My Glamorous Life


I have so neglected my blog.  It’s not that I don’t want to update it.  Really.  I miss my crafty blogging friends terribly!  It’s just that I fired Mr. Diva’s secretary in early December and my life has not been the same.  I’ve gone from a woman who woke up every morning living life spontaneous (sewing, shopping, lunch with friends, etc.) to a working mother with no help.


And during this time, our office landlord decided to repaint and re-carpet our offices (we have 3 separate rooms).  Oh and we added 2 new phone lines (to our 4 existing lines), 2 plasma televisions, and an additional internet connection.  Also we rented a 3rd office.  We upgraded our photocopier to one that also scans so we can email documents when necessary.  The list goes on.


Although I’ve hired a new secretary, there is way too much work for one person to do…actually, it’s enough work to keep 3 full-time support staff members constantly busy.  And it doesn’t help that neither one of us were given any training on what needs to be done, where things are kept, etc.  So we’re just winging it!

Oh and did I mention Mr. Diva is a CPA and it’s tax season?  I think you get the picture.


The holidays were a blur.  Seriously.  Everything was last minute and very stressful.  However, I did manage to get a few articles up on Boutique Cafe:

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Gift Wrapping

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Bow Tutorial

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Tulle Garland Tutorial

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Scents of the Season

Boutique Cafe Holiday Homes Tour (my home tour starts at 2:58)


Speaking of the holidays, I still have my nekkid (aka beyond naked) Christmas tree sitting in the middle of my living room…not to mention, I have yet to wrap up all the Christmas decorations and put them away in the attic.  I did get half of them away yesterday…woo hoo!


And to top it off, Mr. Diva™ went to Las Vegas for 5 days while I was left to fend for myself and kids in 17 inches of snow.


I shoveled three times.  And what was the first thing Mr. Diva said upon his return?  ‘”Why didn’t anyone take the snow off my car?”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Men!


On a creative note, Socialite Sister™ asked me to redecorate my sweet niece’s bedroom.  We searched endlessly for the perfect theme for little Miss Josie’s room until we came upon Timeless Treasure’s Mod Paris aka Bon Voyage.


I purchased 8 yards of the pink heart fabric to make a Queen bed skirt.


and the coordinating prints to make pillows and such.


The main print also comes with a brown color way.  Only bought a yard of it as she’s purchased a brown duvet cover and we don’t want the room to be too dark.


I bought the most awesome machine appliqué designs from Claire Atwood of Stitch On Time.  Yes, I have digitizing embroidery software, but at Claire’s prices, it isn’t worth it for me to do it myself.


She even made me an appliqué of the camera graphic (6” x 10”) which I plan to cut out the centers, add photographs and frame several of them on the wall.


Josie’s bedroom walls were already a soft pink, so I picked Pink Popsicle for her ceiling to make the room POP.


And since I was being a bit adventurous, I had my BIL paint the back of her white bookcase a vibrant Rumba Orange.


Now I need to find a wire dress form like this one.  I’d bought a similar one for Marielle’s room at HomeGoods for a mere $49.  There’s no way I’m paying $185 for one.  Guess I’d better start hunting for one in HomeGoods.


Found this 13” vintage pink vespa on Ebay.  The seller still has a few more of them if you want one.


Scored a bunch of vintage tatting of eBay, too while I was at it.  One can never have too much trims, KWIM?

I finally got in some sewing yesterday morning.  Well, actually I started sewing at 3am, because I needed some baby boy gifts for a Bridal Shower I was attending at noon.  I’d show you photos, but I forgot to take any.  I made some minky blankets and burp cloths using one of Joel Dewberry’s print.  They were a hit!  Yeah ME!

Oh and next time I even think of using that Minky crap, smack me upside the head.  I have it everywhere.  I think I might even have inhaled some as I can feel it in my throat…ugh!


Design Your Own Ultimate Sewing Room Contest

C O N T E S T       H A S        E N D E D ! ! !


