Whiterose Designs by Debra

Make Your Style Standout

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I think it's finally time to introduce all of my blog pictures.  I am sure many of you wonder why I even would put pictures into my blog title.  But they all play an important part in my daily life and have special meaning.

I would have two more pictures, but they are of my dear friends who live far away, and they know who they are, and the special bond we have.

My mother-in-law and her best friend of over 38 years are two very special people.  They are both widows and now are closer than ever since they share similar circumstances.  We call them the "Bobsy Twins".  They are inseparable, even tho they live in their own homes.  My mother-in-law is on the right, Marge her best friend on the left.  This was taken the week after my father-in-law passed away, and I took them on the train to visit my daughter's then boyfriend.  It was a 7 hour train ride and they loved it!  They had never been on a train before, and it was really what she needed.  We had such a good time all of us girls together.  You can see the special bond they have in their faces.

She is very special in that she is such a strong woman, surviving 10 major surgeries, within them breast cancer twice in 50 years.  She is dignified and will not lay down and give up for anything.  She provided such a fine example for me in providing care for her husband as well with his knee replacements and surviving two strokes.  She never ask for help nor allowed anyone to come in and take over what she felt was her role. 

When I got married over 39 years ago, I moved away from my own family and she became my mentor.  I married young and had not yet accomplished all the skills necessary to be a complete wife.  But she took over and with her help allowed me to grow and become the domesticated woman I am today.  I am very proud of that, as I love being domestic.  Whatever that means!  

To me it means " Martha Stewart " move over !!!!  I am ready to rock & roll.  I can accomplish any domestic challenge you can throw at me with dignity and pride.  I know there are alot of you out there like me.  

But on with my mother-in-law.  She is quite a woman and still rockin' herself, everyday out doing something with her best friend, and I am proud to have her in my life. 

The next picture is of my daughter with her best friend Savannah.  I am proud to have her as an additional daughter so to speak.  Her mother left when she was just entering her teen's and had been a part of our life since very young childhood.  So of course when her mother left she ask me to be her substitute mother.  I proudly accepted, altho I already felt I was.  She has grown up to be an incredibly strong young woman now, married and growing all the time.  She loves life and as you can see by the picture, feels my daughter is her real sister.

Next my Son & daughter-in-law who moved next door to us, and how happy I am to have them so close and get to know my daughter-in-law better. They help us immensly and make life so much fuller.  More than anything I am learning so much from my Ariana (dauther-in-law) than I ever thought I would.  She is a DIY, Thrift Store Queen, and can make the most simplest things look elegant.  She is a master at taking life by the horns and controlling whatever challenge is given her into a win win situation.  They are perfect together and are always up for new and interesting ideas.

Now my daughter is married and I am so happy for her.  My new son-in-law (Shannon) is a real treat.  He's so easy going and just deals with whatever life throws at him with ease and patience.  He is perfect for my daughter since she is always on the go and always ready to have fun.  He is her mellow side and since they have been married, he has brought calm to her daily life.  This shot is from their Honeymoon their first breakfast together, all alone and so happy.  He completes her, and makes her smile all the time.

Our newest addition is Isaiah.  What a treat he is, and such a combination of my daughter and son-in-law.  He is the happiest baby, loves attention and will do whatever to get it.  He never cries unless he is hungry or wet, so he makes you just want another one.  But we won't push that idea, since I want to enjoy every moment I can with him now.  Isn't he just adorable?  Here he is right after bathtime, another of his favorite things to do.  He is ready to tell you all about his bath with such eagerness.
At last is me & my Best Friend for Life, my Boyfriend of 40 years this year.  He is more than I ever could have imagined in a companion.  We met as teenagers, and I must say, I was smitten.  I was shocked when he moved back home after meeting me one summer visiting friends in our small midwestern town, that he wrote to me.  Not only occasionally, but every day for months, then to only surprise me with airplane tickets.  I came out to meet his family and it was history from there on.  I never went back, we got married 6 months later.  My life is one that many dream of having, and I feel so blessed.  We are inseparable still, and looking to retirement together having more fun makes me giddy.  He helped me grow from a midwestern naive young girl to a self-confident strong woman, able to accomplish anything with dignity and pride.  Oh how I love him....   

