Author Archives: Alabama

DIY RECIPES FOR TEXTILE PAINT

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Every day of the week, we use textile paint to transfer stencil designs to our 100% organic cotton jersey. While the colors that can be produced by mixing paints are limitless, we primarily work with the following base colors: opaque black, transparent sand, opaque blue, pearl silver, opaque red, opaque white, opaque yellow, opaque sky blue, pearl red, and forest green. By mixing these colors, we create all of the hues and shades that help define our patterns, stencils, and collections.

Our artisans use our painted stencils as a guide for embellishing our designs with appliqué, reverse appliqué, and beading techniques. We have also discovered that a basic garment featuring a subtle stencil adds texture and delicate details to our designs. Many of our Studio Style DIY customers and workshop participants have asked for these unique combinations of textile paint; below, we share recipes for some of our most popular colors. You can find everything you need to create your own stencil and spray kit in our online store.

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Q+A WITH ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN

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Last week, we introduced you to Ashley Christensen: chef, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and badass. She is August’s featured chef in our café (and collaborator for our upcoming Piggy Bank Dinner). Ashley recently spoke to us about good food, sustainability, community, and what she has planned next.

AC: Congratulations on your recent James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast. How did you celebrate? (We hope you took time to celebrate…) 

We had a total of 22 folks sitting with us at the ceremony, so we kind of brought the party with us, which was really fun. After the awards, we decided to make the party about simply having a good time with our crew. We called in a pile of to-go Shake Shack burgers, ordered a bunch of champagne and crowded about 40 friends into our little room at the Ace Hotel. We followed this celebration by attending Jamie Bissonnette’s victory party at Toro, and then the Nomad’s epic party at the Highline Ballroom. It was more perfect than I could ever find the words to describe.

AC: You currently operate five restaurants in the Raleigh, North Carolina area – with more on the way. Do you have a different role at each establishment? How do you balance your roles at each? And how have those roles changed as you continue to grow?

In addition to being the proprietor, I’m the Executive Chef for the company, but I consider my most important role at this point to be “lead catalyst”. I have lots of ideas for new projects, and for refining existing projects. My job is to make sure that we ask of ourselves to improve each day, and to see the opportunity in studying the details that guide us to do so. We have an amazing crew of folks who make it happen every day, on every level. It is also my job to provide the tools and support that make them feel competent, empowered, and appreciated.

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 8.11.2014 – 8.15.2014

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“Art enables us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves at the same time.” –Thomas Merton

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, August 11 – Friday, August 15:

STORE
Lose yourself in our DIY space this week. Start a new project with a One-of-a-Kind DIY kit (available for a limited time), or gather inspiration for your latest project with materials from our three-pound scrap bundles.

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 at The Factory Café to experience some of our classic recipes, including the ultimate comfort food—roasted tomato soup with a grilled pimento cheese sandwich.

Café Hours
Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am, but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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THE CHARLESTON ACADEMY OF DOMESTIC PURSUITS

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We continuously strive for a healthy work/play balance here at Alabama Chanin. And so we found ourselves charmed by The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, by Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault, which manages to combine elements of work, domestic pursuits, and modern living.

Pollak and Manigault created the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits (located in Charleston, North Carolina) in 2011 – after meeting at a dinner party – in hopes of teaching the value and importance of domestic home life. The Academy’s unique curriculum includes everything from cocktail-party etiquette and business entertaining, to dealing with household guests and cooking for the holidays.
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SWATCH OF THE MONTH: AUGUST 2014

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August’s Swatch of the Month combines the beading and ruffle elements we explored in May, June, and July. The stencil, Kristina’s Rose, uses curved lines to create a somewhat abstract floral design. Those curves, when accentuated with beads and appliquéd fabric strips, create a texturally rich fabric treatment. We used three different techniques to create this swatch: folded stripe appliqué, beaded chain stitch appliqué, and beaded rosebud stitch.

Begin by cutting ½” strips of fabric in two colors. The number of strips needed will depend upon the surface area your stencil will cover and the number of shapes you choose to appliqué.

Transfer the design to your fabric using your stenciling method of choice. An enlargeable version of this stencil with accompanying instructions and fabric map are shown on pages 126-127 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. You can also download a copy of the Kristina’s Rose stencil from our Resources page.

Select one rose shape to embellish using folded stripe appliqué. To do this, hold together two of your ½” strips (using the two different colors), then randomly fold them back and forth along the line of the stenciled rose shape, while sewing them into place with a beaded straight stitch. Refer to page 108 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for detailed instructions and photographs.

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A. CHANIN RACERBACK TUNIC

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The A. Chanin Racerback Tunic is our newest addition to our Basics collection. While we believe that all Alabama Chanin pieces are versatile enough to wear almost anywhere and anytime, the Racerback Tunic is particularly well suited for daytime and night. We also recommend wearing on those days that you want some (sunblock protected) sunshine on your shoulders. I personally like to style this garment as a double layer over my (uniform) long skirts.

The top has a feminine silhouette, is fitted at the bust, and flares from the waist. It is 29 inches in length, features side vents at the hem, and is slightly longer in the back. Layer it with our A. Chanin V-Neck Tank or top with a Long Sleeve Raglan when you need a little more coverage.

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NEWSLETTER #19

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Newsletter #19 announces our upcoming DIY promotion—special, one-of-a-kind kits on sale beginning this Thursday, August 7th.

Join us for dinner and drinks at our “Friends of the Café” dinner series with Ashley Christensen on Thursday, August 14th. We also have a variety of sewing workshops at The Factory this fall. View the selection and register here.

Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all the happenings at Alabama Chanin.

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

xo Natalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 8.4.2014 – 8.8.2014

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“The most simple things can bring the most happiness.” –Izabella Scorupco

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, August 4 – Friday, August 8:

STORE
Explore our selection of 100% organic cotton jersey garments—the versatility of our fabric is great for the changing seasons. Beautiful alone or layered, basic or embellished, our garments and accessories (such as the Jane Dress, Magdalena Scoop Neck Top, and Organic Cotton Scarf) are perfect for the end-of-summer season.

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
Visit the café this week to experience some of our house favorites—such as the popular Jack-O-Lantern Farm BLT. Treat yourself to something sweet, too, like our Peach Crepes or Coconut Cheesecake Pudding.

Café Hours
Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am, but coffee and snacks are available all day.
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7 LESSONS FROM MARIA POPOVA

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Maria Popova is the founder of Brain Pickings, a website designed to introduce you to a broad variety of subjects that feed one’s mind and inspire creativity.  Since founding Brain Pickings, Maria has spent countless hours researching and writing – hours that have taught her many life lessons. In honor of the website’s 7th birthday last fall, she was generous enough to share 7 things she learned from those 7 years of reading, writing, and living.

The 7 Lessons:

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
  2. Do nothing out of guilt, or for prestige, status, money or approval alone.
  3. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life.
  5. Maya Angelou famously said, ‘When people tell you who they are, believe them’. But even more importantly, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. As Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
  7. Debbie Millman captures our modern predicament beautifully: “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”

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