10 Uses for Mason Jars You Need to Know!

We’ve all seen Mason Jars adapted in to wedding centre pieces, lunch boxes and candles but here’s the ultimate hipster guide to using these versatile jars in ever aspect of life! We’ve collated the top 10 uses for Mason Jars that we hadn’t seen before, no chalk paint or glitter here!

  1. Mason Jar Bird Feeder

Perhaps you’re a bit starved of company right now or looking for things to do with the kids while you self isolate. If you have a mason jar handy you can make a bird feeder in under 10 minutes!

You will need a mason jar with a handle, a dowel rod or straight stick, some wire or strong string and bird seed.

Effortless Mason Jar Bird Feeder

Here’s what the finished article could look like. This version is from DIY Idea Centre and you can find all the instructions here!

2. Mason Jar Mini Green House

Our Sprouts!

Want to eat something fresh? Make your Large jar into a green house and sprout micro-greens at home. We use a handy mesh lid that we found at a garden centre to have Alfa Alfa and Red Clover sprouts on demand for sandwiches, avocado on toast, in salads, you name it! It’s fun to watch and the sprout are growing by day two, making us feel like we are supreme homesteading gardeners!

3. Mason Jar Mug

Adapters for Mason jars create the ultimate reusable mug. It’s basically a sippy cup with zero capacity for keeping your drink either warm or cold, however, you will look exceptionally cool.

Picture courtesy of Amazon

4. Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

As you may know, we’re big fans of the refillable soap dispensaries and the mason jar now has an attachment that you can order to convert your jars into a soap pump. The great thing about this is that when you want to refill, you just put a regular lid on the jar and head out to your favourite dispensary for a fill. If you’re looking for hand sanitizer at the moment, some of B.C.’s distilleries have begun making it, and will fill your container for you affordably or in some cases for free. The soap dispenser pump works either way!

How to make your own Mason Jar Soap Dispensers - Awesome tutorial with lots of photos! at LoveGrowsWild.com #diy #masonjar

How to tutorial for up-cycling existing soap pump! Thank you to Loves Grows Wild.

5. Mason Jar Sewing Kit

Feeling crafty? You can purchase an adapter pin cushion or make your own and keep your sewing kit safe in one place. If you have a sewing kit, you can probably make this easily.

Here’s a free tutorial from “It all Started With Paint.”

image

6. Mason Jar Money Box

The lids are available to buy, but I wold recommend making one yourself. After all, we are talking about cutting a small slit in the top of an existing jar lid. It’s not rocket science, but you’ll want some sand paper to file down the rough edges after you cut the hole. Beer fund? Holiday Fund? Kid’s piggy bank? the possibilities are endless!

7. Mason Jar Fermenter

Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit: Simplified Fermenting in Jars Not Crock Pots! Make Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Pickles Or Any Fermented Probiotic Foods. 3 Lids, Extractor Pump & Recipe eBook - Mold Free

This is a new one for me. I like making home made ginger beer but that’s about the only thing that ferments on my menu. Apparently you can make your own kimchi in one of these, we’re going to give sauerkraut a try! Apparently people who eat a fermented food as part of their diet are healthier and live longer! Our goddaughters parents use this one which they got as a Christmas gift. We’re not affiliated with this brand but our fiends had success with it. It’s available on Amazon.ca

8. Mason Jar Toothbrush Holder

Picture courtesy of Amazon

Again you can buy and adapted lid or make one yourself. It’s basically a lid with holes in it for toothbrushes to hang out in. Imagine how cool this will look next to the soap dispenser in your bathroom. OMG, chills….

9. Mason Jar Matchbox

I love this one for the fireplace or the camper van. Get the tutorial from The Burlap Bag!

10. Individual Bake Dish

Let them eat cake…or bread…or other baked treats!

