Saturday, January 31, 2009

Freeze frame

Well, today was an interesting "learning" experience. Turns out, maybe studio shoots aren't so fun after all! I think the kiddos got a little bored with our white backdrop and had a hard time staying "in focus"....pun intended! However, April was able to get some great shots as she always does! We ran out of models & time before we ran out of clothes, so my mannequin/dress form got quite the work out today!

Afterwards I was feeling a little artsy fartsy, so since I don't have any little models of my own I took the doggies out on this beautiful day for their own little photoshoot!

My Beautiful Bella:

Bella's Mug Shot
Up close and personal

My Sweet Paris:

As about as enthused as a typical 2 year old...
This one really cracks me the foamy drool at the corner of her mouth. Gotta love those jowls!
If you were to accuse me of wasting time right now, it would be rightfully so. Have you ever had so much to do that you actually freeze? Sometimes I work better under pressure....well most of the time actually. But today and the past couple of days I have been frozen. I'm hoping that tomorrow I will "thaw out" and get lots accomplished.

My schedule that I made for myself has still been working pretty well to some extent. Monday, I had to forgo bill/paperwork day because I had too much to do to get ready for the shoot. I did laundry every day instead of two days. Things are still getting done, however I can see my housework slipping and have seriously considered calling up my old housecleaner who hasn't been here since Christmas 2007 to do some deep cleaning. I think this would keep me on track for at least a while until I am able to get caught up.

Oh, and I'm still accepting volunteers for my booth at Cottontails on March 6 & 7. Come on friends! Help a sistah out! Ok, enough gabby from me....I gotta get something done around here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Everybody, let's VOGUE!

April from Once in Every Life came over this afternoon and set up her mini studio in my garage. It is so cool to have it here! Please excuse my storage in the background, but it was so neat to have all of this here in my home, that I had to share some pics. I help her set up a little and we did some test pics....took a few shots on the dress form too. Tomorrow is going to be awesome! We are trying to shoot 30 mix and match pieces with 4 little girls (ages 3 & 4) in 2 hours. I think we can do it, but it will be a fun sort of chaos I believe!

I played around a little myself - of course I didn't turn any of her lights on....hence the shadows and bad lighting/coloring....but it sure does look better than those awful pics I used to take in the beginning with my poor mannequin sitting in some oddball place in my house with even worse lighting. Here's a peek at the one I took....

In the past, I have made you wait to see the upcoming season's line, but I probably won't be able to hold out too long for this one. I mean, the website release isn't until July! However, I figure if it is already in showrooms in Dallas and Atlanta, then you - my loyal readers - should be able to get a peek too!

I am hoping to be able to take some more pictures of the photoshoot in action tomorrow, but we'll see how that goes. One thing at a time, right? For now, I need to put some finishing touches on several pieces for the shoot. G'Night!

Crunch time...

Wow, this week has been nuts. The nuttier part is, the craziness is just beginning!

If you read regularly, you may remember that I had applied to take part in Cottontails Village back in July 08. Well, several months later I received my deposit back in the mail. They will only accept a certain number of vendors from each category, and mine - Children's Clothing - was already full. :-( They told me that they would keep my application on file and let me know if anything opened up. Well, I had pretty much hung that idea up and thought "Better luck next year!" and moved on. I had already decided that even if they called me in November and told me I got in, that there was no way I would have enough time to prepare.

Well, low and behold....they called. Friday, January 23rd. My first reaction was to say no....I mean, I'm not crazy right? Wrong...I am. I told them let me think about it and I'd call back that afternoon. I called around to a couple of people whose opinions I trust and both said DO IT! "If it is a chance to make money, why wouldn't you?" Right. Called back....said yes.

So anyway, now I am officially going crazy and the sleepless nights have begun. Tomorrow is my Fall/Holiday 2009 photoshoot. It is here at my house, which is a mess. The clothes aren't completely finished and not only do they have to be ready by 9am tomorrow morning, but they have to be shipped to my Dallas and Atlanta show rooms by Monday, PLUS finish up my line sheets and have them printed. Yikes.

