The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: October 2015

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Getting creative with my DSLR camera


Last Sunday I went on a photo walk as part of the Worldwide Instameet. I joined around 20 others in Bristol who love using Instagram. Waking up on Sunday morning I felt nervous but excited to be getting involved. We all met at St Nicholas Market in central Bristol and were lucky to be greeted by a morning of wonderful weather, fantastic light and surrounded by enthusiastic photographers. I was so glad to see a group of people had formed by the time I had reached our meeting point. There were familiar faces that popped out from the group too which was comforting. The plan was to take photos of the details of Bristol that people may not normally see or associate with the city and upload them to Instagram with the hashtags #WWIM12 and #igmeetbristol_details.


We spent over an hour wandering round central Bristol looking for inspiration and things to photograph to illustrate our theme of Bristol details. I've never been given a photography brief before and I had a lot of fun trying to capture it. I spotted so many things I had never seen in the city before. Early on in the photography walk my phone battery started dying very quickly so I tentatively got out my DSLR camera. I have a touch and go relationship with my camera, some days I manage to get it to capture what I want it to, but other times I fail, especially when taking photographs inside.


I got into the swing of taking photos with my camera and really enjoyed the quality time being creative. I felt a real flow of creative energy as I walked around. I really loved using my camera again.


My Nikon D80 camera was set on the auto setting to give me chance to really focus on the images I wanted to take and think about composition. Just by picking up this camera again I felt energised and know that I will pick it up more and eventually get off the auto setting once again.


I enjoyed the morning so much that I wanted to share with you a few of my favourites photos here.


Discovering the details really made me connect to the city in a different way, exploring the beauty and colour that we can find.









At the end of the photo walk we all met up in Cosy Club Bristol, a stunning and beautiful location on Corn Street. We drank coffee and chatted to each other getting to know everyone a little more.


By taking just a few hours out of my normal Sunday routine I managed to take away a few key things from the experience.

The morning showed me that looking for the details of things around me each day that we take for granted can be a fun way to connect to places and get an alternative view of the space. There is so much beauty in the things around us, even in an urban environment, and we don't have to head out to the countryside to take photos.

It reminded me that taking a step out of my comfort zone and doing something new is energising and an experience I do really enjoy, even if I feel a little nervous beforehand.

For me one of the biggest take aways was reconnecting with one of my very favourite hobbies, photography. My love of taking photos and capturing details pushed me to start this blog. Picking up my DSLR camera after a break away from using it made me realise how much photography means to me.

Thank you to Laura, from the beautiful blog Circle of Pine Trees, and Lou from Little Green Shed for organising the event. It was lovely meeting you both and talking photography. I'm very grateful for the experience last Sunday as it got me back in a photography flow once again.

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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

September and October in our garden


We have had a glorious end to the summer with both the end of September and start of October experiencing sunny skies and a final touch of warmth last week. I'm wasn't too sure how much longer the weather would last so this weekend I headed out into the garden to see how things were looking. I'm glad I did as the weather has turned to rain and windy today. I realised that it has been a while since I updated you on our garden and what things have been growing.

I feel very lucky to have the garden and the space we have. The light is fantastic and becomes a little sun trap early afternoon. This summer I haven't spent as long as I would have liked in the garden however the time I have spent has been productive. I'm guilty of not keeping a pristine garden that is  perfectly manicured all the time but one that I let go of! Here is the evidence from back in late August...


Can you see the nasturtium making its way across the lawn? I couldn't believe that the spindly nasturtium plants I grew from seed, thad started to take over the raised beds and had begun searching for more space. One weekend I became so sick of them filling up the space that I decided to clear them out, harvesting the seed pods to dry and plant for next year, as well as keeping some of the flowers and leaves to use in cooking.



The tomatoes I grew this year were Gardener's Delight and Sungold and oh my goodness they were so delicious and bountiful. I popped the tomato plants into the greenhouse as soon as we constructed it in July, instantly the plants seemed happier and had all the core things they needed to grow., in particular warmth. The plants continued to stay relatively compact, in comparison to other tomatoes that I've grown, and out of nowhere came many flowers and then tomatoes. They were very juicy and flavoursome and as they say, there's nothing like a home grown tomato, I now now what all the fuss is about.


Both Gardener's Delight and Sungold are definitely going on my list for next years planting and I will buy more of them next time.


There were quite a lot of green tomatoes left when the plants started to die off. Over the past few weeks they have been ripening in a bowl on our kitchen table.

Tomatoes ripening

The garden bloomed throughout September and at last I saw our Montbretia flower. I had no idea that I had this plant in the garden, I must have missed it last year when we moved into our home. The unusual oranges and reds in the flowers were a little different than I've seen in other gardens.


