Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ah...the Possibilities

This morning I made a drive by drop off at the Austin airport. Butler and I are now on our own for several days. As I drove home the sunrise was was painting the sky in vivid pinks and golds. My eyes drank in the changing clouds and colors. What an awesome display!

I could feel my spirit opening up to the possibilities of what I could do in the coming days. If nature can produce such a brilliant tableau, certainly I can mix my colors and patterns, too, with wild abandon! I'm inspired by the sky, the coming spring blooms, the rows of fabrics in the store, the beautiful dresses online. My creative soul is singing!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Good Thing

There is nothing that can't be conquered on a Monday morning after I've had a good, long, uniterrupted night's sleep!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good and Bad

Can the ugly be far behind? Hope not!

My lovely second sister is going to be working with me on some sewing. I am so excited! She is talented and clever. (I can't believe it, but once while living in Turkey she made a dress for my niece entirely by hand! I am in awe.) So this weekend I'm busy, happily so, organizing a box to send to her. I'm writing lots of notes and including some pictures. Keep your fingers crossed that she will looove the process of creating with me. (I even have my toes crossed.) Beam us your good thoughts!!!

I can't express how wonderful it is to be working with both my sisters - Linda, the poet, and Marsha, the seamstress. If I could think of some way to involve my 2 brothers, I would. If for no other reason than to talk to them regularly. My admiration for the talent, intelligence and sense of humor that runs throughout my family, knows no bounds.

And the bad. I've written fairly recently about the joy that comes from successfully completing a project from the spark of an idea to the finished project. On the flip side this week has seen me struggling and temporarily putting aside a less than successful project. In my mind the design for a dress with sleeves was fresh, sassy and whimsical. In reality it is none of those things. It is tired and muddled. So I must set it aside while I decide if any of the ideas it incorporated are viable. I'm a little sad. And I hate that I've wasted 3 days on a failure. I have always told my children that failing is progress. "You know that you don't have to do that again. You can move forward to the next idea." But this morning failure feels just like itself - a bit like falling down.  Painful!!!

If I'm not posting as regularly as before, it is because I'm busy. Picking myself up, putting on bandaids, and moving on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Thoughts

This came into my mailbox this morning. It is so hopeful and joyful. This is how I'm feeling today!

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome.
Make this optimistic Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sew Happy

The new combinations of fabrics I'm working with are making me so happy. They are a bit crazy like that upside down owl you can maybe make out. I'm feeling sassy, whimsical, and colorful. And that is how I hope my Annarella Girls feel when they wear these dresses.

I'm preparing for a photo shoot in February. That's when I'll begin posting these on facebook. My fall/winter jumpers are still on sale until the end of January. Check them out. Only the sizes shown are available. At $10 off they would make a great gift for now or, thinking ahead, next winter. Click here for my link or go to the sidebar and click.

Above is another teaser. You didn't think I was moving away from pink? It's going to be a grreat spring, I can just feel it in my bones.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Qualities of Life

Among the background noise of my Sunday TV I hard someone talking about what qualities make a great president. Courage, integrity, and patience. Isn't that what we wish for our children to learn and develop? Isn't that what we need to exhibit in our daily lives? Certainly not easy always, but we can do it. By example we can lead our children - be leaders for our children.

I can get pretty preachy on this blog. You probably get very tired of my ranting. But I have a need to speak my mind. I take the risk that you won't agree with me, but my hope is that you will think. You will think about the world around us even if it can be a frightening and frustrating place. You will think about the legacy we leave for future generations. You will think about how to do your best and encourage others to do theirs. You will think about how your actions will impact others. Hey, pretty heavy stuff, isn't it?

I envision my life, my words, my dreams, my best as the pebble dropped into the pond with ripples spreading wide. Never knowing what effect I have but hopeful that at least one person feels better, does better and passes it on. I believe in the power of one. When I think back on my life, there are people who inspired me - a teacher, a mentor, a sibling, a parent, a child, a friend. As a gathering they've made me a better person - more caring, more daring, more compassionate, more sympathetic - often in small ways, but I still practice and try to improve every day by remembering their words and actions.

