Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things I'm Tired Of

I haven't had a good whine in a long time, but here goes. I'm very tired of a few things that pop up in my life. ie the endless pop up on my computer. I don't mean the ones I can block, but the ones that keep appearing because internet explorer, aol, webroot have decided I really need these. Even though I delete as quickly as possible, apparently they can't take the hint. No I don't want you to save my passwords. No, I don't need the update that you performed yesterday anyway, so why are you asking again. You are my homepage, so what's the deal with asking me if I want to make you my home page? People smarter than I am, more computer savvy than I am, tell me computers know all about me - what I like, where I am, what I want to buy - so why can't it figure out I DON'T NEED OR WANT THESE POP UPS?

I'm tired of polls. If a politician hiccups, someone takes a poll about its possible effect on the upcoming primary or caucus. Give me a break. Aren't there more important issues? I hear all about the negative ads and family values. Tons of words spew forth from the talking heads about how the campaigns are run. But I'm still fuzzy about substantive issues like jobs programs, defense, froeign policy, environment and social programs. Spend more time with those subjects. When Perry forgot the name of a department he wanted to eliminate, it was fodder for comics and news people, but few bothered with why or how he proposed such a drastic measure. Report the hows and whys in depth the same way adultery is handled. Not as salacious? Well, you are reporters. Make it interesting. Make it news when a politician is exaggerating or bending the facts. Isn't that your job? I'm interested in a candidates political past, not so much his personal history. Make them accountable for the statistics they toss around. Let's go beyond the news bite.

I'm tired of prescription drug commercials. Notice when they speak of the side effects, the visual you see is warm and fuzzy - families cavorting, men and women in vigorous healthy activities, beach walking with a dog. What if they were required to run some pictures of the actual physical effects as they talked about them - elders falling over as dizzyness takes hold, a driver of a bulldozer plowing through a wall when his judgement is compromised, men and women doubled over with stomach cramps? You get my drift. Lets have the pictures mirror the words.

So that's my whine for the day. Sometimes I just have to get it off my chest. I feel better now. Tomorrow some pics of new dresses and skirts, including a new softer mix of colors and old-fashioned prints. I'm excited by them. Here's a peek from my cutting table..

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Artist's Voice

I haven't written about my 2 favorite artists in a while, but I see they have both updated their websites with new works. Tyson Skross and Allyson L Smith, young urban and evolving. Living in New York has effected their process, materials and work. (Full disclosure - Tyson is my son and Allyson is my daughter-in-law which in no way detracts from their prodigious talents.)

Art is a silent vehicle for a voice. In their new pieces I can hear them speaking out, processing their personal growth, gritty surroundings and frustrations. Although they are similarily preoccupied with shapes, surfaces and color, they are polar opposites in their expressions.

Allyson is light, slyly humerous and simply complex with repitition of shape and bright colors
There is a sense of childlike wonder at her world and where she is in it. I love her explorations. I want to leap into her canvas and cavort with the shapes. There is joy with a hint of what's around the corner for her viewer to discover.

After flirting with bright colors, Tyson is toned down and concentrating on shapes and surfaces which are layered and worked.. He doesn't expose his complicated view but lets it peek out of all sides of the canvas. He challenges his audience to create its own narrative, rip open its own hidden places.
So spend a little time on their websites. Listen to their voices. I give my interpretation. What's yours? What do you hear?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cruising the Hills of Central Texas

I fel like I've been away so long. Now I am faced with catching up with both paper work and sewing. But before I buried myself in my to do list, here's a brief recap of what I've been doing.

Out-of-town company arrived last Saturday. We spent all that day around the kitchen table talking, laughing, eating and drinking. It was so good to catch up. When you haven't seen someone for awhile, there is that fleeting moment when you register how looks have changed, but as soon as the mouth opens the voice erases all the differences. It comes flooding back why you liked these people so much and how much you still have in common. And by golly, we all unage!

Sunday, a football day, we visited Salado where I found some inspiration for a new group of colors to work on. Can't wait to get started. Then my son, J, and family shared dinner and memories with all. That is, in between kick-offs.

For the next two days we cruised the Hill Country. Up and down, through Burnet, Marble Falls, Llano, Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Luckenbach, laughing and eating all the way. Cooper's BarBQue, The Bluebonnet Cafe, and German food in Fredericksburg. Found more things to laugh about and a few places to explore. Really enjoyed seeing the LBJ ranch. If you ever get the chance its an interesting visit.

Last full day home to Georgetown. Tried a brand new place 50/50 where we munched on haomemade chips dribbled with cheese, tomato, and spices. A definite repeat!!! And finished off on Thurs. morning with breakfast at the Monument Cafe.

Themes - laughter and eating, eating and laughter. Not sure what we did more of. (Sorry I haven't included the websites of all the great places we visited. Trying to make this fast.) Really looking forward to our next rendevous in San Antonio mid-February.