Photo by Johanna Cosby
In the meantime, I have a million ideas running through my head about what the *&$%#* I'm going to make to sell at Cottontails. I mean, I have virtually NO INVENTORY and only 4 weeks to make enough to sell there. Even with the economy being in its current state, Cottontails is a huge event here in Birmingham and many vendors sell out of their entire inventory before the 3 day show is even over! OH - and don't forget - I don't have a booth display yet! My dear friend Ginny designed one for me and it is quite good, but it requires Jason's carpentry skills and several people helping me paint one day....friends? Volunteers? Please???? I also need help manning my booth on Friday Saturday and Sunday as well as help setting up on Thursday. Friends? Volunteers? Please????

So, as you can see, things are a little nuts. I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night. Laid there. A jillion thoughts running through my head. No sleep. Up at 6am sewing. Had to take a minute out to share this craziness with those who read here! So, it's back to work for me. I have several outfits to finish up before tomorrow as well as a house to clean. me if you can help at all!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sewing Room Revamp - AGAIN!

My poor sewing room is so confused. It gets rearranged at least once a quarter. Usually due to some sort of new machinery, or sewing table I have bought. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out, but of course pictures still make it look like a wreck and don't really do it justice. SO, to make you understand what I'm working with, I am sharing a picture of the sewing room "during" the transformation when it was complete chaos!

Sewing Room Chaos

Now, for some "afters". I believe you can click the photos to enlarge them....

January 09 - 012

I was finally able to bring in my clothing rack so it is not taking up space in the guest bedroom!

January 09 - 013

Ok, I need a new cable cord for my new tiny tv. This one is about 20 feet long!

January 09 - 014

I left the door to the closet open for this picture because I cleaned it out too! Made room to move the filing cabinet (which used to double as a printer stand!) into the closet. On the closet door is my ironing board....very handy.

January 09 - 015

Loving my cutting table. It folds up all tiny so I can have room for....more stuff I guess!

January 09 - 007

To the left of this table is where my serger will go. It is a big old monster of a thing and it just hasn't made it upstairs yet. Any volunteers?

And, as you can see none of my wall hung things are centered anymore since everything has been moved around.

January 09 - 008

Moved the embroidery machine to here. I was told it is not good to have them this close to windows...I guess because of humidity. However, I really have no choice. Also, it makes it so much easier to get on both sides of it when it is here.

So, that is the grand can see I still have a little work left to be done, but overall I am very pleased with the turn out. It is super functional now which I suppose is the most important thing!

If anyone else has had a sewing room re-do I would love to see it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Great Start to Spring 09

Today was the first Spring 09 trunk show for SDD and it went really great! It was an awesome start to the season. Tomorrow, I am shipping the trunk to the Mobile area for another show on the 31st for hostess Rhonda Williams. I know Rhonda's show will be great too....I mean check out her precious model daughter!

I totally credit Sarah Kate (and my awesome photographer of course) for the popularity of this outfit!

Anyway, it was really hard to get back in "show mode" today after being out of it for almost 4 months, but now that it has started I'm ready to go full speed ahead! This week should be pretty crazy week....I have another photoshoot for the Fall/Holiday 09 line on Saturday. The line is shipping out to our Dallas and Atlanta showrooms on Feb. 2 and I have to get it finished for the photoshoot and then packed and shipped! I only have a few more outfits to make, but I am having to make doubles so there will be samples for both showrooms. Want a sneak peek? Here is a little glimpse at Holiday 09. This photo was taken by Johanna Cosby of her sweet daughter Pearson!

This is a two pieces set available separately...the top is an apron style dress that crosses in the back . The dress underneath is the long sleeve version of Spring 2009's Peasant Dress "Mayme". This line will probably be available beginning in July or August 09 and I have great news! I have General Conformity Certificates for everything from the Fall/Holiday 09 Line! Which means they are all completely compliant with the CPSIA. My fingers are still crossed that something will change with this act, but in the meantime, Sweet Dreams Designs is doing what it can do to stay in business and stay compliant.

