First up – stream lining and working smart.

A number of you, in fact an ever increasing number of you, keep telling me that you don’t know how I do what I do.   Ha Ha.  Sometimes I don’t know how either. But the truth is things are getting busier and I am having to delegate, stream line and work smarter.  So here are a couple of things that I am going to do and some that I have done.  

Firstly, the BOM has now been handed over to Naomi from SA and Kylie from QLD to collaborate on and take care of.  This month Naomi has taken it on and you will see her first BOM tutorial on Wednesday night.  No hints!  You will just have to wait and see what it is but if you can sew a nine patch and shoo fly you can sew this!  

Secondly Caroline from here in Sydney has now 
taken on part of the management of the facebook page.  She puts up the link to the blog every night and will answer some of the questions but will leave the PMs and the special requests to me.  

Additionally, wonderful Wendy from Melbourne is helping by working up a brochure that can go on the blog which all of you will be able to download when you want to tell someone about Aussie Heroes or ask beg for donations.  She is also crafting some paragraphs for me to go into another publication because with the Canberra trip coming up there is no way I can even think about doing that till next week.

Thanks so much girls – you are the best!

Answering Questions

Another thing I have to do is streamline email and question answering.  If you get a very short email from me – short and to the point – please don’t be offended.  It probably just means that I am answering lots of emails and if I am not short I won’t get them all done.  I try very hard to answer all emails on the day I get them and to keep this up I need to be brief some times.  So, please don’t be offended.

That being said, please don’t hesitate to ask a question or pass on information.

Also, if I can I am going to start answering questions on the blog so that everyone reads the answers.  Just like they used to tell you in school, if you are wanting to know the answer, chances are someone else is too.  So if I refer you to an upcoming blog post please know the answer will be covered in the next few days.

If you think there are things that people are always wanting to know do you think I should create a Frequently Asked Questions Page?  And if so, what questions should be posed and answered?  Send me some suggestions if there is enough of a response I will get on to it – after Canberra!


 If I get a picture of a quilt top I don’t file it.  I may show it on the blog if appropriate but it can be, at times, quite a while before every top gets quilted. 

When you send me a photo of a completed quilt I put it into the Quilts in Waiting File.  

If a request comes in for which that quilt is suitable I contact the maker and ask them to send it off.  Every time someone tells me a quilt has been posted I put a copy of the photo of the quilt into the coming Friday night’s Quilts of the Week Post and file it away for posterity plus add it to the Gallery of Quilts.   

To make it easier on me could you please, please, please always send me a picture of the completed quilt top when you email me to let me know that you have sent the quilt off.  
If you had any idea how much time I spend going back though old emails to find photos of quilts to put on the blog for the Quilts of the Week post, as well as to move to the sent folder, you would understand.  I may not have explained this very well but it won’t take you long to attach the finished quilt photo to your “it is in the mail” email but it can take me a while to find it here and anything I can do to save time make a big difference.

If you have any problems with this please let me know and we will see what we can work out.

Thank You Messages
I have had a couple of emails from people wondering if there is any way we can chase up quilts that were sent in the Welfare Mailing lot in March and April.  The simple answer is there is no way to chase them up at all.  What happens is that for one month twice a year an extra post office box is opened up so that the general public can send care packages to the troops to show their appreciation.  I have been told that there is a general inundation of packages at these times.  Once the quilts arrive at AFPO 60, DNSDC (the Warehouse) sort all packages pro-rata to each of the different locations over there. A freight company transports them to the warehouse in location, the Chaplains then receive them and distribute them around the sections.  I have been told that they wait for a full pallet before they send any.  I hope to find out more about this when I head to Canberra.

The simple fact of the matter is that when I started this venture that was the only way I could send bulk quilts over and we managed to send 125 quilts let alone all the laundry bags we sent.  
From that first batch of 125 we have only received a handful of responses so there is no way of knowing where the quilts went and who received them.  

I know of one and I shared this thank you message with you at the time and here it is again in abbreviated form.

I just want to say a quick thank you for your support and care package. Love the Quilt its currently on my swag and everyone who sees it comments on it.

It really did help me out and lift my spirits whilst I was building the Patrol Base Chakajuy.

I am an Australian Engineer (Electrician) working on the front line with my fellow tradesman and plant operators. We are building an Australian and Afghan Patrol Base which is the most furthermost reign we, as an army, have operated in. It takes around 3 to 5 days road move to get out to the Patrol base with a few dangerous obstacles on the way. We are building the base so we can continue to Mentor the ANA (Afghan National Army). The Mentoring is challenging but rewarding in the end.

We have finished the patrol base now and I am back at the Main base in TK that is why I can write this letter to you. Our counterparts are now slowly filtering in so we can get home to our friends and family back to sunny Australia.

Being 3rd generation Army my family are proud what Iā€™m doing and will be their to greet me when I return.

Once again on behalf of my mates, we salute you for the package and encouraging words. 

If we had not sent the packages by welfare mail this fabulous young man would never have received one of our quilts.  They slept for a month on the ground in pits with no running water and electricity whilst establishing this patrol base.  

