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Be sure to check back regularly to see just what chips have been falling in our "slow studio".

An evening with the trust

The Shoals hosted this year's annual Alabama Trust conference this week.  Thursday night was a magical evening.  Bo Osborne and Emily Tease, showcased the best of the shoals with this farm to table event.  Master chef Alan Phillips did his thing, this time with wild game.  My history with wild game has not been memorable.  Thursday night Alan pulled it off, amazingly. 

An evening with the trust, Alabama trust, oneal farm, florence al
  • quail and jalapeno tartlets
  • roast fig and curried duck
  • pheasant quesadilla bits with salsa verde
  • pickled peach and herbed chevre (sorry i forgot what the heck chevre is) on sweet potato biscuit
  • Venison medallion paired with wild turkey meatloaf, with local veggies, sauted greens ++
  • green tomato cheese grits
  • pecan pesto and blackberry cumberland sauce
  • white chocolate mousse tartlests with berries
The venison was amazing, as well as the entire evening.

The venison was amazing, as well as the entire evening.

the menu went on and on with more of these small bite sized desserts arriving regularly.  It was all really wonderful.  The Venison was the best (by far) i've had.  Cooked perfectly. 

Many of the guests were with the trust from around the state but lot's of locals as well.  Lot's of fun at our table with David and Nannette Cassady, John Locker (who also pulled off an amazing farm to table event a couple of months ago), Tracey Marcu, Judy and David Hood (yup, one of our own Muscle Shoals Swampers, Rusy and Lisa Alexander (just within shouting distance).

My gosh, I almost forgot the best part.  Nancy O'neal's farm.  My first visit and it's heavenly.  The dream began just as we pulled off of Gunterford Road at a little sign that said "Dinner".  Beautiful rolling hills, beautiful cows, quite special. 

These bad pics were taken with my iphone (dropped my good camera a few weeks ago).  I borrowed Nannette's camera and took more just as we were leaving.  I'm hoping to find a few pics of the end of the event to share.

Historic Muscle Shoals Music (Swampette) tour Saturday

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I finally took the entire morning off Saturday and got on board Judy Hood's super cool Swampette Tour.  Let me say "I'm onboard!".  We met at the Marriott Lobby, and were whisked away on a really cute little wooden ;) tour bus. 

If you don't know, Judy has amazing insight into this subject.  Being Swamper David Hood's better half - she know's plenty.  Actually she know's more than she sharing.  And she's sharing a ton.

Our first stop was a Fame.  So cool that recording artists are still lining up to record here.  A group was recording while we were there.

Second stop, Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  This is the first time I've seen it since the remodel, and I'm impressed.  Really wonderful the our Governor and other's have invested in this amazing historic project.

Spooner Oldham @ Alabama Music Hall of Fame

The stars were aligned - just as we arrived local super start Spooner Oldham was honored with a bronze star in the Walk of Fame. 

Last stop was of 3614 Jackson Highway, Muscle Shoals Sound.  This is the one that the Beats Music guy is investing in the huge project of a historic remodel.  The aesthetics will be just as they were, the recording equipment will be state of the art. 

Tour leader and lead Swampette - Judy Hood in black, Georgia Carter proudly sporting her new Billy Reid "Mustache" blue T-shirt also on the front row of historic 3614 Jackson Highway - aka Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

Tour leader and lead Swampette - Judy Hood in black, Georgia Carter proudly sporting her new Billy Reid "Mustache" blue T-shirt also on the front row of historic 3614 Jackson Highway - aka Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

My review;  Each tourist (including me!) drank the wonderful, historic Muscle Shoals Music kool-aid that tourguide, Swampette Judy Hood shared, and we loved every moment of it.  Thank you Judy Hood!  So generous of you to share so much of the wonderful history of our area.  I'll be back for more!

