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, 20 December 2011

Why Is It

that when there is plenty of time and only one or two jobs to do they just never get done? Human nature I suppose.
We've caught up with ourselves at long last. All the shop orders are out and the website orders are slowing down - after all most people have sent their Christmas cards by now.
So with only two orders to do for customers to collect on Wednesday, I thought I'd get them out of the way tonight. How difficult it was just to do that!
This is what's called winding down.
The end of year tidying up is continuing, again slowly. The odd drawer and cupboard sorted out, out of date paperwork shredded that sort of thing.
Today was Christmas shopping in Edinburgh.
Tomorrow is food shopping.
The tree and the decorations are up and looking good

and our Christmas baby is sleeping (hopefully).

or maybe not!
Have a lovely Christmas and a happy healthy and prosperous 2012. x

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Three Weeks Old Already

This was little Ewan the last time I saw him when he was all of one week old. A whole two weeks have gone by and I'm missing him like mad. So I jumped on to the Easyjet website and booked another flight down to England - that's the third trip in six weeks - and I'll be giving him a cuddle again on Tuesday. The bank balance is taking a hit, but what the hell... we won't see them at Christmas this year - just too far to bring a little one - so this is the next best thing.
 He's sporting a beautiful little cardigan and hat ( slightly squint) knitted for him by his Auntie Babs.
 We ventured out for our morning walk again on Friday to calm serene water and peaceful colours, less than 24 hours after the famous storm which swept across Scotland on Thursday (known affectionately on Twitter as Hurricane Bawbag!) This was the first proper walk we've had in weeks, months even and it's a sign that things here at Embroidered Originals are beginning to get slowly back to normal.
Ever since the beginning of August it's been non stop. Everything apart from work has been suspended and we've been like two little hamsters on our treadmill.
This year for some reason has been busier than ever with orders to supply our ever growing list of stockists and it has been almost impossible to keep up with demand.
However we've made it this point and all of our shops have received their Christmas card orders and re-orders and re-orders...
I'm now beginning to emerge from the tunnel and look around, mainly at the devastation that constant work leaves in its wake - neglected house, garden, office etc.
But with the energy and excitement to tackle this mountain of cleaning and sorting.
End of term feeling.
Preparing for the new year.
Flicking the switch in my brain to turn me into Superwoman.
Home baked Christmas, beautifully wrapped presents and trimmed tree.
Just who am I kidding!
Although I'm crawling to bed at 3am and dreaming of polishing floors and washing windows, I know that 20 minutes with a duster and I'll be bored to tears.
Twas ever thus.

 And I'm even getting, ever so slightly, the urge to be creative again. If you read this blog, you'll know it happens to me every year at this time. Just when the pressure of work eases I find myself reading blogs by talented people again and mulling over tiny grains of ideas.
But then January comes round, and the Trade Fair, and we're off again. So nothing ever gets past the "thinking" stage.
But then what's this picture above all about? Is it something I've just knocked up between packing orders? Nooooooo..oo..don't be daft. This is a not very good photo of part of a nursery picture I made THIRTY YEARS ago for Laura when she was a baby.
So it got me thinking... I now have a grandson.... and I'm ashamed to say I never even sent a card to the poor little mite. Maybe, just maybe I'll sit down over the Christmas break and make something for him.
Not promising anything, but you never know.
So the last Craft Fair of the year for us was today, the Perth Christmas Craft Market and after the storms this week we were blessed with a dry still bright (but cold) day. I say "we" but really it was just Bob. I just turned over and went back to sleep when he crawled out of bed at 6 this morning to set off.
It was his turn anyway.

Monday, 21 November 2011


a special new addition to our family -
Ewan Mitchell Mysak, born on Friday 18th November 2011.
First child for Laura & Greg and first grandchild for us!
This quick post is for all the friends, customers and fellow exhibitors at the Country Living Christmas Fair in Glasgow at the weekend who said they read this blog. I promised them an update on the baby, as he decided to time his arrival with the second day of the fair - and with a 19 hour labour and intermittent texts from Greg, you can imagine that my mind wasn't always fully on the job in hand.

