Welcome to the blog for Embroidered Originals, where I'll keep you up-to-date with all the goings on at our little cottage industry. You can also view our website and shop online at embroideredoriginals.co.uk Marion x

Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas Day at Blacketyside

I hope you had a lovely Christmas too...

There was only three of us this year, with Laura being in NZ. But we had various video chats with her over the few days so she didn't feel quite so far away.

Our day starts with a trip through the snow to visit Gran.

Then after opening presents and being fortified with a large glass of sherry, it's home for some fun in the snow.
Throwing (rather icy) snowballs.

Sledging down the farm road which is just a sheet of ice.

While others just numb their bottom on the metal garden chair

and enjoy the view across the virgin snow in the garden - wistfully remembering the years of building snowmen.

Even the Wee Cat joins in and yes, this is that baby boy in the buggy 24 years ago!

Then when every extremity is numb with cold, it's into the kitchen for soup and bread, both homemade by Bob, his Christmas tradition. This year it's Scotch broth and ciabatta, both delish.
Like probably 99% of the rest of the country the afternoon is spent in various states of recline trying not to scoff all the chocolates while the turkey is cooking.

Then candlelit Christmas dinner - yum.
Soon be time to get back to work, but doing nothing just now is just fine.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

For the rest of the Festive Season......

we hope you have a warm and happy time, and that your stockings were filled with all you wished for at Christmas.
With love and best wishes from Bob & Marion.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Scary, very scary.

I know that Christmas and snow scenes are appearing all over blogland, but here is something just a little bit different..and decidedly spooky!
I was looking through some old photos yesterday and scanning them on to the computer. It's amazing to see some of these old snaps looking so large and glowing on the screen. The detail you see that you've never noticed before.
Which brings me to this photo - taken umm, 24-ish years ago on holiday in Dunoon. I'm standing on the left with Nick in the buggy, and Laura is looking cute on the right. But......WHO IS THE BLACK SHADOWY FIGURE IN THE MIDDLE? I never noticed him before and it gave me the fright of my life when I saw it. Were we being stalked by a madman?! The imagination runs riot.

" Just a man walking his dog" said Bob. But...I don't know. What do you think?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's Snowing in Blogland

I've just found this little snow widget for the blog, so I thought I should have a couple of snow scenes to show it off to full effect. This was our walk through the golf course yesterday morning.

And this is the low winter sun just getting above the Firth of Forth.

And here's a peek into our cosy living room from the outside looking in.
Merry Christmas from Blacketyside.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

From Scotland to New Zealand with love

A few photos of our tree and decorations coming up - not because I want to impress or show off ( just a bog standard tree after all) and not because I think anyone who doesn't know me would be the least bit interested. There are so many other blogs dedicated to beautiful Christmas displays.
Today's blog post is for Laura and Greg, who you may know as our daughter and son in law, at present on the New Zealand leg of their world adventure.
We won't see them at Christmas (boo hoo) and Laura wanted me to send pics of our living room with the decorations. so here it is.....
This is your painted wooden santa, Laura, with your name on it.
And this is looking out of the window past the tree to the front garden to prove that we had snow today! Pity that part of the window is steamed up but it maybe adds a little something.yAnd here's the tree in its glory.This year, Laura I decided to have a natural theme going on the mantlepiece, with fir branches from the tree, holly and pine cones. I have some white fairy lights to be added when I get the right size of batteries!And the Wemyss cat is sporting his tartan scarf. That's your Christmas card in front.And I sorted out the dresser in the kitchen with all the brightest pottery and some mini trees.It's b****y freezing here tonight. I'm sitting at the computer with Bob's coat on and my hands falling off with cold and I'm just going to head off to bed to thaw out under the duvet and patchwork quilt. We're supposed to get more snow tomorrow I think, and over the weekend, but it will all have thawed out by Christmas I suppose.
Check out Laura's blog for her latest daredevil adventures - skydiving, crawling through ice caves and extreme kayaking to name but a few. Is she really my daughter?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

83 year old cart wheeling granny!

Merry Christmas from Bob, Marion, Gran and li'l Nick. Guess who's who!!http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/QyWh812Gx9Q5TK0odViG
Click on the link for a bit of Christmas nonsense and then click the full screen button to see us in all our glory.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Plethora of Patchwork

I have a good customer, a local lady, who decided this year to give all of her friends and family one of our patchwork cards for Christmas. She started weeks ago in a small way, buying about 10 each week to spread the cost, because at £2.00 a pop it would soon become a hefty bill for Christmas cards. All was going well until yesterday when she turned up in a bit of a lather because she had seriously underestimated the number of cards she needed. ( She must have a LOT of friends). I had 25 in stock which she snapped up and begged for another 50 more by tomorrow.
So.... I had thought that things were slowing down and I could at last start my Christmas preparations. But that was shelved tonight while I made up these little darlings - 60 of them so she can have a choice.
It's not finished yet though. Because I now have to paint them. I outline them with gold and paint a little motif in the middle square - holly, tree, bauble, whatever I think suits the card. Another late night I suppose.

