When life gets stressful, we often turn to feel-good activities. From baking enough cookies to feed the entire neighborhood to accidentally spending the entire weekend watching two seasons of a new show, feel-good activities can keep us afloat when everything else feels miserable.
Des Moines resident Melissa Galbraith is an expert at a feel-good craft that’s beginner-friendly, doesn’t require an armful of materials, and can even be meditative. We're talking about embroidery. Thanks to her unique designs and convenient kits from her company MCreativeJ, embroidery could be the new feel-good craft of 2022.
Galbraith grew up with arts and crafts. She said her mom always encouraged hands-on, creative endeavors. But as an adult, Galbraith found herself working behind a desk without much room for making anything by hand.
"I wanted to get back into that, but at the time, I was living in a really small apartment and didn't have a whole lot of space so embroidery kind of just fell into my lap," Galbraith said. "I used to do it as a kid so I thought I’d give it a try again and ended up loving it because embroidery is so portable and fun. I'’s kind of similar to drawing, so I could color and create my own textures, patterns and designs."
Often inspired by nature, the embroidery designs at MCreativeJ are Galbraith’s creations spanning Pacific Northwest snow-capped mountains with tulips to cactus gardens in bloom to summer fruits.
"A lot of my work is nature-inspired," she said. "I try to pull from what’s around me - travel trips, places I’ve been, or even if I see something walking my dog in our neighborhood that I really like. Then I sit down and sketch it out and go from there. This way, it feels organic and something I’m really into."
Aside from kits, MCreativeJ also offers PDF patterns which are easy to download and leave customers free to source or use their own supplies. Galbraith even started a Pattern Club where subscribers get a new PDF embroidery pattern each month.
But if undertaking embroidery with just a PDF pattern feels intimidating, MCreativeJ hosts dozens of virtual workshops and many of them cover Galbraith’s favorite embroidery genre - wearable embroidery.
"Embroidery is so versatile and you can use it for so many things," she said. "With modern embroidery, it's common to leave it in the hoop and hang it up on the wall or stick it in a picture frame like gallery walls, but I love wearing it - adding embroidery to your clothing or turning it into a necklace, patch, earrings or a pin."
Not only can embroidery personalize clothing, it’s possible to mend clothing that’s seen some wear and tear with embroidery and several of Galbraith’s monthly virtual classes teach you how.
While customizing and mending clothes is awesome, the act of embroidering is just as enjoyable as wearing the creation.
"It’s really meditative and it’s definitely one of those crafts you can pick up and put back down," she said. "You don’t have to feel like you need to dedicate a ton of time to it or count stitches. Embroidery is pretty easy, not only in the materials but also in the timeline required."
Next time life feels overwhelming and a feel-good activity is in order, MCreativeJ has just the solution.
Happy stitching, Seattle!
Find MCreativeJ at the Edmonds Spring Fest on May 7 or shop kits, browse patterns, and sign up for virtual courses all on the website. Follow along on the MCreativeJ Instagram page for updates on new patterns and info about Galbraith’s upcoming landscape-inspired embroidery book.
Lauren Allain is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. See more of her work here.