Monthly Archives: March 2017

You are browsing the site archives by month.

I’m Done With The Leeches -It’s Bunny Therapy Now!

Favourite Floral Pots,Rocking Dog

Favourite Floral Pots

I’m done with the leeches and the Sourdough bread poultices I have joined my own self help group and taken up cheery bunny therapy!

I know it’s early and oh so tempting to eat chocolate eggs every time you pass the table but I thought I could do with a cheery styling project.I started with a wallpaper runner (Laura Ashley “Grapes” in the £5 bargain bin). I then collected together lovely florally china bits, wooden farmyard animals and Easter paraphernalia which I have collected and hoarded over the years. There were also foil wrapped eggs (M&S and Sainsbury’s), and bunches of spring flowers from shop and garden. My garden is a wonderfully weedy mass of Forget Me Nots and Soldiers & Sailors at the moment. Now these are weeds I really do like!

My Easter tableaux is still work in progress and gradually there will be more frou added. No doubt replacement egg supplies will be required. Meals will be taken in the kitchen for the next month!

Yesterday I also did some therapeutic spring clean therapy and gardening therapy. Oh blooming dear those pesky moles have been having a field day over the winter!

On a less cheery note our youngest daughter had a frightening experience in London last night. She was waiting for a bus at Highbury & Islington when two moped riding muggers mounted the pavement at high speed and stole her phone. Though not hurt she was desperately shaken. Witnesses were very kind and found it incredulous that in a matter of seconds this awful crime had occurred. It was well lit, busy and in a CCTV covered area. A concerned stranger let our distressed and shocked youngster borrow their phone to call us. It allowed us to get on and block the phone etc.. Thankfully there were no online banking passwords, but lots of other data available which made us all feel uneasy. We would hate this to happen to anyone else, please check data held on your phone and carefully think how and when you use your phone. There will be big hugs for Little Liv when I see her tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you and that the sun keeps on shining. Love Rocking Dog x

Easter Tableaux,Rocking Dog

Easter Tableaux

Easter Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Easter Loveliness

Easter Wrap,Rocking Dog

Easter Wrap

Backpacking Bunny,Rocking Dog

Backpacking Bunny

Cleaning Therapy,Rocking Dog

Cleaning Therapy

Gardening Therapy,Rocking Dog

Gardening Therapy

Not Much Sewing, But Chatting A Plenty!

Spring Collection,Rocking Dog

Spring Collection

The Rocking Dog huddlers met last night. Alas, not much sewing was done but we made up for our creative inactivity with plenty of banter! If I had been a better host I should have been instrumental in getting the small but perfectly formed group sewing, stamping, sketching etc.. How rubbish am I!

Instead we talked. Much of the conversation was about family, predominantly of the dysfunctional variety. There would have been some good“Who Do You Think You Are?” episodes based on some of the skeletons in the cupboards! Other chatter centred around travels, significant birthdays, bee keeping, old age and hair. I discussed the man (I have strong suspicions of who he is) who drops cigarette packets in the lane. Am I somewhat OCD to be keeping a tally of the littering? (9 packets so far this year). This mornings’ packet carried a picture of some diseased lungs and the caption, “Smoking increases your risk of Stroke and Heart Attacks”. Frankly my blood pressure rises when I have to pick up yet another empty packet! Grrrrrrrr! As we have no kerbs in our lane we apparently do not qualify for road sweeping. A Womble I will continue being.

It seems I cannot allow my blood pressure to rise significantly or indeed get ill at all. Attempting to get a doctors appointment yesterday I was offered an appointment on the 23rd April. Audibly upset, armadillo skinned receptionist then kowtowed and kindly offered me an emergency phone appointment next Tuesday. I can begin to see why A & E departments and morgues get so full. Incidentally, the gangrene is doing well with my self applied leeches and sourdough bread poultices! Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Back to altogether nicer things we ate freshly baked stem ginger scones with rhubarb and clotted cream, and the evening went all too quickly. Drat, we didn’t even get onto“The Great Pottery Throw Down” and perhaps all too conveniently stayed clear of Article 50. As my mother used to say “in polite company you should never discuss politics, sex or religion“…. and we didn’t… but there’s always next time!

