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

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Highland Show

That's it over for another year. Four long hard days - 9 till 7 each day. I can't complain though as I was only in attendance on the last day.
Thank you to all who spent their money at our stand, laughed at our humourous cards and gave us nice comments. That's what makes it worthwhile.
That, and bumping into old friends. Yes Olive I mean you- I said I would give you a name check!! I hope you keep going with that embroidery now. I'll be wanting to see the results!
We'll wait till tomorrow to unpack the van, never a good job. Tonight it's a glass of wine and feet up.
Update on the cat - he's taken his lampshade collar off in disgust but as he's not showing any interest in his tail bandage, we've let him keep it off. He seems completely back to normal and of course is desperate to get out, but not till Tuesday.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Cat, Cost and Chaos

If you've read my Twitter feed on the right hand side of this blog over the past couple of days, you'll probably be aware we had a feline emergency on Monday night. The Wee Cat seen here in happier times came in through the cat flap minus half of his tail. Of course this was after midnight and the out of hours vet charges £155.00 before they even look at him. So after much discussion on the phone with the sleepy vet and some conscience searching, we decided to bed him down for the night, save the £155 and take him to the animal hospital in the morning.
All this while we're trying to get packed up for the Highland Show.
He went through an op. to amputate a bit more of his tail and then spent a little holiday of one night in the hospital which cost us £375!! Just about as much as we spent on our last holiday in France.
Anyway he arrived home this morning sporting this fetching lampshade collar and we have to keep him indoors until his injuries heal. Now the Wee Cat is a country cat who has the run of fields and woods as his territory so we are experiencing a bit of cat claustrophobia.
He's never had to use a litter tray either, but Bob set one up for him when we went off this afternoon to the Show. This was the scene when we got home - one comfy cat curled up asleep in said litter tray. Not quite the purpose intended.
And here is his poor little stump of a tail all bandaged up. I've got to take him back to the vet on Friday for a dressing change under anaesthetic so more costs to pay.
Meanwhile in the midst of all this we have set up the stand at the Highland Show and it opens tomorrow until Sunday.
Bob's on duty there tomorrow and Friday while I return the workshop to some semblance of order - it gets torn apart and left like a tip when we get ready for a big show.
I'll be at the show on Saturday and Sunday, hopefully making a lot of sales to pay the vet!
I don't think we'll ever find out what happened to his poor wee tail but it must have been a traumatic experience.
Happy Birthday Barbara, by the way!!!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Father's Day and Graduation

I'm having a wee break at the moment - kettle's boiling for my cuppa and I'm trying to persuade myself that I really don't need anything to eat with it, probably unsuccessfully.
I think I'll do a late night tonight to get ahead of myself before tomorrow. Lots to do you see.
The Highland Show is only two or three days away, and just to be boringly predictable we're not organised at all.
Ho hum.
But we'll get there in the end - we always do.
Today of course was Father's Day and the father in this house was treated to a big steak for tea. I can't believe I didn't manage to get the Father's Day cards on to the website this year, sorry. There were too many orders from the shops we supply and we didn't even have many to spare for our own shop.
The other event at this time of year is of course Graduation. There has been a run on cards for that too and we're busy keeping up with it.
Anyway this is just a quick post because I must get on with some more work - packing some orders next.
PS I haven't had anything to eat with my cuppa - yet.

PPS I wish I still had a Dad to say Happy Father's Day to.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Singin' in the rain

I'm si..i..i..ngin' in the rain!
Lucky for you I'm not really.
The thing is I've just become aware that bad weather = busy workshop.
Yesterday and today we've had hurricanes that lasted five minutes, downpours that lasted ten minutes and a little bit of sunshine in between. But just when I assumed no-one would venture up the farm road in such horrible weather, they did. More visitors in one day than we've had for ages.
The farm shop of course is bursting at the seams as usual, especially with the strawberry season started and it looks like we're getting some of the run off.
It's lucky that I've just taken delivery of some beautiful bits and pieces of embroidery from JB Textiles. They make very affordable embroidered gifts such as cute little jewellery purses and
pot pourri bags and are very popular with our older customers who really appreciate pretty things.
My criteria when searching for products to sell alongside our own is that they are in the most case embroidered or textile based and that they are made to a very high quality.
We've stocked this range of embroidery for a few years now and each year there are new collections to choose from.
Barbara (friend and helper) was here today, it being a Thursday, and brought with her a new batch of her own spicy mats - sets of two handmade fabric coasters which have a hidden spice sachet in them. A wonderful aroma is released when a hot mug is placed on the coaster.
What with the candles, soap and spicy mats our shop is a nose delight.
I could only find a photo of the tartan spicy mats but as Barbara is as much of a fabric fiend as me, there are loads of different designs to choose from.
The downside of being busy with customers is that I don't get through as much work in the day as I should. So of course once the shop closes for the day the proper work begins and this is pretty much the pattern for the whole of the summer- hence the reason we had our weekend off to charge up the batteries.
If Janet from Ewe & Me in Grantown on Spey or Marion from Bailiwick in Troon are reading this and wondering what's happened to their orders for cards, don't worry girls they are being packed up at this moment and will be with you very soon!
I wonder if I should hope for more rain tomorrow?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Sun sand and noisy waves

