A Note About Copyright

I hold the copyright to all images on this blog, unless otherwise noted. Please do not reproduce them without my permission. If you plan on using my material in another blog, I'd be delighted, but please notify me before you do so, and, of course, link back to me. Thank you.

December 21, 2011

Tucson Jewelry Classes

I wanted to let you know that you can find me in Tucson this winter! I'll be available to teach classes at Tucson Electric Park/Kino Sports Complex at JewelryTools' Tool Tent, #ES14.

Take a Class at TEP in Tucson, Arizona!

You can see all the classes and days I'm teaching here: http://www.jewelrytools.com/classes/albina-manning /

Classes start at just $99 and will be held January 28-February 12, 2012

You can find directions to Tucson Electric Park here: http://www.jewelrytools.com/classes/tucson2012-directions

Hope to see you there! 

December 7, 2011

Christmas/New Year sale

Hello, my friends!
I am holding an annual Christmas/New Year sale. Save 20% on jewelry, holiday decor, and tutorials at my Around Beads store.
My second shop, GoodWeather, has nice "warm"gifts for you, your friends, and collegues.
To save 20%, use coupon code MCHNY20 (MerryChristmasHappyNewYear20) during checkout (press "Apply shop coupon code").
Also, first three shoppers at each store will get a free gift from Santa (I have an agreement with him ).
Everything is ready to ship, so you will get your Christmas gift in time!
Custom orders are welcome!
Discount coupons are active now and will expire on December 31st at midnight.

November 22, 2011

Vegetable Turkey

This recipe is not new, but maybe some people have not seen or tried it before.

Vegetable turkey recipe
A dip has to be prepared a couple of days or at least an hour in advance.
For the dip you will need:
~ 400 grams of cream cheese
~ 4 table spoons of sour cream
½ cup of finely chopped parsley
1/4 tea spoon of black or white grinded pepper
2 tea spoons of grinned lemon zest

October 28, 2011

Giveaway Results: Philip the Owl

Good morning/ day/ evening everyone! Are you excited to find out who won the Philip the Owl Giveaway?
And the winner is.... Cerena Leigh
Her comment #76 was chosen as a winner by random.org generator:

Now, the prize is already packed and soon will be shipped. 
Congratulation on your win, Cerena!
Thank you for participation, everyone!

October 26, 2011

Upcycling Sweaters. Part 1- Big and Little Bags.

This is a great time to find sweaters in your local thrift store - many people are putting away their winter clothing and getting rid of some pieces. You can make everything from sturdy tote bags to felted jewelry
It's quite easy to felt a sweater, really - just run it through your washer with hot water and soap, and then through your dryer. 
Only animal-fiber sweaters will felt, so look for wool, alpaca, cashmere, or a blend of these. If you find a great sweater that's at least 80% animal fiber with a little synthetic thrown in, give it a try - sometimes, they may felt just fine. It felted when you cannot see the stitches, and it will not unravel when cut.
 I made this bag from upcycled 100% wool sweater that I felted. I used all scraps from that sweater:flowers were made from sweater's sleeves. You will love it because it's soft, light , beautiful, and did I mention warm?

October 19, 2011

Tonto Natural Bridge

Last week, in October break, we decided to go to Kohl's Ranch, near Payson, which is not far from Phoenix. It was our second visit of that place. The weather was very nice. We went down to the Creek. To tell the truth, I wanted to see my "old friend"- an apple tree. Last time I noticed  a lot of small green apples on it. Now, this beauty had a lot of pink apples on it. Some were on the ground, touched be animals ( or worms?).

I took  good -looking one with me to the hotel. Anya, my 7 y.o. daughter, looked at me as I was crazy.What? Did you ever tried wild organic (!) apples before? O my! This one was really good. Anya trusted me and made a bite :) Then, my husband tried too. He agreed that this "free" apple was really GOOD!.  You know what?  Next early morning, we went down to that apple tree, shook it, and gathered a couple of pounds of yummy apples. I will tell you what I did with them (stay updated).

