The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: June 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Pink Button Tree - the meaning behind the name

When I named my blog in 2011 I chose 'The Pink Button Tree'. I wanted to create a name with real meaning which would be my identity, define what my blog was about and for it to be a focus of the vision of this space. It wasn't created in an instant but when I found it I knew it was right. I've explained name to family and friends early on, but I haven't expressed its meaning in detail here. As my life goes through a change and my blog is evolving what better time to share with you the meaning behind my blog as it moves to its next stage. If you've wondered why I call my blog The Pink Button Tree read on...


It is one of my favourite colours. I love it in every shade, from vibrant pinks through to pale pastels. I love vintage pink roses and peonies, pretty pink cardigans and patterned scarves, and love pink gingham and floral fabrics. I am always drawn to the colour pink. Wearing the colour makes me happy, gives me energy and makes me feel makes me smile. I want to make you smile, feel uplifted and inspired by reading my blog.


For me a button is a symbol of simple creativity. A practical and useful fastening, it brings things together allowing them to be whole and to work as they were destined to. My blog is about how I'm learning simple crafts and getting creative. I want to talk to you about how I'm learning, show you my practical handmade projects and approaches, with the hope that they will inspire you to bring more creativity into your life.


For me the tree symbolises the journey of my life. A tree grows from one small seed and gradually over time, uses the energy and resources surrounding it to grow into something stronger, bigger, becoming something that lives beyond our own lifetime. I like to think of this tree as a cherry tree. It grows from a seed, changes with the seasons during its life, it blossoms, it grows fruit enabling it to pass on its seeds, allowing others to grow...

...When I was about 9 years old our school were involved in planting saplings in a local park. We were all invited to plant a tree in the park. We were able to choose what tree we wanted to plant, I chose a cherry tree as I loved the idea of growing a tree with pretty blossoms with the potential of growing fruit. As I've grown up I've tried to visit the tree to check how it is growing. However gradually over time as I've grown up, I've moved away from home and I've missed regular visits to the park. The last time I looked I had lost the exact location of my tree, there were so many other trees growing around the same space making it hard to find...but I knew it was there, I just needed to try and find it again...

...After arriving home from a life changing three month trip abroad at the start of 2011, I realised that there was something missing in my life, something I once had, but something that got lost as I went along life's journey... I'd lost my creativity and had left behind my creative hobbies and passions in the years I was studying and working. Just like the tree in the park, my creativity got lost, it became masked from view as other things grew bigger around it...While I was away travelling I decided that I wanted to reinvigorate something in me, to try and find my creativity again. When I came home from my trip I decided that I wanted to plant a new seed in my life and grow a new tree. I wanted to bring new creative handmade passions into my life, to keep learning, growing and developing...I rediscovered my creative passions that I learnt when I was young, and have spent the years since then growing my creative skills, my interests and dedicating time to reflect on how I want to grow and develop. I've become super passionate about photography, gardening, sewing, crochet, knitting, making things for our home, documenting my life, and sharing things that inspire me...I've let myself grow and have dedicated more time to being has brought me huge happiness.

...I want to continue growing and feeding the tree with my energy and enthusiasm, keeping a close look on how it is growing so I don't ever lose it again...I want to share my creative journey with you, talk about the bumps in the road, the different directions my journey is taking me, and the seasons of change that I experience as I grow my creative passions...I want to continue to grow my skills, to live life to the full, and pass on my thoughts, how-to's and inspirations. I want to pass on a seed to inspire you to grow a life yourself, that's creative, simple, fulfilling and handmade by you.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Taking time to sew - my new Pink Button Tree

I created my original blog header in November 2011 on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I was new to blogging and needed to create a header for my blog so that I could get started. I don't think I realised then how much blogging would really mean to me and how much of a driver of change it would be in my life. I love the pink embroidered tree that I created back then, but I have grown and changed, as has my blog, it is time for a new look.

The project of creating a new blog header has been on my to do list for quite sometime. I have been planning a few ideas and thinking about what I wanted to do for well over a year now. I thought about perhaps commissioning an illustration of my vision of The Pink Button Tree, or that perhaps could I use a collage of photos to show what I do, or maybe I could create a combination of patchwork and embroidery stitches in an intricate panel...but I knew that I wanted to stay true to me and my blog vision, I wanted to use my first idea of a handmade, hand stitched tree with buttons. I wanted to create something simple and made by me.

