Tag Archives: Vintage

Being Creative With The Lovely Julie Arkell

My Workshop Brooch,Rocking Dog

My Workshop Brooch

Almost a week has whizzed by and I haven’t talked about the wonderful workshop I attended last weekend. I headed to Highgate, London on Saturday morning to meet a textile (papier mache and mosaic) hero of mine. Julie Arkell was in residence for the last workshop at Selvedge’s old premises.

Twelve or so of us sat around a huge square work bench whilst Julie demonstrated in little chunks how to make a woolly brooch. The inspiration for the brooch had come to Julie from a wartime picture of a child wearing a pretty simple little piece of jewellery. We cut card (never ever use scissors destined for cutting fabric), we chose a fabric scrap and complementary wools. We delighted in tales of Julie’s career path, the angst of American customs, Julie’s heroes and making craft pay. It was all very gentle, chatting as we sewed, cut and deliberated. Very soon we had sweet brooches that had been embellished with felt flowers and french knots. My brooch was very much a homage to wartime, with a striped blue, white and red fabric together with simple poppies. I want to eventually complete it with a transfer print of my dad in his WW11 naval uniform.

A delicious lunch broke the morning and afternoon’s sewing. There was more textile talk and it was interesting to hear how Julie’s work had changed over the years. I became aware of her work in the 1990’s when I was given some money to choose a piece of jewellery in Bristol’s now defunct Ginger Gallery. I selected a paper mache and mosaic heart which I still adore wearing. Over the years I have been fortunate to have been gifted other pieces.

Julie’s jewellery now is much more textile based. She told us how her mother’s death six years ago had definitely influenced her recent work. Without consciously thinking about it her creations had become darker and included much more black, a colour she’d not gravitated to before. Julie also told us about her fascination with crows and a number of her brooches indeed had references to these birds. She also mentioned that inadvertently her wardrobe had gained more dark pieces and she wondered whether this was a subconscious form of mourning. It wasn’t all dark, there were the lovely floppy multi-petal’d flowers which she’d made as something she could fiddle whilst waiting in the queue at the Post Office! It really was so lovely to hear her talk so warmly of what made her tick.

We went on to make another brooch, this time using fabric scraps, lots of stitches and lots of imagination! My rabbit like creature is still very much work in progress, needing a mouth, limbs and embellishment. It was wonderful to see the wide variety of creations made by the group. More than anything it was lovely to fall back in love with hand stitching again.

Julie was so very generous with sharing her techniques, fabrics and textile know how. Thank you so much Julie.

It really was a wonderful day and it was my own form of a Spa Day, my own indulgent textile spa!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you are able to indulge in something lovely.

Love Rocking Dog x

Textile Hero,Rocking Dog

Textile Hero

Woolly Suitcase,Rocking Dog

Woolly Suitcase

Charming Badge,Rocking Dog

Charming Badge

....& Another!,Rocking Dog

….& Another!

And There's More,Rocking Dog

And There’s More

P.O. Floral Fiddling!,Rocking Dog

P.O. Floral Fiddling!

Julie's Woolly Blueprint!,Rocking Dog

Julie’s Woolly Blueprint!

My Kitsch Beastie!,Rocking Dog

My Kitsch Beastie!

My Julie Arkell Baubles,Rocking Dog

My Julie Arkell Baubles

Blowing Away Some Big Cobwebs!

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle,Rocking Dog

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle

After the culinary savagery of the weekend there was still washing up to do on Tuesday. However I decided to throw in the towel and walk! Lovely calm friend and I decided to ditch ideas of a doggy muddy hike and to do something a little more gentle.

We didn’t have very much of a plan, but by the end of our foray I thought our trail was worthy of a blog post. Fellow Bristolian’s or visitors alike would find much to enjoy about our cunning plan. Calm Karen and I can promise walkers good coffee, lovely food, some extraordinary buildings, the historic docks and some quirky independent shops.

1. Parking. We chose to park on Portland Square (pay meter parking, cash or phone). Maximum stay is 4 hours and works out £1 an hour, that’s cheap for Bristol! Do not be tempted to park on nearby Brunswick Square as their maximum time limit is 2 hours. Parking sorted… let the trail begin! Please be aware that parts of this trail would be unsuitable for wheelchairs or prams (Christmas Steps and the possibly the changes in levels around St Nicholas Market) However, St Nicholas’s Market can be visited and circumvented cunningly, whilst the centre can be reached by staying on Colston Street, thereby missing out Christmas Steps.

