MADE IN AMERICA

As we move towards Independence Day, we’d like to highlight some companies who are making great things in the United States. We encourage you to share with us any companies we should look to for ‘Made in America’ excellence and quality.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of purchasing domestically and shopping locally. We must support the businesses and companies who strive for excellence in craft and manufacturing, those who provide fair wages and proper working conditions for their employees, and companies who take pride in their products.

These are types of companies that, at one point in time, were abundant in my North Alabama manufacturing community.

I frequent A Continuous Lean, and am always moved by the beautiful images and stories. A recent post about Huge, a Japanese magazine whose June issue focuses on products and manufacturing here in America, is beautifully inspiring. Huge shares with readers some companies doing great things.

One featured company is Archival Clothing, whose manufacturing is based in Oregon. They make an array of stylish bags, varying in size and function. Their company values resonated strongly with our team at Alabama Chanin, as they believe, “Perhaps over time, our efforts will help to stimulate the domestic market and encourage US manufacturers to expand their offerings. We hope you will help us with that. We stand behind all of our products, the ones we make and the ones we offer in our store.”

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

BEFORE THE PARADE PASSES BY

I’ve always been a little obsessed with parades. I scoured the internet trying to find out where parades originated, or why. What I’ve found is this: nobody knows. There are cave drawings from over ten thousand years ago that depict prehistoric men marching wild game home to cook in a wild and celebratory manner. Perhaps it is human nature – a group of people with a common cause just tend to rally around one another and rejoice.

When you think about the concept of people, musicians, floats, horses, waving pageant queens – it seems as though one would be overwhelmed at having every sense stimulated all at once. But, I’m not.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

DIY THURSDAY: BEADED SEAM CORSET

Perfect for all of the upcoming festivities and beyond, our Beaded Seam Corset is easy to make for yourself by following the pattern with instructions from page 145 of Alabama Stitch Book (on sale for $25 this month). As one of the most popular garments in our collections, the corset is designed to show off a woman’s best assets, enhancing natural curves.

Purchase our DIY Beaded Corset Kit, ready-to-sew with all notions needed to complete the project, made from 100% organic cotton jersey.

A flattering pick for any party. Pair with our swing skirt or blue jeans and celebrate.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

SAVORY STAR BISCUITS

I have collected quite the assortment of cookie and biscuit cutters over the years, all crammed into a drawer in my kitchen. Each year for Valentine’s Day, my daughter Maggie and I make heart-shaped biscuits. We also have a few animal shapes for pet themed birthday parties…

What more appropriate shape for Independence Day than the star?

The colors and shapes of our table setting have bold, graphic qualities with a simple color-blocking that appeals to my design aesthetic.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

ROASTED PORK LOIN AND NEW POTATOES

A traditional southern barbecue will almost always have the option of pork, whether in the form of pulled pork sandwiches, slow-cooked ribs, or smoked pork butt. Our July 4th pork dish may be a little more formal than those options, but it is actually very easy to prepare.

Our pork loin was sourced locally and roasted with fresh herbs from my garden. It looks even more delicious in a Large Serving Dish by Heath Ceramics. The dish helps hold the moisture, keeping the pork moist and allowing the flavors to emerge. I love the red color in contrast to our White and Navy Center Stripe Table Cloth.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

CELEBRATE AMERICA 2012 CATALOG

Old Glory

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.” –George Washington

The flag is the centerpiece of American cultural imagery. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the flag came to mean so many different things: pride, controversy, rebellion, commitment, more, so much more…

It has taken me decades of living, working, and traveling the globe to understand my own relationship to this symbol of our great nation. I have grown to love the flag in all its incarnations – as a reminder of where I come from, our collective history, and, of course, of the wise and honest standard to which I believe we are raising our repair.

xoNatalie

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

CELEBRATE AMERICA

CELEBRATE AMERICA - photograph by Robert Rausch
Today we launch a month-long celebration of all things American, culminating in my annual neighborhood 4th of July Parade (Kids vs. Adults Baseball Game and Grill Extravaganza). We have searched high and low to find the spirit of red, white, and blue.

For today’s DIY Thursday, we start by (re)sharing instructions for our American Flag Quilt. The flag is, after all, the epitomic icon for Independence Day. Get started now to display for your July 4th celebration.

Check back tomorrow to begin our month of ‘Celebrate America’- featuring new products, projects, stories, and recipes to make your own celebrations spectacular.

xoNatalie

P.S.: And we won’t forget Dad— so stop by for some of our favorite Father’s Day gifts too…

CELEBRATE AMERICA - photograph by Robert Rausch
Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

TODDY

TODDY
Summer is my favorite time of year, although there are some who don’t share my love for the south’s steamy heat. Since the heat can be extreme, one summer staple is a batch of Toddy cold-brewed coffee. It’s so simple to make and has so many variations that it can be the only coffee base you need for the long summer days.

Although the Toddy doesn’t use hot water to devolve all of the coffee’s oils, the fullness of the coffee flavor isn’t affected.  In fact, Toddy is actually 67% less acidic than the traditional, hot-brewed version.

TODDY
Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

LIE STILL

I spent the last week sick in bed. It is not in my character to lie still or ask for help, but a severe ear infection developed into all sorts of other infections, followed by a viral infection a week later, and culminated in an allergic reaction to antibiotics after 14 days.

A friend reminded me last night, “Perhaps you just needed a week in bed?”

A week, perhaps, but two?

I am not a good patient and never have been. Honestly, I was miserable. However, I did find time to read magazines, watch an impressive list of movies that I have been trying to get to for over a year, and, in moments, just looked up at the ceiling.  I have to say that my daughter was a gem, brought me water, lay with me, and read books.

So today, for Sustainable Design Tuesday, all I can think of if that sometimes we just need to take a break, lie still, to keep going.  So, I offer you a little break and a couple of highlights from my two weeks (more or less) in captivity:

Selvedge Magazine never disappoints—and the May/June issue is no exception. I fell in love with a little story on page 9 about Tajika Haruo Ironworks, in Ono City, Japan that has been “producing handcrafted copper scissors and shears for over four generations since its founding in the Showa Period.”

Now, I love a good pair of scissors and try to keep one pair in each room.  We have the kitchen shears, children’s craft scissors, four different pairs of hair shears (since I am known for midnight hair chopping and need good tools),  paper scissors, embroidery scissors, and a few vintage pairs for no particular purpose—other that the fact that they are beautiful.

Selvedge sites Analogue Life as a source for the Tiajika scissors, and I briefly got lost there.

Look at the flower shears shown above and copper household scissors below:

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share