From Old Chair To Swing

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:08 am on Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Unconsumption points out a use for old chairs: turn them into swings. Looks like all it takes is taking the legs off the chairs, painting it, and attaching the rope.

Peppertowne had a similar idea. Different chair, equally whimsical results:

Mushroom Foraging

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:47 am on Monday, January 16, 2012

I’ve mentioned mushroom foraging once or twice on here. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now. So on Sunday, I finally went.

Mushroom foraging simply means going out into the woods and picking mushrooms. In my local woods, you can find morel, chanterelle, porcini, button, and oyster mushrooms as well as many edible varieties you can’t normally buy.

However, since wild mushrooms can be poisonous, it’s important to go with someone who knows what they’re doing. I would not recommend mushroom foraging unless you have an expert with you. In my case, I went with my local mycology club.

The way it worked was, a friend and I went into the forest and picked mushrooms for an hour and a half. Since she and I had never been on a foray before, we picked every mushroom we saw under the theory that at the very least, we would learn what it was. Considering how dry it has been this winter–mushrooms usually flourish after rain–we gathered a pretty big haul.

Then we went back to the table and had the experts look at the mushrooms we had collected. It turned out that only two were edible, the Pig’s Ear and the Hedgehog Mushroom. Otherwise, we had collected mushrooms that, while not exactly poison, were not good for eating. Here are some pictures:

Russula amoenolens were all over the woods. This one is spicy. The mushroom expert had us hold it to our tongue (but not eat) and it burned about as hot as a habanero pepper.

This little Smurf house is called a waxcap. Not edible, but pretty.

I didn’t catch the name of this mushroom. I was hoping it was a chanterelle mushroom, but alas, it was not edible. If you know what it is, I would love to know it.

So while we didn’t come away with much to eat, I had fun and learned a lot about mushrooms. I see going mushroom foraging again in the near future. In fact, I even bought a book on the subject.

Mycological associations are a safe way to be introduced to the world of mushrooms. If you’re interested in going foraging, try looking up the club in your area. They may have regular mushroom forays you can tag along with.

ETA: Check out the follow-up post The Hedgehog Mushroom.

Pomegranate Mojito

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:03 am on Friday, January 13, 2012

I never thought of making a Pomegranate Mojito before, but I bet it’s good. This recipe from Katherine Martinelli turns white rum, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and mint into an intriguing-sounding drink–especially right now, when pomegranates are in season.

Here’s the recipe:

Pomegranate Mojito
(Makes one drink)


    1-1 1/2 oz white rum
    1 oz sugar or simple syrup
    Juice of 1 lime
    2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint
    1 oz pomegranate juice
    Pomegranate seeds
    Club soda


Select a big glass with room for plenty of ice. Put rum, lime juice, simple syrup and pomegranate juice in glass. Mix well. Taste, and add more sugar or lime juice if needed. Add some crushed lime peel if you like. Crush mint leaves from one sprig, add to drink and mix. Add a handful of pomegranate seeds. Add a one-second to second-and-a-half pour of club soda. Top glass with ice. Garnish with remaining mint leaves.

Read more about the pomegranate here.

[DIY Cocktails]

Turn Art Into Secret Storage Box

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:33 am on Thursday, January 12, 2012

Here’s a good post from Design Sponge: Turn a painting into secret storage by attaching a box to the back:

I like that this project is easy to do and a great way to turn questionable art into something useful.

Plus I love any concept of secret storage.

This would work great in a library, don’t you think?

Three Seed Catalogues To Check Out

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:58 am on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It’s time to plan this year’s garden. And right on schedule, the seed catalogues are appearing in the mail.

Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of these catalogues have the same plants in them? In every magazine, there are the same broccoli, tomatoes, beans, and carrots seeds you can get anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can get boring, especially when you start to realize the vast swath of edible plants out there just waiting to be tried out in our gardens.

Luckily, several seed companies do go out of the their way to provide access to a more interesting variety of plants. Here are three see I particularly like:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This company, which goes out of its way to “promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage”, provides vegetable seeds that you don’t normally see in the hardware store–purple carrots, white eggplants, peppermint tomatoes, striped beets, purple bell peppers… I’ve used their seeds several times and the plants have grown up great. Plus, they are “non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented seeds.” Order Baker Creek’s free–and rather beautiful–catalogue here.

