Patchwork Liberty

Making Something Ugly look Pretty



We have lived in our house for almost 4 years now and this ugly fireplace has just been sticking it’s tongue out at me whenever I went into the basement.  So when I saw this awesome Blog on Pinterest about whitewashing the brick of a fireplace I started obsessing about how and when I would do it.  Little did I know what the heck I was in for.  First, our brick is this weird mixture of really dark red and blue colors.  I have never seen the combo before.  Second it has some bricks that are just crazy with what seem to be extra ridges that do NOT cover well.  So I went all in….  and got about half way done….  Image …. and decided that I really hated how the white wash looked on my fireplace…  sigh…  So then I am frantically looking at all of the leftover paints that the previous owners left to see if there is any yellow left from the paint they used on the walls.  And I found some!!!!  WooHoo, right?????  Well, maybe not….  Image

This is how far I got before the paint ran out.  So to Home Depot I went, to match the paint.  Finally, several days after I started, I was done.  

Image I have to tell you it has totally changed the feel of the basement.  I actually want to be down there!  What do you think??


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The first quilt to be completed by my hands. :)

My wonderful Gramma

My wonderful Gramma

I have been drooling over fabrics at Joann’s for years…  It wasn’t until my mother-in-law bought me my first sewing machine 3 years ago that I decided what the heck, I’m taking a quilting class.

What I discovered in that class was that I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine at all and that I was actually kind of freaked out about it….  So I started hand sewing that first quilt and I am happy to say that I am almost ready to bind it.  Needless to say that is not the quilt that I am talking about.  lol

Several months ago I was in my favorite Joann’s and I saw this fabric that made me do a double take.  The images on the vintage reprint were the exact same ones on the Picture Dominoes that my Gramma has in her attic.  My Mom and Uncle played with them, I played with them and both of my boys have played with them.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew it was going to be something eventually.

It took me a couple of weeks to find a pattern that I thought was easy enough for a true beginner and that showed off the cute images of bunnies, lambs and chicks.  Finally I settled on this simple pattern called “New Beginnings” by Canyon Creek Fabrics.  It was straight forward and a great one for a newbie like myself.  I enjoyed fussy cutting the little faces for the 2 1/2″ joining sections of the lattice.  I went to a great little shop called Seminole Sampler to buy the pink and green gingham fabric as well as the yellow polka dots.

I finished literally right on time for Mother’s Day.  I see my Mom, Aunt and Gramma in… oh about 9 hours.  Cutting it close is pretty much a requirement for me.  My Gramma has had a really tough year with my Uncle and her last two brothers passing away.  I’m hoping that this helps make her smile a little more often.  Somehow I think my Mom will forgive me for not being the first one to get a TT masterpiece.  🙂

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The conflict over Howard County Public Schools Health and Wellness Policy

So one might think that everyone would agree on what a county wide system should be for Health and Wellness for our public school kids.  Help the kids move more, eat better and have some fun.  And yet in Howard County it seems to have become a really big deal.  I’m a PTA delegate for my local PTA.  Of the 8 or so meetings for the PTA Council of Howard County (PTACHC) that I have attended, this is the most hotly debated issue I have heard so far.

It has been presented to the PTA Delegates by the Health and Wellness Committee and the PTACHC President, Christina Delmont-Small, as follows…

A committee for the new Health and Wellness Policy was formed to provide recommendations to the Superintendent, Dr. Renee Foose, to review and later present to the School Board along with her corrections.  There were some really good suggestions in their work.  Several of them were quite a bit expensive, but there weren’t any parameters given to the committee as to how to go about their recommendations.

When Dr. Foose presented the policy to the school board a good 60% or more of the suggestions were cut out.  What had some of the committee upset was that they were not told why these cuts had been made. On a sidebar note most of the PTA Delegates and the School Board Reps at our meeting appeared to agree that it would be a good idea to add in a column for the Superintendent to give an inkling as to why something was eliminated for future collaborations.  What replaced the suggestions has given the PTA Council of Howard County cause for concern.

The Superintendent’s proposal included a mandate that the schools, boosters and PTA’s would be forced to comply with a nutritional guideline that some dietitian would create.  It was also implied that anyone using the facility would also be required to follow them.  There was no inclusion for workshop meetings to allow the School Board, HCPSS or the PTA Council to review and make revisions to the guidelines before they were then mandated.  In our county these mandates are like law and implementation would have to be before the next school year.

Sidebar- I was a personal trainer for 13 years in Howard County and also in Richmond, VA and just like trainers I know that there are good dietitians and crappy ones.  Did you know that KRAFT has dietitians for their Mac & Cheese and Oreo’s? Yeah, there are some really healthy dietitians out there.  

