One year on from Chelsea …

This week marks the first anniversary of our sojourn to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show … and our appointment with Queen Elizabeth II … One year ago to the day we walked onto this amazing site to start work on what was to be a spectacular installation.  We were both elated and exhausted after a full on year of rehabilitating the nets following the torrential rain in Melbourne on Anzac Day 2015 … a herculean effort by anyone’s standards.  Plus there was the making of an additional 20,000 poppies on stems by an incredibly dedicated team of stem specialists all over Australia and in the UK.

It feels like a year … and it feels like it was yesterday.

And I still marvel at how this lovely little community project projected itself into the lives of so many wonderful people … who took up the gauntlet and made it their own.

5000 Poppies had become a project with two sides to the story essentially bound by its original purpose.  To honour our servicemen and women, their families and their communities … AND the galvanising of community working with incredible heart and commitment towards a common purpose.

It’s astounding on so many levels.

So .. a lot has happened since Chelsea … and we are now (still) working towards 2018 … creating an additional 50,000 lapel poppies for the RSL … AND creating another amazing installation with Phillip and his team … this time for the Australian War Memorial to commemorate the Centenary of the end of the Great War.

What a beautiful evolving  and meaningful work of art we have all created … full of love and honour and respect and remembrance.

LEST WE FORGET

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ANZAC : LEST WE FORGET

Anzac Week has come and gone in a blur … the one day of year when our New Zealand cousins across the ditch and Australia collectively honour all servicemen and women for their service and sacrifice. It’s a solemn day of remembrance for many of us … and an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served.

We were lucky enough to again have the opportunity to support the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir with their program Requiem on Anzac night … the program was so incredibly moving and St Paul’s Cathedral looked stunning all decked out in our beautiful poppies.

We also created a wonderful display at PHQ – the East Malvern RSL for the Dawn Service … despite the rain it was a beautiful backdrop for the service and the breakfast to follow.

I also had a wonderful opportunity to talk to the Children at Lloyd Street School where my son went to school many years ago.  The children were lovely and made their own wreaths to honour our Anzacs.  So gorgeous and oh so intimidating … all those expectant faces!

And … we held a lovely poppy catch up in Federation Square … It was so much fun to be able to talk to people including many of our veterans about the project.  We may have even garnered a few new knitters/crocheters.   Anzac Day in the city centre is always so special, and I loved catching up with many of the team.

I should also add that in honour of our Anzacs, the Australian Embassy in France planted a stunninghttps://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAustralieEnFrance%2Fvideos%2F748686835311972%2F&show_text=0&width=560“> 2,500 poppies left in France from our visit to Fromelles last year …. that’s a bit exciting

And our wonderful Rotary Friends at Armentieres in France created two stunning displays at Anzac Day services at the cimetery Cité Bonjean France, the Toronto cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium (Australian graves of the Hill 60) and the ceremony for the New Zealanders, also in Ploegsteert. The Poppy carpet was made by our French Rotarian (District 1520) friends. Beautiful.

 

And Hornsby Shire Council created a fabulous wall of poppies which looked amazing.

And these fabulous installations posted by Maureen York in Darwin on our Facebook page.

And then there is the Malaysian contingent … Members of the MANZA The Malaysia Australia New Zealand Association Craft Group, as well as staff and spouses from the Australian High Commission and NZ High Commission Kuala Lumpur have been crocheting, knitting and sewing poppies for a banner which will be displayed at the Kuala Lumpur ANZAC Day ceremony at Tugu Negara Monument and at the Gun Fire breakfast on Anzac Day.  

I love it that our poppy family is growing and growing and that everyone is putting their own stamp on the concept … it’s beautiful to see the many and varies ways our crafty pursuits come together in a wonderful array of Remembrance tributes.

And this week the State Library’s Writing the War Exhibition comes to the Williamstown Library and will be in situ until late June.  It looks like this will be the last outing of this particular exhibition and is well worth a look.  Our beautiful poppies will be playing a cameo role for the duration of the exhibition.

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What’s coming up at PHQ and beyond

Howdy all …

Life continues on at a pace at PHQ in Melbourne.

While our focus has been on creating 50,000 new poppies for the RSL for their annual Poppy Appeal in 2018 … we are also working towards our stem quota for our grand finale spectacular at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for Remembrance Day 2018.  All exciting stuff, and all consuming in so many ways.  So if you are thinking about making poppies for us for either of these projects … we would absolutely love it!!

However, in the meantime, there will be workshops and talks and making and chatting and enjoying the comraderie of working towards a pair of common (if rather lofty) goals.

If you are Melbourne based, we meet regularly at the East Malvern RSL … Tuesdays and Thursdays most weeks (although there will be some disruption to the timetable in April so keep your eyes on the facebook group) from 10.00 until 3.30ish.  You are welcome to join us anytime … lunch is always great.  And, until June, second Monday of the month at Fed Square from 12.00 til 2.00 p.m.  More will be announced soon.

