Friday, April 30, 2010

Aprons № 94 & 95: Teachers' Pets

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. -Henry Brooks Adams

This week was teacher appreciation week at my kids' school. So I made aprons for them. I think they are so fabulous that, by bestowing them upon their teachers, my kids (and by extension, I) should be exempt from homework for the rest of forever. I know I passed second grade and I'm pretty sure I made it through fourth grade too. It seems a little unfair to have to do the homework all over again. The fourth grade science fair nearly did us in. It required a team effort from Grasshopper (the fourth grader), Mr. Bug and me. And we're pretty sure we earned college credit for it. I hear that when we get to eighth grade there are practice SAT's. Maybe I'll call in sick that year.

These aprons are twins. Here they are together. I wasn't sure the best way to show them both together, so I folded one and put it on top of the open one. I bought this fabric summer before last (2008), and made aprons for the kids' teachers last year. Those two were a little different from these. But they turned out so fun that I went back for more fabric for their teachers for this year. And this is the result, aprons № 94 & 95 (really, I have made that many -- I'm keeping a list) and two more finishes for April. I've also linked at Sew & Tell Fridays and Finished for Friday. Both of these blogs are great places to find lots of fun projects and inspiration and to show off a bit yourself.

Cool Quilting Tools: EQ7

Generally I am not a patient person. When I'm excited about something I jump in with both feet, as proved by the recent Flora & Fauna Fabric Incident. As I learned, sometimes a delay of a few days (or few months) pays off. Case in point. Santa was seriously considering bringing me EQ6 for Christmas. But he decided against it. And I'm so glad because the latest buzz is the release of EQ7! If you're not familiar with Electronic Quilt software, it is pretty amazing. Zip on over to the EQ site and have a look at all the features EQ7 has!

Here's the really exciting part (thanks for the heads-up Mrs. P!). The folks at EQ are doing a giveaway! The are going to select 10 bloggers to each receive a copy of EQ7 AND to host a giveaways of their own so they can each give a copy of EQ7 to one of their readers. You'll find all the details of how you can enter to be a host blog at the EQ Blog. I would absolutely love to win EQ7, but even better would be the chance to give a copy to one of you. Hosting a giveaway on that scale would be fantastic! I've been hinting at doing a giveaway for ages. I have a couple of things in mind, but they don't even compare to to being able to give a copy of EQ7. Crossing my fingers and hoping that my lucky streak holds out! Winners will be posted on May 3rd, so there's not much time left to enter if you're interested.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Flora & Fauna Fabric Incident

Patience is a virtue, one hard to come by in a world that counts time in nanoseconds. -Maureen Killoran, Patience: A Better Way?

The Fat Quarter Shop is having a sale. I believe it started today. Or it might have been yesterday. But it didn't start on Tuesday. I know this because I placed an order on Tuesday for some pretty fabulous fabrics and the Flora & Fauna I ordered is now 30% off. I just have to shake my head and laugh. And resist the urge to reach for the calculator.

Fancy Pillowcase Swap

To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. -Max Beerbohm

Remember all those fancy pillowcases I showed you? One of them was destined for a swap and the rest are going to be donated to the American Patchwork & Quilting 1-Million Pillowcase Challenge. I hadn't decided which pillowcase to send at the time I posted, but in the end, I went with this cute one. It was one of my favorites. I love the colors and the tea cups are so cute. It is on its way to a new home in Nebraska.

And this beauty came all the way from Canada from my swap parter.

I really like it! The fabrics are really nice quality and I love how the prints go together. The construction is fabulous. She used french seams to hide the raw edges. But I'm still going to include it with my donation to the 1-Million Pillowcase challenge, because it doesn't match anything in my house. I am really thrilled, though, to be giving away something so nice. Whoever is the receiver of it will have a nice pillowcase that will last them a long time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Apron № 93: Apples and Pears

Check out this cutie! I feel like this every time I finish an apron. I always want to show it off! Apron № 93 is no exception.

I got these fabrics at JoAnn's. I was in line buying something else and the woman in front of me had three bolts of the adorable apples and pears fabric. I think she was doing a little girl's room with it. The fabric spoke to me. It said, please Miss, you need to make me into an apron. I loved that it called me Miss instead of Ma'am (that always makes me feel so old) so I quickly snatched up a bolt the woman discarded and reponded, I need to make you into four aprons! This is the first of those aprons. It was supposed to be for a birthday in January. Now it is going to be for an unbirthday in April. When I decided to take a break from birthdays this year, I really fell off the wagon, didn't I? Anyway, this apron's sisters are cut out and waiting to be put together. They will definitely make it on time to the people whose birthdays they are for.