Raft Race has a brand new website

the Great Cypress Creek Raft Race is getting it's own website.   Just getting it going.  Lots of work in the garden . . .  But for now, for Raft Race info/news/old pics/announcements/ and blog posts and 30 year Raft Race story telling, please visit:  http://www.greatcypresscreekraftrace.com/

High Point Market

This High Point Market will be a short one (for me).  I'll only be available Saturday and Sunday.  Please note:  That we've moved our showing.  We are thrilled to now be (for our second High Point Market) with Ekornes (the super cool, modern, sustainable Stressless guys from Norway) showroom.

  • Building IHFC
  • Showroom D820
  • Bustop #1 (Transportation Terminal)

Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Phil Campbell

After year's in the making, it was great to see that our little table, made from a devastated Phil Campbell tree, is beginning to make a difference.  Congrats to our friends Andrew Reed, Brooklyn Phil Campbell and all the Phil Campbells around the world who have worked tirelessly for our neighboring community. 

after year's in the "making", our little Phil Campbell table found it's new home.
Above is a pic of the Phil Campbell table presently showing (for a few more days) at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed / Rosenbaum Museum - downtown Florence.

Above is a pic of the Phil Campbell table presently showing (for a few more days) at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed / Rosenbaum Museum - downtown Florence.

Karen Graffao shows at the Tennessee Valley Museum of art

Great fun meeting Karen Sunday at her wonderful showing;  3000 Dreams Explained.  Somehow, i didn't really get it.  That is, until I stepped foot into her third concentric ring.  The answer was there.  I got it.  Even if it was just for a moment.  I'll have to drop back by for more.

Why recycle?

no reason to recycle when it's functioning - and u love it!

For the past 26 years Linda's driven nothing but (two) Volvos. The first an '88 - she kept 12 years. Then, while we were living in Beaufort SC she purchased this on. That was in 2000.  She really loves this car. And hopes to be able to keep her fir as ling as she can. 


Tourism building

the shoals is on a roll, and it doesn't seem to be slowing. Just got a sneak peek of the new tourism building at McFarland park.  I'm quite amazed. Architect Bob Whitten and Tom Gosser at Parallax construction have designed/built quite an amazing new area "gem". Facing the beautiful river, park and marina, tourists will know there's something quite special about the community they are visiting. 

Combining natural (wood) with beautiful functional minimal modern is not easily achieved.  

Congrats Bob and entire team!  This one is absolutely worth the wait!! 


New restaurant Rice Box - Huntsville

The best Chinese restaurant in alabama just opened a Huntsville location.  I'm happy to report nothing but rave reviews. 

Linda and I weren't really hungry - more curious than anything. Great to see they seem to be following the same great menu. And, amazingly, it tasted just like super chef Jason did the cooking. It's actually (owner) Maggie's brother from New York. I had heard about his masterful culinary skills for years - fun meet him - and taste his wonderful food 

beautiful, modern/asian interior. Great to see a couple of long time (Florence Rice Box) employees - including Ben - back from Los Angeles   

Just appetizers really

Sushi - exceptional, fried hot wings, crispy - almost perfect -  a bit sweet for my taste.   Perfect for Linda. Tempura Tofu appetizer. Just perfect. 

Im looking forward to getting back there for a meal when I'm actually hungry 


Photography tabletops shipping to Snapfish.com

These solid walnut and maple tabletops will be shipping to San Francisco tomorrow.  They'll be used for their photo shoots of their amazingly beautiful custom photo books and other products that they produce.

If you've seen our the hard cover photo books, they were all printed by our friends at Snapfish.  We're huge Snapfish fans.  Soon as I can get my newest photos organized, will be ordering a the 2014 edition of our book.

Walnut doors - progressing nicely

Walnut doors - progressing nicely

These walnut, cherry, sassafras and maple doors are coming along.    Pics show final sanding thursday, then fourth (final) coat of waterborne finish on side one of each (friday and saturday).

We should be able to finish the other side Monday, then this beautiful (but drawn out) project should be complete.

custom exteror doors - made from local hardwood trees

These custom orders, particularly totally new designs, particularly with approaching (or past approaching) deadlines, keep things more than exciting around here. These doors are on the more modern, minimal design than much of my work. 

