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The holidays are here, and we’re all looking for the perfect presents for our loved ones. Here at Monaluna, we love to give unique gifts that support makers, and the maker in all of us! Here are a few of our favorite picks for the creative and eco-conscious.

 

Stocking Stuffers for Sewists

We carry lots of beautiful, specialty tools that are perfect gifts or stocking stuffers for the sewists in your life. A few of our favorites:

Merchant and Mills Tailors Thimble, Seam Ripper, Sewing Gauge, Tailors Beeswax, and Finest Needles, and Tulip brand Glass Head Pins and specialty needles

 

More great ideas for stitchers include the Merchant and Mills Sewing Kit, packaged in an oilskin canvas roll, and Reds Extra Sharp Shears. See more great gifts for sewists here.

 

 

Beautiful Books

Craft and sewing books make great gifts for creatives of all sorts! We carry lots of titles, from beginning sewing books for kids, to specialty quilting and sewing titles, and even some beautiful embroidery guides.

Bath and Beauty

We love giving the Handmade LaConner range of lotions and scrubs, including some masculine options like the Shave Soap, and the woodsy scented lotions. All of these products are handmade in Washington by a small team of artisans using only natural ingredients. 

Jewelry and Scarves

We carry a curated range of jewelry, including pieces by Larissa Loden, Ethic Goods and Johanna N from Sweden. Our Monaluna infinity scarves make great gifts, too!

Craft Kits and Supplies

Craft kits and supplies make great gifts for all levels of makers. We offer some great products for making adorable sewn and embroidered stuffies, cross stitch necklaces and cuffs, looms for weaving, pompom and tassle making, puppet and soft toy kits for kids, felt creations supplies and sashiko supplies and kits, among others.

Kids + Babies

Don’t forget the kids! Natural products like Eco-Kids Eco-Crayons, Earth Paint and Natural Face Paint are great gifts for the creative children on your list. We also carry a range of organic cotton and recycled wool baby products for the littlest ones.

Happy, Healthy Home

Finally, we have some lovely products for the home, like Betz White’s Eco Throws, Andrée Jardin natural wood brushes, Savon de Marseilles Olive Soap, natural beeswax candles, Scandinavian ceramics by Camilla Engdahl, maple bread boards and grow -your-own herb kits in cute ceramic cans or natural paper packaging.

 

All of the products we carry are handmade by small makers, or made by companies using natural materials and sustainable manufacturing processes. Can’t decide? We also offer Gift Cards, so you can let them choose the perfect thing.  Explore our whole site to find just the right gifts for your favorite people!

 

 

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We want to help you hold on to your creative spirit amidst the crush of holiday shopping this year, so we’re giving away a free e-book with every order from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. The e-book includes 3 exclusive sewing patterns: our Reversible Raglan Pullover for kids, our Patchwork infinity scarf, and our Chevron Quilt, reworked in a herringbone pattern. We’ve also included 4 embroidery templates for some cozy stitching by the fire.

To make it even more craftastic, we’re taking 20%-off all our Canvas and Lawn using the code BLACKFRIDAY17, good 12:00 AM Friday through 11:59 PM on Monday. Skip the malls this year and get your stitch on instead!

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to a short break with some of our favorite people. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people, and I’m feeling especially grateful for the small gifts as well as the big ones. Health, peace where we can find it, warm November sunshine, the wealth of friends and loved ones in my life. Thanksgiving has always felt like a creative outlet for me – I love getting real in the kitchen, making beautiful and delicious dishes from all the bounty of the season, feeding people. This year we’re celebrating with friends who feel like family and we’re taking our pie show on the road – our contribution to the feast this year. I wish you all cozy and creative Thanksgiving, a short break to give thanks before the crush of holiday hoopla.

Threadfollower Kangaroo Kit

We recently got in 6 new Threadfollower kits, each featuring it’s own animal design. Today we are going to help you through this precious Kangaroo kit. It is simple, fun and can be completed in an afternoon.

The kit included: beige felt (2 small, 2 large squares), beige embroidery thread, embroidery needle, stuffing, directions, and pattern

You will need: scissors and pins

To start, the directions will help you prepare your thread. This is done very simply by splitting the thread into two 3-ply pieces. Next, pin the pattern to the appropriately sized felt pieces and cut along the edges.

