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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.

ART SHAPES A RURAL COMPOUND

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.

GARDEN AND GUN

Thank you to Haskell Harris and all the folks at Garden & Gun for this piece about my favorite room (and table) in the house.

Natalie Chanin
The Localista

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.”

DOMESTICALLY REFRESHED

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…

THE BASIC FOUR

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.

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COMING HOME

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


THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY

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.”

Jane makes me long for more time at home studying the simple beauty of life and love.