Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunshine and Lollipops

Something good has happened to someone I love. I'm not allowed to tell yet, but I want to share the warm fuzzy feeling I have. Do you all react to good news the way I do?

First I just want to absorb the news, Rather passively with few questions I want to just float in the buoyancy of the news. Turning it this way and that to examine it. Just luxuriate in the joy. Examine its shininess. Become comfortable with its impact. I find I do this over and over off and on for days.

Then as it settles in I find my voice for all the questions. How will it impact the person or persons involved? What exactly is going to happen next? Etc?

So for now its like my new penny - so shiny and smooth - I can't stop looking at it, running my mind over it and smiling. Yipee!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Forgive me my laziness! I'm working hard with the dresses and skirts. Somehow I feel that makes me a very boring person when it comes to the blog. Random thoughts about daily life, political climate, World Series and books run a continuous loop through my mind, but all those also seem boring. I need a kick in the pants. Any volunteers?

Welcome November. I will be at the First Baptist Christmas Spectacular Nov. 12-14. See you all there!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dresses for Judy

I'm posting a bunch of pictures of what I have in stock in size 12-18 mos. I've included notes on the ones in pinks. This is for Judy who wanted to know; but anyone with questions and requests, chime in.
I'm almost out of this black windowpane fabric. So I can't duplicate this dress exactly.What I'm describing is the one I have left in 12-18 mos. Also, to further confuse all of you, the bottom ruffle has been changed. Current dress ues same false patchwork fabric as seen on top is repeated in bottom ruffle with the flowery fabric used to line ruffle.
Front and back of an apron dress. Pink and green circles on a black background make up the attached apron. The bodice and body are a combination of pink and black fabrics. The shoulder straps are ties. The ribbon sash is sewed on in front but ties in back for size adjustment. This dress is made of a combination of pinks with brown accents. It also has fabric shoulder ties and a ribbon sash sewn in front but adjustable in back.
Below a quick glimpse of others which are other color combinations.

Judy, let me know if you want more pics or info.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Notes from the Workroom

Another rainy day in central Texas. A good day for organizing and catching up with cutting out both skirts and dresses to sew this coming week. I finally feel like I'm getting ahead of inventory. With an upcoming kiosk in The Exchange at Annarella, I have a deadline (and don't we all work more eficiently and faster with a deadline?) I'm focused and excited. The Exchange is a very good thing for central Texas. A great opportunity for Annarella Girl.

Because I will have a permanent home now, I've decided to only go to two shows for the upcoming holiday season. In Georgetown the FBC Christmas Spectacular is Nov 12, 13, 14. In Houston the Cougar Christmas Market Dec 12 & 13. I'm forgoing the outdoor shows this fall. I'm not up to battling the wind and rain. The above shows are under roof which means an easier setup for me!!!

These are 3 photos from my workroom. A little peek of some finished dresses and 2 different skirts in the early stages. You probably can't make out much in the pics, but I'm always available by email to chat about colors and fabrics and looks. Or see you November 2 at the grand opening of The Exchange at Annarella/

Friday, October 9, 2009


Here it comes - an old geezer alert - rant ahead.

I hate, strongly dislike, abhor, abominate, loathe and detest automated phone systems. The last several days I've spent hours with Directv, Verizon and my health benefits center communicating with various recordings just trying to get to a live representative for answers to questions. I'm frustrated and exhausted. I apologize to the representative when I finally get to them for my poor attitude but really it's their fault for using all my patience just to reach a real person. Then the real person has a script they must run through before I can get to my situation and there goes my last nerve. (I know, I know they are saving money by not having to pay so many real people, but at what cost as they are alienating oodles of customers. Me thinks, they don't give a rat's...!)

I bemoan the loss of customer caring. Whenever possible I don't deal with these national corporations where their attitude is that they are doing me a favor allowing me to do business with them. Rather I try to choose local or smaller businesses that act like they want my business; that my business is important to them. Case in point, I bank with First Texas Bank who is right here in Georgetown. Recently husband lost the debit cards to two accounts. When I called to report the loss, I talked to a real person immediately. All subsequent conversations were with Karen. Yes, she had a name and I did too. Having her personal guidance and knowledge of the circumstances made an often frustrating situation run as smoothly as possible. Imagine - every time I had to report something new or ask a question, I didn't have to repeat every little detail from previous calls, she was familiar with my case . Imagine - she did everything in her power to make the process of getting new cards and disputing fraudelent charges as easy as possible. This was great customer service!! Caring and friendly while being pro active in solving problems.

