Here's a fun and quick project that I was able to complete over the course of a few quiet summer afternoons. Counted cross-stitch is one of the first needleworking techniques I learned and, while I don't do too much of it these days, I always thoroughly enjoy each project I undertake.
I bought these baby bibs for a song during the Paris summer sales at one of my favorite crafting supply stores, Modes et Travaux, located near the St. Lazare train station. Using a book of cross-stitch patterns, I was able to pick and choose from a variety of themes, ultimately settling on fish, bees, chicks and cherries.
I once heard someone (pejoratively) compare counted cross-stitch to painting by numbers. While I can see the parallel -- both involve following a precise pattern that calls for using specific colors, leaving little for the crafter to determine him/herself -- I think cross-stitching actually does allow for a certain degree of personalization, from choosing the medium (canvas, a pillowcase, clothing,...) to being able to edit parts of a pattern if you like to deciding how to present the finished work.
Plus, don't a lot of crafts involve following a precise pattern using specific materials? Knitting and crochet come quickly to mind. If all crafters had to write their own patterns and be completely original with respect to all aspects of their projects, there would be a lot fewer of us in the world, and that would not be a good thing...
Though it's not everyone's cup of tea, I personally enjoy the repetition involved in sewing the same stitch over and over. Like knitting in garter stitch, counted cross-stitch is definitely one of those crafts that is simple enough that you can do it while watching a movie, talking on the phone, in the car (as a passenger of course!), etc. These four bibs got me through the better part of a season of Mad Men.
My favorite bib would have to be the yellow one that depicts bees buzzing around their beehive (above), followed closely by the pale green bib with the chicks (below). I loved stitching the "air trails" behind each of the bees.
I have yet to actually use the bibs, which are safely tucked away in a drawer in the nursery. They're just so cute and, having seen how quickly a onesie can be soiled, I want to protect them as long as I can!