DIY Soap Petals

Mother’s Day (in the US) is May 11th this year. Here’s a quick but special gift for any Mom.

 

Scented Soap Petals

These soap petals are, in effect, beautifully scented, teeny, tiny washcloths. A little treat for your guests and a great twist on the hostess gift.

Tools and Supplies:

  • Fabric Rose Petals — available at craft stores in the Wedding section.
  • Glycerin soap base, unscented – from craft stores, or sometimes found at grocery stores.
  • Essential oils –your fragrance makers. Get them at drug stores, craft stores, or online.

Instructions:

Cut the soap into cubes and place in a glass bowl, 5 oz will make about 75 petals. You can melt the soap using a microwave, but a double boiler is better at maintaining a constant temperature.

When the cubes have melted, stir in your essential oil. 5-10 drops is plenty. When choosing your fragrance, you can always use rose, as the petals are usually rose petals. But you can also consider the color of your petals – neroli or grapefruit oil for peach-colored petals or lavender scent for purple petals.

One by one, give your fabric petals a quick dip. It’s important to only dip one at a time, so they don’t stick together and make a mess. Make sure they’re fully coated. Remove them with chopsticks, tongs or tweezers. Cool on a metal rack and your petals are done!

Place in a pretty dish on your bathroom counter. For those who aren’t sure how to use them, a friendly note is always helpful (see below). No messy bar-soap, no ugly hand soap. Yay!

They can also be scattered to make a romantic bubble bath. But do remember to remove the petals before draining the tub or you’ll have to call a plumber.

I’ve included some text for you to put in your soap petal dish. (Soap Petal Labels)

Bonus Tip: I like to make mine semi-waterproof by covering with packing tape before cutting out.

If you’re looking for more fancy labels, check out the printables at my pal Cathe Holden’s blog, here.

 

Champagne Palooza Stills1

Hey everyone… I’m so happy to ring in 2014, and with it I offer our latest Tamara Twist video, Champagne-Palooza, now available online. Champagne is such a versatile, enjoyable and fascinating element of celebration, and perfect for our first in-depth episode.

These twists on champagne are, of course, well suited to New Year fetes, but sparkling wine can really be enjoyed any time of year.

In the video, you’ll find trivia, crafts, recipes and all manner of silly fun. I hope you enjoy it.

1-Champagne Twist

I had a blast making this episode. Happy celebrating. And remember: Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle!

xo, T

I make these almonds every year for Christmas gifts. And every time, have to make double/triple batches, because they inevitably get eaten before packaging. They’re easy, save well for a couple weeks, and are deeee lish, if I say so myself. Enjoy!

Rosemary Herbed Almonds

Rosemary Herbed Almonds

4 cups raw, whole almonds

4 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. dried rosemary

1 Tbs. herbs de provence (if not available, substitute more rosemary)

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt

P1030233 Herbs

Crush the dried herbs with a mortar and pestle or use the back of a spoon.  Heat the olive oil in the microwave for 20 seconds, add crushed herbs and mix together.

P1030236 Almonds 1

Pour  the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet.  Add the herbed olive oil and stir until all the nuts are coated.  Spread the almonds in a single layer, and place in the oven at 325 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

I use two timers for this.  One I set at 25 minutes, the other for five.  I re-set the 5 minute timer each time I stir, and keep the 25 minute one, so I don’t lose track of the overall time.  After 25 minutes, taste an almond to see if it’s crunchy.  Don’t over cook the almonds.

P1030262 Almonds CU

When done, let cool, then add salt and stir.  Allow to cool for 1 hour before packaging. Keep stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

P1030249 Pretzels and Almonds

My super talented pal, Cathe Holden made the label template, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

20121215_153130

Birds Nest Jewelry Tutorial DSCF0111

I just spent some time in the Pacific Northwest, much of it outdoors, and saw all kinds of birds, from stately eagles to tiny finches. So with that in mind, here’s a super easy tutorial for you, beautiful bird’s nests! (Click here to see video of us making these on Home & Family!)

This is such a sweet project, a lovely nature-inspired bit of jewelry that is so pretty and makes a thoughtful gift.

There are lots of design choices you can make, wire color, bead selection, number of ‘eggs,’ and, of course, what the final project will end up being, such as a ring, pendant, even earrings.

