Thursday, 30 October 2014

Happy Mail 30th November

Hi everyone
Lots of mail to share this week.  Sorry I'm a day late, I thought yesterday was Tuesday and I still had a whole day to finish the post..... But wrong.... Anyway better late than never.
Sue N

Sonya L
Gail M

Helen W
No Name - Biloela QLD
Some lovely blocks don't you agree.
Keep up the great work and happy stitching

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Inaugural Adventures of Frank ...... the laundry bag......

Well, we have a very special guest post tonight in the form of an open letter to Stephanie T who created a laundry bag that I think is about to become known as the infamous Frank!  His co-writer prefers the cloak of anonymity but I suspect some of you will work out who they are.....keep it to yourselves please.  

If we get a good response tonight's post I may be able to coax young Frank and the bashful J to wrote for us again......


Hello Stephanie!

You may or may not remember making my laundry bag…if you don’t there is something wrong!

Well, The Laundry Bag (TLB) – Who likes to be known as Frank, and I have had many an adventure so far since we were paired up on 03 September.

His first over the border trip was to Woomera, where he insisted on having his picture taken every time we stopped.

 He wanted a picture at the space rocket in Woomera, but I was too busy saving the world to stop and let him have his piccie taken.

He got a little upset with me and hid the brownies JM had given me. It’s ok though, I found them easy enough. With him being a LB it was pretty obvious he had hidden them inside himself…kind of a giveaway when he is bulging and I have no dirty laundry.

Anyway, he insisted on having his picture plastered all over my face book page, and when I told him he should have his own, he said: No. And I should feel privileged to have him on mine…pfft, tip for young players: don’t argue with a LB, you end up losing every time. He always uses the silent treatment!

We have had a trip or two to Nowra, and we were planning our 10 week trip to Amberley when plans were drastically changed. Now we are both sitting in a comfortable 41oC in the Middle East, both on our first deployment.

He spends at least 2 days a week socialising in the laundry with the other AHQ LB’s whilst I’m at work. I am still working out how he gets from the washing machine to the dryer when I am not there. Sometimes he is even ready full of clean dry folded up clothes waiting for me to pick him up at the end of the day. Sitting there all smug, and I ask him every time, how did you manage that all by yourself? Just a smirk in return…

I reckon here, in his domain he must strut his stuff to all the other LB’s. Obviously a one of a kind, and every time I pick him up and make the walk back to our room; I swear he whistles to the other people walking past. Why else would everyone turn and check him out?

Suffice to say, many individuals here have asked if they could adopt Frank, when I clearly state "No they may not", the follow up question is always "Does he have a brother or sister?" I proudly respond with "Nope. One of a kind!"   I don’t really care if that upsets them, after all, can you image more of these cheeky LB’s around? No thanks, he is a handful as it is!

So, Frank was feeling a little flat, and we discussed things he could do other than just hang out in the laundry. He believes he is more important than the other LB’s and should get out more. It’s not fair to travel this far and not see a bit of the world he insists.

I have promised him a trip to Dubai Mall, and maybe another excursion or two, if he behaves!

Below I have included a few photos, Frank insisted I show the one of him mooning the seagull, thank goodness all you see are Star Trek faces, imagine if you really could see a butt!

Anyway, duty calls.

Until the next time,


 On the road to Woomera

 Pit Stop along the way

 Sharing the brownies......after trying to hide them!!

 No Frank!  You can't drive!!

 Just chilling.....

 Oh good grief!!  Frank mooning the seagull!!!

Laying about in Woomera.

Till next time................keep spreading the word and watch out for mooning laundry bags.

Jan-Maree xx

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Grati-Tuesday 28 October

Hi all
Some lovely messages to enjoy tonight but first it is time to remind you all of our upcoming Christmas Dinner. 

It will be held at my home in Sydney on Thursday the 11th of December at 630 for 7pm.  I need to start working out numbers so if you are planning on coming please send me an email to and put Christmas Dinner in the subject line.  

Hope lots of you can make it as it promises to be a great night.

Also, have you started making your Laundry Bag for the Christmas Dinner Challenge yet?
I received the first bag in the mail yesterday!  I am looking forward to seeing the rest.

Just as a reminder here is what you need to do.

Please make a laundry bag that fits with the theme...

Aussie Summer/Aussie Icon

and send it to 

Aussie Heroes LBC (that stands for Laundry Bag Challenge) 
PO Box 248
Cherrybrook,  NSW,   2126

It is to arrive with me no later than December 8th.

So, now on with the thank you messages. 

Dear Joan and Robin,

Thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag you made for me, it is great and was an excellent morale boost for myself and my team. I am a bit scared to use it as I don't want to get it dirty so I may just hang it on our wall. 
Take care and best wishes from the worlds largest sandpit.


