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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DIY Decorating With Mason Jars

When my husband and I first started living together, we ate our fair share of pasta. Cooking was not a class I had taken in college, and browning ground beef was about the extent of my culinary expertise. The sauce that we always chose, we noticed, came in a great glass jar. After washing it out, we realized they were actually Ball jars, or Mason jars. Having grown up in South Carolina and eaten at PoFolks on a regular basis, I knew that Mason jars were perfect for sweet tea.

We continued collecting them until we had quite a nice set. We could easily have provided sweet tea for a dozen people. After we had gotten married, and I learned to cook beyond boiling water, we got other glasses. When we moved to California, the Mason jar glasses were a great reminder from where we had come. Our new friends thought them quaint and thoroughly enjoyed when we served cocktails in them.

I have since expanded my collection outside of Mason jars. The little glass jars that homemade jams come in, extra large ones that held our locally made yogurt and tomato sauce, and teeny tiny ones (I have forgotten their origin) that now adorn a high shelf in my kitchen. I have seen these in quite a few homes and they seem specifically designed for such a display.

In late September, I received in the mail the October edition of Southern Living magazine. Right in the middle was a wonderful use for Mason jars! Check this out when you have time and a few extra jars on your hands. This describes how to make "pumpkins" with orange paint, a black permanent marker, and a few jars. Amazingly, my local hardware store actually sold pumpkin-colored spray paint. It's perfect for this craft, which my 4½ year old enthusiastically took part in. I am looking forward to expanding this to other seasons. I can imagine pink and yellow for Easter or maybe color-coded for a themed birthday party.

Here is another fun way I used Mason jars: I have a chandelier in my dining room that came with the house. It is not my favorite, but not so heinous that you immediately find yourself scouring stores for a new one. From the center extend eight arms, and the bulbs are covered by opaque cylindrical glass that gives off a faint yellow-tinged glow. Now, I have had my eye on the blue chandelier that Sarah Jessica Parker has in her Hamptons home for a while. Unfortunately, $6,000 is not in the budget for lighting, so it’s not going to happen in my house any time soon. But while staring at my dining room lighting, I was inspired. I removed the yellow cylinders and replaced them with Mason jars. (The downside is, I no longer have sweet tea glasses. I need to restock.) I know it’s not a direct copy, but imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

After these projects, I now have jars in my kitchen, my dining room, and my front doorstep. (I even have one in the bar to serve as a flask in a pinch.) Please let me know if you come up with other fabulous ways to use your extra jars!

Post submitted by Content Team Member, Katie

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