Supplies P1050967

You’ll need:

26 gauge Wire

Beads — glass, gemstone or pearls

Needle-nosed pliers, flat-nosed pliers, wire cutters

Measure wire 24” long. Thread on bead “eggs” to the center of the wire. Fold wire in a ‘u’ shape, and twist wire 4 or 5 times cinching the twists close to the beads.

Beads Centered DSCF0026

One Tiwist DSCF0028

Multi Twists DSCF0029

Fold the twist under, so that the beads rest on top. Hold the piece between thumb and finger.

Folded Over Pearls DSCF0030

To form the nest, begin wrapping the wires around the bead bundle, until about 4” to 5″ of wire remains.

Hold between finger DSCF0031

Beg Nest Wrap DSCF0032

(Here’s the same step with only one bead and different wire.)

Pre Secured Nest DSCF0086

(And again with two beads.)

Dark Wound Wrap P1050980

To secure the nest wires, pull the end of one of the wires from the bottom through the center of the nest similar to taking a ‘stitch.’ Continue “stitching” in several spots around the nest until the wires are positioned as you like them, but leaving a 2” to 3” tail.

First Stitch DSCF0035

Second Stitch DSCF0036

Third Stitch DSCF0038

DSCF0040

Pendant bail:

To form a pendant bail, pull up the tail of the wires, form a small circle with needle-nosed pliers and wire wrap the ends around the main wire with the other pliers.

Bail Form 1 DSCF0042

Underside of pendant

Bail Wrap 2 DSCF0045

Bil Wrap 4 DSCF0046

Back of Nest DSCF0047

Back of pendant

Finished Nest Pendant

And the front of our finished nest!

Adjust the nest and bail as needed. Add to neck chain.

To make earrings, simply make two matching pendant-style nests and attach to ear wires.

Earrings DSCF0135

Finished Silver Ring P1050962

Ring:

Begin with a longer wire – about 36” long. Form the nest. To make the ring, place the nest on top of a ring mandrel. If you don’t have ring a mandrel, you can use a marker! Just make sure the end of the pen is tapered so the ring will slip off when you’re finished wrapping.

Highlighter Mandrel w Ring P1050956

Wrap the ends of the long wire around the highlighter (or mandrel) several times in opposite directions to form the shank of the ring. With the remaining wire ends, wrap around the shank several times to secure.

Blue Ring on Mandrel DSCF0076

Form Shank 1 DSCF0077

Form Shank 2 DSCF0078

Form Shank 3 DSCF0080

Finished Ring DSCF0082

Handy Sizing Tip: If making a ring, take a ring that already fits your finger, and slip it onto the highlighter. With a piece of electrical tape, mark the spot on the pen where the ring rests. Remove the ring and that’s where you’ll wrap the wire to make your nest ring shank.

Highlighter Mandrel P1050959

Design Tips:

For a Mom-gift, place one ‘egg’ in the nest for each of her children. For a birthday, make the ‘eggs’ out of the recipient’s birthstone.

Add some variety by using copper colored wire and sparkly glass beads.

If you use larger gauge (thicker) wire, you can make larger nests. (But remember, thicker wire requires that your beads have larger holes.)

Birds Nest Pendants DSCF0126

Enjoy… now go make something beautiful! With a TWIST!

Birds Nest On Set P1050986

Floral Head Wreaths

In northern European countries, where the winters are very long, very cold and very dark, the much-anticipated arrival of summer is definitely something to celebrate. The festival commemorating such an arrival is aptly titled, Midsummer. It’s celebrated on or near the solstice (the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), which usually falls on June 21st. Depending on cultures and calendars, however, the date for midsummer festivals varies, and can come as late as June 25th.

In Scandinavia, Midsummer is so revered it’s nearly as anticipated as Christmas or New Year.

Often thought of as a food-and-drink holiday, it’s traditional to eat foods that honor new life: new potatoes and the year’s first strawberries are consumed, and herbs are thought to be at their most flavorful and potent.

Strawberry Ganache Cake

Other traditions include placing greenery swags over doorways to bring good fortune and health, staging mock-weddings, and young girls placing flowers under their pillows, thus ensuring dreams of their future spouse.

Another charming tradition is the making and wearing of floral head-wreaths. They’re pretty, and unmistakably festive. Grown women and girls alike wear them, and they are easy to make.

Wreath on Kristen

Supplies:
22 gauge wire
Green Floral Tape
Assorted Flowers — smaller ones work better
Ribbon 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide
Wire cutters
ScissorsP1050901 Supplies

Measure out enough wire to fit around your head, then add 2″ and cut.
Form that length of wire into a circle.

