Tag Archives: Anthropologie

Owning Up To A Few More Dec’s

Retro Window Ledge,Rocking Dog

Retro Window Ledge

The shops are reducing their prices on Christmas decorations, Yay! Rocking Dog finds it impossible to resist just a few little ones! There are some turquoise glass bauble pagoda’s, rusty pink glittery pine cones and shimmery toadstools. There is also a lovely tasseled banner proclaiming “Merry Jolly Happy Falalalalala”, whatever that means!

I find it difficult to restrict myself to a single festive theme, thus the table is very nordic with white plates, glass domes, reindeer and budding hyacinths. Meanwhile further up the room there is a window ledge full of childhood memories. Boxes of 60’s baubles, the fairy lights that used to trail around the Christmas tree at home and the tacky Chinese import decorations. Of course we all know that the kitchen is hung with massive glittery carrots. I’m going to miss them when they head into the attic!

When I was in Stockholm two years ago decorations were predominantly red and white, festively and tastefully beautiful. I have emulated a bit of Scandi’ by dressing some little Bay Tree plants with simple squares of red and white gingham tied with rustic string. Presently adorning the windows at the front of the house, in the Spring I will plant them in the garden. I am tempted to try my hand at creating some topiary.

Still outside, every Christmas I make a simple kissing bough out of two wire coat hangers. I twist long strands of ivy around my frame and when the wire is completely concealed by the foliage I add an apple. I use a darning needle threaded with fishing line, and then suspend the apple from the centre of the frame. Ribbon and mistletoe are added as a final flourish. Kissing boughs like this have been made for midwinter festivities from ancient times.

My door is normally decked with a bunch of mistletoe, but this year finds itself with a bell wreath. I bought it in the spring in TK Maxx for £3. The plan was to deconstruct it and add in other things….. but..!

There are a few more little decorations coming. A box containing decorations which look like pastel coloured Macaron are eagerly awaited.

I hope all your preparations for the weekend are going well and that any journeys will be safe ones.

Scandi Inspiration,Rocking Dog

Scandi Inspiration

My Scandi, Rocking Dog

My Scandi

£3 Wreath,Rocking Dog

£3 Wreath

New Pagoda & Banner,Rocking Dog

New Pagoda & Banner

Natural Embellishment,Rocking Dog

Natural Embellishment

Kissing Bough,Rocking Dog

Kissing Bough

A Lost Rocking Dog Fortnight In Pictures.

The Rabbit, Rocking Dog & The Wardrobe, Rocking Dog

The Rabbit, Rocking Dog & The Wardrobe

Where have you been Rocking Dog? Chasing my tail, yes chasing my tail! Broken sleep has meant writing my blog has been difficult to contemplate. That doesn’t mean to say I haven’t been busy, I have managed to find some creative fuel! So this post is dedicated to the lost Rocking Dog fortnight.

Last week I took my 86 year old neighbour clothes shopping in Bath. I hope I have as much style and verve for life as Molly if I’m still around at 80 plus! In between octogenarian Gok styling, I managed to nip into “Anthropologie”. I left Molly downstairs with a VERY patient and friendly member of staff whilst I legged it upstairs for knobs. Sale knobs were quickly chosen, Bloomsbury inspired ones for my Bloomsbury inspired painted doors and whimsical porcelain rabbits for a wardrobe (more on that later!) We ended our trip in Waterstone’s. Molly was so happy…with her bags of clothes and books. Good job!

Another morning was spent with another friend in Tetbury. We made a beeline for “Domestic Science” where we drank coffee and ate cake before perusing four or five floors of vintage loveliness. If I ever win money Andyman can head to the car showroom (isn’t that what every man would do? excuse the stereotype) and I would head to Tetbury for antiques. I spied a particularly lovely set of Swedish chairs, but didn’t even bother to glance at the price tag!

Other vintage moments included chancing upon “Rag and Bone” in Bristol. This just could very well be my new favourite shop. I bought a lovely set of bobbly brass curtain rings for £10, whether they’ll be used for curtains or incorporated into Christmas decorations remains to be seen. After “Rag and Bone” Liv and I headed to River station for eats. The previous evening we had eaten the first mince pie of the season, a little Harrod’s number. Sorry and excuse my boastfulness I still think Rocking Dog’s mince pies win hands down! No Michael, no, it really isn’t time yet.

