Sunday, October 23, 2011

baby, it's cold outside

Canning jars are all over this house. I use them for everything, from their intended purpose to all sorts of everyday uses. I drink hard cider and beer from them around campfire. I freeze jam in them. I line the barn wall with old ones and fill them with nails and bolts. I lug a quart jar with a lid around with ice water and a lemon wedge instead of a water bottle. I use them to hold feed for chicks in the brooder, and I never pass up the chance to get a few more. Canning jars are the unofficial mascot of this farm, and this life: tough, useful, practical, simple, and occasionally breakable.

So here's my problem: I love coffee and I love canning jars. However, as spill proof as my quart jar of morning coffee is, it gets cold in a manner of minutes. Straight up glass does not retain heat. So I want to hold a contest here on the blog and what we're going to do is turn a regular quart jar (regular lids or wide mouth) into a coffee tote using whatever natural materials you have around your homestead. You can use anything fabric, leather, wool, knitted, felted, or contrived. It just should be true to the pioneer spirit of the task, look somewhat charming, and help carry around the jar. If you work in leather and wood, make a sheepskin cosy with a wooden handle. If you knit, try a jar sweater with a yarn loop to tote it around. If you quilt, perhaps batting and sewing gear is all that is needed to create warm jars? I'm not sure, but I do know I need a solution and am willing to offer a contest to find out how to make one for myself! The best designs will be removable from the jars, too. So you can easily wash them.

So, if you want to enter the Warm Jars Contest, all you have to do is create a jar apparatus, and email me a photo and short description by November 15. Then I'll post ten finalists and we can all vote for a winner. The winner will get a pound of Vermont Dark Coffee (a local favorite from Wayside) and a small library of new homesteading books, including a signed copy of the Backyard Homestead, the new Storey book Hunting Deer for Food, and the Kitchen Gardener's Handbook. Winner does NOT have to mail me the winning design either! It's yours to enjoy, but understand I will totally rip it off and tote it all around Veryork this winter!

What do you say Crafty Antlers? Want to help make my jar coffee warm?

39 Comments:

OpenID barntalkblog said...

Heck yeah, I'm totally taking you up on this challenge!

-Autumn

October 23, 2011 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Anke said...

Great idea, I'm going to see if I can come up with something.

October 23, 2011 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Challenge accepted!

October 23, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Two questions:
(1) Do you screw on a lid when you travel?
(2) Do any of your jars have a handle?

October 23, 2011 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I screw on the lid, yes, and lid modifications are allowed! And none of my jars have handles.

October 23, 2011 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Game on!

October 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

Cool idea Jenna. Also, FYI I use them to tote my lunch to work instead of tupperware stuff. Soup, baked beans, leftovers. You name it. These jars may be one of the most important inventions of the past 200 years.

October 23, 2011 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger ASTOLDBYGINGER said...

I'm up for the challenge !
-Ginger

October 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Kasha said...

Oh, this sounds like fun!! I need something to kickstart myself into being creative again (seemed to have lost it along the way somewhere :) )This might be just the project to get me going again. Thanks for the challenge...good luck to all.

October 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger E said...

It doesn't have a handle - but a good wool sock works fine. And it'll keep your coffe warm until Nov 15!

October 23, 2011 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

sweet! I'm in

October 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

What fun! My brain is already working.

October 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

A glass jar would never ever work for me, no matter how snuggled it was in some crafty creation. Nope, I'd find a way to break it in pretty short order, probably at the most embarrassing and inopportune time possible. It also goes without saying that there'd be no supplies in the vicinity for clean up. Nope, I'm a big fan of technology where technology has proven itself superior. I carry a big (40 oz.) stainless steel wide mouth water (fits ice cubes) canteen with a close-fitting neoprene insulator. There's a handle built into the lid and a strap on the insulator and if I load it up with ice, it stays cold all day. I would be a menace with a glass jar but this canteen is pretty much indestructible and should last for years.

That said, I look forward to the creative outcomes of Jenna's challenge. Ready, set, go!

October 23, 2011 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Sounds fun! I'm in! :D

October 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Okay, here's mine as another upstate NYer. Jenna, sooner or later (or now), you will recognize us.

Here's what you do. Wrap it up with newspaper. I doubt you need a picture. Just take some newspaper and roll it around the glass jar with your coffee.

It works great. I've done it so many times with mountain climbs with friends in late fall. For us, it is wrapping a jar or thermos or some other container of hot soup.

We upstaters see what we have and go with it. Doesn't have to be -- but can be -- pretty.

I don't want to discourage anyone else. I can imagine the nice pictures and it will be great to see.

Just saying you don't have to spend money on it.

