The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: November 2014

Saturday, 29 November 2014

November in our garden - Winter window boxes

Our window boxes needed a new set of plants after the geraniums eventually finished flowering a few weeks ago. This year I decided to try again with cyclamen to see if they would survive in the window boxes in a different location. These little plants can be a bit temperamental and can have a tendency to die if they don't like the conditions.

I went to our local garden centre and selected bright red and white cyclamen to fill our three window boxes. I love these colours together for winter flowers, they feel really Christmassy. I planted two red cyclamen and one white cyclamen into each window box, and added a few pieces of variegated ivy to each window box to add an extra element to the arrangement.

Each morning I open the blinds in our lounge and see these window boxes, they make me smile from ear to ear. It's so lovely to have these flowers outside the front of our home welcoming people with a bright pops of colour. Over time I will add more potted plants and colour to our front garden but for this autumn and winter these window boxes are a perfect feature on our bay window.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My simple pleasure - Watching Autumn colours

Over the past month or so I've been savouring one of my favourite seasons of the year. I love the arrival of Autumn and watching the leaves on trees and plants change colour, it really is one of my favourite simple pleasures at this time of year. For me the moment the leaves change means swapping the contents of wardrobes for cosy clothes, getting to wear my collection of scarves, putting on warm boots and a coat. It's is a comforting signal to start winding down, spending more time indoors and snuggling under cosy blankets.

Over the past month or so I've loved watching the leaves on trees change from green to yellows and reds. From our attic I can see trees in the distance in each direction and have loved seeing how the view changes week on week and noticing the gradual change happening in nature. It's our first Autumn in our new home and having garden with seasonal plants. I have noticed every few days our acer change colour and gradually drop its leaves. This weekend all but a handful of leaves were still clinging on. Watching the leaves fall can feel magical, like confetti and snow falling and making a gradual decent to land, creating a blanket of bright colours where not one leaf is the same.

The shades of autumn leaves and the contrast they bring is so much more appealing than green leaves during the summer. Walking through our local park last week, a grey and foggy morning was brightened only by leaves on trees, some turning a vibrant and golden yellow with pops of bright red berries.

Blankets of leaves cover the space under trees, a mix of yellow green and some light tan brown leaves, matching my favourite boots.

Earlier this week we had a hard frost, I love the way the frost picks up all the details on the leaves.

Watching the autumn colours arrive is one of my favourite simple pleasures. If you haven't already get outside and seek autumn colours, take photos, and marvel at natures signal that winter is on its way.

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Making a start on my Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt

In the summer I wrote about a sampler quilt that I wanted to make for our home using a fabric collection called Happy-Go-Lucky by Bonnie and Camille. It seems a really long time ago now but having unpacked a few more boxes, caught up with our friends and family, and my day job being a little less busy, I decided to finally make a start on this quilt project. Sewing a quilt is a perfect project to start in the winter, the rainy and cold days can be spent selecting bright fabrics, drinking tea, listening to the radio and gradually making a quilt block by block.

I have been pretty indecisive with this project and have spent quite a bit of time trying to work out what quilt project I really wanted to make, the choice was between the The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt or Tula Pink's City Sampler Quilt. Both options contain around 100 blocks to make and have a combination of easy and more challenging quilt blocks. I love both of the sampler quilts and the finished looks you can achieve, so it was a really tough choice. However after a lot of thought I decided to go for the first sampler quilt I had come across, The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt.  A few self-doubt niggles crept in during the decision making process, my main concern when picking this project was whether I am skilled enough to create such a huge and challenging quilt. The idea of piecing together super accurately small pieces does make me a little nervous however sometimes the most challenging and large scale projects can be the most rewarding!

On starting the quilt I decided that it will be a long term project, it isn't something I'm going to rush through, and I'm not giving myself a specific deadline. I love the idea of having a project like this that I can dip into each month and make the blocks as and when I want to and in whatever order I fancy! There are 111 in total so there are plenty to choose from.

At the beginning of the month I sat down and set up my sewing machine and gave myself a little bit of time to play around. It has been a long time since I have sat at the machine and made something. The light and space in our attic has made a huge difference to my sewing experience. I get excited at the thought of heading off to the attic for an hour or so, cutting fabric and piecing it together. I'm using the charm squares, jelly roll, mini charm squares and some additional fat quarters that I've bought to make the blocks. Each block is made up from a number of shapes, there are no measurements in the book, only a set of templates on a CD that you have to print out for each block.

I started at the beginning with block 1 - Attic Windows

and then made block 2 - Autumn Tints.

I really enjoyed picking the fabrics to use for each block. What makes this project a little less daunting is that using a fabric collection really does make life easier and simpler as all of the fabric designs are meant to work together.

After making these two blocks I decided to get myself organised. I worked through the book to see what blocks I'd like to make first, prioritising the ones that I felt looked like the easier options. I printed out a number of the shapes onto card and cut them out ready to use.

Today I made two more blocks, here's block 4 - Basket Weave

and block 5 - Bat Wing.

Here are all four quilt blocks together...

Seeing all four together makes me giddy with excitement, I can't imagine what it is going to be like with 111 of these blocks completed at the end. I'm loving the fresh bright colours in this fabric collection giving a boost to the grey cloudy days. I've got a long way to go with this project but having made a start on a project with such variety that can be worked on in small steps really excites me. I'll keep you posted with my progress and let you know how I get on.

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