One of the most important bits of kit in the Silly Cushions tool box is the very expensive embroidery machine that my incredibly generous boyfriend bought for me. He dressed it up as a business investment but, unless the government passes a law stating that all houses must have personalised embroidered cushions in every room and selects Silly Cushions as the official supplier, the return on his investment may be pretty paltry. Let’s call a spade a spade and admit it was just a present.
Having the machine has revolutionised the way I work. It's like sending emails instead of handwriting and posting letters, or using a car to get around instead of walking. Instead of taking around 15 hours to embroider the wording onto one cushion, I can now whip through it in much less time, allowing me to focus on actually running the business as well. Or at least I could until my machine got incredibly hungry and decided to eat every piece of material I put in it.
When this started happening my first plan was to shout at the machine, cry a bit, and stamp my feet on the ground. Unbelievably that didn't seem to mend it so plan B, calling the number in the manual, had to be deployed. After a couple of minutes of exasperated waffling about how annoyed I was, I managed to tell the man on the other end of the phone what the problem was and he came up with an odd solution - to blow on the machine. Surprisingly this wasn't a joke. Blowing on the machine, like some kind of witchcraft, actually seemed to do the trick... until 10 minutes later when it decided it was ready for the main course and started munching steadily through the remaining material in my stockpile.
Plan C, a rarely utilised plan in any situation, was to take it back to the shop that I got it from to see whether they could do anything to help. They plugged the machine in and got it running and, what do you know, the stupid thing ran like a dream. I left the shop feeling somewhat confused and embarrassed that I had wasted their time, took the machine home, and once again it ran beautifully. For another 10 minutes until it was ready for a delicious pudding of a mix of cotton and linen.
Plan D, never before resorted to by anyone anywhere, was to take the machine back to the shop again and leave it there. And that's where it is now. The guys in the shop are going to run it constantly all week until the machine needs a snack so they can work out what the problem is.
Despite having fought tooth and nail with the damned thing for a few weeks now, I'm actually feeling nervous, as though a relative or a dear friend is in surgery and I'm waiting to hear how it has gone. In this case the surgery is probably only fitting a gastric band so my machine isn't constantly hungry but, even so, I'm impatiently waiting to hear whether the poor thing is going to pull through. Fingers crossed I won't have to come up with a plan E...