Throughout the past 80 years sewing has been the common thread in Dell Reilly’s life and now she shares her passion with the community through her Happy Hearts.
Stitching her handcrafted Happy Hearts since May, Dell hopes to put a smile on the faces of young and old as she scatters them around the Bundaberg Region.
Bright and colourful fabric embellished with intricate details make up the Happy Hearts, with each stitch lovingly added with the purpose of bringing joy to strangers who find them.
“My mother taught me to sew, I have been sewing since I was a very, very young girl, we would make our own clothing,” Dell said.
“Over the years I have made countless wedding dressing – I counted about 20, and even bridesmaid dresses and clothing for the whole wedding party.
“Most of this material for these hearts I have dug out of my box of tricks that I have collected over the years.”
Each pattern is thoughtfully made to be pleasing to the eye while creating a sense of happiness for those who come across them.
“It was after my young neighbour’s graduation where I had made her a heart as a remembrance,” Dell said.
“I made it so that it fit in with her individual style.
“I also made one for my niece’s daughter, which I made from the fabric of her dress for prom in May.
“Then after this I came across an American thing called, I Found a Quilted Heart, where handmade hearts are left in places for people to find and take home with them, so I started to do the same.”
Dell said she has included her own flair to her heart designs.
“I enjoy doing my own thing, that’s what I do best, so I added extra detail to the hearts I have made,” she said.
“I have left the Happy Hearts in Boreham Park, at my doctor’s surgery, in Hinkler and on Bourbong Street.
“I have even made one with a monkey and I plan to leave him at the zoo – that’s the place for him.”
Born in Bundaberg Dell has fulfilled many roles in the community, but sewing has remained the common thread over the decades.
“In my early twenties I did a cane testers course where I then went to work in the sugar mill to test the CCS in the cane,” she said.
“I have enjoyed helping with volunteering here and there, I guess I have done lots of things in my life, but I like to do my own thing now in my spare time and I don’t plan on stopping.”