Creative Ways To Serve Tea This Halloween

tippyhalloween3

We are inching closer to Kat’s most favorite holiday. Halloween! She just loves the colors, costumes, and festive fall flavors that are associated with the day. Kat’s having her niece Camille and a few of her little friends over for a Halloween party. This year I thought it would be fun to focus on a few teas and fun vessels to serve them in.

First off, the teas. Here are a few of my favorites for Halloween:

Rooibos- Rooibos has a earthy but slightly sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla. It blends well with other flavors and is caffeine free. You can find it with all sorts of flavorful ingredients blended in, or blend it on your own! Add vanilla, fruit, or berries for a festive drink. Camille loves rooibos and always asks for it when she comes to visit.

HEB Cranberry Blood Orange tea– what better tea to serve than one that has ‘blood’ in the name? Hee hee! This one has caffeine so it should be for the adults. It’s a tea Kat has been drinking for years, especially in the cooler weather. The flavor is sweet with a hint of tart freshness. It’s quite delicious and pairs well with desserts and savories with a hint of sweetness. The citrus flavor is a nice change from all the earthy fall flavors often served during this time of year. And really, isn’t it fun to say you’re drinking a bloody tea for Halloween?

Chai hot chocolate- my last post (will link to recipe here) was a delicious recipe for chai hot chocolate. Who wouldn’t love these flavors all mixed together? You can omit the black pepper and lighten up on the ginger if you don’t want it too spicy for the wee ones. You can also omit the tea altogether, to keep it lower in caffeine. This is also a perfect drink to serve after the kids come inside from trick-or-treating. It’ll warm them right up!

Now, let’s discuss what to serve your drinks in. It’s time to get silly and fun!

Googly Eyes- you can stick googley eyes on to just about any cup or mug and you’ll instantly have a Halloween-ready drink! The kids and adults will both get a giggle.

Gummy worms and eyes- Look for gummy candy such as worms and eyeballs. Drop a few in your drink (just make sure it’s not a hot drink) and fool your guests! No one will be expecting to see an eyeball floating in their cup!

Beakers- You can find different beaker shapes with a quick internet search. They’ll look right out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. Put colorful drinks inside (ice that HEB tea I just mentioned!) and you’ll have a nice compliment to your halloween decor.

Don’t forget creepy accessories like skeleton stir sticks, plastic spiders, and bats. There are all sorts of accessories you can add to your cups and glasses, just like my collection of bats and skeleton sticks! Do you like my hat? I think I look perfectly witchy!

Dearies, whatever you do this Halloween, I hope you have a marvelous time!

Advertisements

DIY: Tub Teas using Summer Herbs

tubtea

One of Kat’s favorite ways to end a busy summer day of beachgoing and pool hopping is to take a relaxing bath. Isn’t it lovely to soak sun-kissed skin and weary muscles after a long day of outdoor activities? Kat often uses our green tea soak, and I’ve recently come up with even more tea-themed bath ideas. Dearies, it’s the perfect time of year to create herbal tea bath soaks. You can even use seasonal herbs you grow in your own garden!

The herb choices can vary based on what you have on hand, or what’s lush in your garden. We like to choose lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or lemon verbena. But you can add in whatever aromatic herb you’d like.

You can also add relaxing elements such as Epsom salts, and rose petals for a soothing bath that will transport you to a quiet oasis.

To make your own teabags, you can use my tutorial here. Or, you can simply fill up a tea sac and staple the top. You’ll want to make your teabags larger than a regular one, since the tub is much bigger than a cup of tea! Or if you’re using small teabags, just use a few at a time. If you’re making large teabags, you should add in about ¼ cup of your herbs. You can use one, or a blend of a few different herbs. Mix and match and see what you like best!

HEBsleep

If you are pressed for time or don’t have a garden, you can use any store-bought herbal teabag. Kat has actually been using HEB Catch Your Z’s right in the tub. Kat has tried many different types of bedtime teas, as she enjoys having a warm cup before bed. She finds it helps her wind-down after a hectic day and is a lovely way to find a few minutes just for herself. Her mother actually sent her a box of this tea recently, and she’s  been preparing a cup almost every night. The soothing flavors of peppermint and chamomile instantly start to calm her down. The other night she decided to add 3 of these teabags to her warm bath, and she just loved the experience. The steamy water diffused the herbal aromas all around the bathroom. She felt like she was in a spa, having one of those fancy bath soaks.

