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Welcome to my world - mostly the fabric world that I escape to whenever I have time. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

A little bit of history.....

So, no sewing today but I thought I would share this with you instead.

My Dad was a special guy.  He passed away in 1989 but not before he left behind a wonderful legacy (and more than just the red hair and sense of humour he gave me!)

He was a primary school principal and taught at tiny one room schools to start off with and this is a painting of one of them.

It was called Cailbro because it was on the farm owned by the Cail brothers in/near Dalwalinu in the wheatbelt of Western Australia about 250km north of Perth.  Dad told me that at one point there weren't enough students to require the Education Department to continue paying for a teacher (him) so the Cail brothers apparently imported some relative's children from somewhere else to keep the numbers up. 

Dad loved teaching, and really loved teaching manual arts.  One day soon I will show you more photos of some of the things that he made but one of the things he taught to the country kids in his schools was cane work. 
This shows some of his students from a tiny school called Cowaramup in the south west of Western Australia - the photo was taken in 1964!  I was 2!

He did lots of other cane work too and I am only just beginning to remember some of the pieces I have around the house.  I try to use the things I have from my childhood as I don't see the point of having them packed away. 

This is one of the pieces of canework that I haven't used for about 14 years when my boys were babies and then again almost (but not quite) 50 years ago when I was a baby! This is the bassinet that my Dad made when my sister Glenis was born in 1955 (lucky she doesn't read my blog so I can tell you that!).  That cane piece over the top is not a handle  - it is to rest a piece of netting or gauze to keep the flies or mosquitoes off the baby.  When we babies were born we lived in the country and were lucky to have fly screens! 
 I used it for my boys, my sister used it for her three.  I think my other sister missed out coz she was living on the other side of the country when her two were born.  Since then a friend of mine from quilt group borrowed it for her first grandchild and her son and DIL loved using it so much that they kept it for all three of their children.

I am about to rejuvenate it for my friend whose daughter is expecting baby number 1.  I am thinking a new mattress, a new pillowcase style sheet for the mattress and maybe a tiny little quilt.  The latter might only be used for decoration in the bassinet - I will check with my baby nurse friend to find out (Jennie?)

 My dad also made a stand for it - a kind of trolley with a shelf underneath for storage.   I will lend that too but at the moment it is in the shed and needs a clean.  

My dad would be so pleased to know that it is being used!  Sadly he passed away in 1989 - such a loss and I miss him every day.  Happily so many of the things he made live on to keep him with me every day!

I have always loved to hear stories of those who learned to quilt at their grandmother's knee - that heritage is marvelous.  But now I am beginning to realise that although my parents and grandparents didn't hand down a quilting heritage to me they did hand down a rich heritage of all sorts of handcrafts and in the future I am going to share some of them with you!

Till next time............happy stitching!


  1. What better way to remember and honour your Dad than by using the articles that he made. What a wonderful story - thank you for sharing.

  2. That is such a beautifil story JanMaree. Just think someday your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will use it. Your Dad must be so proud.

  3. how wonderful to have these things to remember your Dad. Beautiful work in them, what treasures!

  4. What a moving testament to your dad. I love the photo of the kids with their canework and the story of the bassinet.

  5. Thanks for sharing your memories of your Dad! It's so nice that his handiwork is still being used today. I'm sure he's smiling down from heaven.

  6. Aww Jan-Maree that is so sweet. That is so sweet of you to share one of your treasures from your dad with all of your friends. I love the bassinet.

  7. I have always loved those baby baskets, and you are so lucky cause it has very special memories attached to it. Don't make them like they use to

  8. That is just lovely work. I love the picture of the kids with their work. Having taught the basketry merit badge to Scouts for over 35 years, I KNOW getting work like that out of them is a real gift.

  9. Absolutely a wonderful family story - just amazing memories! Your Dad was a very gifted person and to share that gift is the mark of a true teacher. Beautiful cane work!

    Look forward to more stories!!

  10. What a wonderful story! Love the picture of the school house that your dad taught in and the cane work is beautiful. What a precious gift he gave of the baby basket. You know where your love of crafting came from!

  11. A very talented man. Thank you for sharing his work and passion.


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