Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

A few months ago I was approached by two very close friends of mine who asked me to design their wedding. The bride is a long-time confidant, wine-drinking & yoga buddy of mine, and the groom, a writer and one of the masterminds behind my Tamara Twist videos. I love them both very much.

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

They both are great supporters of my DIY skills, and really appreciate the ‘extra touch’ I try to incorporate into all my projects. Their wedding elements had to be perfectly suited for them.

Dimensional hearts with Movie Quotes -- The Tamara Blog

R & A are passionate about movies, and he especially loves to quote his favorite lines. So, I came up with these little heart confetti pieces for their tables. They’re very simple to make, and add a special bit of personality to a table-scape. They turned out to be great conversation starters, and got everyone talking about their favorite movies and best lines and even went home as lovely keepsakes of the big day.

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You’ll need:

  • Decorative Paper
  • Templates
  • Scissors
  • Glue dots – like Zots, Medium size
  • Printer

Choose the template you like. I’ve created three different movie-quote based ones here, here and here, and a blank one here. Print on decorative paper. Important note: When choosing the scaling settings on your printer, choose: “fill entire paper” to get the intended size hearts.

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

If you can’t find the perfect paper at the craft store, you can print both sides – one with decorative images, and the other with heart quotes. I found this beautiful string-light design for A & R’s wedding here on Etsy.

Dimensional Paper Hearts with Romatic Movie Quotes

Dimensional Hearts -- The Tamara Blog

Cut out the hearts on the lines using scissors.

Cut slit from bottom. The slit is not marked on the hearts because the line would show on the finished product. On each heart, cut from the bottom area where the ‘jog’ is at the bottom, to just under the quote lettering – about ⅛” below the letters.

Dimensional Hearts -- The Tamara Blog

Dimensional Hearts -- The Tamara Blog

Dimensional Hearts -- The Tamara Blog

Dimensional Hearts -- The Tamara Blog

 

Place a Zot on one of the sides near the bottom of the heart. Lift the opposite flap over the Zot and press down.

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Repeat with as many hearts as you like, and you’re done!

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Notes and tips: Don’t try using double sided-tape for this job. The adhesive isn’t strong enough to hold the pieces together for long. (Lesson learned the hard way. #Re-GluingIntoTheWeeHoursOfTheNight)

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

The hearts are lovely little accents for a wedding table, but also make a beautiful present for Valentine’s day or an anniversary. Pile a bunch in a jar, add ribbon and you have a romantic gift for your favorite movie-buff .

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

If you prefer making your own quotes, I’ve included a blank template so you can write anything you want.

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Dimensional Hearts with Movie Quotes

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous DIY Foot Fixes -- The Tamara Blog

Let’s face it, our feet need care. After weeks of wearing flip flops, a few long days of standing at the job, or just their day-to-day function of supporting you, it’s nice to give your ‘dogs’ a little TLC.

This kit covers all the bases of good foot maintenance: exfoliation, hydration and freshening, with three of my favorite go-to foot favorites, Lovely Loofah Soap, Extra Moisturizing Lotion Bar and Refreshing Foot Spray. And they can be used on more than just your feet.

I use two foot-friendly essential oils to scent these items. They’re readily available, and perfectly suited for pampering your piggies.

Peppermint oil — it’s anti-microbial, anti-fungal, an antioxidant, and even has anti-edema properties.

Tea tree oil has some of the same properties, being antibacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic, antiviral, it’s a fungicide, and even a stimulant! Additionally they smell delicious and are appreciated by both men and women. Here’s what you need to know to make each of these fabulous herbal body products.

Loofa Soap and Funky Foot Fixes, The Tamara Blog

 

Exfoliating Lovely Loofah Soap

This scrubbie-embedded soap is nice to use on rough spots.

Loofa Soap Ingredients. The Tamara Blog

Materials and Supplies:

  • Loofah sponge
  • Glycerin Soap Base — unscented
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Soap Molds — I use molds made for this purpose, but you can also use muffin tins, fancy ice or candy molds
  • Serrated Knife
  • Pyrex Measuring Cup or other heat-safe jar (mason jars work)
  • Chopstick (for stirring)

Prepare loofah by slicing with serrated knife. I like making my slices the same height as my molds. This keeps the loofah exposed, so its scrubbing qualities are available right from the start. Place loofah slices in molds.

