Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jam Jars and Such

I've never tried canning anything or making my own jam. Someday I would love to learn, but I didn't grow up watching my parents do any of this so it all seems a little intimidating. I know it would be easy enough to find a tutorial or even pick up a cookbook, but the idea of preserving food from scratch is very overwhelming. Even so, I love the look and feel of mason jars. They're classy and warm at the same time.

Thanks to a small stock pile I found in the basement left by previous tenants, I've gotten to play around with using them around the house in a number of different ways. There are so many good ideas online, and so far I've only tried a few.

Candle Centerpiece

Probably the simplest way to use a mason jar is just to stick a candle in it. Pile on some junk and you suddenly have something of a centerpiece. You can tell we're not huge wine drinkers seeing as this is our whole collection.

Window Garden

I'm not fooling anyone with this one. I've never had a green thumb. So this is a work in progress. This is my third try too. Every time these herbs have popped up and started to grow, they've only lasted about a week before they died. My husband thought they were lacking sunlight, so he moved them from the kitchen to the dining room, but again they died within a week. I'm now thinking the issue is poor drainage. I originally smashed up some cheap terracotta pots and put them at the bottom of each jar to absorb any excess moisture, but I don't think it was drastic enough. This last time I filled the bottom of each jar with about an inch and a half of gravel. So far the basil is all that has popped up but its looking good!

Magnetic Spice Rack

I absolutely love how this project turned out. You would be surprised how much more inventive with seasonings and spices you can be when they are all laid out in clear view instead of hidden in the cupboard.


After finding this tutorial I decided this project would work great on the side of our fridge because its so close to the stove where most of the cooking gets done. The only snags in this project were finding magnets that were strong enough (I ended up gluing three 3/4" magnets to the lid of each), and also gluing the jar rim and lids together. (The gorilla glue I had been using was not cooperating, so they are loose, but still just as functional) I found some really neat printable magnetic sheets at Staples and used those for the labels. Over all it was a lot cheaper than any of the magnetic racks offered online and not difficult at all to make.

There are a lot more mason jar projects that I want to try, so I will post them when I get around to them.

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