Tag Archives: Christmas

There’s An Elephant In The Room. Deal With It Rocking Dog!

Christmas In The Cabin Stockings,Rocking Dog

Christmas In The Cabin Stockings

Rocking Dog has been busy making festive loveliness in readiness for some exciting events at Court House Farm, Portishead on 26th November and 10th December (better organise my thermals!) Yesterday I made some Christmas stockings from lovely vintage embroidered table linen. I am calling them my “Christmas in the Cabin” stockings. Though I think the linens are more than likely German I couldn’t help thinking back to a December trip to Stockholm three years ago. Pine cones, spruce, red, white, tradition and the little red cabins out on tiny islands leading into the watery city. We had such a wonderful time and everything seemed less commercialised and felt like Christmas in times gone by. Today I’m hoping there’ll be “Christmas in the Cabin” advent calendars thought up and sewn. I might go really Scandi’ whilst I sew, i’ll plait my hair and put Abba on full pelt!

The Rocking Dog workroom is bursting with delicious fabrics right now and poor Material Mountain is positively groaning with linens, embroidery, ginghams, whizzy prints and lace. There is definitely no room at the Inn! Recent purchases have been some  iconic Cabbages & Roses remnants. I have ideas to make some baby wear with the fine floral linens. There are “Moon” wool tartan remnants too and I am gradually using those to make cosy cushions. Added to vintage tapestry, old Swedish braid and cut velvet backing one tartan remnant is now a window seat cushion cover. It will be sumptuously filled with feathers and then will be looking for a good home. What could be more lovely than curling up on a deep sill with a good book, hot chocolate and a snow filled view!

Floribunda tapestry, an unfinished project by person unknown will be given bold patterned borders chosen from my stack of Designer brights. It will receive cushion pad and embellishment and i’m sure in its rejuvenated form will find love.

As for the elephant in the room…. it’s my new overlocker. I have been promised it will give me the most professional of seams and the neatest cutting of fabric…. but i’m, well frankly…. scared! It has sat looking forlorn whilst I summon the courage to … well.. simply give it a go. Deal with it Rocking Dog… just deal with it!

Stockholm Kitsch,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Kitsch

Stockholm Fairytale,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Fairytale

Stockholm Style,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Style

Cabbages & Roses,Rocking Dog

Cabbages & Roses

Designer Brights,Rocking Dog

Designer Brights

Vintage Floribunda,Rocking Dog

Vintage Floribunda

Vintage Festive,Rocking Dog

Vintage Festive

In Need Of Feathers,Rocking Dog

In Need Of Feathers

......The Elephant In The Room!,Rocking Dog

……The Elephant In The Room!

The Olives Are Picked & Rocking Dog Is Back At The Kennel!

Before They Became Oil,Rocking Dog

Before They Became Oil

Yes indeed the olives are now picked and made into divine olive oil.The nets have been put away for another year and the 1,300 mile journey back to the kennel from Umbria has been completed.The linen has been traded in for woolly jumpers and the wood-burner has been stoked. Brrrrrrrr!

It’s good to be back with fresh verve and inspiration and I look forward to seeing friends for walking, chatting and simply being with. Watch out for new Rocking Dog posts including my trip to fifteen French and Belgian cemeteries over 2 days for the Rocking Dog “Remember Me Project” It was the most incredible and poignant experience.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY– Rocking Dog will be selling Christmas Loveliness together with other wonderful crafty and artisanal foodie folk at the seriously fandabidosi (my Italian is really improving!) Court House Farm, Portishead on Sunday 26th November and Sunday 10th December 10-3.30.

It’s now time to shut myself away like a little elf in my workroom and create some creative and very festive magic!

