Yearly Archives: 2009


Amy sent over a great link this morning: Natural Goes National

All of the websites offer fantastic wine lists, stories and reviews.    **Photo from the Terroir Natural Wine Bar & Merchant in San Francisco


Many will recognize this geometric stencil from our archive of work as well as from our Spring/Summer 2009 Ceremony Collection.  People often associate this star pattern with Islamic Art (and the pattern is sometimes called the Islamic Star); however, patterns of this nature were already becoming visible in early Mesopotamian Art and Architecture.

This genre of geometric pattern is ancient and has been used over the millennia for multiple purposes: from tiling and textiles to religious meditation, ritual, pottery, art and architecture.

Here are good resources for intricate graphics patterns to further research:

376 Decorative Allover Patterns

Pictorial Archive of Geometric Designs

Floral And Decorative All over Patterns

Ornament 8,000 Years

And the Facets All-Over Stencil is now available from our online store.


Last summer I ran into friend Amy Collins at our local Farmer’s Market and she casually invited me to come by The Wine Seller – a wine shop where she helped out a friend on Saturday afternoons. I believe that I murmured a sort-of-okay but later that afternoon did actually visit the store. It is not that I avoided wines; I just rarely found wines that I really enjoyed. Living in Austria, I fell in love with visiting the wine growers of the Wachau to sample their young wines. What I didn’t know at the time was that what I fell in love with had a name: terroir.

That afternoon at The Wine Seller, Amy gave me an impromptu wine lesson that led me to discover what I do like in a wine. My tastes included words like mineral, light, effervescence, high-acidity, subtle fruit, clean and lean.

A few weeks ago, Amy recommended The Battle for Wine and Love – calling it the The Omnivore’s Dilemma for the world of wine. The book is an eye opener and becomes like a wine dictionary for the wine novice like me.   I don’t really enjoy all the personal information that Alice Feiring shares in the book but her tales of wine and wine making are fantastic.

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Garden harvest basted with olive oil and headed to the oven for a slow roast.

Mix with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne before placing in the oven

Pasta with Fresh Pesto from page 70 of Chez Panisse Pasta Pizza & Calzone

Huber Hugo Grüner Veltliner & reading The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

Happy Sunday!


John Bielenberg and Project M are serving up good pie in Hale County, Alabama this summer.

Get involved with Project M this summer:

Open Sourcing Project M

The Project M 2008 Team, in collaboration with HERO, has created a permanent Design Lab space in Greensboro, Alabama. This light-filled studio building is situated on the HERO campus which includes a bunkhouse for up to 10 people and lodging for visiting advisors. Greensboro is also the center of Hale County where the Auburn Rural Studio has been building wonderful structures to benefit the community since 1993.

However, the Design Lab is only an empty building without passionate young designers to inhabit it on an on-going basis. This is where you come in.

We encourage both Individuals and groups to contact us if they are interested in using the Project M Lab space to work on meaningful projects in Hale County. We guarantee that it will be an intensely satisfying experience.



George Dawes Green is a brilliant writer, storyteller and founder of The Moth in New York City. He started The Moth because he “wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda’s porch.”

On one of my recent travels, I listened to his story called “The House that Sherman Didn’t Burn.”

In fact, I have listened to the story about ten times since that first time and have tried to re-tell it just as many. This is Southern Gothic at its best. George Dawes Green is a flawless story teller – a quality that is highly prized here in the south.  

**The photo above is from the Forks of Cypress, a plantation of lore in my community that burned to the ground in 1966. There were stories upon stories from my childhood about the ghosts that wander those lands. But then, that is another story…


Each time I speak publicly, I am invariably asked about the process of publishing or our Alabama Studio Book Series.

After poking around on the internet I was surprised to discover that while writers are often interviewed about their books, there are very few interviews with the editors.  Our editor, Melanie – whose desk is pictured above - is a force to be reckoned with. She has an unerring eye, commitment to quality, and an extreme attention to detail. These characteristics make her a very, very good editor and a dear friend. I am extremely grateful for her belief, support and patience over the years.    It is important to choose an editor carefully as you will spend a lot of time with that person. For example, we started working on Alabama Stitch Book in 2004 and held a printed copy in January of 2008. While it is unusual to spend that much time on a book, it can happen.   Here are some of the questions that I have fielded for Melanie over the years with a few additions of my own:

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