|ignore hearts and initials|
Last month, at her engagement party, my cousin tells me that Stef wondered if I would make her a chuppah. She naturally felt out of place asking me but lucky for her, her mom and I can--and usually do--say anything to one another. I felt so very honored (and mightly ashamed that I had never made the offer). And yet, because I had just recently been paroled from the massive wedding One Block Wonder quilt, I was wary of taking on a project like this.
I learned from my last experience that for me, the gift of my stitching labors is really only a gift when it 1) comes from my heart and 2 ) allows me to express my creativity in my own way. So now what? What if I say yes and it turns out that her ideal chuppah and my worst nightmare look very much alike? What if I decline and miss this very meaningful way to kiss my dearest cousin and her daughter?
I ran over to Himself, who was trying to hide from my family behind a large chafing dish. I asked him whether he thought I should say yes. He offered his always astute and penetrating assessment:
"Do what you want to do."
"Yeah, but what do YOU think I should do?"
"I think you should do what you want to do."
"Is that all you have to say?"
"Do you know where the bathroom is?"
I tried to receive an answer from within my soul, but since we were in a large barn with 100 people and a live country music band, the reception wasn't too great. And then I saw beautiful, brown-eyed Stefanie two-stepping across the room and I knew.
When she wandered over, I took both her hands, looked her in the eye and said, "I am pleased and honored to make you two a chuppah." I think I then choked up, either from emotion or because she was throwing her arms around my neck.
"Only there are some rules," I added fiercely. "We have to talk about what you want and see if its something I can do."
"All I want is for you to do it, Julie."
I wasn't going to give up. "We have to find a color, a design--"
"I love you. I will be so thrilled to have what ever you want to make me."
The perfect answer. And so that is how two gifts of love were exchanged in a gentleman farmer's ersatz barn on a Saturday night in suburban New Jersey. Somewhere in there, the groom was told, as most grooms are, that he had always wanted me to make a chuppah and he thanked me from the bottom of Stefanie's heart.
So that's how I have come to be working on this project. As you can see from my sketch, its going to be a large tree, with colorful circles spreading across and down to the ground. It has to fit onto an existing stand, which required multiple communications with a frantic florist reminiscent of that wacky wedding planner in Father of the Bride. It also required lots of addition and subtraction, which I count as particularly frightening forms of higher math.
I am going to do it all by hand onto a background that is in turn backed with harem cloth. That way, there is a better chance that the entire structure will not collapse and send the florist (and his seamstress) to the hospital.
The first step is to make a tree on craft paper, cut it out and see how it looks on the background before cutting up pretty pricey hand-dyed fabric. Sounds easy, until you remember my previous dissertations on my drawing skills.