Where has the summer gone? Today marks the start of Autumn. I really can’t believe that September has arrived, somehow August seemed to flash by full of rain and busy times. This coming month is all about handmade for me, it’s the start of new projects and completing work in progress. I’m also heading off to The Handmade Fair later this month too.
To kick start the month I wanted to tell you about a handmade baby shower that I hosted at my home for Beth, a close friend of mine. Gathering together some of Beth’s best friends one Saturday this summer, we spent an afternoon having a brilliant catch up over food, baby shower games and enjoying quality time together. I have known Beth for many years and she is a really special friend to me. Hosting a handmade baby shower for Beth was my way of saying thank you but also to organise a special get together to celebrate her exciting new phase of life heading into the world of motherhood.
For me both the process of organising a get together and making things are some of my favourite pastimes, so creating a handmade baby shower became a fun project that I really enjoyed and immersed myself in. Having a baby shower meant getting Beth’s friends together in one place, choosing great food and drinks, finding a great gift, and decorating the space with handmade touches creating a pretty space and theming the party. I thought it would be great to share with you how I hosted a handmade baby shower and talk through a few of the key aspects I focused on for the day. I hope they help deliver a little inspiration at the start of this handmade month.
Yesterday I spent the day crafting and enjoying some down time. It was a delightful treat and a real pleasure to sit and make. After having had a very busy week at work I felt that I wanted to put my effort into things that I love and make progress on my own personal projects. After pootling around the garden and greenhouse checking out how everything is growing, hanging out the washing to dry, I settled down to a day of craft projects. It felt like a perfect day doing the things I love.
Firstly I spent the morning printing out the photos I’ve taken during August so far and caught up on memory keeping for the month using my Project Life album and my stash of Studio Calico Project Life kits. I love this project and when I make the time to sit and document it enables me to see how very rich my life is. I find it a really important exercise in gaining perspective and appreciating the small and simple things in life.
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.
Last weekend Mr C and I attended the fabulous wedding of our special friends Chris and Clare. Congratulations to the both of you, it was a truly beautiful day! As part of the celebrations we were asked to bring a bauble for the Christmas tree at their wedding. Chris and Clare wanted to have a set of decorations to put on their own tree year after year to remind them of their special day. It’s such a lovely idea!
I wanted to make something personalised and after a bit of thinking I decided to create a personalised filled glass bauble as our contribution to their Christmas tree decorations. I decided that a personalised Christmas bauble would be a lovely gift and that it would enable me to get a bit crafty too! I wanted to make something that was simple and quick to make and to use my Christmas crafty stash.
I asked Clare about what types of colours she would like on her tree and she said she was quite traditional, so I decided to make a filled bauble with a silver, gold and white theme.
I bought a clear glass bauble with a removable top so that I could fill it with whatever I wanted. The size of the top of the bauble is quite small and so it does limit what you can add to it, however it worked perfectly with what I had already planned.
I assembled my Christmas crafting supplies and pulled out a few things from my stash that I thought would work nicely. I found some table confetti in my crafty stash, and selected some gold sequins, silver hearts, gold stars, silver snowflakes and the all important ‘Just Married’ confetti. I loved the combination, it was super pretty and suited the event and the ongoing use of their bauble.
I added some of the confetti to the bauble and filled it up so the bottom of the bauble was covered…
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.
One of my favourite things to do when I start a new sewing project is finding the fabric I want to use. I love searching for new fabrics, selecting my favourite prints I find, matching colour palettes and gradually adding to a collection for a project like I did with this two-sided patchwork cushion cover. The problem that I find with the process of finding and selecting the fabrics is that it can take a really long time. I think I sometimes make it harder for myself to start a project as I’ve not really mastered matching print size and colour palettes just yet and so I just sit and collect fabric, waiting until I think I have enough to make a project. I want to start making the sewing process and making projects a little more speedy, simplify it and get back on my sewing machine and get stitching.
I want to start making a proper quilt for our home and hope to create something I want to keep, display and be proud of in years to come. I’ve made a few patchwork quilts over the past few years but I have made them for friends’ babies and so gave them away and didn’t get to spend much time with the finished project. I’m planning to make a quilt for a king sized bed. I know it will be a daunting task and will be the biggest quilt I will have created to date. It will be a project that will require some real thought and discipline when I come to creating it. To help me in the process of making this quilt I’ve decided to cheat a little, instead of spending months and months searching for fabrics that match I have decided to get some help from the experts! I want to simplify the making process and start a project that allows me to have more time spent on my sewing machine and making, and less time online searching for fabric…so I’ve decided to buy into the world of fabric pre-cuts!
I created my original blog header in November 2011 on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I was new to blogging and needed to create a header for my blog so that I could get started. I don’t think I realised then how much blogging would really mean to me and how much of a driver of change it would be in my life. I love the pink embroidered tree that I created back then, but I have grown and changed, as has my blog, it is time for a new look.
