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, 30 August 2009

Last Day at the West End Fair

That's it over for another year. All I can say tonight is ...phew. Six o'clock came, the church bells chimed the hour, and we started to pack up. Cue rain.
Some of the exhibitors opted to pack up their stand, leave everything in the overnight store to be collected tomorrow and head home.
We and some others, did what we always do, brave the traffic and unfriendly police, trundle everything up the steps to street level and load the van as quickly as possible to avoid being clamped.
Anyway it all went relatively smoothly and we headed home via the fish and chip shop.
The last day was good sales wise. The rain stayed off until the fair was closed and there was a generally a good buzz.
Tomorrow is time enough to unpack and take stock of the last three weeks. We are slightly up financially on last year which is a blessing in this economic climate, so we're tired but happy.
Bob is away to bed complaining of sore calf muscles, but that is probably more because of lack of use while he was sitting behind the stand all day.
A good couple of days' hillwalking which he has planned as a mini break for himself will sort him out.
I did take the camera but I apologise to the viewers (and the crafters) about the quality of the pictures. They really don't do the work justice. And I only scratched the surface - there were many many more crafts on display.
First up is the wonderful selection of buttons made by Fran Harkes. The link to her website is on the right. Have a look.
She also makes one off jackets with very individual embroidery and applique as well as the selection of embroidered cuffs below.

Quite near to Fran's corner was Bright Sparks - beautiful hand knitted children's clothes in lovely ice cream or bright shades.
It wouldn't be the Edinburgh Fringe without some tartan and this was one of Jem's tartan kilt bags. Janice makes classic clothes for all ages in tartans and Harris tweed, and is having a very busy summer with orders from the Homecoming Clan Gathering a few weeks ago.
A change from textiles, you can smell this stand before you see it. Pure Juniper Ltd make mats and coasters from aromatic juniper wood in beautiful natural colours and the scent is wonderful.
Back to knitting, this is the work of Liz Ingram a friend and fellow Fifer. She works with Scottish themes in her machine knitted garments popular with foreign visitors.
Back at the beginning of the fair I bought a lovely little mobile phone sock with a thistle motif on it as a keepsake for Laura to take on her travels and remind her of her roots.
I have to say Liz, it went down very well and is now somewhere in the Amazon jungle.
The last picture is an example of the tiny tiles made by Sea Holly Ceramics. Here they are inserted in a large piece of driftwood as an unusual coat rack, but the tiles can be purchased separately.
I wish I'd got more photos of the stands - jewellery in all forms, paintings, prints, photography, wood turning, handbags, embroidery, weaving........so much more. Have a look at the West End Fair website ( link at the top) to see many more images and links.
I've digested my fish and chips, enjoyed a glass of red wine and I'm off to bed now. Busy day tomorrow ( when is it not?) unpacking and sorting out.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Last week at West End Fair

Where are the photos you promised, I hear you say.

Excuse - I couldn't find the camera on Sunday when I went through to Edinburgh. Of course it was where it should be when I got home, but I swear it wasn't there in the morning.

I promise I'll capture the last day ( this coming Sunday) on film - some more stands, the last gasp of shoppers and the dreaded packing up. That last bit is a complete nightmare.

You'll see why in the next post.

But so far, so good.

The weather has of course been changeable to put it politely, and there's no getting away from the fact that a wet day = less visitors. But there have also been good days, Saturday was a stonker and Monday and Tuesday of this week too.

We've got into the fine tuned West End Fair routine now - Bob is there every day with a plenty of work to do so he doesn't get bored and I'm at home running the ship.

There have been a number of late late nights ( record was 3.02am by the alarm clock when I went to bed). Not partying or carousing I'm afraid to say, but burning the midnight anglepoise in the workshop.

Now that the end is nigh, it's possible to raise one's head and look towards the following week where the Dundee Flower and Food Festival is waiting to grab us and say - " No time off for you yet!" That's our next event, just a week away...groan..
And now for something COMPLETELY different.............

No way, that's not me! It's Laura, our daughter "zip-lining" hundreds of metres above the forest floor in Ecuador. This is part one of the big adventure she and Greg have embarked on for the next ten months or so.

I can't imagine where she gets this dare devil streak from - it ain't me! Could this be the same little girl who looked so demure and pretty all these years ago?!!

Well, lunch break over and back to work.

Monday, 17 August 2009

West End Update

Sorry no photos today. I meant to take the camera yesterday but forgot.
So that's the first week behind us.
As usual for Scotland there's been a healthy mixture of sunshine and showers ( well downpours really). But believe it or not less rain than the same week last year.
In general the visitor numbers are up I think and that has been reflected in the sales over the week.
It has been quite a struggle to keep up with the stock levels but we've got it down to a fine art, Bob and I.
He's in Edinburgh selling and I'm at home making. I anticipate what he might be selling and make cards like fury during the day, and he phones late afternoon to tell me what he's sold - and usually I've anticipated wrongly! So then I start to make more.
I went over to the fair yesterday for the weekly check and tidy up ( men are no use at that sort of thing) and to let Bob have an escape for a walk. I had another mooch around the stands ( wish I'd remembered the camera) and treated myself to a necklace from Fiona Luing. There are lots of jewellery stalls to choose from but I really liked the contemporary blown glass beads.
I need to peel myself away from the computer now and get on with some work, but Laura (daughter) and Greg ( son in law) have just arrived in Quito in Ecuador on the first leg of their round the world trip and we've been chatting, thanks to Twitter.
Photos of more stands next week. There really are so many amazing crafts on display.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