With my return to blogging at the start of June I decided that I should update my blog header at the same time. I wanted to signal the fresh start in my blogging and creative journey and a brighter look and feel. I gathered the materials I had been collecting over the past year of so, I sat down and looked at everything for a while. I decided to go for a really simple look to make my header feel simple and fresh.

I used white cotton as a background and used some gorgeous linen for the trunk of the tree. I've never had a talent for drawing and have always gone for more abstract simple shapes. To help me create the tree shape I found a few images of trees online and started trying to sketch a tree shape. After quite a few attempts I finally reached something more in line of how I wanted for the feel of my blog.

I tried to transfer this onto the linen and ended up simplifying the look and changing it as I went. I used iron on interfacing on the linen to give it more stability and then cut it out. After cutting out I placed the tree shape on top of the white cotton background. I gave it a quick press on my ironing board and pressed the white cotton background. I wanted to arrange the buttons before I made a start to see if it all worked well together. I took real pleasure in sorting through my large collection of buttons I have stored in a jar and spent time selecting the buttons I wanted for the tree. I positioned the pink buttons and took this photo so I had a picture as reference of what I wanted to create.

I collected the buttons into a small dish and put them to one side. I then arranged the white cotton in a large embroidery hoop and placed the tree centrally. I didn't have any double sided interfacing left in my supplies so I used tacking stitches to lightly fasten the linen tree to the white cotton.

Along the outside edge of the tree I made small invisible stitches to secure the tree to the white background. It took quite a number of hours to complete but I made myself comfy on the sofa with cups of tea and had music playing in the background.

I love the finished tree and how the edges are not so straight, the linen started to fray and it gives it a really lovely organic look.

The next stage was to attach the buttons. During an evening when I was nursing a bad cold I decided to cheer myself up and attach the buttons to finish the tree. One by one I attached the buttons using pink embroidery thread. When I first started thinking about updating my blog header I had grand plans of using hundreds of pink French knots on the tree branches, and the thought crossed my mind again, but I decided to keep it simple and just use buttons.

I'm really proud of my new blog header, I took huge pleasure from making it and getting back into hand stitching and creating something. My Pink Button Tree will soon be framed and hung in my craft studio. I'm looking forward to having it near my desk, a continual reminder of my love of making, creating, writing and learning new things. The project came to life after lots of thinking, planning and reflecting, I think sometimes you need time to really work out what you want to do before making a big change. The new Pink Button Tree symbolises the beginning of the next stage on my creative journey and the start of a few simple developments on my blog.

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Thursday, 12 June 2014

May and June - Our courtyard garden

Over the past few months I've been watching our courtyard garden grow. We've been really lucky to have some lovely sunny and warm days. I've taken time out to tend to our plants, keep them watered and I am spending more an more time in our courtyard garden space. Here's what has been going on...

For the second year in a row the geraniums I grew from seed are flowering, there are bright pinks, red and white flowers coming into bloom.

For the first time I've grown lettuce leaves from seed...

Our sunny space is blooming...the radishes, fennel, fuchsia and marjoram are loving the sunny spot.

The radishes grew in small batches, I've found that those at the front of the window box have been doing better than others...

This week I harvested what I had before they went into flower.

There wasn't any rocket left at the garden centre, so I decided to trying to grow rocket from seed...

...and after a few weeks the leaves are starting to take shape and look more like what you would expect.

The fuchsia continues to flower and is one of my favourite plants in the garden.

This year I moved it into a new location and it has flourished. This is how it looked today, there are so many flowers this year.

I've been a bit late planting up my courgette plants. I have three that I've grown from seed and they are getting themselves established. Tonight I got home from work and planted them into larger pots in the hope that they will grow over the next few months.

My tomato plants are starting to flower and I'm looking forward to another year of a home grown crop for my lunchtime salads.

These are the marigolds I've grown from seed. I've been growing them in my cold frame in a partially sunny spot. I started planting these up into bigger containers this evening... I'm loving the long evenings of the summer, I'm getting so much gardening time in my week!