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It's been a very long 7 months, but my husband successfully survived all three of his major surgeries.  He has been suffering from severe arthritic joint pain for over 5 years.  He finally agreed to address his issues with an orthopedic surgeon, and he had an opening right away within 2 weeks more than 7 months ago.

At first I was "YES" let's do this !!!  Then after we got home, I began to panic, wondering all the 'what if's'...  But we already set the date and now began the research more intense than before.  Not only did we want to research the surgery options and recovery but now the surgeon himself.  Since the first surgeon we met with not only did he have horrible bedside demeanor, but did not want even want to discuss our own apprehensions, so out he went.  On with the next.  And boy were we happily surprised.

The next surgeon was very emphathetic as well as very helpful in describing in detail all the process and recovery.  We did some additional research on him at home and were pleasantly surprised with our decision.

My husband needed total knee replacement on both knees and a total hip replacement on his left hip.  Now came the decision on which side and which joint to start with.  We could do both knees at once, but the recovery is very difficult and also involves going to a skilled nursing facility verses being able to go home.

We chose to do one at a time and be able to recover at home with family support.  I am so glad that was our decision.  It has been a lot of work and some long hours but I made it.  With the help of my children, and some very close friends coming by to visit.

My husband is now done with all three, and is the only patient they have ever had with all three joints replaced in such a time frame as his.  He was able to do each surgery within 90 days of each other.  He made the medical journals.  As most patients need 6 months to recover and do rehab, strengthening the muscles and joints to go onto another major surgery like he did.

It's been 4 weeks now since his last surgery of hip replacement, and for the first time in over 5 years he is pain free.  The surgeon commented that he really did not know how he had been walking at all with the degree of wear on his joints that he had. 

My husband is a very strong man, and now it proves it, with all the strength it took to get through all of this.  I am very proud of him, as many people will not go through one, as they will just continue to suffer.  But he went through 3 all within a very short time. 

I now have to recondition myself as well in order to keep up with him soon.  He is my bionic man, and will be up and running very soon.  We have a pool,  and as soon as the weather is good enough we will be able to do some pool aquatics to further our strengthening. 

 It's been a very long haul, and through it all, I also remodeled my sewing room, which you can read about in previous blog postings.  Also we had our whole house floors redone from carpet to shining new wood floors that were existing but never exposed.  They are beautiful, and make our home look brand new. 

I don't know what I would have done if I had not had these major projects to keep me busy mentally.  It took alot of emotional stress off of me worrying about my husband and allowed me to care for him without showing worries.

Has anyone gone through similar circumstances?  If so I would love to hear from you, as well as if I can provide any input from our experience to give additional support to someone about to go through the same.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Business Cards

I am so very excited, I just got my new shipment of Business Cards.  Why can I be so very excited about such a simple thing?  Business Cards say so much about you and your Business.  I revamped my cards to say more about my focus and included my blog information.

The only thing I regret is that I really did not describe what I do or my mission for my business, so my next order will be better.  But these are the best cards ever. 

My daughter-in-law again directed me.  She just happened to find this company online while searching herself for making some Business Cards herself.  After going to their site I was sold.

The site is www. MOO.com.  What is so cool about them is that you can upload your own design, pictures, or logo.  They also give you up to 50 different images you can upload and it allows you to customize them so you have a variety of cards to distribute.  It's called their Infinity option.  Kinda like flipping thru a stack of cards with different images that tell a story if you like.  You can even upload an image on the back either as a background or a mini size above or the side of your information.  Here's a sample of my Business Card.

