Blue Coppice Blatherings

Blather and balderdash about stitching, design and domestic life.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!!

This is my last entry of the year (unless I manage to find a computer over the holidays) & what a year it's been!! It's traditional to write a round-up of the year, but that could take pages so I'll just say that it's had its ups and downs & concentrate on the past week instead!

Last Friday's Christmas party was thoroughly enjoyable, the food was a cut above the average mass catering, the wine was flowing freely and my colleauges and I boogied the night away! There are rumours that I was spotted dancing on a chair, however I would like to point out that it was on the strict instructions of the boss who wanted to win a bottle of champagne. Sadly, the table of beautiful girls next to us had already caught the DJ's eye so my boss didn't stand a chance...

After a pitiful amount of sleep, my OH very kindly picked me up from the hotel before driving us both south to see his sister and her OH. We spent the afternoon walking their dogs in the local woods until it was too dark to see and then cleaned off the mud before heading into the local town for a few drinks and a gorgeous Indian meal. As usual, we all ate far too much and waddled out of the restaurant!

I came down with another flu-bug so I spent most of Monday & Tuesday curled up on the sofa with Daisy and a huge duvet feeling very sorry for myself. Luckily I seem to have shaken it off in time to enjoy my Christmas dinner but I'm really looking forward to a nice lie-in tomorrow morning before cracking open a bottle of pink sparkly and eating warm croissants...

As for the stitching, well I managed to finish the stitching for the trinket box so I'm on target still - but it could all change...

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday and I look forward to the first blog entry of the new year!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2004

One week to Christmas!!

And I can't wait. I love Christmas - the tree, the food, the extra sleep....

I still need to wrap OH's presents but that's traditionally done on the 23rd when he goes off to his annual work party, so I know I have the whole evening to make all the parcels look nice - whilst trying to detach the tape from Daisy's fur! The cards have been bought & will be written on Sunday, I still need to get a small something for the office Secret Santa and I've got one more parcel to post. Not quite as organised as I'd like, but not bad considering the time I've had!

Jane Dickinson posted a small bundle of 2005 Great Escapes brochures to me this week so I can offically so the workshop piece that I'll be teaching in November 2005:

"Lavender Honey"
Copyright 2004 Bethany Woods. All rights reserved.
No reproduction without consent from the author.

This is only Part 1 - I think Part 2 may remain a surprise until the workshop...

I've had positive responses on the pieces so far and I'm really looking forward to the weekend. The venue, Hengrave Hall in Suffolk, is a beautiful place so I'm hoping I'll have time for a wander around as well as teaching, but I'm not counting on it!

This week I finished one of the panels for the next box & made a good start on the next. They're working up quite quickly so I'm nicely on target for constructing the box over the Christmas break. I'm working on the front panel at the moment & as long as there are no disasters, should have it finished for the end of next week. OH & I are going to his sister's this weekend so it's very unlikely I'll get much done - we'll be too busy talking!

There's not much other news - OH & I saw The Incredibles at the cinema at the weekend (highly recommended, very funny!), I met up with a couple of friends for dinner mid-week and I'm off to my office party tonight. I work with a really nice bunch of people so I'm looking forward to tonight - it's at a hotel that has a cheesy club attached so after dinner we're all going to go for a bit of a boogie! It's not that far from home, but I decided to take advantage of the subsidised rooms rather than try to get a taxi at 2am - I've been there before & know from experience that that's virtually impossible, and not exactly cheap either...

That's all for today. I hope everyone has a good weekend & thank you again for the sympathy - I'm feeling more like myself again!!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Finally a productive week...

First of all, I'd like to say thank you so much for the good wishes! I'm feeling much better today, still sniffly & feeling the need to sleep for a week but a big improvement on last week...

In-between bouts of sneezing, I've managed to finish the construction of the second part to the workshop piece, send it down to my photographer (aka my mother!) and tick it off my to-do list for the moment. It'll return to the list once I have both pieces back as then I need to produce the chart packs. As soon as the pieces have made their way to Jane Dickinson (who's organising the workshop) & the brochures are produced, I'll be able to post some pictures - until then it's under wraps!

As my brain still wasn't functioning properly, I decided to concentrate on finishing Greek Steps with the hope that I might get it finished before Christmas. Well, I'm delighted to announce that not only is it finished, but if I can work out how to post a picture, you might be lucky enough to see it! If (as I suspect) all you see is the dreaded red x, glance over to the left-hand side where you'll see the link to my albums, and click...

Greek Steps - John Clayton (Heritage Stitchcraft)
I apologise for the slightly wonky edge - it was a little too long to fit on the scanner in one go, so the images had to be spliced together!

I'm taking it to the framers on Saturday & I think I'm going to go with a silver frame. It's going to go in the hallway at the top of the stairs and as the other two frames on the stairs are silver, it would make sense to have a similar look for this one. The house is a little too small for different frames to look particularly good & luckily I think silver will work with the design.

