diy {craft jar gift}

Yesterday I got a bunch of spam comments from someone called “underwear”.Β  My spam filter caught them, but it made me smile thinking how much my 4 year old loves the word “underwear”….what is it about underwear that is so funny to little boys? Anyway….

After I did this post on Design*Sponge I got a few emails asking me what I use Heinz Chili Sauce to make. So I thought I’d share a recipe. Initially I was going to do a whole post on the recipe with pictures of the meal, but that didn’t happen. The night I made it for dinner my kids were out of control. So when it came out of the oven I didn’t waste time getting pictures…just fed the them. The recipe is from my mom. It is one of our favorite twists on traditional spaghetti & meatballs. My mom calls it “Cocktail Meatballs”. Since I didn’t post what it looks like after it is made I threw together another little way to use those glass bottles. I never throw away glass…or take it to the recycling center.

Cocktail Meatballs:

Make meatballs however you like (turkey, beef, veggie…whatever) and place in a baking dish. Before cooking the meatballs in the oven you will make this sauce to pour on top.

Combine 1 can jellied cranberry sauce, 1 jar of chili sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar & 2 tablespooons lemon juice. You will need to preheat the sauce to melt the cranberry sauce. You can do this on the stove or microwave. Once it is not too lumpy you will pour it over the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes at 350.

Serve with your favorite spaghetti, salad & bread.


Now for the fun part. While your sauce is preheating spray some Goo Gone all over the jar. I recommend peeling as much paper off as you can before spraying with Goo Gone. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe all the sticky stuff off. I recommend washing it by hand or in the dishwasher next.

Sidenote: if I were to list ‘must haves’ for crafters Goo Gone would be on that list.

Once my jar was all clean I began thinking of something to do with it. My first thought was to cover it in cute masking tape because everything looks better covered in cute masking tape. I did a Google Search to see if anyone else had posted a tutorial for a “tape vase” on the web. I clicked on the first non-store link that popped up. Sure enough someone had…it would be nice if my memory wasn’t left in the labor and delivery wing.

Since my masking tape idea had already been used I started brainstorming again. Then I remembered Ashlee’s sewing kit. I thought it would be fun to fill my little jar with little crafting goodies. I put this together with a girl in mind. I think it would be such a fun gift for a birthday, Valentine’s Day, an Easter basket or just to surprise a crafty girl you know.

I just rummaged through things I had on hand that would fit through the opening of the jar. I had all this on hand.

Then I began filling my jar and spray painted the lid. When you make a gift like this I recommend picking a few keys colors and filling your jar with things in that color scheme. It will make it look more pulled together than just a random mess of stuff.

On the outside of the jar I created a stack of cut cardstock paper and attached it as a card with a paper clamp and baker’s twine.

Some of you might be thinking, “Cute, but what would you make with that stuff?” That is the point. There is no tutorial or step by step instructions for what to make. This type of gift isn’t for everyone, but for the right person they would love it. It is simply a small collection of things to spark creativity.


For me, this was very fast and easy to assemble because I had so much on hand. If you don’t keep craft supplies on hand, you could buy several of these items and then divide them up into several jars. Maybe create 10 at one time and then you have gifts ready to go. You could use bigger jars, but anything smaller would be difficult to fit things in the opening.
1.18.11-07I wonder if I could work out a deal with The Pioneer Woman. She loves to take pictures of the cooking process…I obviously do not. Maybe she could come cook for me and I’ll create something for her out of her trash. Sounds like a plan to me.

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  • Lindsay - Again, you’re a genius. I love this idea! There are so many possibilities.

  • Krista @ Blue Eyed Yonder - You have me rolling over here! I laughed so hard to know that you did a search and actually found one of your OWN tutorials. Priceless! Both projects are oozing with cuteness. You have such a knack for taking the simplest concepts and making them so unique and beautiful. I’m so happy you share your gifts with us. πŸ™‚

  • amanda torres - Ashley, just stop it now. If you and TPW worked out a deal that would push me over the edge. My two favorite web stops in the morning. I just don’t know if my computer, or I, could contain the awesomeness that embodies Ashley Ann and Ree Drummond embody.

