Easter Basket Sewing Tutorials and a Sweet SWAP


With Easter just one short week away, I thought I’d share some Easter Basket sewing tutorials found around the web:

J. Caroline Creative’s Easter Basket Tutorial

Dabbled’s How to Make a Fabric Basket

Retro Mama’s Fabric Easter Eggs

Embroidery Library’s Fabric Easter Basket Tutorial

Cranston Village’s Easter Bunny & Chick Baskets

Speaking of Easter Baskets…I received an awesome Easter SWAP from Heather of Little E Designs!


OMG!  I love the zebra basket!


Filled with all my favorite sweets…DOTS, Milk Duds, Yellow Bunnies PEEPS, caramel eggs and lots more!


Heather even made me an adorable bookmark!  Thanks Heather!



Sew Many Amazing Things Are Happening Here


There’s a big sign up at NY Presbyterian Hospital that reads, “Amazing Things Are Happening Here“.  And boy, it is so true!

I have some great news—our transplant coordinators say we clogged the phone lines with requests for donor evaluation forms! They have received an unbelievable amount of kidney donor applications for my daughter from all over the world–Africa, Saudi Arabia and every state in the US!

It ends up friends and friends of friends (as no one is a stranger, but just friends we haven’t met yet) posted about my search for a kidney donor to Marielle on Twitter, Facebook, web sites and blogs–it made the news (special thanks to Courtney on Fox News!)…and now we have more possible donors than we could have ever wished for!  Thank you to EVERYONE who sent in donor forms, called, blogged, twittered and help spread the word…BUT WE DO NOT NEED ANY ADDITIONAL DONORS AT THIS TIME.  I am amazed by the power of the web and the hearts of those who helped make a difference.


But that’s not the best newsalthough I can’t disclose her name just yet, ONE OF MY E-BAY FRIENDS WAS FOUND TO BE THE PERFECT MATCH!  When I called my friend yesterday to tell her the news, she said it was the BEST Birthday present ever (to hear she was THE ONE on HER Birthday–THE ONE who may save my daughter’s life).  I will give you just one hint:  My dear friend has a serious fabric addiction just like me.  I’ve seen her fabric stash…LOL!

Now, if all goes as planned and my friend makes it through the rest of her kidney donor testing (so far, all the important sensitivity tests are perfect), doctors want to schedule my daughter’s kidney transplant for the day after Christmas (my deceased Grandma’s birthday)!  Doctors need to get Marielle in the best possible health before the transplant (she’s lost 1/10th her body weight and can’t walk more than a few steps).  I can’t wait to let you know the full story–and how this is truly so special and meant to be.  So stay tuned!


Although we brought Marielle home from NY Presbyterian Hospital last night, she is currently hooked-up to a dialysis machine for 4 hours at our local hospital as an outpatient.  She continues to struggle with severe pain and high blood pressure.  Yet, she is just happy to be home with her loved ones for Thanksgiving…even if it includes dozens of medications around the clock, dialysis and constant blood pressure monitoring.

To say we are blessed is an understatement. Please continue to say a little extra prayer that all goes according to plan.  And yes, it will be a wonderful Thanksgiving at my house this year!  May your home feel the love of the holiday season and be reminded how much we all have to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Sew Urgent – Help Save My Daughter’s Life


>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE<<<<<<<<<<


Things continue to be difficult.  But where there is life, there is hope. 

I’m forcing myself to blog so I can update all my dear friends and family about what is going on with my sweet Sunshine Girl, Marielle, as her kidneys fail.  It looks like we are on the way to the local emergency room again tonight–she’s in terrible pain and a bit lethargic.

After continued difficultly getting calls returned and kidney donor evaluation packages send to those who have come forward to donate their kidneys, we’ve given up on the Philadelphia hospital of ever finding a living kidney donor.  They’ve recently told us they will only test family members and the closest of friends.  They’ve taken it upon themselves to decide who our friends are.  Philadelphia has only tested 3 donors in 4 months.  To say I am furious is an understatement.