There are other blokes, lots of them, who spend their entire time in Afghanistan sleeping on the ground or on stretchers.  I spoke to one mum recently who said her son was so pleased that this time, for the first time, every time he comes in from patrol he has an actual bed to sleep on – with sheets!  He goes out on patrol for three weeks or so then comes in for a short period, I get the impression it is only for a few days, and then heads out again.  In those few days he gets his mail, gets in touch with his family, gets his clothes washed, eats proper food and rests.  You can imagine all the things he has to do.  I guess we can all understand why we are not on the top of their to do list.  

You also need to understand that a lot of these fellows have protected identity status.  That means their names cannot be published nor their photos.  They don’t know us from a bar of soap.  They don’t know if we are aware of protected identity or not.  I suspect that is also another factor.

i guess what I am trying to say is that we should not be discouraged by the fact that on the whole we don’t receive a written thank you for the vast majority of our parcels.  I know what we are doing is appreciated without a doubt in my mind.  I have been lucky enough to meet two of the fellows who have received our quilts and when I talk to them I can hear in their voices and see in their eyes how much what we do matters.  When I receive an email from a mother or a spouse asking for a quilt for their loved one – I can’t share all those messages with you as they are too personal but the gratitude is what keeps me typing away and answering emails most nights till 11pm or later.  

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that whilst it would be lovely to receive a thank you message from every soldier, sailor and airman who receives one of our quilts or laundry bags, it just is not practical.  Whenever there is a thank you message shared on the blog we all just have to smile and know that it is meant for all of us. 
Having said that – just as I was about to put this to print – we got another one.  This one is for Wendy and Nan via me.

I came into work today and was surprised when I saw a package on my desk. When I opened the package I was even more surprised when I saw that it was the Aussie Hero quilt, laundry bag, beanie and also some goodies. There was also a letter from Wendy L & Nan.
I would just like to extend my greatest thanks for the package and not only the quilt, laundry bag and goodies but also the letter. I will really cherish this.
Can you please thank Wendy & Nan for the wonderful package. It really made my day.
Thanking you again from the bottom of my heart.

And I have already got a request from someone who saw his parcel and would love to receive something similar.  Anyone interested?  Just let me know.

Carole from VIC sent me an email with this little tip 
for any of you lucky Victoria ladies!

I found some lovely tea towels at Sam’s Warehouse for only 97cents each!!…..

They are good quality….and they are the Australian Flag. So I bought about four. I must admit I was surprised to find them there. But jumped at them for my Aussie Hero Quilts I want to make down the track.

No Sam’s Warehouses in Sydney that I know of    šŸ™

And just to keep you on your toes it is 
Happy Mail Tuesday 
tonight because tomorrow night is the launch of the new BOM.

When I was little I used to love getting mail and all of my family had lots of penpals so there was always mail coming in.  Then I joined the RAAF at the tender age of 19  (I thought I was so grown up but now I know I was such a kid!)  my folks and some of my girlfriends made sure I got lots of mail.   I still love checking the mail but with Aussie Heroes it is extra good as each parcel is another donation!  
Today my post office handed over four or five parcels and with a smile asked me to stop making them work so hard!  
LOL!  Not likely!

Sue has posted these goodies – around 900 3 1/2 inch squares for turning into nine patches and the like to Nancy in WA.  Nancy sits and sews blocks while her electronic quilting machine is doing its thing.

Gina sent me this quilt top – love that Aussie Fabric.

Kaye sent me this neat top – that orange just makes it pop!

Lyn from Mt Helena WA sent in this fabulous laundry bag. She used the same twill that she uses to make her son, the chef, his aprons!  Best dressed chef I reckon.  Love that fabric.  I really need to find a cook to send this one too.  In fact if anyone knows a cook or two please let me know as I know of one great foody quilt coming up as well.

Lynn sent me the next two quilt tops – first up these lovely autumn colours

and I think this one is just gorgeous!  I love the mix of black and grey 
with the fresh green and cool blue!

Fran from Launceston sent over these gorgeous Shoo Fly blocks  – 
lots of cool Aussie fabrics in these.  
 I see a great quilt coming out of these
but wait there is more!

Fran also sent over these flag panels – a dozen of them.  I think  these things are like gold as there are probably not going to be any more of these printed in the future (although we can always hope) and the addition of one of these just makes a simple layout special!

As far as donations are going these are the last but not the least!  Last Friday you saw the two great quilts that Michelle sent away.  One of them had these panels on them – they are machine embroidered but they actually look hand done and I love them.  Michelle offered to do some more and send them to me for incorporation into a WWQ.  How neat are they?

I even love the Aussie Flag although Mitchell ran out of blue thread so she couldn’t do the scrolling around he outside but I think this might come to life with a little colour.  I have been seeing some pictures coloured in with crayons on other people’s blogs – maybe that flag could be coloured in which would make the stars stand out.  Hmmmm…food for thought. What do you think?

Three more quilts made it into the Quilts in Waiting File.  The first two by Judith.
Love these little vehicles.

You just can’t beat the Aussie Flag!

Finally this one was worked on by the Turramurra twins using up the last of the April BOMs and quilted by Kim, one of our very generous long arm quilters here in Sydney.

Phew!  That is enough.  Two sleeps till I leave for Canberra.  Baking and packing tomorrow.

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