Tag Archives: Ribbon

Rocking Dog Thinks Ahead To A Chocolatey Easter!

Are You Ready For An Egg Hunt? Rocking Dog

Are You Ready For An Egg Hunt?

I got a little bit carried away thinking about a chocolatey Easter. The vibrant blossom everywhere set me mulling over all those forthcoming opportunities to gather flowers, select pretty foil wrapped eggs and making indulgent Rocking Dog bakes for friends and neighbours. Admittedly Easter is still a little way away but there is nothing wrong with a little bit of planning, hunting and gathering! As we left Umbria our local patisserie Michele & Co was beginning to put out Easter loveliness. Crisp white tissue papered packages were embellished with silk flowers, wool, lace, ribbon and twine. His styling is inspirational as are his delicious sweet offerings.

Yesterday I made pretty lined bags for going on a future egg hunt. Gingham was selected as the structured pattern is perfect to use as guidelines for sewing lines of braid and ribbons. I added appliqué eggs and the linings came from a vintage embroidered tablecloth. The bags constructed, I used lace for handles and finally sewed some pretty vintage buttons for extra frou factor.

My favourite garden in the village is in full flourish. It is wild and lovely. Narcissi, Tete de Tete, Daffodils and Fritillaria push through the grass in generous clumps. The garden is bordered by Japonica, Camelia, Catkin and fruit trees. Its organic wild nature makes me smile… always. After cutting back hedges neatly in Italy I had that moment of bad haircut regret! A degree of shagginess and un-eveness definitely gives a garden an air of mystery and romance. This local garden has romance and whimsy aplenty. I can definitely imagine a good egg hunt there.

Oooh I feel a Chocolat moment coming on!

By the way the next Rocking Dog creative Huddle will be on Wednesday 29th March 7-9pm. All welcome. Delicious homemade cake, chat and creativity. Donations into the teapot with a percentage to Fine Cell Work supporting prison inmates to sew wonderful things.

Spring Branches,Rocking Dog

Spring Branches

My Blooming Garden,Rocking Dog

My Blooming Garden

Favourite Garden,Rocking Dog

Favourite Garden

Easter Kitsch,Rocking Dog

Easter Kitsch

Embellished Brownies,Rocking Dog

Embellished Brownies

Vintage Stash,Rocking Dog

Vintage Stash

Michele's Easter Frou!,Rocking Dog

Michele’s Easter Frou!

Calorie Free!,Rocking Dog

Calorie Free!

They're Going On An Egg Hunt!, Rocking Dog

They’re Going On An Egg Hunt!

A Quick Rocking Dog Birthday Wrap

Pieces Of Eight!,Rocking Dog

Pieces Of Eight!

A quick Rocking Dog Birthday wrap. I still maintain it is quicker to sew a present into its wrap than using scissors and tape. My latest wrap was done with a piece of jolly wallpaper. I found a £5 oddment roll found in Laura Ashley and had ideas that I could make table runners which children could colour in at a party. The bold print would also lend itself to making hats, wall banners and other party paraphernalia.

George Pig goggles and swim shorts sewn into their wrap, I adorned the parcel with a plastic fish (a piece of flotsam and jetsam from Weston Super Mare).A tag was stamped and gingham ribbon tied. The final flourish was a trove of foil wrapped chocolate coins. I attached these with double sided tape. Voila!

Rocking Dog loves a bit of innovative wrapping and so I thought i’d dig out some archive Rocking Dog images. Cake cases, ripped magazines, brochures, old books, ribbon, string and stamps are all favourite flotsam and jetsam for hoarding Rocking Dog!

Fish & Label,Rocking Dog

Fish & Label

Christmas Coins,Rocking Dog

Christmas Coins

Past Wrapping,Rocking Dog

Past Wrapping

Little Acorns,Rocking Dog

Little Acorns

Spring Wrap,Rocking Dog

Spring Wrap

Tea Towel Wrapped, Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Wrapped

Cash Wrap,Rocking Dog

Cash Wrap

Cake Case Adornment,Rocking Dog

Cake Case Adornment

Comic Book Parcel,Rocking Dog

Comic Book Parcel

Make It Up As You Go Along Cushions

Pattern & Texture,Rocking Dog

Pattern & Texture

After a long morning of very boring brain numbing admin’ tasks I needed to sew. I decided on making a pair of large cushions. These were cushions of the make it up as you go along variety. I “played with fabrics putting charity shop bought vintage needlepoints with sumptuous silks. I added in digitally printed fabric, braids, bobbles and lace. I know this melee of textures and patterns is an acquired taste but the idea could be toned down and tamed.