I saw this very fabric in a picture somewhere in my blog wanderings as an ironing board cover. I wish I could remember exactly where so I could direct you on over. She had the right idea. The fabric is nice and thick but soft; great for an apron, and I think it would make an excellent ironing board cover. I saw a tutorial for an ironing board cover at Stop Staring and Start Sewing and Amy at Amy's Creative Side double padded hers and made it reversible. I have to admit, I had a vision of me, wearing an apron like this and ironing away on a board covered with this fabric.

Now to cover up my blatant self promotion (did you check out that apron? And yes, I've really made 93. Wanna see my list?), I wanted to share something I learned while reading Machine Fridays over at Charlie's blog, It's Just Me. A while back he posted about the different feet on his machine. I recognized one of the feet he posted about as being similar to a foot I have and when I saw how he'd used it, I had an aha! moment. As I was working on this apron, I noticed my top stitching wasn't very even. I even took a picture to show you.

Notice how it wobbles? Well, that is because I needed to sew 'just a bit inside of the last mark on the right side of the foot' in order to make sure to catch the seam allowance and rick rack in the stitching. I pulled out my little bag of feet (that sounds kind of creepy -- I've been reading fantasy fiction full of demons and trolls and unicorns and fairies and dragons and oracles and the undead and the end of the world, so the first thing I thought of was some sort of unsavory magical talisman when I said that; perhaps I should have said zippered pouch containing my sewing machine feet) and discovered that I had two feet that might help me out. So I pulled out my manual (which incidentally say where not to oil my machine but doesn't say where I should oil it) to find out how the different feet work.

I decided on a foot

and this is the result.

Admittedly, not much better. Maybe with some practice. The best part about this whole thing is that while in the manual, I figured out how to turn on the automatic backstitch and I discovered that my machine has fifteen different needle positions, not just three, like I thought. So now, I can put the edge of my foot where I want and move the needle to just the right spot. The manual is a wealth of knowledge. Who knew?

This apron makes nine finishes for April and I got to link the post on Amy's Sew & Tell Friday as well as Finished for Friday on Lit & Laundry. If you have had a finish this week you can add a link to your post on either or both of these blogs and show it to the world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giveaway Goodies

It is done! I've already used my I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts giveaway gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop. (Thanks, Ryan, for a fabulous prize!) And I'm pretty happy about it. Wanna see what I got? Because I'm dying to share with you! I'm all set now for fabric for my Cathedral Windows quilt following Heather's pillow design (the one with Kona Cotton in Coal). I decided to go with the Raspberry/Stone/Lime colorway and got half-yard cuts of each of the Flora & Fauna Fabrics.

This will be my main fabric and make up about a quarter of the blocks in the quilt:

More fabrics in Raspberry and Stone:

And fabrics in Lime and Stone:

This is a little out of my comfort zone. I'm more of a traditional quilter, using calicos in almost everything. But, I follow several blogs of modern quilters, including Ryan's, and their work really inspires me. (Note: I was a follower of Ryan's blog before the giveaway.) I like to stretch myself creatively. I have another project in the works which mixes the very traditional with modern. I hope it works out because it is meant to be a gift. I'll update you on that when I get to it. First, I've got quite a few projects to get through to get there, including my own giveaway. I haven't forgotten about that, and winning at IHAN's 30-Days of Giveaways and on Ryan's blog has really lit a fire under me to get mine in the works. I'm hoping that I can get 'er done before I hit post 137. That's only 23 posts from now. Yikes! I'd better get busy.

But I digress. I haven't finished telling you about everything I got with Ryan's fabulous gift. I got three half-yard cuts of Fairy Frost (a fabric line I'm somewhat obsessed with; 50 colors and counting in my stash), and a half-yard cut of Frosted Dots from Lakehouse Dry Goods. I'm so excited for my squishy to get here. If all goes well, the FQS will ship tomorrow and I'll have it by Saturday! This is too much fun! Thank you again, Ryan!

Giveaway Winner!

