Monday, March 30, 2015

5 Reader Space: A Smashing Sewing Space

This week I am mixing up the schedule a bit and bringing to you the Reader Space a bit early.  With good reason of course (more on that soon), and also because everything about today's space is simply fabulous.

I am still getting acquainted with my sewing machine, but I have quickly realized that just like many craft-like hobbies, there are a lot of special tools and accessories that can be used to make some really amazing projects.  Pair all those accessories with machine parts, fabrics and threads and suddenly a dreamy work room is in order.

Maggie has gone ahead and created such a beautiful sewing space, and I am head over heals smitten with her style.  Not only does the room boast darling touches throughout, it offers sweet and simple solutions paired with a room setup to sew anything your heart could dream up.  Maggie uses this space to also share her stories on her blog, Maggie Overby Studios.  In fact, I read on Maggie's site that, "Big messes mean lots of magic" and I couldn't have loved that statement more!  I asked Maggie to join us today and talk to us more about this amazing part of her home; the spot where all of her magic is made.

What is the main function of the space?

"This room serves all kind of purposes but it is primarily a sewing and craft room, as a blogger I also use the sunny corner of this room by the chair for photography."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Having a place for everything and putting things back in their place. When I’m in the midst of a big project I admit the room looks like something has exploded but when it’s time to get things back in order having a place for everything to be tucked away is key.

I would also recommend keeping like items together and since color is so essential in sewing and crafting I often organize by color as well."

What items did you find were essential when organizing this space and why?

"Containers, containers, containers! Sewing and crafting involves lots of small objects that need to be kept under control.

I am not a container snob, any container from any part of the house that can keep things under control is welcome in the sewing room.

One of my favorites are some little boxes I bought in antique store after the filming of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' (filmed in New Orleans.) I don’t think the boxes are even seen in the movie, I watched for them, but they were part of the button factory set. Each has a Button’s Buttons label and a vintage button glued to it. I add a note to each label of what’s inside and use them to store things like labels and ric rac. I love that these have a story behind them but are still useful."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?

"I always make my own curtains and pillows so when I found the amazing red Ikea chair at the thrift store for $25, I knew exactly the fabric I could pull from my stash to make it all work together. I also made a new Ironing board cover that would coordinate with the curtain fabric.

I like that I have a little corner of the room where I can sit and relax or have someone visit while I’m working."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"Aside from the sewing projects I mentioned above, I also I take photos for my blog and Instagram daily so to make my life easier I made my own photo back."

How this space impacted your life for the better?

"When I first started sewing I actually sewed in a closet, since them I have worked my way up to a corner of the living room, then I took over the dining room, and now I finally have a room of my own. Having this space means I am free to create any time I’d like without worry of my work being disturbed. The room is not big but having it well organized means more time and space to create."


There are so many great elements in this entire room.  First, furniture placement is really smart.  She has a tall cabinet to hold a large variety of supplies, big and small.  She has a standing work table in the center of the room where she can really spread out, yet still can store an abundance of fabrics below.  And along the sloped wall, she was able to place two more workspaces for sewing paired even more storage within the drawers below.  This type of setup is truly a dream for any sewing enthusiast, but this same layout and concept would be ideal in just about any craft room situation.

I also love that Maggie's storage solutions are not at all fussy, just resourcefulness at its best.  Baskets on their sides to hold stacks of fabric, decorative jars for accessory storage, clip boards for fabric swatches and spice tins for additional small materials.  Her tip to shop the home is spot on!  Not only does the storage she selected function well, it doubles as a beautiful way to display her sewing materials.  Storage that doubles as decor?  #winning  And can we talk about how my heart oozed while she told the story of the little antique boxes?

Maggie, you did everything right when you set up your sewing room, thank you so much for sharing it with us today.

You can read more about Maggie's smashing space on her blog here and here.

