Monday, July 2, 2007

A July 4th Project

When a holiday comes around, I like to make some sort of themed project. The problem is that I don't usually think about it until a day or two before the holiday. Which means the project needs to be quick. I have tons of bigger projects filed away for all the major holidays. Some year I'm going to be prepared and remember weeks before the holiday. Some year.On Sunday morning, I started thinking about the 4th being this Wednesday. And I remembered that I'd always wanted to make these little candle holders that I saw years ago at a tole painting convention. I've always wanted to place them along my patio walk when we have our annual cookout. Every year, when I would remember that I wanted to make them, it was always too late. This year though, I had a whole day! (The fact that I had planned on working on the blue and white quilt was beside the point. Or, maybe that was the point -- I was putting off having to make yet more blocks.) I ran to the store and bought 8 jars of baby food and got to work.

They're really pretty simple to make. I removed the labels and washed and dried the jars. I used GooGone to help remove the sticky residue. Then I applied some white paint to the outside of the jar with a sponge. This gives the paint a little texture and doesn't show lots of brush strokes.When the paint was dry, I drew a line to mark the area that was painted blue. I could have freehanded this area without marking it -- I did one jar that way and it came out pretty even. To mark it, I placed a pencil on a short box and put the upside down jar next to the pencil. Then I rotated the jar to draw a line.After the line was on, I painted above the line with a blue paint. When the blue paint was dry, I freehanded the red stripes.When the red paint was dry, I painted some little freehand stars on with white paint. I drew them the way we used to draw them as children and then filled them in. They're very casual and rough looking. A small heart stencil or stamp would have been a good way to go, but I didn't have one, and since this was a last minute project, I had to make due with what I had -- which was nothing!When all the paint was dry, I took a fine tip black pen and drew in some detail lines. (There are lots of possibilities here -- I debated about writing some patriotic words on the jars, but in the end, I just left them as you see in the pictures.) Then I gave the jar a light coat of a spray varnish. After the varnish was dry, I made a hanger out of some wire and attached it around the neck of the jar. For a little decoration, I also tied a strip of red fabric and a little decorative yarn around the neck.

When all done, I put a little tea-light candle into each jar. I had some little garden stake thingies (highly technical term there) so I planted them along the walk and hung my little jars on them. They'll be fun on the patio when we're sitting around, after dinner, in the evening.
If you'd like to make some little jars -- you still have a whole day before the 4th -- plenty of time! ;-) Even if you don't want to paint the jars, you could just leave them plain and tie some little bits around them for decoration. It's the same idea as the bigger jars you've probably seen in catalogs hanging from trees! The sky's jar's the limit!

XOXO,
Anna

18 comments:

Lucy Locket said...

Hi Anna, I already left a comment but it seems like cyberspace has gobbled it up! Those jars look great! What kind of paint did you use? I can't see myself doing Union Jacks but there are loads of other ways to decorate them for the summer (if it ever stops raining)!

picperfic said...

the little jars look great and i love the fluffy stuff on them too! Dare I ask about what happened to the baby food? ;^)

Sarah and Jack said...

Very nice and just in time!

Juliet Echo Mike said...

Ohmygosh, Anna, these are adorable! And thanks for the tutorial--I won't be getting to it this July...but I can see potential for other holidays this year. Just wonderful! XO, Jill

rohanknitter said...

These are the cutest!
We always have a craft time for the kids during our conference (which is always held close to the 4th) and this would be perfect for the older kids to do! Thanks!!

Flibbertygibbet said...

How lovely and festive!

Yummers! said...

I LOVE them!!! How cute along the drive or wherever. I bought some table decorations for the 4th and forgot we had decided to go to a movie or do a movie marathon this year. But, thanks for the great idea and the wonderfully clear instructions. I'm anxious to try this idea with another theme.
Joni

meggie said...

So Cute!
and... what did happen to the contents of the jar?
I am always asking awkward questions!

christina said...

Those are so sweet! What a great idea and so adaptable to just about any occasion.

A Happy 4th of July to you a day ahead of time. :-)

dizzyjadey said...

That's so pretty! I'm always a fan of creative lighting. I used to have something similar with the metal thingies stuck in big teracotta pots instead. I was living in a flat with a balcony and we'd occassionally have dinner out on it in summer with those lights. So, what happened to all the baby food? :-)

Vallen said...

LAst minute? Geez you are a pro. Martha Stweart should watch her backside.

Louise said...

Those look fantastic! It's raining and wintery here so it's lovely to see something that reminds me of a warm summery evening..... I hope you had a fun time.

Karen said...

Love love love this idea and how cute does that look lining your sidewalk. These could be done for Halloween and the holidays, possibilites are endless :). I'm like you, great ideas stored away that show up right before the company does. So they stay stored away, lol.

Hugs - Karen

Thimbleanna said...

Karen! Another very nice comment! You're my mystery commenter that I can't ever reply to. Please send me an e-mail and let me know who you are or how I can respond to you!

XOXO!

www.bigbucketgirl.typepad.com said...

Wow! These are wonderful. Very inspiring. Lovely. I could gush for hours about your little jars..Wow!.

Suzie Sews said...

these jars are so lovely.
Suzie Sews

Mrs. Staggs said...

This is a wonderful idea and yours turned out looking so nice!
I truly appreciate you sharing this idea. Thank you!

Dawn said...

Loooooove these!!!!!!!