Poppies, Poppies and More Poppies

Good morning poppy makers and friends … we have had a REALLY busy few weeks at Poppy HQ in Melbourne … with planning for our initial display well underway … a few radio interviews, the First Convoy Commemoration at Princes Pier last week and the Stitches and Craft Show in Melbourne to prepare for, not to mention the counting of poppies and documenting the contributors and dedications … it’s getting bigger all the time and I didn’t think we could get any more excited … but we are bursting with joy here.

We are currently at 42,898 and inching our way towards 50,000 by Remembrance Day (I knew we could do it)  … and this week’s mail is huge.  We have also collected over 2000 beautiful poppies from the earlier Stitches and Craft Show in Newcastle as well as the Melbourne Show.  Amazing!!!  I have no doubt that our revised 102K plus target is well and truly in sight.

How amazing you are.

So if you happen to be in Melbourne for the weekend … we are at Stitches and Craft at Caulfield Racecourse for the rest of the weekend and if you are not busy on Remembrance Day this year (which is a Tuesday) … we will be at Fed Square on the Forecourt from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Would LOVE to see you.

Stitches and Craft Melbourne

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Has it been that long ….

I guess it has been that long.  But SOOOOOO much has been happening!

We currently have around 40,000 poppies in our hands at poppy headquarters with many thousands set to arrive in the months after Remembrance Day. And … ostensibly only 22 more weeks of poppy making ( but we hope to have the bulk LONG before then) before all poppies are due to be delivered to us in Melbourne.

We have so many new groups joining including schools, libraries even whole towns, and we are sure we will make over 100,000 beautiful handmade poppies and Marg and I are delighted that you will all be such an important part of this wonderful Project.  Workshops are happening all over the country … and collection points are springing up everywhere … so keep your eye out on the blog or the facebook group for news in these areas.  Basically the whole nation is embracing this amazing project and we are thrilled.

Phillip Johnson and his team have been working hard on a concept for the project.  He has asked me to gently encourage the poppy team to greater aspirations and to keep making.

Western Australia is excited about having the display in WA for Remembrance Day 2015 and we are actively looking to where after that but our hope is for it to go to all Australian capital cities throughout the duration of the centenary and then to as many of the regions as we can accommodate.  That obviously depends on where the funding for transport comes from so still a lot to work out.

We are in the process of putting together a fundraising video to go to the crowd for funding to mount the Fed Square display.  Obviously this wonderful project has grown well beyond our initial expectations and consequently it will not be a simple “field” as we had initially envisaged.  So we need to raise funds to do it justice.  More about that soon. And we are about to approach the War Memorial again but from a different perspective this time about the possibility of a long term display and see where that takes us.

There is so much more happening … but I’ll keep some of it under wraps for a little while longer until we have fleshed out the detail.

Don’t forget that there are so many Centenary projects happening all around Australia … check your local Centenary Committee for details.  In Victoria has the First Convoy Commemoration in Melbourne on 19 October.   We will be mounting a display at the Melbourne service and also be there to collect poppies and maybe even make one or two …. and to meet those who come along.  If you are Victorian based and want to attend, you need to book tickets.   There will also be First Convoy Commemorations in Albany Western Australia from 31 October to 2 November which will feature a huge amount of poppies from the 5000 Poppies Project.  Can’t wait to see the pics of that.

First Convoy Banner

So my poppy friends … keep making … but even more so … keep enjoying making.

Lynn & Marg.

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Super Star Landscape Designer Joins 5000 Poppies ….

Good evening poppy makers and supporters …  What amazing few weeks we have had at 5000 Poppies Headquarters.  We are rapidly approaching the 35,000 mark with 34,577 poppies received to date.  We have almost doubled our count since Anzac Day this year … and still have 6 months plus and many thousands of poppies still to come. I am continually astounded by the commitment of this massive nationwide team.

But the really big news is that INTERNATIONAL SUPER STAR award winning landscape designer  Phillip Johnson (the BEST landscape designer in the world as judged at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower and Garden Show) … has offered to design our poppy display on Anzac Day next year.  We have known for some time with the number of poppies that we are collecting that the display will be amazing … but now it will be WORLDCLASS amazing (and I am sure it will go viral through social media channels).  So we are beyond thrilled about Phillip’s excitement, drive and commitment to the project.  His vision for the display is mind boggling … but you will have to wait to see that.

Phillip Johnson LandscapesSo my friends, if that doesn’t get you excited … there will be more coming in the next months.

Phillip has asked what it would take to make half a million poppies … After I recovered … I had a bit of a chuckle about what my backroom would look like, but really there is absolutely no reason why we can’t reach 102,784. So I am committed … how about you?







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Spring has sprung ….

