For long and exceptional service

A very dear family friend, one I considered an honourary aunt while growing up, received a very special honour last week.  Valda became the third ever Australian to receive the Papal honour of the Benemerenti Medal.

Originally awarded to military recipients, first issued in 1831 under Pope Pius VI, since 1925 it has also been awarded to civil recipients, both lay and clergy alike.  Valda was presented with her medal on Sunday 25 November by the Bishop of Parramatta for long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church, and also for the development of music and music education in Australia.

Valda is a creative, musical, incredibly stylish person.  She was my first introduction to art nouveau (through the wall paper she had in her home), and she has collections of figurines and vintage ornaments and all kinds of gorgeous things.  So when mum asked me to make a card from the family (about an hour before she was due to go to the church service presentation), I wanted to make something really special.

The card is A5 size, so an A4 piece of cardstock folded in half.  The edges of the card have been swiped with Victorian Velvet distress ink and then a piece of ‘Kensington’ paper from the Pink Paislee London Market collection has been layered on top, also edged with Victorian Velvet.  I chose this paper specially because of the music theme, and because it has an excerpt from Donizette’s Lucia di Lammermore (an opera) on it.  The main image is from a drawing by Mucha, framed and mounted with mounting tape so it stands out from the card.  Three white flowers edged in Victorian velvet ink have been attached to the frame and have sticky gems added to the centres.

The art nouveau picture is actually from the Graphic 45 ‘Steampunk Debutante’ collection, but I made sure I did not use an image with any speculative imagery.  I thought the colours and balance of this one worked really well with the music background paper, and the flowers I added tied both pieces together.

I don’t have any shots of the inside or envelope as time was really too short to scan either.  But they were not too elaborate this time, as I had to ensure my mother would be able to carry it in her handbag without damaging any embellishments that might be on the outside.  So just a few flourish stamps and a flower.  Hopefully it looks as elegant and artistic as I was trying to make it for Valda – even my dad (who never comments on such things) said how much he liked it and how appropriate he thought it was.

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