Tag Archives: Vintage

The Meringue Mountain Has Been Scaled & Eaten!

Marital Meringue Mountain,Rocking Dog

Marital Meringue Mountain

After the awful terrorist atrocities in London this weekend it seems somehow superficial to blog on my meringue mountain. Life does go on, children will return to the classroom after the half term break, commuters will take the tube, pick up a coffee, meet friends. People will celebrate birthdays, give birth, date, take & pass exams, care for relatives, buy & sell homes, mourn loved ones AND get married. It is a constantly ever changing cycle of life with many trials and tribulations along the way. We will no doubt give much thought in the coming days to those caught up in the recent attacks in Manchester and London. We will also undoubtedly wonder how and when these acts of terrorism will end. We are ever grateful to our emergency services and recognise the amazing acts of courage and kindness of strangers coming to the aid of those in need.

So indeed there was a wedding on Friday. Molly & Lex dodged the showers to tie the knot in a charming garden ceremony. I loved the straw bale pews bedecked with hessian coffee sacks. Rocking Dog vintage lace bunting was strung in the trees and the scene was so romantic. After clapping and cheering the happy couple down the grassy “aisle” guests enjoyed bubbly and delicious canapes. There were some really stylish outfits, feodora hats, feathers, velvets, cravats, Frida Kahlo print, florals and jewels.

Whilst the guests feasted on charcuterie platters and paella I constructed Meringue Mountain.

To make your very own 2 1/2ft Meringue Mountain :-

90 meringues (homemade of course!)
Double cream and mascarpone whipped up with a dash of Elderflower Cordial and icing sugar to sweeten
Summer Berries (I used strawberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries)
1 jar cherry compote (I used Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Morello cherry conserve)
Icing sugar to dredge
Fairy lights, fruit, flowers and sprigs of Rosemary to decorate
Chocolate brownie (for those souls who do not like meringue)
2ft diameter tray/board

I loved putting my creation together in situ and it looked great against the woodland background. I had two very sweet and very inquisitive little princesses “helping” me, they simply couldn’t wait for the cake cutting to happen! Lanterns were lit, and the bride and groom “cut” their alternative wedding cake. Vegan guests were treated to brownie and soya cherry yoghurt. Judging by all the oohs aahhs and yums the pud’s were creamily delicious triumphs!

Molly & Lex, together with scrummy baby Dotti have a wonderful married family life.

Wishing everyone a very happy week.

Love Rocking Dog x

Let Them Eat Cake!,Rocking Dog

Let Them Eat Cake!

Berries & Cream,Rocking Dog

Berries & Cream

Vegan Deliciousness!,Rocking Dog

Vegan Deliciousness!

Love That Suit!,Rocking Dog

Love That Suit!

Rocking Dog Vintage Bunting,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Vintage Bunting

Ceremony Pews,Rocking Dog

Ceremony Pews

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

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!

Feathering The Nest To Welcome The Next Generation.

Feathering The Nest,Rocking Dog

Feathering The Nest

We were indeed feathering the nest to welcome the next generation. Sorrel and Pete will meet their little one in April, and before you ask they don’t know what sort they are having! Before the pushing begins at the Birth Centre a big push was needed to try and gain some kind of order in their little London nest.

The family pulled together with paintbrushes, rollers, drills, sandpaper and organisational skills. At times it felt like one of those puzzles where you have to move squares completely out of position in order to get one square into its rightful place! By the end of the weekend ceilings had been painted and walls given further coats. Another scaffold plank shelf had been skilfully drilled into place and numerous mugs of coffee had been drunk.

My girl is SOooo like me, an absolute magpie, minimalism unfortunately does not enter our vocabulary! Wrapping up about one hundred Christmas decorations I thought aloud “Sorrel certainly doesn’t need to inherit my vast collection, she’s simply doing very well on her own!” There is also the monumental sized stash of cookery books….have you heard of online recipes by any chance Sorrel?! Joking aside the couple have some lovely things to display on those scaffold plank shelves. Gradually the boxes that currently engulf what will be nursery will be emptied and the contents distributed to their final destination.