Thank you to the huddlers and as ever thank you for the teapot donations for Fine Cell Work.

PS. Diane you are an absolute angel. If I ever come into money I will buy you a big house for you to look after all those oldies.

Untouched Stash,Rocking Dog

Untouched Stash

Table Chaos,Rocking Dog

Table Chaos

Some I Made Earlier,Rocking Dog

Some I Made Earlier

The Tale Of Two Cities, Bristol & Bath.

Padlocks Of Love, Rocking Dog

Padlocks Of Love

Rocking Dog did a Mother’s Day post with the button ready to press. Alas, she thought it too cynical, bitter and twisted to post!

So indeed the over- gravy’d pub carvery meals have been served, Pandora mother’s day jewels given, Groupon breaks booked and nasty garage forecourt flowers bought up….the pink florally, over commercialised day is thankfully over for another year. Phew, I bet you are glad that this is the concise version!

I did have a lovely weekend and was lucky enough to spend time in two cities, so this indeed is the tale of two cities. Bristol of course is the city I live in, but Bath is the city that I sometimes hanker to live in. A small Bath stone terrace with handkerchief sized garden would be simply perfect!

Both cities have much to offer and though Bath is cited as a World Heritage Georgian jewel of a city there is in fact more Georgian architecture in its Bristolian brother! Bristol has just been proudly named as the most desirable place in the country to live. Creativity, food, technology, jobs market, lifestyle all have contributed to this accolade.

My weekend started in Bath. What better way to start the day than with A Bertinet Almond Croissant filled with blackcurrants and cassis. So much for my low carb’ mission! We sat in the sun delighting in all that is Bertinet. Andyman is not a shopper so he left little Liv’ and I to haunt Top Shop before heading onto older and more crumbly Bath. The antique market as always had lovely things to peruse. I particularly loved the tarnished pots and white Victorian jelly moulds potted up with grape hyacinths, moss etc.. How much more lovely than garage forecourt flowers!

Walcot Street (and onwards) is my favourite shopping street in Bath with a variety of interesting and importantly, independent shops. Shannon with its Marimekko fabrics and Scandi loveliness, Katherine Fraser’s lovely loom and weaving, Mebyl with eccentric old finds and Pencil Tree with mid century furniture are all great to peruse. Graham & Green have also set up shop on Walcot Street. I loved their gilded gate but wish their staff had been a little more friendly and welcoming. Heading back into the city there was a great display of Aesop products – no pink florally packaging in sight! These Australian products are often showcased in trendy restaurant and hotel bathrooms and smell TRULY wonderful.

We ended our trip to Bath at Selvedge Fair held at the Assembly Rooms. Everything was wildly lovely but mostly prohibitively expensive.

On Sunday the Tale of Two Cities took me to the harbourside in Bristol. Blue skies, sun and the feeling of spring in the air had brought people to the water. It is this fragment of Bristol which makes me most proud of the city. However back in time it’s history was much darker, and the port was a place to drop cargo’s of sugar from the plantations of the West Indies. Bristol’s merchants prospered and got rich on the back of the slave trade. Much much later my father worked in a stone warehouse close to the docks. The derricks would offload huge sacks of brazil nuts, peanuts, grain and seed. As children I remember clambering over these hessian sacks and watching as warehousemen tried to keep the mice and rat population under control!

On Pero’s Bridge I noticed that there are evermore love token padlocks appearing. Paris, Venice and Florence have padlock habit bridges. Authorities turn a blind eye for a while, but then when bridge structures look as if they may suffer under the weight of so many heavy love tokens they are cut off and cleared. Pero’s bridge incidentally gets its name from Pero Jones (1753-1798). He was a 12 year old slave boy bought by John Pinney to work on his sugar plantation on the Caribbean Island of Nevis. In 1784 Pero accompanied the family to Bristol where he worked as a personal servant at The Georgian House for the rest of his life.