So I'm off down to see him tomorrow, fog and flights permitting. Can't wait.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Late Night Rambler Returns

 Hello again. October already. I hope your summer was a good one. I've gathered up a few pictures to show you what we've been doing that's kept me away from the late night blogging.
Starting with the sunset above, that was 30th July, our 35th wedding anniversary. Yes 35th. We walked along the coast to Lower Largo for a meal and drink, walked home along the beach where the photo was taken, and then cracked open a bottle of champers in the garden with some candles and a log fire. Romantic you might say, but then it was just us two old codgers.
 Moving on to August and as usual there was the flurry to set up the stand at the Edinburgh Festival Craft Fair. It always takes care of the whole month as the Fair is open seven days a week for 3 weeks, and although Bob is the one who's there every day, I'm back at base working furiously to keep stocks up as well as coping with website and trade orders.
 But I did escape for a precious two days to York to meet up with our daughter and soon to be Mum herself. We had a lovely girly time sampling afternoon tea at Betty's Tearoom and doing a good bit of retail therapy.
 The baby bump was on display too.
 No sooner was the Festival Craft Fair over and we had to pack the van again for the Dundee Flower Show. But once that was over we forgot about work for a whole week and headed off to the sun. Crete, in fact.
 Wall to wall sunshine, clear blue skies, turquoise water and a welcome slow pace

which recharged the batteries in time for setting up the stand at the Autumn Trade Fair in Glasgow just 24 hours after we got home.

 It was with a certain amount of reluctance that we set off for Glasgow as the order book was already full with shop orders and Bob's parting words to me as he headed for home after we'd got the stand built was "Don't try too hard to get new customers"
Yes well I didn't try but they came anyway.So much so that we took twice as many orders as last year. That is good, of course it is. But it's also quite daunting to think of the workload before Christmas. Just take it one order at a time...
And finally - what on earth is this? This friends is our bathroom! Lovely isn't it! It's actually where the bath used to be and where the new bath will be - sometime in the near future (I hope). The day after we got home from Glasgow the work started on our new bathroom and sort of en suite. It's been ongoing now for two weeks and we've become quite accustomed to brushing teeth at the kitchen sink and going down to Mum's for a bath, but as our pregnant daughter (now two months on from that photo in York and only six weeks away from D Day) and her husband are coming up for a visit next weekend, it would be nice if there was some progress.
So that's the late night rambling up to date again. See you soon x

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

What's This?

TWO posts in 24 hours? What AM I up to, do you think?
Well not a lot, to be honest. Apart from work. And you know what they say - all work and no play makes for boring blogs.
I'm just feeling a bit other worldly and lightheaded this afternoon. Combination of lack of sleep and this horrible weather. Although to be fair it has brightened up, and we had a brief afternoon break in the garden for some fresh air, only to be confronted with the sight of all my cornflowers flattened by the rain, and the (horrible beast of a ) cat devouring a pigeon chick.
Now I'm thinking about the evening meal - usual mild panic until I find a tub of something leftover in the freezer and add it to pasta or rice. But the days when inspiration fails are a problem, although I do believe there's one decent butcher's beefburger needing to be used up in the fridge which will do the man, and I'll have a Weighwatchers thing. Good. Decision made. Our spuds in the garden are quite delicious too, so maybe those with the burger will be healthier than chips.
Then back to work (sigh).
This is the working man hard at work painting our most successful design of the moment.

And this is his production line for today (so far) standing to attention while they dry. Once we've had our meal break they'll be dry enough to move off the  table ready for the next batch. Then they will be bagged before breakfast and whizzing off to their destinations by lunchtime tomorrow.
And while I write this another order has come in.
Bye for now - I have a date with a beefburger.

