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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2015-11-27 12.52.52

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello friends!

I’m very excited and honored to announce that I’ve partnered with my pal Fabio Viviani (Top Chef fan fave, chef extraordinaire, restauranteur, and super fun guy) to write for his wonderful online magazine, titled appropriately, Fabio’s Magazine! 

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Starting with the August issue, that just came out, I’ll be a regular contributor with my DIY Style with Tamara Berg articles, offering crafting, food and lifestyle projects and ideas. You can make sure you always get the latest issue by subscribing here.

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And, if you want to know a little about me and my relationship with beets… take a look here.

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Oh, and one thing got mixed up… #4. I’ve never been to Colombia (yet!). Here’s what should have been there for my “weirdest food” answer:

4) What is the weirdest things you have ever eaten and where were you?

Most of the weird food I have eaten has been in China. There was Ox-Liver Mushroom in Shanghai, and Ant Soup in Hong Kong. Whenever I travel, I like to steep myself in the culture; so trying the local fare is a part of the experience. I love the inventiveness of everyday chefs. People make some crazy food in other parts of the globe!

Photo: Pottery Barn

MIrrored Dresser

I’ve been infatuated with these mirrored furniture pieces since they started popping up a few years ago.  Fabulous in an art deco boudoir, and equally welcome in a glitzy dining room, mirrored furniture expands and brightens a room.  I’m not one to succumb to trends, and perhaps this could be a tad trendy, but oooh… it’s so pretty!  The price tag to purchase, however, is prohibitive.  The really beautiful ones start at $800 and go up into the thousands.  Tack on shipping (usually $130 and up), and that’s one pricey piece.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

I wanted to see if I could come up with something cheaper and more pride-worthy on my own.  Truth be told, it’s a VERY easy project.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Used or new dresser

Sander (belt sander, oscillating sander, etc.)

Sand paper (for hand-sanding nooks)

Spray Primer – I used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer

Spray Paint – I used Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish in #7718 Chrome

Mirrors cut to size

Gunther Mastic

Knobs

1” round mirrors

¾” acrylic gems

Hot glue

I started with a furniture search.  I began at Ikea, and if you’re looking to make something that has a more modern feel, you can find great dressers there.

I wanted a piece that had a little bit of character – moldings, turned legs, edge work – something that would make my dresser look a bit more interesting.  Craig’s List was my destination.   I found several candidates, and one winner within a day.  Here’s the before.

It was advertised as a “shabby” piece, was covered in several layers of paint, and some of the veneer was chipping off.  I chose not to fix this, because I wanted it to still look a bit worn.  If you want your piece to be closer to perfect, fill any chips with wood putty before painting.

As with most paint projects, the keys are preparation and patience.

Sand any surfaces that will be painted.  An oscillating sander makes quick work of this.  I sanded my entire piece in less than an hour.  I sanded in two passes, the first with 150 grit (coarse) and the second time with 220 grit (medium) sandpaper.   I also took just a bit of paint off of the surfaces that would be covered in mirrors, just to be thorough.

Next, prime.  Since I wanted to use a metallic finish spray paint, the manufacturer recommended a “stops rust” primer.  Even though I was painting wood, I paid the extra 2 bucks for the heavier primer paint – designed for metal surfaces – because that was what was suggested by the paint experts at my hardware store.

Follow the directions on the can of primer, and give your wood surfaces a primer coat.  After it dries the recommended amount of time, move on to the paint.

This metallic paint is so cool!  It’s nothing like the silver and gold spray paints of days of yore.  It takes a bit of practice to get right, but really looks amazing.  Test on a piece of scrap to figure out how thickly and how close to spray to your piece.  The can recommends 10” to 16” distance from your subject.  I found that this application gave my finish a ‘mottled’ look, not the shiny appearance I wanted.  Start further away on your test surface, and then move closer to figure the best coverage for your surface.

In the end, I put 3 coats of paint on my piece.  My dresser took about 24 hours to cure completely, and looks really beautiful.

There were the problems.  A few times, my paint went on too thickly and I got drips.  Best not to touch them while wet, but wait for the drips to dry, rough up with 000 steel wool, and repaint.

Paint Drip Tamara Twist

Mirrors.  You can use acrylic mirror.  It’s not as ‘sparkly’ as glass, but it’s cheaper, lighter-weight and easier to work with.  But because acrylic is not as hard as glass, it scratches easily.

Glass mirrors are simply prettier, so that’s what I wanted.  Measure your dresser, head to the glass store, and place your order.  I recommend getting your glass pieces cut slightly smaller than actual dimensions (subtract 1/8” from the width and height,) so that the edges don’t scrape.

I used ¼” thick mirrored glass, with a standard polished edge, and ¼” holes drilled for my knobs.  (Note: Apparently drilling holes on glass is very tricky, so be prepared for your glass company to charge you anywhere between $2 and $10 per hole drilled.)

I changed the placement of the holes on my dresser drawers, so I used the mirrors as templates to drill the holes in my drawer fronts.

Mirror installation.
Once the paint is completely dry on your surfaces, you can attach mirrors.  Gunther mastic was the adhesive recommended by my glass store.  Whatever you use, be sure that it is formulated for use on mirror – some adhesives can actually strip the mirroring off the back of glass.  Apply dollops about the diameter of a quarter (or in stripes), making sure that you are at least 3” away from the mirror edges.  Press the mirrors in place, add spacers at the bottom if necessary, and brace or weight while the mastic cures.  Follow manufacturers instructions for curing time, but definitely wait at least overnight.

Once the mirrors are in place, add knobs.  Pretty glass knobs retail anywhere from $6 to $20 each, which busts my budget.  I opted for a DIY version.

These knobs cost .98 at my hardware store.  Add 1” mirrors ($1 for 12), and acrylic gems ($2.25 for 20) and I had these pretty knobs for $1.18 each!

Another embellishment option was these adhesive rhinestones.  They come in 3-packs for around $3 or $4 a package.  Just stick and you’re done.

Quick tip:  Don’t buy colored crystals!  Use a sharpie marker to hand-color the stones whatever color you like in custom hues!

Here’s my finished dresser.   It’s perfectly suited for a 1940s glamour-décor bedroom, or as a sparkly complement to modern clean-line designs.

All in all, my project cost around $300.  Not cheap, but FAR better than paying retail.  It’s beautiful, up-cycled, and I made it myself.  Definitely a pride-worthy project.