Ok - that's all for me tonight. About to start a busy week! Have a great one...and SWEET DREAMS!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New "office" of sorts....

I've been on Jason for the past 3 months about getting my antique roll top desk from Clanton and bringing it here. However, that chore just doesn't sound like much no trailer and no help....and it is a HUGE desk! Very heavy. So, this week I had had enough of working off of a tv tray so I decided to just cover this folding table with a cloth and go ahead and set up my new "office" where I wanted it.

We have a great "nook" or sitting area in our bedroom that never gets used. Well...except by Bella who loves this chair. It is actually HER chair now. We have two of them just alike, but she favors this one for some reason! Anyway, our bedroom is the largest room in the house and no one is ever in there except to sleep. My sewing room is absolutely maxed out on space....I mean I'm spinning in circles in there. So, I decided to move my computer, and all office related things our of there and into the nook. Jason is not thrilled with it because 1.) he hates this table and 2.) It is in our bedroom.

Having an office in the bedroom has its ups and downs. Up - more space. Down - have to get off the computer when Jason goes to 8:30! Up - I don't stay up all night on the computer. Ok, so more Ups than that's good, right?

Anyway, the pictures above are of the new "office", my office assistants, and my office assistants after a long day's work! I am moving my serger into the sewing room tonight, now that I have room. So, tomorrow I will post before and afters of the sewing room, but for now I must get to work!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Friends are the best

Just a quick little post about my sweet friends....

Over just the past three days alone, I have had two friends spread the word about SDD to stores or potential customers. Of course, all of my friends have always been so great about advertising for me and I credit a lot of my success to that alone. SO.....thank you dear friends for your help, word of mouth advertising, and of course your friendship!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Year's Resolution Week

Ok, for real this time....

I only made one resolution for myself this year....usually it is something like counting calories or going to the gym, yadda yadda get the idea. This year, I decided to go for something a bit more realistic and something that would truly "change my life" if I did it. Now, I don't mean anything profound when I say that....I just mean get my life in order kind of change my life....ya know?

Ok, so what is it? Get on a schedule! Today was the first day of my new schedule, which was great because I have deamed Sundays as "family day" or at least on my calendar it says "No Work Today"! Here's a little run down of what I'm looking at as far as my new schedule goes:

Sundays - No work
Mondays - Laundry, Bills, Paperwork, Clean House
Tuesdays - Cut pieces (to sew or deliver to Judy), Sew
Wednesdays - Deliver cut pieces (every other week), Sew
Thursdays - Laundry, Maintain Clean House, Embroidery
Fridays - Run Errands, Sew
Saturday - Shows

So that was a brief version of the calendar....looking back I'm thinking I probably SHOULD add "excercise" or "gym" to at least three of those days!

We'll see if I can keep this shouldn't be too hard, but will just take discipline. I really must start getting up earlier too, which means I probably need to go to bed earlier goodnight!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Had 2 show cancellations and would love to fill in the blanks if anyone is interested in hosting a show this season! If you have EVER had any interest in hosting a SDD Show, now is the time. I have decided to make this the last season that I do Trunk Shows due to....well, many things.

It is so hard for me to do all of this myself - sew, host shows, travel, etc. Yes, I have Judy who is a HUGE help, but with Trunk Shows and the Atlanta and Dallas Showrooms, I'm just not sure we can keep up. SO, obviously something has to go and unfortunately it is most likely going to be my traveling for Trunk Shows. I do have my two regulars in Atlanta and Alex City that I will continue to do shows for if they wish to do so - can't forget about the people who helped me get my start! Thanks Leanne and Erica!

This is the Spring schedule - please contact me if you are interested in hosting a show or attending one in your area!

Spring 2009 Trunk Shows

1/25 – Tiffany Sanders – Childersburg, AL
1/31 – Rhonda Williams – Satusuma, AL
2/5 – Alex Hare – Hoover, AL
2/7 – Mericia Cruz – Thorsby, AL
2/9 – 2/14 – Leanne Calhoun – Alexander City, AL
2/21 – Erica Hurley – Atlanta, GA
2/28 – Donna Welling – Hoover, AL
3/21 – Emily Locklear – Trussville, AL
3/27 – Brandy Wallis – Harpersville/Vincent, AL

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Special

Check out my new listing on Etsy for a super Valentine's Day Special!

