Tag Archives: Meticulous Ink

Escaping To Bath…..Bliss!

Bath Reflections, Rocking Dog

Bath Reflections

It was a day of escaping to Bath yesterday. I was keen to visit The Victoria Art Gallery to see “A Room of Their Own- Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-30”

The exhibition recreates as far as possible several lost interior schemes by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It reunites objects and paintings from both public and private collections, items which haven’t been seen together for fifty years.

I have loved all things Bloomsbury for three decades. It started in earnest when Laura Ashley launched their Bloomsbury collection of fabrics etc.. in 1987. The company had acquired the rights to a rare selection of Charleston House patterns. Grapes and Queen Mary are designs which stand out for me. In 2013 a range of the fabrics/wallpapers were relaunched in celebration of Laura Ashley’s 60th year. Since 1987 none of the houses we have lived in have been without Bloomsbury fabric somewhere in the mix.

In time I went to see Charleston, near Lewes and it is truly lovely. It is a real home with every surface painted and embellished by one or other of the inhabitants, or indeed guests just passing through.

The garden is equally beautiful and a book has just been published to celebrate its creative country charm.

The exhibition in Bath was bijoux but lovely. It has made me want to get my paintbrush out, and to pull out a stash of unused 1987 fabric. Watch this space! In a new house we once lived in, my brother in law kindly recreated the hermaphrodites which grace the studio at Charleston onto a bare wall. I’d love him to do a repeat performance!

After culture, I had a little bit of a mooch. I loved the reflections of the Georgian and not so Georgian buildings in the windows of Anthropologie. I stopped at The Whole Bagel for a.. bagel! Delicious, I couldn’t help but choose the filling I always select, Pear, brie, walnut and Parma ham.

I wandered down Walcot Street and it was alarming to witness the amount of empty shops. Rates are notoriously high in Bath. I bought ink and nib supplies at Meticulous Ink, such a lovely shop. Further on I headed to Owl in the Ivy, with its beautiful collection of old items to buy. However my heart was taken with the owners’ gorgeous Wire Haired Dachschund. Puppies are planned….,tempting, but I don’t think Real Live Rocking Dog would like a new puppy on his territory, he’s getting much too old and grumpy!

A reviving Americano and piece of Tunisian orange cake was enjoyed at an outside table at The Fine Cheese Company. It was great to watch the world go by, and to glance along to a building I love. The Corn Market building is so tall and narrow, it reaches to the sky with its elongated persona. However, that is not the whole story it extends behind a long, long way.

I loved taking time out in Bath, it was wonderful to get an aesthetic “fix”. I feel very inspired, but think the guilt of a mountainous ironing pile will make me abandon plans for Bloomsbury style painting for at least a little while.

Have a lovely weekend how ever you intend spending it. Love Rocking Dog x

Reaching To The Sky, Rocking Dog

Reaching To The Sky

Patriotic Door, Rocking Dog

Patriotic Door

How Much Is That Doggy?, Rocking Dog

How Much Is That Doggy?

Scrummy Bagel, Rocking Dog

Scrummy Bagel

Whole Bagel, Rocking Dog

Whole Bagel

Meticulous Ink Supplies, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Ink Supplies

Coffee & Cake, Rocking Dog

Coffee & Cake

Bloomsbury Style, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Style

Bloomsbury Grapes, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Grapes

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

Bakery Tour Of Bath With Rocking Dog

Baked Dough, Rocking Dog

Baked Dough

Real Live Rocking Dog has needed to go into a veterinary hospital for some investigations, and the house is very quiet. As Dr Seuss would say “I Do not like it one little bit!” After saying a woeful goodbye to RLRD I dropped down into Bath and met my poor jet lagged boy.

We ate delicious pastries and sipped brain stoking coffee, saturated in wonderful late summer sunshine. If you are ever in Bath I can truly recommend the Bertinet Bakery. One branch can be found near the railway and bus stations with a tempting array of freshly baked pastries, Croque Monsieur, tarts etc..I really love the toasters on customer tables, so you can toast bread to your own delectable shade of brown. Various jams and marmalade can then be spread thickly (or thinly) whilst you watch the world go by.

We had a mooch around Bath and picked up a lovely salad box from Jamie’s Deli which we ate in the square by the very beautiful Abbey and Roman Baths. Again the sun graced us with its presence, together with some talented buskers. With so much sad news in the press I did feel very privileged and somewhat guilty to be enjoying such a happy time simply watching the world go by.

