Archive for the ‘Kilner’ Category

A Very Homemade Christmas – Homemade Christmas Gifts

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

There’s just 2 weeks to Christmas. If you’re anything like me, you’re not quite done (or haven’t even started) Christmas shopping. Maybe the easy to buy for folks on the list are taken care of, but those hard to shop for loved ones are still sitting out there, confusing you. If you’re stuck, I suggest making your own gifts.  Nothing says “I love you, you’re awesome” quite like a gift made with love.  This week, we scoured the internet to find some awesome homemade christmas gifts that’ll thrill even the trickiest folks on your list. So break out your Kilner jars and put those crafting hats on!

Kilner jar candle

First, one of my favorites, candles. It’s actually super-easy to make candles, as this tutorial from Martha Stewart explains, and you can get all of the materials online or at a craft store relatively cheaply. Martha makes hers in a teacup, but you can really use anything from a uniquely shaped acacia bowl to a Kilner jar (see image above) to a pudding basin!  With the right scents and colors, these will look good in anyone’s home. Just match your colors to the colors in their home and you’ve got a beautiful, custom gift!

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Also from the wonderful Martha Stewart, consider bath fizzies. They’re the perfect treat for anyone who likes to kick back and relax in the bath. If you want to get really creative, do a candle with a complementary scent. As seen above, Bath fizzies stored in large jars not only  make a really visually striking gift, but it keeps the fizzies from fizzing from the humidity in the air, instead of in the tub!  Learn how to make them Here, and find the perfect jar to wrap them in here! If you’re feeling like REALLY spoiling someone, you could take it a step further and put together an entire spa in a jar!

 

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Another great gift (inspired by My Baking Addiction)  is a homemade cocoa mix. If you’ve got someone on your list who is either a hot chocolate or a mocha drinker, consider putting together a Kilner jar full of custom hot cocoa. You can do everything from a spicy hot cocoa to a peppermint hot chocolate or you can make an assortment and give a small Kilner jar of each. Bonus points if you stack the jars and decorate them like a snowman.

 

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If one of your loved ones lives somewhere cold, consider giving the gift of comfort. And by that,  naturally, I mean soup. Now I’m not saying to wrap a steaming hot pot and put a bow on it, but create some really warming soup mixes in jars. I love the curried lentil soup pictured above. It makes even the chilliest days feel warm, and isn’t that what you want in a soup? If you’re feeling generous (and who isn’t this time of the year?) give the soup mixes with some beautiful soup bowls.

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Next up? Cookies in jars.  This is an especially great gift for people with kids, or folks who love cookies but don’t necessarily want to do all the hard stuff, like measure!  We did a whole post on Cookies in Jars just a few short weeks ago, so check it out, get some ideas, whip out those Kilner jars and create your own festive mix. Some of my favorite very merry add ins include: Crushed peppermint candies, red and green M&Ms, Festive sprinkles,  Dried cherries, candied ginger, and white chocolate chips.  But use your imagination. Go wild.

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Our friends over at Real Simple gave us this idea, which we think is an inspired use of Kilner Bottles  and a fun way to beat the holiday stress – Infuse your own liquor (both to drink and to give as gifts.)  They use vodka (see tutorial) but you can use whatever you’d like. Pack ingredients and your liquor of choice into a beautiful bottle  (I’m partial to our Kilner bottles, obviously) and rock out. Some of my favorite combos are tequila with pineapple, gin with lemongrass, vodka with vanilla beans, and bourbon with cocoa nibs, but the possibilities are seriously endless.

As you can see, there are a TON of killer gift ideas out there, and you don’t even have to spend a ton of money to make great gifts. As a bonus, these gifts are so unique that even the man who has everything doesn’t have them. After all, they were  made with love!

Check back in on Friday to get some great, foolproof, crowd pleasing holiday recipes, both to give as gifts (hello apple cider caramels!) and to serve at your Christmas dinner.

A Very Homemade Christmas – Christmas Crafts and Decor

Monday, December 9th, 2013

We’re obviously big into baking and crafting around here. Anyone who happens across our blog knows that. And this time of the year, it seems that crafts and treats are absolutely everywhere! Instead of getting overwhelmed by the over-abundance of craftiness, we decided to pare things down a little and put together some of our favorites in an easy little roundup.  Merry Christmas!

