All Things Bright and Beautiful

Today, we’re delighted to welcome original AuriKid Gwendolyn Sheppard back to Auribuzz. When we first started seeing work from Gwen via her mom Wendy Sheppard, she was only 6 going on 7. These days, she’s 13 and her skill has grown by leaps and bounds. We absolutely adore having a chance to showcase her work… work that is now prize-winning and heralded beyond the confines of this blog.

We know you’ll love seeing a bit more of Gwen’s work and you’ll fall in love with her as much as we have. Start stitching and quilting with your kiddos early! There is so much joy to be had!

Gwen’s second collection, Woodland Spool-en-dids, is still available via Shop Aurifil and you can snag the coordinating pattern as well. Simply click on the buttons below!

Hello again, this is Gwendolyn Sheppard.  I am one of Aurifil’s Aurkids from a few years ago.  Even though I am now 13, I don’t mind being a kid forever!  I am a daughter (the ONLY daughter and child of Wendy Sheppard).  I am happy to be back again to share with you my latest completed cross-stich piece.  

All Things Bright and Beautiful is, by far, the largest piece I have stitched since I started stitching at age 5.  This piece finishes at about 19″ x 21″ and was stitched over the span of 7 months. Much of it was actually stitched in 6 weeks because I had to meet a competition deadline! I represented my school back in March this year with this piece, and placed 1st in the Junior High textile category in both regional and state contests.

All Things Bright and Beautiful is designed by Barbara Ana. It uses words from the first stanza of a well-loved British children’s hymn. It’s one of my mother’s all-time favorite songs, especially when sung by Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins.

I stitched it on 28-count Lugana. I probably would prefer to use Aida, but my mom said it was time for me to graduate to linen/evenweave. The reason I liked stitching this sampler is because I love how varied and attractive the motifs were. Interesting motifs always make samplers more enjoyable. Here are a few close-ups:

I began stitching this sampler on the top right side and worked my way across. Then, I stitched the top two rows of the left side, the wreath, the hill, and next the top bottom left rows and the remaining three right rows. I also changed things when it was convenient to do so. It wouldn’t be a Gwen piece if I didn’t change something! For example, I changed out the way the water is stitched.  Instead of regular cross stitches, I back-stitched a wave pattern.  It was a bit faster doing it that way!

I used many, many different colors. Just as I like to change the motifs, I also absolutely love to change the color scheme of any piece I’m working on. To me that’s the BEST part of working on a stitched piece.  I also like to use a lot of colors. I would estimate that I used around 50-75 colors in this piece.  Most of the time my colors are chosen randomly. My mother has our threads arranged in boxes. Basically, whatever comes first in the box, that I use!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my All Things Bright and Beautiful piece!

Before I go, I thought I would just share a few thoughts on cross-stitching from a teenager’s point of view:

1.  I like cross-stitching because it’s very relaxing (though not, of course, when you’re on a deadline)! I also like stitching because it gives me a chance to express myself. 

2.  It’s also fun! I make several little thoughtful gifts out of it– Christmas ornaments, friendly cards, and much much more! Here are a few of my favorites:

3.  Cross-stich provides a relaxing and wholesome hobby for a teenager, and you can even have little stitching parties with your friends! The idea of having stitching parties was popular even in colonial time, when girls would get together to have a show and tell on their samplers.

I am getting ready to start another sampler, and this new one will be slightly larger than All Things Bright and Beautiful. Mom wants me to actually keep track of the time I spend stitching the piece from start to finish. I hope I will be organized enough! And I might write down all the colors I use so that I will be able to tell exactly how many colors I use in the sampler once it is completed.

Thank you for spending the time with me today at Auribuzz!  I hope to be back again!

We have to thank Gwen for always being willing to share her work with us. We’re ever in awe of this remarkable teen! Huge thanks, also, to Aurifil Designer, Aurifilosopher, and Gwen’s mom Wendy Sheppard for sharing Gwen with us!


Gwen is the daughter of Aurifil Designer Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring. She started stitching with her mom 5 years ago and is already an incredibly skilled cross-stitcher. She stitched a magnificent sampler using threads from her AuriKids collection, a piece that we were honored to showcase in our booth Fall International Quilt Market in 2017. Gwen is just getting started on her creative journey and is turning her attention to quilting.

Website — Instagram

Originally from Southeast Asia, Wendy came to the US for her tertiary education.  After her degrees in Chemical Engineering, she worked in research in a wind tunnel for a spell.  Nowadays, she is a stay/work-at-home Mom to a 7 year old.  Wendy’s designs have been featured in major quilting publications, both home and abroad.  She is also an author for Landauer Publishing, as well as an online quilting instructor.  She is passionate about encouraging quilters to enjoy their quilting journey.  During her free time, she loves to read history, and indulges in hand needlework.