Give these tub teas a try, and bring the spa right to your bathroom! Don’t forget to bring a cup of tea with you, too! Hot or iced, you can sip as you relax. Enjoy!

Tippy’s DIY Matcha Tea Bath Bombs

bathbomb1

Dearies, if you’re like Kat, you adore making DIY products. Some of her most favorite projects have been using tea for bath products, such as this one: https://thelovelyteacup.com/2015/09/02/using-tea-to-create-fabulous-beauty-products/.

Well, since I’m always the helpful teacup, I’ve come up with a fun way to create spa-like relaxation at home! Don’t you just love relaxing in a warm bath? Well, add in a fizzy, comforting matcha bath bomb and you’ll feel like you’re at a spa! The tension in your muscles will melt away after a bath with one of my matcha bath bombs. I’m sure you’ve seen these at fancy stores that sell bath products. Kat had been buying them for years until she realized she could make them herself. Well until I told her so, anyway!

I also discovered a fun way to shape the bath bombs. I bet you have a bunch of hollow plastic Easter eggs lying around the house. Use them to mold your bath bombs! Sometimes I’m a very clever teacup if I do say so myself!

Tippy’s Matcha Bath Bombs

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • ¼ cup Epsom salts
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 2 tbs matcha (powdered green tea, culinary grade)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp water (more if needed)

bathbomb4

Mix the dry ingredients together (the 1st 5 ingredients) and make sure they are well sifted. You don’t want any clumps, especially in the baking soda! In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients. Very slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring constantly. If you see the mixture start to bubble up, mix vigorously. Only add a little of the wet mixture at a time.

bathbomb3

You should end up with a mixture that clumps together well when you mold it in your hand. If it doesn’t stick together, add more water (slowly) and mix. Add the mixture to your mold of choice- we like to use easter egg halves but you can also purchase bath bomb molds, or even use the bottom of mini muffin tins.

bathbomb2

Leave the mixture in the molds for about an hour. Then remove, and let them dry for 3-5 hours, or even overnight to make sure they are fully set.

Once you are done you can wrap them in cellophane or pretty paper and give as gifts. Or just set them out and use in your own bathroom! Trust me, once you realize it’s this easy to get a spa-like bath experience at home, you’ll be hooked!

If you have any other bath bomb recipes, or other tea DIY bath products, send them my way! I’d love to try them out.

Painting With Tea

paintingTea1

The other day I noticed a paper napkin with drops of tea on it. As I was sitting and contemplating what tea to steep that day, it suddenly occurred to me! How about using tea as paint? It would be a unique way for Kat to express herself with her favorite beverage.

 Wouldn’t it be fun to try and paint with tea? Imagine a quiet weekend morning with a blank canvas and a rush of creativity. Add a few drops of tea, and you’re ready to paint your masterpiece! I think this is such a fun idea for any tea lover to relax and express themselves.

 To get started you need to pick your tea. Teas with hibiscus or berries in them give you some lovely hues. You can also use black tea, or green tea for a very light color. Take out a few teas from your cabinet and experiment with what you like best! You could even use matcha, if you can bear to part with some. Just make sure it’s well dissolved. Experiment with the type of paper you use. Watercolor paper is lovely, but try first with whatever paper you have on hand an see how it goes. Try not to use anything too thick or absorbent.

 You can use as many teas as you like of course, but you could even just use one! You can get many different shades of ‘paint’ out of just one tea. Just brew it super strong and then dilute in different cups to get various shades of ‘paint’. Adding a little more water to each consecutive cup will give you a different shade of tea. I love the look of just black tea diluted to different shades. It has a very rustic, vintage-y feel. There are so many color options to create, Kat and I can play around with creating tea paints all day long and not get bored!

 Another approach is to paint with tea bags for interesting shapes and colors! This is a great activity for kids. Kat’s going to try it next time Camille comes to visit, for sure! You can just dip the tea bags in cool water, and blot them on paper. Similar to making a sponge painting! I can’t wait to see what Camille decides to create.

 On the next rainy spring weekend, stay inside and give tea painting a try. You’ll end up having a creative and fun afternoon.