One Green World. While this company doesn’t offer vegetables, it does offer a host of other fascinating-sounding trees, vines, and fruits. I mean, what exactly is a Tasmania Vine (pictured above)? What does a silverberry taste like? When I finally get around to planting honeyberries or tea bush, I will look here first. Request a catalogue here.

Bountiful Gardens. This is a great seed company that offers “untreated open-pollinated non-GMO seed of heirloom quality for vegetables, herbs, flowers, grains, green manures, compost and carbon crops.” What I particularly like about Bountiful Gardens is the variety of products. Not only do they have the usual vegetables, they have categories like “mushroom kits” or “unusual hot-weather heirlooms” or “grains, fibers and oil crops.” You can get the Bountiful Gardens catalogue here.

What is your favorite seed company? Why?

Savvy Housekeeping Redesign!

Filed under: News — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:22 am on Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hello. So as you can see, I’ve redesigned the site a bit. I wanted to make it cleaner and easier to use, plus add some new features and bigger pictures in the post in the process.

At the top, I have put all the categories for the site. These are the same categories that have always been there, but now you can click on them on the bar under the header:

The categories are Cleaning/Decorating, DIY (do-it-yourself projects), Food/Drink, Gardening, Kids, Money (focusing on frugality and saving money), News, Pretty/Cool (products I like), and Recycling.

I’ve also added a section on how you can more easily follow this blog. You can do this through the RSS feed, Twitter, or Facebook.

Side Note: lots of you have asked me for a mailing list so you can follow Savvy Housekeeping via e-mail. I’ve heard you on that and am planning to add that in the near future. Stay tuned.

Let’s see, what else? There are some other features to check out, including a “Top Posts” section and the new “About” page if this is your first time here.

Other than that, it will be business as usual. Hope you like the changes!

Oh, thanks to Liam Boylan for help with the header and to Mr. Savvy for help with the WordPress stylesheet.

Globe Pendant Light

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Monday, January 9, 2012

I love this idea from Rosebud’s Cottage: turn an old globe into a pendant light.

This would be so easy to make and such a cool use of an old globe. All it would take is cutting the globe in half (sometimes they just unscrew) and attaching it as a shade to a pendant light. Brilliant. [Unconsumption]

Savvy Housekeeping Now On Facebook

Filed under: News — Savvy Housekeeper at 3:03 pm on Friday, January 6, 2012

Hey, guess what? Savvy Housekeeping is now on Facebook!

Click here to visit the page.

To start out, I put up some best-of posts that you can view in this album.

Starting Monday, I’ll start putting the most recent posts as updates on Facebook, much like I already do for Twitter. That means, if you “like” the page, you can use Facebook to keep track of all the recent happenings around here.

Three Ways To Store Christmas Lights

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:41 am on Friday, January 6, 2012

I usually roll my Christmas lights and pile them in a box. They don’t get tangled, but it’s kind of a mess nevertheless. As they say on those Made-For-TV commercials, there has to be a better way.

Here are three ideas for storing Christmas lights:

Wrap Around Cardboard Tubes

[Image courtesy]

One idea is to wrap the Christmas lights around a cardboard tube, either a tube from the wrapping paper or toilet paper rolls. Not only does it seem like it would work well, it’s a great way to recycle cardboard tubes.

Wrap Around Cardboard

Or, as Martha Stewart suggests, you can wrap Christmas lights around pieces of cardboard. Simply cut the cardboard out and wrap. I tried this one year and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble for me, but it might work for others.

Put In Plastic Bags

[Image courtesy Home Improvements Depot]

Finally, try putting each Christmas light in a plastic bag. You wrap as normal, put the light in the bag, and place in a a box. The idea is that the plastic keeps the lights from getting tangled and allows you to label what’s inside. You can use ziplock bags or recycle plastic shopping bags.

How do you store Christmas lights?

PicNYC Table: Grass On Your Table

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Thursday, January 5, 2012

I have to admit I’m fascinated with this PicNYC Table from Haiko Cornelissen Architecten. The folded lightweight aluminum table is designed to grow real grass on the table top, thus simulating the outdoor experience of picnicking outdoors in your own dining room.

Like any lawn, this table sounds like a lot of work, requiring watering, proper light, and of course “mowing,” or trimming the grass. On the bright side, spilling a glass of water at the dinner table is no longer a problem.

So yeah, not the most practical table in the world, but it would be a cool way to bring nature indoors. Or even better, this would be an awesome patio table, assuming (rather ironically) that it can survive outside.

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