the quilt is superb. I particularly like the large 'QUEENSLANDER' across the top. It has cause a few friendly wars within the Wardroom. Once again thank you to Coral and all of your team for making these excellent tokens of support. They are boosting moral throughout the ship and making our time away from our loved ones seem not so bad.

.....

I shared part of this on Facebook over the weekend but here is the rest of the letter - or at least the portion I am comfortable with sharing.

Dear Julie,



I am currently serving overseas with the Australian Army, which I’m sure you are already aware. I am writing to thank you for the meticulously crafted Geelong AFL themed laundry bag and the treats I received recently.  Thank you so much a fantastic surprise to receive a gift. Thank you for your time and effort you have put into making this laundry bag for me. You personally have gone above and beyond in bringing some extra joy and happiness for me whilst serving away from home and my family. 

It is absolutely amazing and overwhelming the support that we receive from the Aussie Heroes Quilts. I know that I, as well as the troops are very excited to receive gifts such as these and are often overwhelmed by the gestures of individuals like yourself.  These gifts are gratefully received by all who are lucky enough to find one addressed to them. It is fantastic to see that we are still thought of while serving overseas.

I wish I could say more to show my appreciation for the time, effort and additional thought you have put into making me this wonderful laundry bag. Your efforts, along with all the other contributors to Aussie Hero Quilts is doing so much good work for Australian sons and daughters serving so far away from home. Hopefully you can take pride in knowing that you have directly improved the morale of an Australian soldier. 


It is an honour and privilege to deploy overseas to help Afghanistan become a safer place, and aid in the maintenance of security for Australia.  It’s particularly encouraging to know that the work our troops are doing is recognised and appreciated by fellow Australians like yourself. 

Again, thank you for your generous gift and words of support. 
.....


Dear Jan-Maree and Rachel, 



I received my quilt today - it is beautiful! I love the choices of fabric and the pattern and everything. Thank you so much! I have cc'd my mother in on this e-mail as she doesn't quilt but does have an undying passion for fabric that has occasionally seen her playing with "fat quarters"....

Thank you sooooo much! 



.....
From the wife of a recipient for a quilt made by Angela.

He loves it.  Thank you so much!

.....

Hi Jan-Maree,
I received both the quilt and laundry bag in the mail.  A big thank you to you and your volunteers for all the amazing work you do in providing us with a few comforts that go a long way to making us feel more at home here.  I really appreciate the kind thoughts and also enjoyed reading the letters that came with the bag and quilt (and lollies and hand cream)  The colours of both are just perfect and they will truly treasured keepsakes.   Thank you again so much and please pass on my thanks and appreciation to all involved in the organisation.



Hi Jan,


I have received my Aussie hero quilt. Its so much better than I thought it would be. Rita M has obviously put in a great deal of effort to make something so nice and such good quality. I especially liked the personal touch of the picture with my daughter and also a great picture of our HMAS Darwin on  the other side. I have been trying to arrange for the ship's photographer to take a picture of me with my quilt in front of the helicopter I maintain but due to operational commitments have not had a chance as yet. If it doesn't happen soon I will send one of the ones I've taken myself and email it to you when we are alongside because the WIFI on the ship is too slow. I really appreciate my quilt and also the kind letter Rita sent with it. I will send another email with a photo soon.


Could you please forward this to Rita  M (Thanks Granny Apples) 

.....

Dear Liz J


I am writing to thankyou for your homemade Australian laundry bag, and very fitting it had the Australian flag. The Chaplain onboard receives a number of these precious parcels and gifts them to Ship's company, along with the Aussie Hero Quilts, and everyone onboard is much appreciative when they arrive. I note the date was from a fair time ago, November 2013, so these gifts must take time to be distributed. The wait is very much worth it. 

I received your laundry bag this past week from a mail delivery we had from a brief port visit we conducted in Tanzania, Africa. A long way from home, and a long way for your kind gift to travel. Our deployment onboard HMAS Darwin, an Adelaide Class Frigate, will last just over 6 months. We departed Sydney on the 19 January 2014 and the deployment will see us in a variety of locations conducting many different roles. 

Once again thankyou for your gift and words of support. These gifts do represent, in a real way, that we are supported and thought of, and I appreciate your kind words and time in making my deployment that much better


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