Stitching Together Ideas

Hey everyone! It’s Alyssa, and I am so excited to be a part of this February celebration of artists. It is truly exciting. Get Messy is such a unique community and I am so happy to be here and to be creating with all of you.

I’m going to to start off by saying that I am not one of those types that can teach, but I love to learn and am an avid watcher of tutorials. I LOVE to watch people make things and to learn from their processes. I think that may be one of the reasons why I love Get Messy so much. Like so many of us, I’ll often get stuck down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos, watching people make the things they love and gleaning aspects of those videos to use later. That is really where this project was born.

This mixed media accordion journal that I made really reflects my personal interests right now but I’ve used so many different things I’ve watched in order to get here.

I’ll take you through a few of the details so that you can see what I mean.

Currently, I am obsessed with embroidery and hand stitching. I absolutely love the meditative movement of stitching and the colours of the threads bring me so much joy. I have been stitching a lot on to paper, more specifically on to black and white illustrations, and as much as love physically poking the needle through the paper, I was feeling limited as to what I could achieve because it is so easy to rip or perforate a huge chunk right out of the page. So with a little investigation on YouTube, I found a lovely little quilting tutorial that shared how to print fabric on your laserjet printer.

I found these wonderful free images of animals online that just made my heart skip and knew that I had to use them. By printing on the fabric, I was able to do some different stitches that I wouldn’t have been able to do on paper without the fear of wrecking the whole thing. Many of these stitches I learned from a wonderful artist, Rebecca Ringquist, on the Creativebug website. Also from the Creativebug website came the idea of how to add some colour to the fabric, which was based on Ashley Nickel’s watercolour quilting tutorial.

With my stitched animals complete and a little colour to make them pop, I wondered to myself how I could showcase them. I wanted to be able to see the stitching on the backside because I just adore seeing the messy side of embroidery and I also wanted to connect the animals together with more hand stitching. In came Kellee Wynne’s accordion journal tutorial featured here on Get Messy. I loved the way the gessoed paper from her tutorial felt like fabric and the accordion format meant I would still be able to see the stitching on the backside. Win, win.

I absolutely love jumping into a project with just a simple idea that captivates my creativity and then using the things I’ve learned from others as a way to direct where the next step of the project will go. My goal would be to end up with something that is different but still informed by those sources of inspiration. Just diving in and following what sparks my curiosity and utilizing the things that I have learned from so many wonderful artists is, to me, all part of the magic of creating, learning and growing as an artist.

Action Steps


Choose some tutorials that really grab your attention and interest you. You can choose as few as 2 or as many as you’d like and they can be from anywhere or about ANYTHING (writing, cooking, jewelry making etc.) as long as they interest you!


Sit back, grab a cup of tea (or whatever) and enjoy watching people make the things they love to make.


Pick one aspect from each (anything that spoke to you) and use those inspirations to guide you in your journal to explore and experiment.

Alyssa Rothwell

Living in Canada, with a BA in visual arts, Alyssa is a maker and lover of all things handmade. For Alyssa, embracing imperfections and chasing after “happy accidents” is the true magic of art journaling. Anything goes within the pages of her art journal and it has become an important place for her to process, to experiment and to play.


    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Thanks Vanessa!

  1. Clare Etheridge

    Wow, this is all the amazing, I love the accordion and the hand stitching and the way you have incorporated the vintage animal images. Gorgeous and I can’t wait to try.

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Thank you Clare!! Can’t wait to see what you make!!

  2. Karen Price

    Simply brilliant Alyssa. Thanks for sharing your process; I loved learning how you combine different sources of inspiration and techniques. Truly creative! Girl, you are on fire!!

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Thanks so much Karen!! You are too kind!

  3. Kathy Russell

    What a brilliant technique. Really creative. I love the process of how it came to be. I sometimes feel guilty for watching to many other people make things and not enough doing it myself. But you have proven that it pays off in new and creative endeavors.

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Thanks Kathy, I’ll take any excuse to watch a tutorial haha but yes you are right you do have to stop at some point and make something!!

  4. Holly Janssen

    These are AMAZING!!

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Thank you so much Holly!

  5. Mandy Grobosch

    Wow, this is all the amazing! I’m very happy to find anothother Messian who loves embroidery and hand stitching with in their art journal practise. Stitching is one of my favorite elements to use in my daily practise.

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Oh that’s so awesome Mandy!

  6. Julia Bethmann

    I’m excited to try this! Thanks!

    • Alyssa Rothwell

      Oh yay! Thanks so much Julia!!

  7. Christina Cloud

    This is a beautiful tutorial! You have some awesome ideas and I love it!

  8. Christina Cloud

    I love this! These are awesome ideas and you are so amazing at combining them all together beautifully! I’m so inspired by this!