The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: February 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The joy of new books

I have a big thing for books, especially hardback books full of beautifully styled photos and fit to be shown off on a coffee table! At the moment I seem to be collecting cookbooks, books about interiors and styling, and sewing/craft books full of projects to try out. Despite our bookshelves being packed full, somehow there is always a book out there that I like the sound of!

In my post New Year, New Projects I mentioned I had some new sewing books given to me for Christmas, they were The Sewing Book by Alison Smith and Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. Since then I’ve added to my book collection with two new books about making quilts, The Quilters Bible by Linda Clements and The Essential Sampler Quilt Book by Lynne Edwards.

I’m very happy with my new books as they have given me so much information and answered questions I had. Having the chance to dive into a chapter each night or over the weekend gives me a feeling of achievement as I move my way through the book thinking about the projects to make or techniques to try.

There’s something special about having a ‘how-to book’. It will be used for years as a reference guide, hopefully handed down to others and shows the fashions and trends of the time. I enjoy seeing the step-by-step images of how to do things and moving through a book with well thought out chapters. It’s almost like being on a course with the help and advice, but with all the tips and information available whenever you want. I use the internet as well to view how-to videos, shop for supplies, and read blogs for inspiration, but sometimes only a book will do!

Over the past month or so I’ve been dipping in and out of my new books and they’ve been helping me get my head around what I can do, but perhaps they are giving me too much choice of what I should try out! I’ve been thinking about a few basic projects, but I like to think beyond that and get creative. I think about trying to make things more my own, whether it’s using different types and patterns of fabric, adding buttons, embroidery or ribbon to the finished piece. Watch this space!

Have you seen any books recently that you are lusting after? Invest in a good book, sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and learn something new this week. Let me know how you get on!

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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Brighten up your home with flowers

I love flowers. Whether it’s giving them to friends, receiving them, or just browsing flower stalls, there is something about seeing flowers that makes me smile. Flowers instantly add natural beauty and brighten any space. They need to be placed somewhere people can enjoy them so you can get the most of their blooms while they last.

Whenever you see photos of home interiors in magazines, on websites and discussed on blogs, there are nearly always flowers added into the styling of the space. Flowers may be placed on a mantel piece above a fire as a focal point, or used as a centre piece to a beautifully dressed dinner table, or even a single stem placed in pretty vintage jar on a bedside table. Flowers seem to be the one thing that adds the finishing touch to a space, however big or small.

With so many varieties of flower, in different colours and size, there is hopefully a flower out there that you love. Have a think, are there any that come to mind? I have a few favourites which include pink gerberas, white and pink peonies, lilies and vintage-pink roses to name but a few. As well as their beauty seen from a distance, I love the tiny details of flowers when you look at them up close. I dream of owning a macro lens for my Nikon camera so I can capture all the small details of flowers you wouldn’t normally see. Plus wouldn’t you just love to be able to arrange flowers like a florist and to know what flowers look good together? Learning about this is definitely on my list of to-do’s.

If we had more space and natural light in our little home I'd probably buy a lot more flowers than I do. A few times a year I may get flowers given to me or I may even treat myself to a few stems.

This week my home felt like it was full of flowers and it was such a treat! The bunch of daffodils I bought last weekend opened up bringing cheer and a hopeful spring vibe to our kitchen.

I had a lovely bunch of tulips given to me for Valentine’s Day from my special man. Don't you just love the way the petals have two contrasting colours?

Plus some of my orchids are in flower....Orchids are great plants to have at home as they can flower for weeks at a time. They die and grow back overtime with a new original display. I love it when their little buds form and burst open overnight to reveal a beautifully crafted flower. Look closely and you will see what I mean. 

Moving from flowers inside the house to flowers growing outside...I'm starting to think about what I'm going to grow in the garden this year. There's always so much choice and I get a bit overwhelmed reading books about what flower I could plant. I just don't know what will grow in our little courtyard but I want flowers to be a big part of the growing I do this year so I can enjoy flowers inside and outside our home.

February is an odd month. It is so close to spring but is still winter, with cold overcast days and the odd occasion a bit of sunshine. So why not get some natural brightness into your home...go on, treat yourself to a lovely bright bunch of daffodils this week and see what a great feeling flowers can bring to your space, however big or small it may be.

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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Shortbread Hearts

I love Sunday, a day of tidying, reading books and drinking endless cups of tea. Today I’m hoping to start planning a quilt project or two, so I need something yummy to go with my cups of tea and help inspire me. What could be better than some simple shortbread biscuits! I love having something homemade stashed away in the biscuit jar when the sugar cravings kick in. I was given some heart shaped cookie cutters for Christmas so they made their debut today...


