The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: August 2013

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Flowers in our home - A jar of geraniums

Summer maybe drawing to a close but there is still a little time left to enjoy a few home grown blooms. I picked these heads of flowers from my seed grown geraniums and the last sweet pea flower and popped them in a jam jar on our coffee table to enjoy and brighten our home.


Friday, 30 August 2013

Finding fabric for the colours I love

Recently I've taken some time to review my fabric collection. On closer inspection I realised that I've built a collection of fabrics mainly for children's quilts and gifts and not one that truly reflects me and my tastes. Over time I have gradually added to my medium-weight cotton and linen fabric collection and I have some gorgeous fabrics but nothing that is particularly suitable to be made into a cushion or quilt for our home.

There are fabrics I have in my collection that I love and have used to make a cushion for a friend, and some of the fabrics I used to make a patchwork sewing machine cover for my Mum's sewing machine but they are almost all used up. There are a few of the patterned fabrics I have used to make the two baby patchwork quilts that I adore but there isn't really anything that particularly matches the colours and styles I want displayed in our home. I really felt that there is a gap in my collection that is holding me back from creating projects for our home.

We have a beautiful teal coloured sofa and snuggler seat that I spent many years searching for, they are my absolute pride and joy. I made some gorgeous piped cushions last year in a navy blue japanese waves fabric that look great on the sofa. However the sofa really could do with a few more cushions and a snuggly quilt for Mr C and I for the winter.

So after coming back from the Festival of Quilts I decided to take the plunge and start building a collection for me that I know I'll love and happily use for projects in our home. I love the idea of combining grey, navy blue, teal and white to make patchwork cushion covers for our home.

To kick start the fabric collection I headed to my local patchwork and quilting shop, Country Threads. I love going to a fabric shop and deciding what to buy, I love popping in for a material fix and spending time looking at all the different fabrics on display and selecting a few fat quarters. I've also spent some time on M is for Make and Fabric Rehab websites to see what they had in stock that would fit what I was looking for. The selection of fabrics that both websites have are great and I was so excited to receive the fabric parcels through the post at the end of last week. I've mentioned before about simple pleasures, I really do love receiving things in the post, especially books, magazines and fabric, so this delivery of post was extra special.

Last week I also discovered these Moda mini charm packs. I love the idea of charm packs where you get a sample of each patterned fabric from a collection in a pre-cut bundle but had never bought one. To ease myself into pre-cut fabric I decided to buy these mini charm packs that have charm squares measuring 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches square.

One of my favourite patchwork and quilting blogs is Simplify by Camille Roskelley, and I love the way she combines colour and pattern in her quilts. I decided to buy a mini charm pack in the Happy-go-lucky design which she created. I love the range of colours and designs and plan to use these charm squares on a cushion cover for my craft space. I also picked up the Indigo Crossing mini charm pack design that combines off-white and navy blue. I dream of one day creating a pretty navy blue and white floral quilt, so this is the start of the fabric collection for that project!

I'm really looking forward to using my new fabric and over the next few months I'm planning to embark on making a few simple projects for our home alongside the pinwheel quilt that I've started making. I can't wait to start using these fabrics in our home and I finally feel I have a collection of fabrics for me in colours and patterns I love. I'll keep you updated with my making progress over the next few months.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

August in our courtyard garden

August is drawing to a close and our little courtyard garden is changing once again. Our summer plants are coming to the end of flowering and we are harvesting the few crops of tomatoes and chillis that have managed to grow. I've been lucky to have some success container gardening this summer. In the UK we have actually had a summer, numerous warm sunny days, not a lot of rain and so we have grown some decent sized tomatoes. Our herbs have grown well and have been used during the summer to add a little extra to our salads and dishes. Having the opportunity to regulary use our garden for impromptu barbeques with friends, a wine tasting and for relaxing with drinks after work and at weekends, has made me fall in love with our space even more.

Here are a few photos of how our courtyard has looked over the past few weeks...

Let's hope the sunny weather stays for a little longer so we can enjoy our courtyard for a little bit longer before the autumn and winter weather set in.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Pinwheel quilt - Work in progress

After an inspiring trip to The Festival of Quilts I decided to kick start a new project this weekend. I have been researching how to make a quilt using triangles for a quite a while but haven't had the chance to try it out. I decided to take my first step into triangles by making a pinwheel quilt using quarter square triangles. I looked at a video about how to make pinwheels by the Missouri Star Quilt Company to get started. It made it look so easy, and it was!

I've spent some time this weekend looking through my fabric stash and deciding what colours to put together. I wanted to make a multicoloured rainbow quilt as it is a present for a friends's baby girl. I'm not too sure what the quilt will look like yet but I've started piecing together some pinwheels.

I'm looking forward to making a more of these over the next few weeks and will keep you posted on my progress.

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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Planting Alpines in Window Boxes

A few weeks ago I planted up a few new plants in my two window boxes. I wanted to get something low maintenance that will look well maintained.

I decided to buy six small alpine plants all different shapes and colours to add a bit of character and something a little different. I love the shapes of the leaves and the colours against the lead-look planters.

To plant up the window boxes I added some fresh soil in the containers before I planted the alpines, I added some slow release plant food and a few water retaining crystals. I spent time arranging the alpines to balance the colours and shapes. I planted them up and then gave them a good watering.

I'm looking forward to seeing these alpines grow gradually and seeing a few of them flower.

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Inspired by...The Festival of Quilts 2013

Last week I headed off to The Festival of Quilts at the NEC with a few work buddies. The whole event was really inspiring and it got me so excited about my fabric and crafty stash once more. The Festival of Quilts is 'the ultimate patchwork and quilting experience' and it didn't fail to impress. Three halls in the NEC were full to the brim of quilts, fabric and supplies to buy.

