Author Archives: Alabama

SUSTAINABLE COLLABORATION: MAGAR HATWORKS

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In continuing our collaborations with partners that share our sustainable philosophies and values, Alabama Chanin is proud to launch a line of hats alongside our current collection. The hats, designed and manufactured by Leigh Magar of Magar Hatworks, were also inspired by the same photographs that served as inspiration for our most recent collection: Three For a Dime photographs of families during the 1930s and 1940s in rural Arkansas.

Leigh’s sustainable design philosophy includes utilizing old techniques and craft, while embracing artful and unique design.

“I use the original process of hand making hats,” she explains. “The hat blocking technique—using antique wooden hat forms to create shapes. Each hat is steam shaped, hand sewn, and then adorned by hand.”

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SHORT STACK EDITIONS

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Short Stack is a beautiful series of small-format, hand-bound publications that are half cookbook, half food magazine. Each 4 1/2” x 7 1/2” edition is inspired by a single ingredient and written by an array of chefs, cookbook authors, and food writers. To sum it up, Short Stack Editions are a food-lovers’ pocket-sized dream—and are as functional as they are collectible. (Our staff has been poring over the volumes since their arrival at The Factory.)

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 4.14.2014 – 4.18.2014

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“For many Southerners, pimento cheese—or “pimenocheese,” as we tend to say it—is a touchstone of childhood, a favorite filling for lunchbox and picnic sandwiches. But this tangy blend of sharp cheese, mayonnaise, and roasted red peppers is a great grown-up food too…”
–Edna Lewis, The Gift of Southern Cooking

There are a variety of recipes for pimento cheese—especially in the South—but I’ve become partial to The Factory Café’s house made version, featuring the (not-so-secret) ingredients: horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.

We hope that you can join us at The Factory this week (for pimento cheese and more),
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, April 14 – Friday, April 18:

STORE
All of our favorite items featured in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide are also available in store, including DIY kits, fabric bundles, collection pieces, Workshops, and a selection of accessories and books.

Call Carson at +1.256.760.1090 for more information.

Store Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

TOURS
Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.

CAFÉ
Join us in the café for lunch. This week’s special is the ultimate comfort food: roasted tomato soup and grilled pimento cheese.

Café Hours Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm
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THE HEART: ROBERT RAUSCH

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You may have read recently about dear friend, advisor, and co-worker, Jennifer Rausch. As I recounted then, I have known Jennifer and her husband, Robert, since returning to Alabama. After moving home from New York (and after years abroad), I felt a little shy and out of place in my own hometown. It was a relief when Robert reached out to me, seeking artistic alliances. We were both looking for a relaxed camaraderie—someone to relate to in a somewhat unfamiliar world. After years of friendship and collaboration, we have Southern roots, design, sustainability, and family in common.

In those early days, Robert approached me and asked if I would speak to his university photography class about living and working as a fashion and photography stylist. Shortly thereafter, we became fast friends. It wasn’t long before Robert was helping me with projects for my first company. And since those early days, he has been a part of designing and creating images and photographs for the Alabama Chanin website, catalogs, the Studio Book series, and any number of other materials. We have co-hosted dinners, picnics, and events together over the years. We have raised kids, shared a dog, and talked design.

In 2002, Robert bought and restored a historic building in our community, which is now called GAS Design Center. He shares a deep love of sustainability and healthy living and this was evident in his approach to renovating the space and building the business. Every reusable board was repurposed and natural elements were invited in whenever possible. Natural light is perfectly harnessed in the GAS photography studio, to often-breathtaking effects. In fact, our first Alabama Chanin Workshop was held in Robert’s repurposed space—a comfortable place to launch what was then an intimidating venture for Alabama Chanin.

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DIY BOOK COVERS

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In service to everyone who showed such great response to our Swatch of the Month, we are featuring a series of DIY projects that you can create with your completed swatch(es). This month’s project is a book cover adapted to fit the size of our Studio Books. It requires one swatch and four blank panels of fabric to complete. Make your own Studio Book cover, or adapt the size to fit your favorite book.

We chose to use this month’s appliqué swatch for the main portion of our book cover. The additional four panels were left unembellished in order to highlight the intricate Anna’s Garden design.