Loofa Slices -- The Tamara Blog

Loofa Slices, The Tamara Blog

Loofsa Slices in mold. The Tamara Blog

Each soap mold holds 3 to 4-ounces of soap, and most meltable soaps come scored in 1-ounce sections. Cut soap base into squares and place in heat-proof measuring cup.

Melted Glycerin Soap -- The Tamara Blog

If using microwave, melt soap in 40-second increments. It usually only takes 2 to 3 rounds to melt all the soap. If using stove method, place mason jar/pyrex cup in water in saucepan.

Add peppermint & tea tree oil to melted soap base. For 2 cups of soap, I recommend 10 drops of each.

Adding Fragrance -- The Tamara Blog

Color in Melted Soap -- The Tamara Blog

Add food coloring, if using. I used 2 drops of blue and 1 small drop of green.

Mix colors and essential oils thoroughly into melted soap.

Pour soap into prepared molds, pressing down on loofah to ensure full saturation.

Loofa Soap and Funky Foot Fixes, The Tamara Blog

Loofa Soap -- The Tamara Blog

Loofa Soap and Funky Foot Fixes, The Tamara Blog

Loofa Soap and Funky Foot Fixes, The Tamara Blog

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Allow bars to cool for 30 to 40 minutes, and un-mold. If soaps don’t come out of molds easily, pop in the freezer for a few minutes.

Loofa Soap and Funky Foot Fixes, The Tamara Blog

 

Moisturizing Lotion Bars

 

Lotion Bars -- The Tamara Blog

 

Use this solid lotion bar a bit like chap-stick for your feet. Apply to rough patches, and rub in. The butters & oils will moisturize, and the fragrance will help de-funk those tootsies!

Materials and Supplies:

Lotion Bar Ingredients -- The Tamara Blog

  • 1/4 cup Shea Butter or Cocoa butter
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Beeswax — grated
  • 10 drops Tea Tree Oil
  • 20 drops Peppermint Oil
  • Pyrex Measuring Cup or other heat-safe jar (mason jars work)
  • Small Molds

Candy and Ice Molds for Lotion Bars -- The Tamara Blog

Combine shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax and melt. If using a microwave, heat in 30-second increments. If using the stove, place mason jar or measuring cup in water in saucepan.

Melting Lotion Bar ingredients -- The Tamara Blog

The beeswax will be the last ingredient to melt. In order not to burn or overheat the mixture, remove from heat once most of the solids are melted, then stir until the beeswax is incorporated. Reheat for a few seconds, if necessary. Add essential oils and stir.

Lotion Bars -- The Tamara Blog

Lotion Bars -- The Tamara Blog

Lotion Bars -- The Tamara Blog

Pour into molds, allow to cool, and un-mold.

Funky Foot Fixes -- The Tamara Blog

Refreshing Foot Spray

This spray can be used in stinky shoes, or directly on feet for a an invigorating and odor-reducing boost. Use sparingly on skin, as alcohol can be drying.

REfreshing Foot Spray -- The Tamara Blog

Ingredients and supplies:

  • 1/2 cup Vodka
  • 20-30 drops Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil, or a combination of both
  • Spray Bottle

Combine vodka and essential oils, pour into spray bottle. Shake well before using.

Refreshing Foot Spray -- The Tamara Blog

Refreshing Foot Spray -- The Tamara Blog

Packaging and Tips

Funky Foot Fixes -- The Tamara Blog

Funky Foot Fixes -- The Tamara Blog

Find a set of labels for your fantastic foot products here. They’re compatible with most 2-1/2″ circle sticker sheet templates, or you can simply cut them out of paper and glue on. Label and package all your goodies, and you’re done.

The loofa soap is fantastic for feet, but is equally welcome as a body exfoliator in the shower. Switch up the essential oils to your fragrance favorites. Same with the lotion bars – they are great for scaly elbows, or even to moisturize cuticles. And because they’re in solid form, they’re easy to travel with. No worries about spilling or TSA screening!

Enjoy pampering your ‘paws’ or whatever!

Lovely DIY Foot Pampering Kit -- The Tamara Blog

 

Holiday Napkins The Tamara Blog copy

Super Simple Christmas Tree Napkins

Easy Christmas Tree Napkins -- The Tamara Blog

I love an easy craft that has big impact, and these Christmas tree napkins really fit the bill. They’re super simple to make, are customizable and so beautiful!