Talking of pies I made chicken pies in traditional enamel dishes for a night with friends. A retro 70’s dessert followed, Chestnut Turinois. The wood burner was stoked and we celebrated the start of autumn and enjoyed the joys of friendship and the circle of life.

The daily walks with Real Live Rocking Dog have been wonderful with blue skies and a plethora of wildlife. Deer, the heron, kingfishers, moorhens and ducks intermingle with the joy of observing leaves turning to rust and copper hues. Just as Real Live Rocking Dog begins to enjoy his warm woolly coat he is destined for the dog groomers later this morning. He’ll need a sleeker cooler coat ready for his road trip to Italy later this week.

Poor Andyman is getting rather perturbed by the amount of stuff destined for Umbria. I seem to think his car is like a Tardis. Of course unlike Dr Who’s iconic Tardis, our car is not deceptively spacious! Included in the haul are oak shelves and paint, together with the rabbit handles to make a wardrobe into a larder cupboard. Is this genius or madness, only time will tell!

This week I am expecting 300 jars to arrive. At some point these will need to be filled with delicious things. Is it too ambitious to pickle and preserve this week, somehow I think so. Perhaps I can bring back prized Capri lemons to marmalade, preserve and pickle. I am enjoying the brilliant book “The Land Where The Lemons Grow” by Helena Attlee. I always thought a lemon was simply a lemon…..but it is simply not.

In December I am momentarily coming out of Heaven’s Cake retirement and am rustling up a vintage wedding for a lovely couple. Stupendous cakes, vintage china, steaming mugs of cranberry zinger and of course the obligatory pots of tea. It will be perfectly lovely, especially if there is a dusting of snow.

One of the loveliest tasks over the last week or two has been to work on a quilt with my brave friend. She gallantly cross stitched and embroidered panels to insert into a play mat. It now resides across the pond with her new scrummy little grandson. So much strength, so much love, so much care to behold. x

So there it is a potted history of the last two weeks- well the nicer bits. A John Lewis member of staff and I fleetingly talked about tasks such as laundry, cleaning, shopping etc.. being so damned time consuming and yet so annoyingly unconstructive. It always feels feeble describing how you have spent a few hours just doing domestic dross! However I am not complaining, hallelujah for automatic washing machines, dish washers and cordless vacuum cleaners, yes absolutely blooming hallelujah!

Have a great week and hope there is not too much domestic dross to deal with in your household.

Bloomsbury Knobs, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Knobs

Bloomsbury Door, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Door

New Haunt, Rocking Dog

New Haunt

Bobbly Brass, Rocking Dog

Bobbly Brass

Lovely Lunch, Rocking Dog

Lovely Lunch

Mince Pie Tasting!,Rocking Dog

Mince Pie Tasting!

Prefer Mine!, Rocking Dog

Prefer Mine!

Chicken Pie, Rocking Dog

Chicken Pie

Autumnal Daily Walk, Rocking Dog

Autumnal Daily Walk

Creative Hub, Rocking Dog

Creative Hub

Domestic Science, Rocking Dog

Domestic Science

Jars To Fill, Rocking Dog

Jars To Fill

Wedding Food, Rocking Dog

Wedding Food

Stoking The Fire, Rocking Dog

Stoking The Fire

Sewing Something Special, Rocking Dog

Sewing Something Special

Rocking Dog Let Loose In London!

Veritable Vegetables By Rachel Nettles, Rocking Dog

Veritable Vegetables By Rachel Nettles

Rocking Dog took a trip to The Big Smoke for Country Living’s Build-A-Business Day. The trip also provided the opportunity to catch up with my girls, and to revel in the joys of Liberty. A stroll down the entire length of the Kings Road followed. My intention was to eventually get to the V&A to see the Undressed-A brief history of underwear exhibition. However, my love of rediscovering all the wonderful items on sale at Liberty rendered time too short to do culture. What a Philistine I am! Filming was going on in the store, with the TV crew shooting “The Apprentice”. That duly explained the sinister convoy of black people carriers outside. I received some of the best customer service ever from Clare in the china department. Thank you Clare you were so helpful.

