I have a better shot now of the placement of the needle in the center of the ribbon to make the Japanese ribbon stitch. Also, had an AHA! moment this morning when I wasn't so tired, and realized that putting a size 20 tapestry needle in the loop made it lie a lot flatter than the trolley needle, which is a size 18 or larger needle.
Also, by just using the tapestry needle, I could leave it in the loop until I was finished pulling on the ribbon. It looks so much better, that I pulled out the ugly one I made last night. You can see where the arrow is how much better it looks.
I won't point out ALL of the botanical errors on this, as maybe nobody will notice that the buds are larger than the flowers, or that the sweet pea blossoms aren't hanging in clusters. It's only needlepoint, after all, and it has limitations.
I'm hoping that they at least resemble sweet peas by power of suggestion - since diamonds are the birthstone for April, and the beads do rather glitter and sparkle. (Sundance size 14, #250 hex beads, crystal clear) It has a long way to go, but I'm trying to be patient and not force it. I'm looking at three print-outs on my table as I go that I found in Google images of sweet peas on their vines.
I'm beginning to "see" July in my head finally. It's my birth month, as well as five other people in my immediate family. I didn't want to make it the usual red, white, and blue with stars and firecrackers - as the flower is the lovely lotus, or "water lily" - one of Monet's favorites to paint. (out come the books again.) and the stone is the ruby. If I start on this, I can delay August and the gladiola a little longer. I finished everything but that sometime early last fall.