For Rita M

Thank you thank you thank you from a mother of a serving soldier x My son is so happy


Dear Alice and Tom,

Thank you so much for the lovely quilt you made for me, it is great and was an excellent morale boost for myself and my team. Your generosity and time spent making these quilts is hugely appreciated and the boys get a great kick out of knowing that we are the lucky ones who get the honour of serving our great country and its wonderful people, such as yourselves. It is a pity that your grandson joined the Army but we won't hold that against him, I'm sure he'll see the light and transfer to the good side haha.

Once again thankyou very much for the wonderful gift and please keep it up as it does make a huge difference, just tonight 5 other boys signed up to the organisation.

Take care and enjoy travelling, you have earnt it

Best wishes from the worlds largest sandpit.


Dear Alicia,

I have just received the wonderful quilt you made for me. Thankyou so much for such an awesome gift. I was very surprised to see that it was made by you, XXXX's mother. I briefly lived next to XXXX in the lines just before he deployed.

Please also send along my thanks to your friend Sally. She made a very cool beanie and it will come in handy in the next few weeks as the temperature starts to drop.

I am very glad to hear that XXXX's deployment inspired you to become involved in such a great cause. The last time I was over here the organization didn't exist, but our work was in the media and more known to the general population. So we would receive lots of nice letters and packages from people at home. Now days very few Australians seem to understand that we are still here. It makes me glad that the Aussie Hero Quilt bunch do this and show so many that we aren't forgotten.

Once again thankyou so much for the quilt and the beanie from Sally. I hope all is well at home with yourself and your family.



Hi Fran,

Thank you very, very much for the quilt and laundry bag. Both of them look awesome and are already in use.
Thank you for your support to us, the ADF. No need to thank me for what I'm doing but thanks anyway.
It's starting to get cold here in Afghanistan so the quilt is already doing its job.
I just wanted to let you know I was pretty excited to get the quilt and did show it off once I cracked open the package.
Appreciate the effort.




Good morning Maree and Jan-Maree,

I received the quilt and laundry bag today, when the parcel arrived I was very excited by what could be inside. I waited until I went back to my room after dinner before I opened the package (its a bit like Xmas really), I have to say, what a fantastic piece of artwork. I could not have imagined what the quilt would look like, but based on the photos that I had seen of previous ones I was sure it would be great, I am worried about putting it on the bed though in case it gets dirty...........In all honesty, this reminds me of home especially my grand kids rooms who spend a lot of time with us, my mother in law when she was alive was a seamstress who also quilted, and it will be a pleasure to return to my room each day and reflect on home.
I can say with all honesty that everyone who is deployed, who have taken up the opportunity of a quilt, has had their time deployed made that much more comfortable and easier. I thank you all with much gratitude for the tireless and selfless work that you and your organisation devote to this project. . Please keep up the good work, in all areas, it is greatly appreciated by all.

For Barb


G'Day Jan-Maree 
I'm happy to let you know that I've received my quilt safe and sound and it's keeping my fairly warm, as the weather here is getting chilly :) I appreciate all the hard work and effort that went into this exquisite quilt , grandma would be impressed. Again thank you very much for your kind gifts


For Cher T

I recently received a great laundry bag made by you guys and I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for your thoughts and for the time that it would have taken you to complete such a great personalised laundry bag, we are all very lucky!

It is really nice to know that there are people back home who think of us an appreciate the work that we do. I can assure you that we are all very touched that you guys take the time out of your lives to do something special for us, and I know that it was very comforting for my wife when I told her about my laundry bag and quilt, along with the kind words.

I recently returned from a five month tour in Afghanistan and am looking forward to spending some time with family and friends over the Christmas period. We are always pretty busy at our  unit and you really need to make the most of your time off, because before you know it you don’t have time to scratch yourself again.

I hope that you guys are fortunate enough to have your Son home for Christmas, but  know that he would be busy also, It can be a lot to ask of families with loved ones in the ADF, but when there are thoughtful and kind people out there like yourselves, I think it makes it a bit easier for everyone.

Thankyou once again, you are good and kind people.

Sincerely yours


Dear Caroline,

I recently had the pleasure of receiving your quilt and laundry bag. Thank you very much for all the effort you put into both items. They are very pleasing to look at and certainly bring some colour and joy to my mess. I loved the jerky you have very good taste! Cheers also for the Sudoku book - hopefully I can graduate from the easy level by the end of the deployment.

Thank you for all that you do for Defence members serving overseas, it is greatly appreciated.


Hi Stephanie D,

I'm writing to say thankyou for the Hero's care package you sent me, which arrived today.

