Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salsa recipe

Several years ago, we where invited to a barbecue and that's when I first tried homemade salsa on top of my steak. Since then, there is no barbecue without this great side dish for my family and friends, and even our kids love the veggie boost ;O)
Salsa is great all year round on not only steak, but also chicken or even meatloaf.
  • half of white onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1-2 lemons (depending on size and amount of juice)
  • cilantro
  • salt to taste
1. Chop all the veggies finely and place them in a mixing bowl.
Use 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers depending on how hot the peppers are, and on your personal preference. It's a good idea to use gloves while chopping the peppers; sometimes they are very hot, and the skin burn afterwards is not very pleasant.
2. Roll a lemon on a flat surface applying pressure to release the juice before cutting it in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
3. Add salt to taste. (I personally use quite a bit of salt.)
4. Mix the salsa and leave it for a bit to let the flavors mix.
If your salsa is too spicy for your taste, add finely chopped cucumbers, but allow the flavors to mix first as the salsa becomes milder after a while.
I also make a different version of this recipe without the tomatoes, which we use for steak tacos (great way to reuse leftover steak the next day after grilling). All you will need are some corn tortillas, which will be topped with reheated steak cut into pieces and salsa.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Crocuses

The weather, unfortunately is not very spring like... The rain, cold and winds are getting on my last nerves this year, at least we don't have to deal with leftover snow showers Northern states have seen this week;O)) While walking our dog, I was able to snap this photo of beautiful crocuses blooming in my neighbour's front yard. I hope to pull super secret mission this upcoming fall, and plant some crocus bulbs in our front lawn, which I was forbidden to do by my husband. Well, he will have to deal with it:O))

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jewels and moss treasury

I don't gamble, I don't bet on horses and I'm not into extreme sports, but landing an Etsy treasury list can be certainly filed in same adrenaline pumping category:O) There is something very nerve-wrecking and exciting in watching the number of treasury list go under that magic 333 number and number of visitors climb rapidly. Then your eyes are glued to the bottom of the screen waiting for the box to open and you are holding your breath afraid to even blink, because if you might be gone. Your hand is squeezing the mouse ready to paste prepared earlier title of your treasury and click the finish button. Then you watch it load opening empty grid ready to be filled with beautiful, creative items. Believe me, beating hundreds of people to a treasury list feels great!

Here is the newest treasury I landed just yesterday. Its called ...jewels and moss... and features beautiful jewelry created by the {NewNew} members.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

How-to: "Something Blue" bridal hair pin

My little sister will be getting married this summer and she trusted me enough to give me the extremely important task of designing and creating her jewelry. I'm scared already! ;O I'm almost certain, she will turn out to be my most difficult and outspoken client ever, and I'm not fooled by her when she says "Just surprise me, I'm sure I will love it!"I decided to start with hair accessories.
We went over different possibilities: hair combs, tiaras, hair bends and decided that hair pins would be best. My sister has very fine and "slippery" hair and pins will not only help to hold them in place, but also give the master hairdresser, my brother's best friend, lots of flexibility.

~hair pin
~wire (I'm using 26ga silver plated wire)
~beads: glass flowers, glass leaves, pearls, Swarovski crystals, seed beads go wild! use silk flowers, feathers, old jewelry, sequins, buttons, etc
~wire clippers
1. Cut an 18in long piece of wire, place first petal or leaf shaped bead in the middle of your wire and twist wire securing bead in place.
2. Secure additional 2 petal beads on each end of the wire.

3. Make a couple of additional twists below the little branches.

4. Add glass flower bead topped with "something blue" Swarovski crystal bead leaving about 1/2in of wire bellow the flower.

5. Bend the wire tightly over the edge of the flower bead and twist tightly making sure that the blue crystal stays as centered as possible.

6. Thread a little Swarovski crystal butterfly on the longer end of the wire about 1.5in from twister wire, fold it tightly against the bead and wrap around.

7. Position the butterfly above the pearl branches.

8. Add one more flower bead with Swarovski crystal center at the base of this little bridal bouquet.

9. Thread both ends of the wire through the loop of the hair pin and secure it in place by wrapping around the loop of the hair pin and around the base of the bouquet. Clip off the access wire.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Solar Power, going green dilemma

I always wanted a set of nice and shiny solar power panels on top of my roof, I think as far as going green goes, this it the ultimate thing, means you are serious and committed to cutting pollution. I wanted to do something that will really make a difference, going green in this case really going green?