P1050823 Wrap Wire Ends

Using the last 1” of each end, twist together to secure.

Choose flowers, cut stems to 3″ to 4″ lengths.

P1050899 Cut Flowers

To make the wreath you’ll start at the front of the wire circle (the part farthest away from the twisted ends), and add flowers to one half of the circle, working your way to the back. When that half is done, you’ll return to the front and repeat the process on the remaining half.
P1050844 Wrapping Tape

Beginning at the front, hold flower parallel to the wire and wrap with floral tape. Start near the blossom, and spiral the tape tightly around both stem and wire until the entire length of the stem is fully wrapped around the wire.

Lay on the next flower, overlapping stems and wrap with floral tape as before. Continue overlapping flowers and wrapping stems with tape toward the back of the wire where the ends are twisted together.

Once the first half is complete, return to the front, and repeat the process overlapping stems and wrapping with tape on the remaining half until the wire circle is covered with blossoms.

 Rose and Mum Wreath

Once all flowers are in place, you may need to add more tape to make everything more secure.

Cut ribbon to 72″ long, use a half-hitch knot to attach at the center-back of the ring, or tie in a bow.
P1050842 Rose Wreath
For a full wreath, you’ll use 15 to 25 flowers, depending on size. If your desired wreath has flowers that just cover the front, use the floral tape to cover all the bare wire for a finished look.
P1050868 Beauty Orange Wreath
Faux flowers are hardier, and a bit easier to work with. Real blooms can break and lose petals as you work with them, so treat them with care. For the best of both worlds, create the base of your wreath with faux greens and light filler flowers, then add real rosebuds or other less-fragile flowers to add scent and a more natural look.

Parts of Scandinavia are called The Land of the Midnight Sun, because on these long summer days, the sun never sets! When I was there as an exchange student, we would go out in the evenings and tell my Norwegian mother, “We’ll be home by dark!”

Enjoy this welcoming of the summer sun, and happy Midsummer!

On Set

DIY Screen Printing NEW Technique

P1050795 Pink Shirt in Window

I am thrilled to share my latest obsession: screen-printing. It’s fun, easy, and sooooo creative! I’m familiar with fabric paints, but never knew that bold, graphic, repeatable designs were something I could do at home with items I already had in my craft closet. Helloooooo gift giving!

Screen Printing Collection

There are other tutorials available, but I think I’ve improved upon the home-printing possibilities.

Some techniques recommend using pantyhose for screen fabric. I found they stretched too much and the spaces between fibers in the fabric were too large, creating messy-looking images.

Some folks found success using white glue on their screens. For me, decoupage medium is sturdier, more reliable, and holds up to repeated screenings and cleanings.

As for creating the mask, most suggest tracing the image onto fabric, then hand-paint decoupage medium outside the lines. For me, this method was imprecise and very time consuming. What I’ve come up with is faster, easier and creates a better, sharper design. This allows me time to make lots of screens and many prints!

Click here to link to the segment on Home and Family site.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Embroidery hoops

Sheer woven fabric – organza, voile

Decoupage medium – Mod Podge, etc.

Clip art images – silhouettes, bold shapes, etc.

Full-sheet stickers – available at office supply stores

Scissors, large punches or Sizzix/Cricut cutter

Screen printing ink made for Fabric

Expired gift card or credit card

Foam brushes

Small paint brushes

Paper plates

Heavy paper or cardboard

Items to print on – onesies, t-shirts, dish towels, aprons, totes

Pull organza fabric over the smaller of your embroidery hoops, and secure with the larger.  Once in place, adjust and pull until fabric is taut. Make sure there are no wrinkles or gaps in the fabric.

Choose your print design.  Simple outlines, bold shapes with minimal detail work best.  Here are some silhouette designs (from my Cameo blog).

Print designs on the sticker paper and cut out with scissors, or use a Sizzix/Cricut, etc. to cut out shapes. (My fleur de lis is from my Sizzix.) If you’re using letters or something that has a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ direction, make sure that designs are printed in mirror-image as they’re being apply to the underside of the hoop.

On the ‘flush’ or ‘drum’ side of the fabric, apply your sticker.  Turn over the hoop and fabric, and burnish the underside of the sticker with a credit card to make sure the sticker is … stuck.

