Halloween Spider in a Jar

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

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

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!

Halloween Spider in a Jar - Crafty Staci 2

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

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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

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

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.

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unless you want it to be…mwahh-ha-ha!

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

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Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns

My daughter’s now-husband was a typical groom when it came to the wedding planning.  He was happy to be there, but didn’t have many things he was opinionated about.  Because of that, when he did express a desire to have something we tried to make it happen.  These little lanterns just happened to be one of those things.

Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns - Crafty Staci 1

This is a project the bride and groom took on themselves and had finished in no time.  I wish I could show you a photo of the two of them working away at it, but I failed to take any.  If I could go back and do it over, that’s the one thing I would change.  More photos.

Anyway, to make these, remove the lids from the jars.  Lay the ring top down on a piece of wood and find a large nail.

Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns - Crafty Staci 2

Make two marks directly across from each other and hammer the nail through at those points to create holes.

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Cut a length of wire that will allow the jar to hang at whatever height you choose, plus a couple of inches extra on each end.  Feed the wire up through the hole and twist it around itself.

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Repeat on the other side and twist back onto the jar.  Add a candle and it’s ready to go.

Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns - Crafty Staci 6

We went with all battery-operated candles for the wedding for three reasons.  The first, and most important, is that we knew there would be a lot of little kids in attendance and we didn’t want any of them getting burned.  Second, we didn’t want to burn the forest surrounding our house down.   That one was pretty important too.  The last reason was convenience.  We were able to turn the candles on while decorating earlier in the day. 

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As it started to get dark, all of the candles started to gradually become more obvious because they were already lit.  It created a pretty glow as the evening progressed.

Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns - Crafty Staci 8

If you don’t happen to have any of our above issues, these would also be lovely with a real candle.  Come to think of it, these would make a great wedding favor for your guests too.  Chalk one up for the groom!

Hanging Mason Jar Votive Lanterns - Crafty Staci 9

Personalized Drinking Jar Wedding Favors

Welcome to my first Wedding Wednesday!  I made a list of all the different things I want to tell you about, and if I actually find photos and address one per week, we should be done somewhere around Easter.  I’ll try to condense a little.

I want to start with one of my favorite and most lengthy projects – the wedding favors.  My daughter wanted to feature mason jars, so we decided early on that we’d use them as drinking glasses.  From there it morphed into painting them with a little chalkboard paint so guests could write their names on them, to painting the names on with glass paint, to cutting the names from permanent vinyl and adding a lid with a grommet and straw and making them the take-home wedding favors.  With about 225 invited guests and extra jars for surprises, it was an ambitious undertaking but one I was happy to take on.

Personalized Drinking Jar Wedding Favors - Crafty Staci 1

Last winter, my husband decided I needed a Silhouette Cameo.  I didn’t think I really did.  I figured it would be fun to play with once in a while, but would mostly just take up space.  Let me tell you, much of what I made for that wedding couldn’t have happened without it.  This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Silhouette, I’m just here to tell you that I’m a huge fan now.  I found the software easy to use, the prices and selection for art very reasonable and the learning curve to get started with the machine wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.  Commercial over, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I set up a template page for the names and just returned to it each time I needed to start a new one.  There were many, many pages.  I bought grey permanent vinyl on Amazon, which by happy accident ended up looking a little like the glasses were etched.

Personalized Drinking Jar Wedding Favors - Crafty Staci 2

I used cheap, clear vinyl over the top as a transfer medium, then cut all of the names apart.  All that was left once that was done was to wipe the jars down with rubbing alcohol and apply the names.

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While I was working on the glass, my husband was crafting the lids.  After doing a couple by hand, he did a little shopping and found this contraption.

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It was $65 on Ebay and came with some grommets.  When you’re looking at making nearly 20 dozen of these, that cost is so worth it.  To start, he drilled holes in the center of the lids with a 7/16” drill bit.  He ultimately used his drill press because he ended up with smoother holes and it took less time, but a regular drill can work too.

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He inserted the larger side of a #2 size (a tiny bit shy of 1/2”) grommet into the hole and slipped the smaller side onto the back.

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A quick punch with the grommet-squisher…

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And we had lids that straws fit into perfectly.

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Of course, since the wedding colors were yellow and grey, we searched the world for yellow straws.

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I couldn’t be happier with the way these turned out.  They worked well for holding the tea and lemonade we served, and the lid kept out the pesky bugs.

