Tag Archives: Tartan

Readying The Kennel For St Andrews Night

Homage To Rudolph!, Rocking Dog

Homage To Rudolph!

Where is the tartan (love this link by the way) you may ask, and if the truth be known i’m asking myself the same question! The trouble is that I spotted these giant carrots in Paperchase on Sunday and I couldn’t resist coming up with a cunning plan for them. As you probably already know Andyman has put a complete embargo on any more Christmas decorations coming into the house (11 boxes are absolutely and utterly enough as the sermon from Andyman doth go!) I guessed that these carrots could be smuggled into the house under a non Christmas guise.

My kitchen chandelier thingy provided the perfect place to deal with these giant sparkly carrots. Despite their size and subtle blingy glamour Andyman chose not to pass comment at breakfast time. During the day further frouing occurred. There’s a handsome reindeer minus the red nose, and some twiggy pencils which have scribbled child like notes. How difficult I found it to write like a five year old! Some glowing strands have arrived and I plan to add some hanging mince pies. This is my homage to Santa Claus and Rudolph. The poor old gnomes who normally hang out on the chandelier thingy together with their spotty mushrooms are now gnomeless, oops homeless!

Rocking Dog has indeed been making the kennel look glamorous in readiness for the rapidly approaching St Andrews Night sale. Tomorrow I will make a conscious attempt to tartanise the place as I don’t want to be accused of Christmasfying rather than Andrewfying!

Wee Tam together with Toby and Mrs Mac (the present from Fleetwood) are ready and waiting on their mantlepiece perch. Bagpiping, haggis sausage rolls, ginger shortbread and a wee dram are eagerly awaited. Toby will need his drams restricted for abomomnable gout the poor fellow does have. Enough of this utter nonsense, even though i’m very fond of my toby jug talk!

Shopping, labelling, pricing, baking, making, and boo hoo cleaning will make the next couple of days busy. There is also the small matter of taking poor Real Live Rocking Dog for a haircut…poor boy, on the coldest day of the year so far. No worries he does have a splendid tartan coat ..he can be a walking, barking homage to St Andrew on Wednesday evening. Result!

Sowing The Seed, Rocking Dog

Sowing The Seed

Happy Wee Tam', Rocking Dog

Happy Wee Tam’

Festive Sewing,Rocking Dog

Festive Sewing

Flying Christmas Trees,Rocking Dog

Flying Christmas Trees

Edible Table!,Rocking Dog

Edible Table!

Rocking Dog "Let's Make..",Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog “Let’s Make..”

Gatecrashing A Lads Trip To Auld Reekie!

Edinburgh Airport Giant Thistle, Rocking Dog

Edinburgh Airport Giant Thistle

I took the early morning flight yesterday to Auld Reekie with Andyman and the boy, what a gatecrasher I am! Auld Reekie is of course an affectionate name for the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Thankfully, with the Clean Air Act the city no longer really deserves the Auld Reekie title. It literally means “Old Smokey” and harks back to a time when the population of Edinburgh were tightly crammed into a dense area lining the Royal Mile. Fires for heating and cooking would create a choking smog. The Reekie could also pertain to the habit of buckets of human excrement/dirty water being thrown out of windows and doors. The foul effluent would run down the street and into N’or Loch (North Lake). On a warm day the pungent fumes would rise up and add to the smokey smog. This open sewer would in addition sometimes be used for the practice of witch dunking. In the 16th & 17th century suspected witches would be tried by dunking them in water. If innocent they would sink and if guilty, float!

Anyway enough of this unpleasantness! I had a wonderful time in Edinburgh and the weather was by all accounts much more affable than Tuesday in Bristol. The boys travelled north for a final fitting of kilt jackets and waistcoats for the wedding. Very smart. Scottish dress allows so much choice that it ends up feeling like a very bloated Chinese restaurant menu! Tartans, sock colour, tie colour, sporran type, etc… etc… So many brain boggling decisions to make.

After an hour or two of talking tartan and ties I decided to go off piste and let the boys try and figure things out. I headed for my favourite haunt “Ragamuffin”. Lovely clothes, wools, and accessories. The colours and textures are almost edible. I came out with a bag containing a dress which could be a wedding contender. I better get on and make my coat… time is rattling away.

I then headed to Victoria Street, where my Great Grandfather, Robert Cresser had a brush shop. Now very much a boys toys emporium, it still has some of the original fittings which graced the shop when it was established in 1873. My dad used to go and watch the brushes being made upstairs in the shop. I feel so nostalgic about my Scottish heritage and this beautiful historic street.