My new camera!

So, I'm no photographer but my other point and shoot camera had really seen better days. You know how quickly technology changes. I had my other Sony CyberShot for 4 or 5 years which in the camera world is a LONG time! Anyway, I finally upgraded to a new Sony Cybershot. It is called a "bridge" camera which is a cross between a digital SLR and a point and shoot. I had been saying I was going to wait and get a super fancy camera once I had a child, but who knows when that will be! ha....

Anyway, I took a few pictures to test it out today and wanted to show off my "little" girls!

CPSIA and the Consumer - from Patty Young

Patty Young is the designer of many of the fabrics used in my Fall 2009 Collection - please read her blog post about the CPSIA below.

From Patty Young @ ModKidBoutique (Link below)

CPSIA and how it will affect YOU, the consumer

If you read my blog chances are you also read other craft-related blogs out there and are probably sick of seeing the acronym CPSIA all over the web. I hope you don't turn away when you see the title of this post because you think this is some sort of industry-related stuff that does not pertain to you, the consumer, the buyer. Just give me a couple of minutes to explain how this law will also affect you, if it indeed goes into effect on February 10th, 2009.If you think the internet is saturated with CPSIA rants that is because February 10th is right around the corner and people are finally starting to realize that it's too close for comfort.Here are a few questions I'd like to ask you:

  • Have you purchased handmade, or "boutique," clothes or accessories for your kids in the past?
  • Have you ever gone into your local family-owned toy shop in search of unique toys for your children? Something perhaps you can't find at Walmart or Toys R Us?
  • Have you ever received a handmade quilt, baby blanket or pillow for your child?
  • Have you ever purchased anything for your child at a local arts & craft fair? or at your school? or at your church?
  • Have you ever commissioned a special piece of furniture (crib, rocking chair, high chair, doll house) from a local artisan?
  • Have you purchased anything on Etsy, and I mean anything (jewelry, shoes, toys, clothes, hairbows, bibs, burp cloths, blankets, booties, books) for your kids in the past?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this law will affect you too. (But even if you prefer to buy from large toy & clothing manufacturers, this law will still affect you... read on.) As a little background, the CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and it was written after high levels of lead were found in toys and other children products manufactured in China. I'm sure most of you remember that mess a few months ago! Well, we are all in favor of protecting our children from dangerous substances, that is not the issue here.

The issue is that the way this law is written the only items on the shelves that will be available for children will be coming from these large manufacturers that created the problem in the first place, because they are the only ones who will be able to afford the very costly third-party testing for lead and phthalates as mandated by this law.And just to clarify, we are not asking for this law to be obliterated. We all care about the safety of our children. We are just asking for it to be amended to protect innocent small businesses across America which mostly started as a result of wanting to give parents and children a safer alternative to mass-produced toys & clothes.

What does this mean for our economy? If this law goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of indie designers, seamstresses & crafters will have to cease producing their adorable handmade goods because they won't be able to afford the cost of testing and certification (and if you're wondering just how costly these tests are, check out this comprehensive article written by Happy Panda. She has done extensive research on this matter!). It also means that hundreds of thousands of children's boutiques, indie bookstores and privately-owned toy stores across the nation will have to close their doors because their vendors will be gone and they won't be able to afford testing of their own. No wonder they are calling February 10th, 2009 "National Bankruptcy Day"!

And what does this mean for you, the consumer? It pretty much means that if this law goes into effect, you will no longer be able to buy gorgeous handmade clothes, shoes or accessories for your children. It also means that you will not find small-run, handmade, unique toys at your local privately-owned toy store and you will probably never see children's products sold a Craft Fairs across the country again. But if you do happen to see any of these products available after February 10th, they will now bear overinflated prices because their makers will have to add on the cost of testing and certification.

