Thursday, July 23, 2009

From imagine to being

Here is the finished dress that started as a lineup of fabrics on my worktable in my last blog. I like the way it turned out. As I create the dresses and skirts, I visualize the clothes on the little ones I call my Annarella Girls. I can imagine a little girl twirling, jumping, swinging. Loving the feel of comfort and movement. The perfect dress to wear while sitting quietly and reading a book. The perfect dress to wear while having a picnic. The perfect dress to wear when visiting Grammy. The perfect dress to wear to eat out at her favorite restaurant. Ah I imagine....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Imagine it?

This is the next dress. Can you imagine it? Seems like I've been in a pink haze lately if you look at my etsy shop, but in reality for the fall/winter series I've been awash in jewel tones of purple, blue, green and more. Not much pink. I'll try this combo above with a slight variation in design to see how it works out. See you all when next I surface.
(When I'm shuffling a fabric combination, I tune out everything around me. I try to remember to have my phones with me, but I look around now and realize neither my home or cell phone is where I can hear it ring. Oh well, sorry Pamela, I am trying to get better at staying in tune with the world.) Off to cut out dress and begin construction - as soon as I go get my phones.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to the blogging world

A friend has dipped her toe into the blogging world. Check it out At Magnolia's End. It will be a glimpse into her world and what interests her. She writes about the passing of a friend and workmate, Dave, and refers her readers to his wife's blog about the ordeal. I recommend it as an emotional read about how this couple handled with grace, love and determination death by cancer.

She also writes about her obsession with le Tour. She is the only one I know who uses it as a travelogue. So check her out. Say hi. So glad to have her in my world.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Solitary in the workroom

Yesterday when I ventured out into the 100+. (Turn off the sound because here comes a whine. Another endless day of sun and sweat, but enough of that, can't change the weather we just must endure.) I ran into a friend who inquired how the change from retailer to crafter was going. My standard answer is... it is as expected. I knew there were going to be an adjustment period as I got used to working alone. And it is true. What I find most challenging is the lack of face to face contact with people.

I knew when I started this new venture that I was going to miss seeing people. But it's not only the conversation and energy of shoppers coming in off the street. It goes even deeper than that. I miss having people around who I can bounce ideas off. Even though I don't always play well with others, I need others. Often I need to talk an idea out with others to have it gel or evolve. Bouncing thoughts back and forth is part of my creative process. So now I struggle without having this. I struggle with self-doubt and worry. Do others see these as colorful and whimsical or are they too much, too busy?
When the store was open, I would take dresses in to get feedback. I could note which color combinations customers would remark on the most. If I altered a design was it noticeable? I got to see reactions and chitchat about what worked and what didn't. I would love it if I got some reactions on the blog, but that doesn't happen often. Plus I don't want to bore everyone with posting new dresses too often. Should I post every new dress or skirt to see what you all think or not?
The transition continues from working with the public 50 hours a week to 0 hours. I imagine that what I'm progressing through is common for most as they begin working at home. I have faith that I'll eventually find my balance. But the journey is not easy or comfortable. Does growth ever come easy or comfortable? So to answer the friend who asked. Although I love my dresses and skirts, although I love the process of sewing and creating, although I love the challenge of a new business - I'm finding it difficult to labor in solitary. ( I write this I realize that the many pluses by far outweigh the single minus. Note to self, concentrate on the creative pluses!!!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Guess what...this is my 100th blog. So it is my blog birthday.

When I started, this blog was going to be a window into the business of Annarella. Well, we've come a long way, baby. Annarella has closed. Pamela Skross is now solo with her business, Annarella Home Design Studio. Her physical space is still at 800 S Austin Ave in downtown Georgetown. For now she keeps all her samples and books in the same small design studio space just off the atrium. She also caretakes the atrium keeping it a calm and comfortable space to relax and talk. She is keeping busy with a variety of projects. Without any prejudice I recommend her as the best designer in central Texas and beyond. Call her, email, or check out the design section of Annarella online.

As you all know I've started Annarella Girl, a clothing line for babies to girls. I make limited edition and special order dresses and skirts. Check out my etsy page. This blog has becomes mostly about the development of this business as I work my way through the decisions of both the business and the design process. Occasionally family sneaks in. And more often I still support artists whose work I admire and love.