  • Caroline - Hey Ashley,
    My colleague taught me a very easy trick to remove stickers on containers.
    Just use hair dryer to blow hot air on the sticker for a minute or so, and the sticker comes off totally. nothing gooey or sticky left on the container! You can try it!

  • Shannon - I love this! I love your ideas. And your plan for The Pioneer Woman sounds great, haha!

  • Jen - My three year old is guaranteed to laugh if anyone says underpants! This whole post made me giggle. I can’t believe you found your own tutorial! And man, if you were to team up with PW, I don’t think I’d ever recover. My two favorite blogs!

  • Hollye - “You’re Underwear!” I miss that little Hudson! He used to call me that last year! LOL

  • Candice Forte - Yes, if you teamed up with PW I may never leave my computer again. Yours are two of the only blogs I make a must read when I see an update!

  • Deb @ PaperTurtle - Very cute idea! This would be a great idea for little giveaways for the crop I’m hosting in a few weeks. :o)

  • ashley jensen - This type of meal is right up my alley! Minimal ingredients, short cook time, and lots of flavor. I have some meat in the fridge that needs to be cooked so I will be using this recipe extremely soon!

  • Heather - Oh, Ashley, how I love you and your crafty ways! I did have to laugh about googling your own self:) I might have to pick up a bottle of this today at the store!

  • Emily Lusk - Thanks for the recipe!! I always like something new that I know my kids will eat and like! I would love to see what you and the Pioneer Woman would come up with, I am sure it would be great!

  • Krista Lund - super cute idea. it makes me think what i could make out of the 100s of glass baby food jars i’ve been keeping. my original plan was to make snowglobes for my daughter’s 1st winter wonderland bday party. but i got lazy and ran out of time. now i have a ton of jars and i can’t seem to recycle them (throw them out!)

  • katie - oh, how I love that you forgot about your tape vase! But it’s gotta be better than thinking you had an original idea and finding out someone else had it first, right?

  • Madaline Meatte - i know a little boy that use to love the word Pantyhose! He would run around saying Pantyhose! Pantyhose!

  • ryanne - how did you paint, or color the lid? I guess, I am asking, what type of paint did you use?

  • the whyte house - laughing…oh, you crack me up. i’ve been collecting glass jelly jars (the smuckers ones w the cute gingham lids)to do some projects like these for next year. everytime i peel the paper off i think, “i NEED to get goo gone!” and then i never remember to pick it up at the store. siiigh. one of these days i WILL pick it up.

  • Monique W - We use a similar recipe at our house and I made it for our first “Cook Once a Month” batch (which we started because we all read about it on your blog and thought, Why aren’t we doing this?!). It was a hit! I’ve since made up another recipe with cranberry sauce and meatballs. Instead of chili sauce I use brown sugar and a bit of maple syrup and serve it over brown rice. Delish!

  • Yanet - How cute! I’m going to try making one up for party favors for my boys’ parties. I can use a plastic bottle instead and throw in Legos!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Molly - I love your blog! This is such a neat and simple idea. Reading this brightened my morning. Instead of thinking about how tired I am, this post reminded me there is such beauty in little details and generosity. Thanks!

  • Casey - I love Chili Sauce! I use it all the time in my meatloaf πŸ™‚

  • Lauren - Adorable!!! How did you make the top blue? Paint? Something else?

  • Lauren - DURRRR Just kidding, now I see the pic with the blue spraypaint!

  • Tammy - Adorable! WOW… if you and The Pioneer Woman joined forces, the world might EXPLODE!! πŸ™‚

  • Caitlin - This is my first comment, I’m so excited. Anyway! You really should (please) make a list of crafters “must haves”!

  • Paulina - I’m glad I’m not teh only one who hoards glass jars. My husband throws them away when I’m not around. He just doesn’t get it. Anyways, I love Pioneer Woman!! I don’t know what I would do if you guys posted together!! EPIC!

