Category Archives: Handmade

Hand Mixed Tea Blend for Gifts


Fernando asked me to start making more tea in an effort to decrease all the juice and other sugary filled drinks that we normally consume. Having a room full of herbs to pick from, I was more than happy to oblige. As I filled a jar full of things I love to drink, I realized how pretty it looked and how nice it would be to receive something like this as a gift.

And here it is all mixed up.

And here it is freshly poured in my cast iron.

I let the whole mix brew for about 10 minutes and then I let it sit in the pot another 20. Why, I don’t know. I think I was being lazy. After all that laziness, I strained it and then let it cool in the fridge. The mix was a beautiful purple color, tart, fruity and flowery at the same time. And the smell? Heavenly!

Look at that pretty purple color.

If you’re interested in making this blend as a gift , the cost is very affordable. For this blend, the cost of all the herbs was about $32. For that price, you get a lot of material to work with. I purchase the majority of my herbs from San Francisco Herb Co. They have a store on the outskirts of the Mission in S.F. and I like to see what I’m buying. Here is a breakdown of the tea blend costs and sizes if you were to buy them from SFHC.

Herb Cost Oz
Orange Peel (California cut)  $      4.50 16
Hibiscus (whole flowers)  $      7.55 16
Chamomile Flowers  $      6.90 16
Elder Berries  $      5.85 16
Peppermint Leaf (8 oz)  $      2.30 8
Rose Petals (red with buds)  $      4.45 16
Total  $    31.55 88

If you filled mason jar with 8 ounces, you’d get 11 jars for $3.94. I usually buy The Republic of Tea and Tazo teas anywhere from $6 – $15 and on average they are only 1 ounce to 3 ounces full. Not only that, who knows how old the tea is? When you make your own blends, you control the ingredients and the quality.

Can you tell I’m an advocate of making your own teas here?

You can take it even a step further, and get sealable tea bags and fill them yourself.  It would not be as pretty as loose tea in a jar, but would make it less messy for whomever you give the gift too.


Quilting Bees and Me


When I was a little girl, my grandmother presented me with a quilt she had made. I always used it, and later on, when my cousin was little, my aunt (my mom’s sister) began using my quilt for her. My dad wanted me to get my quilt back, because his mother had made it for me, and he wanted it to stay with me and my siblings. I did ask for it back, but I felt terrible. The quilt was on my cousin’s bed and she used it, just like I had.

Now that I’m older, I understand why my dad wanted the quilt back. But more importantly, as I look back at the situation, I understand something much more deeply than my dad’s request. My quilt was special, not only because my grandmother made it for me with love. It was even more special because someone else I love, in this case my aunt, realized how special this quilt was, and wanted her daughter to feel the same love and happiness I felt when I saw my quilt. Needless to say, I still feel bad about asking for the quilt back.

As I thought about it, I decided to learn how to quilt myself. So, this weekend I’m hanging out with a bunch of more experienced quilters who will hopefully help me along the way. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures, so keep checking back.

Here is the material I’ve chosen for my first bed sized quilt. I already have someone in mind for this quilt, and that person may have figured out this is for them based on the colors.

Here is a close up of the fabric I’ve chosen to focus on. I found it at a quilting fabric store in Paso Robles when visiting Miss Kathryn. Isn’t it gorgeous?

These will be the complimentary colors on the front of the quilt along with the focus fabric. Because the focus is so vibrant, I thought soft, muted colors would compliment the reds and pinks really well.

For the back, I decided to go ultra bright. I love this color and the person this quilt is going to (as long as it comes out okay) wears this color a lot.

Have you figured out yet who this quilt is going to? *wink*

I want to be able to give those I love a special gift that they know comes from the heart, just like my grandmother gave me. And, if I’m lucky, someone will decide to hand down my quilt to someone else they love.

Love and lots of fabric,