2. Walk through the Bear Pit, the underpass (much more savoury than it used to be) and head past Loot and then onto Marlborough Street passing the Magistrates Court (Tesco will be across the road from you). Carry on walking, past the Bristol Royal Infirmary (the old bit), without realising it you will then be on Colston Street. Here on Colston Street you will find some eclectic shops which you may want to stop and peruse. Rag Trade is a great dress agency and I have picked up some lovely clothes there over the years. Further on, Makers and Blaze are unique shops to select unusual cards and gifts. A few steps on and you can enter a bookworm’s paradise, Bloom & Curll is a delightful secondhand bookshop and I adore it’s homely and eclectic style. Doug’ and Joe will each benefit from this literary visit. Keep Calm Karen and I then went slightly off piste by crossing the road to visit Dig Haushizzle. A real favourite of mine, I was disappointed that they had sold the lampshade I so loved. It looked as if it had come through moths, flood, fire, and neglect… but it had a certain charm! I know I would have had an uphill struggle to convince Andyman, especially since it had a somewhat eye-watering price tag! Somewhere there is a horror movie-esque lamp shade being coveted….. just not at the kennel! Track back across the road whence you came from.

3. Christmas Steps. You can’t fail to notice the wonderful set of flagstone steps which are the wonderfully named Christmas Steps. They are wonderfully atmospheric and it is easy to conjure up a picture of rather seedy Victorian life. On your way down the steep and worn steps there are a few interesting individual shops. Karen told me about 20th Century Flicks which can be found towards the bottom on the left hand side. Apparently she was invited to a cinema night there with friends. You can hire out the sweet little 11 seated cinema with a vast array of films to choose from. Sounds perfect especially if there is no noisy popcorner or rattly sweet opener sitting behind you!

4. This next stage is a little complicated as the centre is a tangle of road works, cones and taped off crossings (blooming Metrobus!). How ever you manage it, you need to cross to the other side of the road entirely. Try to get yourself into Small Street. Up on the left is a great place to drink lovely coffee (thank you Karen & Joe for the recommendation), Small Street Espresso. They also do delicious cake and serve everything with a smile. After refuelling head up past the Crown Court on your right and you will find yourself on Corn Street, notice the circa 400 year old nails where lots of business transactions were done. It’s where the term “Paying on the nail” comes from. On a Wednesday the Farmers market goes on here and it started in 1998. It happens to be one of the longest running farmer’s and producers markets in the country. You need to pass through the Grade 1 listed Corn Exchange building to get to our next destination.

5. Passing through the Exchange St Nicholas’s Market has an eclectic array of permanent stalls, some good, some tat and some frankly bonkers! Incidentally in the 1960’s the Exchange was a music venue and it saw the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Cream and  Spencer Davis play here. Carry on through the building and eventually you should chance upon the glorious glass arcade. Bristol was very badly bombed during WW2 and the glass roof was lost in the Blitz. Its roof was replaced in 1949 together with more recent renovation. You can eat food from across the globe here and it all feels very vibrant, fragrant and buzzy. I personally love Eat A Pitta. Close by is  Ahh Toots  a truly cakey spectacle and it sells good bread too. Flowers and fabrics, olives, cheese, lunch to go or to perch, a wheatgrass smoothie, raclette, a pie, the glass arcade is great. After picking up supper supplies head out to the back of St Nicholas Market (in line with the direction you entered the Corn Exchange building). You will probably find yourself passing through the covered market (again you will find the good, the bad and the ugly regarding stalls). You need to be heading for St Nicholas Street.

6. St Nicholas Street is where you’ll find Rag & Bone, another of my favourite haunts. If you aren’t into junk just pass on by! Directly opposite Rag & Bone there is a fabulous and rather regal water fountain set into the wall of the covered market. It looks like a very young Queen Victoria unlike the more matronly version (oops!) found near College Green, Bristol.

