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BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Maggie’s decorations for the winter solstice:

Snowflakes delicately crafted of recycled papers from the working draft of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and draped with twine over a favorite vintage chandelier I purchased from the Saturday morning flea market in Vienna.

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF ARTISANS

For a decade, my work at Alabama Chanin has been made possible by our artisans.  Without them and our amazing staff, there would be no Alabama Chanin.

Many of the artisans working with us today are the very same women who sewed those first deconstructed t-shirts.  I want to express my deep gratitude.  Wielding needle and thread for a decade, they have brought beauty, laughter, amazement and joy to my life and company (not to mention all the garments, home-furnishings and projects along the way).

Over the decade, they have ranged in age from 20 to 80; among them have been secretaries, students, former textile mill employees, retired school teachers, and single mothers. They are mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, husbands, wives and friends but above all, they have proven talented, committed and proud to do the work they do.

Thanks to each and every one of you who has passed through our door- it has been a wonderful (and still growing) adventure…

*Photos from Elizabeth DeRamus

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

THANK YOU.

Thank you for coming for a visit.

Thank you to everyone who showed patience today as our new website launched.

Thank you for all the kind emails.

Thank you to everyone who has made the launch of this new site a reality.

Thank you to all the staff and artisans at Alabama Chanin.

Thank you to friends and family.

Thank you to Lisa Eisner and Roman Alonso.

Thank you to everyone at Commune, NoFavorite and GAS Studio.

Thank you.

MORNING WALK

I have missed having a camera handy in my pocket these last months since my point-and-shoot was hijacked in the studio.

Last week I broke down and bought this Canon PowerShot. Little did I know that I was going to have to fight Maggie to keep it in my pocket.

Here is her document of our morning walk. You can tell that she is already obsessed with nail polish, shoes, things on the side of the road and flowers – a girl after my own heart.

COFFEE + ATTICUS FINCH

Butch and Maggie built me a beautiful bird atrium for Mother’s Day this year and my surprise came complete with a Finch pair. Maggie named them Whitey and Blacky (although I loved the name Atticus Finch from my favorite book – and movie: To Kill A Mockingbird).

The two got busy building a nest as soon as they moved into their new home. Maggie has been collecting grass and twigs for their building adventures over the last month and Whitey has already begun to lay eggs.

I love to drink our morning coffee on the back porch in these first few days of summer and watch the two lovers frolic around their atrium.