There have been some questions recently about why I want the world to know that “I AM NO LONGER PART OF PROJECT ALABAMA.” While there is a long and delicate history behind this statement, the crux of the situation is this:
Project Alabama started one day in the year 2000 as I hand-sewed a t-shirt for myself; however, the concept of making t-shirts goes back to about a year before that fateful day. That first hand-sewn shirt hatched a company, a concept, a clothing line and ultimately brought me back to my family, childhood home and community. The concept of Project Alabama was to make community-based fashion by-hand, focusing on recycled and sustainable materials, using traditional techniques with an American flavor. It is my feeling today that we did those things and we did them very well. I am proud of the company that I started, ran and loved with all my heart and soul.
As happens, things change, people, companies and concepts grow and take on their own lives. The Project Alabama that I started closed in September of 2006 and the company that I loved grew into what is now Alabama Chanin. Continue reading
I grew up riding horses with my father and grandfather on our family farm in North Alabama. And although I still bear the scars from my first pony, to this day I have a deep, spiritual love for these majestic, beautiful, powerful creatures.
An excerpt about Eight Belles from “The Last Lap,” Time Magazine, (May 19, 2008), Page 13, by David von Drehle:
…”But it’s only fair to point out that breeders aren’t a solitary priesthood. They flip horses the way real estate speculators once flipped condos. With dollar signs in their eyes, they savor 2- and 3-year-old horses, exactly the way the fashion industry looks at long-stemmed 14-year-old girls, exactly the way the celebrity culture gazes on Britney and Lindsay and Miley, exactly the way shoe-company reps scrutinize boys on basketball courts. Horses, fashion models, teen stars–they’re all produced for maximum profit.
Every market needs buyers as well as sellers, and that’s where the rest of us come in. If horse breeders have stopped raising animals that are sound for the long run, it’s because the audience for mature racehorses–like the audience for maturity in general–has vanished. Seabiscuit, over his 89-race career, drew huge crowds season after season. By contrast, this year’s Derby winner, Big Brown, will command the public eye for two months at best, retiring after the Belmont Stakes in June. Provided he lives that long.”
Recently at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, I had the joy of learning about Memoire Liquide (thanks to Jeannine).
It is an amazing and somewhat overwhelming experience to stand before their counter of hundreds of smells, beautiful little bottles and expert sales staff. I was asked questions about my favorite perfumes: Shalimar, “the flagship perfume of the House of Guerlain,” and about my favorite smells: vanilla and cinnamon, two kitchen staples.
I felt at once exhilarated and terribly intimidated standing at the Memoire Liquide counter. I wanted to smell and try all. I wanted to have the entire day to start over and experiment with building my own scent. I wanted to take the entire counter home. But, truthfully, while I have always been drawn to certain fragrances, I am really not knowledgeable about the bases and ingredients.In December, I was lucky enough to meet Michelle Krell Kydd and discover Glass Petal Smoke. My experience of Memoire Liquide reminded me of my many conversations with Michelle and filled my mind with memories of life. I was suddenly reminded of being a little girl in the bathtub and mixing all sorts of lotions, shampoo and cream to formulate my own “perfume.” I told Michelle that I was once asked if I had to “choose only one sense, which one would it be?” My answer, at that time, was the sense of “smell.” And while I am no expert, I know immediately my likes and dislikes. Michelle introduced me to the Tonka Bean by mailing me my very own with the instructions to” place in a sealed glass jar and smell only after two weeks.”
Thinking of scent always reminds me of the beautiful short story from Anais Nin’s, Delta of Venus, about the lover who lost his love because he changed his scent. I believe that smell is so ingrained into our whole being that such a simple thing can change a person forever. Point in fact: I once broke up with a boyfriend because I woke up one morning unable to bear the way he smelled.
I love this quote:
Memoire Liquide Bespoke Perfumery
Standing before the counter at Memoire Liquide, I finally settled for a beautifully packaged set of 3 scents:
Joie de Vivre
Fleur de Coton
Flower of Cotton indeed.
