Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Here are a few pictures from House Beautiful to put us all in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy!

What one can do if you don't have snow for Christmas.

Sophisticated mix of colors and textures. Wonderful!

Fill your tree with unusual ornaments like this blown glass pear. Our favorite glass artist is Bob Rynearson at Rhino Glass.

We hope you have found a special gift for everyone on your list.

We celebrate all our dear family and friends this holiday season. You have enriched our lives and have made our year special.

Merry Christmas and aHappy New Year!


Friday, December 19, 2008

New Blogs

I've added two new blogs to my blog list. They are must reads.

First - I wrote of sevenof before when they first launched. The two gals, Jane and Amy have continued to write interesting and intelligent posts. Recently Jane mentioned an sculptor, Jennifer Maestre, who works with pencils, nails and zippers.

Yes, look closely those are nails and zippers. Stop by her intriquing website to see more. and another thank you to Jane for directing me to this artist. Sign up to receive the daily postings of seven of you won't be sorry.

Secondly, one of my favorite artists, Dan Zinno stopped in the store to chat and let me know he has started to blog.

He writes about life and art. I find his thoughts to be insightful. Stop by his blog and see what you think.

I've added links to both these blogs on my blog list. Visit them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Breathtaking Photography

When researching something totally different, I came across a post from Austinites, Karly Hand and Erin Williamson , about photography. (Isn't cool how surfing can take you to unexpected places?) Anyway...I have to share the photograpehers from their blog.

This is from Erwin Olaf. Click on his name to go to his website. His staged settings are haunting and filled with a story. Such detail!

Second, is Eirik Johnson. Click on his name to enter his website.

His subject matter is landscapes, but landscapes touched by man. Very interesting and arresting.

Enjoy the photography and all 3 websites.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pretty Girls

Thanks to photographer, James Polnick, I have lots of photos of my dresses on 4 very pretty girls. Two months ago I did a trunk show of the Hugs from Mimi Handmade Dresses in Houston where I met some wonderful girls (and their mothers, grandmothers and fathers) who agreed to be in a photo shoot with their dresses. Here are the marvelous results.

This is James daughter, Brighten, who certainly does brighten up at the sight of a camera. She was a champ and just kept smiling on and on. The one just below makes me giggle.

Next is Lauren. She is a little more serious, but those eyes!! She is adorable.

Blond and quiet, Macy, posed the most seriously of all. Doesn't she look so grown up?Here Macy and Brighten show off like but not matching sun dresses.Ryann, my granddaughter, is the final model. She is all girl and loved being my top model. She is my guinea pig. If she likes my creations, then I know I'm on the right track. I can't wait to see her over the holidays, as I have two new designs for skirts she needs to critique.Best friends, Macy and Ryann.It was so great to see the girls playing and being so comfortable inthe dresses while they looked soooo good. I feel like little girls should wear clothes that are comfortable for running and sitting with no scratchy fabrics. For the moms the clothes should be easy care. Who has time for lots of ironing?Here are all the models resting after a hard day of looking good, smiling and posing. They were all so cooperative. Thanks.

If you want me to do a trunk show next year, just holler. I had a great time in Houston. It was fun to get the instant feedback from Moms and their daughters. Email me at

Don't forget tomorrow, Dec 13 is Market Days in downtown Georgetown. Also the tour of historic homes put on by the Georgetown Heritage Society is Saturday and Sunday, the 13th & 14th. Click on the name for times, places and tickets. This is a highlight of the ho;iday season here in Georgetown.

Monday, December 8, 2008


A friend of mine has started a blog. It is all based around 7 - ideas, suggestions and thoughts in lists of sevens. Some of my favorites are 7 books for boys, 7 table decorations and the latest, 7 satisfying ways to spend $7. So swing by and see what Jane and Amy are exploring. Better yet sign up for their blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Artist Interview: Anna Marie Pavlik

The second woman who is an artist in our current show, Small Pleasures & Quiet Moments, is Anna Marie Pavlik. Because we love Anna Marie we always have a few of her prints scattered throughout our space, but this show is dedicated to some of her smaller pieces. What a great Christmas gift any of these would make! Her prints are very intricate and filled with details that frequently reference myths and legends, nature, and the politics of women and the environment. Although complex in subject, her palettes are subtle and earthy. The combination of colors and details draws the viewer into her work to enjoy, discover and share her world.