Once I had decided on the fabrics I wanted to use in each cushion I worked out the proportions of each fabric strip. The size of the needlepoint panels gave me the width measurement of each cushion. The cut strips were sewn together and for extra strength I chose to “stitch in the ditch”. Stitching in the ditch involves top sewing in the seams of the panels.

I then frou’d. My motto is definitely more is more! I added vintage bobbly braid, heavy lace, ribbon and glitzy floral braid.

So the front panels are complete and now they await their backings and plump fillings. Watch this space for the finished rather mad “make it up as I go along cushions!”

Wishing you a lovely weekend, love Rocking Dog x

Playing With Fabrics,Rocking Dog

Playing With Fabrics

Charity Shop Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Charity Shop Tapestry

Before The Bobbles,Rocking Dog

Before The Bobbles

Vintage Braid,Rocking Dog

Vintage Braid

& Vintage Lace,Rocking Dog

& Vintage Lace

Silk, Wool, Digital Print,Rocking Dog

Silk,Wool,Digital Print

Rocking Dog Cuts Out Christmas Stockings…Again!

Vintage Loveliness Ready For Sewing, Rocking Dog

Vintage Loveliness Ready For Sewing

Rocking Dog decided to use the stash of fabrics bought at the Vintage Jumble on Saturday. So on my workbench the lovely Pooh fabric has been cut into stocking shapes ready to be sewn. The stockings will have cheery green & white gingham linings and will be embellished with some lovely frou! I have also cut stockings from a bright 60’s print. This little piece of fabric has been stashed on Material Mountain for a long time. A green check tablecloth bought at the jumble will provide the linings. More Marie Antoinette pretty feet boots have been cut, and in due course will be embellished with buckles, French ribbon and bobbles. Perhaps if I leave everything out on my work bench something magical will happen, those little mice in Beatrix Potter’s “The Tailor of Gloucester” will sew and embroider my stockings exquisitely!

Christmas really doesn’t need to be all about green, red and gold. It can be about French toiles, 50’s and 60’s prints, crewelwork and Pooh! I know it’s really early to be sewing such festive wares but shops are like Boy Scouts, they like to be prepared….dib,dib,dib!

No,no,no….. absolutely no Michael!

Vintage Jumble Fabrics, Rocking Dog

Vintage Jumble Fabrics

More Pretty Feet!, Rocking Dog

More Pretty Feet!

Ribbon Stash, Rocking Dog

Ribbon Stash

Embellish, Rocking Dog


Festive Stash, Rocking Dog

Festive Stash

Material Mountain, Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Rocking Dog Prints A Tropical Fruit Table Runner

Childs Play Table Runner, Rocking Dog

Childs Play Table Runner

I spied some fruit in the fruit bowl and was inspired to transport myself back to childhood (link especially for Sorrel!). Using acrylic paint, some lining paper and the fruit I created a tropical fruit table runner.

This would be a great project to do with children. Undoubtedly, it is something best kept for a warm day when the paint and excited little folk can paint outside. I always felt painting with toddlers was something I should do….. but paint, brushes and painty water it all felt rather tortuous! Annoyingly children in my experience have the concentration spans of juvenile ants. It would take about 40 minutes to set them up with painting paraphernalia and to shrink wrap the house, for them to be playing with Barbie or Polly Pocket within 5 minutes AAAAAgggghhhh!

Back to the runner! I started by cutting fruits (I used lemons, pomegranate, and a pineapple top) and left the fruit to dry out for a few hours. Meanwhile I cut a length of lining paper. With the fruit now drier it was time to organise paints. I used acrylic paints for my runner, but you could use poster paints. Of course if you want to use material instead of paper you could use fabric paints (Hobbycraft) for your runner. Simply allow the paint to dry and then press with a moderately hot iron to make your design colour fast.

Acrylics dry out very quickly, so squeeze your tubes just before you need them. I used individual plates for each of my chosen colours and then dipped or brushed the fruit with paint. Press the fruit firmly onto your paper and keep going until you are happy with the effect. Leave the runner to dry. I then added a ribbon and tissue paper fringe edging. Voila! a pretty party runner for pennies not pounds!

