Last year I bought several postcards from an antique store where I holiday regularly. I was surprised when I later turned them over to read them and found several were to a Lily Gordon, Awaroa Bay, Waiheke, New Zealand. A later visit to the same store the next holiday yielded more postcards to Lily. I now have them ranging from early 1900's to around 1913. They tell the story of everyday lives in New Zealand, visits to friends and theatres. I tried to trace Lily's family but could not. If anyone reading this knows of Lily Gordon please contact me as though I love every postcard I would happily send them to her family. I have a thing about family history. I made the small art quilt in the photo (created on my 1910 Singer treadle sewing machine)and copied both the front and back of the postcard onto photo fabric plus a stamp. I put a quote from William Shakespeare as well, "We are advertised by our loving friends". Lily had many friends and I have the postcards to prove it. This particular one was from her friend, Maggie, sent to Lily in 1913. I intend to make small quilts of all the postcards to Lily Gordon and what a joy it is to do. Lily is gone now, but the words of her friends attest to their regard for her. Yes, Lily had many loving friends.
I have been many things during my life. The roles of mother and wife and artist mainly. In my earlier life I married a soldier and I became an Army wife. It meant postings to various states and lots of time raising my children when their Dad was away on exercises or various courses. My husband died seventeen years ago, and the Army has long slipped away from my life these days. That was till this last week. We lost five soldiers in Afghanistan in the last two weeks. Huge loss, the worst since Long Tan in the Vietnam war. The Vietnam war was of my time back then. I was listening to the radio and heard about "Light The Way Home", a man was asking if people would turn on their front porch light, to light the way back for the lost soldiers being returned Australia. It really touched me and we lit the porch light till the boys were home. I started looking for where quilts might be donated for soldiers and a search on Google revealed the wonderful work of 'AUSSIE HERO QUILTS'. Jan Maree and her helpers, hundreds of quilters, are making quilts for servicemen and women in Afghanistan. They make laundry bags too. They have a Facebook page as well. Do look them up if you are a quilter and want to help bring a smile to one of our men and women serving our Nation. The blocks in the photo are for this month's BOM and I will posting them to Jan Maree on Monday. The funny part of it all was that though I felt so removed from my Army days it brought me back to my old Army family, and though my husband is gone and I am older, I am still part of that family. I don't have to raise children while my husband fights a war in some foreign land, and my heart does go out to them all. I can help however in a small way and urge you if you are a sewer or quilter, please help them too. All the instructions are on the AUSSIE HERO QUILT blog site and your helping could make all the difference to a lonely soldier, sailor or airman far from home.
I have not posted lately, a winter flu that hung on for weeks followed by another bout of health probs, has seen me glued to the couch instead of the sewing machine. Finally, I am on the mend again. Spring has arrived and winter departed till next year. I am thankful to see the sunny days again and feel the sun's warmth, as the cold seemed to go on forever these past few months. No, we don't get snow, or even very cold temperatures compared to other places, but I missed the joy of blue skies and longer days.
"Carna" came into
my home three years ago. She is in mint condition, from the late fifties, early sixties. She has wonderful little silver gears on the top, and you combine them to make different fancy stitches and change her embroidery discs to make more. Her only drawback is that to change the bobbin you have to take your life into your hands and heave her upwards, hold her there, while you manouvre the bobbin out from underneath her. She weighs a ton. She also takes special short needles, though I do have an extra bobbin case with a hole cut in it to take the modern longer needles, for they hit the bobbin case without the hole.
She is named after my aunt I never knew. My father was one of twelve children, and Carna had died in her early twenties. Her brother had died ten days before, and she went to his funeral and caught the flu. No penicillan back then. How my grandparent's hearts must have grieved, how terrible to lose both just days apart.
Her photo always sat in my grandparents county home, "Wayford". I lived there as a child for four years from when I was born. Carna always looked so cool and detached, a remote figure, always a mystery and one always felt one should lowere one's voice when you were near the photo, or I did, anyway. I am not sure how my myriad of other cousins felt.
So when this beautiful machine came into my posession there were no if's or buts, I named her after that lovely remote figure in the oval photo frame. Of the twelve brothers and sisters, only two are left, my father and his sister Mickey. My Aunt Carna, however will always be young and beautiful, caught in time, never to grow old like the other siblings.