Monthly Archives: January 2017

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New Season Seville Oranges,Yay!

Bowl Of Vitamin C,Rocking Dog

Bowl Of Vitamin C

The new season Seville oranges arrived on my doorstep on Tuesday. On Saturday they were magic’d into deliciously bitter marmalade. Hopefully the kennel will have a large enough supply to last out until next years transient Seville season.

I elected to use the recipe in my Bloomsbury Cookbook by Jans Ondaatje Rolls. The Marmalade recipe is one scribbled onto a piece of paper by Roger Fry. Fry was an artist, critic and lecturer. He is particularly remembered for bringing
Post-Impressionism to Britain and founding the Omega Workshops. It seems that he also made exceedingly good marmalade!

After leaving the sliced oranges to soak in water for 24 hours, a boil up and then a further soak it was finally time to marmalade!

The filled jars await labels, and a cool dark place to call home.

Despite the winter greyness, I wish you a very happy productive week. Love Rocking Dog x

Delivered To The Door,Rocking Dog

Delivered To The Door

Perfect Peel,Rocking Dog

Perfect Peel

Marmalade Recipe,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Recipe

Orange Anatomy,Rocking Dog

Orange Anatomy

Peel & Pips,Rocking Dog

Peel & Pips

In The Jar,Rocking Dog

In The Jar

Thank You To The Rocking Dog Huddlers

Chaotic Creativity,Rocking Dog

Chaotic Creativity

Poor Rocking Dog had to steady herself with a G&T last night. She wasn’t sure if anyone was going to come to the first Rocking Dog Huddle. She needn’t have worried a steady stream of lovely ladies crossed over the the kennel threshold. Thank you to all those who came. Sometimes it is all too tempting to settle in a comfy chair at home and not brave the near zero temperatures outside.

Cranberry zinger, hot chocolate and tea was drunk as we tackled projects. There was beautiful knitted bunting, a gorgeous crocheted blanket, stuffed rabbit and knitted top being crafted.There were also boring but necessary hems to be turned up and sewn. Other huddlers chose to make lavender crooked hearts.

A group largely made up of random strangers to each other, it was an evening of amazing coincidences. There were folk who had been growing up in the same Kent town and a neighbour who had been treated in the same German hospital that I had worked. Later in the evening I was talking about the dusting room at school. Yes, a room where GIRLS learnt how to dust, make a bed, lay up a tray for an invalid, arrange flowers etc.. grrrrrrr!!! It transpired that another of the huddlers remembered that same dusting room and in fact was in the same class as me at school! 1978 was the last time I saw her and here Diane was, very probably realising that me and dusting was a lost cause! It was so lovely to meet you again.

Your Abel & Cole recipe for haggis sausage rolls was appreciated by us all Sorrel. Thank you. Nigella’s cake was crumbly, chocolatey and calorific! The jury’s out on that one.

Thank you again to all who came last night and a special someone who attempted to make it but unfortunately had a little bit of a car bump. Look forward to seeing you next time.

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has returned to old Toby. Does this mean she saw what was under Wee Tam’s Kilt?!

Cranberry Zinger,Rocking Dog

Cranberry Zinger

Sew, Chat, Eat,Rocking Dog

Sew, Chat, Eat

Crumbly Cake,Rocking Dog

Crumbly Cake

Crooked Hearts,Rocking Dog

Crooked Hearts

Who Ate All The Pies?!,Rocking Dog

Who Ate All The Pies?!

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place,Rocking Dog

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place

Yay! Haggis Sausage Rolls For Burn’s Night

Straight From The Oven,Rocking Dog

Straight From The Oven

Oops! slight oversight I forgot Burn’s Night! Married to a Scot (oops sorry Andyman not your team!) and being half Scottish myself that’s slightly unforgivable. I spotted a MacSween Haggis in a butchers window and that’s when the penny dropped.

So, the Rocking Dog Huddlers will be offered haggis sausage rolls this evening. I made these golden beauties using an Abel& Cole recipe,credit to my lovely girl Sorrel. However I cheated a little by using ready made Taste The Difference all butter puff pastry. There’s a delicious vegetarian haggis version too for anyone feeling slightly queasy about the offal and entrails involved in the art of haggis making.

