Tag Archives: Rocking Dog Blog

My 400th Rocking Dog Post

Exquisite Setting,Rocking Dog

Exquisite Setting

Sorry that there is no Rocking Dog gingerbread house or cake with the number 400 on it. Life has been busy shopping and preparing for a lovely wedding at the end of the week. Rocking Dog is going to be pulling out all the stops! The atmospheric photo heading this post is taken in the garden where there’ll be a marquee, an undoubtedly very glamorous bride and groom and a melee of equally gorgeous guests. I am slightly worried that my own outfit is all together rather Handmaid’s Tale – I’m just needing the bonnet! The garden this morning was young, fresh, verdant and with the happy sound of little children enjoying the first day of the summer holidays, yay! The borders are looking wonderful with Bears Breeches, Agapanthus, Hosta’s and other botanical loveliness. The old warm brick walls which formerly would have had lean-to green housing for the growing of lemons, pineapples and other “showy” edibles now hosts wisteria with its scented mauve chandelier blooms. There really is nothing like an English garden and this one is truly, yes absolutely truly lovely.

It has taken Rocking Dog 7 months to leap from 350 to 400 posts. There have been times where writing has not come easily. In fact reading doesn’t always come very easily either. I am ashamed to say that in June I read my first book in two years and that felt quite an achievement. The brain is such a difficult organ to fathom.

Importantly, there has been a new grandchild this spring and in turn the nurturing of new parents. The name Biddy (as in old) is becoming a term of endearment I really love. I haven’t given up leopard print or silver wedge shoes and yes, I know I will love him unconditionally even when he’s a grunting spotty teenager!

The seven months have seen Christmas glitzily come and go, and in fact come back again! Indeed, we hosted “Christmas in February” at the kennel and raised £550 (plus GiftAid) for Young Carer’s. We can do “Christmas in a Box” for families in need Christmas 2017. Wee Tam’, Old gout ridden Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) are busy conjuring up the theme for next years Burn’s Night…watch this space!

There has been lots of walking to be done with Real Live Rocking Dog with a myriad of wildlife- deer, kingfishers, weasels, buzzards, swallows and even a Russian Waxwing! The white rabbits still seem to be multiplying in the field and I never cease to think that it’s some weird scene from Teletubbies! Real Live Rocking Dog also got to walk in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and finally Italy this Spring. Like us he likes the Umbrian way of life and he is particularly partial to the sausages stocked in the village shop!

Rocking Dog has continued to make food, sew, gallantly endeavoured to tackle two unruly gardens, volunteer, homemake, care for friends & family and always tried to be cheery (for a half empty glass gal’ I acknowledge I am).

Seven months in a nutshell! Somewhat alarmingly the next fifty posts should take me to Christmas 2017! There’ll have been Young Carer’s Christmas Boxes to pack, a charity pop up restaurant night under our belts, an olive harvest to bring in (fingers crossed), Real Live Rocking Dog having walked in the snow again and lots of happy times spent with friends and family.

Love to all those who follow my blog, I appreciate you hanging in there with me

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Yes, another phenomenon of the 7 months is the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. There is a Huddle this Wednesday (26th). Homemade cake (fingers crossed) creative stuff, friendly chat and you’d be very welcome 7-9pm. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Winter Walks,Rocking Dog

Winter Walks

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam,Rocking Dog

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam

Christmas In Feb',Rocking Dog

Christmas In Feb’

Marmalade Making,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Making

Cushion Making,Rocking Dog

Cushion Making

Creative Huddling,Rocking Dog

Creative Huddling

Field Full Of Flowers,Rocking Dog

Field Full Of Flowers

Chelsea Flowers,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Flowers

Quilted Flowers,Rocking Dog

Quilted Flowers

English Wedding,Rocking Dog

English Wedding

Spring In Umbria,Rocking Dog

Spring In Umbria

Swim In Umbria!,Rocking Dog

Swim In Umbria!

Gone For A Cooling Dip!