7. After dipping into R & B let’s head to the water! You’ll probably find a set of stone steps to head on down to Baldwin Street. You need to use the crossing to cross to the other side of the road. There are choices to be made here. You can walk on through to Queen’s Square and beyond OR you can walk along the cobbled street which is Welsh Back. Unfortunately due to buildings placed at the edge of the river there aren’t any great views along this stretch of water, just the odd glimpse. Eventually which ever way you choose to walk you will end up on a road called The Grove. Turn right along here there are some good places to eat (I love sitting out on the decking with a glass of wine and a platter at the River Station). Unfortunately over the years the Mud Dock has been rather inconsistent with its foodie offerings. Head on down to the bottom of the road (the Arnolfini will be directly in front of you on the opposite side of the road) and take a left turn. A bridge is coming up.

8. The newly renovated Prince Street Bridge will take you over the river Avon. Take a right turn onto the quayside and you cannot fail to notice the massive industrial cranes which make the harbour so iconic. Head past the M Shed  (if you wish you can while away some time learning about Bristols industrial past here). Bristols links with slavery is sadly not very pretty. Very Soon you will become aware of an area on your left which is very new to the harbourside. Wapping wharf is a development of shops and eateries. There are also a number of places to eat and buy art etc.. housed in shipping containers (how apt being a port city). We could have chosen to eat Spanish, noodles, fish, and any number of delicious foodie offerings but decided to carry on walking.

9. Journey’s end! We ate a bacon “doorstep” overlooking the grey water at “Brunel’s Buttery”. Unpretentious, it has been serving up delicious butties since 1980. Delicious!

10. If there was time you could follow the quay along to the SS Great Britain or you could hop on a ferry boat (either to cross to the other side of the Avon or for a leisurely pleasure cruise) Remember your 4 hour parking slot!

11. Our way back. In short, we headed back over Prince Street Bridge and took  a cobbled left then right, taking us past the front of the Arnolfini. Through the centre, through Broadmead shopping centre and into Cabot Circus (new shopping centre). We eventually arrived at House of Fraser (second level of shopping centre needed). Emerge by crossing to take you across the A4044 (Newfoundland Road). Directly across from you is Pritchard Street which will magically take you back to Portland Square and your car (hopefully minus a parking ticket!)

This might not make any sense at all, and I apologise in advance. My map reading has always been a little below par especially when I mistook a river for a road whilst on a journey with Andyman! Please let me know how you get on if you decide to walk this trail and i’d be grateful if you could share with any Bristol walkers, foodies or junkophiles!

It was a really lovely walk and many thanks to Karen for taking all the cobbled twists and turns with me. It certainly blew away the cobwebs.

More Dig Haushizzle!,Rocking Dog

More Dig Haushizzle!

Bookworm Paradise,Rocking Dog

Bookworm Paradise

Christmas Steps,Rocking Dog

Christmas Steps

St Nick's,Rocking Dog

St Nick’s

Pretty Cakes &...,Rocking Dog

Pretty Cakes &…

...Pretty Flowers!,Rocking Dog

…Pretty Flowers!

Regal Fountain,Rocking Dog

Regal Fountain

Love R & B!,Rocking Dog

Love R & B!

A Favourite View,Rocking Dog

A Favourite View

My Week Defined By Vegetables

Chelsea Potatoes,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Potatoes

Indeed last week was rather dominated by all that was vegetable.

MONDAY. A relaxing lunch with friend at The Pig near Bath. As ever it was gorgeous to have a wander around the walled kitchen garden after eating some delicious plates of food. There is something rather special about a garden in winter. The stillness, quiet, and the silent anticipation of shoots and leaves forcing their way through frost crested earth.

TUESDAY. I went on a Social Media course at the M Shed, Bristol. Discussing the merits and problems of different social media platforms I felt somehow rather disillusioned. However, I feel I have a better understanding of feed, engagement, traffic etc… but i’m still a slumbering pumpkin!

WEDNESDAY. I participated in a healthy eating session with a small group of young adult carers. They were great, and we cooked enthusiastically together. Chicken and vegetable wraps together with vegetable laden pizzas were cooked and eaten together. Instead of feeling like a slumbering pumpkin I definitely felt more like a dinosaur trying to explain the concept of seasonal food! It went a bit like this “as a child growing up in the 60’s we only saw strawberries at the start of June through to the start of August, and then we didn’t see them until the following year”. It was quite a revelation to them, as was the tip to “peel” root ginger using a teaspoon. I aim to please….. even if I am a Tyrannosaurus!