  1. Gwendolyn, thank you for sharing your thoughts, tips and beautiful sampler with us. Your words and excitement for stitching lift the community — one stitcher at a time. Your work is lovely and many of us can relate to switching things up a bit — just it make it our own. Kudos to you and your precious mom. xo — Karen

  2. Gwen, congratulations on your gorgeous finish and wins. It’s wonderful to be able to follow your journey.

  3. Gwen, congratulations on your competition wins! Your work is beautiful and inspiring, I do not cross stitch, but am considering giving it a try. Keep up the great work, I can’t wait to see future updates.

  4. Gwen
    What a special treat to read about you and your creativity. You are an inspiration to youth and adults of all ages. Thank you for sharing your story and your handwork.

  5. Gwen, your piece is absolutely beautiful! It is big indeed. The myriad of colors add a whole other level of interest to it. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing it with us. I appreciated your drawing our attention to the variety of motifs. There are so many! I can appreciate how it would be fun to add little changes to them. I appreciate your creativity.

  6. Gwen, exquisite piece, your work is remarkable. I love your creative license in changing stitches and colors…your personal touch….I’m sure this adds to your enjoyment in stitching. My twin great granddaughters just turned five in March. I bought them junior cross stitch kits and they love to stitch. I’m a quilter and I give them each scraps and a design board when I’m sewing and it is amazing what designs they create. I use my mom’s featherweight from 1945 and recently purchased a second Featherweight so the girls will each have one. They’ve already named their machines Jacky and Vanessa! Best of luck on your new project, can’t wait to see it. Love your idea of stitching teens….our girls will get there before we know it. Blessings on you and Mom.

  7. Absolutely fabulous! I love the fact that you are adding your own personal touches to the works you create. Changing the stitches for the water was a terrific idea, and I look forward to seeing your next piece.

  8. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your masterpiece with the world. What a talented young lady you are! Everywhere I look in your award winning piece my eyes are delighted.

  9. Applause and congratulations on such a beautiful project. May you enjoy cross stitching for many years to come. I’ve done several projects myself, and I’d love to know your process for making the lovely card. Maybe you’ll do another post. Good luck with your next adventure.

  10. Gwen–Your stitching is beautiful! It is no wonder that your efforts are prize winning. You are inspiring me to pick up my neglected needlework habit again (I fell down the quilting rabbit hole a decade ago and have ignored everything else since).

  11. What a beautiful piece! I can only imagine how many hours it took. I love that hymn, too. It’s so good to hear your perspective. I didn’t discover cross stitch until I was in my twenties. I’m glad you are enjoying it much earlier. I also like the freedom to change things up.

  12. Thank you, Gwen, for sharing with us about your work and your thoughts about stitching. Your sampler is beautiful! Such fine details and lovely stitching. Congratulations on winning the competition. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  13. We’ve been following you for years, Gwen, and are so thrilled to see your incredible journey in stitching. Your sampler is beautiful and so well done. I love how you change things to make it a Gwen Original-especially your water feature. I’ll be looking forward to seeing future projects.

  14. Gwen, your stitching is beautiful, and on linen is not an easy task. I love that you find it relaxing. Your finished pieces will be family heirlooms for generations to come. Congratulations on your awards.

  15. Congratulations Gwen for winning lst place in your recent competition. What a gorgeous stitchery and amazing detail. I think you are so gosh darn talented, just like your mom. I am a big fan of yours and have all of your Aurifil thread collections. I’m actually hoping you will release another AuriKids thread collection soon!

  16. I love your piece, Gwen! i like the change you made to the water particularly. I think it is really effective and, as you mentioned, quicker to boot!

  17. Gwen you did such a good job on your sampler. It is no wonder you won an award. I hope stitching brings you many more hours of thoughtful contemplation.

  18. Gwen, your sampler is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us! I adore samplers of all kinds from both the needlework and quilting worlds. You’ve inspired me to start another one!

  19. Well done, Gwen. It has been such fun following you from the beginning of your stitching career. I know you have many wonderful years of stitching ahead of you. Your work is fabulous. I’ll be watching for that time count!

  20. Gwen, your sampler is very beautiful and quite ambitious. I started doint cross stitch when I was a young girl like you. It was a great way to make gifts for people. I still cross stitch today, and find it as relaxing as I did many, many years ago. Thank you for sharing your talent with others.

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