A Bit of a Boast

If I've not been around here lately there is a good reason. We've been a bit busy of late. First there was the Highland Show, which coincided with a sudden surge of wholesale orders from our stockists and suddenly it's summer, which heralds the start of the "busy" half of our working year. Except this year has been busy since January.
OK, that does sound a bit boastful but it's true. My other half ( who I'm sure you know is already in receipt of his teacher's pension, being a certain age) is waiting for the time when he can take it easier, indulge in hobbies, put his feet up etc etc, but that horizon is becoming more and more distant!
The poor old soul has just finished a straight thirteen hour day of work, with more of the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next....
We're both succumbing to various RSI complaints, due to the amount of work, and it's getting quite competitive - who has the sorest thumb or wrist or even eyes!!
So yes, the Highland Show was good. The weather proved to be better than expected. if not exactly sunny, at least it didn't rain and we ended up slightly better than last year.
Pretty much the same layout of stand as the recent Gardening Show and perhaps looking slightly tired in this photo as it was taken on the Sunday after four busy days.
A tender moment for our feet behind the stand! I'm not sure what the a nasty stain on my shoe is but I suspect it's coffee dribbled from the flask.
This juicy selection of clothes for little ones was on the stand opposite us. Up until now I probably wouldn't really have paid much attention to childrens' clothes, but more on that later...
I always mean to have a lot of photos of the other stands at these big events, but usually bottle it when it comes to actually taking them. It seems somehow suspicious if you just snap away without permission - you might be wanting to pinch ideas for example - and then if you try to explain why you're taking photos it doesn't always come out right. Not everyone knows what a blog is, as I found out!
Anyway, I did get permission to show you the stand next door to me
mainly because I treated myself to a beautiful pearl bracelet in a delicate shade of silver grey from this friendly young couple. Lillymac jewellery is based in Fife too, in Rosyth and create handcrafted bespoke jewellery using the finest gemstones and freshwater pearls.
On the other side of us was Scottish Fairies , an enchanting range of hand-crafted fairy characters.
Sorry Lucy, my photography skills (or lack of them) just didn't do them justice. But they enchanted lots of little girls all weekend.
We got home on Sunday night, via the the fish and chip shop, and discovered just how many orders had actually come through. Something of a record for us, I believe. So many of our stockists had chosen that very weekend to decide they needed a large top up of card stocks fast, like seriously fast. As in " Please treat this order as more than urgent" (quote) and another " The cards are flying of the rack - getting into the danger zone of near sell out".
Agghhh - can't have that - quick, send reinforcements - forget sleep - work, work, work!!!
Well, we did have a part day off on Wednesday when we had a working trip over to Edinburgh to check stocks at Jenners. We chose to travel by train for a change, and where else but Fife can you have a view like this from the train window
We managed a spot of lunch in town and a little bit of retail therapy too.
Now, back to the boasting bit, and also that increased interest in childrens' clothes....
Today Laura had her 20 week scan. Everything is looking spot on and perfect. She's well, healthy and blooming and what about this

Introducing little MASTER Mysak, who according to his Mum and Dad has been captured picking his nose, although I think he's sucking his thumb. And yes, there is no doubt he is a "he". The evidence is there in one of the other photos!
It's very exciting as I'm sure all grannies will agree, but be patient with me please, it's my first time.
So I'll disappear again now for a while. We have another event coming up the weekend after this at Perth Craft Market and more orders than we can keep up with.
Today was our all time record for the number of boxes of orders to go out in one day, but there are just as many waiting to be finished tomorrow. I'm just picking up the late night weather forecast for tomorrow as I type this and we're heading for a day of heavy rain, no wait, three or four days of heavy rain..AND thunder and lightning - so nothing for it but to batten down the hatches and get on with the work.
See ya.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Highland Show time again