Cooling Pool,Rocking Dog

Cooling Pool

Signing off for a really wee while to go for a cooling dip. I will hopefully be signing back in soon with a batch of creative Rocking Dog bloggery!

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Next Rocking Dog creative huddle Weds 28th June. Please come for chat, cakery and makery!

Checking Our Olives,Rocking Dog

Checking Our Olives

Lunch Alfresco,Rocking Dog

Lunch Alfresco

Detour To The Shop,Rocking Dog

Detour To The Shop

Rocking Dog Antipasti,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Antipasti

Salami To Buy,Rocking Dog

Salami To Buy

Sunset,Rocking Dog

Sunset

Q: ” How Do You Think Up Things To Blog About?’

This Rings A Chord!, Rocking Dog

This Rings A Chord!

At the Country Living Build A Business Day on Wednesday one talented “girl” having discovered I blog regularly asked me “How do you think up things to blog about?” A lovely question. In short, I thankfully rarely find it difficult to find something to spout on about!

For me, I need space to think. This brain space is normally found when I am doing the early morning walk with Real Live Rocking Dog.

I am really inspired by nature and though living only a 10 minute drive from Bristol my home is set down a wild wooded lane. The changing seasons and local flora and fauna always make regular outings on my blogs. Yesterday wild lilac bowers lined a favourite walk, the scent and colour of the blooms set me thinking. Expect a purple post soon!

As a child I used to love the school nature table. Jam-jars of tadpoles, Old Man’s Beard, Rose-hips, conkers, wild flowers and Beech masts would all make appearances throughout the year. I am a nostalgic soul and like my own seasonal nature table (no tadpoles I hasten to add!). I sometimes style a “table” for one of my blogs. Meanwhile foraging for sloes, blackberries, wild garlic and damsons provide the opportunity to make edible preserves etc..and in turn informative blogs.

Once the walk is over there is plenty of material to talk about back at the Rocking Dog Kennel. A crumbly 230 year old house with a past history of having been a bakery and an overflow mortuary for the local undertakers it has characterful bones. There has been damp, old death watch beetle, walls to take down and nudey ladies to paint over. There have been battles with listings folk, chimneys to de-nest and a summer spent scaling scaffolding brushing on 90 litres of faux “Dead Salmon”. There was the electrician who informed us of his dodgy bowels, a kitchen fitter who needed a cardiac team and a slap dash plumber who left water so deep in our kitchen that we had ducks swimming across the floor. Worse were the no show painter quoters, necessitating myself and broken shouldered husband to paint a 30 foot high ceiling on a VERY wobbly scaffolding tower. Blog material a plenty!

My makes, edible and non edible make appearances regularly and I often include instructions and recipes. The main photograph on this post made me laugh. It very much sums up eating in or out.. when I shout “don’t touch ’til I photograph it!” We all need to eat, and food doesn’t need to be elaborate to blog about. Good photographs, a degree of styling and a recipe often get people liking a food post.

I really love “my” city, so will blog about markets, parks, shops and eating haunts. I love championing people who are really good at what they do. Outside of Bristol I love to blog about events and exhibitions, Chelsea Flower Show and Kaffe Fasset’s exhibition at The American Museum, Bath particularly stand out for me.

Ancestry and the history of objects are pastimes I enjoy and I sometimes use researched material in a blog. Many of these posts are personal to my family and I. I hope they are a lasting written archive of family memories, the provenance of objects and distillation of ancestry. I would like to think that these posts are enjoyable to read for non family members.

As a self confessed magpie I love items with a history and which have been well used. Yesterday morning I was looking at our lovely linen cupboard, it’s so funny that you live with things for so long that you sometimes forget to notice them anymore. I don’t know anything about the cupboard apart from that it’s made from oak, heavily carved and when we bought it 28 years or so ago it was covered in white paint. Maybe I need to do a research blog post as I did for the lovely little Gladstone bag bought last summer.

