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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Leaf Printing

Time for our annual leaf printing fun as part of Tweed Valley Forest Festival on Friday 28th October at St. Ronan's Primary School, Innerleithen. We are running two sessions in the afternoon/evening, either 3.45 - 5.45 or 6.30 - 8.30. After a short walk with ranger Susan Kevan from the Borders Ranger Service collect our leaves we will be using them to create beautiful printed images for pictures and greetings cards. Cost to cover material - £6.00 Adult £5.00 Child/Conc. Booking is essential - either pop in to Smail's, t: 0844 493 2259 or e: Looking forward to seeing you there.

Big Draw Apple Day

Well, despite the dreadful weather in Melrose earlier in the month, our Big Draw Apple Day went ahead and although there was not a great number of people out in the garden, we still enjoyed creating our apple inspired images inside the warmth and comfort of the dried flower shop. It was a great experience to have two very different Trust properties working together to promote a fun day out for all the family. We had young budding artists creating Apple Monsters (very scary) and some beautiful images of the garden and the apple orchard by four delightful ladies, some of whom had not put pencil to paper since school days. That is truly what the Big Draw is all about - getting people drawing and remembering that we don't all have to be Turner Prize Winners to enjoy drawing and to have fun being creative. Inspired...? I hope so. Look out for information coming soon on next years Big Draw Event on our website To find out more about the Big Draw visit

Saturday, 22 October 2011

2012 Calendar

Using calendars as a marketing tool didn’t start with Pirelli Tyres - although the fact that I remember that particular series undoubtedly dates me badly.  Robert Smail and Sons were producing and distributing a calendar from at least as early as 1879.  The early editions were printed letterpress albeit multi-colour affairs with elaborate borders.  However once the business was able to undertake lithographic printing the calendars became quite elaborate affairs.  The National Trust for Scotland continues the tradition by producing an annual calendar based the design of the calendar from 100 years ago.  All that we change is the calendar itself everything else remains as it was 100 years ago - so don’t rely on the postage rates given in the margin.  The 2012 Calendar can be bought in our shop which will be open between now and Christmas although the Printing Works closes at the end of October.  The shop opening times can be found in the previous blog.  The calendar can also be supplied by mail order - email for more information.

Friday, 21 October 2011

33 Smail Shopping Days to Christmas

Christmas is Coming

Rachel is really looking forward to Christmas
Halloween is approaching rapidly which means that we’re coming to the end of another season.  Give us a chance to draw breath and then we’ll share some of our experiences with you.  

However it already looks like Christmas in Smail’s shop - much too early for some of us.   The Christmas Gift Shop will re-open on 4 November when there’s a chance to buy Christmas Cards (many printed here), decorations, wrapping paper and all the usual range of National Trust for Scotland goods.  All the usual Smail goodies - including our 2012 calendar will be on sale as well.

Opening Hours: 10:00 - 16:00  (09:00 - 15:00 on Saturdays)
Open:  04/11/11 - 23/12/11
Every: Tursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday
Plus:  Sunday, 27/11/11 (part of Open Innerleithen)
Sunday, 11/12/11 (part of Switched on Innerleithen)
Tuesday, 20/12/11
Wednesday, 21/12/11

Stormy Days

Gen models the NTS Poncho

Forgotten your raincoat again?  If you pop into Smail’s shop we can provide you with a very fetching dark blue poncho with the National Trust for Scotland on the back.  A snip at £1.99 a better value still if both you and your partner need to stay dry - they’re £3 for two.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Big Draw Apple Day

The Big Draw, the National Campaign for Drawing, is an annual event and takes places in thousands of different venues all across the UK throughout the month of October. They range from schools and shopping centres to museums, art galleries, gardens and even the occasional Victorian Printing Works. This year Smail's will be working with another of the National Trust for Scotland's amazing properties, Priorwood Garden in Melrose, to host The Big Draw Apple Day on Saturday 8th October from 10am.

Apple Day is also an annual event held during the month of October in Orchards and Gardens around our beautiful countryside and celebrates the humble apple, with taster sessions, fascinating discussions and growing tips. Priorwood Garden, in the center of Melrose, has a wide variety of apple trees in the orchard garden, all flourishing in the backdrop of the breathtaking Eildon Hills and Melrose Abbey.

It is in these surroundings that we will be encouraging artists, of all ages and abilities, to put pen, ink and chalk to paper. There will be opportunities to try a variety of drawing materials all of which will be provide. Inspiration will be there in abundance, whether it be the views and landscape or the apple trees themselves. Even if you have never tried drawing before, the main aim of the day is to have fun creating images. Smail's staff will be on hand to do some printing from apples and their leaves.

Feeling inspired? Log on to for more information and venue details. Look forward to seeing you there.