Hero? No. At most I hope that I've encouraged my children and grandchildren to lead good lives. Maybe a friend is happier for knowing me. Maybe a customer smiles when seeing what I create. Maybe the good and happiness spread in the pond of humanity. A ripple of smiles and caring.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

To the NRA

The discussion is about gun control, not gun abolition. Can you talk about that?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beauty Calls

It looks like a random jumble of fabrics at first glance, but to me I see 4 dresses calling. This is my playground. Yesterday, after finishing a special order, I started lining up different colors and prints to make some sample dresses for spring and summer. There is a mix of new and old materials. Definitely a blend of colors - bright but often slightly ivory rather than white. Flowers, paisleys and geometrics. My imagination runs wild.
With anticipation and excitement I'm ready to take up my shears and cut! Create!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Dress

As I start this morning with sunshine and coffee, I celebrate a new sample dress. I love the way it came together. I found myself smiling at each step.

 Tiny changes. I've started putting my labels inside in stead of on the back. What do you think? Leave it inside or go back to outside?
Also, just for fun, different straps.A takeoff on the wearing different socks or wearing different earrings. I think it is a bit sassy and whimsical.
I'm always tweaking my patterns. I just can't help myself. That's the beauty of having my own business, I can do what I want. So far I've been lucky to have all my wonderful customers applaud my tweaks. Thanks, guys!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fallen Heros

I live near Austin, Texas - Lance Armstrong country. Like so many others I didn't want to believe that he used performance enhancing drugs and procedures to ensure his reign at the top of the cycling world. I wanted to believe his story - a rise by hard work from cancer against all odds. This fall I finally accepted the overwhelming evidence and sadly left my hero.

With many millions I will watch his interview with Oprah. What do I hope to gain from it? An understanding of the culture of competition which has given rise to cheating? I'm not sure. Maybe I am like the bystander who can't take his eyes off the horrific train crash. I want to look away but I still can't believe it is happening. "Say it isn't so, Joe."

Do any of you out there care? Is it a stretch to question if this is a result of a money driven culture? Or is it part of the celebrity cult - fame at any cost? I don't know.

On a much lighter note, I'm making my first sundress in at least a month. Before the holidays I did lots of skirts. But now I have the time to work with some new palettes and fabrics to make some sample dresses. Feels good. I am smiling. Cotton materials are smooth and silky as they run through the sewing machine. I'm getting ready for a photo shoot in February. Sneak peek coming soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blooms in My Garden

This Monday morning my eyes and fingers are dancing through my fabric gardens.

A bit of whimsey in Valentine's Day hearts for a couple of special orders. I love mixing them with flowers.

Then some new fabrics for spring dresses. I'm absolutely in love with the teal and orange. Designer calls it curry. Sounds so much more exotic.

And my garden must have some butterflies - soaring and swooping among the blossoms.

Although I don't dig in the dirt, plant seeds or design garden paths, I am happy, happy, happy among my sewing room blossoms this Monday morning.
Enjoy your day. Breathe deeply and smell the roses.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Winter Sunday

This morning brings on a sunny start, but coooold. (Any temperature in the 30's qualifies as very cold here.) At least no rain.

Much to the dog's disgust I don't do a whole lot of walking in frigid weather. Despite my ample insulation, I don't like the cold. I want to curl up under a blanket and move as little as possible. My meals include a lot of my comfort foods. Nothing hugs warm comfort like casseroles. Why don't men like casseroles? Is it because they can't identify all the ingredients? Or maybe because they are easy? Or because they make great leftovers, and the men know they will be seeing them again and again? and I like them for all of those reasons!

What are your favorite foul weather foods? Soups? Meat and potatoes? Stews? I could exist happily during our cold snaps on chicken noodle soup, meat and rice or noodle casseroles, chili (especially with corn bread) and warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. How about you?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Little Sunshine on a Rainy Day

As you can see, I'm back with photos. Hurray!! So I celebrate with a photo of my granddaughter, Ryann, in her Christmas gift skirt and her doll with her matching skirt. It makes me smile!!!
Why I do what I do - I like happy girls.
Have a smiling Saturday.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dream of a Pink Pencil