It occurs to me that together we are an incredible force to be reckoned with … and we’ve already shown what we can achieve on a micro and at a macro level.  Amazing things.  Amazing friendships.  Tentacles of connection to past and present … reaching out into our community and bringing us all together to create such wonderful far reaching works.  How proud we should all be.  Waxing lyrical here lol

So … with that in mind I want to tell you about another wonderful project with heart that’s reaching out into the community.  Grounded in love and connection on so many levels and achieving the most amazing things … The Baby Trees Project and Beekeeper Parade.

I have to say, I have never, in my life, been so awestruck by an individual as I am by Koky Saly … chief beekeeper at Beekeeper Parade. I have written about Beekeeper before on this blog … so I won’t go through it all again … however if you are Melbourne based (and even if you are not) you now have the opportunity to hear Koky talk live about his background, his project(s), his vision and the inspiration behind it all … and believe me when I say, you will be so inspired by this man and his vision … this is pure heart stuff … so PLEASE register right now …

Oh and by the way … lucky me (no pressure) and two other awe inspiring and equally magnetic individuals Bec Scott (Streat) and Chris Cincotta (Humans in Melbourne) get share our equally inspiring stories on the same stage as Koky … in the hope that we can ignite the spark that encourages you to follow your dreams …

Fantastic stuff

Book now : Tickets here

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Sometimes my heart swells with so much pride … this was one of those times

Things have been achanging at PHQ.

The poppies have found a new home at the East Malvern RSL and it’s a fantastic space for us … and now my #1 Son, Evan, is about to fly the coop …

Evan came with us to Chelsea and it was the making of him.  I was (am) so proud of him … I loved watching him work with genuine enjoyment … we were all grateful for his strength and his willingness to pitch in wherever he was needed alongside the rest of the team … his interactions with the British public chatting with them about the project and handing out leaflets every day as they waited to see the display and so thankful for the way he cared for his mum.

He had a ball … as we all did … and as an added bonus he got up close and personal with Demi Moore!!!!!

New beginnings my gorgeous boy.

img_5007evan-at-chelseaevan-and-lynn-1evan-and-demi-moore evan-lynn-maryanne-at-chelsea-hospital evan-with-brendan-nelson-at-chelsea

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Planning Ahead

11/11/2018 will bring the end of the Centenary of  Anzac.  Four years of commemorating our brave Australian heroes from the last 100 years.

For 5000 Poppies which seems to have become a movement of sorts (it seems this amazing tribute has grown legs all over the world),  2018 in Australia will be the culmination, with a stunning final installation at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.  The AWM has been on our wish list from the beginning of the 5000 Poppies project and it’s fitting that Remembrance Day 2018 at the AWM is where our final installation will be.

Brendan Nelson

Have you listened to Dr Nelson’s speech from July last year … our small team was in France installing Fromelles when he gave this speech at the National Press Club … it was so moving … there was not a dry eye in the house. 

As with all of our installations this one will be different to the last one, which was different from the one before.  Bigger, bolder, but also much more accessible.  Phil, Kate and I have worked on a concept that will be incredibly beautiful in its simplicity.  Can’t say more until all the announcements are made but it’s very exciting for all of us.

It will take some pulling together, but I know that we are up to the task, as we have been up to the task many times before.  More news on that soon as well.

In the meantime, we are in urgent need of more poppies.  We have 50,000 poppies to deliver to the RSL by end April next year and that is our key focus for the moment …

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Any pattern can be used as long as it is tightly knitted or crocheted maximum 9-10 cm and the rule of thumb is that if you would be proud to wear it then someone else will be too.  There are many beautiful patterns on the blog for you to choose from.  I particularly love Ing’s pattern (crochet) but the Chelsea patterns are also beautiful and quick.  Use your imagination for centres, buttons, flowers, whatever you would like … the more different centres, the better.  There will be workshops announced soon … these are always fun so keep your eye on the workshops page on the blog.  If you have a brooch pin or a standard pin, feel free to attach one to the back of your poppies, it saves the task being done by the RSL.

Marg and I cannot thank you enough for your continued support of our “little” project.  It continues to to remind us of the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, their families and communities, and the money raised by the sale of the RSL poppies will be used in the provision of much needed services to our veterans and their families.

On that note, Kate, Deb and I attended a couple of commemorative services in Ballarat last week.  The first one for the unveiling of the Garden of the Grieving Mother, a beautiful and poignant memorial to the mothers in particular, and families in general who have lost sons and daughters in war … the suffering at home was horrific for these families and their communities.  It was an emotional unveiling and a beautiful tribute.  We were grateful for the opportunity to attend.

grieving-motherThe second service was to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.   … It was an honour to be there.  It is simply unfathomable to me as it is to all of us … the  sheer inhumanity that those brave souls … men and women … faced … And their battles did not end at the end of the war as we know …

LEST WE FORGET!

fall-of-singapore-commemorationWith love.

