Tag Archives: Gifts

Life in technicolour in the kennel

Colourful Christmas Makes,Rocking Dog

Colourful Christmas Makes

I hope you have had a great weekend and that there wasn’t too much dashing in and out of the showers. Life has been colourful in the kennel with cheery bakes and a feast of colour on the table feeding friends. There have been batches of colourful sewing and colourful floral pickings from the garden.

I so love those blogs and magazine features which are awash with neutral linens, carefully curated whites and muted room schemes…..but I just can’t quite seem to do it! So somewhat ashamedly and predictably a technicolour post this is from the Rocking Dog Kennel.

There was a colourful lunch with a couple of tarts, naturally of the pastry variety! An old favourite was resurrected thanks to Tamsin Day-Lewis “The Art Of The Tart”. A homemade blind baked tart was spread with Dijon mustard and then simply laid up with slices of camembert and tomatoes. It was sprinkled with a good glug of herb infused olive oil and put into the oven for 35 minutes. Before serving it was given a further dose of herby olive. Simple and delicious. It was good to make time for lunch with very special friends. What a long way you’ve come darling girl, I will forever love you.

A colourful midweek evening feast for eight included Meatballs with broad beans & lemon, Roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts & honey, Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs, flatbreads and harissa. There was also meant to be three Lebanese salads, but I was far too ambitious time-wise doing those after a morning of mother in law, shopping and putting air in my tyres! However, I did get to make homemade ice cream and baklava in the three hour cooking slot. It all looked very colourful and the two Michelin star chefs gracing the Rocking Dog table were very kind to me! I do think I need to move on from my darling Ottolenghi, guests must groan… I’ll make it my mission to cook another genre! However… that might be short lived as Yotam has a new book coming out in September “Sweet”. I’m lucky enough to have it preordered as a gift. Any one fancy being a “Sweet” guinea pig?!

I have managed to sew some gorgeously colourful things with a batch of vintage fabric stockings. I just need someone to love them and stock them. I need to sit down and give myself an assertive marketing talk! More fabric awaits me with some gorgeous groovy 60’s vibe glazed cotton. I’m sure the designer must have been on magic mushrooms, there are psychedelic birds, butterflies, leopards and cats. Bought from a great vintage shop, RePsycho on Gloucester Road these stockings are going to be lined with ornate alphabet fabric bought in Flo-Jo. Also on the workbench is some 50’s Heals fabric which I have coveted for a number of years. It will make a great blind for oldest daughters house complementing concrete dining light, scaffold plank shelves and eclectic kitchenalia. She’s not limey white either!

More colour has arrived back in the house with the re-emergence of those Rocking Dog frou’d wedding dessert boxes. Some will be going to Young Carers families later in the year as part of “Christmas in A Box”.

Finally there were gifts to colourfully wrap and muffins to top with vibrant apricot compote, the end of a colourful week in the Rocking Dog kennel!

Hope you too will have a lovely colourful week, Love Rocking Dog x

PS I will endeavour to do a lime washed white post this week

Colourful Characters,Rocking Dog

Colourful Characters

On My Workbench,Rocking Dog

On My Workbench

Groovy Future Make,Rocking Dog

Groovy Future Make

Colourful Gifts,Rocking Dog

Colourful Gifts

Food For Friends,Rocking Dog

Food For Friends

Test Bake,Rocking Dog

Test Bake

Windowsill Colour,Rocking Dog

Windowsill Colour

The Boxes Are Back!,Rocking Dog

The Boxes Are Back!

Technicolour Tart,Rocking Dog

Technicolour Tart

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

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

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!

Rocking Dog Has Been Getting Pickled!

Destined For Pickling,Rocking Dog

Destined For Pickling

Rocking Dog has spent a weekend or two pickling, marmalading and jelly-making. Spiced pickled organic oranges, Punjab pickled limes, Pickled Pears, Spiced apple & cider jelly, Pomegranate and pear jelly, Red grapefruit and cranberry marmalade, Sicilian organic lemon & ginger marmalade, Chilli and garlic mustard, Wholegrain mustard with honey…..and there’s more pickled deliciousness coming out of the Rocking Dog kitchen later today.

These preserves would make great gifts and will be on sale at the kennel on 30th November & 11th December (details on my home page www.rocking dog.co.uk)

Wishing you a great start to the week. Stay Cosy!

For Punjab Limes,Rocking Dog

For Punjab Limes

Add Pears,Rocking Dog

Add Pears

For Jelly,Rocking Dog

For Jelly

In The Pan,Rocking Dog

In The Pan

Figs To Pickle,Rocking Dog

Figs To Pickle

Jars & Labels,Rocking Dog

Jars & Labels

Rocking Dog Winter Events 2016

Winter Wonder,Rocking Dog

Winter Wonder

Oh Yay! Oh Yay! Rocking Dog diary dates hot off the press. The Dog is hosting two events at the kennel in the next few weeks. I am humbled when people say that their Christmas really feels to be gloriously starting after coming to one of my festive jaunts. Indeed I hope visitors to the kennel this year will go away with a warming inspired festive glow.

