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Yours truly,


Saturday, July 26, 2014

New at agardencottage, photo note cards

There is something new in our vintage shop, photo notecards! The image used for these cards are one of my favorites from my flower series photography. These particular cards are featuring gorgeous purple bells flowers in a white flower pot with a sign Flowers on it.
These cards are elegant looking and have a slightly rustic touch thanks to the brown envelope. They are professionally printed on chlorine free high quality cardstock in a matte finish.
So if you are looking for some universal photo note cards please stop by our agardencottage shop and see if these are for you! Browse around and look what else we have!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to free a lizard from a sticky trap

July here in the desert is hot and humid thanks to occasional rain clouds or even rains. It is hard to stay outside so we are really limited on outdoor activities during monsoon season. It is the only time of year when cicadas are so loud. There are lots of bugs in the garden and it's really a paradise for hungry lizards who are hunting under the cover of leaves in flower beds.
Talking of lizards, I just remember a very good tip I found online last year. There are a sticky pads offered by pest control companies to get rid of bugs and spiders. It is so sticky that you can not free yourself once you touched it. The lizards don't know this, so when they are going to eat the bugs on a sticky trap they can get stuck, too.

So, if it will ever happen, do not try to free the lizard by pulling it off the pad, EVER! Their skin is thin and fragile. Instead, get the sticky pad with a lizard to a flat surface in the garden, place a very shallow plastic container underneath. Pour some vegetable oil in a small container and have a table spoon ready. Wear a protective gloves if you want. Hold the sticky paper with a lizard a  bit up at the head area that oil would not get into the mouth or the eyes. With the table spoon, start pouring the oil on the paper at the lower body area first and continue until you free the animal completely. Lizard will run away as soon as it can so hold your paper next to the ground.

I found this tip very useful. Whatever we humans do, it has good and bad sides, so it's nice to know how to help to reduce the negative effect on nature.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Girls night in and a craft party

Last weekend was so much fun. I invited Albina over (albinasjewelry) so it was a girls night in and a great crafting time in the same time. We made so many good things to show on our blogs. All these great projects with step-by-step instructions will be published on my and Albina's blogs in the next couple of Months.
Meanwhile, I'd like to show you some cute things.
We made these shawl pins during this party and we will include one free with each purchase of some of our crochet shawls at our socksandmittens shop as a free gift, while supplies last (please see the listings where free shawl pin gift is indicated)
These frame earrings were made as a gift for my niece.
She loves the blue color and silver so Albina made them from sterling silver and Swarovski crystals. One has a little tiny dragonfly in it and the other has 2 beads. Aren't they lovely?
Albina and I had a great time. It was so much fun, we should get together more often!

Friday, July 11, 2014

River rock necklace with lobster clasp tutorial

Here is another tutorial from Albina (albinasjewelry) on making simple summer necklace with beach finds.
This time we will use a pre-drilled river rock and will make a lobster clasp ( in our previous tutorial we used a pre-drilled coral and a vintage button for the closure).
So here is what you need to make this necklace:

River rock with a hole (or your favorite focal bead)
Waxed cotton cord, 1.5- 2mm – 1.5 times longer then wanted length of the necklace
Lobster clasp
Jump ring (optional, only if the cord does not fit into the clasp) – 1
Fabric glue (optional)

1. Fold the cord in half and insert the folded end into the stone’s hole to form a lark’s head knot. Tighten.

2. Slide the lobster clasp into one of the cord ends*.  Place the clasp ½length of the total necklace plus ½” away from the stone (if your cord has to be 17” long, place the clasp 17”:2+ ½”= 9” away).
3. Make an over-hand knot close to the clasp. You may want to put a drop of fabric glue.
4. Make a fold on another half of the cord using the same measurements. Make an over-hand knot 1cm away from the fold. This will be a loop for the closure.
5. Let the glue dry. Cut of cord tails close to the knot.
* If the cord is too thick and does not fit into the clasp, use a jump ring to attach a cord with a clasp. Keep in mind that extra ring(s) will add extra length to the necklace, so make necessary adjustments.

