Tag Archives: Textiles

A Week Of Bits & Pieces

Noddy Ready To Embellish,Rocking Dog

Noddy Ready To Embellish

Rocking Dogs week has been one of bits and pieces. I have been sewing Vintage fabric Christmas stockings. Jolly 1960’s Noddy material has been joined by small check gingham and woolly ric-rac. The stockings will be given hanging loops and some jingly bells. I made another stocking from a vintage tablecloth printed with the words and pictures for “Waltzing Matilda”. I lined the stocking with silk embroidered with images of broom. A mustard coloured fringe finishes the stocking. So now it is looking for an Aussie friendly house this Christmastime.

Whilst I sewed, tree surgeons took down three 50ft conifers in our back garden. We started life at the kennel with about 20 conifers (the work of the devil!) Shortly after we moved in, Andyman came home to find i’d sawed down about twelve of them and was in the process of chopping them up. Over the years we have removed more, and now there are just three left to go! With the tree surgeons having packed up their chain saws for the time being, we can concentrate on planning and planting a kitchen garden. There are going to be espalier fruit trees and old cast iron baths for raised beds amongst other features. I loved the beans growing in a little community allotment that I spotted whilst walking Real Live Rocking Dog. I also enjoyed eating the most voluptuous and delicious figs grown by our lovely neighbours. Definitely food for thought for our garden.

Beautiful flowers arrived through the door (thank you Ella and Josh) whist I bought a remnant heavily embroidered with flowers (thank you to The Boys That Sew at Whittaker Wells). In an ideal world i’d put it with an amazing copper bath, basin and is there such a thing as a copper loo? I’d add dramatic lighting, amazing flooring, mirrors stop,…..stop!

When not sewing I have been planning some forthcoming cooking sessions with Young Adult Carers. I have also set myself the challenge of researching all the names on the local War Memorial. I am looking for any knitters or crocheters who would kindly make me some poppies for this project. Thank you.

We have been enjoying the World Athletics Championships and last weekend saw Bolt run his last solo race. I think everyone expected him to go out in a blaze of golden glory – but alas it wasn’t to be. It was all rather flat but we did have the funny memory of a streaker ripping his trousers off Full Monty style and running down the track. He was eventually tackled to the ground by a tangle of security staff!

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it will be relaxing, sunny and happy.

Love Rocking Dog x

Winter Fuel,Rocking Dog

Winter Fuel

Summer Blooms,Rocking Dog

Summer Blooms

Embroidered Blooms,Rocking Dog

Embroidered Blooms

Garden Planning,Rocking Dog

Garden Planning

Magic Beans,Rocking Dog

Magic Beans

Fabulous Figs,Rocking Dog

Fabulous Figs

World Athletics,Rocking Dog

World Athletics

WW1 Research,Rocking Dog

WW1 Research

Baking,Rocking Dog

Baking

Rocking Dog Loves Simple Garden Blooms

Milk Bottle Flowers,Rocking Dog

Milk Bottle Flowers

With the kennel a little more ship-shape I loved bringing some garden flowers through the door yesterday. Just eight stems were required to fill eight simple glass milk bottles (large from Ikea and the small from Ampulla). Phlox, teasel, tansy, sprig of rosemary, borage, evening primrose, crocosmia and one unknown! My simple arrangements were given a spot on a sunny windowsill. Voila! I love flowers plucked from a garden or field. I am a gal of simple tastes!

After flower arranging (hardly!) I then turned my attention to the table close to the sunny window, regrouping ceramic treasures. One or two are contemporary potters seconds others gorgeous gifts. The brown glazed pot is sentimental and loved. It was made by my late mum whilst at teacher training collage in the early 1950’s. A simple coil pot, when I smooth its interior I feel my mums fingers working the clay. There is also a glazed bowl which was so thoughtfully gifted to me by the Holburne Museum, Bath. I used to cater for events there, cooking in their minuscule kitchen. I remember remarking to a member of staff that their slop bowl for used tea bags was just too lovely for that purpose. A year or two went by, no doubt with the bowl seeing its daily fill of tea bag detritus and it was time to do a Heaven’s Cake farewell picnic. The Holburne was closing for a considerable length of time for the building of its dramatic new extension. After a delicious picnic on a lovely sunblessed day the empty hampers came back to me. Within one of the baskets wrapped in white tissue and tied with a bow was the beloved tea bag slop bowl. I was so moved that someone had remembered my jokey comment. I know it’s not every ones cup of tea (!) but I truly love it.

