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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Doing my happy dance - and feeling a little like Mrs Claus!

Big day today - Huge!  Ginormous!  But oh so satifying for all of us!!!  Today the Gumnut Quilters completed what I consider to be our most satisfying  and meaningful project to date.
We packed all the boxes to send off to some of our Aussie soldiers in Afghanistan.

Now, I have lots of photos to share but before i do you have to bear in mind that it has take me almost a full year to get these ladies used to the idea that I am going to photograph anything other than quilts.  Most of them are extremely camera shy so the fact that I captured some of them on film is about as momentous as seeing the a YETI!!!!

So, here goes.

Cynthia (L)and Audrey (R) will probably not thank me for showing you this photo but it is the only one that I have showing all the goodies on the table.  Everything was sorted into baskets and if more than one of something was to go in the boxes then there was a tag on the basket telling you how many to put in.  I won't itemise everything but let's just say that they might need to jog a few extra miles to work off some extra weight!!! 

These two are REALLY hard to photograph so this is the best I could do - the saying is something like don't work with animals and children - I think that should include Quilters too.  Anyway, Glenys (L) and Irene (R) are busy sticking customs labels on boxes.

 Lyn was helping with the labels too.  Boy was it lucky that we had most of the labels written out in advance.  Half of the girls had also signed the cards to be enclosed in advance too.  Things like that saved us a heap of time.
 Of course I baked for the girls - coconut cake with lemon icing (homegrown lemon too if you don't mind!)
And apple and almond cake.  Both of these recipes are really yum and so easy to make.  I will post the recipes tomorrow night, I promise.
 Once the boxes were filled Audrey and Lyn stuffed any empty cracks with coloured tissue to pad the contents and provide a little protection.  Hopefully the tissue will make the parcels look a little brighter when they open them too.
 Here is the DYNAMIC DUO  again - it took me 5 shots to get this one!  They had moved on to packing the quilts into the boxes.  Where possible the quilts were folded so the label was upper most when the box is opened.
 Cynthia helped with the folding too - everyone is really pleased with the labels.
 Now comes the really funny part.  We were coming to the end of folding the quilts and stuffing the Christmas boxes with tissue and rolling the laundry bags to go tie up and go into their box so Id ecided to get the lunch on the table.  As we sat down Glenys and Irene said there was one extra box for the quilts, i.e. we had 22 quilts not 24.  We couldn't work it out.  No one had left one home - we must have counted wrong last week.  Heaven knows we worked so hard last week it would not be too shocking to imagine we had made a mistake.  Oh well we said, we will just save the last box and use it another time.  We didn't have time to make another quilt. 

Ha!!!  That is what you think!  Actually it is what we all thought except for Miss Andrea.  She headed off out to the back room where the groups stash of donated fabrics are and came out with a bundle of suitable fabrics and headed to the cutting table.  Then it was on for young and old.  Andrea started cutting.  We cleared the lunch things away and started work.  I printed off the wording for the label, Glenys traced it on to white homespun.  After that I am not really sure who did what but we have two sewing machines going and someone ironing, others laying out.  All the strips were sewn together and Cynthia ironed them all ready for cutting. 
 By this time Snickers thought we were all nuts - she couldn't understand the need for all this activity!
 I had a backing length that I had bought extra when I bought the extra backings for the last two quilts. That came out and was ironed and then the label was fused to it and stitched around. 
 I also had an extra piece of batting just the right size left over from the other quilts so that was put on top of the backing. Before you knew it the quilt was being pinned and then handed to me 

And because my group will probably kill me if I keep including photos of them and never one of me - here you are - this is me in my messy sewing room quilting away!
 Lastly Andrea sewed the binding on - luckily we had had plenty of binding left from the previous quilts so that was ready to use as well.  This quilt was just meant to be!
 And finally the finished quilt!   I had just finished lining up all the Gumnuts to have a photo taken with the lucky last quilt when the photographer from the local paper turned up.
 The lovely journalist, Bev, came too and asked lots of questions, heard the story, took lots of notes and now we wait to see what she writes.  The article should be in the paper in the next couple of weeks.  Bev does alot of charity work herself.  We have a quilt that is just waiting to be quilted and bound and we have decided to give it to her for The Hills Relay For Life which is held at the Castle Hill Showground every year to raise funds for the Cancer Council.  Although it is a single 24-hour event they run associated events under its banner such as a trivia night, the ball etc.  Over the past two years the Hills community has raised more than $500,000 for the Cancer Council with Hills Relay For Life Events.  We are more than happy to give her a quilt to go towards that cause.

