Halloween Spider in a Jar

Materials for this project were provided by Tombow.  The project idea, opinions and mistakes are all me.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 2
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 2

I do not like waiting for things to dry.  Paint, glue, my hair…if it needs a little time to get there I have no patience for it.  That’s why I jumped at the chance to try this Tombow Xtreme Adhesive.  No dry time, you just swipe it on and you’re done.  My kind of glue.  The only big question was what was I going to use it on?

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 1
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 1

I’ll start by telling you that my first idea was a fail on an unphotographable level.  It wasn’t the glue, it was me.  However, attempt number two more than made up for it.  And I have a jump start on Halloween decorating!

To make this creepy little display, I used:

  • mossy twigs from outside my house
  • baker’s twine
  • spider web in a bag
  • wood letters
  • scrapbook paper
  • jar
  • battery tea light candle
  • magnet
  • a spider, instructions here
  • Tombow Xtreme adhesive
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 3
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 3

The wood letters were plain black, so I traced them on the scrapbook paper and glued the paper to the front.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 4
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 4

To create the jar scape, I started by breaking up some of the twigs to make a base for the bottom of the jar.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 5
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 5

I pulled some thin strips of spider web and wrapped them loosely around some taller twigs.  I pushed them into the jar, leaving the ends of the web draped over the outside edge.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 6
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 6

Next in was Spidey himself.  I bent his legs to hook onto the twigs so he wouldn’t fall to the bottom.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 7
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 7

I added glue just inside the rim of the jar in four or five places and stuck the web ends I’d left out to it.  That way, I could control where the webbing ended up and make sure it stayed there.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 8
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 8

I had intended to use glue on this next step, but found I didn’t need it.  However, if yours doesn’t work like mine did, simply glue the magnet to the candle.  Just make sure you can still access the switch.

How to Create a Hanging Light Inside a Mason Jar - Crafty Staci
How to Create a Hanging Light Inside a Mason Jar - Crafty Staci

To decorate the lid a bit, I swiped on glue in a few places, then wrapped it with baker’s twine...

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 11
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 11

..and glued a circle of scrapbook paper to the top.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 9
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 9

You can download the tag and pattern to cut the outer part here.  Which, of course, I glued together.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 12
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 12

I tied it to the jar with another bit of baker’s twine.

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 13
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 13

Not quite as creepy as when you have to catch an eight-legged intruder in your house in order to “set him free.”

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 14
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 14

Unless you want it to be…mwahh-ha-ha!

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 15
Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 15

Thanks, Tombow, for letting me play with your awesome glue!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait

I find it a little difficult to find healthy snacks when I’m away from home.  It’s even worse that I often end up in the coffee shop, full of cookies and other fat-laden baked goods.  I’ve given up a lot of things for this diet, but I still budget in the occasional Starbucks drink now and then.  Recently, I discovered their yogurt parfaits in the refrigerated section.  The berry version is only 220 calories and it’s delicious.  It didn’t take long before I was wondering if it was something I could replicate at home.  Oh, yes I can.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 1
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 1

This actually doesn’t take a ton of different ingredients, and one batch can make 4 – 8 servings, so you’re set for breakfast for at least a few days. 

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 2
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 2

Start the granola first, so it can bake while you whip up the fruit compote.

Granola

  • 3/4 cup oats (gluten-free, if that’s how you roll)
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then stir.  Bake for 15 minutes longer, stirring every 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Pour onto wax paper to cool.  Once it has cooled, break up some of the larger pieces.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 3
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 3

Once the granola is in the oven, you can start the fruit compote. 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (5 – 6 large)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until bubbly.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, around 5 minutes.  Add the blueberries and cook just until they’re heated.  Remove from heat and cool.  Makes about 1 cup.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 4
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 4

You can also cook both berries together from the beginning, just be aware that while the flavor is there, your blueberries will not be recognizable in the final product.

To assemble the parfait, start with 2 tablespoons of the berry compote on the bottom for 8 servings, or 1/4 cup for 4 servings.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 5
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 5

Add 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt for either number of servings.  I like Zoi.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 6
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 6

Top with 1/4 cup granola for 4 servings or 2 tablespoons for 8.  You should have a little granola left over.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 7
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 7

After you’re done looking at how pretty it is, mix it all together and enjoy.  Oh, and it’s still pretty.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 8
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 8

One thing I really love about the Starbucks parfait is that the granola is in its own container so it doesn’t mix with the yogurt and get soggy.  You can just dump it in when you’re ready.  After a little brainstorming I solved that problem with my homemade version too.

