DECORATE – DECOR8

How lovely to spend time this weekend just sitting, reading, and dreaming. A sun drenched afternoon, tea, time with Holly Becker’s new book Decorate leaves me inspired. Every so often a book seems to speak directly to our sensibilities, and I can’t help but feel that Decorate was somehow made for me (and I am not alone). Guidance for highlighting design and architectural details, while using a predominately white pallet- yes please.

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PREPPY: CULTIVATING IVY STYLE

Preppy, the latest collaboration between Jeffrey Banks and Doria La Chapelle, arrived in our studio this week.  The lovely volume documents the evolution of this iconic style with images from the early 1900′s to my favorite Slim Aarons to the current Hilfiger campaign (shown above). The book is not a manual, but rather a brief historic overview of the iconic style. Its strength relies on beautifully curated photographs to illustrate the subtle changes of the trend over  the time.

Perhaps because the style hit its heyday in my youth or simply because I love the color combinations, I find the volume completely stunning. During my teenage years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, our school uniforms were strangely similar to the picture below.

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ALABAMA CHANIN + LOWCOUNTRY

Thank you to Kate for this lovely email that came in today:

“Also – I finished my dress.  (That I started at the March weekend workshop!)  I love it… it took me nine months to make it and I kind of feel like I gave birth to it!  I am so proud.  It fits perfectly.  I haven’t taken any proper photos yet, but will do.  Here’s one from my sister’s iPhone and a far-away shot on my blog. The dress’s debut was at a farm dinner!”

We are working with Kate on a workshop in Charleston, South Carolina for Fall 2012.  Can’t wait for my first Lowcountry Feast!

P.S. Notice how Katharine’s dress has the same pattern as my long skirt – taken at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a recent trip.

P.S.S Kate’s trip to Burning Man and a pair of Alabama Chanin shorts coming soon!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

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.

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PERFECT FIT

More than any other time of year, the start of fall brings with it incredible rushes of nostalgia. The first chill usually arrives with distant memories, put away with last year’s winter coats.This light-weight piece is the first thing I reach for to welcome the returning season. Our Tied Wrap employs the simplest of designs. Rectangular layers of jersey drape across the shoulders and tie behind your back. The result? A tailored fit no matter your size. Fold it over for a beautiful muffler when the weather gets colder.

FRESH GINGER LAYER CAKE

Autumn is definitely in the air – even here in Alabama. With autumn, comes a selection of spicier, richer deserts for all the upcoming festivals and celebrations. I adore fresh ginger: the color, the smell, to drink ginger tea and to eat ginger candy.  Our local Ginger Ale – Buffalo Rock – is beautifully hot (very hot), spicy, and hands-down my favorite Ginger Ale.

Get your ginger fix with this great new recipe – the latest in our stenciling series combining cooking with our Bloomers Stencil from Alabama Stitch Book:

FRESH GINGER + BLOOMERS LAYER CAKE

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THE HEART: DIANE HALL

When introducing guests to our office staff, I always have to stop and take a breath at Diane Hall.  Over the years, she has just become so much to me and to all of our staff.  Like Steven, she has held just about every imaginable job and done or touched just about every task we have in the entire studio – except for accounting. Her current title is Studio Directress, a term that I love since her heart and soul are at the very center of our studio; however, her usual introduction goes like this: “Please meet Diane, our Studio Directress, master seamstress, patternmaker, friend, mother, sister, and company ethicist.” Diane is the person that I always consult when I have a question on ethics. Her kind heart and fair spirit can always see straight through a situation and can usually find an equitable solution for everyone involved.  She is the sort of person that summons kindness in all of those around her.

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CIVILITY, HISTORY, + SONG

Krista Tippett’s podcast, On Being, has spurred many conversations and thoughtful moments in my life. I listened to the episode, Civility, History & Hope – Vincent Harding in conversation with Krista Tippett – in August and I just can’t seem to get it out of my mind. On my recent trips, I listened to it at least four more times and each time it resonated with more clarity. I have since read the entire transcript and I continue to contemplate the message.

From the program:

“Vincent Harding is a wise voice of history — the history of civil rights. This hour, as part of our Civil Conversations Project, he helps us imagine how the lessons of that time might speak to contemporary American divisions. Martin Luther King’s vision, he reminds us, was spiritually as well as politically vigorous; he aspired in biblical words to a “beloved community,” not merely a tolerant integrated society. And Vincent Harding possesses an infectious hope for the continued unfolding of that possibility, even now. He’s spent recent decades bringing the elders and lessons of civil rights into creative contact with new generations. As we navigate rancor in our time, he says, we can look both to history and again to the margins of society, to young people of courage and creativity.”

I come back over and over again to the thought of the “beloved community,” the feeling of Dr. King and Vincent Harding that the term “civil rights” is not enough – that we as humanity are bigger than that.

Our voice is big, and beautiful and strong.

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