Tag Archives: Objects

Rocking Dog Loves Floral Loveliness!

Rare Orchid, Rocking Dog

Rare Orchid

I am no minimalist and I love flowers on anything and everything! I thought i’d share some particular favourites of mine.

The orchid vase has been with me now for about twenty five years and like the Honiton vases and the Meissen piece pictured below, all came from the now obsolete Hope Chapel Saturday Market in Hotwells, Bristol. The market for in excess of 35 years was part of our every other Saturday routine, both B.C. (before children) and A.C. (after children). Our house is filled with Hotwells’ buys, small pieces of furniture, Pawnbrokers balls, jewellery, ornaments, fabric and clothing. Even whilst living in Germany my mother would send me letters telling me of her purchases from the Saturday market. I’d simply wish myself there! Coffee and cake time at the chapel would see the family de-newspapering purchases, discussing the age, use and beauty of an item. The children grew up with Hotwells and enjoyed the freedom to browse and buy independently. Oilily clothes, toys, books and games all came into our household at bargainous prices. How I lament the loss of the market now that the chapel has returned to its original purpose.

Back to the orchid vase, I love it! I know nothing of its provenance, there are no marks on its base and I think it’s probably an amateur hand painted piece. My father bought it for me as a Birthday present and I have a feeling that it was about £15. It’s just simply very cheery and characterful especially when it is filled with equally cheery flowers.

The Meissen piece I fell in love with instantly, loving all its three dimensional flowers and fruit, together with hand painted insects. It had taken a bit of a bashing prior to my owning it, with some of the fragile blooms having been restored somewhat shabbily. I realise that I am never going to be in the league to own a perfect piece of Meissen, thus I am happy to covet this piece. I particularly love the Columbine flowers and wild strawberries. Again, this was a birthday present from my dear dad. It cost around £40 and is now worth considerably more, but as the people on Antiques Roadshow nearly always say “I’d never sell it”!

The little vintage textile picture is by Julie Penney of Aunt Jane’s Attic. Being a sentimental old so and so, I love the stories connected with some of Julie’s pieces. She made the rash and bold decision a few years ago to move from the North to the Jurassic coast and now sells her wares in Bridport and beyond.

Finally the Honiton vases, I bought these at Hotwells when I was in my teens. I think they were quite a grown up purchase and I remember my parents loaning me some money so that I could buy them. I am surprised that despite in excess of seven house moves, three boisterous children and a ball loving dog they have survived unscathed! I love the muted simplicity of the vases’ decoration, which includes the papery Honesty seed heads.

Message for the children- when I am dead and buried do not feel sentimental about my floral china pots. Please feel free to sell them and buy something YOU like. Feel it’s vitally important to say that.. in all Honesty!

Magical Meissen, Rocking Dog

Magical Meissen

Julie Penney's Vintage Garden, Rocking Dog

Julie Penney’s Vintage Garden

Honiton Honesty, Rocking Dog

Honiton Honesty

What’s Going On On Your Mantlepiece?

Muddled Mantlepiece, Rocking Dog

Muddled Mantlepiece

A few years ago The Guardian asked readers to describe and send in images of their mantlepieces. It really got me thinking of the strange things that accumulate on mantlepieces, well certainly mine. They aren’t styled, rather more they come about as a natural dusty evolvement. Christmas usually sparks changes with the addition of putz houses, tatty decorations and Christmas cards, otherwise, my mantlepieces remain pretty constant. I do however love a jug of garden flowers or a gorgeous scented candle to ring the changes.

The photo above is of the mantlepiece in my sewing room and has simply come about. The dogs are a pair I bought as a present for Andyman (you know one of those gifts you buy by proxy!) and were on the scene long before Real Live Rocking Dog was a twinkle in his Daddy’s eye (incidentally his Dad’s name had the Pedigree name “Stand and Deliver”). An advent calendar, postcards, a graceful 1930’s bust, knitted asparagus and lots of other frou vie for space and until I write something like this I don’t really think of the cornucopia of tat that I live with.

The mantlepiece adorned with tulips, is a pretty grand fireplace for this humble cottage. It is a large ornate cast iron affair which took a lot of stripping to rid it of the green and yellow marbling effect which the previous owner had favoured. Eventually I need to inject a little more colour into the room, but the tulips give a welcome but temporary colour pop. I love the photo on the mantlepiece of the little Russian baby and its mother, both dressed in fur and finery. It gives me a Dr Zhivago moment every time I dust!

My wooden mantlepiece has obviously seen the new arrival of Toby jug, Mrs Mack and Sailor Dog (bought from the lovely Jayne Soule) but everything else is years of knick knackery! The old clock face was rescued from underneath a carpet in the house, used to stop floorboards creaking!

One Sunday when our son arrived home to be fed and have his washing done, he reluctantly watched Antiques Roadshow with me. One item featured was valued at about £6,000, that got son…… thinking! He was studiously looking around the lounge before asking me whether we had anything that could be worth that. I somewhat incredulously exclaimed “no”, but he then decided to interrogate me further. He pointed up to the clock on the mantlepiece and said “what about that then”? We are talking about a crudely made clock (possibly American) with crude mechanism and a Robertson’s “Golly” on it’s little glass door. Try again Alex!

