I did it! The Brazilian WELCOME was finished in time for my husband's birthday. It isn't framed yet, but the frame is ordered and my finisher is lined up. My husband calls it my "masterpiece", which is very flattering. I'm glad he never saw the version my teacher stitched, which is so much more perfect! I actually think my stitching was better on my crazy pillow, but I am still quite pleased with how the WELCOME turned out.
Below are all the letters with their beads and bobbles, trimmed and fluffed as appropriate. Once it is framed I'll post a final photo, but that won't be for a few more weeks.