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We wanted to make sure guests understood that they could take these home, so I again used my Cameo to make a sign.  We just used 1/8” hickory plywood that my husband cut to size, added the lettering, and I found that cute mason jar (with the word Love on it already) in the Silhouette store.  I improvised the yellow vinyl straw.

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These were a huge hit with our guests and a great way to help them find their seats.  In fact, we only had one jar left behind at the end of the night!

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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

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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

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

Healthy on-the-go snack problem?  Solved.

Mickey Mason Jar Lid Ornament

When my daughter graduated from high school, her gift from us was a family trip to Disneyland and she was allowed to bring a friend.  This summer it’s my son’s turn.  We told him we’d still bring his sister, since he got to go on her trip, even though she’ll be married by then.  So who did my son choose as his friend to bring along?  His soon-to-be brother-in-law!  Some days I think the kids are all more excited about that trip to Disneyland than the wedding.

Since we have a Disney trip on the calendar, I thought it would be fun to make a Christmas ornament to count down to it.  Anticipation is half the fun. 

Mickey Mason Jar Lid Ornament - Crafty Staci 2

This ornament is a great way to reuse old mason jar lids and is easy enough to make with the kids.  For the full instructions, visit me over at the Undercover Tourist blog!

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. 

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 1

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Money Jar Wedding Gift 1 - Crafty Staci

Instead, I got 50 $1 bills and proceeded to start folding them into hearts, using this tutorial:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Dollar-Bill-Oragami-Heart/.  Each one took me quite a while, and it started to become clear that if I wanted to finish before the wedding, I was going to have to come up with a different plan.

Money Jar Wedding Gift 2 - Crafty Staci

In the end, I folded about half of them as shown above, and the other half using this tutorial, which took less time:  http://www.origami-instructions.com/easy-money-origami-heart.html.  Of course, I forgot to take photos of those.

To hold all this cash, I bought a jar from Craft Warehouse and etched a P on the front.  It’s almost impossible to see in the photo, but I actually etched a circle with a P left clear in the middle.  I really liked how it turned out.

Money Jar Wedding Gift 3 - Crafty Staci

To fill in the space inside the jar, I stuffed in some Lindt truffles.  And we might have eaten a few as well.  I tied some silver wire ribbon around the jar, curled it around a pencil and slipped the whole thing into a bag.

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I just hope the bride and groom don’t come over and throw eggs at my house after they spend way too long unfolding paper money hearts.  They were folded with love and only a hint of deviousness.

Etched Glass Jars

I’ve wanted to try glass etching for years.  It just never seemed to make it to the top of the list and, frankly, I thought it was harder than it actually is.  Apparently this was the year, because after buying the wrong product, then using the right product on the wrong type of glass, I finally nailed it.  I want to etch everything now.

Etched Glass Jars 1

I found these jars at the dollar store and decided for the price it wouldn’t be a big deal if I ruined them.  They had that nice framed area on each side that was just begging for embellishment.

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I used this Armour Etch glass etching cream.  You’ll know you have the right stuff if it has warnings on every side that basically say not to touch it, breathe it, stick it in your eye or look at it wrong.  Oh, and it may be fatal.  Fun times.

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To make the stencil, I used some ugly, old Contact paper.  I guess there was a day I didn’t think it was ugly, since I own it, but this is not that day. 

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I cut out the stencil with a razor knife.

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I peeled off the backing and applied the sticky side to the jar.  If your design is very complex or your glass is very curved, it takes a bit of patience to get the stencil on straight.

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I applied a generous coat of etching cream inside the stencil. 

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The instructions on the jar say to leave it on for one minute, but after the glass block fiasco, I left it on for an hour to be safe.  I don’t know if it helped, but it didn’t hurt.  I also wiped a bit off to make sure it had worked before washing the whole thing.

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I did have a few small spots that didn’t etch, so I carefully brushed cream onto those areas and let it sit for another hour.  That did the job for most of it, except for one spot that just wouldn’t take.  It isn’t very noticeable, and one out of twelve panels isn’t bad.

My favorite jar turned out to be the one where I etched the negative space around the pictures, instead of the pictures themselves.  This is the one I gave to my sister as a hostess gift on Thanksgiving, full of Spiced Chai Tea Mix.

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I was curious whether this would work on mason jars, so I tried it on this one.  I love it so much I don’t even know what to put in it.

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Join me again on Wednesday and I’ll share my Spiced Chai Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix recipes I used to fill these!

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

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

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

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!