Growlygracepress's Blog

winning at making mistakes
September 29, 2016, 8:17 am
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I got lucky and I made lots of ‘mistakes’ and when the experiment is on a sizeable plot of land it’s a bit visible. You will ‘know’ me by the trail of my mistakes. The exciting thing about them is that I am completely unable to repeat them next year because that would be stupidity. I know how some of them happened and thrillingly it was about a weakness in me. I am not very good at a thing called ‘potting on’ that’s when seedling in a pot grows and it’s roots expands and you move it in to the next size pot giving it new compost and food and you do it again and again before placing it out to it’s final growing position.

I suck at this.

I wanted to grow big juicy tomatoes in the poly tunnel that already had two grape vines and a peach tree going on so I stuck in a lot of show leeks and a kiwi fruit, a couple of cucumbers and a aubergine. This was beyond suck and was actual insanity. The vines and the grafted tomatoes had an enormous battle and the vines won the tomatoes then decided that the tunnel was not hot enough and have refused to ripen. I also failed in being rigid at the feeding of the show leeks and was a bit hit and miss.

I am going to have clip boards and charts like they have in toilets in supermarkets. All the vegetables get Sunday lunch. Tick. Initials.

The vines can have the poly tunnel  I’ll set up a new one for the growing of tomatoes specifically I am going to grow English ones with small fruits. The leeks I am going to move to a covered leek trench.

The biggest problem I faced was the explosion of weeds and the containing and processing weeds I have killed. Every thing would be better if for every hour I worked on the plot I actually used a hoe for twenty minutes.

One of my best mistakes was my failure to use multiple seed labels in trays I had lots of seed trays on the go and invariably the one label would become detached from the tray so I would have no idea what brassica I was planting.

So of to the allotment and working on potting on the spring brassicas, creating an area of the garden that has weed suppressant fabric on, that has holes cut out of it and I will then extract some soil, put in a pot filled with compost then plant that pot with the most expensive brassicas in the world.

The plants are my ‘ideas’,  the garden is my mind and the ‘mistakes’ are the feedback.

Making the little books for money.
September 23, 2016, 7:52 am
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About a year ago I had an insight about just how I could compromise my need to make books (I shall expand on that ‘need’ thing at some point) the time required to make books, the need for stuff to be sold in craft shops, (again I shall expand on the ‘need’ and ‘stuff’ at some point) and I came to some far reaching conclusions.

If you caught me going about my travels last year and if you asked me how things are going I would have been overflowing with gibberish about ‘new’ ideas, understandings, giddy excitement about the bookmaking process. I seen a possibility that I could make books that please me and would be bought as a gift. Every one wins in the transaction.

I have been working at making changes to the book making process with the emphasis on adding value where ever possible. I have got the size of book right down so that the raw materials costs are really low, I have been working in series of tens and making all the components at the start and assembling, I am putting effort in to becoming more effective at the practice (again I will expand on what I understand by the ‘practice’)

I think I have a map with a route clearly defined as to where I am going.

I think I can make a little bit of money if I make the books as effectively as possible and use esty or what ever its called to sell them. I know it’s not rocket science but I have the whole picture now. What if for the next twenty or so years I divide my day time between working at my bookbinding bench and the rest of the time working at the allotment.

Doing both tasks to the best of my abilities and have no tolerance to faults.

On being brave at the vegetable beauty shows.
September 13, 2016, 9:44 am
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I entered a garden show at a local working men’s club and as I was sorting vegetables out my husband said “I think you are being very brave” and later he mentioned the bravery thing again and I thought ‘yikes’.  I am not a member of the club, I might be next year and I was entering under another member’s name. This was know by all concerned on the committee and I had talked with the new secretary and I had a schedule for the show.

I think the men at the club thought kindly of me and knew I was not in in way a threat just a woman who wants to learn how to ‘do’ show vegetables and flowers. I am keen.

So I took my ‘brave’ pills and wandered up the road with leeks, flowers and tomatoes. The men were really lovely to me and very helpful and as I looked along the show benches I realised that the standard was incredible and that it was obvious that no one put their stuff in for a laugh, no one was having a ‘try’ this was completive growing by men at the top of their game.

Obviously I didn’t win anything but my leek was standard and was not disqualified for being ‘long’ and it was last, but like I say it was ‘scheduled’

Looking at the show the next day it was like a exhibition of art and like a good art show some items get to you. For me it was a entry for 12 aster  flowers which were shown in a box they were beautiful and obviously prize winners. The other thing I loved was an enormous cauliflower which was ‘best produce in show’ The thing I took away was I could have entered some celery but as I read the schedule “pink or white celery” I decided that mine was much to “green” so I didn’t and I should have.

