numi organic tea

Do It Yourself: Crafting with Old Tea Boxes

DIY crafting with old tea boxes
I developed recipes and wrote blog posts for Numi Organic Tea for about a year and one of the perks was receiving lots and lots of fair trade, organic tea. I drink tea at least three times a week, so I've put all those samples to good use, but I was left with dozens of perfectly good tea boxes. Tea boxes are generally recyclable, but it seemed a shame to send them off to be smashed if there was a way to repurpose them.

Due to a combination of personal and social stressors, I've been drawn back to crafting and working with my hands over the past year (I'm saving up for a larger loom so I can do bigger weavings). So, after giving a few boxes to our pet rats, I looked through my craft bin and thought up a few upcycling ideas...

DIY crafting with old tea boxes

Custom Note Cards

What You'll Need
  • Numi Organic Holistic Tea boxes (or any tea boxes with pretty artwork)
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor palette
  • Jar with water
  • Paint brushes
  • 1 Sheet of Watercolor paper
  • Paper cutter
  • School glue (like Elmer's)
To Make:
  1. Carefully cut out the artwork on the front of your Holistic Tea boxes with a pair of sharp scissors. Set aside. 
  2. Use a paper cutter to cut a sheet of sturdy water color into 4, notecard-sized pieces.
  3. Using your watercolor palette, select complementary paint colors and paint abstract backgrounds onto your notecards. Let dry for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Use a paint brush to "paint" glue onto the back of your tea art and affix them to your notecards.
  5. You may want to use a book to keep the tea art from warping as the glue dries. 
  6. Write a special note on the back of your cards and give them to loved ones!
DIY crafting with old tea boxes

Jute Wrapped Tea Caddy

What You'll Need:
  • One Tea box
  • Matte acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used black)
  • Paint brush
  • One roll of Jute Cording
  • Hot glue gun and glue
To Make:
  1. Carefully un-tape the side of your box and cut off the lid and side folds.
  2. Paint the exterior and interior of the box using the paint of your choice (you can leave the base unpainted to aid in drying). Set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  3. Starting at a top corner of your box, apply a bead of hot glue and begin to wrap the jute.
  4. Continue adding small beads of hot glue to each corner until you've wrapped around the box once. 
  5. Continue wrapping without adding additional glue for 3 full rotations. Add glue to each corner on the next rotation, and continue the process - glue 1 rotation, no glue 3 rotations - until you're near the base of the box.
  6. Add extra hot glue as you make your last rotation to ensure that the jute stays in place. Cut the jute to lie flush with a corner and carefully glue in place.
DIY crafting with old tea boxes
I'm hoping to incorporate more crafting and upcycling content into the monthly blog cycle because I think it's a nice diversion from typical, consumerist posts: it connects us to artisan work in a more tangible way and it's definitely better for instilling self confidence than a shopping binge.

Let me know if you have any ideas, or if you'd like to be a guest contributor (stylewiseblog@gmail.com).

Holiday Recipe: Rooibos Chai Shortbread Cookies

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe
This post was written in collaboration with NUMI Organic Tea.

My husband is the baker in our family. He's the first one who tried adding spices and tea to shortbread. and his sweet, spiced cookies have always been a hit at holiday parties and weeknight get-togethers alike. I've eaten Earl Grey and Chai Shortbread before, but it seemed to me that Rooibos would make an even better addition to this simple, seasonal cookie due to its naturally sweet flavor and vanilla notes. The addition of chai spices makes it the perfect holiday dessert, enjoyed after dinner with coffee or tea.

This recipe is also fairly fool proof, with a simple ingredient list and no special prep. I hope you enjoy it!

Rooibos Chai Shortbread...

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Softened, Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 4 Roobois Chai Tea bags, opened, emptied, and lightly food processed (I used NUMI brand)

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe
Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

To Make: 

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar and softened (but not melting) butter together in a bowl until fully combined.
  3. Place 4 teabags worth of tea in food processor and pulse until fine (see above photo for example).
  4. Add tea, vanilla extract, and flour. Knead dough in bowl with hands until ingredients combine.
  5. Form dough into log about 2" in diameter and wrap in wax paper. Cool in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Slice log into 1/2" pieces. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Recipe yields 25-30 small cookies depending on how you cut them.


Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

Shortbread cookies are great for gift-giving because their low humidity helps them keep for longer. I'll be making a bundle to give to my coworkers this Holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

DIY: Transitioning Your Summer Wardobe Into Fall with Tea Dye

DIY ombre tea dye tutorial
Thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post.

