Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cunning Cannisters

I love happy little projects. The kind of activities where I find myself humming along while I dream them up, or while I start to put them together.

For many years I have had a beautiful set of pottery canisters. They were made by Betty Warren of Texada Island, a potter who was a dear theatre friend of my mothers. My mom had the cannisters for years and when I moved out she passed three of them on to me. One had been broken along the way, and of the three that remained, one had a chipped lid. I loved them and used them in all my kitchens right up until this year. Another lid is chipped and the set is looking weary. I still use them in my cupboards to store dried beans and back-up sugar for jam-making, but they have become decidedly shabby *sigh*.

First, I replaced them with a second-hand set of copper ones from the local Value Village. They worked well enough but were a bit 'kitschy' for me. I've got my eyes open for a perfect set, but in the meantime, I decided that I'd like glass. This summer, while out stocking up on new jam jars (how is it these jars never really make it back? I know they are being lovingly reused somewhere...), I came across large glass canning jars from Bernardin. Now as most of you know, I have an imaginary French Country kitchen, so these jars gave me a little frisson of excitement.

And, I suppose, since I acquired my first set of cannisters when I was 17, I reverted back to my broker-than-broke, first-out-on-my-own days and came up with a happy little decoration project to make a temporary set of glass cannisters to hold my day-to-day staples. This is a perfect simple fall project and a great idea for cash-strapped students or others who might be on a budget. And I offer it here, as November really settles in and we are well and truly in deep autumn.

Select a fabric you love. (Mine is 100% cotton gingham that I purchased in a market in Provence). Measure according to the canning jar lids. Use pinking shears to cut.

Trace a circle around the lid with a pencil. Trim along line with pinking shears. Using an old craft paintbrush (one you don't mind throwing away) coat the lid with Mod Podge (I LOVE this stuff - it's my one weakness - you can use it for all kinds of craft projects) and while still wet, attach the fabric circle. Coat with another layer of Mod Podge. Let dry and and add rings and lids to jars. Voila!

Another side benefit of this project is that when I finally do find my perfect replacement cannisters, I can re-use the jars to preserve some kind of delicious monster foodstuff. Next year's squash, perhaps?

And as an extra fall bonus, here are a couple of links to some great canning sites. Dreaming up next year's harvest!


  1. Oh Oh !! Love this post. This is something to be shared, and you provide a great tutorial ( or 'tut' as the crafters call them), wonderful.

    I must admit that I have several of your jam & canning jars in a box in the back of our pantry! You know from those delicious jams and lentil treats you have provided!

    I really like the fabric, and aha! it is french. So I must tell you about this amazing line of fabrics, that I am trying hard to NOT start collecting, called 'French General' "Maison de Garance" - I may not have the name spelled right, but you. will. just. adore. them. All the patterns are reproductions from an 18th century French maison that produced these amazing prints out of vegie dyes - wallpapers, fabrics, etc..... check it out.
    Can you tell that I have drank waaaaay too much coffee today?
    but never mind....loved the post!

  2. I love the photos that you put in your posts Vic... they have great colour and lighting and they really seems to capture the feeling...

    Lovely blog too!