Tag Archives: Craft

A Nosy Snapshot – Other Folks Homes!

Succulent Cacti Home,Rocking Dog

Succulent Cacti Home

Sorry sis’ I couldn’t resist taking some snapshots of your home over the weekend. I think all of us forget about some of the beautiful, odd, eccentric tactile objects that many of us surround ourselves with. I love some of the eclectic collections which have evolved over the years in my sisters London home. The couple together with my three gorgeous nieces.
have filled their home with innovative storage (much designed and built by talented sis’), colour and lovely things. There are junk shop finds, items retrieved from skips, ebay purchases, gifts, and sentimental pieces from childhood homes.

I couldn’t resist snapping niece No3’s Cacti home. A Terrarium from Ikea has been filled with textural mini cacti and succulents. I might just have to be a copycat and create my own cacti home. These hairy and spiky lovelies are really difficult to kill which definitely goes in their favour!

The Thumbelina collection resides in a little glass fronted painted cupboard no more than 12inches x 12inches. How very satisfying to have such a wonderful Lilliput stash, a perfect place for “The Borrowers” to reside. On another staircase there are shelves with ceramics from 18th century through to present day. I certainly remember the pair of old blue jugs in my parents home. They were sat on shelves close to where our elderly cat had an improvised cat litter tray- the carpet! I remember there was also a large jug of bullrushes and for some reason those gave be awful recurring nightmares. There was also a lion in my fretful slumbers and this may have come about because of a large 70’s hessian lion which lived close to those bullrushes.

It is probably not difficult to ascertain that sis’ did Wood, Metals & Plastics for her degree whilst partner Rod did Illustration. This is a creative home which takes on board their love of how things are made, materials, colour, contemporary design and patina’d age.

The green Minton majolica jug has particular sentimental jokey significance as it was the receptacle used one evening by New Romantic Rod for a bout of drunken sickness! My parents never found out but we used to bait Rod and sing improvised words to Shakin’ Stevens “Green Door”. I saw a smaller version of the same jug recently and it was a few hundred pounds. Perhaps that is why the jug has found its place on a high shelf never to be used as an impromptu vomit bowl again.

One of my favourite pieces of furniture in the house is an old wooden locker unit. I think it had appeared in a couple of films before being sold to sis’. I love the chunky wooden bed too. For a while we delighted in it being in our house. I was always rather hoping it would end up being surplus to requirements. Alas no.

So this is a little whistle-stop tour of lovely things in a home I love. More nosy snapshots of other folks homes soon! Volunteers very welcome.

Have a wonderful week and I hope the pollen count goes down to all of you poor hay fever sufferers out there. Love Rocking Dog x

PS Thank you to Tucker O’Hara (love the name) from across the pond who sent a photo of her finished Kaffe Fassett Peas. Well done Tucker for persevering with ALL those greens! Mine remains resolutely unfinished..one day!

Ceramic Cacti,Rocking Dog

Ceramic Cacti

Staircase Collection,Rocking Dog

Staircase Collection

Thumbelina Collection, Rocking Dog

Thumbelina Collection

Bold Walls,Rocking Dog

Bold Walls

Bold Bedhead,Rocking Dog

Bold Bedhead

Lovely Locker,Rocking Dog

Lovely Locker

Infamous Green Jug!,Rocking Dog

Infamous Green Jug!

High Fives!,Rocking Dog

High Fives!

Me, & My Bruv & Sis',Rocking Dog

Me, & My Bruv & Sis’

A Quick Vintage Tea Towel Make From Rocking Dog

Jolly Tea Towel,Rocking Dog

Jolly Tea Towel

The weather was miserable yesterday, even usually super keen Real Live Rocking Dog did not want to move from under his cosy blanket. I was waiting for lovely Mr Cooker Man to put new elements into my oven, so I decided to do a little bit of sewing. I found a jolly unused vintage tea towel on Material Mountain and decided it would make a great beach bag. The linen tea towel was a recent 50p purchase in a local charity shop. I searched on the Mountain for suitable lining fabric and found a nautical striped fabric remnant. From start to finish the project took under an hour.