This post will cover Christmas crafts and decor, from easy crafts you can do in an hour to crafts that take an entire day. If you check back in later in the week, we’ll be posting a homemade gift roundup and a Christmas treat roundup, so keep checking back.

snowglobes in jars

I absolutely love snow globes. Sure, I don’t have as many as I used to, thanks largely to the TSA not being so fond of me carrying them on the plane, but around this time of the year, I make my own christmas-y snow globes to decorate my home.  I follow this really simple tutorial from the incomparable Martha Stewart and I always get great results.  I use everything from big, half liter preserve jars for detailed scenes to our tiniest blue top jars for snow globes that double as ornaments – Just hot glue a ribbon to the top!

icey luminaries

I’m based out of LA and I totally miss the snow and ice.  To bring a little winter into my holiday decor, I got inspired by this post on Epsom salt luminaries. The effect looks just icy enough to bring a little winter into my apartment without requiring any actual defrosting.  I love doing this with my 0.25 liter Kilner jars. They’re just the right size for tea lights and they look really beautiful with the pine boughs on my mantle.

Sweater-Candles

Now, if you love the idea of luminaries, but hate the idea of bringing even pretend ice into your house, consider a cozier approach, like the folks from Brit & Co did – Sweater luminaries. Lately, Everything from christmas ornaments to pillows have been bundled up in sweater-style knits, so why to create luminaries that do just that?

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If you’re looking for a festive vase for flowers, evergreen branches or holly, consider a glitter dipped jar, like these stunners from Lilyshop (tutorial here.)  They’re perfectly festive this time of year, look awesome at new years, and really serve as a lively accent all year round!

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Also worth considering is a stunning floral arrangement. We’ve got an easy tutorial for making bountiful flower arrangements work in any sized bowl. Whether you use one of our Mason Cash christmas tree bowls, a large wood bowl, or even a traditional mixing bowl as the base for your arrangement. Pick flowers and foliage that screams Christmas to you (red berries and roses, white lilies, freesia and baby’s breath, evergreen and eucalyptus are a good place to start.) Add in elements of interest, from fruit to christmas ornaments to little bells. Arrange and enjoy, all season long.

We hope that this list gives you some great ideas for decking your halls. If you’ve got any inspired ideas we should feature or if you just want us to share your christmas crafts, email [email protected]  This time of the year, we’re all about the sharing.   Check back in a couple days to see our homemade gift idea roundup! There are so many great ones!

If you’re looking for more ideas, you can always take a cute from our festive Halloween Painted jars.  Switch out spooky colors for festive ones and jack – o -lantern faces for holiday motifs and you’ve got instant decor!

Kilner Jar Terrariums

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Winter has decided to come two months early.  Don’t get me wrong, I love winter time, but it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  It’s SO COLD out!  #FirstWorldProblems. With that in mind, I’m trying to create as many fall projects as possible before it starts to really become winter. Let’s take the changing of the seasons and the start of a fresh month as an opportunity to display the best that the fall has to offer. Kilner Jar Terrariums (or, as I’d like to say, Jarrariums) make the absolute perfect display for the beauty of the season. Also, they make a fantastic gift!

I’m a huge fan of terrariums; they allow you to showcase elements of natural beauty, and share that beauty with others. Each terrarium is a vignette, a playground for your imagination.  The small scale of most terrariums also plays into this sense of wonder; just by looking at one, you may be transported to a forest or tropical island. They’re kind of like nature’s snow globe!  I’ve decided to make some for around my house as well as my Thanksgiving table.  They are perfect as hostess/host gifts, or as a group activity for the whole family to participate in this Thanksgiving.  It’s super easy, inexpensive, and you barely need any supplies to craft.

What you’ll need:

Kilner Jars (I used a .5 Liter Kilner Preserve Jar)

-Any outdoor/natural relic you want to display (leaves, pine needles, pine cones, flowers, fruit…)

-Terrarium Tweezers, or cosmetic tweezers (the longer the better)

Fall Terrarium Pacific Merchants

1. Take a nice nature walk outside (or through your local craft store)!  I’m lucky enough to live by some wooded areas, so I gathered some pine cones, needles, and twigs while I was on a hike. Gather some items you’d like to display in your jarrarium.