How to stretch two days into what seems like a week.
Drive 130 odd miles north to Sandend in Moray. That's part of one day - Sunday in this case. Set up the trailer tent practically on the beach and do a bit of exploring and beachcombing.
Then cook a meal on our little stove and eat it washed down with a bottle of red wine while listening to the crashing waves and watching the surfers catch the last of the day's sport before heading home and leaving the campsite nice and quiet for us.
End the day scrambling up to the cliff path at the end of the beach. Cosy bed in the tent while there's still enough daylight to read a few pages then sleep - once you get used to the racket the waves make.
This is the view from the tent.
Wake up not too early next day, wolf down bacon butties and coffee and set off to walk the coastal path in the other direction. Check out a doocot and Findlater Castle - awesome location, then make executive decision to let Bob continue on the walk while I drive round to Cullen and meet him at the other end.
Good decision - as he gets soaked in wet grass which is waist high and I have a glorious time spending a fortune in Puddleduck Patch, Cullen's famous patchwork and quilting shop. It 's difficult to explain to the shop owner, as I stack the fat quarters high, that I'm not actually going to make a quilt with all this fabric but cut it up into thousands of tiny squares, butterflies, baby dress shapes and many more appliques for the cards.
And as I judge that I've spent enough money ( or in fact rather too much) and it should be about the right time to look for my hiking husband, he appears round the corner squelching in his shoes and I allow a smug little smile to myself that once more my intuition pays off.
Once he's dried off we head east for a trip to Pennan, the tiny fishing hamlet that was the location for Local Hero. Remember that film? I loved it. The phone box above was an integral part of the film.
A hairy drive down the steepest bendy road I think I've ever been on and we arrive at this little gem of a village.
Not sure if there are too many locals, hero or otherwise left in the place - possibly a lot of the cottages are now holiday homes
but there is this fishing boat in the act of being spruced up and some creels on the harbour, so
I guess some fishermen are still around.
The evening sees us tackling the coastal path to Portsoy. Not too strenuous, but deserving of an above average fish supper and a drink beside a real fire in the pub at the harbour before the walk home.
I don't even hear the noisy waves as I'm asleep as my head hits the pillow.
After another al fresco breakfast we're packed up and heading home via yet another fabric shop at Milton of Crathes and more plastic flashing.
So I've now got a sizable pile of fat quarters to add to the stash and sore knees from the scrambling on the cliffs. But we had a lovely wee break to set us up for the busy summer ahead and it's back to work tomorrow.
Why is it that every time we grab a couple of days off we get back to frantic phone messages from customers who've left it to the last minute to order a card. Today was no exception, but never fear - the wedding card, 80th birthday card, Pearl wedding picture, three graduation cards, driving test success card, presents for teachers and the other bits and pieces will be made, personalised and packed up tomorrow.
But since it's now 2am I'm calling it a day tonight (does that make sense?) and I'm off to bed with no noisy waves as a lullaby.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Laura's Sampler

I've just walked past this picture which hangs in our hall and thought I'd try a photo of it as it was Laura's birthday at the weekend ( 29 years old).
This is the little lady aged two, taken by her Dad who was playing with the camera and doing arty shots when he should have been putting her to bed!
Below are some pics of a sampler I made for her first birthday. Not a traditional cross stitch sampler, but using my favourite "canvas work applique" style.

It actually came third in a national competition sponsored by the French embroidery thread company DMC. The first prize was a car, the second a holiday in Paris and the third?...a box of threads. But hey, who needs a car when you are an embroiderer!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


That sounds ominous but it's not really.
I was gently chastised today for not updating this blog for a week. Sorry.
I did actually post a piece on Sunday about our family weekend, which if you were quick you might even have read. It was online for an hour before I thought better of it and took it down.
You see I originally intended this blog to be a companion to the website, where I would highlight new designs and products and other bits of interest about the business.
It's a bit presumptuous of me to think that anyone would be remotely interested in what we as a family were doing with our weekend.
So anyway, not much happened in our business world over the weekend because.....we had a family weekend!
It's rare for us to take a day off let alone a weekend but this was special as it was our daughter Laura's birthday and possibly the last time we'll see her before she goes off on a world trip for the next year.
We had a wonderful time with close family and managed a walk along the beach - and in Laura's case a paddle - on Sunday before they all flew away to their respective homes around the country.

Three wee figures heading home.
I grabbed a couple of hours to potter in the garden with the cat for company, while Bob took everyone back to the airport on Sunday afternoon. The house seemed too quiet.

The sun came out and I had to capture a few of the beauties that make June the best month in our garden.

The next post will be back on track with the business I hope, with news about our updated website and the preparations for the Highland Show.
Although if the weather's nice we might just have another couple of days off this weekend! I could get used to it.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

I'm Still Here!

Just to say I haven't gone away. I'm simply trying to catch up with myself after the turmoil of last weekend. That was the first craft fair of the season at Gardening Scotland, and Perth Art Fair at the same time, so we were gluttons for punishment. And I think we're getting too old for this caper of packing and unpacking the van 8 times in three days!!!
Gardening Scotland was of course like the rest of the UK basking in sunshine and there seemed to be record crowds. It was a bit of an ordeal for the public in our sauna of a marquee, but my big electric fan helped to keep them cool at our stand.
Bob did the Perth Art Fair which was out of doors, so much more pleasant and again attracted good numbers of visitors.
If only we could be guaranteed weather like that in Scotland every weekend.
The unpacking on Monday was horrendous and took all day and evening, nearly - we took a couple of hours off for a swim. But the shop is looking spick and span now as it got a tidy up and sort out at the same time, and is all set for summer.


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