Tag Archives: Real Live Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Creative Huddle, Weds 28th June

Come On Let's Get Creative!,Rocking Dog

Come On Let’s Get Creative!

Yes the months are whittling away, we’ll be onto Christmas makery before we know it! You are warmly welcomed to come along to the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle tomorrow. Rocking Dog is very friendly and won’t bite, even though the Real Live Rocking Dog is just ever so slightly grumpy! Come to think of it that’s a pretty fair description of Rocking Dog if temperatures rise above 29 degrees!

Lovely homemade cake, something cold to drink, gentle chat and if you want to “make” that’s lovely too.

Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew & embroider, £60 collected thus far. Thank you.

Don’t be shy, come along. Contact me if you need further details or directions.

Love Rocking Dog x

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!

A Field Full Of Flowers & Sunshine

Flowers In May,Rocking Dog

Flowers In May

Many of you will know about my love of the fields which lie behind the kennel. They were the perfect place to do an impromptu photo shoot with little Douglas. On the 10th May we ran out of the kennel whilst the sun was shining and the little babe contented. He was surrounded by sun kissed buttercups, clover, dandelion clocks, plantain and gently swaying grasses. How much more lovely to be photographed in this natural environment than a stark and expensive photographic studio! The weeks have since rolled on, the little chaps skin has plumply filled out, smiles have arrived, and newborn clothes have been neatly parcelled up. In time we will run through the grasses, hide, eat picnics, chat, sing, tell stories, do hand stands (!), dance, read, build snowmen, and play games in the field.

With the arrival of June the field shows off new swathes of flowers and grasses. The colourful honeyed smell of spring has given way to less showy moon daisies, wild sorrel, hawkweed, birds foot trefoil and a myriad of tall whispering grasses. Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper butterflies flutter in amongst the sun baked vegetation whilst bumble bees enjoy the sweet dying embers of the pink and white clovers. Large metallic lapiz blue dragonflies skim across the field on their way to the wetness of the Frome. Hedgerows burgeon with bramble blooms, sloes, wild briar rose and elderflower. It is simply too hot for the rabbits to graze, they will emerge from their damp clay burrows when twilight brings the coolness of the days end.

A pair of swallows have returned to the field, the late afternoons bring them joyfully and skilfully utilising their mesmerizing acrobatics. They swoop and dive over the high desiccating grasses, mere flashes of inky black forked tail and iconic aerodynamic wings. The buzzard, deer, wood pigeons and the rabbit loving fox who lives in the orchard put in appearances and makes every walk unique. The seasons leech into each other, days shorten and lengthen, rain, cold, wind, sun, grey, mud, frost, sun parched, the field perpetually changes.

Real Live Rocking Dog loves the field it means chasing his current deflated ball. We are lucky that the cows haven’t yet arrived. Until then it is Real Live Rocking Dogs field. It is a place for thinking, contemplating (despite the constant hum of the motorway), revelling in nature, enjoying the seasons and for planning the next photo shoot with the sooooo sweet wee nipper!

Do You Like Butter?,Rocking Dog

Do You Like Butter?

Flowers In June,Rocking Dog

Flowers In June

Nature Table,Rocking Dog

Nature Table

Brambles In Flower,Rocking Dog

Brambles In Flower

Ripening Sloes,Rocking Dog

Ripening Sloes

Where's My Ball?,Rocking Dog

Where’s My Ball?

Watery Walk,Rocking Dog

Watery Walk

Marshmallow Skies,Rocking Dog

Marshmallow Skies

May Blossom & Friends,Rocking Dog

May Blossom & Friends

Feathering The Nest To Welcome The Next Generation.

Feathering The Nest,Rocking Dog

Feathering The Nest

We were indeed feathering the nest to welcome the next generation. Sorrel and Pete will meet their little one in April, and before you ask they don’t know what sort they are having! Before the pushing begins at the Birth Centre a big push was needed to try and gain some kind of order in their little London nest.

The family pulled together with paintbrushes, rollers, drills, sandpaper and organisational skills. At times it felt like one of those puzzles where you have to move squares completely out of position in order to get one square into its rightful place! By the end of the weekend ceilings had been painted and walls given further coats. Another scaffold plank shelf had been skilfully drilled into place and numerous mugs of coffee had been drunk.