October 16, 2011

Closed Giveaway: Philip the Owl

My next giveaway is timed to October. Yes, October and the good weather in October. I am tired of the heat of Arizona (it is 97 F/+36C  on Monday) and waiting for cool air and some rain - this is a good weather for me.   Today I want to "raffle off'" one of my new favorite things at my GoodWeather shop - Mini Owl Ornament.
His name is Philip. He is cute and friendly, isn't he? Philip will guard your home. Made with love from upcycled soft wool sweater, he's eco-friendly and helpful all at once. He has big googly eyes that glow in the dark (yes, to guard your home at night). Phil is sitting on a natural wood branch.

Philip is from the big united family that temporarily lives at my shop and looks for a good home to guard.

 Mandatory entry: 
* Leave a comment here telling me what you would like to see (read) in my blog - 1 entry (In Russian: Оставьте комментарий о том, что бы вам хотелось видеть (о чём читать) на моём блоге)

Make sure to include your email address to contact you if you win (comments without Mandatory entry and email will not be counted)!

Extra entries (make sure you leave a separate comment for each). Current fans are eligible!
* Follow my blog (you can follow by clicking follow in the left sidebar) - 1 entry
* Follow me on twitter / facebook - 1 entry 
* Share about this giveaway on your facebook or twitter -1 entry
* Blog about this giveaway (include a link to your post) - 1 entry

**** Purchase anything from GoodWeather,
AroundBeads , or SuperSupplies4U  shops and come back letting me know what you purchased - 4 entries.
By the way, you can use coupon code BLOG10 to get 10% off,  at GoodWeather  and AroundBeads shops

This giveaway will run from October 16th through October 27th, and the lucky winner will be  chosen by random.org on October 28th, 2011. The winner will be announced here, and he or she will have 48 hours to respond with his/her mailing address. If a winner cannot be contacted or does not respond, another winner will be chosen after 48 hours.

This giveaway is open worldwide.

October 10, 2011

DIY: Easy Buttons

Do you need sometimes nice buttons but cannot find what you need? I had this problem before, but now I make my own buttons with polymer clay.
Today, I want to share the easiest way how to make polymer clay buttons. 
All you need  are:
  • Polymer clay in wanted color
  • Pasta machine (or acrylic roller)
  • Old button as a stamp
  • Plastic wrap 
  • Cutter (for 1st method)
  • Tooth pick.
First Method
1. Condition Polymer clay until it’s soft and pliable. Roll it until it is 3mm thickю (my example of  polymer clay sheet is only for one button, but you make as big  as you need)

October 8, 2011

Earrings for You E-book

Hurray! I finished my second E-book tonight - Earrings for You! (My first one is Beaded Trees)

This is fully illustrated , easy to read 43 page instructional e-book how to create 13 different earrings with wire. This e-book also includes instructions how to make your own ear findings. Techniques used: wire wrapping, coiling, chain maille.
Have a peek:
 You can buy this e-book here .

October 2, 2011

Silver Rain Necklace went to final! Please vote.

Hello my friends,
I just got an email : my Silver Rain Necklace went to final at

Jewel School Design Contest!


Please, vote for my entry. Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter

Albina Manning

Upcycling again - handbags

A month ago or so I was checking my closet and found more sweaters that I do not want to wear in hot Arizona. So, I am thinking about making something new from them now. Recycling... up-cycling...
I made another bag from my white sweater.

This bag has a cotton lining with inside pocket for keys and cell phone...

This lovely bag has 28" (70cm) handle.

You will love it because it's soft, unique, cozy, and did I mention warm?

You can buy this white knitted handbag here 
Next, I went to my daughter's closet. Yes, kids grow fast, and Anya's  sweaters are not worn out :)
So, another bag, multicolored striped bag.
Made of 10% wool & 90% acrylic yarn. You will love it because it's soft, "roomy" , and did I mention cheerful?
This bag has black cotton lining.

The size - 14" wide x 11" high (36cm x 28cm) ) with 26" (65cm) handle. 
 You can buy this stripy bag here 

P.S. Should I check my husband's closet?