*  All images courtesy of Maggie Overby Studios
ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project and how it has changed your life or routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

13 UHeart Organizing: Florals for the Home

Spring and summer have always been my favorite seasons, and one of the many reasons I adore them is because they allow me to head to the garden and yard to pick fresh greenery for our home.  Florals, branches and plants add so much life to a room; plus they look and smell great!  During our colder months, I find myself heading to the grocery store frequently to pick up a small bouquets of pretties.  I sprinkle them around our home so that I can enjoy a little bit of color and life all year long.  I truly believe that flowers and plants are food for the soul.

My fantastic friend and contributor, Serena of Pretty Fluffy blog, is joining us today to share some of her floral arranging tips.  Considering I typically just chop and plop my flowers into nearby vase, I am super excited to soak up her advice.  Now, if someone could figure out scratch and sniff computer monitors, we would be extra lucky today!

How To DIY Floral Arrangements At Home

When you look at any home magazine shoot you’re almost always guaranteed to see a bunch of fresh flowers in the shot.

In fact, editors are often known to turn up to home tour shoots armed with bunches upon bunches of flowers to brighten up the spaces they’re shooting.

But for most of us, ordering fresh flowers every week is not making it into our household budget. Eating tinned spaghetti all week to buy a bunch of roses retail? Grumpy cat says no.

But with just a few tools, and some easy tricks, you CAN have beautiful blooms at home – no tinned spaghetti required!

(Pictured: ‘Like a Boss’ Coffee Mug by Saffron Avenue, ‘All You Need is Love & a Dog’ Print by Pretty Fluffy, Diamond Notepad by Kikki K, Vintage Vases)


Just like an artist, you need the right tools to get the best results. To start up your first floristry kit you’ll need…

1.  Floral Scissors – These are specialty scissors designed to cut through the stems cleanly while being easy on your hands. You can also use a florist knife instead of scissors, but frankly for those of us just starting out, I’d stick to the scissors to save your fingertips from some American Psycho level damage.

2.  Rose Stripper – A pre-Rock of Love Bret Michaels told us that, "Every rose has it’s thorn"… and unless you want those thorns embedded in your palms, you’ll want to grab a rose stripper. You just wrap it around the stem and pull down. As you pull all those pesky thorns and foliage comes with it.

3.  Secateurs – These babies are for heavy-duty stems – like thick foliage – that just can’t be tamed by your scissors.

4.  Buckets – Any kind of vessel will do, but it’s handy to have 2 buckets or bins on hand. One filled with water to keep your blooms nourished as you create. The second as a waste bin so you can work straight into it and avoid a lot of mess.

(Pictured: Oasis Rose and Stem Stripper, Oasis Secateurs, Koch Florist and Craft Heavy Duty Scissors)

Depending on what floral arrangements you want to make you can also add these additional items at any time:
  • Florist ties and/or string for tying bouquets
  • Florist wire for decorative elements and displays
  • Cellophane, raffia, brown and decorative paper for bouquets
  • Florist pot tape and parafilm for securing arrangement elements
  • Apron to protect your clothes! I love these ones by Oatmeal Lace Design on Etsy.


Bouquets make a perfect gift for a friend (or for yourself).  Here’s how to be totally that annoying person who goes, “Oh this little bouquet? I just whipped it together while I was watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

1.  Prepare your work area. You’ll need a clean workspace, your scissors and floral tie/string handy. On the floor place your bucket of blooms in water, as well as your empty bucket for off-cuts.

2.  Prep your flowers. Grab your rose stripper and strip all leaves/thorns below water level. Usually leave only a few leaves up near the top of the stem – depending on the flower and the look you’re going for.

3.  Prep your foliage. Greenery usually comes off hedges, bushes and trees in great big chunks. Using your secateurs cut it down to more manageable pieces that will fit into a bouquet.

