Monday, January 31, 2011

New Design

Its been a good week here. First we who live in Central Texas have been treated to sunny, warm - in the 70's weather. Hooray! Lots of time spent outdoors revelling in the caress of warm sun on my face. Today is suppose to be the last day of warmth. Then we will be plunged back into frigid temps. Of course, nothing like you all in the NorthEast or MidWest, but for us the 30's are brrrrrr.

With a little bit of spring fever brewing last week, I went shopping. I stumbled over a special supply of onsies. They sparked an idea. For babies I love the ease of onsies. Easy to put on, stretchy and comfortable, and easy to wash. But I don't want to make them - really dislike working with lightweight knits. My light bulb moment saw an adorable baby onsie with an attached skirt. Rather like a tutu,but in the soft, colorful cottons I love working with. After several days of research I was ready to try my hand at creating something, cute, comfortable and Annarella Girl-ish. Take a peek at two.

Let me know what you think. First is size 0-3 months. Next is 6 months. This week I hope to borrow a baby to try them out for comfort. And to make sure I got the proportions right. I'll post a picture if this step is successful.
Don't you love it when a creative idea actually developes into a finished product?
Have a snuggy week. Be kind to all you meet. I heart kind people.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday and Thursday @ Mama Ds

Every Tues. and Thurs. finds me at Mama Ds retail and work space. Tucked into a tiny kitchen in a red historic bungalow, I'm there to greet people who come to shop or pick up special orders. To be frank I'm not very busy with walk-in customers. We're a bit off the beaten track. But this is not wasted time because I am busy sewing. For instance today I'm finishing up a sundress in size 5. Then starting a romper in size 12-18 months. So it is productive time there.

If you're around Georgetown, stop in and see me. Take a peek at what I'm working on. Look at all the handbags, bibs, burp cloths, dresses, skirts, headbands. Or pick out fabrics for your custom order. Mama Ds and Annarella Girl love working on special orders. We take great pride in the quality of our workmanship. Everything is made to be used and loved. Since parenthood is enough of a challenging gig, we want you to be able to relax with the easy care of what we make, but at the same time be proud of how beautiful everything is.

You don't need to be buying to stop in and see me. Just say hello. Mama Ds is at 407 West University Ave, Geogetown, Texas. Although I'm there only on Tues and Thurs 11-4, the store is open from Tues. through Sat 11-4. If you're making a special trip to see our space, call 512-845-4042 to make sure someone is there. Jennifer D has 3 children and is sometimes called away from her time at the store to care for sick kids. Such is the nature of small creative businesses. Sometimes families take precedent.

Off to sew. See you at Mama Ds.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mad about Madras

Does anybody out there remember the first time madras plaid was popular? This dates me, but I coveted all things mardras when I was growing up. It was so Ivy, League that is. So classic and smart. In the olden days it faded every time it was washed and became softer with each wearing. Skirts, dresses, Bermuda shorts, golf pants, and sports jacket. These were cool before cool was hip! Add weejuns on your feet, without socks, of course, and we went dancing, shopping, and school. Coooooool.

This week I've been working with madras patchwork fabric. It can be a real pain, but I'm carried on clouds of remeniscences through the picky work to a place of teen joys. I still love the look of madras. It is no longer made to fade with each washing. It is already soft. Now it is just heavenly colors and good looks.

Here's what is hanging on my door waiting to be photographed. -3 dresses, a romper and a skirt. All using some madras mixed in with other fabrics. Pink. green and blue - pastel smart!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Power of Hugs

This morning on the Today Show a relationship expert said a husband should hug his wife for 30 seconds a day. This will get her endorphines going. If she feels better, the relationship will be better.

Great thought. Parents should make sure they hug their kids daily for 30 seconds. Kids should hug their parents for 30 seconds. Hug a friend. Hug a spouse. We'll all feel better. And relationships are bound to be good.

Yesterday I stopped by J Bryant Boyd Architect, (a creative, honorable archiect with many beautiful homes to his credit.) to see my son, the draftsman and office manager. He's been sick this week but was back at work. I felt he needed a hug. In reality I needed a hug. Not for any good reason but just because. I also have a very good friend who works parttime there. So I got to get a hug from her. Didn't think too much about these hugs but went on my merry way with a smile. Feeling good! Then when the expert mentioned the power of hugs, I immediately thought back to yesterday and how good those hugs made me feel. I had powerful endorphins for several hours. So simple! So pwerful!

