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

Saturday, 29 May 2010

New Designs

It was a late, very late night in the workshop last night. The birds were singing and the sun was almost up by the time I crawled to bed, and then this was the scene that greeted me when I opened the door again this morning. Err well - I wasn't going to waste any more precious sleeping time by tidying up! All that mess was to produce these cards, hopefully suitably flowery for the Garden Show next week.
And these are a couple of new designs using the long shape of card.
And while on the subject of long cards, some of you might remember me scanning and playing around with some genuine '70s textile designs, painted by moi way back when I was a stoodent. I blogged about them here. Well I thought I'd try a few cards with the designs. Now that I've got them on Photoshop the colourways are endless.
And more colourways of my little birdies - Old Pals.
So it's not all holidays by any means. ( I blogged about our holiday in the Outer Hebrides last night with photos of some glorious beaches. Please take a look at the previous post to see what I mean)
And last but not least I swapped postcards with Emma from "a little bit of everything" blog as it is her 50th birthday coming up. She sent me this beauty which reminds me of where she lives, the Isle of Skye. She has quite a task making fifty cards to send out to blog friends, but the joy will be opening the fifty different ones she will receive in return from all over the world. Great idea, isn't it?

The card I sent her is over on my other blog. The link is on the sidebar.
Right, I'm off to clear up the workshop and start messing it up all over again.

Yes - Off gallivanting again

Do these people ever do any work, I hear you say. This blog is turning into a travelogue.
Well, in anticipation of a long - and hopefully hot - summer, with no respite from work - the month of August, after all, disappears in three and a half weeks, seven days a week at the Edinburgh Festival Craft Fair - we decided to sneak away for a few days R&R and have a breather before it all gets crazy.
In order to do the sneaking, we worked our butts off last week and had all the website and shop orders finished and packed and dropped off at the various dispatch points - Post Office, carrier depot etc en route to our "staycation".
For the past few years we have headed off to the South of France at this time of year, but the volcanic ash problem (now seemingly resolved) put us off booking a flight anywhere, so instead we decided to visit a part of our own country we've not been to before.
So it was on Monday morning we set off up the A9 to Inverness and on to Ullapool on the North West coast for a night, and then boarded the ferry the next morning to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis for a couple of nights.
Here come the pictures....
This was the amazing view of Loch Broom taken from our hotel window in Ullapool.

Saying goodbye to Ullapool as we set sail for Stornoway, a three hour ferry journey.

A magical place steeped in history - the Stone Circle at Callanish, with the peat moors of Lewis in the background.

Next day, a shoogly bus journey through beautiful scenery to the west coast of the Isle of Harris, and the breathtaking white sands and clear turquoise water at Horgabost.

We had the place entirely to ourselves.

The receding tide created interesting patterns on the sand.

And on the headland, watching over the beach was this stone - Macleod's Standing Stone - well, unless Bob manged to push it over.

Next day, after a brief flirtation with the "Tangle o' the Isles" it was farewell Stornoway and back to Ullapool, and home.
As we managed to take 117 photos in 48 hours, I reckon you've been let off lightly with just this few, but believe me these weren't the only good ones. Every picture captured an amazing view, despite the inept photographer behind the lens.
So much open space, fresh air and huge skies, sea breezes and stunning colour - we definitely recharged the batteries.
Apologies to anyone who tried to get in touch with us by phone, fax, email or plain knocking on the door - we were not at home!
But we're back, and have got started right away to the orders which have found their way to our inbox.
If I have the chance tomorrow I'll post some photos of work for a change. We do actually do some - between days off!
Next day off is likely to be in September (it's booked already).

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A Glorious Day Out

I thought I'd show you some photos of our day out last Sunday - a trip we've been meaning to make for a long time - and I'm so glad we made the spur of the moment decision to go when we did.
It was a boat trip to the Isle of May, a national Nature Reserve and bird sanctuary situated at the mouth of the Forth, just off  the coast from us in Fife. We sailed from Anstruther harbour, in a little boat full to the brim with 100 passengers.