Along the Kings Road I was stopped in my tracks by a window display under construction. I needed to find out more about the truly beautiful vegetables and flowers that littered a little section of Anthropologie. They were the amazing free motion embroidery work of Rachel Nettles who is the temporary artist in residence. Her work perfectly complements the advent of the up and coming Chelsea Flower Show. Absolutely delicious and covetable items and an amazingly personable woman.

Back on the street other shops are also beginning to show signs of Flower Show fever and there are frenzied bits of frou’ing going on.

Wednesday dawned with a walk to Hackney station, a misty stroll took me on pathways bordered with swathes of cow parsley and neatly stacked gravestones. The commute into the heart of the Metropolis was a baptism of fire. I find it difficult to contemplate how Londoners cope day in, day out with the misery of overpacked tubes and trains. I salute you!

The Build-A-Business Day was held at the Good Housekeeping Cookery School in Soho, and it proved to be a really interesting day. Apart from some inspirational speakers including Emma Bridgewater and Sophie Conran, it was lovely to meet other creative bod’s who were already running businesses or looking to set up businesses. There was good information provided on business planning, submitting press releases and the importance of social media. An opportunity was given for those who wished to pitch their products, so out came my stockings and advent calendars! A delicious lunch together with goody bag completed a very enjoyable and thought provoking day. The CL team were great, very approachable and friendly. Once this wedding is over I am going to have a serious talk with myself, and try to decide how to go about putting Rocking Dog firmly on the map!

On the way to Paddington I couldn’t help myself from making a beeline to a stall in Soho selling material and trims. I bought some gorgeous vintage braids, a plan for them I have not, but a gorgeous addition to Material Mountain.

It was so lovely to be indulgent with time for myself, and I even had the courage to ask for an eyeliner masterclass in MAC. Adele eat your heart out!

Planet wedding really starts gathering pace, and today i’ll perhaps finish THE coat! Other tasks await me on copious lists.

PS Many thanks to Liberty, Designer’s Guild and Osborne and Little for being so receptive in my request for fabric swatches for a special project.

Liberty Flowers, Rocking Dog

Liberty Flowers

The Apprentice Cars, Rocking Dog

The Apprentice Cars

Anthropologie Window, Rocking Dog

Anthropologie Window

More Rachel Nettles, Rocking Dog

More Rachel Nettles

Ready For Chelsea, Rocking Dog

Ready For Chelsea

Iconic Landmark, Rocking Dog

Iconic Landmark

Hackney Walk, Rocking Dog

Hackney Walk

Feeling Inspired, Rocking Dog

Feeling Inspired

Vintage Braid Buys, Rocking Dog

Vintage Braid Buys

Buying Supplies In Beautiful Bath

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!

Blogging has taken rather a back seat this week. Sorry, still not feeling 100% . Yesterday it was time to venture into Bath to buy supplies. With envelopes to address for The Boy’s fast approaching wedding I needed new nibs. Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street was where I was heading, but naturally there was plenty to distract me before I reached this truly gorgeous printing emporium! I found the sweetest of craft supply shops at the back of Bartlett Street Antiques Centre. Juniper and Blue may be bijoux, but it carries a wonderful selection of carefully selected ribbons, beads, wool, papers etc.. With my love of gingham I could not resist a Noolibird gingham stamp. Toast and Blue on Bartlett Street followed, for wedding outfit inspiration. I am not a matching dress and bolero sort of gal, and thus far have bought curtain fabric to make a 50’s style duster coat. I better get Beloved Bernina rattling away because time is, well…..rattling away!

Eventually I found myself on the road to Meticulous Ink. I love Walcot Street and beyond, there are so many quirky independent shops and interesting buildings. My walk took me past The Fine Cheese Company, and I steered myself swiftly past. How I love their cafe, and in particular their cheese platters! This lovely street boasts Scandi’ interior shops, one or two good charity shops, Farrow & Ball, suppliers of sisal, wool and wood flooring, a weaver, a wedding dress maker (say no more!!) cafe’s and vintage furniture shops. I loved nipping into The Fig Store. It sells rustic vintage furniture together with eclectic homeware. It was SO calming, the majority of the stock being in various hues and textures of grey, soft whites and linen. I loved the old hoes which had been up-cycled as stair rails. When warmer temperatures arrive there is a delightful gravelled and manicured garden for customers to peruse. Lovely, yes really lovely.

