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.