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

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.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


If it seemed that nothing much was happening here over the past week, it's because no-one was home. We were away having a break in Venice. It's a place we've been aiming to get to for years, and finally we grabbed a few days off and ...
We stayed in a little studio apartment near the Rialto Bridge - nothing grand but perfect for our needs. There was an ice cream shop on one corner, a bread and cake shop on the other one, a friendly wine and cheese shop just down the street and a little wine bar, again friendly, where we got a glass (or two) of very acceptable local Bardolino for only one euro a glass. What more could we want really.
If you've been lucky enough to visit Venice, bear with me, it was my first time and you'll probably see identical pictures in your own photo album, but if you haven't....go!
It must be one of the most photogenic cities in the world and we were blessed with dry sunny and warm weather. A couple of days started with the atmospheric mist which Venice is famous for, but it burned off in the afternoon and we, along with the thousands of other tourists found a photo opportunity round every corner. Canals, gondolas, sunsets, bridges, buildings, I'll keep these for another day - tonight I wanted to share the fantastic colours and textures in the shop window displays. I'm not a shopper. I usually talk myself out of most purchases by asking myself if I really need it, but I love window shopping and Venice must have some of the best shop windows. Mostly small, and tucked in some of the most ridiculous little corners, the shops offer  the most unusual, the bohemian, the quirky, the beautiful and above all the most colourful...alongside the usual tourist tat.
Murano glass, Venetian lace, traditional wooden puppets and toys, leather bags and gloves and of course the famous masks, some of it cheap and of doubtful origin, some hugely expensive and craftsman-made in front of you.
Colour was everywhere, maybe to brighten the dark little passages which are the only streets ( no traffic, no roads, cars, scooters - so quiet and peaceful). So I've put together a collection of the goods on display - you'll see what I mean about the colour.
I'm not very bold so didn't manage to get pictures of the best shop windows ( I don't mean the grandest by any means). The most eye catching displays usually had a sign requesting "No photos" and the shopkeeper predictably standing in the doorway as I walked past, so I just kept going! This is just a taster.


Another collection tomorrow!
And now the holiday is over and it's back to work. Christmas is going to be the main thing over the next few weeks, so for now let's just enjoy Venice.


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