Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last weekend continued & this weekend begins

There are a few impressions of Bloomington, Indiana that I want to share. We had a fantastic brunch on Saturday morning at Farmbloomington on Kirkwood Ave in downtown. I've eaten a lot of meals in very good restaurants worldwide, and this meal was among some of the best I've ever had. If your are ever near the area, eat here. Biscuits and apple butter were memorable, french toast was sinful and eggs were fresh. Wait staff was mid-west friendly and professional. Decor was interesting and unique. See collection of old bed pans on the wall.

You can tell by the smiling faces, we were all very happy. Good job FARMbloomington.

To walk off the good meal, we strolled around the farmer's market. Although it is off season we did find some flowers and plants to buy.

Bloomington and the surrounding countryside reminded me a lot of northern Delaware/Southern Pennsylvania with its rolling hills, tall trees, and many streams. With early spring flowers giving splashes of color against the new green of the grass and just budding trees, it was a great place to relax and enjoy family. We had sunny, warm weather so we basked in the spring sun.

Coming up this weekend here in Georgetown is the annual Red Poppy Fest. See the website for a schedule of all the music, headliner is The Bellamy Brothers. You can also find a driving map to many of the Red Poppy yards in downtown.

There are lots of vendors. In front of Annarella Home will be Nick Conde Dudding. photograper, and Mary Louise Poquette, jeweler, who also has many interesting items such as aprons, scarves and totes. Annarella Girl will have a few things outside and inside the store.

As in all festivals there's food and a children's area. The weather is suppose to be warm but not hot, so come and enjoy.

Taking advantage of the large crowds, Annarella is holding a SALE - 75% off all remaining furniture. There are even some bigger bargains for other assorted items. The sale runs for just Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 1-4. Its a great opportunity to buy quality furniture at low, low prices. Cash or check with a surcharge of 8% for credit cards. See you this weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Mighty Fine Show

Just returned in the wee hours this morning from a trip to Bloomington, Indiana to view the thesis show of Master's Candidate, Allyson Smith. (My lovely daughter-in-law who makes me very proud.)

Bloomington is a very picturesque town and the campus of Indiana University is pretty with lots of trees, green grass and rolling hills. The weather was perfect on Friday and Saturday. We enjoyed just spending time together, viewing some good and very interesting art and eating some great meals.
Allyson has always been fascinated with the figure. These paintings are very boisterous and vibrant. She is moving from a cool blue palette to a warm rosy one.

During her gallery talk she spoke of her joy in the act of painting, and her exuberance can easily be seen in the easy flow of brushstrokes and lines.I especially like the following three for their intimate view of she and her husband, Tyson Skross. Different aspects of a relationship echoed in the light to dark palettes, distinctive parts to a merged single, upside down to right side up. Thoughtful and thought-provoking view of a couple which is universal. This was my favorite. I am always partial to mixed media so the three dimensional aspect with the painted wood slats is so pleasing to my eye. Allyson says that this was her most recemt piece for this exhibit. It looks to me like this could be the first piece of a whole new, or at least a continuation of, a series. How exciting to anticipate where her view of people and relationships will take us next.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weather woes

Well, the weather did not cooperate for the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet. Friday was blustery. We saw tents upended. One of our partners didn't even set up after the third wind gust blew all her jewelry onto the ground as she attempted to unpack it. So we weighted everything down and hoped for the best. One time, despite the buckets filled with concrete, the wind lifted one side of the tent totally off the ground.

As promised I took pictures of our booth.

We're making progress. The green and pink linens add more color and warmth. Love the banner on top. Of course every set up is slightly different since the terrain and surroundings are never the same.By request we've added a little dressing room in our back corner. See the white curtains which can be pull away from the pole so girls can try on the skirts or dresses.New banner! Isn't it pretty.That's my helper husband in the flowered shirt. Maybe next time I'll even get his face in

Saturday was cold - in the 50's. Although my sales were okay, it was a little bit tougher to make the case for a cute sundress when everyone is trying to keep bundled up and moving along for warmth. I did get to meet some neat women and their families. And that's the most fun for me, getting to connect with fellow sewers, mothers, grandmothers and interesting people.

We've got some ideas for our booth for the next show, Wilmington Flower Market, Wilmington Delaware on May 7, 8, and 9. This market benefits more than 50 children's charities in Delaware. So everybody around the northeast, come see us. I'm working on some new dresses and skirts.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Continuing the saga

Thanks to all the comments and feedback from my last post concerning my struggle with photography. You all were kind and generous. I decided that I needed to practice, so this morning I took my camera into my workroom to see if I could capture the essence of it.

