Baking Organization and Some Creativity



I really wanted to join A Bowl Full of Lemons’ 21 Day Challenge, but I’m such a slacker.  I’m only 3 weeks behind everyone else.  Really…I have an excuse.

Marielle was in the hospital for 5 days.  She had some type of virus or something.  Thankfully, she’s all better now.  So, this past weekend, I emptied out my Spice cabinet and baking cabinets…


Actually, I had the housekeeper empty them out, wash down the shelves and wipe down all my treasured Pink Tupperware.  Whatever.  I did, however, organize it all back into the cabinets.


Can we say Tupperwhore™?  Seriously.  It’s taken me 20 years to collect.  That’s a lot of Tupperware parties!  And this is only one-third of my pink Tupperware collection.  Yes, I know I have a sickness.


Organizing the main spice cabinet was easy with the Tupperware Spice Carousel and Modular Mates.


Then onto the upper Lazy Susan cabinet which holds bulk spices, bread crumbs and seasonings.


Finally, the lower Lazy Susan cabinet now holds all my baking ingredients.



I spent the month of January baking like June Cleaver.  I baked some Paula Deen cupcakes and some Ghiradelli Brownies.


I even found my candy thermometer…


so I make a batch of vanilla caramels for the first time ever.  Don’t make this recipe unless you have a full hour to stir it CONTINIOUSLY over the hot stove.


Talk about a project!  Just cutting the little wax paper squares is enough to send the most sane person over the edge.  Considering all those joints I rolled in High School, you’d think I’d be better at wrapping the homemade caramels. Regardless, they taste awesome!


And then I baked some more cupcakes…


and some more brownies.



My best buddy, Diana Bagels™, bought the fugliest baby carriage I’ve ever seen.  Diana’s sister picked it out—Diana has much better taste.  It’s vomit green, gray and black…and it’s for her sister’s new baby girl.  WTH?  She asked me to frou-frou it up with bows and tulle…and this my friends, is still way too ugly for a beautiful princess.  Just saying. (Don’t bother telling me you love the color and have the same one…it’s still ugly).



My older sister got me these adorable “DIVA” Sweethearts.  I thought she had them made especially for me.  No such luck…all my friends told me they are available at their local dollar stores across the U.S.


Speaking of special…every February I put out my creations to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  And every year, the same people are offered some of my “special” homemade chocolates.  Only one problem…they’re FAKE ceramic…you cannot remove them.  They fall for it every year.


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!


Some Painting and Redecorating

Last week I had a 2nd painter finish up what the 1st painter didn’t paint.  Truth be told, painter #1 was a meticulous painter…except one problem, ok, several problems.  Painter #1 first quoted us a rate of $200 a day.  Fine.  Then he changed his mind 3 weeks into the job and raised us to $250 a day.  By week 6, he states he’d prefer $300 a day…GO TO HELL, I told him.  So we kept it at $250 a day.

Well, that’s all good and fine, EXCEPT Painter #1 is the slowest painter in the world.  My house interior is 3,800 square feet.  We’ve paid over $7,500 and he still was not finished…WTH?  And mind you, he didn’t paint my bedroom, garden room,  hallways, stairs or garage!

I finally got fed up and told him I had to replace some furniture before he finishes painting.  Needless to say, I never called him again.

Painter #2 finished the hallway, stairs and some trim in under 2 days!  Never again will I allow Mr. Diva™ to hire one of his dirt bag friends.  Never.  I think Mr. Diva™ would agree.

In The Pink


I did have Painter #1 paint my dining room ceiling PINK (Benjamin Moore #1325 Pure Pink).  Everyone thought Mr. Diva would get pissed, but he didn’t seem to mind.  Happy Wife = Happy Life.  And guess what?  Everyone who comes into the house notices the pink ceiling and loves it.


I scored these awesome pediments at HomeGoods for a mere $12.99 each!  I’m thinking of painting them ivory and draping pink organza curtain panels behind them.  They’ll be perfect over the two dining room windows and add more Pink to the room!

I know I have at least 10 yards of pink organza which I bought for the dining room curtain panels at least two years ago.  Now to figure out what box I stashed it in…UGH!


And yet another SCORE at HomeGoods!  I found two of these huge candelabras–one silver and one white.  And on my next visit to HomeGoods, I found the matching cake stand!