Buskers, food stalls, skateboarders, sailors, eateries, museums and art galleries ….the waterside was buzzing! Thankfully I didn’t witness too many over gravy’d luke warm carvery plates!

The tale of two very lovely cities.

Remember the Rocking Dog creative huddle this evening 7-9. Delicious cake, creativeness and chat. Donations into the teapot with a proportion going to Fine Cell Work, training and supporting prison inmates with sewing projects.

Dock History,Rocking Dog

Dock History

Sun Blessed Harbour,Rocking Dog

Sun Blessed Harbour

River Station Eats,Rocking Dog

River Station Eats

St. Nick's,Rocking Dog

St. Nick’s

Aged & Wonderful, Bath,Rocking Dog

Aged & Wonderful, Bath

Mother's Day Pots,Rocking Dog

Mother’s Day Pots

Lovely Smells,Rocking Dog

Lovely Smells

Wonderful Weaves,Rocking Dog

Wonderful Weaves

Beautiful Buns!,Rocking Dog

Beautiful Buns!

Illuminating Store,Rocking Dog

Illuminating Store

Gilded Gate,Rocking Dog

Gilded Gate

Terraced View,Rocking Dog

Terraced View

Another Of My Horse Brasses Leaves The Kennel

Appropriate Token,Rocking Dog

Appropriate Token

A good while ago I bought a stash of horse brasses in a local charity shop. I expect the previous owner was simply bored of getting the Brasso out to polish them. A £5 note bought the heavy load and I had no cunning plan for them. As a notorious hoarder I knew they’d come in useful one day.

Horse brasses have ancient origins. In Roman times horses had harnesses that featured brasses, though they were in fact made from Bronze and called phalerae. In Great Britain even before the 12th century, horses had harnesses embellished with brasses. They were treated as good luck charms and in addition were a sign of status. The mid 19th century saw the height of horse brass popularity especially for Shire and parade horses. The love of embellishing harnesses continued until the demise of Dray horses.

Back to my own stash, last year a piggy brass accompanied an invite for a meal at The Pig near Bath. The envelope was appropriately made from an archived Pig menu.

Yesterday the brasses were brought out again. After eighteen months of lying empty our village pub, The White Horse has been relaunched. What could be more appropriate for the beamed hostelry than one of the brasses. However after an extensive and tasteful refurbishment I don’t expect to see my horse brass nailed to any beam soon!

I was hoping to find a brass featuring a horse or horseshoe, but alas no. A pub with a name The Rugged Staff, The Cross Keys, The Anchor, The Bull or The Stag would have been lucky. I chose a pretty star surrounded by trefoils and added ribbons and handwritten label. Voila! another brass leaves the kennel.

Wishing The White Horse every success. There doesn’t appear to be a new website yet, but publican Alison already has The Kings Arms and Port Of Call in Bristol. I think it may be just a little bit TOO easy to stroll the 200 yards up the road away from my own kitchen!

Horse Brass Stash,Rocking Dog

Horse Brass Stash

Make An Envelope,Rocking Dog

Make An Envelope

Piggy Invite,Rocking Dog

Piggy Invite

Rocking Dog Thinks Ahead To A Chocolatey Easter!

Are You Ready For An Egg Hunt? Rocking Dog

Are You Ready For An Egg Hunt?

I got a little bit carried away thinking about a chocolatey Easter. The vibrant blossom everywhere set me mulling over all those forthcoming opportunities to gather flowers, select pretty foil wrapped eggs and making indulgent Rocking Dog bakes for friends and neighbours. Admittedly Easter is still a little way away but there is nothing wrong with a little bit of planning, hunting and gathering! As we left Umbria our local patisserie Michele & Co was beginning to put out Easter loveliness. Crisp white tissue papered packages were embellished with silk flowers, wool, lace, ribbon and twine. His styling is inspirational as are his delicious sweet offerings.