Love to all, and hope you have a good week. A wine fasting Rocking Dog x

Rocking Dog Loves Simple Garden Blooms

Milk Bottle Flowers,Rocking Dog

Milk Bottle Flowers

With the kennel a little more ship-shape I loved bringing some garden flowers through the door yesterday. Just eight stems were required to fill eight simple glass milk bottles (large from Ikea and the small from Ampulla). Phlox, teasel, tansy, sprig of rosemary, borage, evening primrose, crocosmia and one unknown! My simple arrangements were given a spot on a sunny windowsill. Voila! I love flowers plucked from a garden or field. I am a gal of simple tastes!

After flower arranging (hardly!) I then turned my attention to the table close to the sunny window, regrouping ceramic treasures. One or two are contemporary potters seconds others gorgeous gifts. The brown glazed pot is sentimental and loved. It was made by my late mum whilst at teacher training collage in the early 1950’s. A simple coil pot, when I smooth its interior I feel my mums fingers working the clay. There is also a glazed bowl which was so thoughtfully gifted to me by the Holburne Museum, Bath. I used to cater for events there, cooking in their minuscule kitchen. I remember remarking to a member of staff that their slop bowl for used tea bags was just too lovely for that purpose. A year or two went by, no doubt with the bowl seeing its daily fill of tea bag detritus and it was time to do a Heaven’s Cake farewell picnic. The Holburne was closing for a considerable length of time for the building of its dramatic new extension. After a delicious picnic on a lovely sunblessed day the empty hampers came back to me. Within one of the baskets wrapped in white tissue and tied with a bow was the beloved tea bag slop bowl. I was so moved that someone had remembered my jokey comment. I know it’s not every ones cup of tea (!) but I truly love it.

The latest ceramic purchase are two large silvered ceramic lamp bases. I bought them at Redland Fair for a bargainous £20 the pair. They have some age, and had the tiniest round pin plugs. I kept “watching” the prohibitively expensive shades in the hope they’d go into the sale and fortuitously they did. Lamps complete. Thank you to electrician/fisherman Phil for checking their wiring.

Pots jiggled I questioned myself why I hang onto SO much stuff. I keep promising the kids that I am going to become a minimalist, but my minimalist brainwashing therapy hasn’t yet begun!

Originally the table was Andyman’s desk, that was until he’d knocked his shins on the antler base just one too many times. Result! Moved downstairs it now sees various collections of objet d’art throughout the year. Christmas sees it covered in snow, putz houses, vintage baubles etc.. which leads me neatly onto the fact I am sewing some Christmas stockings today! Bah Humbug!

Simple Blooms,Rocking Dog

Simple Blooms

Wedding Blooms,Rocking Dog

Wedding Blooms

Sarah R's Blooms,Rocking Dog

Sarah R’s Blooms

Spring Clean Ceramics,Rocking Dog

Spring Clean Ceramics

Same Table, Another Time,Rocking Dog

Same Table, Another Time

On The Workbench,Rocking Dog

On The Workbench

Abracadabra! Christmas Vanishes In A Puff

Kitsch Tree,Rocking Dog

Kitsch Tree

Rocking Dog waved her magic wand and whispered Abracadabra! Christmas vanished in a puff. If only it had been that easy. The decorations are down after a few hours hard graft and now are waiting to be boxed. They are destined for the highway to the attic.

The attic trap-door firmly shut, it will be time to do a stocktake of DIY jobs to tackle. Room by room I troubleshoot tasks into no cost, low cost, medium cost and mega cost jobs. The handwritten job list usually gets stuck to the back of my workroom door. Andyman and I get great satisfaction enthusiastically crossing through the tasks completed. Little things please little minds! Of course the mega cost jobs linger for a long time without being crossed through, indeed they usually get transferred to the next DIY list, and the next, and the next!

Wishing you a good week and hope your magic wand works in getting Christmas 2016 vanished!

Full Table,Rocking Dog

Full Table

Non-calorific Cake,Rocking Dog

Non-calorific Cake

De-crud The Mantlepiece,Rocking Dog

De-crud The Mantlepiece

Shoo The Carrots...,Rocking Dog

Shoo The Carrots…

....The Pink,Rocking Dog

….The Pink

...The Pottery People!,Rocking Dog

…The Pottery People!