From No 40, Victoria Street I headed off to reacquaint myself with Greyfriars Bobby, but that’s a story for another day! I had a great stroll around the Greyfriars Kirkyard close by. Truly amazing tombs and inscriptions. I certainly wouldn’t like to be there when darkness falls, i’m sure it would be incredibly eerie.

I did a little browsing in Princes Street and parallel roads before meeting the boys. The sparkly new and efficient tram took us to the airport. It was time to say goodbye to this glorious city, sometimes known as the Athens of the North.

If you haven’t ever been to Edinburgh here in a nutshell is some of it’s great credentials. It has the trams to take you directly from the airport to the centre of town in 1/2 an hour (£8 return). If travelling by train, Waverley station is located literally on Princes Street. It is a city of amazing buildings, statues, galleries, eateries and shops. There is also the famous castle and of course in August the city hosts its amazing Tattoo and Festival. And….contrary to common belief it doesn’t always rain in Scotland!

I enjoyed gatecrashing, but so wish the gatecrashing had lasted longer.

Favourite Haunt!, Rocking Dog

Favourite Haunt!

Linens & Silks, Rocking Dog

Linens & Silks

Embellished Wall, Rocking Dog

Embellished Wall

The Fair City, Rocking Dog

The Fair City

Gt Grandfather's Footsteps, Rocking Dog

Gt Grandfather’s Footsteps

Gt Grandfather Cresser, Rocking Dog

Gt Grandfather Cresser

Curiosity Cabinet, Rocking Dog

Curiosity Cabinet

Then......, Rocking Dog

Then…….

& Now, Rocking Dog

& Now

Prototype – Masculine Aromatic Spice Sachets

Masculine Prototype, Rocking Dog

Masculine Prototype

I put cleaning on the back burner (that often happens, i’m ashamed to say!) and decided to make a crafty prototype. Having previously made pretty vintage lavender stuffed hearts I wanted to make a masculine alternative. Men get moths too!

I decided to make a little stack of mini pillows made from masculine fabrics. I chose a ticking, dog tooth check and toile de jouy. The toile curtains were a lucky charity shop find many years ago. I deconstructed the lining fabric and heading tape, leaving lots of lovely monochromatic fabric to use for a host of interesting projects. Pin stripe suiting, tartan and tweeds would work equally well.

If you want to make these simple aromatic spice sachets, here’s how I made them.

1. Choose some fabrics which complement each other. I selected three in tones of black and white.
2. Make a template. I find when cutting small swatches of fabric a template is great to draw round quickly. My mini pillow template measured 20cm length x 10cm width. I also made a template exactly half these measurements to make the strung square sachets. Cut out your fabric pieces. I created 2 mini pillows and 2 strung sachets for my finished package.
3. For each sachet put two of your fabric pieces right side to right side. Pin if wished.
4. Start sewing by lining up the fabric to give you a 3/8ths seam allowance ( your sewing machine stitch plate should be marked to help with this). Begin stitching approximately 2cm in from the bottom of one of the short sides.
5. Continue sewing right the way around the little pillow until you get to the original short side. Do a small amount of stitching, before stopping to leave a gap to fill your pillow.
6. Cut each corner diagonally close to the stitch line. This will help give you some sharp corners when the fabric is turned out.
7. Turn the pillow right ways out, using a pencil end or chopstick to poke out the corners.
8. Press with a hot iron (remember woollen fabrics will require a cooler iron).
9. For the strung sachets, machine stitch a loop of ribbon to the corner of your small sachets.At this stage you can stitch a pretty (oops! manly) button at the point where you have stitched your ribbon.
10. Stuffing begins! I used a mixture of English Lavender, Allspice Berries, Cloves, Juniper Berries, Cinnamon Sticks, Star Anise and a few drops of Lavender Oil. Create your own concoction. I fill my sachets using a dessert spoon to pour in all the goodies, but you could use a funnel for the smaller elements. This fiddly stage can take a little while so enjoy a sing.
11. Very neatly hand stitch the open seam. Cut any loose threads and give your sachets a gentle squish.
12. Stack your sachets neatly, and package. I used a band of fine corrugated card, twine, Ikea blackboard label and a cinnamon stick.
13. Voila! a wonderfully aromatic stack of manly spice sachets to keep any sock drawer smelling sweet.

I might just do a little batch of these, the smell is simply intoxicating!

Enjoy your weekend whatever it brings. I’m going to get busy with a tin of Farrow & Ball – so i’ll be sporting a whole new hair colour next week!

Feminine Sewing, Rocking Dog

Feminine Sewing

Material Mountain, Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Choices Made, Rocking Dog

Choices Made

Simple Sewing, Rocking Dog

Simple Sewing

Scented Stuffing, Rocking Dog

Scented Stuffing

Fairy Pillows, Rocking Dog

Fairy Pillows

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!