So give hugs today - friends, partners, children, spouses. You will feeeeel so good!!!

inspired by a Texas sunset....romper, size 18-24 months...doesn't make you smile?
(top) inspired by a Carribean island....skirt size medium...makes me feel warm and sunny.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In the wake of Martin Luther King day, I've noticed a lot of chat about being kind to one another and helping each other. Hooray! I hope this mood lasts a long time. I heart kind people.

Here are some pics from my sewing room. The skirt is loaded with love. Perfect for Valentines Day and beyond.
This romper is inspired by the blue skies and new greens of spring. I know it is coming... sometime.

When you are out and about today, spread some kindness.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It's been a good week here in my sewing room. As I continue to work with my new fabrics (last ones are seen above), I am feeling productive. Always a feel good thing.

Jennifer of Mama D's and I have picked the spring shows we will be applying to. As we get accepted, we'll let you know. In light of positive thinking I'm using the possibilities to set my production goals. So far that's working for me. Do you all need deadlines to motivate yourselves?

skirt, size large (7-8) One of a kind - last of the bird fabric.

As I work blissfully away, I watch TV. This week has been a sad one. Lots of coverage about the shootings in Tucson. Everyone asking why? I'm glad to see the gun control debate opening again since it is an area where we need some reform. But I'm not to hopeful. Ever since I saw in the assasination attempt of President Reagan the gunning down of James Brady which led his wife and he to unsuccessfully lobby for limited gun control, I lost hope for some common sense legislation for the sales and ownership of weapons meant to kill and maim many in a mere matter of seconds. On a brighter note there were many heroes that day. People who did everything they could to comfort and care for the victims. There were many in the chaos who demonstrated the good side of humanity. Thanks!

Enough ranting. On this rainy Saturday I'm cutting out dresses, skirts and rompers to work on next week. Looking forward to snacking on a pot of vegetable soup made by my husband. (Isn't he a dear!) And watching an old movie or two. Along that line I finally watched "Julie and Julia" after the holidays. Now I've finished the book. Really, really enjoyed it. Sometimes it made me very hungry, but more often left me in horrified awe over the lengths Julie had to go to in order to make the recipes. Really hack sawing bone to get the marrow. Or the killing of the lobsters. Left me being very thankful for supermarkets and fine restaurants!!! And that pot of soup. Yum.

Leaving you with a Texas sunset inspired dress. For real these colors are not uncommon at the end of my day. Loving peach and blues. Have a good weekend. Be kind to one another even that driver that cuts you off, shopper who jumps in checkout line and the mother of the screaming kid. I heart kindness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Etsy Sale

Making room for new spring designs. (You've been getting a sneak peek of some.) I have just posted 4 samples for sale in my etsy shop. Check it out. These are one of a kind, no special orders or additional sizes available. Hope these samples find their way to some lovely girl!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Inventory Countdown

(sundress, size 3 - dark material is a rich purple.)

10 garments done - 6 dresses, 2 rompers, 2 skirts. Lots more dresses than others. It takes longer to make them, but they are most popular.

I'm really, REALLY having fun working with the new fabrics. And mixing in pieces from last year and the year before. Most of what I'm making now can be replicated in other sizes, but occasionally I slip in a fabric that I'm almost out of.

At this point, as I experiment with different combinations, I work in the smaller sizes. A little faster and not so much material wasted if I don't like the way it turns out. If you see something you like, I'm always happy to make a larger size when requested.
10 down, 75 to go!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Holidays Over?

How do you know when the holidays are over?

When the last Chrismas cookie is eaten.

Here is one of my baking helpers. She did a great job! The cookies were as pretty as they were delicious. Long gone.

When all the bed linens are changed, towels are washed and guest rooms are back to normal - empty. (A little sad.)

When outside lights are off and inflatables are deflated puddles, awaiting the helpers to come and put back in the attic for another year.

When the last gift card is spent. I went to DSW yesterday to get a new pair of New Balance shoes. Hooray!

When I'm back to work. My sewing room is awash in new, bright fabrics. The sewing machine is humming. I'm all smiles as the rack of new dresses, rompers and skirts grows.

(pink, blue romper size 12-18 mos)

You can find me on Tuesday and Thursday at Mama Ds, 407 University Ave, Georgetown Texas.

When the inside decorations are down and packed into their bins. Holiday linen and rugs laundered.

Only one step left before the festivities are behind me. Finding the one elusive item which has escaped all notice until every box and bin is in the attic. Where does it hide? How does it know it is time to appear, that I thought I had found everything?