Happy Christmas To One And All

Madonna & Child, Panicale, Umbria,Rocking Dog

Madonna & Child, Panicale, Umbria

Wishing friends, family and Rocking Dog blog readers a truly wonderful Christmas. Much love from Liz aka Rocking Dog, Andy aka Andyman, and Hamish aka Real Live Rocking Dog xxx

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 Quick Wrap From Rocking Dog

It's A Wrap!,Rocking Dog

It’s A Wrap!

We are talking about a Christmas wrap of the paper kind. Perish the thought of Rocking Dog attempting to musically rap!

Rocking Dog has wrapped all the presents, and not a sheet of commercially bought wrapping paper has crossed the kennels threshold! Wallpaper, magazine copy, tissue paper and photocopied manuscript paper feature heavily. Bakers twine, tree decorations and luggage labels have been used to frou the assembled packages.

Today’s parcel is a fragrant bar of soap that I decided to wrap in sheet music. Recently I bought an old booklet of Christmas carols in a charity shop for a bargainous £1. In the past I have used sheet music to make festive crowns, crackers and cards. I love it, even though I cannot read music.

I neatly wrapped the soap using double sided tape to secure the parcel. Bakers twine bought in Poundland and bristly tree from Tiger were used to prettify the package. Finally a small brown luggage label was stamped with a seasonal message. Voila!

This post was meant to be all about making membrillo. Unfortunately half way through cooking the quince paste, the gas ran out! These are the joys of living in an area without mains gas. I’m hoping a delivery will be forthcoming before Sunday otherwise Christmas lunch could be more than a little interesting. Sandwich anyone?!

Fragrant Package,Rocking Dog

Fragrant Package

Choose A Carol,Rocking Dog

Choose A Carol

Jars Of Frou,Rocking Dog

Jars Of Frou

Bristly Trees,Rocking Dog

Bristly Trees

Neatly Wrapped,Rocking Dog

Neatly Wrapped

Ready To Give,Rocking Dog

Ready To Give

Rocking Dog Has The Paint Brushes Out !

The Paint Charts Are Out!,Rocking Dog

The Paint Charts Are Out!

Are you mad Rocking Dog? Yes, utterly! I really didn’t plan to get the paint brushes out, but there again I didn’t plan to have a floor laid six days before Christmas. Being the messy painter that I am it seemed a cunning plan to get a coat of paint on the walls before said floor goes down today.

Andyman and I hoofed it up to my beloved Farrow & Ball in Clifton. Andyman thankfully didn’t snarl too much and is resigned to the fact that his wife is a total paint snob! We left with a can of Wevet for walls and Charleston Gray for skirting boards. Thanks to lovely brightly coloured F&B staff. We did a quick trawl around the village which was buzzing with shopateers. I loved “Anna” an amazing Patisserie salon. Particularly lovely was some beautiful calligraphy that bedecked the glorious cakey windows. Just along the way the stall outside Reg The Veg was groaning with seasonal fruit and vegetables. It was reminiscent of a scene from Christmas Carol.

All too soon it was time to get painting, the light was quickly fading.

Job done, we await the arrival of wooden flooring man. I am surprisingly nervous about the choice we have made and am worried that I prefer the underside of the boards. Gulp! I hope we won’t be shopping for a super sized rug anytime soon.

The furniture will be returned, the Christmas crud will revisit transiently, and hopefully in time there’ll be parties …but the question remains, will we ban stiletto heeled guests!?

Have a lovely week and I hope the mad scramble for the last sprout isn’t too traumatic!

Bloomsbury Inspiration,Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Inspiration

Retouch Required,Rocking Dog

Retouch Required

De-clutter Now!,Rocking Dog

De-clutter Now!

