Tag Archives: Mosaic

The Week That Was, Life’s Rich Tapestry

Kaffe Fassett's Rich Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Kaffe Fassett’s Rich Tapestry

Life has been a rich tapestry of differing threads since my last post. There has been a trip to Bath and a lovely meet up with son, daughter in law and sparkling new little Freddie. Apart from the delight of a new baby to cuddle, how rewarding it is to watch your children parent. After coffee and cake and a well meaning mother in law .. “you need to rest”, (I really wasn’t asking for a Victorian six week lying in period…honest!) I took my leave. “Makery” Roman blind instructions picked up, I chanced upon Kaffe Fassett and Candace Bahouth’s exhibition “A Celebration of Flowers” at the Victoria Art Gallery. It was spectacularly colourful and temptingly tactile. There was patchwork, mad mosaic, needlepoint and painting. Eye poppingly inspirational.

I finished my second Rocking Dog patchwork quilt of the year earlier in the week and it will be shortly leaving the kennel to grace and warm another bed. The blind is indeed next in the queue and then a back up of other makes ranging from quilts, a certain wedding coat and Rocking Dog prototypes. The unused overlocker is looking forlorn and needs some dedicated time to make it feel loved and needed. It really is the elephant in the workroom!

The weekend was glorious so with Andyman away playing his flaming bagpipes on the Isle of Man a friend and I spontaneously took ourselves to The Pig near Bath. We had a relaxing afternoon in the garden eating wood fired flatbread and posh choc ice. It was one of those blissful English summer days and was completed by the inevitable meander around the delightful kitchen garden.

A large mountain of ironing, admin’ and a half hearted attempt at cleaning were the more mundane bits of the week, a domestic tapestry!

Flowers were picked for a bright 88 year old neighbour and somehow we ended up reading snake poems by DH Lawrence and Sylvia Plath. We also talked about the frustrations of age related failing faculties. Unfortunately I know you won’t be reading this Molly, but you are AMAZING! Interested and Interesting, together with being a fount of knowledge on “Time-Team”!

Stem ginger scones were baked and given. How delicious they are served with apricot conserve and clotted cream. Not much else to report on the cooking front.

I have been trying to tie up my WW1 Flower Show table for 14th July. My brain is rather full. I know i’m slightly barking as i’m signing present day forms etc.. with a 1918 date. Oops! This week I have been researching eggs and how they were collected for wounded soldiers. There was a National Campaign set up by Frederick Carl, editor of “Poultry World” who classed eggs as as a superfood for the wounded. Even pre-war many families kept a few hens, but now the campaign encouraged hen owners to donate an egg or two for ailing soldiers. Children in particular were encouraged to get involved with the egg campaign and the eggs were often collected together on school premises. In November 1914 a target of 20,000 eggs a week was set to send to the wounded in Boulogne. By August 1915 over a million eggs were received for overseas. This figure didn’t include those eggs that had been sent directly to local hospitals. In the course of the war 32 million eggs had been sent to hospitals in France and Belgium.

Many of the eggs arrived with the soldiers complete with decoration, patriotic messages and names & addresses. This sometimes led to pen pal correspondence and even a wedding! I started researching eggs because in the local parish magazines of the Great War period there were poultry husbandry meetings held at the village hall. I wanted to ascertain the relevance and importance of such meetings.

So indeed there will be a display of WW1 inspired decorated eggs on my Flower Show table.

Today I am visiting my last soldiers grave in Trealaw Cemetery the Rhondda, Wales. Driver John Noble Winter of the Royal Field Artillery died from wounds 17th April 1916. Born in Winterbourne, Gloucestershire by the 1901 census he is 19 years old and working as a coal hewer. Untangling a short life is a brain boggling investigative tapestry. Later today The Remember Me Project will have laid the last poppy on British soil and number 45 of the 53 Whiteshill Memorial names. We Will Remember Them.

I hope your weekend is filled with threads of wonderful things, creating your own rich and diverse life tapestry.