September 20, 2011

Black Handbag

Did I tell you  that I used to knit a lot? Yes, when I lived in Russia, I was crazy about knitting. I made  all kinds of sweaters/jackets/vests for my mom, dad, brother, myself, my friends.... 
Now, living in hot Arizona with no snow, I do not need warm sweaters...
The other day, I found a black mohair cardigan in my closet. I knitted it in Russia and since then it has never been worn here. 
Well, I unraveled the cardigan and made a knitted casual bag (I was thinking about knitting a bag for a fortnight, and now my dream had to come true :)). 

September 14, 2011

DIY Tutorial: Wrapped Ring

The other day my friend asked me to make a ring. I made it. And I made a DIY tutorial for it too:) I knew you would love it, right?

Tools and Materials: 
  • 20ga round dead soft wire – 2 ft
  • 10 mm bead – 1
  • Ring mandrel
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Liver of sulfur (optional)

August 27, 2011

Tea Rose

The other day I was making a tea rose for my friend...beaded rose on wire of course :)
I love making these little beauties. Only 8 petals, 6  sepals, stamen, and 10 leaves for 1 flower (smile)

I remember 7 years ago I was making 11 pink tea roses. I could make a dozen, but I run out of beads. The bouquet was beautiful! I have a small picture of it.

I have a tutorial how to make this beaded tea rose. You will learn and master Victorian technique while making this cute little flower with leaves. This tutorial has 8 pages with 26 step-by-step detailed photos. (Click here for details).
Oops... I almost forgot to boast :) I've got a gift from my friend Alla who runs FleetingStillness shop on Etsy. She made a beautiful Stained Glass Panel Bud Vase for me, where my tea rose now lives :) I think, they were "born" for each other :)

August 26, 2011

Oatmeal walnut cherry cookies

Do you and your family love cookies? My family does!
Today I want to share a recipe of the "bestest" cookies ever- Oatmeal walnut cherry cookies!
To make 5 dozens you will need:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup packaged brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries) 

August 24, 2011

Sleeping Tree Wire Sculpture

I think already told you that I started my wire art with making a beaded money tree. Since then I made dozens of beaded and gem trees. I always wanted to make a "pure wire" tree. And I did it finally :).
This sleeping tree wire sculpture was made with silvertone wire. I twisted and hammered each wire end then shaped whole tree with my hands. The tree is attached to the natural rock that I found at Bloody Basin, Arizona.

This tree composition is 4 1/4" (11cm) tall from top to bottom. It has natural lichen on the "ground"!

A perfect gift for a teacher, secret Santa, your boss, or someone special in your life!

August 20, 2011

'War and Peace' Earrings

A week ago I spent a perfect day with my friends Tanya and Alla . We visited a lot of beautiful places of northern and central Arizona. On the way back to Phoenix, we stopped at Bloody Basin and shot a few guns at a target. Well, I am not a sniper, but I found a good use for these brass bullet cases:)

I added gold filled chains, beads, natural fresh water pearls, silver plated clear crystal rondelles, and a pair of one-of-a-king earrings for brave woman was ready! I named them "War and Peace" :) I think it's just a right name for them :)

These earrings will bring everybody's attention to you, I bet!

Beaded Coral Tassel Tutorial

Yesterday I was working hard on my new tutorial how to make beaded coral tassel. It is fun to make this kind of tassels. You can use them for making  bag charms and keyrings or these earrings
My tutorial has printer friendly 5 pages with 16 steps with colorful photos

you will need:
  • Seed beads #11/0
  • Focal bead (or group of 2-3 large beads)
  • Beading thread
  • Lobster clasp (for bag charm)
  • Split ring (for keychain)
  • Ear hooks (for earrings)
  • Beading needle #12
  • Scissors (or thread burner)

August 19, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Everybody knows a popular nursery rhyme that describes the adventures of Itsy Bitsy Spider :
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
I wanted to make my own Itsy Betsy Spider with beads and, of course, wire!
So, this pair of grass spider earrings was made. They have 8 legs like all spiders have. I think they are cute and not scary at all :)

I could not stop now. These little creatures asked me about Big Friend. Well, you wish is my command :)
Big Friend could be now friendly Tarantula spider. Do not laugh and do not be afraid- my jewelry pieces are not poison:) ... and this spider came out 3-dimentional! And it is a brooch!
 Look at these guys!Aren't they adorable ? :) They could be the perfect jewelry (or gift) not only for Halloween :)

If you want to make your own spiders, you can buy step-by-step spider earrings and Spider Brooch tutorials at my AroundBeads Etsy store .