I love fruity fabrics, and certainly enjoyed Stella McCartney’s citrus print garments which walked down the catwalk in 2011. More recently I have adored Christian Lacroix’s exotic fruits printed on velvet. Yummy! On a slightly more inexpensive scale Sorrel bought fab fruity earrings in Mango, sadly they seem to have disappeared from the Mango site.

Think tropical fruit platters, coconut & lime cake, prawns with tropical fruits, Bounty bars, Mojito’s, Pina Colada’s! I think this is a table runner for grown ups after all- sorry kids!

The Fruit, Rocking Dog

The Fruit

Painterly Fruit, Rocking Dog

Painterly Fruit

Painty Fun, Rocking Dog

Painty Fun

Fruit To Eat, Rocking Dog

Fruit To Eat

.......And Drink!, Rocking Dog

…….And Drink!

Good Enough To Eat!, Rocking Dog

Good Enough To Eat!

Rocking Dog Is Wrapping Up In May

Wrapping For Nothing, Rocking Dog

Wrapping For Nothing

I hope you have had a great weekend and that you were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. Rocking Dog was indeed wrapping up. There were three birthdays to celebrate a 30th, a 21st and a new birth, so I got busy with a host of paper flotsam and jetsam!

As you know old Rocking Dog loves doing a bit of creative wrapping, and this weekend was no different. Frou assembled it was time to get to work!

30th present was wrapped in a piece of sample wallpaper from B&Q. I curiously like the whitewashed brick and plate paper, but i’d rather reserve it for gift wrapping than any interior design project! I used a glue gun to wrap the parcel, many wallpapers not being keen on having Sellotape adhered to them. Now to embellish the parcel. Food images were cut out from freebie John Lewis copy and from a Sophie Conran catalogue (sorry Sophie, but you ARE being very cleverly recycled!). Images glued to the plates, the parcel was then given some jolly ribbon and wooden cutlery “label”. Not quite finished I added a crochet’d turnip, a fragment of frou from a long gone tea towel. Now Sorrel you have to cleverly guess which cookery tome is gift wrapped!

21st present was wrapped in white tissue paper and then decorated with stars and hearts. Shape punches are inexpensive to buy and great to cut large quantities of shapes quickly and accurately. Hobbycraft, The Range and online suppliers provide great selections. Small punches can be used to create your own confetti or table sprinkles (use magazines, pretty gift wrap or old books). For this gift I cut stars from a magazine page and marbled hearts were punched from a Lush spa booklet. A ribbon bought from a bargain basket (50p for 3 metres) at Eastville Market coordinated with the stars. Finally I added an Ikea blackboard label.

Newborn presents were wrapped in green tissue with thin twine to tie. The gifts were “planted” in rustic card pots (only another 78 to use!) and given a plant stick label “From Little Acorns Mighty Oaks Grow”. Somewhat miraculously I found some decorative acorns in my big glass frou jar. Voila!! Oliver, welcome to the world little one.

I hope you like Rocking Dog’s wrapping moment. Now to get down to the serious stuff and get this wedding nailed. Shopping lists, time plans, producers to call, labels to write, china hire list to check etc… etc…and that’s before the cooking begins! But it’s all good fun. It does rather mean that in the next couple of weeks my blog posts may sadly be a little sporadic.

Wishing you a sunny and happy week.

Naked Parcels, Rocking Dog

Naked Parcels

Frou...., Rocking Dog


......& More Frou!, Rocking Dog

……& More Frou!

Stars & Marbled Hearts, Rocking Dog

Stars & Marbled Hearts

B&Q Wrap, Rocking Dog

B&Q Wrap

Present In A Pot, Rocking Dog

Present In A Pot

Rocking Dog Loves Manuscript Paper

Italian Food Parcel, Rocking Dog

Italian Food Parcel

Oooooh how I love a good bit of manuscript paper! The true definition of a manuscript is that it is a handwritten piece of work rather than work which is typed or word processed. So, manuscripts could include a handwritten recipe book, love letters, old property deeds, Bob Cratchit style account ledgers, etc…etc..