And this is my business Christmas card for this year. The one I send out to trade customers, suppliers etc. That job is done at least - Christmas cards written and posted.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

End of year BIG tidy up starts

After months of working morning noon and night, the time is now here when I can raise my head from my work table and take stock of the chaos around me. Everything not directly related to actual making has taken a back seat - so tidying, cleaning, organising - things which really truly I enjoy doing (!) - have been non existent and the results are there for you all to see in the picture on the left. This is the storeroom, thankfully not the workshop. But it is the room where everything gets dumped after a craft fair, where all the packing and dispatch of orders is done and where I will be working once Christmas is past and the cold months of January and February make it too chilly to work out in the actual workshop. So I needed to do some drastic sorting out.
Anyway, that was what it looked like at 6 o'clock tonight - and two hours later ( yes, all it took was two hours of concerted effort) this was the result! OK the shelf units still look unsightly, but honestly I now know what is in every box, and there was a huge amount of rubbish to chuck out.
I thoroughly recommend a good clear out to clear out the mind too and leave it at peace.
There is still a lot to do in the workshop itself, not to mention accounts, records, paperwork for next year's craft fairs ( the booking forms are all in and need to be filled out) and believe it or not next year's Christmas card designs.
But all I need to do is apply the work rate of the past few months to these jobs and we'll whizz through them. Underneath I'm really an organised person at heart ( Bob snorts with derision) and I feel the benefit of being back in control.

While I'm on the subject, here are a couple of views of the workshop in its Christmas finery. The seasonal bits and pieces are going fast and I'm already sold out of quite a lot. My Christmas scented candles for one.

And finally today here is a cosy picture of our open fire taken at Christmas last year. Now the reason I'm mentioning it just now is because there is a sorry tale to tell. Open fires - wonderful things - they give focus to the room, they give off heat and light which is comforting and mellow. Nothing nicer than cosying up to the fire on a cold winter's night with a glass of red wine or a mug of tea and watching the flames dancing....and NOTHING WORSE than getting up on a Sunday morning with plans for an easy day pottering about while your husband is away working hard at a craft fair....and finding the entire living room covered in a two inch thick blanket of soot which has come down the chimney overnight. That was Sunday. I spent from 9am till 6pm in my jammies cleaning soot from every crevice in the room. I was covered, it was up my nose, in my hair everywhere. I could have cried but it would just have made black streaks.
So at six I had got the room looking good and smelling sweet again and I just had time for a quick shower before Bob walked in and asked if I'd enjoyed my day off!***!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas tweetings

It's official. This is our top selling, runaway success of the Christmas card range this year. Admittedly the wee robin in the image above was the proto type and has undergone a slight change or two, but it's pretty much the same.
He's flying off the shelves at a rate we can hardly keep up with and is currently appearing in shops from Peebles to Inverness.
He has also made it our website and will happily fly to your home at the click of the mouse.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

First of December

The first day of advent calendars, the countdown has started if you are less than 12 years old. Well even if you are older than twelve - what the heck.
I sent little advent calendars to my nephew and niece, 13 and 10 respectively, and also to my Mum, who last was 12 seventy one years ago.
I've got a rather posh one for our house this year too, which I found at Country Living. It is made of felt with lovely embroidered birds and other motifs, and quite generous pockets for sweet treats. That might entice my 26 year old son home for the weekend!
We're still working our socks off to get the orders filled in time for Christmas, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Bob was at the Perth Christmas Street Fair last weekend while I stayed home and manned the shop. And for once it was a dry sunny day, albeit freezing. We're well equipped to ward off the cold at outdoor fairs though - a thick tarpaulin to cover the stand on three sides and an indispensable fan heater blowing out hot air all day. Another tip is to make sure you have a thick mat to stand on and of course the obligatory thermals!
Lastly, and most importantly bright lights. If you know there is going to be power available at the fair, make sure you take advantage. We had no less than three large halogens illuminating the stand and it makes it look very inviting as the daylight fades so quickly in the winter afternoons. There are always one or two stands who don't bring lights, and they might as well pack up and go home at two o'clock. I don't understand it.
So Bob coped well, and the crowds obligingly turned out to make it an excellent selling day. Smiles all round with the other sellers doing well too.
I read in the paper on Sunday that it was the allegedly the busiest day of the year for online shopping, and we had our share of the orders. Brisk business in Christmas cards and decorations even though I still haven't managed to put all of our new products on the website yet!
So Monday saw us back to working on shop orders. Another four finished and away yesterday - so as I say the end is in sight.
What then? Feet up, relax, do a bit of couch potato-ing? No not yet. There is the small matter of the house to get to grips with. I say this every year - the cobwebs are so huge I could spray them silver and they would make instant Christmas decorations. The kitchen needs a good to do, as well as the bathroom, bedrooms, living room, hall, garden, workshop, etc etc etc. All in good time.