I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts Giveaway Winners

Remember the other day when I told you about Ryan's Giveaway of two $50 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificates? I mentioned it was the perfect giveaway because there was one gift certificate for me and one for you. And what did I tell you? I totally won this one! It would have been totally awesome if one of you had won too -- I really hoped it would turn out like that.

I am so excited. I know exactly what I'm getting. A little Flora & Fauna to go with the Kona Cotton in Coal I have waiting to make a Cathedral Windows quilt like the pillow in grey here. My only problem now is deciding whether to go with the Mustard and Turquoise colorway or the Raspberry and Stone colorway. I'm leaning towards the raspberry, but it has been a popular line and so Fat Quarter Shop is out of the Fat Quarter Bundle in that colorway. I'm going to do some thinking and browsing. In the meantime:

Thank you, Ryan (Just a Guy who Quilts) and Fat Quarter Shop!

Oh, and I hope you don't mind that I stole your cute owl for this post. I made it into a button that takes people to the giveaway announcement on your blog when they click on it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pinwheel Sampler Quilt Along: block seven.

After so much tweaking on blocks two and four, I'm finally back to making progress on my pinwheel sampler. Here is my block seven and I have to say that I absolutely love this block design.

And here is my second color-way:

Instructions for this block are available at p.s. i quilt: pinwheel sampler quilt along: block seven. Pop on over and check out Rachel's fabulous blocks -- I love the red in her combinations for these. I'm a little bit behind. Block eight was posted weekend before last. Rachel gave block suggestions and said to make this quilt our own. I have my block picked out, but have not made the final selection on fabrics yet. The finishing instructions were posted day-before-yesterday.

Along with the finishing instrucions, Rachel challenged everyone to assemble their tops, quilt and bind and meet back in two weeks with finished quilts. I'm not sure I can manage that, but it is a really exciting prospect. I joined the quilt-along with the specific goal of doing the machine quilting myself after I'd finished the piecing. This will be my first quilt doing the machine quilting on my own (though I have dabbled with machine quilting a little on smaller projects).

My first thought for quilting this was to use my walking foot and do echo stitching ¼” on either side of the seams, highlighting the pinwheels. I'm not practiced enough to do any sort of fancy free-motion quilting (I have an inexpensive panel I bought to practice that on). I don't want to to an all-over stippling (which I'm not very good at yet) or swirls and loops (which I'm better at), because I want the pinwheels to really stand out. If I use the walking foot, I'll have an accurate guide for keeping the stitching a consistent width away from the seams. But it also means a lot of tying off because I won't be able to rotate the quilt much when it is in the machine. Using the free-motion foot would be a lot easier. I suppose I could mark the quilt before I start. There's a thought. Any suggestions from the seasoned machine quilting pros?

Pinwheel Sampler Quilt Along: block four, redux

I enjoy a challenge. Or, maybe I just like making things hard for myself. In any case, block four of the pinwheel sampler quilt-along presented a challenge for me. While I liked the large windmill, this is another block that just didn't quite fit in with the movement of the rest of the blocks. After block eight was revealed, and having already fiddled with block two a bit with plans to tinker further, I decided that it would be OK to really make this quilt mine. And so after considerable frog stitching, I changed block four from this:

to this:

And this:

to this:

This is my only set of blocks where the pinwheel centers aren't the same color. All the others are copies of each other in different fabrics. This was an accident. I meant to do them in opposites, but somehow switched my fabrics in block one so that they both ended up with brown pinwheel centers. The rest of the blocks had to follow suit (that's me, coloring inside the lines again). Except when I came to block four, there was only one color in each block and so I compromised and made one of each color. In the re-making of the blocks, my desire not to waste fabric or effort overruled my desire to have everything be the same. So, here we have fraternal twin blocks instead of identical twins. I think it will be OK.

I think that if I had seen the quilt from beginning to end, I would have made only one of each of the block designs Rachel gave and then supplemented with eight other pinwheel designs so that no two blocks had exactly the same design. I was a bit hesitant to do that, in case one of my supplemental blocks was accidentally a duplicate of a block I hadn't seen yet. So, I chose to go with duplicates and I think my quilt will be fantastic.

When I started putting blocks together, LadyBug asked what the quilt was for. I told her that I was making it for our family and that we could snuggle up under it while we watched TV or read and she was pretty excited about that. Then I reminded her that it was pink and she made a face and said, 'ew.' She's such a tomboy. But I love pink, so maybe she'll love it someday too.

