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Embroidered Lives

June 8, 2009

Dad-loving-CaseyOnce upon a time there was a man.  He lived alone with his dearest companion, Casey.  She was black and white and loved to play ball.  A lot.  

One night for diversion, this man went onto a social networking site where he could chat with other humans.   (Casey has a very narrow view on what is fun to do in the evening, and an even more limited vocabulary.)  Thus began a 3-year conversation with a woman who lived with no one, be they green, yellow, red, blue, black OR white, and they became very friendly.

After a couple of years, (and thousands of late-night typed conversations as they were on opposites sides of time from each other,) the man traveled to meet this woman.  It was a very long journey that took months of preparation. 

Meeting one another solidified what they had been dreaming of – a union.  These two lonely and determined people decided they would begin yet another journey, one that would be very difficult.  It would require begging, baring private and personal information, and involve the help of family and finally even attorneys. 

It was a journey to bring the woman to America where she would marry the man and they would begin a new life together.  When the seemingly endless invasive, nonsensical, and frustrating bureaucratic steps had been completed, and after months dragged into more than a year, the man was finally able to return to her, and bring his bride back to her new home.

This is the story of my brother Jim, and my Chinese sister, Jin.

Did you know that in the State of Florida, a Notary can perform marriage ceremonies?  Guess what?  I am one.  Even more wonderful news is that we live in a virtual paradise where it is lush and beautiful, a place where it is perfect to get married.  So my brother brought my new sister to my home, where I had prepared everything for a wedding (I had plenty of time thanks to red tape, delays, etcetera!)

From the invitations to the vows, decorations to accommodations this was a labor of love and excitement for me.  But this is not about me – imagine coming to a completely foreign land with someone you’d met twice.  Coming from a world of bicycles to one of automobiles and all of the many cultural differences, language being only one.  I cannot imagine how overwhelming that must have been.

“We have come here today to joyfully celebrate love. It is evident in your faces, and each of us experience it in our own hearts just by being here with you. For many years you have traveled a long road toward this day. From across oceans and continents you have opened your hearts to one another, holding on to the belief that God had chosen each for the other, trusting that this day would come. In just a few moments you will at last share your vows of marriage together. We are deeply grateful to you for opening your hearts to us as well, inviting us to witness and share in this precious moment.”

 Jin Jim and Jennifer

When my brother went to get his bride, they went on yet ANOTHER journey, around parts of China she thought it was important for him to see and places she wanted to visit before stepping into a new world.  So together they traveled by car, train and river boat, to cities, museums, villages, markets, and finally to her father’s grave so she could say ‘goodbye’, but also so my brother could ask for his daughter’s hand.

To say “thank you” my new sister brought us many gifts they collected on that final China journey, which she asked me to keep or share with the people in America.  Most things were given to family members, but there were many that were duplicates, extras or that she simply brought for me to sell.  I now offer these unique items in my store,  Below is an example of what my sister brought to me, that I am now offering for sale, along with some interesting facts about Chinese embroidery.

My Chinese Sister Presents:  Straight from her birthplace of Shanghai – An exquisite, hand-embroidered Swimming Koi Picture.  Look at the exquisite detail in the embroidery, and notice that it is perfect from both sides.  Set in rounded glass, this work of art is a true thing of beauty.  Also note how this ingenious picture rotates on its unique and intricately worked carved base. 

HD Framed-Embroidery-Koi (2)

Embroidery in China: Did you know that the most famous four schools, or types of embroidery, are those of Suzhou, Hunan, Sichuan and Guangdong?  Here we are offering an embroidered picture from Suzhou. As described above, it is set in a frame, and the two sides of the embroidery are the same.

This piece represents very skilled work, with no ugly knots showing on the back, and it is done by hand of course, using very fine silk thread.  Suzhou embroidery is famed for being fine, smooth, dense and even, it must have taken months to make.

About Suzhou embroidery: This art form has been popular for over 2,000 years. Located in the lower Yangtze River valley not far from Shanghai, Suzhou was described as "every family raising silk worms and every household embroidering."  In the old days girls made embroidered incense bags for their lovers as tokens of their love. 

