The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: February 2015

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Inspired top 3 favourite crochet blogs

I've just spent the past week in bed getting over a nasty flu-like virus which has wiped out almost all my energy. I've been in bed sleeping most of the week and in between naps have been reading and watching a few films. It took until late Thursday to feel that I may fancy a bit of hooky time and crochet a granny square or two, it was bliss but I felt pretty tired after about an hour.

I'm feeling less exhausted today and feeling a bit more of myself but think I'm going to have to take things a little slower than normal for a while! As someone who usually juggles quite a few things, I've spent the past week and a half learning to really slow down and take my time over things and have tried to listen to my body. It's been great to slow down and take time over a few things but also frustrating too.

I spent a little bit of time catching up with my favourite blogs this weekend and thought it may be a perfect opportunity to share with you my three favourite crochet blogs that inspire me. Grab a cup of tea and spend a few minutes taking a look at these great blogs, I hope that you will love them as much as I do:

On a rainy day like today I love reading the posts written by these UK based bloggers, they share such gorgeous projects and updates on their lives. I've been reading Attic24 from early 2011, Lucy's projects and writing style inspired me to become a blogger and to learn crochet! I can also say the same about Vanessa's blog Coco Rose Diaries, I saw her gorgeous photography, crafty projects and just love her updates on life. I've been reading Cherry Heart for probably about a year and a half now and really enjoy Sandra's projects and the pastel colour palette she uses. I hope you get inspired to pick up a crochet hook and start or bookmark or follow these fab blogs.

I'm hoping to spent the rest of the day settled on the sofa with a cup of de-caf tea (since feeling unwell I've not enjoyed normal tea as it feels a bit too full of caffeine) and carry on with my ripple blanket today after a two week break. I can't wait!

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Life at the moment

It's been an odd week for me. I've been in bed since Thursday with what is quite possibly flu and I am still snuggled in bed today. I'm rarely unwell so it's times like this when I realise how much strength our bodies have and how much I get done on a normal day.

As usual I don't like sitting still and try and run before I can walk when trying to get better. I thought I'd give it a bash doing a bit of work from home on Friday, I managed a bit but after a few hours of sitting up at the desk I was totally wiped out and just needed to sleep. Yesterday I got out of bed, did a few little chores round the house and sat on the sofa convinced I'd be better by today. But no, today I'm feeling pretty worn out and unwell. I thought by now the aches and fever would've gone but I'm still feeling really rotten and pretty wiped out.

I am determined to post here once a week so I thought I'd do a round up of a few life at the moment for me has been about... the day. I'm never one for sleeping in and am quite an early riser even at the weekends so sleeping during the day and resting has been a big part of the past few days. I'm appreciating the comfort of our bed and the cosiness of our lovely home. seven year anniversary with Mr C at the beginning of the week and being surprised with flowers. I've been feeling spoilt with another set of flowers from Mr C's parents too.

Cancelling...our Valentine's dinner party plans with friends, and a Sunday crochet catch up with a friend. feel normal by getting out of bed, getting ready...then shortly afterwards feeling like a zombie and heading back to bed to rest.

Reading...and finishing my new book that arrived in the post this week. I really enjoyed 'the one thing' concept that the book is focused around and will try and work this into each day.

Drawing...up a rough diagram and plan of our garden redesign and laughing at how bad my drawing ability still is. I've been itching to get outside in the garden to start measuring up and start digging but I need to get a plan in place and get some research sorted too.

Taking...time to read magazines in between snoozing. I'm loving these magazines at the moment.

Drinking...lots of water. I finally managed a cup of tea yesterday afternoon, oh how I've missed it! 

Loving...the return of the Great British Sewing Bee. I'm normally really inspired to try a few new things on my sewing machine but haven't had the energy this week and feel I haven't reached my normal buzz for it, I'm sure it will return.

Eating...Heinz organic tomato soup and granary seeded bread. A little piece of heaven eaten in my PJs at the kitchen table.

Receiving...a weekend postal delivery of Project Life scrapbooking goodies from Studio Calico. It made my day! I opened the box and love these supplies this month. I adore the pastel shades of pink and mint green with the metallic gold embellishments.

Appreciating...the simple pleasure of warmth created by a woollen blanket, thick socks and a snuggly fleece keeping me cosy.

