Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Eliminate Fruit Flies

Every year, late summer the same drama: fruit flies. Hesitation about what fruits to buy, how many fruits to buy to eat them quick enough before they strike your kitchen.

Here is something that helps (at least it does for us). A couple of years ago out mum showed me mixture that attracts and kills them:

  • 75ml Fruit Juice (preferably apple juice or any juice that has a yellow shade, though I also heard red wine works great )
  • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar (I use vinegar essence)
  • 1 Tablespoon  Lemon Juice 
  • 3 Tablespoons Dishwashing Liquid
Put all ingredients in a cup or glass and place it somewhere in your kitchen. It helps if you put close to the spots where most of the flies are. The flies get attracted to the smell and color and fly into the glass. 

All measures are approximate measures. It is not necessary to use a lot of juice. Make sure kids can't reach it! And of course....... don't drink it.

Yay! We Were Featured!

Last friday Birgit and me were featured on Crafts Missus D! How exciting! Click here to read the interview.

Sending a big "thank you" and lots of smiles to Kathleen of Craft Missus D! =)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sewing Quick Tip - Pattern Paper

After weeks (months?) of teaching myself to sew I'd like to share a couple of things I find really useful. Many books, online articles and blogs talk about techniques, styles, patters and wonderful fabrics. Most times I'm missing the "small things" though. It is much less talked about practical things around sewing. I hope to manage to write a more or less regular post about small practical things that are related to sewing.

As a beginner you probably use pre-made patters but at a certain time you want to make pattern on your own. To my great surprise this was MUCH easier than I expected it to be. To make your patter you need paper. Sewing shops supply you with whatever you need. But when you are sewing on a budget and you are not sure if the result will come out well you might hesitate you spend a lot of money just to throw it away later in disappointment. I read replacing professional sewing paper with wrapping paper or packaging paper. Of course, it is a lot more affordable but chances are you still need to spend money for it. Wouldn't it be great to spend very little (or even nothing) and do something good and recycle? YESSSSSSS!


I found the answer literally at my doorstep. My parents run a print shop which also does large format printing. The paper supplies my dad orders come wrapped in huge sheets of paper. This paper has no other purpose than to be wrapped around the actual printing paper. As soon as the printing paper is unwrapped the large format wrapping paper loses its purpose and is most likely to be thrown away. What a waste!
The wrapping paper really has a large format and is very strong and durable. Once you cut out your pattern you can keep it and reuse it many times without any damages to the paper.

So go to your local print shop (especially the ones which do large format printing) and ask them if you may recycle their packaging paper. I don't know how it works in other countries but in Germany you got to pay for anything you throw away. The more you throw away the more you pay. So you actually help them. The ideal case would be that they might look at you a little confused but then don't charge you anything and ask you to come again soon. Still, I believe it's ok if they charge you a little as you gain from it. If they don't charge you anything bring some cookies next time. From experience I can say this is appreciated very much. 

Happy pattern making! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Is On My Wall?

Crafty MissusD just wrote a blog post and asked what her readers have on their wall. I quickly took a shot of a particular part of my wall:

The post card in the middle shows Martin Luther  and famous quote of him: "Das gedruckte Wort hat Macht" ("the printed word has power"). I love this quote a lot and believe it is true. Once something is written it is kinda "official".

Monday, August 30, 2010

Musings About Closures

Making bags involves almost always involves a certain issue: closures. Personally, I really don't like bags which do not have any kind of closure. I might be a little paranoid but to feel secure I need something to close my bag (no matter how big or small the bag is).

I believe the most effective closure against pickpockets is a zipper. Many of the bags and purses I bought to far have zippers. I like them for being secure but I really hate to fiddle around with them. Usually my bags are indecently stuffed and the zipper gets stuck. I still hesitate a little to include zippers into my bags when I make them. Apparently it is not really about the confidence to sew them in, it's rather that I don't like the look of the zipper on my bags.
Therefore I usually use magnetic snaps. They are strong and easy to open and close. They are hardly visible inside of the bag and completely invisible for the outside. Magnetic snaps are easier to use than "normal" snaps. They are especially great if the bag does not need to be pickpocket proof. The magnetism of the snaps can be seen critical though. A couple of weeks I had a custom order of one the Happy Bags and customer had great doubts about the magnetic snaps as she feared it might affect her debit cards. So far I didn't have any issues with any of my debits cards, neither has anyone of my customer reported me any problems. As long as the debit cards are not wiped over the magnetic snap without protection there shouldn't be a problem. It got me thinking though. The solution in this particular case was to add a flap and attach the magnetic snap to the outside of the bag.

During the weekend I experienced with a new kind of closure. It took me three attempts to be kind of happy with it. The overall idea is to use ribbon and "holes" as a closure. What I really like about this idea is that it is not just a closure but also a very decorative element. Instead of inserting a zipper to my Sweetheart Clutch Bags I added three holes and ribbon to the top of it. I tried to sew in the holes with a technique I use for the handle of the happy bag. Huge failure! Seriously, HUGE. The handle is square and difficult to sew. The holes were meant to be circles and impossible to sew. I didn't take a photo of the result as it did not look neat at all. From the beginning on I thought that grommets would be great for the holes. It seemed to be impossible to find large grommets though. Late at night and shortly before I was about to go to sleep I came across a home decor website. Jeez, it was too easy! Grommets for curtains are perfect. No special tools, no metal to corrode. Just cutting a hole and clipping in the grommets! Of course my first trip on the next morning was to a local fabric store. I bought 12 of them (and apparently paid a rip-off price). I prepared a Sweetheart Clutch and in the end cut holes into it and inserted the grommets. 

So far, so good (or not). I like the look of the grommets but I don't like the shape of the bag. It doesn't look neat enough. I figured out that it should have pleats. A different shape overall. So unclipped the grommets to reuse them on another prototype (no need to waste six grommets!). I made another model of the same pattern, but with pleats and a stripe of fabric on top of it. The stripe turned out pretty difficult (at least the way I did it, I'm sure there is an easier way). Because of the pleats the top of the bag is smaller and I only needed two grommets on each side.

Yes, yes it's as neatly and nicely done as I want it to be. I hope I'll find some time again soon to improve it. This is one of the prototypes I'm keeping for myself to test wear it. 
As a new kind of closure this technique will be used my me more often. It would look so cute on Happy Bags, wouldn't it? 

Is there any kind of closures you prefer? Zippers or magnetic snaps? Or something completely different? 


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