Now, forward to tie up loose ends and then create new!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Company Comin'

Beds are made. Faucets polished. Floors washed. Company is coming tomorrow for 5 days. Old, old friends. We met when we bought our first houses just one apart. We raised children together. Laughed, cried and learned together. Although my family moved away and moved again and again, they have always visited us and created new memories. Don't you love having friends like this?

Can't wait. Of course, this means I may be absent from my blog and facebook for the next few days. Sewing room will be quiet. But I'll be gaining new experiences to share and laughing, laughing, laughing.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Birth of a Cooperative

Last night a dozen diverse women met over drinks and snacks to discuss their creative businesses and the possibility of joining forces. Wow! So many ideas and so much energy as we discovered that we had a lot in common although our creations went in many different directions.

Our ultimate dream for the co-op was very consistent - to have a retail gallery space with workrooms or studios and teaching space. All wanted a permanent place where work could be displayed and sold. Icing on the cake would be to have room for working. As a group they thought it was very important to be able to teach classes - both in their crafts and in business. Quite a big dream, but listening to the free flow of ideas and the energy of these ladies I don't doubt that it is possible.

For now we agreed to begin to explore the nuts and bolts of forming a co-op. You know the dry stuff - the structure, the by-laws, etc. But everyone seems to be willing to share that work which will make it go quickly and smoothly.

So this morning as I sit alone in front of my computer I feel like I'm sharing my space with a dozen supportive voices.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Slice of Cantelope

This morning's dawn had a brief cantelope hue. Love that saturated golden orange! I'm fascinated by the different tints in every dawn. Constantly changing from minute to minute, day to day. Sort of like life. One never knows when or where that slice of cantelope is going to appear. I'm trying to learn to pause and deeply appreciate those flashes.

Working on a different group of colors and patterns. I thought I might be a little crazy when they all came together, but below you can see an almost finished jumper. I find it appealing. Soft and crisp mixed. Envision it over a red, cream or black top and leggings. For the girl who twirls to a different drummer. When it is done and photograped I think you'll fall in love with it, too.

Yesterday had a meeting with Shannon from Simply By Shannon. She was full of tips about facebook. Thanks to her my Annarella Girl page is easier to find. www.facebook.com/annarellagirl My head is spinning with all that she had to pass on. You'll probably notices new things as I process all her tips.

Fellow creators ar incredibly generous with their tips, time and advice. Tonight is the gathering of a group of creative types to meet each other and gauge if we can profit (monetarily, creatively, emotionally wise) by sharing our resources and ideas. Sounds exciting!!!

Forward to another productive day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Too Short Day

Lots to do, places to go, people to see. Busy, busy. Love the tingle of energy I get when the day is full of good events.

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."   John Burroughs
Have a generous day - generous in spirit, generous in heart, generous in time.
PS. Thanks for the feedback on my photos yesterday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More Photo Practice

Lucky you, my readers, You get to critique my latest pic tries. Now that I have better lighting and a better background, I'm working on contrast and brightness. (Some of you must be chuckling. How easy is this. What baby steps she has to take. Just do it. But I am swimming in strange waters here. Not too long ago I couldn't center a picture to save my life.) so here are some of my latest product shots contrasted and brightened. Are they any better?

I'm trying to get product shots that will jump off the page on etsy and really show the fabrics, differnt prints, and the specialness of what I'm making. More practice needed?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Bit of Goodness for My Soul

Found a new blog to follow. Love the images and the voice. She is anything but mediocher. Bonus she introduced me to poet Ruth Stone with the simplicity of her words she captures universal images I can relate to. Go read and let me know if you fall in love like I did. Link is for her January posts. click here

Warm Sunday thoughts.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Are you superstitious? I'm not, or at least not too much. So Friday the 13th is pretty much another day, nothing special or bad luck. Morning started with a glorious red to pink sunrise. Then I proceeded next to a coffee with a friend. She's been helping me with the formation of a craft coop. So far, no bad luck only good.

The craft group is having its first meeting this coming week. I'm exciting, curious and a tiny bit apprehensive. This is a social as well as business get together. A get to know each other. A chance to see what everyone crafts. An opportunity to share dreams. If it all works out we will emerge with a core group who want to grow their business, And goals to do that. I'll fill you in after Wed.

Made two additions to my etsy shop yesterday. (heck out etsy sidebar.) I will do some more over the weekend. Also delivered some of the new headbands to Diva Chicks. Rocking along.For the moment seem to be striking a good balance between sewing, my first love and preferred activity, and taking care of business.

Enjoy your Friday the 13th. Have a joyful day!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Forward in 2012

That's it, my word for this year. I just want to keep moving forward. Little steps to grow my business, toward better health, to connect better with family and friends, to enjoy my life. After a few confusing, challenging, changing years, I am ready to go forward.