I was pretty excited to have a personalised laundry bag - I never find mugs and key rings at the newsagency with my name on it so think it is pretty novel! One of the boys in the office is a big Suduko fan, so I let him have the booklet and I will make use of the girly toiletries, thankyou :-)

It is easier to cope with (the current challenges) knowing that we have the support from people back home like yourself, that you would take the time out to demonstrate that you care, that is what I will think of each time I use/see your laundry bag :-)


Hi Lynn,

I recently received my laundry bag in the mail, thank you so much it is lovely! I will definitely put it to good use, although it is almost too nice to use for dirty laundry! Thank you also for the other little goodies in my parcel I have shared them around ��

I am in the Air Force and working as part of the air load team here on deployment. It is a very rewarding job and I am having a great time, although I just got here and have a few months to go.

Thanks again for my parcel it is really appreciated and an unexpected surprise ��



Hi Noeleen,

My quilt arrived today.  Thank you so much - I love it (and the little goodies you put in there as well)!  I love pink and turquoise so it was perfect.  It fits nicely on my single bed.  It brightens up my room immensely!
Thanks so much again for the beautiful quilt.

Kind Regards,

I am writing to thank you, Lynn, Kym and co. for the fantastic quilt which recently arrived here in Kabul. The level of detail – particularly in the stitching of the ‘rifleman’ is mesmerizing. Moreover, the personal touches each of you has made referring to Australia (including the logo  of my beloved Carlton Football Club!) has made the quilt extremely special and something I will cherish. Of course, the Carlton logo immediately signaled that your work to personalise the quilt wasn’t merely a stroke of luck! Rather, as I subsequently found, the quilt has been carefully crafted based upon the advice of my wife who has been admiring the work of your team for some time. As I understand it, she is now happily assisting Aussie Hero Quilts with some of the administration and is equally as grateful for your commitment to my/our quilt.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the personal letter included in the package with the quilt. As I’m sure you understand – to have a personal gift from Australia thanking me for my service is humbling However, to have such a gift from a family of service-people is almost overwhelming and has made the gift all the more special.

 Upon my return home next year, the quilt will remind each of us of this deployment experience (amongst the others). Moreover, the quilt will serve as a reminder of why I choose to soldier, and of the sacrifices my wife and son make in their support for me. Thus, in closing – all three of us wanted to thank you, Lynn, Kym and the families of the Aussie Hero Quilts team for providing such a wonderful gift. In doing so, we wanted each of you to know that you have personally touched our family (as you have many others) in a way that will be remembered and treasured.

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

Monday, 27 October 2014

A quilt for Matthew

Saturday marked the tenth anniversary of the first Australian soldiers injured in Iraq.   You can read the whole story here but here is a small section that I have copied from the source.

Australian troops suffered their first casualties in Iraq today when three soldiers were injured in a massive car bomb attack on their military convoy in Baghdad.

In the first direct attack on Australia's defence forces in Iraq, a car bomb was set off as a convoy of three Australian vehicles drove by on a routine patrol 350 metres from the Australian embassy.

The three Australians were not seriously hurt, but three Iraqi bystanders were killed and several others, including young children, were wounded in the attack which occurred at 8am local time (1500 AEST).

One of the Australians received facial injuries, another was concussed, and the third was treated for minor abrasions and was released, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said.

One of the three men injured that day was Matthew Millhouse whose story I have shared before on Facebook but I am not sure how much has been shared on the blog so to catch you all up........Matthew received a concussion but once he came home it was clear that not all was as it should be.  To cut a long story short, over a period of time it was determined that the brain injury that Matthew sustained has resulted in him being diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia.  

I first became aware of Matthew's story when I caught up with one of our recipients in Wagga earlier this year. Whilst in town to attend a March Out I made time to catch up over lunch with Sam and Melissa.  Matthew was Sam's driver in Iraq.  By then Matt's condition had deteriorated to the point where, in his mid-thirties, he had to move to an Aged Care Residence so that he could receive the care that he needed.  You can imagine the impact this has had on his family, his gorgeous wife, Terese and his little girl, not to mention his extended family.  

Sam and Melissa wanted to know if it were possible to have a quilt made for Matthew.  There was no other answer than yes of course.  Eventually I decided that the best thing to do would be to make Matt a memory quilt containing photos of his family and friends.  As Matt served with 2CAV we also included the 2CAV Badge and a photo of Courage, their eagle mascot.

We let Terese in on the secret and she sent me a batch of suitable photos to use.  I wanted to have captions underneath each of the photos but needed help to do that and thankfully Katrina (our Wounded Warrior's wife) was able to help me.  Once the photos were sorted they were sent up to Jenny and Gale in Queensland.  Jenny and Gale are a dynamic duo and in no time the quilt top was assembled.  The colours were chosen to be a blend of Matthew and Terese's favourite colours.  As you can see this quilt is bigger than our normal Aussie Hero Quilts to make it easier to display more photos.