Nibs bought, I was treated to a little masterclass with Athena and Charlie to try an troubleshoot my capital D’s.

Further along the street (by now we are onto Cleveland Terrace) I ventured into Owl in The Ivy. Another gorgeous shop, again very calming but darker and somehow more sinister (in a lovely way!) than The Fig Store. Vintage furniture, hessian printed coffee sacks, succulents, twine, all beautifully staged, made for a joyous browsing moment. Emma hosts supper clubs and workshops in this evocative space. Details of events will be up and coming from her soon. Her blog photography is truly beautiful and she is going to be running a workshop on how to produce good photo’s for blogs etc… I would love to learn more, but there maybe one slight problem. I need to get myself a smart phone and stop being a Diplodocus! Yes, a very inspiring end to the trawl along one of my favourite Bath streets.

Back in town a final purchase was made in Anthropologie. I bought lovely purple agate handles in their sale section. For a few months there have just been ugly holes in the newly painted dressing table whilst I have tried to find the perfect pulls! More worrying is the fact that we are without a wall light on the stairs, again I am holding out for the perfect illumination, and not one with a terrifying price tag.

Bedtime reading was free – a copy of Crumbs (lovely South West food related magazine) and Vow (beautifully produced wedding magazine) together with the latest Farrow & Ball colour chart. Now let me see, chalky whites, greys and linen. Happy Days!

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and I hope that you can find inspiration, ambience and a sense of calm in the greyness that is February.

Love Rocking Dog X

Meticulous Nibs, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Nibs

Oh, So Tempting!, Rocking Dog

Oh, So Tempting!

Calm Quirky Home, Rocking Dog

Calm Quirky Home

Fabulous Fig, Rocking Dog

Fabulous Fig

Fig Store Order, Rocking Dog

Fig Store Order

Bedtime Reading, Rocking Dog

Bedtime Reading

From Teenage Kingdom To Calm Oasis!

Wallpaper Proud!, Rocking Dog

Wallpaper Proud!

Finally yesterday I swapped paint for paper. Like sewing I find wallpapering very therapeutic, especially if there’s a pattern to match! I bought the paper from Anthropologie in a sale nearly a year ago because I simply LOVED it. It was always destined for youngest daughter’s bedroom. Although I loved her black and white paper, it had slightly lost its appeal with Ann Summers having used the silver version in all its branches! Last decorated nine years ago the room had done well and withstood a whole array of colourful beauty products, so I didn’t feel too guilty!

With the little Ferguson’s all having flown the nest, I fleetingly thought we should be “neutralising” with some cans of Magnolia in case we downsized in the near future. However, I remembered when we took on the house it had a ghastly mink brown bathroom suite and bodged kitchen together with a forest of conifers. We recognised the potential, as well as appreciating the lovely features (flagstones, original sash windows, murals and a good roof). So Nah! i’m not going to succumb to Magnolia, never have and never will!

The paper certainly reflects the many leafy, and invariably muddy walks on the doorstep. With Ammonite, Churlish, Brassica reassuringly dry, and looking fabulous, it was time to get the paper pasting table out. I chickened out of hanging the paper as per instructed by the label and resorted to a vat of readymade wallpaper paste. Had I not been such a coward I should have simply dipped the paper in water for thirty seconds and hung. I decided to put the new paper over the old, not ideal, but with crumbly walls I treated the paper as a patterned lining paper.

The biggest issue was yet to come, the paper didn’t have an obvious pattern match, so I resorted to looking at a Google image. I followed another customer’s pattern matching and I can only hope that they did it right!

A Roman blind now needs to be made, i’ll put skills acquired at “The Makery” into use again. Meanwhile, there are some VERY heavy lanterns (£60 the pair from Ben’s Tiles & Reclamation) that need wiring and hung from their brackets. Phil, please come back from your Norwegian fishing trip….your expertise and muscle is needed!

The best bit is that I have paper left over, so I look forward to thinking up lots of crafty ways of using it!

Doorstep Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Doorstep Inspiration

Anthropologie Purchase, Rocking Dog

Anthropologie Purchase

Then & Now, Rocking Dog

Then & Now

Baffling Pattern Match, Rocking Dog

Baffling Pattern Match

Going, Going...., Rocking Dog

Going, Going….