Last night I started working on the final two panels of the Trinket Box which I was hoping to release before the end of the year. It's definitely not going to be ready by then, but I'm hopeful of a January launch. The last stitched sections should be pretty quick (famous last words...) and with a bit of luck I'll be able to set aside a couple of days at Christmas to construct the box. I'm planning something a little different for this box so I need to make sure I've got enough time to redo it if it all goes horribly wrong, but I'm hoping that I've thought of all the possible pitfalls.

My parents came up to visit at the weekend, delivering lots of mysterious packages on behalf of the Christmas Fairy and her goblin assistant and taking my mind off the nasty germs I was harbouring. As usual, my OH and my father spent the majority of the time rolling their eyes as my mother & I gorged ourselves on "string talk" but I think a good time was had by all! My mother has recently published her second book (cue shamelss plug: "Alphabet Inspirations in Coloured Bobbin Lace" by Sandi Woods, published by Batsford & now available at all good bookshops!) and is working on material for the next so as you can imagine, we always have plenty of "string things" to talk about...

Sadly they could only stay for the one night as they also have a very demanding cat who wouldn't hesitate to make his displeasure known in various ways! Being a Havana Brown, Fidel (full name Fidel Castrato) has the personality of a Siamese and knows himself to be not only human but also the being around whom the world rotates. He's wrong of course. That would be Daisy.

I think that's all for this week - all comments are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Any sympathy out there?

It's official. After fighting off all germs for the past few weeks, I've finally succumbed to a rotten stinking cold. I'm going through tissues like OH goes through cookies & am generally feeling very sorry for myself.

I hate colds. I hate the fact that they turn me into a pathetic whining, drippy wet fish with no backbone. I hate not being able to sleep because you can't breathe, the sore nose, the streaming eyes, the miserable little cough that can't even bring itself to sound like anything more than an apology, the complete lack of brain cells, and the fact that although you feel like death vaguely warmed up, it's not a good enough excuse to stay at home & curl under the duvet!


Yes I know, things could be worse but I'm just having a brief wallow in self-pity. OH just laughed at me this morning & refused to come anywhere near me. Even the cat was wary - probably because as soon as she got within a 2 yard radius of me I'd sneeze. A lot.

Anyway, onto happier things! I visited the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate on Sunday 28th & thoroughly enjoyed myself. I stocked up on more linen, treated myself to the Angel of Spring chart (a Lavender & Lace design) & its beads with some birthday money, picked up a couple of interesting books (one on Medieval tiles and one on the history of writing - good pictures!) and attended an afternoon workshop. We were shown how to make a "flip-flop" tassel by the Braidmakers Workshop which was an excuse to meet new people & generally have a good time!

OH looked a little nonplussed when I returned home with all my goodies & nodded blankly when I told him that my slinky tassel would look lovely on the Christmas tree, but then there's a limit as to what I can say when he's discussing the latest Ipswich Town game (football/soccer!) so I do understand. I've learnt that as long as I can say reasonably intelligable things like "They have to use
three strikers, they haven't got a defense" and avoid my immediate response of "For heavens sake, it's just a game", he resists pointing out how strange it is to play with string.

As for stitching, I finally finished the stitching on the second part of the workshop piece & now just have to do the finishing & construction, which will be started as soon as I have a spare moment tonight.

I do need the challenge of working on my own pieces but f
or a change, I've been doing some work on another designer's piece which has been nice, especially recently when I've been so tired (probably due this cold lurking & turning my brains to mush!). I've been doing a little of John Clayton's Greek Steps every night & it's coming along nicely. I'm about 85% done now & with a bit of a blast over Christmas I should get it finished soon.

Greek Steps is really a holiday piece - so until recently I've only worked on it when I've been sitting on a balcony on a small Greek island with a glass of something nice next to me enjoying the sunshine & the view... However, this does mean that it's been hanging around for a while so I decided it was time to finish it off before we go away again in May/June. Once it's done, I can start Angel of Love (another L&L design) which has got a spot reserved for it in the lounge. That's going to take a couple of years as a holiday piece as well!

Back to my own work, unfortunately, the trinket box which I had planned to release before Christmas is not going to be ready in time. I'm sure I could get it done but I'd have to rush, which could easily compromise the proofing process! I'd rather publish a chart that I'm confident is right than find out I've made a fundamental error after it's gone to the printers...

So once the workshop piece is completed, I'll be finishing off the trinket box and then going back to the birth sampler. The birth sampler is quite a large project so I'm planning to do another small piece before it's finished - possibly an introduction to the Water Garden? Too many ideas, too little time...

Oh, and keep the comments coming - all views, criticism & nonsense welcome!