The BUST DIY Guide to Life, which might be more aptly titled the BUST DIY Guide to Life and Death, as it also covers a DIY funeral, may be the most useful book I’ve ever had in my possession. Understand that this is a remarkable claim as I love books, and have been exposed to a wide array of literature including hand drawn survivalist volumes weighing 15 pounds (I had a roommate in college who loved that sort of thing). I do think identifying edible foliage and making an outdoor shower are useful skills, but I only cling to that knowledge in a paranoid, worst-case scenario sort of way. But, the BUST DIY Guide feels like a survival guide for everyday. It’s perfect for any girl on a budget, or anyone that has any interest in homemade butter, managing a rental property, styling a beehive (like the one pictured above), or making basic home repairs.
Recipes, home remedies, and beauty tricks abound- each with simple, straightforward instructions and a witty intro.
The BUST DIY Guide contains 250 projects from BUST magazine’s archives, organized by category: beauty and health, fashion, food and entertaining, career, finance, travel, and sex. Right now you can get your own copy for less than $20, which will more than pay for itself when you start your own business, skip a trip to the salon, or brew your first batch of beer.
Or leave a short comment by Friday, January 20th, 12 midnight, below about your best “BUST-out” moment for a chance to win your own copy. We will put the best stories in a hat, draw a name randomly, and announce a winner in next Monday’s post – January 20th, 2012.
I never really thought much about what punks, pirates, and the Spanish Armada had to do with farmers markets or sustainable life until I saw Richard McCarthy – a pirate of the very best order – speak. He has quite an amazing story to tell, made palatable by his charming humor, an easy-to-understand presentation, and, more importantly, good works.
I have thought so much about Richard, his work in the farmers markets – and the Spanish Armada – since hearing him speak at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. We will have to trust Richard’s accounts of naval history to be true. But, correct or not, I have thought about this presentation countless times and wrote to Richard on New Year’s Day.
I told him that working to change a fast-fashion industry feels like swimming upstream backwards –on a good day. His talk, with its simple illustrations, some good punk analogies, and the account of the sinking of the Spanish Armada give me hope and make my swim seem a little easier.
Watch his talk here and follow my rough summary of his talk and illustrations below. The illustrations pasted in here don’t have the wit, charm, and power of the man himself, so take the time to watch when you can.
I have pulled out the core that relates to all cultural assets (food, clothing, shelter) but please watch the entire presentation for more literal workings of punks and pirates.
Richard begins his presentation: “I want to start where, I am sure all SFA talks begin, obscure 16th Century Naval Military History.”
They host dinner parties instead of fashion shows and give away posters like the one below celebrating their 8 years in business. It’s the kind of party you hope you’ll get an invitation to…
“I may be their most passionate member,” says the snow-white-haired designer Natalie Chanin of the Southern Foodways Alliance (S.F.A.), a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the culinary heritage of the American South. For years, it’s been Chanin’s calling to preserve the textile traditions of Florence, Ala., with her clothing line, Alabama Chanin. So when the S.F.A. director John T. Edge approached her about doing a collaborative project, hand-sewn quilts seemed like an obvious departure. Auctioned off this weekend at the Taste of the South event at the bucolic Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, this particular blanket features the words of Roosevelt Scott, the founder of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, S.C.: “…Cut. Chop. Cook. It’s all right here. In the wood.” But it’s just one quilt of many. “Sign me up for a baker’s dozen,” Chanin said when she joined the cause.
P.S: I wrote to John T. Edge last night that I am most certainly a very passionate member of the Southern Foodways Alliance; however, I question if I am their MOST passionate member. That title might go to Rathead Riley (Rathead T. Edge) – just saying… xoNatalie
Our local bakery – called Sugarbakers – makes the most beautiful cakes. I personally think of them as “old-timey,” because they remind me of my childhood birthday cakes with white buttercream frosting and plenty of scallops and swags.
Here a beautiful cake they recently made for me for a special occasion using a “stitched” Anna’s Garden pattern on the top. I think that this would make such a beautiful wedding cake (or birthday, or shower, or anniversary).
Finding ways to use fabric scraps could easily be a full time job at Alabama Chanin. Hopefully, our company will one day be large enough to facilitate an entire scrap development team; however, right now we are moonlighters and dabblers in the art of manipulating scraps of our organic cotton jersey into a variety of projects, products, and playthings.
Our goal of becoming a zero waste company means that every scrap of fabric we cut is taken seriously. We are constantly looking for new ways to mold, shape, and incorporate these fabric cuttings into our everyday work – lest they overtake us like the roadside kudzu that swallows entire towns in the South. Continue reading
I have had a love for the Amish people and art since I was a little girl growing up in Alabama. In fact, there is a small Amish community just north of my town that has fascinated me my whole life.
Most of you who follow this blog know that when I returned to Alabama over 11 years ago, I didn’t have a grand plan to build the company that is now Alabama Chanin. Any plans I may have had seemed to fall away into something far larger than I ever anticipated. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in such a position and I readily admit that, at times, I was incredibly overwhelmed. However, as the initial “project” morphed into a business, I learned how to run it on the fly – one day at a time. I have often said that I am not a quick learner, but I finally realized that my community has such a wealth of knowledge as to the workings of cotton AND manufacturing. These two things had been part of the vernacular of this community for a century. So while it took time for me to understand, I finally realized I just needed to “go to the well” to draw upon that information. Here in Florence, Alabama, that “well” was Terry Wylie.
I am so excited about the launch of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. The book includes some of our very best garment patterns to-date and I can’t wait to see how the stencils, patterns, and designs work their way into DIY projects.
The long skirt pattern that is included the book has become my staple go-to skirt for everyday living and night life for almost a year now. I have variation in black with embroidery and several basic versions in pink, ochre, and a beautiful turquoise color that we tie-dyed in the washing machine by just letting the dye bath sit unattended for a few hours.
I have loved these pieces from spring to summer and through the fall and into winter, because I can wear my sturdy stockings underneath on the coldest days and with socks and my new Billy Reid boots every other day. Continue reading