Picture from Simple Bites

Since Mason Jars have long been used for canning, they can stand the temperatures in ovens! you can bake breads and cakes in them and then decide wither to use them straight away or can pressure can them for later. We’ve done both and they turn out great! Here’s a bread recipe from Simple Bites and if you’re interested in canning cake or bread, check out one of our favourite YouTube Channels “Simple Living Alaska.” Eric and Ariel make zucchini bread for canning and we found it works a treat!

So there you have it, 10 Ways you can be even more hipster by making use of Mason Jars! Have fun and stay safe! Happy Hipstering!

Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

On average, Canada generates 720 kg of waste per capita (see the average by province).

Yikes!

The grocery store is one place you can quickly reduce that number by making some simple changes.

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Re-usable bags have been a staple in Vancouver Grocery stores for a long time, but you can still choose to buy a plastic bag for 5c. if you need one. In Canada, the town of Leaf Rapids, Manitoba banned plastic bags in 2007…countries like Italy, China, and Bangladesh have done the same (Read more), but Canada wide it hasn’t happened yet.

Here in Vancouver, I’ve found that reusable bags at the grocery store cost between $1.00-$5.00. You can buy fancy ones from lots of places now, garden centres, farmers markets, even our local library has them (generally more expensive)!

thomas-le-pRJhn4MbsMM-unsplashPhoto by Thomas Le on Unsplash

For fresh produce you can choose net bags. They are sometimes on sale in the produce section. We use a cheaper version: small laundry bags for separating delicate items. They are made of nylon usually, which is obviously a plastic but you can reuse them for years if you’re careful.

The completely plastic free option is to use paper bags. When you’re at the store, the mushrooms often have paper bags with them for packaging to stop them going soggy. I’ll grab a couple of these and write the bin number of bulk foods on the side to avoid the plastic bags. The checkout assistant has yet to complain.

Tea bags are no longer compostable in many cases! I know! I didn’t know either! To make the bags more durable and to stop them splitting, many companies have incorporated plastic into the fine mesh of the bags! You can check with the manufacturer of your favourite blend or try loose leaf teas.

nathan-dumlao-tCddc_YOGRQ-unsplashPhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Coffee can also be bought at bulk stores, you can also visit smaller chain coffee shops like Bean around the World or independents and many of them will refill your coffee bag and give you a discount for doing so! This is also a great way to check that you’re buying free trade ethically sourced coffee.

Change your habits

This is a big part of it, the COVID-19 pandemic has given me plenty of time to reflect on this. We all want convenience, but it’s not difficult to make a few small changes.

If it’s bagged in the fresh produce area, don’t buy it. This may require a change in your shopping habits, but the truth is, there are plenty of smaller grocers (independent and family run) that sell their produce unpackaged. Coleslaw mix is convenient, but you’ll save money and get better flavour if you by the carrots and cabbage and shred them at home yourself.

Boycott Styrofoam – mushrooms and meats seem to be the main offenders here. If you go to a local butcher or the butchers counter in the supermarket you can get your meat hand selected and wrapped in paper if you ask.

Bagged frozen fruit and veggies: instead by fresh and freeze them at home yourself. Buying bulk dried beans and peas will save cash and save on plastic. They keep longer and you won’t get freezer burn!

In the cosmetics aisle avoid scrubs and washes with plastic beads in. They get washed out to sea are contaminating oysters, clams and other sea life, limiting their ability to reproduce (Read report here).

Cleaning products, this is a tough one. We’ve yet to find a toilet cleaner at the bulk store, but you can buy laundry detergent at places like The Soap Dispensary (Vancouver), or try making your own (see post).

You can also select shampoo bars instead of bottles. Looking for more tips? Take this quick inventory at home.

Bokashi Composting Review

variety of green plants

I was skeptical when the Bokashi Composter first came home, but I’ve become a convert. this is the best way I’ve found to accelerate the composting process and be able to compost in an apartment.

Traditionally, you need a yard and space to get a decent compost heap going, but above all, you need time. We live in 850 square feet in Vancouver and consider ourselves very lucky. We love to Garden and have a huge garden box that takes up most of our outdoor space.