Resting...just laying, sitting and snoozing. Trying to keep things simple.

Missing...hooky time. I haven't done any crochet this week and am really missing it. I don't have a clear enough head or the concentration I'd need to keep it neat.

Making...plans for when I'm full of energy again. The mornings are getting lighter and I fancy starting to run again. I dabbled in running a year or so ago but stopped. We have a lovely park really close by that would be perfect, I need to get my confidence back and just start. I fancy fitting in a bit of yoga into my week again too. I think it's probably cabin fever setting in but I just want to get moving again.

I hope you are having a good week. Sending you lots of love this Valentine's weekend! Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Loving a bit of hooky time - Crochet update

Oh how I love crochet. Until recently I didn't realise how much this crafty pursuit pleases me. After I get home from work I sit down and chill out with a cup of decaffeinated tea and enjoy spending an hour or so each weekday evening crocheting. I'm so glad to have found a craft that I can do anywhere, whether it is sitting on the sofa, on a car journey, or at the kitchen table, I love how portable and simple it is. The therapeutic and rhythmic motion of crochet is so relaxing especially when you know what you are doing and no longer need to follow a pattern. I love sitting listening to music or a podcast, or watching a film or TV programme whilst having a bit of hooky time. Recently I've found myself spending even more time with a crochet hook and yarn in my hands, it's a perfect crafty escape that once started doesn't need too much concentration after a busy day. It really is one of my favourite things at the moment.

I started dabbling with crochet a few years ago and have slowly been making granny squares for a blue and white blanket. I'm still gradually working on the granny square blanket and love working in rounds creating square by square. The small steps of this blanket make it a project that is easy to pick up and put down.

Over the past few weeks I've been creating granny square after granny square and so far have made 66 granny squares. I decided that what I needed was another project to work on to mix it up a bit.

I decided that I would take the plunge and create another blanket, this time with stripes. I'm a huge fan of a brilliant crochet blog called Attic24, written by the super inspiring Lucy. Attic24 was one of the first blogs I read and it inspired me to learn crochet. Lucy is a blanket fan and has been lovingly creating many gorgeous blankets over the years. I have been admiring for some time her beautiful neat ripple blankets. Take a look at Coast, Cottage and her first ripple blanket, they are so yummy and I love the colour combinations.

I decided to pluck up some courage and have a go myself. Having only made granny squares so far I knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I needed a reminder of the basics of crochet and pulled a few of my trusty crochet books together for reference and took time to read and print out Lucy's Neat Ripple pattern that she has written and is free on her blog. Lucy's excellent step by step explanation enabled me to make a small sample, and from that moment on I was hooked and had made the decision to jump into a new project.

This month I bought some yarn in a multipack (check it out here) and topped it up with a few extra balls of wool and have started to make my own ripple blanket. Unlike most of my projects I haven't gone with a specific colour theme, I've decided to make a multi-coloured ripple blanket! I've decided to make it 4 foot by 6 foot, it's a good size to snuggle under but will also look great draped over a chair or put on the end of a bed. I'm using Lucy's Neat Ripple Pattern as the guide for the width (213 foundation chains for a 4 foot wide blanket) and will just add row by row until I get to the length I'm happy with.

As with fabrics, I enjoy combining colours and what better way to brighten up the cold and dark winter evenings with a fun, colourful and achievable crochet project. I just love the colours of yarn and can't wait to see how this project turns out. I may add a few more colours into what I have as there are quite a few pinks and purples. I fancy a lighter yellow and maybe another shade of green but I will see how I get on.

I started my blanket last Sunday and by mid week it looked like this...

Yesterday I completed my 6th row and am really enjoying the pace of the project and the sense of achievement.

I adore having such a range of colours to choose from, it feels really indulgent, and means I can enjoy selecting a new colour every two rows. The ripple pattern is now firmly in my head and I don't need to check the pattern anymore, it feels like great progress. I love working the decreases and increases in this pattern and feel I've pushed myself a little further forward with learning some of the basics of crochet.

This project has a great sense of achievement and I'm really enjoying seeing the project grow row by row.  I'll keep you posted with my project updates here and on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as I gradually create this ripple crochet blanket stripe by stripe. If you have mastered a granny square already and fancy a new simple and relaxing blanket project I would definitely recommend this one.

