Well I am back home in Sydney and as always it is good to be home but what a great trip I have had!!!
Where to start!!!
I flew out of Sydney early on Friday morning and made it to a warmer Brisbane around ten thirty. When planning the trip up I knew I would either have to arrive on the Thursday so that my host could pick me up or find a way of getting to Rosewood under my own steam on the Friday as that was “set-up” day for the quilt show. I asked around on my Facebook page to see if anyone could possibly collect me from the airport and take me to Rosewood and before long the lovely Chelle (our postmistress from the Sinai in 2012 – see here) was on the case.
In no time the word had made it to Kandahar and one of our recipients, Carl, sent me an email telling me he would be home from deployment by then and that he would be more than happy to give me a lift. He met me at the airport and took me back to have a cuppa with his wife, Dee, and then drove me the hour and a half out to Rosewood. What a lovely start to my trip.
I knew we had arranged a quilt for Carl’s wife in lieu of himself but I had forgotten that back in 2012 Carl had been the recipient of one of our BOM (Block of the Month Quilts) as well. There are a few people who have deployed more than once since we have been running and received a quilt each time. That is not a problem. Second time round Carl requested a quilt that was to his wife’s tastes as he felt she was the real hero, raising their kids in his absence much of the time.
Once delivered to Rosewood it was time to set up the Aussie Heroes Display for the presentation last night. For the first time I was able to hang quilts and arrange them on a table to stand in front of them during my presentation.
I think we had a full house of 100 there for the presentation, including a fellow from Young Diggers with his beautiful digger dog, Bonza and a couple of local current serving members from the Army.
Thanks to my military training (that Junior Officer Staff Course training has come in handy!!) I am quite comfortable giving a presentation and frankly the Aussie Hero story is easy to tell.
I soon learn who not to look at in the audience in case their tears set mine off. I may have been telling the story for nearly four years now but there are still parts of my presentation that can make my eyes water involuntarily if I am not careful but I made it through this time.
Afterwards several people came up to me to chat about Aussie Heroes and then they headed out to have some supper on the verandah. I was just about to head out there myself when one of the young men present stopped me.
I will be deliberately vague about the details of this story so as not to identify him or embarrass him but I need to share this with those that sew for us. He had to wait patiently til everyone finished talking to me and then it was his turn. He told me that he had received a quilt last year, that it came at a time when when he was really, really low. The quilt was a surprise and he said when he received it, it made all the difference to him. He was so grateful for it and still uses it today. I was also delighted that he told me that he is doing well these days and is working hard to give back to those who have helped him. You could not have given me a better gift!
On Saturday the Quilt Show itself started. I put a post up on Facebook and told people to come in the main door…..
buy a raffle ticket from these lovely ladies…. Heather (L) and Robyn (R)
(by the way, you should see the great wall-hanging that Robyn made with the tri-service badge on it… and she is going to make another one for us when she has time!!)
And then turn right and head down to where I was in the corner of the hall to the new Aussie Hero Quilt display.
My instructions must have worked because I had a regular parade of people to talk to and that included some of our quilters….
Now after AQC I learned something and this time I was ready, taking a photo of the quilters and emailing it to myself afterwards with their names so that I could remember who I had met.
First up was Irene from out Toowoomba way. I have spoken to her lots of times on the phone but still could not guess who she was. I was focused other things and distracted and as soon as she gave me a hint I felt like a twit! LOL
Next along came Lyn K who is travelling around from SA with her husband..
and Kaye Grey who is on holidays from Melbourne…
One of the nicest surprises I had was the visit by one of our recipients from 2013 with her cute little fellow.
Jess even brought her gorgeous quilt to show me. It was made by Ann V and quilted by Belinda! She just loves it and said her boys use it to snuggle with all the time on the sofa.
Some of the people who really understand and appreciate what we do when they hear the story of Aussie Heroes are our Vietnam Veterams. On Saturday I had the pleasure of telling one of them our Aussie Hero story. We had a great chat and at the end of it he shook my hand very warmly and thanked me for what I do and then handed me a donation. It was a very special moment for me.
On Sunday these two lovely ladies dropped in, Val M on the left, and Marianne on the right. They both surprised me with little gifts.
Marianne gave me these lovely sewing accessories – for those that do not know the little square book in the middle is a needle book and that fabric bowl is for your threads when you go to a sewing class or workshop. Gorgeous!
Val’s gift really made me laugh though. If you are not on Facebook you would not know that the entire Broncos team was on my flight!!! and there I was with no patches, no pigma pen and not even a piece of paper to ask for their signatures. Bummer!! I could not believe it!!! Val has made sure that I will never again be in the same predicament. She has made me a special pouch, with my name on it, that contains some patches already cut and a pigma pen!! I should never again be caught short!
Great Job Val!!
I also missed getting photos of another recipient Tanya and her gorgeous boy, Fionn. It was so lovely of them to drop in. Tanya will be attending Exercise Stone Pillow this year and will be promoting Aussie Heroes there so I have given her a quilt to use as a display and will be sending her some patches and pens to gather signatures for a quilt.
Sophie is another of our quilters who popped in to say hello and to my shame, I forgot to get her photo. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to put faces to names when you have only dealt with people by emails. Sophie was also the first person to respond to my request for some family military story posts and her post about her mother will go up this week.
One of the serving members I met on the night has also “volunteered” to do some writing for me as well and has already sent me his first post. Awesome!
Lenore, one of the members of the Rosewood Quilters Group, sent me home with a quilt for Aussie Heroes. Her’s is the one on the left in the picture below.
And Gai, who owns the local quilt store called “The Quilter’s Inn” also donated two quilts; The lovely pink and green one above as well as the one I shared on Facebook over the weekend, pictured below.
Gai also gave me a great set of permanent fabric markers to try out – they are Sharpie Brand and I am looking forward to giving them a try out.
Thanks so much Gai!!
I had a wonderful weekend and though I am glad to be home I would go back there anytime. Such a friendly and welcoming group. I am just sorry that I didn’t take any photos of their quilts to show you.
Yet, again, as I often do with Aussie Heroes I had another “small world” experience! Lenore, my host, and I were sitting talking about some of the requests on the list at the end of the day yesterday and without giving away too many details, we happened upon a very funny coincidence. Lenore has a son in the army…….. and it turns out that he received a laundry bag a few months or ago……. and I made it! and could show her a picture of it. In typical bloke style, he had not told him mum he had received one! LOL
Till next time……………….keep spreading the word and happy stitching!