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Our bath, yes that old chestnut, is on its way! Currently it is out in the ocean after a port of call in Kuwait. Rather like Parcel Force you can track its movements using Vessel Finder, very exotic! It will eventually head up the Suez Canal, it’s taking provenance to the extreme… but then I always love a good story!

Mad Mosaic,Rocking Dog

Mad Mosaic

Kaffe's Patches,Rocking Dog

Kaffe’s Patches

My Patches,Rocking Dog

My Patches

Food Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Food Tapestry

Posh Choc' Ice,Rocking Dog

Posh Choc’ Ice

On Its Way!,Rocking Dog

On Its Way!

Flower Gift,Rocking Dog

Flower Gift

Bakers Dozen,Rocking Dog

Bakers Dozen

Baked Gift,Rocking Dog

Baked Gift

Flower Show,Rocking Dog

Flower Show

Egg Research,Rocking Dog

Egg Research

Brain Space,Rocking Dog

Brain Space

Mosaic…I’m Trying To Make A Start!

Drying In The Sun, Rocking Dog

Drying In The Sun

Somehow life is like a mosaic… it’s lots of little pieces of this and that, and lots of unexpected patterns and cracks! My plans to get going with decorating an ugly concrete wall in the garden is going slowly.

I have however managed to retrieve a shed load of broken china from the… shed! There are more beautiful shards to archeologically uncover but i’m a bit of a scaredy cat. There are some rather large moths and who knows what else to spook me in the said shed.

Three trays worth of china has been washed and dried in readiness for prettifying the wall. Isn’t it a good job human beings are so clumsy. The loveliest breakages have come from a lovely lady who gave me a cache of broken pots to Charleston-fy my garden. I love the porcelain with vibrant green dragons. It must have looked truly amazing in it’s unbroken format.

Today will not be a mosaic day, I am leading a healthy eating day with a group of Young Carers. We will be making Chicken Faijita’s, Shortcut Meatballs, Sweet potato wedges and a Peach Filo Pie. They will be also guessing how many sugar lumps in various foods. Can you believe that there are 28 lumps of sugar in Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ?! Gulp!!

The remainder of the week the weather looks a little less favourable. Until I mix my swimming pool grout i’ll keep on being inspired by the likes of Julie Arkell, Cleo Mussi and by the memories of Cuba, the New York subway and Rome.

Last night I rustled together a tray bake supper and I couldn’t help thinking that the ingredients were a colourful Mediterranean mosaic. Smoked Cod, tiny plum tomatoes, heritage potatoes, herbs from the garden, olives and slices of lemon. A delicious quickly constructed mosaic!

Clumsy Cracks, Rocking Dog

Clumsy Cracks

The Wall, Rocking Dog

The Wall

Mosaic Stool, Rocking Dog

Mosaic Stool

Cuban Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Cuban Inspiration

Arkell Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Arkell Inspiration

NY Subway Mosaic, Rocking Dog

NY Subway Mosaic

Roman Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Roman Mosaic

Religious Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Religious Mosaic

Woolly Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Woolly Mosaic

Mussi, Rocking Dog

Mussi

More Mussi!, Rocking Dog

More Mussi!

Mosaic Meal, Rocking Dog

Mosaic Meal

Rocking Dog Bunting To Colour In

Bunting Garb', Rocking Dog

Bunting Garb’

Good morning from the Rocking Dog kennel. I hope you have had a sunny and restful weekend. The Dog has been making bunting for some very special little ones. Six pennants of white have been sandwiched by pennants in pretty prints. The hope is that exquisite little drawings and words will adorn the plain white pennants to make jolly wall hangings.

1.I made my bunting by firstly making a template. Taking an A4 sheet of paper I folded it in half and then drew my pennant to the size I wanted. I cut my pennant, unfolded it, and then transferred it to a piece of card. A rotary cutter and metal ruler was used to cut out my final template.

2.I chose fabrics and bias binding from Material Mountain. I selected a white cotton sheet for the plain pennants. Cotton is a really good fabric when using fabric paints, fabric pens or fabric crayons.