So the main reason why PTACHC voted to oppose Dr. Foose’s H&W Policy was two fold.

1.  The guidelines are NOT defined.  How can you agree to something without knowing what that something is?  The dietitian hasn’t even been hired.

2.  This could be disastrous to the PTA’s and boosters.  We raise money for our schools and programs in various ways.  Some of them include selling junk food like cotton candy as a treat at a carnival or hot dogs at a concession stand.  We took serious exception to the overreach of this policy.

The elementary school I represent has all kinds of fundraisers; a carnival, bingo night, yankee candles, even orders for chocolate and yummy baked goods.  We also have a fun run.  Through these fundraisers we provide scholarships to after school programs, buy teacher supplies, host book authors, have a cultural arts fair and other events.

The boosters and PTA’s work together to help fill the gap when funding isn’t always there.  We try to find fun ways of doing it.  While many of our PTA’s VOLUNTARILY serve healthy foods in addition to the not so healthy they really don’t sell well.  Remember that I was a trainer for many years, as long as bad foods are done in moderation and you are working out, or for kids running around, then you should be fine.  This is taking the responsibility of keeping kids healthy away from parents.  Before and after school hours it is OUR job to mandate what our kids will eat, not the schools.  Frankly, I’m not sure when my kids will ever eat school food.  I pack their lunches every day.

I am all in favor of making the school lunches something that is edible and healthy, but this was a bit overdone.  This upcoming Thursday, May 9th there is a meeting at the Board of Ed and even though testimony from the public won’t be taken the PTACHC President will speak.  She is requesting a show of support and has created a Sign-up Genius with further details.  For those, like myself, who can’t make it to the meeting please send the Board of Education an email.

I hope this helps clear things up I will answer whatever questions I am able to.


The sad chair

When my husband’s Grandparents died seven years ago we were honored to receive the secretary desk and chair that they got when they first married.  Over the past couple of years the poor chair has become a sad chair.  The button covers popped off of several of the buttons and whenever a person sat on the chair they ran the risk of putting a hole in their pants!

Needless to say the chair had been sitting in the laundry room for a good bit collecting dust and boxes.  Now that my sewing room is looking good it is time to re-upholster the chair.  I had never done anything like this and it was really quite fun.

The sad chair

The sad chair

My helper, Sean, who was very excited to use tools.  I love this age!

I love when one of my boys helps me.  :)

I love when one of my boys helps me. 🙂

So whoever upholstered this chair originally was SERIOUS!!! I took out no less than 150 tacks. Holy cows!!!

thousand upon thousands of tacks...

thousand upon thousands of tacks…

Eventually I got down to the original horsehair padding and straps. It was a little icky so I replaced it with some foam and my new fabric. I should mention that Sean lost interest long ago and by this point had stopped helping me. 🙂 It’s all good, he helped for a bit and that is good enough for me. So here is the happy chair…..

Ta Da

Ta Da


The sewing room disaster

A couple of weeks ago I went on a quest to turn my disaster of a sewing room into a place that could inspire me.  That task is not quite as easy as it sounds since the space is our basement that I share with my two fun-loving, messy boys and their playroom.  I have tried multiple times to make things look cool and have been acquiring shelf organizers and white furniture for a couple of years to help me get the job done.  So I already had some of the key components.  There just hadn’t been enough time to actually get the job done.  I take that back.  There had been time, I was procrastinating or as I like to put it “planning”.  🙂  I only took a couple of photos before hand because the boys side of the room was too horrible to take a picture of.

sewing room before 1

My sewing desk and Trevor’s school desk (yes this obviously was bought as a future desk for me and not him)

Two cabinets that I wanted to move to a better space

Two cabinets that I wanted to move to a better space

It was time to get the job done.  I was excited and blasting some Christian Rock to help keep my spirits up for the weekend long project.  First came unloading the fabric already stored inside the cabinets so that I could actually move them.

My stash of fabrics

My stash of fabrics and books (the books are buried)

Then it was time to move the furniture to better spots…

The furniture move

The furniture move

Finally it was time to get to the serious fun of organizing the fabrics. Which honestly, I love because it reminds me of why I bought them in the first place and all of the projects that I want to make with them. In the end this is the sewing room that developed and I must say that I am pretty darn happy with it. Keep in mind that I was limited in the angles that I could capture for photos because my space was clean, but the boys play area was still a complete disaster. 🙂

I'm sure it will never look this clean again

I’m sure it will never look this clean again

It will never look this clean again

My little hidden corner of essentials and odds and ends

I really need to find the hardware to fix that one cabinet.

I really need to find the hardware to fix that one cabinet, but it is in the garage and that is a whole organizing project of its own