THURSDAY. 36kg of haggis was delivered to the kennel from over the tartan border. There was the traditional offal’y variety, there was the vegetable variety, some to suit gluten free guests and of course the ceremonial chieftain haggis for the Selkirk Grace. Fridge space was rather tight with all these wee beasties taking up temporary residence.

FRIDAY. Sorrel, baby Doug and I headed out to pick up 50kg potatoes and 30kg swede. Thank you to Bob at Eastville Market for super fresh produce. I have to say though the potato type, Marfona sounded like some type of mini pill or Intrauterine Contraceptive Device! After our vegetable buying trip we headed to nearby St Werburgh’s City Farm for a coffee. Doug was fascinated by the goats, ducks, black hairy pigs and a large rook. The cafe is definitely worth a visit. We shared Beetroot, chocolate & beer cake gloriously eaten with some good cappuccino’s. We were fortified ready for the mammoth two day peeling and mashing session!

SATURDAY. 50kg potatoes peeled & mashed. Tick. 30kg swede peeled & bashed. Tick. 9 trays of brownie baked. Tick. Let the Rock Pipes Burns Night begin. It was a culinary killer. Thanks to lovely, lovely friends who pitched in to help get hot food out to the 160 paying guests. Everybody seemed to have a fabulous time. I even managed to summon up the courage to hit the stage to promote the raffle which raised an amazing £341 for Young Carer’s “Christmas in a Box”. Rock Pipes did their final set with everyone on the dance floor for an Abba medley, 500 miles and of course YMCA! Auld Lang Syne sent everyone on their way with 50 kg chappit tatties, 36kg haggis, 30kg bashed neeps and a wee dram of whisky in their tummies.

SUNDAY. I woke up feeling as if every bone in my body had been broken and then had been reset really badly! How can vegetables do that?! I’m simply too old for this catering malarkey.

So yes, that was the week that was. After a day of washing up yesterday I am trying to be kind to myself and to let my burnt and chapped hands recover. Still on a vegetable theme I have some lovely vintage fabric titled “Sweetcorn” to be made into a blind for Sorrel & Pete. Some quiet therapeutic sewing should get my aching bones sorted.

A million thanks to my lovely girls who were magnificent in the kitchen and to all those who helped without asking. I have some truly gorgeous friends. Thank you.

PS I picked up a great tip from Sorrel (old dogs really can learn new tricks!) To strip Thyme of it’s leaves poke the woody stalk through a hole in a wire sieve. Pull the stalk and voila the leaves are left in the sieve. Have you any canny tips to pass on I wonder? Please tell all.

Table Veg',Rocking Dog

Table Veg’

Greenhouse Veg',Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Veg’

The Pigs' Pigs,Rocking Dog

The Pigs’ Pigs

Seasonal Fruit &..,Rocking Dog

Seasonal Fruit &..

Seasonal Veg',Rocking Dog

Seasonal Veg’

Veggie Cake!,Rocking Dog

Veggie Cake!

For Chappit Tatties,Rocking Dog

For Chappit Tatties

Let 'em Eat Haggis!, Rocking Dog

Let ’em Eat Haggis!

Vintage Veg' Fabric,Rocking Dog

Vintage Veg’ Fabric

Christmas Has Entered The Building!

Snow Time!,Rocking Dog

Snow Time!

The Kennel has had its festive magic wand waved over it. There is snow, there are carrots, doughnuts and gherkins. There are Putz houses, concertina paper trees that incidentally have seen much better days, a legless half century old fairy and baubles a plenty.

It seems such a short time ago that Christmas last tumbled down from the attic, and then I vaguely remember we did a second Christmas in February! No wonder my enthusiasm for ornamentation, embellishing and frou’ing is slightly lack lustre this Christmastime. I need a magic wand waved over me to get topped up on Christmas spirit ( and not of the yummy G & T variety that I quaffed whilst making my second batch of mince pies ). Maybe I need to just overdose on YOU KNOW WHO for a while!

