Since we’re moving back home to Texas in just a few weeks, I felt I needed to make something to commemorate our time here. So while Joseph was out of town for a bit, I embroidered nonstop. I don’t even want to know how many hours I logged on this. No exaggerations, I worked from the time I woke up until I went to sleep every single day for three weeks.

The top and bottom are lined with all the countries we’ve visited in the three years here: Austria, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Switzerland, France, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia.
In the center are some sites we’ve seen, circling around the Eiffel tower. Clockwise from the top: the Dolomites (where we live), a castle, the Great Pyramids of Giza (with a tiny camel!), Venice, Milan Duomo, and the Colosseum. I drew them all myself except for the Eiffel Tower.

I liked the front… kind of. I was disappointed that it didn’t really hold up to the amount of work I put into it. I would have loved to make the entire pillow myself and have a patterned back, but I don’t sew just yet. So I decided to double the amount of time I spent on the pillow and filled up the back with stitches.

The back. I’m still not decided on whether it’s finished now. I might add something to the inside eventually but can’t decide what.

One of the corners when I was only three rows in.

Even though it’s not exactly what I wanted, I’m really pleased. It’s so satisfying to complete a project that took an incredible amount of work and planning. And now I have something to display in my home that will represent the fabulous first three years of our marriage!


  1. Oh. My. God. I LOVE THIS. It’s beautiful! And I think you should leave the back just the way it is – it’s wonderful in it’s simplicity.

    • Alyssa Reply

      Thank you! I think I am going to leave it as is. I make make some coordinating smaller pillows inspired by the back of this one!

  2. I remember watching the progress of this on flickr. Absolutely lovely. I think I will get some embroidery thread next weekend and some books, its a lovely and quaint hobby to have. Did you say you used youtube tutorials? Did you use any books?

    • Alyssa Reply

      Thank you, Zoe!

      I did mainly learn from YouTube videos. There really aren’t very many stitches to learn (I mainly use the split stitch and back stitch). I used Jenny Hart’s “Stitch it Kit” that I ordered from Amazon. It’s a nice kit but not entirely necessary unless you just really love the patterns (her patterns are always wonderful).

      To start, I would say buy an embroidery hoop, some thread, and a needle. Get a little piece of cotton like a tea towel, draw or transfer a design onto it, and start stitching. Keep in mind embroidery floss comes in six little strings. I usually separate them into 2-4 (you’ll learn pretty quickly how thick you need it to be) but started out using all six as it can get messy once you start separating them.

  3. You put your names in the middle? or the date beginning and end of when you lived in italy and moved back?

  4. This is beautiful!!!! I wish I could create something like this. I should get into embroidery (as well as the many other delightful things!)

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