I went through my back log of cross stitch patterns a week ago with the intention of working on all the Christmas patterns I've collected over the years. Instead, I found several small Valentine's themed patterns I had completely forgotten about, so I started those.
Here is the first.
It's a free pattern from The Drawn Thread, titled All You Need is Love. Direct link to the pattern here, but if that doesn't work for some reason, here is a link to list of all their free patterns.
I'm not fully satisfied with how mine turned out. The pattern calls for Gloriana Silk threads, which I do not have, so I substituted DMC (substitutions listed below). I also used a 28 ct linen. An evenweave, or a tighter weave (the pattern calls for 32 ct), would have resulted in better-looking satin stitch (all of the leaves, plus a few of the hearts). I do like the water-color effect of the undefined edges, but I think I would prefer a cleaner, sharper look. In any case, it was fun to do, and I am pleased with it, even if I do think it could look better. Now I need to come up with a way to finish it! It's little, about 2 inches by 3 inches. I love little cross-stitches like this. They are quick to stitch up and can go just about anywhere.
Oh, and silly me, I went looking for more free cross stitch patterns last night and felt my heart skip a beat when I saw this one at Tom Pudding Designs. Red, white, and Scandinavian? Yes, please.
In random news, the dying maple in front of my house was cut down yesterday. So sad. We knew it was coming. It had been looking sickly for several years. It's on city property, so I called the city to come trim dead branches a while ago, which they did, but then more branches died, and when I called again, they told me it would need to come down. It has had the painted mark of doom on it for almost a year now, and I was hoping they'd forgotten about it, but yesterday they pulled up, unannounced, all noisy and hard-hatted, with chain saws and a big chipper. In less than 20 minutes they had that poor tree cut down and fed through the chipper.
When my children were toddlers they liked to be lifted to sit on the lowest branch of the tree, and when my daughter grew older, she would find lots of cicada shells on the trunk every summer. Last year the tree harbored a hummingbird nest, which hung at the end of a very thin branch, right over the middle of the street. We marveled at how tiny it was, and at how it must weigh nothing to be able to hang on that thin branch. Once my son hit a ball, which soared (unintentionally) right into the bottom of the nest. The nest swung up, and the hummingbird shot out of it so fast! I could almost see the indignation on his face as he hovered over his home, assessing the danger. Eventually, to our great relief, he decided it was okay to settle back into bed. Sigh. I hate losing a tree.
Fortunately there are still lots of nice old trees in the neighborhood. This time of year we have a flock of crows that hangs around all day. They are a raucous bunch, and frankly, they give me the creeps. They seem so sinister. For some reason yesterday afternoon they gathered in the trees near to my now-gone tree and screamed their heads off. I don't know if it was just a coincidence, or if they truly were discussing why a tree had just disappeared! I am currently reading The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper, in which rooks lend to the eerie mood right in the first chapter. The way those rooks are behaving, you just know something is up! It's hard not to think about that when I have these crows over my own head. I will just have to concentrate on stitching to keep my mind off the crows, I suppose!
(My DMC substitutions for All You Need is Love: Elizabethan Green--987; Poinsettia--814; Antique Pink--761 (wish I had picked something with a bit more oomph!); Forest--895; Raspberry Parfait--600; Rosewood--777; Desert Rose--760)