This one gave me a few difficulties, but after adding the beads and subduing the marigolds, it will do, I think. I studied the flowers closely on the internet - photographs of calendulas - and then reproduced them with stitches in silk ribbon. (the flowers are 4mm, and the leaves are 7mm). One of my errors was on the left side - the bead pattern. I was trying to be clever, and won't go into the mathematics of the thing, but the motif I was trying to do is scattered looking. I won't do that again. I know why I counted it the way I did - but will have to admit, it didn't work. Oh well.
The flowers were a bit labor intensive, as I did the centers using one ply of Soy Luster in two-wrap French knots. I tried doing two ply with one wrap knots, but for some reason, these looked too fat. For the darker outline on the yellow flowers, I used two ply of Soie Cristale - as that is what I had in my stash for the correct color. With two-wrap French knots, it worked fine.
The soft, muted colors were a bit difficult - but seemed appropriate for the month, and work well with the Opals. In Texas, October is kind of the end of summer and (hopefully) the beginning of cooler weather. Symbolically, the Opals are for "Hope" and according to Victorian reasoning, the marigold/calendulas say "My thoughts are with you." Apparently, verbalizing feelings were tabu in polite society, so they spoke with gifts of flowers.
Now for an update on November! I am using the TIF colors for September, as they are absolutely perfect for this - even including the Topaz. The first thing I do before beginning the stitching, is to start with a color/fiber that is suitable - and add one patch at a time, as building this way seems to work best. As I add each, I also plan the appropriate texture for the patch, keeping in mind on these birthday hearts that the flowers and jewels are the main focus - I don't want any patch to be overwhelming in pattern or color.
I used one of my favorite stitches - created in desparation some time ago. I usually work this straight down in rows from top to bottom. However, in this case, I am using the "shimmer" version of the YLI Ribbon Floss in Smokey Blue for the tiny areas of basketweave between the long, satin stitches. I have found it best to work the long checkers from lower right to upper left when doing it this way - on the diagonal. It is less likely to pull the canvas than doing it from upper left to lower right. Then, the basketweave checks are filled in going on the diagonal again, but from upper right to lower left. It's just common sense and logic. After my frantic/begging/desparate e-mail to Jean K. of River Silks, she "Googled" chrysanthemums and looked at colors - and sent me these. Gorgeous, and softer than what I had. I'm looking forward to the experience - but it won't be easy. I'm rusty with the SRE!