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Yours truly,


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sterling silver earrings giveaway on Irina's Cute box blog!

Aren't they pretty? These earring would go great with an evening gown. Which is always helpful since the winter holidays are not too far.  Stop by, leave a comment and you might be the one who will get these earrings for free.
This giveaway is open world wide and will run until September 7th, 2014. Stop by Irina's blog to sign up!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dressed up vintage wooden hair stick/ shawl pin with dangles DIY

I found this hair pin at an estate sale. I actually thought it's a shawl pin but later on Albina (albinasjewelry) recognized it as a hair pin so I am still in doubt. 
Anyway, during our last get-together we gave it a new life so it became a fancy universal accessory.
It already had 3 loops so we practically just embellished it.

Here is how to make it:

  • hair stick with 3 loops
  • 3 headpins
  • 3 cones
  • 3 beads
  • chain - 3 pieces 1" each
1. Cut a chain into three 1” pieces. 
2. Slide a bead and a cone  into a head pin. 
3. Start making a loop on a top of the cone. Slide a link of the chain into the loop.
 4. Make a wrapped loop looking a chain with a cone. 
 5. Make two more chained cones.
6. Using  your chain nose pliers, open a loop on a hair stick. Slide a last link of the chain. Close a loop. 

7. Attach the rest of the cones.

A great quick project and a very pretty result!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vegetarian rice pilaf recipe

This vegetarian rice pilaf is such a great idea for a summer dinner. It's easy to make, light and low in calories. I started to make it this summer because I planted an Indian eggplant this year so I was looking for new ideas to cook using eggplant. The recipe is adopted from Turkish cuisine which I love. Also, this dish is compatible with the phase II of the South Beach diet.
The ingredients:

2-3 small Indian eggplants, approximately 1lbs
1 medium onion
1/4 cup raisins, chopped (optional)
2 Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup brown basmati rice (I like the Indian one from Trader Joe's)
2 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
How to make the rice pilaf:

Start with eggplant - trim and discard a steam end. Wash and chop it into small cubes and place in a colander. Sprinkle it with 1 table spoon of salt, toss to coat evenly and place the colander on a plate to drain.  

Cook the rice (wash it before cooking if needed). Place the rice in a pan, cover it with water and heat until boiling. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat to almost the minimum and cover with a lid. Cook until all the liquid will be absorbed. Remove from the stove and cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel.

Chop the onion into small cubes and cook them with olive oil over medium heat (use the large saucepan), about 5 minutes or until softened. Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the liquid out of it by hand. Add them to the pan with onions  and cook together for another 5 minutes. Peel and core a tomato and chop into small cubes. Add it to the pan and cook all together for about 5 more minutes. If you'd like to use raisins in your pilaf, now is a good time to add them.

Add the cooked rice to the vegetable mix and gently mix all together, add more salt if needed. Heat the dish and spoon into a serving bowl or individual plates. 


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!