After having a friend remove all the crystals, I spray painted them all white.  And then I had the same friend reattach all the crystals.  I’m going to use them for the food table at my big BBQ this weekend!

All That Glitters

Now before you start rolling your eyes, have you ever gotten an idea in your head and took it one step to far?  I have a habit of doing this more often than not.


Thank you Benjamin Moore!  Benjamin Moore’s Tropicana Cabana #2048-50 was the closest match to Tiffany Blue.


But the truth is my inspiration came from this beautiful custom boutique set made by Lisa of Lyndsay Leila Designs.


When I saw this glass container at HomeGoods, I knew I had to have it!  Love anything with Bling!


Found this awesome canvas of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!  Added some hot fix crystals to her necklace and hair comb…PERFECT!


Even my shower curtain rings are bejeweled…LOL!


Got me a big ROCK!  Found this giant crystal paperweight at HomeGoods!  Perfect!  To clean it, I just throw it in the dishwasher along with the glass shelves!


Found these aqua bath sponges at Target for only $1.99 each…and of course, I added more bling!


Picked up a simple white shadow box for $8 at HomeGoods (of course). Then I covered the background with some Michael Miller aqua dumb dot fabric, added long black satin gloves ($4), fake pearls ($2), cheap sunglasses ($3) and my fancy crystal brooch (which is removable if I need it).  Smashing!


Since I didn’t have enough Michael Miller aqua dumb dot fabric, I opted for another print of which I had 2 bolts on hand.  I sewed up a simple window scarf.  Not bad.


I embroidered my aqua towels.  Instead of “Tiffany & Co.,” I thought “Diva & Co.” was more fitting.




Go over to HGTV’s Rate My Space and give me a few stars…pretty please?


OMG!  Hot Fix Suzy™ had to show me the rhinestone toilets from Jemal Wright!  I’m not going to even inquire about the cost as I’m sure it would be out of my price range…LOL!


Think I might have to settle for these rhinestone drawer handles.  But I really want that toilet.

A Bright Idea

chandelier 005

Marielle’s new chandelier is finally installed!  Just in time for the big BBQ this past Saturday!  This fixture is HUGE.  The photo doesn’t do it justice…it’s a whopping 27 inches wide by 30 inches high!

Now I know you are all dying to hear about the big Diva Q…stay tuned, I have lots of pics and details to post…LOL


The Never-Ending Painting Adventure

I’ve been quite busy with having my home repainted.  It’s amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated since we last painted 5 years ago.


The first thing to be painted were closets throughout the entire house.  Now granted, the closets didn’t need to be painted as the paint was still in great shape.  However, it gave me an opportunity to reorganize them all (and of course, I got to use my handy dandy label maker).  Although our house looked like a hurricane swept through, it was so worth it!

I can easily find items in my pantry and my linen closet never looked better.  I donated all my unwanted towels, sheets and placemats to a local animal shelter.  Now I have room to add new linens to match the new paint colors.


Marielle’s room is FINALLY finished (well, except for a few little odds and ends)!  I only have a few sneak peeks of her room as we are still trying to find space to store all her junk.

Not only did we paint the walls hot pink and most of the trim black, we even painted her vanilla-colored furniture white. Marielle suggested we do black velvet curtains.  But in the meantime, I ordered 2″ black aluminum blinds for her huge window (because we all know how long it will take me to sew her curtains…LOL).


I’ve been buying and hoarding anything zebra, hot pink and/or black for the last year.  My efforts have finally paid off.  Most of my best finds were at either HomeGoods, TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.  The hot pink lunch boxes were only $3.99 each.  And the zebra canisters were only a few bucks.  Oh and the hat box (which also has 4 coordinating big boxes) was only $5.99!  Score!

Check out this matching doll I bought while hunting for zebra items on Ebay!


Marielle asked that I stop buying anything with a zebra print on it as she thinks it’s starting to look like a zebra puked in her room…haha!


Since my darling daughter has a habit of writing on her closet walls (Marielle loves Anthony, Steven, Adam, Nick), we painted black chalkboard paint so we can just erase past boyfriends’ names instead of having to cross them out.  How clever am I?


Oh, speaking of closets, I caved in and got her 300 hot pink Huggable Hangers.  I absolutely LOVE these hangers (might have to buy them for every closet in the house).  The above hangers may not look hot pink, but they certainly are.  It’s pretty hard to get the correct color when editing photos of a black closet.