My girl is SOooo like me, an absolute magpie, minimalism unfortunately does not enter our vocabulary! Wrapping up about one hundred Christmas decorations I thought aloud “Sorrel certainly doesn’t need to inherit my vast collection, she’s simply doing very well on her own!” There is also the monumental sized stash of cookery books….have you heard of online recipes by any chance Sorrel?! Joking aside the couple have some lovely things to display on those scaffold plank shelves. Gradually the boxes that currently engulf what will be nursery will be emptied and the contents distributed to their final destination.

Perhaps work can then focus on the room for the new little person. I anticipate the decoration of this will be for no shrinking violet. I look forward to seeing it develop. There could be an old pram wheel, farm animals and wool pom-poms in the mix! Thankfully in amongst the chaos the main bedroom is a relative haven and there are lovely little vignettes of vintage glamour. Cushions in florals, tapestry, and zingy velvets provide pops of colour against the dramatic backdrop of Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue.

It wasn’t all about painting and DIY, some of us headed to nearby Abbey Wood with Real Live Rocking Dog. There were the remnants of Lesnes Abbey destroyed by Henry VIII, a fantastic wooded daffodil filled walk and distant views to London’s spectacular skyline. I really adored the gated garden there, the planting looked innovative and definitely worth a revisit when the sun really starts to shine. I so love the fact that London has so many wonderful green and surprisingly wild spaces.

We left the couple filling all those shelves. Another DIY onslaught next week with different family members will hopefully see tiled splash backs and skirting boards come to fruition.

Those square puzzle pieces are beginning to find their correct order. It will be lovely, and a sweet little home for welcoming in the next generation.

Thank you to all those lovely folk who helped with the nest building. It was fun.

Wishing you a lovely week. Love Rocking Dog x

Scaffold Plank Shelf,Rocking Dog

Scaffold Plank Shelf

Cook Books Aplenty!,Rocking Dog

Cook Books Aplenty!

Parlez Vous Francais?,Rocking Dog

Parlez Vous Francais?

Vintage Glamour,Rocking Dog

Vintage Glamour

Bohemia,Rocking Dog

Bohemia

Pops Of Colour,Rocking Dog

Pops Of Colour

Tantalising Glimpse,Rocking Dog

Tantalising Glimpse

Meeting His Match!,Rocking Dog

Meeting His Match!

Distant City Skyline,Rocking Dog

Distant City Skyline

If You Go Down To The Woods Today…

Reaching To The Sky,Rocking Dog

Reaching To The Sky

Most days walks with Real Live Rocking Dog take me along semi-wild woodland paths which closely hug the River Frome. I love witnessing the change of the seasons and the ever-changing flora and fauna.

Yesterday was mild and I was aware of the wonderful sound of birdsong. Spring really does feel as if it is on its way. There were huge splendiferous rugs of Snowdrops and budding Daffodils, Primroses, Violets and Celandines. In a month or two these wild blooms will be succeeded by carpets of bluebells and wild garlic. Later still there will be drifts of wild Foxgloves, Cow Parsley and Himalayan Balsam

On yesterdays’ walk I loved the towering bare branched trees reaching into the still grey winter skies. Such wonderfully dramatic silhouettes. Soon these giants will be cloaked with verdant lush greenery and provide nesting places for a variety of woodland bird species.

Dry stone walls were covered with impossibly green velvety moss and there were cascades of ferns tumbling down the Pennant stone “cliffs”. Everything really seems to be sparking into life, I just wish the mud would finally subside!

 

Rocking Dog Huddle tonight 7-9 at the kennel. Look forward to seeing you.

Whose Home?,Rocking Dog

Whose Home?

Abandoned Pipe,Rocking Dog

Abandoned Pipe

Mossy Wall,Rocking Dog

Mossy Wall

Cheery Celandines,Rocking Dog

Cheery Celandines

Snowdrop Rug,Rocking Dog

Snowdrop Rug

Wild Violets,Rocking Dog

Wild Violets

Primrose,Rocking Dog

Primrose

More Trees,Rocking Dog

More Trees

Tired Real Live Rocking Dog,Rocking Dog

Tired Real Live Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog’s Lost Week

It Snowed!,Rocking Dog

It Snowed!

I am the bear that hibernated for a week, no posts, no words, no thoughts for posts. Unlike a growly wintry soporific bear I was not sleeping in a cosy den, but I was feeling quiet. I let myself forget about words and painted. Ceiling, walls & skirting boards felt dashes of Wevet, bog standard white and Charleston Gray. The changes are insignificant, yet constructive.