Occasions such as Christmas provide brilliant opportunities to blog on gift making, decorations, wrapping, wreath making, festive food etc…etc..Additionally there are shop windows, festive events, other peoples decorations to blog about. It’s a blogging feeding frenzy! Pop up events, Charity Burn’s Nights and Rocking Dog sales feature in my blogs as does styling work.

Travel at home or away gives the opportunity for new experiences to be reported on and photographed. On travel I like to blog, but I hope I don’t brag. Wherever I am I really like to get to know how people live, what the locals eat, how they shop and their working lives. In Cuba we spent an hour watching two young athletic men take a primary school PE lesson. These children were seemingly having so much fun just running in teams against each other along a public tree lined walkway. Simple insights like this would make suitable blog post material.

Day to day, if a present needs wrapping it doesn’t take any longer to wrap a present for a blog shoot. As regular readers know I love a good piece of wallpaper, magazine or Chinese newspaper to do a creative wrap.

Sometimes I can be serious, especially if I think there is something I feel needs saying or telling.

General points: I try to steer clear of sex, religion and politics (though Donald Trump’s name has crept into one or two of my posts-oops!). My blog I would like to think is for a little bit of escapism. Peoples’ lives are busy with many difficulties to navigate. I really am no different even though the blog may suggest a picture perfect life!

It can be demoralising to put a sizeable quantity of time to put a blog piece together and for likes to be unforthcoming. I sometimes question why I should carry on…but something and more importantly some people keep me on going. Persevere!

I sincerely hope I have answered the question, and yes I burn the candle both ends!

So here endeth my Friday post. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Love Rocking Dog x

Nature Table, Rocking Dog

Nature Table

Home &.......,Rocking Dog

Home &…….

....Garden!, Rocking Dog

….Garden!

Alternative Wrap, Rocking Dog

Alternative Wrap

Food Eaten In ....., Rocking Dog

Food Eaten In …..

...And Out!, Rocking Dog

…And Out!

Charity Events, Rocking Dog

Charity Events

Peek In My Wardrobe!, Rocking Dog

Peek In My Wardrobe!

My City, Rocking Dog

My City

My Makes, Rocking Dog

My Makes

My Travels, Rocking Dog

My Travels

My Family, Rocking Dog

My Family

The Lightning Strike, Get Me Connected!

Calm After The Storm, Rocking Dog

Calm After The Storm

Sorry I have been away so long. We had a lightning strike about ten days ago and it has taken out our internet. I really have missed doing my Rocking Dog blog, and normal service has yet to resume. Come on BT I need to be connected!

Thankfully I have been busy with various projects so haven’t had too many blogging withdrawal symptoms. Beloved Bernina has been busy making a dog bed for Real Live Rocking Dog and there are the beginnings of a Roman blind. Unfortunately the blind project has come to a bit of a grinding halt as it requires some mathematically challenging calculations. I strongly believe I have dyscalculia… sounds tragically painful, but is numeracy dyslexia. I want to campaign to have symbols on cashpoint machines rather than numbers (i.e., duck, ball, heart etc…). Every time I go to a cash machine I am sent into a blind panic regarding whether I will have remembered my number or not. I’d rather not remember the fact that my bedroom walls were plastered with gigantium times table posters for years in the faint hope i’d remember at least my 2x table! So… back to the blind, it remains in pieces until I give myself the space to work through the figures!

Various wedding projects have kept me on my toes, addressing envelopes, sewing 130 cutlery pockets and de-Christmas’ing some huge lanterns. The lanterns bought for £13 each in TK Maxx have gone from festive red to chalky Annie Sloan white. Result! Unfortunately, I have also had my first sleepless night worrying about the enormity of doing the wedding food for 120 guests. It really will be fine. It’s just that i’m not very good at rationalising anything when it’s pitch black and i’m wanting sleep. It will be more than fine it will be AMAZING… and i’m hopeful that i’ll even remember to pull off my pinny before heading into the church. It’s a while off yet … so I hope sleep mode will kick in without any more thoughts of serving platters, refrigeration, sourcing ingredients, logistics etc…!