Can’t believe I forgot to mention this!  Have you entered the / Craft Stylish Ultimate Sewing Room Contest yet?  There’s over $7,000  in prizes!  Prizes include:

FabricComGiftCard Shopping Card Value – $1,500

Baby Lock

Baby Lock Ellure Sewing Machine Value – $2,499

Reliable Corporation IronMaven

Reliable Corporation IronMaven™ J490A Value – $399

Reliable Corporation C81 - Vacuum & Up-Air Pressing Table

Reliable Corporation C81 – Vacuum & Up-Air Pressing Table Value – $499

Fabulous Fit Dress Forms Pro Series® Misses Regular Form

Fabulous Fit Dress Forms Pro Series® Misses Regular Form Value – $687

Sylvia Sewing Cabinets Model 810 work table

Sylvia Sewing Cabinets Model 810 work table Value – $1,099.95

American & Efird

American & Efird Mettler Thread 28 Spool Gift PackValue – $82.10

Threads magazine

1-Year subscription to Threads magazine Value – $32.95

Threads Fitting DVD Series

Threads Fitting DVD Series Value – $99.95

Threads Industry Insider Techniques

Threads Industry Insider Techniques Volume 1 & 2 Value – $59.90

The Best of Threads DVD-ROM

The Best of Threads DVD-ROM Volume 1 & 2 Value – $99.90

Here’s the Official Rules.  Hurry–the contest end December 31, 2008!

Here are the two sewing room designs I entered:



Design Your Own Ultimate Sewing Room NOW!  Check out the sewing room gallery to see what others have created.  Creating a sewing room online is so simply—really.  Go do it now!  You never know if you’ll be one of the winners, KWIM?


HOT Holiday SWAP


There’s a bunch of us girls who last year formed a book club, Girls Night In.  Except, we soon discovered we really didn’t read much.  Instead, we had more fun doing SWAPS.

For this year’s Holiday SWAP, the mission was to spell out the word HOT.  The SWAP needed to have 3 things in it:

  • H – Handmade Item
  • O – Ornament
  • T – Thrift Item

Some time ago, I nicknamed AmyApplique Amy™ (even though some of her friends call her Alphabet Amy…LOL).  Amy is the Queen of Applique.  Her business, Tote and Tee, has a neat selection of custom initial tees, totes and other goodies.  I was thrilled to receive my SWAP from her!

First up, a handmade item with my initial!





Next, a hot pink DIVA ornament!  Yes, I do already have one, but I have another place for it!


Lastly, Amy found the coolest sewing thimble at a thrift store.  At first you might think this is just a thimble.


But think again.  It’s a large Shot Glass!  ROTFL!


Thank you Amy!  What a bunch of great surprises!  And yes, I’ve already eaten the chocolate and caramel you included in the box!


Sew…Back to Business…Sort Of


People often think I live among chaos when I tell them I live in NYC.  Actually, I’m in one of the five boroughs, Staten Island.  It’s total suburbia on my side of the water.  No tall buildings, every house has a lawn and kids ride bikes up and down the street.  But just across the water is Manhattan.

I usually drive my car into the city, but Lady M™ and I decided to act like tourists this past week…LOL!  In less than 20 minutes, we were in the city.  It’s definitely much faster than driving (and sitting in traffic for an hour).


On Monday and Tuesday, we went to the ENK Children’s Club trade show.  We visited old friends and made new ones.  We hung out with boys’ clothing designer friends, Kim of Moonfly Kids and Bethany of George World.  Both shared great trade show and sales tips.  Thanks girls!


Next, we made friends with fellow NYers, Ann and Jennifer of Ooh! La La Couture.  I’d seen them on my local television news about a NYC boutique trying to scam them out of merchandise and not paying.  Well, I had to smile when they had the news reporter put pressure on the retailer and get them their merchandise back.  Way to go, girls!  Not to mention, they make some of the cutest tutu dresses on the market.  Check them out.