The dahlia's flowered again during September. These mini dahlias recovered from a few snail attacks. Seeing these flowers has made me want to grow some larger versions next year in part of my raised bed.


When I removed the nasturtiums I unearthed the stocks that I had grown from seed. I had no idea if the stocks would grow when I planted them so I just stuck them into the bed to see what happened. Hidden underneath the nasturtiums they had starting to establish themselves but were suffering a little from lack of light. When the nasturtiums were removed they burst into life and flower buds started to form and over the past few weeks they have finally flowered. This is what they are looking like at the moment.

Strawberries and stocks

The stocks smell delicious and I hope to grow more of them next year.



The strawberry plant I bought at the start of the summer has continued to produce many runners and so I have started to encourage a few to grow in small pots. I'm hoping that they get established so I can plant up more strawberry plants and pass any extras on to friends for their garden spaces.

Strawberry runners

The herb bed is looking more established and after a late start the sage has burst into life. I moved a few herbs from another raised bed on our patio space to the main raised bed. I'm pleased to say that after a few weeks they are now establishing themselves in their new home. 

Herb garden

The honeysuckle in our garden became decimated by black fly early summer. I've never had to deal with this type of bug before so it was a little upsetting when all the flower buds were being sucked dry. Luckily there were quite a few ladybird type insects that put everything back to normal after a few weeks. It taught me to keep an eye on the plants more. I think that with the mild and sunny weather we have had recently the honeysuckle has managed to bloom once again.


The blueberry bushes that we have in big pots have had more fruit than ever before . Is so lovely seeing these plants doing what they should be. We decided to move the blueberry bushes into the greenhouse over the to protect the fruit from birds and to give them a little more warmth. At the moment the leaves on the bush are turning a pretty red signalling that autumn has begun, soon these leaves will drop and a cycle starting once more.

Blueberry bush in October

I've been spending a little bit of time in the greenhouse trying to plan out how to use the space for growing, where to position a small potting bench I hope to have, and working out if I want to create a brick path or raised beds inside the greenhouse. Here's how the garden was looking this weekend. I've been trying to tidy a few of the areas before the weather gets too cold.

Garden in October

Elsewhere in the garden I've been busy planting bulbs in the garden with a hope of having many beautiful blooms to enjoy in the spring. Having not planted bulbs in our garden before, I decided to made an investment in bulbs to fill the space. I selected a few different types of snowdrops, crocus and daffodil varieties and planted them scattered throughout the garden. I'm hoping for a deliciously colourful display in the spring and one I hope to share with you. I'm looking forward to seeing what they look like in amongst the plants in our garden and watching the bulbs inch out of the ground.

What are you doing in your garden or outside space at the moment?

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Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Handmade Fair - Inspired by...

Bunting at the Handmade Fair

During mid September I headed to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. Over the course of three days Kirstie and her handmade team brought together a huge number of makers and delivered an impressive number of practical craft sessions over three days. I attended on the Saturday with my Mum for a day out together,  doing something that we both have a shared passion for, handmade crafts.

The scale of the Handmade Fair was impressive, with lots of delicious places to eat and many beautiful handmade crafts on display. During the day we spent time going in between the workshops, sessions we had booked onto, and the shopping spaces. In my last blog post I told you about the Mollie Makes Mash Up I attended. As part of the Full Experience ticket there were two other making sessions you could take part in as part of the ticket.

The Handmade Fair

One of the sessions we attended was called Grand Make and in it we made tibetan poetry bunting. The session left me with lots of ideas and thoughts on different ways that I could take this idea and make it my own, and create something for my home or for friends as gifts. Despite sewing for a number of years I've never made bunting and think that it would be a lovely idea to preserve some of my favourite pieces of fabric and add words to the bunting in a handmade project.

Knitting at The Handmade Fair

Later in the day we headed to the Yarn and Textiles Skills Workshop, we had chosen the intermediate knitting session run by Susie Johnson. During the skills session we made a knitted cable bracelet. Using two contrasting colours of wool I followed the pattern we were provided with.  I've never knitted with two yarns before and thought that the look of the final piece was bespoke and something I'd like to try again at home. After taking part in this session it has made me rethink my approach to knitting. I'm currently making a cosy cable cushion cover and it is taking me real motivation to keep going as it is such a large complicated project. Perhaps smaller and simpler knitting projects might be the way to go to get back into knitting full flow! I think a pair of fingerless gloves or wrist warmers may be a good project for the autumn.