I spent today getting the mail and website orders up to date and these two cards were among the specials. Ordered by a granny for her two little grandsons.
Pardon the picture quality - they were scanned.
Right, back to work. Ther's a bit of embroidery to do before bed.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Well hello...

Like I said  I don't have a lot of time. I STILL haven't unpacked yet from Country Living Show.
But I wanted to share this little gem.
Everyone needs their ten minutes of fame - in our case ten seconds.
I bought this week's Hello magazine while I was staying in Glasgow ( a bit embarrasssing to admit to as I don't really subscribe to celebrity nonsense).
ANYWAY, cut a long story short ..  I found this interesting article on Claire Goose and her new baby. Only I was more interested in the the baby cards on display on the shelves behind her. Because - in pride of place is one of our tartan pram cards!

So you could say we've been featured in Hello magazine! I suppose the paparazzi will be out in force in the front garden tomorrow.
Right, enough of this procrastination. Back to the unpacking.

No Time...

to say much tonight.
But things will calm down soon and I'll get back to regular posts.
Just back from Country Living Christmas Show.
Not unpacked yet but that will have to wait until I've caught up with some orders which are urgent.
It was a great four days, by the way - exhausting, exciting, exhilarating, expensive(!) - but well worth it.
Roll on next year.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Just saying sorry

Bear with me - I've not had a minute to put anything on here lately. We're pushing through our Christmas shop orders at a rate of up to 8 a day. The end is almost in sight and normal life will be resumed soon.
Not that I'm complaining!
We are so glad that our cards are doing so well for our shop customers.
And our priority is to make sure that everyone gets their order in plenty of time for the Christmas season - just SEVEN weeks to go.
So.... I'll get back to work now, and next time I make an appearance here I'll have some pictures to show you of what we've been so busy making. Promise.
If you are in Scotland and can get to Lanark on the 14th or Country Living on the 19th, I'll happily show you in person the fruits of our labours.

And the website will be all Christmassy soon too!!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Crafts for Christmas

That was last weekend, so if you weren't there you've missed it!
The venue was the SECC in Glasgow for 4 days. We shared the exhibition centre with Hobbycrafts running concurrently with us, and also a Girly Pampering sort of fair in another hall on the Sunday, or so I believe. Lots of nail bars, makeovers, fashion - that sort of thing. So it was the place to be if you were a female ( or effeminate male). Crafts to make, crafts to buy, pampering and to top it all the Nolans in concert on Sunday night. Wow! ( Sarcastic overtones there, in case you didn't realise.)
The glory days of thousands pouring through the doors as soon as they opened are gone, but we had a good show none the less. It was heaving on Saturday and more comfortable the other days.
We made brisk sales of our new Christmas cards. It's great to get the seal of approval when you introduce some new designs to the public for the first time. The fact that they were the best sellers was comforting.
As usual Bob took me through to Glasgow on the build up day and helped to set up the stand then headed home to tackle the huge pile of work I'd kindly left for him so he wouldn't weary while I was away.
I stayed in my favourite local hotel just a short walk from the SECC. But I had to do my share of working too, as I had my kit of paints and cards with me and put in a good few hours each night replacing what had sold during the day. God, when will we get a break I wonder?
Anyway, that's the first of the big Christmas shows behind us and we've got a couple of weeks before the next one. Phew.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Marathon Make