After cutting all your pieces (2 big body, 2 little body, 2 big ears, 2 little ears, 1 tail, 1 pouch, & 1 base), thread your needle and begin by sewing the two large body pieces together, using a whip stitch.

Once you’ve made it almost to the end, place the tail in-between the two body pieces and continue sewing. Refer back to the pattern for placement guidance.

Once the tail is attached, finish stitching the body. After knotting the thread begin stuffing the kangaroo. I cut a smaller piece to push into the head and stuffed the remaining. Don’t forget to leave some out for the baby’s stuffing.

 

Once stuffed, attach the base using a whip stitch. Attach the pouch to the front of the belly, leaving the top open.  Make sure to allow room for the baby to fit in the pouch. I found it easiest to position the pouch by pinning down the sides.

 

Next, add the ears by pinching the pieces together and sewing one on either side. The little baby body is a quick sew. Whip stitch all the way around leaving a small hole to stuff. Once stuffed close off the opening and attach the little ears.

 

 

Lastly, sew the baby’s nose using the brown thread and the mother’s eyes using the black thread. TA-DAH! The sweetest little kangaroo pair. Perfect for any pocket, lunch box, backpack, or windowsill.

 

 

 

 

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August is coming to a close and, at least in our area, all the kids are back in school. Are summers shorter than they used to be, or does time just fly that much faster when you’re an adult? I still have stacks of summer sewing projects that I wanted to do, but it’s time to move on to fall. We’ve stitched up some darling drawstring backpacks, perfect for light loads for school, sleepover kits or a hands-free carryall for grown-ups.

Sew Can She  is always coming up with great patterns and tutorials, and we spotted this one, available for free for download. It’s also easy to modify to suit your needs. We decided to make ours a bit bigger and use grommets instead of fabric tabs for the securing of the straps. The pattern includes fabric straps, but you can just as easily use rope-like cording, like we did, ribbon, or any other strap-link material.

There is also an option to add a ruffle accent at the top to add a bit of flare. The ruffle is added by cutting the fabric at 6″ instead of 3″ at the top. Then sewing a stitch an inch away from the seam allowing the trim to attach to the main fabric.

Adding grommets are much easier than you may think. You can purchase a grommet kit at most craft stores or online. They come with easy to follow instructions and the only additional tool you will need is a hammer. We really enjoyed how the grommets and cord finished these backpacks. They are also super adjustable for all sizes and fits.

This backpacks were made using Cottage Garden Organic Poplin and Simple Life Organic Poplin, but you could easily use canvas for a studier finish. Overall, these backpacks only need about an yard and a quarter of fabric and take no time at all to sew up. Don’t forget to tag @monalunadesign and hashtag #monaluna on Instagram so we can see how you put yours together. Happy Sewing!

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This week at Monaluna, we stitched up the free Sorbetto pattern by Colette in our  Cherry Blossom Dusk  organic cotton lawn  from Haiku 2. The pattern is easily printed out and feature sizes 1-26.

We chose Version 1, which features a center front box pleat and bust darts for shaping. Bias tape finishes the modest scoop neckline as well as the armholes. Here in California the weather is just perfect for this classic, lightweight top. The simple pattern, with the added pleating creates a romantic piece suitable for all occasions. We are in love with how this piece turned out!

 

Our organic cotton lawn is an ideal fabric for this pattern, because it is lightweight and drapey, but still crisp enough to hold a nice pleat. The poplins will work well, too, and can transition better into cooler weather.

With this pattern there are unlimited possibilities! Here are some suggestions for which of our organic fabrics we think will also work well with this pattern.

 

Version 2 of the Sorbetto top features a center front box pleat and bust darts for shaping. Bias tape finishes the modest scoop neckline as well as the armholes. This tunic length version has a side seam vent and slight high-low hem, which is finished with a facing.

For Version 2 we think Scattered Petals, Spots lawn, and Cherry Blossom Dawn would make a beautiful garment!

Version 3 of the Sorbetto top features a center front box pleat and bust darts for shaping. Bias tape finishes the modest scoop neckline. This version includes short set-in sleeves that are finished with a baby hem.

