The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: May 2013

Friday, 31 May 2013

The annual flowering of the clematis

I look forward to the month of May. It's the month that brings with it warmer days and sunshine that enable our clematis to grow and flower for a week or two. We are very lucky to have this clematis filling our courtyard with pink flowers every May. This weekend I got out in the sunshine to get some photos of the blooms I have the pleasure of looking for the next few weeks and I wanted to share them with you!



Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Flowers in our home

I love having flowers in our home, temporarily decorating the space with colour and filling the flat with a beautiful scent. These beautiful red tulips were a present from friends...

These pretty flowers were freshly cut from the containers in our courtyard garden. I grew them from bulbs I planted in the autumn last year. I love the pretty orange ruffle detail and the delicate white petals.

I grew these gorgeous purple and pink tulips too.

When I was in the garden this weekend I could see that the flowers I had grown in our containers only had a few days or so before then died. I wanted to enjoy them a little longer before they got battered by rain so I decided to I cut them and added them to a few vases to enjoy them inside. I love having my own freshly cut flowers from my garden. Hopefully in time I'll be able to grow more of my favourite flowers to bring inside and decorate our home. My favourite flowers are peonies, tulips, roses, sweet peas and gerberas.

What flowers do you love having in your home? What flowers are you growing at the moment?

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Handmade Hen Party

You may have noticed that I've had a little break from blogging for a few weeks during April and May. One of my very special friends is getting married in under two months and I have been busy preparing things for her handmade hen party.

Three very organised bridesmaids got together to plan a weekend of celebrations. Playing to our strengths, we decided to each take on a different part of the weekend to organise, I decided to take on the creative plans as I had a few ideas up my sleeve that I'd been planning for some time.

My aim was to create memorable additions to the fantastic weekend we had planned for her and create a few bespoke things that she could keep. Using colours that the bride-to-be loves I decided to build a theme round these colours and create a set of unique handmade items and decorations for the weekend. I'm thrilled to let you know that the weekend of celebrations went very well and all my handmade touches added to the fun events we planned for the weekend.

My favourite handmade hen party items were these pretty ribbon rosettes or ribbon brooches that I hand stitched and designed myself. Using purple, sage green and lemon yellow ribbon, I created 14 rosettes, one for each of the girls who were coming to the weekend activities. I wanted to create something pretty and glam that we could all wear at the various parts of the weekend to show we were all coming together for a special reason. The handmade ribbon rosettes were also a lovely present for each of the girls to take away to remember the weekend.

I made simple handmade paper chains using the same three colours. I used thin coloured card and cut strips measuring 8 inches long by 1 inch wide. I used my paper trimmer to help cut up the strips as I made around 8 to 10 metres of paper chains to decorate a room. I stapled the chains together for speed and used a small stapler. I also sourced pretty pearlescent purple and ivory coloured balloons and tied them together with purple ribbon.

I created a handmade garter as a special gift for the bride-to-be. I knew she didn't have 'something blue' so I made a pretty garter using pretty baby blue ribbon and tied striped ribbon into bows for extra details. I hope that the handmade garter will be something that can be handed down in time and be someone's 'something borrowed' and 'something blue'.

All of the events during the party weekend were a surprise for the bride-to-be. Before every big event over the weekend I handed her a handmade card providing details of what was happening next. These cards were created using pearlescent purple and yellow paper and card from Paperchase and some pretty mint green washi tape. I used a circular paper punch, scalloped circle punch and a Martha Stewart Butterfly punch to create a layered design on the front. Using green pearlescent ink I created a stamped message inside, punched some butterflies, and wrote a different message in each card providing more details of each stage of the weekend. I wanted to make sure that there was a record of every special event organised for the weekend so she could look back and remember.

In addition to the handmade items I collated photos of the bride-to-be from all of the girls who were attending the weekend, the friends spanned various stages of her life so we had a fantastic selection of photos. I added the photos to the album and asked all the girls to write messages on card to add to the photo album. We didn't fill the whole album with photos as we wanted to leave space for photos of the weekend that could be added later on. I tied the photo album with a big purple ribbon rather than wrapping paper. I really do think we managed to create a truly special present to hold her memories.

To make the day even more personal we created a menu of food filled with things the bride-to-be loves. We also created her favourite mojito cocktail using home grown mint from my courtyard garden.

I really loved creating a range of handmade items for the weekend. I've never created as many different things for one event before and I'm proud of what I have achieved and the new skills I've learnt. The time spent planning and making all of the items, as well as all the thinking I did about the little details over the past few weeks was really worth it. In addition to the fun activities and the great company we shared over the weekend, the crafty items I made added to her memory of the details of the weekend. I love it that the bride-to-be has some keepsakes to remind her of her special hen party weekend.

Over the next few weeks I'll write set of step by step instructions for how to make the ribbon rosettes and also instructions of how to make a handmade garter, so that you can make them too!

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Celebrate Container Gardening

My interest in container gardening started about four years ago when I moved into Mr C's flat. A bare outside space needed a little attention and I turned my hand to buying pots and containers trying to make use of the space. Over the years I have slowly turned it into a little haven, with edible plants and flowers, filling the once grey bare space with pots, containers and greenery, encouraging birds to nest and insects to visit. Friends and family have kindly helped with advice, new plants and containers as gifts to get me started.

I love container gardening. It's a simple way to grow things, however small a window box or pot is, all you need is soil, water, light and a bit of warmth to get things going. The gratification of growing your own seeds, planting bulbs and waiting for flowers to burst open is something pretty special. A new plant or flowers can instantly add something different to the space. There is so much I still have to learn and try out in our courtyard. The lack of direct sunlight in some areas of the courtyard can be quite a challenge but I'm slowly learning what can and cannot grow. But by having pots means you can change the look and feel of your space in an afternoon and try out plants in different locations until you find something that works.

Container gardening doesn't require lots of maintenance so you get to spend more time enjoying the space.

I love being in the fresh air, somehow all the worries of the world disappear when I get my wellies on and potter in the garden. My focus is the garden and what is growing, looking at small leaves growing and unfurling, noticing new buds forming and flowers opening.

I love listening to the sounds of the garden, the sounds of leaves dancing round the courtyard on windy days, birds darting around the courtyard, the frequent sound of a hot air balloon burner ahead. We live near a space when hot air balloons take off, during the summer in the early mornings and evenings we get to hear the recognisable sound of the burners above us.

Taking a well earned break with a steaming cup of tea on our pretty iron bench is one of my favourite things to do. I sit back and look around me and then get stuck in to understanding the gardening basics by reading a few books, leading me to plan what to try next.

I'm hoping to grow more plants inside too. I quite fancy trying a terrarium and getting better equated with growing orchids. I've always had plants in the home from spider plants and cacti when I was younger, and now orchids, herbs and a few house plants. For us space and light is a small issue but I will find a way!

I would urge anyone to try a spot of container gardening, however small your space is have a go and feel the benefits of growing something yourself. To start I would recommend a window box of herbs, they grow easily, you can use them to cook with and you'll have plants that smell great.