The latest ceramic purchase are two large silvered ceramic lamp bases. I bought them at Redland Fair for a bargainous £20 the pair. They have some age, and had the tiniest round pin plugs. I kept “watching” the prohibitively expensive shades in the hope they’d go into the sale and fortuitously they did. Lamps complete. Thank you to electrician/fisherman Phil for checking their wiring.

Pots jiggled I questioned myself why I hang onto SO much stuff. I keep promising the kids that I am going to become a minimalist, but my minimalist brainwashing therapy hasn’t yet begun!

Originally the table was Andyman’s desk, that was until he’d knocked his shins on the antler base just one too many times. Result! Moved downstairs it now sees various collections of objet d’art throughout the year. Christmas sees it covered in snow, putz houses, vintage baubles etc.. which leads me neatly onto the fact I am sewing some Christmas stockings today! Bah Humbug!

Simple Blooms,Rocking Dog

Simple Blooms

Wedding Blooms,Rocking Dog

Wedding Blooms

Sarah R's Blooms,Rocking Dog

Sarah R’s Blooms

Spring Clean Ceramics,Rocking Dog

Spring Clean Ceramics

Same Table, Another Time,Rocking Dog

Same Table, Another Time

On The Workbench,Rocking Dog

On The Workbench

Strawberry Season- A Rocking Dog Salad

Strawberries For Supper,Rocking Dog

Strawberries For Supper

Rocking Dog was inspired to make a quick summer salad using some punnets of local strawberries. I love to use fruit for savoury salads, a favourite is sliced fresh peaches with buffalo mozzarella, basil and toasted pine nuts. Butternut squash, broad beans, feta and raspberries together with roasted pumpkin seeds and a zesty dressing is another delicious summery bowl. In late summer figs and goats cheese make a wonderful base for a salad.

Last nights salad utilised the following ingredients:- Edamame beans (I used frozen), strawberries, baby spinach, whole toasted blanched almonds, finely grated lemon zest, juice of one lemon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh mint, creamy feta crumbled, seasoning.

Drop edamame beans into boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and refresh the beans in cold water to help retain their colour. Toast the almonds by dry frying them in a small pan ( I use this method as I am less likely to forget them rather than toasting nuts under a grill!) Make dressing with zest, lemon juice, and a good glug of olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Grind in some black pepper and salt. Assemble salad by tossing together all the salad components and the dressing. Serve with some good bread.

I loved the baubles I bought recently in the clearance section of Ikea. I knew when I saw them that they’d make good strawberries! I made strawberry leaves from tiny pieces of fabric found on Material Mountain. I used an air erasable pen to draw my leaves. After cutting the pieces out I used Beloved Bernina to sew lines of stitching to emulate leaf veins. I finally cut a small hole in the centre of the fabric to thread through the bauble wire. Voila! summer baubles to decorate gifts or hang for summer parties.

Whatever the weekend holds for you I hope it’s happy and summery

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Rocking Dog Huddle Wednesday 26th July 7-9pm. I would love to see you here at the kennel for chat, cake and creativity. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew & embroider.

Strawberry Deliciousness!,Rocking Dog

Strawberry Deliciousness!

Chelsea Strawberries,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Strawberries

Rocking Dog Tart,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Tart

Summer Baubles,Rocking Dog

Summer Baubles

Stylish Wrapping,Rocking Dog

Stylish Wrapping

Summery Rocking Dog Gift Tags,Rocking Dog

Summery Rocking Dog Gift Tags

A New Rocking Dog Quilt In The Kennel

Latest Rocking Dog Quilt,Rocking Dog

Latest Rocking Dog Quilt

I am still a deaf old bat! Holding conversations has been difficult and so I have used the opportunity to seek solace in my sewing machine. A new quilt has been started and finished in the kennel and i’m rather pleased with it!

