Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One apple a day keeps the rabbit away

I was sorting photos on my computer and found some summer pictures I would like to share. But first - a short story:)

I think I've found a new method to keep a rabbit away from my snapdragons. Last year I tried vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper …  nothing seemed to work. The rabbit probably was thinking:  "Mmm…. Spicy… I like it!"
So last summer, I decided to feed him. Carrots, lettuce, cucumbers - provoked no interest, but an apple was a hit! He loves apples! Every evening Mr. Rabbit (yes, we call him Mr. Rabbit, but I think it is Mrs.Rabbit) is waiting at the "buffet" area for his apple.  Yes, my flowers were safe last summer.

Now, even though everything is snowed under, we keep feeding the rabbit. She waits for her apple at sunset, every day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Handmade Chocolate Truffles

These  rich and delicate handmade chocolate truffles will make a wonderful Valentine's day gift. If you have never made truffles before, give it a try. This recipe is not only easy to make, but also is very affordable.
This beautiful photo was taking by my friend Irina, who runs Irina's Photography shop on Etsy. You can check her blog for more interesting pictures and good recipes.

Handmade Chocolate Truffles

For this recipe you'll need:

• 100 gram of best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 100 ml heavy cream
• 1 tsp of brandy, liquor or vanilla extract
• unsweetened cocoa powder for coating
• candy paper cups


1. In a small saucepan bring the cream to a simmer (do not boil!). Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes, than stir until completely melted and smooth. Add the brandy and stir again. 

2. Pour the mix into a shallow bowl. Cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, for 1.5 - 2 hours.

3. Using a small spoon, scoop the mixture and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the cocoa powder. You can also use other coatings - finely chopped nuts,  candy sprinkles or confectioners' sugar.

Place the chocolate truffles in paper candy cups and pack into a box for a gift or serve them immediately.  

Have a sweet Valentine's day!:)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Half Sour Pickles

Do you like Half Sour Pickles? I do.
Summer is the perfect time to make them.  These pickles are easy to make, are ready to eat in just three - four days and are crunchy and delicious.

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.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guilloche Jewelry

Guilloché (or Guilloche) is a decorative engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically engraved into an underlying material with fine detail. Specifically, it involves a technique of engine turning, called guilloché in French after the French engineer “Guillot”, who invented a machine “that could scratch fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces”.

Guilloche Enamel Rose Brooch

In jewelry manufacture, this technique involves  carving a design into a base metal, and then filling the indentions in the design with different colors and opacities of enamel.  After enamelling, decorative accents such as hand-painted flowers may be added to an item.

Guilloche brooch bow and dangling heart

 This technique was especially popular around the fin-de-siecle period. Carl Faberge was a master at using the guilloché technique. He used this technique extensively in his jewelry, clocks and other "objects of virtu".

Throughout the 20th century and before, enamel and guilloche roses were very popular. They had a huge burst of popularity during the 1940s and 1950s. Coro, Elgin, ESPO and Vargas were companies which produced these designs in large numbers.  Guilloche jewelry remains popular and highly collectible today.

Vintage guilloche enameled butterfly brooch

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Falling in love with milk glass

I like vintage milk glass. I can never have enough small white vases, especially in the summer. They are perfect for displaying flowers. I have some milk glass items in my shop for sale and you can check them out in my shop.  Maybe you too, will fall in love.