(My analysis of the primary reason for my inadequate photos is that when I'm looking at viewfinder I see what I think/want to be there, not the actual image. Not until I see the published image do I notice all the clutter, fuzziness or lack of composition. It's kind of my approach to my own image in a mirror.)

This is where I spend most of my time these days. Notice the comfy swivel chair. I can go from cutting and pinning to ironing just by turning. (Lazy, lazy!) Seriously this layout works really well since every sewer knows that after the sewing machine, the most importabt piece of equipment is a good iron. P.S. The painting is an early one by my son, Tyson Skross. Check out his website.My sewing center with all the threads and ribbons in easy reach. You'll notice that I'm surrounded by family pictures. It makes me smile to have them all so close. And my vice - TV. Its always on - and frequently to junk - I confess to a love of talk shows, court TV and reality shows - Oprah, Jon & Kate, and Judge Judy are among my favorites. Of course, Project Runway - "make it work" is inspiring.Scraps and pieces. My bolts are beside my table. Painting is done by my talented daughter-in-law, Allyson Smith, who has her master's thesis show hanging April 14 at the art gallery at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. I'll be there for the opening on April 17. Can't wait!

More family photos. And the new table covers for Annarella Girl's booth at the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So much better than the stark white.New dresses ready to take this weekend.Work in progress that I'm hoping to finish tonight.Patiently waiting.... this old gal is Zoie. Notice the carpet which is always full of threads and scraps of cuttings. Maybe someday a hard wood floor will appear. There used to be a bed in this room which was taken out so I'd have an organized and focused workroom. Zoie still misses the bed where she would nap away all the hours I worked. She isn't comfortable on the floor where she fears being stepped on. A real possibility!

So I'll keep practicing with my camera. These are slightly better. I'll take pictures of our improved booth this weekend and maybe some satisfied customers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Saga Begins

We all have our talents, and we all have our Achilles' heel. Well, taking pictures is my downfall.

I now have an etsy site for Annarella Girl, but I have a HUGE problem in that my pictures are horrible! The cute dresses and skirts look blurred and the colors muddy. I'm in a quandry should I take everything off until I can get better at this or should I just leave it up and keep editing it as I hopefully improve?

Then I took some pictures at the Bloomin Fest in Lampasas this Saturday. Now that I look at them, they are horrid! We had a great time, our booth attracted a lot of people and our sales were good. But these pictures don't begin to show that.

I have a chance to work on my photographing at this weekend's Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet. I know I can improve on these. (When I look at these shots, its hard to see why anyone would even bother coming in my space. ) So now I have a goal for next week. Tune in to see if the pictures get better. The saga continues....

Here is a shot of the oh-so-cute Bailor in her skirt that she bought. (I wish I had gotten a closer shot of her face, but trust me she is gorgeous.) Its so fun to meet the kids and their families s they try on the clothes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's been a long time

Wow! I took 6 weeks off from blogging. At times I missed it and mentally talked to all of you, but mostly there has been so much going on in my life I just haven't had extra time.

Annarella, the store, has closed. Annarella Home, the design studio, continues. Annarella Girl, the custom clothing line, has been born.

The back story - for 8 years, Pamela and I created a retail experience that combined top design ideas and furniture for all your interiors (Pamela) with art and unique gifts (Ellie). while business grew and expanded with the aid of our great customers, last year the tightening economy began to be noticed. I decided that I no longer had the passion and energy necessary to run my part.

Pamela is and will continue her design business, Annarella Home. she is accepting new clients and continues with many ongoing projects. Spread the word that she is available with her exceptional talent for creating the look and feel you deserve in your home or office. Her contact information remains the same as the old Annarella info. Now I am working for her - manning the phones and sitting at the reception desk.

I'm plunging ahead with Annarella Girl. This spring I am attending 3 arts and crafts shows. I look forward to talking to everyone and getting feedback which will help me decide if I want to keep this as a small hobby or begin the process of growing a new business. So stop in and see me at the Bloomin Fest in Lampasas this Sat, April 4; next weekend Fri - Sun, April 10-12 at the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet; and May 7-9, Thurs thru Sat, the Wilmington Flower Market in Wilmington Delaware. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new people and hearing what they think of my sundresses, skirts and new tee shirts.

So that's what we've been upto here. I've discovered that closing a business is very unexciting and sad. There have been quite a few pity parties held although I seem to be alone in my attendance. What I am enjoying after all these years in retail is having a more relaxed schedule since the design studio is only open from Tues thru Sat currently. and as I take my dresses on the road even those hours will be altered so it's best to call or email ahead.

I'll let you all know how my shows are going and will keep you up-to-date on new fabrics and designs. Old email still works but I do have a new one also.

It's good to be back!