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, 31 March 2009

How we blogged in the 60's

We were watching Butch Cassidy last night and trying to figure out when we saw it for the first time, when I remembered my diaries. In 1969 I was 15, and kept a diary of the most detailed drivel. Lists of films I saw, books I read, music I liked... So a quick look in the back of the wardrobe and there was the box of diaries.

It didn't take long to find, thanks to my lists - Saturday 16th May 1970, at the Gaumont in Dundee, with my then boyfriend!
Many years before computers and the internet, I recorded everything in my diaries, and it turns out they were just about as public as a blog. Unknown to me at the time ( and only confessed to fairly recently!) my little sister read them all, incriminating evidence too. She probably used them as blackmail, although I don't remember.
Years later, married and living in our first house, the box of diaries was stored in the attic which was only accessed by anyone over 5'10" in height. My darling husband would clamber up and entertain himself leafing through the pages accompanied by raucous laughter, knowing that I was powerless to stop him, and that it would drive me bananas - PIG!!!!
Tonight, I've just spent a pleasant hour or two delving back 40 odd years to when life was simple - going to school, Youth Club dances, Saturday job, spending your money on the latest fashions and make up - PVC coats, mini dresses and pale lipstick, Top of the Pops, homework, boys.........ah happy days.
I deliberately blurred this photo in case any secrets slipped out - hope you can't read it!!!! But let me know if any other child of the sixties is interested, and I might publish some carefully selected extracts!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Walk in the Woods

We took ourselves to Ladybank woods today - the sun was shining but the wind was still cold, so we reckoned on a sheltered walk in the woods. Lots of reminiscing of picnics and gang huts built in the woods when the kids were wee. I haven't been back there for such a long time.
Blue sky above the trees.

Then home via a route we've never been on before, although it's only a few miles from our house. We came over the hill and got a view of the Lomond hills from a direction we've not seen before. You learn something new every day!
Just watching Butch Cassidy at the moment - one of the all time greats.
And I HAVE started the website revamp - on paper at least. Another day or two should see changes being made.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Too windy for wimps

Leven beach as we didn't see it this morning

Our walk this morning only took us as far as the FarmShop. The wind was fierce, blowing from the North and we were a couple of wimps not wanting to get cold. Pity really, because the beach would probably have been spectacular with the waves. Normally we do this walk every morning before work.

Anyway, we removed the unsold Mother's Day cards from the display to make way for some fresh designs and did the the usual weekly count of sales. The Farm Shop has never been quiet since it opened last year, and the sales are always healthy.
A scurry back up the farm road to the warmth of the house, but I braved the weather again to get four loads of washing hung out and dried in double quick time.

The rest of the working day passed in a blur of packing orders, punctuated with coffe breaks, apple break ( healthy) and blogging break.

This weekend is going to be a website-updating one, I think!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Marching through March

Certain people (!) are expecting a daily blog here - a difficult task to fulfil sometimes. A few lines tonight Linda, but no photos.
What's happened today? To be honest, not a lot. A quiet day in the workshop, a few shop orders finished off tonight ready for dispatch tomorrow - a new one in ( thank you Drymen Village Store).
We're marching through March - soon be time to start thinking about Christmas cards..... just kidding., a couple of weeks yet!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Spring Colour

The weather may have turned a bit colder today, but I thought some pretty florals would remind us that it's nearly April. These are the Floral Patchwork cards which are going on to the website soon. They are available singly or in sets of six ( for only the price of five!) We have great fun making them and there are never any two the same. Full details will be on the website.

We 'll be adding a lot more to the website for the new season, including the Triple pictures below. The first is for a birthday - it can be any age - and there will be a choice of colour schemes.

Then a new addition to the baby range. It's already proving popular here in the shop, and there will be a little girl equivalent too.

And for today's job, a large card for a granddaughter's Christening. I hand stitched the garland of flowers which the dove is trailing with pink french knots interspersed with mother of pearl sequins and appliqued the white satin dove on to a beautiful old fabric in the palest shell pink.

It has also been a "wedding" day, as we regularly do a batch of cards for a hotel near Gretna Green. They always take a selection of different designs and colours and I've been painting them tonight. Another job in the bag.
A close up

Finally, today's guilty pleasures - an Eccles cake ( when did I last have one of those) with my coffee, a browse through some celeb type magazines while waiting for my Mum at the dentist -( I always pooh-pooh these rags and never buy them, but devour them at the dentist or the hairdresser!) and spending more time than I should have tweeting on Twitter - never thought I'd see the day.......