I wonder where I'll be in my evolution by blog 200. My life and my business have changed radically in the last year, and my forcast is that it will change more in the following year. Thanks for visiting with me. I hope you all will keep coming back. Rarely does anybody make comments, but when I'm out and about I'm always surprised by the nimber of people who tell me they read the blog. So I'll keep posting about Annarella Girl and everything else that catches my attention and I want to share.

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Outstanding Kids Gifts

I've found two etsy sites that have the cutest and most unique gifts for babies and kids.

MyBellaBows makes the most stylish "Beau Ties" a line of neckties and bow ties for little boys. If you've ever thought that there were no cute clothes for boys, here is the answer.

Aren't these just too much? I think they would make a great gift for a newborn. Something to grow into. (And he probably won't get many duplicates.) Or a great dress-up for a ring bearer or wedding guest. You buy a pack of 3 which can grace one little boy or be used as three different gifts. I just love them!!

And while your on her website, MyBellaBows, check out her beautiful hair bows and clips.

Next is Little Alouette. Based in Ohio they create organic wooden teethers, rattles and toys. So cute! And babies love to chew on wood. You can save the edge of your coffee table or table leg with these. Simple shapes with easy-hold-on-to holes or necks.

I love the animals, especially Ellie the Elephant and GiGi the Giraffe. What a great gift for a new baby. They will love it to chew and later to play. Check out their etsy page, littlealouette or website

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'm in Love

Yes, I'm in love with a wonderful dress and the Annarella girl that will wear it. I've been working on a new design for fall and winter. A 3 tier dress. Why the tiers? So that it twirls. When a girl puts on a pretty dress, they invariably twirl. So I decided to make one that had more twirl. But the trick is that it not have too much fabric so it hangs heavily when not in motion. I think I've found the right proportion.
And the palette. Vibrant, saturated colors. Makes for a bold dress. I've made up several different combinations using the new fabrics. So far this is my favorite - blue, orange, green. It is a vivid dress for a vivacious girl.
So here is a sneak peek. What do you think? I've lots more fabric choices and palettes to experiment with.



Friday, July 10, 2009

Heat Wave

We seem to be stuck in a heat wave....correction an ENDLESS heat wave. Forgive the whining. I know we choose to live where our weather battle is heat rather than cold, but that doesn't mean we have to enjoy 100+ day after day. Give us 90-95 degree summer days just for a break!

How do you beat the heat? I try to get any and all errands finished before noon. I find myself creating large salads to eat for dinner. I keep ceiling fans going in most of the rooms. I drink lots of iced water. Not bottled, but speaking of that...have you seen the skating babies ad for Evian water? Click here for "you tube" look.

The weathermen don't see any relief anytime soon. We've already had 20 days over 100. So I will try to think of ways to minimize its impact on me. Its a good thing that the fabrics I'm working with are all cottons. I just don't think I could work with woolens in this kind of weather.

Meanwhile I'm mentally sailing into a COOL sunset for the next couple of days.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Business Decisions from My Workroom

I'm now surrounded by stacks of new fabrics - fabrics for fall and winter. It's taken me awhile to accumulate them because along the way I had to make some decisions on how I wanted to focus. (All that procrastination led to plenty of time thinking about possible options for what I wanted to do about business. My wheels move slowly, but I am comfortable with my decisions.)

I spent some time looking for a glen plaid or houndstooth material like I used last year. Couldn't find what I needed with the fabric content or price point I wanted. But I did keep running into lush cotton prints which felt as soft as silk. So I decided to buy the 100% cotton in small lots and keep my line as limited editions. When I run out of these fabrics, it will be rather difficult to reorder. There will be no run of many duplicates in all sizes. Annarella Girl will remain handmade by me with limited inventory. I know it's difficult to see from these photos how it will all blend together. For me that is part of the creative challenge that I love. You're looking at hours of stacking and restacking to see what can be used and where. And it is the part of these dresses and skirts that make them unique - my play, my vision. So for this year I'm going to stay small, love working with my regular customers and slowly through etsy and regional fairs, build a larger customer base. I want to keep it personal and fulfilling. I don't want to cookie cutter my special Annarella Girls.I'll be doing some fairs this fall. (When I have the list complete, I'l post it here.) You can always visit me on etsy. And my next challenge is how to actively use my Facebook page. I'll always keep you all posted on what's going on in my workroom.

Now let me get to work.