Happy Cactus Embroidery

So, true confession today: I have been slowly building my stationery company, Happy Cactus Designs, since mid-2011, but lately have been completely wrapped up in a different passion: hand embroidery. How did my desk – once covered in envelopes, sketchpads, and Micron pens – suddenly become overtaken by endless piles of embroidery floss?


At the end of 2014 I was sidelined with a major ankle injury I sustained while running (note to self: watch out for those curbs!). Being on crutches and laid up for weeks, I knew I would soon be going stir crazy. I had dabbled briefly with hand embroidery a few years before and thought now would be the perfect time to pick it back up. I ordered a number of supplies online (since I couldn’t drive anywhere), delved deep into some online video tutorials I discovered via my old pal Google, and began creating some pieces of work.


I was hooked. I soon began sharing my work on my Instagram account (#happycactusembroidery) and was floored by the positive reaction to what I’d been doing (including Nole, who encouraged me to write this post. Thanks, Nole!).


With each piece, I have a general concept in mind, but don’t work with a template or pattern. All of my embroidery work is pretty free flow and I find beauty in the unknown of how a piece will turn out. I’ve mainly focused on floral designs that echo a lot of my stationery work, as well as some geometric pieces. Most recently I’ve found that my embroidery work is now informing my stationery design process – funny how that comes full circle!


I am in the midst of planning to sell pieces from this one of a kind collection in the near future. My intention is to offer them as contemporary pieces of art ready to hang on your wall. If you’re so inclined, you can sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear when that happens.


  1. Brannon, I was so smitten by your embroidery the first time you posted on instagram. Keep going! These are beautiful and I especially love when you base one off of your existing cards. xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Emily!! It definitely is a work in progress – a fun one at that. It’s been interesting to see how my paper goods inform my embroidery and vice versa. Very excited to see where it goes from here.

  2. This is really you at your best! It’s so evident that passion rather than trends are at the heart of these pieces…and that’s what makes an artist authentic! Love these, Brannon. Thank you for encouraging her to share, Nole!!

  3. These are beautiful!!
    Where did you order your online supplies from? What tutorials did you use?
    Thanks! xo

    • Thank you, Renay! I found supplies through various online shops just by Googling. Many online art supply shops as well as Google sell embroidery supplies and tools. For online tutorials, I came across many on YouTube that were helpful.

  4. Yes please! I used to love to embroider as a child, and this brings back great memories. And to picture your work as a contemporary art piece?? Awesome! I can’t wait! It’s a great meeting of the old and the new, and I can’t wait.

  5. So lovely! My grandmother taught me embroidery when i was young. I still have some pillowcases she made. I remember being incredibly excited when I learned a afrench knot. It’s neat that you are bringing back this technique!

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