Monday, 23 March 2009

Day Off

Monday is our (supposed) day off. That means the workshop is closed to the public, and we can go anywhere or do anything we like. In reality most of the morning is taken up with office work, packing orders that sort of thing. Then we head off for a swim, lunch and usually home, unless there's a film worth seeing and we grab a quiet matinee.

Today...we had our swim, lunch as usual..then home to do a spot of work in the garden. Bob whiled away an hour or three chopping down a tree (see before picture), managing to fall off a ladder while holding a saw - I was only sorry I didn't have the video camera handy for "You've Been Framed". No lasting damage, thankfully not a repeat of my career threatening accident last summer. I pottered around trying to tame a neglected flower bed, and gave up when the rose thorn penetrated my thumb so deeply it gushed.
So we've used up all the elastoplast between us and it was a relief to get back to some safe work tonight.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Breathing Space

We're coming to the end of a very hectic couple of months since the Trade Fair and there seems to be a little bit of breathing space before the next fair in Aviemore in April. All of the jobs which have been put to one side while we coped with the Mother's Day orders can now be tackled.
Today I put the list of Craft Fairs, Street Markets and other events we will be attending in 2009 on to the website, as well as an updated list of shops who stock our cards. It's getting pretty long! And the one of yesterday's jobs was a special order for a large sympathy card. I thought the peaceful snowdrops would be appropriate.

Last minute Mother's Day cards destined for the farm Shop.

A host of fabric butterflies ready to be added to cards. We save every scrap of fabric and recycle it into a butterfly shape.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

This One's For John!

A special Hi to you John, and Izzie too! World's best nephew and niece! John has been a bit poorly recently and has been giving all the doctors the runaround at Yorkhill Hospital. Hope you're soon back playing football /basketball /darts/guitar/X Box and driving your oldies mad!! By the way, this pic is nearly three years old so John and Izzie are a bit more grown up and as you can see John's feet are HUGE now. Hope I haven't embarrassed you!!!

Love Auntie Marion & Uncle Bob xxxx

A Walk Round Blacketyside

Since Google Street Views have been rolled out across the UK in the last couple of days, I thought I would do our own version for Blacketyside Farm. After all, I can't see Google reaching our neck of the woods for a long time yet! We start at the bottom of the farm road, just as you turn off the main road (A915). There in front of us is Blacketyside Farm Shop, a beautiful wooden chalet type building opened a year ago.

Bursting with fresh goodies - from homegrown fruit and vegetables to chutneys and jams, and local beef, not to mention cakes, biscuits, sweeties........

Some of the Farm Shop Cuties.

Another look at the interior, and yes, those are our cards on display.

The beautiful pine interior, looking through to the Tearoom - choice of coffee and luscious cakes or home cooked lunch with fresh local produce on the menu.

Well stocked little Garden Centre adjacent to the farm Shop - just too tempting for me.

We leave the Farm Shop and take the quiet farm road all of 150 yards to the Embroidery Workshop nestling behind our cottage, just glimpsed in the photo. Woods to the left with snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells.

Looking across our garden and down the road from whence we came. I love the open space and greenery here.

Farming for the 21st century - the view from the back of our cottage overlooking the workshop to the field sloping up the hill towards the farm itself. This was recently planted with not sure what, but protected from the elements by perfect rows of polythene drills.

And the walk leads us into the Embroidery Workshop - more cards and crafts to see, mostly handmade locally, and well worth a visit, although I say so myself! It's just a gentle stroll up the road from the Farm Shop, after all.

And hopefully you haven't spent all your money in the Farm Shop already - although we do take plastic.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Interesting day

First a walk along the beach - a little hazy but the sun burst through to give us the warmest day yet this year. The door and windows of the workshop were open all day, letting in the warm Spring air, and a fair number of people strolling up from the Farm Shop ( they just came in through the door though, not the windows!) Some flashed the plastic, others just browsed, but that's OK. I'm very glad when visitors make the effort to come up the road, and if they like what they see they may well come back.
Bob was doing a bit of framing in his workshop and I was catching up with orders to go out in the post.
Peaceful and harmonious.
Not quite so harmonious this evening, but that's another story!
Suffice to say, it seems that I have had a contre temps with a certain Craft Fair organisation ( not one I have exhibited with yet). They took exception to my pointing out a potential problem with their website, and reacted by deciding not to let me exhibit with them. Now that's a first!
But, am I bovvered? In a word, no. I'm too old/tired/busy to care. I hope they have successful fairs for exhibitors and visitors alike, but we won't be there.
Which reminds me, our events calendar is filling up for the year and I'll be adding the list to the website tomorrow, or rather today, as yet again tomorrow has become today and I'm still not in bed! Time to remedy that...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Good day sunshine

