DIY Minimalist Wine Rack

When simplicity is key, less is more. All you'll need for this minimalist wine rack is a wooden board, leather straps, some paint, screws and a leather punch. Choose the size of your wood board based on the size of your kitchen and how many wine bottles you wish to store. A 60cm x 40cm is shown here. First step is to paint the board with a white lacquer. You can of course choose a different colour, or leave the wood board untreated. However note that the white contrast with the dark wine bottles will give your board that distinct Scandinavian feel.  

If you have the tools, cut your own straps of leather. If not, purchase some pre-cut straps of equal width and about 35cm in length. At both ends of each strap punch a hole the exact size of the screws you wish to use. From this point, simply form a loop with your leather strap and decide where you wish to place the positioning for the three bottles. It's advised you lay out all six loops before attaching them to ensure they are of enough distance from one and other as well as from the edges of the board; this way your bottles will appear centred on the mount. Once you're set on position, simply screw the straps in place. 

Tutorial and photography via: ItsPrettyNice

Nordic Deco: DIY Mountain Plywood Print

Mountain Plywood Print by The Merrythought via upknorth

A hint of minimalist decor to any room. This 4 piece project will set you back only about 20 minutes and $20.00, while abiding by the 'Nordic Minimalist' guide of straight lines, faded wood and blacks and whites. Mountain imagery can be interchanged with a photo of your choice, or alternatively quotes or sayings in large black and white font. Depending on the size of your print and plywood your project can act as a headboard or a statement print in any room. 

Mountain Plywood Print by The Merrythought via upknorth

Photography and tutorial via The Merrythought 

DIY Northern Spirits; Make Your Own Scandinavian Aquavit

Aquavits (or aquavites or akvavits) is a high-proof liquor that has been made in Scandinavia since the 15th Century by distilling fermented potato or grain mash and flavoring it with savory, herbaceous ingredients. Caraway seeds—which account for rye bread's flavor—are always included in a traditional aquavit. Cumin, lemon or orange peel, cardamom, dill, clove, aniseed and fennel are also typical. Some aquavits—particularly Norwegian ones—are mellowed with barrel aging, while others are consumed young, raw and crystal clear.

Countless varieties of aquavit are available throughout Scandinavia, but its rarer in North America. Despite the ample supply of commercially available aquavits, it's still common for Swedes to make their own. While true aquavit production involves distillation, you can cop the same effect by infusing a store-bought spirit with any number of savory ingredients.

1. Start with a neutral spirit. A potato vodka—such as Boyd & Blair, Chopin or Teton Glacier— which picks up flavors better than grain vodka due to its higher viscosity.

2. Clean your ingredients thoroughly. Cut all the pith from citrus to avoid bitterness, and toast hard spices to intensify their flavors. Chop or slice fruits and vegetables into manageable pieces; the more surface area, the more flavor gets extracted.

3. Use a clean glass jar as an infusion vessel. A vodka bottle works fine, provided your ingredients fit through the small opening.

4. Different ingredients require different infusion times, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Taste is the best judge here. Once the infusion is complete, strain finished aquavit through a coffee filter. It will keep indefinitely in the freezer.

Classic Aquavit

Toast ¼ cup coriander seeds and combine with 750 ml potato vodka, leaving to infuse for one week. Add ½ bunch dill fronds (from crown dill if available) and let infuse for three to four more days. Strain and store.

Fig and Cardamom

Toast ¼ cup cardamom pods and combine with 750 ml potato vodka, leaving to infuse for one week. Wash and halve ½ cup dried black mission figs and add to the infusion for four to five days more. Strain and store.


Peel, wash and coarsely chop a horseradish root. Combine ¼ cup chopped horseradish with 750 ml potato vodka. Leave to infuse for one to two weeks. Strain and store.


Wild Winter Edibles to Satisfy a Forager's Heart

wild winter edibles; up knörth

Common thought is that the foraging season ends come late fall. Most wild greens and fruits that thrive in the summer months slowly disappear in the fading fall light. While this is true, there are also some hardy plants that continue to photosynthesize even in the winter months; Providing a great source of survival food if needed, or acting as wild edibles to satisfy a foragers heart even in winter. Some of these winter plants include: 

wild winter edibles; up knörth

Rose hips - Not only do rose hips provide a pop of color in the winter landscape, they’re also full of sweet pulp that can be eaten raw or boiled down for syrup, jam or tea. Just boil 12-15 of them for 3-5 minutes, smash them open with a spoon and let them steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve.

Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca)

wild winter edibles; up knörth

Clovers (Trifolium pratense or Trifolium pretens) (red and white) 

Apples and Pears - Apples (and pears) come into season in fall, and if they are not harvested or eaten by animals these wildly delicious fruit can continue to be found on branches well into the winter. 