Come Back Phil!, Rocking Dog

Come Back Phil!

Creating A Room Scheme A La Rocking Dog!

I LOVE This Paper!, Rocking Dog

I LOVE This Paper!

Being fairly unafraid of colour I quite often get asked how I come up with a room scheme. I have no hard and fast rule but it all usually starts with an amazing textile. Thus, I don’t think to myself I want to paint the room blue – I say “wow! I have got to use that fabric for curtains/blinds/ soft furnishings” and then I base the paint colour around that. Alternatively it could be an amazing wallpaper or I could be inspired by a book or magazine (Pinterest, no doubt for techno savvy folk!) When I love a magazine feature I rip it out and file it in a box file. If I am finding it difficult to come up with ideas for a room I want to decorate, I return to my box file. Every now and again I cull this box and wonder why on earth I kept certain articles!

When we first moved into the house I measured every room and window and recorded the details in one of my little black books (Moleskines are fabulous). I roughly drew each rooms windows and measured height, width, depth etc.. and this became my bible for seeking out bargainous sample/display/secondhand curtains. Equally I had the measurements at hand if I wanted to buy discounted fabric. How often have you seen amazing ready made curtains/blinds in the John Lewis clearance sale, but not been sure of your measurements (these items are normally non returnable). My Moleskine is also peppered with places that have inspired me, thus I stick in photo’s/leaflets/postcards or do quick sketches. Charleston Farmhouse is definitely a place that has influenced the way I have decorated rooms over the last twenty five years or so.

So, back to room schemes! One day I was having a bit of an online trawl of sale items in Anthropologie and came across the Gallery Curator wallpaper. I just HAD to find away of using it! A year on from buying the heavily reduced paper I am finally trying to create the scheme to decorate a bedroom. This is how I am tackling it.

Paper bought.

My current Moleskin has the following detail to help me with the cunning plan. Headings for wall colour, ceiling (usually bog standard white!), woodwork (old built in cupboards and skirting), Dressing table (at the moment shocking pink!) Additionally, I have headings for bedding/window treatment and furniture that I ideally want to sell/ replace. Flooring (existing sea grass) and lighting form other headings.

Window Treatment- this has formed the next part of the plan. I have found what I want but JL was SO busy I decided to leave it until another day. I am choosing to make a Roman blind, it will be more cost effective and i’ll be able to splash out on some fabulous trim! If you are ever unsure of a fabric, always leave it and come back with fresh eyes on another occasion. This will give you a clear idea of whether you really love it (or actually not!). Sometimes I am so tempted to say to someone eyeing a “very of the moment” fabric… “Don’t do it!!” If you are going to the expense of having curtains made you need to be REALLY sure of the fabric and style of curtains you are choosing. If at all unsure go for a gorgeous plain coloured fabric and use pattern as an accent (cushions, throws, foot stool etc..) Cushions etc.. are easy and relatively inexpensive to change.

With my blind fabric chosen I will then get busy with my paint charts, and as you probably already know I am the Queen of paint snobs! I will take the wallpaper together with my blind fabric and choose good daylight into the to-be-decorated bedroom to select wall and woodwork colour. I often snip out the paint samples that I like from the paint charts and lay them directly on the wallpaper/textile/wall. Again, I often come back over a couple of days to make decisions regarding paint selection and whittle down/reassess my choices. I never go and play Russian roulette at B&Q with paint choice! I go armed with the exact colours and finish I want (the paint samples will have been stuck into my Moleskine). The lighting in your own home is so different to that in a paint suppliers ( in DIY stores it’s notoriously depressingly dull). If you are lacking in confidence buy tester pots and paint large patches on at least two walls (different light aspect). Assess your choices over a few days. I don’t generally use tester pots, but must admit when we were painting the exterior of the house ourselves, we had a variety of tester pots. With 90 litres of paint it could have been a very costly mistake!

So now you have paper, fabric, paint for walls, ceiling and any woodwork including any furniture. The hard work begins!

60 minutes later (if you are on 60 Minute Makeover timings!) you’ll be able to get down to all the lovely detail which makes the room uniquely yours.