I sewed for me and with my lovely brave friend. Sewing is so therapeutic, I can truly recommend it, I just wish it burnt of calories like a dose of Zumba! I cooked for friends, dishes included Delia’s golden rosti capped Fish Pie and Rick Stein’s Almond Tart. Comfort food to warm the cockles! I also allowed myself time to transcribe a few more recipes from my beloved 1846 handwritten cook book. There were recipes for potting shrimps, stewing cheese, making gooseberry vinegar and a recipe for making potato yeast when common yeast was scarce. How I love my little book, I should set myself the challenge of cooking all the recipes a la Julia & Julia!

Plans on how to do the final touches to our little place in Umbria occupied me as did planning for Christmas! No not THAT Christmas, the one that is happening on Saturday to mark Burn’s Night. Yes I know its late…. but.. This year I wanted a ski chalet theme so we are paying homage to Wham’s “Last Christmas”. So .. there is turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pud’, mince pies (groan!), trifle and retro cocktails. I suppose as it’s belated Burn’s there ought to be haggis too. The tree is going up… again, there’ll be crackers, “Rockpipes” and mistletoe… yes, I am totally mad! However… on a serious front any cash donations will be put to providing “Christmas in a Box” for Young Carer’s families in particular need when the real Christmas comes around again. It will come around sooner than we know it.

It was so lovely to see snow last week, alas only a small dusting. It never seems to snow like it did when we were children. Depressing that it’s probably all to do with global warming… and YES Mr dumb arse Trump there really is such a thing! Pretty please can I order some snow for Saturday it would make my “Last Christmas” dreams come true!

No snow today, but a wonderful restorative walk close to the Severn with one of the Rocking Dog Huddlers. Lambs, winter sunshine, good conversation (thank you Karen) and six miles of mud later I was ready to stop hibernating and to get back to some words.

Thank you for your patience. Love Rocking Dog x

PS You may just ask where Andyman was during my brief hibernation… skiing in the same resort as the Geordie Shore lot were being filmed! Hmmmm, classy!

Snowy Dessert,Rocking Dog

Snowy Dessert

Snow Sprinkled Tart,Rocking Dog

Snow Sprinkled Tart

Promise Of Warmth,Rocking Dog

Promise Of Warmth

Paint Job,Rocking Dog

Paint Job

Therapeutic Sewing,Rocking Dog

Therapeutic Sewing

Ongoing Transcribing,Rocking Dog

Ongoing Transcribing

Planning For Italy,Rocking Dog

Planning For Italy

....Ditto!,Rocking Dog

….Ditto!

& Planning Christmas!,Rocking Dog

& Planning Christmas!

Restorative Walk,Rocking Dog

Restorative Walk

Aahhh! Baby Lambs,Rocking Dog

Aahhh! Baby Lambs

...& God Damned Tired Real Live Rocking Dog!,Rocking Dog

…& God Damned Tired Real Live Rocking Dog!

Little Hints Of Spring In The Air

Bough Of Catkins,Rocking Dog

Bough Of Catkins

Looking back at the Rocking Dog blog posts of the first month of 2017 it must seem I have been tucked up in the kennel and not ventured out much. Although highly tempting to huddle somewhere warm and cosy there is an energetic Real Live Rocking Dog to walk. Through mud, rain and wintry greyness he tackles his twice daily treks with gusto. With a new pair of unleaky sale price “Hunters” my walks are thankfully definitely more pleasurable than they have been over the last few months!

Yesterday there were tantalising little hints of spring being in the air. Boughs of citrine yellow catkins swayed in the breeze enjoying a brief window of winter sunshine and blue tinged skies. I loved the branches of pretty pink blossom and vowed that “yes” I wanted one of these early flowering shrubs in my garden. In the nook of an ancient Copper Beech  someone had carefully positioned a jar of cheerful daffodils. Whilst I walked I wondered whether the lovely floral shrine had been created to remember a much loved human or pet. I pondered a lot.

Meanwhile on the swollen river a forlorn Cormorant seemed to be waiting for a mate to swoop in. I hope St Valentine lends a helping hand.