The first date is a St Andrews Day Celebration. Wednesday 30th November 6.30-8.30pm.

Andyman is Scottish and I am half Scottish -so any excuse to cook up an event with a decidedly Scottish flavour! There’ll be fires burning in the hearths, candles, Mr and Mrs Mack together with Wee Tam and lovely things to eat and drink. There’ll be the opportunity to buy Rocking Dog makes and to chat with friends. The resident bagpiper will hopefully blow his pipes and i’m hoping that the toby jug folk don’t reel off the mantlepiece!

Winter Wonderland at the Kennel happens on Sunday 11th December 11am-2pm.

Rocking Dog LOVES Christmas decorations (Andyman has banned anymore coming into the house…boo hiss!!!) Come and witness Winter Wonderland Rocking Dog style. There’ll be lovely things to buy including Italian treats and Rocking Dog preserves (by popular request). Sit eating and drinking delicious things around my kitchen table and celebrate the forthcoming festive season. Many apologies for that very indulgent link-fave Christmas video of all time!

Profits from refreshments for both events will go to Young Carers (Bristol & South Gloucestershire) and BUST, such worthy and amazing local charities. Thank you to all who gave SO generously last year.

I hope you can grace us with your presents oops! presence. Love Rocking Dog x

PS  Thank you to friends and family who have given Andy and I such amazing support recently.

In The Pan, Rocking Dog

In The Pan

Heavenly Sweet Stash, Rocking Dog

Heavenly Sweet Stash

Rocking Dog Sewing, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Sewing

RD Winter Wonderland,Rocking Dog

RD Winter Wonderland

Marmalade Fruit,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Fruit

Gnome Hangout!,Rocking Dog

Gnome Hangout!

Bag For Haggis!,Rocking Dog

Bag For Haggis!

Famous Pies,Rocking Dog

Famous Pies

Warm Welcome!,Rocking Dog

Warm Welcome!

Stocking Tops!,Rocking Dog

Stocking Tops!

Christmas Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Christmas Inspiration

Italian Food Parcel, Rocking Dog

Italian Food Parcel

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!

Harvesting Apples For A Crumbly Gift

Apple Harvest, Rocking Dog

Apple Harvest

Rocking Dog has been harvesting apples for a crumbly gift. A tea towel with a printed recipe for apple crumble provided the inspiration for a foodie gift. A rustic ovenproof dish was filled with all the ingredients to concoct the seasonal pud’. I wrapped the dish in the tea towel and tied the bundle with some chequerboard woven ribbon. A large oak spoon completed the gift together with an accompanying hessian sack of rosy apples.

Of course the gift could be tweaked for a reluctant cook. The crumble could be lovingly made, bundled and gifted. An indulgent carton of clotted cream could be handed to the recipient, and would undoubtedly be the cherry on the cake!

The apple harvest offers the opportunity to make a plethora of divine cakes, puddings, salads and preserves this sunny autumn.

Happy gathering!

Tea Towel TK Maxx

Main picture backdrop-“Mark Hearld’s Workbook,” and bird and rabbit cards also by Mark Hearld

Rosy Bowl, Rocking Dog

Rosy Bowl

Recipe Tea Towel, Rocking Dog

Recipe Tea Towel

Gift Wrapped, Rocking Dog

Gift Wrapped

Vintage Apple Mugs, Rocking Dog

Vintage Apple Mugs

Umbrian Harvest, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Harvest

Rocking Dog Cake, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Cake

Hambrook Harvest,Rocking Dog

Hambrook Harvest

The Crumble, Rocking Dog

The Crumble

Another Apple Delight, Rocking Dog

Another Apple Delight

Creative Wrapping Ideas By Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Bag For Scottish Goodies!, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Bag For Scottish Goodies!

There are a raft of Birthdays and thank you’s to gift wrap for this June. Rocking Dog is too mean to buy gift wrap and loves to do a bit of creative recycling.

My mother in law has a birthday this weekend and I have made a bag from a vintage tea towel. Being Scottish I thought she’d appreciate the burly piper and nostalgic Scottish recipes. The bag will be filled with a homemade fruitcake, shortbread and other Scottish delicacies, a tin of salmon (yuk!), Irn Bru, porridge (anyone of a nervous disposition please don’t click on that last link!), Scotch pies, haggis i’ll see what I can scavenge! Interestingly the bag was made in a similar way to the reading glasses case, and so there’s not a raw hem to be seen. I doubled up Tartan ribbon for handles (sorry I don’t know which tartan) and neatly attached them to the bag. I was feeling very chilled, sewing whilst listening to a bit of Barry! Maybe it would have been more appropriate to sing along to something a bit more…. well, Scottish!