Kilner Jar Terrarium, Nature Elements Nature Elements Terrarium

2. Start organizing pieces you think look good together!  We’re about ready to put everything into the jar.

Mason Jar Terrarium

Thanksgiving Table Decoration | Pacific Merchants Fall Terrarium

3. Start arranging your nature elements in the jar. For a more permanent (and less wiggly) setup, feel free to glue any of the pieces to the sides of the jar so they stay put.

Kilner Jar Decoration

4. Voila!  Look at that beauty.  Also try both a smaller and larger sized terrarium with our .25 Liter Preserve Jar, and our 1 Liter Preserve Jar.  It’s seriously easy to make something really beautiful with this project, so don’t worry if you’re not a regular crafter.

Happy November 1st, everyone!  Let’s kick this month of with a bang.  Or a jarrarium. #win

 

Kilner Jar DIY Candy Bar – The Best Candy Buffet Ideas

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Kilner Halloween Food in Jars

Looking for a festive, colorful, interactive way to serve and display candy for Halloween?  Searching for ideas for an epic candy buffet? Look no further; Kilner Jars were born to do just this.  Half the fun of Halloween candy (or just candy in general) is the variety of shapes and colors candy come in. If you’re having a party, consider setting up a colorful candy bar with Kilner jars instead of hiding your candy in a bucket, bag, or bowl. You and your guests won’t be disappointed.  Featured below are our preserve jars, clip top jars, and push top jars.  Also featured are some Jar-O-Lanterns we made last week!  Check out our DIY blog post to make your own and add a little extra festiveness to your Halloween candy display! If you’re serving to a group of friend, I suggest setting out either some of our empty Kilner spice jars or 0.25 liter preserve jars for guests to fill with candy! Its like trick-or-treating, but fancier!

Happy Halloween prep, folks! As you can see with this project, it’s never too late to get some decorations up  – these jars are as decorative as they are fun!  Awesome drink recipe to be featured tomorrow; Stay tuned. Believe me, you won’t want to miss it!

Halloween treats in Kilner jars

Kilner Halloween Candy Jars

Kilner Jars Halloween

 

Festive Fall Kilner Jar Cookies – Cookie Mix in a Jar

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Fall Kilner Jars

Need a hostess/host gift going into the fall holidays?  I’ve been making and gifting a lot of these awesome “cookie kilner jars” this autumn. They’re super easy to make, and consistently receive a great response.  Plus, the clip top jar perfectly stores the cookies after they’re baked, or leftovers this Thanksgiving.  Thanks to Very Best Baking for their recipe.  We substituted dried cranberries for nuts, although you can totally customize your cookies however you’d like.  Perfect fall flavors with Turkey Day in mind.

What you’ll need:

(1) 1 Liter Kilner Round Clip Top Jar (You can also use the 1 Liter Preserve Jar)

-2/3 cup all-purpose flour

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/3 cup packed brown sugar (Add a little more for added chewiness)

-1/3 cup granulated sugar

-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (or go half and half!)

-1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

-1/2-3/4 cup dried cranberries (can put more or less to taste)

Get started:

Round Kilner Clip Top Jar 1 Liter

1. Clean your jar! We always recommend making sure your jar is clean before storing any food in jars.

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2. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the Kilner Jar, and whisk until thoroughly blended.  Lightly tap jar on counter or with hands to create a more even layer after each ingredient.

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Kilner Jar Kitchen Storage

3. Layer remaining ingredients, making sure each layer is firmly packed in the jar.

Kilner Jar Cookies

4. Seal, wrap, and include a recipe card (online recipe card download Via Cottage-Industrialist)!  It’s important to tell your recipient what to do with the cookie mix you just gave them…I’ve forgotten before, and it’s a sad situation. No cookies, no fun.

Recipe Card Kilner Jar Cookies

It’s super easy to make these jars look amazing.  Tie a bow around the top of the jar, add the recipe card, or seal with decorative paper.

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Oatmeal Craisin Kilner Jar Cookie

Thanksgiving DIY Kilner Jars

Enjoy!  Share your experiences with this project in the comments below.

Halloween Treats – It’s a Cake in a Jar!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Cake in Kilner jars

Happy Friday, folks!  With Halloween less than three weeks away, we here at Pacific Merchants have been crafting and cooking Halloween projects and recipes like mad people. I spent yesterday afternoon making delicious cakes with our Kilner Jars in preparation for Halloween.  For a more refined, friendly, and cute take on the Halloween spirit, this baking project proves a great family activity, but is easy enough to whip up on your own for a party or your home.  Surprisingly easy with great opportunity to satisfy everyone’s creative Halloween ideas, and of course, your sweet tooth.