West End Fair Day One

Here we are. Seven thirty yesterday morning. Arrived and unloaded and ready to start setting up the stand. This is our little shop in the centre of Edinburgh for the next three weeks. It doesn't look much when it's empty....
But by 11am it was set up and open for business.
It's quite amazing how much stuff can be displayed in a little wooden chalet.
The stock level is good at the moment but it's a major job to keep it going. I've got a pile to do today.
Last shot of our stand before we go on a mini tour of the fair.
The fair is set in an old graveyard behind St John's Church and is below street level hence the aerial views.
It's a lovely leafy space, a peaceful oasis from the Festival madness of Princes Street.
There are marquees as well as the wooden chalets and all FREE admission.
This is one of the many and varied jewellery stands.
And a close up of the beautiful ceramic jewellery created by my friend Margaret McDonald and..
her husband John's paintings. This is a new venture for him.
Another well known business at this event, Fern Glass with their hanging glass ornaments and ever popular glass fairies.
Finally a shot from street level showing the entrance to the fair with the amazing backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
I'm hoping for three weeks of sunny weather - not TOO much to ask is it - the atmosphere is so good when the sun shines.
Well, time marches on - I must get back to work.
Come and see us if you are in Edinburgh.

Friday, 7 August 2009

All Packed Up And Ready To Go

What a day. Always the same the day before a big Craft Fair.
We've rushed around making up last minute stock - always last minute - before the big pack up/load up tonight.
We've filled two floor spinners full of cards, that's 432 cards on each one, and eight plastic crates of pictures, other cards, plaques and assorted pretty things.
Then there was the checklist of sundries:-
Lighting, cloths and drapes, shelving, screens, cash float, paper bags, visa machine, catalogues, pens, staple gun, hammer and nails, comfy chair ( VERY important to avoid a sore bottom after 3 weeks of sitting behind the stand) and so on and on.
Bob loads up the van with the heavy stuff first and then keeps sensibly out of my way while I faff around collecting every last miniscule thing to take with us.
Packing has become an art form over the years and I have a sort of routine in order to make sure nothing important gets forgotten.
As you can see there's not much room left in the back of the van - just enough for the packed lunch and flask of coffee tomorrow.

Doors finally closed, a mental check in case I've missed something and then an early night. We have to be up at 5.30 tomorrow morning to get through to Edinburgh and unloaded before the traffic restrictions start. Bit of a nightmare.
Anyway it's done.
Except THIS is what the storeroom looks like after I've ransacked it while packing. And pretty much the whole house and workshop looks like they've been raided.
But that's a job for Sunday.
My Craft Fair presence is tomorrow only to oversee the setting up. Then I'm at home working on stock while Bob is in the comfy seat behind the stall each day.
Sunday I'll whizz around and tidy everything up and restore some order ready to open the workshop as usual on Tuesday.
So August will fly by at the West End Fair, and when we raise our heads again it will be September and summer will be nearly over. Roll on Christmas -aghhh.
PS I'm taking the camera with me tomorrow, so watch this space for a visual trip around the Fair.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Homecoming Birthday

Two celebrations in one week is possibly being a bit greedy, but just three days after our 33rd anniversary comes my (ahem)th birthday.
This year it landed on Sunday, our day off. And as Monday is our day off too, we had a very brief holiday and went down to Ayr for a night.
A bit of a Homecoming (more later) for me as I was born in the Maternity Hospital in Ayr all those years ago.
I had a notion that I wanted to see the sunset over Arran ( possibly my most favourite view) but it wasn't a sunset sort of evening.
The picture above, courtesy of here shows what I was looking for.
We also had a good walk around Culzean Country Park, another favourite place of mine - Culzean Castle above - I spent a week at the park when I was a student on a group sketching/study trip and have loved it ever since.
This morning we had a touristy visit to Alloway, to see Burns' Cottage and the Auld Brig o' Doon.
It's a place I've been to often but I must say I was impressed with the general turn out of the village this time. It's maybe because of the 250th anniversary of Burns and the year of homecoming etc, but everywhere you looked there were flowers, neatly clipped hedges and very tidy paths and gardens. Then again it's maybe always as nice as this.
I'd say it's a real credit to Scottish tourism and couldn't fail to impress foreign visitors.
This is the Auld brig, featured in Tam O' Shanter. If you don't know the poem it can be found here.
Right across the road from Burns' Cottage is this lovely tidy Post Office, full of interesting bites to eat, gifts and... a display of our cards! What more could the visitor possibly want!
We took a long and very winding road home to road test our new car, and ended up at South Queensferry for a late lunch. From our table at the Hawes Inn there is a good view of the Forth Rail Bridge.
Finally the Year of Homecoming Scotland is 2009 and we are doing brisk business with our homecoming cards. Needless to say Alloway Post Office is a good customer.


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