Big Gypsy Fashion

Thelma Madine

It all started over in the United Kingdom with dressmaker, Thelma Madine.  I got a glimpse into the world of Gypsy weddings.  And I was hooked!


Each week, I’d tune into TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and considered running away in hopes of getting an internship with Thelma.


Although I loved the enormous blinged-out wedding dresses she made, I was head over heels about her children’s creations.


Her Communion and Flower Girl dresses rivaled those of even the tackiest ones here in Staten Island, New York.  The more tulle and Swarovski crystals, the better!  Her Christening dresses were breathtaking!  If you’ve never seen the show, you can buy My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – Season 1 and 2 on DVD!

Thelma Madine and her workers in her factory

Thelma’s newest show is called, “Little Shop of Gypsies.”  She takes on 10 Gypsy girls to teach them how to make fabulous dresses.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these girls who rarely get to finish high school.

Thelma has recently published her first book, “Tales of a Gypsy Dressmaker.  She has an incredible story which includes a stint in prison…LOL!


Not to be outdone by the UK, enter the fabulous Sondra Celli, dressmaker of TLC’s My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and Bling it On!


Her creations are spectacular!  That woman and her crew can make dresses that dreams are made of!


The wedding gowns are over the top…hundreds of yards of tulle, thousands of rhinestones and enough fabric to cloth half of a large city!


But she doesn’t stop there.  She’ll bling anything from shoes to


baby strollers!


Sondra has a team of girls who are called, “Blingettes.”  They spend hours upon hours applying crystals to her creations.


Channel Guide Magazine did a great interview with Sondra.  Great read!


All this BLING reminds me that I need to order more Hot Fix Crystals from my friend, Suzie aka The Hot Fix Queen!

With friendship,



Sewing Pattern Reorganization


Why is it that I can’t seem to ever put away my sewing patterns?  I mean, I even wrote a huge blog post about organizing your sewing patterns.  You’d think I’d have this Sewing Room Organization thing under control.  No such luck.


I have turquoise binders,


pink binders,


and some more pink binders.

Did you count all the pattern binders?  Yep…there’s 18 of them! 5 Turquoise binders and 13 Hot Pink binders.

And that’s it.  I’m not buying anymore binders.  The bookcase where I keep my sewing pattern binders has 3 shelves which neatly fit 6 binders each…I’m maxed out at 18 binders.  There simple isn’t anymore room for patterns.

And I’m not buying anymore sewing patterns either.  Seriously…I rarely use any of them.  I buy them to read the construction details.  I’m always looking for a quicker way to do a sewing technique, etc.  Tell the truth—you do it, too, right?


I had dozens and dozens of patterns, some old, some new, laying around all over my sewing room.  It was time to finally reorganize and try to consolidate my pattern collection.  I was able to part with a whole box of patterns and will give them away on my local Freecycle website.


I used my Silhouette SD Electronic Cutter to make some vinyl labels for the pattern binders.  How cute!


I was tempted to paint my ugly old faux wood bookcase, but I’ll have to save that for another day (or year).


I keep the patterns I use most often on professional pattern hooks for easy access.  They hang from the basement rafters next to the sewing pattern bookcase.

I feel so much better now that I’ve reorganized my sewing patterns.  Only problem now is my fabric pile of shame.  Don’t laugh…you have one of those, too!

Happy Sewing!


Since it’s National Sewing Month, how about some FREE FABRIC?


September is National Sewing Month (you can follow along on Facebook)!  So I guess it’s time for me to get back to my favorite thing to do:  Sewing!

I’ve recently stopped working and just got the kids back to school, so I now have my days to enjoy sewing once again.  Yippee!


First things first.  After shrinking my beautiful white smocked shower curtain in the wash, I needed to find a replacement for my Tiffany inspired bathroom.

At HomeGoods, I found a black polyester/cotton waffle-weave shower curtain.  Although nice, it needs something to make it unique.  Searching through my trim stash, I came upon this beautiful sequin trim in Tiffany Blue (I know you’re thinking the trim looks silver, but it’s not in person).


