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

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Gardening Scotland

The first Craft Fair of the year is upon us. We were over in Edinburgh today setting up the stand - a love/hate job, meaning I love a well organised build up where everything goes swimmingly and the stand comes together well. And at the same time I hate the stress of multi tasking and remembering all the little things which, if forgotten can totally ruin the whole show. Like the time I forgot all the hooks to hang pictures and broke all my nails trying to bend paper clips into hook shapes. Or the time I forgot the cloths to cover the tables, or when I forgot the paint to personalise the cards and Bob had to be summoned from home fifty miles away.
There are many more disaster stories over the 21 years of Craft Fairs - daughter locking the keys in the car, breaking down on the way home and worse still on the way there..... I could go on. These are the stuff of my recurring nightmares.
Still, the weather forecast is good for the weekend, the stand is well stocked and it's one of my favourite venues mainly because I could (and invariably do) spend a fortune at all the different plant stalls. Last year it was the Meconopsis. I wonder what will tempt me this year?
Anyway, it's getting late and there are still one or two little tasks to do before bed - price tags to make etc.
Bob will be on duty behind the stand tomorrow and I'll be at home making more stock for Saturday, when it's my turn, and then we will both be there on Sunday which is when I get the chance to look round the show and spend the profits.
And if you are at the Art on the River market in Perth on Saturday, you will also see us there, or Bob anyway. Because we don't do things by halves, not us. Why stop at one major event on a weekend when you can make life even more stressed out by doing two?
Our trusty friend and work horse, the printer has decided to have an inkjet printhead cartridge nervous breakdown - no stamina that one - and chooses the worst times to print white lines through everything. I can guarantee it will suddenly recover and work perfectly as soon as the rush is over.
If you're visiting Gardening Scotland, don't forget to check out the Craft Marquee. There is some wonderful work on display.
I'll try to get some photos done on Saturday.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Pretty in Pink

This is a photo from a post of a couple of days ago which I deleted (see below).
It's a whole set of goodies for a new baby girl, ordered by a lovely customer who does this every time she buys for a new baby. Card for grandparents, card for parents, keepsake box and name plaque.
On to boring stuff, and too technical for me, but I've noticed a problem over the past day or so when I load this old blog of mine. You might find this too - when you load the blog page, a window pops up saying that the page can't be opened and Operation aborted. I was slightly worried and deleted a recent post ( Pretty in Pink) because I thought that might be the problem, which was silly.
Anyway, " I'm currently working to rectify the situation" as they say, and have identified it as a problem peculiar to Internet Explorer and nothing to be concerned about - just a nuisance.
The immediate answer seems to be to open the blog in a different browser eg Firefox. No problem there.
But if you only have Internet Explorer and you get a window popping up saying Operation Aborted, don't panic. Just refresh the page and it should be fine.
Meanwhile I'm doing a crash course in Computer Gobbledygook to try to fix it.

Friday, 22 May 2009

What Colour!

Amazing aren't they? These are our first attempts at growing meconopsis ( Himalayan poppies) - notoriously difficult to grow but we know the secret. It's this....
1.Buy a plant at the Gardening Scotland Gardening Show.
2.Stick it in the ground.
3. Forget all about it.
4. Find it a year later, budded and growing well.
5. Say " What's this plant? I don't remember planting it."
6. Two days later the buds open and this glorious blue poppy appears.
There are quite a few more buds waiting to open too.
Anyway, that was last year's Gardening Scotland show. This year's will be upon us soon - next week in fact. This will be the 11th year we have had a stand in the Craft Marquee, I think, and as usual we're at the coo's tail when it comes to preparation. It's the first main event of our craft fair season and it always sneaks up on us. So much to do, so little time.
If any of you are going to the show, please come in to the marquee and say hello.
It's being held at the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston (near Edinburgh Airport) from Friday - Sunday of next week. Here is the link.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Dear Diary

Well what can I say about today? It's Tuesday but it felt like Wednesday. It rained, but not quite so much as yesterday.
I spend Tuesday mornings shopping with my Mum while Bob mans the shop. Usually it's as quick as we can get round the Co-op and home again, but today I noticed the Thrift Shop was running in the local church hall. It's a good source of fabrics in the form of old clothes and the prices are CHEAP. Today I found a cotton shirt in the brightest magenta pink which, when washed, ironed and cut up will make a good solid colour for the patchwork cards. Not bad for 50p. There was also a gold coloured cotton smock top shot through with gold thread, again ideal for patchwork cards and finally a pair of hideous men's shorts in a useful country check which believe it or not is destined for WEDDING cards. I kid you not!
The other news is I'm one stage nearer to overhauling the website, mainly because two more shop orders have reached the pack'n' dispatch department. My To Do list has had "website update" at the top of the pile for a few days now and all I need is an afternoon free, some sunny weather ( for photographs) and it will be done. I promise you.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

