RAINY DAYS + WELLIES

It is pouring rain today. This calls for Maggie’s Dress and Wellies as I leave to drive the new collection to the airport for its trip to New York City.

It is one of our most beautiful ever.  Isn’t rain on your wedding day good luck?

Register for a chance to win a “Rainy Day Gift Certificate” in the value of $300 with a purchase from our online stores of $150 or more until Friday, December 3rd at 12 noon.

STENCILED FAT EIGHTHS – QUILT OF THE MONTH #4

A “Fat Eighth” is a term that was unknown to me several years back.  It describes a bundle of 1/8 yard cuts of fabric made popular by quilters who can take small cuts and work them into their patchworks.  Our Studio Style Store began offering Fat Eighths of our organic cotton jersey a few years back after receiving  emails requesting larger pieces of the 50 colors of  fabric we offer on our two color cards.

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SHRIMP, LOBSTER, OKRA

My daughter Maggie was digging around in a drawer the other day and found a deck of cards from New Orleans that my son, Zach, bought over fifteen years ago.  They were purchased at the gift shop of a paddle boat on the Mississippi River. It was New Year’s Day and I remember that we thought the ride was a little boring and turned to playing Gin Rummy for distraction.

Since that time, the deck disappeared, has been buried in drawers, carted around the world and surfaced this week only because Maggie is ALL about playing cards these days.  She pulled out the cards – called Louisiana Cajun: Deck O’ Meals and we started playing using rules from UNO.

You might remember seeing these “Deck O’ Meals” cards at one time or another; each card has a Cajun recipe on the face-side and the front of each card is an illustration of recipe ingredients like shrimp, lobster, okra, bell peppers, etc. Because of these illustrations, Maggie deemed our new game “Shrimp, Lobster, Okra.” The other day as we were playing, she was in the lead, got down to one card and when the excitement overcame her she screamed out “SHRIMP!”

Zach and I have had such a laugh and, of course, the rules of the game now require the winner to yell “SHRIMP.”  I actually caught Zach yesterday morning reading the recipes and day dreaming of New Orleans. One of the best cards – the 8 of Diamonds – includes a recipe for “Smothered Alligator.”

I got on the web this morning and found out that the cards are actually quite well-known and the recipes have circulated through all sorts of sites.  According to my (brief) research, it seems that the recipes themselves are highly rated.  I suggest that every family order a few decks for holiday gifts and spend some time playing (and perhaps eating) “Shrimp, Lobster, Okra.”

I wrote to our long-ago traveling companion to remind him of our “Deck O’ Meals” on the Mississippi River:  “Funny how things from the past will jump up and grab you when least expected.”

“Shrimp, Lobster, Okra” or the Louisiana Cajun: Deck O’ Meals


HOLIDAY GIFTS

We sent out our Holiday Gift Guide today…

I know that it seems early; BUT, Maggie has been listening to “Frosty the Snowman” for about three weeks and begging for the decorations to come down from the attic. Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is next week; but, have you tried to argue with a 4 year-old?

So, the decorations box is down. My vintage, aluminum Christmas Tree – inherited from my grandparents – is unpacked and decorated.  Holiday tunes fill the house and the weather outside is a cold, winter rain. So, we are in full holiday spirit and I am grateful for the holiday gift of a 4 year-old.

Our front door is decorated with a mixture of  mums that have seen better days, beautiful, giant pumpkins, turkey drawings and now, an Alabama Chanin style wreath and home-made snowflakes and reindeer taped into the windows.   So, you will forgive me if I am already writing of Holiday Gift Guides?

I have even started to make our holiday gifts to put under our little tree.

‘Tis the season…follow the link to find some holiday cheer from all of us @ Alabama Chanin:

Alabama Chanin – Holiday Gift Guide 2010

AT HOME

Thanks to all the folks @ CasaSugar for including my home in their House Tours.  I feel very grateful for our little home It  has been a great house, an even better neighborhood, and a lovely place to raise little Maggie.

