Creative routines with Mo Milligan

Hello! My name is Maureen Milligan, but most people call me Mo. I’m the maker behind Destiny City Threads.

I design and hand stitch embroidery hoop art that focuses on florals, plant life, bright colors and sometimes quirky ideas.

I’m married and a mom of two boys. We live in Tacoma, WA with our black lab Neala and 5 chickens!

I picked up embroidery about a year ago to fill some time and keep my mind preoccupied as I applied to several nursing schools in the area.

I recently started school last month, so my schedule has changed a bit, and I’ve had less time for embroidery, but I’m still trying to stitch when I can because I find it very relaxing and it’s a great stress reliever for me.

Since my days have recently changed, many of the weekdays are full of school and studying, I will give you a typical weekend day.

On the weekends I still have quite a bit of studying, but I also find some time for my stitching!

Stay Wild, Stay Weird, Stay Fresh - Destiny City Threads pieces by Mo Milliga
Stay Wild, Stay Weird, Stay Fresh - Destiny City Threads pieces by Mo Milliga

6 am

I’m up! I’d like to say it was my alarm that woke me up because I’m so motivated for my day, but in reality it’s my 2 year old who gets me up almost every morning. He is an earlier riser and is often up as early as 5.30 am!

The first thing I do when I wake up is start the water on our electric kettle. I am the kind of person who is motivated by a strong cup of black coffee in the morning. While the water is boiling, I brush my teeth and get my little guy started on some breakfast.

6.30 am

I enjoy my second cup of French press coffee at this point.

I usually have simple breakfast of toast and peanut butter or oatmeal and a banana. My ideal breakfast would include some eggs from our backyard chickens, but unfortunately I developed an allergy recently.

9 am - 11.30 am

The whole family hits the gym. I do a solo workout while my boys are in the gym daycare.

After my work out I study in the lobby for about an hour and then we pick up the boys and take them to swim in the pool.

Death before Decaf, Destiny City Thread pieces by Mo Miligan
Death before Decaf, Destiny City Thread pieces by Mo Miligan

12 pm

By now we’re back home from the gym and I fix a lunch for the boys and get them into bed for their naps. My 2 year old goes down without a problem, but it’s hit and miss with my 4 year old.

I usually can get him to lie down and read some books while I quickly shower, change and grab my school bag as well as a handy little travel box that includes a sampling of my embroidery supplies and 1-3 small hoops I’m working on at the time and then I leave the house to get in some uninterrupted study time.

1 pm - 6 pm

I usually hole up at the local library or my favorite coffee shop and spend the next 4-5 hours reading my material for school with breaks in between where I stitch.

My books are all electronic and I either read them on my MacBook or iPad, so it’s nice to take a 10 minutes break every so often and pick up my embroidery to work on for a bit.

I usually take a longer break in the middle of the session to stitch for about 20-30 minutes…especially on the days where I have a huge chunk of the day to study.

6.30 pm

I’m home again and ready to eat dinner with my family.

My husband is an awesome cook and actually enjoys putting together great meals so it works out well with our current schedule if I roll up just in time to sit down for dinner.

Destiny City Threads creation by Mo Miligan
Destiny City Threads creation by Mo Miligan

8.30 pm

In a perfect world I’d like to say my boys were both in bed and close to being asleep, and though it does happen sometimes it’s definitely not the norm. (Insert crying emoji here).

9.30 pm

By now I’m pretty exhausted and should hit the hay and get some good sleep, but the house is finally quiet and I just have the urge to do something for me.

I usually pick up my embroidery and watch some Netflix while I stitch. If I’m smart, I only stitch for about an hour and then get ready for bed.

If I’m really into the piece I’m working on I will stay up closer to midnight or sometimes just past it so I can get a substantial chunk of stitching completed.

Advice for Makers

Don’t feel like you have to have your style or aesthetic nailed down from the very beginning.

When I started my embroidery journey, I was blown away by quite a few other big embroidery artists I found on Instagram.

Most of these accounts had a very clear and unique style, and I remember in the beginning trying to pin down what my style was without much luck, but as I continued to stitch and sketch designs that I was drawn to, I realized my style was developing on its own.

Don’t put yourself in a box, it’s good to experiment… and if you start a piece that you are just not feeling or doesn’t suit you set it aside and don’t worry about it!

Spend your time creating the pieces that give you some joy and fulfilment.

We can be our own worst critics, so I think remembering to give yourself grace is hugely important.

Check out Mo on Instagram and Etsy.

Creative Routines Mo Milligan. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, blogger, business owner you’re not going to want to miss this article. Click to read!

Creative Routines Mo Milligan. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, blogger, business owner you’re not going to want to miss this article. Click to read!