Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Kitting Adventures – On Boxes and Thread


Amazon Books

This week and last, and probably all of next week, there’s one thing on my mind: getting The Leafy Tree embroidery kit and the instructional e-book finished and ready for you!

A couple weeks ago, I showed you my fabric sticks for the Leafy Tree kits. All the components are now arrived and ready to package into kit form – with the exception of half of the boxes…but more on that below.

So now the fun part! When the fun part starts – that is, the assembling of everything – there’s not much room for anything else to go on in the studio. Kitting pretty much takes over the work area, especially with this particular kit, which contains an abundance of embroidery thread.

Leafy Tree Embroidery Kit

My favorite part of kitting is seeing, complete, the entire kit as anyone who purchases it will see it. That is, seeing the outside of the box with its the label in place, and experiencing opening the box, seeing the tissue wrapped goods (hopefully in their rightful place, despite the postal journey), and enjoying the pleasure of checking out each item in the kit.

There’s just something delightful about receiving a well-packaged embroidery kit in the mail!

I want you to experience that delight, so I try to give plenty of thought to the packaging of the kit, while at the same time keeping the expense of packaging as low as possible.

There are a couple things that I consider when packaging.

First of all, how will it be mailed? When you purchase an embroidery kit, I think it should go in the mail directly and it should get to you as quickly and as safely as possible, so I use US Priority mail. This way, it’s trackable (a very handy feature!), it’s insured, and it moves quickly through the system.

When I think of packaging, then, I think of sizes that will fit in Priority mailers. The Leafy Tree box just fits into a Priority mailer.

Why a box? A few of you wrote in and suggested ziplock plastic bags for the kits, because they are less expensive and they allow for some “give” when packaging. In other words, they can be squeezed into envelopes.

The box manufacturer that I order boxes from makes lightweight but sturdy boxes from recycled materials, and they are very affordable. Yes, they cost more than a ziplock, but they aren’t “custom box” expensive! They average less than $.30 per box. It’s worth the small cost of the box to me, to ensure that the kit contents don’t arrive crushed.

With this kit, it’s not, perhaps, so important, as there’s nothing breakable or noticeably crushable in it, since the fabric has been carefully rolled on their sturdy tubes.

But whenever I order a kit with spools in it or with metal threads in it, for example, I’m always thrilled when it arrives in a sturdy box that maintains its shape through the mailing system. I’ve ordered many a kit in my life that has arrived crushed, with chipped or broken spools, with cracked metal threads, rumpled fabric, the contents in a hodgepodge, and so forth. A sturdy box, at least, ensures that the contents arrive in as contained, tidy, and neat a package as possible – and as close as possible to the state they were in when they left my studio.

In other words, when you open your kit, you should see what I saw when I closed it.

Leafy Tree Embroidery Kit

There are 22 colors of Madeira embroidery floss in the the Leafy Tree kit. And that means I have embroidery floss boxes covering the entire surface of my 8-foot work table.

You can read about Madeira embroidery floss here. It’s a high quality floss, in unique packaging, and there are 10 meters of the 6-stranded floss in each package. That means there are 220 meters of floss in each kit.

That’s a lot of embroidery thread!

Leafy Tree Embroidery Kit

For the actual packaging of each kit, there’s not a whole lot of work space, so only a few kits can be assembled at a time.

Each color of floss is selected and bunched together, and then, one by one, each box is assembled:

The box is built, it’s lined with tissue paper, the fabric stick is tucked into its place, the floss is carefully arranged to fill the space around the fabric stick, the needle ribbon card is tucked tidily into place, the printed insert sits on top of the contents, the tissue paper is folded over everything and held with a sticker, the box is tucked closed, and the kit label is fixed to the outside of the box.

Leafy Tree Embroidery Kit


I love it when a plan comes together!

In fact, the manufacturer ran out of this particular sized box, so I’m waiting for them to be available again next week. I have half the quantity I need, though, so half the kits will be finished by early next week. I’m still plugging away on the instructions, too, but each day, we’re just a bit closer to launch day!

I hope you enjoy reading about some of the work that goes into putting embroidery kits together. I always find it interesting to know what goes on behind the scenes, so I’m hoping you do, too! It’s a sort of odd curiosity on my part, I suppose…

You’ll find me studio-bound over the weekend, doing a bit of this work, but also finishing up a couple small embroidery samples that I’ll share with you next week!

Wishing you a fabulous weekend!


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(51) Comments

  1. I have been checking everyday to see if your Leafy Tree was available as I don’t want to miss out on ordering. So looking forward to being able to do this marvelous kit!

    1. Hi, Louisa! I’m glad you’re excited about it! I’ll tell everyone ahead of time the date and the time that the kits will go up for sale, so that you’ll know exactly when you’ll find them for sale on the website.