Enjoy her thoughtful interview.
Amigo etching

Tell us about art and your early years. My early artistic efforts were focused in sewing. I completed my first embroidery sampler shortly after my 5th birthday. Later I went on to constructing doll clothes and knitting. My mother felt that St Paul, Minnesota of the 1950's and 60's was culturally lacking compared to her childhood Chicago, so she took her four daughters to museums and films. My father used his doctorate in Chemistry to qwork for 3M and presented us with creative ideas from the laboratory. He drew the plans for the home my parents built, and we all worked on the house and landscape after the major contracted portions were complete.

We had coloring books and paint by number sets, but the major projects were Ukrainian egg painting, making rolled-out embossed and meticulously decorated Christmas cookies, hand coloring curtains and sewing our own clothing. We were not allowed to brainlessly absorb television; so eaxh of us had hand-work projects to ensure productivity while sitting on the couch.
Lake and Land etching

Tell us about your art education. No visual art classes were offered until 8th grade when a woman in the parish volunteered to teach drawing one afternoon a month. During the summers my sisters and I went to summer school. We enrolled in one serious course and one more expressive class each year. During the last two years of high school I had the opportunity of visual art classes, prior to that I learned flower arranging, appreciating opera and interior decorating. At the end of my senior year and throughout the summer before college, I apprenticed with a production potter in the neighborhood, Peter Leach. In exchange for babysitting I used the studio to learn how to make wheel-thrown stoneware.

In college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I explored all the art techniques offered. At that time I favored working in small metal techniques of lost wax casting and soldering. Following college I went to St Paul Vocational Technical School and graduated with a Mechanical Drafting Certificate. Through employment with 3M I obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

My formal education was instructive; however I believe that family encouraged opportunities have been more important in influencing my artistic direction.
Her Legacy stratograph

What is your style? Labeling my style is difficult. Being able to recognize elements within the composition has always been a concern. I love pattern, color and narrative so these are important components.

Tell us about your process. When I begin a new piece I start with a folder. Here I place sketches, articles and sometimes write a paragraph explaining to myself what I hope to achieve. Next I do a crude sketch in the format of the copper plate I intend to use and decide on an initial technique - line etch, soft ground or aquatint. From this point I develop the plate, etch for different amounts of time to create variations in density, then print, evaluate the process and repeat the steps.
Re-orientation etching
One of the things which I enjoy about etching is the unpredictable results that can occur when an area etches differently than expected and even just the fact that the printed image is the reverse. These minor jolts stimulate image-development which would not occur with the more direct control of drawing or painting. I often try printing on different papers with a range of colors. It is frequently helpful to take a break after printing and review the work a few days later so that over-reaction to minor details is minimized.
Fourteen Ninety Two intaglio
How do you know when a piece is finished? Knowing when the work is complete is a critical question. Since it is possible to print and have a progress record throughout the development process, I am able to retain sample proofs which show me where I made decisions, Somehow, the correct choice is always obvious later. Although I cannot usually return to the earlier state, education from mistaken directions can be applied to future efforts.
Sojurn stratograph
What do you want your viewers to take from your work? Exploring critical issues with regard to nature is central to my artistic theme. Inspiration comes from issues raised in newspapers, magazines and National and State Park literature. I hope to draw the viewer into the image by presenting curious or beautiful images. My goal is that people take time to decipher what has attracted them and realize the additional message.
Do you listen to music when you work? Silence is my preferred choice for the time when I am working out concepts and imagery. When I reach points which require routine and redundant effort like sanding, polishing, cleaning off grounds, cutting mats and framing I enjoy listening to NPR, especially the Phil Music Show, The Writers Almanac and Star Date.
Visitor etching
Any favorite books, movies or TV you enjoy for relaxation or inspiration? I read the Austin-American Statesman newspaper and art, natural history, and travel literature. My husband tapes a few TV series which I agree to watch - Masterpiece Mystery, Boston Legal and Desperate Housewives. I also do enjoy the Daily Show but remain predominately a radio listener.
Thanks, Anna Marie. She will be at Annarella Home for First Friday, December 5. Please join her, Carol Hayman and Cathie Kayser for a gallery talk at 6 pm. They will talk about printmaking and give a demonstration of the process on a small printer. This exhibit will run through December 31.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Annarella goes BOGO

These are extraordinary days for the small retailer. We are definitely feeling the effects of a slowing economy. In fact we could have told all the talking heads a year ago that this was in the wind. We spend so much time talking and listening to the consumer.And there were hints of a cooling off last holiday season. But who listens to us?