Pinwheel Sampler Quilt Along: block two, take three

I've been following Rachel's p.s. i quilt: pinwheel sampler quilt-along. I love pinwheels, so it took me all of 12.5 seconds to decide that I wanted to do it. I'll admit that when the first set of blocks came out, I was a little disappointed that the blocks were all going to be doubles of each other. Rachel's quilt had so many amazing, colorful, creative pinwheels and I had hoped we'd be doing something similar. But, I went with it because I am one of those people who has to color in the lines all the time. When block two came out, I just didn't love the scale of it. But not having seen the quilt from beginning to end, I did my best with the block. I pause here to say that I am not, in any way trying to put Rachel down, at all. I respect her creative process and know that she put a lot of time and effort into the quilt and I really appreciate her for taking time to inspire me to make something fun. This has been a really enjoyable quilt-along! I especially love that blocks were revealed on a weekly basis. But, having seen all the blocks from beginning to end now, I decided that the large pinwheel just didn't fit in how I wanted it to in my quilt. And I think it is OK to make this quilt mine.

Going back just a little, after block six, I was more sure that this block didn't really fit in with the others, so I went from this:

to this:

But I still wasn't satisfied. After the final block was revealed, I further changed the block to this. I am much more satisfied with this. I think it fits in better with the movement of the other blocks.

And here is my second colorway for the original block:

Take two:

Final answer:

I love how this quilt is taking shape!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Sermons: What Matters Most

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. -Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Morning Sickness

The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late.
–Charles Caleb Colton

My bedroom set just not my bedroom
I'm betting that ¾ of you who have me in your reader or follow my blog zipped right on over here to see if you could pick up a piece of juicy news while you were in blogland. Unfortunately, you've been deceived by my clever ruse to get you to read my long-winded and self-absorbed ramblings. I am not making an announcement that I'm pregnant. But just the hint of mischief (have you seen Mr. Bug?) got you to click on over. And now that you're here, you're on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what I'll say next. Or. I've completely alienated you and you're never coming back to read my blog again. In either case, we have shock value, which prompted you to action. The title of this post refers to the fact that I am just not a morning person. I never really have been. I am sick of mornings. Why can't mornings be in the afternoon? Add to that the fact that I've been dealing with a string of seriously annoying migraines since the end of August of last year and we have a recipe for a pointless rant.

I had my first migraine when I was 14 years old. At the time, I didn't know it was a migraine, but I remember that day well. It was a Sunday (see, I told you I remembered) and I just wanted to hide in the cool darkness of my room. In my early 20's I suffered frequent migraines, but for some reason they went away and I haven't had much problem with them since. Until the middle of last year, that is. I kept a tally and at the worst, I had 14 migraines in 16 days. The past few months the migraines have settled down quite a bit, but I had four last week (or maybe it was only three. I forget. But four sounds like it'll get more sympathy), which takes its toll on my mornings (I'm getting round to that); fatigue is one of the symptoms of a migraine.

I did quite a bit of research on migraines when they started showing up again with such alarming regularity. On the average, migraines occur at 6:00 am. I'm not one of those average people. I don't like mornings, and my migraines must know it, because they show up around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. My best cure for a migraine is two tablets of Excedrin. One dose of Excedrin contains roughly the equivalent of caffeine contained in two cups of coffee. And I'm not a consumer of caffeine in its most common forms (coffee, tea and soda). So this complicates my mornings even further because I am so buzzed from the caffeine and the post-headache symptoms (which tend towards the euphoria side) that I am usually awake until 3:00 am. You can see how difficult this makes mornings when the kids have to be out the door by 8:15. On post-migraine days, I usually have a nap after they go to school. But this causes more problems because then I can't sleep again the next night and I'm sleepy the next morning, which makes me want to take a nap.

