TRAVEL: MUSCLE SHOALS

ALABAMA CHANIN – TRAVEL: MUSCLE SHOALS

Music has always been an integral part of The Shoals. We are placed along the banks of what the native people have long called, “the river that sings.” W.C. Handy, The Father of the Blues, was born here; legendary producer and founder of Sun Records, Sam Phillips, is also from The Shoals. So, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the influential style of music known as the Muscle Shoals Sound emerged from this same musically rich place.

Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, we had an abstract idea of the big sounds being produced all around us—but no one ever made a fuss about it. Sure, our neighbors made music for a living, but those neighbors certainly weren’t famous, were they? (Were they?) And so it wasn’t until years later that many in our community began to understand exactly what was happening around us while we were growing up.

ALABAMA CHANIN – TRAVEL: MUSCLE SHOALS

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DIY EXPLODING ZERO (PLUS JACK CROSSING + HELMUT LANG)

DIY EXPLODING ZERO (PLUS JACK CROSSING + HELMUT LANG)

Inspiration: where does it come from?  That’s one of the most asked questions of designers and artists.

The answer is complicated and breathtakingly simple: inspiration is right in front of us. It comes to us over the airwaves, through the endless streams of data we consume, and is found on deserted street corners.

The exploding zero graphic above (on the left-hand side) landed on my desktop sometime last year and made us think about exploding our own preconceptions and also about the number zero—the number of infinite possibilities.

This manipulation of type that inspired our entire team was created by Jack Crossing. Design on paper translated to fabric, thread, beads, and sequins.

DIY Exploding Zero T-shirt is shown here with our sarong (simply a 36” x 72” rectangle of lightweight cotton jersey fabric cut lengthwise with the grain) and Natalie’s vintage Helmut Lang shoes (in pink) circa Spring/Summer 2000.

Make your own exploding zero project following the instructions below, or purchase our t-shirt DIY Kit from The School of Making.

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CANNING CALENDAR

CANNING CALENDAR

The process of canning and preserving is just one of the “living arts” that we are thrilled to see making a comeback. This year at The Factory Café, we have set ourselves the goal to “put-up” as much of the bounty of summer as we possibly can. (Not to mention my plans for my own backyard.) Our kitchen staff is constantly searching for ways to further source organic and local ingredients. Part of that solution means growing herbs, tomatoes, and other vegetables on-site; canning as much locally grown produce is another.

Last summer we made my Gram Perkins’ recipe for 14-Day Pickles for our café Egg Salad and, unfortunately, ran out of pickles by November. This coming summer we plan to, well, make better plans.

We are starting with the canning calendar below to save our harvest at its peak and preserve only the freshest garden fare. (Please note, the calendar below is tailored for the Southeastern U.S., but you can look for more specific information on your region or zone on The Old Farmer’s Almanac website.)

Find more information and resources on home canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. We also recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life for further inspiration.

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NEST + ALABAMA CHANIN: PARTNERSHIP FOR LEARNING

Alabama-Chanin---Building-14---Courtesy-of-Rinne-Allen-(17)

When we opened our Building 14 manufacturing facility in the summer of 2013, we knew that we had to commit to learning about the ever-changing manufacturing industry—and that the learning curve would be steep. But as we began to educate ourselves, we found that no manual or set of rules existed for us to consult. Over the past three decades, the American textile manufacturing industry has been in decline, with an estimated drop from 2.4 million jobs in 1973 to 650,000 in 2005. Between 1994 and 2014, Alabama lost 29.8% of its all of its manufacturing jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). As those jobs migrated elsewhere, so did the skills needed to create these jobs and a vicious Catch-22 emerged of reduced skill/reduced capacity. In its early days, Building 14 ran right up against this problem of rusty skills in combination with new materials and processes, with no clear roadmap on how to bridge the knowledge gap. And so, we realized that we needed a School for Making—for ourselves, for our industry, for our fellow makers, and for our community.

After much struggle, success, learning, and growing, we are proud to announce an important new partnership between Nest (www.buildanest.org) and The School of Making.

Alabama-Chanin-+-Nest

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DO YOU REALLY WANT A COLLECTION?

DO YOU REALLY WANT A COLLECTION?

Over the years, and despite the fact that public speaking doesn’t come to me naturally, I’ve lectured at conferences and universities across the country and around the world. Invariably, during the question and answer section at the end of each talk, someone raises their hand and says, “I want to have a collection. What should I do?”

My answer has always been the same, “Get a copy of QuickBooks (or any accounting system) and a good accountant; make them both your friends.” You see, the truth is that you will spend much more time working on cash flow, and projections, and working in your business than you will designing and working on your business. (Unless you have a really good partner that runs the business for you.)

But, in the future, when I am asked that question, I will answer, read The Business of Fashion series  “How To Set Up A Fashion Business.”

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 3.16.2015 – 3.21.2015

The Factory This Week

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, March 16 – Saturday, March 21:

STORE

Spend your Monday morning working on your latest project in the company of fellow sewers. Join us for Third Mondays on March 16. Light breakfast, coffee, and tea will be available for purchase from The Factory Café.

The Alabama Chanin Pop-up Store will be up and running beginning March 19th. The store features one-of-a-kind indigo pieces from the Alabama Chanin collection, A. Chanin garments, and a special selection of home goods, accessories, and more.

STORE HOURS

Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm

TOURS

Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.