Yesterday I made pretty lined bags for going on a future egg hunt. Gingham was selected as the structured pattern is perfect to use as guidelines for sewing lines of braid and ribbons. I added appliqué eggs and the linings came from a vintage embroidered tablecloth. The bags constructed, I used lace for handles and finally sewed some pretty vintage buttons for extra frou factor.

My favourite garden in the village is in full flourish. It is wild and lovely. Narcissi, Tete de Tete, Daffodils and Fritillaria push through the grass in generous clumps. The garden is bordered by Japonica, Camelia, Catkin and fruit trees. Its organic wild nature makes me smile… always. After cutting back hedges neatly in Italy I had that moment of bad haircut regret! A degree of shagginess and un-eveness definitely gives a garden an air of mystery and romance. This local garden has romance and whimsy aplenty. I can definitely imagine a good egg hunt there.

Oooh I feel a Chocolat moment coming on!

By the way the next Rocking Dog creative Huddle will be on Wednesday 29th March 7-9pm. All welcome. Delicious homemade cake, chat and creativity. Donations into the teapot with a percentage to Fine Cell Work supporting prison inmates to sew wonderful things.

Spring Branches,Rocking Dog

Spring Branches

My Blooming Garden,Rocking Dog

My Blooming Garden

Favourite Garden,Rocking Dog

Favourite Garden

Easter Kitsch,Rocking Dog

Easter Kitsch

Embellished Brownies,Rocking Dog

Embellished Brownies

Vintage Stash,Rocking Dog

Vintage Stash

Michele's Easter Frou!,Rocking Dog

Michele’s Easter Frou!

Calorie Free!,Rocking Dog

Calorie Free!

They're Going On An Egg Hunt!, Rocking Dog

They’re Going On An Egg Hunt!

Rocking Dog’s Taste Of Spring In Umbria

Eating Alfresco In The Garden,Rocking Dog

Eating Alfresco In The Garden

Rocking Dog went to check on the olives. In Umbria the land is awakening and Spring has arrived. Fields have been tilled, the rich earth is the colour of ground Cinnamon. Soon the land will be planted with sunflowers, artichokes, maize and pumpkins. Gnarled old vines have been viciously pruned and tied tightly to their support wires. Soon leaves will sprout and in the autumn the vines will hang heavy with luscious black fruit. In the groves there is the noise of tractors, the smell of bonfires and the clip, clip, clip of the olive trees being harshly cut back. There are the sound of happy voices from 8 until 1 when the workers head off for their three hour siesta.

Spectacularly yellow Mimosa trees are in full bloom and look heavenly against the impossibly blue March skies. Cherry blossom, Magnolias and Camelias ornament many Umbrian gardens. Vast patches of wild violets, flowering rosemary and spring bulbs add to the feeling that Spring has indeed arrived.

Andyman and I worked enthusiastically on house and garden. Kitchen chairs were painted Macaw Green, Mister David and Drawing Room Blue, pictures were hung, Wifi installed and storage was tediously organised. In the garden hedges were trimmed and leaves swept. Olive trees were stripped of their suckers and Cypress trees worryingly counted (16). I think we need to make good friends with a tree surgeon and his cherry picker sometime very soon!

We did manage to escape to Rome briefly for the rugby and had a wonderful midnight stroll around the city. Bathed in atmospheric lighting and with an inky starry sky it was all very magical.

Somewhere along the line I completely forgot to eat ice cream during our two week stay….another time! We did however manage to eat one or two meals alfresco, it was an unexpected sun basked treat.

After the very long drive home it was lovely to see England verdantly spring like. Rhubarb, Tete de Tete, Japonica, Forsythia, limey green Spurge and hellebores are burgeoning after their winter slumbers.