What you’ll need:

  • -1 box white cake mix or your favorite cake recipe (white cake is great because you can add food coloring to change the color!)
  • -Non-stick Spray
  • -1-2 tubs whipped white frosting
  • -Food coloring
  • -Halloween Sprinkles
  • -(3) 0.5 Liter Kilner Round Clip Top Jars. You can also use preserve jars, but I love the look of clip tops for this.
  • -1-3 Mixing bowls, if you’re making more than one color batter or coloring your frosting.
  • -Piping Bag/tips (or you can just spread the frosting on)

On to the instructions.  Step one: Put a cake in a jar. . . I kid. But really. . .

1.  Make sure your jars are clean.  It’s really important when using any canning or preserve jars to make sure they’re clean: You don’t have to sterilize them like you would if actually canning something, but just make sure you clean them before baking in them.

2. Preheat oven according to your box or cake recipe.

3. The only part of these jars that shouldn’t go in the oven is that orange rubber seal.  See it? It’s super easy to remove: just pull at the tab and it should pop right off. If you’re using preserve jars, just leave the lids out of the oven.

4. Grease your jars!  Easy to forget, so I’m putting this step up front.  Non-stick spray comes in handy here as jars are harder to grease than an open pan.

5. Batter time!  I used white cake to match any frosting or decoration I would later adorn the cake with.  I kept the batter white, but try making some green, purple, or red batter for a more intense Halloween cake experience!  I dyed the frosting, hence why I recommend using white frosting as well.  Our Mason Cash Mixing Bowls are great for batter making. They’re easy to clean, big enough to mix up a huge batch of batter, and the white interior makes it easy to see when all your color is blended in (if you’re coloring your dough.)

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6. Pour batter into Kilner Jars, filling up about half way.  The cake will expand and rise in the oven, bringing the top of the cake right above the lip of the jar.  If you want to be able to close the clip top jars completely including frosting/decorations, pour batter a little less than halfway full. Making cakes in jars that you can close makes for a great hostess gift, school lunch treat (use a smaller jar) or holiday gift!

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7. Place jars on a baking sheet or pain, and stick ‘em in the oven.  I kept mine in for 43 minutes.  The batter densely sits in these jars, so I followed directions for a bundt cake on my boxed cake mix, versus a 8” or 9” pan or cupcakes.  Plus or minus a few minutes won’t hurt anyone.

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8. Keep an eye on the cakes when they’re in the oven.  They’re ready when you can stick a toothpick or knife through the center of the cake and it comes out clean.

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9. Take out, and let cakes cool completely before going to town with icing/decorations.  We don’t want messy melting icing (unless you do).

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10. Once cakes are cool, frost those babies.  I put whipped white frosting in a piping bag with a professional piping tip to get that cool star effect.  You can also just use a hefty zip-top bag with a professional tip, or no tip, just cut the corner off; it just won’t have that star effect. You can even just use a butter knife and spread the icing on smoothly. Two of the cakes I frosted with plain white frosting, and the third cake I frosted with my own mixed green frosting.  Get creative here!  Mix and match your cake color with your frosting color and/or decorations.  Decorate with sprinkles, candy corn, sugar eyeballs, or cupcake flags.  Most kitchen supply stores and even some big craft stores like Michaels have awesome sugar bats, pumpkins, ghouls, etc.  Drip with red food coloring for a more gruesome cake.

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11.  Grab two spoons, a scarfing partner, and go to town.  Or just tackle that cake solo; that may or may not have been what I did. Enjoy!

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Tune in next week for some awesome Halloween roundups and DIY projects, brought to you by yours truly.  Now go have a craft-tastic weekend!

Halloween Crafts – Kilner Jar-O’-Lanterns

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my humble opinion, October is one of the best months of the year, second only to November (I love Thanksgiving…really I just love to eat). The leaves are changing. I always feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sweaters, boots, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. What’s not to like?

