Tag Archives: John Lewis

Rocking Dog Is So Excited By Easter Decorations!

Flowers & Chocolates, Rocking Dog

Flowers & Chocolates

Yes indeed Rocking Dog is so excited by Easter decorations. Easter is a little way away yet, but now is the time to do a little bit of Easter stashing!

I love little bags of foil wrapped eggs and of course Lindt bunnies. Much too dangerous for my waistline to have those tempting creatures in my cupboard! TK Maxx, supermarkets, John Lewis and M&S are all worth checking out for Easter Frou. I bought lovely raffia carrots from TK Maxx, whilst chocolate eggs of the foiled and speckled variety were bought in M&S and Sainsbury’s. During my Easter fest I spotted pretty rustic wreaths, bunting, rabbits, crowned fluffy chicks, twiggy bird houses and wicker baskets. I was very restrained, in part because we will be spending Easter thousands of miles away this year.

I was tempted by the book Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen by Alison Walker. A bargainous £7.99 (RRP.£20) in TK Maxx. Although the book has no recipes specifically for Easter, there are many that would adapt well to be given as Easter presents. Imagine Honey & Almond Nougat, Coconut Ice or Macarons cocooned in pretty floral lined boxes or in vintage lustre tea cups.

Other finds were to be found in “my” beloved John Lewis remnant bin. I loved the decadent little piece of fabric I found with stripes in muted purple, mustard and rose together with geometric embroidery. In time I think it will make four lozenge shaped cushions with sumptuous velvet backs. In the dressmaking department I bought green and white gingham for £2 metre. Very fresh and simple it will be used for projects to herald the spring. However, I also know I will be using it to line stockings etc.. for the end of the year, perish the thought!

This months Country Living is very inspirational for Easter makes and bakes. So let’s all get creative and bring a little bit of spring into our homes!

More Easter and springtime loveliness to follow in the coming weeks from Rocking Dog.

 Last Easter Frou!, Rocking Dog

Last Easter Frou!

Vintage Hankies, Rocking Dog

Vintage Hankies

So Sad Bunny, Rocking Dog

So Sad Bunny

Fab' Fabric, Rocking Dog

Fab’ Fabric

Easter Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Easter Inspiration

Good For Gifts, Rocking Dog

Good For Gifts

Raffia Carrots, Rocking Dog

Raffia Carrots

Pretty Paper, Rocking Dog

Pretty Paper

Easter House 2015, Rocking Dog

Easter House 2015

A New Year- A New Rocking Dog Quilt

Rocking Dog Loves Pattern!, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves Pattern!

Yes, the new year has brought with it the quilt making bug! So, a new Rocking Dog quilt is in the making.

As ever, I am using fabrics from material mountain. Many of the fabrics I have stashed are vintage finds, whilst others have been found in the remnant bins of shops such as John Lewis. Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to find some gorgeous Designer’s Guild velvet banded silks and embroidered linens for £3.95 a generous piece! For this latest quilt I will just need to go out and buy backing fabric and cotton wadding. I love to use pillow ticking or ginghams for backing and framing my patchwork. Ikea, John Lewis and Laura Ashley all carry a good selection of ginghams.

Thus far I have selected fabrics, cut 22cm squares (using cutting mat, template, ruler and rotary cutter) and laid out my fabrics (eight squares x nine squares). I have gathered my patchwork rows together and clipped them together with bulldog clips. These neat piles now expectantly wait on my work bench. Beloved Bernina will soon be whirring away to make the quilt a reality. I will sew to Future Islands.

Some of the squares have vintage lace to attach and then I will sew the squares in each row together. Rows completed, I will press the seams of each square before embarking on sewing the rows together. It all grows very quickly. Further along the line I will enjoy sewing vintage buttons onto the quilt. These little beauties will not only be decorative, but will help secure the layers of the quilt together. One of the last jobs will be to sew a suitable verse or quote to the quilt. I hope i’ll think of something beautifully suitable.

I know many of you will worry about my lack of colour and pattern control, but after all it is horses for courses as they say!

Watch this space for the finished article.