Save and wash an empty applesauce container.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 9
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 9

Fill it with the granola and top it with a piece of foil.  Put it upside down on top of the wide-mouth jar lid and twist on the ring.  The foil keeps it in place!  I shook this and it didn’t budge.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci

Here’s the REALLY good news.  If you make this recipe into four servings (as shown in the first photo above), each one will have 206 calories, which is 14 fewer than Starbucks’.  If you make it into eight servings, as shown in my awesome travel container here, it’s only 125 calories!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci 2
Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci 2

Healthy on-the-go snack problem?  Solved.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup

I live about 7 miles from the nearest store.  Not that far, I know, but when I only need one thing it’s impossible to motivate myself to make the half-hour round trip drive.  I’d rather spend that thirty minutes in the kitchen trying to make an acceptable substitute for whatever it was I thought I needed.  This time, it was coffee syrup.

I try to confine myself to two cups of coffee in the morning.  Most days I stick to it, but sometimes I cheat my own system.  Rather than having a third cup of hot coffee, I switch to iced instant espresso.  I know, it’s really no different, but I feel a little less like I’ve fallen off the wagon because it’s in a different cup. 

Last week, on a particularly tiring day, I was headed for that third cup of denial when I realized we were out of both caramel and vanilla coffee syrup.  How does that happen and I don’t notice?  Anyway, I did a quick search for a caramel syrup recipe, but every one I found listed caramel sauce as an ingredient.  Huh?

I decided to aim for a caramel flavor on my own, so I whipped up this syrup.  And I wouldn’t really say it tastes like caramel, but it is oh-so delicious.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the water, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently but gently, until the mixture just starts to come to a boil and all of the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Cool, then pour into a bottle.  Add a tag or label and this would make a great gift.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 5
Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 5

This would also be tasty with some other spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  I think I would try brewing them in the water  (the way the Chai Tea Concentrate is made), then using that water to make the syrup.

In case you’re wondering, the way I make my iced espresso is I fill the 20 ounce glass half full of water, add about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso, fill to about 3/4 with coconut almond milk, sweeten to taste with the syrup, then finish filling the glass with ice.  Zero drive time.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 6
Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 6

Speaking of my glass, these are in my Zibbet shop now, along with that stainless steel straw, which I completely love and is available straight or with that little bend at the top.  Also, that coaster?  It’s made from leather and a mason jar ring and you’ll find those in my shop as well.  I haven’t listed the wraps yet, but if you’re interested just let me know.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here!

New at Zibbet

When Etsy recently announced they were going to start allowing factory made items, I panicked a little right along with most other sellers.  After I calmed down a bit and came back to the Land of the Rational, I realized it was best to give it some time and see what happened.  So I plan to hang in there on Etsy, work hard and hope for the best.  However, in this whole process, I learned about another marketplace and decided I’d try it out too.  It’s called Zibbet, and so far I like what I see.

I started out by moving my Ninja Monkey Bags there.  After that, I added a few coffee cup sleeves.  It’s starting out slow, but I like having somewhere I can branch out from the photography accessories I’ve been making for the last couple of years.

Yesterday, I added something new.  I’ve partnered with my talented husband to make Mason Drinking Jars!  They’re so cute.  If you’re a fan of those little canning jars like I am, add these to your Christmas list.

Crafty Staci Drinking Mason Jar blue pint

They come in blue and clear, pint and 20 ounce and singles or sets. 

Crafty Staci Drinking Mason Jar set of 4 clear pints

Next week we’ll be adding handmade stainless steel straws.  After that, we’re planning mason jar soap dispensers, leather mason jar lid coasters and mason jar cozies.  But right now, this is my very favorite thing to drink from.  There’s nothing like a metal straw to keep your drink cold.

Crafty Staci Drinking Mason Jar 20 oz

These will be included in my sale on Black Friday weekend, so pick out your favorites now and sign up for my newsletter so you won’t miss out on that extra discount code!

