Happy 19th Birthday
Happy 19th Birthday

My acquaintance with Il Volo’s 3 young men began when catching a PBS special in  June of 2013.

At first glance of the boys, my heart belonged to Piero immediately.  His eyes looked right through you as if he could actually see into your heart and mind to capture your thoughts and emotions as as making you thing he was singing only to you.  His voice just soars and your heart along with it.  He is a tease though, but so subtle that you almost miss it unless you are paying attention.  Piero does things for shock value.  The selfie he shared showing off what exercising had done for his abs comes to mind.  And then there is his backside.  Much has been made of it, but for myself I find that it is perfect, so round, so firm, so fully packed!

And then aaaah, Ignazio.  If you remember the “Dennis the Menace” movie with Walter Matheau, Dennis’ eyes would always twinkle as he was getting ready to do something he shouldn’t.  This to me is Ignazio, the little boy inside the man’s body always looking for the outrageous to entertain  and surprise you.  And then he sings in that beautifully clear tenor voice taking you on a trip to the heavens  His smile, including dimples, just mesmerizes you.

Lastly Gianluca whose style, beauty, and elegance are beyond belief.  And yet, there seems to be a reserve about him that almost seems like a lack of self confidence until he starts to sing.  That warm, full baritone just  fills you with heat and brings you to heights you could never imagine.  His habit of standing or walking with his hands in his pockets, or when been interviewed with his arms placed so as to almost hug himself, makes me believe that there is a well hidden shyness to him.  A piece of himself he is uncomfortable sharing.

As some of you know by now I am an avid cross stitcher.  I stitch pre-made patterns and little bon mot from cross stitch magazines when I want to stitch but don’t have time to do a full project.   It is these minis that gave me the basis for Gianluca’s gift.  I thought I would stitch several minis reflecting his interests and personality as we Il Volovers have come to know.

In planning the design I began by listing what I knew about Gianluca with some certainty.  The I thought about what else I would like to include that I wasn’t sure was defined,  going to whom I consider to be the source of all confirmable information, Marie Crider, I asked her the questions for which I needed answers to enable me to complete the desin.  she contacted me and asked i she could share my email with the WordPress bloggers in an effort to get more input for me.  Of course I agreed.  In all there were over a dozen responses.  Thank you ladies!

Then I sat down in my girl cave and began looking through my cross stitch magazines, leaflets and patters for appropriate minis, alphabets etc.  I began with the heading which of would be HAPPY 19 BIRTHDAY.  I found a banner pattern in one of my leaflets and thought it would be perfect or the background for Happy Birthday  So I stitched it in dark blue, Gianluca’s favorite color  When I stitched the letters in a pale blue ovet top the banner stitching I was very unhappy with the way it looked.  Being the perfectionist I am, nothing would do but take out all the stitching and change the heading to block letters in variegated blues.  Much better.  In addition I added the Italian and Spanish versions of Happy Birthday above and in each corner.

Gianluca is an Aquarian.  For those of you who are acquainted with the Zodiac know that this is the water bearer sign.  Noting would do but to find a water bearer symbol in all my resource materials.  Find symbols I did, but not one was the right size the right perspective or just right.  The alternate to the water bearer symbol is a set of two parallel wavy lines.  This was the symbol I used.

I was able to find the traits of an Aquarian, the flower,  the jewel  and their meanings on the internet.  The flower and the jewel meanings were rather obtuse so I left them out.  I was however amazed that the traits listed fit Gianluca to a tee.  I took a dozen or so and stitched them around the Aquarian sign

One of the traits of the Aquarian is the love of family.  And we all know Gianluca loves his family.  This was difficult to represent.   All the ‘people’ designs I was able to find were either too large, too cartoonish, or of a much different era and unusable.  So to be creative,  I stitched a frame with the outlines of Dad, Ernie, and Mom within it.

I wanted to work in the image of the cat that one particular tweeter uses in many sayings he converts to apply to Gianluca.  I thought that the cat was representing the fact that Gianluca likes cat, wrong.  As the tweeter advised me Gianluca is the cat.   Also added his initials GG as with the 140 character limit we generally use this to designate Gianluca to save on space.

The center of the design is IL VOLO with their catch phrase 3 voices one soul directly underneath, with Baritone under that.  Without Il Volo we would never have heard of Gianluca or Piero or Ignazio and thought that the name was an integral part of the boys.

There are three things that all three of the boys enjoy, Sushi, Soccer, and cars.  Sushi pattern was non existent, and what I stitched did not resemble anything edible, let alone Sushi, so out it went and I removed it.  Soccer, now that was easy.  There are literally dozens of representations of Soccer and its gear.  I chose one with a soccer ball and the word soccer in block letters.  The choice of a car should have been a walk in the park, but not so.  There were so many to chose from and having no idea of what Gianluca drove I was forced to omit a car.   It wasn’t until later that I found out Gianluca didn’t have his drivers license yet.

The balance of the design shows the musical side of Gianluca.  Some of the songs he likes and singers he admires are stitched around a musical chart and staff with the word MUSIC, another musical chart with a microphone superimposed on it, and lastly a piano was included representing the instrument he plays.

There were two unique ideas received as a result of Marie’s blog asking for additional information that I was able to incorporate into the design.  The first  was to include something of the region or town that Gianluca is from.  I was able to find a flag of Abruzzo which I stitched into the design and of course, the flag of Italy.  The other was to include some type of a beach scene to show Gianluca’s love of the beach and water.  Also to incorporate some beach equipment in triplicate showing room for all the boys of Il Volo.

Just a couple of days later I got a new cross stitch magazine that had the perfect mini.  It was labeled “sea, sand and sun” and had a beach lounger in the center.  I added two more loungers to accommodate Piero and Ignazio.

The final piece of the design included a tribute to his elegance in fashion and classy nature.  These ideas were represented by a tuxedo, his blue suit, his white hat, and new sunglasses.

Having set an internal shipping date of 2/4/2014 which allowed 8 days for the trip from my home to Italy, I was out of time and had to frame the design myself.  As usually happens the design came out in a non standard size for purchased frames so the addition of a border was required.  Not having regular matting product, nor the ability to cut to size, I took some dark blue cross stitch fabric and made borders myself.  Not ideal, but not bad either.  To have had it done professionally would have taken another 7 days that I just didn’t have.




    1. As soon as my computer is fixed I will send out Part II — the travels of Gianluca’s birthday present!  Tuesday PM.  Just went crazy Friday morning with all kinds of unsolicited ads jumping up and down, No Internet Explorer tried to use Chrome and it was worse than the ad situation!

  1. Donna May, what a testament to our beloved Gianluca!

    I’m hoping to reach you directly, so if you’re willing, you can connect with me through my Contact Page.

    Blessings and gratitude for this and also your Flight Crew comment about your family member won over by seeing IL VOLO in person,
    ~ Jeanine, Compassion’s Doorway

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