But there is hope.  We are in the process of transferring Marielle’s care to NY Presbyterian-Columbia University Hospital (NYP) in hopes their additional living-donor kidney programs will save her life.  Not only will NYP consider family members as donors, but are willing to evaluate EVERYONE (friends, associates and kind strangers) who wants to donate a kidney.  That’s right…EVERYONE regardless of blood type, antibody mismatch, age, etc.  They offer several kidney donor options for us:

Compatible Living Donor

Incompatible Donor Program

Paired Donor Exchange Program

Deceased Donor Program

Marielle will only match 1 in 50 people in the general population (average person matches 1 in 2). I  am asking EVERYONE who has ever loved a child as deeply as I do my daughter to please consider being a living-kidney donor to her. You might be the one who can save my daughter’s life.

If you would like to receive a donor consent form to see if you could be a potential donor, please print out this form:


Then send it to Joan Kelly either by email at kellyja@nyp.org or fax (212) 305-9642.  Be sure to put MARIELLE CARROCCIO as the Potential Recipient’s Name.

Please pass this information along to anyone and everyone.

I continue to be comforted by the tremendous amount of love and support from all of you.  Thank you seems to fall short.


Happy Halloween

Missing My Clique


All my sewing buddies went to the Houston Quilt Market this past weekend.  I was teary-eyed when I received a call from Mary, Lady M™ (pictured above next to a DIVA license plate…LOL) and Sheree.  I’ll definitely be joining up with them at the next market!

I even missed my buddy, Diana’s, wedding the weekend before.  While she and Anthony exchanged vows on a boat cruising the New York Harbor, I was sitting outside the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia hoping the helicopters landing on the hospital roof might be the kidney my daughter so desperately needs.

I Can See Clearly Now

We made it back home early Tuesday night.  We drove about 100 miles back to our home in Staten Island, NY.  We started off at Exit 3 of the NJ Turnpike where there was a torrential downpour.  I got off at Exit 4 wondering how in the world I was going to drive in the terrible rain.  Marielle convinced me to get back on the Turnpike to beat the rush hour traffic.  When we got to Exit 5, I noticed the lighted driving advisory–CAUTION – SNOW AHEAD.  WTH?  Yep!  Here was heavy SNOW driving through PA and NJ.  Finally when we made it to our Exit (#10), the snow had turned back into rain.  What a LONG drive!

Still No Match


Yesterday we got the results of my youngest sister’s kidney donor testing–NOT a match.  To say we were all disappointed is an understatement.   I’m so proud of my sister as I know she was terrified at the thought of donating her kidney, but still was willing to do so.

My nephew is the next to be tested.  He should have his blood test tubes arrive by Monday.  Would you believe he just received his kidney donor evaluation package TODAY?!  He had requested it on October 9th!!!  The hospital admitted to sending it on October 17th.  Really?  You’d think they would speed the process along considering my daughter is in the final stage of kidney failure (she has just a mere 6% function left!!!).  Don’t they know how to use Federal Express?  Heck, what about USPS Priority Mail?  Guess not.


Moving along to happier things…When I returned home, I found a big box from Traci of Bloom Design filled with treasures of our BOO Swap!  YOU ROCK TRACI!  She sent all of my favorite things…


My first love….PEEPS and my 2nd favorite, DOTS!


Check out this awesome EYEBALL Truffle Lollipop!  ROTFL!


She even sent me a beautiful Halloween coffee mug…


and the coolest Skeleton Brew (aka Hot Chocolate)!


I laughed so hard when I saw the Potion Powders in 3 frightful flavors-Crushed Toads, Potion #13 and Eye of Newt!


But oh my!  The Lindt Chocolate Truffles filled with White Chocolate are too delicious to share!


Speaking of Halloween, because my daughter was hospitalized for a good part of this month, I never got around to putting out all my handmade ceramic Halloween decorations.  Not a single thing.


Mr. Diva™ offered to take the 5 huge Rubbermaid crates out of the attic and unwrap all of my precious decorations.  However, I’d cry if he broke any of them, so I passed on his offer (see last year’s disaster below).  This will ensure I will still have my complete collection of Halloween decorations next year, KWIM?  And the other good thing is I don’t have to pack them all back up tomorrow!  Perhaps I can get an early start of Christmas decorating…LOL!