October 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think proper thermoses and newspaper have their place, and I am all for logical socks and solutions! I didn't mean to overcomplicate, I just thought this could be a lot of fun to design mason jar cosies with natural materials for the homesteading crowd on the go, and a fun way to show off talents in our community here!

October 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Kasha said...

You didn't overcomplicate this at all! You made it clear that you wanted us to use materials we had around. No need to defend a simple and fun challenge you have posted.

October 23, 2011 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Coley said...

I was at the Ann Arbor Fiber festival yesterday & I saw cute felted cozy for canning jars! It looked like it was needle felted, not knit. But I'm sure you could find a pattern on Ravelry for a canning jar Cozy?!?!

October 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger LindaSue said...

OK Jenna it's a go. One question, do you want it for a pint or a quart jar? So I can get the size right. Thanks Linda

October 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I don't mean to sound defensive, just wanted to explain my thoughts. Thank you, all for your interest!

Quart jars, please!

October 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

This should be fun. Count me in.

October 23, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

OK, all you crafty types enjoy the contest. I am of the opinion that if the truth ever comes out, we will find that the use of plastic is a major contributor to the cancer rate. Using Mason jars for drink and food is, IMHO, a sound decision.

October 23, 2011 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger jim said...

take a large styrofoam cup,put inside the jar, cut it off even with the top so you can screw lid on and you are good to go. any fast food joint carries these in varied sizes- i use one when im mowing on my tractor and jar keeps cup from collapsing- have a great day.

October 23, 2011 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Deb Naydan said...

Inexpensive foam tubing cut to size.

October 23, 2011 at 7:25 PM  
OpenID outdoors1968 said...

I'm also in! Saw this post first thing this morning, and had no time to reply to it as I was on my way in to work.......... but when I saw it I had an instant picture in my mind of my design....... like, POOF! Then a few more throughout the day. I'm also a coffee hound and mason jar packrat myself, so I'm all over this like a fat boy on a cupcake, man..........
Al from Pennsylvania

October 23, 2011 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Taryn Kae Wilson said...

I read this and immediately thought of our dear homesteading friend, Lara.

Look what she makes on her Etsy Shop:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/73691074/mason-jar-warmer

I'm going to give her your link so she can sign up!!

October 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Yart said...

Count me in for the challenge.

October 23, 2011 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

You may not really need anything more than this :)

http://www.amazon.com/Redneck-Mason-Drinking-Mug-HercuGlass/dp/B00372M8BW

October 24, 2011 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger Melina said...

So I missed this post until now. I was debating the same thing today because we use the jars for everything and i was like darn I wish I could use it for my hot tea.

October 24, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger quiltaholic said...

Didn't see the post until now because of a very long, not good weekend - but now my creative juices are flowing. I am SO in!

October 24, 2011 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger j.thrift said...

You should make all of the top ten and measure their heat-retaining abilities to get your truest winner. And then tell me which one actually works. Thanks.

October 24, 2011 at 5:49 PM  
OpenID smedette said...

So cool. I've pulled out a jar and am already planning my design.

October 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

To h-e-double hockey sticks with coffee in mason jars. On my last trip to my farmer's co-op I saw the "redneck wine glass", a pint mason jar with a wine-glass stem! Pure genius!

October 24, 2011 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger bbs said...

This sounds like a fun thing to try. I am so in!

October 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Happiness Is My Choice said...

I am sooo excited a friend of mine e-mailed me your article and I will be glad to enter your contest! Woo Hoo! Wait until you see my tea cozy! :~)

October 25, 2011 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger jim said...

jenna- hopefully you have gotten your roof repaired and gone down your winter checklist- ie: truck serviced-be sure they check transfer cases [4wd] and have new wiper blades put on- make sure your basement sump pump is functional also- you know the drill but all of your fan club wants you to have a great winter without a lot of crisis. work from a checklist---[old enough to be your grandfather]

October 26, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
OpenID kindsofhoney said...

This is a clever, wonderful idea. I drink out of jars all the time, and stubbornly brought my warm beverages to my office job all last winter as I had lost the lid to my thermos and refused to by a new one. (My co-workers thought it was weird, but whatever.) It turned out to work great except for the losing-heat issue! Am excited to see what people come up with!

October 26, 2011 at 8:49 PM  
OpenID thisbountifulbackyard said...

I took up your challenge! I hope you like it! http://thisbountifulbackyard.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/crafty-crochet-coffee-cozy/

October 30, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I love the idea of this challenge. I use my canning jars for lemonade, ice tea, and as wild flower vases. As a quilter, I will be using my fabric srcaps to fashion a nice warm cozy.
My daughter told me about your blog and I think you are amazing! I look forward to seeing all the entries.

October 30, 2011 at 5:00 PM  

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