Be prepared to pay $800 - $1000 for a custom boutique outfit that used to only cost $100 - $200. And speaking of over-inflated prices, you will see these on mass-produced children's items from large manufacturers too as these companies will incur the high costs of testing as well.But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just as I was writing this post, I came across this article (via Boutique Cafe) that states that "[CPSC Spokesperson, Patti Davis] said hand-made, one-of-a-kind items likely will be exempt, which would allow small-time crafters and seamstresses of children’s products to continue making and selling original products.” This is a promising assertion, but unfortunately is not an official ruling at this point (note the use of the word "likely"). I hope we can make it official.So, what can you do to help? There are several ways you can make your opinion be heard:

Sign this petition to repeal the CPSIA

Vote for this idea on to be presented to President Elect Obama on inauguration day

If you feel so inclined, contact your Senator and Congressman/woman regarding this issue

Spread the word! The more people that are aware of this the better.Thanks for staying with me through this long and grueling post. I can't stress enough how important this issue is. If I find out any updates I will post them here.

P.S. I do want to add that because this law was so poorly written, it has been interpreted differently by just about everyone out there. I was just chatting today with some business owners that I have gotten to know well over the years and everyone seems to have a different opinion as to whether this law will affect them or not, and also whether the law is retroactive. If anything comes out of all this publicity, I will hope at least it will force the law-makers to take a closer look at how the law is written and make any necessary exemptions and clarifications before it is too late.

**Getting off my soap box now**
Posted by modkidboutique

Monday, January 12, 2009

Divine Consign Show in Raleigh, NC

Sweet Dreams Designs will be selling off past season's samples at Raleigh's Divine Consign Show!

Spring 2009 Sale will be February 2-6 at Stonehenge Shopping Center. Visit the website to register to consign or volunteer. Contact Kelly at 919-272-3070.
Please check out

Spring Schedule:
Consignor Drop-off:
Monday, February 2nd by appointment only

Preview Show:
Tuesday, February 3rd
Divine Volunteers (2 or more shifts) 4:00 p.m- 9:00 p.m.
Volunteers (1-shift) 4:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.
Consignors 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

Grandparent Preview Show (anyone may shop as long as they bring a grandparent!):
Tuesday, February 3rd 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

New Mom Preview Show(see below):
Wednesday, February 4th 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m.

Public Show:
Wednesday, February 4th 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Public Show & 1/2 off day (consignor choice):
Thursday, February 5th 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

Consignor Pick-up:
Thursday, February 5th 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.*
Friday, February 6th 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m

Home Alone

Ahhhh....home and some alone time - relief!

Since January 2nd, I haven't had much down time or alone time. I have had a house full of people or at least one house guest every day since with one exception. January 3rd was our family Christmas with my husband's side of the family - plus my few peeps too! I pulled off a fab dinner for 21....something I've never done before! I was very proud and pleased with the way everything turned out. Food warm, place settings perfect, room for everyone, family all together, perfect!

After the family cleared out on Wednesday, I had Thursday to get ready for another house full on Friday! One of my dear friends came in town from Boston to visit and show case her jewelry at my house. We had a show for her and tried on some jewelry and got some great stuff and had a wonderful time visiting and catching up. We had SUCH a great time that we ended staying up till 4am - luckily we had planned it as a spend the night party because we know when we get together it lasts all night! There were 10 at the jewelry show and 7 that spent the night.

Saturday at 1pm, I went to Emily's baby shower. She is expecting her second baby girl, Aida. We had a great visit and then it was off to meet my bestie for dinner and margaritas at Cucina Superior...a new favorite with a great happy hour! Then, it was off to our friend's house for more conversation until midnight and finally home.

Now, you know why I am still exhausted even though I went to bed early last night and still managed to sleep until 9am!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to entertain and visit with friends, but I'm so happy to have this house to myself and get back to work! Still, I am off to a late start at 11am, but I'm determined to make this a productive day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Press for Sweet Dreams Designs!

First press for Sweet Dreams Designs!

Featured in Earnshaw's - an industry magazine featuring childrenswear review.

