Archive of ‘DIY’ category

DIY Liqueur From The Garden


From: Esther
My Elderberry tree is in bloom – and I mean FULL-ON bloom. Usually, I miss the blossoms but this year I have been keeping my eyes on the tree. My tree is a Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) with dark purple leaves and blossoms. It also has varying shades of pink to red that stand out against the fresh greenness of Spring.

*This Elderflower Liqueur Recipe, was originally inspired by Well Hung Food, ..thanks boyz!

RECIPE (note – this concoction needs to sit for 6 weeks before imbibing). 

Pick full open, new flower heads (no brown bits). *It is best to pick most flowers before high noon.

After you pick the flowers you need to start moving quickly, they start to lose their perfume incredibly fast.

Fill up a bottle or jar just past 3/4 with the flowers.

Remove as much stalk as possible. If you compress the flowers they should take up about half the jar. (It took me 2 hours to deflower all my blossoms)

Once the jar is filled up to half way you need to add some sugar. The sugar not only sweetens, but brings out much of the flavor. An 80:20 ratio of Elderflower to sugar. So if your Elderflower is 4 inches high (when slightly compressed) add about an inch of sugar.

Fill almost to the brim with vodka. Now add thin slices of lemon to the top. You should try and cover the entire top layer with these thin slices as it will stop the flowers from rising to the top. If you can’t do this use a saucer and a weight to stop the elderflower from reaching the surface, as they will turn brown and taint the whole drink.

Leave a month before straining into a bottle and then another two weeks before drinking.

And remember the two most important things are: good clean, bright elderflower heads (without stalks) and not letting the flowers reach the surface. Enjoy!  -Esther



Handmade gifts from bits and bobs


This was such a difficult project! I had to drink copious amounts of inexpensive plonk so that I could use the corks.

Not exactly true but it does sound fun in an odd way.

Last year, I scavenged many succulents from my son-in-law and daughter’s San Francisco garden. There were so many varieties, I knew I had to take a lot since I live in the dry lower Sierra to see what would grow and what wouldn’t. Surprisingly, everything adjusted to the climate and now I have my own bounty of succulents.

This year, I’m making little holiday gifts for dear friends. I have decided to combine the succulents with wine corks. I’ve seen these little gems all over the internet so it’s not an original creative idea of my own (just working with what I have in the garden). I must admit, I really think they are precious …recycle, reuse and give!

How To:

-Hollow out the cork about 2.5 inches. (I used my Dad’s old knife to hollow out the hole in the wine cork)

-I placed moist earth from the garden and the clippings from the acquired SF cuttings.

-I pushed the soil down with a long nail to the bottom of the hole in the cork.

-After I inserted the cuttings and earth, I put the corks in a bowl that was half filled with water (I wanted the new plants to have moisture to encourage new growth). These will stay in the water for 2 days then I’ll remove and nurture them until the holiday season.

I think I’ll wrap copper wire around the upper part of the cork, make a loop so that they can be hung up, or just sit on a window sill. If I do that I’ll take another photo and post it.


Wooden Spoons with Attitude

spoons_2up spoons_paint I’ve been wanting to do this little project for a while. Of course, when I finally had time to do it, I couldn’t find the blue painters tape (and I know for a fact that there are at least 3 rolls somewhere in this darn house!). But that wasn’t going to stop me. After looking for 20 minutes, I finally decided to MacGyver the project and use invisible tape (and crossed my fingers that it would work). IT DID!

These spoons are so cheery and fun.

I think I’m going to make a bunch of them and add some words (any special requests?). If you’re interested in ordering some, just drop us a line.

-I used acrylic paint and finished the dried product off with a high-gloss gel.
-These are not dishwasher friendly.
-If you are going to do this yourself, go easy on the paint! You don’t want it to get too gloppy. (yes, that’s a technical term).


Hot Glue and Fabric!


World’s fastest bunting project. I am not known for my sewing abilities – not to mention patience. However, I am a master when it comes to hot-gluing things. This project took an afternoon and I walked away with one minor burn to the index finger. It has completely transformed the energy in my daughter’s room. She loves it!


Ava Green Chair Project


Just posting this oldie but goodie. My first chair reupholstery project. Lessons learned: don’t use thin cotton fabric on chairs! They fade and break down very quickly. Here’s the before shot coupled with my wonky measurements. Five years later, I think it’s ready for a do-over.