If you want to make your own bag:-

1 pretty tea towel
Lining fabric cut to the same size as your tea towel
Apron tape, ribbon or string for handles
Cotton thread

1.Take your tea towel and fold it in half. Unless your tea towel has an overall pattern without script you will find the print on one of your “halves” will be upside down. I cut my tea towel in half so that any script would be right way up on each side of my bag.
2. Check your two tea towel halves have script/pattern going in right direction before placing the halves front side to front side.
3. Sew a narrow hem to form the bottom seam of the bag. Press the seam, and then sew the two side seams. Trim any loose threads.
4. Repeat with the lining fabric but leave a gap of approx 8cm in one of the side seams. Turn the lining out to the right side.
5. Place the lining into the tea towel “bag” aligning the seams neatly. Pin the bags together before hemming the layers.
6. Pull the tea towel bag through the gap in the side seam and then sew the hole up neatly.
7. Push the lining into the outer tea towel bag. Push the corners out using a pencil or chopstick. Press Well.
8. Sort out straps for your bag. I used a double layer of apron tape, sewing the layers together with rows of red stitching.
9. Turn over and press 4cm or so of your lining fabric onto the front of your bag. Pin your straps into place with the the rough edges concealed under your turned over fabric.
10. Sew two rows of stitching, one at the top of your turn over and one at the bottom. Your straps will be neatly and securely concealed under this contrasting bag rim.

Voila! A stylish and unique beach bag for next to nothing. Right where is the sun and where is the sea– i’m beach ready! Somewhat embarrassedly I have never been to Norfolk, i’ll have to put it on my sixty by sixty list!

PS. Youngest lovely sent me this. I thought this article was a thought provoking read in these uncertain times.

Tea Towel & Lining,Rocking Dog

Tea Towel & Lining

Seam Free Lining,Rocking Dog

Seam Free Lining

Stitched Strap,Rocking Dog

Stitched Strap

Lock In Those Straps!,Rocking Dog

Lock In Those Straps!

Beach Ready!,Rocking Dog

Beach Ready!

T'other Side!,Rocking Dog

T’other Side!

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

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 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

Gift Wrapping The Rocking Dog Way!

All Sewn Up, Rocking Dog

All Sewn Up

Another batch of gifts needed to be wrapped at the Rocking Dog Kennel. Alas no sticky tape was to be found… but no worries I dealt with the parcels in a jiffy!

Beloved Bernina, twine and glue gun sufficed in the midst of my no tape crisis. A bundle of delicious ribbons were wrapped for a very creative friend. I used a paper table mat snaffled from an alfresco eatery in Perugia. Testone serves the most delicious Torta outside the famous court room ( the Italian’s were not happy with the Amanda Knox verdict).  The eating place very obviously is a favourite hangout for students.  Torta are Umbrian flatbreads and they encase a variety of fillings, take your pick from Porchetta, Mozzarella, Prosciutto and a whole host of other Italian produce. Two generous slices of torta and two small beers whist sitting in glorious sunshine cost under £10. Apart from the food and the sun  I loved the tobacco coloured table mats, and now they are wrapping! Coarse twine, some woollen bobbles and an up-cycled label completed the package.

Beloved Bernina was bought into use to sew a parcel. I used some beautiful retro pages from a charity shop book and used zig zag stitch to create a bag. The gift item was neatly stashed and the final edge was sewn to create a giant ravioli . A label was then made and threaded with some jolly ribbon. I hope Beloved Bernina hasn’t felt too unhappy about sewing paper and card.

Lastly some rather bulky packages of spring bulbs were given the sack treatment. I chose some fabric from Material Mountain and whizzed up a bag with plant pot panel. Tied and labelled with an appropriate quote it was ready to give.

Who needs sticky tape?!

Retro Wrapping, Rocking Dog

Retro Wrapping

Lovely Label, Rocking Dog

Lovely Label

Heroic Beloved Bernina,Rocking Dog

Heroic Beloved Bernina

Bulbs To Stash, Rocking Dog

Bulbs To Stash

Gift Bag Info', Rocking Dog

Gift Bag Info’

Ready To Give, Rocking Dog

Ready To Give

For A Creative, Rocking Dog

For A Creative

Creatively Wrapped, Rocking Dog

Creatively Wrapped

Cupboard For Wrappers!, Rocking Dog

Cupboard For Wrappers!