What an honor!

Good News on the horizon?

Copied from U.S.

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to exempt electronic goods and products with lead embedded inside from new rules banning the metal in toys.
The two-member commission, reacting to complaints from manufacturers, also agreed to exempt natural products such as gems and cotton from mandatory testing for lead. The proposal, given initial approval today, will be open for public comment for a month and may be altered.

Companies had urged the safety commission to pass more far- reaching exemptions and to put them in place immediately, before the ban on lead in toys takes effect Feb. 10.

“The deadline is coming up very, very quickly,” said Sheila Millar, a lawyer representing the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association. Companies “want clarity and they need it quickly,” she said.
Still, companies shouldn’t expect a crackdown, said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the commission.
“There’s a need for compliance, but it’s fair to say that the toy police will not be descending on all of America on Feb. 11,” Vallese said.

First Overhaul
Congress passed the first overhaul of consumer protection laws in almost two decades last year in response to a spate of recalls the year before of Chinese-made toys containing lead. While previous regulations included limits on lead, the law toughened the standard and expanded its reach to all products aimed at children 12 and under.

That expansion has ensnared makers of products such as bicycles and books that never thought of themselves as toymakers, said Ed Krenik, a lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in Washington.
The law also forces all makers of children’s products to get independent tests of their toys to prove they don’t contain lead.

Lobbyists representing makers of products such as books, handheld computers, bedding and shoes banded together to petition the commission to exempt them from the new lead standards. They say the independent commission should also remove glass, bolts, mattress padding and other components of products that present no risks to children.

The proposed exemptions considered today are “incomplete and provide no process for adding additional materials which are known to science to not contain lead,” a coalition of handmade- toy sellers wrote to the CPSC on Jan. 3.

The CPSC exempted wool, cotton, silk, gemstones and pearls in its proposal today.
The panel also faces pressure from consumer groups to keep the standards tight. The only lead in toys the commission ruled was “inaccessible” was that which children couldn’t touch, a standard Millar argued is too tight.

“The agency is aware that this one-size-fits-all law doesn’t necessarily fit all sectors,” Vallese said. “But the laws are set and Congress was very explicit.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 off to a great start...

We are pleased to be represented by the following:

JAG Apparel Group in these territories:
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi

Contact Direct: 212-274-2456
Fax: 972-407-9681
Dallas World Trade Center
Showroom #8850 (8th Floor)

AND NOW as of tonight (pending signatures) we are also rep'd by:

Lace and Denim, LLC in these territories:
Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida

250 Spring Street - #13N311A
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Showroom # 13N311A
Phone: (434) 258-7650

Wow! 2009 is off to a great start!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A link to share....

Hi again!
I just ran across a blog post from April at (my fabulous photographer) about our spring photo shoot! Check it out! And when you are done, please keep her in mind for any photography needs you may have. I can't wait to have my own children photographed by her some day!

Setting the table

I'm ashamed to say that I had to look up on the internet how to properly set a table....

If you are curious too - left to right - salad fork, dinner fork, knife, spoon!

We are still getting ready for Christmas celebrations here at the Garner house! It is fun to make it last this long. After Saturday, I will sadly have to take down all of these decorations and get back to normal. :(

Went to Target a couple of days ago and bought 6 huge wreaths to hang on each of our "main" windows for Christmas next year. All 6 for a total of only $30! Got some great photo insert cards by Anna Griffin for cheap shopping sales after Christmas!

I'll be updating this post tomorrow with pictures of our dining room table all set. I am using the Lenox Christmas china in there, but we are having 16 guests and I only have 8 place settings of the Christmas china so we are doing a little mixy-matchy with my mother's wedding china (pictured above)

New Year's Day Bonus!

Everyone seems to be having giveaways today so I decided to join the pack!

Mine is more of an "added incentive" rather than a giveaway...

20% off all orders using code "TWEET" at checkout.

Bonus: Spend $150 (after discounts) and receive a $25 gift certificate for a future purchase!

This promo ends on Jan. 9 so get going!

Happy New Year!