The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: July 2012

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

New window boxes

We are having a very wet summer in England at the moment. At the end of May in my post about container gardening I mentioned that I’d been lusting after some lead look window boxes. My window box dreams have come true! Mr C and I were given two gorgeous window boxes as a gift from his parents with some plants to get us started! I love the detail of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew crest on each!

I haven’t given much thought to how to plant flowers together so it was quite fun working out how to arrange the window box. I decided to put three geraniums in the middle at the back of the window box, with the white petunias in front of them. I planted the purple daisies at the edges of the arrangement to make the edges a little softer. What do you think? This one has a third geranium but no flowers out just yet!

Our window boxes have given life to the window sills at the front of our basement flat. We have awkward shaped window sills so I propped one of the window boxes up with some old household bricks so we could balance it carefully.  

I love waking up, opening our blinds and seeing the flowers so close. The window boxes add a pretty burst of colour and definitely brighten up the very grey and rainy days that we have had continuously for a month or so. 

I plan to plant up the window boxes each season with different flowers to improve my knowledge of different flowers and arranging plants in a small space. I hope to have flowers in the window boxes all year round if I can to keep our windows looking cheery! 

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Handmade and stitched with love - My first quilt

You may have wondered where I’ve been for a few weeks! Well, life took over a did finishing my top secret project! I’m delighted to let you know that today I can do the big reveal…

Since April I’ve been working hard to create my first quilt! Inspired by the taster day I did at the start of the year, and making the quilted sewing machine cover for my Mum, I fancied making a quilt on a bigger scale. It was a huge challenge for me and I had to do quite a bit of research before I got stuck in. Making a quilt has quite a few stages, all of which I didn’t know about until I started. Thanks to a few great books and blogs I discovered recently I managed to work my way through the complicated parts! Plus some great videos by The Missouri Star Quilt Company gave me the confidence to dive in and have a go.

Before I started this big project I had in mind what I wanted to make. I wanted to create something useful that could be a gift and something quite special all in one go. My friends Charlie and Vic had their first baby, Olivia, in April. In the months running up to Olivia being born I started buying fat quarters of fabrics I thought would work with the nursery colour scheme. Choosing the fabrics was such an exciting, and addictive, part of the project. 

...After many months of sewing I can reveal my first quilt! Ta-dah!!!

Here you can see the quilted squares and a few of the fabrics close up...

and a hand stitched label for the quilt on the back...

and you can just see the alphabet fabric I used to create the white border next to the binding...

I decided to hand deliver the quilt last weekend as I couldn’t bear the thought of it going missing in the post. I was so thrilled to watch them both open the quilt that I had carefully wrapped with brown paper and green ribbon. Seeing their eyes light up when they opened it was magical, and when they realised that it was handmade by me, it really was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced when giving a gift. Watching them looking at the colours, spotting all the details I’d thought of and included made me very happy.

I’d spent time choosing fabrics that would work with the colours of the nursery, adding a few ‘educational’ things like animals, different colours, patterns and shapes and the alphabet as choices for the squares. Watching their faces so happy (and slightly shocked!), I knew at that moment that every hour spent doing research, thinking, planning, shopping, cutting, patching, quilting and hand sewing was really worth it. The reaction from my friends brought a lump to my throat and when they told me it was one of the most beautiful gifts they have been given, it made me realise how very special handmade gifts are.  

Olivia’s quilt was stitched with so much love. I cant count the number of hours that I’ve put into thinking and making it, however I know now that every hour was worth it. I hope that Olivia uses her first quilt for lots of thing as she grows up, firstly as a play mat, a blanket to sit on for trips to the park in the sunshine…later as a snuggly cover for trips in the car, or even as a quilt for her bed.

If you do one thing this year make something as a gift for someone special. I can assure you that you will feel a real sense of achievement when you learn something new and see the joy in people’s faces when they open something handmade and stitched with love.

...In the next few days I’ll update you on how I made the quilt in a bit more detail.

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