For the rest of this year and back to the 80’s

Written by AHQ

22 July 2013

Before I tell you about the weekend I thought I would say a few words about the rest of the year. A couple of days ago I received an email from a fellow in Tarin Kowt and I thought I would share a portion of it with you.

The team is working along well over here while everything draws down around us. It’s a very important part of our time here and the byword has been to ‘do more with less’ as everything starts to become thin on the ground. In this environment, your quilts and laundry bags are certainly most welcome. 

I never like to crack the whip.  I want everyone to enjoy making quilts and laundry bags for Aussie Heroes but tonight I am going to ENCOURAGE you I hope.  As this email said, this is a very important time for those in Afghanistan, and probably quite a difficult time.  

You have to remember that for the last decade or so our people have been deploying, many of them over and over again, to Afghanistan. Their role has been to help a troubled people achieve some semblance of peace and some quality of life.  There have been many roles our men and women have had to play in order to do that and much has been asked of them.  If you  are privileged enough to talk to some who have been there for multiple deployments over a long period they will tell you that improvements have been made, many that are not reported in the Aussie press.  The Australian public generally does not hear much of the good that our men and women, and those from our partner nations over there, are achieving.  At the same time over 240 of our finest have come home injured.  Some have recovered and some will carry their scars and injuries for life.  We have also lost 40 Fallen Heroes during our deployments.  

As our men and women work towards dismantling Tarin Kowt and eventually departing Afghanistan they have to be wondering if they have done enough, if all that they have endured and achieved will have made a difference in the long run after they leave.  They are being asked to do more with less.  Facilities that have made life easier whilst over there away from their families are gradually being removed and pulled down.  Life is only going to get less comfortable (if it was ever comfortable) and there will be less of the little things to cheer them on.

That makes it even more important that we continue to support them.  It is when the going gets tough that we need to let them know that we appreciate them and are proud of them.  
So back to my encouragement.  

If you have been reading the blog and watching the Facebook page and have been thinking about sewing a laundry bag, a quilt top or a block of the month, can I gently suggest that now is a perfect time to get involved.  We will definitely be continuing on next year and I already have names on my list of people who will be deployed in to February and March next year as well as the next ship to take over from HMAS Newcastle when they come home.  But that is next year.  

For this year I would like to make sure we are encouraging our Aussie Heroes as much as we can in what is bound to be a difficult few months.

One fellow in Tarin Kowt who is new to being one of my distributors just wrote to me after receiving his first box from Aussie Heroes and he said

The laundry bags that we received where greatly appreciated by the whole team. I’m sure you get this a lot but, your bags and quilts really spice things up, while also delivering a bit home to the members while they are here. It is refreshing to see members using colourful/ interesting bags and quilts, it also brings much joy to members who are always surprised and thankful to receive unexpected gifts from home.

If our laundry bags and quilts are spicing things up then lets make the last few months in Tarin Kowt full of Aussie Hero Flavour.

And now as promised….

Well, I am back in Sydney and back to a normal routine and I did promise to tell you about the weekend away so here it is in brief.  Most of these photos were shared on Facebook while I was away so if you have already seen them please bear with me.  Now I will fill in some of the details.

This was my in flight reading.  I waited till I got to the airport to grab a book, mainly because I got distracted as I was getting ready to leave and also the taxi came early so I forgot to grab one of the many unread books I have sitting at home.  I actually really like to read books about Afghanistan.  As one mother said, it is an interesting read when you have a family member deployed over there, and I know just what she means.  I am half way through this book and really enjoying it.  The reason I have a good selection of unread books to choose from at home is that I have not read a book since I started Aussie Heroes – no time – and my challenge will now be to finish this one.  