Well it's been a good day. The sun shone and it was spring- like warm, at least in the morning anyway. The birthday girl - see below - enjoyed opening her presents and liked everything. We usually go shopping together on a Tuesday morning, and I casually mentioned as I dropped her off that there was a new posting on my blog she might be interested in. I left her to it, and came home to work in the afternoon.
It's a joy to work in my newly clean and tidy workshop, and so far, I'm keeping it that way. (Wait till you see it on Thursday, Barbara!)
Got through a pile of wedding cards and prepared a batch to paint as "homework" for the evening.
Then I scooted back down to Mum's to take her out for tea. She said she'd read her piece and it brought a tear to her eye, and that the description isn't really her...but it IS!!
Anyway, we drove along to Lower Largo and I treated her to very posh fish and chips in the Crusoe Hotel. They are served in newspaper ( a bit of patter, not batter!) and the fish is as fresh as can be in a delicious light beer batter, and the chips are real, not frozen, and very tasty.
To end the day, she went home to watch a DVD ( romcom), the first of an online subscription - birthday present from my sis, and maybe indulge in a choc or two.
I meant to go to bed before tomorrow, but tomorrow is today now and I'm still up, but not for long.


Just looking at the last two posts, it might look like the 90th Birthday party is for my Mum! No, she has a long way to go before that. The 90th birthday is another lady!

For My Mum

Mother's day is only a few days away, but another special day for my Mum is today - her Birthday. I won't give away her age, she wouldn't forgive me, but suffice to say she's a very bright and sharp octogenarian.

A silver surfer, online shopper, crossword ace, one time exquisite cross-stitcher, homemaker, gardener, fuschia collector, good cook and great baker, speedy shorthand typist, loving wife ( to my dear departed Dad), long suffering Mum and favourite Gran.

Happy Birthday Mum

Love from Me xx

You're going to hate me for this, I know!!!!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Saturday Night Fever

Special order - plaques for a 90th birthday party

I've spent the entire day springcleaning the workshop - the promised big clean up. It now boasts two large tables which are completely free of clutter ( for the moment) and a number of odd bits of redundant furniture bound for the dump. There's room to breathe now and I'm looking forward to working in an orderly and organised fashion - ha ha.

Anyway, feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't done any actual work today, I did a bit of homework tonight - 70 handpainted and lettered plaques for a special order. ( I seem to recall that in some distant past life Saturday nights were for going out. Or was that a dream? Ah well..)

That sort of repetitive work is easy to do while watching telly, and it's a good feeling to see them all laid out to dry and I didn't mess up a single one!

They are for a lady's 90th birthday party and will be given to each of the guests in their "party bag" as a keepsake. I hope she has a wonderful day.

Cuppa now, then bed.

Friday, 13 March 2009

All Around the World

In the past 24 hours we have sent out thirty six parcels and packets by post, three by courier and two large cartons by international courier. For about five minutes, I was up to date with our orders from the website, and began to rashly make plans for a big "clear up" and "sort out", ideas which generally never get past the planning stage.
Then the phone rang and the orders started to come in again.
Of course, the last thing I'm doing is complaining. But the clearing up will have to wait for another day.
In that batch of parcels, there is a picture for a new baby in Australia, two wedding pictures for England, Golden Wedding cards, a varied selection of birthday cards from age 16 to 90, two Christening cards, last minute requests for Mother's Day cards from shops which are rapidly selling out and the big order for cards from Japan (see below).
Hopefully a lot of people all over the world will be pleased when they open their card/ present and find a personalised Embroidered Original!
Spreading a little joy.
In other matters, I've been trying to put a clever little gadget on this blog where a selection of our cards whiz around in a little box in a pleasing fashion. But unfortunately it's proving too clever for me. If at first you don't succeed....waste more time!
Photos in next blog.
P.S. I'm playing around on the computer while delicious smells of garlic and tomatoes are wafting from the kitchen, courtesy of obliging husband. Mmmm...
P.P.S. Done it!!! Slide show, I mean.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Quick break

Just a quickie update. I've just got home from a wee visit to daughter in Nottingham. Bob held the fort in the workshop and I had a girlie day with Laura at the shops, then a pampering evening at a spa, followed by a day's walking in the Peak district. Great fun.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wi' a Hundred Bottles and all and all...