Anyway... Annarella Home is having an unprecedented sale - Buy One item at marked price and Get One of equal or lesser value at 50% off. This makes it a great opportunity for picking up gifts for everyone on your list. Or a great time to save money while stocking up on some of your favorites.

Murval bags - buy one for yourself and get one to give as a gift. These have interior pockets which make them practical as well as being fashionable.

We carry Thymes in the original Gold Leaf scent as well as Lavendar and Kimona Rose.

Cleaning almost becomes a pleasure when using the Caldrea products. All scents are essential oils so people with allergies can enjoy the smell without the tearing and sneezing.

Tea Forte offers the perfect way to say thank you to teachers and co-workers. Plus slip some in a stocking for all the over-worked mothers to relax with.

Don't forget the Lighting of the Square on Friday, November 28 at 6pm. There will be carols sung by choirs, hot chocolate and cookies. We always have a candy cane or tow just waiting for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Love fabrics? Don't miss this.

While I was checking in on the many blogs that I read, I found that Christine at Gen Marie has been cleaning out her garage and posted some of the most gorgeous fabrics for sale. She makes darling girls dresses, so these are left-over mid-weight cottons from some of the best contemporary fabric designers. I've bought a lot that you'll be seeing in my spring dresses and even into next fall, but I left some for the rest of you.

If you love fabrics for quilting or garments, swing by her blog and see if she has something you can't live without. (She who has the most fabric, wins.)

And if I don't get back to this before, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Artist Interview: Carol Hayman

A year ago I met Carol Hayman when one of my favorite artists, Anna Marie Pavlik, brought her into Annarella. I was immediately taken with her atmospheric photos developed on solar plates. She has a unique way of capturing the solitude of a place and the geometry of her subjects. The viewer is drawn in to her prints by the sense of mystery in the commonplace. Her technique, which she talks about below, brings wonderful contrasts of light and shadow which elevates her work far above the ordinary.
Carol is part of the current exhibit here, called "Small Pleasures & Quiet Moments." These are all small works on paper from 3 women printmakers. On Dec. 5 they will be giving a gallery talk at 6 pm about printmaking, the process and techniques. It promises to be both fun and informative.
Now for Carol's interview. Enjoy.

Carole, tell us a bit about your early years and art.

I come from a long line of women artists, on both sides of my family. My mother's mother, Sophia Dart, did beautiful embroidery. My father's mother, Margaret Hayman, painted watercolors and made quilts. Her grandmother, Angelina Beckwith, painted in oils and watercolors and gave art classes. I have some examples of work from each of them.

I wanted to be an artist from my early teens and took art classes all through high school and college - classes in painting, printmaking, photography, jewelry and weaving. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art; a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art History; and a Masters of Art in Anthropology. Now I am a Professor of Anthropology at Austin Community College.

Tell us about your style.

My style is documentary/anthropological. I take lots of photographs, especially when I travel. I like human artifacts, monuments, cultural objects. food and religious items. For colorful things, I make photographic prints of objects like flowers with deeply saturated colors. For some of the more monochromatic photos I make them into intaglio prints. Some pictures are natural tableaux depicted from a perspective that renders the resulting image almost abstract. The history is revealed in multiple layers, with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.

What are you saying in your work?

My work illustrates specific places, both social and personal, public narrative events, and little glimpses of other worlds caught in everyday situations. We can find beauty in the exquisite as well as the mundane. I want the work to draw viewers in to look more deeply, to break a code, or to try and solve a mystery.

Tell us about your technique and the process.

The technique is polymer plate intaglio, also called photo etching, photo-gravure or solar plate.

The intaglio or etching starts out first as a print from a digital camera, then using a photocopier, I copy the print onto a transparency for overhead projectors. The transparency is laid over a polymer plate ane exposed to light. The plate is washed and hardened. When the plate is dry, it is inked, damp paper laid on it, then run through an itaglio press like an etching. This new process of creating solar plates uses non-toxic light and water while combining the centuries old use of the intaglio press.

Turning photographs into fine art prints is a laborious but satisfying printmaking process. The anthroplogical dimension of my subject matter lends itself well to the handmade look of the technique, and the technique is excellent for creating detailed works that draw the viewer in for a closer look.