PS. Is there anyone out there up for going to see Rick Astley in Bath 14th April? (is this a very sad request!?) x

Fabric Selection, Rocking Dog

Fabric Selection

Tools Of The Trade, Rocking Dog

Tools Of The Trade

Pieces Cut, Rocking Dog

Pieces Cut

Rows 1 To 9, Rocking Dog

Rows 1 To 9

Sew On Detail, Rocking Dog

Sew On Detail

Jumping Way Ahead!, Rocking Dog

Jumping Way Ahead!

A 2015 Quilt, Rocking Dog

A 2015 Quilt

Think Backing Fabric, Rocking Dog

Think Backing Fabric

Think New Verse, Rocking Dog

Think New Verse

Trading Paint & Brushes For Needle & Thread !

Trading Paint For Cotton, Rocking Dog

Trading Paint For Cotton

Rocking Dog hopes you are having an enjoyable bank holiday weekend. I have finally finished an epic painting conquest, although I feel an even bigger challenge lies ahead. The challenge being to obliterate every last trace of Churlish and Brassica off me! Is there anyone else out there who manages to get their tummy covered in paint? And no I wasn’t wearing a crop top (heaven forbid!) Thankfully I did get out of my painty attire for a little while in the week to be with a chirpy group of Young Carers for a graffiti session. I was rubbish with a spray can and I won’t be coming to a wall near you anytime soon! Matt the graffiti artist was lovely, very enigmatic, and we kept on asking whether “Dismaland” was his masterpiece!

Meanwhile back at the ranch with paint drying peacefully, it was time to enjoy a little sewing after a lot of domestic dross (including dealing with the fallout from a major pipe leak). I had some patchwork strips left from my latest quilt making escapade, thus decided to make a window seat cushion. What could be lovelier for a guest than being curled up on a swaddled window sill, reading a good book, sipping coffee and…… looking out on my forlorn, wayward garden!

Because i’m not very good with zips I made a simple envelope cushion. Together with its feather filled cotton liner I made it in less than an hour. Backing fabric was ticking leftover from my quilt, whilst the liner was made using some lining fabric from a deconstructed curtain. Feathers came courtesy of some surplus pillows, and ribbon and button from my substantial haberdashery hoard.

TO MAKE YOUR OWN CUSHION, cut main fabric to desired measurements. If you are planning to use a cushion pad, check dimensions of the ones on offer. John Lewis has a good selection of feather and synthetic filled cushions and pillows.

Cut your backing fabric to the same WIDTH as your main fabric. However as this is an envelope style pillow you need to allow more LENGTH, for the overlap and neat seams. On my cushion I allowed an extra 300cm or so. Now that you have your long strip, decide where you want your opening (do you want it central at the back or towards one end?) I placed my cushion pad opening towards one end. Cut fabric accordingly. Therefore my cushion had one long and one shorter piece to form its backing.

Take this backing fabric, make some seams by folding over 15mm fabric, pressing and folding again down ONE short side of EACH piece of backing fabric. Sew these seams. You will still have two separate backing fabric pieces. Sorry, i’m not very good at this directions lark!

Put your main fabric face side up on a flat surface. Then lay one of your backing pieces face side down onto the main fabric (the neatly seamed edge will be towards the centre of the fabric), followed by the other backing piece (again neat seam central). Pin all the pieces together accurately edge to edge. Now you are ready to sew!

I like to sew my cushions by sewing the long seams first, followed by the short edges. I find it helps to avoid any puckering, especially if the measurements are slightly “out”. At the points where all the layers come together to create your “envelope” go over the stitches a few time with your machine. This will strengthen the seams when the cushion pad is “pumped up” or removed for washing etc..

Neaten seams with scissors and cut each of the corners diagonally close to the stitch line. This will help make your corners look perky when you turn your cushion cover right way out.

Yes, the exciting bit! Turn your cover right way out, use a chopstick or pencil to poke out your corners. Press your cover and fill with your cushion pad. If wished, hand sew a ribbon to each backing piece and tie neatly. VOILA!

