Tag Archives: Styling

Rocking Dog Is All Washed Up!

Plentiful Pretty Plates,Rocking Dog

Plentiful Pretty Plates

Wet day, sore ear, it was the perfect day to hole myself up quietly in the kitchen and wash all the china for our family friends Boho’ wedding next weekend. I’m so glad that the nuptials aren’t this weekend, we’ll take our chances on there being sunshine pretty please for next Saturday.

I was up and down the cellar stairs today with boxes of dinner plates, plates for mezze, bread and pud’. There were cups, saucers, butter plates, jugs and sugar bowls all needing suds! There were flowers, geometrics, sentimental scenes, royal transfers, gilding and crests all to rediscover. My boxes of charity shop, auction and family treasures are a boxed 100 year history of domestic tableware.

China sorted, counted and re-boxed. It will gleam and look characterful on the lime washed tables together with flowers, Babycham glasses and polished cutlery. For me, catering for weddings is an exciting creative performance, showtime!

Well done Rocking Dog with the days worth of washing up under my belt that’s another job ticked off the mighty long list!

Kitsch Tableware,Rocking Dog

Kitsch Tableware

All Era's,Rocking Dog

All Era’s

Pretty Pourers,Rocking Dog

Pretty Pourers

I’m Done With The Leeches -It’s Bunny Therapy Now!

Favourite Floral Pots,Rocking Dog

Favourite Floral Pots

I’m done with the leeches and the Sourdough bread poultices I have joined my own self help group and taken up cheery bunny therapy!

I know it’s early and oh so tempting to eat chocolate eggs every time you pass the table but I thought I could do with a cheery styling project.I started with a wallpaper runner (Laura Ashley “Grapes” in the £5 bargain bin). I then collected together lovely florally china bits, wooden farmyard animals and Easter paraphernalia which I have collected and hoarded over the years. There were also foil wrapped eggs (M&S and Sainsbury’s), and bunches of spring flowers from shop and garden. My garden is a wonderfully weedy mass of Forget Me Nots and Soldiers & Sailors at the moment. Now these are weeds I really do like!

My Easter tableaux is still work in progress and gradually there will be more frou added. No doubt replacement egg supplies will be required. Meals will be taken in the kitchen for the next month!

Yesterday I also did some therapeutic spring clean therapy and gardening therapy. Oh blooming dear those pesky moles have been having a field day over the winter!

On a less cheery note our youngest daughter had a frightening experience in London last night. She was waiting for a bus at Highbury & Islington when two moped riding muggers mounted the pavement at high speed and stole her phone. Though not hurt she was desperately shaken. Witnesses were very kind and found it incredulous that in a matter of seconds this awful crime had occurred. It was well lit, busy and in a CCTV covered area. A concerned stranger let our distressed and shocked youngster borrow their phone to call us. It allowed us to get on and block the phone etc.. Thankfully there were no online banking passwords, but lots of other data available which made us all feel uneasy. We would hate this to happen to anyone else, please check data held on your phone and carefully think how and when you use your phone. There will be big hugs for Little Liv when I see her tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you and that the sun keeps on shining. Love Rocking Dog x

Easter Tableaux,Rocking Dog

Easter Tableaux

Easter Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Easter Loveliness

Easter Wrap,Rocking Dog

Easter Wrap

Backpacking Bunny,Rocking Dog

Backpacking Bunny

Cleaning Therapy,Rocking Dog

Cleaning Therapy

Gardening Therapy,Rocking Dog

Gardening Therapy

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!

Owning Up To A Few More Dec’s

Retro Window Ledge,Rocking Dog

Retro Window Ledge

The shops are reducing their prices on Christmas decorations, Yay! Rocking Dog finds it impossible to resist just a few little ones! There are some turquoise glass bauble pagoda’s, rusty pink glittery pine cones and shimmery toadstools. There is also a lovely tasseled banner proclaiming “Merry Jolly Happy Falalalalala”, whatever that means!

I find it difficult to restrict myself to a single festive theme, thus the table is very nordic with white plates, glass domes, reindeer and budding hyacinths. Meanwhile further up the room there is a window ledge full of childhood memories. Boxes of 60’s baubles, the fairy lights that used to trail around the Christmas tree at home and the tacky Chinese import decorations. Of course we all know that the kitchen is hung with massive glittery carrots. I’m going to miss them when they head into the attic!