So boos to DirecTV, Verizon and BP benefits center. Kudos to First Texas Bank!!!

What's driving you crazy? Or do you have any businesses you can reccomend for good customer care?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Exchange at Annarella

File this under "you can't keep a good woman down."

For 9 years Pamela and I birthed, raised and then released Annarella. It was a great ride but it had to be closed. Now Pamela and 2 partners, Angie and Carly, are embarking on a new adventure. Meet The Exchange at Annarella - a design and consign boutique.

This is so exciting! An upscale consignment store for women's clothing, jewelry, personal accessories, home accessories and furniture. An opportunity to recycle and renew your closet and your home.

Along with the consignment component Pamela will continue to offer her design expertise in Annarella Home Studio. Currently she has several small continuing projects and is finishing up a project for the NARI tour. Go to website and click on image for tour. Her house is the one in downtown Georgetown.

So when you need design services Pamela will still be around and keeping everyone in style and comfort.

Lastly Annarella Girl will have a home at the Exchange. I'm excited to be part of this new concept and space which will be a totally unique mix of new and gently used items displayed and cared for in the Annarella way. I'm the first independent handmade business to be invited to have a presence ay the Exchange. Yhanks Pamela, Amgie and Carly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Art Thoughts

Last week I posted a notice about the Georgetown Artworks Juried Show which opened on Friday. If you haven't visited it yet, you must go. Its amazing to see the many talented artists live and work in Texas. There are 85 pieces by 43 artists spread throughout downtown at the Georgetown Public Library (closed from Oct 5-9), Framer's Gallery. Cianfrani's Coffee Shop amd Dog-eared Books. And while you're strolling from venue to venue enjoy the banners hanging over head. Designed by 55 artists as part of a project called Happy Trails. Experience the art and banners through the month of October.

A juried show, like the Art Hop, brings a variety of art and artists to the public. If you've followed this blog, you know I love art and don't understand how anyone can live without it. In my home the walls are filled with art. Daily it brings me pleasure and uplifts my spirit. My wish is that every child, adult and family would have a home filled with beauty, inspiration, humor and thought - all the things that art brings to my home.

Art Hop is a good way to start or continue building a home art collection. Most pieces are for sale. Part of the proceeds goes to the artist. (Remember they must eat and have shelter, too.) Part goes to venues to help cover their overhead. Part goes to Georgetown Artworks to benefit their programs. These are very good causes. So buying a work not only makes you feel good but does good.

Don't forget that this is a good chance to buy a special gift for the ones you love. You can start a collection for a child or grandchild. Raise them with art. Put it in their rooms. They will never forget this gift. Give it as a birthday gift, a wedding gift, a baby shower gift or an anniversary gift. Art is a forever gift of love. At the Art Hop you can find works at all prices, so go and pick out something!!
Here are a few of the pieces in my home that feed my spirit daily. (Many pieces ar framed under glass and don't photograph easily so I can't share them.) I like a variety of styles and subjects. On different days, in different moods I find different works talk to me. I hope they inspire you to purchase art in this month of the arts.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Daily Serving

A new web site (new to me) about art for art lovers is the Daily Serving. Its mission is to be a "central site where art lovers can find resources and keep up with the happenings within the Contemporary Arts." Always looking for beauty and interesting art I'm intrigued by the daily spotlight. They feature a piece of contemporary art with a bit of information about the artist.

Today they posted this painting by Tyson Skross. (You all know I love him and his work.) I had to take a peek at any site smart enough to feature his work. And I fell in love with the site. Not enough time to delve into the archives, but I enjoyed the artists that they have featured recently. I added this site to my favorites so I can visit it often. Definitely a good place to feed my spirit!!!

Art in Georgetown

October is the month of the arts in Texas. In the last decade downtown Georgetown has celebrated it in many ways. This year Georgetown Art Works is back with their annual juried art show, Art Hop.

Spread around town in several venues this year along with 2D works and photography, printmaking has been included. The show opens this Friday, October 2, with a reception at the library where award winners will be announced. Come out anytime all month to enjoy this show featuring some of the finest regional artists.

While downtown to enjoy the exhibits notice the banners around town. The banner project called all artists to design a banner for the month around the theme of Happy Trails. You can vote on your favorite. Go to the Visitors Center, the library or the Williamson County Museum for a list and map of the banners. Take your kids or grandkids around town so they can choose the ones they like.

Coming October 17-18 is the Art in the Square art fair. Over 100 artists gather to display and sell their works. This is a great time to meet and talk to some of the finest festival artists of our time.

Lets make this a success so the artists want to come back year after year.

