Redwork? I don’t even like red!

And now you know the truth: red is not my favorite color.

Redwork is a traditional form of embroidery that was popular from the late 1800s until the 1920s. Red cotton thread was cheap, and wouldn’t bleed, so it could be used in a variety of practical applications like quilts, napkins, towels, etc.

There are a lot of traditional pictures for redwork, and a lot of websites host collections of patterns meant to be used together as a quilt or else individually. I, however, am not traditional. I like to take the craft of my forebears and make it my own. Below is all the various redwork I’ve done for multiple swaps. Most the time I based the pattern off the recipients likes.


Wee Baby Goat from Andrea Zuill. I love Andrea’s blog, Badbird’s: Musings of a small angry bird! Her art is right up my alley: simple until you get a closer look, irreverent, and utterly delightful! A lot of my patterns for redwork come from her.

Goaty was among some of the first embroidery I ever completed. No shame in it, but I can see how I’ve grown. Number 1 thing I’ve learned: double up the fabric if it’s thin. I don’t like how you can see the messy back!


Speaking of messy backs…! Buffalo by Andrea Zuill, messy stitches by me. I like how it turned out overall, and my partner was happy (which is always what really matters!)


Chewbacca! (aka someone gained some confidence!) My partner liked Star Wars, so I googled “free Star Wars coloring pages”. Pro tip: embroidery patterns are just line drawings. So are coloring pages. I embroider a lot of coloring pages!


I had to include this shot because look how blurry his shoulder is. Apparently my camera used face recognition to focus on his face.


Platypus by Andrea Zuill. He was a quick stitch and actually sent onto our redwork swap coordinator to use as an angel (If someone neglects to send and is unreachable, they’re called a “flaker”. Coordinators will “angel” swaps or arrange for someone else to angel, meaning they will send the items instead of the flaker.)

great love

Do small things with great love by nanaCompany. I stitched this with a broken toe. The toe didn’t affect the stitching, but the narcotics I was on certainly did! I won’t go into detail, but this embroidery was an effort. I should do it again, to give it the attention it deserves!


Rooster coloring page. Another quickie for a girl who collected roosters 🙂


Not just ATCs!

I am pretty crafty overall. I’ve been making a lot of ATCs for swaps, mostly because they’re cheap to make and cheap to send. I also embroider for swaps, though they aren’t as popular.

I made this for My Little Pony Mania! It turned out to only be me and the hostess, so we both had a lot of fun with the swap. This is what I sent her (her picture), and she sent me an equally awesome swap (which I will eventually prove with the pictures I took!)

Enough chatter; pictures!

twilight get my rope

This is a scene from “Secrets of my Excess” from season two, episode ten, of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I loved the riff off of “American Gothic”, so I literally print-screened the exact scene.

And this is what I turned it into:


I love this hoop! I had to extend the tree and the hat, as well as finish the hair. I followed Aimee Ray’s crayon tinting tutorial with pretty great success.


I am not fond of “thick” embroidery, ie using all six strands. When I stitch, I figure out what would naturally be more dimensional and go from there. You can kind of see it in this shot: the tree (the biggest thing) is done in four strands; their bodies are in three strands; hair is in two, and eyes/eyelashes/leaf mustache/clouds are all in one strand.

I hope you enjoyed this foray into my embroidery, because I have a lot more to show you!

I own a lot of crap.

This was made for the Holy Crap, Assemblage swap for The Sisters of Holy Crap group on swap-Bot. This is a different kind of swap we’re trying to save on postage: you complete the swap, take a picture of it and post it online, then alert your partners to where you posted the pictures.

You know what’s deceptively hard? Assemblage. I had an idea that I thought I could execute in about ten minutes… and it sucked. I tried three variations on it. Nothing worked. Out of frustration, I tried a different approached. Getting warmer… but it still took over two hours to complete to my liking.

So with no further ado… my completed assemblage:

complete assemblage

This is an homage to my childhood, of sorts. I have always been a pack rat, or a magpie if you will. I related to Claudia the most in the Babysitters Club series, because you never knew when you needed a pile of old candy wrappers, or that really cute sticker someone left on your swap envelope.

close up 1

The background is a board with a picture attached from the dollar store that once graced my walls. I painted over it with the last teeny bit of white paint I owned, with a touch of yellow to make more paint tone it down. The streaky paint job is half intentional, half “wow, I really, really have no white paint.”