Perhaps work can then focus on the room for the new little person. I anticipate the decoration of this will be for no shrinking violet. I look forward to seeing it develop. There could be an old pram wheel, farm animals and wool pom-poms in the mix! Thankfully in amongst the chaos the main bedroom is a relative haven and there are lovely little vignettes of vintage glamour. Cushions in florals, tapestry, and zingy velvets provide pops of colour against the dramatic backdrop of Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue.

It wasn’t all about painting and DIY, some of us headed to nearby Abbey Wood with Real Live Rocking Dog. There were the remnants of Lesnes Abbey destroyed by Henry VIII, a fantastic wooded daffodil filled walk and distant views to London’s spectacular skyline. I really adored the gated garden there, the planting looked innovative and definitely worth a revisit when the sun really starts to shine. I so love the fact that London has so many wonderful green and surprisingly wild spaces.

We left the couple filling all those shelves. Another DIY onslaught next week with different family members will hopefully see tiled splash backs and skirting boards come to fruition.

Those square puzzle pieces are beginning to find their correct order. It will be lovely, and a sweet little home for welcoming in the next generation.

Thank you to all those lovely folk who helped with the nest building. It was fun.

Wishing you a lovely week. Love Rocking Dog x

Scaffold Plank Shelf,Rocking Dog

Scaffold Plank Shelf

Cook Books Aplenty!,Rocking Dog

Cook Books Aplenty!

Parlez Vous Francais?,Rocking Dog

Parlez Vous Francais?

Vintage Glamour,Rocking Dog

Vintage Glamour

Bohemia,Rocking Dog

Bohemia

Pops Of Colour,Rocking Dog

Pops Of Colour

Tantalising Glimpse,Rocking Dog

Tantalising Glimpse

Meeting His Match!,Rocking Dog

Meeting His Match!

Distant City Skyline,Rocking Dog

Distant City Skyline

Make It Up As You Go Along Cushions

Pattern & Texture,Rocking Dog

Pattern & Texture

After a long morning of very boring brain numbing admin’ tasks I needed to sew. I decided on making a pair of large cushions. These were cushions of the make it up as you go along variety. I “played with fabrics putting charity shop bought vintage needlepoints with sumptuous silks. I added in digitally printed fabric, braids, bobbles and lace. I know this melee of textures and patterns is an acquired taste but the idea could be toned down and tamed.

Once I had decided on the fabrics I wanted to use in each cushion I worked out the proportions of each fabric strip. The size of the needlepoint panels gave me the width measurement of each cushion. The cut strips were sewn together and for extra strength I chose to “stitch in the ditch”. Stitching in the ditch involves top sewing in the seams of the panels.

I then frou’d. My motto is definitely more is more! I added vintage bobbly braid, heavy lace, ribbon and glitzy floral braid.

So the front panels are complete and now they await their backings and plump fillings. Watch this space for the finished rather mad “make it up as I go along cushions!”

Wishing you a lovely weekend, love Rocking Dog x

Playing With Fabrics,Rocking Dog

Playing With Fabrics

Charity Shop Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Charity Shop Tapestry

Before The Bobbles,Rocking Dog

Before The Bobbles

Vintage Braid,Rocking Dog

Vintage Braid

& Vintage Lace,Rocking Dog

& Vintage Lace

Silk, Wool, Digital Print,Rocking Dog

Silk,Wool,Digital Print

Thank You To The Rocking Dog Huddlers

Chaotic Creativity,Rocking Dog

Chaotic Creativity

Poor Rocking Dog had to steady herself with a G&T last night. She wasn’t sure if anyone was going to come to the first Rocking Dog Huddle. She needn’t have worried a steady stream of lovely ladies crossed over the the kennel threshold. Thank you to all those who came. Sometimes it is all too tempting to settle in a comfy chair at home and not brave the near zero temperatures outside.

Cranberry zinger, hot chocolate and tea was drunk as we tackled projects. There was beautiful knitted bunting, a gorgeous crocheted blanket, stuffed rabbit and knitted top being crafted.There were also boring but necessary hems to be turned up and sewn. Other huddlers chose to make lavender crooked hearts.