The bay tree is continuing to grow and is having a growth spurt

and here are the potatoes! They have gone a little wild but I think that they must be enjoying this sunny spot. I'm waiting to see if they flower soon. I have everything crossed that I will have a crop and not just greenery!

These are the carrots I've grown from seed. This week I've been thinning them out.

I'm going to buy a few more flowers over the next few weeks, I want to have a few more bright pops of colour brightening our space.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Life at the moment

Over the past month I've been...

Enjoying...the photos I took on our Copenhagen holiday in April and remembering the pretty pink blossoms that lined our walk into the centre of the city each day

Watching...cheesy rom com movies whilst nursing a nasty cold

Reading...My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Pijkerk, Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and catching up on my favourite magazines over cups of tea Happy by Pharrell Williams on repeat, singing the words out loud (badly!) and dancing around the flat

Learning...more things about web coding and Photoshop

Catching up...with great friends over dinner and drinks in the sunshine, and enjoying long distance Facetime catch ups

Loving...the yearly bloom of wild flowers on my walk to work

Reflecting...on learnings from the Blogging Your Way and Do What You Love e-courses, and the new things I want to bring into my life new and improved blog this space new embroidered Pink Button Tree blog header

Finishing...writing blog posts that I've been planning and thinking about for a while

Waving...goodbye to my fabulous team and great friends...Onwards...good luck girls, I'm missing you loads already. favourite blue and white striped t-shirts and my coral pink hearts scarf

Eating...lots of asparagus, fish, and fabulous meals made by Mr C

Watching...the plants grow in our garden

Embracing...the start of a new phase in my life. There's lots of change happening and I'm excited and nervous at the same time.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Gaining a fresh perspective - Embracing blogging break and dealing with change

Don't you just love flowers that bring a brightness into your home? Seeing pretty blooms in my home gives me a spring in my step. Whether it's seeing one of my orchids flowering, a bright bunch of tulips, a hot pink gerbera or a bunch of pale vintage pink peonies standing tall in a spirits rise...and I smile.

Flowers were one of the first subjects that got me truly interested in taking photos, moving me from taking snapshots of people around me, to taking photos of objects and capturing the details. When I take photos I experience a creative high and feel a real flow...A few weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a beautiful bunch of tulips to brighten my desk in my craft studio. A couple of days later the tulips began opening and I took some photos. Within seconds a wave of positive energy hit me. Taking that photo pushed a certain button in me to get kick started and be inspired again...

Why am I telling you this?

As you may have seen I've taken a bit of a blogging break. Life for me is normally full of really positive and happy times but recently we have been hit by a whirlwind, well what feels like a tornado really, of numerous things happening in succession that has taken its toll. I want to tell you what happened and how I've tried to navigate my way through. Grab a cup of tea and I'll tell you a bit more...

Over the past 7 months or so I have learnt just how truly important the day to day is and how, in an instant, things can change through life changing events, illness and loss...Before Christmas I lost my one and only grandparent I've ever known, it was an emotional few weeks of illness upon illness, culminating in her passing away...Over the past few months we've been trying to deal with, and be there, for a special couple close to us who recently lost their beautiful new arrival, a tragic and devastating loss at only a few days old...Terminal illness has gradually been taking hold of a very special little girl in our lives. Each time we see her we shower her in love, comfort and warmth but we know that there is nothing that will heal her, it is heartbreaking...Our family, and friend's families, have had to deal with serious illness engulfing their lives, bringing about huge change...the past few months have been really tough.

I've personally been dealing with a big change in my life, nothing as serious as illness, but something that took a real toll on me emotionally and rocked me to my core. I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions of shock, anger and sadness when my fantastic job and working environment suddenly became unstable and my normal working week became engulfed in change. At the end of March and start of April, I went through a short, but highly emotional, redundancy process with my team at work. Our jobs were made redundant and we all had to consider the move into a new role that was created, replacing the four roles in our team by one new role. The process lasted a week and a half, and even though it sounds a short period of time, it felt so much longer. Many decisions had to be worked through and feelings had to be processed...I even started rethinking my career direction and considered a whole set of changes I could take...

