Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Very Special Offer

We have a fabulous offer for new subscribers to Workshop on the Web. A free copy of Lynda Monk and Carol McFee’s book, Stitching the Textured Surface for everyone who signs up in the next few weeks. We will even pay the postage. Of course you will also enjoy four issues of Workshop on the Web with all our great tutors.

We do need to add more subscribers quickly or WoW will be in danger. I am aware that this offer seems unfair to existing members but we explained to everyone why we were doing it and they have all been so good and understanding. Our subscribers have really got behind us and told everyone about this great offer, through Facebook and blogs. If you can help us with ‘The Big Push’, that would be lovely.

I have been slacking a bit lately. We have had new windows in the front rooms and all the clobber has been stored in my workshop. A good excuse to gad about, so yesterday it was lunch with Jane Wild, Elli Woodsford and Izzy Deem. I meant to take a photo but was overtaken, first by the catch-up chat and then by the wine. We did have a giggle, though.

The guys have now finished the windows and I have no excuse so I am getting ready for my trip to Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire. If anyone remembers their City and Guilds history, this is home to the amazing Rachel Kay Shuttleworth collection of textiles.

They do lots of good workshops and I am booked for two seminars, under the rather embarrassing title of ‘An Audience with Maggie Grey’. I have told Clive to dust off the Popemobile!

I am giving two different talks – Visible/ Invisible which looks at some exciting concepts on themes of inspiration and stitch in addition to the obvious ones of water and heat soluble techniques. The next day is based on Faces and Places, which covers both of these inspirational devices, again with lots of technique ideas. I have some new movies to show techniques and after the talk we will run these and look closely into the possibilities that they offer. I am really looking forward to this aspect – something a bit different for me.

Both talks will look at using metal (different aspects on different days). 

I am currently working with paper and metal. This piece features hand stitching, others will show mixed media and machine stitch.

If you can get to Lancashire the seminars are on the 27th and 28th of July. Book soon at

This is the last time that my abode will look like this at the rear. 

Work on the conservatory starts tomorrow and we have had to clear one of the flower beds to make room. Sadly, this ex-camellia had to go.

The builders will remove the rest, we hope. The other plants were re-homed in a new bed and seem to have recovered.

We are also involved in ferrying about a grandson doing work experience on a dairy farm. You can just about see him here, getting the cows in for milking. 

It is quite a drive from here so the whole family have been roped in for two weeks of transporting. He is loving it but the smell in the car on the homeward trek is quite some thing and I think Clive will not want the wellies he lent him returned!.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Everything in the Garden is Lovely

I have been out and about in Suffok, having a lovely time with the Stitch Skills Swap Shop. Their aim is to swap and share their stitch skills and they are very generous in their sharing. You can find out more about the here.

It was a great day – we had a talk in the morning and I gave a very quick workshop in the afternoon. I was amazed at what they produced in such a short time. They gave Clive and me a feast of a lunch and were so very warm and welcoming. If you live near Newmarket look out for their events.

We went up the day before and had time to pop in to Anglesey Abbey for afternoon tea. Lovely garden with lots of unusual trees. Wonderful colour and texture here.

The design of the garden is amazing. You turn a corner at the end of a sunny path and suddenly you are in dense shade, surrounded by ghostly stark white trees. 

Certainly a good contrast.

This week we decided to have a ‘staycation’ – a holiday at home with days out and a catch up in the garden. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t co-operated so the lunches out have so far only consisted of the garden centre cafe. Very good, though. So, instead, we’ve made a great effort to sort out all those odd jobs that one puts off all the time. Ticked off so far:

  • Switched our fuel suppliers as npower proposed to double our costs.
  • Re-organised the recycling with handy indoor bins – discretely tucked away
  • Sorted out some money stuff.
  • Chucked out unnecessary stuff that’s been in the filing system for years. Brought filing up to date.
  • Sorted out books and clothes for the charity shop.

Phew no wonder I’m so tired.

The garden.

A review of today’s labours in pics. In the one below you can see our preparations for the conservatory build. The arrow shows where the wall will end.

 Here is the son of the soil, moving one of the hellebores.

This is a new bed, dug out and planted last year. You remember the problems with a certain cat and the catnip. Heavily buttressed with stakes, it survived to give good flower.

The wood working son-in-law put up some trellis to mask the shed - not a thing of beauty. Now I need to get some climbers going.

One ‘work’ thing I have been doing is to continue the commissioning of our multi-artist d4daisy book. We have some great textile and book artists. Can’t quite tell you the full list as not all the contracts are in yet and it ain't over till the fat lady (me) signs.

I can say that we have some super people and we have managed to sign up some of the ones that you suggested on this blog and on Facebook.

Finally we have a mystery concerning the birds that use our feeders. We have stopped feeding seeds for the summer but left up a few fat balls for the tits to finish off. Now we are getting visits from Jays and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. 

Odd to see these struggling to eat from the feeder – never seen them on the feeder before, although they sit in the big trees behind us.

Linie - glad you had a giggle.

Thanks for the comment on the in-depth workshop on the web topics, Heather. Lots of people in favour - none against yet.

Annie and Pat - if you haven't already email me with your snail mails.