I was going to Brisbane at the invitation of Angela, who is one of our Aussie Hero Friends.  You may remember her from her Friend of the Day Post.   We had not met before and so I facetiously asked Angela the day before if she was going to be standing there with a sign when she met me at the airport.  She told me she was sure she would recognise me and I knew I would as we had both seen photos!  I should have known to be careful what you ask for as this is how she greeted me at the airport.  LOL 

As luck would have it Angela found herself (or positioned herself) next to a fellow in Army uniform while she waited for me.  Turns out he was there to collect a Brigadier and he didn’t know anything about AHQ ……….until Angela filled him in.  I passed him one of my business cards while we waited for our luggage…………you just never know who might be interested.

Once back at Angela’s, I checked into my accommodation – Angela’s Chook Shed.  Jealous much? Me too!  This is her sewing cabin!!!  Complete with very comfy sofa bed, TV, coffee (or in my case hot chocolate) making facilities and an ensuite!  Naturally her stash, sewing machine and cutting table are in there too. The perfect accommodation for a travelling quilter!!!  There were even chocolates on the pillow – my very favourite ones too!  YUM!

I am not going to tell you everything we got up to as I did actually have some time off from Aussie Heroes while I was away, but we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to East Coast Fabrics where I met the Manager, Jenny, and where I managed to snap up some bargains!  If you live anywhere near this shop, CHECK IT OUT!!!  The staff are so friendly and helpful ……..and the prices!!!  Wish it was closer to me!

This is Jenny, yours truly and Angela after I had purchased just a little fabric ………

After visiting East Coast Fabrics, Angela and I were visited by Sammie, Sandra and Jan.  I cannot believe that I did not get my camera out but we were busy talking, admiring babies, quilts and laundry bags.  Sammie is the wife of one of our recipients and it was so lovely to meet her and her two gorgeous little ones.  I can just imagine how much Dad misses seeing those two little cherubs!   Sammie’s husband received my ANZAC Day Challenge Laundry Bag. 

Sandra’s quilts have started to appear on the blog in recent months.  She was reading through the Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine when she found our article and she has been sewing for us solidly ever since!  These are two that she brought along on Saturday.

Oops, can’t imagine how this photo got in there!  This is our young Aussie Hero Friend, and Angela’s daughter, Amy.

And Jan is a 7RAR mum, very glad to have her son home safe and sound.  Jan makes awesome laundry bags and brought some along as well.   You will see the rest of them on Wednesday night but here are two of them ably modeled by two of Angela’s littlest house guests.

And finally I did promise you a photo of us in our 80’s costumes!  I actually remember wearing tops like the one Angela is wearing, complete with the shoulder pads and beads. Oh the horror.  I do not remember ever wearing shirts like the one I am wearing but I am sure other people did.

I am actually quite grateful, having researched the era in order to find something to wear, that I spent the bulk of the 80’s, from January 1982 in UNIFORM!  This is what I really looked like in the early 80’s – check out the perm.  Thankfully wearing uniform meant no horrendous 80’s fashion for the office every day and so no photos of the same!  And for those of you in the know, look!  I was just a little boggy or bog rat!  That means Pilot Officer to the uninitiated!  LOL

I received a few messages from other Brisbane-ites who would have liked to meet up while I was there but there wasn’t time.  I will be coming back however!  I have travel plans for late November which will include being in Brisbane on Saturday the 30th of November.  Note that date in your diary if you are anywhere near Brisbane, or if you can get to Brisbane, as we are going to have an Aussie Heroes Dinner!  Venue, time and details to be confirmed but that date is set so make note of it.  There will also, POSSIBLY be a dinner in Sydney but that date it yet to be confirmed.

And now it is back to work for me.  There is a sewing day tomorrow and I have lots to do to get ready for it so I will bid you adieu.

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

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  1. Anonymous

    I can't believe u where only about 10 minutes away from where i live when you visited east coast fabrics

  2. Janine C

    Exciting – I have put 30th Nov on my calendar and now to see if I can organise that weekend in Brissie staying with my daughter!
    Great photos of your weekend J-M, thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Sue Niven

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your fab 80's look, Lol! The message from this post is very thoughtful.


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