I chose to just do my one image and basic information on the back.  But another little option I fell in love with is there Mini Cards.  They are half the size of the Business Card and are perfect to hand out discreetly or what I love about them is that I can attach them to finished garments or pieces of jewelry with a ribbon.  Here's a copy of my Mini Cards that I absolutly love especially how cute they look attached to a garment.

They give choices of card stock, but I chose their standard and it is absolutely amazing !  A very heavy card stock giving them a very distinct feel and separate feel from the standard card.  Making it stand out from the other's that people may have.

Another awesome feature that I took advantage of is uploading your own image, design and information for a free set of samples.  That way you can get them and have the chance to fine tune them for a complete order.  

I hope it helps some of you who are comtemplating either a new design or even help some of you make a decision to just order some Business Cards to expand yourself.  My daughter-in-law is starting up a business but also ordered the Mini Cards just to hand out to those who just want her basic information.  Great way to save on randomly giving out those good Business Cards that we all know cost add up.  Take a look at their site it may inspire some of you in ways beyond what I came up with, and hopefully you will share your ideas with the rest of us.  I am always looking for ways to expand my opportunities. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite Things

Everyone has Favorite things, I have quite a few.  Mostly because they have a specific purpose and bring more meaning to their place in my life.

Over time I will focus on some of my favorite things and hopefully it will help others to find similar pieces or things to bring more purpose into your own home or life.

One of my new favorite things in my sewing room is my Apothecary Box that I repurposed.  I have had this item for some time and purchased it at Target several years ago.  I used it mostly to store my smaller personal items like nail polish and small candles.  But I wanted it to have a new purpose since I am redoing my whole house slowly and it needed to find a new spot.  It no longer fit the color scheme in my bedroom, but I knew it would brighten up the sewing room somehow.

First of all I wanted to update it a bit but I really did not want to paint it.  And after reading an article on HGTV they mention that many times all you have to do is change out the fixtures on some pieces to update them and give them a new look.  Well you tell me, what do you think?  I changed out all the drawer pulls to a more shappy chic look.

What a difference it made, I positioned it at the end of my cutting station where it is easily accessible but also out of the way.

What makes it one of my favorite things is that it holds some items perfectly !  Like it was made for them.  I found these awesome little boxes at Joann's for only $1.99 that allowed me to sort out my button assortment by color and size.  I became obsessed with them, but my local Joann's ran out of stock of them, so until they get a new supply, I am happy with the 5 I found. 

They fit 2 to a drawer, which is just awesome.  The other thing I love about this unit is that they also fit perfectly by size is those packages of bias & seam tape.  I actually can fit 2 rows in a box on top of each other.  So I sorted them by color.  It's amazing how it all fits so nicely and keeps me organized.  I just love how something can look so cute but is so functional.  No wasted space.

Then I have these little spools of ribbon that are harder to store and still be able to see for color, but here they fit great. 

I just love this little box of drawers, more so than ever before.  Now they have a purpose in my new favorite room that's just awesome.  I am one of those people that when I find something I like, I just hate getting rid of it, and will do whatever I can to find a new purpose for it.  I am sure there are alot of you out there that is just like me.   

Monday, March 21, 2011

Organized Woman

One of my goals this year is to become the most Organized Woman of the Year.  At least for myself.  I am the happiest in the world when everything is organized.  It seems to bring inner calm, a little crazy I know, since a alot of my friends are not that way, at least to the extent that I like to be.  I do have to give my best friend in NJ the biggest award since she can maintain a house with only about 700 SF without chaos.  She is amazing at finding just the right spot for everything in her tiny house.

This year has started out with getting our carpet pulled up and refinishing the existing floors.  Since I had to literally put the entire house into the kitchen and garage, I promised myself that upon putting all the stuff back we would go through things and purge.  It's working !!  It's amazing how much you find out you really do not need or have not used in over a year, so why not get rid of it.