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

My mother is a crafter, kitchen wiz, and fabulous fiber artist. She made most of the clothes I wore growing up – the really cute ones, anyway.

When I was 13, she gave me a pattern and fabric, showed me how to thread a sewing machine, and taught me how to sew, a skill for which I’m eternally grateful. Mom’s favored fiber method these days is quilting, and she makes some beautiful ones.

A few Christmases ago, she handed me a pile of these napkins that she had recently whipped up, and off I went to set the table. So many beautiful fabrics, and the design is so simple, by the end of dinner I knew I had to have my own and wanted to share the design. You’ll need a sewing machine to make them, but even if you’re a beginning sewer, this is a perfect project to start. Your friends will be so impressed!

For the fabric, I headed to the quilt shop. Quilt stores have the best selection of prints. Look for “fat quarters,” as they work great for this craft.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

A fat quarter is a special piece of fabric, sold already cut, that usually measures 18” x 22”. In quilt shops you’ll often see fat quarter bundles grouped into beautiful combinations. If you can’t find fat quarters, just buy ¼ yard pieces of material.

When choosing fabrics for this project, select one green, or tree-style design per napkin, and one complementary design for the opposite side.

To make the Christmas tree napkins, you’ll need:

Fabric – 2 styles per napkin

Ruler or drawing compass

Fabric marking pen or pencil/chalk

Thread

Sewing machine

Needle (for hand finishing)

·      Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, so the piece is 18” x 11”.  (If using standard cut fabric, just fold along the short side. You’ll have half-circles at the end, instead of full circles that need to be cut in half.)

·      On the fold, or long side, mark the center of your circle.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Measure the width of your fabric piece, this will determine the size of your circle.

·      Using the ruler or compass as a guide, mark a semi-circle on the wrong side of the fabric.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Cut along the marker line, then, cut the circle in half along the fold. (Omit this step if you’re using standard fabric.)

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Use this first circle as a pattern for cutting others.

·      Continue cutting remaining fabrics until all are cut and matched up.

·      Sew together semi-circles with ¼” seam allowance (right sides together). Take care to make sure corners are well defined with stitches. Stitch all the way to the edge to ensure sharper points.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Leave open 2” space for turning.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Turn circles right-side-out. Tip: Use a pencil or fork to help make the corners sharp.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

·      Press each napkin and slip-stitch closed the open space.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

To present the napkins, start with the non-tree side facing up. Fold over about half way, then back, then back again. Adjust folds as needed.

Easy Christmas Napkins, The Tamara Blog

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Green Scroll Napkin - The Tamara Blog

As you can see, these beauties can be made to be formal or whimsical, depending on your fabric choices. And they don’t have to be exclusively Christmas decorations. The trees could be made in fall colors for Thanksgiving, or white and green to be used all winter long.  Use your imagination, and enjoy!

Winter White Napkin - The Tamara Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Shaped Cheeseballs The Tamara Blog

Come on… who doesn’t love a cheese ball? They’re fun to eat, and easy to make. Being a bit of a cheeseball myself, I have a particular affinity for these orbs o’ dairy.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “Cheese balls in Autumn?! Heaven forfend! Everyone knows National Cheese Ball day is April 17th. What kind of celebration enthusiast are you, Tamara?”

In truth, I have no idea why cheese ball day is in April. Makes no sense. These lactose spheres are perfect for football parties, I mean… in my family, we call October the beginning of cheese ball season! So, if you’re going to eat ’em in autumn, why not serve ’em in fall-fruit form?

Here I offer a simple and delicious way to ‘fancy up’ a cheesy classic. 

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Apple Cheese Ball

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (must be finely grated)
  • 1 Tbs. apple brandy
  • 1 Tbs. apple jelly or apple butter
  • 2 cups fried onions
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • branch and leaves for garnish

P1080784

Pear Cheese Ball

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 5 oz. crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbs. pear jam or jelly
  • 1 Tbs. pear brandy
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • yellow food coloring
  • branch and leaves for garnish

Ingredients note:

You can use flavored liquors instead of brandy — it’s just that the brandy has a richer, fuller flavor than a liquor.

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Process:

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, butter and cheddar or gorgonzola cheese. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy.

Add in jam and brandy, and beat until combined.

Place mixture in refrigerator while working on next step.

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For Apple cheese ball:

Place fried onions in a ziplock bag and crush finely.

Add smoked paprika, and toss/knead to combine.