These lovely shortbreads came out quite crunchy and crumbly and when dipped into my tea made a perfect afternoon sweet treat!

I wonder if I will have any left by the end of the week? I doubt it, we’ve already tucked into quite a few already.

Have a lovely sunny Sunday!

Post Edit – Thank you Hanna for your message about the recipe for the shortbread.  The recipe I used for these lovely shortbreads is from a little cook book called Home Recipes with Be-Ro Flour – 39th Edition.  Ingredients are 9oz of plain flour, 3oz of caster sugar and 6oz of butter. To make these yummy shortbread biscuits you need to sift the flour and add the sugar and butter to a bowl. Then rub in the butter until the mixture starts to come together. Knead the dough gently and then roll out on a floured surface. Cut out shortbread into whatever shape you fancy and then place gently on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until they look done on 190°C.

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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Saturday soup

At last the weekend has arrived, after a very busy week at work I’ve been waiting for some time to chill out. I popped outside into our courtyard this morning to see if the onions I planted a few weeks ago were surviving the cold weather. I’m glad to report back that they are surviving and have started to sprout small green shoots from the bulbs! Luckily we haven’t had a lot of snow here and the plants are slightly sheltered in our courtyard, fingers crossed they will continue to grow! I bought a little bunch of daffodils yesterday and I’m hoping they start to open soon to brighten up the kitchen.

Despite the glorious sunshine that we have had today it was just too cold to go out for long. It was so cold the windows steamed up and so the decision to stay inside and keep warm was made. I’ve spent my day pottering around the house, listening to the radio, reading some magazines, flicking through my craft and interiors books and making some soup! We had lots of carrots in the fridge and a pack of coriander needing to be used, so I decided to make something for a late afternoon lunch.

So here’s my recipe for the soup I made today. I just took a basic recipe and changed a few bits. It makes quite a large quantity, I’d say for about 4 huge bowls if not more! I’m looking forward to having more for my lunch during the week.

Lucy’s Saturday Carrot and Coriander soup

A big splash of olive oil
1 onion
1 potato
1kg of carrots
2 pints stock (one chicken stock cube and one vegetable stock cube is preferable)
1 tsp of ground coriander
A bunch of fresh coriander
Big pinch of salt and pepper

To start get all the ingredients chopped and prepared so you can spend the rest of the time clearing up and enjoying a mug of tea and a magazine.

Chop up the onion, and peel and chop the potato and the carrots.

Add the onions to the pan and stir for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the ground coriander and stir into the onions and then add the chopped potato and stir. Add a bit of seasoning too.


Cook this for a minute or two and then add in the chopped carrots and stir the vegetables so that the carrots and onions and potato are well mixed and all the lovely ground coriander has been mixed through the carrots. Make up the two pints of stock.

Add the stock to the pan, bring the carrots, potato and onions to the boil and then turn down the heat to simmer until they are soft. It took about 20-25 minutes to cook.

While you wait for the soup to finish slice a nice big chunky piece of bread from a fresh loaf, lightly toast and treat yourself to a little bit of butter. I love butter on toast and love dipping in the buttery toast into the warm steaming soup. Mmm.

Rip up some coriander to add to the veg mixture before blitzing the soup in the food processor until smooth. I like to take out some of the liquid before I blitz the soup as I don’t like soup too watery. You can always add it at the end if it is too thick.

I’m glad to say that the soup was really worth the wait. It was just delicious and perfect for a cold afternoon. Enjoy your weekend and keep warm!

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mid-week making

I love doing crafty things at weekends as I have an endless period of time to create and clear up afterwards! Last week I needed a thank you card and after a lunch time spent searching in many card shops, I just couldn't find a card that fitted the occasion. So I decided to pull out my paper and card stash and create a card when I got home from work one evening. I had an idea of the type of card I wanted to make, something that had a few of my favourite colours, look a bit like a patchwork quilt and use my brown card and matching envelope that I had tucked away in my card making box. After about an hour I'd created the card and drafted my message. I was pretty happy with the results...

Naturally pinks, cream and brown were on the menu, but also a touch of pattern with spots and stripes. I added a piece of ribbon from my stash to match the central square and the other accents of brown in the patterned squares, and to give the card a 'gift' feel to say thank you.

Making the card during the week got me thinking that maybe I should use an evening per week to get stuck into my projects and dedicate a bit of me time after a busy day at work. It's a nice feeling go to bed knowing you've done something a little bit extra with your day. Hopefully I made the recipient smile when they received my handmade card...I know I certainly gave myself a mid-week creative boost during a cold February evening! Talking of mid-week making I should get started with a project this week.

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