Burn’s Night always gives me the opportunity to talk about my Toby Jug folk and to be just a little bit silly… so here goes! Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has waddled across the mantlepiece, unable to resist the kilted charms of Wee Tam. Poor Toby, his beer swigging ways are not going down well with Mrs Mack (she is a convent girl after all). Toby’s Gout, flatulance, swarthy complexion, beer belly and moobs, she really wants to move on and find out just what Wee Tam wears beneath his kilt. Is he really so wee?!! For The time being she’s just enjoying his ticklin’ and Sean Connery accent. Ooh she’s a wee flirt!

Anyway enough of this nonsense, have a very happy Burn’s Night one and all!

Stop Your Ticklin' Tam!,Rocking Dog

Stop Your Ticklin’ Tam!

Tonight! The First Rocking Dog Huddle

Are You Ready To Sew?,Rocking Dog

Are You Ready To Sew?

Last call for the first Rocking Dog Huddle! 7-9pm tonight (sorry about that very cheesy link, for a staunch Rubettes fan I truly was!) at the Rocking Dog Kennel. Come to sew, knit, chat and eat cake. Feel free to have a moan too!

This is no “Great British Sewing Bee” so you won’t be expected to make a pair of Theresa May style leather trousers or a boned bustier! Come with trousers that need hemming, knitting that has been lingering on its needles or another long forgotten project. Shamefully I have an unfinished Kaffe Fassett needlepoint that has been on its frame for the best part of 20 years! Don’t despair if you do come empty handed Rocking Dog has organised some mini projects. Beloved Berlina will be on hand, please treat her kindly!

Of course it’s not all about the sewing. Lovely warming drinks and delicious Rocking Dog cake (this month, Peanut-Butter Squares, thanks Nigella!) will be offered.

A teapot for donations to cover cost of refreshments etc..will be in situ. A proportion of donations will be given to Fine Cell Work, a charity that teaches embroidery and needlework to prison inmates. Their amazing work is sold on the website.

It would be great to see anyone who wants to join the huddle this evening. It will be very informal, friendly and fun. Please contact me by e.mail lizferg@btinternet.com if you need any further information.

Love Rocking Dog x

P.S. Wouldn’t it just be SO lovely if “Great British Sewing Bee’s” Patrick was to turn up!

Pretty Patching,Rocking Dog

Pretty Patching

Inspiration,Rocking Dog

Inspiration

Fragrant Stuffing,Rocking Dog

Fragrant Stuffing

Needle Pulling Thread,Rocking Dog

Needle Pulling Thread

Cuppa.....,Rocking Dog

Cuppa…..

& Cake!,Rocking Dog

& Cake!

A Rocking Dog Make- Lined Drawstring Bags

Holiday Packing!,Rocking Dog

Holiday Packing!

Today a simple Rocking Dog make, lined drawstring bags. These stylish bags are off on a voyage today with friends. They will be perfect for collecting up holiday laundry or holding a stash of socks or lingerie.

Material Mountain was raided for fabrics (main, lining and appliqué scraps). Oh dear my burgeoning textile stash could do with a comprehensive sort.

I hope the photo’s in this post will give you an idea of how I tackled this project. I love the construction of the bags, as all the seams are completely concealed between the main and lining fabrics-ingenious!

Not much script today, it’s all on my blackboards!

Wishing you a lovely weekend and Bon Voyage to our seafaring friends.

Love Rocking Dog x

 

Material Mountain,Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

The Detail,Rocking Dog

The Detail

Hot Iron Required,Rocking Dog

Hot Iron Required

Applique'd Socks,Rocking Dog

Applique’d Socks

Sewing The Bag,Rocking Dog

Sewing The Bag

Important Gap,Rocking Dog

Important Gap

Coming Together!,Rocking Dog

Coming Together!

Magic!,Rocking Dog

Magic!

All Sewn Up,Rocking Dog

All Sewn Up

Near To Finish Line,Rocking Dog

Near To Finish Line

Use A Safety Pin,Rocking Dog

Use A Safety Pin

Bon Voyage!,Rocking Dog

Bon Voyage!

