Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Edge a Garden Bed

Lilac about to bloom out some leaves.
Newly created garden bed edge. Having a nicely defined edge is going to not only look great, but also make mowing a breeze (well, relatively anyway)!

It's spring and time to start working in the garden. My front yard has the typical garden beds that runs along the front of the house with a variety of bushes and shrubs. I also have a side yard garden with a small tree in it. My friend Melissa (who is also an Arborist) taught me how to create a proper edge along my flower beds. I've tried to do this on my own in past years by digging up a bit of the grass, but my approach was not enough to make a real difference and the grass just grew right into the beds. So, this year they looked doubly worse the last spring (arg!).

So, here is what I learned and some pictures taken along the way.

The BEFORE Picture of the side garden:

Using a flat edged shovel dig straight down into the grass where you want the edge to be. Use your weight to step on the shovel so it sinks down 6 or more inches. Now turn the shovel at a 90 degree angle and dig down the opposite direction cutting the sod into small squares about 6-8 inches square.

Using a small hand rake (and wearing garden gloves to protect your hands) push the rake into the top of the square of sod and with some back and forth pulling, get the clump up. Shake off the soil and throw the hunk of grass/sod into the wheel barrow or onto a tarp. Remove the clumps as you go, shaking off the dirt. Make sure to save those hard working garden worms and to cover them up with soil if it's a really sunny day. Every foot or so use the hand rake to scoop the dirt out of the edge of the little trough that you've made and neaten up the dirt.

We kept both a wheel barrow and a tarp close by to chuck the sod clumps into (and later tossed them out in the woods in an out of the way spot).

Garden edged and looking fine!


Melissa doing some dirty work

Tarp filled with sod/weeds/dead plant material from last year

The after effect of all our hard work. We also moved a butterfly bush and removed one of the misshapen dwarf mugo pines (which I never liked anyway!).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ruffle Pillow Project and Ruffle T-Shirt

I've had some fantastically soft organic cotton jersey knit scraps hanging around my fabric stash for quite a while. So this weekend, I decided to try some new projects. I saw a ruffled purse that was pretty cool, and it seems that ruffles are showing up on everything this spring, including some really cute cardigan sweaters and t-shirts.

I used the sumptuous organic cotton knit, which is a nice bright white and paired it with some durable khaki colored cotton canvas. Together they made a great stark contrast, both in the colors and the feel of the fabric. I cut 2" wide strips of the jersey fabric so that it stretched the long way (length of strips). I left the edges raw.

For the pillow front, I cut one 17" x 17" square from the canvas. Because canvas tends to unravel along the edges, I did a zig-zag stitch along all 4 edges before moving forward. Then I cut the two pieces for the back and set them aside.
I marked lines on the pillow front to indicate where I wanted to sew the ruffles. I attached the ruffles free hand because I didn't want them to look too perfectly even. They came out great! I loved the first pillow so much, I made another. One pillow has diagonal ruffles and the other the ruffles run vertically (though you could set the pillow either way).

After my daughter saw the pillows she wanted to know if I could add ruffles to other things. In an instant, she dashed to her room and returned with a plain white t-shirt. She wanted me to attach some ruffles to the front. It was one she's almost outgrown and it had some stains on the front, so I figured we had nothing to loose if she didn't like it. She picked out the colors she wanted from the scraps I have and in just a little while, she had a totally updates shirt, which she now loves!
What comes next? Well, MORE RUFFLES of course! Stayed tuned for more fun projects.