I've been hugely lucky to have been moved into that role, however with any major change it has come with mixed feelings. I've gone through feelings of elation of still being employed, then the feelings of concern and wondering how I will cope dealing with the change of an even busier and varied job. I take real pride in my job and by combining four jobs into one, I knew my standard of delivery was going to have to alter. I've been working through the feelings of deep sadness as my close colleagues have been made redundant and have left, or are soon to be leaving. These people were part of a great team that I spent 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with and so having to let go of the norm has been hard. I know deep down that it's the end of an fabulous working era in my life and a time of real marked change.

Daily life, as we know it, can change in an instant. There are some things you can control and others you can't, and I've had to embrace that. One by one I've been saying goodbye and embracing the change. Change can sometimes be good...I know that it's time to embrace the change, and start a new chapter...

So how have I navigated through the past few months?

At first I didn't. I was overcome with all the emotions you would expect however I let myself work through my feelings, process my thoughts and tried to not block them out. I allowed myself to really feel my feelings...and they helped guide me. It felt like everything was all happening at once, I couldn't see a way through and it knocked me off my path. It stalled me from moving forwards and froze my creativity. I lost focus and for some reason my confidence took a nose dive. I have experienced the full force how certain events in life can knock me off my creative perch, but what I've come away with is learning how to really fight, to climb back up and start again. For the past few months I've been fighting and climbing back slowly, gaining pace, gaining confidence, and gaining my focus once more.

For me I used my word 'embrace' to help me work my way through everything going on. What a year to choose this word, I'm so grateful that this word jumped out at me from that list! I've tried to embrace the changes going on and be even more grateful for the opportunities I have in life. I decided to embrace how I was feeling inside and not put too much pressure on myself to sit and create, or get through my to-do list. I decided to disconnect for a while, I took a break from things, I didn't read blogs, my magazines piled up and I didn't make anything. I allowed myself to take time for me to process things and reflect. I was embracing the space...

After some time I wanted get back to doing something, so during my blogging break I've ploughed my energy and thinking time into learning, reflecting and trying to develop...all things I love to do. I signed up for two e-courses, Do What You Love and another refreshed version of Blogging Your Way. The timing of these courses couldn't have been better, I took the plunge and I went on an immediate gut reaction, and I decided to invest in me, allowing myself to have something fresh to focus on.

As well as taking the courses, I decided to get out into the fresh air and spend time gardening and watching things grow. Gardening is real therapy for me and has been for a number of years now...while I was thinking about a career change I considered the option of ditching my day job and becoming a gardener...maybe one day! I thought perhaps this was a little too drastic, so instead I took that raw passion and love of growing things to get our courtyard space feeling great again.

By doing things I really love and taking time to think and plan, I've managed to gain a fresh perspective on things, have gained more mental strength, and feel ready to go forwards and really embrace new beginnings.

I've learnt to ensure I fill my life with things I love to do, to see the people I want to see and that bring me joy, lift me up and support me. I learnt to never forget about my roots...they have helped me get back on my path.

So...back to that photo of the tulips, where does this fit in?

For me, the simple act of picking up my camera that day, taking a photo I was proud of, and sharing that photo with others, gave me a much needed creative boost to lift me from out of the creative doldrums I found myself in...I love the photo of these tulips, for me this photo symbolises a time in my life when one moment changed everything...By taking the photo I started feeling real focus and felt ready to start embracing a new phase, embracing life, opening up and moving forwards...and most importantly it made me smile.

So if you are feeling stuck, go and start something now that you love.

...Perhaps it's cooking, you may have a cookery book that has been sitting around and you haven't had time to make anything out of it yet. You must have bought it for a reason, so take some time out, read it, get inspired, and cook that new dish you've been wanting to do.

...Perhaps, like me it's photography, you should get out your camera, whether it's the camera on your phone or that special DSLR you have, hold it in your hands and take some time out to take a photo you are proud of. Get the photo printed and put it somewhere you can see it everyday or share it on social media.

...Never forget how the simple things that you love can make you smile, and how they can give you the energy you need to reinvigorate yourself and inspire you to take that next step.

For me I've spent the past few months making plans and gaining a fresh perspective on the day to day. I want to make a step forward in a new phase of my life, so I'm taking the time to embrace the challenges, embrace change and most importantly I'm embracing me...

As the saying goes...onwards...onwards with new adventures, onwards with embracing change, and onwards with creating and living the life you want to live. I'm doing it, so join me as I navigate my way through the next part of my creative journey...

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