Lastly I picked up bread from another Bertinet Branch (alas no cafe), but good for coffee and pastry on the go.This branch can be found in one of the charming little shopping alleys (New Bond Street Place). We can enjoy our Bertinet sourdough for breakfast tomorrow but unfortunately no toaster on the table! I have vivid memories of my aunt in Newcastle having her toaster on the table and some china ducks flying up the wall.

Incidentally, Richard Bertinet also runs a cookery school close to The Circus and has a good online shop for all that is bread related. Andyman is a keen fan of the Bertinet baking bibles and bakes up a good loaf.

Heading back to the car I marvelled at the historic Pulteney Bridge. It was designed by Robert Adam and completed in 1774 for the princely sum of £11,000. It is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops built across its full span on both sides. The weir close to the bridge was used as the location for Javert’s suicide in the 2012 film Les Miserables.

My purchases were the bread, and purple calligraphy ink from Meticulous Ink. The Son and Sun were the most precious parts of the lovely day.

Real Live Rocking Dog, Rocking Dog

Real Live Rocking Dog

To Start The Day Well, Rocking Dog

To Start The Day Well

Bath's very Own Rialto, Rocking Dog

Bath’s very Own Rialto

Popped In For Bread, Rocking Dog

Popped In For Bread

Yummy Buns, Rocking Dog

Yummy Buns

DIY Dough Supplies, Rocking Dog

DIY Dough Supplies

Enticing Board, Rocking Dog

Enticing Board

Homage to Bertinet, Rocking Dog

Homage to Bertinet

Rocking Dogs Buns, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dogs Buns

It’s Been A While. Shame On You Rocking Dog!

Hand Washing a la Francais!, Rocking Dog

Hand Washing a la Francais!

Writer’s Block has rather taken it’s toll on me this sunny June! Thankfully I possessed enough verve to complete envelopes for some important “Save The Dates”. It was lovely to put my recently acquired calligraphy skills to use (thank you to Meticulous Ink and The Makery). Another envelope project was to pretty up a plain envelope to gift some cash. A ripped Selvedge magazine image and Mrs Beetonesque calendar cake shred did the trick in a jiffy!

The memories of Chelsea Flower Show still casts a warm glow, and I have been busy trying to make strides with my own garden. The latest purchase has been an old roll top bath from Ebay. This is the first one of a planned four which will form raised beds for my kitchen garden. This time next year the baths will hopefully be bursting forth with salad leaves, herbs, chard and a myriad of other edibles. Not quite The Good Life…. but…!

The garden is a sea of pretty weeds, new planting, and Mr Dursley’s pesky rubble. Mole hills (Grrr!) proliferate at an alarming rate. I even glimpsed the mischievous velvety little fella doing his worst! To add to the general mayhem we are having a new run of fencing, but this has come to a grinding halt. A blackbird is sweetly, but everso slightly inconveniently nesting on the rear of one of the old panels. Work will therefore restart once the chicks have fledged, Aaaahhh! Meanwhile, confetti production continues, cherries ripen, elderflowers need picking for summery concoctions and we need rain to replenish the brook.

Sewing has recommenced with Rocking Dog making laundry bags to stash away items for hand washing. All too often a favourite woollen or silk scarf has mis-adventured into the washing machine. Has it happened to you? I guessed a drawstring bag to separate delicates could be useful. Using pretty up-cycled fabrics for the gloved hand appliqué, I then hand stamped the bags with the words “Lavage a la Main” (which I truly hope means washing by hand in French). These bags will be for sale at a future Rocking Dog event. They would be perfect for packing in a holiday suitcase.

Another laundry project has been to wash and starch some lovely 1930’s table linen. Oh decisions, which pieces can I bear to part with…. and just exactly how many tablecloths does a girl need?!

Finally we all have to eat… and how lovely to use rhubarb from the garden for a Jamie Oliver recipe. Summer on a plate!

Rocking Dog is pleased to be writing again.

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Cash Envelope, Rocking Dog

Cash Envelope

Save The Date!, Rocking Dog

Save The Date!

Garden Confetti, Rocking Dog

Garden Confetti

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time, Rocking Dog

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time

Summer Cooking, Rocking Dog

Summer Cooking

Fine Cheese- Home & Away

Cheese At Home, Rocking Dog

Cheese At Home

I nipped into Bath for supplies of Calligraphy nibs at Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street yesterday. I couldn’t resist taking refuge from the rain and dipped into The Fine Cheese Company for coffee and a cheese plate. Delicious!