3.Use your template to draw out your pennants. Remember if you are using pictorial print make sure you draw out your pennants with the print in the correct direction. The white pennants can be cut out economically by drawing around template with point at top of fabric and the next with point towards bottom and so on.

4.Put your pennants fabric right side to right side and sew the two long sides together. Continue to sew all your pennants.

5.Now turn your pennants right way out. Use a pencil or chopstick to poke out the point. Press all your pennants with a hot iron.

6.Use the hot iron to press your bias binding (you could also use ribbon or fabric tape) in half its whole length.

7.Start by sewing your tape approximately 10cm before adding in your pennants between the folded bias binding. Again leave 10cm at the end (these will be your ties for hanging your bunting)

8. Press, and then get the little artists decorating!

Shortcuts. Use your template to pinking shear single layer pennants, or you could cut paper pennants and glue ribbon to link them together.

I’m hoping to get all artisty this week by getting down to some mosaic in the garden. The best laid plans……

Whatever your week holds I hope it’s a good one.

Mini Bunting, Rocking Dog

Mini Bunting

1970's Bob A Job Bunting, Rocking Dog

1970’s Bob A Job Bunting

Select Fab' Fabrics, Rocking Dog

Select Fab’ Fabrics

Template Time, Rocking Dog

Template Time

Economical Cutting, Rocking Dog

Economical Cutting

Start To Stitch, Rocking Dog

Start To Stitch

Snazzy Thread, Rocking Dog

Snazzy Thread

Add Pretty Tape, Rocking Dog

Add Pretty Tape

Neat Piles, Rocking Dog

Neat Piles

Bagged Up!, Rocking Dog

Bagged Up!

Ready For The Artists, Rocking Dog

Ready For The Artists

Mosaic To Continue, Rocking Dog

Mosaic To Continue

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Mosaic!

Fusterlandia Is  Fabulously Fantastical!, Rocking Dog

Fusterlandia Is Fabulously Fantastical!

Just before heading out to Cuba I chanced upon a blog “Everybody Hates A Tourist“. It featured Fusterlandia, and I knew that as a lover of mosaic I just simply had to visit.

A day after our arrival in Havana, Andyman and I found ourselves in a taxi travelling along the coast to the seaside town of Jaimanitas. Here the artist Jose Fuster has spent the last 30 years creating an enclave Casa de Fuster. Not content with the embellishment of his own abode, his art has continued onto the walls and facades of another eighty properties in this sunny little town. Fuster has somewhat appropriately been nicknamed Picasso of the Caribbean.

I loved being in this bonkers place and not since Barcelona had I seen such a run of mosaic. It was certainly a real highlight of our Cuban trip. Returning to our taxi we asked two taxi drivers whether it was correct that Fidel Castro lived in the town. We were met with dismissiveness, when I said that the information appeared in our guidebook they grudgingly whispered that it was indeed true but not to point a camera in a certain direction! All very secretive.

My first brush with mosaic, or rather, broken china was as a child. The village shop in Frenchay had a wall containing shards of china and Edwardian tiles, and my siblings and I loved it. I remember we all selected the pieces of china we each liked best. Though the shop is no more, having been turned into a private residence some years ago, the china wall reassuringly remains.

Mosaic of an altogether different quality can be found at the Duomo in Orvieto. Its gilded mosaic embellishments, positively glinted in the November sunshine and looked spectacular against the cloudless blue sky. Meanwhile still in Italy we spent a glorious morning discovering the ancient harbour city of ancient Rome- Ostia Antica. As a result of silting, the site now lies 3km inland and is incredibly well preserved. I loved some of the mosaic floors which would have graced public baths and private villas.

In past posts I have mentioned my admiration of Cleo Mussi and Julie Arkell. Both are skilled in their use of broken pot. I love my Julie Arkell heart shaped brooch which features the quote “Looking at the sea drinking tea”, somewhat ironic because I hate tea!