We customized all of our closets with Closet Maid products found at Lowe's and Home Depot.  What made a world of difference was adding the shoe bags that hang as well as a shoe cubbie.  To open up the closet and see all your shoes organized and put together by style is a dream come true.  I keep all of my dressy shoes with my dress clothes, making it easier to put my outfits together, and my casual shoes in the cubbies.

On my shelves in my closet, I found a couple of years ago these adorable shabby chic boxes at Target.  They are awesome, and someone quite crafty with wood could make these little gems easily.  But I was able to get them on clearance and literally drove to all the local Target's at the time to get as many as possible.  I use them for all my unmentionables, making it easy to grab and just get what I need.  I also use a few of them for my hair styling electrical products, which my husband loves since I don't clutter up the bathroom vanity drawers with just my things.  And see how clean and organized it makes things appear.  I just love it.

I purchased those small drawer organizers that are clear plastic and put them in the closet shelf for smaller items to store.  Making the makeup counter and bathroom cabinets less cluttered.  

Since we are empty nester's now, and we have a nice large closet in the hallway for hanging coats, we customized it as well, and only use one small side for coats, and the rest is used for storing movies, computer games & gaming systems, as well as a large selection of computer equipment that my husband uses to rebuild computers.  It keeps everything handy for him, and out of the way of clutter. 

Making closets customized does not mean you have to break the bank.  Going to the local stores like Home Depot, Lowe's or even similar locations allows you to find organizing ideas at a minimal cost.  There are usually several choices to meet the demand.  I personally like the white melamine clean look, some prefer the open wire rack styles.  But take your measurements before you go and even just stop by and pick up their little flyers of their product lines home with you so you can sit and decide the best layout for you. 

As you can see I am not a Martha Stewart, but I am proud of the changes we have made and the bonus it has given me to be more efficiently organized.  But most of all the inner peace it brings each time I open up a closet and not either be embarrassed or afraid my life is going to tumble down on top of me literally. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pillows remake

One of my customers: Polished Nail Bar, needed to update their shop for security reasons with some new drapes.  She already had the fabric, and actually had enough to make matching pillows for all of her pedicure stations.  She provided me with a sample pillow cover for the size she preferred.  I was able to make 9 pillow covers and pillow inserts for her.  I made pillow covers so she can take them off for laundry.

For all the pillow inserts, I purchased inexpensive bed pillows at Target and just opened them up to reveal the inside pillow stuffing.

I measured the size of the pillow I needed and cut the inside stuffing to that measurment, then take the existing cover and sew it to seal the pillow to size.

The finished result

They will love them, as it matches her color scheme, and the new pillows will look awesome at all of her pedicure stations for the customers comfort.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bracelets, Bracelets, Bracelets

Everyone loves Style, and mine so happens to be all over the board.  I cannot take those style questionaires as I am never what they say I should be.  I have a large selection of jewelry, from making my own to purchasing pieces on sale and customizing them to fit my own style.  I grew up not having any jewelry at all, so now I go overboard to some extent.  I have learned to make my own jewelry first by wanting to give my daughter a new hobby when she was a pre-teen.  But over the years it grew into my own passion after I learned I could make my own and have unique pieces separate from everyone else. 

I am such a mix of vintage/new, and classic/contemporary.  So when I find pieces with some resemblence of either style I take it and bring it up a notch with my own stones and collection of findings.  The most joy I derive is from making pieces and giving them as gifts to my friends, seeing their face light up as they open it.  They are so fun to watch when they proudly wear one of my pieces.  They are my biggest advertisement.  They keep telling me I should sell my work, but then all the fun would be gone. 

I wait until I have some inspiration or have new garments I am sewing to put together some new pieces.  Lately with staying home so much helping my husband recoup from his surgeries, I have been creating a bit more. 

Here is the latest pieces I have put together.
I love pearls, so I am usually mixing them up with different shades to really make pieces classy.  One of the things I have really learned over the last two years is that you have to use quallity stones, gems, but mostly clasps to make a piece truly stand out and look quality.  Before I was just using the normal and inexpensive lobster claw clasps which by the way are not bad for most, but to really make a piece look more high end or different, spend just a little bit more and you have yourself one nice piece.

