July 26, 2015

The day the letter came!

On the 25th July 2005, exactly 10 years ago, a letter was written which changed the course of my life!

  I was on 10 months long service leave and had recently arrived home from interstate having spent time caring for my mother in the last month of her life. My husband and I needed a holiday after the time apart and working through the grief and loss, but somehow plans would just not come together. Everything we tried to organise fell flat and in the end we decided we would just stay home.

I was happy with our decision and decided that I was going to make it a real holiday at home, with a minimum of housework and a maximum of craft for the six weeks that we had allocated. We soon discovered that God was in control and why He hadn't allowed our plans to come to pass. My husband developed shingles and that needs special treatment within 72 hours to negate long-lasting problems. If we had been outback bush camping as planned, miles from civilization, he would not have been able to obtain the urgent medication that he needed.

Meanwhile, I jumped into my 'holiday at home'. After years of wanting to do craft but never having time to do it except on holidays, I could craft to my heart's content - absolute bliss! After six weeks, I had a great pile of things I had made ... and suddenly had a reality check! 

My long service leave was a stepping stone into retirement and I had made known to my employer that I would not be coming back after LSL. If I could produce all that stitching in six weeks, how much was I going to do in retirement? How could I afford to keep buying fabric and everything else needed for stitching? Whatever was I going to do with everything I made? Was there any purpose in all this crafting?

Then I read a little note in an editorial in Patchwork & Stitching magazine. They were looking for new contributors and encouraging their readers to have a go at submitting their original designs. 

I had always said that I couldn't produce original patterns. I could copy and change someone else's but I would never be able to create something uniquely mine. But something stirred within me to have a go and to get out the pencil and paper, and I found that yes, I could be original. The key for me was that for the first time in my life I had plenty of time to just play, and with that doodling, gradually an idea formed.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I made two projects and sent off photos to the editor. I waited for a very long month and didn't hear a thing. Oh well, it didn't really matter - I had had my fun and there was nothing lost in trying.

And then the letter came!

Dated the 25th July, 2005, the official letter commissioned both of my designs for publication in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine. To say I was over the moon is an understatement!

And that's how it all began - a decade of having the privilege of spending time doing what I love, of sharing my ideas, of making pretty projects and having my work recognised by the crafting public.  I have been so blessed!

I think I've improved a bit since my first design, as you can see from all these photos of my old projects!  I am for ever grateful to editors who were prepared to give me a go and encouraged me in my baby steps in designing.

Thanks for reading my reminiscences and for being part of my journey.



Milton and Mr. Stubbs said...

You are very talented and creative. Thank you for sharing your story. Bless you.

Barb said...

What a wonderful train of events. From sad to worrying to exhilarating. We are always our own worst critics. I'm so glad you saw that little note and responded to it.

sunny said...

What a great story! I for one, am glad you've found the time to design and create, and thank you for sharing your talents with us.

Teresa said...

And we are all so glad that letter came as well. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with all of us!

Baa. xxx said...

What a wonderful decade to have had - here's to another wonderful one!

Susan said...

First of all congratulations! What an honor!
I can sympathize with your husband's illness, as recently I was experiencing attacks of terrible pain, which when I described it to my doctor, she said it sounds like shingles, although you don't have a rash. Well, if that's what shingles pain feels like I NEVER want to get it! I hope your husband is not suffering!

Patricia said...

Lovely story, thanks for sharing. So many of us have been blessed by your talent.

Calicojoan said...

Congrats on the 10 year anniversary of your very own creativity. I dream all the time, but I just don't have what it takes to come up with something my own... but I live thru those who do! :-)

Maria said...

Thank you for sharing your 'story' Val. It never ceases to amaze me how, what seem to be obstacles in the way of plans always turn out to be the best thing. Your story is inspiring to others.

michele said...

j'aime beaucoup ce que vous créer
ils ont bien raison de vous passer commande
c'est très jolies, continuer, vous nous faites rêver


Anonymous said...

I had no idea you'd done this only ten years. I thought it was a lifetime! =) I love every project you showed, and would still like to do them today, so that means they aren't dated!

Life's a poem said...

Thanks Val for your wonderful creativity, we all certainly are blessed by it. I hope you continue to use your skills for many more projects.
Its always heartening to read of other creative people's journey.


Jenny said...

What a lovely story of how things happened in your crafting life. AS you say, things happen for a reason. Thanks so much for sharing this with us all.

Jenny from New Zealand

Ondrea said...

Wow! Life always has a way of steering us into different directions and we never know what is around the corner. I am so thrilled for you creating such an idyllic life after LSL and being a carer for your dear mum. I thank you for all your beautiful projects.

Christine M said...

What a wonderful story, Val. xxx

Diana Rayward said...

Val, thank you for all those wonderful projects you have shared in the past decade. Many of your projects have provided me with hours of enjoyment whilst making gifts for family and friends. May you continue to be blessed with the joy of creating such beautiful things.

Gina E. said...

Ditto to all the above comments, Val! I am also grateful that you took up designing your own projects and share them with the readers of the magazines you feature in. Like so many others here, I have earmarked your designs with sticky tabs in my magazine stash (including the cat one in your post!), and even if I have to reincarnate myself a dozen times, I plan to make all of them! If you go to my blog, you will see my version of Lilac Love, which I told you about recently. I took a few shortcuts, but basically I followed your directions.