I met Danielle, the co-owner of Myself Belts and am going to carry two of their leather boys’ belts, but have “NYC” or a graphic embroidered on them for my Downtown Joey line.  It just makes no sense to reinvent the wheel when they’ve nailed it so well, KWIM?


I finally got to meet Mary Jane of Christie Helene.  Mary Jane is the only clothing manufacturer on Staten Island–her factory is a mere 3 blocks from my home.  She’s been in the business for more than 20 years.  Mary Jane manufactures some of the most beautiful girls’ special occasion dresses on the market.  She is truly an inspiration!  She’s invited me down to the factory–I’m so looking forward to getting to know her!  What I liked about her is she is a serious business woman…not a “fashion designer” per se.  Fashion design will only get you so far in this business.  If your books don’t add up at the end of the day, it’s all in vain.


Since Lady M™ helped me complete my embroidered totes order on Wednesday and Thursday, I made two for her girls.  Speaking of embroidery, a friend who attended the BBQ (and joined up with us at ENK) owns a digitizing, embroidery and transfer business.  Another problem solved.  She’ll be doing all the embroidery and transfers for my new clothing line.  And the best thing is she lives less than 40 minutes from me, so sampling will be quick!  No shipping necessary.  But best of all, she’s a trusted friend and I have full confidence that she’ll be a major asset to the success of my line.

On Friday, Lady M™ and I met with my patternmaker who in Manhattan for a few days.  Let me just start by saying, my patternmaker ROCKS!  Not only is she cute (actually stunning), but she came up with several suggestions to improve my patterns and cut costs.  When designing a clothing line, your patterns are probably one of the most important elements of your business.  Whatever you do, don’t skimp on patterns.


I remember the days when I used to go to Joann’s Fabrics for a few yards of elastic.  Soon I was buying 50 yard rolls in the NYC Garment District.  But now, I’ve upgraded to boxes of elastic.  The other day I had 1,500 yards of rust buttonhole elastic shipped to me…that’s 4,500 feet…WOW!  Wonder how many pair of pants I’ll have to sell to use it all up.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m nuts to order this much elastic…but I can explain.  The prices I was getting from US wholesalers were high, so I actually found one of the major manufacturers.  And boy, what a cost-savings!  The downside is you need to meet their minimums (in this case, it was 1,500 – 1,800 yards depending on color).  Well, even if I only use 400 yards, I’m still ahead.  The extra 1,100 yards came out to the same price from the wholesalers.  What I mean is 1,500 yards from the manufacturer costs the same as 400 yards from the wholesaler.  SCORE!  Sometimes it just pays to do your homework!


Seems lots of “indie” designers are against traditional manufacturing.  See, manufacturing has gotten a bad rap over the last few years.  Truth is manufacturing is consistent–something that is hard to achieve at home on your sewing machine.  In manufacturing, you have industrial machines that do one specific job and do it well.  Check out this one that does flaps, collars and cuffs.  Drool!

On another note, I finally listed a job opening on Craigslist.  I need someone to put together a database and mailing list of children’s boutiques that might be interested in carrying Downtown Joey.  After reviewing more than 50 applicants’ resumes, I think I’ve found the perfect candidate.  I’ll be meeting her tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sadly, my daughter’s health continues to decline.  Doctors are having a hard time controlling her blood pressure and her kidneys have less than 10% function at this point.  She is getting weaker everyday.  It’s heartbreaking to watch her struggle to do simple things–things most of us take for granted.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Let’s hope a kidney is found soon.

Back to work…because launching a children’s clothing line takes some serious multi-tasking!

With friendship,


SEW Busy and Then Some


Another successful Diva BBQ is behind us.  But oh my–the clean-up is overwhelming.


It will literally take me WEEKS!



Lots of people have asked about my delicious caramel apples at the BBQ…so I’ll spill:

First, hop on over to Instawares and get yourself some Midway’s Finest Caramel Apple Dip.  I purchased apple bubble trays (buy the bigger size) and candy apple sticks from Sugarcraft.


