Mason Mondays

It’s no secret–I LOVE mason jars! I love their shape and the color of the vintage aqua jars.  They are incredibly versatile, and can be used for many different functions and purposes. I have used them all throughout my house, and in each instance, they serve a specific need.  For example:

Mason jars on window ledge_1.jpg

I am using these jars in my pantry to provide a splash of color.

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This jar in my kitchen is doubling as a vase,

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while the painted jar in my living room,

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as well as these jars in my craft room have been re-purposed as home decor.

Mason jars work really well for craft projects. Since I tend to use them often, I am starting a new series here on my blog entitled “Mason Mondays” to highlight my posts using these jars. Anytime I feature a mason jar in my project design or packaging, I will post it on a Monday under the “Mason Mondays” heading.

Today is the first post in this series, as I used the 4 oz. mason jars for my husband’s Father’s Day dessert. He loves Key Lime Pie, and when I found this recipe for Key Lime Pie Cups, I knew these would be the perfect ending to his Father’s Day meal.

You start out by filling each jar with a graham cracker crumb mixture,

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followed by the key lime filling.

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The filling gets topped with Cool Whip and graham cracker crumbs, and then the cups need to refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Just before serving, place a lime wedge on each cup.

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All I needed to do now was put each Key Lime Pie cup on a dessert plate and pour the coffee. My husband could hardly wait to dig in!

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Look how sweet each dessert looks in the 4 oz. mason jars! And it tasted just as good as it looked–I love it when that happens! It was very light and refreshing–a perfect summertime treat. My husband had 2 servings, so I think we can call this recipe a success! Check, check, and check!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. Take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

Pinterest and a Paint Brush

My latest projects all started with a bench and Pinterest.

Before Bench picture

I bought this bench to sit on our side porch, and while the fit was perfect; the color was not.  So, the first order of business was to re-paint it.

Bench re-painted x 2

What a difference a coat of paint makes–it doesn’t even look like the same piece of furniture! The bench looks so clean and fresh, and it creates the perfect spot to sit on the porch. Now I need to dress it up and make it even more welcoming, and this is where Pinterest comes in. After all, there is no better place than Pinterest to search for ideas and options on anything and everything!

As is so often the case with Pinterest, not only did I find a great project idea for the bench, but I also found several others that I wanted to make–all using chalkboard paint. Let me show you how I transformed a suitcase, a mason jar, and a metal tray.

Items pre-paint

Let’s start with the mason jar.  I have a small window at the bottom of my stairs, and I had been looking for some type of nautical decoration to put on the ledge.  When I ran across directions to paint a mason jar with a striped pattern using chalkboard paint, I knew my search was over.  I followed the directions exactly, using Americana Decor’ Chalky Finish paint in Everlasting and Vintage colors. Once the jar was painted, I completed the nautical theme by adding some rope around the neck of the jar, creating a tag with “from sea to shining sea” on it, and filling the jar with driftwood pieces.

Finished Mason Jar

I love how this turned out–it’s even better than I imagined it would be! I love the colors and the stripes, but my favorite part is the distressing of the words on the jar, which is accomplished by rubbing sand paper over the lettering after the painting is complete. Here is a better picture of the distressing, and also a close-up of the tag:

Jar close-up

Jar Tag

I cut the tag shape out of vintage paper, and the wording is computer-generated. Before I move on to the metal tray, I wanted to show you a couple of pictures of the jar on the window ledge. I can’t help but smile every time I walk by it!

Jar on window ledge

wide angle jar shot

Now, on to the metal tray. During my Pinterest search, I came across a picture of a tray that had been transformed into a message board of sorts, with the help of chalkboard paint.  I liked the idea, so I decided to give it a try.  I started by spray painting the entire tray in an aqua color, and then I painted the bottom of the tray again with several coats of black chalkboard paint.

Finished tray

I was curious to see whether the chalkboard paint would actually work like a “real” chalkboard, and it absolutely does.  I can see myself using this tray for all kinds of different occasions, like this summer drink station.

I’ve saved the best for last, as it is the transformation of the suitcase that I am most excited about.  When I came across a picture of a vintage suitcase turned into a welcome sign, I knew that’s what I wanted to put on my bench.  You can find these little suitcases all over–craft as well as home goods stores–and they come in all sorts of colors and themes.  I chose this suitcase for it’s sea glass color scheme as well as the ocean life images.  I painted a patch in the center of one side of the suitcase with the same black chalkboard paint, and here’s the result:

Finished suitcase

I was worried that the paint wouldn’t adhere to the smooth, glossy surface of the suitcase, but after letting it cure for 3 days, the paint was permanent. Now let me show you how this suitcase looks on the bench:

suitcase on porch bench

This is exactly what my bench needed, and it creates a unique and warm welcome to all of our guests. Who could ask for more?!