After a week full of migraines last week I've been really fighting with sleep this week. My clock is all messed up. I want to sleep when it is day time and stay awake and play all night. I ashamedly admit that I had a nap on more than one occasion this week, further complicating the whole morning situation. I've been in a pretty low mood, trudging through the week without much interest in any of the things I love. Today is Saturday. I slept until noon. And guess what? I feel the best I have all week long. The best I've felt in two weeks, actually. I woke up with a desire to conquer the world. Or at least the laundry. However, with half the day already gone, it leaves less time for conquering. My chores aren't finished (there was a lot left undone this week while I was busy avoiding daylight hours) and I haven't been grocery shopping yet. I don't know if there'll be time left in the 'respectable' hours of the day to get everything done and have time to play (obviously, I'm on my 'lunch break' now). My clock is seriously messed up. I'm going to need to move to Australia to get back on a regular schedule. I think that the 14-16 hour time difference should just about work out so that I'm awake when the normal people are up and doing things and sleepy when it is time to be in bed.

After all that, I don't have a suitable ending for my rant about sleep and how much I hate it because I never feel like I get enough and it is always interrupting my playtime, so I'll just make a few notes. I've been fighting with sleep for as long as I remember. The quote I put up at the top of the post is my favorite quote about sleep. And the picture of that gorgeous bedroom? That is my actual bedroom set, but not my actual bedroom. I stole that off the furniture store web-site. I haven't made my bed yet today.

New Eclipse Trailer

Only 67 more days . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

Twilight: How It Should Have Ended

Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humor excites in those who lack it. -George Saintsbury

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts Giveaway

I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts Giveaway

Ryan over at I'm just a Guy Who Quilts is doing a fantastic giveaway this week! He's celebrating his 1-year blog-iversary and giving away two (count them, two!) $50 gift certificates to The Fat Quarter Shop. Perfect, right? One for me and one for you! Prizes will be drawn on April 25th. Click on the above Month of Giveaways Button to find out how to enter.

Tulips on Tuesday

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

-Dorothy Frances Gurney, Garden Thoughts

I just love tulips! And alliteration is pretty fun too. So today is Tulips on Tuesday. But before we get to the pictures of the tulips, I have a couple of pictures from last week that I didn't post because I was busy 'conserving' and trying to figure out how to get a prize ready for a giveaway by post 100. This is post 104 and I'm still not ready. Go figure. I think I spend too much time blogging.

This is the birdbath garden. Several years ago, I spent hours pouring over the Breck's catalog finding just the right combinations of bulbs that would bloom at the same time to create little 'in-ground' bouquets. There were several things wrong with this plan. First, as it turns out "Early Spring" means something different to tulips than it does to hyacinths or daffodils. Second, the pictures of some of the flowers weren't true to what actually grew in my gardens. And third, they substituted out a lot from what I actually ordered. This little bunch in the center, with Mt. Hood Daffodils, Blue Jacket Hyacinths and Red Emperor Tulips is my patriotic garden tribute to 'Red, White and Blue.' Of course, you can't get true blue flowers (they all come out in shades of purple), but I thought it was a good attempt anyway. And look at the lovely bunches of Tête-À-Tête daffodils. They are still my favorite and I love that they bloom at different times around my yard.

This gorgeous Helleborus is in the deep shade garden that runs across the front of the house. This is the first year they have bloomed, so it was a fun surprise to find them so early. I love the color. Green flowers are such a contradiction.

This is another of my attempts at an 'in-ground' bouquet. The theme for this was 'orange.' The hyacinths smell so lovely! From left to right, the light yellow are Gypsy Princess, the orange(ish) in the middle are Gypsy Queen and the pink (not sure how those got in there) are Fondant. The daffodils in the bunch are called 'Orangery' but the color looks more yellow than orange to me. The pink Replete daffodils I bought for other bouquets look more orange.

The year after I worked up all those bouquets, I gave in trying to control nature and ordered a grab bag each of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. These pink hyacinths and the daffodil were from the grab bags. The trouble with grab bags is you don't know the names of the individual flowers, unless you already have some and know that the company you ordered from only offers one variety of pink hyacinth. So, I don't know the name of that beautiful daffodil, but the hyacinth is Fondant.

And look at the pretty LadyBug I found in my gardens!

This is the Sidewalk Garden on March 1.

This is the Sidewalk Garden on April 12 (thought I had one closer to April 1st, but I couldn't find it).

And this is the sidewalk garden today, a mere eight days later. Talk about an explosion of color! I'll admit, it is a little unbalanced. As I mentioned, I wanted to create some in-ground bouquets and then the following year I planted bulbs randomly, trying to fill in. The trouble with bulbs is that you can't see them when you plant, and so I only had my mind's eye to get the spacing and proportion right. It is tempting to dig them all up after they bloom and move them so that they are better balanced.

