Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Signs of spring

So, there hasn't been much sewing going on around here lately, but I've got a good reason.  I've been waiting for today like a kid longing for Christmas. Today is the last-frost date in my area!

I realize how unimpressive this looks, but I've been like a kid in a candy store the last couple of weeks. I just stand outside with a smile on my face staring at my new 4x4' raised beds on the south side of my house.  I only have one set-up with grids so far because I want to raise the soil level in the other two before I grid them.  I'm using Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening method in my first ever attempt to grow vegetables.

All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!

I've been starting vegetable, herb, and flower seeds in my cheap-o patio greenhouse from Harbor Freight. It doesn't maintain the temperature very well at night, but I still think it's worth the 30 bucks I spent on it.

In full disclosure, I have NO idea what I'm doing, so I'm open to suggestions if you have any for a first-time urban gardener. Looking at the photo above, I must really like romaine and want to eat a bunch of it all at the same time.

In addition to the personal satisfaction I get from digging in the dirt, my daughter is so excited about helping out. We've been sowing seeds together and she's taken on watering and checking on the seedlings. The other day, I even heard the comment, "This is more fun that watching TV!" Hopefully as things really get growing, she'll maintain her enthusiasm and it will continue to be a fun activity we can share together throughout the year.

I've been trying to plan my garden (i.e. plant lettuces two every two weeks, beets every three weeks, carrots every three weeks, etc.) but I'm a bit scatter-brained and I just keep planting stuff. Honestly, I'm having so much fun with the process itself, that if I get something to eat in the end, it will just be a bonus. I'm considering an entire 4x4' bed of strawberries, but I'll need to construct a cage/netting to keep the birds out before I transplant strawberries. Shea and I could eat our weight in strawberries.

Are you planting a spring garden? I'd love to hear about your garden!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jump-Start your Quilting Blog Tour

I love looking to books for inspiration and new ideas, so I was really excited when I was asked by Clotilde to review one of their newest quilting publications, Jump-Start your Quilting. The book contains over forty original sewing projects using precut fabrics. In addition to some really fun quilt patterns, there are patterns for adorable gifts, like a Quilt-As-You-Go Doggie Coat, some beautiful holiday stockings and mantle decorations, and lots of charming household projects like aprons and totes.

I was asked to review the High-Rise Quarters quilt. I love the clean modern lines of this pattern which is made using 12 fat quarters plus a little for the border. The instructions for every pattern in the book are very well-written, and the High-Rise Quarters pattern is no exception. The book's layout is clean and colorful and every pattern includes a large photograph and plenty of color illustrations to walk you through the construction process. I can't wait to make this High-Rise Quarters pattern, but it's going to have to get in line with the Off Kilter quilt, the Spring Nesting quilt, and the Christmas Fun mantle quilt (all also found in Jump-Start your Quilting) just to name a few!

I just have to give you a little preview of the great
illustrations and clear instructions in this book.

I'm going to love having this book in my quilting library.

Would you like to see more of this new book?
Check out these other stops on the Jump-Start your Quilting blog tour!

Day 1 (March 10) Victoria at
Day 2 (March 11) Linda at  
Day 3 (March 12) Jessi at
Day 4 (March 13) Pat Sloan at
Day 5 (March 14) Melanie  at
Day 6 (March 15) Aunt Pitty Pat at
Day 7 (March 16) Glenna at