Great.  But now I need to figure out how to attach the sequin trim to the shower curtain.  Do I sew it?  If so, what type of sewing machine needle, stitch type and thread do I use?  Glue it?  Would I use hot glue or another type of adhesive?  What about Res-Q Tape?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


FREE YARD OF FABRIC TO WHOEVER COMES UP WITH THE BEST SUGGESTION on how to attach the sequin trim!  POST YOUR SUGGESTIONS BELOW!  The Winner will receive a yard of either Quilter’s cotton or cotton knit in the color of their choice.  Contest ends tomorrow at 5pm EST.


Sewing Tutorials I Must Try

As soon as I get a few spare minutes, I’m dying to try these sewing tutorials!ruffledcamerastrap

Ruffled Camera Strap from Crap I Made


Jazzy Ironing Board Cover from Sew4Home


Collapsible Storage Baskets


This is by far, the easiest tutorial I’ve seen for making Pettiskirts.

Happy Sewing!


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!


Martha Stewart’s Sewing-Themed Christmas Decorations


Dear Martha:  Sometimes you are just so creative!  I have to say I was quite impressed with the sewing-themed Christmas decorations (Whimsical Workshop) I recently spotted at my local Kmart store in NYC.  Who would have thought to use a sewing tape measure with balls of yarn as tree garland?  Too clever!


Not to mention your other garland of grosgrain ribbon, spools of thread and lots of button!  Ingenious!


Love the mini wreath made with spools of thread and tied with a sewing tape measure!


I giggled when I saw your sewing basket ornament complete with knitting needles!


Loved the Button Christmas Ornaments, too!


And that flocked velvet ribbon with images of stitching and buttons—too cute!

However, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I realized my sewing room is PINK, Black and White.  Seriously, I dislike anything RED for Christmas.  The Chartreuse Green I can live with, but not the RED.

Looks like I’ll have to make my own sewing-themed decorations for my Pink sewing room.  But Martha, thanks for the inspiration!


A Few Quick Christmas Sewing Ideas

Can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner!  Here’s a few things to make for the holidays!

I love this method to making stockings!  How clever!

What a quick and easy project.  All you have do is be able to sew a straight line.

With an embroidery machine, you can personalize it~

These socks are simple to sew.  I’ve made dozens over the years.


Check out this quick Crown Tutorial by Jessica Levitt.  Also be sure to take a look at her gorgeous new fabric line, Timber.


Need a gift for your favorite Shutterbug?  How about this neat Patchwork Camera Strap?


Love this easy Laptop Sleeve tutorial!  I really need to make one of these for Marielle.

Hope everyone is doing well!


Fun with Friends in the NYC Fabric District

Every year after the big BBQ, no matter what, we go to the Fashion (Fabric) District to score some fabric and trim!  Our mission was to invade Pacific Trimming (my absolute favorite trim, buttons and findings store).


You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the big arse orange button in the front window.


Connie has been helping me find the best goodies in town for several years.  Years ago while shopping at Pacific Trimming I accidentally left behind one of my big bags full of trim.  When I realized, I called and Connie said she had it and would hold it for me until I was back in the city.  For that, I am beyond loyal.  Whenever I bring my out-of-town friends on a fabric shopping adventure, the first place we stop is there!


Lady M™ (aka Myrinda of Fabric Hound) has never missed a trip in the last 5 years!  Here she is special ordering a top secret item.


My dear friend, Jenn (aka Peppermints and Petticoats) recently moved from Canada to New Jersey.  This was her first time to the big BBQ and also her first time out shopping the District with me.  I think she might have been a bit overwhelmed with all the choices.  But the good news is now that she lives closer, we’ll be able to go fabric shopping in the city often!

Ok…now for the loot!

fabricdistrict 006

I used to go to MJ Trimmings and really loved all their stuff.  However, I can find a lot of the same things at Pacific for a lot less.  Some of the rhinestone and glass buttons were only $1 each!

fabricdistrict 010

Of course I needed to restock my rhinestone buckle supply.  And with Pacific’s selection, I felt like I hit the jackpot!  You can get them for $2 (standard ones) and even the fancy Chez ones for $10!

fabricdistrict 013

I found some awesome trims at great prices!  I had to get the polka dot pleated ruffles with black lace edging, a hologram ruffled elastic, chiffon elastic with orange tinsel edging, some soft sparkly pink trim, a double gathered net trim and some pink/brown zebra ribbon.

fabricdistrict 014

And check out these beautiful velvet ribbons I couldn’t pass up!

fabricdistrict 003

After leaving Pacific, we stopped into a few other stores where I found some beautiful silk shantung in bright pink and aqua.  I even scored a $3 a yard black textured net with rhinestones!  But the biggest find of the day was this gorgeous silver metallic open-work fabric encrusted in sequins and crystals for less than 1/2 price (originally $26/yard which I talked the seller down to just $10/yard)!

