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The following guest post is by Aubri Parmenter, Mason Jar Lifestyle’s new intern extraordinaire! Aubri is a super busy wife, student, photographer, and mother of two. She is also a serious Mason jar fan who wants to show you how life changing these little jars can be. You’ll be seeing more of her around these parts in the coming weeks and months. Take it away, Aubri!

When a lot of us think about mason jars, we immediately think about food, and definitely not about bathrooms. If you’re anything like me (or my husband!) you probably grew up with mom and grandma (and great-grandma in my case!) putting up yummy things each fall. My mother-in-law gave us an amazing basket at my bridal shower filled with home-canned corn, carrots, green beans, tomato sauce, apple sauce, peaches, pears… to represent the year’s supply of home-canned yumminess and love she had put up for us for our first year together. For many, many years, Mason jars have just been about food for me. I always washed and stored them in the garage for the next canning season… until now! Now, I have seen the light and there are mason jars in my bathroom. I promise I’m not nuts and after you see these tips, I bet you’ll be grabbing some of your jars out of storage to put them to use in your bathroom too!

1. Bathroom storage simplification: Just about everywhere you look these days, you’re finding people utilizing mason jars for storage. It’s not a new thing, but it is certainly something that you could incorporate into your home with relative ease and great impact. If your bathroom counter is anything like mine used to be (low on style, high on stuff) corralling your things into pretty jars can be provide a great facelift to your design. Grab a pretty tray that’s collecting dust in a cupboard, or rescue one from a thrift shop and try out the following sizes of mason jars to store those sometimes-cluttery bathroom supplies! Any of the jars mentioned below would work great with one of our sundry lids, making the jar a two-in-one holder! • quarter-pint jars are the perfect size to hold q-tips, and you can even use quilted jelly jars if you like a little extra sparkle • half-pint jars make excellent holders for cotton rounds • pint jars are perfect for toothbrushes and makeup brushes (using a frog lid helps keep them upright and not touching!) • quart jars are great for cotton balls

2. DIY cleaners We hear a lot of scary things about the health hazards that certain chemicals can present. We also hear a lot of scary things about all those cleaning chemicals finding their way into our wastewater, and all the empty plastic bottles in our landfills. Either way you slice it, simplification of our cleaning routines is a great thing. Our grandmas and great-grandmas used fewer products than we did and still had sparkling clean homes… when you make your own cleaning products; you save money and contribute less waste to landfills. What does this have to do with mason jars? EVERYTHING!

• Throw some home made scouring powder into a half-pint jar, put a shaker lid on and you’re ready to clean that tub • Place an Adapta-Cap Sprayer Lid on any regular-mouth jar and fill with all-purpose cleaner. I like the 12 oz quilted jelly jars for this application because they’re easier to hold and they look so pretty, but really any regular mouth mason jar will work.

3. Homemade foaming hand soap Foaming hand soap was born to live in a mason jar. If you’re using a pint jar, many even have measurement marks on the side. It is so simple to whip up a batch of DIY foaming soap right in the jar, no messy measuring cups required. Top it with a foaming soap pump lid and you’re ready to go.

It’s safe to say that mason jars are pretty handy when it comes to streamlining your bathroom clutter. You can line them up on a counter, arrange them artfully on a pretty tray, or even create a rustic piece of functional art by securing them to a piece of wood using pipe clamps. The only limit is your imagination!

It’s been awhile since our last giveaway here on the blog…so let’s have one now! How about $25 to spend on any Mason jar accessories you’d like from Mason Jar Lifestyle?

8 styles of gold, bronze, and copper stainless steel soap dispenser pumps for Mason jars, DIY, or replacement

Would you use your $25 to buy a Mason jar soap pump?

Solar light lid on Atlas Mason jar on fence post at night

Maybe some Mason jar solar lights, too?

