Make Your Own Free Cross-stitch Pattern

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:50 am on Friday, March 30, 2012

Now you can make your own cross-stitch patterns at You put in any image you want and it will make the pattern for you in four different sizes, for free. It will even tell you want color threads to use. I put in this image:

And got this:

It works pretty well. [Craft]

Turn A Bar of DOVE Soap Into Liquid Hand Soap

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:40 am on Thursday, March 22, 2012

When I made the recipe for Turn A Bar of Soap Into Liquid Hand Soap, I was surprised at the number of people who tried it with Dove Sensitive Skin soap. Even more surprising, I learned that although the recipe works for most soap, it didn’t seem to work for Dove.

It turns out this is because the ingredients in the Dove Sensitive Skin soap is over 1/4 moisturizer, and so didn’t act like normal bar soap in the recipe. (I’m not sure what else is in Dove soap–if you know, I’d love to hear–but I noticed when I was grating it that is smells exactly like crayons.)

So I tried it again and came up with a recipe to turn a bar of Dove soap into liquid hand soap. There is good news and bad news in this. The good news is for those of you who were disappointed that the liquid hand soap I made isn’t foamy, the Dove version is a lot foamier. In its finished state, it reminded me of shaving cream. And since I added nothing more than water to it, it should work great for sensitive skin.

The bad news is that this recipe is less frugal than the original recipe. It uses two bars of Dove Sensitive Skin Soap compared to less than one bar in the original recipe, and it makes far less soap, only about 5-6 cups as opposed to something like 2 liters of liquid hand soap of the original. So in order to get ahead financially in making this liquid hand soap, it’s important to find the Dove soap on sale.

Turn A Bar of DOVE Soap Into Liquid Hand Soap


    2 bars of Dove Sensitive Soap
    4 c water


    Cheese grater
    A pot
    Measuring cup and spoons
    A spoon for stirring
    A soap container with a hand pump
    A container to hold excess soap


Using a box grater, grate both bars of soap. Transfer the soap flakes into a pot and add the 4 cups of water. Turn it on low heat and dissolve the soap slowly until it becomes smooth and you don’t see any lumps.

Take off the heat and let sit overnight to cool completely. It will firm up a little, but should still be foamy and soap-like when you stir with a spoon. Using a funnel, transfer the soap to the hand pump.

Eureka! Liquid hand soap!

Night Biking Gloves

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:44 am on Thursday, March 8, 2012

Check out these Night Biking Gloves from Fashioning Tech. LEDs light up when the hand is making a fist, making a turn signal that you can see in the dark.

Brilliant idea. I like that people are incorporating lights and other tech into clothing, and this is one of the more practical applications I have seen. [Craft]

Make Your Own Paprika

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:52 am on Monday, February 27, 2012

Who knew making your own paprika was so easy? According to Maggie’s Farm, all it takes is drying Hungarian peppers in the oven and then grinding them up. It took 15 peppers to make the paprika pictured above.

And best of all, if you grow the peppers yourself, the paprika is free. Something to think about when planning a garden this year.

Make Your Own Taco Bowls With A Muffin Tin

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:33 am on Monday, February 20, 2012

Emily Bites has a tip for making your own Taco Bowls with a muffin tin. The trick is to turn the muffin tin over and use the backside to cook the bowls in. The 6-inch tortillas form mini-bowls that way. From the site:

Sprinkle each tortilla lightly with water and stack them on a plate. Cover the top with another plate turned upside down and microwave the tortillas for 1 minute or until warm. Turn two 12 cup muffin pans upside down. Mist each side of a tortilla lightly with cooking spray and center it in the space between 4 muffin cups, creating a bowl. Repeat with the 5 remaining tortillas, forming 3 bowls on each tin (as pictured above). Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Once you have the taco bowls, you can fill them with vegetables, ground beef, shredded cheese, and other ingredients for your own taco salads. Great idea. [Lifehacker]

Make Your Own Astronaut Ice Cream

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:04 am on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Astronaut ice cream, which is ice cream that has been freeze dried, is pretty cool stuff. And did you know you could make your own?