With the sun beckoning I left the cafe for the array of cheeses and delicious deli’ goodies next door. Black olives the size of small pebbles, biscuits, a slither of Wyfe of Bath and round of St Marcellin packaged, I took my leave.

I love Walcot Street it still retains an aura of scruffiness and realness. There are picture framers, charity shops, junk shops and cafe’s. Farrow & Ball, a wedding couturier (Jessica Charleston), Meticulous Ink and The Fine Cheese Company also sit comfortably on the street. The Saturday flea market also adds to the ambience of this long quirky street.

How appropriate to dig out a French plate at home with the Saint Marcellin goat. The twelve plates were found in a Normandy brocante over a decade ago. Each feature different French cheese varieties with ewe, cow and goat illustrations. My home cheese plate features my daughter Sorrel’s Jewelled Membrillo (quince paste)

The cheese wedding cake was one I put together for a friend in 2012. It fed the guests resplendently in between the evenings’ dancing and frivolity!

Pit Stop, Bath, Rocking Dog

Pit Stop, Bath

Fine Cheese Plate, Rocking Dog

Fine Cheese Plate

Enticing Sign, Rocking Dog

Enticing Sign

Appropriate Tableware, Rocking Dog

Appropriate Tableware

Cheese & ......, Rocking Dog

Cheese & ……

Cheesy Wedding Cake, Rocking Dog

Cheesy Wedding Cake

Rediscovering Calligraphy At The Makery

Meticulous Ink, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Ink

On Saturday I clocked in at “The Makery” for a calligraphy workshop with Athena of “Meticulous Ink”, Bath.

I’m a big fan of The Makery having previously been on a workshop to make Roman Blinds. I found that workshop to have been informative, fun and well paced. Most importantly it gave me the confidence to embark on making blinds for my lounge windows. I am now looking to make blinds for the kitchen with an as yet unchosen fabric. Apart from being given a concise instruction sheet I came away from the workshop having made a small blind which is great to refer back to. Finally when I had an issue with measurements for one of my blinds an e.mail to the workshop tutor resulted in a quick response with advice….so brilliant after care too! Finally after seventeen years my lounge had dressed windows, hallelujah!

Though taught italics at school and with reasonable handwriting, I wanted to learn some more swirly flourishes. In the longer term, when well practiced I would like to paint some linen banners. I therefore readily signed up for this 2 hour workshop to reacquaint myself with calligraphy. Through the jolly yellow door of “The Makery” I went, and formed part of a group of twelve budding calligraphers. We sat around one long table and were offered hot drinks by friendly Makery staff before embarking on the serious business of learning beautiful script. Athena patiently took us through upper and lower case letters of the alphabet. Once she felt we’d mastered the letter A, we’d then proceed to B and so forth. I was surprised how challenging I found it, perhaps I had bad calligraphy habits to undo. I’d certainly have won the prize for the most inky finger!

The lovely girl sat next to me, had come along to the session because she’d recently become engaged and wanted to write all her wedding invitations and envelopes. By the end of the session she realised she’d need to put in some serious practice to make that a reality. I hope she does, what could be more lovely than receiving something beautifully handwritten.

The more than two hours went very quickly, but very enjoyably. It really has made me want to re-look at my handwriting and get more flamboyant. We left the session with precious supplies of nib holder, nib, alphabet guide sheet, a wodge of calligraphy paper and some amazing Iron Gall calligraphers ink (all included in the cost of the workshop). Thank you Athena. PS you have the most glorious hair by the way!

A strange unexpected bi-product of this workshop is that I am able to better understand the script in the 1846 recipe book I am currently transcribing. Understanding proper formation of individual letters has been incredibly helpful. At the moment I am deciphering recipes for Suet College Puddings and Cream Pancakes.

Still on the theme of writing, I love the verse that my Great Uncle Walter penned on a postcard to my Grandmother Emily (his sister) on 11th September 1911

Why? has all the ink in the world gone dry
Are all the pens mislaid?
and
Pencils too- are there none to buy?
Is paper no longer made?
If you are not deep in this awful plight
Then why in the world
do you never write?

Makery Magic!, Rocking Dog

Makery Magic!

My First Blind, Rocking Dog

My First Blind

Practice Will Make Perfect!, Rocking Dog

Practice Will Make Perfect!