Harvesting Your Own Salt

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:53 am on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Living on the California coast, I have thought once or twice about harvesting my own salt from the ocean. I haven’t tried it, mostly because I suspect that the amount of effort and money spent on electricity would be higher than just buying salt in the store.

Then I ran into this video about Ben Jacobsen of Jacobsen Salt in Oregon. His passion about salt harvesting reawakened my interest in harvesting salt from the ocean.

Now I’m curious. I haven’t harvested my own salt yet, but maybe I will. It looks easy.

According to Wikihow and posts like this, harvesting salt takes:

1. Collecting clean salt water in jugs or a cooler.

2. Running the water through a cheesecloth to get rid of seaweed/other particles.

3. Slowly evaporating the water over many hours, usually in an oven or on a stove top set on low heat.

4. Collecting the salt crystals.

A gallon of water will produce between 3-8 ounces of salt, depending on salinity. To make it worthwhile, you probably want to do a lot of water.

Here’s a video that shows the whole process from start to finish:

Make Your Own Floor Lamp

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:29 am on Monday, October 13, 2014

You know what? I cannot find a floor lamp I like within my budget. Maybe the solution is to make my own.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one with copper pipes.

Or my favorite: this one.

Lego Brick Crochet Scarf

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:11 am on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Here’s a free tutorial to make a Lego Brick Crochet Scarf. Great gift potential.

Make Your Own Paper Lanterns

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:47 am on Friday, September 26, 2014

Who knew making paper lanterns was so easy? It just takes paper, scissors, tape, and a flameless candle or other low-energy light source like LED lights. Check out this video to learn how.

Make Your Own Glow-in-the-Dark Shelves

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:57 am on Thursday, August 14, 2014

Check out these glow-in-the-dark shelves that Mat Brown made for his kitchen. The shelves are from a piece of chestnut wood. He filled the cracks with resin mixed with powder that glows in the dark, like so:

The shelves were then sanded down and coated in linseed oil. The results are pretty nifty.

Make Your Own Altoids

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:44 am on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Well look at this: Make Your Own Altoids.

It takes gum paste, powdered sugar, and flavored oil, presumably peppermint.

I like Altoids, as you can tell by my post about what to do with Altoids tins. I wonder if making your own is cheaper than buying them. Hmmmm…

The 1970s Wallpaper Is Gone

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:52 am on Monday, August 4, 2014

I’ve been living with this 1970s wallpaper since I bought my house in 2007. Last week, as the first phase of our kitchen remodel, we finally tackled it.

The wallpaper was thin cardboard that was glued to the wall. The only way to remove it was to replace the wall. So we textured over the top to flatten the wall and painted.

Of course, that meant living for a week with the dining room in this state.

Words cannot express what a relief it is to not look at that wallpaper anymore!

Make Your Own Bubble Chandelier

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:23 am on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bubble Chandeliers are so pretty and fun. They can also be expensive, ranging from $300-$7,000, depending on size and where you buy it.

That’s a crazy price when you consider you can buy the glass balls for $2-$4 each. (Possibly cheaper if you shop around–eBay is a good place to start.)

Rachel from Small Notebook made a DIY bubble chandelier for $70 and tells you how to make one too.

She liked it so much, she put a smaller $30 bubble chandelier in her nursery.

Faire Frou Frou made a large 2′X4′ bubble chandelier for their boutique.

They say it cost about 10% the cost of buying the same thing. And it looks pretty easy to make, too!

Spray Painting A Chandelier

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:17 am on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I’m in the planning stages of a kitchen remodel, and I started thinking how much I dislike my dining room chandelier. I want to replace it, but my taste hovers in the expensive-to-outrageous range.

Maybe the solution is to spray paint the chandelier. It makes it look completely new.

For example, check this one out in pink.




It works for this kind of chandelier too.

I think I’m onto something here…

Make Your Own Nocino

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:57 am on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nocino is an Italian liqueur made from green walnuts. It’s sweet, nutty, and spicy. You can mix it with a cocktail, drink it straight, or pour it over vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Like most liqueurs, nocino can be pretty pricey. A small bottle (375 ml) starts at about $30. So last summer, I decided to make my own.

To make the nocino, we first needed green walnuts. No problem, there are California walnut trees all over the place. (I assume you could use any green walnut to make this liqueur.)

Last June, I located a walnut tree on public land that was loaded with green walnuts and foraged away. Here’s what I picked, which is approximately 800 times what I needed:

There are lots of recipes for nocino online. They all say to steep green walnuts with a combination of syrup and spices in liquor–either vodka, wine, or a combination of both.

I tried several recipes and found that Imbibe’s recipe was the best. It was also the simplest. You steep the walnuts in vodka for 40 days until the concoction turns the color of motor oil. Then you add syrup, let it sit for 40 more days, and you’re done.

Once finished, I did a taste test. It was pretty great! It lacked the depth of the store-bought nocino, but it had all the nutty and sweet notes I was looking for. Best of all, my nocino cost a fraction of the price of the one I bought in the store.

Just how much cheaper is it to make your own nocino? I used a 750 ml bottle of vodka that cost $12 and about $1 in supplies. The green walnuts were foraged and the lemon was free from my garden. All and all, it came to $13 for twice the amount of nocino that you can buy for $30.

That means that a 375 ml bottle of my nocino cost $6.50, where store-bought nocino cost $30. Making my own nocino was 79% cheaper than buying it.

Best of all, it was easy. While making nocino takes 80 days, it only takes a few minutes of work. Here’s how to do it.

Make Your Own Nocino
(This recipe is from Imbibe Magazine)


    16 green walnuts, quartered
    Zest of 1 lemon
    750 ml bottle of vodka
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    1 cinnamon stick

    Glass jar
    Cheese cloth
    Glass bottle


In June-August, pick green walnuts from a tree. If that doesn’t work for you, you can purchase them online.

Quarter the green walnuts. Use gloves because the walnuts can stain.

Put the green walnuts and lemon zest in the glass jar. Add the vodka. Cover the jar.

Now it looks like this:

(I didn’t have a lid for my flask, so I used a cheese cloth and a rubber band to cover it.)

Put the jar in a dark place and let the liquid steep for 40 days.

After that time, the liqueur will be dark brown, but will taste abrasive. It’s time to add the syrup.

In the pan, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Turn on the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Throw out the cinnamon stick.

Strain the spent walnuts out of the liqueur. Add the syrup. Cover and let sit for another 40 days.

At the end of that time, strain the liqueur through a cheese cloth to get out the bits of walnut and cinnamon. Pour into a glass bottle.

Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a delicious, versatile liqueur. It makes a great gift, too.

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