When I was in Stockholm two years ago decorations were predominantly red and white, festively and tastefully beautiful. I have emulated a bit of Scandi’ by dressing some little Bay Tree plants with simple squares of red and white gingham tied with rustic string. Presently adorning the windows at the front of the house, in the Spring I will plant them in the garden. I am tempted to try my hand at creating some topiary.

Still outside, every Christmas I make a simple kissing bough out of two wire coat hangers. I twist long strands of ivy around my frame and when the wire is completely concealed by the foliage I add an apple. I use a darning needle threaded with fishing line, and then suspend the apple from the centre of the frame. Ribbon and mistletoe are added as a final flourish. Kissing boughs like this have been made for midwinter festivities from ancient times.

My door is normally decked with a bunch of mistletoe, but this year finds itself with a bell wreath. I bought it in the spring in TK Maxx for £3. The plan was to deconstruct it and add in other things….. but..!

There are a few more little decorations coming. A box containing decorations which look like pastel coloured Macaron are eagerly awaited.

I hope all your preparations for the weekend are going well and that any journeys will be safe ones.

Scandi Inspiration,Rocking Dog

Scandi Inspiration

My Scandi, Rocking Dog

My Scandi

£3 Wreath,Rocking Dog

£3 Wreath

New Pagoda & Banner,Rocking Dog

New Pagoda & Banner

Natural Embellishment,Rocking Dog

Natural Embellishment

Kissing Bough,Rocking Dog

Kissing Bough

The Love Of My Umbrian Kitchen

Sorrel's Laden Table,Rocking Dog

Sorrel’s Laden Table

With the cold and dampness of November in the West Country it’s lovely to remember the warmth of recent winter days spent in Umbria. Andyman and I were keen to put our stamp on No5 and spent four days climbing ladders to paint our bijoux apartment throughout.

We went to an amazing local paint shop for a vat of white emulsion. Sheets of gold leaf, glittery paints, floor paints, colourful paints, matt, gloss, egg shell, and we came out with bog standard white. Next time, yes next time!

Though Andyman’s Italian is progressing at an impressive rate it didn’t quite manage the technicalities of paint “speak”. In hindsight we rather think that the colossal vat of white was supposed to mixed with a significant quantity of water. No worries, the paint went on like PVA glue. I suddenly became a very unsplattered painter and the coverage was superb, no second coat required!

The boring bits done, we could get on and add pops of colour. As planned, the wardrobe was moved into the kitchen and transformed into a larder cupboard. Oak shelves, paint, handles and  wallpaper remnant all played their part in this up-cycle. I estimate the makeover cost just over £100 as opposed to £1,500 upwards for a JL or M&S version. In time it will have a blackboard, some hanging hooks and other larderesque refinements. Meanwhile a little bedroom table acquired with the apartment was reassigned for use as a kitchen workspace. Paint and a new handle was all that was required. Voila! my kitchen was evolving and growing.

Before leaving for Italy we commissioned  a local metalworker to make up two simple curtain poles and a batterie de cuisine (approximately £60 for the three items). Utensildom sorted!

The lovely timeworn rusty lanterns did not “make the cut” for the trip, the choice was to take the lanterns or Real Live Rocking Dog! In the event we decided on a local Italian chef/boffin to create a bespoke twisted copper light source for our living space. The lanterns do not need to look forlorn, they will be “plumbed” into Rock House at some point.

Finally the lovely frouing bits kept me busy. How often have you stayed in a holiday let with four forks between six of you, a chopping board that has seen better days or chipped plates galore? No5 therefore is definitely going to be a cooks kitchen.

We have rarely as a family done a hotel holiday, in part it’s because we all like to cook. I well remember, staying in a hotel overnight in readiness for an early morning flight and our youngest on walking into the family room asking “mummy where is the kitchen?!” Then there was the year we had a last minute deal to Madeira and by day three I was crawling the walls wanting to get my hands on a knife (a cook’s one obviously!). With a market brimming with fish and local fruit and vegetables I was desperate to whizz something up! This utter desperation may also have been slightly influenced by the retro 70’s pudding buffet on offer at the hotel. I had never witnessed such a display of wibbly blancmange, jellies, bavarois, creme caramel and other rather nasty gelatinous delicacies. Frustratingly there were banana’s growing everywhere on the island, but seemingly not one to be had in the hotel.

