Hello and welcome to my blog, I am happy to see you here!

If you like something you found here please leave me a comment, I am always glad to hear from our customers and friends!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Half Sour Pickles recipe

This summer I found some really great pickling recipes to preserve our harvest in a jar. I tried so many of them and they are all very good but many of them have vinegar as an ingredient. While the vinegar is great to preserve food, I am trying to cut on acidic foods if possible, so I really like Inessa's (vintageer shop on Etsy)  half sour pickles recipes. The pickles are easy to make and ready to eat in about 3 days. I slice them and put them on a sandwich - delicious!

I don't have the black currant leaves and tarragon but pickles taste great anyway.
So with Inessa permission I am publishing her recipe on my blog today.
Small pickling cucumbers (enough to fill 1 Quart jar)
Enough water to cover said cucumbers
2 Tbsp (per 4 cups of water) pickling salt (or sea salt)
4- 5 garlic cloves cut in half
3-4 stems fresh dill (with seeds and flowers)
1 tbsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp celery seeds
3-4 fresh black currant leaves (or horseradish leaf)
1 tarragon stem (optional)

Wash the cucumbers well and let them soak in a bowl of cold water for an hour. Put the cucumbers in a clean glass canning jar. Add the spices, the garlic cloves,  black currant leaves, tarragon and dill to the jar.

Dissolve the salt in the boiled water and pour into the jar over the cucumbers. Make sure the cucumbers are completely under the water.

Cover and let sit for three or four days in cool shaded space. Then move to the fridge to chill. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to measure your arms for custom arm warmers

Fall is almost here and the colder weather is kicking in. We have plenty warm accessories to offer you this Fall and Winter season but if you'd like us to make a custom gloves, arm warmers, scarves or socks for you please visit our socksandmittens shop on Etsy and let us know. 

In addition to my previous post on how to measure your handsfor custom made gloves or mittens, here is how to measure your arms for  custom knit arm warmers.

We will need 3 measurements to ensure a good fit.

1. To find out your arm warmers circumference, please measure your dominant hand (the right if you are right handed, and the left if you are left-handed) with a tape measure or a piece of string. If you are using a string please lay it on a flat ruler to see the result.

Place the tape measure around the knuckles of your hand around the fullest part, excluding the thumb (measurement A):

2. Measure the circumference of your arm about 2"  below the elbow (measurement C):

3. Measure your wrist circumference (measurement D):
Write down your measurements and contact us for your new custom made arm warmers. We are always glad to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wade whimsies, Mothers Goose nursery rhyme series miniature figurine. New at agardencottage

Today I listed my first Wade figurine of the Mothers Goose nursery rhyme series. It's TheHouse That Jack built. Doesn't it bring nice childhood memories to you?
 This is a part of wade figurines collection from the Canadian Red Rose Tea Premium series Nursery Rhymes (1971-79). Please visit our agardencottage shop for details and other figurines available.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer vacation: north to Alaska

This summer I was so lucky to be able to visit Alaska. What a wonderful vacation it was!
The nature is really beautiful and wild there. 

Summer is the best time to visit Alaska so I was able to enjoy the great summer bloom, gorgeous waterfalls, picturesque meadows and ocean. 
There was so many wild animals around, just living their lives right next to the humans. 

The gorgeous mountains are all around you. Besides absolutely stunning views of snow caped mountains covered with clouds, we enjoyed fresh, crisp mountain air. 
A hike to the Glacier was one of my favorites. Where else would you be able to do this!

So I had some time for sightseeing, fishing or shopping in Valdez, Homer, Seward and Anchorage. It was a great experience and I hope we will be able to do it again in the future. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lilies bouqiet hot batik wall hanging tutorial

Here is how to work in hot batik technique with an example of one of Alla Samoil's painting, a lilies bouquet.
The general idea is that the lightest areas will be covered with melted wax first and then step by step, while adding the paint to the rest of the design to create a layered effect. Doesn't this color layering remind you of a watercolor technique?

Always be cautious while working with hot wax. It is extremely hot and very flammable.

Here is what you need to make this:

a wooden frame
fabric (pre-wash if new)
soft pencil, 8B
bees wax or paraffin
a small crock pot
Pebeo Setasilk or Dye-Na-Flow Fabric paints: yellow, shades of green, dark ochre and brown
variety of brushes (you will not be able to wash the wax away from the brushes so choose the ones you will not feel sorry for later)
some newspapers and some clean white paper
1. Protect your working surface with a plastic cover. Add wax / paraffin to your crock pot and set it on low. The wax will be ready to work with when small amount of melted wax will go through the fabric and not stays on surface. You can test it on a small non working area of your fabric.

2. With pins, stretch your fabric to a wooden frame. Print a sketch of your project on paper and freehand your image to your fabric lightly by pencil.
When you are done, we will start working with melted wax and paints.

3. Use your thin brush  to cover the stamens of the lilies with a melted wax.With a thicker brush, apply the yellow paint on the rest of your design and add some very light shades of yellow, green and brown colors to the plants image (please refer to pictures for a color application). Lay your work horizontally and let it dry completely.

4. Cover the flowers petals and the middle of the leaves with a melted wax. Apply the light green paint and some darker shades of yellow, green and brown on your painting. Let it dry.
5. Cover the rest of petals and some parts of leaves with a melted wax. Use the dark ochre paint to cover the rest of design. Let it dry.
6. Cover the plants completely with a melted wax in the same manner. Apply a dark brown paint to cover the background of your painting. Let your design dry.

7. Cover the entire design with a melted wax. To remove it from your painting, sandwich your design in between a sheets of newspaper and a clean white paper and iron it out. Discard the wax.

Your painting is done! Now you can frame it and  hang it on a wall for a pretty display

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thoughts on batik

Batik is my new hobby this summer. Many years ago, when I had a vacation on the Canary Islands, they had a batik class for hotel guests. I stopped by a couple of times but never actually took the class. Since then I acquired a small collection of books on batik and some supplies like silk paints, silk scarves and so many things I don't even remember the names for it. So this summer I finally took the box with those out and I am going to give it a try.

I am studying my books but I also would like to learn some techniques from the masters. Alla from Allaras was kind enough to share her tutorial with me on hot batik techniques. With her permission I will publish this tutorial on my blog during next week.
Alla Samoil has been a professional artist for the past 20 years. Since her first try of silk painting and batik 15 years ago, these techniques became her passion. Her paintings, scarves, and ties are collected and sold internationally by individuals, galleries and businesses. You can also find her artwork at her Allaras Etsy shop.
Alla is a member of Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec, Canada.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cooking with herbs: lemon rosemary shortbread cookies

Our rosemary bush became so huge this summer so I decided it's time to trim it. I've got so much of the aromatic branches that I decided to dry some and use some fresh. I made some rosemary oil and wanted to bake some cookies. I found the original recipe on allrecipe.com and slightly changed it to my taste and the cookies turned out great. I brought them to a dinner party and they were a hit.
So here is what you need to make lemon rosemary shortbread cookies:

3 sticks unsalted butter (113g each), at room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
natural turbinado sugar crystals for decoration (optional)

Blend together the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, salt, rosemary and lemon zest until well mixed. The dough will be soft so cover it and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375'F. Dust the rolling pin and rolling surface with some flour and gently roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out your cookies with a cookie cutter and place them 1" apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the tops, if you would like or bake them as is.

Bake for approximately 9 to 10 minutes or until golden at the edges. Carefully transfer them to a wire rack with a spatula to cool.