Burnish Fleur Sticker

Turn over the hoop and with a foam brush, apply decoupage sealer to the fabric on flush side of the hoop. At this point you can use one of two methods:

-Apply a thick coat of decoupage sealer. This is an easy method, but drying will take several hours – and in some cases overnight.  My latest batch took nearly 8 hours to dry, so plan accordingly.

-Alternatively, you can apply two thinner coats of decoupage medium, letting the first coat dry at least 30 minutes before adding the second.  This method will dry faster, but requires more attention.

Screen with Podge

P1040459 Fleur with More Podge

When painting on the sealer, make sure it coats the edges of the sticker completely. If not, your image will have bumpy edges. Carefully turn over the hoop and check the underside to make sure there are no holes or voids in the fabric where you don’t want them.

P1040492 Cupcake Underside

Lay the hoops flat to dry.  Do not prop the hoops vertically … the decoupage glue will run!  (I learned that the hard way.)

P1040517 Multi Screens Drying

When the decoupage medium is dry, carefully remove the sticker.  You may have to pick a bit at the stubborn edges. Once most of the sticker is removed, run the screen under water to help rub away and remove the extra bits.

Screen Printing,  Peeling Sticker

P1040509 Finished Fleur Screen

What you’ve created is called a “mortise mask.” That’s a big fancy word for a cover that leaves your ‘subject’ area exposed, and the area around, masked.

After the sticker is removed, you can begin printing!

Place a piece of cardboard under the item you’re printing (or inside, if a t-shirt), to keep the ink from bleeding through.  Place the hoop flush-side-down on top of shirt.

Put Paper In between layers

I used the tag to help me position the screen.

Hold the screen in place with one hand. With a foam brush, dab ink into the voids in the mask.

P1050734 Screen Printing,  Add Ink 2

Using the credit card, scrape off the excess.

P1050737 Screen Printing, swipe with card

Screen Printing After Swipe 4

Carefully lift the screen off, and look at your beautiful work! If there are any spots that got missed by the screen, use a small paint brush to fill in.

P1050725 Filling in Mustache with BrushP1050771 Fill in Green Fork with Brush

P1050730 Fleur Finish wout Tag

P1050781 Red Fleur on Tote

Follow manufacturers instructions for heat setting your image – usually you just have to pop the t-shirt in the dryer for a bit, or iron for 3 to 5 minutes.

Once used, you can get many images from one hoop-screen.

P1050807 Hero Collection Later

TIPS:

For the screens, you’ll need fabric. You can get new pieces from the fabric store, but here’s a great tip: Use old sheer curtain panels! They’re pretty easy to find at thrift stores, and a terrific way to upcycle.

I sometimes test my screen on a piece of scrap paper to make sure there aren’t any undesirable holes in the mask. If you do find some, cover with tape, and begin printing. If you want to reuse your screen, reapply another coat of decoupage medium to the unwanted voids in the screen.  Let dry completely before printing.

P1050733 Fleur Fix Screen with Tape

Screens can be washed and re-used if rinsed quickly and carefully.  Don’t let them sit more than 5 minutes with ink on them, or you’ll be too late.  Also, take care not to wash away the decoupage glue. Rinse, rub lightly with fingers to remove ink, and let dry.

P1050775 Rinse green Fork Screen

Tips on silhouette clip art:

You can find them all over!

I found this dinosaur one here:

http://www.arthursclipart.org/dinosaurs/dinosaurs/page_05.htm

Folks sell beautiful ones on etsy – just search for silhouette clip art.

www.etsy.com

Search online for silhouette ‘vectors’ and you’ll find zillions.

P1050804 Tamara on Set

Enjoy your art!  And remember, it’s supposed to look hand-made.  Little rough edges add to your piece’s personality!

DSCF9164 copy

Twisty Stix are a great way to put a twist on a classic candy.  You can control the sugar, and even add a bit of nutrition!

Check out my original post with recipe, here.   (Click to connect to the original blog.)

P1020546 copy

Additional tips:

If the powder sticks in the funnel (like it did on the show), use a bamboo skewer to help it through.

Humidity is the Twisty Stix nemesis.  Don’t fill your straws unless you plan to use them within a day or two.  And open the freeze-dried fruit just before you use it.

Keep the powder in an air-tight container, and fill straws when you need them.

Enjoy the tangy goodness!

Tamara’s Twisty Stix DIY

Twisty on Set