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Friday, July 21, 2017

A lavender wand sachet DIY

July is a perfect time to gather some aromatic lavender and make some sachets to refresh your linen closet. You can make then in different ways, like traditional cute mini pillows, poaches and linen ornaments or you can make a lavender wand. 
The photographs below belongs to our team member, Irina from Belarus (JewelryFloren*). She got so many blooms in her garden this year that she was able to make 25 pretty lavender wands  from just 2 lavender bushes.

Here is what you need to make 1 lavender wand like hers:
25 to 30 fresh cut lavender stems
2 1/2 yards of 1/4" wide satin ribbon in color of your choice
sewing thread.

ะกlean your lavender stems from the leaves and bottom flowers. Gather them together and tie the stems tight right under the flower heads with a sewing thread. Now, bend the stems to the sides to cage the flower heads inside. Run one end of the ribbon along side the flowers to poke out of the bottom of the flower cage.
Tie your pretty satin ribbon on top of sewing thread and start weaving the other loose end of the ribbon around the top of flower cage using basic under-and-over basket weaving technique. Push the sticking-out flowers back to cage with a toothpick. Keep weaving tightly (very important since the lavender will shrink as it dries) to get a bottle shape.

Tie both ribbon ends tight around the base a few times and make a pretty bow. Isn't it pretty?
Let it dry and it is ready to be used!

*Have you seen Irina's shop? It is full of pretty flowers made of cold porcelain or polymer clay. Bloom which will never fade!
Here you will find a very pretty floral jewelry, hair accessories and decoration pieces. My personal favorite is this gentle winter snowdrops caged in a sphere. What a sweet Christmas ornament!
Best wishes to you, our readers. Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Feautured artists: Svetlana Mititelu, FromBabushkaShop. Upcycled crochet bags made from plarn

We love our planet and the concept of repurpose, reuse, resycle and upsycle is always on our mind. Today we'd like to introduce our team member Svetlana from Moldova who is following this concept very much with her idea of recycling the plastic bags from the grocery stores. She uses the yarn made of these bags to crochet baskets, bins and totes, They are sturdy, pretty and look stylish, too!

You can find many of Svetlana's items in her Etsy shop (FromBabushkaShop) She is always on a watch for a new ideas, new methods and stylish looks so visit her often!

Here is her story about her inspirations.

Q: Tell us about yourself?
A: I am a mom to two wonderful grownup daughters and a grandmother  I am 52yo and only now I began to do what I really like, crocheting, and to be exact crocheting bags.

Q: What are your bags made from?
A: The bags are from the basic plastic shopping bags. This method (upcycling) is very popular just now and gaining more publicity because the pollution of the environment is very important. I take the single use plastic bags and make from them a reusable bag for life.

Q: How your bags are different to other upcycled plarn bags?
A: First of all, I tend to make them not only practical but also beautiful, designer! Secondly, almost every bag has a fishing line added to the base for strength, so the bag can withstand up to 10k. Maybe more but I didn’t manage to carry more from the shop. So instead of using a new plastic bag every time you shop, you use one plarn bag from babushka.
And my plarn bags are very light, fold if necessary and don’t take much space.

Q: What do your clients like about the plarn bags?
A: Every bag is one of a kind. You can choose a bag based on your mood and character and be sure that nobody else will have the same. My clients like the versatility of its usage. You can use the bag for shopping, or to go to the beach, or use it as storage unit. Also they like that the majority of bags have handles that easily transform and you can carry it as a shoulder bag, in hands or cross body that is quite practical as hands are free!
Q: What care do they require?
A: The plarn bags are easy to take care of! If there is a small spot then wipe it with a damp clean cloth. Also you can put them through a gentle wash cycle, 30* degrees no more. Every bag has a small tag attached, it’s a sample that you can wash first to make sure the bag is not going to be ruined.

Q: What would you like to wish our readers?
A: I would like to say that you don’t need to spend much energy to be green. Start from yourself and your habits. Pay a bit more attention to the environment. Hopefully together we can help our planet!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Amethyst, February birthstone

Amethyst is a semiprecious stone and the February birthstone. It occurs in beautiful hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. The ancient Greeks believed the stone can prevent intoxication so amethystos means “not drunk” in ancient Greek.

Amethyst is a beautiful stone therefore there are many stunning jewelry pieces made of it. Just take a look at our Russian Artists team members' amethyst  modern and vintage creations, we are sure you will like some or all of them!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Candied lemon peel recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes for a winter sweet treats. I had lots of lemons this winter and was looking for an easy way to store them for future use.
So I froze the juice and used the peel to make a candied lemon peel. All you need is sugar, water and of course, a lemon peel ( I am using a lemon Meyer one and just love how thin and fragrant the skin is).
 Here is how I made it:
1. Clean your lemons with warm water and wipe them dry. Cut in half horizontally and juice them, using citrus juicer. Strain the juice through fine mesh colander and pour into prepared ice cube trays. Save the peel.
2. Cut the half lemon peel into quarters. With a flexible knife, remove the inner white lining and discard it. Cut the lemon peel into long skinny strips. Pack it in the prepared measuring cup (I am using 2-cup measuring cup as a measure) .

3. Heat 4 cups of water until it boils. Add 2 cups packed lemon peel, reduce the heat and cook about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the peel with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Add 4 cups of sugar to the water, increase the heat and cook until the sugar dissolve, constantly stirring. Add the peel, boil about 1-2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. Remove the peel out of the syrup with a slotted spoon and transfer it on to prepared cookies trays lined with a parchment paper.

6. Let it air dry for a couple of days. I am tossing mine from time to time to make sure it will dry well. If it feels dry enough, it's time to store it.

I am using a glass jar with a vacuum seal and storing my candied peel in the refrigerator. The leftover syrup can be used also so I just sealed it in jars and put it the refrigerator.

Recipe and photos by Tanya agardencottage

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shortbread cookies recipe

January is the perfect time to bake. It is so cold outside that we crave comfort food. We at the Russian Artists Team love to share good ideas so here is a great recipe of delicate shortbread cookies made using an embossed rolling pin. You can buy a pin like this on Etsy or use your regular one if you want your cookies plain.
The recipe and photos were provided by our team member, Tetyana Otruta ( ).

Ingredients for basic recipe*:
200 gr unsalted butter, softened
150 gr powdered sugar
1 medium egg
390 gr all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

* If you'd like to make your cookies chocolate flavored, add 30 gr. of cocoa but reduce the flour (the same amount 30 gr). Add an orange or lemon zest from 1 fruit to make them citrus flavored.

How to make them:
Beat the butter with a sugar until creamy. Add the egg and flavor, if using (orange zest or cocoa), then add a flour. The dough will be soft so wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour. Roll out the dough with your regular pin 5-6mm thick, then use your embossed one. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them to a freezer for several minutes before baking them.

Preheat the oven to 375'F. Transfer the cookies to parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Holiday exchange 2016

Yearly holiday gift exchange has become a tradition for our team. Last year 19 team members from 8 countries  participated in this fun event. There were 7 team members from Russia, 3 from USA, 2 from Latvia, Bulgaria and Israel (each) and 1 from Iceland, Ukraine and Check Republic (each)

Every participant was assigned a person to whom she (he) anonymously gives a gift. Participants also did not know from whom they will receive a present so it was a lot of fun to unwrap those packages. Albina Manning (aroundbeads) was the hostess for this event.

So let us show you the chain of Holiday gifts of 2016! (to enlarge the picture, click on it, right click View image)

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