Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Phoenix Rising and the Lut Da Award

Oops I was sure I pushed publish on this yesterday but apparently not! So here goes.... 

Last weekend, as you know, I travelled to Melbourne.  I headed down Saturday morning and was collected from the airport by the dynamic duo of Nicole W and Caroline L.  What a bundle of laughs these two wonderfully warm women are.   There they were enthusiastically waving at me when they saw me... couldn't have been a warmer welcome!  They laughed and said they couldn't believe I recognised them. I told them I had no trouble recognising them but had to fess up that I was never sure which one was which! Laughter all around!  For the record... Nicole is on the left and Caroline on the right....

This photo is entitled "Let the fun begin".....

I was whisked back to Caroline's house,where I was staying the night, in order to get ready for our afternoon tea with the quilters and recipients.   As you can see Caroline and Nicole excelled themselves.

All low calorie and sugar free of course.... what?  Don't you believe me???

I had to be polite and taste a few morsels... delicious.....

A fabulous time was had by all.   Chaplain Mark D joined us... seen here with Rhonda and Kate

And Sue O'D and Shirley D

Chaplain Mark W, my very first favourite Chaplain, (I will explain that sometime) surprised me by attending.  Then there was Dave, Morgan, Sue N (seated) and the dynamic duo.

Ros, came as did newby Mary C and Jan

Yours truly and Melissa L

And then all the gang....

This gorgeous fellow is Dave and he is a really special bloke to me.. he has a very special story, but although he shared it on Saturday afternoon, I am not going to share it here as I am hoping he will be able to come to our dinner and share it there... no promises though.

Susan Pa made his quilt... and he LOVES it.  His is not one of those packed away to keep it nice... he uses it all the time and has taken it everywhere with him.  So much is wrapped up in that quilt and so much meaning. You could offer him a warmer blanket on a cold night and he would not swap.   Jusy warms your heart. 

Oh and could not leave out the cutest furbabies....

But on to the dinner.   I was fortunate enough to be able to sit with the wonderful people from Handi Quilter including none other than the lovely Caroline.. or Deputy Nut as she used to be called. Caroline is about my longest serving volunteer.  She was the first one to come to a sewing day and we have remained good friends ever since!

First treat of the night was receiving my Phoenix Quilt. There is a story to this but that is for another post, as well as better photos so that you can see how truly awesome it is. It is not every day that the amazing HELEN GODDEN of helengoddenquilts and her gorgeous mother, Pat, make you a quilt so that is worthy of its own post surely.

Also at our table as Michelle DB, one of the WPH ladies.

And rocking it on the dance floor with the best moves was another WPH ladies Marcelle.

And finally the reason I had been invited to Melbourne in the first place.   I was told that I was shortlisted for an award on the night. 

Founder of Expertise Events, the lovely Gary Fitz-Roy, read out the following introduction.....

The recipient of this year’s award has made her passion for quilting known around the world.

The owner of one quilt made by this person said “It is hard to explain the impact of my quilt …. It’s a touch of home, it is magnificent, full of love, valuable and personalised”.

The nominee has organised sewers and quilters from all over Australia.

She hosts sewing days at her home, and has introduced many people to patchwork and quilting through her “Block of the Month”.
More than 200 volunteers have been organised by her to quilt unique one off pieces for very special Australians. She keeps a daily blog so her community is constantly updated.

This person met an injured soldier who had been given a beautiful gift of an American themed quilt to take with him on his recovery journey.

She then decided that Australian defence force personnel should have Australian themed quilts –So Aussie Hero Quilts was born, followed by Wounded Warrior Quilts that are found at every military hospital where Australian soldiers may be.

Fallen Warrior quilts are given to the families of those tragically killed on the battlefield.

The winner of this year’s Lut-Da award has become known as the “quilting lady” in the defence community and is:\

The Founder of Aussie Hero Quilts: Jan-Maree Ball

WOW, WOW, WOW, to say it was humbling was an understatement.    

Gary presented the award to me and then I was asked to speak. Thank goodness I had mentally prepared myself.  I never, ever give a presentation without notes but on Saturday night I did and I am pleased to say that I managed to not only remember what I wanted to say... I also think I managed to do it without waffling too much! Phew!  I do a lot of public speaking but this was different.

What I do remember saying was that this award recognises, not only my efforts but those of all of the volunteers who sew for us, as well as the service of our wonderful men and women in our Australian Defence Force.

Many people came up to me at the end and told me that my speech moved them to tears which means that they also understood what we do and why.

I even had a recipient come and find me.. who would have thought there would be a MALE recipient sitting among all the quilters but he is a quilters husband!  Bless him for coming along. I was delighted to speak to him and to hear another recipient's story.

So I had the most amazing night... receiving the beautiful "Phoenix Rising" from Helen and Pat and the amazing honour of receiving the Lut Da Award. 

The memory of this night will be with me for a very long time. 

Till next time.... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx


  1. Very moving post Jan-Maree. Congratulations, you thoroughly deserve your award.