A few more pictures to look at

A while ago I posted on this blog a collection of embroidered pieces I did in a former life, mainly as a point of reference to help me get back into that way of working. It's been a while since I had the time, and space in my head, to concentrate on embroidery for pleasure, but if I can now, I will.
Since I started this blog, I've been introduced to many extremely talented people from all over the world, who regularly amaze me with the amount of work they produce and share through their own blogs. Very inspiring and humbling.Today I've added a few more examples ( and there's more to come!) of my embroidered textile pieces. These were done when I was a stay at home Mum with small children and the business was still a number of years away. If I say the small children are now 28 and 25, you'll understand how long ago that was. Like the ones before, these are mainly based on freestyle canvaswork which is cut out and appliqued to a different background. Hand stitchery is added to soften the edges. In fact they are all hand done. I prefer the immediacy of working that way.

I believe now, I need to move off in a different direction, but it's good to go back to where I left off and resume the journey from there. Looking at these pictures , there is a need for simplicity I think. Too much is happening in them.
Hundreds of french knots, bullion Knots, velvet stitch, couched yarns all tumbling over each other and fighting for space. Interesting maybe that the top piece was the latest one of this group, and you can see there is already a movement towards smoother surfaces with just a small amount of restrained texture.
Once more the photos are not good, I'm afraid. This was long before digital cameras, remember!

It would be great to see these old friends again - it's been so long since they were in my possession. But they are all sold and spread around the country and all I have are these pictures. Aw, that sounds sad, but it's not meant to be. I was pleased and flattered at the time when they sold. ( And glad of the money).
The one below is my favourite of this group. Mainly for the colour I think. I would have been happy to hold on to it. So maybe this is where I should start from now. What do you think?

Friday, 15 May 2009

Wet, Windy and Working

Ok - so today was just AWFUL weatherwise. It blew a gale, it poured all day and it was freezing in the workshop, even with the heater going full blast. Was it only a few days ago we were sunbathing in France?
Still, it focused the mind on work. No skiving off to the garden for coffee breaks.
Back in winter woollies, I had a productive day catching up with website orders, and by five o'clock there were ...... nine large special keepsake cards, seven personalised handbag mirrors, five individual keepsake cards, one personalised keepsake box, one trinket bowl, two celebration plaques and two triple pictures packed up in fifteen different parcels and ready to post.
But you'll have to take my word for it because the light was too poor to take photos!
Here's hoping tomorrow (Saturday) sees an improvement in the weather because I know there are a lot of weddings and Christenings taking place this weekend - we've made the cards for them - and it would be such a shame if it rained on their special day.
I also want a brighter day because I have quite a few bits and pieces I want to photograph.
Watch this space!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Secret's out - South of France

If the daily post has been non existent for a few days, the reason is we've just had a little holiday. It took one hour on the internet a week ago last Sunday, and we had flights booked and an apartment in the old town of Antibes in the south of France. Three days later, I'd found all of last year's summer clothes (hardly worn because of the non summer), bought some bog off sun tan lotion and we were off.
It was only a secret because we wanted to slip away and be back before we were missed by our customers. Some discovered the hard way (if you read this Anne, you'll know what I mean), emailing an order at the eleventh hour for a last minute birthday and having to be disappointed. Anne got her own back though, and won't be disappointed.
Anyway, Antibes... we love it. And I'm not going to bore you with holiday stories and endless photos. There were wonderful photo opportunities round every corner of the narrow winding streets, with honey coloured stone walls smothered in bougainvilla and little windows with brightly coloured wooden shutters and old terracotta pots filled with geraniums and glimpses of the azure blue sea through tiny alleyways and distant snow covered mountains as a backdrop.
Despite all that beauty we managed to produce the usual boring bog standard holiday snaps that do nothing to capture the real thing.

One of us went swimming every morning while the other...didn't. Guess who! Well I was going to but I bathed on the beach instead. Not something I normally do on holiday, but it was so good to do NOTHING for a while except read a book and try to turn brown. Unfortunately the bog off sun cream didn't make it into the suitcase ( left sitting on the bathroom shelf by mistake) and I had to invest in some really posh stuff in a chemist's in Nice. That was after I got a bit sunburnt walking to the chemist and the wobbly bits of my arms had turned fiery red.
And a quick tip - don't put sun cream in your eye. Your eyes definitely won't like it and you'll spend the next three days with sunglasses on day and night because your eye turns red and oozes yellow stuff.
It's better now, I'm glad to say.
As usual, when you go on holiday with Bob, you walk about 20 miles a day. Slight, only slight exaggeration. Anyone who's been to Nice before will appreciate the distance we walked on the first day - from the airport at one end of the Promenade des Anglais right to the port at the other end, round the old town a couple of times and back again to the airport, because we were staying at an hotel there for the first night. That got the calf muscles nicely stiffened for the next few days and the corns on the soles of the feet well and truly bedded in.
And I have to say self catering in a lovely old French apartment is just the most chilled out way to have a holiday - down to the boulangerie on the corner for morning croissants and the market for wonderful fresh produce, sitting at the open window late in the evening with a bottle of wine listening to the sounds of the old town settling down for the night. Bliss.
So, home again, home again jiggety jig. It all came to end too quickly and before we could say deux vins rouge s'il vous plait, we were back in Scotland.
The washing machine's going full pelt, the 98 emails have been opened and the 70 of them offering viagra and the like have been trashed, the pile of mail gone through, the phone messages listened to and tomorrow's To Do List is growing at an alarming rate.
Bob came in, took off his summer jacket, put on his thick shirt and woolly jumper and within about 20 minutes had started work. What a guy.
So we're back in business, refreshed and raring to go. Just as well, as the craft fair season kicks off in a couple of weeks and the website needs attention and the shop orders are piling in and Anne wants her cards made and ...when did we have that holiday?