Didn’t spring just creep up on us … I am sitting here musing for my post today and thinking just how far we have come from June last year when we started up this wonderful project.  How many new people we have met, how many wonderful stories we have been privy to … and feeling incredibly humbled by your “call to arms” for poppy making.  It’s fair to say that this type of craft is a traditionally woman’s domain and so the majority of our contributors are women … however, there have been a significant number of men contributors as well as children.  The ages of our contributors range from 2 to 102 (at least that’s the age ranges I know of … there may be some outside of this) … and from all areas, interests and walks of life.  When I was asked recently in a television interview just what I thought this project was about … my answer was community and connection.  5000 Poppies has been a way for many many thousands of people who may not have otherwise connected in any way, to be a part of something so much bigger than any one of us as individuals,  and to show our service men and women and their families through the generations that we are grateful for their contribution to our way of life.  It is not about the glorification of war … it is about honouring their courage and their sacrifice … and I can’t help but be excited about Anzac Day next year as we work on the design for our display.

image-1.jpegFaye's Poppies

In the last week or so on the facebook page which many of you will not see … we have had a sharing of the most incredible poetry … obviously the 5000 Poppies project has touched the hearts of so many and some have put their thoughts and feelings into poetry.  I have shared a few of these poems below for you … such stunning beauty.  Thank you.

By Teresa Ellum

The slip knot secure on the knitting needle
I begin—adding stitches as contentment & warmth builds
Bright red wool, softly runs through my fingers
Rows added, the shape slowly appears
Thoughts run deep, whilst hands are busy
Remembering brave men, fighting for our freedom
Wool as red and thick as blood
Symbolic, as another row is completed
Sons, fathers, uncles, brothers, lovers
Many died, but not forgotten
Nearly complete—a centre of black, as we mourn for them all
A few scraps of green, to show new life, the gift they gave us
The finished product—A beautiful RED POPPY–made with love

The slip knot secure on the knitting needle…………………………

by Meredith Atilemile

Through Polygon Wood

Through Polygon Wood we walked
(In dappled shade of leafy trees
thick undergrowth of fern and bush)
I saw the bare and jagged branches reaching for Heaven.

Through Polygon Wood we walked
(The damp path well-defined and solid)
I smelled the stinking, hungry mud.

Through Polygon Wood we walked
(Green and yellow light
Sweet scent of hidden flowers)
I tasted the searing poison of gas.

Through Polygon Wood we walked
(Birds twittering
and calling to each other)
I heard the screech of shells, roaring explosions, cries of pain.

Through Polygon Wood we walked
(Gentle breeze passing through the leaves)
I felt the sighs of a generation lost.

by Marg Wilson

The blurred faces of people unknown
dreamed into her sleeping mind,
crowds marching, amassing and rushing,
up embankments and hills they climbed

bugles played in the distance
as ghostly horsemen galloped by
nurses, stretchers; a soldier young,
cradling his mate as he died

She’d researched her father’s uncle
Who’d survived the first world war
Despite shrapnel wounds in Belgium
He’d made it home to Australian shores

Thanked by his town in a homecoming
He’d responded in the words of the brave
“I only wish I could have done more, and
lets honour those resting in graves”.

how she wished she could have known him
and just how can you thank them enough
for protecting their country and loved ones
in the grief of battle, the mud and the blood

she saw through the haze of emotion
the poppy she last night had knitted
with her words of dedication pinned to it,
“For Arthur”, so tenderly written

She picked up that blood red Poppy
And felt humbled with the pride that it gave,
And pledged to knit countless others
In honour of our Anzacs so brave.

Lest we forget

by Elizabeth Riordan Evans

The blood, the guns, ring the bells once again
For tonight has been the death of some fine gentlemen
Cry and pray say the ringers of the bell
For the gentlemen who gave their lives so well

For the country they say
It is all a lie
What’s so glorious about going that far to die?

The gas, the disease, the death & blood
The hurt, the dead, the cold unfeeling mud

The bodies so mangled that you can’t recognise them
And other bodies lined up in front & behind them

Ring the bells ring the bells ring the bells once again
For tonight’s seen the death of some fine gentlemen

This was a 12 year old’s view of the war – in which her great grandfather fought (at Gallipoli) for the Royal Welch Fusileers.

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Hi There,

Our little poppy group is not so little anymore.
We have 500 members on our Facebook page and many more non facebookers who are regularly contributing to this fantastic project. When I started this project in New Zealand I never quite knew just how big it would get. People from all over New Zealand and the world have been contributing.
BIG NEWS!! We have exceeded the 5000 poppy mark and like the Australians we are going to continue making them and see where we end up come December 2014.
It is a very humbling experience to receive the poppies and read people’s dedications to loved ones who served for our country in both wars.
We are at present displaying three panels of poppies (about 2100 poppies) at Expressions Art Gallery In Upper Hutt, Wellington – photos to come. The display looks AMAZING!! I am very proud of everyone’s efforts.
Also we have a venue for next year’s commemoration. We will be displaying at The Air Force Museum in Christchurch from February – July 2015. Very exciting!


