Two days ago I got the most beautiful thing ever in the mail: an embroidered bag from Aalia7, who auctioned off a custom-designed bag at Ofenjen’s Love for Lily auction in December last year. All my attempts to photograph this bag were pretty much miserable failures, so I’m thiefing this photo of Aalia’s to show you the bag itself:
I was really hoping to win this auction because Aalia7 does the most ridiculously beautiful embroidery and I wanted some for me. But then, of course, I had to decide what I wanted on it! Which is awfully hard because I’m very indecisive and who knows if the things I like will come together or just look ridiculous or… I don’t know. Maybe I’m just indecisive. So I threw a lot of ideas at the wall and Aalia7 found a way to make sure all of it stuck 😀
Aalia had proposed the idea of something fandom-related, which I do like, except that I like it in a very subtle way, so mostly I focussed on flowers I like and then jibbered a bit about who/what I like best about Harry Potter. As far as that goes, I’m always a little surprised to find myself liking Neville the best, because he is someone who is very human, but has a really great strength of character. He’s one of the few character who I really think came out better by the end, rather than worse. (I guess Harry himself does improve by the end of things, but I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive him or Rowling for the constant BOOK FIVE SCREAMING BAD BEHAVIOUR.) So for Neville, tucked in the background is a lovely Mimbulus Mimbletonia. In the photo below the Mimbulus is shown most closely on the bottom right corner. (And if you click through, you can open a larger yet version of the photo. I wouldn’t open the largest one – you lose some detail because it’s so very big. You could also look at the rest of Aalia7’s photos of the bag here, including a shot of the lining fabric, which I love.)
All the rest of the plants are “real world” plants: tiger lily, crocus, iris, and jasmine. When I was deciding what I wanted, I sort of focussed on the flowers I really like the most, irises and tiger lilies, and a sentimental favourite, crocuses. I don’t remember how much of this I talked to Aalia7 about, but when I was playing around with ideas, I was thinking a lot about my Grandma, about both my Grandmothers really. My Grandma C died several years ago, and we hadn’t been terribly close, but one of the things I remember about her was going to her house and searching the field behind her house for crocuses every spring. Crocuses are probably the first flower you see where I’m from in Saskatchewan, and their pale purple and sort of dusty green leaves almost blend in with the still winter-dead grasses and plants out in the fields. And they’re only a few inches tall, so they definitely don’t stand out. Both my grandmas lived right near open fields that were never tilled or planted and so were just full of wild everything. Weeds mostly, but also purple and sometimes white or yellow crocuses. My sister and I would pick bouquets of them, which would inevitably wind up in small water glass “vases”.
The reason for the tiger lilies that they are just one of my favourite flowers. I love the vibrant colour, and really they remind me of home because they grow wild in Saskatchewan where I’m from (and they’re the provincial flower and even on the flag). My dad always grew tiger lilies, though not wild ones, in the backyard and I probably got in trouble more often as a kid for getting the dark pollen on my clothes than I did for anything else. Irises are another favourite. My parents grew them in the backyard, and probably both my grandmothers grew them as well. They’re also one of the only flowers I’ll ever buy cut from a store. I don’t know why I find them so lovely, but maybe it’s because they remind me of spring.
The jasmine is a little different. It’s not a plant I’m very familiar with at all, but Aalia7 and I were talking about plant meanings, and I’d mentioned that I’d been looking for something that meant grace, as my middle name means grace. Yellow jasmine is for grace and elegance, and I love how Aalia’s worked them to swirl around the edge of the other flower designs.
This bag is so beautiful I could just frame it or hang it somewhere and stare at it. I hate to think of using it and ruining something! It’s really just exquisite. I love the colour blending in the embroidery and the beading and the texture of it and that all of it is something that’s got some meaning for me. I can’t possibly thank Aalia7 enough. But, you know, thanks! I’m ridiculously pleased to have an Aalia-original 😀