This lovely story from Blair Hobbs makes me smile:
I grew up in Auburn, AL, and Opelika, AL is just a few miles away. It’s the Norma Rae town and has a large textile mill (I’m sure you know this). Anyway, I remember how sparse my elementary school music room was, but there were huge boxes of old thread spools that were discarded by the mill. I remember sitting in a large circle, with my music class, as our teacher, Mrs. Shell, instructed us to keep time with the music by tapping the metal tips of the spools together. It was a sweet clicking sound. For a deeper tap, we’d switch ends and tap the spool “heads” together. Your book helped me recall this memory, so I thought I’d share.
– Photo Courtesy of Blair
I asked Blair if I could share her story & a photograph of her about the time of the musical spools. Here is what she writes about the shot: It’s a picture of the neighbor’s mean cat visiting my grandmother and me on my parents’ patio. With the photo blown up, I can see how the backyard used to be an Alabama pine forest (and then a tornado came). This grandmother used to crochet sweaters for her clothes hangers. Her closet was a rainbow; each hanger was a different yarn color, and she’d decorate their necks with ribbons, silk flowers, and frosted wax berries.
Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life is the most beautiful book I have bought in a very long time. It’s big and luscious with amazing colors and beautiful printing. Beguiled by the Wild is also a great place to start learning about the amazing Charley Harper.
My two year old daughter loves everything about cooking and the apron is her new favorite kitchen accessory. This Little Girl Apron beautifully sewn by Jane and the Ducks arrived last week in a lovely little package, complete with our own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
We play in the kitchen now every day.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
- from Jane and the Ducks
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes: remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” Helen Keller
Helen Keller was born and raised in Tuscumbia, Alabama, just across the Tennessee River from my home in Florence. Every year, my Grandfather Perkins would take us to see The Miracle Worker. My cousins and I always looked forward to going – not because of the content of the show – but because it was summertime and we were happy to be together. It is only since I am a grown woman that I understand the true accomplishments of this remarkable person.
This year, as part of our Alabama Studio Weekend, we will be hosting a dinner on the grounds of Ivy Green. Storytellers from around the south will grace a stage where, long ago, a small girl challenged the world, against all odds, with the steady guidance of her teacher, mentor and friend Annie Sullivan.
Learn more about Helen Keller here:
The Story of My Life
The Miracle Worker
I was lucky enough to see this inspiring exhibition Pricked: Extreme Embroidery – at the Museum of Arts & Design this morning… look for the catalog to come soon from their online store. The work is amazing.
After seven years of living, working, laughing, sewing and growing in this house at Lovelace Crossroads, we are moving past “The Crossroads” and on to “The Factory.” (Home to “The Original Project Alabama.”)
Our new building, originally built in 1982 for Tennessee River Mills, sits in the heart of the industrial community that was a hub of textile production from 1976 to 1994, when NAFTA was signed. That textile community hung on through the year 2002, when the last vestiges of production were sold, closed down or moved overseas.
Steven, our production manager, once worked in the very room we will be occupying.
So, it is like a sweet homecoming to move up, move beyond and to finally have room to work on fabric yardages, new collections and other upcoming projects. A flagship store will be opening in The Factory very soon.
All of our contact information remains the same, only the location has been changed to incorporate our growing family:
Alabama Chanin (at) The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630
We will be updating our website over the next weeks to reflect our all of our changes.
All of us at Alabama Chanin are thankful to the New York Times
for including us in this Sunday Magazine
article two weeks ago:
The Coats (and Dresses and Shirts) of Utopia
But today, I am thankful and smiling about a conversation that I had with one of the team members who traveled to our offices for the photo shoot:
He said, “Embrace the perfection.”
I looked at him blankly. “What did you say? Embrace the perfection?”
“Well,” he continued, “everything always works out for the best, right?”
I laugh and reply, “Yes, it certainly seems to…”
He says, “Then the best thing you can do is embrace the perfection of this moment because it is taking you to that future where everything always works out for the best anyway.”
I have been in Los Angeles to speak at the the ITAA conference and conveniently staying next to the MOCA. My first visit to the museum, Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture, changed the way I think about exhibition design.
And, my second visit was equally inspiring:
Thanks to Treehugger for sharing this editorial in today’s New York Times.