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.

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).

July 16, 2011

DIY Tutorial: Handmade Earwires.

If you love making earrings, you always need earwires, right?
You can purchase commercial earwires almost at any craft store or on-line.
An average price for 1 pair of sterling silver hook earwires is $1.20, the av. price of 22ga sterling silver wire - $2.00/foot. To make 1 pair of earwires you will need 3"- 4" = $0.50- $0.65. Do you see a difference? Plus, you will have fun making them :)

OK, let's start!It's easy as 1-2-3!

July 9, 2011

Tutorial: Wrapped Rectangular Pendant

While my giveaway is going on, many people requested more DIY tutorials on my blog. I do love free tutorials too :) Well, here it is the next!

I have a habit of collecting beautiful, large gemstone beads. This is one of the ways I use wire to make a stylish pendant with them. Please notice that I use craft or florist wire to plan my design. When I am happy with the results, I create the finished item using a precious metal wire, in this case sterling silver. Although the following pattern uses a specific sized bead, by using my formula you can plan and make these pendants from about any size!

Materials for one pendant:
* 1 rectangular shaped gem bead, approx.
1 ¼”x 1 ¼
* 2
2ga round soft wire* with 1 foot of wire you can make 3 wraps around 1 ¼”x 1 ¼” bead.

Tools needed:

* Flush cutter

* Round nose pliers

* Flat nose pliers

 Formula: Wire: 1 foot for each desired 3 complete wraps around a bead + the length of the bead +2 inches

July 8, 2011

CLOSED. Giveaway #4: Christmas in July

Everybody knows that Christmas is on December, 25th (or on January 7th for Orthodox believers). I thought so until I came here, in US. Now I know that there are two Christmases- one is in July :)
My next giveaway is timed to this "holiday".  Today I want to "raffle off'" a pair of very attractive earrings that I made with pure copper ear hooks, antiqued copper jump rings, and 6mm natural green aventurine beads.

 Mandatory entry: 
Leave a comment here telling me what you would like to see (read) in my blog - 1 entry

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
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, or FREESHIP for free worldwide shipping at AroundBeads shop

This giveaway will run from July 8th through July 25th, and the lucky winner will be  chosen by random.org on July 26th, 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.

July 3, 2011

4th of July SALE

I am holding a sale this weekend that will let you save 20% on all jewelry. This also includes all tutorials, books and DVDs! So if you've been thinking about picking up a handmade jewelry piece (or tutorials) for your, now is the time to celebrate and take advantage of savings.

Coupon Details: To save 20%, simply use coupon code 4JULY20 during the checkout process (coupon code works in both my main stores www.AroundBeads.etsy.com and www.GoodWeather.etsy.com .The sale starts on Friday, July 1st and ends on Monday, July 4th at midnight PST.