Next, tip your local produce guy a $20 bill at the supermarket and instruct him to hand select 100 big red delicious apples which MUST fit inside the provided apple bubble trays and stand straight (no lop-sided apples) or else…LOL.

Then go your friend’s Bagel Store (Diana has the BEST bagels in town).  Tell her you are swamped with BBQ preparations.  She’ll then ask you what she can do to help and it’s at that moment you hand over all the apples and supplies.

Next, have her employees wash and dry the apples.  Then put the sticks in.  Use their huge metal trays and line each tray with wax paper.


Since we didn’t have a electric candy apple stove or an awesome gas apple cooker, Diana (not to be confused with Diana from Louisiana) used a huge stock pot (much bigger than I have at home) filled with water.  She then set the opened can of Midway’s Finest Caramel Apple Dip in the water to boil.  Something tells me we should have used the Quick Serve Apple Dip.  It took no less than 3 hours to melt each huge can of caramel..ugh!  Lesson learned.  There’s always next year.


Anyway, just dip the apple, swirl and set it on the wax paper.  When the caramel apples firm up, just put them in the bubble trays.  Let’s hope Diana is still my friend!  Seriously, a HUGE thank you to my buddy!


Yesterday I was able to order a particular of a fabric I’m dying to use in my upcoming boys’ clothing line.  I’d seen a preview of the fabric at TALA (LA Fabric Show), but didn’t think the first printing would be ready in time for my salesman’s samples.  I wasn’t going to show you, but I just can’t help myself:


Not sure if I’ll incorporate this colorway, but I ordered it anyway:


Last month the fabric manufacturer showed it to me in these colorways, too.  But they aren’t sure if they are going to get enough orders to go into production.  Keep your fingers crossed:





Got lots done yesterday in the sewing room (Lady M™ and I are some team…LOL). Spend most of yesterday finishing up an order for 15 personalized tote bags for Kacey‘s new students.



In the world of garment manufacturing, G.O.A.T.S. (graphics on a t-shirt manufacturers) are at the bottom of the fashion feeding pool.  Lots of people say they are “fashion designers” when all they are really doing is slapping some graphics or wording on a pre-made t-shirt.

When I set out to design my first season of boys’ clothing, it was important to me not to take any shortcuts on t-shirts.  I hate cheap t-shirts prefer a medium-weight cotton interlock over jersey knit.  I feel interlock is more substantial and holds up nicely to repeated washings.  Another reason I decided to create my t-shirts from scratch is fit.  I wanted a comfortable fit and a rib knit neckline which laid around the neck nicely…not all wonky.

My patternmaker is in town, so we’re going to meet up in Manhattan tomorrow morning.  It will be nice to put a name to a face.

Ok…I had better get back to work!  Have a great day!

With friendship,


Sew…H is for Hanging On By a Thread

Hanging On By a Thread


Just approved the production of my custom metal snap closures for the boys’ jeans.  Like it?  It’s actually a bit darker in person as the flash photography lightened it.  I’m pretty happy with them!  They should arrive from Hong Kong within the next 4 weeks.


I still need to decide which lighted key chains I’m going to be using.  Also need to order matte silver long-pronged snaps for my dress shirts.

My pattern maker received my sketches, fabric and assorted notions.  She told me I could expect them back by August 18th.  Yes, I’m cutting it close.  Very close.  My pattern maker is doing 6 different patterns.  I adore my pattern maker and have full confidence in her ability.

Once I approve my fit samples she makes, I’ll have to have a sample maker  make my salesman’s samples.  Oh wait…first I need to find a sample maker.  I do have a few contacts in NYC to check out.  Better call them next week and see if they can work within my timeframe.  I need to figure out how many salesman’s samples I need.  I have 3 models sized 6 months, 5 years and 6 years for my photos.  I’ll also need several size 5 years for my 7 mannequins and another 2 for my size 12 month mannequins.  These salesman’s samples will be used to take orders at the upcoming trade show.  Guess I had better book the trade show booth, right?  But I still haven’t send in my older samples for approval by the trade show.  I’ll do that after the BBQ when I can think straight.  Let’s hope I can get a decent location at the trade show.  Keeping fingers crossed.