So lots going on downtown Georgetown. Visit, bring friends, eat, shop . Have a fun month of the arts. Buy art. All the pieces in the juried show are available. Support artists and those groups who promote art. As a community we must be concerned not only with our physical needs such as food, shelter etc; but we must feed our spirit. We keep our spirit healthy and vital by surrounding ourselves with art.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Luxuries

Yesterday I got to enjoy 3 of my favorite little luxuries. It was another cool, rainy day under endless gray clouds. Started off with ironing and housework - yuck - but my afternoon was pure joy.

First, a haircut. Doesn't life always feel better after a good haircut? Bo Peep has been cutting my hair for 9 years. (Yes, that is her real name. Her salon is "bo-tique.") She is great! She is an artist with scissors and a razor. I walk in feeling dragged down and dowdy; I walk out with a spring in my step feeling bright and energetic. She is that good! Despite a tightening economy the price of a good haircut is worth it for the feeling of well-being it gives me for weeks. Luxurious!!

From the salon to the library. Reading is my favorite hobby. A good book is a mini vacation. A while back I wrote about my mind vacation to the beach this summer. It was inspired by reading Anne Rivers Siddons. A lot of her books take place near water - the Atlantic ocean or rivers. Her tales are very readable, but what blows me away is her descriptions of life close to the water. I can smell the air, feel the breeze, wallow in the heat. To curl up with a good story that can transport me to another world is a true luxury.

But even more, a trip to Georgetown Public Library is a luxury. This new building is full of light, space and comfortable chairs. There is almost always an art exhibit going on, and it has a growing, credible permanent collection of art. There's a coffee and snack shop. It is truly a community treasure thanks to Eric Lashley, the libary director!!

Finally when I got home my kitchen was filled with the smell of vegetable soup thanks to my hubby. What greater luxury than to have dinner planned and prepared for me? I was spoiled yesterday, and I loved it!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Special Apron Dresses

Another rainy day! A slow, soft rain which makes the bushes outside my window smile. Inside my workroom all the fabrics are happy rainbow colors. I'm feeling good.

I'm working on limited edition dresses for girls 5-8. Many of the aprons are from small pieces of fabric. I can only make two or three garments from these materials. But I love the designs on the fabrics, so I'm having a whole lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rainy Days

After surviving a record breaking HOT, DRY summer, we are now enjoying rain. It is amazing how fast the grass and bushes come back with green and flowers. Our lakes are still at very low levels. We still have mandatory watering restrictions. So our drought isn't over, but we appreciate the rain as never before. So far I haven't heard anyone grumbling about when is the rain going to be over. Our weather was scary this summer - 68 days over 100 degrees - 1 day short of all time record. I hope I'm not around the next time Mother Nature makes a run at that record!! Even without breaking that record we had the hottest summer ever.

Why do we talk about the weather? Because it is something we all share. It effects how we feel and what we do. And it's safe. We are all at odds over health care, family values, politics, religion and global warming. and the discussions concerning these are sooo strident; but weather is safe. So we retreat to this unifying subject where we can safely commiserate about our misery or relish our joys.

Happy beginning of Fall. Happy lower temperatures. Happy rain. And happy blue skies to follow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Whine or Business Woes

Well, Monday late afternoon is here. Most of my to do list is done - ta da - but since it's Monday it hasn't been smooth. And I haven't touched my sewing machine yet - boo hoo. Maybe by tonight before I go to bed, I'll have a new dress cut out. Goal is SEWING tomorrow!
While I've been drowning in the boring chores of my business, I've been making a business wish list. I love the designing, purchasing and sewing parts of Annarella Girl BUT there are bits I hate and would love to outsource.

Wish List - a BOOK KEEPER. Not just someone to do the quarterly taxes, but someone to enter in all my sales, all my purchases and price of materials for each size and style. This would be heaven. I have sleepless nights dreading how much has to be done, how to do it, etc. Help!!!

- a PATTERN MAKER. If you only knew how much time I spend creating and adjusting each variation. I wish I could tell someone what I want and VOILA! there it would be. There are some very skilled people out there but, rightfully so, they are expensive. I suspect that if I had inherited my father's love of engineering and construction I would be better at this but I didn't and I'm not. Help!!

- a CUTTER. This isn't a difficult task but is time consuming and a bit mindless. What a luxury it would be to have someone cut out the fabric pieces! I am listing these in order of importance to me. So after I get the first two, then comes this.
So that's my wish list. Here is the latest dress. It has an elastized shoulder strap rather than tie on.