On a bit of a roll, I decided to turn my attention to a beautifully hand embroidered Coronation tray cloth (thank you for the thoughtful gift Sorrel). I applied the same method as above to make a cushion. I used some
William Morris fabric from material mountain as the backing fabric. These bits of soft fabric furnishry are now waiting for me to wallpaper and finish their kingdom. Is anyone else like me and totally underestimates how long a DIY project is going to take?

Please show and tell if you make, do or sew any Rocking Dog projects. Have a great week.

Leftovers, Rocking Dog

Leftovers

Overlap, Rocking Dog

Overlap

Press & Sew, Rocking Dog

Press & Sew

Envelope Complete, Rocking Dog

Envelope Complete

Oh The Mess!, Rocking Dog

Oh The Mess!

Practical Fastening, Rocking Dog

Practical Fastening

Tray Cloth Reinvention, Rocking Dog

Tray Cloth Reinvention

Mr Morris Derriere!, Rocking Dog

Mr Morris Derriere!

Tactile Stash, Rocking Dog

Tactile Stash

Rocking Dog Home Making Tips

Spruce With Cushions, Rocking Dog

Spruce With Cushions

Being pretty vintage myself I have over the years become more accomplished at home making. Here follows some of my favourite tips in creating a creative home on a budget.

For the last two decades I have kept little black books – predominantly Moleskines which store all sorts of information and inspiration. Travels, ancestry, museum postcards, copious notes about all manner of things and decorating notes. On the home front, I like to keep window measurements for each room. These are useful if stores such as John Lewis or Laura Ashley have sales of display curtains and blinds. My black book also contains mini mood boards/room schemes with paint samples, fabric snippets and magazine inspiration. It is great to return to the book to discover a paint colour when walls or woodwork need touching up. It is so easy to forget the paint used, especially when painting rooms in a variety of shades of white! No doubt in the age of technology, information can be stored on a phone or tablet…but I am a vintage dinosaur after all!

Trade skills. On occasions I have traded skills with friends. One friend made some fabulous bedroom curtains and a rocking ball skirt for my daughters prom in return for food for two grown up parties.

I am a great poker around in fabric remnant and wallpaper oddment bins! Again, Laura Ashley and John Lewis are good, together with small interior design shops. Some of the wallpapers I have purchased would normally retail at over £100, but I have paid a bargainous £5-£10 a roll. One roll is sometimes enough to do a feature wall, to line cupboards or to paper a tiny room. I managed to paper my lobby with gilded monkey Fornasetti paper for £5! Additionally I use pretty papers throughout the year for gift wrapping and as table runners for parties. As for the fabric remnant bin, small single display curtains sometimes end up in the JL remnant bin for around £5. The curtain can be deconstructed and made into a blind for a bathroom or made into a whole host of useful items (dressing up clothes for children, drawstring bags, cushions etc..). Like anything sometimes you can be lucky and others there’s not a thing to be had!

Somewhat ashamedly I am a self confessed paint snob, and there’s nothing more that I love than a Farrow and Ball paint chart!
When it came to painting the exterior of the house I wanted F&B’s Dead Salmon. Alas, the coffers were not that big! Therefore, we had the colour matched and mixed at Homebase in a Dulux Weathershield exterior paint. This proved to be at a fraction of the cost of the Farrow and Ball. To further save on costs we painted the house ourself, 90 litres and two coats, whilst scaling scaffolding it was a pretty epic summer.

Other paint tips are to permanent marker pen the paint lids with what the paint was used for, i.e..kitchen ceiling, lounge skirting boards. If you can psychologically bear it, store used paint tins upside down to prevent a skin forming.

If money is tight and you can’t decorate a room for the time being, give the room a really good spring clean, de-clutter, add a few well chosen but inexpensive accessories (a new throw, cushions etc..) and a vase of fresh flowers. It’s amazing how much better a room feels with sparkling clean windows and hoovered floors. Our bathroom needs a bit of an overhaul but for the time being I have given it a coat of paint ( F&B Stiffkey Blue ) and added some bold floral curtains which were previously hung in a bedroom. It certainly feels better.

More tips to follow in a future post, in the meantime have you any good tips to pass on? Please share them.

Little Black Book, Rocking Dog

Little Black Book

£5 Gilded Monkeys, Rocking Dog

£5 Gilded Monkeys