Friend of the Day 28 Jan

Written by AHQ

28 January 2013

Before tonights post, Jan-Maree just rang and asked me to pop a little message at the beginning of the post, so here goes:
“I’ve arrived in Scone safe and sound, albeit a little wet, but nothing like our Friends of AHQ, and serving members families in Queensland are experiencing.  Our thoughts are with them all at this time and we hope that are all safe and aren’t too badly affected by all the severe weather conditions”
I think it goes without saying, that we are all concerned for all of you’s safety and well being and I hope power is restored to those without it soon, and you can let us know that you’re safe.
Friend of the Day
Today I would to introduce you to Rita C.  Hi Rita, and a huge SA thank you for working with me at getting your photos onto the blog, and sharing the three generation wedding dress with us.
Background story on the photo above… in the one below, if it’s unreadable, and you would like to read the story, email me, and I’ll send you the copy of it in a larger size.
Who are you and where do you live?
 Rita Coenen, and I live in N. Turramurra, and I’m a Yank/Aussie.  We have lived in the Sydney area for 13 years, 2 daughter here with us and another daughter didn’t move down but stayed in the UK.  She is now married to her college sweetheart (University of Miami)  and lives so far away from us, in London.  2nd daughter is now married to a Sydney boy and will probably always live in Australia and 3rd daughter wants to move to LA, she is a special effects make up artist.    We are on the bush, our house is below street lever with a wicked driveway, thank goodness we have a turn table in our garage or I would NEVER park my car in there.  Time to ‘downsize’ but will really need to ‘declutter’.  I’m trying to declutter by sewing lots of AHQ using existing fabric but I have a weakness and keep buying more fabric–on sale of course.  I have a WONDERFUL sewing room, with a Horn table and an insert so my machine sits in a flat space, so lovely when sewing big pieces.  I have a 13 year of Janome 5124 that is just a workhorse.  sounds a bit like a trashing machine but keeps going and going.  last year I thought about getting a new sewing machine, but I thought–I could get a new sewing machine or WE could go on a cruise, we went on a cruise–wasn’t that good of me???
Tell us a bit about you….
I was a nurse 30 years ago, then started having children and have a husband that travel A LOT so never went back.  I’m #2 of 9 children, and the farthest from ‘home’.  I’ve made each one a quilt, each  of my 24 nieces and nephews and now starting on a second round.  also made quite a few for my friend’s children and my children’s friends.  I like to do a bit of gardening, go to the beach , walk my dog, travel overseas and we go to the theater often (yes it is spelled right)

The above pic is my fur baby, Kelly asleep on some backing fabric waiting for me to finish sewing so I can take her for a walk.

How far to the local shops and how far to the closest quilt shop?
We live right behind the shops in N. Turramurra.  I decided I would make 10 quilts to send by Christmas (actually made 12) so I wrote a letter with photos and went to the local business and asked for sponsors (to pay for the fabric, batting and backing)  for the quilts, I got all 12 quilts sponsored (for between $75-$120), they got an extra label on the quilt that they signed and I sent a letter with the business or person’s name in recognition of their financial contribution.  Then I photographed the quilt and wrote a letter for the shop to put into their window saying they support AHQ.  Lincraft and Spotlight are both in Belrose homemakers center about 15-20 minutes away and Craft Depot is 20+ minutes in the other direction.  there is now a small Hobbysew in Hornsby Westfield.  Patchwork 33 is in Wyee, I’ve gone on a quilting weekend with some friends up there, got soooo much done with no disturbances

Favourite local quilt shop
Lincraft, Spotlight & Craft Depot

Favourite online fabric shop
I’ve never bought anything online, except when I was in the States, order a queen size SuperSlider, which I love and a ‘Halo’ which I couldn’t stand and gave away
Where you got your last fabric bargain (and what it was)
Tuesday at spotlight, all their quilting fabric is 30% off this week and got 2 great pieces marked down to $5/meter then 30% off so got 5 1/2m of each for $3.50.
another great place is the Fabric Cave in Ryde, it is a charity shop and I have gotten FABULOUS bargins in there
Whether you machine or hand sew binding
OMG–machine sew or with 12 quilts I’d still be doing them right now.
How long have you been sewing for AHQ
Since I made 4 at Easter time last year
How did you find out about us?
A gal working at killara village quilts, another American, I told her I had made 3 Quilts of Valor for injured American soldiers and she told me about AHQ.
Do you have any connection to the services
My Dad was in the Navy in WW2, in the SeaBees, 2 of my brothers were in the Navy, (one was a helicopter pilot and I remember a song he used to sing (NOT politically correct) 2 of my quilts went to guy that work on helicopters so I sent them the song, hope they had a good laugh–or they think I’m a little wierd.)  my older sister was married to a guy in the Army, a guy in the Air Force and now she is married (for 24 years) to a guy in the Marines.  Her daughter was in the AF, she started out working with drug dogs then went on to handle bomb dogs and did 2 tours of Saudi Arabia.  Another Niece is currently in the Navy
What are some of the things you have sewn for AHQ
I’m working on #19 right now, a yellow and white quilts, and #20 is about 1/3 done.  great way to try out new patterns and work through my stash

Why do you sew for AHQ
I really enjoy making to tops, don’t like pinning and quilting but J-M has so many sewers that can’t quilts and need to send them to the long arm quilter that since I can quilt them myself I do.  well I’m getting better at it and try different patterns
Thanks Rita, and I loved reading about the wedding dress.

Hugs & Stay safe

Now, over to you J-M
Thanks Naomi, Here are a couple of thanks you messages for all to enjoy,
Hey Melissa,
I received your package and I love my new laundry bag! Thank you very much, a lot better than my plain white laundry bag ha ha it’s good to know there are people, like you, out there doing nice things for other people you have never met. I really do appreciate it.
Thanks again

And one for Kaye

I have received your beautifully made quilt today. I have laid it on my bed and it fits like it was made for it. We soldiers over here thank you very much for your support, every little bit of encouragement goes a long way to curb the insanity that we are often in.

Til nex time……keep spreading the word and happy stitching.


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1 Comment

  1. Janine C

    Hello Rita, your background and family sound very interesting, such a shame we can't all get together for a chat. I have several American friends and my sister has lived in Houston TX for over 20 years.
    I love the yellow you've used in the quilts above, I'm beginning to think that yellow is a neglected colour. (and yes, colour is spelt correctly, he he).


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