MyDeal.com.au
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Top 50 Influencer Awards

Good morning poppy friends. We have been invited to participate in this year’s Top 50 Influencer Awards (which is all about how we use social media to connect with our audience). We are entered in the main awards but also in the Social Media Queen category .. but we need your vote to win … so I am asking as many of you as possible to vote for us … we’d love to win. There is a cash element to the prize which is always very handy for a limited (no) budget community enterprise. It’s not difficult to vote … and to get all your friends to vote as well. We are VERY late entering so behind the eight ball already … with only 9 days left to vote … so … Please vote for us … here is the link http://www.mydeal.com.au/top50influencerawards/vote 

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2017 … and we are back at at it!!!

Good afternoon all … and welcome to 2017.

So that was Christmas and New Year done and dusted … I hope you had a wonderful break (if you managed) and some special time with family and friends.  I can’t quite believe how quickly the weeks are flying by already … I would love it to slow down a little but time waits for no man I guess (or woman).

We have had a wonderful couple of weeks break … weather notwithstanding,  and now we are slowly easing ourselves back into all things poppy.

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At this stage, we don’t have a huge year ahead for our poppies in 2017, although 2018 will be a whole other story.  However, we are grateful for a little respite …  because the last two years have been huge … so 2017 offers us a chance to consolidate before the big finale year in 2018.  We are still assessing how we can best employ this amazing asset this year, so that people get to see and enjoy.

We also still have work to do on the 80 nets post Chelsea.  We started this work late last year and have been thrilled to find that it is minor compared to the post Anzac Day 2015 upgrade … so we expect that it will be just a few months … and for the most part … this work is making them ready for 2018, so we have time.  The nets seem to have survived their moment on the world stage admirably (and proudly).

At this time we expect to be particularly busy as expected around Anzac Day and Remembrance Day this year,  and we are also planning to do a few smaller installations to support local commemorative activities throughout the year.  There will be more information to come on all of that once things are locked in.

First up though … is our commitment to make 50,000 lapel poppies for the RSL to sell as part of their 2018 Poppy Appeal … these will be our own “special edition” hand crafted poppies to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, and a wonderful way for all of us collectively to contribute to the ongoing wellbeing of current and former members of Australian and allied defence forces and their dependants.

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From the RSL website …

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to bloom in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldier’s folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground, making the poppy symbolic of the bloodshed in trench warfare.

The Poppy was chosen as the emblem of remembrance after Canadian military physician, John McCrae wrote the moving and powerful poem In Flanders Fields. John McCrae is popularly believed to have written the poem on May 3rd 1915 after he witnessed the death of his 22 year old friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer the day prior. The poem was first published on December 8 of that year in the London based magazine, Punch. To this day, the poem remains one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battles of the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.

Image result for poppy appeal logo

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
 John McCrae, 1915
 

So … the work has started, and while we haven’t done a formal count, we have already received around 2,000 brand new gorgeous poppies … and that’s a fantastic achievement. We are hoping to deliver at least 10,000 to the RSL in the first half of the this year just to get the ball rolling … the remainder will be delivered periodically throughout 2017 and into 2018 to allow time for the RSL to prepare for them sale … because the plan is that they will be packaged a little differently to the standard Poppy Appeal poppies.  We are so excited about the opportunity to contribute in this way, and we are certainly looking forward to getting as many people on board as we can.  What’s that saying … many hands … seems to be our mantra!!!

We are looking for small to medium, tight knit or crochet poppies .. around 9 cm in diameter.  Slightly larger is ok so long as they don’t “wilt”.  It would be very helpful if you could attach a pin to the back but if that’s not possible then it’s not a major problem, but the less post processing for the RSL the better.  If you go to the patterns page on the blog the Chelsea patterns are perfect and Ing’s poppy pattern is gorgeous but you can make just about any one of these poppies and it will work … the key is the tension … we don’t want them flopping.

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The RSL are hoping to raise $1 million from our contribution.  That’s a huge amount of money that will be put towards ongoing programs in support of our returned servicemen and women and their families … a noble cause and one I hope you will support with us.

I will be announcing a number of workshops over the next month in and around Melbourne, but we kicked off last Saturday with a workshop with the Mornington Peninsula 5000 Poppies team at the Mornington Library … a big thank you Judi McKinna for organising while Carol Copp is taking a break.  We had around 12 delightful women and there was lots of laughter and plenty of stories as always.  It was fantastic to see Margaret Halstead from Banbury England … who we met in Chelsea back in May.  She has been braving the changeable Melbourne weather on holiday in Australia with family, and we loved that she could join us.  She is a big part of our growing international Poppy Tribe and will continue to spread the message and the heartfelt remembrance connection when she goes back home.

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I will also be continuing our regular workshops in at Fed Square over the next 18 months … but there will be more – so keep your eye on the blog and the facebook page.

I would love it if you wanted to get on board as a champion in your local area … run workshops (get togethers) and arrange for delivery the poppies to us in Melbourne …

I love the way that women connect over craft in this way. It’s such a wonderful byproduct of working together on a project with such heart.

So more news later … but in the meantime … drag out those needles, crochet hooks and yarn and let’s get to it.

Lynn xxx

 

 

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