For Version 2 we were thinking Brush Teal, Poem Sage, or Clover. Happy Sewing!

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Our Haiku 2 collection arrives today, and we are excited to get busy sewing up quilts, clothing and other projects with this lovely new organic fabric! Inspired by the short Japanese poetry form, this collection features delicate watercolor florals and brushstrokes juxtaposed with bold metallic stamping. We’ve recolored our original prints for a collection that is deeper and even more harmonious, with shades of pink and plum set off by pops of teal, sage and chartreuse. Here are a few of our first Haiku 2 projects. Take a look at the full range here and let us know: what would you make from these new fabrics?

 

Haiku Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

My mom is marking a birthday milestone this month, and to celebrate we hosted a West-coast birthday celebration for her. She has a group of lifelong friends here from when she lived in Berkeley in the 60’s and 70’s, and whenever she visits from her home in Minneapolis, they try to get together to visit. I always love being included in these get-togethers and listening to what is always an interesting conversation, and often takes the form of an elegant dinner at one home or another.

 

It was fun to play host this time, and we decided on a weekend lunch al fresco, taking advantage of a pleasantly cool day. We had planned to prepare a feast using as much produce from our garden as possible, but unfortunately, a brutal heat wave occurred while we were out of town the previous two weeks, and much of the garden was scorched. So instead, we used lots of seasonal fruits and veggies, and threw in our own herbs, citrus, blueberries, potatoes and eggs from our chickens. We went with what was supposed to be a light, soup and salad theme, but we got a little carried away. Here’s the menu for a Saturday brunch for 10:

 

-Chilled sorrel soup and baguette with prosecco

-Quinoa and kale salad

-Glazed carrots over honey-drizzled goat cheese

-Watermelon and blueberry salad with feta, mint and fresh lime

-Farfalle with fresh garden pesto

-Rustic walnut toasts with fig and olive tapenade, ricotta, peas and radishes

-Avocado toasts with tomato and feta

-Danish lagkage with whipped cream and berries

-Lemon and blood orange sorbets

 

It ended up being a little over-the-top for what was supposed to be a simple lunch, but my mom and Dave and I had such a good time cooking together and enjoying the bounty of early summer produce. Here are some of the recipes we used or made up, along with some photos.

 

Chilled Sorrel Soup

I planted sorrel last year, with only a vague idea of what I would do with it. It grew impossibly lush and green, and before I realized it, the decision was made for me: my gorgeous stand of sorrel became chicken food one afternoon when our free-range flock discovered that they rather liked sorrel. To my delight, the plant came back this spring, and I guarded it with chicken wire before our birds rediscovered it. This was my first go at a soup, and it was delicious. I used Craig Claiborne’s recipe for the New York Times as a starting point, but changed it so much that I’m writing it out here.

 

 

1 lb. Fresh Sorrel

1 lb. potatoes

3 large leeks

butter

8 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. cooking sherry (or to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup heavy cream

 

  1. Clean and dry the sorrel, and remove stems. Stack the leaves, and cut crosswise in 1/4″ ribbons. Set aside.
  2. Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks, and discard the tops. You should have about 2 cups.  Saute leeks in the butter in your soup pot.
  3. Peel the potatoes and chop into 1″ cubes. Add potatoes and broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil, simmering 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the broth by pouring the soup through a colander into a large bowl. Put the solids into a food processor, add 1 cup of the broth and blend until smooth. Return the now-smooth solids to the soup pot and pour in the rest of the liquid, mixing until combined. (Alternately, you could use an immersion blender to puree the soup). Chill the soup.
  5. Once chilled, add the sorrel ribbons and blend with an immersion blender. Add parmesan cheese, cream salt, pepper and sherry to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Glazed Carrots with Goat Cheese and Honey

 

 

I came across this recipe as I was going through back issues of Food and Wine Magazine, and it looked delicious. I was not wrong. These were the best carrots I’ve ever had, and I’m already planning to cook them again as soon as possible. The recipe is a little fussy, but well worth it. Find it here.