The project of creating a new blog header has been on my to do list for quite sometime. I have been planning a few ideas and thinking about what I wanted to do for well over a year now. I thought about perhaps commissioning an illustration of my vision of The Pink Button Tree, or that perhaps could I use a collage of photos to show what I do, or maybe I could create a combination of patchwork and embroidery stitches in an intricate panel…but I knew that I wanted to stay true to me and my blog vision, I wanted to use my first idea of a handmade, hand stitched tree with buttons. I wanted to create something simple and made by me.
With my return to blogging at the start of June I decided that I should update my blog header at the same time. I wanted to signal the fresh start in my blogging and creative journey and a brighter look and feel. I gathered the materials I had been collecting over the past year of so, I sat down and looked at everything for a while. I decided to go for a really simple look to make my header feel simple and fresh.
I used white cotton as a background and used some gorgeous linen for the trunk of the tree. I’ve never had a talent for drawing and have always gone for more abstract simple shapes. To help me create the tree shape I found a few images of trees online and started trying to sketch a tree shape. After quite a few attempts I finally reached something more in line of how I wanted for the feel of my blog.
I tried to transfer this onto the linen and ended up simplifying the look and changing it as I went. I used iron on interfacing on the linen to give it more stability and then cut it out. After cutting out I placed the tree shape on top of the white cotton background. I gave it a quick press on my ironing board and pressed the white cotton background. I wanted to arrange the buttons before I made a start to see if it all worked well together. I took real pleasure in sorting through my large collection of buttons I have stored in a jar and spent time selecting the buttons I wanted for the tree. I positioned the pink buttons and took this photo so I had a picture as reference of what I wanted to create.
I collected the buttons into a small dish and put them to one side. I then arranged the white cotton in a large embroidery hoop and placed the tree centrally. I didn’t have any double sided interfacing left in my supplies so I used tacking stitches to lightly fasten the linen tree to the white cotton.
Over the past few years I have handmade cushion covers for our home. I love having my own handmade cushions in our home and enjoy how they look on our teal coloured sofas. I get a lot of pleasure each time I plump up the cushions knowing that I’ve made them myself and that they are unique.
For a number of months I’ve had my heart set on creating a new cushion cover for our snuggler sofa seat in our lounge. I spend a lot of time on the snuggler reading magazines, drinking tea, enjoying a spot of crochet and catching up on reading blogs, so I wanted this cushion cover to be something special for one of my favourite spaces in our home.
Last year I bought some fabric specifically for making handmade projects for our home. The fabric collection was put together using a mix of navy, teal and grey patterned fabrics. I wanted to use these fabrics to make the new cushion cover. I decided that this project would be something different and I was keen to create a patchwork cushion cover to include all the patterned fabrics that I love and to try out new techniques of piecing fabrics together. I wanted to make something that wasn’t piecing squares and I wanted to create my own patchwork design rather than take it from a book.
I decided to embark on making a two-sided patchwork cushion cover. I knew that one side of the cushion was going to be randomly sized rectangles but I wasn’t too sure what the other side would be. After some deliberation I decided that equilateral triangles would be a good contrast, I really love the way they look in other projects I’ve seen.
I spent time recently at my sewing machine finishing the cushion and I’m really pleased with the result.
I love the way the colours and patterns work together…
During the month of December I try to capture the Christmas countdown in detail taking photos each day. Last December I made a big effort to take photos during the month and added them to my Project Life folder along with some of Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas journalling prompts, this worked well and I loved thinking back to memories of Christmas.
This year I decided to join in with Ali Edwards
and complete a December Daily
album. December Daily is a memory keeping album project that documents every day up until Christmas. I decided to use my Project Life binder and page protectors, rather than create a separate album, and document each day in December. I took photos each day and wrote a daily summary of what I had been doing. I also joined in on a few of Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas prompts to add something a little different to the album.
I thought that I would be using a lot of my Christmas patterned paper and embellishments that I had left over from my Christmas card making, but I found myself using simple products and printing Ali Edward’s digital journalling cards to complete the project. I found it easier to keep on top of each day and loved the designs of the digital elements that I added to the photos. It allowed the photos to be the focus rather than patterned paper.
I decided to complete the project in a few small chunks. I took photos each day and I made sure I had noted down what I did each day in my diary. I then sat down every few days to write up the journalling and print the photos, I found this easier than doing it everyday.
I look back at the pages and I am really pleased with the project. I have a few photos left to print and add in and the final few days of December to write up but the project is almost complete. I enjoyed the process of reflecting on the month, tracking my new traditions and the things I managed to fit into the month. It is definitely a project I will complete again. Maybe next year I will embellish a little more and add more elements to the pages or maybe I will keep it the same.
If you want to remember this time of year in more detail I’d definitely recommend trying to capture a photo or two each day, writing down what you did, and then putting them together in an album. It’s a great way to see how traditions start and how each December is unique.