A hundred bottles of Silver Glitter fabric paint arrived yesterday - in the nick of time. We had a huge order bound for Japan, to finish and had run out of paint. Bob was OK, his job had been to do 500 Scottish thistle cards ( I know what you're thinking... Japan? It's for a Tartan shop in Tokyo.) They ( thistle cards) didn't require silver glitter.

Anyway, he beavered away for a week or two between other orders, making them in batches of 50. Then smugly showed me the box completed.

I, on the other hand, drafted Barbara in to help me make the 600 square patchwork heart cards. They involved adding four separate tiny squares of tartan and other fabrics to each card, then 2 fabric hearts and 2 embroidered rosebuds, before outlining each shape in silver glitter. Until the paint ran out.

But it arrived, and the last 100 cards were finished in the early hours of this morning. It's a good feeling when a job that size is out of the way. But I think it's going to take me almost as long to find the right packing boxes. Although just paper, cards of that quantity weigh a ton!

I've ended up packing them in smaller boxes which then go into two large boxes. It was fun and games trying to weigh them for the carrier - I had to stand on the bathroom scales holding one of the boxes - not easy - then try to see the weight over the top of the box. Can you picture it?! Then I weighed myself ( not telling) and subtracted that to get the weight of the box.
Big business, eh?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Follow, follow....

Just added a Followers gadget to this blog. Click if you want to be a follower!! The more the merrier.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Introducing ... The Team!

The Embroidered Originals team, I mean.
There are currently four of us - me, Bob, Barbara and Fiona, all indispensible and each with their own input into the business. I'll start with me ( why not, I'm writing it!). I started the ball rolling in 1988 when it was a tiny kitchen table top business, so I get to be the senior partner. I'll interview myself here.....

Q. Marion, what is your job description?

A. Well, firstly I design the cards and write the sayings which go on them.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. A lot comes from my Scottish childhood, listening to my parents - my Dad had a bit of a way with words. And ideas sometimes just come into my head. Usually in the shower - I think it must be the hot water on my head which stimulates the grey matter.

Q. Do you do anything else in the business?

A. Um... where to start... I make some of the cards, mostly the wedding, anniversary, baby ones etc. and do the personalising. Then I take care of the website, mail orders, shop, trade customers, postage and packing, accounts, planning and business development, trade fairs, publicity and marketing, stand design, tea lady, cleaner ..
Q. Whew! Now, who's next? Bob?

A. Bob is my husband and business partner ( although he says he's just the dogsbody). He has only been a partner since 1996, so he's still learning. He makes all the Scottish cards, bags all the cards, puts up with me, does the picture framing - for us, as well as general framing, drives the van, does a lot of the Craft Fairs on his own as well as with me, does the heavy stuff - loading, setting up at fairs, maintenance etc and other manly things, and escapes off hill walking when it all becomes too much. Oh and let's not forget that he's a trained artist who doesn't get the time to produce his exquisite pencil drawings because he has to bag cards. Awwww.

Barbara's embroidery work in progress

Q. What a guy! And the next one is.. Barbara?

A. Barbara and I met and became friends when our children were small, so that's more than 20 years ago. She joined my embroidery class at that time, and I taught her to do French Knots and other embroidery stitches. She probably has lived to regret that, as she is now the chief hand embroiderer in the business and must have done several million French Knots over the years. She also shares a passion with me for fabrics old and new, and happily takes home carrier bags full of scraps of material, to cut into tiny squares for the patchwork cards. She can turn her hand to lots of jobs within the business and has helped out at Craft Fairs over the years. She also has a business of her own making patchwork cushions and fabric gifts, which we sell in the shop, and does the occasional Craft Fair in her own right.

Q. That leaves Fiona, right?

A. Yes, and Fiona is the chief cutter out. She sits at home with deft fingers and a pair of scissors, and cuts out the thousands of tiny shapes which are added to the cards - thistles, scotty dogs, baby dresses etc etc. She is amazingly neat and precise, and never moans. What a gal!

I must also mention Olive here too, who is no longer part of the team, but who in her time wielded a glue gun with deadly accuracy and glued many a flower to many a card.

Interview over.
That folks, is the formidable Embroidered Originals team.

PS Lots of our customers will remember our lovely daughter Laura who spent a couple of summers and many weekends working with us when she was a student. She's now a married lady living in England, but about to give it all up for a trip round the world with Greg, her husband.


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