Growlygracepress's Blog

I am a woman of wealth and taste.
April 28, 2016, 1:31 pm
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It’s going to be my birthday tomorrow and I have decided I need a present I was considering some new earrings but I am a little afraid that the whole baldness thing will result in me looking like a funny bald Christmas tree. I’ve been wearing ‘sleepers’ for ages now but at one time I had a considerable collection of odd charms that I wore and I only stopped wearing them as I hated the inevitable of losing them.

Perhaps I need to take my brave pills and seek out the little blue bird, the feminist axe, the skull, the bit of jade, the bit of turquoise and the little quartz crystal and see if I look all right with them on. I might look like I have a junk yard hanging off my face.

Not a good look.

I asked my husband’s opinion on two pairs of earrings or I should buy the tool I had been lusting after. He said tool as I will be so happy and pleased when I use the tool and I will have forgotten about the earrings in a couple of days. Wise and clever husband. I bought the tool and I am thrilled about it.

Did I mention that I have three green houses? It’s a bit excessive isn’t it? All heated with wretched paraffin. When I went down to the allotment first thing this morning it was very frosty and lots of ice. The poor broad beans in gardens where looking very sorry for themselves. I have planted nothing in the garden and won’t until the middle of May.


I don’t have much space left and I have to move on a lot of plants.


Look at these handsome leeks. I am going to get membership at the local workings man’s club and hang out there on a Saturday afternoon and drink pints with the men in the gardeners club.


This is the result of the decision to do flowers. This whole bench is flowers.


Going to do sweet peas.


Leeks, onions, shallots, chives and bunches of spring onions.


I am going to do a good solid session of bookbinding tomorrow. I am going to make ten ‘hinny’ books and they will all be perfect.


Revisiting and remaking a decision.
April 26, 2016, 7:19 am
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I had a remarkable experience the other week. I allowed myself the opportunity of revisiting a decision I had taken and rethinking it with ‘new tools’ by this I mean I allowed myself to be guided. On the allotment I have a facility for growing chrysanthemums.

It’s a very big shade house covered on all sides with windbreak fabric because the flowers do not like direct sun as it can damage the colour of the blooms. I had decided that because ‘if I can’t eat it I am not going to grow it mantra’ I was going to fill the beds with courgettes, herbs, salad and tomatoes. I don’t care at all for the traditional allotment flowers like chrysanthemums, dahlias and gladioli and had in fact massacred the bulbs, tubers and roots of poor things which represented at least half of the whole allotment. It was brutal and I would not even give them away. I chopped them all up for compost and burnt the rest of them in a series of fires.

I was thinking about how the man who had created the allotment had given me every thing I would need to create a garden and my husband was saying in a small voice ‘you might not want to do that’ when ever I mentioned about vegetables in the shade house.

So I decided to think about growing flowers and I went about that days tasks of going to the market, the lit and phil, going to the allotment, bookbinding and cooking with the very positive vibe of ‘growing flowers like he had intended me to do’.

And it was lovely.

I became very comfortable about growing flowers and I connected the facts that I like drawing, photographing and pressing flowers. I have been prototyping book bindings that feature flowers.


I had just bought this rather beautiful fabric.


I just did not see the obvious solution about what to do with the shade house because it was the proverbial elephant in the room.

So I am going to grow hundreds of flowers.

This is whats on my bench
April 11, 2016, 12:11 pm
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This is the springs for a set of hinny books. The little set of vintage dolls came from a charity shop I will do a posting about them at some point. I am interested in how they were made.


These are hinny books with there spines on and a group I am going to sew up.


This is the seeds I need to plant this afternoon and I have to do battle with an angry paraffin heater which behaved unreasonably after I spilt water on the wick. I have to trim the wick with a wick trimmer and try and get the thing to burn with a blue flame and not a yellow one.


This is a try out for a design. It is potentially very interesting.


I am going to print and colour some crawhalls.


Love the spelling of beuk


Mrs Delany!!!!!!


I read some where that he was part of the team who assembled Marcel Duchamp’s Box in a suitcase.


In every dream home there is a shed ache.
April 7, 2016, 8:28 am
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So I got a new allotment and I have been working at clearing and cleaning and in doing so I have learnt so much. The main thing is about the very real archaeology of objects stored in ‘out buildings’ the ‘stuff’ is on the allotment site for a reason, because he believed it had value or needed saving or could be adapted or because he had an idea. He would refer to the ‘stuff’ as junk. I knew it was treasure and I had to stop him from taking it to the local tip.

‘He’ is the man who created the allotment over a twenty year period and I now have the garden and the stuff he didn’t need or want or stuff he particularly wanted me to have.

