My Glamorous Life

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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and the coordinating prints to make pillows and such.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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Designing a Christening Gown, Finding a Treasure and Happy Birthday to ME!

PLAYING WITH LACE

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I was so terrified honored when my dear friend, Diana (you know, the one who made all the delicious caramels apples for the big BBQ), asked me to create the perfect Christening gown for her new daughter, Sophia.

She decided on a simple an over-the-top ivory silk shantung gown with an underlay of vintage lace. 

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Diana is even going to let me add a big vintage pink silk sash which will be tied into a big bow on the back of the dress and embellished with Swarovski crystals.  Luckily, I have one of those cool hot fix crystal tools from Hot Fix Suzy™!

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As much as we both loved the alençon lace, it was too glitzy for the Christening gown we’ve envisioned.

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We decided on the perfect lace which has a soft hand.

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The abundant tulle underskirt layers will be trimmed with various vintage laces…some ivory and some pink!

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But before I can start on the Christening Gown, I’ll need to tidy up my sewing room…ugh!  Prior to sewing any special occasion dress (especially whites), I always give my sewing room the Mr. Clean treatment.  DONE!

Seems I started 14 pair of lounge pants for my daughter, 7 onesies for above new baby and various other sewing projects.  Off they all go to the UFO (Un Finished Objects) pile…LOL!

Sophia’s Christening is June 28th…so I had better get moving!

UNIQUE PATTERN MAKING

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Kathleen of Fashion-Incubator recently posted about a defunct company, East-West Musical Instruments Co., which created the most unique leather jackets.  These jackets are a work of art.

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And wouldn’t you know, I’ve had this beautiful one they created back in the 70s.  It was given to me by my childhood housekeeper who received it from Edgar Winter.

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I certainly made a fashion statement as a teenager as everyone went nuts when they saw this silver leather jacket.  I didn’t realize it was valuable.  Check this one out.  Elvis’ jacket went for over $30,000!  It is marked jacket #432, I believe!

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I can’t imagine the hours of pattern making and sewing that went into creating this masterpiece.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

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Last week, I celebrated my 46th birthday (May 22nd) with a delicious Mocha Butter Cream cake (thanks to my sister, Linda).  I had cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days..haha!

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And no…that’s not my front lawn above…although it is not below me to get one of those!  I did, however, display the obnoxious amount of fresh flowers Mr. Diva surprised me with in the front window.  It pisses off all the other housewives in the neighborhood.

Now to get to work…hope everyone is having a great week!

With friendship,

Lisa

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CPSIA–Just When You Thought it was Safe to Get Back to the Sewing Room…

UPDATED:  RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING GUIDE FROM THE CPSC AT 1:23 AM TODAY!:

Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters, and Charities

Nothing like waiting until last minute?  Unbelievable!

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Not sure how the rest of you feel, but this whole CPSIA stuff continues to mentally and physically DRAIN me!  I spend a tremendous amount of time reading, bewildered, rereading, twittering, disseminating information, testing, retesting, and banging my head against the wall.

It has all knocked the life out of me.  Some think it’s no big deal.  But the reality of it is another story.

BANNEDLEAD

Read the latest 7 items from the CPSC from this past Thursday and Friday.  Now before you get all excited and think you are off the hook, perhaps you should read some of the thoughts around the web:

Fashion-Incubator:  3 Days Until National Bankruptcy Day

Senator DeMint:  Congress Turns Toy Story into Nightmare for Small Business

Rick Woldenberg:  The Emperor Has No Clothes

Rick Woldenberg:  CPSC Commissioners Speak Out

Rick Woldenberg:  CPSIA More Serious Message

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Roulette

Overlawyered:  What Will Be Enforced?

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Fifty Stars and an Asterisk

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Chronicles February 10th

The Common Room:  There’s a Difference Between a Policy and a Law

The Common Room:  CPSIA and State Attorney General

The Common Room:  Open Letter to NRDC

Shopfloor:  Ambiguous Enforcement-Certain Disruption

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 1):  How Much Safer Will CPSIA Make Us?

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 2):Stochastic Approach

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 3):  Scary Sounding Chemicals

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(Note:  Yes, I did eat the tires off my first carriage….LOL!)

Honestly, I don’t have a game plan yet.  I rented an XRF gun to lead test my boys’ clothing line and everything else in my sewing studio (over $400/day).  All fabrics, elastics and trims passed.  Problems occurred with some snaps and zipper heads (thankfully I have lead-free substitutes).  Not sure if the reflection of the silver on these items gave me false-positive results.  So what I’ll need to do now is have these items in question re-tested by a professional (more $$$).

But the good news is I can continue to sell for the next year.  Yet, unless the CPSC decides to allow component testing next year, my business won’t be able to survive the high cost of third-party lab testing.  Kathleen of Fashion-Incubator sums up how I feel.

With friendship,

Lisa

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Design Your Own Ultimate Sewing Room Contest

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

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

FabricComGiftCard 

Fabric.com 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:

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The_Domestic_Divas_Sewing_Hideaway_lg

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?

lisa

CPSIA – What Children’s Clothing Designers and Manufacturers Need to Know

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SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THIS POST

ATTENTION EVERYONE

THIS IS IMPORTANT!

If you manufacture (design, sew, make, produce, create, paint, embellish, silkscreen, assemble, etc.) children’s products, this affects YOU!

As of February 10, 2009, you are required to produce a General Conformity Certificate (GCC) stating your products contain no more than 600 ppm lead.