Next year I am going to enter practically every class in the shows in my own association and at the club. I am going to even embrace the suck which is ‘allotment flowers’ as I really dislike gladioli, not found of massive big dahlias but I do like the small pom pom ones. The thing I am really going to grow is asters.



on the making of pork pies
September 8, 2016, 8:46 am
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This is number three in the series of pork pies I have made. I got the seasoning wrong, I failed to keep the work place clear, didn’t put out all the ingredients in to little dishes and I failed to complete the making of the pie by putting in the lovely jelly.

So I have stashed lot’s of pork, veal, ham and sausages in the freezer in case I am moved to make pork pie number four. I have a shelf full of lard and butter for the hot water pastry.

I have taken away the pile of French cookery books and replaced them with traditional English cookery books with the emphasis on the historical back ground. Jane Gregson is my homie. The best book I have is the ‘Reader’s Digest Book of Farmhouse Cooking’ which the good Jane has contributed to and best of all the book is full of Thomas Bewick engravings. It is the most astonishing book.

Last night I found the recipe for the little Scotch pies which you buy every where in Scotland. They are little raised pies made with a thin water crust pastry and filled with mutton. So I think I shall be off to the Lebanese butchers at the top of the street to stock up on some mutton and bones. Imagine a plate full of little pies!

In the palace of righteous crap.
September 8, 2016, 7:44 am
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Last week I walked out the house and went directly to the carpet shop and bought and arranged new floor covering for the study which means that every thing had to come out and will have to go back in. I then went to the computer technician and gave him a pile of computers and asked that he makes them all better and do a factory reboot. I am just about to press ‘pay’ on a tool chest.

I am way to tolerant of the multiple of duplications of items I own. It’s the problem with living with some really good charity shops I am on auto command to buy when ever I see them : Royal Worcester evesham dinner service and le creuset pots and pans. The dog eats and drinks out of le creuset and I can do a medium banquet with the prissy plates decorated with asparagus, corn, plums, pears and brambles.

I have a slush pile of hand bound books. I think I might have a fondness for about half a dozen the rest are just taking up space. I have decided to redistribute them amongst a couple of people I know who have children under ten. The books I think as B+ will go to someone who reached out to me.

I am going to assess every tool and decide it’s fate, every single sheet of paper will live or die, every prop I have bought to create a narrative that I may have signed up for but really wasn’t prepared to do the deep down dirty hard work. I give you calligraphy, floral painting, typography and watercolour. It’s all going to go.

Shops are great store houses and if I am overwhelmed by the need to draw I’ll go and buy a pen.

I am sitting in the living room and the study contents are rammed in and I can see four lying presses and five ploughs and I know I have at the last count three band nippers.

The playing around with watercolour paints taught me how to buy good quality paints and what paper I like to paint on. I believe that the handmade book is made better by having hand decorated endpapers and I enjoy the rush of putting colour on paper.

I got to ‘here’ by thinking about the space around me and the tools and the materials when I am making a book and I want the tools to be stored appropriately and to be in good order. I want to materials to be the best I can access and stored appropriately and not hoarded.

I went past a house yesterday that used to be home to some eco / social justice warrior types and a team of men were just tipping every thing out, smashing it up and fling the remains on to the back of a van. My heart cheered that the horrible mosaic plaque which featured at the front of the house had met it’s grisly fate. I hate bad art.

But I did like the men taking out the rubbish.

On being effective.
September 1, 2016, 9:54 am
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When ever I get some money from some bookbinding activity I invest it in to becoming a better bookbinder. So I trying to work out what’s the best thing to do. I think I can be more effective if I absolutely clear out my work area and have better storage for tools and materials. I should identify what tools I am not working with and have no plans for ever using and I should get them on to ebay so I can realise the value and buy more tools.

I should buy whatever book I think is going to help me communicate what I think about making books by hand. Even if the book is ridiculously expensive.

I need to get a technician fix a computer and get the phone and ipad all to talk to each other.  This would mean facing up to the fact that this machine is ten years old and has ten years of unedited photographs on it. I don’t do the phone at all and I should because I really like the timer function.

I have been procrastinating about buying a photo printer and a scanner but managed to decide that it would be more effective to get the photos printed out by professionals so the phoney baloney little book of flowers might actually happen.

I really don’t need a Barbour jacket even if it would make me look really cool.

I think if I get some one to actually fit some new floor covering in the study it would force me to actually have a specific and identifiable date in time when every thing has to come out the room.

I am now going to see how much of this I can achieve immediately.