Compost and garden supplies are expensive, and while we’re able to compost via a bin in the recycling room, nothing beats using our scraps to make compost that we don’t have to buy. The goal initially was to make the garden cheaper, the result is that it’s less work than going downstairs.

So what do you do? In a nutshell you take your food scraps and chuck them in the composter instead of the bin downstairs. Add some of the Bokashi bran and wait. The official wait time is 4-6 weeks. We live in Vancouver and maybe it’s our climate but it generally take a bit longer, I like to leave it 8 weeks if I can.

After its had two weeks in the bin with the bran, I drain the liquid (Which can be used as a tea for plants when diluted) and mix it with reclaimed dirt from the planter box in a tote on the balcony. It smells pretty bad, but its worth it! 6 weeks later the earth and compost mix is a rich soil that can be used to start seeds or plant out mature plants, and what’s better is that after the initial investment it’s free!

How does it work? I think magic, but apparently it’s microbes. Healthy soil is full of it and kitchen scraps are what they like to eat, the Bokashi bran aids the process and speeds things up!

We’ve had our composter a year and got two bags of bran with it. I’m still working through the second bag. our “soil factory” (the tote) cycles through easily, its sealed so it doesn’t smell and irritate the neighbours and we haven’t spent a penny on compost in the last 6 months.

If there’s a downside, it’s the smell. It’s like sour fish garbage, but like our tote the composter is completely sealed so you’ll only get a whiff when you open it to deposit your scraps. We’ve found that thinks like nut shells and avocado pits take too long to break down but I generally add them anyway. When I add scraps I rough chop them first to aid the process. I wash our composter out whenever I empty it. It’s a quick rinse on the balcony, and it’s way better to do little and often, than leaving it until you can’t bare the smell, trust me.

Our composter came from “Bokashi Living” and we’ve found their service super fantastic. I’ve not shopped for anything else related to the composter since then so I can’t compare, but the experience was good. If we ever live somewhere bigger, I’ll probably get a second one. I know some people start out with two, so that they can keep filling while one is breaking down in it’s two week “sit” before it goes in the soil garden.

At the end of the day, our cash is hard earned, composting is always the right thing to do for the planet, but I’d rather find the saving in my wallet than give our food waste away.

Photo by . ▃ on Pexels.com

5 Creative Things You Can Do in Quarantine

There’s a lot of negativity surrounding being stuck indoors while we quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19, but there is plenty you can do while at home that will leave you feeling positive and lifted. It’s no secret that creative activity lifts mood and makes us feel better, as well as giving us purpose.

  1. Your To-Do but Putting it Off List

Now is the time to tackle some of the jobs you’ve been putting off. For a lot of people that is things like going through cupboards and purging their space of stuff they don’t need. Like it or not, there is only so much Netflix you can watch before something inside you will drive you to clean or tidy something.

What to do with all the stuff you find that you don’t need anymore? The Thrift Stores are mostly closed so now you have boxes or bags of clutter outside the cupboards. Hit Facebook and see what people need. In Vancouver there are Groups like COVID-19 Coming Together (Vancouver) where you can ask for what you need and give away what you don’t. Someone out there could probably use the bread maker or nutri bullet that has been cluttering up your kitchen for months/years with out use.

73173629_10156754108028660_5801367216112795648_oThere is also The Buy Nothing Project search for the name of where you live and join a group. You can probably give away household items and clothes, reducing waste and giving new life to your unwanted items. You can also ask for what you need, so it COVID-19 has left you unemployed or unable to go into work, this won’t put additional pressure on you.

