I woke up this morning in my own bed and to the sound of birds singing.
Bird Watching by Paula McCartney – Sunday morning obsession.
Thank you to the amazing Penelope Greene and all the folks at the New York Times for the lovely piece about Butch, the Woods of Wonder and the Doo Nanny.
I love this picture of Maggie jumping on the bed:
And thank you to Robert Rausch for the lovely images of my family.
Don’t miss Robert’s pictures here.
Thank you to Haskell Harris and all the folks at Garden & Gun for this piece about my favorite room (and table) in the house.
Ten years ago, Natalie Chanin surprised the New York fashion world with a T-shirt that she ripped to pieces and sewed back together using quilt-inspired stitches. Then Chanin promptly left for her hometown of Florence, Alabama, where she hired local seamstresses to create her first label, Project Alabama. Now she runs Alabama Chanin, a company that produces couture clothing, fabric, jewelry, and home goods from new, recycled, and organic materials by hand, a process that gives each design its one-of-a-kind charm.
Chanin, whose career is famously influenced by her Southern upbringing, often works out of her house, the dining room in particular. “It’s really the soul of the house,” she says. “And it has great light, so it doubles as my office and photo studio. I do everything from folding clothes to hosting Christmas parties in that room.”
The dining room is full of Chanin’s handmade artistry, including the table, made from scrap wood that’s painted her favorite color, white. “It doesn’t compete with all of the things you have in your life,” she says. There’s also a chandelier she rehabbed with paint and a couple of reworked vintage chests.
Chanin’s designs have recently inspired a second craft book, Alabama Studio Style, due out this month, which details how to make some of her favorite furniture creations at home. “People want more value for their dollar these days,” she says. “They’re interested in things with a good story and things with a purpose.”
Not that cleaning house is very exciting (or sexy as I have remarked before)… unless you choose to do it in a feather boa as my friend Whitechapel suggests.
BUT, I did have a nice childhood memory today of Saturday morning cleaning sprees.
I got ambitious (or drank too much coffee) and tried out some cleaning recipes from How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew.
Feeling very domestically refreshed, and yes, well, sexy…
A blanket of snow gave a surprise visit in Alabama today and, in typical Southern fashion, we celebrated by closing the city and cooking. I made a pot of my famous secret-recipe chili – one of my favorite dishes.
While I love a good apron and The Gentle Art of Domesticity, cleaning has never been a particularly sexy task around our house. However, I loved the article below that ran in our local paper on Tuesday of this week.
It makes me happy that living clean is going mainstream.
Some great recipes are available here.
Maggie loved mixing the ingredients with me in the kitchen last night.
BUT, I still swear by Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena for washing our clothes…
*Make your own apron like the one above with the Bloomers Pattern available as a pull-out from our Alabama Stitch Book.
Although the travels of the last months have been truly wonderful, there is nothing quite like coming home. My garden survived the neglect and the tomato plants are now at shoulder height with green pearls of delight starting to form. And while I have been a bit lax in keeping up with reading and writing, I have saved a few articles over the last months that I look forward to sharing.
I was surprised and delighted to find Preserving Time in a Bottle in the New York Times and see it truly as a sign of changing times. I am looking forward to savoring my time at home, eating in my own kitchen, keeping my suitcase packed away, devouring fresh tomatoes with Maggie, trying out new recipes, “putting up” our garden and letting the summer arrive slowly, slowly…
Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times
When Melanie described this new STC title, I could not fully imagine how a book about domesticity could be so interesting. And now, I am taken aback by the beauty, prose and “comforts” of Jane Brocket and The Gentle Art of Domesticity.
When opening the book, I was stuck by the very first line: “There is a world of difference between domesticity and domestication.”
Thanks to all of you who have sent letters and words of encouragement for my father.
We finally got him moved to the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham and are hoping for a complete recovery.
Birmingham has become world renowned for their work in stroke recovery and the study of the brain and the concept of “plasticity.”
The Birmingham News ran an article yesterday about the revolutionary CI Therapy and Dr. Taub:
My father is not so far along yet, but we are looking forward to the process of healing.
Thanks again to you all…
**I ran the picture above earlier in the year but thought appropriate to include it in this post. This picture was taken on my Brownie camera in 1964. My father holds me on our family horse – “Queenie” – while my grandfather pushes the button. I can smell hay, saddles and the wood of the barn when I look at this picture.
This poem is from Kay Ryan, the new US poet laureate.
I kept on thinking about it this weekend while we were stitching our beautiful Alabama Chanin clothing. I kept thinking that our strong stitches were going to hold tight as we made our deep tracks.
Thank you for including me in such a special experience.
The poem reminds me of my great-grandmother – Granny Lou – moving around her house at Burcham Creek:
THINGS SHOULDN’T BE SO HARD
A life should leave
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
Her things should
keep her marks.
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
be so hard.