So far I'm at 14 hours of stitching on the brooch and I'm pretty happy with it. I've been putting in the edge in long and short fill, (three colors, dark gray, blue, and medium gray) After this stage is done, I'll be adding the whipped cord borders and the pearls (or pearl singular, not sure which yet, need to play a little)
And if you're not reading Needle and thread you really need to. I've linked to her post about damp-blocking and Mary is absolutely brilliant. She's utterly demystified the process. I've always understood it, intellectually, but her pictures finally make it clear and simple. Thanks Mary!
Have a happy Fourth of July and happy stitching!