Ducks and other birds, flowers, fish, and animals in general are the most common subjects for embroidery. Many of the pictures are of cats. The fur looks quite real, you can see the individual hairs and the eyes seem to look at you.  Can you guess how many colors are typically used just for the eyes of these cat pieces? Twenty or more colors usually go into the cats’ eyes alone!


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21 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2009 9:01 am

    Oh, what a beautiful story. The happiness of the end of a long wait is the reward. Thank you for sharing such a happy part of your brother’s life. It is a blessing. His dog is a beauty too. I will have to take time to visit your store to see the embroidery. The coy work is lovely.

    We are leaving in a few minutes to continue our vacation. This time we are headed to Grand Junction, Colorado. A new adventure.

    Hugs… Jeanne

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 8, 2009 9:15 am

    What a sweet story, I so glad it worked out. The fish are soooo beautiful and I did not know all that about embroidery. Chinese works are gorgeous!

  3. June 8, 2009 9:17 am

    Whoops, the above was me. I really should check that itching click finger!

  4. June 8, 2009 12:21 pm

    What a wonderful story!Do they now live close to you?
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. suesue permalink
    June 8, 2009 12:44 pm

    what a wonderful love story! thanks for the visit-my garden is actually late around here. hope yours does better than mine!!

  6. June 8, 2009 1:51 pm

    what a lovely story!

  7. June 8, 2009 2:11 pm

    That’s such an interesting and lovely story. My, how amazing that two people can fall in love thru the internet. Awesome!!
    Thanks for sharing this lovely story.
    xo bj

  8. June 8, 2009 2:23 pm

    What a sweet story! Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  9. June 8, 2009 2:28 pm

    Wow! That’s quite a story! I wish them all the best. Thanks for stopping by today.


  10. June 8, 2009 3:19 pm

    aaaaahhh what a lovely story. So sweet and ended so nicely too. You were able to marry them as well. Very special. The embroidery is beautiful. I have seen those types in person and have always admired their workmanship. Very beautiful.
    hope you are having a lovely day

  11. June 8, 2009 4:37 pm

    Now I find out that you can marry people! That is so cool. What a wonderful story Jennifer. Is that you standing in the middle? You look so young and pretty. It’s very interesting about the embroidery. I hope you sell that beautiful koi picture quickly. Alas, it just does not fit into my decor, but it is very beautiful.


  12. June 8, 2009 4:54 pm

    This is a lovely story…..and with a happy ending. Beautiful embroidery. I’ll drop by your store to take a look at more.
    Have a wonderful day!

  13. June 8, 2009 4:54 pm

    Such a great story. Glad things worked out for your brother and his bride. Embroidery is something I know nothing about. But the koi picture is lovely.

  14. June 8, 2009 5:49 pm

    What a wonderful story. So glad things worked out for them. The embroidery is very cool too. Thanks for sharing the history of it. Is that your dog? What a cutie! We had a border collie too. Thanks for the sweet comments you left on my blog today too.

  15. June 8, 2009 6:27 pm

    Wow..what a beautiful story!! How lucky you are to be able to take part in such a special way.
    XO Karen

  16. June 9, 2009 12:06 am

    Congratulations to Jim and Jin! May their union last alwasy! What a sweet love story. That Chinese embroidery is a beautiful work of art! WOW! What a treasure. That is so neat that you got to help them solidify their love in marriage! 🙂

    Thank you for inviting me to come and share in the happy event through blogging. 🙂

  17. June 9, 2009 6:17 pm

    How cool that you got to perform the marriage ceremony for your brother! How very special is that! And that embrodery is just amazing.

    Lovely story.

  18. Emily permalink
    June 10, 2009 9:45 am

    Again what can I say, your writing is so great it makes me tear up!!

  19. June 10, 2009 10:49 am

    I LOVE a story with a “happily ever after”!!!

  20. June 11, 2009 11:31 am

    This is beautiful — and I love that YOU could “marry” them!

  21. June 14, 2009 6:45 pm

    What a touching story! Thanks so much for sharing it, and thanks for the visit to my blog. I a behind on visiting, and it looks like a have a bit catching up. Have a blessed day!

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