A thank you prezzie was wrapped in jolly spot with a spotty ribbon to boot. I used a pretty piece of scrapbooking paper. TK Maxx do a great selection of craft products at discounted prices. The parcel was completed with a chalkboard label (again TK Maxx) and I used a white rollerball pen. Looking at my rather scratchy handwriting I rather think I need a new one.

Another thank you present was a hand baked fruit cake, unfortunately the tin was rather Christmassy, no it really isn’t time yet Michael! However, for the wedding we bought tea towels from Ikea to use as napkins, and there was a little unused stash. I therefore placed the tin on a towel and gathered up the corners before securing with some string. The pretty label came from the front cover of a free John Lewis “Cook” magazine. I hope the boys will enjoy eating a generous wedge of cake whilst deciding what to do next in their truly wonderful garden (it definitely counts as one of my top 5 favourite gardens, with its Mr McGregor vegetable patch, orchard, orangery, ice house, vines, espalier fruit trees and of course the cottage garden flowers). Botanically and creatively yummy!

Finally a “mock up” voucher. I wanted to make a gift voucher envelope from a restaurant menu. This one was made from a menu for “The Pig”. I added a stamped label and a polished horse brass depicting a pig, and tied it with some linen ribbon. I thought it worked rather well. Incidentally the horse brasses were an impulse purchase in a charity shop. I bought about 25 for £5 and have hopes they’ll grace presents with a bit of brassy bling. I don’t think they’ll ever see their way onto any of the beams at the kennel thankfully.

So presents wrapped, some have been delivered, and others are yet to be given. Just where can I get Irn Bru, and tell me just what do cold battered Mars Bars taste like?!

Have a great weekend, whatever the days hold for you. Love Rocking Dog x

Scot Cuisine!, Rocking Dog

Scot Cuisine!

Let Them Eat Cake!, Rocking Dog

Let Them Eat Cake!

Simple Spot, Rocking Dog

Simple Spot

Voucher Envelope, Rocking Dog

Voucher Envelope

Template & Menu, Rocking Dog

Template & Menu

Stamps & Horse Brasses, Rocking Dog

Stamps & Horse Brasses

Rocking Dog Is Wrapping Up In May

Wrapping For Nothing, Rocking Dog

Wrapping For Nothing

I hope you have had a great weekend and that you were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. Rocking Dog was indeed wrapping up. There were three birthdays to celebrate a 30th, a 21st and a new birth, so I got busy with a host of paper flotsam and jetsam!

As you know old Rocking Dog loves doing a bit of creative wrapping, and this weekend was no different. Frou assembled it was time to get to work!

30th present was wrapped in a piece of sample wallpaper from B&Q. I curiously like the whitewashed brick and plate paper, but i’d rather reserve it for gift wrapping than any interior design project! I used a glue gun to wrap the parcel, many wallpapers not being keen on having Sellotape adhered to them. Now to embellish the parcel. Food images were cut out from freebie John Lewis copy and from a Sophie Conran catalogue (sorry Sophie, but you ARE being very cleverly recycled!). Images glued to the plates, the parcel was then given some jolly ribbon and wooden cutlery “label”. Not quite finished I added a crochet’d turnip, a fragment of frou from a long gone tea towel. Now Sorrel you have to cleverly guess which cookery tome is gift wrapped!

21st present was wrapped in white tissue paper and then decorated with stars and hearts. Shape punches are inexpensive to buy and great to cut large quantities of shapes quickly and accurately. Hobbycraft, The Range and online suppliers provide great selections. Small punches can be used to create your own confetti or table sprinkles (use magazines, pretty gift wrap or old books). For this gift I cut stars from a magazine page and marbled hearts were punched from a Lush spa booklet. A ribbon bought from a bargain basket (50p for 3 metres) at Eastville Market coordinated with the stars. Finally I added an Ikea blackboard label.

Newborn presents were wrapped in green tissue with thin twine to tie. The gifts were “planted” in rustic card pots (only another 78 to use!) and given a plant stick label “From Little Acorns Mighty Oaks Grow”. Somewhat miraculously I found some decorative acorns in my big glass frou jar. Voila!! Oliver, welcome to the world little one.

I hope you like Rocking Dog’s wrapping moment. Now to get down to the serious stuff and get this wedding nailed. Shopping lists, time plans, producers to call, labels to write, china hire list to check etc… etc…and that’s before the cooking begins! But it’s all good fun. It does rather mean that in the next couple of weeks my blog posts may sadly be a little sporadic.

Wishing you a sunny and happy week.

Naked Parcels, Rocking Dog

Naked Parcels

Frou...., Rocking Dog

Frou….

......& More Frou!, Rocking Dog

……& More Frou!

Stars & Marbled Hearts, Rocking Dog

Stars & Marbled Hearts

B&Q Wrap, Rocking Dog

B&Q Wrap

Present In A Pot, Rocking Dog

Present In A Pot