    1. Not yet, Eve. Once the kits are packaged, I’ll work out all those nitty gritty details! The kit will be bundled with the instructions, which will be downloadable e-book. So once I work out the retail price for the materials kit, I’ll have a better idea of the overall retail price for the whole bundle. I have a vague idea, but I don’t want to nail anything down until the packaging is completely finished.

  2. I love this!! The way you describe packing the boxes, and how you love the experience of opening them, is exactly how I feel!! Your photos make me happy, and I am anxiously awaiting the day I can place my order for The Leafy Tree!!

  3. Mary,
    I really appreciate the care you take in preparing your kits. I have only ordered the silk gauze kit from you in all these years
    but remember being so pleased with the care you took in preparing that silk gauze kit. It is also a great way to keep all the items together always. Also, receiving the ‘status updates’ and email responses was excellent.

    Like you, I too have received way too many things in questionable condition and in one case I got the crushed envelope without any of the contents (!) with a plastic wrapping and a ‘sorry’ postoffice label
    – the gold kit/ threads were all missing!
    Receiving envelopes with new books that arrive bent and dogeared and not in ‘new condition’ , messed up contents, etc spoils the experience of the acquisition. I am grateful when things are ‘made right’ but am most impressed by seeing a package arrive in a good way. I really appreciate well thought through plans and execution and as you know am quite particular about stuff / truly appreciate all that you do!
    Hope you have a good day knowing that all the little things you pay attention to and spend energy on do not go unnoticed !

  4. Well, I don’t know how I missed this, but sorry I am that I did. I love that tree. I’m sure it’s too late to sign up for a kit. I need to watch more carefully in the future!

    Good luck to everyone who is working on this beautiful project and I hope we see some examples.

  5. I’ve admired your embroidery work for a few years now. Such quality and care in each piece. Then came the great videos you’ve made that were so easy to follow. Now I see the same care and quality in your kits. It looks like you are simply a “quality” person inside and out. Thanks for sharing with us how your kits are made.

  6. Morning Mary
    I, like you, love knowing the how’s, why’s, and whatfor’s behind the scenes. It’s fascinating and brings home the care that is put into a quality product. (Sometimes though you get to learn about a not so carefully planned production.) It appeals to my ‘all your ducks in a row’ approach to life too.
    I was intrigued by this embroidery as you were designing it, your thoughts on what needs to go where and your decisions on changes that needed to be made, the way the colors move across the leaves and the choices made in the stitches. Again, fascinating.
    And now comes the exciting part, we can very soon buy a KIT, yay. Eagerly awaiting the notice that says ‘We’re ready to ship. Ladies and Gentlemen, place your orders’.
    Happy and contented packing, hoping you do make some time for your stitching, and best wishes ~ Brenda

  7. Thank you for this post, Mary. I don’t think many of us stop to think about the work that goes into putting together a good kit, at least not until we’ve tried to put one together ourselves. Like you, I find The Un-Boxing more fun when it’s a bit of an event, so I appreciate the extra work and thought you put in to making up your kits.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Yep, it’s a lot of work! For me, the part I don’t like is all the pre-work – that is, having to figure out where to find and source the boxes and other supplies, ordering samples (like boxes, stickers, all that kind of stuff to make sure it will all work together)… It’s a lot of research time and little expenses here and there to test and try and whatnot. That’s my least favorite part! But once that’s done, I love the rest of it! LOL!

  8. Very interesting! I know you’re an embroiderer who dabbles in quilting. I’m a quilter who wants to dabble in embroidery. LOVE your Leafy Tree, so this may be where I start! I watched Sarah Homfrey on YouTube last week (long & short stitches). It was fascinating!

  9. I misread your title as, Embroidery Kitten Adventure . . . well, put a kitten and boxes and lots of thread together and you _would_ have an adventure!

    1. Yes, there will be a shipping option for NZ – it might work best financially if you have s stitching buddy and can combine orders and split postage, though!

  10. Very interesting. I’m glad you reviewed the Madiera floss and linked it. Earlier in the year I noticed I hadn’t received your newsletters and had to re-subscribe and I must have missed that one. I have received samples in some cross stitch books but they were metallics or a silky rayon, not my favorite fibers to stitch with. I have a whole set of DMC minus their new colors (I always seem to order before companies announce they’re adding to their lines). I know some said they didn’t like the plastic package but many people use a baggy to put their floss-I prefer to use cardboard bobbins but I like the packaging-takes up less space and pre-punched for rings. I would love their line of floss but see it’s hard to get here. I love a good strong reusable box. I ordered one of those subscription boxes with wool applique items and she put them in an awesome box with an adorable sheep design on it. She offered the option of putting it inside a plain outer box if you wanted to keep and re-use the box so I did pay extra. I store my wool applique kits inside it. A lot of people grumbled but it was an option, no one was forcing them to pay extra postage. I love the tubes you’re putting the fabric on. I don’t mind paying a little extra for good quality products and apparently boxing too. I don’t like paying a lot of money for cheaply made junk because unfortunately you don’t always get what you pay for. What is the size of the outer boxes?