At home the snowdrops have gallantly pushed through, poor little things they have had quite a struggle to get through a thick layer of decomposing leaves. Why oh why didn’t I get around to “closing up the garden” in the autumn! With drier days hopefully in the air I can get on out there and absolve my guilt for abandoning all plans and hard grafting during 2016.

I hope hints of Spring are beginning to spring up wherever you are in the world. Love Rocking Dog x

PS. The food just keeps a comin’! Recipe tested yesterday a Courgette, Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Gratin and a  delicious Caramelised Carrot, Red Onion and Feta Tarte Tartin. We are being truly spoilt by talented recipe developer daughter. Thank you. Slim Fast next week me thinks and some jet propelled walking in the new boots!

Pretty Pink,Rocking Dog

Pretty Pink

Blue Tinge Sky, Rocking Dog

Blue Tinge Sky

Hardy Snowdrops,Rocking Dog

Hardy Snowdrops

Looking For A Mate,Rocking Dog

Looking For A Mate

Promise Of Spring Shrine,Rocking Dog

Promise Of Spring Shrine

The Food Keeps A Comin'!,Rocking Dog

The Food Keeps A Comin’!

Cheery Projects To Cast Off Winter Gloom

Winter Mood Board,Rocking Dog

Winter Mood Board

Rocking Dog has been doing cheery projects to cast off winter gloom. No frosts, no snow, no cold but lots of grey, damp and mud!

In between all the usual domestic dross I have been striving to complete some more constructive and pleasurable tasks. Yesterday morning I made Christmas cakes, “Oh no you didn’t, Oh yes I did!” An 80’s Christmas themed charity Burn’s Night is on the cards next month. I am going to hone my spiky snow scene icing and have plastic robin , snowman and cake frill at the ready! Incidentally there’ll be turkey and all the trimmings together with Christmas pud’s and retro’ cocktails. I’m nursing our Christmas tree carefully in the hope I can put it back up. Sad but true!

Christmas cakes baked, I moved to Beloved Berlina to creatively sew. Sewing makes me happy, especially with two or three omnibus editions of “The Archers” in the bag!

Despite the mud and greyness Real Live Rocking Dog is always up for a walk. No matter the weather it always feels great to be out. The change of seasons brings a myriad of different foliage, wildlife, noise and smells. Mossy twigs and ferns placed in a large majolica jug beautifully brings the outside in.

Very cheerily Seville oranges have started to trickle into the shops. I feel a therapeutic marmalade making session coming on!

Winter Walk,Rocking Dog

Winter Walk

Winter Vase,Rocking Dog

Winter Vase

Winter Fuel,Rocking Dog

Winter Fuel

Sugar & Spice,Rocking Dog

Sugar & Spice

Eggs To Crack,Rocking Dog

Eggs To Crack

Happy Bake,Rocking Dog

Happy Bake

Comfort Food,Rocking Dog

Comfort Food

Time To Sew,Rocking Dog

Time To Sew

The Sevilles' Are In Town!,Rocking Dog

The Sevilles’ Are In Town!

Rocking Dog Just Loves A Good Envelope!

No Boring Envelope For Rocking Dog!, Rocking Dog

No Boring Envelope For Rocking Dog!

Yes indeedy! Rocking Dog just loves a good envelope. A good envelope inevitably heralds something rather lovely inside. The grimness of finding those all too familiar window’d envelopes on the mat is somewhat depressing. It’s with the well programmed knowledge that we all know that they usually contain the post Christmas bank statement, utility bill or worse!

There is something wonderful about a handwritten envelope (although in the past I was all too petrified when I recognised the hand writing of a persistent stalker). Yesterday I made Burn’s Night invite envelopes using wonderful wrapping paper bought in Anthropologie. I was deliciously and miserly coveting it, but then thought heck what’s the use of leaving it in its cellophane bag! I used my wooden envelope template to make the stylish envelopes, and scissors and Pritt to finish the job. I deemed invites for posting needed more robust affairs, so cut bears, hatted rabbits and sun glassed tigers and pasted the eccentric creatures onto brown envelopes. Job done.

The pictures below are a catalogue of Rocking Dog envelope adventures. A journey of glue, wallpaper, old menus, material, calligraphy and thought.

The trade envelope shows that my great grandfather Robert Cresser loved an embellished envelope to send out invoices in the early 1900’s for brushes for flues, lums and pipes.

I loved the oh so pretty envelope sent this Christmas by lovely neighbours, it was as lovely as the card it contained. I read that somewhere that it really cheers postal staff to have a good envelope to sort and post.