There were hundreds of quilts on display ranging from fine art quilts, contemporary quilts, traditional quilts, pictorial quilts and the impressive miniature quilts. I spent around 3 hours looking at the quilts while I was there. I was so impressed at the amount of work that had gone into every single one. I couldn't imagine how long these talented quilters had spent dreaming up their designs, cutting the fabric, piecing it together and then quilting and adding embroidery. Here are a few of my favourite details and parts of quilts that I saw. Unfortunately in my excitement I didn't make notes of all of the names of the quilts and who made them!


I loved the variety of quilting styles that were all brought together under one roof. I was so impressed at the level of detail that had gone into every quilt and how very different they all were. It made me want to find out more about the different styles and try them out for myself.

As part of the festival there were also hundreds of exhibitors and retailers selling equipment, fabrics and books. While I was at the festival I did indulge in a little shopping and I came away with two very helpful rulers from Creative Grids which I'm going to try out this weekend, and some gorgeous spotty and patterned teal fabric for a few projects I have planned.

Going to The Festival of Quilts 2013 has really inspired me to kick start a few projects I have been thinking about for some time. I've got many ideas of cushions and quilts I'd like to make and also a few embroidery pieces I want to try too. I plan to make a start on these projects over the next few months and will share with you how I'm getting on.

I hope that these examples of quilts inspire you to get some fabric and start making too!

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Sunday, 11 August 2013

How to Make a Ribbon Rosette

Ribbon rosettes are a simple and easy accessory to make. All you need is some ribbon, pinking shears, a needle and thread, and a button. These rosettes were made for a Handmade Hen Party that I helped organise. These ribbon rosettes look great worn on a jacket or cardigan like a brooch, or as a pretty addition pinned to a bag. You can raid your ribbon stash to see what you have or buy a few lengths of ribbon to make a special project. These ribbon rosettes were made as brooches that matched a wedding colour theme of purple, sage green and lemon yellow.

To make your own ribbon rosette follow these simple steps.

To make a handmade ribbon rosette you need to gather together a few different lengths of ribbon (see the list below). I used three colours as I wanted to contrast each layer of the rosette, using a wide dark coloured ribbon as the base layer through to a thinner light coloured ribbon as the final layer. I used pinking shears to cut the ribbon to make the ends of the ribbon pretty and to help ensure that the ends did not fray. You could use any colour of ribbon and use different widths of ribbon, these are just a guide of what I did.

What you'll need to make one rosette:

Purple ribbon - 63cm (2.5cm wide)
Sheer purple ribbon - 36cm (2.5cm wide)
Green ribbon - 39cm (1.5cm wide)
Sheer green ribbon - 20cm (1cm wide)
Pleated green ribbon - 20cm (1cm wide)
Yellow ribbon - 20cm (1cm wide)
Sheer yellow ribbon - 26cm (1cm wide)
Scrap of purple fabric
Small piece of iron on interfacing
Purple button
Safety pin
Purple and yellow thread
Pinking shears
To add a bit of sparkle you need one silver gem and glue

How to make a ribbon rosette:

1) Cut three pieces of wide purple ribbon each measuring 21cm long. I chose purple ribbon measuring 2.5cm wide.

2) Find a scrap of fabric in a similar colour to the wide ribbon you have selected. Use iron on interfacing to strengthen the fabric then cut a circle of fabric 5cm in diameter using your pinking shears.

3) Fold over each piece of purple ribbon so that the ends overlap each other by 2cm to 3cm. Thread your needle and make a knot in the thread. Arrange the three pieces of purple ribbon in a star shape like the picture below, where the ribbon overlaps make sure these face the back of the rosette. Pass the needle from the back of the ribbon star, through the middle of each piece of folded ribbon to the front and back through again. Do this a few times so that the three pieces of ribbon are securely fastened.

4) Add the fabric circle to the back of the rosette, this creates some stability for the rosette when you start adding the next few layers of ribbon.

5) Next, cut 3 pieces of sheer purple ribbon, 12cm in length. You can sew these to the back of the rosette now, or like I did added them at the end. I chose sheer purple ribbon that measured 2.5cm in width to compliment the solid purple ribbon.

6) Cut three pieces of green ribbon measuring 13cm each. Fold over each piece of ribbon with 1cm of overlap on each end, sew all three pieces together in a star shape like the image below.

7) Cut two pieces of yellow ribbon measuring 10cm each. Fold over each piece of yellow ribbon so that you double over equal lengths of ribbon. Here you will create a smaller set of ribbon pieces, sew together in a cross shape.

8) Cut 1 piece of sheer yellow ribbon, 2 pieces of sheer green ribbon and 2 pieces of pleated green ribbon, each of the 5 pieces measures 10cm in length. Arrange these together to create a tail for the rosette and securely fasten to the back of the fabric circle.

9) Cut two pieces of sheer yellow ribbon 8cm long and arrange on your rosette like the picture below.

10) Add the green and yellow ribbons on top of the sheer yellow ribbon pieces like the image below. Sew together passing the needle through the middle of all the ribbons and back through again.

11) Pass the needle back through the rosette and add a contrasting purple button for decoration. Sew the button on making sure you pass the needles through all layers so the rosette holds its shape, this provides the rosette with stability so go through the button a few times.

12) Add the sheer purple ribbon cut in step 5 to the back of your rosette. Now add a safety pin to the back and pin to your top! For an evening look I added a touch of sparkle by using some glue to attach a silver gem.

I made 14 of these rosettes for a Handmade Hen Party as a gift for everyone to take away.

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