I don't buy the old style rule about not wearing white after Labor Day, but I do like to bring warm fall tones into my wardrobe as the weather cools down. I had a white off-the-shoulder top that wasn't getting much use in my summer rotation, so I decided it would be the perfect test subject for a DIY ombre dye experiment.

Traditional textile dyes can be hazardous to your health and irritate sensitive skin, so I started hunting around for examples of natural dye alternatives, and ultimately decided to brew up my own concoction using a blend of Rooibos, Black, and Turmeric teas. The blend of Rooibos and Turmeric proved to be a winning combination, bringing in tones of blush and mustard, both big hits for fall, while the black tea provided a base tone to ensure proper color saturation. Read on to make your own ombre top...

dye your clothes with tea

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • Stock Pot
  • Tap Water
  • 15 Black Tea Bags, 15 Numi Rooibos Tea Bags, 4 Numi Turmeric Tea Bags, with all tags removed
  • White or Cream Natural Fabric Textiles (I used a white cotton top)
  • White Vinegar
  • Hanger
  • Stove Top
  • Timer
  • Test fabric (optional, but useful if you want to be sure that the end result won't surprise you)

how to dye with tea, featuring Numi Organic Rooibos and Turmericombre dyed t-shirt

THE PROCESS:

  1. Fill a stock pot halfway with regular tap water. Place on stovetop and heat until boiling.
  2. Take all the hang tags off of 15 Rooibos tea bags, 15 black tea bags, and 4 Turmeric tea bags.
  3. Once water is boiling, add tea bags to the pot. Simmer and steep for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. While tea is steeping, visualize your garment in 3 sections. You will need to keep these sections in mind as you dip dye to achieve a noticeable ombre effect.
  5. Run your garment under cool tap water, then wring out the excess moisture before placing in dye bath.
  6. Turn off heat. Do not remove tea bags. 
  7. Clip the shoulders of your damp garment to a hanger for easier maneuvering, then submerge garment to highest point you want dyed (I left a small portion near the top of my garment white). Immediately remove the top third of the garment for a light wash of color. This will be the lightest section.
  8. Make sure the rest of your garment is aligned as straight as possible with surface of the dye bath to get an even ombre effect. Set your timer for 15 minutes and let the bottom 2/3 steep.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove the middle third of your garment from the dye bath. Make sure the bottom third is still completely submerged, then let steep for an hour or more. At this point, I took my stock pot off of the now cool burner and placed it outside in direct sun to keep the dye bath warm. 
  10. After one hour, remove your garment and see if desired effect has been achieved. If not, continue steeping. 
  11. Once you are ready, remove your garment, rinse lightly under cool, running water, then place in a clean pot comprised of 1/2 cool water and 1/2 white vinegar. This will help seal the dye. 
  12. Rinse through once more, then let your garment dry.
  13. Wash sparingly to maintain dye saturation.

THE RESULT:

DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top
Before and After
DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top

As you can see, the rinsed and dried garment will be considerably lighter in color than it appeared while still saturated in tea. Keep that in mind and steep longer if you want a darker effect. I love this pretty yellow and blush-tan ombre and I think it suits my complexion better than the original top.

Have you dyed with tea or other natural dyes? I'm trying out indigo next!

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See my other collaborations with Numi here.


Recipe: Fair Trade, Organic Thai-Inspired Spiced Milk Tea

Special thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post

If you've ever been to a Thai restaurant (or better yet, Thailand) you've likely seen ombre Thai Tea served in a jar or a tall glass. My local Thai restaurant makes a great version of this with just the right amount of sugar and spice.

If you haven't had Thai Tea before, the flavor profile is reminiscent of iced chai or bubble tea depending on the spices used and the amount of sugar added. It's the perfect mid afternoon pick-me-up on a hot day because it's refreshing, energizing, and filling.

Traditional Thai Tea combines Thai Tea leaves with sugar and a spice blend of cardamom, cloves, and star anise. I wanted to put my own spin on it, so I opted for one of Numi Organic's spiced teas mixed with organic sugar, cloves, and half & half. Though the color and viscosity of my tea is different from traditional Thai Tea, the flavor and refreshment factor are right on par, perfect for a lazy afternoon spent reading in the shade of a porch.