August 17, 2011

Handmade Bag Charms/ Keychains

Bag charms are a fantastic way of adding a little sparkle and glamour to any bag. I only make one of each design, you'll know that what you are buying is not only special, but unique. 

Bag charms make beautiful and unusual gifts for any occasion, be it a birthday, Christmas, Mother's day, Valentines day or simply a gift for no reason at all. 

If you want a particular style, birthstone, color or theme to your bag charm, I would be happy to make you a customized one.  Please contact me for more details.
If you see a bag charm and would prefer it as a keychain, the clasp can be changed to a split ring:

August 6, 2011

I Did It!

My Nautilus necklace made with turquoise donuts and copper wire got Bronze medal in Wirework category :)

July 27, 2011

Home-made Russian cottage cheese - Tvotog

Yes, exactly, Russian tvorog, not cottage cheese:) Tvorog is used in many Russian recipes and it is remarkably easy to make.
It is much drier than cottage cheese or similar alternatives like ricotta or quark.

Here is what you will need to make tvorog:
  • Plain, unflavored buttermilk or kefir (make sure the fat content is at least 1.5% )- 1 part
  • Whole milk- 2 parts
  • Cheesecloth
  • Colander
Pour milk and the buttermilk or kefir into the big bowl. Mix them , cover with some cloth and let the mixture stand for 10 hours (or overnight). 
Mix the mixture again, place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes or until  the buttermilk/kefir should separate, with nearly-clear liquid (whey) and a thick white mass (curds). When this happens, remove the bowl and let it cool. Line the colander with two layers of cheese cloth and set it over the sink or, if you want to capture and use the whey, over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the colander and let the whey drain; do not squeeze the curds.

Leftover whey can also be chilled in the fridge and consumed as a beverage. I use whey instead of milk or water to make pancakes. In Russia, whey is prized for its health properties.

July 26, 2011

Giveaway #4 Results

Good morning/ day/ evening everyone! Are you excited to find out who won the Christmas in July Giveaway?
And the winner is.... Dana B. 
Her comment #62 was chosen as a winner by random.org generator:

Now, the prize is already packed and soon will be shipped. 
Congratulation on your win, Dana!
Thank you for participation, everyone!

July 24, 2011

Spring Rainbow Earrings Tutorial

I would like to share how to make simple beautiful earrings. The great step-by-step DIY tutorial is shared by my friend  Lena who runs SFBeads store on Etsy
 Click here to see the tutorial.

July 21, 2011

OOAK Portrait

You know I host giveaways myself but never won any before. Not long ago, I won aт  unique giveaway hosted by Nadezhda (MamaTita). The prize was a custom portrait made in paper-cut technique. I could not decide what kind of portrait I want to order, and finally decided to order a portrait of my daughter. So, I emailed to Nadezhda this photo:
A couple weeks later, I got a carefully packaged large envelope from Latvia! I framed this masterpiece and hanged it!

There are plenty unique items in Nadezhda's shop, please visit it today to find out more about her creations!

July 19, 2011

Borsch Recipe

Do you like soup? What kind of soup is your favorite? 
Ours is borsch. My daughter can eat borsch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:). 

Borscht (борщ) is a soup of Ukrainian  origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color.
There are many variations how to make it. Here I want to share my recipe. 

  • 1 lb of meat (pork or beef)
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water (about 2 quarts), and bring to a boil. Add the meat, and cover the pot. Return to a boil.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stew the beets with a cup of bouillon from the pot and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar for about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste. 
  3. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cook until tender (10”).
  5. Transfer beets and onion with carrot to the pot. Add the raw garlic to the soup, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley (or dill).