Hope everyone gets plenty of sweets for Halloween!


Sew…You Really Want to be a Designer Entrepreneur? Really?

Samples in the City


On Monday, I drove up to Manhattan to see a clothing sample maker who was recommended by a friend.  Armed with yards of fabric, my patterns, sewing specs and tons of notions, I braved the traffic–OMG!  The traffic gets worse every year.  It’s like a huge parking lot.  A drive that should have taken about 20 minutes took more than an hour and a half!


And Heaven forbid you get behind a New Jersey driver, it all over.  (Sorry NJ friends…but it’s true.)  It takes you at least 5 minutes to drive one short city block.


My sample maker couldn’t make my downtown hats until I found some Visor Board for the bills of the hats…you know, the visor stuff.  Also, I was waiting on one of the prints for the western shirt.  So, I’ll have to make another trip up to the sample maker in the city to give her both the visor material and the print.  Completed samples are “supposed to” be finished by September 19th…right.  ENK Show is October 5th.

After getting sample prices (which were pricey), I got quotes for production sewing pricing from her based on 300 pieces each…umm, sorry, but there is no way I can pay $25 just for sewing while my competitors are wholesaling their shirts for a mere $24 to $28!  Yes, I expect my sewing costs to be a bit higher than my competitors, because there’s detailed cutting…but that’s way out of line.  I have a MAJOR problem.


See, without having a clear production sewing price, everything comes to a HALT.  Everything.  Without competitive sewing production costs, I can’t:

– finish my line sheets

– make my order forms

– do my mailings to buyers

– make follow-up calls and appointment with buyers

– complete my wholesale area of the web site

and so on.  Now if I had a month or two longer and a daughter who didn’t need a kidney transplant (doctors’ appointments, hospitalizations, home care, etc.), I could physically trek into the city and visit at least a dozen sewing factories on my list of over 100 places on my list of sewing contractors in NYC.  I can’t go to China or New Jersey.  I’m certified “Made in NYC™!”

My Success Emergency


So what did I do?  I wrote an email to Donny Deutsch and The Big Idea Show and told them of my dilemma (aka Success Emergency).  The next morning, I got an email from the producer!  I’m thrilled to announce they are coming to film at my home tomorrow!!!  I sure hope Donny and friends have some advice on my situation.

You Should Be in Pictures


I was able to make Earnshaw’s Friday ad submission deadline.  I secured a 1/2 page island ad for the next three months.  I don’t have photos of new line yet, so photos from previous designs had to suffice.  Mary of Confessions of a Craft Addict came to my rescue designing and submitting the ad on my behalf!  I can’t thank her enough–perhaps I can…like with a big box of fabric…LOL!  I can’t wait to see the actual ad in print!

My skyline backdrops were delivered the other day.  I also remembered to order my Ocean Blue photo paper backdrop from B & H Photo.  Hopefully that will arrive this coming week.



I have a dear friend I met on e-Bay a few years ago.  Lynn (aka 47cats) always knows when I’m struggling.  She surprised me with GO DIVA chocolate truffles…it doesn’t get better than this.  Thank you my sweet buddy!

And speaking of e-Bay friends, Eileen of Whimsy Portraits surprised me with the most awesome photo book of the NYC BBQ!!!  OMG…I can’t wait to show everyone–it needs a post all it’s own!  Thank you Eileen—it’s so unique and I will always treasure it!

My Sunshine on a Rainy Day


(photo by EMA Photography)

On Tuesday, the Sunshine Girl and I made a clinic visit in Philly with the kidney transplant doctors.  Luckily, it went smooth this time.  However, by Wednesday, Marielle was doubled over in pain.  Her blood pressure remains stable (with 4 different blood pressure medicines), but she is not doing well…all complications of kidney failure.  My sister from North Carolina is working with our hospital to get her living donor evaluation done.  Please keep your fingers crossed that she is a match for my daughter, because we are running out of time.