Has a longer apron and skirt. Specially designed for sizes 5 - 8. Although I love the shorter dress I've been working with (looks so cute with skinny pants or leggings), I wanted to give a longer version for the leggy pre-adolescent. This is shown in size 7. I think it is adorable! Soon to come to my etsy page.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

If you like orange...

If you like orange, Austin on UT game day is the place to be. People who are normally sane turn burnt orange. It is the shade of UT fever. As I look out my window I see whole families bedecked in oange shirts, orange hats, orange shoes. Dogs run past sporting orange bandanas.
And at my house here is first son and hubby in uniform ready to go to the longhorn game. Hook em horns!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three Reasons Why I Love Facebook

I have come kicking and screaming into this age of computers, emails, cell phones, facebook and twitter. Kick the soap boxes out of my way or I'm likely to burst into an old geeser (Hrrmph, hrrmph - beware the curmudgeon alarm) rant about the downfall of all civilization due to the growth of the digital age. But lately I find the new ways are seducing me. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. This week the husband, Doug, of a niece, Laura, suffered a brain stem stroke. Suddenly a young, 32 years old, husband and father was critically ill and undergoing emergency surgery. We have a famliy news email that notified immediate relatives. But through facebook friends and family could be kept in the loop easily. It was remarkable how many people cared and wanted to be informed as to the progress of Doug.
Facebook has proved to be a marvelous tool for communication in this event. It has let Laura know how many people are concerned for her and her family. It allows her to update everyone easily and not to constantly have to repeat herself. Seems to me this must help her reserve emotional energy to use where it is most needed with her husband and baby.

2. Facebook provides a window into everyday goings on. I cherish the posts from my daughter-in-law, Pamela. Short and breezy reflections on kids, husbands and life's minutia. she also reports on Hudson's wise and humerous take on life as seen by a four year old. His latest from this week - "you shouldn't wear your hard hat when you go to the bathroom because it can fall off into the toilet when you bend over to flush." You gotta love such observations.
I love that Facebook makes it so easy for Pamela to record and share such gems. Its not earthshaking news but my day goes better when I can smile.

3. Now that I'm working at home, I miss daily interaction with people. I miss the store's back room where our discussions were wide ranging - from who was voted off Dancing with the Stars to where the best food bargains were to how everyone's day was. Facebook gives me back a bit of this casual conversation. I don't feel so isolated in my workroom. I enjoy knowing what Susan is doing and how Nicky's day at school went. This is all good!! Thank you, Facebook.

So that's why I love Facebook. If you haven't tried it, it may be your next favorite thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bits of This and That

Catching up after last weekend. Although in the larger world it seemed to be a period of bad manners, I met and interacted with very nice people from age 6 weeks to 75 without one incidence of boorish behavior, no screaming tantrums in anyone over 4 and lots of thank yous!
Now if we could just get the celebrities to model themselves after this group.

Last weekend I ran into Maddie who was wearing her "favorite dress." (Her words, not mine.) She is pretty in pink! Notice how cute the dress looks over a simple white tee shirt. She is a pretty model, and it makes me feel so good to see my clothes being worn and loved!!!

Coming back to the workroom been inspired by shades of purple - orchid, lavendar, plum. Here you can see how I've combined different colors and patterns in variations of violet, lilac and magenta. Looks good with greens, black, blues and fuschias. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Quick Update

I've been showing Annarella Girl every Friday and Saturday at the Annarella Home studio in the atrium at 800 S Austin Ave in downtown Georgetown, but I will not be there this weekend. I apologize for any inconvenience.

My grandchildren's activities are not always compatible with mine, and this time I'm going to Houston to see my dear Sophie get recognition for a two year project she has worked on. The primary advantage to closing the retail store is to be able to share my grandchildren's activities and triumphs. So I'm off this weekend.

I'll be back next Friday and Saturday. I've been working on skirts in the autumn palettes. See you then.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cutie Patootie

Meet Miss Evelyn. She was helping her mom celebrate her birthday at First Friday. Coincidentally she had on her Annarella Girl skirt. Doesn't she look adorable? I love running into a cutie wearing my clothes!!!

Thank you Evelyn for being such a good model for the photos.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Variations on a Theme

As some of you know taking photos of my clothing is always a challenge for me. This AM while editing shots taken last night, I realized I'm going to have to get a professional photographer. I just can't do justice to the rich colors. Plus I'd like to show everyone how great the clothes look on girls.
Now with my whine out of the way, here are some phoros that show how I mix and remix or add and subtract the same group of fabrics.

