Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

ANTICIPATION

Ever since I received my advance copy of the upcoming Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, I’ve been excited to share the book and anxious to know if you will love it as much as we do.  I received word from our publisher that they will be sending Alabama Chanin our first shipment of books on February 8. That means that – as long as everything goes as planned – we should receive and begin shipping them by February 15th. I expect that there will be a whirlwind of activity when it arrives here: unpacking, organizing, sorting and shipping.

We are ready to go and can’t wait to get this book into your hands – and to get your hands working on the new projects.

We’d also like to remind you that we have several workshops scheduled. They are a great way for us to get together and talk shop about our new projects. Make sure to check out our website for updates and additions.

Visit our new Workshop Resources page for more information or contact us with questions: june@alabamachanin.com or 256.760.1090.

TALES FROM THE SOUTH’S FORGOTTEN LOCAVORES

After a few months and a busy holiday season, I’ve finally begun to process the experiences of my momentous trip to Oxford, Mississippi, for the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. I left the event full of delicious food and copious amounts of knowledge. More specifically, Elizabeth Engelhardt’s talk, “Tales from the South’s Forgotten Locavores,” filled my hungry mind with questions on how I can contribute to the preservation of heirloom fruits, vegetables, and plants.

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MONDAY MORNING INSPIRATION: JANET MALCOLM

“Last winter, I came into possession of the papers of an émigré psychiatrist who practiced in New York in the late 1940s and 1950s,” Janet Malcolm explains in an article in the New York Review of Books. Malcolm is describing a set of papers she found and used as both inspiration and materials for her collages. These works were exhibited in a show, Janet Malcolm: Free Associations, that ran through January 14, 2012, at Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York City. This sentence was also posted in the gallery.

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I HAVE A DREAM

My daughter Maggie has been watching this speech over and over again these last few days. In reflection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I take a minute this morning to remember. I believe that to create a sustainable world, to live in the beloved community, and to ultimately create peace in our lives, we all need to walk together. xoNatalie

JUNE + THE BUST DIY GUIDE TO LIFE

The BUST DIY Guide to Life, which might be more aptly titled the BUST DIY Guide to Life and Death, as it also covers a DIY funeral, may be the most useful book I’ve ever had in my possession. Understand that this is a remarkable claim as I love books, and have been exposed to a wide array of literature including hand drawn survivalist volumes weighing 15 pounds (I had a roommate in college who loved that sort of thing). I do think identifying edible foliage and making an outdoor shower are useful skills, but I only cling to that knowledge in a paranoid, worst-case scenario sort of way. But, the BUST DIY Guide feels like a survival guide for everyday. It’s perfect for any girl on a budget, or anyone that has any interest in homemade butter, managing a rental property, styling a beehive (like the one pictured above), or making basic home repairs.

Recipes, home remedies, and beauty tricks abound- each with simple, straightforward instructions and a witty intro.

The BUST DIY Guide contains 250 projects from BUST magazine’s archives, organized by category: beauty and health, fashion, food and entertaining, career, finance, travel, and sex. Right now you can get your own copy for less than $20, which will more than pay for itself when you start your own business, skip a trip to the salon, or brew your first batch of beer.

Or leave a short comment by Friday, January 20th, 12 midnight, below about your best “BUST-out” moment  for a chance to win your own copy. We will put the best stories in a hat, draw a name randomly, and announce a winner in next Monday’s post – January 20th, 2012.

- June

 

SARA: ON BEAUTY

As Alabama Chanin has grown, part of the beauty of this growth has been my ability to watch our employees and families spread their wings, grow, and find their voices. A few months back, June started to use her voice to tell our stories through her own experiences. Today, Sara Martin makes that same leap and stretches her voice. As I wrote about Sara a few weeks back, she was like a child when she first showed up at my studio. What a treasure to see her make this leap from child to beautiful woman. A hearty Alabama Chanin welcome to Sara’s voice on this blog… xoNatalie

I’ve never been conventionally beautiful. I’ve always known this. I’m just a little bit shorter, a little rounder than the pretty girls; I’ve always laughed a little louder, been a bit more vulgar and less delicate than a southern woman is expected to be. Like most young girls, I struggled with trying to figure out what it meant – this difference. And I tried to negotiate my way through what was expected of me and what I expected of myself.

In the not-so-distant past, tattoos were considered unattractive; to many, they still are. Tattoos have long been the domain of sailors, bikers, outlaws and prisoners. So, how do we reconcile this type of art with femininity? Is it possible to love the skin that we live in and still change it?

Most women I know use some sort of enhancement to make them feel better about what they see as imperfections. Many dye their hair – or buy someone else’s hair to improve upon what they naturally have. We’ve been known to wear high heels to make us taller and Spanx to make us thinner. Some women look to plastic surgery, Botox, face creams and bronzers to enhance the figures and faces they were born with. For me, the process of learning to love myself meant getting underneath my own skin.

I got my first tattoo right out of high school. I found that I liked the way that it made me feel about myself. I got another, and then another. Most of them were easily hidden – something I kept for myself or revealed only to people that really knew me. As I slowly gathered these pieces I discovered that, even in moments of intense self-loathing, I had something about myself that I loved. I chose this about myself. I may not have loved what my thighs looked like, but this I was proud of. I did this.

Now, as an adult, I’ve finally come to terms with who I am on the inside. I like my loud laugh and my off-color jokes. I’m learning more and more to love who I am outside, too. But, I still struggle with some things, as most women do. These days, I view my insecurities as mountains or undiscovered continents – somewhere to conquer and plant a flag. My arms are my latest Mount Everest. I’m learning to love them, but on my own terms and one tract of skin at a time.

I’m still a work in progress. I’m painting my masterpiece, one bit of ink at a time.
- Sara

P.S.: Sara’s Reverse Applique Alabama tattoo (Note the Angie’s Fall Pattern)  by Adam “The Kid”, at Kustom Thrills in Nashville, Tennessee, + photo thanks to Gina R. Binkley.

ECOSALON FRIDAY: BOARD BY BOARD

Check out my post this week on EcoSalon.
xoNatalie

Board By Board:

This is a conversation that played out in my head countless times this last week:

“I need to sit down and write the EcoSalon post.”
“The laundry really needs to get done.”
“I NEED to sit down and write the EcoSalon post.”
“Maybe, I should go weed the garden.”
“I NEED to SIT DOWN NOW and write the EcoSalon post.”
“There is that bird pecking around in the yard, I could go stare at it for a while.”

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