Check out the Rafflecopter below for several chances to get entries. The contest ends at noon MST on Tuesday, October 20. The winner will be announced here. Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The following is a guest post from my good friend, Mitzi. Mitzi has proven both her canning and cooking ability time and again. Not only did she teach me how to make the best peach jam I’ve ever put in my mouth, she brought utterly delicious, homemade dinners to our family each time we brought a new baby home (if you’re keeping track, we have three kids). So, when she offered to provide her recipe for Mason jar ice cream, I basically said “yes” before she could even finish asking. Without further ado, here’s Mitzi (who, as an aside, is also a highly skilled seamstress and owns an upholstery shop in Denver along with her talented husband, Danny. Check it out here.):

If you love homemade ice cream as much as I do, this recipe may be dangerous because it comes together in about ten minutes, it mixes right in a quart-size Mason jar, and there is no cooking required. Xanthan gum is used to thicken the mixture to simulate the custard-y mouthfeel of an egg-based ice cream. Of course if you want to do an egg-based ice cream, a Mason jar is the perfect vessel for chilling the ice cream base prior to churning.

Here’s the basic recipe for the no-cook ice cream: 1 pint heavy cream 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup crushed fruit (peaches, berries, whatever) 1/4-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 1/2 teaspoon vanilla whole milk (more on this later)

Mix the crushed fruit and a couple of tablespoons of the sugar in a small bowl and set aside. While this mixture sits the sugar will draw liquid from the fruit to form a syrup (yum!). In a quart-size Mason jar, add the remaining sugar, the cream, and the xanthan gum. Shake well to combine and keep shaking occasionally until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the fruit and syrup to the jar and shake again. You should already see some thickening of the mixture as the xanthan gum does its work. Add the vanilla, and then fill the remaining space in the jar (up to the glass rim on the outside) with whole milk. Shake again and refrigerate (20 minutes minimum, but it can sit in the fridge a day or two if needed prior to churning.) This recipe will perfectly fill a 1.5 quart ice cream maker with some truly amazing homemade ice cream, while mixing it in a quart-size Mason jar automatically limits the volume of your ice cream base, allowing room for the ice cream to expand as it aerates. Churn ice cream according to your machine’s directions. The finished product will have a soft-serve consistency; freeze for 2 hours for a scoopable texture. The lucky people with whom you share this will not believe how easy it is (if you decide to tell them, that is…)

This post could also be titled “Best Laid Plans.”

I was lucky enough to recently be invited to a canning class, which took place at the non-profit where I used to work. We made the most incredible peach jam I have ever tasted.

I had planned to take a series of photos of the class to share with you all on the blog. That didn’t exactly happen. Best laid plans. Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to have fun and live in the moment or if you want to stand in the background and document everything. I chose the former, and I can’t say I regret it – I had so much fun! Here are a couple of the pictures I managed to snap, as well as the recipe for the best-peach-jam-I-have-ever-tasted. Enjoy!

Peach Jam recipe: 4 cups finely chopped peaches (peeled) juice and zest of 1 lemon 1 package pectin 5.5 cups of sugar

Bring fruit, lemon, and pectin to a boil, stir in sugar all at once. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour mixture into prepared mason jars, seal and process in a water bath canner to preserve.

My son and his new friend, Mary:

Some of the crew (and the teacher) working hard:

Some of us thought knitting was a little more fun than making jam:

Oh, boy, do we LOVE our friends, fans and customers! Our Instagram friend Denise recently provided us with this fabulous Mason jar pickle recipe, and we had to share! I picked up some cucumbers this morning at our neighborhood farm stand (yes, Denver still has little farms scattered here and there!) and they have these recipes written all over them! OK, take it away, Denise!

Here are two different recipes. The quick pickle one I usually use the smallest number on the mandolin, so they are pretty paper thin pieces. And they are *super* vinegar-ey…so that’s up to you if you add more sugar. I’ll just give you the basics. I usually let them sit in a bowl for 30 minutes, and then I put them in a small mason jar. They are good for a week or more, though ours don’t last. These I do because my other recipe takes 24 hours before they are good. If we are doing burgers, or something that like that last minute – they are good to do quickly. And, well, I just love pickles.