Meanwhile I couldn’t resist a bundle of empty envelopes found in a charity shop recently. Dating from the 1950’s they are predominantly written to Lloyds Bank on the Isle of Man. Delicious postmarks and stamps see them posted from all corners of the globe. The man in the charity shop was rather apologetic about my having to pay 50 pence for each of these little treasures. One mans meat is another mans poison as my mother used to say! Someday they will find their way into a Rocking Dog collage or wrapping paper design I am quite sure.

Rocking Dog is off on a flying visit to York this weekend. It will be lovely to revisit this gorgeous city and I hope i’ll come home really inspired.

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it’s a really happy one for you. Stay cosy! Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Poor Real Live Rocking Dog is destined for a hot soapy bath this morning ready for his mini break in Wiltshire. Grrrrr! he’s not fond of the bath tub is RLRDog!

Magic Template,Rocking Dog

Magic Template

Voucher Envelope, Rocking Dog

Voucher Envelope

Save The Date, Rocking Dog

Save The Date

Jazzing Up Vouchers

Jazzing Up Vouchers

Trade Envelope, Rocking Dog

Trade Envelope

Cash Envelope, Rocking Dog

Cash Envelope

Voila!, Rocking Dog

Voila!

Oh So Pretty!,Rocking Dog

Oh So Pretty!

Charity Shop Finds,Rocking Dog

Charity Shop Finds

Blowing Away The Cobwebs Inside & Out

Blowing Away The Cobwebs, Rocking Dog

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

Whoosh! It was a week that blew in and blew out! There were opportunities to blow away the cobwebs and to appreciate some crisp winter days. One or two days brought beautiful frosts and clear blue skies. Whilst walking Real Live Rocking Dog early one morning I witnessed two Great spotted woodpeckers in the throes of a merry and noisy courtship dance close to the kennel. It was a real privilege. The same day my late afternoon walk took me to the field behind the kennel. The sky was truly spectacular. For half an hour I marvelled in its changing hues as the sun set. For some reason I started singing Bowie’s Life on Mars?,  very badly i’m quite certain. The cloud formations and colours really were the stuff of amazing Italianate ceiling artists. Glorious. ‘Dog and I walked back in the dark, and for the second time that day I felt nature- privileged.

With the clear nights I really should unbox my new telescope (thank you Andyman), and start fathoming the starry universe. I want to go beyond recognising The Plough and Orion’s Belt!

Whilst the cobwebs have been blown away outside, inside, Christmas stragglers are still surfacing! Stray baubles have been boxed in cosseting paper pulp egg boxes and attic re-entry will be required. I am not overly concerned because a dash of Christmas will be returning to the kennel in February…. don’t ask!

Spring cleaning and reorganisation is being attempted after the crud of Christmas has left. I particularly like my new makeup vessel! I bought a galvanised tin and glass seed propagator from John Lewis (£20 reduced from £40). For years I have had my makeup in a series of makeup bags on my dressing table, all rather juvenile. Now the series of tin pots hold my lippy’s and the like in a very organised fashion. I like thinking outside the box regarding storage, excuse the pun.

Thankfully, the fridge is beginning to gain its composure after the festivities. As ever its the time to try and eat a little more healthily now that the cheese has finally left the building! Sunday lunch was Ottolenghi’s Lamb Shawarma with a chopped salad, raw white cabbage with pickled green chilli’s and harissa pita. Yotam you are truly yum yum! Dessert was mulled poached pears (thank you for the inspiration Sally).

I hope the New Year is allowing you to blow away the cobwebs. Have a lovely week, love Rocking Dog x

A Sky To Paint, Rocking Dog

A Sky To Paint

Sale Purchase,Rocking Dog

Sale Purchase

Greenhouse Storage,Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Storage

Christmas Stragglers,Rocking Dog

Christmas Stragglers

Sunday Lunch,Rocking Dog

Sunday Lunch

What No Roasties?,Rocking Dog

What No Roasties?

Happy Christmas To One And All

Madonna & Child, Panicale, Umbria,Rocking Dog

Madonna & Child, Panicale, Umbria

Wishing friends, family and Rocking Dog blog readers a truly wonderful Christmas. Much love from Liz aka Rocking Dog, Andy aka Andyman, and Hamish aka Real Live Rocking Dog xxx