Post- storm I found myself back in Weston Super Mare again. It was a fabulous day with clear blue skies and welcome sunshine. Following the high stormy tides, swathes of flotsam and jetsam littered the beach. How I love beach foraging, and my trove included shells, peach stones, pebbles and abandoned toys. Dried out, the treasures are housed in a glass jar waiting to be used for some future project.

Another walk took me to the Ashton Court Estate. Nipping winds and dramatic grey skies dominated this walk, but Real Live Rocking Dog didn’t seem to mind. I loved the huge balls of mistletoe swaying in the wind smugly. They had mystically escaped the 2015 Christmas cull.

With various celebrations to wrap for, I loved picking up the latest edition of M&S Adventures (Spring) freebie paper. It prettily and stylishly wrapped birthday and Valentine’s gifts for free.

My Stanley tool bag so thoughtfully bought for me by Andyman has come into its own this week. I finally adorned the dressing table with the agate handles and mended the cooker (ooh …. my language!!) On the subject of homemaking, I am LOVING The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC2) at the moment.

The most boring achievement of the week has to be the fact that I have clean kitchen cupboards. No more plastic tubs tumbling out to cause the most terrible of expletives, and now some great stock control in place. Yippee, it’s amazing how clean cupboards makes your brain feel somehow less cluttered. I can report that unlike my Mother in law’s recent clean out there were no ancient tins of Toast Toppers to report!

I do hope I can sign on again soon, I have missed my banter with the world!

I hope this finds you all well, and that you are enjoying the fact that we are hurtling towards another weekend.

Love Rocking Dog x

Not Mistletoe Season!, Rocking Dog

Not Mistletoe Season!

New Bed, Rocking Dog

New Bed

Starting The Blind, Rocking Dog

Starting The Blind

Agate Handles, Rocking Dog

Agate Handles

Beach Treasure, Rocking Dog

Beach Treasure

Wrapping For Free, Rocking Dog

Wrapping For Free

Matrimonial Painting..., Rocking Dog

Matrimonial Painting…

 ...Stitching, Rocking Dog

…Stitching

... & Scribing, Rocking Dog

… & Scribing

Happy New Year From Rocking Dog!

A Rare Pic'!, Rocking Dog

A Rare Pic’!

A very Happy New Year from Rocking Dog to one and all! This photo is VERY rare, I appreciate I have been a little bit of an enigma to some of those who have never met me and who have been supportively following my blog. Seriously, there are less photo’s of me than those taken of my Victorian ancestors over a century ago. Recently I needed to send a photo of myself for a booking I was undertaking. The only photo I could find was of me as part of a group family shot taken four years previously (less hair,less grey and less pounds!). Anyway I thought i’d start the new year with a photo to smile in 2016!

I hope you have had a lovely Christmas and New Year spent with friends and family. It is so easy to hope that you can start the new year healthily but if it’s anything like our household your fridge will be still groaning with cheese, salami, wine, beer, cream and the like! The health drive will have to start mid January at this rate.

I’m sure we all made wishes on the strike of Midnight on New Years Eve. All of us I would boldly presume are hoping for a safer world to live in. World events in 2015 have been so grim, and with problems so seemingly impossible to solve. We cannot possibly hope to personally deal with such major divides, but in some small way we can show acts of kindness in our communities. Even a smile or friendly “Good Morning” can make someone feel less invisible, and better about the day ahead.

I think everyone has a degree of topsy-turvydom in their own lives every year. My own family has been no different, with many difficult situations to try and navigate and overcome in 2015. We unfortunately required the attendance of the emergency services rather too often in the year. Grateful thanks must go to the paramedic, ambulance, and police teams who dealt with various family members so wonderfully. Despite a few niggling glitches, we as a family benefitted from excellent care from hospital staff in Bristol and London. Thank you. Even Real Live Rocking Dog required the expertise of his own medical team. We were all too thankful for keeping on going with the escalating insurance payments!

