Sunday, November 25, 2012

Embroidery Journal Project - November

During November I worked on the 11th quilt square for the Embroidery Journal Project that I've been doing this year. Each month I've embroidered a different design based on things that happened during the month. By the end of 2012 I will have twelve 12"x12" squares that I can make into a quilt that represent the year.

My November quilt square.

The focus for the majority of the month was on Thanksgiving. Although I had good intentions of doing something daily with Sophia and Olivia, it didn't work out that way.

We ended up doing quite a few Thanksgiving-theme activities the week of Thanksgiving instead. I feel like that was more than sufficient and not as overwhelming as trying to do something daily during the month.

Embroidered turkey to represent Thanksgiving.

We hosted dinner here at the farm as has been the tradition since 1995. This was the second Thanksgiving that Dad has not been here. Last year, in 2011, he was at the nursing home in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease. There was no way to safely transport him to the farm nor did we have the nursing staff needed to help him. This year marked the first Thanksgiving since his death.

Coupled with the absence of Dad, was the absence of Mom who was sick and unable to make it. It felt strange not to have both parents there for the holiday.

One of the highlights of Thanksgiving Day was seeing a beautiful red cardinal at the feeder and bird bath in the backyard. I haven't seen the male cardinal for the longest time, and there he arrived on Thanksgiving while I was in the kitchen making food for dinner.

He stayed for most of the afternoon, eating food with the sparrows, goldfinches, and other small birds. He drank water from the bird bath. Dad loved cardinals, so it reminded me of him and gave me comfort knowing that his love of birds has been passed on to me and onto Sophia and Olivia.

Embroidered male cardinal.

Another interesting thing happened during the week or so prior to Thanksgiving: the Christmas cactus that Dad gave me more than a decade ago began to show its pink buds. It never buds this early - it is always around Christmas time when it happens.

Embroidered buds and flowers 
on the Christmas cactus.

On Thanksgiving Day, one of the flowers opened on the left-hand side of the plant. It was beautiful with many different shades of pink. It was the single bloom for the day. There have been many more blooms over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The other curious thing is that there is a plant on the counter near the Christmas cactus that is a succulent/cacti type plant. About 7 or 8 years ago, I purchased it for 99 cents so Sophia could use it as well as other cacti in an arrangement for the county fair. 

This plant now has grown into a small tree, and right before Thanksgiving began showing little pink buds. By Thanksgiving, the entire tree was in full bloom with tiny, pink flowers. It has never done this before. It was a complete - and pleasant - surprise that it even would have flowers. 

Back to the quilt square...on the planter there are two images:

=> Chalice - to represent the ten-month program I'm doing called Wellspring through the UU church. This program has been incredibly inspiring and educational; and I'm thankful that I'm doing it this year.

=> Cross with Deacon Stole - to represent the 808-page book that I completed in early-November after working on it for the entire year. 

The book includes all of Dad's homilies, prayers, and invocations; some of the writing and his journal he kept while he was going through the Permanent Diaconite program; newsletters that he wrote; and items I posted on CaringBridge that reflected what he believed as well as the impact that he had on literally thousands of people throughout his life. 

It was a lot of work; and well worth the effort involved.

Next month marks the completion of the Embroidery Journal Project. I'm happy that I'm doing this project and will have something positive to remember what has been one of the most difficult years of my life.


Rita said...

Very pretty! I love the cardinal that reminded you of your dad the best. ;)

The Handmaden said...

It's so lovely to see you've been busy with the needle because you have won a copy of my embroidery pattern! Happy stitching to you and the girls :)

Emily said...

Very nice work, as always. I have enjoyed reading your stories. I really look forward to seeing your quilt at the end of the year!!