Two hundredth blog post and a giveaway!

The time is flying by at an alarming rate, my garden is knee high in nettles and brambles, my laundry basket is groaning and my desk is piled high with work. One reason for this backlog is our trip to The Lake District where we attended a book repair workshop followed by a short holiday based in Ulverston.

I have of course taken a zillion photographs, which will have to wait for another day. Today I wanted to do something a little bit special, as it is my two hundredth blog post. I started this blog originally as a place to share inspiration and for me this normally comes in book form so today I am offering as a giveaway a hard back, cloth bound, (second hand, I pounced on it in a charity shop!) of one of the most exquisite books ever- “In and Out of the Garden” by Sara Midda. When I had my first child, some thirty years ago, my husband bought me a copy of this remarkable work of art, which sits here on my bookshelf and is a constant source of delight.

For those of you who do not know the book let me try to describe it; every page is hand painted or drawn including the text. It is a collection of garden lore, images and quotations, which have been exquisitely rendered in minute detail, the book was three years in the making and in my opinion is outstandingly beautiful. I am sure many of you will already own a copy but for those of you who don’t you can enter my giveaway by leaving a comment below and please indicate your wish to participate. Maybe you have a special, treasured title, which we should know about, please share your recommendations too. I will pick a winner at random on the first of June. Oh yes, and I should say that the edition that I am giving away is a second edition printed in 1982, Sidgwick and Jackson, London and is missing its dust jacket but everything else is good.

And now, back to the workshop. We learnt, over the space of three days, how to reback a Victorian cloth bound book. You know the sort, one that has torn endpapers, a tatty ripped spine and bumped corners; my shelves are full of them! We separated the text block from the bookcase; I needed to do some secondary sewing to secure the sections. We dyed new cloth and paper to match the original cover and endpapers. We then went on to reback and repair the book, taking time to make a new spine, repair the endpapers and consolidate the corners. You can see some of the stages below, click to enlarge.

the finished book! Just so we are all clear, the giveaway book is "In and Out of the Garden".


Messing about on the river.

Last week we went to Henley-on-Thames to visit Makower, home of Henley studio. I went to meet with the design team to discuss possible new fabric collections. We arrived in time to have a riverside picnic and walk, spotting wildlife along the way.Red kites circled overhead, coots and mallards on the river, chaffinches and yellow wagtails along the path and too many enviable gardens to mention.

Henley is quite a drive from our house so we try to combine it with an overnight stop in Oxford. As most of the students were still on holiday we were able to stay here in the most beautiful Elizabethan College and ate our breakfast in the ancient hall.

On our return journey we stopped at Stratford-on-Avon and took a ferry past the famous theatre and home of The Royal Shakespeare Company. As you can see from the photographs, (click to enlarge) the weather was amazing, sunny, bright and breezy. I should write more but I am now busy packing my bag for my next trip.

I hope to catch up with everyone when I get back,

See you later, alligator.