In amongst all the difficult stuff we have enjoyed some truly wonderful times. Sometimes it’s not the things that have cost a lot, indeed it’s often the things that have cost nothing at all that have made memories. We had a great game of Pass the Parcel on New Years Eve (thank you Sorrel). Who would have thought that a few layers of brightly coloured paper, hand written forfeits and a packet of frankfurters could cause SO much merriment!

Looking back on 2015 I loved my day spent at Chelsea Flower Show, still love sewing, enjoyed my Christmas Sale and liked being commissioned for various projects. Friends and family as ever make my life feel very fulfilling and happy. Thank you to all of those who have endured my grumpiness, confidence issues and the joys of a fifty something woman! Special thanks to Andyman who changed my kerb ridden tyre at the weekend without comment, and to my lovely children plus ones who lovingly accept me just the way I am.

I hope that 2016 brings all that you hope for, that life isn’t too precariously topsy turvy and with the good times definitely outweighing the harder moments.

I hope to carry on blogging regularly, and hope that you’ll hang on in there for the ride. Thank you to all those who have been so kind about my posts and who tell me to keep on going. You will never know how much that means to me.

Love and the warmest good wishes to you and your families as the new year tumbles in.

Liz (Rocking Dog)x

PS The photo of yours truly was taken at Sky Garden, London. I can truly recommend the amazing 360 views of the city. Access is totally free, but the cocktails unfortunately aren’t! Bah Humbug!

Growing, Rocking Dog

Growing

Picking, Rocking Dog

Picking

Wanting!, Rocking Dog

Wanting!

Baking, Rocking Dog

Baking

Crud Hunting!, Rocking Dog

Crud Hunting!

Learning, Rocking Dog

Learning

DIY'ing, Rocking Dog

DIY’ing

Walking, Rocking Dog

Walking

Sewing, Rocking Dog

Sewing

Caring, Rocking Dog

Caring

Restoring, Rocking Dog

Restoring

Blogging, Rocking Dog

Blogging

Gosh! We’ve Tipped Into October!

All The Leaves Are Brown, Rocking Dog

All The Leaves Are Brown

Gosh! We’ve tipped into October! Please tell me how this has happened. Amazingly, it is exactly a year since I started my Rocking Dog Blog. This is my 186th post and it has been lovely having your company along the way. I will bare my soul and tell you why I started blogging in the next couple of weeks.

October is a real transition month, especially when we have been blessed with such beautiful weather. People are still in summer garb, meanwhile, the shops are filled with the last floaty dregs of summer clothing and the wools and tweeds of winter. Some retailers are unashamedly putting out Christmas stock whilst others are doggedly resisting until November rears its frosty head!

October last year, I was praising the humble pumpkin. It should be roasted, pureed, souped and not just carved! (I am a Halloween killjoy!) I was also cooking quince and extolling the praises of the fruits wonderful aroma whilst they stewed. It undeniably remains one of my most favourite smells … ever (but ripening tomatoes in a sun parched greenhouse probably is up there too!) Sloes were being picked, and this year i’ll be waiting for that first frost before heading out to pick them again this year. There appears to be a truly bountiful crop. Remember to keep the sloes after they have done their sloe gin magic. They are a fantastic addition to Rocky Road and for an autumnal take on Summer Pudding. They’d also add flavour to sauces and gravies to accompany a Sunday roast.

Last October we went on one last trip to the sea before tucking our beloved Pod up for the winter. Again, this October we hope to do one last toe curlingly cold trip. We will take hot water bottles, hot chocolate supplies, woolly socks and our Real Live Rocking Dog foot warmer! Bracing walks being battered by coastal winds what could be better? Some would say lying on the same beach on a hot summers day would be absolutely preferable. One Man’s Meat Is Another Man’s Poison as they say!

Oct 2014, last minute plans were being made to head off on our Italian holiday (does any other mad soul take their holiday in October/November?) Oct 2015, another trip beckons, – vintage textiles, olives, autumn sunshine, gondola’s, Vin Santo, and gorgeous friends. We are truly fortunate.

