Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A very special anniversary!

On this very day 20 years ago my life changed forever. The previous evening in February 1997 there had been a Valentine's Day Ball where a major raffle draw was to take place. The next morning was Saturday February 15th and at about 9.30am I received a phone call to say we had won first prize of a return trip to London! At that time I had been working in a quilt shop having had a break from nursing for a few months. To say I was shocked was an understatement and in a split second I told the caller that the raffle should be redrawn as we couldn't take the prize. I knew that we would not have the money to travel even with the airfares paid for and especially working in a quilt shop where my wage book often showed IOU! Our girls were only 15 and 13 at the time so it all seemed impossible. Fortunately the caller had the sense to tell me to hang up and think about what I was saying and that she would call back in 10 minutes.....the rest as they say is history!!.........
I left the quilt shop and returned to nursing working night shifts for a few months so that I could be home for the girls before and after school. We saved enough money for Larry and I to make my very first overseas trip which lasted 2 weeks. We did a 10 day Trafalgar tour of England and Scotland and we have so many fabulous memories...........(Oh my goodness....those track suit pants Larry! We call them trackie dackies here in Oz!)......


 And little did I know that almost 20 years later we would be back here on a Beatrix Potter journey to celebrate my very own Beatrix Potter book (with Helen Bertram's encouragement and love!). The images are old and we had no fancy cameras back then........


 On tour we were unable to visit Hill Top but we did do a cruise on Lake Windermere where I made this note in my photo album ........ 

 It was also on this trip 20 years ago that my love affair of steam trains started too....

We met up with one of my late father's crew members (the flight engineer) from his days flying Lancasters as a Pathfinder during WW2. I chuckle at this image of Gerald telling the guide how unimpressed he was that we had to pay to just walk up the path to see the outside of the castle......"but they've come all the way from Australia" he was saying!!..........
 But after the tour we did manage our own day trip to Bath to see the antique quilts at Claverton Manor........it hasn't changed much in 20 years.........
But of course the most significant thing about this amazing trip was my visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum where I became completely besotted with the designs of William Morris! I had already been quilting for over 10 years having started in the mid 1980's. My first quilt was an Eleanor Burns Log Cabin in a day quilt where the shop had to get the 2 1/2inch perspex rulers custom cut........
And here with my special friend Faye promoting quilting in a local shopping centre in 1990 - can't believe that was 27 years ago!........
 And so many of these were made............

 And this was a quilt I made in 1992 and donated to the same worthy group - Cystic Fibrosis SA. Little did I know the favour would be returned five years later with my life changing raffle win. I hand quilted this quilt and they used it for an earlier raffle......
I'd also been teaching for a number of years already and this year will be about 30 years (hence my reason for hanging up my hat later this year).........
We returned to the UK in 2003 where my interest in Morris intensified with a visit to Walthamstow and the William Morris Gallery (which has improved significantly in the 14 years since our first visit)....
In 2002 I discovered that our very own city has a strong connection to Morris so soon I will be sharing that with others on the William Morris in Adelaide tours. So I give thanks to that lady who talked me out of having that raffle redrawn.....what a moment of fate that has led me on such a rewarding 20 years! So on to the mundane but still important parts of life........the garden of course! More roses spread through the house  - I wish I could share the divine smell!.......

 I was standing in my sewing room one evening cutting fabric and and I looked up as the sun was setting to this view through to the family room and thought how lucky am I.........
 The lilies are reminding us that Autumn is not far off and in just three days one shoot grew over 12 inches.........
 The milkweed bush is again being eaten and some of these caterpillars are now in Beau's classroom where hopefully they can watch them turn into butterflies.......

 I've made some more rope baskets with this one on its way to a special friend........
 And I was on the receiving end of this special gift this week all fussy cut from some of my early Adelaide Collection fabrics. I love the beading and ruffled piping - thankyou Kerryn x

 So 20 years on I feel very lucky that I can share in this significant anniversary. My final thanks are to all those who have contributed to my journey of quilting and especially William Morris. To Anna Scott who thought I should write a William Morris Appliqué book nearly 10 years ago and then to Helen Bertram who allowed me to return to so many places in the UK another seven times - I will always be humbled and I feel so very blessed. And I almost forgot a big thankyou to Tim from Curzon Fabrics who instigated my creative time with Jason Yenter of In the Beginning Fabrics. To friends and students and those who traveled with us in the UK - thankyou. To my family for being so supportive and especially to Larry who is so patient and kind. And finally to my late mother who I watched sewing from a very young age. I am sure this pinafore was something she stitched for me and who allowed me to presume that everyone sews and everyone should have a sewing machine!  Life is good!

23 comments:

  1. What a wonderful trip down memory lane

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  2. Yay, life is good, and you have enriched the lives of many quilters through your own wonderful journey.
    Thanks for sharing it with us, DUQ, and so many others xxx

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    1. Hi again, just to let you know that post was from me, Deborah Segaert x

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    2. Nice to hear from you Deborah...I would email you but it says "no reply blogger".....hugs x

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  3. What a wonderful journey! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Jean and thanks for dropping by!

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  4. what wonderful memories and you were so lucky to change your mind and save up some money for that ten day trip - what a wonderful time you had - I can tell from the way you wrote it and the photos.

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  5. Lovely post. Great to see the old photos of your first trip.

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  6. Lovely story Michele, you have been blessed indeed. See you soon. xxx

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  7. How nice of you to share all this with us. Thank you! Michele you were such a cutie as a little tyke - and still are!

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  8. Many congrats to you, Michele. And thank you for being a blessing to all of us these many years! God bless you in the years to come (and may they be many more).

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  9. I look forward to your emails. I live in Longmont, Colorado USA. Thank you for sharing all that you do. Love your adventures, flowers, seeing your precious family.

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    1. Thankyou for dropping by and from so far away....then again the internet makes distance irrelevant doesn't it?

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  10. Thank you for sharing your love of William Morris with us, it has been a wonderful journey and I wonder how many quilts have been made from your designs!Six in this household, with another ( Fantasy meets at Midnight) in the pipeline. I suspect that we all grew up like you,thinking that everyone was like our mother and had a sewing machine (treadle) on which all the families clothing was made.

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  11. I love this post, Michelle! Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I can't help but remark on the "fashion" photos . . . . . the hairstyles and the clothes !! Just love your "pinny pic" and that haircut. I have very similar photos from my life. We were cute kids, weren't we? Long may you continue to share your adventures with us here.

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    1. Thankyou! Oh but those 1950's haircuts!

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  12. I read this post with lovely sun and a little breeze in the trees making shadows around our living area. Hope for spring survives! What a wonderful journey you have had Michele! And how lucky are we that it worked out the way it did because it brought you and your intense love of Morris to us. Perhaps it was all meant to be! :)

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  13. What a lovely story Michele. It just shows how one small thing (buying that ticket) can have such a big impact of the direction life takes us. I'm so glad you won that trip because you've bought joy to many other people through your quilting. Thank you for sharing.

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  14. Oh, I enjoyed every picture and the story behind them. Amazing how your journey developed and enriched all of us. The world is a better place because you are in it.

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Thankyou for dropping by and sharing in my journey. And thanks especially for your lovely comments….I may not always respond (especially if there is no email address) but please know you are appreciated x