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