It all started with the glorious 1930’s embroidered bolster cover bought at Bermondsey Market. For a long while I contemplated how I was going to do this embroidery justice. I started collecting together lovely floral materials and vintage linens from Material Mountain. They stayed together in a lavender scented box waiting for the day when I could give myself the time to make an heirloom quilt.

Looking at the worn bolster cover I decided to remount the fabulous flower border embroidery onto a new backing. With some intrepidation I ironed Bondaweb onto the back of the embroidery. The Bondaweb was used to help prevent fraying and to eventually adhere the embroidery to the new mounting fabric. I carefully cut around the Delphinium and Hollyhock spikes, there was simply no going back now!

I then cut squares of ticking for the central panel and a variety of floral fabrics to create my double sized quilt. I used a patchwork template, rotary cutter and cutting mat. I spent time creating my quilts layout and as in the past chose to use pattern throughout. I worry that plain fabrics can really “kill” a quilt! Some of my squares were sewn with vintage lace and embroidered coasters to add additional texture. The squares were collected up into rows and pegged together. Sewing could begin!

Rows of squares were sewn and then the resulting rows sewn together. A quilt was forming! All the seams were pressed neatly and then it was time to adhere the embroidery onto its custom made ticking panel.There followed the somewhat laborious task of hand sewing the embroidery using carefully matched threads.The quilt panel was then laid onto its “filler”. For this I used the thick interlining of a bargainous curtain I had purchased a while ago in John Lewis. I pinned the quilt to the interlining using safety pins, working from the centre outwards. I then “stitched in the ditch” sewing carefully through each seam of each square. There was a tremendous amount of fabric to feed through the machine and I found it helpful to roll the quilt to help with the manoeuvrability.

It was now time to add the backing fabric for my quilt. This time I used the actual fabric from my aforementioned Designer’s Guild bargain curtain, it continued the floral theme. Again I used the safety pins to attach the layers together. I then laid the quilt out on my dining room table and sewed vintage buttons to each corner of the patchwork squares (leaving the outer edges free of buttons). On the reverse of each button point an embroidered thread tie was knotted. I chose white and clear buttons for the ticking panel so that the beauty wasn’t taken away from the delicious embroidery. After all that button sewing I added a quote from Oscar Wilde to my quilt. On a vintage coaster I wrote in indelible ink “I have many beautiful flowers” he said “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all” (The Selfish Giant). I Bondaweb’d and hand sewed this in place. Finally I sewed a 5/8ths line of stitching around the outer edge of my quilt before shearing away extra fabric and interlining.

I chose a deep ribbon from The Makery to provide the neat edging for my quilt. I pressed the ribbon in half along its whole length and sewed this in place with two rows of stitching. I finished each of the corners with a pretty button. Loose threads cut, remaining safety pins removed, and quilt pressed Rocking Dogs 2017 quilt was complete!

Happy footnote. I entered this and another quilt into the Frenchay Flower Show. I won first prize in the quilting class and a cup for best handicraft in show. I was quietly chuffed!

Piecing The Patches!,Rocking Dog

Piecing The Patches!

Sew The Rows,Rocking Dog

Sew The Rows

Choosing Thread,Rocking Dog

Choosing Thread

Hand Sewing,Rocking Dog

Hand Sewing

Ditch Stitching,Rocking Dog

Ditch Stitching

Fabric Roll,Rocking Dog

Fabric Roll

Pretty Backing,Rocking Dog

Pretty Backing

Button Anchors,Rocking Dog

Button Anchors

Showtime!,Rocking Dog

Showtime!

Rocking Dog Creative Huddle, Weds 28th June

Come On Let's Get Creative!,Rocking Dog

Come On Let’s Get Creative!

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

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

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

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

Love Rocking Dog x

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!

A Nosy Snapshot – Other Folks Homes!

Succulent Cacti Home,Rocking Dog

Succulent Cacti Home

Sorry sis’ I couldn’t resist taking some snapshots of your home over the weekend. I think all of us forget about some of the beautiful, odd, eccentric tactile objects that many of us surround ourselves with. I love some of the eclectic collections which have evolved over the years in my sisters London home. The couple together with my three gorgeous nieces.
have filled their home with innovative storage (much designed and built by talented sis’), colour and lovely things. There are junk shop finds, items retrieved from skips, ebay purchases, gifts, and sentimental pieces from childhood homes.

