Okey Dokey!  I have had a number of people ask me when I am going to do a Friend of the Day  Post on myself!  Hmmm, guess I can’t get out of it forever.  

So, here goes!

Who are you and where do you live? 

I am Jan-Maree (as if you didn’t know!)

I am a Perth girl, born and bred but live in the Hills District of Sydney.  We have been here since 2002ish, having returned to Australia from nearly three years in the States for my husband’s work.  It is a great area to live, close enough to get to the city for shows etc but far enough away to have some space and greenery around us.   Our house backs on to 40 hectares of National Park and we are often visited by Kookaburras, blue wrens and possums.
Tell us a bit about you – family, occupation, other hobbies.

I live with my husband, David, who is an ex-RAAF engineer. We also live with our two sons who are 16 years old….

and with two of the world’s most gorgeous and definitely most spoilt dogs – 
 and my little shadow, Maisy.

 Occupation?  I am a fulltime homemaker but that is such a boring title so for years I have called myself a Domestic Artiste – has a much nicer ring to it don’t you think?  Of course I also run AHQ.

I don’t really have time for other hobbies these days – LOL.  Luckily, my favourite hobby is sewing.  Nothing is more rewarding to me than making a quilt for someone, especially when you can personalise it.  I love to find out what people are passionate about and make a quilt that encompasses that for them.  The best compliment I have had from one wife when she saw the quilt I made for her husband is “Oh my gosh, that is him in a quilt!”  Love it.

I do also love catching up with my close friends,   three girls whose daughters were at school with my boys.  

We call ourselves the “Sisterhood” and love getting together for a meal either in one of our homes (we always over cater) or at a restaurant.

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

“Not far enough” my husband would say!
I live in the suburbs so I have a plethora of shops to choose from in general but for fabric?  I am ten minutes from the local shopping centre where there is a Lincraft and about 20 minutes from a Spotlight.  Truth be known I don’t go to either of those much.  I have chronic arthritis on both knees, I actually have no cartilidge left in either knee so I can’t walk far or stand for long.  Both shops can be difficult  with too much time spent standing in queues or trying to find stuff and then standing in queues.  So, I mostly go to Craft Depot.    Sadly this is not a very atmospheric shop – fairly sterile and always the same.  On the good side it usually has a good selection in the $5 per meter bin  – great for backings and laundry bags and then another good section of $9.95 per meter.  Unfortunately they don’t support us at all but maybe they will get on board this year.

Favourite local quilt shop

My favourite quilt shop is not exactly “local” being about an hour away with no traffic.  It is Penrith Patchwork.  Now, they do support us big time and it is also a lovely store with really lovely staff and owners.

Favourite online fabric shop

My favourite online shop is equilter.com probably out of habit more than anything.
I have been shopping with them for ages and they are very reliable.  I don’t buy much from them (who am I kidding!) but they are really good for special fabrics for example tartan for a quilt backing for someone who has Scottish heritage.  Some of my recent purchases were some great novelty fabrics for less than $4 a meter for laundry bags.

Where you got your last fabric bargain (and what it was)

These are my latest bargains for some fun laundry bags – 
Under $5

 Under $4

 Under $3

Whether you machine or hand sew binding?
Oh I machine bind all the way as arthritis in my hands means no hand sewing!
How long have you been sewing for AHQ?
Longer than anyone else -LOL  honestly who wrote these questions  – oh right!  ME!
Do you have any connection to the services?
(Why do you sew for AHQ)
Ummm, yeah!  I joined the RAAF at the tender age of 19.  My folks had just left Australia for a three month trip of a lifetime. They called home from Hong Kong to find out that their baby had applied to join either the RAAF or the RAN.  My Mum told me later she consoled herself by thinking I would not be accepted!  Thanks MUM! 

This is me on my Officer Training Course – I was the only female on a course of 21!
 Eventually I graduated as an officer and made it through Air Traffic Control School – this is me at the RAAF Control Tower in Richmond NSW.  Memories! – check out that perm!!!  And that teeny tiny little stripe on my shoulder!  I was a Pilot Officer – better known as a Boggy!
After 7 years I transfered to the Navy and these Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers were my colleagues  at the Training Development Section at HMAS CERBERUS.  What a bunch they were!  How I wish I knew where they were now!  These guys are one of the reasons I started Aussie Heroes.  That fellow holding the sign was a gorgeous single bloke with no family.  Who would have sent parcels to him had he deployed?  This photo must have been taken around 20 years ago!

What are some of the things you have sewn for AHQ

I obviously see all the requests for AHQ and so I get to choose which ones I want to do but generally I make quilts for those that I develop a kind of friendship with. Some quilts I collaborate with Caroline but the following are some I have done alone. 

 This fellow asked for a quilt to hang in the Headquarters of the Special Ops Task Group so I sent this over but I also sent one for him to keep.  When he came back to Sydney he came and met me which is a rare privilege for me.  He also spoke to my son and his friend about joining the Army and the fact that he went to Boarding School was what made my son investigate the Boarding School he now attends.

Most of you will have seen Belvedere’s quilt – he is the mascot for the FSU
 and this quilt was made for the fellow that requested Belvedere’s quilt.

I was asked to make a quilt in RAEME colours.  This was the front. The flag was a perfect starting point but then I was told that this guy worked with tools and as I had just bought some cool black and grey tool fabric on special I had to use that on the back.

Guess he liked the back too!

I try really hard to make the quilts for the chaplain in Dubai and lately the chaplain on ANZAC as I liaise with them a fair bit.  These are four of them.

Actually, I love all the quilts that I have made as each one has been made for someone specific and they are in my thoughts as I sew.  I may never meet most of them but I think of them as friends.  There is usually a story behind most of my quilts but I can’t share them till they have been received.

That is enough about me – you are probably snoring by now.  Wake up!  It is time to go back to your machine or whatever you need to do.

Some of you will be receiving emails from Naomi in the future. She is going to take over editing the Friend of the Day posts for me each week so she may come looking for contributors.  If you are interesting in volunteering to write a post please let me know.  We would love to know more about you.

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