Hello it's me.
I'm having a bit of a quiet night and heading off to bed soon ( yes and it's only 9pm, not the usual early hours).
It's been a busy few days ( understatement), culminating in the ritual setting- up -of -the- stand at the Royal Highland Show today.
Given that it's only the 20th year we've done it, we actually managed to break a couple of records -
1. Didn't forget anything.
2. Packed the van in record time.
3. Set up in record time.
4. Didn't even argue!
So now we're home and I can't face doing anything else tonight. Bob has made his packed lunch and set his alarm clock for 6.30 am - he is the one to be spending ten hours behind the stand tomorrow, while I sort out the chaos left behind in the workshop (It always happens before a show).
I also have my helper/friend tomorrow being Thursday and a growing To Do List for us both.
The weather forecast for the next four days isn't great, but that doesn't stop the thousands of loyal visitors who don their wellies and don't fret about their 4 x 4s being bogged down in muddy car parks. Farmers are made of strong stuff.
I'll show you some photos when I go over at the weekend.
Bottoms Up!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Busy Few Weeks - in pictures...

Doesn't time fly? It's been over a month since I've been here on the blog to chat. As usual there's just not
enough hours in the day ( or night). But I'm now getting to grips with this iPhone and posting pics from it, so without too many words here is the reason for my absence, in pictures....
 Firstly Gardening Scotland, or the north of the border's answer to the Chelsea Flower Show. We had our usual stand in the Crafts Marquee and sweltered in temperatures of 25 degrees on the Friday, but shivered in three layers of woolies by the Sunday! I do like that show - we've taken part every year since it first started around 11 years ago, and a lot of our customers are regulars who come back every year. A special hello to the lady from Linlithgow I met on Sunday, by the way, who told me she reads the blog. I sometimes forget that people do actually read what I write, and it comes as a surprise when a complete stranger asks how I'm enjoying my new windows (previous post)!
 Lots of inspiration, of course. I loved this colour scheme of pink and lavender in Dougal Philip's (New Hopetoun Garden Centre) display garden. It was my favourite I think, and what's more they stock our cards so they obviously have good taste!
 More of the same display garden.
 And again.
 And here I'll slip in a few pictures of our garden here at Blacketyside.
 It's coming along quite nicely, especially after yesterday's relentless rain.
 My favourite flower is the hardy geranium and I've got more than forty different types in the garden. Some are a true blue like the one above. Others are shades of pink, lilac and white.
 But this year I fancied a change from geraniums. I always treat myself to a plant or two at Gardening Scotland - well, you can't not! So I chose two geums, the goldy orange above, and a red one. I like the orange providing a contrast to the blue geranium.
 So we got finished and packed up and home at 8pm on Sunday night. Tired, but happy that the show had gone well. We left the unpacking of the van until Monday morning and put our feet up to watch a film. So Monday should have been a day off. I say should, but....
Our next job was to unpack, sort everything out then zip over to Edinburgh airport to catch a flight down to Stansted. Laura (daughter) and her husband Greg live near there, but have just bought a house nearer to Cambridge and Tuesday was moving day, and we were going to be the helpers! Bob and Greg did the real heavy stuff filling two van loads, while Laura and I packed two car loads and cleaned the house they were leaving. Laura, being four and a bit months pregnant (YES I'M GOING TO BE A GRANNY!!) was not allowed to lift anything heavy, hence the reason we were there.
Anyway the pic above is their new living room - not a great deal to look at yet - but what's amazing is they have an open fire and the house is less than ten years old! I've never heard of new houses being built with open fires for logs or coal. What a bonus.
 We all worked like Trojans and they were preparing their first meal in their new kitchen within 24 hours of getting the keys.
This was the real selling point - the fourth bedroom. Built above the garage it's massive, with three windows and loads of space for a multi purpose room - office, studio, games room, gym whatever. I'm quite envious.
We had a lovely few days with them, even if Bob's old bones and back were feeling it a bit.
Now we're home and stuck into the orders that were waiting for us.
And in a couple of weeks we'll be packing the van to go to the Highland Show.
It's getting to that time of year again.
Bye for now.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Royal Wedding Windows