In our kitchen there are knives, matched china and glassware, cutlery (and yes cutlery phobic son there is some “Dragon” cutlery in the drawer) baking tins, scales, serving dishes etc..etc.. I tested the oven by baking a cake and made a little list of kitchenalia yet to buy. Cooking generally leads to eating, and so at times with the nights getting shorter and more nippy we ate inside (Sorrel and Liv’s laden table was a seasonal, locally produced highlight), but there were sunny warm opportunities where eating outside was simply perfect.

There are still bits to do. The kitchen table has had its legs painted in jolly “Mister David” and it awaits equally cheery chairs to join it in the spring. I loved some ladder back inspiration in Lerici. Andyman and I went to relive our youth there momentarily. It was 35 years since we were last in the pretty coastal town, back then we camped, ate frozen calamari, drank Lambrusco, sweltered in the scorching heat and got bitten alive by mosi’s!

Last night at the kennel I could not find the can opener for love nor money. Somewhat frustratingly I know a drawer in a far off land where I have two!

 

 

Paint Those Chairs, Rocking Dog

Paint Those Chairs

Ladder-back Inspiration!,Rocking Dog

Ladder-back Inspiration!

Let's Think,Rocking Dog

Let’s Think

Little Black Book,Rocking Dog

Little Black Book

Workspace,Rocking Dog

Workspace

Wardrobe To Larder,Rocking Dog

Wardrobe To Larder

Utensildom!,Rocking Dog

Utensildom!

Kitchen View,Rocking Dog

Kitchen View

Breakfast Spot,Rocking Dog

Breakfast Spot

l

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

An Unashamedly Pink Post!

Knitted Pink, Rocking Dog

Knitted Pink

An unashamedly pink post from Rocking Dog this morning. At the weekend I was given an exquisite bunch of deep pink peonies, and suddenly I wanted to gather some pinkness together to celebrate my beautiful blooms.

A tableaux evolved with vintage pink gilded plates, knitted asparagus brooches and pretty vintage tea cups. A gilded plastic mirror, diamante buckles, and mother of pearl, together with glass domes were added into the mix. I love the combination of pink and gold. The little gilded coffee set trinket box is Limoges and a bargainous May Fair purchase.

A few years ago I picked up a book in Waterstone’s and knew I just couldn’t leave the shop without it. Carolyn Quartermaine’s “Unwrapped” first published in 1997 (£35) is a real style bible and has inspired me for various food styling, paper collage and script projects over the years. So, the pages from this delicious book provide some of the backdrops for my photo’s today.

When I ran “Heaven’s Cake” I was asked to cater for an art exhibition “And Miss Carter wore pink” by Helen Bradley. Held at the Holburne Museum, Bath, I took inspiration from the naive paintings to create and style canapes for the event. I can’t remember the food, but I can remember serving everything on pink straw wide brimmed hats and in pretty pink evening bags. I always loved doing the styling as much as cooking the food!

I love pink, and always want to create a predominantly pink and mauvey tone garden. Unfortunately there is a predominance of garish but lovely Dandelions, so the plan for pink loveliness is alas a bit of a dream!

Pink Peonies, Rocking Dog

Pink Peonies

Plastic Gilt & Pink, Rocking Dog

Plastic Gilt & Pink

Pink Tableaux, Rocking Dog

Pink Tableaux

Hot Dahlia Pink, Rocking Dog

Hot Dahlia Pink

Variegated Pink, Rocking Dog

Variegated Pink

Rose Pink, Rocking Dog

Rose Pink

Heavenly Pink, Rocking Dog

Heavenly Pink

Coffee Time Pink, Rocking Dog

Coffee Time Pink

Pink Prezzy, Rocking Dog

Pink Prezzy

Think Beyond The Box, Wear A Tablecloth!

Deco Tablecloth & Andyman's Gran!, Rocking Dog

Deco Tablecloth & Andyman’s Gran!