And finally here we are....the end result of weeks of planning and work .. and every single bit of it well worth while!  Tomorrow at lunch time some of us are meeting at the local post office to rendezvous with the mail collection van.  Two boxes need to be weighed and paid for but as the rest are under 2kg they can go free so with the postman's help they will be transferred straight from Andrea's van to the mail van and off they go!

And then the hard part begins - the waiting.......I swear it is going to be almost as hard as it was when I was a kid at Christmas - waiting to know that these parcels have arrived safe and sound to their worthy recipients!

And one last thing to show you tonight.  I have already shown you this laundry bag which Andrea made on our behalf for one of our Gumnut Babies.  Cynthia's son is heading off at the end of the year and of course we can't let him go without a laundry bag.  Today we all signed it and wrote the names of the other "Gummies" that couldn't be there today.

Maisy is just so glad that another mad quilt group Wednesday is over for another week - she is just so glad to relax in her favourite little right next to my sewing desk.
And I am off to relax too after I post this.  I bet you thought you would never hear me say this but I am having the night off from sewing! 

Till next time....happy stitching!


  1. My, oh, my . . . you ladies really outdid yourselves with the last minute quilt! What a feat! I feel a bit like Snickers and Maisy - totally exhausted just watching the progression of the day. So, did your lunch ever get eaten?? Is your mail always free if it's under 2kg? I can't wait to see the article - AMAZING job! Kudos to all of you!

  2. What can be said.. except FANTASTIC EFFORT! You all should be very proud of yourselves. :)

  3. Absolutley amazing! You look so happy sitting at your sewing desk working away!! I loved reading about all of the effort you ladies have put into this project. Now it is time to take a breather and just relax!

  4. Great Effort from the Gumnut Ladies..I'm sure the Boxes will be Well Recieved.

  5. Amazing work!!! Pats on the back to all your quilters. My what a mad-house it would have been.
    Love the quilts/hangings on the wall. Are they permanently there or do you change them?

    Bit disappointed I didn't get to see the elusive Mrs Claus in costume ;-)

  6. Big cheers for your most awesome teamwork! What a wonderful gift for those working hard in Afghanistan.

    Giant high five to all of you!!!!

  7. WOW! Jan-Maree ya'll are doing a wonderful thing. I could all the buzzing all they way over here. It is time for a nap I am getting tired just thinking about all the hard work ya'll have done. Hope everything thing arrives ok.

  8. Jan-Maree, I expected great things (I've been following this story for a while, you know) but this is amazing! To do all that work in one day but then toss in a quilt is just too much. It's not wonder poor little Maisey is so exhausted. Definitely you ladies all deserve a Mrs. Claus apron! Kudos to everyone!!!!

  9. Never tell the Gumnuts that they were short one quilt--------they will all get into high speed and whip up another. Just think one more soldier will have a Christmas surprise. You girls are amazing and inspiring. After I had sent a quilt last spring to Quilts of Valor, I received the nicest handwritten note from the soldier who received my quilt. It meant so much to me to hear how much he appreciated the quilt. Hugs P.S. I am going to send yoy a link of a quilt I saw on line but I can't think of the name now. Made much like yours only with 2 1/2" strips and it goes together so fast. When my brain clears (senior moment) I will find the link.

  10. Goodness, you look like you're having fun, you all have hearts of gold. I especially like your 'working with animals & children' add to that "quilters" as i'd also add to that "tinsel & glitter". I think they secretly all come for the slice too, just looks delicious, love Posie

  11. What hard working grateful patriotic ladies you are. I'm sure that you made a lot of military feel appreciated.


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