Of course, almost didn't happen this morning. It's a blustery winter day here in central Texas. As I lay in bed I decided no walk, but then one look at the expectant Butler and I changed my mind. As we walked out the door, I said FORWARD. Judging by the smile on his face and the spring in his step, I think Butler likes my 2012 word!

Do you have a word to describe your aspirations for the year ahead? I've been following lots of bloggers and their choices. Some I love are innovate, light, joy, challenge. An over all theme is optimism. A feeling that this will be a good year. Listen up politicians, cut out the negativity and join the ground swell to enthusiasm and optimism.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Multi Tasking, Small Business Style

Have you seen the commercial with Dave about the many roles a small business owner has. He's on the phone, meeting customer, making coffee, and fixing the printer. In other words those who run small businesses find them selves doing all the chores from cleaning to marketing.

Well, it's not just the people who multi task.

By day, a conference table

By night, an ironing board

Hanging rack and, oh right, a hanging rack. For a few weeks a year it is a stationary bike, but that is a short life. lol
What objects in your home do you find having more than one function?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Photo Station Shots

Jumper is aflutter with butterflies.

Pink flowers with a paisley ruffle.

Pandering to the Barbie in little girls with pink and black.

Back view of sunny sundress.

I have so much to learn. It's not only the snap of the shutter but also the pinning to the board. I'm hoping my learning curve is steep as I practice, practice, practice. Coming soon to etsy.

Meeting with my partner, Jenny D of Mama Ds for a planning session for 2012. I think it is going to be an amazing year!

As I look this over, I'm very dissatisfied with first pic. Too far away.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Love Hearts

Ta Dum! It's my first practice picture taken in my newly created photo station. Now I have consistent lighting and a plain backdrop where I can pin the clothes, but it will take some practice to produe good product shots. You, professional photogs make it look so easy, but you know it is not. I'll always need you for shots with models, but I need to be able to do product shots for etsy when I finish a garment. I hope to use some model shots for highlights. Anyone have suggestions; I'm open to them. 

The heart material is inspired by Valentine's Day but will look good far after. I love how it looks with the other fabrics.  Nextt I'll try the fabrics in a skirt.

As the new year is unfolding, lots of artists and artisans are choosing a word to craft their year around. Blogger Ali Edwards is credited with starting this notion several years ago, and like all good ideas it has been embraced by many. Here is a link to her 2012 post with all the words her readers have chosen for themselves. Don't have a word of your own yet, go here for inspiration.

Now I'm off to shoot - pictures, that is. For my drought-ridden buddies enjoy this rainy day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Love Notes on a Sunday

Here are a few odds and ends from my desk.

"Make it and love it." I don't remember who wrote this but it was advice to handcrafters on how to be successful. Part of the endless conversations on how to make a creative business flourish. Usually our creations are not based on pop trends or hot products of the moment, although we all hope that our work can become super desired; and when we try to produce something just because we think it can sell, it doesn't succeed because it doesn't come from our passion and hence it is a bit flat or derivitive. So it is a must for the crafter who wants to be around for a long while to put love into their work. It shows in their originality and their evolution as a artist.

"It's your life, live it well." Sage advice from Judge Judy. A wise motto to take us through 2012 and beyond. She's not referring to living wealthy with huge houses, flashy cars, Rolexes, and gigantic TVs, but with a wealth of compassion, caring, and commitment to ourselves and our community. Would that our politicians, ministers, lawyers, police, bankers, etc follow this wise advice. We can all be leaders by example as we live our own lives as well as we can.

Maybe I should have titled this "preachy Sunday." Is it a contradiction that I write loudly and often about living my own life not someone else's? Am I being as hypocritical as those I'm scolding?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Different Morning

Instead of our, Butler and me, usual early morning walk, we went to the dog park this am. I was hoping I could really tire him out for the day without exhausting me. He had a great time. There were lots of dogs to play with and many owners who were willing to pet him and rub his ears. So now he is crashed in my sewing room. Maybe I'll try it again tomorrow. Thinking this is a good weekend thing to do when it is dry.

Picked a name from the list of friends on facebook page, Annarella Girl. Stephanie was number 20 on my list, and that was the number chosen randomly. This was fun. I think in a couple of weeks I'll run another chance. Or I'm thinking I might do it on this blog to encourage comments and new subscribers. It seems you all are very shy about your thoughts. Keep tuned to see what I do next.

Now I'm off to sew. I've got several things cut out just waiting for my fingers. Plus I have more flowers for headbands ready to be jewelled.

Heard a wonderful phrase this morning on NPR. "electronically disinclined" This implies that I could be better with all my devices if I wanted to be. That it is not because my brain is old and forgettful. Funny aside- afore mentioned brain couldn't come up with the word that I was looking for that lumps all our computers, pads, smart phones, etc under a general category. (I think electronics is a bit outdated.) Does anyone out there have any idea if there is such a word? What is it?