Remember if you're around Georgetown this weekend, you can see these vivid colors and patterns in person (they really are special) at Annarella Design Studio, 800 S Austin Ave. Open until 8 tonight and all day Saturday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autumn Collection on Etsy

It's 98 degrees outside...can fall be almost here? While the rest of the country burns up or shivers or has moss growing between toes, we continue to endure the longest, hottest, driest summer on record. But signs that autumn is coming are here - days are shorter and mornings are cooler. Hurray!!!

I've begun listing my Autumn Collection on Etsy. The new (for me) design is an apron dress with a ribbon sash. The colors are deep jewel tones with several different pallettes. Shades of lavendar and purple; primary reds and blacks; turquoise, acid green and oranges; and variations of all. I'm continually fooling around with different combinations of fabrics for each palette in the skirts and dresses.

I just love some of these new fabrics. What little girl wouldn't love to have blue, purple and pink deer gamboling on her dress apron? Apron is not detachable; ribbon sash is sewn on the front and tied in back.

Back of jungle animal dress as shown above. Here you can see many of the different fabrics used. For seasonal wear layer over tee or blouse and leggings or skinny pants - white, black, green or red.

The apron is acid green background with birdcages. Love the mix of colors and punch of deep fuschia.

Turquoise, orange and green. Sounds bizaare on paper, but looks great. And imagine what wonderful colors you can pair with this in a ree and leggings!!

I have more to list on etsy. And don't forget the skirts. Visit my Annarella Girl site. The photos don't do the dresses justice. If you are in central Texas come see them in person Friday and Saturday at Annarella Design Studio, 800 S Austin Ave, Georgetown. I'm there from 11-5. Tomorrow is First Friday in downtown so I'll be there until 8 pm.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In the Closet

A provocative title...but don't we all have vices or faults that we conceal from the world. Well, I am a shower talker. Some people are shower singers. (You know who you are. And you also belt it out in the car. We see you when we pull up next to you at a light - head bobbing, hands tapping on steering wheel and mouth wide open.) You know you sound like Whitney Houston or Barry White - goooood!
Well, I talk in the shower and car. I compose witty blogs. I write chatty letters. I share pithy observations about daily life with friends and family. I'm Andy Rooney, Joy Behar and Anderson Cooper rolled into one. You can't wait to hear from me. The problem is ... the thoughts never get to see the light of day ... or if they do, the ideas are never as clever and free flowing as in private. For instance I've composed this blog countless times and it was wonderful. Now ... well you see the real words.
I know I'm not alone. Are you a closet talker? Have you talked to my blog but never commented? How congested is the closet with your silent conversation? Now might be the time to push the thoughts into words you share.
Meanwhile I'll be talking to you with soap and a washcloth.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Etsy Kids Treasury

Etsy Kids is a group of artisans making items for babies, toddlers and kids. Every month they create a "treasury" of items that members have created around a general theme. Just for fun they urge everyone to vote for their favorite. these photos are just a sampling of what is posted. Follow this link to see all of the items and vote for your favorite.

Last day of SALE at my etsy shop. Later this week I'll begin listing my fall dresses and skirts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Feast for Your Eyes

A pause from the business of sewing....a recess from the business of creating....a look at art refreshes my soul. I invite you to feast your eye on these artists; your soul will be fed.
All these artists are drawing inspiration from history, present and future. Their palettes and scenes are a blend of simple and complex. Enjoy their works on the surface or delve into meanings. The paintings will bring you pleasure at whatever level you want to experience.

Dan Zinno has a new series titled Unearthed. Color-saturated surfaces are broken with decorative designs; the robust and the dainty side by side.

Go to Zinno's website, to see the whole series and read what he has to say about his process.

Tracy Helgeson was brought to my attention by Dan Zinno. I love her blocky shapes and bright colors. It all looks so simple until you sink into the colors and realize how many variations there are.

In her words she says that she tries to simplify her landscapes without losing the personality. Go to her website,, to learn more about her and her work.

Tyson Skross has posted his new work from his Berlin exhibit. He is doing some small sculptures which are intriquing. The paintings implode with color and content as he explores the relationship of history with the modern life.

Go to his website,, to experience his latest works.

Allyson Smith also refers to history for her works. As a figurative artist her history is personal yet universal. She allows, even encourages, the viewer to apply his/her own story to the paintings.

I love the optimistic energy that flows from her lines and colors. Check out her web site,

My spirit is revived through my enjoyment of the paintings from these 4 talented artists. My soul is fed. I hope you will get the same pleasure as you look at the websites. Give your eyes a feast.

Don't forget the SALE at my etsy store, It runs until Monday, Aug.24.