I hope you have a great week and hope that there is chance to witness everything glorious about spring. Love Rocking Dog x

PS Looking forward to meeting our new close-ish neighbour Ed (Sheeran). Maybe he has a spare cherry picker kicking around!

Mimosa, Rocking Dog

Mimosa

Flower Strewn Bun,Rocking Dog

Flower Strewn Bun

Spring In His Step,Rocking Dog

Spring In His Step

Whispering Reeds,Rocking Dog

Whispering Reeds

Room With A View,Rocking Dog

Room With A View

Letting Spring In,Rocking Dog

Letting Spring In

Spring Night In Rome,Rocking Dog

Spring Night In Rome

Sunset .....,Rocking Dog

Sunset …..

& Moon Rise,Rocking Dog

& Moon Rise

Gone To Check On The 2017 Olive Crop

Laying The Nets,Rocking Dog

Laying The Nets

I may be a while.

Love Rocking Dog x

Make It Up As You Go Along Cushions Complete!

Mad Or What!,Rocking Dog

Mad Or What!

My make it up as you go along cushions are complete. I used some soft deep blue denim to back the cushions. I created envelope style openings, no zips, buttons or ties just neatly sewn overlaps.

As the covers were not of sizes compatible with standard cushion pads or pillows, I made my own. In my Rocking Dog hoard I had a huge bag of feathers and down. Simple! I made bolster cushion liners using a cotton sheet. The fun came when filling the liners. By the time I had finished generously stuffing them, my workroom looked as if a cat had got amongst the pigeons! I quickly sewed the open seams shut with two lines of stitching. The clean up could begin!

Plump characterful cushions made from fabrics and bits and bobs from Material Mountain. Voila!

Pastoral Scene,Rocking Dog

Pastoral Scene

Going Digital,Rocking Dog

Going Digital

Denim Back,Rocking Dog

Denim Back

Other RD Cushions,Rocking Dog

Other RD Cushions

Tea Towel Cushions,Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Cushions

Coronation Make,Rocking Dog

Coronation Make

Doggy Cushion,Rocking Dog

Doggy Cushion

Rice Sack Cushion,Rocking Dog

Rice Sack Cushion

Proud As A Peacock!, Rocking Dog

Proud As A Peacock!

A Quick Rocking Dog Birthday Wrap

Pieces Of Eight!,Rocking Dog

Pieces Of Eight!

A quick Rocking Dog Birthday wrap. I still maintain it is quicker to sew a present into its wrap than using scissors and tape. My latest wrap was done with a piece of jolly wallpaper. I found a £5 oddment roll found in Laura Ashley and had ideas that I could make table runners which children could colour in at a party. The bold print would also lend itself to making hats, wall banners and other party paraphernalia.

George Pig goggles and swim shorts sewn into their wrap, I adorned the parcel with a plastic fish (a piece of flotsam and jetsam from Weston Super Mare).A tag was stamped and gingham ribbon tied. The final flourish was a trove of foil wrapped chocolate coins. I attached these with double sided tape. Voila!

Rocking Dog loves a bit of innovative wrapping and so I thought i’d dig out some archive Rocking Dog images. Cake cases, ripped magazines, brochures, old books, ribbon, string and stamps are all favourite flotsam and jetsam for hoarding Rocking Dog!

Fish & Label,Rocking Dog

Fish & Label

Christmas Coins,Rocking Dog

Christmas Coins

Past Wrapping,Rocking Dog

Past Wrapping

Little Acorns,Rocking Dog

Little Acorns

Spring Wrap,Rocking Dog

Spring Wrap

Tea Towel Wrapped, Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Wrapped

Cash Wrap,Rocking Dog

Cash Wrap

Cake Case Adornment,Rocking Dog

Cake Case Adornment

Comic Book Parcel,Rocking Dog

Comic Book Parcel