I think before I continue working on the next three I have prepared with the sea water stitched, I'll at least make a sketch on paper first to place the main elements.
This actually has been enjoyable, but I've made mistakes, errors in judgment, etc. that have cost me a lot of time. I've simply put them away for a few days, and then taken them back out, and usually can see what needs to be added or substracted.
I spent the most part of one evening picking out the stitches from the scallop shell fiasco - my normal would have been to just put it away in a drawer for a few years, and then toss it. I had too much time already invested, and also wanted to see what I could make of it.
I've stitched on this ornament a little bit at a time, as when it sees daylight again after a day or two in a drawer, I can usually immediately see what else needs to be added.
It was fun going through my stash to see what was there in a compatible color - I found the gorgeous hand dyed threads I purchased from Sharon Boggon (Pintangle) a while back when she had them in her Artfire store, and used one of the overdyes as fat little French Knot critters on the sea floor - the ones that shade from light orange to pink. A lovely effect and a different texture to blend with the other ones. The seaweed on the left is also one of hers - a chenille thread.
The second ornament, the water drop, is almost finished - but I think still lacking something. I found this kind of pink/orange coral colored thread, and think it might work to liven it up a bit. I had already added the purple Sea Grass (from Thread Gatherer)http://www.threadgatherer.com in little French knots - an effect I like, but it still needs a bit more color, I think.
The waste canvas idea will work - I'm sure of it. The next attempt will be a sea fan on the next ornament, which is the one with the rounded sea water via concentric circles. I've already traced the shape, and drawn the sea fan (not illustrated yet), so will put it on waste canvas tomorrow and start stitching. Surely it will succeed this time!!
I usually really enjoy working on the bare canvas - like stitching plaid - as it's like painting with my needle on an unpainted surface. However, in this case, I do need to have some kind of plan sketched on paper before beginning to stitch, at least for placing the coral and the main sea weed. Adding the things on the ocean floor has been fun - again, like painting with my needle.