For those of you have participated in our past weekend workshops, there is a good chance that you have already met June Flowers. (The name belies the tattooed fireball of a woman in our studio who is equally adept with computers, flower arranging, and power washing.) If you’ve signed up for an upcoming workshop then you’ve probably exchanged a few emails with her; if you’re hosting a workshop or providing the space for one of our events, you’ve probably exchanged 50+ emails, including pictures of kids, dogs, and favorite garments.
Where did the last two weeks go? Read my bi-weekly post @EcoSalon on the importance of being wobbly.
And thank you to my friend Georg for the gift of a simple garden gnome – so many, many years ago. Perhaps I will watch Amelie tonight!
I planted my fall garden last weekend – perhaps about a month late but nevertheless, it is in the ground. My daughter has finally reached the age where she is a willing participant most of the time. In fact, she planted about half a row of garlic before scurrying off to uncover the peas I had just planted and to bury the little ceramic garden gnome that keeps watch on the birds who are eating our carefully planted seeds. That little antique gnome, a gift I received 20+ years ago while living in Vienna, has traveled the world with me, gone to every new home, and overseen each new incarnation of my life. He has always reminded me that a garden was waiting in my future.
The morning I decided to plant, I woke up in my own bed after returning home the day before from a trip that included three stops in two and a half weeks. I arrived home with a head cold and the desire to lie still for another two weeks. But, my daughter and I got up that morning and raked and hoed and planted. It felt good. I sighed, and relaxed and smiled as we settled into an afternoon of working and playing side-by-side.
I admit that I am not the best gardener in the world. This fall garden should have been planted a month ago; my rows are a bit wobbly as they move down the length of my backyard plot. I am certain that when the lettuce and spinach begin to sprout, there will be sections of the rows where too many seeds were strewn too closely together, and other sections where nothing will come up.
This is much like the story of my life and business.
A business owner recently said to me, “You are so successful, you wouldn’t know about the difficulties we have had in trying to build our business.” I couldn’t help but laugh. There are beautiful aspects to what we do at Alabama Chanin every day but there are also carefully planted rows that don’t come up, sales that don’t happen, frustrations and disappointments.
I recently came across an essay I had written in 2006 for Leslie Hoffman at Earth Pledge titled, “What Does Planting Tomatoes Have to Do With Fashion?” It seems at first blush that the two would have little to do with one another. The gist of the essay was how coming home and re-learning how to plant a garden had connected me to my community, my business, the greater art of sustaining life and, consequently, to the fashion industry at large. As I look back over the essay, it feels like such a long time since I wrote those words. Our first book had not yet hit the shelves. My separation from my former company was still new and the wounds were fresh. When I re-read that essay, I could sense my fear, my hopes and my determination between the lines.
What that essay also reminded me was that while my rows today might still be wobbly, the birds-eye view of the garden is straight as an arrow. My path has been crooked, but the mission that I set for myself so many years ago is alive and growing.
So, what I really wanted to communicate to the business owner that day was not laughter – as if it were a silly question. I meant that laughter to mean: I am in the same garden! As a business, we experience the same ups-and-downs, the same excitements and the same disappointments, and in spite of it all, we are still here and we are still gardening.
Today, as I sit and look at my wobbly rows, my garden feels like my business. I realize that the wobbly row is a perfect analogy for my own process. We plant rows that flourish; we plant rows that putter along. We water, we nurture, we pick, we grow. But the real beauty of it all is not in the harvesting but this moment of sitting in the sun waiting for the first sprouts to poke through the earth.
The point is to watch the little plants grow and to savor the laughter that will come when I finally discover the buried garden gnome that my daughter has left for me as a present.
There is nothing like an adventure; nothing is better than coming home.
We just finished setting up our Trunk Show @ the beautiful Hotel San Jose in Austin.
I can’t imagine a better place to spend the night (and a few days).
In fact, I spent most of my day today working in my room, breaking in the courtyard, having a tea at Jo’s Coffee and resuming my work by the pool. Gorgeous.
And should you find yourself in Austin today or tomorrow, come by to see us in the courtyard of the San Jose @ 1316 South Congress Avenue from 7 – 10 pm for cocktails, shopping and a community stitch-in.
Or email us for daytime shopping appointments: kay (at) alabamachanin.com
The Museum of Electronic Wonder & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour is exactly as the name implies: part museum, part sandwich shop. Brainchild of Adam and Krista Bork – of Food Shark fame, this is the place for late-night gatherings in Marfa, Texas.
Open from 9:30 until “thirty minutes after the last bar closes,” the menu includes grilled cheese offerings like the Classic with Bacon and Tomato options, Brie with Spicy Cherry Chutney, and Gruyere with Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onion.
Originally conceived as a kitchen for the Food Shark, the museum has become an extended living room for the Bork’s – hosting locals and visiting art and music enthusiasts for late-night eats.
Why is it that small towns often have the coolest places? Every small town needs one of these.
See more pictures here.
The Museum of Electronic Wonder & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour
300 West San Antonio Street
The beautiful, beautiful Patty Griffin performs with Robert Plant and the Crown Vics.
Today I will require a massage (or two) at El Cosmetico.
One of our favorite places to visit - Refueled – has a beautiful new look. (And we are thrilled to be shown as a sponsor at the bottom of the page.) While we were working on a project last month, I had a chance to catch up with Chris Brown – Refueled’s creator and creative director:
I know very little about you. What do you do when you aren’t doing Refueled?
Refueled, Inc., encompasses a number of things: publishing, design and film. As creative director behind all three entities of the company, I keep quite busy on a daily basis. Refueled magazine is published bi-yearly, spring/summer and fall/winter. Developing features, working with contributors, collaborating with photographers, and hitting the road for ideas and inspiration never stops. Once an issue drops, I am knee-deep in the next.
Plan your adventure and join us (along with Patty Griffin, Barbara Lynn, Ben Kweller, The Black Angels, Amy Cook, Imogene + Willie, and a slew of others) in Marfa, Texas – September 22 – 25.
Learn more about El Cosmico and the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love here.