I also need to have several graphics created for my knit t-shirts.  I’m thinking a NYC skyline or something like that.  Oh and then, I’ll need to find a screen printer…easy enough.  At least, I hope!

Honestly, I am frazzled.  Too much going on within a short time period.  My big BBQ is less than a week away and I have tons of things to do, buy, plan, etc.  We’re expecting between 130 – 150 people.  Oh my.  Like the logo my e-Bay friends made below?  LOL!


But most importantly, my daughter’s kidneys are in very bad shape.  We just got home last night from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after a 5 day stay and she is now officially listed for a new kidney.  It could come the day of the BBQ at any time.  Really.  Thank you for all your continued support and prayers.

I feel like a million things are coming at me at once and I just want to hide.  Seriously.

I just finished cleaning up dinner–Mr. Diva™ had the bright idea to invite 9 of my daughter’s friends over for Shrimp Scampi and Shrimp Marinara.  My kitchen is trashed.  And to make matters worse, my son invited a few of the neighbor kids over to play video games.  Lovely.  I can’t wait till they go home!


Unfortunately, I’m now only counting 13 of the 19 koi fish in my pond.  I found the top two pictured fish on the right cut in half.  Apparently, the great white Heron bird can back for a snack while I was away.  I was most upset about my prized 12 inch butterfly koi fish who had the most unique markings…red behind the gills.  This just sucks!  Oh and one of the two blue koi are missing, too!


Tomorrow morning I’m embroidering some tote bags which are due the first week of August.  But first I’ll need to clear off all the new fabric so I have some room to work on my cutting table tonight…LOL!

With friendship,



Sew Much More Pink Sewing Goodies

Are you a sewing junkie enthusiast like me who drools when you find a cool sewing notion, fabric, trim or gadget?  Yes, I love a good find, but it’s so much sweeter when it’s PINK!  KWIM?

So I thought I’d share some things you might enjoy…


Pink Measuring Tape Ribbon


50 yards of 2 1/2″ Wide Pink Elastic


Hot Pink Picot Edge Elastic


1,000+ Pink Braided Knot Buttons


Imported Pink and Red Flower Fabric


25 yards of Pink Polka Dot Netting


Pink Crocheted Apple Embellishment



Pink Atlas Sewing Machine


Pink Sovereign Sewing Machine


Pink Baby Ballet Slippers to Embellish


Pink Rhinestone Buttons

Happy Sunday Sewing!

With friendship,



Sew…It’s That Time Again…Diva’s Big BBQ in NYC


Since last year’s 3rd Annual BBQ was a hit, we’re doing it again!

This year’s Menu includes:

  • Filet Mignon Skewers (BBQ and Teriyaki)
  • Mussels and Clams in White Wine
  • Italian Cocktail and Ring Sausage
  • Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Sirloin Cheeseburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Roasted Peppers with Capers
  • Variety of Chilled Salads


Entertainment: for All Ages:

  • Magician and Card Shark
  • Pirate Ship Amusement Ride
  • Giant Moon Bounce
  • Face Painting, Balloons and Temporary Tattoos
  • Child Entertainer
  • Babysitters

And of course…Lots of Booze!

Just 20 minutes from Manhattan, so if you’d like to come and/or need directions, my phone number, etc., send me an email at  Hope to see you there!  Bring your family!  I guarantee it will be a party to remember!

Okay, here’s where I need your help:


Remember these?  I had bought them last year in hopes of using them for little favors for the BBQ.  I have 240 of them…LOL!  So, tell me…what can I put inside as a reminder of the party?  Don’t say M & Ms or Almonds…remember, it’s going to be hot outside, so it needs to hold up to the heat.