I pulled our holiday decorations out of the attic today and will work on adding holiday pictures and projects over the next weeks:

At Home with Alabama Chanin

WORKSHOPS + WALKING CAPE

Thank you to everyone who came to our studio in Florence last weekend to participate in the Weekend Workshop.  What a great group… the stories, fellowship, sewing and laughter were perfect.

A special thanks to Amy for sharing the sewing of her beautiful wedding dress.  What a special way to start a lifetime of beauty and commitment… and to Sarah – who made the trip from New York.  More about Sarah later this week.

Saturday’s meatloaf was amazing and everyone was clamoring for the recipe which, thanks to Kristy, I have posted below.

We have just posted our Weekend Workshop dates for 2011. Fill your holiday stocking, plan your trip and join us in the studio:

March 4 – 6

June 24 – 26

November 4 – 6

Look for our Berkeley workshop at the Edible Schoolyard soon and congrats to Deborah Kennedy for being the lucky winner of my favorite Walking Cape.

Check back soon for other special offers, visit us this Friday, November 12th from 12 -5 and Saturday the 13th from 10 – 5 for our annual Holiday Open House & Sample Sale.

We have extended hours this year and will also be open Friday November 19th from 12 – 5.  Get there early as everything goes quickly.

And now, Kristy’s Individual Meat Loaves

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FRESH AIR

The first day (and night) of cold has arrived like a breath of fresh air… tomatoes pulled from vines for fear of frost and our walking cape is my new best friend.  Take 20% off from our Collection or DIY Store for a chance to win a walking cape.  Until Nov. 5th, use code FRESHAIR20 at checkout for your chance to win.

Winner will be posted on November 8th, 2010.  All rules and regulations apply.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

“I daresay any fine recipe used in Jackson could be attributed to a local lady, or her mother – Mrs. Cabell’s Pecans, Mrs. Wrights’ Cocoons, Mrs. Lyell’s Lemon Dessert.  Recipes, in the first place, had to be imparted – there was something oracular in the transaction – and however often they were made after that by others, they kept their right names.  I make Mrs. Mosal’s White Fruitcake every Christmas, having got it from my mother, who got it from Mrs. Mosal, and I often think to make a friend’s recipe is to celebrate her once more, and in that cheeriest, most aromatic of places to celebrate in, the home kitchen.” — Eudora Welty of Jackson, Mississippi

I returned this week from Bloomington, Indiana to find a box containing my copy of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.  One part old-timey church cookbook, one part storybook, the compilation of recipes from SFA Members is spectacular.  Edited by friend John T. Edge with Sara Roahen, the recipes vary from Brown Butter Creamed Winter Greens by Linton (“Why It Is Worth So Much”) Hopkins (on page 70) to Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad by our friend Blair Hobbs (page 61). Indeed, the entire book contains the best of the best.

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FRIENDSHIP – QUILT OF THE MONTH #3

Maggie’s new school is hosting their annual Fall Festival tomorrow and each of the classes was asked to make a project to donate to a silent auction.  The Class Moms are asked to help organize this and (as I am one of the two responsible) I, of course, suggested that we make a quilt. To be honest, it just seemed the path of least resistance at the time.  However, this project has become so lovely that we decided to share it as our “Quilt of the Month #3.”

We simply cut blocks of organic cotton jersey from white, cream and tea and had the class (in conjunction with their 4th grade buddies) draw pictures of “Family & Friends.” The project was spread out over a few mornings – just thirty minutes each of the mornings before the day started. The kids had a great time (were asking for more) and the results were outstanding.

We used Crayola Fabric Markers for the drawings and then added little bits of embroidery, appliqué and reverse appliqué from Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style.

Everyone who has been in our studio is amazed.  I wish that I had been collecting Maggie’s drawings since she was born to make a quilt for her (well, myself).  And I asked Maggie to start holiday themed blocks last week with trees, presents, snow, etc.  Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Follow the instructions below to make your own Friendship Quilt and wish us luck tomorrow at the silent auction!

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