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JACK-O-LANTERN FARM + COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE

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As most of you know, Alabama Chanin strives to support local farmers whenever possible—especially now that we’ve opened The Factory Café and are sourcing local and organic ingredients for all of our dishes. Our kitchen manager, Arron, has built a strong relationship with our friends Steve and Connie Carpenter, who operate nearby Jack-O-Lantern Farm. Each week, Steve delivers the freshest local produce to our kitchen, which Arron incorporates into our seasonal menus. Steve also picks up bags our Factory Blend Coffee and house made granola that he then sells at his farm, just across the river. Watching Arron and Steve collaborate these past few months has been a wonderful (and educational) experience.

Jack-O-Lantern Farm is getting ready to launch their 2014 Community-Supported Agriculture box program—and The Factory will be a pick-up location beginning Friday, May 16.

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THE BEST FOR MOM

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This year, we’ve taken the best of our new collection and Studio Style DIY and put them together for our 2014 Mother’s Day Gift Guide. We have a little bit of everything for everyone, whether you want to make something special or prefer to give something already handmade. Either way, your gift will be one-of-a-kind.

Our collection features contemporary and flattering styles for moms of all ages, and our guide features a selection of garments, discounted for a limited-time: the Panel Tunic, Magdalena Betsy Blazer, and Daisy Long Skirt. The Alabama Vest is a simple accessory and compliments any woman’s wardrobe.

Other gift items include Dust-to-Digital’s book and CD collection, Never a Pal Like Mother and But Mama Always Put Vodka in her Sangria by Julia Reed. These would be perfect when paired with Rosanne Cash’s newest (amazing) album, The River & The Thread.

For those who enjoy making, our newest DIY Kits feature our Stencil of the Year pattern, the Check. Our DIY Check Tied Wrap features Alabama Eyelet beading and casually covers the shoulders. The DIY Check Skirt is the only DIY Kit pattern we currently feature using our Short Fitted Skirt pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

For the mom-to-be, make a DIY Baby Blanket + Onesie from our kit.

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 4.7.2014 – 4.11.2014

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“A few weeks into spring we wake every morning more eager than the one before to rush out to the garden…”
–Sam Beall, The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm

Last week, we launched our Chef Series (with Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm). For the month of April, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal Blackberry Farm recipes featured on our café menu, or purchase an array of jams, mixes, and preserves to experiment with in your own kitchen.

Hoping that you have a great week and that we see you soon,
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, April 7 – Friday, April 11:

STORE
Visit our flagship store this week to shop our latest collection, Basics, A. Chanin, accessories, and more.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is First Monday at The Factory. Join us from 8:30am – 11:30am for a morning of sewing and socializing.

Call Carson at +1.256.760.1090 for more information.

Store Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

TOURS
Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.

CAFÉ
Our menu this week features our adaptations of two dishes from Chef Lenn and Blackberry Farm: Green Tomato Pie and Zucchini Caesar Salad. Both are equally delicious (and we will be sharing recipes soon on the Journal).

Café Hours Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm

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NEWSLETTER #15

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This month, for Newsletter #15, we are excited to announce new events, features, and products to The Factory and to our website.

At The Factory, we’ve begun a Chef Series (we kicked it off with Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm). Stop by for a freshly brewed cup of our coffee, or order The Factory Blend Coffee (whole bean or ground) online.

You can also find our Basics collection available in new colors and a new addition to Studio Style DIY: the Starter Sewing Kit.

As always, we thank you for reading along and we invite you to join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter and keep up with the latest products, news, and stories featured on our Journal.

Update your mailing subscription to include the newsletter (and Daily Journal) here.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

 

 

SWATCH OF THE MONTH: APRIL 2014

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The Swatch of the Month for April allows you the opportunity to experiment with a basic, traditional appliqué technique in our Anna’s Garden stencil design. Appliqué is a way of “applying” one fabric on top of another. We use appliqué for many reasons – to add color, texture, dimension, and more elaborate design work to a piece. You can use any number of stitches to appliqué your top design to the bottom fabric. Here, we demonstrate the most common way that we add an appliquéd element to a base fabric: a simple parallel whipstitch.

Detailed instructions on appliqué techniques can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Match up each appliqué shape with its correct position as you cut it to avoid creating a complicated puzzle for yourself. Take care to position your appliqué pieces precisely by pinning each cut shape of the stenciled design into place. Then, stitch each appliqué shape to your fabric using a parallel whipstitch, which will attach your appliqué pieces securely.

The hi-resolution photograph of our appliqué swatch, for use as your computer desktop background, is available for download from our Resources page.

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