Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One lucky girl

I had a presentation to do today for the annual CWA fundraising day. It was wonderful to hear that the organisation is full of enthusiasm with news of lots of new groups starting in the state with many young members. So I was home quite late before  I realised I had forgotten to check the letterbox. In it was a card to say "Sorry we missed you but there are flowers hidden around the side of your house". What q great delivery service from Tynte Flowers. Not only were the flowers well hidden but they were already in water in a gorgeous glass vase……..so what a lucky girl am I?

 Thankyou Tim, Jim and the team at Lloyd Curzon and Jason and staff from In the Beginning Fabrics….I am so lucky to work with the nicest guys ever and the flowers are gorgeous…thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! Seeing as I am blogging late at night I thought I would share the first stage of the new Thorngrove Manor quilt…..not too much to reveal just yet as I need to share it with them first. But this is the corner where I work surrounded by bits from the room in the hotel and of course design books to help fill the gaps…….

 I have quite a few William Morris books on the shelf so it should be all drawn up by the end of the week.
Emily drove me to my event today as I am without a car 3 days a week with Larry back at work……..but that comes with a bonus visit from the little man and he was glad to be there when his Poppa got home from work too……..
 And to finish the night we witnessed the most incredible sunset……love this time of year as the cooler months set in. Take care and more news on the quilt progress soon x

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Back to reality

What a week of emotions…….thanks to each and everyone of you for your kind wishes via email, the blog, the post and text messages……and a phone call or two! Thanks so, so much! I am still in shock but very humbled at receiving the Rajah award so for now it is back to business! I am hoping I have the tenacity to maybe do another book one day but for now I have a special quilt to design and make before July for this amazing place - Thorngrove Manor. It means my head will be down for about 3 months but hopefully there will be time to recharge the batteries. Today was a very special day as we took little Beau on his very first steam train ride. Larry decided to let me indulge myself as he knows how much I love trains…especially steam ones. Today is Easter Saturday and both Emily and Brett were working so we were on childcare duties. The day started with a bit of an Easter hunt at home……


And then we drove to Victor Harbor where Sophie and Tim are having a long weekend away. Sophie needed a 'Beau hug' so we started with that at the playground…...
 
and then Beau told "Auntie Dee Dee" that he would catch her at the bottom of the slippery dip…...

Lunch was a 'no go' for Beau but ice-cream always scores high…….
And then it was the train ride on the Duke of Edinburgh 621 steam train from Victor Harbor to Goolwa. Larry met us with the car at the other end so it was just Beau and his Nanna and five carriages full of excited children! This train was completed in the 1930's and then restored in the 1970's. There are quite a few amateur videos on the internet and this is just one of them and it has great views of our journey……I get goosebumps and teary eyes whenever I hear the steam train whistle!
Our journey took half an hour and Beau was so excited! At one stage he had hold of some train leaflets I found at the station and looked up at me lovingly and simply said…."Thankyou Nanna"…..



 On the way home we drove past a much needed photo - Woo Hoo….finally SOLD!! So a great day was had by all!
I hope that wherever you are you can enjoy the Easter break in the way that you choose. Over the next few weeks I will also be doing some step by step reviews of the embroidered corners on that new Mughal inspired quilt. So till then - take care x

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quilt Convention Part Two

Where do I start? It is such a great honour and privilege to be asked to teach at AQC and this year was the third time for me. My schedule meant that as always I didn't have any new work completed to teach, so instead it was a Mystery Quilt based on this historical Mughal textile from the Victoria and Albert Museum…..this is a detail of the original embroidered floor spread…...
and now that the mystery is over I can finally reveal my quilt…..minus the embroidered corners which I will possibly do on the way to the UK in July!!…..




One of the highlights of AQC is the gala dinner and what an event it always is. This is the night when the eagerly awaited awards are announced. The building at night…….

 and the delightful Jennie Rayment from the UK dressed for the occasion!…….
The entertainment is always sensational and it opened with these amazing drummers…...


Those who had attended every AQC were awarded a special memento to celebrate their loyal 10 years…..


 The MC was Editor of the Australian Women's Weekly Helen McCabe - a first time for her and I think she was a little overwhelmed with our enthusiasm!
 And all the way from Switzerland was Mr Ueltschi of Bernina especially for the 10th year of AQC….wow!

After main course the Best of Australia quilt winner was announced. Janet Treen of New South Wales was the well deserved winner with her beautiful quilt 'Rings and Roses'
 Now the rest of the night is a total blur apart from these gorgeous performers……...

 And then the nerves took over. Some months back I had been a part of the nomination process for our lovely friend Faye Packham for the Lut Da Award. Lut Da is the aboriginal word for 'to give' and a more giving person you will never meet. Faye's adult daughter has an intellectual disability and if it wasn't for the Bedford Group Lauren wouldn't be employed or be living in her own home (along with her devoted Mum, Dad and brother). So with Lessa Siegele's help the Bedford Mystery Quilt Challenge was launched some years ago. In a short time over $100,000 was raised so we were all pretty sure this would be fitting for this award. So with fingers crossed and with winks to my Guild colleagues we waited with baited breath….and then it happened! I am sure everyone could hear the shouts from Melbourne to Adelaide! It was an absolute thrill…love you and all you stand for Faye xxx
 So what happened next…..well the Shining LIght award had already been given to a talented young lady and then it was time for the Rajah Award to be announced. Well it is only a few days ago that I shared with you that Lessa Siegele was one of the early recipients of this award and that she had reproduced the very famous Rajah quilt. The website for the award states that …..This award will acknowledge an outstanding contribution to quilting in Australia, whether it be a contribution as a quilting teacher, designer, author, historian, guild worker, retailer, etc or a combination of work in several of these areas. This award is called the ‘Rajah Award’ in tribute to the historic Rajah quilt made by convict women en route to Australia in 1841.

For the last four years I have predicted the recipient but I have to tell you I was way off this year!! It started with a few brief bits of information about the nominee….."This quilter had done charity work, been a member of her Guild for a long time, served on committees for her Guild, had written two books, had designed three ranges of fabrics………and then something was mentioned about tours overseas……..yes Helen Bertram…..it was me!!!! My head went in my hands - a major angina attack erupted…... how could I get up on that stage…..no speech prepared….no way could it be me!!! The previous recipients were lined up on stage to welcome me and as I write now I have tears flowing down my face as I cannot believe I am looked upon as "one of them". My first words in that microphone were that I was 'too young' for this…but what I really meant was that I have looked up to all of the other Rajah Award winners for so very long and I just couldn't possibly be 'one of them'! 



 With no tissue on me I sniffled and then did the proverbial disgusting nose wipe on the back of my arm……...





 When I finally composed myself it was fitting to have a photo with Faye and the beautiful Judy Newman of Expertise Events…….
Well I think it was real because I brought home this very heavy trophy (about 5 kgs of crystal I think!!)……..

I have been overwhelmed with emails and messages so I will leave with these words which I left on Facebook today …..I am totally overwhelmed and humbled by all your wonderful emails and messages of support - thank you. My quilting journey as many of you know has been totally unexpected and unplanned - but at the end of the day it is the people in our industry…….my quilting buddies, all the students I have met and all the amazing support from the industry, that have carried me along the way. If it wasn't for all of you (and maybe a touch of William Morris!) then I wouldn't be where I am today….thank you, thank you, thank you xxxxx