Good bye to one of the best holiday season ever!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ABC's of My New Year

Appreciation - I have so many good things in my life - an awesome family who I love being with. If I haven't told you how much I love you lately, forgive me. Daily I think of you and give thanks for having you in my life!

Balance - I'm trying to learn how to have a place in my life for work and play. Last year I was better at taking time to relax, but I still need lots of practice at play. My self worth is all tangled up in my work. Can I learn that I am valuable when I'm not working?

Creativity - When I exercise my crafty muscles, I am so joyful. I feel like I am soaring with possibilities. As always my challenge is to support my creative life financially. Ahhh the challenge for almost all artists and crafters.

Thoughts from my workroom. Have a productive day with your ABCs.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I know, I know...2 posts back to back, but with the chaotic holiday pace, I missed this post on my son's blog. Of course, typical for him, he didn't mention it to me. Now I've stumbled across it so I must share.

Tyson Skross and wife, Allyson Smith, have made some momentous changes and a friend, Greg Nay, wrote an interesting and insightful piece on their leap into the unknown. Here is the link to the blog.

You can see why I am so in awe of these two artists, Tyson and Allyson. New York treat them well!

The Things I Loved about 2010

It was a good year here at my household filled with lovely moments! I feeel the necessity to recall the highs; to remember and record the why of a successful 2010.

First was the successful Wilmington Flower Market in May. Annarella Girl clothes sold well. Excitingly there were many return customers full of praise for dresses and skirts lovingly worn throughout the year. And a suprising number of mothers who were pregnant in 2009 and came to find me with their new babies. Of course they bought something. It was a real lovefest!! For those readers who are crafters you know how great it is when people praise your work and call you genius...absolutely sublime! I am compelled to repeat Sally Fields memorable Oscar acceptance speech. "You love me. You really love me!"

Finding Mam D's has been great. Jennifer D and her Mom have given Annarella Girl a home. And just as important, they have given me someone to bounce ideas around with, advice on sewing techniques and goals to share in growing my business. Although my family tries to be attentive when I babble on about a slight change in design or a new show to try, I can see their eyes glaze over after a minute or two. Mama Ds allow me to explore ideas with endless enthusiasm. Thanks!

Last summer founded Grammy's Summer Camp, or so I like to call it. My grandchildren are getting old enough to spend days at a time with me. Luckily I have the greatest grandchildren in the world who enjoy being with each other so hosting them is easy. We saw some movies, played on water slides, went to the library, and built forts. We all had a good time doing a lot of nothing special. The older ones took care of the younger ones. Clean up was a team activity. I gained a greater respect for just how wonderful and unique they were. What fun!!

Over Labor Day weekend all of my siblings and spouses, some of their children and grandchildren spent 4 days on the Red River in Maryland. It is an all too rare event for us to be together at the same time as we are spread out all over the country. So it was a very special time. I loved those early morning coffees overlooking the river waiting for the eagles to appear. Quiet talk and laughs as we caught up with each others lives. More talk and mental exercize over the jigsaw puzzle - always a gathering place. We ate very well, but no crabs. I could wax on melodic over what an intelligent, good looking, funny and talented family we are, but a wise sibling suggested it was because we were so distant from each other that I was allowed to hold on to my illusions of extraordinariness. Ah well, isn't that what family suppose to do, bring you back down to earth? Despite his cynicism, for weeks, months and onto today I hug close the loving memories of this family reunion.

Sadly October brought the death of my mother-in-law, Ethel Curtis Skross. I got to spend a lot of time with her in the last weeks. Good memories.I talked and talked even when she was incapable of answering but felt we were sharing memories. She lived a long life and saw many changes in her world. I admired her energy and spirit of fun. May she be dancing in heaven!!!

A girls week in Naples, Florida was a treat. When you can be with old friends who know and accept all your ugly "warts," it is better than any spa. I left their company feeling as well as one can possibly be after a glorious week of doing nothing but relaxing.

Finally, it was a happy Christmas here. Three children with spouses and six grandchildren filled my house and heart with love and laughter. Since everyone pitches in with the meal shopping, planning and cooking, I'm never over worked. Even the cleaning and decorating was handled by the husband. so it was a most relaxed holiday! What fun to share in everyone's excitement opening and then using the presents.

So in retrospect I see my year was restful and loving. Yeah!!! I have high hopes that 2011 will be more of the same.
(Above - sundress, size 3, mix of old and new fabrics.)