See the vintage cars lined up on the pier? It must have been a rally.

And this was why I was glad we made the trip that day - the river Forth is hardly ever as calm as this - and that is our destination ahead. It took just over an hour from the mainland.

The Isle of May is a summer home to tens of thousands of seabirds - puffins, fulmars, guillemots, cormorants, terns to name a few - and there are spectacular close up views of them nesting on the narrow cliff edges.

The island is uninhabited now, apart from a nature warden who is stationed there over the summer, but it used to have a manned lighthouse with the keepers' families living there. This was a steep little path up to one of the lighthouses which the keeper had to trudge up every day. They aptly named it Palpitation Brae.

In summer the island is covered with pink thrift and white sea campion, totally unspoilt and beautiful. A little bit smelly though with all those seabirds and very noisy too.

We came across this quite magnificent driftwood sculpture near a ruined monastery - not made by long gone monks, but more likely a recent warden who had long evenings to fill.

There were well marked paths all over the island and visitors were asked not to stray off them because the birds were nesting in the grass all around. This female eiderduck was incubating her eggs right at the edge of the path and totally ignored us as we passed just inches away.

The females stayed on the nests while their stikingly marked mates enjoyed a splash about in an emerald green lochan.

On the far side of the island, the side exposed to the wild North sea, there were dramatic cliffs, stacks and huge caves, every tiny ledge crowded with nesting seabirds.
We sailed back to Anstruther in the early evening and with all that fresh sea air giving us an appetite we headed straight for the world famous fish and chip shop!
We have been working too though. This week has been busy on the website, as well as orders coming in every day from our stockists.
I did an evening shift in the workshop tonight ( Wednesdays are always late nights for some reason) and this was the sight that met me when I stepped out of the workshop at nine o'clock - the most glorious sunset.

Sadly my photographic skills didn't do it justice.

And then I swung round 180 degrees to get this shot of the fresh new shoots of the wheatfield right outside our kitchen door. I love this wide open space.
Well as I said, Wednesday nights are always busy, and I'm procrastinating. There is a pile of orders needing to be packed up before bed, and they won't pack themselves up. Hey ho.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Snow in Summer

Yes I know, that's the name of a favourite old garden plant. But for the purposes of this post it exactly describes our weather yesterday.
Bob was out in his picture framing shed, complaining that it was cold enough for snow, to which I laughed ironically. Ten minutes later he was knocking on the shop window and pointing triumphantly to the flakes falling from the (sunny) sky.
I thought it might be the volcanic ash but no, it was snow.
Today it's still as cold and I'm sitting at this computer in a cold corner of the room and I could do with mittens to keep my hands warm. Crazy.
The garden has erupted into flower though, no thanks to my neglect. And colour is everywhere.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Chilly May

Unusually we've had three weekends on the trot where we've been socialising rather than working. It makes a nice change.
After the Aviemore Trade Show a couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely family reunion last weekend when Laura and Greg got back from their world travels, and Nick was home for the weekend too, so we had a houseful. Good to see them all under one roof again, even if it was only a weekend.
Laura and Greg are back down south now starting new jobs and house hunting. A new chapter of their lives about to start.
And this weekend we had my sister and her family - another evening of fun and laughter.
It was an easy one for me as Bob did the cooking - and all the washing up! What a guy!
What have I been doing work wise?
Well this week was pretty busy with shop orders and also a whole host of different orders on the website.
I'm also trying to get some time to revamp the website a bit ( I know - you've heard it all before!).
And yesterday afternoon I was playing with this. This is my alter ego, where I'm trying to do some proper embroidery work. At the moment it's purely for pleasure but there might be some progression to include it in the Embroidered Originals portfolio.
I'm charting my progress with this work here.
I might just grab a little bit of time to do some gardening this afternoon - it's sunny outside but very chilly for May.


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