My week….

Written by AHQ

23 February 2015

Last week we had  a huge response to the post I wrote explaining just who I am (ie not a grey haired little old lady) and who the other people are the contribute to Aussie Heroes.   After that post someone wrote in and said they would love to know what a day in the life of a quilt maker looks like. 

I have been thinking about that one ever since and trying to work out how we can cover that because most quilters’ days would be so varied. Some have lots of time to sew and some have next to none.

Joan, for example has made over 800 LBs and her husband, Robin, has threaded the cord in each of them.  They are busy people, but Joan manages her time and managed to spend about 30 minutes sewing laundry bags a day.  

Other people, like Lynn, who has made over 300 quilt tops, have more time to sew and Aussie Heroes is a big part of Lynn’s day.

I would like to encourage as many of our Aussie Hero Friends as possible to write in to me and tell us a little about their lives  and specifically how they fit sewing/quilting for Aussie Heroes into their lives around family, jobs and so on.  I will put any emails I receive together into one or more posts – hopefully there will be more than enough for multiple posts as I think we have seen that the troops and their families enjoy knowing a little about us.

In the mean time, as much as I don’t really like writing about myself, I thought I would tell you a little about my week.  

Most days I am up around 630am.  That means I can be up and showered and ready to start work around 7am.  Usually my first priority is to check emails and make sure nothing urgent has come in overnight though I must confess that the ipad lives next to my bed and I check it while I am waking up every morning so there are not too many surprises waiting for me once I get to my laptop.

I usually try to be at the PO by 850am if I am going and I go about three or four mornings a week, depending on what I need to post or need to pick up.  I always try to go at that time as that means I can get a close car park which can be essential if I am carrying several boxes in.  Also, I never know how much mail I will be collecting.   Here’s a hint. Best not to call me around 9am as I will be juggling parcels to and from the car.  

If I have any grocery shopping or errands to run they get done on the way home.  Once I am home I like to stay there and get stuck into things.

Mondays are my busy day. First I have a blog post to write, and I also have to prepare and email the request list.   Once the request list goes out the response is unpredictable.  I can either be swamped with emails from quilters taking on requests, or it might be a quiet week. I try hard not to go out anywhere on a Monday so that I am home to answer the emails and keep up with them.  I try to reply or action every email I receive before I go to bed every night –  I sleep better knowing that I am up to date.   My days usually end around 1130pm.

I am not sure if many people realise it but I am the only one to action the emails and the messages on FB.  I would love some helpers but it is not an easy thing to delegate when all the work needs to be done in my home from my laptop.  Lately I have had some invaluable help from someone who types up the requests I receive into the format I need to add them to the list – don’t know what I would do without her.  Moves are under way to change things so that others can help out but the technology is a bit of a challenge and takes time to sort out.

I can receive somewhere between 100 and 200 emails a day depending on what is happening.  Some of you write great chatty emails and I love receiving them as they add some colour and interest to my days but please do not be offended if I do not reply in kind.  I just don’t have time.  I hope you understand.

Never apologise for sending me an email to ask a question. I would rather answer a hundred questions preventing problems than have to come up with solutions for problems that could have been avoinded.  Ask away!  😀  

Tuesdays are not so busy. The blog post pretty much writes itself as Tuesday is Gratitude Day – that is the day that I publish the edited versions of the thank you messages we receive from the troops.   There is always plenty of work to do though.

Wednesdays and Thursdays could be anything.  Tomorrow, for example, I will be preparing things to do on Wednesday when we have a sewing day at my home.  We do all sorts of things on these work days depending on what needs doing.  

In between all that I will still be answering emails about the request list and everything else in general.

The ladies that come to my home for sewing days are the best.  It is not a social day but a working day.  People start to arrive around 10am and we usually wrap up around 3pm.  Everyone brings their own lunch, which we stop briefly for sometime around 12 or 1230.  Sometimes people work in pairs or small teams and sometimes everyone has their own little job. I often take advantage of a willing pair or hands to hold up quilts or laundry bags for photos.

Here is a list of the things that I hope to get done this week:

Add a rod pocket to the Centenary Quilt so that it can be hung.
Add binding and labels to several quilts
Go through the fabrics that have been donated for backings and cut them to size and store them appropriately.
Some of the backing fabrics will need to have two pieces sewn together and the seam ironed to make them the right size.  (there is quite a few of those)
Cut a whole roll of batting into to quilt size pieces ready for use.
Possibly make a couple of quilt tops that are high on the list.
Add some applique to several quilts to personalise them ready to be sent off.

That should be enough to keep us out of mischief!
On Wednesdays I get a reprieve from blog writing as Caroline presents the weekly Happy Mail post. Please keep sending her parcels of blocks so that she has something to write or I have to write the Wednesday post as well.  LOL  
Thursday this week will see me giving a 45 minute presentation to the Liverpool Catholic Club Quilters.  I will have to be on the road early to allow for traffic and should be home around lunchtime I guess.  I will have to have Thursday night’s blog post written on Wednesday night so that I don’t have to do it Thursday afternoon in a rush.  

Thursday night I will have to write the post for Friday night or email everything to Caroline so that she can do it for me as I will be on the road to Canberra early Friday morning.

Fridays are normally spent writing the Weekly Dispatches post and must of the same as the rest of the week.  

My husband and I have been invited to attend a Chief of Defence Force Parade on Saturday at ADFA – the Australian Defence Force Academy.   The parade marks the completion of initial military training by Year One Midshipmen and Officer Cadets and is a significant milestone in their progress into the Australian Defence Force.  My husband and I have been invited to attend by a lovely young man who used to attend school with our sons. I always told him that if he wanted to join the military we would help him with advice and people to talk to (which we did) and he has invited us as a way of saying thank you.  I will be very proud to be there with his family.  

That will cover the Saturday morning but on the Friday I will be delivering some quilts as I will be doing on Saturday afternoon.  We are having dinner on Saturday night with the only person I know who I served with when I was in uniform, and who deployed last year.  It will be wonderful to catch up after about thirty of so years!! 

So that is an overview of a week in the life of me.  Of course I also have to fit in making dinner for my boys, assuming they are at home and your guess will often be as soon as mine in that regard.  There might be a few Mum’s Taxi slots in there as well.  

I am never bored there are always letters to write, maybe a speech to prepare (with the help of Tracey who has also taken on the role of Powerpoint creator). Right now I have to remember to chase up the next ship deploying and make time to meet the chaplain and maybe the captain if he has time.  I am scheduled to go to Canberra again on the 9th to the 13th of March and hope to fit in a catch up with quilters, see some recipients who are now home maybe deliver a few quilts.  I will also be giving a presentation whilst there and am hoping to schedule a couple of meetings re future plans.  

So again, I would like to encourage as many of our Aussie Hero Friends as possible to write in to me and tell us a little about their lives and specifically how they fit sewing/quilting for Aussie Heroes into their lives around family, jobs and so on.  

And to end….. just because you have to have a photo with each post or they look a little bland, a pic of one of my favourite quilts.    Oh and you will note that sewing did not feature too prominently in my schedule – that is because I don’t get to sew much at all these days.  Sundays are my sewing days and this week I will be travelling back from Canberra!

Till next time…………keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  
Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. kiwikid

    You are so busy Jan-Maree!!! I feel tired just reading what you do!!

  2. Sue Niven

    Wow! You are amazing. I could not do all that, I would be in a complete muddle by half a week, let alone week by week. My hat off to you for all that you do, for starting the ball running, and still running. You are now in the marathon of your life. I am glad to be a small part of it.


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