Lastly my bedroom mantlepiece which is strangely for me, colour coordinated. I don’t have many photo’s up in the house but this is where most find their secure long term place. I love my bedroom wallpaper which has been with us for about 15 years. We could only afford to do one wall, but every morning it makes me smile, I don’t think a B&Q paper could have done that!

What’s going on on your mantlepiece right now?

Colour Pop, Rocking Dog

Colour Pop

What's it Worth? Rocking Dog

What’s it Worth?

Colour Coordinated, Rocking Dog

Colour Coordinated

Jolly Jugs!

toby jug rocking dog

Toby Jug

Happy Friday from my jolly jugs!

Couldn’t resist this pair – found this week in separate branches of St Peter’s Hospice shops for a fiver each. They look as if they’re getting on famously on my mantlepiece and of course there’s always Luminous Mary in close proximity to stop any slap and tickle!
Poor Toby has a chip on his shoulder whilst Mrs Mac has a rather faded quote “A present from Fleetwood“.
Meanwhile there is a vintage label in the Rocking Dog collection that bears a striking resemblance to old ale drinking Toby. The glittery label folk are desperately hoping that this will finally be the year they embellish parcels.
Alas, I love them all too much – for them to be discarded with Christmas paper, string and ribbon! Sorry my glittery friends.
Have a wonderful weekend.

mr toby mrs jug rocking dog

Mr and Mrs Toby Jug

vintage christmas labels rocking dog

Vintage Christmas Labels

glittery toby label rocking dog

Glittery Toby Label

Eat, Pray, Love.

orvieto shop salamis

Orvieto Shop

Eat, Pray, Love.

Just thought I’d share a little more of Italy before returning to Rocking Dog makes.
The Eat – a wonderful shop in Orvieto selling salamis, cheese etc… I loved the window for it’s simplicity. Many products were wrapped in utilitarian brown paper with labels to match. The only “prop” was a taxidermy’d wild boars head. That bought back memories of the boars head my brother in law borrowed for us for a Burn’s Night. The owner apparently later swapped it for a stuffed penguin!
The Pray – Loved this grotto at the entrance to this nursery school in Orvieto. As a four year old would you be scared or comforted to see a Madonna watch over you entering your classroom!
The Love – loved this figure on the facade of a building in the beautiful hill top town, Citta della Pieve.

wrapped cheeses italy

Wrapped Cheeses

grotto orvieto mary

Grotto in Orvieto

relief citta della pieve

Relief – Citta della Pieve

Halloween – My Own Scary Offering!

1. Luminous Mary

1. Luminous Mary


I’m such a killjoy I hate Halloween -so this is my own scary offering!
SPECIMEN 1. A romantic Birthday present from Andyman- Luminous Mary, she keeps real live Rocking Dog company at night.
SPECIMEN 2. A secret bookcase with the books our son liked best i.e… ones that
he legitimately couldn’t read! The skull -because a skull should be for life and not just one poxy Halloween night. SPECIMEN 3. The headless horseman. He was meant to have Bill Turnbull’s head. Shame that. It would have definitely been the master bedroom!
SPECIMEN 4. Get your lace edged Victorian hanky out- it’s a Charles Dickenesque paupers coffin plate.
SPECIMEN 5. Instrument of torture ? no a French bottle drier, who needs a dishwasher?!
SPECIMEN 6. The scariest specimen of the lot….my unopened bank statement….now that REALLY is scary! Please care and share! Happy Halloween if it floats your boat.

2. Secret Bookcase

2. Secret Bookcase

3. Headless Horseman

3. Headless Horseman

4. Coffin Plate

4. Coffin Plate

5. Bottle Torture

5. Bottle Torture

6. Unopened Bills

6. Unopened Bills

Dad’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Dad's Drawers

This is my late Dad’s cabinet of curiosities. If we ever were at a loss as to what to buy my Dad for Christmas and Birthdays we would buy him an oddity! So there’s a brass pipe cleaner, a leper’s bell, Jew’s harp and lots of items of unknown use and origin! One of the most interesting curiosities is a tiny bottle of wood shards. They come from the foundation log of the Murphy Cabin of the Donner Party. In 1846 an 81 strong party led by George Donner set off on the 2,500 mile trek from Illinois to San Francisco. In the winter of 1847 they were caught in blizzards in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Dying from hypothermia and starvation they resorted to cannibalism. Lots were drawn to see who was going to be the next meals meat! More than 30 people were eaten before the survivors were rescued in the spring. One survivor who boasted about how many people he’d eaten, grew rich in the gold rush and opened a successful restaurant serving “a variety of rare meats”. Wednesday’s macabre tale before we all head off to the butchers!

Photos + Curios

Photos + Curios

Dad's Curios

Dad’s Curios

Donner Shards

Donner Shards


The Sierra Nevada