    1. Hi, Sandra – This isn’t necessarily the type of box you’d re-use indefinitely. It’s as strong as it needs to be for shipping, but it’s not attractive, it’s not heavy-duty, and it’s (for lack of a better word) cheap! My goal was not to put together a kit with a box that could be re-used indefinitely, but to keep the price of the packaging very low and still produce a kit that makes sense. If it’s a choice between producing a kit for $50 vs a kit for $55-$60 with more expensive packaging, I’d find a compromise so that I could keep the cost of the kit around $50, because I think the savings benefits people more than a box would, that ends up either in the trash or on the shelf anyway.

  11. So glad you are choosing to pack your kits in cardboard boxes! I am making an attempt to make my life and home plastic free. We are making and have made so many I’ll advised chooses and are swamping our planet with a dreadful waste problem. Thank you again,

  12. Mary, I do love to get the inside scoop on kits and their construction!!! I also agree with you – I do prefer to get a boxed kit where possible – and at the receiving end, they are great storage – and can be recycled when the project is all done – so, a great ‘green’ option as well – excellent!!!

  13. Wow Mary – that looks fantastic! I had no idea you went through so much work and stock to make up kits! Good for you – you are always such a help to others in need of learning these skills. Wishing you abundant and continued success!

  14. Receiving a nicely packaged kit feels like opening a gift! Lately I’ve been disappointed by the service level from the USPS, so I appreciate the care and thought you put into your part of the process. I look forward to purchasing a kit.

  15. G’day Mary,
    Oh, I thought it’d be a half day job at the most. No, don’t ban me from your group, just kidding, just kidding!
    All very enlightening Mary, and I appreciate the love and care you take to make it all so sweet for the purchaser, from looking at the box to discovering the treasures inside.
    Thank you,
    Cheers, Kath.

  16. Hi Mary, I was fascinated by your description of what you do to package your kits. I especially appreciated your explanation of your decisions to use the particular boxes and tubes as it indicates the thought and care you put into your preparations. Thank you.

  17. Thank you for sharing this “behind the scenes”, Mary! I love getting a nicely packaged kit – your work is much appreciated! I look forward to ordering my kit and for now am working on my “line sampler” to make a needlebook just like yours!

  18. Hi Mary,

    Will you make this pattern available after the kits are gone? I really want to make this tree, but I never seem to be able to get hold of one of your kits before they sell out!

    Thanks for all you do — I have learned so much from your site!

  19. Dear Mary

    It was interesting reading how much time and hard work goes into preparing packages. You always take such care when packaging the kits. But it’s lovely that you chose boxes as opposed to plastic containers thank you for doing your bit to save the planet. Will you be selling the e-book separately from the kit. Good luck with Launch day I hope it’s a success after all your hard work. Thanks for sharing with us your preparation into packaging kits and for the photos.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Hi, Anita – I haven’t worked out the exact details yet – still working on that! Once all the kitting is finished, I’ll have a better idea of how the kit and the e-book will be made available.

    2. Dear Mary

      Thanks for your reply will look forward to the launch day good luck with it.

      Regards Anita Simmance

  20. I was glad you mentioned the instructions as I didn’t see it on the list of box contents!

    I wish I was there to help you. I love doing that sort of thing. More than one job I have had, I surprised folks in how fast I got it done. You are doing such a nice job with them.

  21. So much care and thought that you put into a kit! It was fun to read and see the reasoning for why you do what you do. 🙂 Have you figured out the cost of the kit? It would be good to know. Thanks! Hugs, H

    1. Hi, Helen – Thanks! 🙂 The cost of the kit will be announced once I know exactly when it is going up for sale. I’m still working out details and doing all the kitting, too!

  22. Boy O boy! I can’t wait!!! Thank you Mary! You do such wonderful work and you are a wealth of information. Your tips and tricks is a wealth of information and I always read your book reviews before I decide to buy.

  23. Oh, I want one. I will have to keep a close eye peeled for the reveal. The kit’s presentation sounds beautiful and I have long admired your leafy tree.

  24. The Leafy Tree kit when it’s ready will you mail to Canada? Love your website and newsletter I’m doing goldwork now enjoying it.

  25. I got two! I got two! Woo-hoo I’m sooOh blessed to have been able to purchase TWO LeafyTree kits. One for me and one a gift. Mary, you are a treasure.

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