Blue Coppice Blatherings

Blather and balderdash about stitching, design and domestic life.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Springtime in Manchester...

...and it's raining.

Still, the weather was pretty good over the Easter weekend, which meant that my friend B was unable to complain over-much about it being "grim up north"! Add a healthy dose of gossip, some fantastic meals (not sure if that includes when I cooked, but there were contented sighs when we'd finished!), slumping in front of the TV suffering from the night before, shopping & taking in the sights of Manchester city centre and I think it's safe to say that a fun time was had by all...including Daisy, who has taken quite a fancy to B - mainly because he really hates getting covered in cat hair! ;-)

Speaking of my cooking, I managed to avoid poisoning A last week, in fact he even returned for more on Monday evening! He seems to be able to cope with my various eccentricities and hasn't yet admitted that he thinks the stitching is strange - there is still time. I'm hoping that his rather twisted sense of humour will enable him to laugh and understand the peculiarities of WIPs, UFOs, SEX, SABLE and other codewords incomprehensible to the uninitiated - at least he's also a designer so is used to slightly obsessive behaviour...

We discovered that we share a passion for ruined castles and other ancient sites (i.e. stones in the middle of fields full of cows!) so we'll be exploring the depths of north Wales this weekend, hopefully including a picnic on the beach but I have alternative plans if the clouds decide to have a party overhead!

With all the recent socialising, I had a brief moment of panic when I realised how many designs I've been blithely noting down as "later in the year" projects, and the fact that tomorrow is April 1st. It's time to readjust my goals for the year, taking into account essential projects such as the workshops and the new website design. The biggest problem I seem to have is the sheer number of designs that are screaming at me to push them to the front of the queue for release! There are a couple which are going to take a lot of time and work, which will alter my ideal of releasing one new design every 2-3 months, but I think it will be worth a delay as they are major pieces and I hope will prove to be customer favourites.

Over the next couple of weeks, the tiny, shrivelled pea that rattles between my ears will keep contemplating the likely timetable for the remainder of the year - it's all very flexible and at the end of the day will come down to which design howls loudest and longest! Now, where can I find some spare hours...?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bouncing like the Easter Bunny!

It's Maundy Thursday, the sun's shining and after 1pm, I'm not back at work until next Wednesday! I'm a simple creature & life can't get much better than the prospect of a lovely long weekend...

As usual, my life has been a combination of frantic activity when socialising & working and deathly silence as I try to catch up on the never-ending housework...

To start with the social life, after a very pleasant lunch a couple of weeks ago, M appears to have vanished off the face of the earth. The last contact I had was a brief message to say that his father was very ill in hospital & I've heard nothing since. The nice side of me hopes that everything's okay but assumes that the worst happened & M's been up to his eyes in arrangements. The rather more cynical side assumes that for some unknown reason he's decided not to be friends and has used it as an excuse not to be in touch - most peculiar!

However, after having been in touch with another guy (henceforth known as A!) for few weeks & finding out that he's got a suitably dark sense of humour combined with a healthy amount of intelligence, we met for the first time recently. A pub lunch turned into talking all afternoon & a trip to the cinema to see "Hitch" (v funny!) that evening. Which turned into an extremely good Italian meal last week and him taking his life in his hands when I cook for him this evening - is he brave or stupid? Only time will tell...

Last weekend was an ideal opportunity to catch up with essential chores so on the first warm, sunny & dry day of the year, my filthy car was washed, laundry was hung outside & I even braved the fresh air to stitch outside in the sun. :-) Ex-OH volunteered to come round to do essential jobs like mowing the lawn and changing the pond filter (nasty job - luckily only an annual event) - at the moment he's not got his own garden so I'm more than happy for him to still be chief gardener!

My old friend B is coming up for the Easter weekend so I'm hoping for good weather - he has this unreasonable view that the north of England is permanently cold, wet and grey - and expect that the next few days will centre around food, drink & gossip... I will, of course, be introducing him to the best that Manchester has to offer & proving to him that those of us in the north manage to survive perfectly well without the so-called benefits of living in the south-east!

As for my design work, the stitching for latest release is now virtually complete and the perils of construction await...gulp....... The Sampler Guild retreat in Cumbria is fast approaching & I would like the piece to be completed so I can give the members a sneak preview! Linda Hadden (TSG High Priestess!) is currently looking into workshop provision in Cheshire for later in the year and I'm looking forward to chatting to her about her ideas - there could well be a Blue Coppice original as one of the pieces offered... ;-)

That's all for today - I've got a lot to do before I shoot off for the weekend! Happy Easter everyone - I hope the rabbits are plentiful and the chocolate even more so!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Where did February go exactly?

Where do I start? Just when I think I've got a spare second to write, something else crops up & another day has passed...

Two busy weekends have gone by since my last blog entry and I can hardly believe how the time has flown! J, my old uni friend, visited from Cardiff during the first weekend - much talking, shopping and dancing was done and we even managed to squeeze in a visit to the cinema to see "Hide & Seek" (Robert de Niro et al)! Well, we're both too old to go dancing till the early hours for two nights in a row... ;-)

We don't see each other very often and our schedules often clash so we count ourselves lucky to organise a weekend together every 6 months! It invariably means that we don't get much sleep as we're too busy catching up on the gossip...and reliving student days by dancing until our ageing knees give out. Ouch.

For the following week, I caught up on the housework and worked on my latest piece for the next weekend while meeting M (intelligent, witty guy from the last entry!) for a very enjoyable lunch. I had a call out of the blue mid-week from another old friend (he of the amazing cheesecake) inviting me out to dinner on Thursday as he was in the area on business. A couple of bottles of wine and a couple of delicious Pad Thai later, we giggle our way back to the station only to find that he's completely mistaken the time of his last train home...oops....

However, it meant that I had the pleasure of his company on Friday as he stayed over with me and hitched a lift back to London! I had already planned to visit my parents so it only involved a short detour off the motorway, and it was a much more enjoyable journey for me - although I had to save the singing very badly at the top of my voice for the return trip on Sunday. All together now "...Honky Tonk WOMAN...Honky Tonk Bluuuuuueeeeeeesssssssssssss..."

Dropping B off wasn't the only detour - before then, we drove via Woburn to visit Rosemary Sharman of The Country Cross Stitcher who has been supplying my designs for the past few months. Sadly, Rosemary was feeling a little under the weather thanks to one of the many bugs around at the moment, and not looking forward to the annual stock-taking! However we had a good chat and it gave her the opportunity to see my latest pieces in person, including a sneak preview of my next release which features Rajmahal floss - a beautiful viscose mix with the most fabulous sheen that Rosemary introduced me to last year.

From Woburn to London, and from there onto my parents in time for the 6pm aperitifs...

...where I discovered that in the chaos of leaving in the morning, I'd left behind the pieces I wanted to work on. I had the floss, the scissors, the patterns, and even spare linen - but not WIPs and no needles!! So it was a bit of enforced stitch-rest until I made it back on Sunday evening :-( Despite this traumatic event, I had a fantastic weekend, rounded off with my first piece of barbequed steak of the year - snow was still on the ground but my father was undeterred and excelled himself by producing ribeye steak cooked to perfection!

Last night saw the return of the housework fairy - and an early night. I'm off for lunch with M today (just need to decide where to go) and might be seeing him again later in the week...but all things can change!