In my head I can visualise the bedroom, it will have crisp white bed linen, wool throws, framed vintage landscapes for the un-papered walls, a window seat cushion, garden flowers in antique jugs and ultimately i’m hoping it will feel very calm.

I’ll keep you informed of any progress. How do you plan a scheme for your decorating projects? Please share any tips.

Stashing Future Plans, Rocking Dog

Stashing Future Plans

Books To Inspire, Rocking Dog

Books To Inspire

Little Black Book, Rocking Dog

Little Black Book

Choosing Paint Colours, Rocking Dog

Choosing Paint Colours

Making It Uniquely Yours, Rocking Dog

Making It Uniquely Yours

Pattern Mixing-Yikes!, Rocking Dog

Pattern Mixing-Yikes!

Creative Ways Of Dealing With Junk Mail!

Sweet Wrapper, Rocking Dog

Sweet Wrapper

Rocking Dog loves recycling creatively! I hope no-one thinks i’m miserly not wrapping gifts in proper commercial gift wrap. The recent John Lewis “Cook” supplement and “Anthropologie” brochure that dropped through my letter box were simply too pretty to put in the recycling bin.

My future daughter in law was the recipient of these latest recycled wrap gifts, and as ever I hope she didn’t think me too mad!

I have an ever growing box of pretty brochures, Chinese newspapers, interior design magazines, comics and books, gorgeous fodder for future gift wrapping projects. Yes, I am a self confessed hoarder, or, more positively an effective creative recycler!

Too Pretty To Bin, Rocking Dog

Too Pretty To Bin

Exotic Junk Mail, Rocking Dog

Exotic Junk Mail

A Jewel Of A Gift, Rocking Dog

A Jewel Of A Gift

LOVE! Recycled Window Dec’s -Selfridges

Fantastical Plastic Flora, Rocking Dog

Fantastical Plastic Flora

Wow! How I loved seeing this eye popping window display in Selfridges, Birmingham at the weekend.

Andyman and I were en route to the Barclaycard Arena to watch the Indoor Athletics Grand Prix, when this window display literally stopped me in my tracks. I wonder whether it would have stopped Mo Farah in his!

The huge curved glass window display was filled with these giant lampshade structures, all bedecked with amazing fantastical plastic flora. Made from plastic bottles, tops, straws, beads and other plasticised beauties, the display really did fill me with tropical summer cheer.

I had previously seen similar decorations in Anthropologie, Regent Street but I loved the way Selfridges had solely given the space to nothing else but the decorations and gleamingly clean glass.

As you can probably now appreciate I adore shop windows and have amassed quite a collection of window photographs over the years. My favourite window’s are those at Barney’s of New York. Simon Doonan does a brilliant job, and I adored his “Sex in The City” windows one snowy Christmas. Somewhat incredibly I hadn’t seen any of the series when I was dazzled by the window artistry, and thus became a fan of the show as a result of the windows!

These glitzy expensive windows are a far cry from the windows of the shops I grew up with in my village. The little Post Office in particular with flagstoned floor and old fashioned bell had a window that barely ever changed. Lined with crepe paper which would bleed in damp weather and gradually fade from crimson red to salmon pink, it was the backdrop to equally faded merchandise. Perhaps there’d be a lined pad of Basildon Bond, some yellow Bic biro’s, utilitarian envelopes and a card or two that never really sought buyers. Silver Jubilee there’d be a patriotic flag added, and at Christmas maybe a thick garland of 60’s tinsel. With festivities done and dusted the window would return to “normal”. Notices would appear from time to time for lost dogs, babysitting rates (my sister and I), Whist Drive dates (prizes of half a dozen eggs, pack of bacon and the like) and other village events. No one seemed to notice or ever mention the mouse poo which adorned the faded crepe, though I know it was a topic around our kitchen table on a not infrequent basis. Even at the age of ten I wanted to be a Simon Doonan and tackle the Post Office window- though my Jackie pop posters wouldn’t have been nearly as charming! I have lovely memories of collecting my Mum’s Family Allowance and my Grandma Nellie’s pension there together with listening to village gossip….it all feels so very long ago.

Gleaming Glass, Rocking Dog

Gleaming Glass

Tropical Summer, Rocking Dog

Tropical Summer

Village Post Office, Rocking Dog

Village Post Office