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sewing up a storm

The long weekend is here (yay!) and that means I can get some serious sewing done. My latest project is panels for our bedroom closet (I know so exciting).

I'm using this really cute Japanese fabric that I bought at the workroom.

Bring on three days off!

What are you making this weekend?

July 31, 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

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

rainy day baking

I'm waiting for my fabric to wash and dry (pouf project) so to kill some time I'm making banana bread (yum!). I've been using this recipe (thanks mom!) for ages and what I like most is it's written out on this note paper that I remember having when I was a kid (the paper is wrinkled, slopped on and worn, but I'm keeping it this way).

So without further ado here it is for you to try:


  • 1 cup sugar (I do half brown, half white)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (tip: I hate ripe bananas so when they ripen I throw them in the freezer so I always have banana's kicking around to use)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)


1. Preheat oven to 325F

2. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy adding eggs one at a time, beat well

3. In a small bowl mash bananas, add the baking soda, milk and cinnamon

4. In another bowl mix dry ingredients

5. Add banana mixture to creamed mixture stir until combined then add dry ingredients and mix. If you're using chocolate chips add them in as well.

6. Bake in a loaf pan for 1 hour 10 minutes. (Check on the loaf at the one hour mark you don't want to over bake and dry it out.) If you want to mix things up you can also spoon the mixture into muffin tins, bake time is slightly less around 45 minutes.


May 22, 2010 — Alanna Banks

i'm making a pouf

The long weekend is almost here and I've found myself a crafty project (sigh).

Scrolling through Design*Sponge today I found a super cute DIY pouf with full instructions and a downloadable pattern (I'm in heaven!). If you need to satisfy a craft craving too check it out for yourself here.

Happy sewing. I'll share pics of my own version when I'm finished.

May 19, 2010 — Alanna Banks

L is for lavender

Today I'm making lavender bath salts (fun!). They are super easy to make, less expensive and smell way better than the store-bought variety. I made a bunch for Christmas gifts and packaged them in little jars from IKEA, but you can store them in anything you want.

If you're in the mood to try it our yourself. Here's my recipe that I've modified from other recipes I've found online.

4 cups epsom salts (recommend Life brand from Shopper's Drugmart; super cheap)

1 cup coarse salt

12 tablespoons baking soda

32 drops of lavender essential oil/8 drops per cup of epson salts (I use Pure Essential Oils, if you live in Toronto you can buy them at Herbies Herbes)

Just mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, let sit about 20 minutes and then fill your jars OR take a bath.

April 18, 2010 — Alanna Banks

sewing class

Today I signed up for another sewing class at the workroom. This time the project is Amy Butler's Birdie Sling Bag. I just finished taking the Barcelona Skirt class and am very happy with how it turned out. I shortened it to above the knee and took it in a bit. I'm a very new sewer so I'm happy that it's actually wearable! If you're crafty or into sewing and quilting check out the workroom you won't be disappointed.

April 12, 2010 — Alanna Banks