G’day, Jan-Maree has asked me to take over doing the Friend of the day, so to get the ball rolling, I thought I’d start with myself!  Before I get to that though, can I just ask, that if you’re willing to have your own 5 five minutes of fame, here on Aussie Hero Quilts blog, then please email me HERE and I will send you the questions and other requirements for future use….c’mon now, don’t be shy!

Ok, onto me: Who are you and where do you live?

I’m Naomi and I live in what should be a huge house (if I didn’t have so much craft stuff that is hee hee) in a smallish town on the River Murray in South Australia, called Berri.

The next closest major (ish) town, is Renmark…..but to put it into a bit more perpective, Berri is situated about 2- 2 & 1/2 hours drive from Adelaide (SA’s capital city) and approximately a 90 minute drive from Mildura which is just over the border in Victoria.

I come from a large family of 9 kids, 5 boys and 4 girls, however there’s only 7 of us still around.  I have two children of my own, a girl, Hayley who’ll be 28 this year and my son, Braedon who’ll be 14 this year, and I also have one gorgeous 5 year old grand daughter, TaShie, who I love to bits…she’s like a ‘mini me’ of my daughter.  Here’s a pic of the two of them.

My son lives in Victoria with his Dad, and I don’t really have any recent photos of him to share with you….obviously he’s a bit more camera shy than his sister!  I also have two step daughters who live in Sydney, NSW.

Tell us a bit about you – family, occupation, other hobbies….

Being that I don’t work (am on a disability pension) you’d think I’d have all the time in the world to do whatever my heart desires….WRONG…..reason being, I either procrastinate too much or my health isn’t co-operating, or I spend way too much time on the internet…..but my latest excuse reason is it’s been too stinking hot, and I’m sticking to it.

I started out just knitting and crocheting (some soldiers may or may not have received a couple of beanies late last year), then progressed to beading, and then a friend gave me the pattern for a MEGA basic mini tote bag, and told me that she thought I could make it….so I luckily had a sewing machine (even though it was basically a dust bunny collector till that point) at home, some fabric (I still don’t know why I had fabric when I was soooo anti-sewing) was at my fingertips and off I went…..I’m not quite sure how many of those tiny bags I made, but as time progressed, I found some free tutorials online, bought some patterns and became known as the ‘Crazy Bag Lady’ at my then, local Spotlight store.

I searched around on the WWW and found some sewing/craft related groups to join, and made some friends, and in one of those groups, I was teased (in a nice way of course) about making raggedy dolls, and I swore I wouldn’t fall into that vortex…..WRONG…..I’ve made several Raggedies now and quite enjoy making them.  Then, being that I love Owls so much, I started making soft toy owls, and have made I don’t know how many of those……in the meanwhile, the same craft group were taunting me about all the patchwork patterns I was collecting….when the “Quilt Vortex” was a no fly zone for me….also another fail….I started putting together a few items here and there, but still no real quilts to speak of.

Then one day, I got an order for a baby quilt from one of my stepdaughters friends, who was having a baby….she wanted a zebra quilt, and was sending me the fabric….so when the fabric arrived, I took it to my friend Khristina’s house and pleaded for assistance….she helped me, and here’s the joint effort quilt for Olivia aka Zebra!

As you can see, it was nothing flash and fancy, but it was my first ‘proper’ quilt.  I’ve since made several other quilts and quilted items….with the latest quilts all being for Aussie Hero Quilts.

How far to the local shops and how far to the nearest quilt shop?

I’ve only been living in Berri for just over 2 years now, having moved here from Elizabeth North in Adelaide, where I was sort of spoilt for choice with quilt shops and fabric stores, such as Spotlight and Lincraft.  Now, my closest haunts for fabric, are B&B’s in Barmera, Riverland Quilting Supplies in Renmark, Big W in Renmark and occasionally, Mves Fabrics in Berri….otherwise I have to wait till there’s a road trip to Adelaide or Mildura to feed my habit.  My other favourite place to buy fabric, is on the net!

Favourite local quilt shop isn’t actually a quilt shop as such, although they do stock lots of bolts of quilting fabric, and that’s B&B’s in Barmera.

Favourite online fabric shop….I have so many favourites, but one of my ‘cheapest’ haunts online for fabric, is in Facebook on any of the ‘destashing’ fabric groups…..bad for the budget though!

Where you got your last fabric bargain (and what it was)….I’m currently NOT buying fabric as I’m running out of room to hide store it all….guess I’ll just have to hurry up and make more AHQ quilts & Laundry bags hey?

Whether you machine or hand sew binding

Wherever possible, I hand sew the binding down, as I think it looks much nicer, however, if I’m in a hurry, I machine stitch that sucker down lol

How long have you been sewing for AHQ?

I haven’t really kept track of my ‘anniversary’ date, but it’s around now I think….JM???

How did you find out about us?

For a while I’d been searching the net to find something for ‘our’ armed forces, as I couldn’t afford the shipping on quilts for “Quilts of Valor” in USA…and I spied a post by Jan-Maree about AHQ and contacted her as soon as I saw her contact details….and the poor woman has been stuck with me ever since.

Do you have any connection to the services?

Yes, my Dad was in the Australian Merchant Navy, I’ve had two brothers and two nieces serve in the Royal Australian Navy, and a niece was in the RAAF till she married a USMC (United States Marine Corp) and moved to the US.  Even if I didn’t have those connections to the services, I would still be passionate about assisting our great heroes.

What are some of the things you have sewn for AHQ?

In addition to the quilts and laundry bags I’ve personally made and sent, I also participated in a couple of ‘quilting bee’ days that were organised by Helen Morgan from Berri Uniting Church and we ended up with almost 30 quilts I think it was.  I also help out with the blog, BOM’s and general techie housekeeping when/where I can with the blog.

Here’s a pic of some of the quilts sewn by a group of Riverland Quilters at the ‘quilting bees’ I just mentioned…these have already been shipped off to their new owners.

 Now here’s a couple of pics of items I’ve actually made myself.

Why do you sew for AHQ?

It’s my way of saying thank you to our service men and women, for not only the protection they’re providing us so that we can sleep safe in our beds at night, but also in appreciation for the sacrifices they’re making whilst being overseas.  Thanks guys and gals, I think you’re serving us proud.

Alrighty, now you have a slightly better insight into why I do what I do for AHQ, and where I live, now it’s up to you….please email me and let me know you want to submit your details for Friend Of The Day, we all look forward to reading about you soon.

Hugs and stay safe