Acorns - This nut have been called ‘the ultimate survivor food’, packed with fats and nutrition. Along with black walnuts, butternut walnuts, pecans, hickories, beechnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, acorns can be gathered from the ground or tree into late fall.

wild winter edibles; up knörth

Watercress - More flavourful than supermarket watercress, wild watercress actually tastes sweeter in winter. Even during the snowiest days of winter, watercress can be found growing in tight, bright green bunches near water. 

Burdock - Known as wild rhubarb, burdock has large, woolly, heart-shaped leaves and reddish stems. The roots can get a little bit woody in winter, but a little extra boiling will make them tender.

Photo by Kinfolk Mag.

Photo by Kinfolk Mag.

Pine Needles - The tea extracted from pine needles is very high in vitamin C, making it a great remedy for the common cold. It also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene. While most varieties of pine are safe, always make absolutely sure that you don’t harvest the needles from yew, Norfolk Island Pine or Ponderosa Pine, all of which are poisonous. See our recipe for pine needle tea here.

DIY Campfire Scented Mug Candle

Fall camping trips--huddled over a campfire with with a thermos of steaming mulled cider, wool blankets, and a good book, who says summer should have all the fun? Inspired by fall camping ventures, you can enjoy the nostalgic scent of a campfire even while sheltered inside - no tent required (even though it's preferred). 

You Will Need:

An enamel mug

Candle wax--we like the soy variety

String/Cotton Wick 



Campfire fragrance oil 


Thread your string through the two holes of the button and make a knot. Pull taught and snip after measuring the height of your mug (cut an inch longer than you think you'll need).

Melt a little bit of wax according to manufacturer's directions (we bought microwavable wax--it saves so much time). Dip the string and button into your wax to coat entirely. Once coated, lay it on a paper towel to dry a few minutes.

Once dry, anchor your newly fashioned wick in the center of your mug--adhering the button to the mug with a little wax if need be. Wrap the excess wick around a pencil balanced on the lip of the mug.

Melt the rest of your wax. Pour in a capful or two of fragrance oil and mix with hot wax. Pour the mixture into your camp mug and let dry a few hours.

Once the wax is solidified, cut the wick.

Photo and inspiration via PoppyTalk

Swedish Fire Torch

The Swedish Fire Torch, also known as a Canadian Candle, is a great way to set up a fire as it uses only one log, has a flat cooking surface and is self feeding, meaning it can burn for several hours without any attention. It is easy to build, takes up a small amount of space and is also a good fire to make in snow, as the main part of the construction is kept off the wet ground.

The torch is made by taking a reasonably sized log, which has a flat top and bottom, and splitting it into four quarters.  This will act as the main fuel for the fire. Place your kindling at alternating angles, in a criss-cross fashion, between the gaps. The tinder, which is what will catch a flame and initiate the fire, should be placed at the top of the torch (cut log) and may also be placed intermittently between the kindling. The heat, ashes and flames of the tinder will, once lit, drop down onto the lower layers, causing them to also ignite. This, in turn, will act to set fire to the four quarters of the split log. The tinder can be lit using a spark from a striker, or a flame if using a lighter or match. Once the fire has been started, air is able to freely circulate within, due to the gaps between the split log, providing oxygen to the flames. Once established, the fire can burn freely without any further attention.

The Secret To Colder Beer, Faster

Secret to colder beer | Ice, Water, Beer, Salt and some sort of container (a canoe works) - shot by Sarah Culver Photography

Secret to colder beer | Ice, Water, Beer, Salt and some sort of container (a canoe works) - shot by Sarah Culver Photography

Though summer's almost over, the desire for cold beer never ends. Cooling your beer fast is not a myth (hallelujah) but an attainable reality. 

Photograph by Taylor Lord 

Photograph by Taylor Lord 

So, if you don't have a cold river or snow near by (that's the old-fashioned, foolproof way) get a bowl and fill it with 1 litre of water, 3 cups ice and 3-4 tbsp salt. Place one can (or bottle) into the bowl and stir it slowly around for 2 or more minutes to drop the temperature quickly. The secret behind this? By putting salt into the ice water, the water temperature drop lower then it would normally - The salt allows water to exist as a liquid at a temperature lower than 0°C. Stirring slowly allows the content of your can to move and rotate, exposing more beer to the cold edge of the container. 

Photographed by Blue Window Creative via the WeddingChicks

Photographed by Blue Window Creative via the WeddingChicks

You can also use this method in your cooler for the same reason; The ice will cool the water down and the salt will allow the water temperature to drop below 0°C.  The beer will then be fully submersed in sub-zero water maximizing the surface area in contact, getting beer colder faster and keeping the cold for longer.