Three days after arriving in Bulgaria we were to attend the wedding of my husband's cousin, Nadya, to her partner Vichren. There was some discussion, planning and shopping for the wedding gift to be given by our side of the family. I have met Nadya several times and I wanted to give her something personally, without being swallowed up by the larger family present and being a name on the communal card.
I didn't have a lot of resources to create a wedding gift, or did I? I had along with me embroidery thread and hoop, needles, pins, scissors and just by chance a cotton placemat my mother gave me the other week. I brought it along as a bit of material to do some stitching on if the mood took me, so I decided to stitch a design on the placemat with the bride and groom's names and the date of their wedding. Good idea, but then my problems began.
To sketch the design I needed a piece of plain paper, couldn't find any in the apartment so I ripped off the bottom of my travel itinerary, found a pencil in my husband's backpack, got the Cyrillic spelling of the names and date off the wedding invitation, and a heart and flowers design from this website
Now to transfer the design I would normally stick everything firmly to a window and trace the design to the fabric. Plenty of windows, plenty of sunshine, no sticky tape. Nothing adhesive at all to be found. So I drew the design as dark as I could on the paper, pinned the placemat to it to keep it all steady, laid it down on the table top and kind of traced/sketched onto the fabric with pencil. I couldn't see the design exactly but I pretty much knew what went where.
Then I got down to work and did the stitching, just backstitch in red. I worked through the evening up to about midnight, and finished it off the morning of the wedding with a dashed border on two sides (to try and distract from the fact that the heart and the names ended up a bit off centre)
The day of the wedding was Sunday and so card and wrap were not easily commercially available. To make it a presentable package I folded the placemat in the cardboard envelope from the wedding inviation, and made a small card from paper that I decorated with hearts using the red crayon from my son's crayon roll. Finally I tied it together with a yellow ribbon taken from a bouquet of flowers from the kitchen.
Nadya was touched and I had a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, the gift was a little bit of me, made with my hands, all the way from Australia.
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