Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

THE BEGINNING OF THE END (OR GIFTS + GIVING)

As the year slides towards its close, I know that it is the time of year that we all get tired of Gift Guides.

This year, we are seeing not only the end of the year but of the decade. This has been a really BIG year for all of us here at Alabama Chanin – and an even BIGGER decade. (My Ten Year Anniversary of living, working and loving Alabama will be coming up next year.)

For whatever reason, it seems that the “changing-of-the-decades” have always brought important and beautiful changes into my life. So, I would like to take these last days before the holidays (and the last weeks of the year) to look back – and a little forward.

Bear with me over the next weeks…

Back to Gifts & Giving (this one last time – well, maybe):

If you just can’t figure out what to do for a special person in your life this holiday season, consider a donation to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

As some of you will remember, my father was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma last year. He is, gratefully, in remission now – thanks to great medicine and research – and amazingly recovered from his stroke as a side effect to the chemotherapy. Thank you again to everyone who has been there with us… thank you to those who brought strength, understanding, kindness, patience and, sometimes, just cookies.

This could be the best gift of the year:

Leukemia Lymphoma Society

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Make a Wish Foundation

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Update of two more great organizations (thanks Sara):

Cure Search

American Cancer Society

*Photo of Ms. Jessie’s Vegetable Soup – also a great gift.   Recipe can be found on page 95 of Alabama Stitch Book.  This picture was originally taken for “The Kitchen Project” – perhaps  coming to our archives section one day.

SETTING THE TABLE

Partners & Spade, Manhattan

“Setting the Table,” from Maria @ Bureau of Friends:

Have you ever noticed that most of the real action at conferences takes place in the lounges and walkways outside of the Main Halls and presentation rooms? There is absolutely a place and time for sit-and-listen audiences and there’s nothing like a compelling speaker to move and enlighten us, but what might we do better to nourish real connections between people who gather around shared goals or values?

In our first few weeks together as the Bureau, we talked much about how difficult it can be to decide in which efforts we should involve ourselves, as speakers or partcipants. There are so many worthy conferences and community programs out there. We decided, that in addition to getting more strategic about how we respond to invitations, we’d proactively develop our own opportunities to engage talented and conscientious people.

Our first attempt was a collaborative event at HEATH and our next, is an up-coming conversation-in-the-round with Partners & Spade—the storefront and think tank for Andy Spade (co-founder/previous owner of Kate Spade and Jack Spade) and Anthony Sperduti (Andy’s creative partner).The evening at Partners & Spade, will build on the success of the Bureau’s experience at HEATH by continuing a forward-thinking conversation in the form of a traditional sewing circle. We are already at capacity for the Partners & Spade event, but I promise we’ll post about it later.

While these initial events revolve around a collaborative project inspired by charter members of the Bureau, Natalie Chanin (Alabama Chanin) and Cathy Bailey (HEATH Ceramics), our work at the Bureau will evolve to reflect other ideas and efforts of those who wish to deploy the hearts, minds and muscle of the Bureau.

In our media drenched, social networking maxed, Twitter-pated lives how else might we hear from and engage with others in a way that might lead to action—or at the very least, connect us to each other in more satisfying ways?

LES BLANK

It is an amazing thing in life when your heroes become your friends. And so it is with friend Les Blank.

I rented Gap-Toothed Women in the 1990’s when I was living in Vienna. And then came Burden of Dreams. A clear addiction to documentary films ensued.

Don’t miss this great interview with Les @ Vice Magazine.

THE COLOR OF DESIRE

Red can be a naughty color — red-light districts and bordellos. It is both the color of Satan and the color of the Roman Catholic Church. Stevens notes that red was a color often associated with divinity; medieval and renaissance paintings show Jesus and the Virgin Mary in red robes.

Red is for happiness — Indian brides get married in red saris. Red for good luck — the one-month birthday of a Chinese baby is celebrated with red eggs.

Red is rarely an accident.

“A textile is not dyed red by chance,” Stevens says. “No you use red for a specific reason whether it’s for love, for fertility, for happiness — you made it red on purpose.”

From: The Color Red: A History in Textiles

Read:  A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire


THE BASIC FOUR

While I love a good apron and The Gentle Art of Domesticity, cleaning has never been a particularly sexy task around our house. However, I loved the article below that ran in our local paper on Tuesday of this week.

It makes me happy that living clean is going mainstream.

Some great recipes are available here.

Maggie loved mixing the ingredients with me in the kitchen last night.

BUT, I still swear by Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena for washing our clothes…

*Make your own apron like the one above with the Bloomers Pattern available as a pull-out from our Alabama Stitch Book.

Continue reading

ENOUGH

While looking out over the water from the balcony of a mansion on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut tells his friend, Joseph Heller, that their host makes more money in a single day than Heller will ever earn from his novel, Catch-22.

Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have.”

Vonnegut questions, “What’s that?”

“Enough.”


Untitled 10 by
David Schoemer via Lee Cerre
& a thank you to Conrad Pitts for sharing this story. . .