While shopping in Selden Home Depot, my son Ben picked up a flyer with information on upcoming solar power seminar, which I decided to attend. Of course going anywhere means taking my two boys with me, which is extremely distracting, but I figured, I will manage it somehow, even if I have to cut the seminar short.

I was expecting a crowd when I got to the store, but turned out to be the only person who showed up. The man from GP Solar Power, explained how the system works, mentioned all requirements and figured out, which system would work best for the size of our house. The regular price of the system came up to whopping $60,000, which made me say "Wow!", but after all the discounts from LIPA, The Home Depot, state and federal government, total cost of the system would be only about $8,000. I figured it's worth considering, even though it's still a big number, but as it turned out, we would have to make some drastic changes to our property in order to go ahead with this project, which are absolutely out of the question. Each individual panel is linked to the system in such way, that if any of them happens to be shaded, the whole system is not working and isn't producing power. We would have to chop down at least four of our beautiful large oak trees growing on the edge of our property before installing solar panel system.

I love my oaks, and can't even imagine making this decision. In our case, if I have to choose between clean solar energy and oak trees, I choose oak trees!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring in pink

I think, I'm starting to sound like a broken record...and I'm not the only one;O) Winter seems particularly long and stubborn this year and we keep getting this bothersome cold weather blasts.

As we all ache for spring, every piece created in my studio seems to be influenced by this wonderful time of year, which seems to be particularly inspiring when I'm cold and can't stand wearing my winter coat any longer.

The Leaf Bouquet necklace is one of my all time favourites. This pink creation is third in this series and is made of beautifully detailed brass leaf, Swarovski crystal beads, vintage West German lucite flowers and Czech glass beads. Very delicate and feminine.

This pair of earrings was a bit of an experiment, which I think turned out super cute. I can almost hear the honey bee buzzing while collecting pollen from this beautiful vintage lucite flowers topped with antique copper bead caps and Swarovski crystal beads.

The last pair of earrings is made of antique brass finish leaf detail bead caps topping wonderfully detailed vintage inspired beads.

They can all be found in my Etsy shop

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spring Azalea Earrings

I want spring!!!
We have been lucky with winter weather this season. While areas West and North of Long Island had plenty of "white stuff" covering the ground, warm currents helped in pushing the wintery weather away from the island. Well, at least till last Monday... We got more than 12inches of snow:O))
Well, I'm ignoring all the snow outside my studio's windows and thinking spring while working on lucite azalea earrings, and if I close my eyes, I can see them blooming in my back yard...soon, very soon...

Azalea bush blooming in our backyard in spring of 2008.

Sea Foam Azalea earrings and Tangerine Azalea earrings are already listed in my Etsy shop.

The Lemon Twist earrings as well as earrings in other beautiful spring colors will be coming soon:O)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Craft Show season is already here!

Well, not officially, but I already jump-started 2009 season with Park Slope V-day Show and Pop-up Market in Dumbo. It was so nice to see my {NewNew} peeps there!

The hard core {NewNew} grabbed their tables and moved them on 7th ave sidewalk in Park Slope during our first show. It was cold, but as far as cold in New York goes this winter, it turned out to be a wonderful sunny day. I was not prepared for the outdoors, but it was so much fun!

I also sold at the Winter Pop-up Market in Dumbo section of Brooklyn on February 8th and 15th. This is the winter location of the Brooklyn Flea at 81 Front St. I absolutely love the location just 2 blocks from East River! The view of Manhattan Bridge around the corner is breathtaking and I just had to snap some photos.

More photos can be found on my Flickr page:O))

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thing-a-day, project # 4, Vintage Filigree earrings

Staying away from online supply shops poses a real challenge…yes! I admit…I’m addicted! Last Sunday, friend of mine told me, that she was shocked by amount of supplies in my studio and she did not think I will ever use them all.I will try to use as much of what I already have and try to minimize new purchases. The filigree elements I used for this project, have been purchased probably more than two years ago from a vintage supply shop on the web. I reached for them several times, but did not come-up with anything I really loved to use them and they kept going back into the box. This time I’m happy with the design! The right Czech glass beads arrived just a week ago and with a tiny addition of Swarovski crystal sparkle, they came out perfect!Hmmm…what other goodies my boxes hide? Need to go on a hunt…;O))