The Handmade Fair

In between our workshop sessions we refuelled with drinks and headed into two huge shopping village tents. Spending time walking round the stalls I felt inspired, as did my Mum, in many ways. A few key sellers stood out as being memorable to me and struck a chord and so I wanted to share with you their links and what I liked about their work. Ranging from small one person businesses through to large brands, each of the following interested and inspired me in different ways.

Sarah Pye is an artist and was exhibiting her paintings at the fair. Sarah was painting whilst she was at fair, so it was amazing seeing her work. Both my Mum and I bought a few of her cards, they were just so beautiful. Rather than post them to others I think I'd like to keep mine and get them framed. I really love Sarah's style and the way that she has captured nature and the feeling of the seasons. Here are the cards that I bought, each one feels magical with the use of colour and light.

Sarah Pye cards

Oglee Poglee create craft experiences for children. I adored the children's crafting kits. It's such a lovely business idea to create the different options they have available to help spark children's creativity. We have quite a few friends and family with children that these kits would be suitable for and so we will be getting a few of them as birthday gifts.

Katie Essam is a contemporary applied artist who stitches pictures using vintage themes. The wellington boots and chicken designs were really unique with a real attention to detail. I'm toying with buying a piece for our home at the moment.

Hannah Bass creates contemporary tapestry kits creating designs for city maps. I loved them so much and thought that the style of tapestry was something so very different that I hadn't come across before. I love the use of colour and being a map lover thought that these were just stunning. I have done tapestry in the past when I was a lot younger and seeing Hannah's stand made me think about having a go once again.

Mrs Moon sell yarn and haberdashery items. What made me stop and spend time at the stand was the beautifully soft yarn they had on display called Plump. I think that this may be on the list of very special treats I'd like to buy myself and so will need to start saving to buy a few skeins of this. I'd love to use Plump to make a blanket, the yarn is super chunky and is 80% ethically sourced superfine Australian merino wool blended with 20% baby alpaca, and the colours were just delicious.

Cool crafting are based in Cumbria and sell crafting supplies. I bought a Make Me Bobble Top Purse  kit. I hadn't seen the type of clasp used before and seeing the big bobbles in one of my favourite colours, as well as matching fabric together in a kit, was all I needed to make the purchase. I loved the idea of using cotton and a tweed material together in one project. I haven't made anything using this fabric combination before so I thought it would be a great project to try on a rainy autumn weekend. The Make Me Luna Lapin and Reynard the Fox kits, along with the clothes you can maker them, were just beautiful and something I'd love to also try and make.

Cool Crafting Bobble top purse

Cricut make one of those gadgets that you long to own, suitable for both paper crafters and sewists, the cutting machine seen up close was really amazing. The Cricut cutting machine can cut fabrics and a whole range of materials into shapes. It's very temping to start saving for this as it would be fantastic to use for party decorations and craft projects.

The Hobbycraft tent was packed full of nostalgia for me. The entire range of Kirstie Allopp's craft kits were on display. It's great to see these kits having a revival. When I was young I was given these types of craft kits as birthday and Christmas gifts and think that they have probably played a big influence in the range of handmade crafts I like to try.

Finally Silverdashery make stunning jewellery shaped into crafty items. I particularly loved the Knit necklace and would adore a commissioned single buttoned necklace, maybe I'll hint to Mr C about these!

Attending an event like The Handmade Fair reminded me of all of the small businesses out there that put their heart and soul into handmade. It's made me think differently about gifts I give others and will hopefully be returning to some of the above companies to buy some of their beautiful products.

After we had our fill of looking and buying in the shopping villages. We headed to the Mollie Makes cafe and drank tea out of pretty vintage tea cups and tried a bit of colouring in. We both bought Millie Marotta's Tropical Wonderland book as we got a little hooked on the colouring whilst we were there.

Colouring in with Millie Marotta

The Handmade Fair was such a wonderful day out. What made the day extra special for me is that it was a shared experience with my Mum. During the day we reminised about the different crafts we had tried together when I was younger, like flower pressing, marbelling, quilling, and tapestry kits. I found out that my Mum's dad used to create rag rugs for their home using sack material and poking in fabric. We spotted someone making them at The Handmade Fair in exactly the same way and it was really exciting to see that these types of crafts don't disappear and they have resurgence.

The feeling from the day was one of real joy and I felt inspired to pick up a few crafts that I had left behind in the past but also to try different approaches to the crafts I already enjoy.

If you missed The Handmade Fair in September you can head to The Handmade Christmas Fair in Manchester, Kirstie's first Christmas Fair mixing festive shopping and hands on shopping.