*Evil Laugh*

Another October/Halloween staple: Jack-O’-Lanterns. The Jack-O’-Lantern tradition originated in Scotland and Ireland, but infiltrated American Halloween culture a lonnnnnggggggg time ago. I love pumpkins and I have a slight obsession with Kilner Jars so I decided to combine the two into one of the most awesome Halloween crafts ever . For my twist on a classic Halloween tradition, check out this Kilner Jar-O’-Lantern tutorial. It’s a great craft to do with even the littlest kids. As long as they can hold a paintbrush, they’ll have a blast!

What you’ll need:

-Kilner Preserve Jars
-Acrylic paint
-Paint Brushes
-Palette (Something to mix paint on – can be as cheap as a to-go container lid)
-Masking Tape
-Scissors
-Black Permanent Marker, any other colors you might want to use
-Utility Knife
-Paper/pencil, pen
-Hairdryer (if available. Helps speed up the paint drying process.)

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1. For every craft project I start, I love to sketch out my ideas.This is a great way to get your creativity flowing and try out an idea without the commitment. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This step is especially useful if you’re crafting with kids; it can really help focus and harness OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe wild and undirected energy kids sometimes approach projects with, and you can always send them back to work on it if they’re freaking out about what’s next. Sound familiar? Some questions to help the kiddos brainstorm:

-Do I want my Jack-O’-Lantern to be friendly? Scary? Silly?
-What simple shapes can I use to make the face?
-Do I want to make a design, pattern, or silhouette instead of a face?
-What colors do I want to use?
-Does my Jack-O’-Lantern have a story? Write down or draw that story.

2. Coat the inside of the Kilner jar with one layer of acrylic paint.

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If you want the final product to be a little more opaque, slap on another coat or two after the first one dries.

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I recommend using a hairdryer on the COOL setting in between coats. It can be tricky to paint the inside of the jar, but it gives you that clean, glossy finish without having to paint or spray on a clear coat at the end. Patience and a longer paintbrush will get you there, I promise! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s also possible to decoupage the outside of the jar with tissue paper and modge podge if you like that texture and process, but it’s a little more involved and messy. Trying to minimize cleanup, here! For adults: spray paint the exterior. It will look smoother, but it’s not as kid friendly.

3. Let the paint dry. In the mean time, if you sketched out a plan when you started, revisit it. Think about how you want to approach “carving” your jar.

4. Time to carve! When I’ve done this project in the past with kids, I draw on the glass with a Sharpie or other permanent marker in the places I want to black out. If you mess up, it’s super easy to take off the marker with an alcohol swab, so that’s really convenient.

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5. Outline the face or design you want blacked out. When you’re done, fill in with the permanent marker. You can also create stencils out of masking tape using a utility knife, but have an adult do this! Another reason painting the inside of the jar is more convenient.

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6. Let the jar dry. When completely dry, we recommend sticking in a flameless tea light; this allows you to close the jar (either preserve jars or clip top jars), and minimizes fire risk. They’re just as pretty, more kid friendly, less likely to melt your paint, and you won’t have to replace them throughout the night. Win, win! Thanks to the bright colors, the jars are also eye catching during the day without candles.

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7. Enjoy, and bask in the glory of your finished product. These Jar-O’-Lanterns make great hostess gifts, school party projects, and party decorations. Also, add some mummies to the mix with our Kilner Mummy Lanterns.               OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tune in Friday for another Halloween jar project. . . a craft so delicious that you’ll think you went trick-or-treating 2 weeks early!

Halloween Crafts – Kilner Mummy Lantern

Monday, October 7th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Ghosts, Witches, Princesses, Ninja Turtles, and everyone else,10

Halloween is upon us!  Time to start decorating, if you haven’t already.  This week at the Pacific Merchants blog we’ll be providing you lovely readers with three simple, creative, and fun DIY projects to make your October more Halloweeny for you and your family. These crafts do double duty as a fun activity for the whole family and great, seasonal decor, so get started early and enjoy these all month long.  Ready?  Let’s do this thing.  Mummies.  Kilner Jars.  Tea Lights. Put them together, and what do you get?  Mummy Lanterns.  Heck yes.  Set your eyes on one of our favorite Halloween Crafts. It’ll stare right back at you.

Read on for an easy, fun, festive tutorial on converting our lovely Kilner jars into your own friendly mummy lanterns.  They make the best friends/pets ever; super low maintenance, and they don’t think twice about you talking to them for two hours straight.  Plus you’ll be the coolest crafter on the block this Halloween season.

