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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Big Reveal

Finally, after more than a year, the time has come when I can share some photos of the Big Surprise I`ve been working on since last May. But before I forget it in my great excitement, here`s a quick pic of the adorable wee hedgie that`s this month`s free gift with WOCS 258 that came out while I was on holiday:

It`s sweet as it is but I love the birthday card with the balloons, it looks even more special:

So. The Big Reveal. I started this project in May 2016, thinking that I`d finish it by Christmas last year, but I only completed it in May 2017. Out of these 12 months, there were only 5 weeks in total that I spent stitching this photo conversion - it is scary to think how much `free time` I have in a year! 😂 The story behind it is as follows:
When Gregory was 3 years old, we spent the summer in our cottage in Hungary and one day, my granddad was sitting in the garden with him, reading to him from his favourite farmyard book. Gregory just started to talk around that time (mixing English and Hungarian adorably, by the way 😊) and all we heard from the house was my granddad saying MACSKA (`cat`) over and over again and Gregory "repeating" MAK-CSA after him every time. It went on for ages as neither of them would back down, and I took a photo of the scene, which has been a family favourite ever since.

A dear stitchy friend of mine from Facebook converted the photo into a chart and last year, I enthusiastically dived in:

I completed the first page (of 12) in 3-4 days and then, reassured that this should be a doddle (?!?), I stopped - especially as I started to get commissions back to back and I didn`t have a spare moment for the next few months. Then in December I started to panic and put everything else on hold, I only concentrated on this picture.

Luckily, there was a lot of black in the background so by choosing to work on black fabric (16ct aida), I saved a lot of time - I marked these squares with grey felt pen so that the remaining pages of the chart wouldn`t look so daunting. 😉

Even so, by 19 Dec I only got this far...

... and my parents were arriving on the 21st to spend Christmas with us. Since I`d been telling my mom for ages that I was stitching something for them, I quickly came up with this Plan B that I knocked up on the 20th (it`s a wee key holder from an old issue of Cross Stitcher that I changed into Hungarian - I wonder what my mom thought when she saw the product of my alleged 6-months worth work!). 😀

For some reason, Christmas 2016 came and went even more quickly than usual - I swear one minute we were singing Silent Night and the next it was Spring break at the school and we were eating Easter eggs. In May, I finally went back to the Papi pic, knowing that I only had that little bit on the left to finish:

Finally, on 21 May, it was complete and ready to go to the framers. I chose two mats, cream and avocado green and a dark brown frame that`d match the other frames in my parents` house. I also asked for museum glass that doesn`t reflect the person standing in front of the picture. It took almost 5 more weeks but luckily, I got it back before our trip to Hungary.

We didn`t leave anything to chance on the long car journey across Europe: first we bubble-wrapped it, then wound a blanket and then half a dozen towels around it. Eventually, it was ready to go in the boot:

I knew there would be tears when my mum saw it. She`s always been very close to my granddad - we all adored him but they had a special bond and a year after this photo was taken, sadly he passed away in 2009. And the picture was presented to her almost on the same spot of the garden where the original `mak-csa incident` had happened, and not too far from where my granddad is buried. One of the first things she said was that he must be watching us now and smiling at us. Gregory videoed The Grand Opening - but I almost managed to break the internet with it, I don`t know why it was so difficult to up/download but eventually, after many attempts, I made a shortened version that skips the first few dozens of layers of towels and blankets and shows just the last phase of the unwrapping. I think this`ll always be one of my top favourite moments of all time! 😊