Is the coast clear? Has the world got over the Royal Wedding yet?
Well I suppose there would still be a lot of twittering about it if there hadn't been the OBL news on Monday.
(Joke heard on Twitter - " Who said you can't take the bin out on a Bank holiday!" Well I thought it was pretty funny, though it might not make much sense to any overseas readers.)
I can't say I'm a royalist but I did think as Royal weddings go it was a good one, mainly because Princess Kate looked beautiful, no argument there. She got it just right and I believe much of the decision making had been hers. The dress was perfect, timeless - so that when you look at footage in twenty years time it won't look ridiculously dated. The trees were a good idea, as was the request in the invitation that the guests compete for the most horrendous outfit prize. The bridesmaid's bottom got its own Facebook page and everyone had a jolly time.
We couldn't watch it on our own TV as it was covered in a dirty sheet (more about that later). So we went to a local baker's for some cakes and took them to my Mum's to watch it there. We were homeless for the day you see (more about THAT later too).
So even Mr Cynic ( my OH) was watching too, and he kept his sarcastic remarks light hearted and actually pretty funny, so  we had a laugh and enjoyed ourselves.
Anyway, so where am I going with this?
The reason we were homeless and the TV was covered up was this...
We were having our windows replaced (Oh, is that all? you're saying)
Here I have to own up to a dirty little secret.
See this - ( hangs head in shame) - this rotten old window frame is a close up of our kitchen window.
And this is our bedroom window. Note the squares of card, used to stuff into the frames to stop them rattling in the slightest wind. The wood is rotten and the varnish blackened. Well I suppose they are the original 100 year old windows.
But now look!

Same bedroom but new window, beautifully constructed in the traditional style by a craftsman joiner It should last another 100 years.
And again - I'm in love.

And once more. I've dusted them every day since they were fitted. And Bob has been out with a bucket of soapy water more than once removing the tiniest of marks on the glass. Risk of OCD there. They cost an arm and a leg but were well worth it.
So the Royal Wedding and our new windows will always be linked.
Good luck to the happy couple by the way. I hope their marriage lasts as long as our windows.
Another thing I want to say is that there's been a lot of work going on across on our website. Long overdue for an update, I've spent today adding a whole host of new designs. I'm not finished yet either, but there is a Special Offer for May on there already.
And the eagle eyed among you might notice that I've finally got round to changing the List of Events on this blog to 2011! It's only May after all.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Easter in a tin box and a lot of colour

Hello again.
Since I was last here I spent three days over the Easter weekend here.

This is the "Armadillo" in Glasgow - a large concert/conference hall. And no, it doesn't look much like a tin box. Admittedly I wasn't actually in the Armamdillo but in the adjoining SECC. Definitely a tin box.
I'd been invited to have a stand at the NASUWT ( a teachers' union ) Annual Conference.
Well I thought, a couple of thousand teachers, most of whom would probably be women, would need some retail therapy between conference sessions.....WRONG!
It wasn't exactly a disaster, given that it didn't cost anything to do - apart from my time and sanity - but I could have thought a million better ways of spending the Easter weekend.
See what I mean about the windowless tin box? This was my stand.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though. I met and spent some pleasant hours chatting with my neighbouring stallholder Elaine, who was also having a very quiet time.
And then there was my new love - my iPhone. There was plenty of time to browse all the apps and download addictive games. And best of all the Kindle app. Just brilliant. I got a book I'd been meaning to read for a while. So all in all it was OK.
There was a real need for some colour in my life though after that, and when I got home the garden didn't disappoint. The unusual Spring sunshine had done wonders for my poor neglected garden.

It forgave me for all those months of no attention, and without any help from me just burst into new growth and bloom. Just last month the pond area looked like this.

From the fiery Pieris Forest Flame

to the old faithful cherry tree - The Spring colour in the garden is the best of all the seasons I think.

And what about "our" field!! It's now blue!
Over the weekend they had laid down these long lines of sky blue polythene which will have thousands of strawberry plants in them soon. I do prefer the old fashioned straw which used to spread around the plants to keep the berries clean and dry ( hence STRAWberry). But this is 21st century farming, and it does contribute to the colour theme, doesn't it?


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