The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: September 2014

Friday, 12 September 2014

Inspired by...Elise Blaha Cripe

I spend lots of my spare time immersing myself in my hobbies and have a number of blogs and people that I follow online that really inspire me. One of those inspirational people is Elise Blaha Cripe.

I've been reading Elise's blog, enJOYit, for well over a year and absolutely love it. Elise blogs everyday about her life. She writes about running her small business, her project Make 29, gardening, home projects, scrapbooking, goal setting, her family and making. I first came across Elise through the online scrapbooking community and e-courses that I took at Big Picture Classes. Elise has now pared back her scrapbooking but still uses Project Life to document her life.

I love Elise's style, her photography, friendliness in her writing, her raw creativity and dedication to posting a blog post everyday is amazing. Elise's blog is truely authentic, there are pictures of her home and family, she writes from the heart, and she has so much enthusiasm and drive it's infectious. Many of her hobbies and interests resonate with me and perhaps this is why I really love her blog and what she does.

As a lifestyle blogger Elise has so much to say on a variety of topics and this year she started a new format of communicating her thoughts, rather than through words and photos Elise has started a weekly podcast, Elise Gets Crafty. I've been listening to it since it started in February. I love it when Wednesday arrives and there is a new podcast to download and listen to on my walk to and from work, it gives me a spring in my step!

On my holiday in July I listened back through all of Elise's podcasts again to see if I could pick up anything new that I hadn't heard the first time round and I did. I think it was at this point in time that it really struck me how much Elise inspires me with what she does and I felt that I wanted to share with you my thoughts.

A few of my favourite and most inspiring podcasts I've listened to have been - Episode 3 - Developing an editorial calendar for your blog, Episode 4 - Creative field trips, Episode 11 - Growing your creativity and Episode 23 - On focus and what to do when you have too many ideas. The topics that Elise covers are really interesting and many discussions have resonated with me.

If you have a bit of spare time today and want to find out more about Elise please go and take a look at Elise's blog enJOY it and download a few of her podcasts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

My simple pleasure...smelling home grown mint

Smelling home grown mint from our herb garden is an ultimate simple pleasure of mine. As I potter around our courtyard garden checking how everything is growing, without fail I'm drawn towards our containers that are the home to our herb garden. I bend down to smell the mint, pick a sprig, place it on my palm and I slap my hands together...a waft of mint fills the air.

I love it when summer arrives, the mint springs into life and I can finally use freshly cut mint in summer drinks and for cooking. I love adding a small sprig of mint to summer drinks, my favourites are when it is combined with elderflower. Drinking a glass of elderflower cordial with ice and a big sprig of mint, or a refreshing glass of elderflower gin and tonic with mint are my favourites. The delicious combination of summer sunshine, mint and elderflower is heavenly.

I am currently growing three types of mint, Garden mint, Moroccan mint and Basil mint, altogether in the same container. Each year the mint grows more prolific delivering an ever increasingly large crop of leaves for us to enjoy. But the season of mint doesn't last long enough as it begins to die back in autumn.

So as we say a fond farewell to the warm weather and the summer over the next few weeks I will be making the most of having fresh home grown mint in our garden and getting a fix of one of my simple pleasures.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

August and early September in our courtyard garden

In August our courtyard garden saw many warm days and also quite a lot of rain. For a week at the end of the month we woke to cool mornings hinting at the imminent arrival of autumn. However this week saw the start of September and we are back to mild temperatures and pockets of warming sunshine. I've loved what I've grown this summer in our containers. Mr C and I have made the most of our courtyard as much as we could depending on the weather. We have enjoyed eating lunches outside, using up the rocket and chard in yummy salads and enjoying the fresh air.

This week our tomatoes have started turning at last. I picked the big red one today ready to add to a lunch this week. These tomatoes have been the largest I've ever grown in our courtyard. We have lots of green tomatoes ready to enjoy, I think I may have to ripen them on our windowsill so we can enjoy our crop sooner.

The carrots are growing and I've started seeing small pops of orange through the soil. I don't think that they will be very large but I'm so pleased with what I've managed to grow so far. I did neglect them a little (oops!) and probably could have thinned them out more allowing a better crop but we wait and see what I end up digging up.

The courgettes have continually flowered and we now have a number of small courgettes growing.

We enjoyed these courgettes in a ratatouille we cooked this week.

We have a few courgettes still growing.

Even on the cloudy and rainy days our space looked bright with the few flowers left in our garden. Our geranium filled window boxes are still blooming as are the marigolds I grew from seed. I love that a packet of seeds for a few pounds has given us so much colour in our garden all summer.

The hardy geraniums in our courtyard are still flowering from time to time. I need to do a little dead heading to see if they will flower once again but I'm pleased with how they've continued to flower a few years after growing them from seed.

The chard is still growing with vibrant orange and purple stems. I love the purple veined leaves adding colour to salads.

The chilli plants are also grown from seed have just flowered. I think that they are a little late this year so I may have to wait a while to have a little crop of chillies.

Our little courtyard has definitely seen one of the most productive summers of container gardening ever. We've had the longest period of time with flowers blooming thanks to the marigolds. I'm delighted to have grown more than one courgette this year and to have a space I'm really proud of. How is your garden looking?