I couldn’t resist snapping niece No3’s Cacti home. A Terrarium from Ikea has been filled with textural mini cacti and succulents. I might just have to be a copycat and create my own cacti home. These hairy and spiky lovelies are really difficult to kill which definitely goes in their favour!

The Thumbelina collection resides in a little glass fronted painted cupboard no more than 12inches x 12inches. How very satisfying to have such a wonderful Lilliput stash, a perfect place for “The Borrowers” to reside. On another staircase there are shelves with ceramics from 18th century through to present day. I certainly remember the pair of old blue jugs in my parents home. They were sat on shelves close to where our elderly cat had an improvised cat litter tray- the carpet! I remember there was also a large jug of bullrushes and for some reason those gave be awful recurring nightmares. There was also a lion in my fretful slumbers and this may have come about because of a large 70’s hessian lion which lived close to those bullrushes.

It is probably not difficult to ascertain that sis’ did Wood, Metals & Plastics for her degree whilst partner Rod did Illustration. This is a creative home which takes on board their love of how things are made, materials, colour, contemporary design and patina’d age.

The green Minton majolica jug has particular sentimental jokey significance as it was the receptacle used one evening by New Romantic Rod for a bout of drunken sickness! My parents never found out but we used to bait Rod and sing improvised words to Shakin’ Stevens “Green Door”. I saw a smaller version of the same jug recently and it was a few hundred pounds. Perhaps that is why the jug has found its place on a high shelf never to be used as an impromptu vomit bowl again.

One of my favourite pieces of furniture in the house is an old wooden locker unit. I think it had appeared in a couple of films before being sold to sis’. I love the chunky wooden bed too. For a while we delighted in it being in our house. I was always rather hoping it would end up being surplus to requirements. Alas no.

So this is a little whistle-stop tour of lovely things in a home I love. More nosy snapshots of other folks homes soon! Volunteers very welcome.

Have a wonderful week and I hope the pollen count goes down to all of you poor hay fever sufferers out there. Love Rocking Dog x

PS Thank you to Tucker O’Hara (love the name) from across the pond who sent a photo of her finished Kaffe Fassett Peas. Well done Tucker for persevering with ALL those greens! Mine remains resolutely unfinished..one day!

Ceramic Cacti,Rocking Dog

Ceramic Cacti

Staircase Collection,Rocking Dog

Staircase Collection

Thumbelina Collection, Rocking Dog

Thumbelina Collection

Bold Walls,Rocking Dog

Bold Walls

Bold Bedhead,Rocking Dog

Bold Bedhead

Lovely Locker,Rocking Dog

Lovely Locker

Infamous Green Jug!,Rocking Dog

Infamous Green Jug!

High Fives!,Rocking Dog

High Fives!

Me, & My Bruv & Sis',Rocking Dog

Me, & My Bruv & Sis’

A Quick Vintage Tea Towel Make From Rocking Dog

Jolly Tea Towel,Rocking Dog

Jolly Tea Towel

The weather was miserable yesterday, even usually super keen Real Live Rocking Dog did not want to move from under his cosy blanket. I was waiting for lovely Mr Cooker Man to put new elements into my oven, so I decided to do a little bit of sewing. I found a jolly unused vintage tea towel on Material Mountain and decided it would make a great beach bag. The linen tea towel was a recent 50p purchase in a local charity shop. I searched on the Mountain for suitable lining fabric and found a nautical striped fabric remnant. From start to finish the project took under an hour.