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For Pear cheese ball:

Toast walnuts/pecans in a dry frying pan over medium heat, or in the broiler, until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Once cool, chop nuts finely (you can use a food processor for this step). Add 8 to 12 drops of yellow food coloring, if desired.

Place mixed coating in a small bowl.

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Remove cheese mixture from the refrigerator and shape into desired form with your hands. Cheese mixture can also be placed in plastic wrap and molded, to keep hands clean.

Once a rough apple or pear form is achieved, drop cheese ball into bowl with coating, and press coating into the surface, refining fruit shape as you go.

After cheese ball is formed, add decorative leaves, and display.

Apple and Pear Shaped Cheese Balls printable recipe

These can be refrigerated for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month. Be sure to allow time to thaw before serving. No one wants a tooth chipped by chilled cheddar.

Enjoy these glorious globes of cheese, an homage to the fromage in you!

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As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the bubbly, and Champagne — the real deal — has no equal.

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Friday, October 23rd, 2015 is the sixth annual celebration of the effervescent wine, made exclusively in the Champagne region of France. Originally designated in 2009 as “a Friday in late October,” World Champagne Day is dedicated to popping corks and raising glasses. International law dictates that only sparkling wine that comes from Champagne can be called… Champagne. So respect the title, friends!

A little while ago, I created an entire full-length Tamara Twist episode to sparkling wine, which you can view on YouTube. The episode is chock-full of recipes, crafting, traditions and trivia.

Sabering a bottle Collage

If you only have a few minutes, check out my Champagne Sabering video here.

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So let’s drink a toast to World Champagne Day! 

champagnegfairy004

Enjoy!!

*Antique graphics courtesy The Graphics Fairy.

 

 

The Essential Teacher "emergency" kit -- The Tamara Blog

I have two sisters, both teachers (and a slew of cousins who are too!). One works at an elementary school, the other at a high school. Their jobs make for a fun summer for us all, but come August, they dread going back.

Not that they dislike their jobs, but come on… don’t we all hate the end of summer?

SomeEcards

One sister (the lucky one) lives nearby. When she started to feel the pull of the job, I figured that she needed a little care-package/emergency kit before the hustle and bustle of the new school year began. This is a great gift for friends or relatives, or other teachers you know. In my opinion, teachers tend to be highly under-appreciated, so any little token that acknowledges how hard they work goes a long way. So does a little humor.

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

Here is my take on the Back to School Emergency Kit for Teachers. I figure all the items need to be useful or fun, and all can go for male or female teachers. And if they’re things the teacher won’t think of, all the better. My remedies come in 4 categories: Wellness, Getting Through the Day, Luxuries, & After Work. No school supplies here. And nearly all of them came from my local drug store.

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

  • Wellness: Lozenges, hand sanitizer, Emergen-C, tissues.
  • Getting Through the Day: Pain reliever, energy snacks, antacids, Tea/Coffee packets, chocolate-covered espresso beans, peanut-butter packets, single-serving cereals, coffee gift cards.
  • Little Luxuries: Calming hand lotion, aromatherapy items, chocolate, microwave popcorn.
  • After Work: Single servings of wine, fuzzy socks, a good novel, meditation music.

Find printable labels here from a template by World Labels. (World Labels has fantastic designs, for free!)

While these are already designed, you have to cut out each label individually. If you’d prefer to design your own labels, you can find the pre-cut stickers as well as the label template here.

Kit Tags

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

Obviously the wine can’t go with the teacher to school (nor can it be presented on school grounds — use your own discretion), but some of the other items will end up in desk drawers, for whenever they’re needed.

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

Get a container, start gathering goodies and pack it up. Print the labels (be sure to set your printer to “actual size” when printing the pdf), and cut and arrange. I promise you, the gift, and the thought behind it, will be very well received!

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

She Loves the Kit -- Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

She loves it!

Teacher "Emergency" Kit -- The Tamara Blog

 

Enjoy!

May 25th is National Wine Day. So how about doing some cooking with wine?

In my Tamara Twist Champagne episode I have several ideas for cooking with wine.

Wine Poached Artichokes — they’re so good!

Champagne Poached Artichokes, The Tamara Twist

Bellini Popsicles. A refreshing grown-up take on a summer treat.

Bellini Popsicles

Champagne Jello Jigglers

Champagne Jigglers -- The Tamara Twist

 

Enjoy the day, and do it responsibly!

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