Just what is it about jars that makes them so darling?
Let's face it.... they're pretty boring objects really. A bit of moulded glass with a lid on top. Yet - however boring they may be, dare I admit I have a bit of a jar fetish? (to add to the ever growing lists of things I simply can't do without). Perhaps I like them for their simplicity, their usefulness, their style. Or maybe because so many can be collected by recycling them - hence qualifying as freebies!
Cheap-skate - Moi?
I'm not the self-proclaimed Car-Boot sale Queen for nothing!
There are so many different styles to choose from. Plain ones, coloured ones, patterned ones. My husband simply fails to grasp why I go into raptures when I see a pretty jar and feel unable to part with it.
Mason jars, Kilner jars, I love you all.
and yes.... even the humble ol' jam jar gets a big hug from me!
Even before we were encouraged to recycle nigh on everything, I could still be found soaking jars for days on end to remove the labels. Boy oh boy, but do those label manufacturers know how to make glue! There is nothing quite like dipping your hands into a soapy, gloopy cold concoction of slimy water, containing slug like entrails of labels. That delicious little moment when you shudder as your fingers enter the water (please tell me it's not only me who can't abide cold dishwater), grasp your jar and bring it to the surface - hoping against all hope that the label has finally given up it's frenzied grip on life.
Once the newly adoptive mother of a gleaming recycled jar - what to do with it next? Oh, the possibilities!
The literary next step
Personally, I like to ponder on the future usage of my jars for a while, and whilst the thought process is underway, the said jar will be stored carefully away - awaiting it's creative destiny.
The "In Reality" next step
Okay...... so I tend to forget all about them and chuck them in the corner cupboard in the kitchen. You know the one.... that little treasure trove where we squirrel away all the useful junk that we mean to do something with - one day! My corner cupboard likes to keep it's wares. Once swallowed up into it's cavernous jaws, it slams it's awkward little
mouth doors shut. Retrieving anything from the gloomy depths is so blooming difficult, the odd time anything does make it out into daylight it's likely to be vintage.
This year however I have great plans for my jars.
(note I say plans..... this planning stage could last for years)
I'm loving this new craze I've noticed on Pinterest. There appears to be a very "Pinteresting" obsession with sticking ingredients inside a jar and giving as a gift. Don't you worry - I'm pinning them all frantically!
How hard can this gift idea be I wonder?
For starters, how do you know just what size jar you need. It won't look right unless the contents are to the top. And then there's the whole business of getting each level
I mean - look at that jar in the picture above - it looks sooooo perfect. Surely that must have been photo-shopped?
Can a mere mortal create that? Darned sure this one can't. I tried layering coloured sand in a jar once on a school trip (I was 35, the kids were 5) and the children's efforts were better than mine. Ah well... they say it's the thought that counts. It will be wonky and they will LOVE it.
I'm loving this little idea too. How gorgeous to pop along to a picnic or barbecue with this perfectly formed bucket of loveliness. Wonderful icy temptations to wow everyone with.
Who am I trying to kid? I will never turn up anywhere with anything like this, at anytime this life. A warmish bottle of wine (very rare I remember to chill) or a rapidly dragged off the supermarket shelves crate of beer is far more my style. Immediately finding a quiet corner with great viewing potential in which to glug my wine, revel in sarky humour - and demand food be brought to me at frequent intervals.
Still....... a girl can dream.
I'm not ashamed to admit I'm more than a little jealous of these wonderful folk who do actually manage to create things like this in the real world. I imagine you all live in a "Little House on the Prairie" existence, but with mod-cons. A world in which the sun is always shining, the home and garden simply gleam, the children are angelic, and where nothing green and unidentifiable is ever found at the back of the fridge.
I'd really like to join you, though I don't think I'm ever likely to meet the membership criteria. Let's say I'm trying..... I've even got so far as buying an apron pattern, and I've never worn an apron in my life!
Whoops! I've been digressing again.
This is more my style! Lump a few jars together, and chuck a few things in. Effort required - zilch. And yet still the humble jar is capable of making a stylish impact.
Jars! I love you xxx
Fancy a jar?
"Cheers, me dears"
History (courtesy of Wikipedia)
The earliest glass jars were called wax sealers, because they used sealing wax, which was poured into a channel around the lip that held on a tin lid. This process was complicated and error-prone, but was largely the only one available for a long time, and widely used even into the early 1900s.
By far, though, the most popular form of seal was the screw-on zinc cap, the precursor to today's screw-on lids. The earliest successful application of this was discovered by Mason and patented on November 30, 1858, a date embossed on thousands of jars. Jars with "Patent Nov 30th 1858" were made in many shapes, sizes and colors well into the 1900s. Since they were made in such quantity and used for such long periods, many of them have survived to the present day.
Another popular closure was known as the Lightning closure, named after the first jar to use it, which was embossed with "Lightning" on the side. More commonly, this is often known as a bail closure, or French Kilner — it consists of a metal wire that leverages a glass lid down when pressed against the side of the jar. While these jars are still sold for storage, they are now rarely used for canning.
The heyday for jars was probably 1860-1900, when an explosion of patents for various closures were issued, ranging from the effective to the absurd. The more absurd closures were quickly abandoned, but often fetch high prices in today's antique market.
All images sourced from Pinterest