The orange tulips in the corner are Donald Duck. I don't remember ordering yellow tulips -- I think they are supposed to be Apeldoorn Elites, which start out yellow and turn red. But these stay yellow. The daffodils grouped with the yellow tulips are called White Lion and have ruffled yellow and white centers. They are very pretty, but you'll have to take my word for it because they're hiding.

There are two different purple tulips here. The larger blooms, on the left and in the center, are called Queen of Night and are supposed to come up a deep maroon so dark they are black. The first year, they were pretty close. I think some bulb fertilizer would probably correct the color for next year. Some of the hyacinths are looking a little bedraggled too and would benefit from that as well. The two smallest purple tulips are called Arabian Mystery and the white along the edges should be a little more pronounced. I love how the red of the peony (bottom left corner) provides a contrast with the green foliage here.

I can't be sure of these tulips, but I think they might be the Apeldoorn Elites that are supposed to go from yellow to red. Either that, or they are orange ones a neighbor gave me and the colors have separated from each other. In any case, the color is pretty.

These are the Donald Duck tulips that go with the Orangery daffodils and Gypsy Princess and Queen hyacinths I showed you earlier. The hyacinths and daffodils have already faded, and the tulips just barely appeared. If you ask me, the Donald Duck tulips look more like Orange Emperors and I have to wonder if they mess with you on purpose when they package everything up, or if there's an error in translation somewhere, because the bulbs are shipped directly from Holland. Just one of the many reasons why I stopped trying to control nature.

This is the deep shade border that runs along the front of the house. Most plants don't do well here, but I planted bulbs from my grab bags and they do great. They just come in a little slower. The daffodils and hyacinths are just blooming now and the tulips won't be in for a while. The exception to that are the bright red tulips, which are called Firespray and were ones I picked because they were marked 'shade.' You can also see the Leopard's Bane (yellow flowers, just right of center) is starting to bloom.

Another shot of the bulbs coming in. Not many tulips for a 'Tulips on Tuesday' post. And please, pay no attention to the dead foliage still left from last year.

I was really surprised when I went outside today to survey and saw that the Bleeding Hearts is blooming already! Last week it was only about half this size.

It was also fun to find a pansy in bloom! Since this garden sits mostly in shade until later in the season I haven't had much luck in getting them to bloom in concert with the bulbs.

Since it is 'Tulips on Tuesday' I'm going to show you a bed I'm a little bit embarrassed about. This bed is a new one and I knew a little more about what I was doing when I put it in. All but the Sidewalk Garden were in place when we moved in and I just started planting, not realizing that the beds are full of heavy clay and rocks. With this new bed I dug out about 1½ cubic yards of dirt, tilled the bottom of the 'pit' I left and then tilled in layers of compost, peat moss and soil. It is the best flower bed on the property. So, can you blame all the weeds that want to come and live here? Add to that the fact that I tend to get myself involved in too many projects and I blog too much and, well, I'm left with a tulip-filled weed patch. All of these came from grab bags, except for the bright pink tulips, which are called Toronto Tulips.

Here's a shot of the new bed in an area where the weeds have been cleaned out.

I love tulips. Have I mentioned that? I've only been an 'official' gardener since we bought our house nine years ago. But I think I became a gardener 'in spirit' as a child. The house we lived in from the time I was four until I turned 14 had a garden strip that the previous owners had planted with tulips. The only other things that grew in the gardens were roses on one end, rhubarb on the other and weeds in between. But I really remember those tulips and have loved them all my life. I remember, too, one summer going out and clearing out a section of the bed (it was long, spanning the width of the property) so that I could plant a garden. But my parents weren't gardeners and they lacked the know-how (and the money) to help me out.

One of the things that attracted me to the house Mr. Bug and I live in now were the gardens. There are lots and lots of gardens here and they were mostly empty. As I've experimented with things, I've found gardening to be a very forgiving and therapeutic hobby. But right now most of my beds are full of dead foliage from last year and weeds. I love gardening, but I've kind of let quilting and blogging take over my life and so it isn't as relaxing to go out and play in the dirt, all the while thinking, I have to hurry and get this done because I have so many other things that are demanding my time. Anyone want to co-op? You come and help me get my gardens cleaned out and then I'll come help you with gardening or another chore you're behind on. But then again, you're probably all caught up on your chores.