Money Jar Wedding Gift

My family attending a wedding a week and a half ago that was a milestone, of sorts.  The bride’s mother and I have been friends since we were in kindergarten.  When my husband was first hired as a reserve (that means unpaid volunteer) police officer, it happened to be at the same department as her husband, before we knew that was where he worked.  They’ve been there together ever since.  Our kids went to the same schools and we live in the same little town.  The milestone I’m referring to?  This is the first wedding I’ve attended of a childhood friend’s child. I may be getting up there, but I still remember what it was like to get married.  Money is a great gift because it can be used to fill in the holes left by things you still need after all the other gifts are opened.  I decided to give Sam and Jeremy cash, but I couldn’t just put it in the card and leave it at that.  In hindsight, that probably would have been the smarter way to go.  And the card did turn out pretty cute after all…

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Refrigerator Pickles

I make dill garlic to give out as Christmas gifts to our friends and family.  I’ve been doing this for years, and every year when I spot the fresh dill in the grocery store it’s a mad rush to get everything together and canned before it disappears.  This year, I finally planted my own dill.

As luck would have it, it actually grew.  As soon as the dill heads started blooming, I panicked.  Never having grown my own before, I didn’t know how long it would bloom, or how many it would make.  The mad rush was on again.

Those of you who have grown dill already know this, but there was no need to hurry.  I made the garlic a month and a half ago, and there’s still dill.  I kept looking at it sadly out the window, until I finally decided to try something I’ve always wanted to do:  refrigerator pickles.

Refrigerator Pickles 1
Refrigerator Pickles 1

I’ve canned pickles before, but I’ve never been happy with them.  The texture is weird.  Pickles should be crunchy, and mine just aren’t, no matter what I do.  These little babies, however, are crunchy, a little spicy and delicious.  I might not be able to go back to store-bought.  These aren’t the same, but I like them better.

Refrigerator Pickles

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced about 3/8” thick (I used a regular, garden-variety cucumber)

1 dill head

1 spring dill leaves

2 whole garlic cloves

2 – 3 slices, jalapeno, serrano or sweet pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  Place the rest of the ingredients in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Pour the vinegar mixture over.  Finish filling the jar with water.  Place in the refrigerator.  Wait a day or two before eating.  I can’t tell you how long they will last, because mine were gone in about 2 days.

Refrigerator Pickles 2
Refrigerator Pickles 2

I don’t know if it was necessary, but I shook the jar every time I opened the fridge to redistribute the spices.  As usual, I made my husband an extra-spicy jar by adding extra pepper slices, another 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes and, after putting on my hazmat suit, 1/4 teaspoon of ghost pepper powder.

Refrigerator Pickles 3
Refrigerator Pickles 3

I don’t know what I’m going to do when all my dill is gone, but I’ll definitely be planting it again next year!

Mint Mojito Jelly

When I planted mint between my front yard and driveway, I was told I was crazy.  It would take over and I’d have mint everywhere.  Well, crazy or not, that was exactly my intention.  I have a huge mass of the stuff every year and it smells wonderful.  A pleasant side effect is that with the abundance of mint I have I can play with it as much as I like.

Mint Mojito Jelly 1
Mint Mojito Jelly 1

I can dill garlic every year in late August or early September, because that’s when fresh dill is available.  We give it out as Christmas gifts to anyone we know that wants some – and I’m up to about five dozen jars.  Whew.

When my daughter helps me, we usually end up making some jelly or jam as well.  We’ve make mint before, but this year we decided to change it up a bit and make some reminiscent of a mint mojito.  If you’re not familiar, it’s a drink flavored with mint and lime.  You can’t go wrong with lime.

Mint Mojito Jelly 2
Mint Mojito Jelly 2
Mint Mojito Jelly
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 8 cups water
Mint Mojito Jelly 3
Mint Mojito Jelly 3

Bruise mint leaves a bit with a fork or by twisting.  Add to the water in a saucepan.  Boil over high heat until reduced by half to 4 cups of liquid.  Mine took about 20 minutes.  And my house smelled fantastic.

Mint Mojito Jelly 4
Mint Mojito Jelly 4

Strain.  Discard the leaves.  To the water, add:

  • one box powdered pectin

Stir until dissolved.  Add:

  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice

Bring to a boil.  Boil one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary.

Mint Mojito Jelly 5
Mint Mojito Jelly 5

If you’d like a greener color, add a couple of drops of green food coloring.

Mint Mojito Jelly 6
Mint Mojito Jelly 6

Ladle into sterilized jars.  Process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Mint Mojito Jelly 7
Mint Mojito Jelly 7

This makes about 8 pints.  Thinking ahead, these would make a great Christmas gift, decorated with a little festive red ribbon. Oh yeah, it’s coming.

Mint Mojito Jelly 8
Mint Mojito Jelly 8

Who knew Mint Mojito was good with peanut butter?