I purchased zebra light switch and outlet covers on Etsy.  Only problem is I ordered the wrong type outlet covers (I need the new rocker type covers).  So I’ll be doing a craft project this week–covering her old white outlet covers with some zebra wrapping paper and a little decoupage.  Wish me luck!


I found this cool zebra phone at Marshall’s for just $12.99.  Perfect!


This weekend I spent spray painting different things for her room in gloss black and semi-gloss white.  I had found this neat shelf (once gold) at TJ Maxx for a mere $12.99 last year.  The minute I saw it, I knew if turned upside down it would be a perfect bed crown for my daughter’s room.


A little black paint and now to find the zebra sheer fabric to attach to the bed crown which I have stashed somewhere in my sewing room…I’ll show you photos of it once I get it hung on the wall over her bed.  I’ve got to figure out a good way to attach the zebra sheers to the bottom of the new bed crown.  Any ideas?


I hadn’t finished spray painting Marielle’s light pink wicker rolling baskets when those two darn ducks took over the yard.  Yes, they’ve been coming to my yard every stinkin’ day to eat all my Koi fish food.  Any good ideas on how to get these ducks out of my yard once and for all?  It’s getting a little old chasing them around with a broom, KWIM?


Peaceful Easter Sunday


Woke up Sunday morning to find the local ducks eating all my Koi fish food…and of course I spent the day chasing them out of my pond…LOL!

Easter dinner was filet mignon and rib-eye steaks on the BBQ.  Only my Dad for dinner.  Marielle wasn’t feeling well (doctors believe she is in kidney rejection–though I’m not so sure) and my MIL is in the hospital with a bad heart.  So we kept it simple this year.


Did you know that Peeps have only 32 calories and 0 grams of fat?!  Peeps are a sure sign of Spring…especially the yellow bunny Peeps.


Guess what Mr. Diva™ decided to do?  Have the entire interior of our 3,800 square foot house painted!  Usually we have a team of painters come in and get the house painted within a week.  This time we are using one guy to do the entire job.  It will probably take at least a month…ugh!  But hopefully it will be worth it.


First up is Marielle’s lavender room.  We’re painting the walls hot pink and the trim black to match all her hot pink and zebra theme.


Also, we are having her vintage-looking Vanilla bedroom set painted white so it pops!


While the Sunshine Girl’s room is being painted, she’s taken over my Master Suite.  It looks like a bomb went off in my room!  She has already filled 4 garment racks just with her clothes!  And that doesn’t include all her dresser drawers.


I decided to go a darker color (rusty brown) in the living room and will be painting the hallways chocolate brown throughout the house.


The kitchen will go from a warm peachy color to a cinnamon rust shade.


But my favorite so far is the 1st floor bathroom.  I’ve been dying to get rid of the lavender.

paintbath2048-50 tiffanybox

I’ve chosen the prettiest tiffany blue paint for the walls.  In addition to tiffany blue bathroom accessories, I’ll add black and white, too. 

Guess I’d better get started on some matching curtains for all my new paint colors!

Hope you had a great Easter!


Hitting the Ground Running…


(Kidney Toy available from Tracy Beans)

Marielle and I returned home late yesterday afternoon from Philadelphia–just two weeks after her successful kidney transplant!  Woo hoo!

It is great to be home, but the reality of what’s ahead is daunting:

  • Twice weekly doctor appointments for the next 6 weeks and weekly appointments thereafter
  • Daily in-home nursing appointments for Marielle
  • Filling a zillion prescriptions
  • Christmas decorations that need to be put away
  • A sewing studio that looks like a bomb went off in it
  • Designing a quick Fall/Winter 2010 boys’ clothing line for buyers
  • Complying with the new CPSIA requirements
  • Manufacturing and shipping my Spring/Summer 2009 boys’ clothing line
  • Preparing for house painters
  • Planning a 15th Liver Transplant Anniversary for Marielle on St. Patrick’s Day for more than 200 people in my home.

Overwhelmed is an understatement.  Seriously.  So please be patient with me while I dig out from under all this insanity…

oh and did I mention my home is TRASHED!  Thanks Mr. Diva…great job.  Not.


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,





Whether you have an entire room dedicated to your creative space, closet, guest room, under a staircase, hallway, garage, basement, attic or corner of the kids’ playroom–claim your space!