CAFÉ

Join us for lunch at The Factory Café this week and enjoy a new menu weekly.

Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like pimento cheese and our carrot and ginger soup.

We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven. Please provide 24 hours’ notice when placing an order.

Custom catering is now available for all events and occasions. Work directly with our head chef, Zach Chanin, and the Alabama Chanin team to create a menu tailored to your needs.

Café Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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SATURDAY BRUNCH + THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Saturday Brunch + The Week in Review

Join us tomorrow, March 14, for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café. This week’s Brunch features our Factory Benedict with a side of Anson Mills Grits.

As always, we will have a selection of seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

View our Saturday Brunch menu here or check below.

Saturday Store Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Café Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm

The Factory Store + Café
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630

Call us: +1.256.760.1090 or email office (at) alabamachanin.com

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DIY MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

MOM: short for mother; three little letters that can mean so many big things to so many different people

MOTHER: more formal title than “mom”; often a verb, but not necessarily recognized as such

TO MOTHER: the act of mothering; often accomplished by friends, cousins, aunts, brothers, sisters, fathers, and sometimes by children for their own parents

At Alabama Chanin, we realize what it takes to mother, and that mothering takes time.

And, we also know that it takes time to make—so, for Mother’s Day, we’re offering early savings that you can take time to create that special gift for the mother(s) in your life.

Choose one of our DIY Kits and make a garment or home project to give. Or, if your mother is the maker, select an item that she will enjoy making for herself. Sign her up for a workshop (or choose two and join her), or give the Swatch of the Month and we will gift her every month for the next year.

Come back tonight at midnight through midnight Sunday and save 20% site-wide on select items*.

Call +1.256.760.1090 M-F from 8:00am – 4:30pm CST for help celebrating Mom.

And if you place an order online, let us know if it is a gift for someone special; we will package it beautifully and add a note of thanks.

Here are some of our favorites, curated in our 2015 DIY Mother’s Day Gift Guide:

DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

P.S.: On June 29th, 2015 we are hosting a Mother Daughter One-Day Workshop at the celebrated Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Contact Blackberry Farm at 800-557-8864 for more information and pricing.

*Discount excludes all workshops, collaborations, Alabama Cotton products, Alabama Studio Book Series, other books and music, Swatch of the Month, Starter Sewing Kit, gift certificates, Events @ The Factory, and Heath Ceramics dinnerware. 

HISTORY OF BRUNCH (+ SUNDAYS)

HISTORY OF BRUNCH (+ SUNDAYS)

We have organized two special events on back-to-back Sundays. Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch, on May 10th, features the best-of-the-best of our café brunch with the addition of some very special treats for mom. Reserve a spot for our seatings at 10:00am – 11:30am or 12:00pm – 2:00pm or get more details below.

And the following Sunday, May 17th, we are hosting our first-ever Friends of the Café | Makeshift Brunch titled Pies + Casseroles: A Celebration of the Southern Oven, a fundraiser for Jones Valley Teaching Farm and hosted in collaboration with friends and acclaimed chefs (photographers, writers, and superwomen too) Lisa Donovan and Angie Mosier.

Both of these inaugural events call for preregistration. All of this talk about Brunch made us start wondering how this meal came about. Read on to discover (what we believe to be) the origin of this most delicious meal:

Brunch has become such a widely adopted part of the American culinary experience and like so many food traditions, its existence cannot be nailed down to one exact moment. There was no year B.B. (before brunch) and no A.B. (after brunch) but food historians and brunch experts believe that the meal originated in Great Britain’s hunting culture. Large, multi-course breakfasts were prepared for sizeable hunting parties and included pork, eggs, fruit, pastries, and other hearty foods. However, it is possible to pin down the origin of the word “brunch”, which is obviously a combination of the words “breakfast” and “lunch.” It was first printed in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article by Guy Beringer titled, “Brunch: A Plea.” In the article, Beringer argued against heavy, post-church Sunday meals, in favor of a lighter meal during the late morning hours—one that encouraged a cocktail or two. ”Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Beringer wrote. ”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

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MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Mother’s Day—a holiday we learned has a deep-rooted history—is a favorite here at Alabama Chanin. Perhaps because we are company that is 100% woman owned and 86% women run (not that we don’t love our men), we like to celebrate a day dedicated to the women who birthed us, the friends who raised us, the aunts who befriended us, and the sisters (true and adopted) who keep us on the right track. Every. Single. Day. If you’ve followed us on our journey, you are likely also aware that Alabama Chanin practices slow design and that we make our products in the most responsible and sustainable ways possible. For this reason, it can take up to six weeks for an item to be made by local artisans, hand-cutting and stitching each piece from seam to appliqué, beaded embellishment to final label.

We’ve also chosen a selection of our favorite items for the 2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide. (Check back Thursday for our DIY Gift Guide through The School of Making.)

Also note that while our hand-sewn garments have a longer production time, we have other more readily available pieces such as our A. Chanin garments, books, and some of our home goods.

Call +1.256.760.1090 M-F from 8:00am – 4:30pm CST for help celebrating Mom.

And if you place an order online, let us know if it is a gift for someone special; we will package it beautifully and add a note of thanks.

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

P.S.: Only after planning our Mother’s Day Gift Guide for this week, did we learn that the United Kingdom celebrates what they call Mothering Sunday on March 15th. Having roots in the church, it is held every year on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Now you know.