As the anniversary of the day approached Melissa told me that there was to be a reception at with the Governor General on Saturday, the tenth anniversary of the attack, to which all those involved would be invited. Melissa wondered if it would be possible for me to meet up with them after the reception to present the quilt in person to Matthew. 

Finally the big day arrived and I headed in to the city.  I had offered to look after Melissa and Sam's two gorgeous little munchkins whilst they were hobnobbing it with the Governor General and everyone else.  I have to show a photo of them because they were so well behaved and are so cute!

Sam and Melissa headed off looking very smart.  The weather was perfect for it! 

I have to give the Governor General credit for arriving home that morning from visiting the troops in the Middle East, hosting this group and then, apparently, he had a lunch to attend, an afternoon function and was hoping to catch up with his family for dinner that night.   I wonder if he got to put his feet up on Sunday ... somehow I think not.  

Sam, Governor General and Melissa
Governor General and Matthew
All the fellows who made it to the reception 
The men with their partners with the Governor General and his wife.
 Sam helping me to show Matthew his quilt as we presented it.

After the reception everyone adjourned to a function room at the Kirribilli Club for lunch.  Finally it was time to present the quilt to Matt.  He and Terese were more than happy to pose with it for a picture. 

Some of the fellows who were in Iraq with Matt are still and some are out but I felt that we needed to give them a little something as well to say thank you for their service.  Joan helped me out and I took along a tea towel laundry bag for each of them.  I did not have enough time to get all the bags personalised for each fellow unfortunately but they did not seem to mind.  A few of them were happy to post for a photo with theirs. This fellow was particularly delighted as he got married on Magnetic Island so his bag could not have been more appropriate for him.

I knew that Matt's mum was coming along on the trip to Sydney to assist with Matthew where necessary and I wanted to give her a little something to recognise the sacrifice that Matt's service has asked of her so I gave her one of our girly laundry bags, also made by Joan.  It was very gratefully received.  Thanks for making the laundry bags Joan - they all looked marvelous as usual.

When you join the services you do so for any one of a number of reasons.  Those who enlist usually do not see themselves as doing anything special but I believe that they are. Ten years ago Matthew would have been in his mid twenties.  Ten years on and his health has been severely affected and it has impacted all those who care for him.  A quilt does not seem much in return but at least it is a sign to Matthew and his family that there are people out here who genuinely care and for whom his service will always count.  

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

Friday, 24 October 2014

Weekly Dispatches 24 October

G'day all. 

Before we look at the wonderful Quilts and Laundry Bags that have headed off to our very own Aussie Heroes this week I want to stop for a minute to send our condolences to the families of the Canadian servicemen who were needlessly killed whilst on duty.  
May they rest in Peace.

Just a small note of business - actually a plea.  I can get up to 150 -200 emails a day and sometimes there is not a lot of time to action them all so I need to work as efficiently as I can.    You can help me.  I have been telling a lot of people this lately so thought it was time to put it on the blog.

Please, when you have posted off a quilt or a laundry bag, can you send me a email.  In the email can you please include a photo and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the full name of the recipient.  That makes it soooo much easier for me to find them on the list.  

Also, if you hear back from your recipient, can you please let me know. If possible please share their message with me so that I can share it ANONYMOUSLY on the blog AFTER I have removed all the private, identifying or sensitive information included.  

If I don't know you have sent the quilt or laundry bag, or if I don't know they have been received, I spend a lot of time chasing up which might not be necessary. 

Thank you!  

Lots of wonderful quilts and laundry bags have headed off this week.
Enjoy the show!

962 quilts and 1195 laundry bags for 2014. 

3330 quilts and  5097 laundry bags in total.

This first quilt is a little special but I am not telling you anything about it just yet.  Once it has been received I will tell you the whole will have to be patient! 



Tamsin from Berrima Patchwork


Carol W

Cher - created these three laundry bags - you can see the front and back of each.

Christine C 


Wendy L

Now I hate it when I send off a quilt and have not been able to trace who made it.   I just LOVE this quilt but it came to me as a quilt top and I am not prepared to guess who made it. If it was you please let me know so I can edit this and give you credit.


Evelyn created this gorgeous quilt from BOMs.  Love these quilts. BOM quilts are always some of my favourites.


Jan-Maree and the Penrith group stitched the next couple of laundry bags at our last sewing day.  

I created this quilt top and it was quilted by Leanne F 



 Made by the Penrith ladies for a soldier seriously injured during training 

Julie Ann




Linda H

 The next two quilts were made by Lynn and quilted by Dot




Rita M

Robyn and Wendy B

Stephanie D

Fran T

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

Jan-Maree xx