Cheery Projects To Cast Off Winter Gloom

Winter Mood Board,Rocking Dog

Winter Mood Board

Rocking Dog has been doing cheery projects to cast off winter gloom. No frosts, no snow, no cold but lots of grey, damp and mud!

In between all the usual domestic dross I have been striving to complete some more constructive and pleasurable tasks. Yesterday morning I made Christmas cakes, “Oh no you didn’t, Oh yes I did!” An 80’s Christmas themed charity Burn’s Night is on the cards next month. I am going to hone my spiky snow scene icing and have plastic robin , snowman and cake frill at the ready! Incidentally there’ll be turkey and all the trimmings together with Christmas pud’s and retro’ cocktails. I’m nursing our Christmas tree carefully in the hope I can put it back up. Sad but true!

Christmas cakes baked, I moved to Beloved Berlina to creatively sew. Sewing makes me happy, especially with two or three omnibus editions of “The Archers” in the bag!

Despite the mud and greyness Real Live Rocking Dog is always up for a walk. No matter the weather it always feels great to be out. The change of seasons brings a myriad of different foliage, wildlife, noise and smells. Mossy twigs and ferns placed in a large majolica jug beautifully brings the outside in.

Very cheerily Seville oranges have started to trickle into the shops. I feel a therapeutic marmalade making session coming on!

Winter Walk,Rocking Dog

Winter Walk

Winter Vase,Rocking Dog

Winter Vase

Winter Fuel,Rocking Dog

Winter Fuel

Sugar & Spice,Rocking Dog

Sugar & Spice

Eggs To Crack,Rocking Dog

Eggs To Crack

Happy Bake,Rocking Dog

Happy Bake

Comfort Food,Rocking Dog

Comfort Food

Time To Sew,Rocking Dog

Time To Sew

The Sevilles' Are In Town!,Rocking Dog

The Sevilles’ Are In Town!

Rocking Dog & Andyman Head To York

Gloomily Lovely Hotel Wallpaper,Rocking Dog

Gloomily Lovely Hotel Wallpaper

It was a weekend full of the history of Viking invasions, William the Conqueror, birthplace of Guy Fawkes, snow, sun and lovely things to eat. A small group of us met up for the weekend in York, and all I can say is that the hotel was very appropriately named!

I loved the somewhat gloomy wallpaper in our bedroom. It was reminiscent of the drawings of Edward Ardizzone. Long ago this building was used as the lodgings for Judges who assembled twice a year in York. One of those visiting legal residents was Judge William Chapple who went onto have the notorious Highwayman, Dick Turpin hung in 1739.

Our first evening was spent eating at a wonderful Indian restaurant,
Coconut Lagoon. Specialising in dishes originating from Kerala we so loved the food, the Cardamom beer and friendly staff.

Saturday morning the group joined a three hour walking tour around York. Completely free, (though donations were encouraged and welcomed at the end of the tour) we learnt SO much. Alix our young, knowledgeable and eccentric guide revelled in telling us some of Yorks’ more grisly history. The Romans, Vikings, Civil War, the vandalism of Henry VIII and Jewish persecution all featured. I can really recommend a tour like this to  understand a city. The weather was perfect for walking atop the city walls, crisp with bright winter sunshine and blue skies.

The remainder of the weekend was less structured with meandering to be done in Yorks’ quaint cobbled streets. The Shambles, a maze of twisty lanes are the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book the Shambles in medieval times was a street full of butchers shops. Many of the timbered buildings still sport meat hooks in their timbers. Incidently the word Shambles originates from the Anglo-Saxon word Shammel, roughly meaning shelves. The meat sellers are no longer in residence, instead, tea shops, and independent retailers dominate this picturesque and much loved area of York. I adored the bobbled organic baby knits being sold by Natures Purest.

Duttons For Buttons, The Imaginarium and Make Your Mark were other shops that caught my eye.

Of course no trip to the North is complete without a trip to Betty’s. Sunday breakfast I enjoyed Betty’s Bircher Muesli with blackberries and apple. At 10am there were visitors already enjoying a cream tea, and as we left long queues had formed to gain a coveted table.

All too soon the weekend had disappeared and we were on the train heading south.

York is a really lovely city, with gorgeous architecture and very friendly people. I hope we will return soon.