On another note, I fell like such a terrible blogger friend  I just can’t keep up with replies to all the comments left on my blog.  I promise you I read each and every single comment and appreciate them.  Hopefully when things slow down a bit, I can get back to being active in the blog community.  Thanks for understanding.


Sew Sweet

My Sunshine Girl 


We’re back from the hospital…but for how long is anyone’s guess.  Marielle was hospitalized due to high blood pressure which we’ve now gotten under control.  The Sunshine Girl is resting after getting a second hole in her ears pierced…teens, ugh!  Now does this look like a teen who’s desperately waiting for a kidney transplant?  Looks can be deceiving.


She received a surprise from Lady M™…a zebra (Marielle’s favorite) which Princess Aurora™ named Sunny (after Marielle, The Sunshine Girl).  And I got a DOTS snack container!  A big HUG to the Dixon Girls!


And the Winner is…


Linda of Ribbon Rock Star through a link from The Girl Indie Blog!  She wins the Diva BBQ Candy Stash!  Way to go!

More Swapping

Mary (aka 2*Sweet*Boys) received the LEAF SWAP I sent her last week.  Here’s what she posted:

Oh my goodness…I got the most wonderful, HEAVIEST box from Lisa!  Thank you thank you Lisa…you amaze me!

Everything was in this cheetah print box…which could not BE more perfect for me!!! I have many plans for this box ;)

Instead of bubbles or peanuts for packaging…Lisa used CANDY! Yes…my kids are in HEAVEN!

Gavin picking out his first handful…

L is for Liquid Lunch…a yummy Merlot

E is for Extra Shoe…this is the cutest thing! Already have a place for it!

A is for All Kinds of Notepads…These are PERFECT! I LOVE them!!!

F is for Fabulous Frames…the most gorgeous red silk frame and Lisa remembered that I collect silver antique looking frames…LOVE them!

Lisa, my friend, thank you so much for everything! How you are able to do so much and stay so strong, I do not know. You truly amaze me!
Much love!


Did I mention Mary has a shoe fetish?  Yes, it’s true.  And yes, the glass slipper soap dispenser is tacky…that was the intent.  But for some reason, Mary loves it (that or she’s just being nice).

That’s Like Asking Michelangelo to Paint My Bedroom

Mr. Diva™ purchased 3 new pairs of jeans and had me pin up the hem last week.  Well, yesterday he found the jeans sitting in the front seat of my car (oh crap!).  Anyway, he asked why he’s spent over $20,000 on sewing equipment and his jeans are being sent out to the tailor.  So guess what I’m doing today and tomorrow?  Ugh!  Let’s hope I don’t screw them up!  Or worse…damage my precious sewing machines and/or sergers, KWIM?

HGTV Design Star and I Didn’t Know It

Months ago, I posted my daughter’s Pink Parisian Bathroom on HGTV’s Rate My Space web site.  Little did I know it was featured in April.  Guess that’s why I got over 28,000 hits!  LOL!  Thanks HGTV!  My Sewing Room only got 21,000 hits…oh well!


J is for Just Sew Much Friendship


Another Saturday afternoon in Diva Land™ NYC.  Thank goodness, Beth supplied me with a tiara.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how to cope…


And Hot Fix Suzy™ gave me the perfect shirt for a dress down weekend.


 Kacey sent personalized stationery for Marielle to keep in touch with family and friends…


Erika made sure I have plenty of fabric to play with…


while Robin surprised with me DIVA foam letters,


Hobby Girl mints and


even made me an adorable craft apron to hold my new scissors and pins.


Mom sent me a painting I did 29 years ago…like when I was Sweet Sixteen!


Guess I had better get back to work…only 735 children’s boutiques to check for my new Downtown Joey database and mailing list…ugh!

Hope you’re having a relaxing Saturday!

With friendship,



Sew…I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends


Heather aka little*e*designs managed to brighten my day big time!  We are both members of a Ladies’ Night In book club (we rarely read any books, cause swapping is so much more fun) and I was the lucky recipient of Heather’s goodies.  Yippee!!!


Heather thought of everything…look it’s me, Mr. Diva, The Sunshine Girl and my Little Jedi!  Except my family must have been hallucinating in this portrait, KWIM?  That or I was having a bad dream.

