Blog Archive for April, 2010

Have you seen Bowie Style’s new Print and Pattern book? I finally got my copy in the mail, and it’s gorgeous! Talk about a wealth of inspiration! She’s featured 120 surface designers (including Monaluna!) from various fields – textile designers, graphic designers, illustrators, painters and paper collage artists, to name a few – and all over the world. The result is a great compilation of artists with different styles and media. So much fun to page through! You can buy a copy here, and see more of her curatorial prowess and keen design sense on her blog, print and pattern.

Monaluna prints, including the first version of Monaco Birds

Lara Cameron of Ink and Spindle
Macrina Busato
Galia Bernstein

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the Earth Day giveaway! What a great response! I loved reading all your comments and suggestions, and I now have a huge wealth of sewing project ideas.
The lucky winner is…

Kristy, who said: “WOW!!! Thank you for your generous participation in the blog hop! What fun! Love ALL these new prints! I think I would make a skirt and a mini messenger sling for my daughter! :) soooo keeping my fingers crossed!” Congratulations, Kristy! Send me an email with your mailing address when you can.

Since the sample bolts just arrived yesterday (a little delayed, due to the volcano in Iceland), Kristy will be the very first person to receive the fabrics, but I am expecting to have them all here and ready to ship out in early June.

Wow – I’m totally blown away by all the great comments and product ideas pouring in from the Earth Day Giveaway. Thanks, guys! I wish I could give some away to all of you to make the fabulous things you’ve got in mind!

The celebration of Earth Day turns 40 today, and it’ a nice opportunity to take a moment to mark the changes over the past years. Although I wish the need to draw attention to the environment were not so urgent, it gives me hope to realize how much we’ve progressed, especially in the past few years. I remember when recycling was a fairly radical concept. My mother, ever the pioneering environmentalist, helped to organize the first recycling truck in our neighborhood, and we kids got (or “had”, which was our attitude at the time) to man the truck on Saturdays and help people drop off their glass, cans and papers. Now, where I live, anyway, very little needs to go to the landfill. We have recycling for almost all packaging and waste, yardwaste gets picked up and converted to mulch, and my husband and I compost almost everything else – or give it to our pet worms.

Now the “reduce” and “reuse” part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” rallying cry … well, we’re still working on that. But there are so many simple steps we can take to eliminate much of what we throw away – especially packaging and bags. My New Year’s resolution last year was to remember bring reusable grocery bags to the store, and I’ve been sticking to it (keeping them in the car helps). I have a Chico bag (a gift from my mother) that I carry in my purse for other shopping needs, and it’s perfect – lightweight, about the size of a small apple when rolled up, holds a lot, always handy. And I’ve become totally smitten with all the handmade, reusable totes, shopping bags, lunch bags and grocery bags I’ve seen on Etsy. I know the problem is much bigger than grocery bags, but it’s a start. If you haven’t seen Annie Leonard’s informative and entertaining short film Story of Stuff, please check it out here.

Another thing that has really picked up in recent years is our access to organic foods and products. Many grocery stores are including a large organic section, and the growth of farmers’ markets has been huge! I can’t say enough about how important it is to support your local – and hopefully sustainable – farmers.

And then, finally, there’s fabric. I’ve known about the high pesticide requirements of cotton for some time, but until relatively recently, organic fabric seemed like such a rare, and generally not very cute, commodity. Then, a couple of years ago, I was researching organic alternatives when I stumbled onto the Harmony Art website and thought “A-ha! Organic fabric can be sustainable and beautiful!” Since then, I’ve been delighted to discover more and more talented designers choosing to go this route. Lucky us! Lucky earth! When I finally decided to manufacture my own line, it seemed like the obvious choice. But just in case I had second thoughts, I happened to hear a piece on NPR early in my production process that discussed India’s “Green Revolution” (which refers to the introduction of pesticides to their agricultural processes, not “green” in today’s lingo). The piece highlighted the severe health impacts that pesticides have had on farmers in India, one of the primary producers of cotton fabric. It was yet another persuasive article promoting pesticide-free choices. To read or listen to the piece, click here. Yes, it is more expensive than conventional cotton. But as more people buy organic fabric, and as more manufacturers produce it, the demand will rise and the costs should fall. And we will all end up with a higher quality, more beautiful and environmentally sustainable product.

