I am about to embark onto the embroidery side of my project and I have been looking at some contemporary embroiderers. As I was researching I was reminded of the work of Louise Gardiner, top image. Her work is full of quirky characters and interesting combinations of techniques. I love her bird embroideries, they all seem to have been portrayed in such a way, that they each have a little personality of their own. I love her mix of techniques too. Take a peek at her work and I'm sure you'll find something to inspire you too!
Also if you like felt and bold bright colours take a look at applique originals, Jane's work is fun and has a lovely simplicity to it. She is a local artist and has some of her brooches for sale in the Biscuit Factory gallery. The bottom picture is an example of her work.
It's interesting to see the way two different people have interpreted an image of an owl too.