  • Rebecca - Thank you THANK YOU THANKYOU!! I came across this recipe (called sweet/sour meatballs wherever that was) years ago and have been SEARCHING for it since! You CANNOT know how many really horrible combinations of these ingredients – and others – I’ve tried to get it right but never have. THANKS so much for posting it! Supper tonight!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Ah yes! I have a few jars and containers I’ve been saving and decorating the outside with wrapping paper and modge podge, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with the lids. Spray paint! =) Thanks

  • Ali - This is a gift I would LOVE to get. These would be cute favors for a girly craft night, or to just randomly mail to your closest girl friends. FUN! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie - How completely adorable. Our family is in the party mode for the next two months with birthdays and a baby shower. How great would these be for favors! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Amanda-ThriceBlessed - Very cute. I have a hard time recycling my glass jars too, and since I rarely buy things in plastic…it all adds up! My favorites to “collect” are baby food jars and Starbucks bottles. I made my kids’ teachers’ gifts for Christmas from old Starbucks bottles. I blogged it and was featured on “One Pretty Thing”! I was so excited. πŸ™‚ A link to my bottles:

    Happy Tuesday!

  • reeve - uh…absolutely..LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • meg duerksen - πŸ™‚
    i am sure that PW takes all her pictures of food in the morning and there is no one home to eat the food she cooked.
    that is my theory.

    you are the queen of crafts miss ashley.

  • Amy - brilliant!

  • jessica h - ha ha! I definitely left my memory back in L&D πŸ™‚ The craft jar is such a cute idea for a crafty chic; I would love one. I’m in awe that you can come up with great creative ideas all the while cooking & taming a rowdy house! (seriously, wow!)

  • KJ@letsgoflyakite - I am not sure if I have ever posted a comment on your blog, but I absolutely love it, look forward to every post and this Heinz chili sauce post put me over the edge – because I love that stuff. I have a similar recipe {the chili sauce works so well with the cranberry} but I slip everything in the slow cooker. I totally agree with one of the comments above that if you hooked up with TPW there would be an explosion.

  • Lisa~ - It’s a double dose! Great recipe, great use of something I’d normally throw away. Love it! Lisa~

  • Lisa - Where do you buy colored masking tape? Love the colors you used but have never seen it before. Please share!!

  • Heidi - What else would be on your must have list for crafters? Maybe we will see a post on how to stock the crafting pantry soon? πŸ™‚

  • Katrina - I tried out the Cocktail Meatballs recipe last night. The boyfriend LOVED it. He was making faces as I was putting it together, but once it hit his mouth, he was head over heels. Thank you much for that. (Makes me look good.) I also saved the bottle and am looking forward to creating something cute with it…

  • able mabel - Love, love, love this idea!! Thanks so much!

  • Tweets that mention diy {craft jar gift} Β» -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Baskits. Baskits said: Sooo creative! RT @DarnGoodYarn: I love this!!!!!! #craft #reuse #recycle RT@aweechel […]

  • Sandra - Hmmm so where do you glass jar hoarders keep all of your goodies? I am running out of room!

  • Aimee - Very cute and simple idea!!! It would be such fun for a fast and simple gift ~ just like you said:) Love it!

  • Jamie - I LOVE this idea!!! So adorable in the jar, this is like my dream gift. I actually make packs like this of craft supplies and sell them on my etsy shop. I just opened so im not sure how popular they will be. Like you said, this type of thing isn’t for everyone, but if you are a die-hard crafter, like me, who finds inspiration in anything, you would love it!!! Thanks!!

  • laura s - LOVE this idea!! Thanks for sharing- I am definitely going to try this. P.S. your beautiful blog header is SO inspiring!

  • random Thursday ramblings « eat. play. sleep. - […] admit, I might be having a little too much fun assembling the supplies to make these as party favors for the biggest upcoming birthday.Β  Craft supplies in miniature?Β  In a jar?Β  […]

  • Kirstin - Love the jar idea. I use that exact same meatball recipe but do mine in the slowcooker while I’m at work. Love them. Now I will have something to do with the jars when I make it. Great idea!

  • 6 cosas que hacer con un bote de cristal « con botas de agua - […] al que le encanten las manualidades (con lazos, masking tape, tejidos, cuerda…). Lo he visto aquΓ­. Under the […]

  • Chris - I use Heinz Chili Sauce to make meatloaf. It is to die for!!! Now I can reuse the bottle!! Yay!

  • Keri - Came across this via Pinterest while looking for gifts for my crafty friends…PERFECTION.
    Made mine tonight and love them…thanks SO much for the great inspiration!!!

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