Great ideas, everyone! And just so you know, this giveaway will be a random drawing as I could never presume to stand in judgment of your ideas, wonderful as they all are. (I do especially like adaptive reUse's idea for the chalkboard coffee table and Finny's idea for a scoreboard for outside games. I also admire all of you who can plan meals and stick to them. My menu board would be a big crossed out mess as I tend to change my mind at the last minute.)
And I guess I should've known that a couple of you would come up with an idea or two that I actually planned to write about this week. Finny's especially, shouldn't have been a surprise at all (over time, I've realized that she and I have a similar kind of crazy, because, hello, just look at this fantasticness). I don't know Anna well, but she's right there with us, at least when it comes to storage; I'm not sure how she feels about tomatillo t-shirts with pithy gardening geek sayings. (And also, lame, "tomatillo" is not deemed a word according to my automatic spell checker thingy.)
Did any of that make a bit of sense?
So should I just get on with today's post? It's about Mason jars, a subject that I've admitted to having a problem with in the past.
These days I use very few plastic bags thanks to my fabric grocery bags and produce bags. Some time ago I realized that I could also add Mason jars to the arsenal in my war on plastic, especially when it came to buying dry bulk items.
With the help of some fine sandpaper and chalkboard paint (both the spray can and a homemade batch), I covered the flat part of the 2-part lids. Then I could bring the empty jars right to the store and write directly on the lids.
This was a less than ideal situation until I found the (queue celestial music) Chalk Markers (that should be said in a deep God-like voice). Because regular chalk? Not only did it look crappy, but I couldn't fit much more than the item number because the line it made was so thick.
Oh, but chalk markers? So great.
Writing with thin lines gives me plenty of room to fit in the name, item number and/or date which is super handy because, frankly, I don't know how old most of these things are. Some have definitely been around awhile.
And is it lame that the reason I hadn't posted this idea before is because the plain chalk looked ugly? As much as I like functional, I adore pretty.
I also tried putting the chalkboard paint on the side of the jars, but it presented a few problems.
1) I had to get special, smooth sided jars because regular Mason jars have all kinds of raised embossing on the side.
2) When I brought the jars to the store and back, the friction created as they rubbed against each other took off some of the paint, which made me very very sad.
3) I'm not completely sure I actually like the look. Though, to be fair I've only tried it with the green, homemade batch that matches the kitchen and not the black spray stuff, which looks a bit more, um sleek, I guess. In these pictures, they actually look pretty good, but all I notice when I look at them in real life is that the painted areas aren't completely lined up. And based on my experience with taping and painting these, getting them perfectly lined up is pretty hard to do.
And I have just enough OCD in me to be bothered by that. Also, these shelves aren't tucked away in the pantry, but front and center in my kitchen. I just haven't been able to make up my mind to the point where I can commit to painting all my jars.
-If you're interested in painting on the jars, what I did was tape off the area and do 3 coats of the paint using a sponge brush.
-One thing I have noticed while using the markers on the homemade paint is that it sometimes doesn't come completely clean. It seems to work better if you rub a regular piece of chalk all over it and then wipe it off with a dry rag first, though.
-I didn't have this problem at all with the spray on chalkboard paint. Those puppies wipe perfectly clean.
-The lids are washable, but you don't want to let them soak in water for too long or the paint will start to peel off.
More Tips Thanks to an Email I Just Got from Finny
-These markers are NOT messy at all once they're dry, which takes a minute or three. You can scrape it off with your fingernail, but otherwise they pretty much stay put and don't smear at all.
-To remove the water-soluble kind, you just wipe with a wet rag. And according to the website, to remove the waterproof kind, you can use an ammonia based cleaner, like Windex.
For those of you who haven't yet entered the drawing for a set of Chalk Markers, be sure to check it out. It runs through Sunday night.