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Hello, Goodbye (or rather Goodnight)

Here we are, late night blog again. Not going to say much tonight - first day back after the holiday weekend and I spend three hours at the hairdressers this morning. That's a good way to start the week. Bob soldiered on manfully while I was reading "Hello" magazine and getting my colour done. I did make up for it though and caught up with the website orders tonight. A couple of wattery pictures ( not a spelling mistake, just say it with a Scottish accent) taken on our usual morning walk. These little waves with the sun reflecting off them remind me so much of happy childhood splashing. Not quite warm enough yet to roll up the jeans and expose the white ankles, soon though.
Ther's a lot to do tomorrow so I must get some beauty sleep. Wednesday is going to be the new Thursday this week, which will confuse me even further. Now how do I keep my new hairdo from getting all messed in bed? And no, I'm not going to wear a hairnet. I'll do what Dusty Springfield did and sleep sitting up. Goodnight.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Big secret - not telling!

Well it's a secret, not all that big, and I WILL tell ...soon.
No pictures to liven things up tonight, so I won't rabbit on.
The bank holiday weekend is drawing to a close, and selfishly I'm glad. What - no post (that's Royal Mail type post), no customers (we're closed), no orders, no phone calls...everyone's on holiday!
And we're selfish because we like to work when everyone's on holiday and take a holiday when everyone's at work. I can't be bothered with busy roads and full car parks, and traffic jams and queues.......
Stay at home and work!
We did do the usual Monday thing and went for a swim this morning, tempting though it was to whine that I had a cold so I could have a look round the shops while the old bagger (new nickname for Bob, quite apt) was swimming. But no, willpower prevailed and I made the effort. The pool was quiet so that was good. Time was, it would have been bustling with kids and families because the schools were off, but I guess the kids were all still in bed!
I did my usual 40 lengths to Bob's 50. No matter how hard I try I never manage to close the gap. But I did finally discover how to use my legs when swimming. It's only taken 40 years. I usually drag them through the water like a pair of tree trunks and do all the work with my arms, but somehow I worked it out how to kick them, and it made travelling through the water easier and my arms were grateful.
Not a great deal else to say tonight - 15 metres of fabric prepared for the laser cutter, 4 orders packed for the carrier and back in business along with everyone else tomorrow. Phew.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Movie Time

First things first, nothing wrong with my immune system. It fought off the germs overnight and I woke up feeling fine, albeit a bit tired. Because I didn't go to bed when I signed off last night, but sat up for another 3 hours doing absolutely nothing of any value, just aimlessly flicking from page to page on this damned computer.
Today has been productive and sociable. Orders from the Trade Show are under way, customers in the shop and teatime visit from my sister and family.

Since I don't have any new photos to show, I had a rummage and found this video I took last week. It's a 360 degree view of the mess in my workshop - always a mess when there's work in progress, but it's tidy again now. The stars of the movie seem to be a collection of plastic boxes in various sizes, which seem to dominate the entire proceedings. So there's a hint that it's not the most exciting film ever made. But I think craft people in general like to have a nose at other people's work places, so here's mine.

Friday, 1 May 2009

What a swine! Is it flu?

Joking really. I've got a (very) slight sore throat today and a number of ominous aches and pains that could be heralding the onset of a cold. The neck glands are puffing up too but I think that might mean they're working hard to beat the bad guys, those pesky viruses. If I've got enough of an immune system on the go I might go to bed tonight and wake up feeling fine tomorrow.
You don't have time for a cold when you're self employed.
Then again, I was exposed to a bit of coughing and spluttering by my neighbour at Aviemore, followed by two (self inflicted) nights of hardly any sleep which usually lowers my defences. Nobody to blame but myself.
So I'm off to bed with a Lemsip.
But..before I go or at least while the kettle's boiling.... damn, forgotten what I was going to say - brain's affected now - BED!!!!


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