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

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Stormy Weather

What can I say about the last couple of days here in Scotland? Wet, snowy, fiercely windy and very very cold.
Our stupid old boiler doesn't cope with the north winds. The fumes get blown back down the flue and the safety cut out shuts off the burners. Result - the heating and hot water are not working when needed most.
Someone knows where to find the heat though.
We've had to step over him all day.
One good thing about this weather, it makes it easier to think about designing this year's Christmas cards, which is my next job.
Jingle bells, jingle bells......
Meanwhile, Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Next comes Easter

Well, Mother's Day has come and gone. It heralds Spring and sees the shops full of daffodils and tulips. Much needed colour, if at a premium on that particular day.
So the next event on the calendar is Easter. It's early this year being the first weekend in April. I don't confess to being in any way religious, so it really passes me by - although I have had more than my fair share of Easter eggs over the years, I have to say!
We also don't do much in the way of cards for Easter usually. This year though we have had quite a few requests from our customers for cards, so I've made up some designs and added them to the website.
So, if it's your thing - Happy Easter to you when it comes. I like to think of it more as a celebration of Spring and the new life of the year- lambs, birdsong, flowers, that sort of thing.
Here are the cards ( they are also on the website)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St Patrick's (Birth)day Mum

Another year has rolled round since I mentioned Mum's birthday on this blog. Just amazing how the time has gone in.
So it's Happy Birthday Mum, again. I won't mention age! She's had a chat to granddaughter Laura in Saigon this morning and a visit from grandson Nick this afternoon. Not to mention a weekend full of her other two grandchildren John and Izzie.
She's about to buy herself a new laptop ( she'll be on Twitter next!) so will be able to keep up to speed with this blog.
Of course with Mother's Day on Sunday past, she's got a mantlepiece full of cards, and they are all bright cheerful flower designs. Just what's needed to welcome Spring.
Here are Mum and Laura at Laura's birthday weekend last June - the last time we saw her before she set off on her world trip. She'll be back at the beginning of May, but has been keeping an online journal of her travels ( the link is on the right).
It seems the world has been waking up and stretching this week. After this cold hard winter we've had, it's not just the plants which have been hiding. February was a quiet month for our trade customers, but suddenly this week the orders have been coming in again. And I can tell by the number of cars in the Farm Shop car park that people are beginning to get out and about at last. We have a lot of orders due to go out to Garden Centres and they are bound to busy now that the growing season has started.
So one good thing to come out of the long winter is just how much everyone looks forward to and talks about the warmer weather. It really does lift the spirits. But you know what they say "Dinnae cast a cloot 'til May is oot!"

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Embroidered Card

The second in the the series showing the processes in our card making centres on the hand embroidery done for the Large Special Keepsake Cards. I've had to embroider a card for a special urgent order today and as this is a rare occasion, thought I'd capture it step by step. (It's a rare occasion because this is usually a job that Barbara does for me - she is the French Knot kid - but the order has to go out today and I won't see her until tomorrow, so I've had to thread the needle myself).
This is going to be a Baptism card for a baby girl. So we start off with mother of pearl sequins sewn in a circle on white slubbed silk.
Next we choose two shades of pink and a white embroidery cotton, and using the paler pink embroider four tiny french knots between each sequin.

This is followed by more french knots in the deeper pink and white and little green leaves in single chain stitch.Sorry this pic is blurred.

The embroidery is then mounted firstly into one aperture card and then double mounted into a larger one. This gives a good strong finish for the card and accentuates the embroidery in the middle.
Finally the card has detail added with fabric paint. You'll see painted daisies on the inner mount, some little beads of paint to fill out the embroidery and the hand lettering. I've hidden the name on the card as I don't want to spoil someone's surprise.
This card is now going into a frame and will be packed up and posted off this afternoon.
As it's a glorious day today I took a few more pics around the workshop, just to celebrate the colour in the sunshine.
Some tulips from Amsterdam in my favourite old vase with some juicy new fat quarters purchased at a recent Patchwork and Quilting Show in the background.
A colourful corner with one of Barbara's patchwork cushion covers, some handmade soap and some wooden hearts just showing at the top.
A view of the wall with a bit of splash of colour.
And lastly, some fresh new cards for Spring - using some of the new fabrics from the show. They are on the website here.
Hope you are enjoying this sunshine too.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Fabric Paint - the lifeblood of our business

I thought it might be an interesting idea to do an occasional post about the processes we use in our card making.
Today it's the turn of fabric paint ( or dimensional paint, call it what you will). Fabric paint is a bit of a misnomer as it can be used on any surface, is a bit like icing a cake, and dries with a permanent slightly raised finish.
Life for Embroidered Originals isn't simple though. I wonder if anyone remembers Colorpoint paint? It was widely available in the 1990's and was the paint we started with all those years ago. It was well designed, easy to use ( no spluttering ) and easy to clean.
But, the manufacturers Tulip decided in their wisdom to withdraw it and replace it with a poor inferior version now available as Tulip paint. The paint itself is fine, but the bottle shape and more importantly the nozzle is frankly hopeless. It just doesn't work.

You can see the difference.
So our old colorpoint bottles are worth their weight in gold. Of course the paint in them was used up a long time ago, so much of our time is taken up decanting from new bottles into our old bottles. Usually involving a lot of mess and many ruined clothes.
We now have a huge collection of paint from all different sources. Some colours have been mixed especially for us, some colours I have mixed myself and many more are standard colours.
Here are just some of the variety which end up in the little bottle.
Silver glitter - we go through about 150 bottles of that stuff every couple of months.
So what do we use all this paint for?
Well, every card in our range has hand painting on it in some form or another. Outlining appliqued fabric, adding textural beads of paint and the hand painted lettering.
Here is a rather crappy video of one of the large cards (which has already been embroidered with flowers and sequins) having the detail finished off with paint, in this case the stems of the champagne flutes.
Apologies for the poor quality of the film - the only available cameraman had gone to bed, so I was holding the camera with my left hand while painting with my right. Not easy.
And while we're at it, here is another rubbish video, this time I'm painting the lettering on the card. OK so you have to put your head sideways to see it - I forgot that the camera has to be the right way up. Sorry.
Maybe the next instalment will be more professional.


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