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Friday, May 24, 2019

How to make a chocolate covered strawberries

Summer is almost here and so is sun, fun and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. My friend Tania* thinks there is nothing better then start your day with a light desert :) she loves strawberries and always makes small batches of this almost guilt-free desert when berries are in season.

Chocolate cover strawberries are quick to make, delicious and look fabulous. All you need to make it is some fresh strawberries with stems, white and milk chocolate and of course, some cooking inspiration.  

As with all berries, this is quickly perishable desert so prepare it on the day of serving.

Here is how to make it:

1. Rinse your berries and dry them thoroughly on a paper towel.
2. Use chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate. Melt your white and milk chocolate separate, in a double boiler, stirring until it is melted completely. If you'd like, add about 1/2 to 1 tea spoon of neutral tasting cooking oil to make chocolate more flexible. Do not cover your chocolate to avoid a liquid condensation and dripping into your pan.

3. Remove the chocolates from the heat. Hold your prepared berries by the stem and dip them in either white or milk chocolate. Place on prepared baking sheet lined with a parchment or wax paper. Use the contrast color chocolate and a fork or culinary bag to drizzle over your berries.
4. Place strawberries in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour until the chocolate is set. Your fabulous chocolate covered strawberries are ready to serve!
*Tania is one of the owners of the cozy guest house by the Black Sea. If you'd like to have a summer vacation right next to the one of the best Crimean beaches, Belyaus, please  contact her through her Instagram (@belayus_homesweethome) She will be happy to hear from you!


Saturday, January 19, 2019


It's a middle of calendar winter. We are lucky to live in a warm climate but I remember those times when you just want to crawl under the blanket with a good book to read and a cup of tea.
Despite the warmer weather, I am still cold when the sun goes down. I love my warm clothing and my absolute favorites to stay warm at home is a knit socks and an oversized sweater. What's yours?
Oh, and by the way, it is a winter clearance sale in my shop, 25% off on selected items. Stop by to see if you'd like anything, socksandmittens on etsy. This sale will last until January 31st, 2019.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

How to measure your feet for a custom pair of socks

There is nothing like a good pair of socks in winter. The chunkier ones are perfect to wear around home or garden and the finer socks are perfect for everyday wear in your shoes.

We have lots of ready-to-purchase knitted yoga, bed socks and knee-high socks at our shop on etsy ( socksandmittens ). If you don't see your size or desired color, we will be glad to make a custom pair for you. The price on custom orders will depend on chosen type of yarn and size of the finished product. The regular order completion time is 3 to 4 days but it might take longer November through December due to the high volume of custom orders.

* If you'd like us to knit you a pair of custom size bed socks for you, we will need 3 of your measurements, the length of the foot and the circumference of the foot and ankle.
1. To measure the total length of your foot: place a yard stick/ tape measure on the floor. Position the back of the heel at the zero mark on the stick/tape, then measure to the longest toe.

2. For the foot measurement: step on a piece of string, wrap it around your widest foot's part and then lay it on a measuring stick to find out the circumference.
3. For the ankle measurement, wrap a string around your ankles where the joints are ( where the bone sticks out). Lay the string on a measuring stick to find out the circumference.

* If you'd like us to make you a below-the-knee socks, we will need 2 more measurements in the addition to 3 above:
4. Measure the distance from your ankle to your knee (above the knee cap for thigh high leg warmers, or at the narrowest point just below the knee cap for knee high)

5. Measure the circumference of your calf at it's widest point

* The custom yoga socks are standard in calf length so all we need to know is your shoe size.
 Ready to order? Let us know your numbers and we'll start working on your new socks as soon as possible.

To visit socksandmittens click here

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Goodbye summer

Summer is gone and so is vacation. We had a wonderful time in Washington state this summer. The weather was cooler than in AZ and it was so nice to see all the beautiful flowers. It was a short vacation but we were able to stop by my favorite lavender farm in Sequim, shop and eat delicious foods in Leavenworth and stop by wineries and distilleries in Woodinville and Whidbey Island. Quiet a few stops for 5 days, isn't it?

So here is some fun photos from Sequim and Anacortes:

Monday, August 6, 2018

Make-it-yourself bouquet

Flowers are a perfect gift for many occasions. If you'd like to make a pretty bouquet for your event yourself, here is some tips from Motley Grass floral studio* on how to make a pretty bouquet using white roses, purple lisianthus and sedum.

1. Prepare your plants, flowers & greens .
Clean their stems from extra leaves:
2. Use the large flower of your choice as a center of your future bouquet.
Surround it with other flowers and greens in a spiral direction.

3. Add more greens in between of large flowers that they would be visually separated.
4. Make sure there are no leaves in the points of where the flower stems are meet.

If you made everything according to the tips above, you should get a nice round top bouquet with a cones like stems at the bottom.
Use a twine to snugly tie the stems. Tie a nice satin ribbon on top of the twine to cover it.
Enjoy your work or give it as a gift!

*The Motley Grass floral studio delivers fresh flowers in Moscow, Russia region. If you'd like to send some beautiful fresh cut flowers to someone in that region, please visit their online shop to order.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Miniature crochet from FancyKnittles

Can you resist cute and tiny? This post is for lovers of sweet miniatures and small dolls. I'd like to introduce FancyKnittles shop today, it is full of charming crochet dolls, animals, flowers, vegetables and holidays ornaments. All of them are made by Irina, miniature crochet dolls designer. She manages to combine the creativity and high quality in a tiny shape. Visit her shop to see for yourself!
I was curious about how this all has started for Irina, so I approached her with some questions to share with my readers.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Irina and I live in picturesque South Wales, on the border of a small town in a valley. I love the countryside, traveling and photography and I think I'm quite a romantic person.
I would like to do what I love and earn some money at the same time. I was an architect when I lived in Russia and I think this profession generally helps me to see the harmony and beauty all around me. I gave up my profession when I moved to the UK. Here I started to make small crochet dolls and a lot of cute things that make dolls lives look similar to peoples lives. I've been crocheting all my life so it was quick and easy choice. Crocheting was a hobby at the beginning and step by step it transferred into business.
What is it about making small objects that intrigues you?
I don't know exactly why I love small things. Probably it's about my personality. A lot of people love small things, collect and play with dollhouses and little fairies.
How did you get started?
I've been crocheting as long as I can remember. I love small forms and enjoy making cute tiny things that mimic a real big-scale subjects. Every doll I make needs some accessories to give her charm, unique character and tell a little story about her everyday life. 

This is how I start making tiny flowers, potted plants, fruits and vegetables, tiny dolls, bears, bunnies, cats, dogs ... even umbrella and miniature Christmas trees. I love to hold them in my palms and imagine those things are real.
What are your favorite items in your shop?
I love my tiny plants and flowers but dolls will always be my favorites. Sometimes I get so busy with my orders that I don't have time to make new ones but summers are an inspirational time for me. People are busy with their daily lives, vacations and will come back soon for their Fall and Christmas shopping. So I am working on my new dolls right now and my shop's doll section comes to life again. 

Have you ever had a custom order that was especially meaningful for you?
I love my customers, they help me create some great things from time to time. Last Christmas my customer wanted to order a group of Angels to give them as a gift to friends and family. What a fun order! I made nine of them, they were all different with their own personalities. 

The other memorable order was four hats, one for each season, for my return customer's felted mice collection.
What are your hopes for the future of your business?
Life is always changing and you can not predict the future. I hope I will continue to create my tiny girls, boys and their fancy stuff and surprise my fans with new interesting ideas.
 Visit Fancyknittles shop on Etsy to see more of Irina's creations. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.