Thai-Inspired Spiced Milk Tea for Two


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

TO MAKE:
  1. Add 2 cups of water, 2 tbsp. sugar, and a few shakes of ground cloves to a small pot. 
  2. Heat on medium high heat. Gently stir until all sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Once water is boiling, take the paper tags off of 4 spiced tea bags and submerse in pot. 
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. 
  5. Take pot off heat and let tea continue to steep until the water is room temperature.
  6. Pour room temperature tea and tea bags into a glass or plastic container and let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight. 
  7. After steeping, remove your tea bags, pour tea in two glasses, and add cold half & half to taste. You may add ice if you wish. 
  8. Drink immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


I've tried to make my own spiced tea at home before with less-than-stellar results. But this recipe is my new go-to when I'm craving a sweet spiced drink. It's easy enough to make on an easy Saturday morning in between other chores and tasks, and it stores well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Let me know if you make it and how it turns out.

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See my previous collaborations with Numi here. 


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The Henna Experiment: Dyeing My Hair with Henna + NUMI Organic Rooibos Tea

dye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaboration
Special thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post. All opinions (and results) are my own.

The last time I dyed my hair with henna, I was intrigued by the instruction booklet's suggestion to use hot tea instead of water to alter the final color: black tea to reduce the red undertone, red tea to enhance it. I stuck with regular hot water that time around, but I made sure to stock up on tea for the next time. And that time is now!

As I discussed in my last post on the subject, henna has been used as a natural, organic hair dye for centuries. It's known for it's thickening and conditioning properties and, of course, its distinctive red tone. Since I've been hankering for a new hair style (you may have noticed I'm growing it out), it was the perfect time to make a statement, so I decided to add red (or Rooibos) tea to my henna powder for vibrant red hair.

I chose to use Numi Organic Tea because of their commitment to fair trade practices, sustainable infrastructure, and quality. They kindly sent me a range of teas to select from for my little experiment and I decided to stick with their traditional Rooibos. Numi tea is really delicious - unlike many grocery store brands, they use full leaf tea in their bags for a richer flavor - so I made sure to use every last drop of it by drinking what I had leftover from the dye process while I let my hair steep. It's not every day that you can say you drank your hair dye or dyed your hair with a beverage. The efficiency freak in me feels quite satisfied, so I'm coining a new term for this process: tea-fficiency.

dye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaborationdye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaboration

The dyeing process is actually quite simple. Don't let the plethora of preparation materials intimidate you.

You'll need: 


Two tea bags, a plastic spoon, a glass or plastic mixing bowl, henna powder (I purchase mine from Whole Foods), gloves (definitely use them - I didn't and now my hands are orange!), a plastic bag or shower cap, and a towel.

Make sure you're wearing clothes you don't mind dyeing and avoid metal utensils and bowls, as henna reacts with metal.

For bright red hair...


  1. Make sure your hair is clean. It may be damp or dry.
  2. Pour boiling water over two Numi Organic Rooibos tea bags and let steep for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of henna powder to a glass or plastic bowl. You can always add more if you run out during application.
  4. Add tea until mixture takes on the consistency of yogurt.
  5. Put on gloves and apply mixture with your hands, making sure to cover each strand from root to end. Make sure to cover counter tops and surfaces, as henna can and will dye ceramic tile and other materials. 
  6. After a thick coat has been applied to your hair, wrap a plastic bag or shower cap around your head, then wrap a towel over that. 
  7. Wipe off your ears, wrists, forehead, and neck to keep henna from dyeing unwanted areas. 
  8. Brew yourself some extra tea to sip as you sit in a warm place (I sat in my back yard) for at least an hour. 
  9. Wash your hair thoroughly, first with warm water, then with 1-2 rounds of shampoo. Finish with conditioner, then rinse with cool water.

Remember:


Henna is heat reactive, so it's important to apply the henna while the tea is still warm, adequately cover your head to close in heat, and find a warm place to let it do its work.


The Result:


  red tea and henna hair dye with Numi
Before and After

red tea and henna hair dye with NumiNumi Tea DIY henna

The interesting thing about henna is that it will actually get brighter in the hours after you finish dyeing your hair as it continues to react to heat. You can expect your henna to last 4-8 weeks depending on how frequently you wash your hair. The color will fade back into your regular hair color over time.

I LOVE the result of my Henna + Numi Rooibos Tea experiment, and judging by the incessant compliments I've been getting, so does everyone else. The red is quite assertive without looking alien. Keep in mind that your results may vary depending on your base color, but the tea should deepen your red tones all the same.

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For more creative uses for tea, check out the Numi Tea Garden Blog. 


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