Again, I seem to have neglected taking a before picture for IHSW. Oh well. Just imagine the following with maybe 20 fewer stitches, because IHSW was an epic fail for me this time around. Too much work to do and not enough time meant bad stitching results.
That being said, though, I did manage to get quite a bit of stitching done on the week before IHSW, so there's that at least! I'm really enjoying the Golden Kite pattern, even though it's actually vastly different than HAED. First of all, it's being stitched on 18 count Aida instead of 25 count evenweave, with two threads over 1, full crosses, and blended threads (GASP!). I do have to say, though, the blended threads give it a beautiful effect of barely discernible color change while still achieving it, making a subtle gradient effect. You can barely see it in the photo I'm going to show you - but it's there!
Also it doesn't hurt that the stitch count per page is about 3000 - which means page finishes are much faster and progress is more visible, which gives you a sense of accomplishment. I will probably be buying HAED charts in large chart format from now on due to this.
So without further ado, here is my start on Handsome Helpful (overworked) Fiancé's "Still Life With Parrot"