As of August 14, 2009, you are required to have your products tested by a CPSC accredited lab stating your products contain no more than 300 ppm lead.  In addition, all products must have permanent tracking labels.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act itself:  CPSIA

Here’s a great explanation of the new requirements: NSF.org

Even though the CPSIA affects everyone who makes products intended for children 12 and under, I’m going to focus primarily on children’s clothing manufacturing (because that’s what I do).

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If children’s clothing manufacturers, big and small, go out of business, it will affect everyone.  If a children’s clothing manufacturer closes their doors, they will no longer need:

  • pattern makers
  • sewing contractors
  • embroidery companies
  • fabric cutters
  • retail children’s clothing boutiques
  • retail customers (consumers)
  • fabric suppliers
  • children’s clothing sales representatives
  • sewing machine manufacturers
  • children’s clothing trade magazines
  • children’s clothing trade shows
  • web site designers
  • graphic artists
  • printers (posters, stationery, signs, etc.)
  • in-house staff (secretary, bookkeeper, seamstress)
  • sample makers
  • advertising companies
  • public relations firms
  • hangtag suppliers
  • garment care tag suppliers
  • elastic manufacturers
  • button manufacturer
  • metal snap manufacturers
  • thread manufacturers
  • zipper manufacturers
  • silk screen companies
  • bias tape manufacturers
  • paper packaging companies
  • trade show display companies
  • freight companies
  • import/export agencies
  • federal and state tax agencies
  • federal and state licensing agencies
  • and hundreds of others

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Join the Fashion-Incubator CPSIA Forum (it’s FREE).  Here’s where I get almost all my pertinent information about the new CPSIA regulations.

Sites focusing on this legislation and its ramifications:

Fashion-Incubator

National Bankruptcy Day

CPSIA Central Forum

Boutique Cafe

Apparel Search

The Smart Mama

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In addition to lead testing, the CPSIA has new tracking label requirements.  It is explained clearly over here at Fashion-Incubator.  This new requirement would create a bookkeeping nightmare for many companies.  It would add layers of paperwork to document and track each and every item produced–not to mention the cost involved with implementing and maintaining these records.

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There are only 15 23 CPSC Accredited Testing Labs in the US who test for lab.  Now would someone explain to me how 15 23 labs will be able to happen the amount of testing necessary to test ALL children’s clothing made here in the US by the deadline?  What about all the other types of children’s manufacturers?

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Then there is the issue of testing costs for lead.  Let’s DO THE MATH.  For my boys’ clothing line, testing would cost approximately $11,000 per season times 2 seasons (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) equals $22,000!  As it stands now, the law requires children’s manufacturers to test finished batches of each SKU.  It doesn’t matter that you use the same fabric, buttons or other component throughout your clothing line.  If you are using the same fabric in 15 different styles, it still needs to be tested each time you manufacture a style, batch and different size.  That is simply cost-prohibitive for most children’s clothing manufacturers.

If you need XRF testing, contact Jennifer Taggert, Attorney and Environmental Engineer at http://www.thesmartmama.com/bg/.  Please note, XRF testing is only good for General Conformity Certificates (required February 10th).  YOU MUST have certified lab testing done by August 12, 2009.

Because of the thousands of letters from those in the children’s industry, the CPSC has responded and asked for comments.

The most important thing you can do right now is answer the CPSC’s Request for Comments on Mandatory 3rd Party Testing by January 30, 2009!  I encourage you to do this as soon as possible.

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In response to the CPSC, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) CPSC Coalition sent the CPSC a Petition.  This petition seems to cover all my concerns with the new legislation.  NAM members include:

American Apparel & Footwear Association
Association of American Publishers
Book Manufacturers Institute, Inc.
Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
National Retail Federation
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Printing Industries of America
Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
Toy Industry Association

Corky & Company’s Letter to Congress in Support for NAM Petition

Z Recommends post about CPSC’s Request for Comments

The Stitchery post on NAM’s Petition

Other things you can do:

Email Congress (easy form sent directly to your representatives)

Sign the Petition

Vote to make this issue a priority to the President

Listen to Mark Riffey’s Business is Personal CPSIA Broadcast

Let’s hope everyone in the industry finds a way to ensure child safety, yet make mandatory testing and labeling feasible for all children’s manufacturers.

UPDATE:  The CPSC has issued exemptions for several types of material including UNDYED cotton, wool, silk, etc.  Only problem is most children’s clothing manufacturers use dyed, embellished or otherwise processed fabric.  So therefore, it really doesn’t help us.  Stay tuned…I’m hopeful the CPSC will be updating us soon.

With friendship,

Lisa Carroccio

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Disclaimer:  All of the above post is opinion and not to be construed as legal advice.  In these matters, please seek the services of a professional.)

Sew Urgent – Help Save My Daughter’s Life

PLEASE SEE MOST RECENT UPDATE:

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

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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.

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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:

kidneydonorquestionnaire

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.

lisasiggie

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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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Sew…Back to Business…Sort Of

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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,

lisa2

SEW Busy and Then Some

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

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It will literally take me WEEKS!

DIVA’S NYC CARAMEL APPLES

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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.

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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.

midway

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.

appledip

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!

FABRIC SCORE

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:

AHexclamblackwhite

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

AHexclamblue

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:

ahexclamorange

AHexclamgreen

MACHINE EMBROIDERY

kaceybags2008

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.

G.O.A.T.S.

34001_ft

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,

lisa2 

Sew…H is for Hanging On By a Thread

Hanging On By a Thread

DJSNAP

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.

georgia4

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.

sewingroommessy1

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!

divaorbust

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!

deadkoi

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!

sewingroommessy2

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,

Lisa

divalogoblog

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