2.Combat Shop-pocolypse!

young salad

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

People have been going nuts in the stores, empty shelves where pasta and rice use to be, and of course toilet roll. While you can’t grow these things, you can plant some of your fresh stuff indoors ready to plant outside as the weather improves. Even if you only have a small space like a balcony, you can easily grow salad greens, lettuces, beans (the bush variety will grow in pots), tomatoes etc. Seeds can be mailed in the post and plant pots can be sourced free on craigslist, and in the buy nothing groups references earlier. This is a fun thing to do with kids too. Struggling for pots? cut the bottoms of 1 gallon milk jugs, plant greens in washed out cans or containers, they don’t need much space or root depth! We’ve used an empty shoe box and even a pizza box for greens and it worked! If you want to get inspired, here’s my favourite You-Tube Channel, Hollis & Nancy’s Homestead They give start to finish advice on growing almost any garden vegetable.

3. Make Your own Multi-Purpose Cleaner

man in gray shirt cleaning clear glass wall near sofa

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

If you’re stuck inside, or f you couldn’t get any at the store try making your own!

Here’s a basic recipe for your reusable spray bottle*:

Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Is not a disinfectant, there is no guarantee that it will kill bacteria or viruses on your surfaces.

• ¼ cup of white vinegar
• 1 tbsp baking soda
• 1 litre of hot water
• ½ a lemon
If you’re looking for something to clean your kitchen surfaces, bedroom furniture, bathroom and general odds and ends with then look no further! This general, all-purpose household cleaner will freshen up, scrub and naturally disinfect all in one handy mixture.
Recipe: simplebites.net

A spray bottle of White vinegar will deal with limescale and mould in your bathroom, but be careful to focus on the grout and do a test patch first. It can leave marks on stone tiles.

*If reusing a spray bottle that had something else in it previously. Make sure you rinse it out properly before adding the new cleaner.

4. Create a Home Office Workspace

If you’re short on space and finding that you need to work from home to avoid contact with others, first of all, congratulations on having a job that allows you to day that! Not everyone does.

You may not have a space where you can work. Many people certainly where I live, don’t have a second bedroom, and it’s really not good to work in bed, so no desk? No problem.

If you have a coffee table or a shelving unit with shelves that come out, you can build your own desk.

You will need, your coffee table top or a shelf large enough to put your laptop computer on. As many big books as you can find.

If you’re using a coffee table, I recommend building book stilts for it to stand on. You want to stack your books largest and heaviest at the bottom and work your way up. if you’re going to be working on your couch than choose a height that is about 3 inches above your knees. It works best if you can stack at all our corners.

If you’re using a shelf. Find  a spot of wall and build two legs of books using the larges books at the bottom and working your way up. Again make it the height of the chair you’ll be sitting in and leave yourself about 3 inches space between you’re knees and the shelf bottom. You will need to be conscious of the shelf when you leave your desk to avoid knocking it over. It’s also a good idea to put a heavy book on top of the shelf at each end to hold the shelf steady while you’re working.

Another option if you’re really in a pinch is to remove your dishwasher or open the doors of a lover kitchen cabinet and empty it. You can sit on a stool and use the counter as a work surface. Desperate times, call for desperate measures. Instagram your desk creations and your friends will think your a mad genius!

5. Make Your Own Hooch (Must be of legal drinking age where you reside)

food healthy red blue

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

Where we live people didn’t just go nuts in the grocery stores. The liquor store rush was insane!

When you’re stuck inside, with less cash and no where to go, you can get creative by brewing something tasty for yourself. Berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or even plumbs have natural yeast on them. It’s best if they’re organic, but if you can see that pale white matt colour on the skin, that’s yeast! Organic ginger can also be used to start a brew!

Get a plastic or ceramic container to hold your starter (this is what the yeast mix is called before you start brewing.

You want to have a ratio 3/4 FILTERED water to 1/4 sugar plus the berries of your choice. Make sure that your containers is very clean. I boil mine in water for ten minutes to be sure, then cover with a cheese cloth and rubber band.

You need approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120–180 millilitres) of yeast starter per gallon (3.78 litres). That’s one whole cup per gallon. You can google millions of recipes for home made hooch based on your flavour preference. Organic juices work best in my experience.