If you want to make your own bag:-

1 pretty tea towel
Lining fabric cut to the same size as your tea towel
Apron tape, ribbon or string for handles
Cotton thread

1.Take your tea towel and fold it in half. Unless your tea towel has an overall pattern without script you will find the print on one of your “halves” will be upside down. I cut my tea towel in half so that any script would be right way up on each side of my bag.
2. Check your two tea towel halves have script/pattern going in right direction before placing the halves front side to front side.
3. Sew a narrow hem to form the bottom seam of the bag. Press the seam, and then sew the two side seams. Trim any loose threads.
4. Repeat with the lining fabric but leave a gap of approx 8cm in one of the side seams. Turn the lining out to the right side.
5. Place the lining into the tea towel “bag” aligning the seams neatly. Pin the bags together before hemming the layers.
6. Pull the tea towel bag through the gap in the side seam and then sew the hole up neatly.
7. Push the lining into the outer tea towel bag. Push the corners out using a pencil or chopstick. Press Well.
8. Sort out straps for your bag. I used a double layer of apron tape, sewing the layers together with rows of red stitching.
9. Turn over and press 4cm or so of your lining fabric onto the front of your bag. Pin your straps into place with the the rough edges concealed under your turned over fabric.
10. Sew two rows of stitching, one at the top of your turn over and one at the bottom. Your straps will be neatly and securely concealed under this contrasting bag rim.

Voila! A stylish and unique beach bag for next to nothing. Right where is the sun and where is the sea– i’m beach ready! Somewhat embarrassedly I have never been to Norfolk, i’ll have to put it on my sixty by sixty list!

PS. Youngest lovely sent me this. I thought this article was a thought provoking read in these uncertain times.

Tea Towel & Lining,Rocking Dog

Tea Towel & Lining

Seam Free Lining,Rocking Dog

Seam Free Lining

Stitched Strap,Rocking Dog

Stitched Strap

Lock In Those Straps!,Rocking Dog

Lock In Those Straps!

Beach Ready!,Rocking Dog

Beach Ready!

T'other Side!,Rocking Dog

T’other Side!

Roll Up, Roll Up, Rocking Dog Huddle Tonight!

Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

Haberdashery

Yes it’s Rocking Dogs May creative huddle this evening 7-9pm. Bring along curtains to hem, buttons to sew, knitting, a crochet project or simply turn up for gentle nurturing chat. There’ll be coffee and cake, it’s Chocolate & Sweet Chestnut Turinois tonight. Perhaps i’ll even get to sew, i’m looking forward to using some of the vintage fabrics I bought at the recent Vintage & Handmade Jumble Sale. I particularly love the 50’s fish print towel, it would make a funky beach bag.

The house smells of caramelised sugar, with large batches of meringues heading into the oven. Rocking Dog is making a hundred large snowy white meringues for a fabulous wedding meringue pile up. They will be “glued” together with a summer fruit mascarpone cream. The tower will then be adorned with fairy lights and garden flowers. Look out for Rocking Dog’s blog next week for images of the sugary edifice.

I would love to see you at the huddle this evening. As ever donations go into the tea pot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work teaching and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

New Fabric Stash,Rocking Dog

New Fabric Stash

Fifties Fish,Rocking Dog

Fifties Fish

Eggs For Meringues,Rocking Dog

Eggs For Meringues

Come For Coffee,Rocking Dog

Come For Coffee

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!

Make It Up As You Go Along Cushions Complete!

Mad Or What!,Rocking Dog

Mad Or What!

My make it up as you go along cushions are complete. I used some soft deep blue denim to back the cushions. I created envelope style openings, no zips, buttons or ties just neatly sewn overlaps.

As the covers were not of sizes compatible with standard cushion pads or pillows, I made my own. In my Rocking Dog hoard I had a huge bag of feathers and down. Simple! I made bolster cushion liners using a cotton sheet. The fun came when filling the liners. By the time I had finished generously stuffing them, my workroom looked as if a cat had got amongst the pigeons! I quickly sewed the open seams shut with two lines of stitching. The clean up could begin!

Plump characterful cushions made from fabrics and bits and bobs from Material Mountain. Voila!

Pastoral Scene,Rocking Dog

Pastoral Scene

Going Digital,Rocking Dog

Going Digital

Denim Back,Rocking Dog

Denim Back

Other RD Cushions,Rocking Dog

Other RD Cushions

Tea Towel Cushions,Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Cushions

Coronation Make,Rocking Dog

Coronation Make

Doggy Cushion,Rocking Dog

Doggy Cushion

Rice Sack Cushion,Rocking Dog

Rice Sack Cushion

Proud As A Peacock!, Rocking Dog

Proud As A Peacock!