  • 1 3/4" solid walnut stiles and rails
  • stiles and rails attached with mortise and tenon joinery
  • 1" solid narrow "floating" panels of sassafras, maple and cherry (three panels of each)
  • All four species made from local hardwood trees

This is my take (kinda backwards) on the typical door or cabinet door design, where he more typical design is with quite large floating panels with smaller rails. 

The floating panels should allow for expansion and contraction from the opposing forces on each side of the exterior door environment.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

solid doors made from 4 local hardwood trees

New Finishing room - off to a grand beginning

This move has been a doozy.  After too many weeks of downtime for the move, then placing equipment, set up dust collection system, build finishing room, we are back in business.

Yesterday we broken in our new spray room with a beautiful natural edge walnut countertop - receiving three coats of our amazing earth (and people) friendly waterborne finish.  Since we are behind on this order, as we are several ;(, we're all super pleased to see such beautiful success in the new room.  Especially since our customer is our friend, 26 year veteran in kitchen and bath design, with Kitchen Expressions.

Debe is the best, and actually the only, Master certified kitchen and bath designer between Birmingham and Nashville.



Doors - were (or were not) inspired by. . .

The aesthetic (of these two new solid walnut+ doors, either was or was not inspired by our local Frank Lloyd Wright house.  Honestly, I'm not sure.  Consciously, it was not.  But last week, after I delivered the Phil Campbell table back to the Rosenbaum House Gift Shop (for a few more weeks on display), as i was driving off, in my peripherals, I noticed almost the same design/balance/aesthetic in the exterior wall of the home.  With closer inspection, Director Libby Jordan, reminded me that the walls are a good example of Wright's Usonian construction;  Cedar interior and exterior sandwiching pine. 

Either way, inspired specifically by the Rosenbaum House board and batten design or not, I'm quite proud to see - even just a glimmer of similarity in "our ;)" work.

Just to be clear, if there's any confusion, he's the master.  No Question.  I'm honored to be the student.


Italian/Venezuelan Master Carpenter tours studio

Lots of fun meeting these two from Venezuela via Italy and San Francisco.  They seem to have really enjoyed their tour - and they LOVE Florence Alabama.  -- I believe the word was "magical" - and they are sooo right.  -- Hope to see them again soon.

If you are in need of an exceptional carpenter, craftsman, or geodesic dome expert, these guys seem to be looking for an excuse to move here.

photo's of the photographer

I was intrigued with Pro photographer Nate Haskovec's toys.  I asked him if i could hold/look/play and he was happy to share.  Then, i asked how much was I holding - around $10k right there in those two pieces.  Yikes - I handed right back.

But it really was fun as Nate showed me what a real photographer with a real camera can do.  The striking depth of field, along with so many other benefits of dslr + the right telephoto lense, quite amazing.  Thanks for sharing Nate!

Shoals Environmental Alliance - I LOVE this org!


The awareness and education Shoals Environmental Alliance provides for the area is huge.  And i enjoy supporting them whenever I can.  Each year, i've donated a small $500 bench, that goes into their silent auction held at Robert Rausch Gas Studio (his very generous donation). 

Nancy Muse stops by each year, picks up the donation (in her super cool Hybrid Prius), and visits a bit.  This year the timing couldn't have been better.  Pro photographer Nate Haskovec was here doing a photoshoot for a book of local creatives, and took a few of Nancy (and my pal Sassafras).

Nancy was so nice to pose showing off the bench and her new Earth Day t-shirt.  I think it turned out quite exceptionally.  -- Nancy thank you for all you have done for so many years for our community.  Your hard work is very much appreciated!

Doors made from local 4 beautiful hardwood trees

Our "take" on a door;  Primarily made of solid local walnut.  9 small floating panels made from sassafras, maple and cherry.

Attached the walnut stiles to the walnut rails with simple but strong, mortise and tenon joinery.

Each of the 9 small floating panels (3 each of sassafras, maple, cherry) to allow for the unique environments on each side of the thruway.