There are few “new” decorations to report and just a rejigging of the “old”. There are hundreds and thousands sprinkled doughnuts and glittery glass gherkins suspended above the dining table and THOSE carrots have arrived back in the kitchen. There is my £5 Ikea plastic tree, unusually for me a themed affair with animals. Charity shop zoo and farm animals were put through the dishwasher before finding hiding places amongst the branches. There are animal baubles and felt Wire Fox Terriers. A tree for little Doug’. Meanwhile there is an old French bottle dryer which has been hung with a plethora of brightly coloured vintage baubles and a string of fairy lights. Voila indeed!

The real tree was bought from Frenchay Forestry (the small Hambrook out-post) who know I love a lame duck! I like to save a tree that was destined for a bonfire (a rogue branch, no show branch, a lack of symmetry etc..). This years is a beaut’, thank you to the lovely Mancunian father and son team who spend long cold nights for three weeks or so in a rather basic caravan. Hot mince Pies winging their way to you this morning to warm your cockles!

In between frou’ing I have been making preserves for my Pop Up on Sunday. I have also been making some rather strange cushions. Inspired by Andyman’s sporran I have made some tartan cushions with leather sporrans … strange but true! They are my “Our Friends From The North” range.

Cards posted tick, house decorated tick, presents bought & wrapped partial tick. As for the food that’s a completely different matter! How are your preparations going?

Festive greetings to one and all x

PS Message for Gina my mince pie count currently stands at 11 dozen and i’m not fed up just yet, though I do smell like a mince pie!

 

Bauble Boxes,Rocking Dog

Bauble Boxes

Bottle Drier Dec's,Rocking Dog

Bottle Drier Dec’s

Old Bulbs,Rocking Dog

Old Bulbs

Tree Frou,Rocking Dog

Tree Frou

Legless Fairy,Rocking Dog

Legless Fairy

Doug's Tree,Rocking Dog

Doug’s Tree

The Carrots Are Back!,Rocking Dog

The Carrots Are Back!

Sewing &....,Rocking Dog

Sewing &….

...Mince Pie Making!,Rocking Dog

…Mince Pie Making!

There’s An Elephant In The Room. Deal With It Rocking Dog!

Christmas In The Cabin Stockings,Rocking Dog

Christmas In The Cabin Stockings

Rocking Dog has been busy making festive loveliness in readiness for some exciting events at Court House Farm, Portishead on 26th November and 10th December (better organise my thermals!) Yesterday I made some Christmas stockings from lovely vintage embroidered table linen. I am calling them my “Christmas in the Cabin” stockings. Though I think the linens are more than likely German I couldn’t help thinking back to a December trip to Stockholm three years ago. Pine cones, spruce, red, white, tradition and the little red cabins out on tiny islands leading into the watery city. We had such a wonderful time and everything seemed less commercialised and felt like Christmas in times gone by. Today I’m hoping there’ll be “Christmas in the Cabin” advent calendars thought up and sewn. I might go really Scandi’ whilst I sew, i’ll plait my hair and put Abba on full pelt!

The Rocking Dog workroom is bursting with delicious fabrics right now and poor Material Mountain is positively groaning with linens, embroidery, ginghams, whizzy prints and lace. There is definitely no room at the Inn! Recent purchases have been some  iconic Cabbages & Roses remnants. I have ideas to make some baby wear with the fine floral linens. There are “Moon” wool tartan remnants too and I am gradually using those to make cosy cushions. Added to vintage tapestry, old Swedish braid and cut velvet backing one tartan remnant is now a window seat cushion cover. It will be sumptuously filled with feathers and then will be looking for a good home. What could be more lovely than curling up on a deep sill with a good book, hot chocolate and a snow filled view!

Floribunda tapestry, an unfinished project by person unknown will be given bold patterned borders chosen from my stack of Designer brights. It will receive cushion pad and embellishment and i’m sure in its rejuvenated form will find love.

As for the elephant in the room…. it’s my new overlocker. I have been promised it will give me the most professional of seams and the neatest cutting of fabric…. but i’m, well frankly…. scared! It has sat looking forlorn whilst I summon the courage to … well.. simply give it a go. Deal with it Rocking Dog… just deal with it!