So your new necklace is ready, enjoy!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our 4th of July

We had such a wonderful 4th of July Party yesterday. It was lots of laughs, great decor and lots of delicious food.
I've got some great ideas from Pinterest to make these red and blue jello stars gumdrops and colorful pasta.
It was a big hit! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

How to propagate an African violet / saintpaulias

How to propagate an African violet?
It's actually very easy. If you'd like to grow your own baby African violet just snap off a green leaf of a healthy plant and put it in a shot glass filled half way with water. 
Place it in a windowsill with indirect sunlight and wait until roots will appear, in about 2 weeks. Don't forget to add some water to a shot glass when needed. Watch your plant because you don't want to overgrow the root system.
When roots will appear and develop a bit it's time to plant it. African violets likes smaller pots so at this stage I use plastic drinking cups.

So here is what you need to plant 1 leaf:
2 plastic cups
permanent marker
African violets soil mixture (you will find it at almost any garden center)
dull knife or similar tool for planting
sharp pointy knife or a tool for making holes in a cup
1 leaf with developed roots
lukewarm water
Liquid fertilizer for African violets (for future care, do not use when planting)

Make about 5 small drainage holes in a bottom of one glass, write the date of planting on a side with a permanent marker. 
Fill this glass with planting soil and water thoroughly with lukewarm water. The soil should be completely moist. Now, with your dull knife make about an inch hole in a middle of the soil and carefully place your rooted leaf. Hold it with one hand and move some soil to the middle to support the leaf. Stick this glass to another one and place it in a windowsill with bright indirect light and no drafts.

Water your new plant about once a week or more often, depends on how dry the air is in your area. Always use a lukewarm water to water it and some African violets fertilizer with each watering. Give it some time and you will see the small leaves will appear around the base of leaf. 
It will get bigger and bigger every day and one day you will see some little flowers appear!
When it happen you will know that your baby plant is happy and singing!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Beach finds, natural coral necklace with vintage button tutorial

I always get something from our trips to the beach. An empty shell, a piece of drift wood, a piece of coral or a smooth rock. All these thing will remind me of a day spent by the sea. I already have a small collection of beach finds. I am going to make a shadow box with some of these shells for our living room but some finds are so gorgeous that they can be worn as jewelry. So I made a hole in some rocks and coral and Albina (Albinasjewelry) helped me finish these projects during our last get-together craft party.  The day with Albina was fun and I learned a lot. No wonder, she is a great jewelry instructor!

So here is her tutorial for a natural coral necklace.
 Materials and tools:
Coral bead (or your favorite focal bead)
Large-hole beads – 2
Waxed cotton cord, 2mm – 3 times longer then wanted length of the necklace
Shank button – 1
Long chain nose pliers (optional)
Fabric glue (optional)

Measure and cut piece of cord. You will need about 3 times longer cord then the length of the necklace (i.e. for 18” necklace you will need 54” cord). Notice, the more knots your design has the longer cord you need. This design has total 8 knots.
1. Fold the cord in half. Pass the folded end of the cord through a large-hole bead, focal bead, a large-hole bead, and a shank button. 
2. Make an over-hand knot 1cm away from the fold. This will be a loop for the closure.
3. For 18” necklace, measure 12” from the loop and place the focal bead (coral) there. Make an over-hand knot on both sides of the coral. Try to place a knot as close as possible to the coral. You may want to use chain nose pliers to push the knot. Now, the center piece is “locked”. 
4. Measure about 3.5” from the coral knot and make another over-hand knot. Slide large-hole bead towards that knot and make another knot “locking” the bead.
5. Repeat step 4 from another side of the coral. You have almost finished necklace now.
6. Fold the necklace in two. Two large-hole beads have to be across each other. Slide the button so it is just above the loop and fold the cords (notice, you will have 4 cords running together). Make an over-hand knot. You may want to put a drop of fabric glue. 

7. Let the glue dry. Cut two ends of the cords close to the knot. 
 Your new OOAK necklace is ready! Please enjoy this how-to tutorial and let us know how you like it when you make one for yourself.