Halloween Craft Supplies1. Get your materials in order!  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • -Scissors
  • -Rolled Gauze (Can find in first aid section of drug store)
  • Kilner Jars (Preserve, Clip Top, or Push Top)
  • -Hot Glue Gun/Glue Sticks
  • -Googly Craft Eyes
  • -Flameless Tea Lights

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. Time to wrap these little guys.  Place a few dabs of hot glue on the glass to fix the gauze in place.  Watch out for your fingers!  Hot glue guns/glue can be surprisingly painful. We don’t want to use any of that first aid gauze on you… If you’re doing this with kids, it might be wise to have adults take charge of the hot glue gun. Kids can still do all the wrapping once the gauze is glued in place.

3.  Continue to wrap the jar in gauze, evenly or overlapping/folding if you want something chunkier.  Make sure to fix the gauze down with a small bead of hot glue every once and a while and tighten the wrap on the gauze so OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit doesn’t unravel.  If you plan on sealing the jars after (on either a preserve jar or a clip top jar), don’t cover the lip of the jar with gauze, else the cap won’t screw on or clip on.

4. Once you’re done wrapping the Kilner Jar, it’s time to googly-eye this mummy.  I was so pleasantly surprised with the insane variety of googly craft eyes that are now available on the market (at Michael’s)…SO AWESOME.  They have different color irises, eyelids, and even eyelashes, so you can fully customize your mummy to your hearts content.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlaying with the scale of your mummy faces is a great way to inject humor into this project; I love putting big eyes on small jars, and small eyes on larger jars.  It just makes them total characters.  But, it’s obviously up to you and your creative genius to figure out what your mummies look like.

5. If you are looking to make more gory mummies, feel free to drip red food coloring down the sides of the gauze.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6. Stick in a flameless tea light, and enjoy!  We at Pacific Merchants strongly advocate flameless tealights/candles, as they’re more family/kid friendly.  You can also close the Kilner jars without the fire going out, and they come in many different colors!  Great option for dorm rooms, apartments, playrooms, or anywhere you don’t want/can’t have open flames.

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Stay tuned for our Jar-O’-Lantern tutorial on Wednesday.  Happy Monday, folks!

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Now that it’s officially fall, pumpkin flavored treats are everywhere.  From pumpkin pies at your local bakery to pumpkin-scented soap, to the drink that may have gotten the pumpkin trend started: Nice-pumpkin-collection-2-13dede-sxcThe pumpkin spice latte.  It’s delicious, comforting and tastes like fall. We’re  totally addicted.

pumpkin-spice-latte-sign-7854631If you can’t afford the $4 a cup price tag, prefer to keep your drink vegan (the one at Starbucks is not), or if you’d just prefer to make your coffee from scratch, we’ve got an amazing pumpkin spice syrup recipe that’s delicious in lattes, as sweetener in tea, mixed in to cocktails, and even drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

When bottled in Kilner preserve bottles, this syrup makes a perfect hostess gift, birthday gift, or even holiday gift. If you’ve got a Pumpkin Spice Latte lover in your life, this is a great way to make sure they get to enjoy their favorite drink, even after they take it off the menu for another year.  I find that a 0.25 liter preserve bottle full of this syrup is the perfect size for both gift giving and at home.  This recipe makes enough so you can both keep some for yourself and give some away.  Each bottle holds enough syrup for 20-50 cups of coffee, depending on how sweet you like it. It’s the perfect Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe to give as gifts!

Ingredients:image_ 072

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, just make sure it’s 100 percent pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)a6f392e9c6ae4527b712bb86e88be6f4

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  •  Stir together over medium heat until the sugars have dissolved.
  • Continue cooking over low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  • Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, triple layered cheesecloth, or muslin square.
  • Funnel into Kilner bottles OR Kilner preserve or clip top jars.
  • Syrup can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Syrup can be kept fresh longer by hot water processing it.*

To make your pumpkin spice latte, brew 2oz of espresso or very strong coffee in a large coffee mug.  Combine 2 teaspoons of syrup and 8oz of milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. Mix well and steam (if you aren’t able to steam your milk, simply heating it will work, flavor wise.)  Pour the milk and syrup mixture into the coffee, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon (if you like it) and enjoy!