 

Mama’s Quinoa Kale Salad

 

 

1 Bunch Kale

Quinoa, cooked

1 cup Pecans or almonds, chopped

1 cup Cranberries

 

Dressing

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2+ Tbsp. Champagne Vinegar (to taste)

1 Shallot, minced

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. honey

Salt and Pepper

 

Prepare the kale by removing the woody spine and cutting the kale into bite size pieces. Place in a glass or ceramic bowl and salt generously, then squeeze and scrunch the kale until it is tender. Add salad dressing and nuts and cranberries and chill while preparing the quinoa.

 

Add 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water and continue cooking on medium low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain any liquid that remains, and place the hot pan back on the burner with the top off to dry the quinoa a bit more.

 

When the quinoa has cooled, add it to the kale and nuts and cranberries and mix well.

 

Rustic Walnut Toasts

 

 

I have been loving the popularity of “toasts” lately. I lived in Denmark for a year when I was a teenager, and I fell in love with their smørrebrod, or open-faced sandwiches, and this is a similar idea. It’s like a tasty blank canvas for whatever lovely stuff you want to pile on top. Here’s our take:

 

1 Loaf rustic whole wheat walnut bread

1/4 c. Olive Oil

Olive-Fig Tapenade (I used some that I found at Whole Foods)

Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

Fresh Radishes, Peas and micro-arugula

 

Preheat oven to 450º

Slice bread and place slices on a cookie sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil

Bake for about 10 minutes, checking to make sure that the bread is toasty but not burnt

Cool toasts and spread with tapenade.

Dollop on the ricotta, and spread over the toasts

Decorate with slivered radishes, coarsely chopped peas and micro ricotta. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

 

Camilla Plum’s Danish Lagkager

 

I found this recipe on the blog TasteFood, and it reminded me right away of the delicious, light and not-too-sweet layer cakes that I had in Scandinavia. It’s fairly simple, and perfect for a fresh, summer party. You can find the recipe here.

 

 

Happy birthday, mom!

 

 

 

 

Hiroshima Embroidery Needles

 

At Monaluna, we look for quality products that offer something special. Hiroshima needles are exactly that. Crafted through a 30-step process, these needles are exceptionally sharp, smooth, flexible, and strong. They pierce and glide through fabric effortlessly thanks to a special high density abrasive polished treatment.

 

 

The Hiroshima factory uses a metal tempering process that gives the needles just the right amount of flexibility, and ensures they’re resistant to bending or breaking. This means you can stitch for hours with less fatigue, and the needle with return to its straight shape, even as its manipulated through fabric.

 

 

Another thing we like about these needles is their larger than average and ultra-smooth eye, as this makes threading easier. Hiroshima needles come in durable clear labeled containers that look like a small test tube and help keep you organized. We stitched up this sweet little flower cluster on organic linen using wool floss and a Hiroshima embroidery needle. We also carry assorted Sashiko and Quilting needles to best suit your project needs.

Father’s Day is June 18th, and we have some great ideas for unique and sustainable gifts for the special dad in your life. Here are a few ideas from the shop, as well as some DIY projects you can make yourself!

 

 

Green Growing Gifts

1. Homemade La Conner Preshave Oil
2. Homemade La Conner Shave Soap
3. Can+ Plant Growing Kit
4. Cultivate & Eat Growing Kits
5. Etta+Billie Cold Brew Mint Coffee Soap
6. Happy First Father’s Day Card 

 

 

Sew Dad an Apron

Does your Dad love to BBQ and cook? Why not create this custom canvas apron. We felt so inspired by Purl Soho’s “Adjustable Apron” tutorial that we decided to sew up a few. This apron was made with Herringbone Canvas and Spot On Canvas with red sticking accented cotton webbing. I think grandpa would love this one too! Check out all our canvases for inspiration for your Dad.

 

 

Make Him a Trendy Bowtie

Spring and summer bring weddings, graduations, and patio-parties, so why not give Dad a way to spruce up his look. The Sew Like A Mom, “Men’s Bow Tie Tutorial” provides easy to follow instruction to create your Dad something, thoughtful and homemade. He’ll love it!

We created our bowties out of Polka Dot PoplinLittle Leaves Poplin and Pellon Fusible Interfacing. This is a great gift idea and you have just enough time to sew up one or two for the special day. We also thought how precious would a Father and Son matching bowtie set be?

Whatever you decide to do for your Dad, make sure you give him a big hug, and wish him a happy Father’s Day from us!