those dang fruit flies

We're well into the dog days of summer,  it's hot (OMG it's hot), summer fruit is at it's best (mmm I love summer fruit!) and so are the fruit flies. They're taking over our lives and our kitchens. We've had the problem before but this time I took it to Google to find a solution.

So far, I've killed over 20 of those little buggers with my new and improved homemade non-toxic fruit fly trap, with one modification.

Need one too? You'll need the following:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (fruit flies go crazy for this stuff)
  • 4 squirts dish detergent (this basically messes with the vinegar and traps the fruit flies)
  • a bowl

Pour one cup of cider vinegar into a bowl with 4 squirts of dish detergent place bowl where the fruit flies like to hang out. Most traps you find online will tell you to put cellophane over the bowl and poke tiny holes in it, but I tried that and it doesn't work. Trust me go cellophane free.

Please, thank me later. Happy trapping!

July 17, 2010 — Alanna Banks

dinner for six

After making the placemats and napkins for Ren and Paul I had a hankering to make a set for us! The red and white gingham pattern reminds me of summer picnics so I thought these would make a great stand-in for summer dinner parties.

This week I ventured into the fabric stores on Queen West just west of Spadina (if you're from Toronto) and they have some great stuff if you're up for digging. I bought this fabric at L.A. Fabrics and it was only $8.99 a yard, but they have better bargains at Affordable Texiles.

Now on to new projects!

June 13, 2010 — Alanna Banks

sewing fever

I've got lots of fabric leftover from all of my recent projects so I just had to buy a new sewing project book. This one is cool because it's 101 sewing projects with one yard of fabric! It's a feast for the eyes and I can't wait to dig in.

One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins is great so far, I browsed through it last night and I've already picked out several projects. I think I'm going to start with the lunch bag and then maybe move on to the clothes pin apron. The book is split up into 11 sections ranging from kids clothes and toys, to household projects, to clothes and accessories (looking forward to it!).

Stay tuned for my creations! I will post pics as I work my way through.

Happy sewing.

June 10, 2010 — Alanna Banks

homemade housewarming gifts

I just finished my interval training outside (bonus!) and it wasn't as bad as I anticipated (nice weather = no working-out so I'm off the wagon).

Anyway, yesterday afternoon we celebrated our friends' house purchase (yay Ren and Paul!) with friends and family and our gift to them was some homemade goodies for their new kitchen. I sewed them a set of cloth napkins and placemats and a tea towel (pics above and below)! I bought the amazing fabric at the workroom and the pattern is from the book Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter. I've made several projects from this book, they're quick and easy and the patterns are included in the book (even better!).

I altered the pattern for the placemats because I was using lighter weight fabric so I used quilting batting in between the two pieces of fabric to bulk it up and then top-stitched the edges.

Isn't that "Honeycomb" fabric adorable?!

Happy sewing!

June 06, 2010 — Alanna Banks

may flowers

I'm not much of a gardener but I am really happy with my new boot garden. It's still a work in progress (I've got two more pair to plant) but I just had to share.

Surprisingly I came up with this idea  independent of blogs, magazines etc. (back pats) so I don't have anyone to source although I'm sure I'm not the first one. I bought several pairs of rubber boots at Canadian Tire, drilled holes in the soles for drainage, filled them with dirt and planted cute colourful annuals (voila!). Super easy and so adorable. Don't you think?

Happy gardening!

June 02, 2010 — Alanna Banks

my new bag

A girl can never have too many bags and now that I know how to make them myself, look out!

I finished this bag in two 3-hour sessions at the workroom (great class!) and now I have a new carry-all. I wanted to keep the bag really basic so the exterior is a dark denim (sale at Fabricland) and the interior is plaid, but you can also use cute fabrics with coordinating patterns (I will try that next!).

If you want to give it a try the pattern is Birdie Sling Bag by Amy Butler.

June 01, 2010 — Alanna Banks

my patchwork pouf

My pouf is finished (finally!). Making it was not as easy as I thought it was going to be! The easy part was buying the fabric (thank you Workroom!) and sewing all the triangles together, but from there it all requires a lot of patience and in my case perseverance. Don't skimp on the stuffing, it doesn't look like it takes a lot but trust me you need a lot (3lbs is no exaggeration!). The last step which is the tufting is the most stressful, I got very frustrated and almost had an adult temper tantrum (not attractive!). Make sure you invest in some serious fishing wire and you definitely need that long upholstery needle. Once the tufting is complete it's smooth sailing!

Now onto new projects before I try to make another. Next time I'm going bigger!

May 30, 2010 — Alanna Banks

not like your grandma's

Photos courtesy of Design*Sponge

I've been really digging this look (an updated version of the wall your grandma had!) lately and I wish I had my own cool collection of plates.

If you want to try it out Design*Sponge has a DIY video.

Happy decorating!

May 15, 2010 — Alanna Banks

home sweet home

This post is a salute to all you new homeowners out there (yes you know who you are!).

NOW columnist Adria  Vasil's Ecoholic Home should be on every homeowners bookshelf. It's jammed pack (382 pages!) with money-saving tips, a sustainable home checklist, reviews of "green" cleaners, resource guides (and the list goes on!). But, what I like best are the DIY cleaners.

Here is one of my faves, a DIY window cleaner (Windex is evil!)

Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle and get window washing:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of natural dish soap (see list below)
  • 2 cups water

My hubs tried it out a couple of weekends ago and the windows are sparkling.

Here are two natural dish soaps Vasil recommends:

Bio-Vert Dishwashing Liquid

Nature Clean All Purpose Cleaning Lotion

May 03, 2010 — Alanna Banks