My interpretation of thinking beyond the box and wearing a tablecloth, is to use them as fabulous scarves, shawls and sarongs. I’ll pass on that last one because i’m not one for promenading on the beach. In fact i’m the one sat under the tree or umbrella and complaining that it’s simply too blasted hot! Give me snow, the arctic circle, pine trees and sub-zero temperatures in preference to blazing sun and sand hot enough to melt your flip-flops!

So yes a fashion staple of mine is a good vintage tablecloth to snazz up a plain, and possibly somewhat bland ensemble. Spend a little time configuring the best way of draping your vintage garb. If you are of a certain age, Dame Judi Dench and the lovely Dame Jenni Murray have great ways of configuring a whole host of scarves.

Yesterday the CLIC Sargent charity shop in Gloucester Road proved a fruitful vintage hunting ground. I spotted a lovely square tablecloth in jolly yellow and white with vibrant images of tables laid up with lobster, gammon and exotic fruits. £10 bought me a fantastic little cover up when forthcoming hot days become dusky cooler evenings. Dating from the 50’s or early 60’s, I know I will covet this nostalgic textile. Oldest daughter has “bagsed” it already without even seeing it!

Still in the 50/60’s I have a lovely cloth depicting red roses which i’m sure will get an outing soon. I find it fascinating to think about how it would have looked in its surroundings when it was proudly purchased or gifted. Was it laid over the oh so practical Formica topped kitchen table and was it dressed with the latest pyrex tableware?

Another favourite table linen is a somewhat older cloth dating from the 20’s/30’s. We are in the realms of The Charleston, cloche hat, sleek motor car, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and glamour with a capital G. Of course not everything was rosy, the Great Depression and grinding poverty for many, sat harshly in this era of the carefree spinning flapper girl. My Deco tablecloth came from a now defunct vintage shop in Clifton Arcade. Cleo’s tiny shop was an absolute trove of fashion, jewels and accessories of the last century. She was passionate about her stock and knowledgable on its provenance and quirks. Back to the cloth, in perfect condition it is printed with geometrics, stylised flora and abstract pattern. With a simple colour palate of navy, dove grey and vibrant orange on a cream background it’s certainly striking! I wore it against white linen for a party. After a lot of frou’ing I decided to set it on one shoulder. Voila!

Although not a tablecloth, I am somewhat tempted to use an old St John Ambulance sling as a scarf one of these days. I love the powerful black imagery. It dates from WW1 and unfortunately I have no recollection when or where I bought it. It’s amazing that in the last decade we have seen cotton triangular slings become obsolete. Velcro, D rings, mesh, manmade drip dry materials, ice pockets, render the art of tying a sling to history.

If tablecloths are stained or moth eaten they can be cannibalised into pretty aprons, retro headbands and turbans. “Chic on a Shoestring” by Mary Jane Baxter is a great little tome for up-cycling materials into whizzy things to wear. There are even instructions on making a pill box hat from a Cornflake’s packet. Wedding millinery sorted!

Whatever the weekend (sorry, very cheesy link!) holds for you, I hope it’s a lovely one. Love Rocking Dog x

Rock n' Roll Table Linen, Rocking Dog

Rock n’ Roll Table Linen

60's Mum & Bro!, Rocking Dog

60’s Mum & Bro!

Wonderful CLIC Emporium, Rocking Dog

Wonderful CLIC Emporium

WW1 Sling, Rocking Dog

WW1 Sling

Box For The Sling!, Rocking Dog

Box For The Sling!

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Christmas Has Tumbled Down From The Attic!

Tumbling Out Of The Attic!, Rocking Dog

Tumbling Out Of The Attic!

Yes Indeed, Christmas has tumbled down from the attic! As Andyman passed boxes and bags down from the hatch even I had to say “Houston we have a problem”! Andyman quickly changed the “we” to a “you have a problem”. However, he was kind enough to go onto say that for 50 weeks of the year the hoarding is confined to the attic.

This year we had another attic hatch installed…..handy that! Thankfully, Andyman emerged from Number 3 attic cobwebbed, dusty, remarkably composed and good humoured despite dealing with the seemingly endless haul.

Every year I look forward to unwrapping familiar festive treasures. There are decorations from childhood, travels, ones handmade by family and friends and those charity shop finds. There are decorations with previous life histories- escutcheons which would have graced doors and furniture, chess pieces, and crystal drops from elaborate chandeliers. There is no mitchy- matchy colour scheming or theming, this is all about nostalgia and kitsch!