Not the running kind of marathon.
I'm just giving my left hand a rest for a minute or two. It's funny that although I'm right handed, when I spend a long time making cards, it's my left hand which gets sore. I think it has all the work of holding the card taut while I'm painting and it gets over worked.
Anyway, this is set to be a record card making day. Our stocks were so low and the Crafts at Christmas Show (see above) starts next Thursday.
We've spent the last few weeks concentrating on our shop orders for Christmas and also the website and mail orders ( just got a lovely web order from a customer in California for over £200 worth of Christmas cards ). So much so that our own stocks were almost non existent. One of our card spinners which should hold 432 cards had only 18 in it! Not a lot to go round for a four day Craft Fair.
So it was necessary today to put orders on hold and build up the stocks again. I haven't finished yet, still a lot of painting to do, but tea and toast beckons to keep up the blood sugar levels.
Our new printer is coping well and obligingly churned out more than 500 cards this morning. I wonder if I'll be able to finish them all off tonight? The printer does the lettering, then the applique has to be put on and then the detail hand painted on.
There's still so much to do but hey, there's Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. A whole three days!
Wednesday will be packing up, travelling and setting up day. Our van isn't quite big enough to take everything, so we normally post three packing cases to ourselves at the SECC. The carrier picks them up on Tuesday, and I hold my breath on the Wednesday until I see them safely stacked on our stand waiting for us when we arrive. Then the main thing is make sure that we sell the contents over the four days or we won't have room in the van to bring them back!!
I'll be doing this show on my own this year. Bob will take me through and help to build the stand, then head home to continue with the trade orders. I have my favourite hotel in Glasgow booked for four nights and I really enjoy my wee break on my own. I meet so many people during the days of the show - lots of regular customers who come back (hopefully) year after year. Not to mention the other stall holders, some of whom I only see once a year. It's good to catch up. Then at the end of the day I stretch out in my hotel room with a takeaway, a magazine or two, the remote control and am usually asleep before 9. Bliss.
Of course this show runs alongside Hobbycrafts in an adjacent hall, so I'll be there bright and early in the morning before the show opens and have a good sniff around while it's quiet. What a perk, being able to look at all the stands before the doors open and the crowds pile in. I usually manage to spend a fair amount on bits and pieces of craft materials "for the business".
Right, I'm off to make this tea and toast.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Well I said this blog would be about COLOUR!! These amazing houses are part of the fishing island of Burano, just to the north of Venice and a half hour boat ride away across the lagoon. It was a misty sort of morning, quite atmospheric but we weren't prepared for the riot of colour that hit us. You'd come upon one house that was painted a strong purple and the next door one would be lime green or sugar pink. Street after street was like this, all very tidy with window boxes and shutters in contrasting colours. Many of the shops were catering for the tourists with the famous lace which traditionally the fishermen's wives worked on while their menfolk were away on their boats. The lace is still made locally, but there was also a lot of imported textiles ( from China) - only to be expected I suppose. I bought a tiny lace butterfly which was genuine as a keepsake for Mum.
Like Venice itself there are canals instead of roads, so no cars just a few bicycles and it was very peaceful and not nearly as crowded.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Here are one or two more holiday pics of Venice. Selected from the hundreds on my little point and shoot camera. I haven't looked at the ones on Bob's yet. (They will have me in them, so I won't embarrass myself here!)
The first of this batch is how to get across St Mark's Square during high tide (Aqua Alta). There were high walkway things but they were crowded with people, so the easiest thing was to roll up the trouser legs and paddle! Next up is one of the atmospheric mist which swirls and shrouds Venice from time to time. It softens the colour and gives vistas which look like watercolours. Very beautiful.I really love this photo of the canal because of the colours. I think it's the warm terracotta and gold of the buildings contrasting with the soft green of the water which makes it for me.
On our last day we managed to be at St Mark's for the setting sun and got some nice shots in the fading light.

And of course the gondolas. Well, a cost of 60-90 euros for a half hour trip convinced us not to bother, but it was good watching them ( usually with Japanese tourists in them). This is a close up of the sumptuous seating arrangement and here is one gondolier who looks like he's forgotten which canal he parked his gondola on. Maybe the pigeon could tell him.

So that's another glimpse of Venice. I've kept one or two pictures up my sleeve for another day, and COLOUR is most definitely the theme for them.
The days are going by, and now that we're back to work the holiday is quickly fading. Apart from one or two tangible things to remind us - our mosquito bites for one (still scratching) and my vertigo. I spent a couple of hours on the last day on a vaporetto ( water bus ). It didn't make me feel seasick at all, and I could balance no bother, although we were standing and there was a slight swell. BUT since we got home I've had a continuous feeling of rocking and rolling as though I was still on the boat. At first it was quite amusing, but now it's a downright pain. Even sitting here at the computer everything is swaying. Four days after the boat trip and it hasn't got any better. I don't think I should ever go on a cruise.


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