post revisit: how to fix a fruit fly problem

There’s a battle waging in our kitchens right now: The Fruit Fly war is in full summer swing. We figured since it was on our minds, it was probably on yours. Here’s a way that has worked for Megan in the past. What about you? got any good tips on how to eliminate the pesky gnats?

I admit it: I had a fruit fly problem. Fruit flies seem to go hand in hand with summertime, delicious ripe fruit, and a busy kitchen. This summer, though, I’ve taken control, and my fruit fly problem is now more like a minor annoyance. The first step is to remove the source of food. This means, for me, keeping my ripening nectarines and tomatoes wrapped securely in plastic bags until I’m ready to use them. My onions (apparently, they love onions) are now being stored in the fridge. Second step: sanitation. I clean my drains daily with baking soda and white vinegar — those pesky little buggers like to lay their eggs in the goop that resides in drains (barf). The third step — and this one’s the most rewarding — is to build a trap. I’ve tried funnels and plastic wrap over jars of overripe fruit, but I’ve found the best trap is plain old apple cider vinegar in a dish with a few drops of liquid dish soap. The soap apparently breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, causing the fruit flies to fall in and drown rather than sip and fly away. After a few days of changing the traps, you’ll notice the numbers dwindling. Does anyone else have more fruit fly solutions?

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the door series: custom made screen doors in austin, tx

I love the idea of creating a front door with personality and pop — as you can see from all the ones feature in the door series thus far — but often the fun ends as soon as a screen door is installed. If you pick one up at Home Depot, it will do a great job adding a layer of weather-proofing, but it will do nothing to for your decor. The best you can hope for is one that blends in. That’s why these custom made screen doors featuring grill work from Austin designer Susan Wallace are so wonderful. Each one brings out the personality of the home and its owner in a way that says, come on in! For example, the one above is on a building that originally “freed” slave quarters and literally fronted the railyard.

I love the way this curved Tudor door plays against the brick.

And this gorgeous flower pattern is so warm and cheery. It works wonderfully with the yellow and orange color combo.

See more of Susan Wallace’s iron work on

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would you try this on your home? burnt wood siding

At some point in the next year or two, we’re going to need to take the stucco down off of our little upstate cottage and replace it with real siding. I would love to do wood shingles, but the area is known for termites and that just seems about as smart as setting up a pest delicatessen. I spotted this chic new solution over at Houzz. It’s charred wood siding, a technique that is become popular from Japan. You literally take wood siding and char it with a torch. Afterwards, you douse it water, and then brush lightly. The result is a surface that is supposedly resistant to rot and pests and lasts for 80 years with little maintenance. (Click over to Houzz to read more.) I’m suspicious; it sounds to good to be true. I love the way it looks though, and matched with some brightly colored trim, the effect could be stunning.

What do you think? Would you put burnt wood on your home?

Photo by ThoughtBarn for Houzz

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inspired by: hk honey on nowness

Even though we don’t currently have any beehives, we are still beekeepers at heart. As soon as we can figure out a place to put a stack of the boxed honeycombs, we’re gonna set up shop. The window of opportunity is small: You have to pre-order bees and establish the hives in early spring. The past few springs have just been a little too hectic for us to get our acts together, but next year, we’ll be ready. We also think our little girl is gonna LOVE being a beekeeper.

Meanwhile, we file away stories for inspiration. Like this one from Nowness about HK Honey in Hong Kong. This urban rooftop apiary is high above one the congested city streets, and it’s run by Michael Leung. He’s working hard to introduce the concept of locally grown food to Hong Kong. Click here to read more about him, and see more photos from Virgile Simon Bertrand, at Nowness.

We’ve also heard that here in New York, swarms of homeless bees are causing trouble. They say it’s due to the warm spring. I wish we had bees to have been enjoying the mild weather!

Click here to read about our Adventures in Beekeeping.

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the door series: a yellow burst on a classic brownstone

Walking around New York City, you see a lot of gorgeous doors on classic brownstones. Most are stained a gorgeous wood, and don’t so much as attract attention as blend in with the block. This lovely curved jolt of sunshine is on East 65th Street. The owners decided to break tradition and paint their opening a bold, primary yellow. The effect makes the surrounding brown stone appear slightly purple-hued, making me wonder if a Muppet maker or Spongebob’s creator lives within. Like the other doors in this series, this one scores points for putting its best hue forward. What do you think of this: Gaudy or delightful?

More in The Door Series:
A Craftsman Teal Dream

A Pop of Southwest Pink

Handsome in Hudson

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