If you want more information and/or instructions on any of these projects, please check out my Pinterest board.

Happy 4th of July to each and every one of you, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C

Link

It’s Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start to summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see summer arrive, especially after the long, cold winter we endured this year. I decided that I wanted to make a special cocktail sometime over the weekend, so that my family and I could raise our glasses and toast all that this season has to offer.

A toast requires a beverage, and not just any beverage, but something fitting for the occasion. For New Year’s there’s champagne, for Christmas there’s hot apple cider, and for our Memorial Day toast, I’m going to try a Blackberry Mint Mojito. Any recipe with blackberries in it is special to me, as I consider them to be a summer delicacy. Plus, I think they are a really pretty fruit–I love their deep, rich purple color.

Now, a disclaimer: I never planned to blog about these mojitos. If everything had gone as I planned, I would have made the mojitos, loved them, made another batch for my family over the weekend, and blogged about a set of beach-themed cards I made this past week. But these mojitos took on a life of their own and snowballed into something above and beyond a Memorial Day cocktail.

Here’s how it happened:

The first thing I did was make a mojito by cutting the recipe in half. I used a half-pint mason jar as my glass.blackberry mojito

I was pleased with how it looked, but, before I tasted it, I decided I wanted to try making a non-alcoholic version as well. For this, I omitted the lime juice and the mint leaves, and substituted diet Sprite for the soda water, and made a blackberry spritzer of sorts. This picture shows the mojito on the left, and the spritzer on the right.alcoholic and non-alcoholic

At this point, I was excited to taste each version, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The rum and mint is a nice combination in the mojito, and I found the spritzer to be very refreshing.

Since I still had some puree left, I decided to try one more option.  I made some Crystal Light lemonade from a packet, and added it to another half-pint mason jar that had already been filled with a jigger (1.5 oz) of the puree and ice.  I stirred it up, took a sip, and decided that this was my favorite version so far.

blackberry lemonadeI now had three really good options to use for the Memorial Day toast, which I was pleased about, but the presentation of each of the drinks left a lot to be desired.  They were all just essentially a beverage in a mason jar, and left me asking “What’s so special about that”?

Here’s where the crafting comes in, as I decided that I needed to dress up the drinking glasses with paper products. I headed down to my studio to see what I could come up with. It’s amazing what a few simple paper products can do to change the look of something!

The first project I want to show you is what I did to dress up the glasses. Since the blackberry lemonade was my favorite option, I decided to go with a yellow and purple color scheme.  I changed out the mason jars for milk bottle glasses, as I thought they added more charm. Look what cupcake liners, paper straws, and doilies can do to a plain milk bottle glass:serving idea

These glasses went from “drab to fab”, and even water would look fantastic served in them! As an added bonus, if our Memorial Day toast happens outside, the cupcake liners will protect the drinks from the bugs. It was all beginning to come together, and I could have stopped there, knowing that I had solved how to give the drinking glasses some pizzaz, but I was having too much fun.

I then thought about how the ingredients for the blackberry lemonade would make a fun hostess/thank you gift, so I challenged myself to come up with a some packaging. I love to design packaging for gifts, so I was in my element. I determined that if you were going to give the gift to one person, then you would need a small jar of the blackberry puree, a milk bottle glass with cupcake liner and straw, a bag with a packet of crystal light and doily in it, a card, and a gift tag. thank you gift items

This is such a cheerful gift ensemble, and it would be perfect for an end of the year teacher gift, a thank you gift, or just to brighten someone’s day. I packaged the ensemble in a purple, polka dot paper loaf pan (say that three times!) that I had found at Michael’s last week, wrapped it all in clear cellophane, tied it up with baker’s twine and a tag, and here’s what it looks like all ready to give to someone:all wrapped up

I have one more idea and picture for you.  If you wanted to take the ingredients to a friend’s house and enjoy the blackberry lemonade together, you could use a cardboard beverage tray and include two dressed up milk bottle glasses tied up with tags, the small jar of blackberry puree, a bag with two packets of Crystal Light lemonade and two doilies in it, and a card, if appropriate.  It could look something like this:friend gift

And that, my friends, is the story of how I started out with a recipe for a Blackberry Mint Mojito, and ended up with blackberry lemonade, gift ensembles, and a huge mess in both my kitchen and my studio. Such is the life of a paper crafter–you start with a project in mind, and before you know it, that project snowballs into something else, and what you end up with is nothing like what you started out to make!

I am looking forward to this weekend, and to toasting the summer season with blackberry lemonade served in dressed up milk bottle glasses. I hope that you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend as well, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-