It's a new poem from Linda Appel in response to my blog of Jan. 7, "Little Things Mean a Lot.". Enjoy!!!
Dream of a Pink Pencil
The pink pencil you found
tucked in your Christmas stocking
was inscribed "Love is all you need,"
and you take delight in those trochees,
that make the music of your days.
I dream of your pink pencil
becoming mine, and I shave
away a cone of painted wood, exposing
a point of graphite with which to write the words:
great words, more words, many many words
of truth, both yours and mine. They uncoil
from the end of the pencil as the wood shavingv curled
away, but I fear I'm losing the best ones,
still locked in the bits of lead dropped
into the trash as I sharpened it.
But there are plenty more words to affix
to the paper, so I go with the ones I have. Sorting
them, rearranging them as diffeerent parts of speech
until the pencil point goes dull.
I sharpen it again and wait
for the words, the strong words,
the beautiful and beloved words to scroll
off the pink pencil, giving me
all I need to make a poem.
Linda Knowlton Appel
1/8-9, 2013
Bravo, Linda.  I love your strong, beautiful, beloved words that you share with me.
Ps. Unicorn Farts is a lip balm made by Long Winter Farm based in Maine. Can't you just imagine what fun they have with names during those long winters? And it is soothing and good.
PPS. pink pencil is from Earmark, social paper goods. Great stuff. They can be found on pinterest and facebook, also. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Old Fart

I follow a blog by an artist in Pennsylvania, Judy Grupp. She has experienced the same frustration as I with uploading pics.She has solved the problem but is not happy about it, and her daughter has accused her of being an "old fart" because ahe complains. The solution involves using Google Chrome. Most of us writers/bloggers use microsoft programs. Now, it seems that microsoft and google have decided not to talk to each other. It is bad enough when children argue, threaten and "take their marbles and go home," but I must shake my head when billion dollar corporations have tantrums.

When I get a spare hour or 2, I will learn how to use google chrome, but like Judy I will be mumbling and whining. Please, spare me any more changes because you, google, can't/won't talk to microsoft. Or at the least, give me warning. I have lots of pictures sitting in my windows files.

It is difficult to blossom when surrounded by nettles.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To Resolve or Not to Resolve, That Is the Question

The New Year...time for planning, setting goals, and, dare I say, make resolutions. I heard a funny story yesterday. Some TV show was reading resolutions from their audience, my favorite was from an 80 year old. "Been there. Done that. I'm all over that." Ah, with age, does come wisdom.

But resolutions do have their worth. They give us goals and plans for the year. I find it works best for me if I keep them small and specific. For several years I've changed my annual weight loss goal from "lose 100 pounds," to meet next Christmas 15 lbs lighter." This strategy has worked for the last 2 years, so I'm keeping it. By the time I'm 80 I will have been there, done that. Ta Dum! Small steps.

Last year I joined the blogging movement and chose a word to frame my business and goals. "Forward." It was a good mantra for me. Often I get stuck in the quick sand of broken goals. Many of you know the drill.  A stumble leads to giving up. For instance as I plan my year and pick what shows I want to do, I dream of new audiences from some of the bigger venues. When I'm rejected by the planners, I fall apart. I give up on the dream. By reminding myself of the simple word, FORWARD, last year I didn't fall on my face. When rejected I used it as an opportunity to rethink and retool but in a forward direction, maybe diagonal but forward. Small steps.

This year I'm borrowing from Kelly Lefky, That's Mrs Mediocrity to You. She posted a picture and blog that spoke to me. "Blossom."

turn your face
 to the sky
 and blossom

So that's my goal word - blossom. Since I love flowers. Relish watching spring blooms. Work with flowered fabrics. It makes sense for me on so many levels. Business wise and personally I want this to be a year when my petals unfold in splendor. Sappy!!! Yes, yes, yes. But I'm loving the image of growth and beauty. It is going to be a good year.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Little Things Mean a Lot

It's over. The last light is gone. Goodbye to the glittery balls. So long to the cookies and candies. It will be a quick year, and then Christmas will be back.

Meanwhile I smile. As I use a new pencil, it is pink and says " is all you need,"  I remember opening our gifts. Unicorn farts make my lips feel soft. Black licorice calls my name. New slippers call me to dance. New shirts keep me warm while winter visits. New music cd's fill me with energy. Love, love, love it all!!!

To my family, you all did very well. You leave me smiling with memories.

(Don't know what is going on, but I can't insert an image. And I had several. Anyone else know what to do when the browse button is gone?)