After 3-5 days you will begin to see bubbles in your starter. Let it ferment for for 6-10 days before adding it to your juice and fermenting (see your chosen recipe)! I recommend getting an airlock for large jars, or a basic kit. You can probably get some bits from your local buy nothing group, or online very affordably.

Most brews that we’ve made with wild yeast at home have been about 5% alcohol which suits us just fine. Higher percentages can be achieved with commercial brewing yeasts and wine yeasts. Enjoy!

Wild Lectionary: The Boy with Epilepsy- Listening Again

Delighted to have been a guest blogger on Wild Lectionary. At 2 years seizure free this week it feels wonderful to have written epilepsy in the Bible and my own experience.

Radical Discipleship

img_5191_med_hr-2 Wing and a Prayer, 2014, mixed media, L.J. Throstle

Lent 2C
Luke 9:28-43

By Lucy Price

Matthew, Mark and Luke all contain seizures and demons in the same sentence and some even translate the word to epilepsy. Lunatic and moonstruck are closer to the original translation, but in any case growing up in the church as a person living with epilepsy, hearing the story of the boy brought to Jesus for healing left me with a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat.

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The Religion of Less Plastic

I received a calendar from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network covering the season of Lent, each day with a suggestion of how to use less plastic. Why? Well it turns out that Anglicans in Canada promise to strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth when they are baptized.

Interesting.  If being religious means relating to or believing in a religion, then can refusing, recycling and reusing based on faith become a religious practice?

Looking at this calendar it’s easy to argue yes.

I shared this calendar with a couple of non-Christian friends and asked them for their feedback. They could agree that it made sense, and expressed that it was a cool thing for the church to be doing. Beyond that, it wasn’t an evangelistic moment, merely something to be noted.

Shopping with one of them for groceries later in the week I watched as my friend opted specifically to buy peppers that were not already in a plastic bag, despite them being more expensive than their value pack alternative.

“I’ve never thought about it before,” she said. I put that calendar up on my fridge for the kids and realized there’s a whole bunch of stuff on there I don’t do.”

If a behaviour is repeated based on a belief that it is good for the environment and a “small thing” one can do, are we doing it religiously? Perhaps the answer depends on your use of language. I hope you enjoy the calendar and perhaps find some tips or reminders about saying no to plastics.

Up-Cycling Fashion PowTown Style: A Review of Eunoia

assorted-color clothes lot

Picture by Photo by Shanna Camilleri on Unsplash

Visiting Powell River this past weekend, I was stunned to find up-cycling in the heart of the town site where the pulp and paper mill has been the dominant industry since 1912.

Walking into the new Townsite Market, freshly opened on December 9th 2018, I came upon Eunoia, a fibre studio and gallery filled with up cycled fashion and ideas for the home.

In a society driven by the economics of mass production like the town’s local mill, time slowed down as we walked the a gallery of beautiful items, rescued and re purposed from clothing castoffs. One of a kind hats, shirts and jackets hung among the hand made felted jackets and aprons. A favourite that stood out were pop can earrings: literal pop art! Circular discs of aluminum cans with patterns from bright craft beer designs and well-known logos like Coco-cola sparkled on the shelves.

I found myself re-thinking the idea of simply donating clothes to thrift stores and imagining what could be when older clothes, sheets and hangings come to the end of their original lives. The textile artists at Eunoia, embracing “beautiful thinking,” have gone beyond simple re purposing, and created an entirely unique fashion line.

The closest I’ve come to up cycling clothing is beginning work on a t-shirt quilt, an idea first seen in our house on the first Twilight movie (a guilty pleasure for sick days spent on the couch with broth based soups in hand!). We’ve also used old textiles as cleaning rags at home and in the studio, and taken some to be recycled at H&M.

For now Moon Snail Creative is content to up cycle old pillow cases into reusable shopping bags. We don’t have the sewing skills to work on clothing…yet! For now we’ll leave the wearable up cycling to the professionals, some of whom you can find in Powell River at Eunoia.