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.

Interactive Online Map For Food Foraging

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:53 am on Friday, June 27, 2014


I’ve talked about foraging on here before. I regularly pick blackberries, walnuts, mustard, mushrooms, bay leaves, and fennel from the land around me.

So I was pleased to learn about this Interactive Online Map that tells you where you can forage for food in your area. You can see where the food is growing, whether it’s tasty, and when to pick it. There’s even a street view that lets you see exactly where to look.

Most importantly, the food is either on public land or overhanging on public land. (Always make sure you’re foraging, not stealing.)

I plugged in my zip code and discovered two apple trees and a plum tree on public land in my town that I didn’t know about. There’s a nearby pear tree too.

Cinderella Apron

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:35 am on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Do you like to complain that when it comes to household chores, you are the Cinderella of the family? Well now you can double that message by making your very own Cinderella apron.

This is a pretty effective strategy to get your family to help out more around the house, if you ask me. First make the apron, then walk around singing this song.

The rest of the family will pitch in in no time.

Make Your Own Sealed Sandwiches

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:22 am on Thursday, June 19, 2014

In general, sealed sandwiches aren’t the kind of thing I would spend money on, but I can see one exception: road trips. They would be a good way to feed a kid a healthy, frugal lunch without getting a mess all over the car.

And with a little gadget, you can make sealed sandwiches yourself. Unsophisticook explains how.

How To Childproof A Box Fan

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:17 am on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Disclaimer: This method of childproofing isn’t going to stop a determined child from sticking a finger in the fan. It’s just meant as an easy way to add an extra barrier in front of the blade. You should still use common sense and keep the fan away from a child.

We found an easy, cheap way to childproof our box fan. All it took was a mosquito screen that you can buy for $5 from any hardware store.

To childproof, we took off the front of the fan, put a layer of screen in front of the blade, and replaced the front.

It works great. The air still goes through the screen, but it adds a layer of protection against Savvy Jr. putting his finger on the blade.

How To Childproof A Box Fan

You Will Need:

    Box Fan
    Mosquito Netting
    Glue gun (optional)


1. Unscrew and remove the top of the fan.

2. Stretch the screen over the fan.

3. Put the front back on the fan.

4. Screw the fan top back in.

The screws will go right through the screen. When you get all in place but the last two or three, have someone else stretch the screen tight. Finish up the screwing.

5. Cut the excess screen away. We found a sharp knife works best. Just cut close to the fan as possible.

Ta-da! Childproof(-ish) fan.

If you want to make this hack permanent, add a bead of hot glue around the edge of the screen before replacing the top of the fan. The glue will help hold the screen in place.

Sure beats buying a whole new fan.

Sea Captain Embroidery Pattern

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:36 am on Monday, June 9, 2014

I love this Sea Captain Embroidery Pattern from cozyblue. It would look great in a little boy’s room–or on a pillow. $5.

DIY Easter Peeps Soap

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:33 am on Saturday, April 12, 2014

Check it out: Peeps Soap! Just in time for Easter. Click on the link to learn how to make it.

Which Chickens Lay The Most Eggs?

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Monday, April 7, 2014

When it comes to owning chickens, the difference between success and failure is to choose a breed that produces a lot of eggs. Chickens were bred for different reasons: some for meat, some for eggs, some for the color or size of their eggs, some for their ability to endure heat or cold, and some just for their pretty looks. The Silver Sebright may be a lovely bird, but at only 25-100 eggs a year, I’d pass.

Chicken Waterer has a list of breeds according to the number of eggs they lay. For example:

Champion Egg Layers (250-300 Eggs Per Year)

    Rhode Island Red
    Star (also called Sex-links)

Excellent Egg Layers (200-250 Eggs Per Year)

    Plymouth Rock

It also lists Good Layers (150-200 Eggs) and Poor Layers (25-100 Eggs), which you can read here.

At this point, I have two Rhode Island Reds and two Black Stars. I’m hoping to be rolling in eggs in the future…

How To Patch A Hole In Your Wall

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:52 am on Friday, March 7, 2014

My husband had to cut a hole in our wall when he was hanging the flat screen TV to pull some wires through. Last night, we patched the hole.


As far as I know, there are two ways to patch a hole in your drywall: cut another piece of drywall out and put it in the hole, or use a wall repair patch–a wire grid that sticks over the hole. In this case, we used a wall repair patch. Here’s how we did it:

You will need:

    One wall repair patch
    Putty knife
    Joint compound


1. Match the size of the patch to your hole, making sure the patch is bigger. Peel off the back of the patch, which is sticking on the back, and put it over the hole.


2. Open your joint compound and stir it with the putty knife.

3. Load the putty knife and begin applying the joint compound to the hole.



You want to keep doing this until you can no longer see the metal grid of the patch and the putty is smooth and flush with the wall.

4. If your wall is textured, you’ll need to texture a bit so that the patch will match the rest of the wall. Turn the putty knife perpendicular to the patch and lightly skip it across to create the texture.

5. Let the joint compound dry. When it’s dry, there should be no lumps, and no sign of the grid underneath. It should blend perfectly into the wall.

(The Savvy Housekeeper’s camera did not like taking a picture of a white wall.)


If there are cracks: You’ve put too much joint compound on. Gently sand it down and reapply as needed.

If there are air bubbles: You didn’t stir the joint compound enough.

If you can see the metal grid of the patch: You didn’t apply enough joint compound.

6. Voila! You have a nice pretty wall again. Now all you have to do is paint the patch to match your wall color.

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