The diamante frame is from a swap… I don’t do much scrapbooking anymore, and I was never one to add glitz to my pages. If you know me, you know how shocking that is because I am a glitter whore. The cup is actually from a wine sample I enjoyed around Easter; out of all the crap, that is the newest thing in this assemblage (aside from the flowers.)

close up 2

Here’s where the sickness begins. From left: gold glitter star from when I worked at the scrapbook store (and have been sitting on for… 6? 7? years?); glow-in-the-dark Lisa Frank paw print from elementary school (they adorned my ceiling, and used to fall on me while I slept.) Random pig from somewhere… sometimes I just pick things off the ground. Barbie shoe that moved with me three times now; cap of a bottle of Sofie by Goose Island; bear sticker that I’ve had since I was 3? While gathering all this together, I discovered I have not one, not two, but FIVE boxes devoted to junk amongst in my craft supplies. (And let’s be honest – I’ll probably combine them to make two to three boxes and call it a day.)

Want to see a failure?


One of many attempts. I was stuck on a vintage vibe originally. Those photos are my mom during her childhood. The coins are some of my Wheatie collection, along with two silver quarters. And look: a completely different pig! (I used to sell ham. I like pigs.) Not the worst assemblage, but nothing like my completed one.

Three takes on Halloween

The two ATCs below are rare for me, because they’re basically twins. I usually make ATCs unique, but the theme of one swap limited me a little.

These were made for the Crows, Witches or Skeletons ATC swap, and the Halloween ATC swap. The Halloween ATC swap required  “4 “layers” (for example, base, decorative paper, embellishments, inking)”.

Two twins

These are pretty simple: stamped skeleton image on white cardstock, with the edges inked in orange and black.

Skeleton 1

That’s on top of Halloween polka dots with its edges inked in black.

Skeleton 2

I added some holographic stars for a little kick.

This is from Halloween me this…, I think. Maybe if I posted these closer to when I made them, I’d remember what I made them for!

Black Cat

The moon is a mosaic made from magazine clippings. When I stamped the cat, the seams of the mosaic were still visible. I’m not so fond of it, but both Boy and my swap partner like it, so it’s all good. The cat is standing on a ribbon fence. Recognize the stars?

The last is actually for Dia de los Muertos, which is one of my favorite holidays. Clearly, I enjoyed the theme for the Dia de los Muertos ATC swap 🙂

My darling

O hai polka dot paper, haven’t seen you before!

I decorated the free-form skull (proud of that!) with puff paint. I love puff paint: it’s thicker, so it stays in place; it has more colors than most glitter glues; and since it’s not marketed for scrap booking, I don’t spend a lot. Add the fact that my local Joann’s clears out puff paint for ten cents a pop… I am feverishly in love with puff paint.

I used “Querida” (My Darling) for the banner to make it a little more open-ended. Sugar skulls are used to remember the dead, and I didn’t want to offend my partner by using “Mom”, “Dad”, or “Grandma”!

So there you go, three completely different takes on two holidays 🙂

Illinois ATC Ternion

These are from the ATC Ternion (3 unhinged) swap. The terms of the swap was to make three related ATCs. I went with an Illinois theme:

Sears Tower, Lincoln Statue, and Route 66

I found the images in Illinois travel brochures. I tried to pick pictures that were bold and colorful, so that I could try a different technique instead of using embellishments.

See the shadows?

I glued one copy of the picture onto the ATC backing. I glued the second copy of the picture onto thin cardboard. I then cut out the focal point from the second image and glued it onto the first to create depth. You can see in the picture above the variation in thickness and the shadows.

Sears Tower

The Willis Sears Tower. The buildings in the foreground are raised.

State Capitol

The state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The statue of Lincoln is raised.

Route 66 festival

A scene from a festival along Illinois Route 66. The red car in the front is raised (along with its hood.)

It looks like there are a few air bubbles in the Route 66 and the Lincoln ATCs. I don’t remember them being as visible in the finished products; unfortunately, magazine images like to pucker like that. Overall, my partner and I were both pleased with the outcome 🙂


You found me!

After a few years spent reading numerous craft- and DIY-oriented blogs, I finally have the chutzpah to start my own. Mostly I will be sharing completed projects and awesome things I’ve found online. As this blog grows and I become more comfortable, I hope to include my own version of DIY and “midnight garage sale-ing” turnarounds.

My goal is to publish at least once a week. This is a fun little blog, for the time being. I want to develop as a writer, photographer, and crafter along the way.