I was fortunate to find some beautiful manuscript papers on a flea market stall in Perugia. Not being in the least bit proficient in Italian I have no idea what they relate to, but they look quite official. Many have been stamped, I believe that they are Sardinian. The papers are dated 1832 and 1838, and for being nearly 200 years old they are in remarkable condition. In England this is a period when Charles Dickens is writing, Victoria ascends the throne (1837) and Brunel’s steamship SS. Great Western crosses the Atlantic (1838). The delicious bundle cost me a bargainous 15 euro’s and I am going to be very mean about how I use the precious sheets! My first thought was to get some photocopied to use as wrapping paper. The script marries so well with decadent velvet or satin ribbon, a silk flower, ostentatious label … the possibilities are endless!

On Saturday I met with friends for a delicious brunch, laughs and middle aged moans! I wrapped up Italian sponge fingers and good Italian chocolate together with a recipe for tiramisu for the girls. I bandaged the goodies in some
commercially printed manuscript paper strung together with twine. Madagascan vanilla pods embellished the parcels and smelt divine.

Hope you have a lovely week, and that all is not windswept and wet in your part of the world.

Vanilla Pod Detail, Rocking Dog

Vanilla Pod Detail

Dressed To Impress, Rocking Dog

Dressed To Impress

Flea Market Find, Rocking Dog

Flea Market Find

Photographic Backdrop, Rocking Dog

Photographic Backdrop

Script & Bling! Rocking Dog

Script & Bling!

Letters & Lace, Rocking Dog

Letters & Lace

Inspired Summer Gift Wrapping

Jolly Jar, Rocking Dog

Jolly Jar

A few more inspired summer gift wrapping ideas from Rocking Dog.

I have loved the July issue of M & S’s freebie food paper. The lovely large sheets have given me a wonderful cache of paper for wrapping gifts, making envelopes and images to cut out for gift tags etc.. I particularly liked the page with the fish and chip illustration, can’t you just smell the vinegar soaked newspaper! Effective gift wrapping for free. I’m sure if someone you knew received a parcel like this, they wouldn’t think cheapskate, they’d think how wonderfully stylish!

The Jolly Jar is a Bonne Maman jam jar which I have frou’d with fabric, ribbon, and up-cycled elephant and ballerina. I have filled mine with mini marshmallows and a token for a zoo trip. You could fill one with popcorn and cinema ticket or sewing paraphernalia and gift voucher for “The Makery” etc.. Another idea for simple “wrapping” for a child’s gift, is to sew bags from fabric oddments. Add ribbon handles and a pretty patch feature. My piggy and duck came from Designer’s Guild off cuts from nursery curtains made for my youngest many moons ago. Andyman was still madly wallpapering when my labour was in full throttle!

Summery tags are made using snippets from “Country Living”, luggage labels and twine. I have used stamps and ink pad to add sentiments to the tags.

Lavender is ready to be harvested, it can be dried and used to make gorgeous scented gifts. Oatmeal and lavender can be used to fill little muslin pillows, add strings so that they can be hung from the hot bath tap. This will give you the most aromatic and silky skinned bathe! Lavender can fill fabric hearts to scent clothes and keep moths at bay. Lastly, wrap lavender soaps in hessian, add a ribbon and fresh lavender stalks. No Sellotape required!

Here endeth the sermon on simple, cost effective and stylish wrapping and gift ideas.

Hope this is the start of a lovely week for you all.

Frouing Essentials, Rocking Dog

Frouing Essentials

M & S Wrapping, Rocking Dog

M & S Wrapping

Good Enough To Eat!, Rocking Dog

Good Enough To Eat!

Party Spots, Rocking Dog

Party Spots

Summery Tags, Rocking Dog

Summery Tags

Lavender Love, Rocking Dog

Lavender Love

Hambrook Quilting Bee Hangs Up Her Needle!

Ready To Slumber Under, Rocking Dog

Ready To Slumber Under

Yes, the Hambrook Quilting Bee has hung up her needle- the quilt is finished!

Lots has happened since my last quilt making post. After sewing the squares together I backed the patchwork mass with some cotton batting (wadding) using safety pins to secure the layers. Following this I used a special walking foot on beloved Bernina to do something called “stitching in the ditch”. This is a technique to topstitch accurately between each square and to anchor the various layers together. I then added a border of dog tooth gingham before cutting backing fabric of traditional pillow ticking.

