"It Was Written In The Stars . . . "
In 1930, Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Mass. mixed up a batch of cookie dough, not realizing tht she'd run out of baker's chocolate. The dough was already made, and Ruth had to rush the cookies in the oven to serve at the Toll House Inn -- a business she operated with her husband, Kenneth. In an act of improvisation that altered the course of baking history, she quickly threw in some chopped-up semi-sweet chocolate bits, expecting them to melt into the batter when baked. But when she removed the cookies from the oven, the semi-sweet bits hadn't melted into the dough. Ruth's guests loved the new chocolate-chunk cookie and the Toll House Cookie was born.
Now, I'm not comparing my work with Ruth Wakefield's ground-breaking invention, but I had my own "Ruth Wakefield Moment" last week. As I was finishing the sampler, I discovered, with horror, a terrible mistake. I had planned to stitch in 50 stars -- one for each state -- in the border. When I finished the entire border (hours and hours of stitching), and counted the stars, just to make sure . . . I counted only 48.
I hope my neighbors weren't too inconvenienced by the blood-curdling scream that followed.
What to do? Rip out some of the bars and sew in the stars? Or . . . find a place for the two extra stars in another area of the sampler. And that's how two red stars became celestial bookends for ABRAHAM LINCOLN's name. I had originally planned other design elements to flank Lincoln's name, but it seemed to be written in the stars . . . this was meant to be.
I like seeing Lincoln's name in stars. It befits the office of an executive, the Commander-In-Chief. It's a very simple configuration, plain and straightforward, like Lincoln himself. I was aiming for something solemn, respectful, in keeping with tone of the Gettysburg dedication.
And here's the final stitch back on July 3rd, the fiftieth star . . .
In planning the second phase of the sampler prep, I chose Labor Day, September 7, for the final reveal of the framed piece . . . another national holiday that coincides with a Grand Slam tennis tournament (The U.S. Open, here in NYC, this time). This allows plenty of time to "proofread" the sampler, make minor changes/corrections and deliver it for framing over the summer.
I would be a complete disgrace if I -- a puzzlemaker in a parallel life -- misspelled a word of the Gettysburg Address. I'd never live that one down! That's why I'm proofreading in a slightly obsessive way. And since "misspelled" is one of the most misspelled words in the English language . . . one can't be too careful.
See you in a few days, and enjoy the weekend. Thanks again for visiting on July 4th. Your comments mean the world to me. Ciao!