Nothing is more frustrating than having to drag out your sewing machine and supplies every time the creative bug strikes.


Start with a plan by first accessing your needs.  Sewing rooms are as individual as the sewers who use them.  One who sews ladies’ garments will have different sewing needs than one who quilts or sews home decor.

Smart Draw Free Trial

Better Homes and Gardens’ Arrange-A-Room

Jordan’s Room Planner

Room Planner

Icovia Space Planner – Design Edition

Free Furniture Templates

Raymour & Flanigan Room Planner



Choosing Color

Selecting the perfect color for your sewing room is a personal choice.  I chose Pink accented with Black and White.  I had originally planned on using Brown to accent the Pink, but decided against it as it is much easier to find Black and White items to coordinate. 

Sherwin Williams’ Color Visualizer

Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer

Pantone’s Paint Selector

Sewing Room Color Ideas

Bella Dia’s Sewing Room and Alicia Paulson’s Romantic Portland Sewing Studio

Magda’s Black and White Sewing Room

House on the Hill’s Little Sewing Space

I Mess Around’s Bright Blue Studio

Happy Zombie’s Inspiring Sewing Room

Melissss’ Craft Room

Jessica Griffin’s Pink Sewing Room

Creative Little Daisy’s Pretty Studio

Elneenya’s Terra Cotta Red Sewing Room

Jenni Apple’s Deep Red Sewing Studio

Syrommet Mitt’s Yellow and Green Sewing Studio

Dog Child’s Pink Studio\Sew Pixie’s Sewing Room

Pink Present’s Sage Green Workroom

Squeaky Monkey’s Orange Miniature Sewing Room

Chalet Girl’s Bright Pink Sewing Room

Amber’s Aqua Craft Room

Quaint Handmade’s Soft Pink Sewing Room

Dharma Lemon’s Retro Green Sewing Nook

Jigabug Baby’s Butter Cream Sewing Room

Liquid Paper’s Dark Gray Studio

Crafty Intention’s Aqua and Red Studio

Lucky Lola’s Bright Pink Sewing Room


Whatever you do, don’t install carpeting if you can help it.  Carpets hide pins, needles and other little sewing notions.  Use flooring that is easy to care for such as concrete, hardwood, vinyl or tile.

Consider an anti-fatigue mat next to your cutting table:


Wearwell’s Anti-Fatigue Mats




There are dozens of ways to set up your sewing machines.  I use an L-shaped desk and a sturdy folding table for sewing machines and sergers.  Figure out what fits your budget and go from there.

Depending if you have one sewing machine or several, you could set your workstation up against one wall, in a U-shaped or L-shaped configuration.  Here’s some sewing workstation ideas:


Koala Cabinets


  Horn Sewing Cabinets


Horn’s Regal Multi-Height Electric Lift Table


Arrow Cabinets


Perfexion Tables


Sylvia Designs


Robert’s Fine Sewing Furniture


Sullivan Furniture


Delta Cabinets


Deluxe Tables


Totally Furniture’s $99 Southern Enterprises Sewing Table


Southern Enterprises’ Sewing Cabinet


Joann’s $139 Sewing Table

Other Joann’s Homespun Sewing Tables


Sauder’s Craft Armoire

OMG…is this the ULTIMATE Craft Armoire:


The Work Box™


Hirsh Craft Storage Stand with Drawers


BALT Pneumatic (Adjustable) Workstation


Adjustable Height Folding Table adjusts from 22″ to 32″


Folding Table



My current cutting table is an old conference room table I acquired from my husband’s old office.  It was a little too low, so I raised the table legs using adjustable bed risers (see below).

Minimum Width – 23 inches.  Ideally, 36 inches would be sufficient as it equals the length of folded decorator fabric.  However, 60 inches would be even better as you could spread most fabrics open.


Minimum Length – 36 inches (1 yard).  72 inches would be ideal for most.  However, if you work with larger lengths of fabric, purchase the longest cutting table you can fit in your space.  My new cutting table (pictured above) is 4 feet wide by 16 feet long–the big industrial type  table I need to transition from home sewing into apparel manufacturing.