Some very late nights followed, sewing vintage buttons between the squares to further secure the three layers. I used green embroidery thread for the task and left decorative knotted threads on the quilts reverse.

Searching through fabric mountain for edging fabric I came upon my dusty French ribbon box. I remember buying this box at some street market in a now long forgotten French city. I remember seeing boxes upon boxes of ribbons, obviously the contents of some ancient defunct haberdasher. Sadly with space at a premium (no doubt a car bulging with three children, tent and camping paraphernalia) I could only choose one box! This box is labelled “bandeaux autruche coul” Translated, bandeaux means strip, often pertaining to fabric strips used for the hair. Autruche meanwhile is a place in the Champagne region of France, whilst Coul I see as an abbreviation for coleur (colour). As most of the ribbons are in shades of creams through to browns could this be the box that the Haberdasher labelled “Champagne coloured ribbon” ? I am reminded of the custom of buying and wearing new ribbons in books by Jane Austen and the like. In my box I found ribbon to edge my quilt and some lovely old Swedish braid to completely over gild the lily!

I didn’t quite make it round with my edging ribbon so I improvised with a little braid that originally came from my Mum’s sewing box. I have an old Welsh quilt that has lots of odds and ends incorporated into its fabulous make up…and I love it!

Loose threads cut, quilt pressed, there was just one final flourish. I added a verse and chose something from Virgil, the Roman Virgil and not the Thunderbirds Virgil! Incidentally, it reminds me that my son Alex’ as a little boy hated going to have his hair cut, so the promise of a Virgil (the Thunderbirds variety) hairstyle was the only way we could avoid tantrums! Back to Roman Virgil, I love “the dank night is sweeping down from the sky and the setting stars incline our heads to sleep”, thus I penned the verse onto a vintage linen coaster, backed it with Bondaweb and ironed it to the quilt.

Voila! The quilt is finished. I just need to decorate the room it is destined for, so that I can let the patchwork slumbers begin!

Stitch In The Ditch!, Rocking Dog

Stitch In The Ditch!

Laborious Buttons!, Rocking Dog

Laborious Buttons!

Quilting Bee, Rocking Dog

Quilting Bee

Swedish Border, Rocking Dog

Swedish Border

Champagne Strips, Rocking Dog

Champagne Strips

Vintage Haberdashery, Rocking Dog

Vintage Haberdashery

Edging Improvisation, Rocking Dog

Edging Improvisation

Finishing Touch, Rocking Dog

Finishing Touch

Folded & Waiting, Rocking Dog

Folded & Waiting

Something For The Weekend- Garden Bouquet

Scented Bunch, Rocking Dog

Scented Bunch

Today I wanted to take my Octogenarian friend a gift. I didn’t want to go to the shops. I headed out to the garden with my scissors and gathered flowers for a Rocking Dog hand-tie.

For your own hand-tied bunch, cut flowers of similar lengths and create a bouquet in the palm of your hand as you go. When you feel that you have created a generous enough bunch, do a little pimping still clutching the bouquet firmly in your hand. When you are happy with the overall effect, bind the bunch with some garden string. You can do this if you are dextrous whilst still holding the bunch. However, if you are like me a bit cack-handed, lay the bouquet carefully on a surface to bind. Cut the firmly bound stems to an equal length and add a tie of ribbon or raffia if wished. Voila! A fabulous scented bouquet that has literally cost nothing to create, and invariably more lovely than shop bought flowers. See a hand-tied bunch done properly by the amazing Sarah Raven.

Give your masterpiece away if you can bear!

Our England really is beautiful at the moment, it really makes me want to burst into “Jerusalem”! We are lucky enough to have a meadow (not ours) behind our home (we’ll forget the minor detail of the thumping big motorway too). The meadow is a mass of wild sorrel, moon daisies, clover, cow parsley, red campion and a host of other species without names. We are enjoying it whilst we still can, because very soon some truly mad cows will be grazing this pasture. Until then, Real Live Rocking Dog just loves rolling in the grasses feeling the sun on his tummy!

Whatever you are doing this weekend and whichever part of the world you’re in have a lovely one.

Cottage Garden Loveliness, Rocking Dog

Cottage Garden Loveliness

Flower Filled Meadow, Rocking Dog

Flower Filled Meadow

Wanting To Play, Rocking Dog

Wanting To Play