Definitely a successful adventure!  Especially when I can do it with my friends!

P.S. – I know many of you are waiting to hear about the big BBQ which was held Saturday, August 1st!  Let’s just say, I’ll need two blog posts to fill you in with all the details!  Stay tuned!


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

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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


Silk Spider Web Rose Tutorial Plus a FREE Giveaway



True Random Number Generator Result: #19

Erica is the winner of the Silk Spider Web Rose Kit. Please email me at with your full name and mailing address!


I’ve made dozens of tiny silk ribbon spider web roses, but I needed something BIG for the front of a Christening gown.  And they say, bigger IS better, so I made these simple roses and thought you, too, would like to make them.  As an incentive to get you to try this easy tutorial, I’m giving away a kit with all the supplies you need to make these roses yourself.

Ok…so let’s get started!

Supplies Needed

  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Silk Dupioni or Silk Shantung 3″ x 40″
  • Matching Silk Foundation Fabric for Embroidery Hoop
  • Matching Thread or Embroidery Floss
  • Hand Sewing Needle
  • Safety Pin 
  • Hot Glue Gun (optional)
  • Rhinestone or other Decorative Button (optional)

First let me say, you can make your silk rose as big or small as you want.  It all depends on:

  • the size of your “spider web” (foundation circle)
  • the width and length of your silk fabric strip.  If you want a small rose, make your silk strip no wider than 1 inch.  If you want a jumbo rose, cut your strip 4 inches wide.

I made a quick video tutorial to help.  Written instructions can be found below.

Laying the Foundation

Hoop some background fabric in your embroidery hoop.

Now decide how big you want your rose to be.  Take any circular item such as a can, cup or small container.  Trace it onto the hooped fabric using a pencil or disappearing ink pen.  Mark 5 points in the shape of an upside-down star and your center point like this:


Thread your needle with matching thread.  Come up at point A.  Go down at point B.  Come up at the center point (pictured below)catching the A-B thread:


Go down at point C creating a fly stitch:


Now come up at point D and down at the center point.  Then come up at point E and down and the center point.  Now tie a knot on the underside (don’t cut the thread off just yet).  You’ll now have 5 spokes.

Creating the Rose

To make a fabric strip, cut into the selvage edge of the fabric and tear it to the other selvage edge.  You want frayed fabric strips…adds more character…LOL.  Take your fabric strip and secure one short end to the center of the star using the needle and thread.  Leave your needle and thread on the underside of the hoop.  You’ll need it at the end to secure your rose to the foundation fabric.

Now attach a safety pin to the other side of your fabric strip.  This will enable you to easily thread the fabric strip through your spokes.

Start weaving your fabric strip over and under the spokes in a circular motion.  Keep twisting your fabric strip as you create the rose.

Once you have covered all of your spokes, complete the rose by tucking the end of the fabric strip under the rose and removing the safety pin.

Using the needle and thread that is attached to the underside of your hoop, secure the rose with a few stitches.

Cut out your finished rose making sure NOT to cut your foundation spokes.  Sew it to a garment, glue it to a hair clip or use it to decorate a tote.  The options are endless.  You can even create these roses directly onto your items.

Now, don’t think you can only make these roses with silk fabric.  Try quilter’s cotton, chiffon, organza, cotton knit, velvet, beaded satin, spandex or even tulle.

Various Uses for Silk Spider Web Roses

  • Covered Buttons
  • Thumb Tacks
  • Baby Items such as bibs, booties, blankets and clothing
  • Bridal Items such as money bags and garters
  • Headbands
  • Hair bows
  • Hats
  • Pillows
  • Sachets
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Brooches
  • Purses and Totes

Silk Spider Web Rose Kit Giveaway

To win the supplies you’ll need to make these roses, post a comment and I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner on Friday!

I’d love to see the roses you make, so please post a link and share your pics!




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