Minimum Height – 34 to 36 inches.  Ideal height would be the at 2 to 4 inches below your waist.  If you’re under 5′ 3″, you might be comfortable with a table height of 32 inches while if you’re closer to 6′ tall, a 38 inch height would be great.  If you need to raise your cutting surface, use:


Adjustable bed risers which raise the cutting table 3.2 to 5.2 inches more or


Extra Tall Adjustable Bed Risers which raise the table up to 8 inches higher

Kathy of Pink Chalk Studio used PVC pipes to raise her folding table from 28 inches to 36 inches…how clever!


Cutting Tables


Sullivan’s $99 Cutting Table


Arrow Cutting Table


Robert’s Cutting Table with Storage Drawers


Saber’s Pow-R-Pax Industrial Cutting Tables


Alvin Craftmaster Hobby Station adjusts from 0 – 30 degrees

What about that big freezer chest?   Surely it would make a great cutting table. You could add a sheet of plywood to the wall mounted with piano hinges…and add a latch hook to keep it from knocking you in the head when digging in the freezer.  Or if you’re not that handy, you could just put a large cutting mat on top of it.  LOL!

If you have a handyman around the house, enlist them to build a custom cutting table for you:

diybuildtable’s Build Your Own




Sullivan Ironing Cover for Cutting Tables


Nancy’s Notions’ Big Board

Here’s a bunch of iron board cover tutorials:

Vain and Vapid’s Design Studio Details – Ironing Board Makeover

U-Hangblog’s Super Easy Iron Board Cover

Feed Dog’s Cover for IKEA Ironing Board Tutorial

Innovative Sewing’s Ironing Board Cover Tutorial

Instructables’ Fabulous Ironing Board Cover

Marma Daisy’s New Ironing Board Cover

Purl Bee’s Ironing Board Recovery Project



Jumbo Organizer


Moraga Drawer Caddy


Mini Workbox™


Container Store’s Scrapbook Cart


Container Store’s UMBRA Pink Juxta Drawers


Robert’s Storage Caddy


Metal Storage Cabinets from Staples


South Shore Armoire at Staples


Simple White Bookcase under $50

For lots of ideas on how to organize and store your supplies, check out:

Custom Cabinetry

Wall cabinets are available in several heights and widths. The height(s) you choose depends on your ceiling and whether your design includes a soffit. Wall cabinet widths range from 9″ to 48″ with adjustable shelving.

Standard base cabinets are 34-1/2″ high and 24″ deep, and range in width from 9″ to 48″, increasing in 3″ increments. Base cabinets are available with full-height drawers, door and drawer combinations or full stacks of drawers.

Tall cabinets are 84″, 90″ or 96″ high, range from 9″ to 36″ wide, are 12″ to 24″ deep and include a toe kick area. They’re available with doors or a door and drawer combination.

Prices vary greatly depending on the manufacturer, type, hardware and installation.  Consider shopping home improvement stores for the best prices on cabinets and countertops.


Don’t skimp when it comes to your sewing room chair.  Your back will thank you!


Black Leather Task Chair under $50


Pottery Barn Swivel Chair


Checkerboard Chair


Global Task Chair

Design*Sponge’s Office Chair Upgrade Tutorial

Turkey Feather’s Desk Chair Cover Tutorial


Lighting in a sewing room is one of those things which is constantly overlooked.  Yet, it is one of the most important elements in designing a sewing room.  Although there are several different types of lighting, the two most important types in a sewing room are:

Ambient Lighting, also known as General Lighting, provides overall illumination.  This type of lighting is created by using recessed lighting in the ceiling, table lamps, chandeliers, track lights, and other ceiling fixtures.  Ambient lighting radiates an even amount of light in the room.  If you are using fluorescent bulbs in your overhead lighting, check out the “sunlight” replacement bulbs to give a more natural light.

Task Lighting directs light just where you need it.  Desk lamps, ceiling pendant fixtures and track lighting are considered task lighting fixtures.  Task lighting performs a specific activity.  Consider an Ott Light in your sewing room for true color.




Design Wall

A Design Wall is a wall in your sewing room or work area with a felt, flannel, or similar fabric to which your quilt pieces will stick.  Sometimes this will be permanent; other times it consists of this fabric tacked to the wall.