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Simplify - My One Little Word for 2015

I have decided to continue for another year to select a word that I want to make more visible in my life. I've chosen SIMPLIFY as my One Little Word and I'm excited about what my new word will help me achieve this year. The words I've selected for the past few years have played a key role in shaping me as a person and my year ahead. GROW helped me find the things I love and to grow a new seed in my life. EMBRACE enabled me to deal emotionally during a challenging year, embrace the things going on, hold on tight and welcome in change. I'm hoping SIMPLIFY will help me to take a step forward with plans and get to the heart of what lights me up and makes me feel really happy.

It's my third year of taking Ali Edward's One Little Word online class. I'm truly inspired by Ali's approach to this topic, her personal reflections, her style of memory keeping, how she goes about documenting life in photos and words, and how she tells her story. Take a look at this video where she explains so beautifully what her One Little Word class is all about. I'm so proud to be part of this tribe of women selecting a word and making it more visible in our lives.

My word for this year arrived with a jolt last October. I sat down one Friday evening after a particularly challenging and overwhelming week at work and for the first time that week I stopped and relaxed, tried to clear my mind of work things, switch off from the week and just breathe. I don't know about you but when I'm busy or feeling a bit of pressure I forget to breathe deeply and properly. I had worked late and was sitting on the train home, I switched on some music and I took a deep breath and started to feel relaxed. As my brain ticked over the week I had the first chance to get some clarity, put work behind me and think about the weekend ahead. I realised that I hadn't planned what I was doing that weekend. I work Monday to Friday so my weekends are my time to shape and a time that I can be more me. The fact that I hadn't planned my weekend really upset me and I realised that something needed to change. For me weekends are a time when I get to spend quality time with Mr C, see friends, a time to dive into my hobbies, and get things done in our home. I sat on the train and I felt engulfed with things I wanted to do, felt that I should be doing, and realised that I should have sorted a few things during in the week to progress with things over the weekend. Something inside me kicked in and I just need to simplify your life. It was at that moment, I typed it into Evernote, and decided that SIMPLIFY would be my word for 2015.

I realised that life seems to be filling up with lots of things, with work tasks, things to do at home, my hobbies and interests, things I want to read, relationships to nurture, and day to day stuff of life. Many of these aspects of my life have been feeling a little too complicated. I've had moments of feeling overwhelmed with things, so much so that I haven't been able to make a decision about what I wanted to do. I had lots of things I wanted to fit in but couldn't. I needed to simplify my thinking and have enough head space and time to do the things I enjoy most of all in life.

I look back and perhaps my word started making an appearance even earlier in September last year when we moved house. At the time I was feeling quite engulfed with various things going on, a challenging time at work, and then moving house added to it. Moving house can be exciting but also quite emotional as you work through memorabilia and touch everything you own, through packing and unpacking. Seeing the stuff in my life made me see what I truly loved in my belongings and other things that I looked at and thought 'why do I still own this?'. As we moved and unpacked into our new space I started clearing things and mentally adding to a checklist all the things that I thought I should look at in more detail and pair down. I think this was also the start of the signal to me to simplify.

I like the idea of keeping simplify at the heart of everything I do. I feel that it will hopefully be a transformative word and will give me space in my life to feel lighter and allow me space to move forwards. I'm looking to simplify my possessions, personal habits and routines, relationships and career. I'm looking to make some changes and to do and own things that I really love and want as part of my life. It will be a time when I will need to decide what to welcome in and what I will let go of. Behind it all I want to simplify, reduce the complexity, make things easier and have the space and time to do what I enjoy the most. For me it doesn't mean becoming a minimalist and having an empty home, just finding ways to simplify the way I do things. I'm looking forward to finding out how this word will help shape me and my life in the next year.

I've been letting my word in gradually since October and it has been sitting well with me. During January I've been discovering what simplify means to me and thinking about my intentions for the year. I've already looked to my word over the past few weeks when I needed guidance of what to do with a few complex situations going on. Simplify has helped me reach decisions and conclusions, allowing me to move forward and simplify.  Simplify has already signalled to me to take a step back, only welcome in what I truly want, let go gracefully of things not meant for me, and to allow space for other things to come into my life that will make me even happier.

I hope you'll join me here this year and see how simplify will be making an impact on my life.

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