Anna's Cakes,Rocking Dog

Anna’s Cakes

Anna's Script,Rocking Dog

Anna’s Script

Festive Arcade,Rocking Dog

Festive Arcade

Reg's Veg',Rocking Dog

Reg’s Veg’

Mistletoe & Onions,Rocking Dog

Mistletoe & Onions

We Will Party Again!,Rocking Dog

We Will Party Again!

A Massive Rocking Dog Thank You!

Rocking Dog Tree, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Tree

A massive Rocking Dog thank you to all who supported my Rocking Dog winter events. Young Carers and BUST each have a cheque winging its way to them for £132.

Very special thanks to all who came and donated so generously for munching Rocking Dog Mince Pies, Sloe Gin Rocky Road and Alex’s Billionaire’s Shortbread etc… Eating such delicious fare is such a hard job, but someone has to do it!

Massive thanks too for the boys at Hambrook House for their stash of single variety apple juices. All proceeds from their orchard crop went to the charities. Thank you Graeme and Scott.

As ever thanks to my family for stepping in to bake, brew, socialise and tot up.

Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my creaky old heart for your generosity, support, love and friendship x

In The Pink, Rocking Dog

In The Pink

Kitchen Stars,Rocking Dog

Kitchen Stars

New Shoots,Rocking Dog

New Shoots

A Wedding, St Andrew’s And Planning For Christmas

Lost Menu, Rocking Dog

Lost Menu

Poor Rocking Dog is feeling decidedly old and dog-eared! Last week was a busy one with my St Andrew’s Day Celebration, and then in very quick succession a lovely wedding to cater for.

Thank you to all those folk who came out on a cold frosty evening to buy, eat and chat last Wednesday. With these colder temperatures it is all too tempting to curl up on the sofa and nestle down for the evening.Thank you for generous donations for Young Carers and BUST, the total will be given after my Winter Wonderland event on Sunday. I would love to see you then, let’s get festive together!

In between events there were neighbours to visit. Plants and eats were enrobed in crisp white tissue and snowy white bags. I don’t always need to do colour!

Sunday was spent washing a Mini full of vintage china. How pretty it all looked laid up on freshly starched vintage table linen. What a gorgeous bride and groom …..but where did they and their 50 ish guests put ALL that tea?! Four litres of milk and sixty tea bags has to be a record! Very frustratingly I left the menu’s at home – so for any guests tuning in this morning I have posted a pic’ of the lost menu! The Rocking Dog team had to work in an absolutely minuscule kitchen, but the tea pots got filled, cakes got laid up on vintage cake stands and the tiramisu’s were embellished with their raspberries! Thanks to Marie, Lara, Holly and Kylie, you were brilliant. I really do think this was my swan song regarding weddings – the stamina required is substantial and drinking Red Bull is unfortunately not the answer!

This week THE decorations will come tumbling down from the attic, and Mission Winter Wonderland will be deployed. Very worryingly it seems such a short time ago that they were being packed up to head into the attic after the festivities of 2015. Frightening.

Have a wonderful week, love a very tired Rocking Dog x

PS. Cranberry Zinger served outside whilst the venue was turned from chapel to tearoom has the following ingredients. Cranberry juice, orange juice, Spiced berry cordial, sliced root ginger, sliced clementines, fresh cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick. Bring mix gently to boil and simmer and serve.

Bridal Brownie, Rocking Dog

Bridal Brownie

Chintzy China,Rocking Dog

Chintzy China

Cranberry Zinger,Rocking Dog

Cranberry Zinger

St Andrew's Sale,Rocking Dog

St Andrew’s Sale

Preserve Bonanza!,Rocking Dog

Preserve Bonanza!

Glittery Succulent,Rocking Dog

Glittery Succulent

Care Packages,Rocking Dog

Care Packages

'Tis The Season......,Rocking Dog

‘Tis The Season……

....To Deck The Halls!,Rocking Dog

…..To Deck The Halls!