The other recipe is Ah-mazing. You can slice them however you’d like, but we like the 2nd number on the mandolin. We’ve also done spears, but for some reason my kids prefer the slices better.

Also – make them as hot as you’d like. I add cut jalapenos and serranos to nearly every jar, or just sliced super thin over the quick pickles.

I hope you like them!

Quick pickles: 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced 2 kirby or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced 2 cups white vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) ½- 1 tsp red chili flakes 1 tsp dill seed (I’ve also used fennel seed) 1 tsp coriander

Combine everything except the jalapenos and cucumber in a small pot and bring to a boil. Pour over prepared veggies. Allow to sit until liquid is room temperature. Drain and serve. (Don’t store in the liquid…or in much of the liquid – because they get REALLY tart.)

24 hour pickles: This recipe is for 1 quart jar – but I do as many as I have pickles for. So I cut the cucumbers all up – pack them tight in the jars, and go from there. The recipe is for just 1 jar.

As many cucs as you can fit in the jar 5 sprigs of fresh dill, or 1 TBSP dry dill 2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped 3 TBSP white vinegar 1 TBSP kosher salt Distilled or filtered water – enough to top off the jar 10-20 black peppercorns ¼- ½ tsp red pepper flake ½ – 1 tsp dill seed ½ 1 tsp mustard seed

Put 3 Tablespoons of vinegar in the bottom of each jar. Add the spices – and fill the jar as tight as you can with the cucumbers, dill, garlic and sliced or whole peppers (if you want them spicy). Once everything is in the jar, fill to the very top with distilled or filtered water, and screw the lid on super tight. Shake the jar to distribute the flavors, and leave on your countertop for 12 hours. Shake again, and turn the jar upside down for another 12 hours (make sure the lids are good and tight). After they have sat for 24 hours, shake them up one more time really well, and store in refrigerator. You can eat them right away – but they are better chilled. These are best eaten in the first 24 hours.

We now carry more than 100 accessories to turn your everyday Mason jars into something awesome! Click here to check out our shop and all our fun new arrivals! 🙂 You won’t believe what you can do with a Mason jar!

Don’t forget to sign up for our e-newsletter for updates, coupons, contests, new arrivals and more! Sign up here.

Hi Friends! We’ve posted before about the Ball Heritage collection (the limited re-issue of blue, green, and purple Ball jars) and received so much excitement from our readers. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have a source for the green jars. Well, friends, have we got some great news: look no further than Ace Hardware! Not only do they have green heritage jars, but they are ON SALE! Oh, oh, and not only that, but you can order them online and have them shipped to your local Ace Hardware for FREE store pick-up! Because they are an online exclusive, you must order them online for store pickup. We’ve included product links below, plus, we also included links to some other sizes of Ball jars that are currently on sale! Act fast, because once the green jars are sold out, they’re gone forever!

Green jars:

$9.99 Ball 1qt Green Heritage Collection Jars (1440069100)- 6 Pack; 23% Savings At acehardware.com Only While Supplies Last! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$7.99 Ball 1pt Green Heritage Collection Jars (014400690204)- 6 Pack; 20% Savings At acehardware.com Only While Supplies Last! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

Other jars:

$8.49 Ball® 16oz Regular Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack; 15% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$9.49 Ball® 32oz Regular Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (62000); 27% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$12.99 Ball® 32oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (67000); 7% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$8.00 Ball® 16oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (66000); 38% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

Canning products:

$89.99 Ball Fresh Tech Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker; 10% Savings At acehardware.com Only 8/1-8/19/2015! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$119.99 Ball Electric Canner; 8% Savings At acehardware.com Only 8/1-8/19/2015! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

*This post contains affiliate links.

United by Mason jars! This is the place to share your very favorite Mason jar memories and stories (and read memories and stories from others)! Share your story in the comments. Enjoy!