 

Special Tea-Themed Gifts for Mother’s Day

momsday2

Dearies, it’s the special time of year when we get to spend the day honoring the most important women in our lives. What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Last year Kat made a lovely breakfast for her mom, and this year she’s planning to have a little spa getaway for just the two of them. She’s been brainstorming beautiful tea themed gift for her mother, so I started thinking up some creative ideas of my own. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Tea Themed Gift Basket: I love the idea of a basket brimming with tea goodies. Package favorite teas in beautiful tins, add a tea-for-one teapot and cup set, a small jar of local honey, maybe even a few delicious cookies. Don’t forget to add a luxurious DIY Tea soak, matcha face scrub, or one of my other tea beauty product ideas! A basket filled with gifts to pamper that most important woman in your life. I’m sure every mother out there could use a bit of luxurious relaxation!

I recently saw a photo on pinterest of a white teapot that had beautiful words and quotes written on it with an oil-based sharpie. You can personalize your own teapot for mom! I love this idea. You can add poetry, quotes from her favorite authors, or lovely little tea themed phrases. It’s a sweet and sentimental way to show your love. She’ll be reminded of you every time she brews a pot of tea. You can get kids of all ages involved in this project.

A small windowsill tea herb garden would also make a sweet gift. If you’re really feeling crafty you can reuse tea tins for the garden! Or you can make a seed kit with all of your favorite herbs to brew into a relaxing nighttime tea. I love adding herbs such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and basil. But really, you can mix and match seeds for any herbs you think your recipient would love to grow and brew. Include a few pretty plant markers and even a small shovel or nice pair of gardening gloves for the ultimate tea gardening gift!

If your mother is a bookworm, how about a tea book? if your mother is anything like me, she’d love to spend the day reading and learning about tea. You could select an informative book like the classic  Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties. This is practically a tea textbook, with everything a tea lover would want to learn about teas from all over the world. Or go for a fun, exciting read that’s a tea-themed mystery! Author Laura Childs writes a series of tea shop mysteries that take place in Charleston, South Carolina. They are fun and filled with tea tidbits!

If you are including tea in your Mother’s Day gift, don’t forget to create your own tea bags with personalized tags! This is one of Kat’s most favorite gifts to create and give. It gives such a lovely personal touch to the gift, and this way you can include lots of different loose leaf teas in easy to brew packages.

Whatever you choose for your Mother’s Day gifts, you can’t go wrong with lots of tea! I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I raise my cup to each and every mother. You have the hardest and most important jobs of all!

DIY Tea Crafts For The Home

teacraft.jpg It’s no secret that Kat loves crafting. She’s always looking for a new way to get creative, and of course tries to incorporate a tea theme into her creations. This week she was browsing around pinterest for inspiration and found something she never would have thought of on her own- a wreath made out of tea bags!

A tea bag wreath is a unique way to keep your favorite teas on hand. Just hang this in the kitchen and you’ll be able to grab your tea bags without even opening a box. It is eye-catching, and a great conversation starter. How fun would it be to gift these to your favorite people? Kat’s making a few to give on Mother’s Day.

I also found nifty ideas to make a tea bag dispenser! A sweet little house or other cardboard creations would be adorable sitting on your kitchen counter. A pretty way to have easy access to your favorite teas without endless stacks of boxes laying around. You can customize your tea house with wrapping paper, stencils, stickers, whatever you like. It’s a fun way to really get crafty with your tea bags!

I love this tip for a DIY tea box. Larger than a countertop tea dispenser, but perfect for a drawer. Especially for those where kitchen space is at a premium. Ditch all of the extra tea boxes and go for one large sectioned box! Wouldn’t this be the perfect thing to bring out during a dinner party? You can show off your love for tea with a personalized box for all of your favorites.

These are fun crafts to try during those spring weekends that bring April showers. If you dears are anything like Kat, you’ve got a stash of craft supplies, ready for the next burst of inspiration. So on those rainy weekends, stay home, make a lovely cup of tea, and get crafting!

Mixing Teas & Flowers

floralteas.jpg

Dearies, I know I’ve written quite a bit about spring time teas, but I’ve recently thought of one more way to get spring flowers in your cup. To actually put them in your cup! I know, it seems too easy to be true, right?

You’ll want to dry your flowers first, or you can purchase them already dried. The amount of flowers you use depends on how much tea you want to make. For a few servings I’ll blend one cup of tea and a tablespoon of flowers and adjust if necessary, but you’ll need to start experimenting and see what works best for you. You may also want to add a floral extract to your blend, to increase the flavor. But that’s entirely up to you!

To make a garden blend with just flowers, you can use equal parts of each flower. Kat likes to blend chamomile and lavender together for a soothing evening blend. She often likes to play around with the following flowers. You can find these already dried online for easy use: rose, jasmine, lavender, hibiscus, chamomile, and chrysanthemum.

Kat likes to create her own version of Rose Congou. This is a fragrant rose tea from China. She takes 1 cup of her favorite Chinese black tea, and 2 tablespoons of dried rose petals. Sometimes she’ll add in a couple drops of rose extract. Mix everything together and store in an airtight container for 1 week. Open the container and give it a sniff. If it smells like a rose garden, it’s ready!

Adding flowers to your tea blends is delicious and also visually appealing. Fill tea filters with your tea blend and share with friends and family. You could also put it in a pretty glass jar for gift-giving, although I wouldn’t recommend storing your tea in glass long-term unless you’re sure to keep it out of the light (see my previous post on properly storing teas!)

You can add your flowers to any of your favorite tea bases, or I also like to use rooibos as a caffeine-free base. You can also skip the tea base altogether and just blend the flowers together!

Now my lovelies, please note I’m not a master tea blender, I just know what Kat and I enjoy. These are just my recommendations to get your mind thinking about how to get creative with tea and flowers.

DIY: Tea Bags and Tea Tags

Photo Apr 01, 9 22 06 AM.jpg

Dearies if you’re looking for a fun tea craft this weekend, how about creating your own tea bags with personalized tags? It would be perfect for your next tea party! Who wouldn’t love tea bags made just for them? It’ll give your tea table a cheerful, intimate feel.

For the tags, you can create your own designs; add your friends’ names, the type of tea, anything you’d like on them. With any paper you’d like, you can create all shapes and sizes. Kat likes to create heart shaped tags for Valentine’s Day, stars for July 4th, flowers for Mother’s day…you name it. The options are endless!

The simplest way to create tea tags is to staple your personalized labels over existing teabag labels. If the existing bag label is too big, you can always fold it over to fit the new one over it. But to really get creative, you can create your own tea bags with those tags! There are lots of tutorials online and be sure to visit my pinterest page for printouts and lots of ideas. You could create teabags with your own tea blends as well. You can even make large bags with your tea potpourri blends as housewarming gifts! If you missed my potpourri blend post, check it out here.

Personalized tea bags are fun for tea parties, hostess gifts, and even Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner. I also love leaving them for overnight guests to use for their morning cups of tea. It takes a little extra time, but it shows how much you care. So the next time you’re looking for a tea-related craft project, think about making your own tea bags! Kat always keeps this idea in her craft arsenal when she’s feeling like having a bit of DIY fun.

Have you dabbled in making your own tea bags and tea tags? I’d love to see pictures of what you’ve done!

Crafting With Tea Cups

teacupcraft1

My lovely tea friends, do you enjoy crafting? Kat loves getting creative when she has a bit of free time, and she’s always off puttering around the house, looking for ways to re-use old objects. It’s fun and also environmentally friendly to bring new life to an old or broken object.

 As difficult as it is for me to look at a broken teacup, I realize that instead of chucking the old dear into a storage box or even the garbage (heavens!), why not take that beautiful cup and make it into something useful again? A cracked or broken cup may not be able to hold tea, but there are so many other uses for them!

 Candles- it’s fairly simple to create a teacup candle! If you have a cup that’s missing a handle, or even just slightly cracked, this is a great use for the little dear. You can find helpful instructions on how to make your own cup candles here and here.

teacupcraft2

Jewelry organizer- place teacups on your bedside table or dresser to hold things such as rings and bracelets. Kat will put small earrings on the saucer as well, which makes them easy to find. Kat has a friend that placed a whole bunch of cracked and mismatched teacups in a drawer, and they act as a beautiful organizer. One cup is for hair pins, another for hair ties, one for rings, and one for lipsticks. It’s a great way to organize a desk as well- cups are the perfect size for paper clips, loose change, erasers…the possibilities are endless!

A little planter or seed starter- Kat plants herbs in her smaller teacups for a kitchen windowsill garden. She uses smaller cups as seed starters for her garden herbs and vegetables. They are just the right size to let a seed sprout and grow large enough to transfer to the garden. It’s also easy to carry the cups outside without making a mess.

Kat has become a little obsessed with terrariums lately- they are little lush worlds of moss and succulent plants. A small teacup is a fun addition to a terrarium. Kat has a large glass globe that fits one of her smaller demitasse cups. She put rocks and moss in the cup, and surrounded it with little succulents. It’s really quite a stunning display. I love looking at it and imagining little fairies flitting around and having a picnic!

I’ve been hunting around pinterest and found even more clever ideas! I especially like the idea of a teacup bird feeder! Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a teacup in your garden as a special place for birds to rest and eat? I love the idea of watching birds happily pecking food out of a teacup! Be sure to visit my tea crafts pinterest page for this and other ideas.

DIY All-Natural Tea-Dyed Easter Eggs

teaeggs

I know we’ve spoken about dyeing with tea before. But have you thought about dyeing your Easter eggs with tea? It’s actually possible! It’s a natural way to dye your eggs.

This is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy! You can sip teas, have festive Easter treats, and dye those eggs. The colors may not be quite as neon bright as those store-bought dyes, but they’re natural and beautiful all on their own. And isn’t it fun to incorporate tea into your Easter Egg project? There are endless teas you can use, as long as you use one that has a lovely color you’d like to use.

First, A general recipe for tea-dyeing your eggs:

-hard boiled eggs (at room temperature- use as many as you like!)

– bowls of very strongly concentrated cooled teas (1-3 cups of tea, enough to cover a few eggs). Use 3-4 teabags and steep until the tea is quite dark.

-1 tablespoon of vinegar per bowl of steeped tea

To get even more festive, take crayons and make fun designs on the eggs before dyeing them. The tea won’t stick to the crayon, so your designs will pop and the tea will stain the background!

You can wrap rubber bands around the eggs in any formation you like, and then dye the eggs. Just like tie-dyeing, the bands will block the color and make an interesting pattern while the tea stains the exposed egg shell.

You’ll need to leave the eggs in for long enough to get the color you like. We left ours overnight to ensure they had a nice dark color. Be sure to pop the bowls of eggs in the refrigerator if you’ll be soaking them for this long.

Here are a few colorful teas you can use for your dyes:

Turmeric- you can use a teabag, a tablespoon of dried turmeric, or the grate the natural stuff (you may want to wear gloves if you are a bit messy- that stuff will stain your fingers for a while!). Your eggs will have a nice vivid yellow color from the turmeric.

Berry teas- teas with strong red colors like red berries will actually turn your eggs a vibrant blue!

Matcha- place 2-3 tsps of culinary grade matcha in a jar with 2 cups of water, put the lid on and shake away until it’s combined. The eggs will turn out a pale green-remember that the eggs won’t end up a dark as the tea’s color.

Green tea- this will produce a light yellow egg. It’s subtle but lovely for Easter.

Black tea- it may seem a bit simple, but black tea gives a lovely rustic brown shade to the eggs. This also makes a lovely backdrop for decorating with markers or glitter.

Hibiscus tea- Steeping up a strong bowl of hibiscus actually looks quite dark but it’ll give your eggs a grey/blue color. Sounds strange but it’s quite beautiful! In our picture above Kat used a floral tea with lots of hibiscus and the egg turned out very dark blue!

If you aren’t happy with the colors, you can always add some juices to your tea as well. Beet juice or Cherry juice will give you a lovely pink, for example.

When removing your eggs from the dye, be careful. The dye can still come off so use a spoon or tongs to carefully remove. Kat likes to use the egg carton to rest the eggs in, that way there is less possibility of the dye rubbing off onto a plate or a paper towel To create a marbled effect, gently pat the dyed eggs with a damp sponge. You can rub a little bit of vegetable oil onto your eggs if you’d like to give them a shiny finish.

Enjoy yourself and get creative! Do you have a tea that has an interesting color? Try dyeing your eggs and see what you get! If you are tea-dying your own eggs, I’d love to see them! Tweet them and tag me @thelovelyteacup!