Wishing that the week is going to be a good one for you. Love a rather foot sore Rocking Dog! x

Whistle Stop Hotel,Rocking Dog

Whistle Stop Hotel

The Imaginarium,Rocking Dog

The Imaginarium

Make Your Mark,Rocking Dog

Make Your Mark

Glorious Minster,Rocking Dog

Glorious Minster

Betty's For Tea....,Rocking Dog

Betty’s For Tea….

..& Bircher!,Rocking Dog

..& Bircher!

Grim Tales,Rocking Dog

Grim Tales

Henry's Vandalism,Rocking Dog

Henry’s Vandalism

Plotters Birthplace,Rocking Dog

Plotters Birthplace

Duttons For Buttons,Rocking Dog

Duttons For Buttons

Babywear &...,Rocking Dog

Babywear &…

..Barrels In The Shambles!,Rocking Dog

..Barrels In The Shambles!

Rocking Dog Just Loves A Good Envelope!

No Boring Envelope For Rocking Dog!, Rocking Dog

No Boring Envelope For Rocking Dog!

Yes indeedy! Rocking Dog just loves a good envelope. A good envelope inevitably heralds something rather lovely inside. The grimness of finding those all too familiar window’d envelopes on the mat is somewhat depressing. It’s with the well programmed knowledge that we all know that they usually contain the post Christmas bank statement, utility bill or worse!

There is something wonderful about a handwritten envelope (although in the past I was all too petrified when I recognised the hand writing of a persistent stalker). Yesterday I made Burn’s Night invite envelopes using wonderful wrapping paper bought in Anthropologie. I was deliciously and miserly coveting it, but then thought heck what’s the use of leaving it in its cellophane bag! I used my wooden envelope template to make the stylish envelopes, and scissors and Pritt to finish the job. I deemed invites for posting needed more robust affairs, so cut bears, hatted rabbits and sun glassed tigers and pasted the eccentric creatures onto brown envelopes. Job done.

The pictures below are a catalogue of Rocking Dog envelope adventures. A journey of glue, wallpaper, old menus, material, calligraphy and thought.

The trade envelope shows that my great grandfather Robert Cresser loved an embellished envelope to send out invoices in the early 1900’s for brushes for flues, lums and pipes.

I loved the oh so pretty envelope sent this Christmas by lovely neighbours, it was as lovely as the card it contained. I read that somewhere that it really cheers postal staff to have a good envelope to sort and post.

Meanwhile I couldn’t resist a bundle of empty envelopes found in a charity shop recently. Dating from the 1950’s they are predominantly written to Lloyds Bank on the Isle of Man. Delicious postmarks and stamps see them posted from all corners of the globe. The man in the charity shop was rather apologetic about my having to pay 50 pence for each of these little treasures. One mans meat is another mans poison as my mother used to say! Someday they will find their way into a Rocking Dog collage or wrapping paper design I am quite sure.

Rocking Dog is off on a flying visit to York this weekend. It will be lovely to revisit this gorgeous city and I hope i’ll come home really inspired.

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it’s a really happy one for you. Stay cosy! Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Poor Real Live Rocking Dog is destined for a hot soapy bath this morning ready for his mini break in Wiltshire. Grrrrr! he’s not fond of the bath tub is RLRDog!

Magic Template,Rocking Dog

Magic Template

Voucher Envelope, Rocking Dog

Voucher Envelope

Save The Date, Rocking Dog

Save The Date

Jazzing Up Vouchers

Jazzing Up Vouchers

Trade Envelope, Rocking Dog

Trade Envelope

Cash Envelope, Rocking Dog

Cash Envelope

Voila!, Rocking Dog

Voila!

Oh So Pretty!,Rocking Dog

Oh So Pretty!

Charity Shop Finds,Rocking Dog

Charity Shop Finds

The Rocking Dog Huddle, Wed 25th January

Sew On A Button, Rocking Dog

Sew On A Button

I have felt slightly overwhelmed by January greyness and sadness, so the time has come to plot some positive things onto the new calendar. I have had a good response for starting an informal sew/knit/etc.. group and therefore will be hosting the first get together on Wednesday 25th January 7-9pm at the kennel. I still haven’t come up with a name for the gathering, so for the time being it’s the Rocking Dog Huddle. I intend to host the huddle on a monthly basis, the last Wednesday of the month.