Thing-a-day, project # 3

My goal for 2009 is to organize my work as best as I can. Working from home is very difficult if you have kids, home, cooking, soccer practice, very active dog, craft shows on weekends and a husband who works too many hours to juggle. It seems that I can’t keep set deadlines and finish planed projects due to unexpected problems, lol, and Dominick, my two-year-old, seems to have constant emergencies;O)
To keep track of daily and weekly goals, I came up with this sheet, and hopefully this is the final version. I used pages from an old sketch book, which I cut in half and used red permanent marker to draw a table. Each page reflects a week of new inventory created in my studio. I have plenty of space on the bottom and right hand side for the summary, and revere side for notes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thing-a-day, project # 2

I'm already falling behind in posting, things are crazy as usually...I think, I need to place an order for additional 6 hours per day with Mr Time;O)

Yellow flower earrings are my second craft project. I planned to make them a while ago, and finally did it. They are made of scrapbooking paper flower embellishment. After removing adhesive dot, I sprayed them with several layers of acrylic finish. If I ever make them again, I will use clear furniture finish, it probably will not require as many applications and they will be more stiff. Epoxy might be better also.
I used hole puncher to make top holes and large, unusual earwires to hang the flowers from.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I'm really excited to be part of the Thing-a-day blog for the first time. I will be making one craft project every day this month and I'm hoping to get to all the project piling up in my studio, try new jewelry techniques and spice-up my cooking again.
I will be also posting the project results on my blog. Here is the first one, carrot salad made for Ben's birthday partly and his special request, very yummy side dish.
Day One - Carrot Salad
carrot bunch
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 table spoon of mayonnaise
1 table spoon of sour cream

I cleaned the carrots ( scraped to be exact with a knife) shredded finely, salted lightly, added pepper and just a bit of finely chopped leak. Next, I have combined the mayo, sour cream and sugar in a cup and mixed it into shredded carrot mix.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Upcycled Book Tote

There is one New Year's resolution that I'm really looking forward to, and that is to read more books. Motherhood and my home business keeps me so busy, that I rarely reach for a book now. There is nothing more satisfying to do on a frosty January evening than cozying-up on my couch wrapped in warm blanket with a cup of tea and reading a great book.

My kids really enjoy trips to the library, and check out tons of books to take home. To keep them safe and prevent loosing this precious cargo, I decided to make a tote from an old pair of jeans.
For this project you will need:
~ pair of old jean pants
~ machine thread
~ scissors or rotary cutter
~ measuring tape
~ needle
~ embroidery floss
~ buttons
~ fabric pencil or chalk
~ sewing machine
~ cutting mat
~ omnigrid ruler
1. Using side seams of the pants as a guide, make a cut all the way to the bottom.
2. Lay out back of the pants flat and tuck any access fabric under the back seam until flat and pin it in place.
3. Measure 13 inches from the top of the pants and mark it with a fabric pencil or chalk in two places, then connect them drawing a line all the way to the edge of the fabric.
4. Cut with scissors adding 1/2in for seam allowance.
5. Using upper corner of each pocket as a guide, mark vertical seam lines and cut adding 1/2in of allowance. Make sure, that the distance between the pockets and edge of the fabric is the same on both sides.

Please note, if you are using pants in smaller size and would like to make your tote larger, add strips of fabric on each side.
6. Lay out leg part of the pants flat on your work table, pin down piece of the tote with packets on top and cut out with scissors using edge of the ready piece as a guide adding 1inch of seam allowance on top.

7. Measure bottom and the side of the tote piece without the pockets, and cut out one 5inch wide strip of fabric for the bottom of the tote, and 2 strips for the sides.

8. Cut out also two, 4in wide strips of fabric for the handles, I would like them to measure 30in and will add another 3in to the length to secure them in place.
9. Using fabric pencil or chalk, write the word "BOOKS" on the larger piece without the pockets, and hand stitch the outline using any type of stitch you'd like.

10. Time for sewing! Remember that axcess fabric we tucked under the "butt" seam? Using your machine, make a stitch on the edge of factory seam securing access fabric.