I once wrote a piece called, Hero, for the now-defunct Girl on the Street blog. The writing of that post led me to learn more about Alice Waters, her involvement in the Slow Food movement and commitment to all things sensual:
I received my copy of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee this week and started reading it on a series of flights/travels that seem to keep me away from my own kitchen these days. It continues to surprise me how inspired I am by people who love, grow and prepare food.
This story, from page 28 of the book, made me think about how I want to eat in my own life:
“… and, though Alice was raised loosely Presbyterian and none of them was Jewish, they also always ‘set a place for Elijah’ – a Passover tradition of welcome to an uninvited guest. In fact, as often as not, somebody would turn up just in time to occupy Elijah’s chair.”
I decided on the airplane last night – as we roughly bumped down to our landing – that from this day forward I will always “set a place for Elijah.”
We have choices in what we purchase, consume and choose to support every day. We vote with our dollars for the brand of clothing we like, for the types of food we want to eat, for the toys we buy for our children. This letter, from a former colleague, reminds me to think before I spend. The impact of our dollars cannot always be measured by what we bring home in our bag:
I work as a designer for a large corporation and recently had the opportunity to travel overseas to see production of some of our products. This was my first visit to India and first time being in a factory this size. It was mind blowing to see the amount of consumption that takes place on a daily basis. I had no idea the number of garments being produced. The company we do business with operates around 46 factories in India and constructs 3 million garments every month! This is just in one country.
We were also able to see a large wash house where garments are washed with enzyme finishes and other chemicals to give a softer hand feel to the fabric. They are capable of washing 100,000 pieces every day with a variety of chemicals and finishes. Inside, stacks of pants piled in to huge bins were waiting to be washed in oversized washing machines. I can’t imagine the amount of power and chemicals used to accomplish their daily quota.
This trip changed my view of how much we consume. Seeing every size of every garment that’s going to every store really put this industry in a new perspective for me. At the company I work for, we move so fast and produce so much that we don’t take the time to ask ourselves what the customer really wants or needs and more importantly how much power and material we consume every day to make our products. For me, I will take from this experience a new outlook on consumption and begin asking myself how I, in my own way, can try to make a difference.
My mother taught me that it’s important to use the beautiful things in your life every day. She gave me her first set of china with the one direction that I should use it and enjoy it, not store it in a closet. I have taken her advice to heart with all of the things in my home. However, when you use textiles to enrich your everyday life (especially with a two year old), you’ll also need some of the old-wives’-tale wisdom my grandmother shared with me:
OLD WIVES’ TALE + WHAT IT MEANS
Don’t rub it in; dab it off — Blot; don’t rub it in more
A stitch in time saves nine — Get to it as quickly as possible to avoid more work
Out, then in — Start on the outside of a stain and work your way in
Absorb: Use cornstarch or talcum powder to blot stain
Bleach: Use 1 part lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 part water
Dissolve: Use all-purpose household cleaner as solvent for grease
Soak: Use 1/2 cup salt water per quart of soapy water
Wash: Use all-purpose cleaner like dish or liquid laundry detergent
AND HOW TO USE THEM:
Protein Stains: Soak, Bleach & Wash
Coffee and Tea Stains: Flush with Bleach, Soak & Wash
Tomato and Sauces: Dissolve , Soak & Wash
Oils Stains: Absorb, Dissolve & Wash
My new motivation for everyday cleaning are these great products from Mrs. Myers Clean Day. Aromathrapuetic Household Cleaners – how good is that? I love all the Lemon Verbena products and now sell them from our online store.
You can also visit their website for a larger selection: http://www.mrsmeyers.com/
The folks at Yee-Haw Industries
do amazing letterset printing. Each piece is designed, set and pressed by hand. I posted these beautiful cards by by Bjorn Rune Lie in the blue color way at holiday time.
*We are sad to see that Yee Haw Industries have now closed their doors. We’ll just treasure our cards even more now.
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.