Well, okay, this might be more complicated than I would ever try, but it’s still interesting to learn how to do it. Here’s a video on how to Make Your Own Astronaut Ice Cream:


The Hedgehog Mushroom

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:09 am on Friday, January 20, 2012

[Courtesy Bizarre Bites]

As I mentioned in my post about going mushroom foraging, my friend and I found two edible mushrooms, pig’s ear and hedgehog mushrooms. Pig’s ear mushrooms are a breeding ground for maggots and supposedly don’t taste that great, so we didn’t eat them. But we did try the hedgehog mushrooms. And I was impressed.

So, again, mushroom foraging can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s best to do what I did and go with an expert who can help you identify the mushrooms.

However the hedgehog, which grows through the United States and parts of Europe, is a very distinctive mushroom. Its underside has “teeth” that are reminiscent of the coat of a hedgehog. You know, these little guys:

[Courtesy World's Most Amazing Things]

According to the book All That The Rain Promises and More, the hedgehog mushroom “is a blessing for the novice: it is plentiful in many regions, it is usually free of maggots, and it has no poisonous look-alikes.”

My friend and I cooked the hedgehogs in olive oil with a sprinkling of Kosher salt. As they cooked, the mushrooms turned brown and became slightly crunchy on the outside.

We had tasted the hedgehog mushrooms raw and thought they tasted like a button mushroom with a little bit of spiciness. In other words, not impressive. But cooking them brought out a surprising amount of flavor. They were nutty and crunchy and so good, my friend asked if I had added any herbs in the pan when cooking.

Nope, I said. These mushrooms taste that good on their own.

Needless to say, I am now a fan of hedgehog mushrooms.

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.

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?

10 Fast DIY Christmas Gifts

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:59 am on Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ahhh 10 days until Christmas. This month is going by so fast.

Although I have most of my Christmas shopping done, I still have to pick up a gift or two. But maybe I should make my Christmas presents instead. When you think about it, 10 days is a lot of time to make something, especially since the Internet is full of great projects to get you started.

Here are 10 DIY Christmas gifts you can make in less than a day, many of which I have featured on Savvy Housekeeping before:

1. Herb-infused Olive Oil from Kitchen Crush. These olive oils are great in salads but can cost up to $70 a bottle. Luckily they are easy to make–just combine nice-quality olive oil and fresh herbs in a pretty bottle and you’re done.

[Image courtesy Revivied Vintage]

2. Vintage Chalkboard Frames from Up In The Clouds. With some chalkboard paint, you can turn an ornate vintage frame into an awesome chalkboard. Perfect for the kitchen.

3. My post on turning a bar of soap into liquid hand soap can also make a great Christmas present. Julie explained how she did it in the comments:

I am so excited about this Ive decided to make it my Christmas craft and send it to all my girlfriends! I found nice glass pump dispensers online for 2.75$ each ( then I had cute little Christmas labels made for .58 cents each ( and I bought a cranberry scented hand soap at Marshals for 4.99$. I think its a fun festive and easy to make gift that all my girlfriends will enjoy and get use out of! Plus with ingredients and pumps labels and all I’m spending just about 4$ per gift! Cant complain about that!

Great idea!

4. Continuing on the soap idea, these homemade bath bombs are impressive looking. I haven’t made them, but they don’t look hard. You combine the ingredients and mold in round Christmas tree ornaments.

5. These Hearty Seed Bombs from Mademoiselle Chaos are really cute. Each heart is filled with flower seeds that can be thrown into ground. In spring, they will bloom and beautify the neighborhood.

6. Decanter Bottle Labels from Gave are a great gift for a liquor aficionado. All it takes are miniature picture frames from the scrapbooking section of the craft store, chains, and some nice handwriting.

7. I like these Christmas Cake Plates because they use some common items you find in any thrift store–plates and candlestick holders–and combine them together into something people would actually want. And all it takes is a bit of glue.

8. Making a Toy Spaceship Out Of Junk is one of the more creative examples of recycling I’ve seen lately and would definitely be a one-of-a-kind gift for the kid on your list.

9. If you have glass cutting tools, making drinking glasses from a wine bottles (or soda or beer bottles) is a great present. I personally would love to receive something like this.

10. Finally, check out these Vintage Tin Candles from Design Sponge. There are lots of lovely vintage tins out there that can be turned into a candle to surprise someone this Christmas season.

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