A Rocking Dog Super Quick Sewing Project No2

The Project Components, Rocking Dog

The Project Components

So Tuesday brings another Rocking Dog Super Quick Sewing Project. I bought some great new pairs of reading glasses in TK Maxx, and needed some cases in the hope of prolonging their longevity. I have made cases before using fabric swatches, but this time I wanted to make neat lined numbers!

Today’s little project is therefore a LINED GLASSES CASE.

I hope the photo’s and accompanying black boards in this post give you a good idea of how to go about making your own cases. The reason for leaving a hole in the lining long seam is that all the raw seams will magically be concealed. Some of the stitching is pretty fiddly because of the size of the opening (Holding Stitches and Finishing Line Top Stitching). I certainly wouldn’t like to sew lined gloves!

The quantity of material needed will depend on the size of your glasses. Guesstimate by placing your glasses on some fabric and then fold to cover, add in a seam allowance and allow for any decorative cuff. Gingham and stripes are great to work with as they will give you straight lines for cutting. The outer fabric and lining fabric need to be cut to exactly the same size. If you make a snugly fitting case you will not need any fastening.

Sorry for brevity of instructions, I have a 5am start to pick up the Honeymooners from Heathrow, Aaaaaaahh love em! Back to reality lovebirds, all hands on deck in the lead up to Rio.

Same Size Fabrics, Rocking Dog

Same Size Fabrics

Sew & Press, Rocking Dog

Sew & Press

Short Seam Sew, Rocking Dog

Short Seam Sew

Lining Time, Rocking Dog

Lining Time

Lining Short Seam, Rocking Dog

Lining Short Seam

The Fabrics Meet!, Rocking Dog

The Fabrics Meet!

Holding Stitches, Rocking Dog

Holding Stitches

Magic!, Rocking Dog

Magic!

More Magic!, Rocking Dog

More Magic!

The Finish Line, Rocking Dog

The Finish Line

Rocking Dog Prints A Tropical Fruit Table Runner

Childs Play Table Runner, Rocking Dog

Childs Play Table Runner

I spied some fruit in the fruit bowl and was inspired to transport myself back to childhood (link especially for Sorrel!). Using acrylic paint, some lining paper and the fruit I created a tropical fruit table runner.

This would be a great project to do with children. Undoubtedly, it is something best kept for a warm day when the paint and excited little folk can paint outside. I always felt painting with toddlers was something I should do….. but paint, brushes and painty water it all felt rather tortuous! Annoyingly children in my experience have the concentration spans of juvenile ants. It would take about 40 minutes to set them up with painting paraphernalia and to shrink wrap the house, for them to be playing with Barbie or Polly Pocket within 5 minutes AAAAAgggghhhh!

Back to the runner! I started by cutting fruits (I used lemons, pomegranate, and a pineapple top) and left the fruit to dry out for a few hours. Meanwhile I cut a length of lining paper. With the fruit now drier it was time to organise paints. I used acrylic paints for my runner, but you could use poster paints. Of course if you want to use material instead of paper you could use fabric paints (Hobbycraft) for your runner. Simply allow the paint to dry and then press with a moderately hot iron to make your design colour fast.

Acrylics dry out very quickly, so squeeze your tubes just before you need them. I used individual plates for each of my chosen colours and then dipped or brushed the fruit with paint. Press the fruit firmly onto your paper and keep going until you are happy with the effect. Leave the runner to dry. I then added a ribbon and tissue paper fringe edging. Voila! a pretty party runner for pennies not pounds!

I love fruity fabrics, and certainly enjoyed Stella McCartney’s citrus print garments which walked down the catwalk in 2011. More recently I have adored Christian Lacroix’s exotic fruits printed on velvet. Yummy! On a slightly more inexpensive scale Sorrel bought fab fruity earrings in Mango, sadly they seem to have disappeared from the Mango site.

Think tropical fruit platters, coconut & lime cake, prawns with tropical fruits, Bounty bars, Mojito’s, Pina Colada’s! I think this is a table runner for grown ups after all- sorry kids!

The Fruit, Rocking Dog

The Fruit

Painterly Fruit, Rocking Dog

Painterly Fruit

Painty Fun, Rocking Dog

Painty Fun

Fruit To Eat, Rocking Dog

Fruit To Eat

.......And Drink!, Rocking Dog

…….And Drink!

Good Enough To Eat!, Rocking Dog

Good Enough To Eat!