You can easily make a wall to plan your next quilt or garment.  Here’s some great ideas:

The World Wide Quilting

Quiltmaker’s Building a Design Wall

Get Creative’s Make Your Own Design Wall

Jan Myer’s How to Create a Quilting Design Wall

Linda P. of Moonlight Quilters’ Portable Design Wall Instructions

If you don’t want to make your own, you could just buy one:

Block Butler


Cheryl Ann’s Portable Design Wall

Inspiration Boards


You can also make an Inspiration Board (aka Idea Board) like mine above.  Simple use some spray adhesive to attach fabric to a cord board and use some decorative trim to cover the fabric’s raw edges.  Here’s some other tutorials:

Not Nigella


Charity Grace

Fresh and Vintage

Martha Stewart’s Framed Bulletin Board

Martha Stewart’s Homasote Bulletin Board

Make an Inspiration Board from Associated Content

Inspiration Boards on Flickr



Consider adding a dressform or mannequin to your sewing room.  Not only can you use it to size garments, but it can be a decorative element for you to display your unique trims and lace.

Dressforms are available in canvas, wire, wicker and even paper mache.


Wicker Dressform


Wire Mannequin

Make Your Own Dressform



It’s the little things that make your sewing space your own.  Don’t be afraid to re-purpose household items and antiques to decorate your sewing room.


Bowls, baskets and other containers make great organizers and add your personal touch to your room.


Have fun with wall art, paintings and other items to hang on your walls.  You could even use decoupage letters to spell SEW or CREATE.  What about a huge pair of scissors?  Check out these neat sewing room silhouettes.  Or what about a vinyl zipper, a humorous saying, or some vinyl dressforms?


Be sure to shop flea markets for vintage items to complete your sewing room.  The possibilities are ENDLESS!



Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space


Perfect Quilting Space Planner


Dream Sewing Spaces


Organizing Your Craft Space


Where Women Create


Organizing for the Creative Person


Organize Your Scrapbook Workspace


The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker


Organization Tips for Scrapbookers


Home Workspace Idea Book


Home Storage Idea Book


Cabinets, Shelves and Home Storage Solutions


A List of Over 100 Links of Sewing Rooms’s Behind the Seams Sewing Rooms

Pictures of Sewing and Quilting Rooms

Now get moving!  Although it’s a work in progress, you can create the sewing room of your dreams!


Sew….C is for

Continuing with the good old Encyclopedia of ME…based on the book, Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Feel free to join in and post a link!


Creating Chaos

Yep, that’s what I’m doing.  I do it all the time.  While others are sewing ruffles and sipping Strawberry Daiquiris by the poolside, I’m creating as much chaos as one diva can.  See, I’ve managed to put this all on my schedule:

  • Launch a clothing line
  • Undergo 6 hours family psychiatric evaluation to get my daughter on the kidney transplant list
  • Host a BBQ for more than 150 people
  • Embroider 17 tote bags
  • Paint two rooms
  • Wash 22 windows
  • Purchase wholesale cases of candy
  • Make a huge candy cart
  • Make 100 caramel apples
  • Move 4 industrial sewing machine and 20 feet of cutting tables out of garage into basement workshop
  • Clean out garage
  • Take down extra fence
  • Move swing set to new area in yard
  • Clean two barbeque grills
  • Purchase paper goods for party
  • Purchase booze and mixers for party
  • Power Wash my house and yard
  • Reseed lawn
  • Purchase and plant even more annual flowers
  • a zillion other things I am surely forgetting

Did I mention this all needs to be done by August 1st?  LOL.  Pray for me or come on over and help.

Company is Coming

I did get some great news yesterday.  Seems my friend, Heidi, will be bringing a few extra guests to the BBQ:


Heidi purchased 4 of these last year when her local GAP Kids’ store went out of business and she’s giving me 3 of them!!!  OMG…these will be perfect for the ENK Children’s Club trade show!!!!


And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also bringing me a few of these:


Talk about a SCORE!  Now let’s just hope her husband doesn’t get pulled over for speeding en route to the BBQ, because I wouldn’t want to him to have to explain to the officer why he’s driving with a bunch of dummies…ROTFLMAO!

City Driving

Tomorrow I’m meeting 2 fellow fashion designers from my Fashion Incubator clan.  We’re attending the About Sources’ seminar on Fabric Sourcing.  Let’s hope it’s worth the $40 parking cost.  Thankfully I can take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel instead of the Manhattan Bridge…yippee!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!

With friendship,


Sew…How Cute are These?


You know you want them.  Get them at West Elm.

Happy Stitching!

With friendship,

Lisa needle

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