Stockholm Kitsch,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Kitsch

Stockholm Fairytale,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Fairytale

Stockholm Style,Rocking Dog

Stockholm Style

Cabbages & Roses,Rocking Dog

Cabbages & Roses

Designer Brights,Rocking Dog

Designer Brights

Vintage Floribunda,Rocking Dog

Vintage Floribunda

Vintage Festive,Rocking Dog

Vintage Festive

In Need Of Feathers,Rocking Dog

In Need Of Feathers

......The Elephant In The Room!,Rocking Dog

……The Elephant In The Room!

A Perfectly Vintage Weekend

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Domestic Science!, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Domestic Science!

After a very difficult week it was lovely to have the most perfect weekend. On Saturday morning there was the sudden and delicious realisation that a Vintage & Handmade jumble sale was happening at Rangeworthy Village Hall. I have a feeling that there are plenty of women like me who attend these events. We certainly don’t need any more textiles, bobbles, ribbons or braids… but we simply cannot resist! My haul this time included some tapestries which had never quite made it to a frame or cushion pad. I have a feeling they will be heading for cushions of the “make it up as you go along” variety. On another stall I picked up a pretty embroidered cloth for £1 which is destined for another Rocking Dog quilt. More contemporary was a stash of small remnants including fabrics by Celia Birtwell. Small whimsical cushions, patchwork squares, appliqué they will await their fate on Material Mountain. My favourite buy of the day was some jolly 70’s Sanderson nursery print. I quite fancy making a pair of dungarees for baby Doug’ (hope not too “Sound of Music”!) and there’ll be plenty for some fab’ Christmas stockings.

After a lovely vintage trawl, and alas no time for delicious WI cake I headed back to the kennel. I then went with lovely vintage friend (we have known each other for over 20 years) to Tetbury. Domestic Science was our first port of call for a sandwich and then a gander over four floors of vintage, domestic, wearable, smellable loveliness. My friend MADE me buy a lovely electric blue linen dress…she’s very persuasive! The honey coloured town was buzzing with people and a throng of noisy vintage convertibles. There are wonderful things to buy in the town but you need deep pockets, especially in one of the many antique shops. A cup of tea, and then it was time to head home. On the way back we passed Westonbirt Arboretum the colour of the Acers were truly spectacular. Autumn has arrived despite the welcome warm daytime temperatures.

Sunday we ate lunch with more gorgeous vintage friends (25 years). I was so pleased with my Yorkshire pud’s. Why is it that when I weigh everything out they are a disaster and if I simply chuck everything in without much thought they are belters!

Vintage fabrics were laundered, dried in the sun and folded. Tomorrow I will sew. It is a lovely prospect and my way of being kind to myself.

Have a wonderful week and I hope the autumnal (or not) colours are glorious in your part of the world.

Love vintage loving Rocking Dog x

Vintage Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Vintage Tapestry

Vintage Nursery Print,Rocking Dog

Vintage Nursery Print

£1 Vintage Stitches,Rocking Dog

£1 Vintage Stitches

I Love Celia!,Rocking Dog

I Love Celia!

Make Space!,Rocking Dog

Make Space!

Awaiting A Sewing Day,Rocking Dog

Awaiting A Sewing Day

It’s Time For The September Huddle

Rocking Dog Vintage Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Vintage Haberdashery

The nights are drawing in, there is a nip in the air and it is definitely beginning to feel more autumnal. Time then to come together for the September Rocking Dog creative huddle. A warm welcome awaits any battle scarred huddlers or indeed any brave newbies. No, really you need not be afraid, we are all relatively normal and there is always cake to gobble! It all happens on Wednesday 7-9pm and as ever donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work, encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

I am so hoping that Keep Calm & Carry On Karen comes. I’m so desperate to hear the latest on her house renovation (or should that be demolition). Hopefully Atilla the Hun (garian), yes really, will have got the roof on. We all want to know how Karen keeps SO calm! Peppermint tea, a bucket load of Rescue Remedy, a secret flotation tank, SAS survival training perhaps? Maybe this huddle she’ll let us into her secret! I would have definitely benefitted from a dose of Karens calmness over the last few days. I have been so angry ….but that’s another story and not helped by a trip to Asda at Cribbs’. Having a supermarket that size is the devils work ….breathe,breathe,breathe! I solemnly promise never ever to set foot in there ever again. I made that promise years ago about Toys R Us, that too gave me the Asda anger effect!