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It’s Sunday … the best day of the week

Good morning Poppy Friends … I hadn’t realised just how long it has been since I have posted on the blog … not ignoring you … really!!!! Just keeping my ahead above the water in the Poppy Juggernaut.

Did you realise when you got involved with our little project … just how BIG this is going to be.  I hope you are as excited about this as I am!!!!!!!

Much has happened in the last few weeks … We have been interviewed for Channel 7 News in Melbourne this week, which I hear has been replayed on Weekend Sunrise nationally this morning and the blog and facebook group are abuzz.  Need to convert those new members into addicts like the rest of us lol

We have topped the 1000 member mark on the facebook group and passed 300,000 hits on our blog … mostly the patterns which augers well for future poppy contributions … and both are growing at a rate of knots.

The National Wool Museum in Geelong has partnered with 5000 Poppies to create a small display of 1915 poppies to support their 2015 exhibition Empire Women from Feb to May, which will be amazing and we are planning a wonderful fun joint event in September to promote the partnership.

New Zealand has their display up and running at the Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt and it looks BEAUTIFUL.  Congratulations to Lisa Wallace and her superb team for their amazing efforts.  So much to look forward to!

New Zealand Poppy Display Upper Hutt

With the Anzac Centenary events program underway in most Australian States (if not all) now … we are not surprising getting more interest all the time.

We will have appearances at the Royal Melbourne Show (24 and 26 September) more on that later and we have been asked to guest at the Melbourne Stitches & Craft Show at Caulfield from October 23 to 26.  There are also a number of other events coming up and we will post on the blog and the facebook group about those.

IMG_0231_0802Remembrance Day 2013Every now and then I like to remind myself where all this started … with Wal Beasley and Stan Knight

We are now on the countdown to April 2015 … there are many 5000 Poppy events planned by our makers in their local towns/RSLs/libraries and other venues … So excited about you all being able to display locally before you send your poppies to us for April.  It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we will end up with 100,000 poppies or even more …. that’s a dream I’d like to see come to fruition.

We are also starting to formulate the next stage of the project and will let you know more about that when we have more information to share.

Back in touch soon … but in the meantime … keep poppying.

Lynn & Marg


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STOP THE PRESSES : Our total to date stands at 26,593 … we have passed our goal and now the fun has just begun.  We are not stopping and are looking forward to just how far our Poppy adventure can take us … so keep them coming Poppy friends.

What a wonderful weekend we have spent in Bendigo at the Sheep & Wool Show … lots of poppy making … a bit too much shopping amongst all the wonderful woolly deliciousness, some very handsome sheep to be admired and those incredible sheep dog trials.  Truly … I would go just to watch those amazing animals and their equally amazing trainers.  But for us it was all about the poppies with a wonderful display for the Women in Wool Luncheon and making lots of poppies in the Yarncraft Shed with all of our new poppy friends.  We had a wonderful time making and chatting … particularly with the children as young as 2 making poppies with us.  And must also mention the poppies that were dropped off by a number of larger groups … I will catch up with all that a little later on the facebook page … but suffice to say over 2000 poppies were collected over the weekend and we could not be more thrilled.  I should also mention that we simply could not manage an event like this … (and like the recent Stitches & Craft Show in Melbourne) without the help of an amazing team of excellent ambassadors to man the tables demonstrating, teaching, talking about the project … but especially Kate, Janet, Margaret, Julie, Bernice, Maryanne and Carmel and the many other friends from many places who stopped by to join us for a long or a short time.   We were also thrilled to be able to visit the Bendigo Library on Friday morning for their Craft Table … where a lively bunch of ladies and men were making poppies for the project … and of course, we even squeezed in a visit to the Bendigo Woollen Mills who have been supporters since we first started up.  Below are just a couple of pics taken from the show.  Thank you so much Bendigo.  We had a great time.

Bendigo Wool & Sheep Show DisplayOur display for the Women in Wool Luncheon
Lyn with Jacinta McCaskill Wareham and Chris Jenkins Hamilton LibraryBendigo Sheep Show 2014Its raining poppies from Hamilton Library … with Jacinta McCaskill Wareham and Chris Jenkins
photo (13)Bendigo Sheep Show 2014Sandy Galloway from Sorrento Probus
photo (14)Bendigo Sheep Show 2014
Poppy Cakes from Julie Trait …. delicious
photo (18)Bendigo Sheep Show 2014Joyce Fisher from the Maitland Knitters Guild in NSW
photo 1 (4)Bendigo Sheep Show 2014
photo 2 (2)Bendigo Sheep Show 2014Sebastian


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