*To preserve the syrup, process the jars or bottles as you would jars for jam or jelly (see our strawberry jam tutorial here.)  Add the syrup to the jars or bottles while hot, and close. If you’re using a preserve jar, keep the screw band ¼ turn lose. If using a clip top jar or bottle, close and latch the jars. Submerge in boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove with jam tongs and let jars cool completely.  Once you’re sure they’re sealed, they’re ready to be stored for up to 3 months.

 

Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Lunch-Packing 101: Beyond Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

With so many schools back in session already, and so many more starting in just over a week, we think it’s the perfect time to talk about packing lunches. Whether you’re packing school lunches for children or brown-bagging it yourself, we’ve got some great lunch-packing tips that will even make eating at your desk like a special occasion.image_ 077 We’ll help make lunchtime exciting again with brown bag lunch ideas to wow you!

First, when possible, ditch the plastic.  We get it, life happens, sometimes a Ziploc bag or a plastic food container is the easiest tool for the job, but with a little planning, it’s easy to ditch the plastic for more environmentally friendly, green   lunch containers.  Wrap sandwiches in compostable paper and pack everything from soups to salad to cupcakes in jars! Glass Kilner jars are better for the environment. They’re re-usable so they don’t take up landfill space. They’re BPA free so they’ll help keep you and your loved ones healthy. And they’re airtight, so food stays fresh and doesn’t leak.

Some of our favorite meal-in jars are salads and soups.  For the salad, I use 1-liter Kilner preserve jars or 1-liter clip top jars.  I put the dressing in the very bottom of the salad, then the protein, then the heavy vegetables. I fill the rest of the jar with the greens, so they don’t get crushed.  When it’s lunch time, I either shake up the jar and eat the salad right out of it, or I empty it onto a plate.  One of the nicest things about salads in jars is that I can make up to 5-days’ worth at a time, stash them in my fridge, and they stay fresh and crisp. No soggy salads here, and in the morning it’s SO easy to grab a healthy, filling lunch.

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I love doing soups in preserve jars (I find that the 0.5 liter jars are the perfect serving size.)  When I make big batches of soup I put the leftovers in jars, put what I think I’ll eat in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. When it’s lunch time, I take the lid off, microwave the soup right in the jar, and eat it that way. It’s a great, no-mess way to have a filling, comforting lunch.

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Second, always include a treat. It doesn’t have to be unhealthy, just think about what will make your lunch (or your kids’ lunch) into a special treat.  I often find myself reaching for 0.35 liter Kilner clip top jars and filling them with fruit salad, pudding,  a few cookies, and even a cupcake. The jars keep baked goods from getting crushed, keep fruit salads from leaking, and are perfect for making and storing pudding.  You could also use the 0.25 liter preserve jars for treats. They’re a little roomier so they’re great for pretzels, chips, and popcorn. I’ve even seen people bake pies and cakes right in the jars. What a treat!

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Third, find the right kind of lunchbox. Jars seal pretty well, but they are made of glass, and even though the Kilner jars are sturdy, we want to make sure your lunch is safe. I love these bags from 100_6491-1024x1024A Tiny Forest – They’re perfectly designed to keep jars safe, upright and well cushioned, and they even come with a re-usable cloth napkin! They come in a variety of colors and patterns from sophisticated florals to kid-friendly ninjas, so no matter who you’re packing a lunch for, they’re sure to find something they love. Plus, the bags have room on top of the jars for extra delicious treats.   Her pint jar bags fit our 0.5 liter jars and her quart jar bags fit our 1.0 liter jars! This great one-woman business will also do custom bags to order.

Fourth, know how the lunch is going to be stored and if it can be re-heated. Will there be a refrigerator available, or will you/your child need an ice pack to keep that lunch fresh?  Can your child microwave their soup at school, or will they be stuck eating it cold?  Both hot and cold foods work really well in jars – Just know your game plan.

Fifth,  don’t forget a beverage. As a bonus, your drink can double as an ice pack. I often freeze tea, water or juice right in a jar, wrap it in a napkin, and throw it into my lunch bag. It’s melted by lunchtime, but it keeps everything else cold!

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Last, but not least, remember a fork and spoon, but if you’re packing for a child, pre-cut everything and skip the knife.  Since schools have become more security-focused, bringing even a butter knife to school has become a no-no. So make sure that everything is bite sized, fork sized, or able to be eaten with a spoon.

We hope that these tips help you get an A in lunch 101. Have a wonderful start to the 2013-2014 school year, everyone!


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