He had a collection of old gardening tools that I have been restoring, using a wire brush on the metal, sanding the wooden handle and rubbing it with the linseed oil that he left.

I have three wheel barrows. One needs a new tire which I have. The other needs to have it’s tire re-inflated and I have two tire pumps.

I have twelve watering cans along with a hose pipe watering system which every bed has its own hose. The old gardeners liked to use watering cans directly at the root of the plant. In the summer when it’s hot I will be setting out a lot of filled watering cans with saved rain water adding a liquid feed.

Best off all the stuff was the improvised tools, the mending of existing tools and the honest repair of equipment.

In dealing with the ‘stuff’ I realised that I have the equivalent of a shed in every room of my house. There is an area of space where items have accumulated and have become a mixture of junk and artifices. Clothes I will never wear again, books I will never open, tools that have manifestly failed to do the task, piles and piles of paper, failed knitting and sewing projects, orphaned books, bits of dinner service I will never use.

The important lesson I have learnt on the new allotment is ‘de-sheding’ and I got really good at looking at something and working out it’s intrinsic value in a time period of now and in the future. When faced with a collection of ten old paraffin heaters the answer is stash them away and get the best ones working. I am becoming an expert on the care and rehabilitation of old paraffin heaters.

The other thing I have learnt is finding out a particular solution and acting on it immediately normally by pressing the pay button on ebay and getting the tools or materials delivered. I have become very solution focused like a simple arithmetical equation ‘this plus this’ equals a trip to Wilkinsons buy an item and enact the solution.

De sheding is fundamentally good for the soul.


On becoming effective.
April 4, 2016, 8:53 am
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A million years ago when I was a lot more shallow and empty than I am now I wanted to become psychotherapist and I would go along to training events and be filled with absolute contempt for every one in the room and I had a fear that my anger would erupt so violently that the ‘group’ would not be able to contain it. Obviously that’s bull shit but none the less I faced up to the fact that I am very judgemental and I am a strong advocate for giving out directions. So I was not cut out for a life in client centred therapy and I would happily burn every copy of “On becoming a person” just to stop it getting in to peoples hands.

So I became a bookbinder.

I think the past couple of years have been about being an effective bookbinder. By this I mean developing techniques and production methods that will allow me to make books that represent all that I love (and I think I really mean ‘love’) in a hand made book.

So on the ‘journey’ I didn’t rate being commercially successful as a goal and I am happy about that.

At the end of last year I had a significant insight on how to progress my practice.

I had an actual epiphany and I would tell every one I would meet that I had made this colossal discovery on how to make a designed book that would be not only beautiful but cost effective so that the book as an object becomes so good it can’t be ignored and has to be bought. Profit!

I tooled up and was happily experimenting away and discovering new problems and solving them with new solutions. And I am loving the flow of success, of thinking, solving and creating.

And then I got the new allotment.

A new garden is a great big pile of problems that you have to solve and you have to deal with the solutions that the previous gardener made and in this garden he has been so effective and so skilled that you have no choice but to continue his methodology.

I have become a happy hostage.

People said ‘you will soon make your mark on it’ and for a couple of days I entertained the idea of putting up some tressals for climbing plants, planted baskets, painting the shed a fashionable colour and having a decking area with a lovely bench to sit in to have a cup of tea. I came to my senses and realised that all I had to do is continue to do exactly what he would do because he is going to do it right by the garden.

So no flowers, nothing hiding the miles of breeze blocks and concrete, the shed get a brown stain and he had no need for a bench because he has optimised the whole area for the production of vegetables. I will consider new structures made with scaffolding poles and an old metal gate for the growing of strawberries.

I have spent every day since the beginning of February working in the allotment and just doing a gentle restoration and fixing things. Just getting things ready for mid May when I will be planting things out. I have started a lot of seeds and today I will be re-potting a lot of leeks. The two beds in this garden are absolutely enormous and someone tipped me of to sow a lot more stuff to fill it. I plant whole trays of kale, broccoli and cauliflower.

When you have three green houses you can sew the whole packet of mixed chillies because you can have a whole greenhouse dedicated to peppers.

So I been making massive progress in the garden and I’ve put the bookbinding to one side.

Stuff has been piling up on my bench. New tools, new materials and new books.

A man was shouting at me in the street that it was his wife’s birthday in March and he wanted to me to make a book and I haven’t. It does not count because it was not proper commission. That is when a not insignificant sum of money comes my way.

I have been telling him I only want to make books with skeletons on them at the moment.

Today I am going to go to the lit and phil and the market and then I am going to clear the bench and start the skeleton book. I am going to make the book from the start rather than pull one of the shelf. After I have started the process I am going to go to the allotment and be effective.