I met with a friend last night and she somewhat guiltily confessed that she puts up cards from previous years. Kindred spirits we are, for I too have a stash of cards which come out each year. They are a mixture of vintage cards, together with ones that friends and family have designed and made. I recently bought a Christmas Card order book dating from 1961. Contained within the book were actual cards depicting holly gathering bobble hatted children, cutesy dogs, snow scenes and stocking hung fireplaces. The oddest card is one depicting a hammer and wine glass! Maybe i’ll create a 1960’s tableau this year with my cards, putz houses a couple of Babycham glasses, bowls of Twiglets and Cheese Footballs and technicolour tinsel galore!

Over the next few days Grinching will be done, and the house will look at its best. I always think this is a winter loving home.

I hope your preparations for Christmas are going well. Not long to go before the manic scramble for the last sprout begins!

Glass Dome Doggy, Rocking Dog

Glass Dome Doggy

Glittery Pickles, Rocking Dog

Glittery Pickles

For The Tree, Rocking Dog

For The Tree

Deer, Deer!, Rocking Dog

Deer, Deer!

Tissue Wrapped Nativity, Rocking Dog

Tissue Wrapped Nativity

Hand Embroidered Noel, Rocking Dog

Hand Embroidered Noel

Scandi' Yule, Rocking Dog

Scandi’ Yule

Escutcheons To Hang, Rocking Dog

Escutcheons To Hang

Every Year Cards, Rocking Dog

Every Year Cards

The Mistletoe Has Been & Gone!

Starry Bunch, Rocking Dog

Starry Bunch

A beautiful couple tied the knot on Saturday. Unbelievably they gave me free licence with choice of flowers and plant material for a wedding arch, hurricane lamp frouing and fifteen table vases. Brave folk!

I hope the photo’s in today’s blog give you a taste of my foray into floristry. The arch evolved with several voyages out onto the Frome Valley Walkway and Rocking Dog garden for armfuls of ivy. As time went on I became very picky about type of leaf etc..! Wired on to the metal frame together with battery operated fairy lights (Wilko) this formed the basis of my woodland arch. White frame covered, I wired in young eucalyptus and variegated ivy to form a bower. Hours passed. The arch was transported in three sections to the venue by two burly chaps. Job done.

Dawn arrived and after another trip to the St Philips Flower and Fruit market I filled glass tanks with mistletoe, eucalyptus, and limey green and white parrot tulips. In place of Oasis to support the arrangement I tucked lime halves into the vases. Hurricane lamp bases were arranged with sprigs of mistletoe and I loved them for their simplicity.

At the venue The Rodney Hotel, Clifton, I got back to the arch. I secured more ivy to disguise the section joins, added a cloud of mistletoe to the bower and hung further clumps from the arches’ frame. A generous bunch of mistletoe was hung from the inside of the arch ready for the “You May Kiss The Bride” moment, and silvery glints were added with mercury heart baubles. The crowning glory was a gilded pear. I Pritt-sticked (yes really!) a Conference pear before applying sheets of gold leaf, gently patting down the flakes with a paint brush. The fairy lights were switched to gentle twinkle mode and then it was time for me to simply vanish!

Life continues to be stressful, but those hours of wiring, arranging and florally improvising were quite therapeutic. I was sad that the claw-foot bath was looking quite desolate without its burgeoning mistletoe display, and sad that there was NO mistletoe left! But then….hallelujah… a bunch had been left behind by the front door. It was time for my doors to be adorned with a mistletoe spray. Gingham ribbon and some metal stars added some glory to my simple door decorations. The Christmas decorating is slowly gathering pace and I can play you know who without any guilt whatsoever!

Woodland Wedding Arch, Rocking Dog

Woodland Wedding Arch

Gilded Pear, Rocking Dog

Gilded Pear

Mercury Heart, Rocking Dog

Mercury Heart

Parrot Tulips In The Mix, Rocking Dog

Parrot Tulips In The Mix

Romantic Chalkboard, Rocking Dog

Romantic Chalkboard

Romantic Hurricane, Rocking Dog

Romantic Hurricane