Friday, September 28, 2012

Mason Jar Cozy

I do love mason jars.

And now that cuppow makes the great BPA free lid to put on a mason jar to turn it essentially into a sippy cup for grownups... I find myself wanting to use mason jars more and more. And then I found myself wanting a cozy for my mason jars.
I wasn't really thinking about researching a pattern until I finished making my own, but it doesn't really matter because I still can't figure out how to read a knitting pattern.
I basically knit a shape that made sense to me - I opted for it to cover the bottom, but the next ones that I make will not cover the bottom.
Once done knitting, I sewed it up while it was on the mason jar. This ensured the fit that I was hoping for.
Luckily the shape was just right and sewing it up was super easy.
And for the final product, I sewed a piece of the yarn through the top of the cozy and tied it up, giving it just a little extra something to keep it from sliding down.

And then once I was done, I decided to hop on the internet and see how other people were making cozies for their mason jars... since I was sure that others love mason jars as much as I do.

I found cool ideas for sale on etsy, but they aren't quite what I was looking for.

And then I found this cool cozy, but if was for mason jars with regular lids (which is also very cool but now what I was looking for).

Then there were the patterns for cool knitted and felted cozies made for carrying mason jars around - I love these and will come back to them some other time.

But for now, this is my favorite pattern that I have some across. But remember, I can't follow patterns, so essentially I just look at it and try to copy it visually. Hopefully some of you can make better use of some of these patterns.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keeping it simple (fridge pickles and watermelon vodka)

I'm trying over here.

I'm constantly trying to find the balance between this life that we have created and keeping it simple. Mostly, it's easy. But when I look around at how much stuff we have, it becomes way more difficult... even if only in my head.

So every day I try to do a little something that makes me feel like our life is more simple than it is.

With abundance of food (thank you food gods!) that threatens to rot in the fridge before it gets consumed, I am determined to find ways to make use of it before I have to put it in the compost bucket. This means lots of fridge pickles, salads, stir fries and fruit crisps.
The pickles in this photo are about to be opened tonight and I'm pretty excited about them. The more I make fridge pickles, the easier it gets. I play around the flavors and ask my family which they like best and make mental notes for future recipes.

My basic fridge pickle recipe:
(makes 2 quart sized mason jar's worth)

- 2 cups of organic distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons or so of organic raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons or so of sea salt or pickling salt if you've got it
- pickling spices (I buy these from our bulk section, but you can use any combination of pickling spice ingredients or none at all) - I add about a tablespoon, maybe more

Bring these ingredients to a boil while prepping the rest. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves well.

- veggies of your choice, chopped however you want and packed into the mason jars (leave about an inch at the top)
- garlic chopped and distributed evenly among the veggies
- fresh dill (optional)
- chopped onions (optional)
- anything else that you want to add (optional)

Pour vinegar and water mixture over the veggies and put on lids. Let them cool down for a while and then put in fridge once cool enough (about an hour or so). Let pickle for a few days, then crack them open and eat! They can last in the fridge for about 30 days... but I've only read this - the pickles in my house don't make it that long to test.


The other day I came home with some watermelon that needed eating very soon. I chopped up most of it and put it in a container in the fridge to make it an easy to grab snack for the kids - I find that making some of the food easily accessible as well as appealing can make or break the chances that my family will eat something that needs eating.
The rest of the watermelon I used to make some watermelon infused vodka.
I packed the jar about halfway full of watermelon and filled it to the top with vodka. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, but you can leave it in longer if you want. I have to clearly label stuff like this in my fridge so that no one mistakenly thinks it's water... I don't think that would be a pleasant surprise for anyone.
Once done, I like to mix this with an organic limeade that I have been splurging on lately. But sparkling water and fresh lime juice would be great too. A great end of summer drink.


Lastly, I want to leave you with this inspiration to live more simply: