this past weekend we celebrated our sweet daughter’s third birthday. ever since we found out that max was going to be a boy (and would therefore be sharing a room with sam) i started planning and designing rae’s big girl room and felt that her birthday would be a perfect time to bring it all together. it meant i had a good few months during pregnancy to plan and create mood boards, a few months after pregnancy to just get used to our new crazy life, whilst also meaning i could enlist the present buying of the grandparents to help fund some of it. it was the first time i have ever redesigned a room all in one go and i loved the process. i usually like to live in a space and design as i go, making the whole process quite drawn out, but very organic. and yet, planning and preparation of an entire space in one go really does make a huge and immediate impact. it also ended up being cheaper as i adapted and/or reused quite a lot of our own stuff to create some of the looks i had in the mood board instead of making a lot of purchases. i may be converted to a new way of doing things!
one of the projects i was most excited to tackle in this process was a giant cross stitched canvas. i first saw the idea on pinterest almost a year ago. the pin linked back to a sweet swedish blog (that i have actually since started following as it is so happy and creative!) but for the life of me i could not find the original post that the photo came from so i had no idea how to replicate it. not one to be discouraged once i have an idea in my head, i decided to try and figure it out myself. it was a huge risk (especially considering that i have only cross stitched one other time before) but i could not be more pleased with how it turned out.
i started out with a 3 x 4 foot canvas, a huge ball of hot pink yarn, wool and yarn needles, a lovely shade of grey paint (admittedly it was a tester pot of emulsion for walls that i had lying around the house, but, mixed with a bit of water it worked a treat) and a very large sheet of grid paper to make the pattern.
making the pattern was actually a lot easier than i thought. i basically blew up the image on my computer, counted the ‘stitches’ and copied the image onto my grid paper. this would work with any cross stitch pattern you find on the internet and i think there are even apps and websites that you can upload images into that will create cross stitch patterns for you. but you will still need to transfer them to the huge grid paper in order to get the stitches big enough for the canvas.
the trickiest bit for me was then working out how in the world to get the grid onto the canvas so i could actually stitch it, as it needed to go onto the canvas post-painting but in a way that meant we couldn’t see it once it was all finished. i considered several different options and then it dawned on me to lay the grid on top of the painted canvas and punch holes through the canvas at every point that i needed to make a stitch. to do this i used the needle that i would be stitching with so i knew the holes would be the right size.
when i was done, i pulled the grid paper away and i had a perfect grid on my canvas for all my stitches. i kept hold of my grid paper and still counted the stitches as i went to make sure i got it all right. i am so glad i did this as i had missed a few holes whilst transferring the pattern.
from then on it was just a simple counted cross stitch super-sized. it took about five evenings from start to finish and although i find cross stitching to be a bit of a tedious process in and of itself, this project was so much fun as it felt like a massive puzzle to work out and the effect was truly incredible.
it makes a great, personalised statement piece for her new room and best of all rae loved it. i hope it will be something that she has for a very long time. sarah