I promise to not be angry on Wednesday, I will be my usual glittering charming hosting self (with a bit of grumpiness thrown in for good measure). Do please come we really are normal, promise! We even manage to do a little bit of sewing or crocheting in between laughing and eating cake.

Cosy Kennel!,Rocking Dog

Cosy Kennel!

Vintage Frou,Rocking Dog

Vintage Frou

Fantastical Bird Snips,Rocking Dog

Fantastical Bird Snips

Life in technicolour in the kennel

Colourful Christmas Makes,Rocking Dog

Colourful Christmas Makes

I hope you have had a great weekend and that there wasn’t too much dashing in and out of the showers. Life has been colourful in the kennel with cheery bakes and a feast of colour on the table feeding friends. There have been batches of colourful sewing and colourful floral pickings from the garden.

I so love those blogs and magazine features which are awash with neutral linens, carefully curated whites and muted room schemes…..but I just can’t quite seem to do it! So somewhat ashamedly and predictably a technicolour post this is from the Rocking Dog Kennel.

There was a colourful lunch with a couple of tarts, naturally of the pastry variety! An old favourite was resurrected thanks to Tamsin Day-Lewis “The Art Of The Tart”. A homemade blind baked tart was spread with Dijon mustard and then simply laid up with slices of camembert and tomatoes. It was sprinkled with a good glug of herb infused olive oil and put into the oven for 35 minutes. Before serving it was given a further dose of herby olive. Simple and delicious. It was good to make time for lunch with very special friends. What a long way you’ve come darling girl, I will forever love you.

A colourful midweek evening feast for eight included Meatballs with broad beans & lemon, Roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts & honey, Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs, flatbreads and harissa. There was also meant to be three Lebanese salads, but I was far too ambitious time-wise doing those after a morning of mother in law, shopping and putting air in my tyres! However, I did get to make homemade ice cream and baklava in the three hour cooking slot. It all looked very colourful and the two Michelin star chefs gracing the Rocking Dog table were very kind to me! I do think I need to move on from my darling Ottolenghi, guests must groan… I’ll make it my mission to cook another genre! However… that might be short lived as Yotam has a new book coming out in September “Sweet”. I’m lucky enough to have it preordered as a gift. Any one fancy being a “Sweet” guinea pig?!

I have managed to sew some gorgeously colourful things with a batch of vintage fabric stockings. I just need someone to love them and stock them. I need to sit down and give myself an assertive marketing talk! More fabric awaits me with some gorgeous groovy 60’s vibe glazed cotton. I’m sure the designer must have been on magic mushrooms, there are psychedelic birds, butterflies, leopards and cats. Bought from a great vintage shop, RePsycho on Gloucester Road these stockings are going to be lined with ornate alphabet fabric bought in Flo-Jo. Also on the workbench is some 50’s Heals fabric which I have coveted for a number of years. It will make a great blind for oldest daughters house complementing concrete dining light, scaffold plank shelves and eclectic kitchenalia. She’s not limey white either!

More colour has arrived back in the house with the re-emergence of those Rocking Dog frou’d wedding dessert boxes. Some will be going to Young Carers families later in the year as part of “Christmas in A Box”.

Finally there were gifts to colourfully wrap and muffins to top with vibrant apricot compote, the end of a colourful week in the Rocking Dog kennel!

Hope you too will have a lovely colourful week, Love Rocking Dog x

PS I will endeavour to do a lime washed white post this week

Colourful Characters,Rocking Dog

Colourful Characters

On My Workbench,Rocking Dog

On My Workbench

Groovy Future Make,Rocking Dog

Groovy Future Make

Colourful Gifts,Rocking Dog

Colourful Gifts

Food For Friends,Rocking Dog

Food For Friends

Test Bake,Rocking Dog

Test Bake

Windowsill Colour,Rocking Dog

Windowsill Colour

The Boxes Are Back!,Rocking Dog

The Boxes Are Back!

Technicolour Tart,Rocking Dog

Technicolour Tart

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 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