My shed harbours a large box of china ready for a new phase of garden mosaic. Last year I got as far as buying the swimming pool grout… so this year maybe, just maybe, will be the year I create Fusterlandia!

Fantastical Fusterlandia!, Rocking Dog

Fantastical Fusterlandia!

More...., Rocking Dog

More….

...& There's More!, Rocking Dog

…& There’s More!

Orvieto Duomo, Rocking Dog

Orvieto Duomo

Roman Port  Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Roman Port Mosaic

Village Shop, Rocking Dog

Village Shop

Mussi Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Mussi Mosaic

Arkell Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Arkell Mosaic

Rocking Dog Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Mosaic

Repurposing Things For The Home.

Broken Things Made Good, Rocking Dog

Broken Things Made Good

I’m sure by now you will know Rocking Dog loves old and battered. Always has and always will. I love repurposing things for the home, rather than buying shiny and new. HOWEVER, I do love to add in a few contemporary bits so that the house doesn’t feel like a fusty desiccated museum!

This week I found a new magazine on the shelves “Reclaim”. It purports to be for those readers wanting to create eclectic interiors using salvage finds. Quite lovely, but my heart still lies with “Country Living” and “World of Interiors”. This first issue really made me look at some of my accumulated crud, and just how long I have been living with a vintage interior (believe me it is no new trend, perhaps I was therefore an unknowing trendsetter!)

How I remember struggling onto a train with a heavy wooden cello case from Bath to Chippenham twenty five years ago. I do not play the cello, but it does make a stylish storage container! In the same month I struggled home with some heavy wooden postal sorting shelves on the same rail route. I had such stamina and determination in those days!

Particular loves include my Grandma Nellie’s wash tub which is currently filled with logs, but when Christmas comes along it transiently hosts the tree. Another log supply is currently neatly stacked aboard a wooden sledge. Alas, like me the old sledge is waiting for snow. Coal meanwhile is stored in a rather battered brass preserving pan, such a handy vessel for travelling to and fro from the coal bunker.

A recent purchase from the Saturday antique and flea market in Bath has been a pair of decorative brass deer hooks. I originally bought them as brackets for supporting a wooden curtain pole, but have since decided to go down the Roman blind route. As I handed over my £20 the stallholder said “You know what these are don’t you?” No was my bewildered answer, and he went onto tell me they were old brackets to wall mount a shotgun. I have absolutely no interest in bearing arms, so the brackets will be used to hang frivolous hats and bags! I must remember to buy brass screws to replace the nasty chrome ones.

In the kitchen I love my collection of old earthenware and china jars. These hold my whisks, spoons and assorted kitchen tools. I love the fact that they sport wording of foodstuffs we no longer commonly use. Tapioca, that word simply makes me shudder. A primary school pudding that would make so many children cry (we weren’t allowed out to the playground until our plates were cleared). If of course any of my beloved pots get broken they are simply kept until a mosaic’ing moment comes on. I have so many plans to spend days in the garden this summer doing some mosaic walls- so sun blessed and creatively therapeutic!

I love things with history, a sense of mystery and uniqueness. Who else houses their toothbrushes and paste in a vintage teapot I wonder!

Have a lovely Monday and hope its a great start to a great week.

PS Went to see the film “Room” at The Watershed last night. A brilliant film with an amazing cast, beautiful cinematography, but with the tension of the film leaving your tummy in a tight ball.

New Magazine, Rocking Dog

New Magazine

shoe last display rocking dog

Shoe Last Display

stepladder storage rocking dog

Stepladder Storage

Wash Tub For Logs..., Rocking Dog

Wash Tub For Logs…

....And Spring Bulbs, Rocking Dog

….And Spring Bulbs

Repurposed Coat Hook, Rocking Dog

Repurposed Coat Hook

Spoon Jars, Rocking Dog

Spoon Jars

Alas No Snow!, Rocking Dog

Alas No Snow!

Weight Paperweight, Rocking Dog

Weight Paperweight