Opening an embroidery shop & other life updates!

Cherry blossoms on the collar of a vintage corduroy jacket

Cherry blossoms on the collar of a vintage corduroy jacket


There are a few big changes are happening this month, so I thought I’d make a life update sort of post and address some of what is going on in our lives at the moment and what kind of new content you can expect to see here on my blog.

The last time I gave an update was back in October, and I think I was writing about how we had just submitted our building permits and how in the spring hopefully we would be building our small house in the woods. Well, it is now May and our building permits are still held up, so I don’t have any exciting news to share in that department at the moment, but hopefully very soon that will change.

The most exciting news is that my partner Anthony, who has spent the last 10 years working in an office, has just accepted a new job and it’s remote, meaning from now on he will be working from home. Since we don’t have our house built quite yet and we’re still living in a small apartment, there’s not quite enough space in here for me to film and photograph recipes, unless I want to be featured in the background of his video calls arranging food. So I decided that while we’re both working in tight quarters here, it would be best if I put the creative side of recipe development on the back burner until we have the house built. I’ll still be cooking and developing new recipes, but I’ll hold off on filming and photographing most of them until I have the space to do that again.

In the mean time, while I might still find a day or two here and there to make new recipe content, for the most part I’m going to focus on a hobby of mine which requires far less space- embroidery!

Jacket front

Jacket back

So far, I’ve made an embroidery gallery, which is where I feature all of the pieces I’ve completed so far in 2019, as well as an embroidery shop where you can purchase hand embroidered artwork.

In the embroidery shop, I will be selling upcycled thrifted & vintage clothing, repaired and decorated with hand embroidered designs. I also will be offering custom embroidered artwork, which can be placed on any clothing item you’d like, or as traditional in-the-hoop wall hanging artwork, including custom pet portraits.

Cocoa, 2019

Templeton the rat, 2019

I’m still pretty new at embroidery and have a lot to learn, so I’m keeping my prices quite low while I’m still learning and improving.

Here’s where you can find everything embroidery-related that I have to offer:

Check back in by visiting the brand new embroidery page in my navigation bar at the top of my site. I’ll be adding new pieces in a variety of sizes for sale as often as I can- it’s a slow-goin’ process, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Moths and Mushrooms on My Overalls, Not for SalE. If you want me to embroider all over any clothing items you have, Check out the Clothing commissions page!

Moths and Mushrooms on My Overalls, Not for SalE. If you want me to embroider all over any clothing items you have, Check out the Clothing commissions page!


Let me know if you have any questions about the shop and the process of commissioning embroidered artwork. Leave a comment below or send me an email: elleriberaphoto@gmail.com

If you’d be interested in seeing any tutorials on how to embroider or needle paint, also let me know and I can definitely make a post to share all the newbie tips I have learned so far.

I’ll be back soon with the occasional recipe and more artwork to share!

My new favorite craft: needle painting / embroidery

Violet the rabbit, 4”

Violet the rabbit, 4”


I’ve always loved crafts- specifically the kitschy, grandmotherly ones like embroidery.

I first discovered embroidery when I was around seven or eight years old. As a child of the 90s, I was always sewing clothes for my beanie babies and the craft kit section at Joann Fabrics was one of my favorite places. I remember my first embroidery project was stitching an outline of a kitten in a basket, using all pink thread, onto a light green tank top. I proudly wore my kitten embroidery and told anyone who would listen about how I stitched it myself, but embroidery was only one of several craft hobbies I had at the time, and my obsession with making fairy dolls out of yarn and fairy houses out of shoe boxes came next, so many years passed without another embroidery project.

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After this past year of no longer being on Instagram, I found myself with fewer time-wasting distractions. With my only remaining social media being Pinterest, it was only a matter of time before I would start looking at embroidery projects and become inspired to pick it back up again.

The first project I worked on this past year was a little patch which I made for my Mom. I didn’t draw a design for this one, I just freehand stitched some bluebells using a french knot technique. It was a very simple project, but it was my first time using several new stitch techniques and I learned a lot in the process.

After spending more time learning about embroidery, I came across the work of an embroidery artist named Vera Shimunia. Her artwork mainly consists of colorful landscapes which she renders using thread and a technique called needle painting or thread painting. It’s essentially using threads to create the look of brushstrokes, and I had never seen anyone do this before, so I started learning all about it and I was really excited to practice the technique myself.


Inspired by an original design by embroidery artist,  Vera Shimunia . 4”

Inspired by an original design by embroidery artist, Vera Shimunia. 4”

For my first needle painting landscape project, I decided to try to replicate one of Vera’s designs so I could learn more about how it works before attempting to draw and then embroider my own design, so I stitched my own version of one of her beautiful moonscapes, using her artwork as a reference.

After completing this project, I finally felt like I was starting to understand the technique a bit more and realized that needle painting is just a study of light and shadow, just like photography or life drawing.

I was feeling ready to draw my own designs so I decided to try making a portrait of my rabbit, Violet.

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I started by doing a couple of practice sketches on paper, using a photo of her as a reference. Then, after practicing for a bit I drew the outline onto some fabric using a pen. I began by placing stitches around the tips of her ears and worked my way down.

This was my first time using a blending technique called the long and short stitch, where you blend different colors and tones of threads together by laying them down in a series of long and short stitches. An embroidery artist named Trish Burr has written a many books on the technique and also has some very helpful videos available.


A few inspiring embroidery artists:

  • Chloe Giodorno - beautiful densely embroidered teeny tiny woodland creatures

  • Emillie Ferris - masterfully realistic pet portraits with insane amounts of detail

  • Vera Shimunia - amazing landscape thread paintings using rainbow-hues and a brilliant understanding of light

  • Trish Burr - delicate and detailed birds & flowers, many teaching resources for those who want to learn needle painting


The reference Photo of Violet

The reference Photo of Violet

After embroidering three very different subjects in the past year, I had the most fun working on the portrait of my rabbit, Violet, so I plan to continue to practice pet portraits and focus on learning and improving my realistic portraiture rendering. Someday, I’d love to offer custom embroidered pet portraits and other embroidery pieces here on my blog.

If you’re mostly here for the healthy vegan recipes, don’t worry! I will be continuing to make and share my most favorite recipes alongside occasional posts related to my artwork, plant-based nutrition, and updates on our house-building project, which should hopefully start in the spring. ✿