Last October Rocking Dog was busy making, wrapping, labelling, and somethings never change… but what I make hopefully does. So there are lots of sewing projects on the Rocking Dog work bench. I HAVE to organise some serious sewing time. Any other makers please give me your tips on how you schedule your day. Do you have a set routine, do you lock the door and turn the key, let the laundry bin overfill, not answer calls etc…. etc..? I think i’d rather like a sewing turret in the clouds!

So very nearly a year on from my very first blog I hope you’ll continue to dip in and out. Some of you I personally know and thank you for your love and support. Others of you I don’t know.. but thank you for reading, liking, commenting. If anyone wants a little personalised trek around Bristol or surrounds give me a shout. We can visit foodie, vintage and historical haunts in a city I quite know and love.

Have a very lovely October.

Dog Bowl. Rocking Dog

Dog Bowl

Comforting Bowl, Rocking Dog

Comforting Bowl

Making Plans, Rocking Dog

Making Plans

Seasonal Makes, Rocking Dog

Seasonal Makes

Quince Magic, Rocking Dog

Quince Magic

Avoiding Halloween, Rocking Dog

Avoiding Halloween

Something From Nothing- Spec’s Case

The Process Begins, Rocking Dog

The Process Begins

A little weekend “something from nothing” make project from the Dog. I have got to the age where reading glasses are an essential, especially when reading numbers. Many the time I have mistaken 3’s for 8’s (there’s quite a difference between £30 and £80 or more frighteningly £300 and £800!). So often reading glasses are sold without a case, and they grub around in the bottom of my bag with uncapped Lippy’s, Post It Notes and all manner of girly bag detritus! Scratched and greasy lenses together with bent spec’ arms are often the unfortunate consequence.

Here is my cunning solution, spectacle cases made from fabric swatches. The lovely multi-colour velvet swatch and green spot swatch came in a goodie bag from the launch of Whittaker Wells. Well worth a visit if you are ever in Bristol and want to experience gorgeously delicious fabrics and friendly knowledgable service. Other swatches reside in the Rocking Dog house. Married to a Scot I inevitably always have a stash of tartans. There’s a large plaid sample from a fantastic shop called Anta which I always visit of i’m ever in Edinburgh. Other samples have come from kilt maker Kinloch Anderson. I am ashamed to say that on my last visit I walked into their plate glass door. After ensuring I was indeed living, I heard a shop member make the call to an emergency glazier!…Ooops!

This sewing project is pimpsy (ooh! haven’t used that word since I was at school!) In fact it would be a great introduction to machine sewing for a youngster, with fabrics that are free and something that can be run up in super quick time. When our youngest was at uni’ she hadn’t got much money to buy Christmas presents one year (all those Starbucks coffees me thinks!) so she made all her presents for next to nothing. I will share some of those ideas in the coming weeks.

I think the photographs for this project are fairly self explanatory, so I won’t complicate the process with over embellished instructions. The only thing I may need to clarify is Fig 7’s wooden spoon! If you have chosen a fairly heavy weight fabric you may find it difficult to turn the case out. I find a wooden spoon helpful in pushing the fabric through, and then using a chopstick (or similar) to “sharpen” up the corners.

Incidentally the backdrop for the “finished article” is a page from the book Pieces of Pattern- Lacroix by Lacroix. Truly yummy!

Poor Andyman and I are always scratching around for glasses and I remember an occasion last year when he resorted to wearing my scarlet diamante studded cats eye specs for an appointment. Seriously, would you put your trust in a man wearing such frippery to invest your life savings?!

Whatever you are doing and in whatever hot or cold (bliss!) part of the world you’re in, have a lovely weekend.

PS. If you enjoy my blog PLEASE spread the word and care and share! Thank you.

Fantastic Fold, Rocking Dog

Fantastic Fold

Hem No 1, Rocking Dog

Hem No 1

Press That Seam!, Rocking Dog

Press That Seam!

Hem No 2, Rocking Dog

Hem No 2

Well Turned Out!, Rocking Dog

Well Turned Out!

Stylish Protection!, Rocking Dog

Stylish Protection!