Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE LIFE + DESIGN

READING THIS WEEK

I actually found some time over the weekend to sit down and read. Yes, it seemed rather shocking. Between digging potatoes, playing games, baking banana cake, laughing, loving, and a slew of other things, I just sat down, picked up a book that has been on the shelf for some years and started to read.

In the chaos of life (and with the help of friends), I have recently been thinking a lot about the kind of business I want to have and run. What makes a good business? What are my goals? What are my goals as a business woman? What are my goals as a woman? Where does my personal life intersect with my business life? Where do we go from here?

It was a pleasure to sink into Paul Hawkins’ book Growing a Business.

With joy and laughter, I was reminded why I love being an entrepreneur.

CHARLEY HARPER’S ABC’S

 

And in reference to actually being able to read…

The new favorite book at our house: ABC’s by Charley Harper

It is a stunningly beautiful book of alphabet and animals seen through the eyes of Charley Harper. We read it each day front to back, back to front and then front to back again.

I am inspired to make a pattern of lady bugs, clover, luck and more.

ROSES LOVE GARLIC

It has been a really busy week. I had intended to post every day about the wonder and beauty of our simple garden. Now it is Thursday and here you have the second post of the week. Perhaps there will be time to elaborate as the weekend approaches.

This is the first year that I really concentrated on companion planting. What seems a complicated subject matter to me is demystified by Louise Riotte in her two books:

Roses Love Garlic & Carrots Love Tomatoes

I love how my blooming garlic mingles with an old rose bush that was a part of my house the day I moved in. Maggie and I have enjoyed watching the garlic blooms pop their little ‘hats’ as the blossoms open from their little paper shell.

I have to admit that I have not been able to wait until the fall harvest and have been sampling our garlic since the stems emerged last autumn.

I recently came across an article with recipes for young garlic in a magazine which I simply cannot recall this morning. However, a simple Google search provides scores of young garlic recipes from Shrimp Stir Fry to soup.

And be sure to watch Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers by Les Blank.

Enjoy!

THIS WEEK IS GARDEN WEEK

I am inspired by my garden. These small beds that run around and behind my little house will feed my family this summer.

Thanks to our compost, we are pleasantly surprised by all of the volunteer tomato plants that have sprung up in every spot that we spread this luscious soil.

Maggie and I watch as flowers mingle with the rogue tomatoes, sunflowers and cantaloupes willy-nilly.

Our backyard composter and worm bin, the Biostack:

http://www.composters.com/compost-bins/bio-stack-bin_91_1.php

YANCEY CHAPEL

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to visit the Yancey Chapel in Sawyerville, Alabama. A part of the works from Rural Studio, this chapel has been closed to the public for some time.

The work and life of Samuel Mockbee is a yardstick for us to hold up to our lives each and every day to take measure of the road that we walk on this planet. Learn more about Samuel, his life and legacy here:

Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee

Rural Studio

Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency

THE WAY OF THE FUTURE

From the Associated Press:

MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. – High gas prices have driven a Warren County farmer and his sons to hitch a tractor rake to a pair of mules to gather hay from their fields. T.R. Raymond bought Dolly and Molly at the Dixon mule sale last year. Son Danny Raymond trained them and also modified the tractor rake so the mules could pull it.

T.R. Raymond says the mules are slower than a petroleum-powered tractor, but there are benefits.

“This fuel’s so high, you can’t afford it,” he said. “We can feed these mules cheaper than we can buy fuel. That’s the truth.”

And Danny Raymond says he just likes using the mules around the farm. “We’ve been using them quite a bit,” he said.Brother Robert Raymond added, “It’s the way of the future.”

 

LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS

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

CONSUMPTION PART 2 – EIGHT BELLES

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.”

MEMOIRE LIQUIDE

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
Remember….Be Remembered….

Standing before the counter at Memoire Liquide, I finally settled for a beautifully packaged set of 3 scents:

Sensual
Joie de Vivre
Fleur de Coton

Flower of Cotton indeed.