Alright, that’s more than enough soap-boxing for one day. I hope you all get a chance to get outside and enjoy the earth a bit today!

I got an email from Jan over at Daisy Janie this week with a great idea for celebrating Earth Day – a blog-hop giveaway of organic fabric! I’ve never done a giveaway before – haven’t had much to give away – but this happens to coincide perfectly with the arrival of the first bolts of my new organic collection, Monaco. I’m offering up 1/2 yard each of 7 prints from the teal colorway – all you have to do is take a look at the prints and leave a comment with your ideas of what to make with them. (I’ll be doing a lot of sample sewing over the next month, and I need ideas!) Then, go ahead and click on the links to the other 11 fabulous designers to enter their giveaways. The giveaway will end at 7am Cali time (10am EST) on Monday, 4/26, and I’ll pick the winner in a blind draw. So, without further ado, here are the prints! Let me know your ideas.

Here are the links for the other participants. Good luck!

Betz White

Birch Fabrics

Cloud9 Fabrics

Cottage Industrialist

Daisy Janie

Harmony Art

Homesweet

ink & spindle

loop

Swanky Swell

Umbrella Prints

sewing day

04/16

Life has been so busy here the past couple of weeks. We’ve been finishing the attic on our house (in preparation for all the fabric that’ll be arriving soon!), painting furniture (photos of the “afters” coming as soon as I get said furniture into place), building the new Monaluna website, working on new collections, preparing for baby (wow, that event is swiftly approaching!), and trying to get a bit of a start on our garden. I feel like it’s been a looooonnnng time since I had a chance to sew. But seeing as how I’m outgrowing most of my clothing and am underwhelmed by the maternity options out there, I think I’m going to take some time off today and try to sew something to wear. I’m thinking of making this dress (Burda 8377):

With one of these Anna Maria Horner fabrics:

Which one do you like? I love the middle one, but am thinking horizontal stripes might not be such a good idea at this stage. Actually, I love them all – maybe I’ll get ambitious and make several little dresses. I’m also planning to sew my first samples from the Monaco sample yardage that arrived last week. Probably just pillows, but still – woo-hoo!

I have to admit, I’m kind of picky about bananas. I don’t like them much once they get brown and spotty. We’ve had a few that I’ve been avoiding, not wanting to toss, but not wanting to eat, either. Sooo… I made some banana bread! I basically used the recipe for Yellowman’s Banana Lime Bread from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook, but I made a few changes. There’s a link to the original recipe here. I left out the coconut (didn’t have any), and used this recipe for the icing:

1 package cream cheese (4 oz)
1 cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. rum
Mix until smooth

This recipe makes more than you need for one loaf, so you may want to cut it in half. However, it’s so good that I figure we’ll use the leftover.

Today I thought I’d share a peek of my new collection for Robert Kaufman, Flitter! Printed on flannel, the prints come in three bright colorways that coordinate well. Here’s a selection:

I guess the ironing can wait until later in the day…

Torrential rain on Sunday has given way to that fine, clear spring sunlight that just makes me want to be outside. I have piles of website work to do, so will be at my desk, but I am itching to get out and plant the peach and pomegranate and lemon trees that are just waiting patiently to go in the ground, and start planning our garden. At least I bought some flowers this weekend, so I have some interior hints of the garden to revel in. I’m also working on some new floral textile collections, so maybe I can console myself by drawing flowers if I can’t be planting them.

(ranunculus, our menu board, and a list of nice things for husbands to do… ;)