For some reason, the blogger system I am using is not letting me upload any more pictures, so I will have to check and see what's going on to continue this article.

To sum up today's mix on making some jewelry, I encourage anyone to just ask for some specifics on technique, or better yet, I am working on doing better to share my steps with you on making pieces like a tutortial.  The easiest I find are earrings, which really only have to take less than 5 minutes once you pick your style out.  But my favorite is Bracelets, as I can wear a whole bunch at once.  I just love Bracelets.

The one thing I would love to challenge myself and hopefully one day I can, is to make rings.  I love having different rings, and love the kind where you wire wrap them, but have not perfected the technique yet, as I have been focusing on too much this last year.  So if anyone has any suggestions or even some pics with tutorials I would love it.

After waiting a day and going back to my dashboard, I was able to load up the additional pictures I wanted to share with all of you.  I am still new somewhat at blogging and learning to use the different functions, so I apologize.  I am really enjoying all the challenges this new adventure brings, it is not only building my computer knowledge base, but also my increasing my confidence to keep learning.  I hope you all learn along with me, and please comment or send suggestions I can work on to make my blog bigger & better for all of you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The " REVEAL "

All the anxiety and anticipation I have had over the last 6 months has paid off !  I am more pleased with the end results than I ever expected things to be.  I have learned so much from all the wonderful bloggers out there in the blog world.  So I have to thank so many of you just from your inspiring ideas.  Many of you have redone your own Sewing & Craft rooms or corners you could find in your home, and shared your pictures and ideas of how you accomplished them. 

Like many of you, I too am a thrifty shopper as well as inspired more by finding pieces at thrift stores or garage sales.  I hope I can inspire other's in the same way that you all have inspired me.  I have only dreamed of having a room solely for my use in sewing and other crafts I have learned, which by the way is jewelry making.  Finally after our children have moved on with their own lives, my husband & I are now empty nester's.

I have used one of our 3 bedrooms in our small home for a sewing room, but it was put together with a mix of furniture and storage units to just make it work.  Also over the years we have tried to maintain our home with 3 children on a budget and really never put much money into our home.  So now it's our turn.

From previous blog entries, I mentioned to all of you my husband has been off work, taking care of some serious joint issues he has had for over 5 years.  We started 7 months ago with his first surgery of his right knee having a total replacement.  That was more than I ever even imagined in all the rehabilitation that was involved.  He has had to endure an enormous amount of pain beyond what most people should have to endure.

He has endured his left knee replacement, and now finished with a complete left hip replacement.  But through it all, we have drawn closer together and had more time together than most people our age.  We have always been best friends and very close, so drawing closer was a nice surprise for both of us as this year marks our 40 years together !!  How many people can say that ?

Enough of all that mush, on with the "REVEAL"...
While my husband has been home, he has been able to see with new eyes, how our home has really needed more of an uplift than paint can handle.  One of the things he had in mind was to really design my sewing room to make it not only more functional, but professional.  Since I do dressmaking and alterations for clients, I really needed to make it more of an inviting room to bring them into.

After alot of thought we came up with a design that fit perfectly.  The room is only
 10 X 11, so we had to make sure it utilized all the space to the best advantage possible.  I can say it all turned out perfectly.  In February I posted my sewing room prior to the makeover, titled "Time to Update".  So let me show you the finished results.

Standing at the entry of the room, you can see the sewing work station that allows my Brother Duetta Sewing/Embroidery machine, and my new Baby Lock Serger.  We made an adaptation in the corner for my light combo magnifier, that swings to both work areas of the table.  You will notice throughout the pictures my color scheme was a combination of Red, Apple Green, and Yellow.  I received a lot of flack from family when I first painted the room such a vivid yellow, but now that the room is done, they all agree the color was the perfect choice.  Yellow has always been a very soothing color for me, and when I walk into the room, I just feel the stress leave my body.  I just love the new storage of drawers at each end of the work space. 