With prints it is possible to make multiple versions of the same image. I experiment with different colors, mixing browns, greens, or blue with black. I use different wiping techniques to vary the intensity of the color. I usually use BFK Rives paper and Graphic Chemical Faust black. I printed several years at Flatbed Press; now I print at Slugfest. When I am there printing the BBC radio program, The World, is usually on, it fits in well with my subject matter, so I half listen as I go through the repetitive and rhythmic motions of wiping the plate, rolling the press. Thank you, Carol, for walking us through the complex steps of printing. I look forward to the gallery talk on Dec 5 here at Annarella. Understanding your process brings even more appreciation of your images.

The next interview will be with Anna Marie Pavlik who is the second of the woman printmakers in our exhibit.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Special Gifts

Here are some pictures of our special gift items. I just love the reds and greens of the holidays. I just love looking for the perfect gift - large or small - that will make the recipient glow with joy. For me that is one of the parts of Christmas that I love. It's that time when I can show how much I care for someone by giving them something that gives them pleasure; something they might not have given themselves; something that made me think of that person and how much they mean to me.

Small things for the kitchen make great stocking stuffers or teacher's gifts. Or this is a great way to make your own kitchen look festive. I imagine the red prep bowls holding my lemon zest and vanilla for the special sugar cookies. The organza bag is a quick and inexpensive wrap for a bottle of wine or special dipping oil. And imagine a cup of tea from the cheery red teapot. How relaxing after a busy day of wrapping or cooking or shared with a guest.Don't you love this brightly painted stoneware? It is rustic Portuguese. The berry bowls have the colander holes so that they are functional for draining as well as looking so good. The poinsetta dip dish and plate, I can see with guacamole - enhanced with the New Canaan Farms salsa - and homemade taco chips. (Not holiday everywhere, but soooo Texas.) These make great hostess gifts or a bread and butter thank you.An easy way to decorate is with a pinecone mix or a seasonal botanical. Just put in a bowl or tray, maybe around a candle, and you've created the seasonal feeling. We also have small gold dusted pinecones that can be hung on a tree or put in a bowl. A touch of glitter! Now for something a little different. The Debra Shephard jewelry is sold each element singly. For instance the 16" sterling silver ball chain necklace is available for $20 or the large hoops on the left and the small hoops on the right can also be purchased at $18 and $14 respectively. Then you choose the dangle you want. The long "bling string" is Swaroski crystals or pearls $18. There are many different silver charms $10 or single Swaroski crystals $6 for a shorter look. They slip on and off the earrings and chains easily so you can switch out the elements or hang two together on a chain or three on each earring. Lots of versatility for an everchanging look.

And if you're getting tired of red and green. (It seems like I've been fixating on red a lot in the last month of postings.) For holiday dips or fruit breads or nuts these lovely gray porcelain bowls and trays are perfect. Their great organic shapes lend a touch of class to your table or buffet. The soft, subtle grays create a restful place for your eyes among the reds and greens and golds. (The two bowls also look good in a bathroom to hold soap or cotton balls or a candle or a few gold dusted pinecones. A little touch to make a guest bathroom lovely.)

Thanks to Emily for the pictures. Thanks to all of you for listening. Come see us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ready for the Holidays

Well, we're gussied up here at the store. We've kept our airy, open look but incorporated our new gift items, glitter trees and spots of red everywhere. As promised from a previous post below are some pictures. Hope you enjoy.

Front room. We've kept it simple with some woodland trees, red pillows and throw, and red candles. Uncomplicated and uncluttered but cosy and warm.
Next pictures are of the second room. This room has suffered from a bit of an identity crises this year, but now it's back to being our gift area - full of kitchen items and gadgets, fabulous Murval bags, Caldrea, teapots and teas. A fun room to poke around in to discover the perfect gift. (And at a reasonable price.)

Lastly are pictures of our atrium. This special, serene space holds most of our furniture along with art, throws and some table top decor.Our approach this year is understated. We want to show that it doesn't take a lot of money or time to incorporate a seasonal feel. A runner on a dining table or coffee table is an easy spot of color to add. For some shine fill a bowl with the mercury glass ornaments that we have spotlighted on our big tree. Put some red leaves in a gold glass vase to play with Christmas colors.
Next post will include the rest of my pictures which feature the special items in our front room. My thanks to Emily for taking most of the pictures.