11. Pin down two side strips of fabric to front and back of the tote, and sew all the pieces together. Your extra seam allowance will be sticking out on top of the tote. Make sure also, that the inside of fabric is facing out.
12. Using zigzag stitch finish edges of the seams.
13. Pin together and sew front and back pieces to the bottom strip of fabric between side seams. The bottom piece should have a seam allowance on both ends. Sew the short ends of the bottom piece and side pieces together and finish seams with zigzag stitch.
14. To finish the top edge of the tote, use zigzag stitch or double fold bias tape ( I had some leftover from another project). Fold the edge to the inside and stitch 1/2 in from the top edge.
15. To make straps, sew edges of previously cut fabric, iron the seams, turn them inside out and iron again.
16. Secure the straps to the bag and finish embellishing it with buttons.

Embellishing part is so much fun, so go wild! Let your kids make drawings of their favourite book characters with permanent fabric markers, use buttons to spell out "BOOKS" or "READ". Use ribbons, patches, beads or scraps of colorful fabric.

Have fun reading!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Berry earrings

I'm slowly getting back into my studio to work on new jewelry. Signing up for Dumbo Indoor Market, where the Brooklyn Flea is moving for the winter, is a great motivation.

I finally made some winter berry earrings, which are on my business cards. They are quite time consuming, but customer's order forced me to dig up the design and improve ways to execute them. I made 2 brand new pairs of earrings yesterday, this time in antique silver finish. They will be listed in my Etsy shop soon.

Hope you will like them:O))

Don't forget to check out the {NewNew} at the Dumbo Indoor Market on February 7th and 8th.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

The weather channel keeps getting their predictions wrong lately, and the big one last week turned out to be nothing at all, and this weekend surprised us with quite a bit of snow. This is the beautiful winter wonderland we woke up to the day before inauguration...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mountain Ash

Czerwona Jarzębina, originally uploaded by ulotnie.

My jewelry making started in childhood with this lovely red berry. I remember making countless amounts of mountain ash bracelets and necklaces with fava bean and green pea accents. I can still remember the scent... In US, I have seen the mountain ash only ones, in front of someones house in Hagerstown, MD, where we lived for 3 years. Hopefully, I will plant an ash on our property this year. My husband is not crazy about the idea of ruining his vision of our landscape, but I will put my foot down;O)) and I will also plant crocuses in the front lawn in fall when he is not looking;O)))))

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why parents drink;O)

I just got it from a friend by mail, lol, nightmare! but really funny...

Why Parents Drink

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent one day but had not phoned in sick. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper.

' Hello ? '

'Is your daddy home?' he asked.

' Yes ,'

whispered the small voice. May I talk with him?' The child whispered,

' No .'

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, 'Is your Mummy there?'

' Yes '

'May I talk with her?' Again the small voice whispered,

' No '

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, 'Is anybody else there?'

' Yes ,' whispered the child,' a policeman . '

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, 'May I speak with the policeman?'

' No, he's busy , 'whispered the child.

'Busy doing what?'

' Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman , ' came the whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, 'What is that noise?'

' A helicopter ' answered the whispering voice.

'What is going on there?' demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive. Again, whispering, the child answered,

' The search team just landed a helicopter'

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, 'What are they searching for?' Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle...

' ME . '

It actually reminds me of the time when I was hiding with my younger cousin in my grandparents attic. We sat on the window seal, watching our moms frantically looking for us all over the neighborhood. I finally had to go to the bathroom and could not hold any longer;O))) My mom was really mad and I'm sure it was my idea. He was probably too yang to even remember...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Big after New Year pre spring cleaning

My mom always turns the entire house upside down before Christmas:O)) Every cabinet is cleaned, every single crystal wine glass washed, basement dusted, walls repainted and even the car washed despite frost and snow;o) I had no time to do that before holidays, but since organization is on my resolution list, I jumped right to it. The kitchen is almost spotless, really spotless. I had finally time to reorganize my cabinets and rearrange things so they work better for us. I even gave the overgrown bamboo plant by the window a trim...hope it will not kill it.
I promised myself, that every room in the house will get a special attention before I will allow myself to enter my studio again. I'm afraid, that if I cheat and make even one pair of earrings, reorganizing will end-up on the bottom of the list again.
I miss my boxes filled with beads and findings sooooo much... How I love my pliers... and the newly ordered supplies arriving today did not help the situation ether...

Well, I'm off to clean out the under sink cabinet;O))