Here’s my ideas so far:

  • Old-Fashion Candy Necklaces 
  • Deck of Cards
  • Swedish Candy Fishies
  • Margarita Mix
  • Colored Chalk
  • Candy Buttons

Got any clever ideas for these little pink boxes?  First 10 suggestions will get the winning favor mailed to them after the BBQ (just remind me…LOL)!

On the subject of sewing, check this out…


Threads’ Industry Insider Techniques CD

Well, time to get back to work (I have 17 tote bags to machine applique/embroider…)


Must Sew


I forgot to bring my vintage sewing box to the hospital.  Darn…cause I really need to do some sewing.  Even if it is just learning some hand embroidery…anything.  Maybe I’ll finally learn how to smock using those smocking stickers…maybe.

When I’m not doing something with my hands, my mind tends to wander…and that’s not a good thing these days.  There is only so much Law & Order one can watch and BINGO one can play (especially considering B5, B13, I27 and N33 are missing from the box).

Not to worry…I drove home to NY in the wee hours of the morning.  I needed my vintage sewing box some more clothes .  My Sunshine Girl has been asking me to make something similar to one of these in her size:


I’ve also been missing my garden.  Two weeks ago, I bought a bunch of annual flowers.  Guess I’ll just have to leave them on my neighbor’s porch as I won’t have time to plant them this year.  I was going to have my Expensive Gardener plant tons of annuals like he did last year, but the $2,200 bill he gave me persuaded me to do it myself this year.


But luckily I planted some Tall Bearded Iris from my favorite Iris farmer and some other perennials so I will have flowers this Summer.


There was lots of packages waiting for me when I arrived home.  I smiled when I opened the box that contained these two books I won on e-Bay for a mere $2:



Score!  Well, I’m off to sort some laundry (Mr. Diva can’t seem to figure out how to do this and call the laundry guy for pick-up.  Unbelievable.)

The Sunshine Girl is still hospitalized in Philadelphia.  She’ll be undergoing some tests tomorrow and is on a liquid diet today.  Mr. Diva and my little guy are supposed to be driving down there today to spend the day with her woke up complaining of kidney stones.  I think I’ll scream if Mr. Diva ends up in the hospital, too.


P.S. – My Koi fishies are still alive and doing well.  All is good in the world.

Speed Sewing and Embroidery

Why is it that I wait till last minute to sew?  I mean, it’s Friday Morning and I’ve finished only one of the baby gifts!


My son’s class is throwing a Surprise baby shower for their teacher today.  There is also a Para (assistant teacher to a specific Special Education student).  The Para is not my son’s teacher, but is always there to lend a hand.  However, she’s not due with her baby until Fall.  So guess what?  I’ll work on her gift this weekend and send it in on Monday as to not take away anything from my son’s teacher’s party, right?

So you’re wondering what is my excuse for not getting everything done?  I mean, it’s not like I don’t have the necessary equipment.  It’s times like this that having 6 machines (3 sergers and 3 sewing/embroidery machines) comes in handy (not to mention the 3 industrial sewing machines in the garage).

I managed to make a twin-sized cotton and chenille blanket, an embroidered burp cloth, an embroidered bib, and put a quick applique on a onesie.  I added a plain pair of infant pants to complete the set.  My son’s teacher wants to be surprised, so she doesn’t know the gender of her baby.  Thus, the unisex baby gift.

As usual, I got sidetracked by my family.  Between getting Mr. Diva™ packed for a quick trip to Atlantic City (he thinks he’s the next Poker millionaire), dinner (via delivery, of course), and my son’s refusal to do his homework, the hours just slipped away.  Oh well.

Now to start my crazy day:

7:20 am – drive kids to school

8:15 am  to 8:45 am – Art Show at school

8:45 am – Drop off boxes to be shipped

9:15 am to 10:00 am – Plant Sale at school

10:15 am to 11:00am – buy birthday gift for friend

11:30 am to 1:00 pm – personal training at the Gym

1:30 pm – pick up son at school

2:00 pm – collapse from exhaustion

Hope your day is more exciting than mine!


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