(Want the story behind the Mason Jar Project? Click here.)

We’ve been tossing around an idea for awhile now, and we decided it’s time to take the first step toward making it a reality. Let me explain. When we first opened Mason Jar Lifestyle, we couldn’t really decide who our “target market” was, and that’s generally thought of as a no-no in the business world. Did we appeal to the new wave of urban homesteaders, the DIY crowd, homemakers, urban “hipsters,” etc. etc?

We couldn’t choose one group, and we didn’t want to. So we basically forgot about it. And then, last week, we had a meeting with a friend who has a very successful small business, and she asked us, “So, have you chosen a target market?” When we explained that Mason jars didn’t lend themselves to being pigeon holed like that (because who doesn’t like Mason jars?), we had an “aha!” moment. That’s exactly what makes Mason jars so special.

You’d be hard pressed to think of a more iconic, timeless item in American culture and beyond (Mason jars have made their way to practically every country, in fact). Everyone has a memory of a Mason jar. We all have a story. It doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 80, live in the country, a big city, or the suburbs — a Mason jar has somehow impacted your life. Maybe you canned pickles with your grandmother (as I did), or perhaps Mason jars were part of your wedding decor. We want our target market to be everyone who enjoys Mason jars. Uniting people is exactly what we want to do, and that’s the idea behind The Mason Jar Project.

This is where you all come in. I know that our customers and fans come from all over the country (and the world!) and are of all ages and backgrounds. We want to hear your favorite Mason jar stories and memories. They can be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page; we just want to hear them!

Click here to contribute your story to the project–simply leave your story as a comment on The Mason Jar Project blog post. We will regularly feature your stories in our newsletter and as featured entries on our blog. However, all contributions will officially be part of The Mason Jar Project and will be visible on the original blog post for all to see. Let’s think of it as Chicken Soup for the Soul meets This American Life. The goal is for these to be a pleasure to write and fun to read.

We don’t yet have an end date for the project, but we recommend submitting as soon as you think of a story or memory! Again, click here and submit your story as a comment. If you have any difficulties submitting your entries, please feel free to email me at maggie@masonjarlifestyle.com

We thought about giving a prize for a “winning entry,” but, honestly, our goal is for people to contribute to this project because they genuinely want to be part of a fun and unique project that brings us together. We have plenty of giveaways over on our blog, but we want to keep this project non-competitive and fun.

We can’t wait to read and share your stories! United by Mason jars!

Enjoy!

I feel like I introduce every post with the fact that our family uses Mason jars for practically everything. But it’s true! This post, however, is not so much about Mason jars as it is on the wonder of reusable straws (which, of course, do go perfectly with Mason jars and straw lids)! Even when I’m not using a Mason jar to drink from, I still need a straw now. I guess all of our glass and stainless steel straws have spoiled me! Last night, I was relaxing with a glass of lemon ice water, and all I kept wishing for was a straw to complete the experience. Somehow, water just tastes better out of a stainless steel or glass straw! 😉

Every morning, our family has smoothies. We drink them from Mason jars with smoothie straws. Until recently, I was a little concerned about the sharpness of the edges of the straws with the kiddos drinking from them. That fear is gone now with our new “rounded end” straws! Trust me, I have (accidentally!) jammed one in my own face, and, of course, it hurt a little. But it was way better than when I’ve (accidentally!) jammed other straws in my face. Note: I am a klutz.

These babies are the best! We know you’ll love them! And, because we love you, we’re giving away a four pack (you choose the size and style) of these awesome little rounded end straws (that even have our logo on them!)+ a cleaning brush; see Rafflecopter below to enter (Contest begins on 7/16). We also have a sale going on through Monday, July 20, where if you buy two, you’ll get one free! The discount will automatically apply once you put three in your cart. You can mix and match between our Rounded Stainless Steel Straws for Half Pint Mason Jars, Pint Mason Jars, and Quart Mason Jars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway