I am back home and back to reality after what has been a huge week for me. As you have read in Saturday's post we were having a great time at AQC and were just about to head out to go to the Gala Dinner. We popped across the hallway to say farewell to Lenora and Jane and to have a photo taken of us all glammed up. Anyone that knows me well knows that I don't do makeup......I tell Russell that I am saving him lots of money but the secret is that I am just too lazy to do it all! The only makeup I own is 2 shades of lipstick and one mascara......saves time deciding which shade to wear......nail polish however, is a totally different thing!! As this was a special occasion I donned the 'makeup' and lined up for a photo.
(Thanks Lenora.....it's a great photo!)
Over the previous 3 days, a lot of people had been wishing me luck and asking whether I had a speech prepared.....the reason was that they were announcing the winner of the Bernina National Best in Australia Award and that I was a finalist. 'Elenor Jean' was up against the best of the best from each State Guild Quilt Show winners from 2014. Umm no......as I wasn't going to win. I was going as I had won a free ticket into the Gala Dinner and Russell was going to support me and there were free drinks included! So off we went to sit on table #2 ......table Bernina......with other finalists and the judges of the award. We were entertained and ate the entree.
I watched as the finalist's quilts were displayed on the big screen in front of about 220 plus people, including a lot of quilting royalty. I calmly listened as Greg Alexander, Managing Director of Bernina Australia got ready to make the announcement.........Elenor Jean by Linda White! Oh dear! I was completely overwhelmed. I had to fight hard to hold back the tears, which I was somewhat unsuccessful at. Poor Greg looked a bit worried here!
Then I was asked to make a speech. I somehow put a garbled mess together but forgot to thank and acknowledge some important people. I forgot to thank Bernina Australia for their wonderful sponsorship and support. I forgot to thank my home state quilting body, the Victorian Quilters Inc, who have been very supportive of me since winning the Best in Show award last year.......and apparently I am the first Victorian to win a Best in Australia award in the 11 years that it has been presented.....another huge honour.......go Victoria! I did remember to thank Russell for without his support and understanding I'm not sure that I would be where I am today. I forgot to thank all of my family and friends who have supported me in so many ways through the making of 'Elenor Jean'. I remembered to acknowledge the other finalists as we are all winners......doing what we love! It was great to get a photo taken with Greg Alexander, along with the 2012 winner Rachelle Denneny and 2013 winner Janet Treen, along with the very heavy perpetual trophy. Both Rachelle and Janet were finalists in Award, so I felt humbled to be in such company. And don't you just love Greg's vest!.....it was an amazing Joker Vest created by Ken Smith. You should have seen the back! All of the Bernina team were dressed in wonderful creations by some fabulous Australian Textile Artists.....I particularly loved Cathy's outfit.
My first telephone call was to my Mum......I cried again! The next was to Lenora and Jane......actually I think I heard them scream from 500m away! Then it was a bulk text out to all my family and also to a few close friends. Emma and Hannah had facebook covered as they quickly posted it on their pages......and then it started! I was glad that I had remembered to put my mobile on silent as my text message notification is a loud 'Exterminate' by a Dalek!
But the night didn't end there. We were entertained by 'Elvis' and he had most of the crowd up rocking away to all of the classics. It was super fun!
After Elvis had 'left the building', the other winners were announced. The winner of the Lut-da Award was won by Gwen Parry from WA; the Shining Light Award was won by 12 year old Isabella Noble; but best of all the Rajah Award went to another Victorian, Di Ford Hall.
Congratulations Di! It was wonderful that all 10 previous winners of the Rajah Award were also in attendance and called up on stage for Di's induction.......Quilting Royalty at its best.
A text at 10.49pm......"Are you awake"? led to another excited conversation with Lenora and Jane before we headed off to bed. Needless to say it took me quite a while to get to sleep......but I must have been tired as Russell informed me that I was snoring!
With 'Elenor Jean' preparing for her trip around Australia, I decided that I had better get some photos taken with her......now that she is famous. So prior to AQC opening at 10am, I lined up for a photo shoot (minus the makeup).
A close up of the beautiful trophy that I will get to keep for 12 months, once my name is engraved on it. I have a smaller version that I get to keep which is lovely.
As a special thank you to Bernina Australia, I signed and presented Greg with a copy of my new 'Elenor Jean' book.
I hope that they enjoy reading about my quilt.
So I have come to the end of my big long blog post. It's back to reality for the time being.....but you never know what's around the corner.