So, Heather spelled out the word LEAF using my favorite colors (for my sewing room)–pink and black.  She’s just so clever!


Pretty silk flowers and ribbon!


This is my absolute favorite.  I just love dress forms!


She even sent me a handmade polka dot apron.  I love me some polka dots!


Love my cool new luggage tag and even Diva tickets!


What a pretty pincushion!  It has a dress form charm hanging from it!  But check out my tiara pin!!!

Heather, you are the BOMB!!!  All these goodies have lifted my spirits more than you’ll ever know.  Thank you for being such a special friend.

Now everyone, if you need hair goodies, go check out her web site!

With friendship,



I is for Insanely Busy

I’ve been busy preparing my past season samples to send to the ENK Children’s Club Selection Committee.  ENK requests designers/manufacturers send them 4 to 6 clothing samples to determine if you’re a good fit for their show.  I’d imagine not everyone gets into the show.  However, I’m confident that I’ll be accepted to show my line (or be devastated if I didn’t make the cut).  It’s been 2 years in the making.  But it’s done (after an hour trying to figure out DHL online using Mr. Diva’s account as his secretary was out sick).


My fit samples (based on my first patterns) arrived this week and I am jumping up and down like I hit the lottery!  Seriously.  This whole clothing line is finally feeling real REAL.  I’ve heard many times that your fit samples are never right the first time, but honestly they are “on the money.”  The only thing that needs to be changed is a pocket one of the woven shirts and add an inch to the hemline of my raglan t-shirt.  Once these changes are made, they’ll be ready to sent to the  pattern grader/marker.


Here’s a link which might be helpful to those needed a pattern maker:

How to Select and Work with a Patternmaker

Now normally, you wouldn’t have your patterns graded until after sales.  You’d grade your patterns based on the sizes sold just prior to production (in my case, that would be AFTER the trade show).  However, my sample size is 4T and yet my models are size 6.  So in order to ensure a great fit for photos, I’ll have them graded one size up (I’m not doing a size 5).

I’ve also been working with my graphic designer to come up with at least 16 different t-shirt graphics.  Hours and hours have been spent preparing my preliminary line sheets and merchandising documents.  I’ve had to come up with ideas for 16 different t-shirts and now Ingrid will design them as she rocks when it comes to graphics.  Most of them with have text (funny sayings such as “It seemed like a good idea at the time”).  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  Some will be vinyl while others will be applique and embroidery.


My Downtown Joey jeans snaps arrived from China/Hong Kong on Saturday morning.  They are perfect!  I can’t wait to attach them to my samples!


This afternoon I attended my buddy, Diana’s, Bridal Shower at the Staten Island Hilton .  She’s my friend who owns the Bagel Store…you know the one who made the Caramel Apples for the BBQ?  Being that I have several embroidery machines, I always try to give a gift I can monogram or embellish.  So anyway, I sat down in my sewing room last night and was about to start designing her monogram until I realized I had a little problem.  See, her fiance’s name is Anthony, her name starts with a “D” and their married name starts with a “D.”  See the problem?  A.D.D.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  No matter how I do it, it still spells A.D.D.  So I reluctantly gave her the gift without embroidery.  I’ll ask her what she thinks.


Diana is crazy about pasta.  So for her Wishing Well, I gave her some pastel colored bow-tie pasta and of course, one of my magic wands.  You never know when you’ll need a magic wand especially when you get married.


My E-bay friends (The Social Graces and friends of the Boutique Designers’ Board) surprised me with a box full of handmade sugar cookies!  There were Diva, Mr. Diva, Marielle, Joey, NYC and E-Bay cookies!  How sweet!  My friends are the best!


Off to get a big glass of milk to go with my cookies!


Sew Fun…BBQ 2008

Yesterday was the big BBQ in NYC (aka Diva-Q).  At 1pm, we had torrential rains and were getting quite nervous trying to figure out how in the world we were going to fit 175 people in our house.

But by 3pm when the party started, the sun was shining!  Talk about luck!  We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.






























Thank you to all my friends which made this the BBQ ever!!!


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