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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How to prolong life of your fresh cut bouquet of peonies

So you just received a beautiful bouquet of peony buds as a gift and you want them to last as long as possible. What to do? Here is some tips on fresh cut flowers care from Natalia, the owner of Motle Grass floral studio.
Leave you peonies in a cool place for several hours to let them recover after the transportation.

Prepare your glass or ceramic vase: clean it thoroughly, pour some clean warm water in and add a cut flower food provided with a bouquet.
Take your flowers out, place them in a separate container with warm water. Re-cut the stems at an angle about 1" above the old cut with a sharp clippers. Remove the leaves from the stem's bottom up to the point where they will be exposed to the air when placed in the vase. Do not remove all the leaves, only the ones sitting below the water line in the vase. This needs to be done to prevent bacteria and fungi growth in the water.

Transfer your peonies into prepared vase and place it in a cooler room for 1 or 2 days until the buds will open. Check your water daily and top it up.

If your flowers are intended to decorate an event, try to keep them in a cold place as long as possible to prolong their life. Do not put them close to the heat source or direct sunlight  and bring them out only as needed.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


It happened that we had lots of pretty fresh cut flowers last June. It was a very very sad reason for that but flowers soften things a little. They made me feel better.
Some flowers lasted longer than the others and some were so pretty that I dried them to use for my photo shoots. Some of them inspired me to get some seeds for maybe planting them in our garden. But I still wanted to know more about how to prolong a life of a gorgeous fresh cut bouquet.
While browsing the Internet, I came across an interesting website ( https://centre-flower.ru/ ) with beautiful floral photos and good info. I read some of their posts, liked their tips on fresh cut flower's care and contacted Natalia Kanunnikova, the Motley Grass floral studio owner, for permission to share it with my readers. Natalia agreed and I will be happy to post some of it this summer.

The Motley Grass delivers flowers in Moscow, Russia region so if you'd like to send some pretty flowers to people you care about in that part of the world, please visit their site to order. They do beautiful bouquets for any occasion. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer is here!

The first calendar day of summer is here! Welcome June!

We were so busy lately that we almost did not noticed that the spring came and went. But with our AZ 3-digit temperature numbers we realized it's time to brace ourselves :) I see lots of dry heat in our near future !

While working on our traditional winter assortment, I crochet some new handbags and totes in bright summer colors. They will work for a trips to a beach, music festivals and of course, our crochet totes are great for some light shopping. 

The newest creation is this small handbag made in a shape of pineapple. It is roomy enough to hold your essentials like cell phone, keys, wallet, small beach cover up or sun glasses.


Please stop by our shop ( socksandmittens.etsy.com ) to see our summer assortment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Intricate Irish knots jewelry for St. Patricks Day

Are you ready to celebrate St. Patricks Day? Are you getting ready to party or simply have some green beer with corn beef and cabbage?
I love St. Patricks decor and decorate a part of our house with faux shamrock leaves (good luck symbols) and green hats. I also love to wear St. Patrick's related accessories or some Irish jewelry to celebrate. 

I like to wear jewelry because it is easy to show your Irish spirit and the jewelry is pretty. 

For those who love vintage jewelry and intricate Irish knots, I'd like to present a small collection of Irish jewelry you can purchase in my online shop (agardencottage.etsy.com). These vintage necklaces are lovely and can be worn all year round. They are true finds, see for yourself! (click on photo to go to the listings)




Friday, March 9, 2018

Lemon Curd Bars recipe

I found this recipe on Allrecipies.com. I was looking for ways to use the enormous amount of lemon curd I made this year and this recipe was exactly what I needed. The bars are delicious, easy to make and you can wrap and freeze them for future use.
I made small changes in their recipe so please see below. If you want to use the original recipe, please simply go here

Here is what you need to make Lemon Curd Bars:

1 cup butter, softened*
1 cup butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
 20 oz lemon curd (purchased or you can make it yourself, the recipe is here)
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

How to make Lemon Curd Bars:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until creamy. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Pat 3/4 of mixture into bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

2. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Spread curd over baked layer. Add coconut and walnuts to remaining crumb mixture (step 1); stir to mix. Sprinkle over curd.

3. Bake additional 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into squares.
So this recipe is definitely a keeper for me.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mixed citrus marmalade recipe

Since we have 3 citrus trees in our garden, I am trying to find some good ways to preserve it. Last year my favorite was preserved  lemon Meyer (lemons with salt), this year is new quick mixed citrus marmalade and lemon Meyer curd bars. I will be happy to share all of them.

Let's start with mixed citrus marmalade.

You will need:

1 lbs of lemon Meyer
1 lbs orange
3 cups sugar (or add some more if you feel that the mix is not sweet enough for you. I'd say, to taste :) )
2 tablespoon pineapple rum (I used Captain Morgan Pineapple rum)
water (to boil the peel)

Wash your citrus with warm water and wipe it dry. Peel them, then remove the inner white lining with a flexible knife. Discard the lining. Use the electric chopper to chop the peel to a small pieces.
Place the chopped peel into a small pot, cover it with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook on a medium heat for about 1 hour. Strain and discard the liquid.

While peel is cooking, prepare you citrus. Cut fruits in small pieces on a plate, remove the seeds, leftover of white linings and membranes, transfer it to a wide stainless steel pot. Add sugar, mix it and let it stay at the room temperature until the peel is done.

Prepare your canning jars. I am washing mine with warm water and dish soap, then cleaning jars with baking soda, rinsing it well and drying it on a clean kitchen towel. Then I am placing jars without the lids to a baking tray, placing it in the oven and heating it to 200'F to sterilize. They sits there for about 10 minutes or a little longer, so the cooked marmalade will go to a warm sterile jars.Meanwhile, I will place the lids to a glass bowl and add some boiling water on top to cover them. I will let them stay there for about 5 minutes, then transfer them with a kitchen tongues to a clean paper towel. The lids and jars have to be dry so wipe the excess water with a clean paper towel.

Add strained peel to the pot with citrus, mix it well with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook on low for about an hour. Add pineapple rum, stir into mixture and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Pour the marmalade into prepared jars and top with lids and rims. Close them tight and turn them over to cool on a clean kitchen towel.

Store in refrigerator.
Try it, it's delicious.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy World Hyacinth Day!

Today is World Hyacinth Day.
When this highly fragrant flower blooms it mean spring is near. The hyacinth symbolizes sport or play in Victorian language of flowers. The blue one signifies sincerity.
I got one last winter and it is beautiful. I am going to plant it in the garden and hope it will bloom next year again!