Good Saturday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Headbands Galore

Working on some headbands. I'm running a drawing on my new Annarella Girl facebook page. Anyone who likes me and/or makes a comment on it is entered to win a headband. Winner gets first pick of the lovelies. The rest will be on display at Diva Chicks Artful Boutique on 7th St in downtown Georgetown - Texas, that is.

This is the first time I've run a drawing. Have I bored you with it? Or am I doing okay? My next goal is to create a tutorial about making the gathered flower for a headband. I'm trying to push myself to try some new things. And I enjoy reading and trying many of my fellow bloggers' tutorials.

So hang onto your hats, it will either be a great year or dreadfully boring!

Remember to check out facebook page. Just click on highlighted words. Also, don't be shy about subscribing to this blog. Scroll up to subscribe button at top of right hand column, enter email address, submit and you should receive a confirmation in your email box.

Happy first Friday in 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Word of 2012

Kelly Rae Roberts is n inspiration. Somehow she manages to run a very successful creative business while being the mother of an adorable toddler boy, daughter and wife. She spends considerable time teaching and sharing via her e courses and blog. I've learned so much from her. I'm in awe of her energy. Love her words and thoughts.

On her blog she has posted her word for 2012. INNOVATE.
"Innovation means creative thinking, trying on new ways of considering everything and turning every thought upside down, sideways, and so on until an aha hits, until an idea emerges, until inspiration fosters movement."
I don't know about you, but I find this to be a wonderful thought for 2012. It reminds me that it is okay to return to a problem, idea or design over and over, worrying it like a dog with a bone. I don't know which time I will find that aha thought. And often it is not a mega-watt light bulb moment, but a lighting of flickering votives lighting the way, leading to movement.

So I'm going to make INNOVATE one of my words of 2012. This excites me. I think it is a good inspiration for business planning and clothing designing.

What word will you use as a guide in 2012?

Don't forget to go to my new Annarella Girl facebook page. You could be the proud winner of an Annarella Girl headband if you like me and/or comment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Morning

It's a good time to live in Central Texas. (Remind me I said this when I'm whining about our upteenth gadzillion hot day this summer.) Cool, but not cold, under a pale blue sky with a pale yellow sun rising. Gotta love it.

Do you all love colors as much as I do? My dream job would be as the color developer and namer for Crayola. This morning it would be a "washed blue" and a "lemon juice yellow." Wonder what tomorrow will be.

Inside I'm busy playing with fabric colors and prints. Here's a peek of what is on my cutting table. A bit of red, yellow and pink ready to be sewn.

And some hearts for Valentine's Day and beyond. Gonna make some headbands out of this as well as clothes.

Don't forget to join Annarella Girl on facebook. Like me or make a comment this week and you can win a heart headband. Don't have a little girl? Use it to commit an act of random kindness by giving to someone.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Forging Ahead

Got my nerve up yesterday. Ignored my feelings of internet inadeguatcy, inatiquitcy, inadiquatcy (How the devil do you spell it?) I give up. ...feelings of internet impotency. And created a facebook page for Annarella Girl. Check it out. And like me.

Facebook is for quick bits about the business - what's new, what I'm working on, where I'm going and otther trivia. There will be pics. And notices of what is on etsy. Just another way to keep all in my loop. I hope you will like it and become a friend. Click here to see and join.

Flashing to Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech. Picture me leaping up and down, whirling and dancing, shouting "You like me, you really like me!"

Have a happy day. I like you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sewing Tutorial

Just a quick note to share a great blog about learning how to sew. For those who got a machine for Christmas or want to finally conquer their fear of and dust off a machine that is just hanging around, go to sew it and love it. Ashley posted a great tutorial for beginners. Easy to understand, concise and good pics. Check it out and save it. I know I'll share it the next time a grandchild wants to learn to sew.

And look at her other tutorials. She is a born teacher! sew it and love it

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012

Greeted the dawn of 2012 with Butler. It wasn't a spectacular sunrise but calming tints of golds and pinks. Ah ha, I see a dress in there!

A fellow blogger passed along the challenge to sum up 2011 in one word. "Challenging." So many things that I tried didn't work. Worked with a lot of returning customers but didn't create as many new ones as I had hoped. Saw some family members being very challenged by the poor economy. My mother always talked about the natural ebbs and flows of life. That one enjoyed the flows more after experiencing the ebbs. Okay, I'm ready for the flow.

Word for 2012. "Optimistic." Ready for success. Ready to reconnect with some old friends. Ready to find an outlet for giving. Ready to devote some energy to a cooperative group of crafters. Ready for new challenges, new creations, new fun. I'm excited at all the possibilities of what is to come.