4.  Start your bouquet using a floristry technique called ‘Spiraling’ or ‘Swirling’. Have you ever noticed how a professional bouquet has a circular shape to the base? That’s what florists do to make the flowers sit safely and gently together to form the beautiful bouquets they do. Here’s how you do it…

  • Start with one strong stem and hold it upright in your left hand.
  • Grab your second stem and place it on TOP of the first stem with the bottom of the stem pointing at an angle to the LEFT.
  • Keep on adding your foliage and flowers this way twisting the bunch in an anti-clockwise direction – your left hand will continue to hold the bouquet and your right hand will select each bloom and place it where it needs to go.
  • Keep an eye on the top of your bouquet as you work through. How is it looking? Is there enough color variation, are all the flowers sitting at a similar height?
  • When you get to nearing the end (and your left hand is about to go numb!) take a tie or your piece of string and wrap as close to the base as possible to hold your bouquet in place. Congratulations! You’ve spiraled like a boss.

5.  Finally, using your floristry scissors trim each stem at an angle and either pop your bouquet straight into a vase - or, if it’s a gift, wrap in cellophane/decorative paper.


Ever gotten a bunch of flowers only to have them fall in to a hot mess once you placed them in a vase at home? Yep, we’ve all been there. Here’s how to avoid this floral fail.

1.  Start with a clean vase filled with fresh, lukewarm water. Any dirt or bacteria in the container or water will shorten the length of your flowers, so you want to keep it clean.

2.  Create a grid with tape across the top of your vase. Using long strips of tape, place them horizontally and vertically across the top of your vase leaving you with a grid in which you can place your flowers. No more falling over flowers!

3.  Prep your flowers. Grab your handy stripper and strip all leaves/thorns below water level. Cut each stem at an angle and place it directly back into your bucket of clean water. It can only take a few seconds before the ends start to seal.

4.  Working one by one, arrange your flowers by placing them in the grid in groups. Experiment with different heights, textures and color groupings as you go. Voila! You’re done.


  • To literally cut half or quarter of your flower spending, always go to your local market to get flowers direct from the supplier. Even better, why not start growing your own flowers and foliage in your own garden?
  • When it comes to flowers, the early bird gets the worm. Some florists get to the flower markets at 4 a.m. to ensure they get the best flowers! If you would prefer to be snuggled up in bed at that time, never fear. Simply find a grower at the market that you can pre-order your blooms with. If you pay in advance or leave a deposit you can then pick them up later in the morning.
  • Want to get the freshest flowers at the market? Old flowers will often have browning stem ends (where they’ve been cut) and yellowing leaves – steer clear of these ones.
  • When choosing your flowers stick to two to three main colors that work together and don’t be afraid to add foliage for depth.
  • If you’re after a particular type of flower always check that it’s in season to avoid disappointment (or paying through the nose for it).  A lot of florists have handy guides (like this one) where you can see when flowers should be available. Remember, if you’re using an Internet resource for flowers, make sure it is one local to your area – knowing when peonies are blooming in New Zealand isn’t going to help you unless you’re in New Zealand!
  • Get creative with your arrangements. You don’t need an expensive, fancy vase to make your flowers look good - old jars make a great vessel for flowers. Break up big bouquets into little arrangements and scatter around your house to enjoy your flowers in every room.
  • Do a course! I learned all of the above tips and skills taking a course, but check with florists in your area to find a local class – trust me, it’s a lot of fun!

"I am Serena Faber Nelson, a television producer, writer and fluffy dog owner. Obsessed with home décor, fashion, lifestyle and dogs – I set about creating Pretty Fluffy as a go-to guide for the modern pet owner. Featuring a range of stylish products, celebrity pooches, DIY projects and handy hints, Pretty Fluffy is a daily stop for smiles and inspiration, giving readers the tools they need to enjoy full and happy lives with their furry friends. My greatest loves include fresh peonies, Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in a corner), Banoffe Pie, spending waaay too much time on Pinterest, and hugging random dogs at the park. I currently live in Sydney, Australia with my husband, Andy, and my 11 year old Border Collie, Soda. As a long time fan, I am super excited to be joining the IHeart Organizing Team!"

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