A group largely made up of random strangers to each other, it was an evening of amazing coincidences. There were folk who had been growing up in the same Kent town and a neighbour who had been treated in the same German hospital that I had worked. Later in the evening I was talking about the dusting room at school. Yes, a room where GIRLS learnt how to dust, make a bed, lay up a tray for an invalid, arrange flowers etc.. grrrrrrr!!! It transpired that another of the huddlers remembered that same dusting room and in fact was in the same class as me at school! 1978 was the last time I saw her and here Diane was, very probably realising that me and dusting was a lost cause! It was so lovely to meet you again.

Your Abel & Cole recipe for haggis sausage rolls was appreciated by us all Sorrel. Thank you. Nigella’s cake was crumbly, chocolatey and calorific! The jury’s out on that one.

Thank you again to all who came last night and a special someone who attempted to make it but unfortunately had a little bit of a car bump. Look forward to seeing you next time.

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has returned to old Toby. Does this mean she saw what was under Wee Tam’s Kilt?!

Cranberry Zinger,Rocking Dog

Cranberry Zinger

Sew, Chat, Eat,Rocking Dog

Sew, Chat, Eat

Crumbly Cake,Rocking Dog

Crumbly Cake

Crooked Hearts,Rocking Dog

Crooked Hearts

Who Ate All The Pies?!,Rocking Dog

Who Ate All The Pies?!

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place,Rocking Dog

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place

It’s A New Dawn, A New Day, The New 2017

But The Kid Is Not My Son!,Rocking Dog

But The Kid Is Not My Son!

Indeed it’s a new dawn, a new day, and the new 2017! Wishing everyone a VERY Happy New Year. I know it’s very rare for me to share a picture of me, I so stay away from camera’s, and please do tell me what a selfie is! So …this is my favourite portrait of the year, but the kid is not my son! Toby is my sons old school friend and we share the same wayward hair.

I am rather glad to be seeing 2016 out. It really has been a finger gripping twisty turny roller coaster ride, both world news-wise and for us as a family personally.

Who would have ever believed that we would be going into 2017 with Donald Trump soon to be residing in the White House? We are living in difficult and uncertain times. Somewhat unrealistically I hope that 2017 brings peace to Syria, a halt to terrorist atrocities and a real desire by worldwide leaders to utilise diplomacy, cohesiveness and wisdom.

Andyman and colleagues have had a difficult year, much too complicated to explain. However, with the rubbish of 2016 hopefully behind them, a new dawn beckons. I am so full of admiration for the group who stood up to bully boy tactics! We are gradually sleeping less fractiously and stress levels have subsided, phew!

There have been so many lovely things that have happened in 2016 and I am forever grateful for amazing friends and family. We have shared a wonderful wedding (Kylie & Alex), when the sun shone, bagpipes played, Motown band got us all dancing and the girls and I cooked for 120!

I loved my role as judge at the local flower show in July, though I did have to taste some rather unpalatable things. I hope i’ll be asked back, it was fun and made me giggle. I’m rather hoping in 2017 i’ll get to go to an together more prestigious flower show, Chelsea. Love it!

We visited lovely places both near and far. Cuba was a particular highlight, an amazing country where I had the humiliating experience of being kicked out of a Salsa class (my mother always said I had two left feet!). We enjoyed visits to Umbria culminating in buying some ancient olive trees with a little apartment close by to watch them grow. Incidentally if anyone fancies watching our olives ripen, it’s available to rent and i’ll post a link later this week. Feel very blessed.

The sewing machine has rattled through various projects (wedding coat, cushions, blinds, stockings etc..) and i’m about to start on my hollyhock quilt. I have fathomed that there are enough delicious vintage materials to make myself an heirloom quilt. How lovely that I have built up a few omnibus editions of The Archers- perfect!

Sewing this year has been a wonderful bonding and rehabilitative craft for a lovely friend who is currently in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Frenchay. Her family have been truly amazing, and I have been humbled by their love, strength, energy and innovation. As for my friend I have no words to describe how brave and determined she is. 2017 there’ll be more sewing, fabric painting and the like with lovely friend. Wishing for progress and continued support and love for all.