Directly across from my sewing work station is my new cutting work station, put together by two units of storage with a cutting top installed.  It was raised about 5 inches taller than the sew work station, making it perfect standing up.  I put a ribbon & fabric tack board on the wall to accomodate pictures and patterns I am currently working on.  I have 5 drawers of storage along with a cupboard for odd storage, perfectly accomodating my embroidery attachment arm that is quite awkward.  Next to the cutting work area is my new mannequin "MOLLY" to model any of my current garment projects along with matching jewelry designs. 

Between the two work stations on the wall is my new design for holding thread.  I must proudly say after explaining to my husband my idea, his idea was even better.  These thread holders we put together really make the room.  They turned out to be incredible.  All we did was upon finding just the right picture frames at our local thrift store, I painted them, attached fabric and batting to the MDF backboard, then nailed the thread holders to the MDF.  I spray painted the thread holders, as they are the usual pine color at the local fabric shop when you purchase them and they usually are sitting on your sew work area, taking up space or mounted on the wall.  But I wanted something more asthetic looking, and I think we did an awesome job, here's the other two I did, so let me know what you think.  Do they fit the new room design?

I had to think before all the things were done, as my husband said, to even take into consideration small storage.  We utilized all the empty spaces we could see and used them to our advantage in making room for sewing accessories and smaller sewing tools.  Below the cutting station, behind the drawers, my son built in small shelves to store my Steam Iron, along with other open fabric storage totes.  On the floor is my apothecary box that stores perfectly by the way, all my tapes of binding and buttons.

I found this awesome piece at my local thrift shop that caught my attention as I was exiting the store, and instantly was smitten with the design but mostly the soft color of yellow.  I had to have it, even though at the moment I had no idea what to use it for, as it was not only stunning to look at, but also very delicate.  My daughter-in-law gave me the perfect idea, loose ribbon storage!!!  What a great idea, I thought, and she was right, it is now not only beautiful but functional, and at a deal of the year price.

 Right next to it, on the backside of the sew station, is small storage shelves that my son put together to store all my serger threads.  We all know how difficult that can be to store all of them bulky type items.  Either lots of plastic containers or just thrown into drawers... but I wanted something not only different, but more functional.

Another challenge all of us have is where to store our reference books.  Again we can just stick them on top of our work space, just throw them into drawers, or take up space on our shelves.  I just love my local thrift store, as I never know what I will find, but when I do, instantly I know I have found just what I need.  One of my last visit's to the store to see if I could find something for ribbon storage, I came across this adorable book storage that appears to have been either for a cute desk or kitchen counter.  It was white, so I painted it to fit into my color scheme.  Let me know what you think. 

Don't they go great with my apple green drafting chair I found online.  At first we thought it would not be very comfortable, but it is.  Best of all, because it was not a color that's really in demand, it was a clearance item on the web, and a steal for $30, $170 off regular price.

I mentioned before about even the small storage solutions.  Ribbons seem to take over work space, as you need them to customize a project.  But how and where to store them can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially when trying to maintain a professional looking work zone.  Since my daughter-in-law assisted me with my lovely jar for ribbons, as with everyone, I have tons of ribbon, and many of them are loose.  So after analyzing and looking many times at some of fellow blogger's sites, I came up with my own solution to fit my work area. 

I just love how they look, they add such a colorful touch to the workspace.

I hope you enjoy my makeover, so please post any comments as well as feedback.  I have learned so much from many of you, and hope as I continue with this endeavor of sharing what I do will inspire and help others as much.

Thank you so much, all of you. But most of all, to my Husband/Boyfriend of 40 years this year for his design and endeavor to make this all possible for me.  To my Son, the carpenter, who worked so hard to meet all my requests.  To all my friends who put up with all my mess over the last few months as we not only redesigned my sewing room, but also in the same span of time emptied our house to strip carpet and refinish all our floors in the house.