Last Chance for Alabama Chanin Kits at these Savings

Along with a new year come some new changes. My class, Hand Stitching and Embellishing, The Alabama Chanin Way for Art & Soul Portland and Minneapolis, will the be last opportunity for me to offer these beautiful Alabama Chanin kits at my discounted price. The Alabama Chanin kits are a dream to work with, stitch, and wear; and you'll learn all the tips, tricks and techniques to sew your kit with confidence at my workshop.

These kits include your choice of DIY project kit, customized for you, cut from 100% domestic organic cotton and stenciled at the Alabama Chanin Factory in Florence, Alabama. Also included is an organic canvas tote, moleskin journal with pencil, and a sewing sampler.

You may choose from seven wonderful projects:

                                                                  Swing Skirt - 21" or 24" length



                                            Unisex T-shirt - sleeveless, short sleeves or long sleeves

                                      Fitted tee -Sleeveless, cap sleeves, short sleeves or long sleeved

                                                                 Baby blanket with baby hat

                                                                   Apron with four tea towels

                                                                            Table runner

Here is the PDF to download with more information on sizing, the 14 colorway choices, and 6 stencil options.

The prices for your class kits are $117 for the poncho, unisex shirt, tee-shirt, baby blanket with hat, apron with four tea towels, or table runner; and $132 for the swing skirt or corset. Retail prices would be approximately $175 to $263.

You will still be able to purchase some of these DIY kits from Alabama Chanin directly; but unfortunately, no longer through me. So if you've been on the fence about signing up for Art & Soul Portland, Oregon or Art & Soul Minneapolis, don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Back country ski to crystalline waterfall

Merrily whooshing along the luge-like path on back country skis, over the meadow and through the woods, the snow is falling, with blue skies peaking out now and then.

We wind through the trees where you can hear the silence, and then the distant rush of the river.

Follow along the banks of the river before meandering back into the woods, up over a ridge, then the view opens up to the valley below, mountains standing sentry in the background.

The coal black textured bark stands out starkly against the pure white softness of the snow. Fellow New Year's revelers, just a few, pass with a smile and a "Happy New Year!"; and then a jubilant hug with a chance encounter of some dear friends. Our town may be growing, but it is still a small town.

A late start begs to ask if we should attempt the extra mile to the waterfall. It's so beautiful, there's no turning back. We crisscross over the river on hand-hewn snow covered foot bridges.

I'm thankful not to have to pull off my skis and traverse the stream, possibly post-holing thigh deep on the river bank ~ brrrrrr.

You hear the roar before you see it. It's flowing, but there is a crystalline appearance that makes you wonder if there is a sheet of ice encasing the flow. Last week there were ice climbers, but with the warming of temps, a balmy 20 degrees today (that's Fahrenheit not Celsius mind you), none were at it today.

Step back, soak it all in. It's a new year, 2017, but this fall has been here for ages. In all seasons its beauty is eternal.

We must hurry back, as twilight settles in, blue light with pinkish hue reflecting off the snow, then the glow of the welcoming lodge. January 1st, 2017 has begun in a most magical, glorious way. I am ever grateful.

Happy New Year, everyone. All the best for 2017.

Cloth Napkins ~ recycle, reduce, reuse beautifully

I must admit, I have a bit of a linen fetish (understatement there!) When I go to tag sales, I cannot resist a beautiful set of hemstitched napkins or a pretty tablecloth. One of my most treasured possessions is a collection of everyday tablecloths that belonged to my "Little Grandma".

Colorful and happy, they remind me of childhood mornings in her bright yellow and orange kitchen, hot cocoa steaming in front of me, and the smell of bacon and eggs frying up in her black cast iron skillet that lived on the back of her stove.

Please excuse my nostalgic indulgence, but here are a few closeups of some of my favorites.

These chickens crack me up!

 Fun retro colors.

Classic fruit.

This tablecloth feels like Crepe de Chine or possibly rayon.

I love this tiny butterfly and the bright green border.

This is probably my favorite. It's so fragile I'm afraid to use it, as I don't think it would survive the wash. See how lovely the pieces are stitched together? There's also a metal tag with numbers on it. Perhaps from a trip to the cleaners?

I try to reuse and recycle as much as possible, and feel quite guilty when I'm consuming things like ziplock bags and paper products. It just made sense that I put my pretty linens to good use, and make the switch away from paper napkins. When I started gathering together all those napkins, I was first amazed at how many I had accumulated over the years; and then I was amazed at how well they all went together, creating a harmonious grouping of colors, prints, and textures; such a cheery sight indeed.

I plopped the basket of napkins right in the middle of the dinner table, and informed my family that we were all going to do our part, and consume a little less, and start using cloth napkins. Puzzled faces, tilted heads, reaching hands, and that was done! It's been over four years with no complaints or regrets. I just toss all the napkins in with the kitchen laundry. Easy-peasy.

There's even a cache of rolled cloth napkins right next to the paper towel dispenser. I'm not quite ready to give paper towels up completely, but we've reduced our usage by about 85%. Now that's a switch I can live with.

My mother made some sweet napkins from odds and ends, remnants that she picked up at the op shop. They're really pretty, and are fun and easy to make, a good project for just about anyone. She used fairly lightweight, tightly woven cotton fabrics.

Cut out an 18 X 18 inch square. Grab a corner and find a loose thread at the edge of the fabric. Pull off one thread at a time, and unravel about 1/4" to 1/3" of the fabric. Do this to all four sides. When you wash the square the edges should fray nicely. Not only does it add texture, but it will stop any more threads from coming loose. That's it! It's a great way to use up extra fabric stash.

We've given up all bottled water, all paper napkins, and most paper towels.  I'm ready to make another similar commitment for change. 50% of the time I carry my own bag for groceries and such, but I could  will commit to 100%. Also, I'm looking into purchasing or making waxed cloth. I use food storage containers with tops, so I use very little plastic wrap, but would like to reduce that even further and cut down my ziplock bag consumption.

How about you? Have you made any commitments to reduce, reuse, or recycle that you'd like to share? Do you have any tips or tricks that would help us reduce household refuse?