Still on a bit of a sewing, crafty theme I really want to start a kitchen table group at the kennel- Stitch ‘n Bitch/ Knit & Natter sort of thing. Haven’t come up with a name- but one eve a month to bring a nodule of crafty stuff and to talk and eat cake, simple. I was thinking of hosting this the last Wednesday in the month 7-9pm ish. Anyone interested, please shout!

There is much to look forward to in 2017, as well as an absolute purge on the house and garden. Paint is flaking, weeds are a growing, damp needs to be kept at bay, a shed needs dismantling and the list keeps growing!  When most folk are in bed I hope to keep on blogging and hope the inspiration for posts keeps on coming.

Have a wonderful 2017, may it bring you and your families many lovely things.

Love Rocking Dog x

Alex & Kylie, Rocking Dog

Alex & Kylie

Sorrel & Pete,Rocking Dog

Sorrel & Pete

Our Liv',Rocking Dog

Our Liv’

Places We Went,Rocking Dog

Places We Went

Cuba,Rocking Dog

Cuba

& Closer To Home,Rocking Dog

& Closer To Home

Glamping....Rocking Dog

Glamping….

...Umbrian Pad,Rocking Dog

…Umbrian Pad

Flower Show Judge,Rocking Dog

Flower Show Judge

Maker Of Coats...Rocking Dog

Maker Of Coats…

..& Cushions...Rocking Dog

..& Cushions…

....Quilts...&,Rocking Dog

….Quilts…&

Helping Others To Make,Rocking Dog

Helping Others To Make

House To Spruce,Rocking Dog

House To Spruce,

& Garden To Conquer!,Rocking Dog

& Garden To Conquer!

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

A Wedding, St Andrew’s And Planning For Christmas

Lost Menu, Rocking Dog

Lost Menu

Poor Rocking Dog is feeling decidedly old and dog-eared! Last week was a busy one with my St Andrew’s Day Celebration, and then in very quick succession a lovely wedding to cater for.

Thank you to all those folk who came out on a cold frosty evening to buy, eat and chat last Wednesday. With these colder temperatures it is all too tempting to curl up on the sofa and nestle down for the evening.Thank you for generous donations for Young Carers and BUST, the total will be given after my Winter Wonderland event on Sunday. I would love to see you then, let’s get festive together!

In between events there were neighbours to visit. Plants and eats were enrobed in crisp white tissue and snowy white bags. I don’t always need to do colour!

Sunday was spent washing a Mini full of vintage china. How pretty it all looked laid up on freshly starched vintage table linen. What a gorgeous bride and groom …..but where did they and their 50 ish guests put ALL that tea?! Four litres of milk and sixty tea bags has to be a record! Very frustratingly I left the menu’s at home – so for any guests tuning in this morning I have posted a pic’ of the lost menu! The Rocking Dog team had to work in an absolutely minuscule kitchen, but the tea pots got filled, cakes got laid up on vintage cake stands and the tiramisu’s were embellished with their raspberries! Thanks to Marie, Lara, Holly and Kylie, you were brilliant. I really do think this was my swan song regarding weddings – the stamina required is substantial and drinking Red Bull is unfortunately not the answer!

This week THE decorations will come tumbling down from the attic, and Mission Winter Wonderland will be deployed. Very worryingly it seems such a short time ago that they were being packed up to head into the attic after the festivities of 2015. Frightening.

Have a wonderful week, love a very tired Rocking Dog x

PS. Cranberry Zinger served outside whilst the venue was turned from chapel to tearoom has the following ingredients. Cranberry juice, orange juice, Spiced berry cordial, sliced root ginger, sliced clementines, fresh cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick. Bring mix gently to boil and simmer and serve.

Bridal Brownie, Rocking Dog

Bridal Brownie

Chintzy China,Rocking Dog

Chintzy China

Cranberry Zinger,Rocking Dog

Cranberry Zinger

St Andrew's Sale,Rocking Dog

St Andrew’s Sale

Preserve Bonanza!,Rocking Dog

Preserve Bonanza!

Glittery Succulent,Rocking Dog

Glittery Succulent

Care Packages,Rocking Dog

Care Packages

'Tis The Season......,Rocking Dog

‘Tis The Season……

....To Deck The Halls!,Rocking Dog

…..To Deck The Halls!