Anyone contemplating coming please do not feel shy or intimidated, you will be made to feel very welcome. You may have a garment that needs a button sewing on, or hems that need altered. It may be a piece of needlepoint or quilting that needs finishing or indeed knitting that needs to finally leave the needles! Don’t worry if you arrive empty handed I have a shelf full of books and templates, small fabric remnants and cottons etc.. to inspire and utilise. We will have fun.

My hope is that in time we can learn new skills from each other. If there is somebody who can rid me of my zip insertion phobia that would be simply perfect!

Of course the chat, the homemade cake and warming drinks will be just as important, and I hope we’ll laugh a lot! A donations teapot will be in situ to cover cost of refreshments, materials and to help support Fine Cell Work, an amazing social enterprise that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products.

If anyone would like any further information or needs directions (I am based in Hambrook, Bristol) please get in touch with me lizferg@btinternet.com.

I really hope you can come! Love Rocking Dog x

Coffee....,Rocking Dog

Coffee….

& Cake,Rocking Dog

& Cake

Share Beloved Bernina,Rocking Dog

Share Beloved Bernina

My Stash,Rocking Dog

My Stash

Haberdashery Stash,Rocking Dog

Haberdashery Stash

Choose A Project,Rocking Dog

Choose A Project

Ribbons....,Rocking Dog

Ribbons….

& Lace,Rocking Dog

& Lace

Make New Friends,Rocking Dog

Make New Friends

Blowing Away The Cobwebs Inside & Out

Blowing Away The Cobwebs, Rocking Dog

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

Whoosh! It was a week that blew in and blew out! There were opportunities to blow away the cobwebs and to appreciate some crisp winter days. One or two days brought beautiful frosts and clear blue skies. Whilst walking Real Live Rocking Dog early one morning I witnessed two Great spotted woodpeckers in the throes of a merry and noisy courtship dance close to the kennel. It was a real privilege. The same day my late afternoon walk took me to the field behind the kennel. The sky was truly spectacular. For half an hour I marvelled in its changing hues as the sun set. For some reason I started singing Bowie’s Life on Mars?,  very badly i’m quite certain. The cloud formations and colours really were the stuff of amazing Italianate ceiling artists. Glorious. ‘Dog and I walked back in the dark, and for the second time that day I felt nature- privileged.

With the clear nights I really should unbox my new telescope (thank you Andyman), and start fathoming the starry universe. I want to go beyond recognising The Plough and Orion’s Belt!

Whilst the cobwebs have been blown away outside, inside, Christmas stragglers are still surfacing! Stray baubles have been boxed in cosseting paper pulp egg boxes and attic re-entry will be required. I am not overly concerned because a dash of Christmas will be returning to the kennel in February…. don’t ask!

Spring cleaning and reorganisation is being attempted after the crud of Christmas has left. I particularly like my new makeup vessel! I bought a galvanised tin and glass seed propagator from John Lewis (£20 reduced from £40). For years I have had my makeup in a series of makeup bags on my dressing table, all rather juvenile. Now the series of tin pots hold my lippy’s and the like in a very organised fashion. I like thinking outside the box regarding storage, excuse the pun.

Thankfully, the fridge is beginning to gain its composure after the festivities. As ever its the time to try and eat a little more healthily now that the cheese has finally left the building! Sunday lunch was Ottolenghi’s Lamb Shawarma with a chopped salad, raw white cabbage with pickled green chilli’s and harissa pita. Yotam you are truly yum yum! Dessert was mulled poached pears (thank you for the inspiration Sally).

I hope the New Year is allowing you to blow away the cobwebs. Have a lovely week, love Rocking Dog x

A Sky To Paint, Rocking Dog

A Sky To Paint

Sale Purchase,Rocking Dog

Sale Purchase

Greenhouse Storage,Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Storage

Christmas Stragglers,Rocking Dog

Christmas Stragglers

Sunday Lunch,Rocking Dog

Sunday Lunch

What No Roasties?,Rocking Dog

What No Roasties?