Category Archives: Crafting Articles

Canning Jar Candles

Canning jar candles are very easy to make, make great gifts, and are only limited by your imagination!

To start all you need are some narrow-mouth canning jars, wire ribbon, potpourri, votive candles, small glass votive candle holders, and craft glue or a hot glue gun.

If you don’t have any old canning jars, you can find some very inexpensively at thrift stores and yard sales. Wire ribbon can be a little expensive. Look for it at yard sales and at craft store clearance sales. The after-Christmas sales a great time to stock up. One roll of ribbon will make several canning jar candles. Potpourri you can make yourself or buy on sale. Votive candles are inexpensive at stores like Target or Walmart, and you can also find glass votive candle holders very inexpensively at Walmart. You want one that will set in the rim of the canning jar.

You can fill the canning jar with whatever you wish. Potpourri is one of the easiest fillers. I bought a nice autumn-scented potpourri and added some orange slices I’d dried in my food dehydrator. You can also add dried cranberries, apple slices, or cinnamon sticks.

After you fill the jar, you set the candle holder inside the mouth of the jar. The top of the candle holder should be even with the top of the jar. You might have a little trial and error before you find just the right candle holder. Place the candle in the holder and then use the ribbon to tie a big bow around the neck of the jar. That’s it! (You might want to use a little craft glue or your glue gun to tack the ribbon in place).

You can glue some dried fruit, flowers, or other decorations on the bow for a more decorative look. You can also put other things in the jar besides potpourri. I’ve seen one half filled with white sugar with a short white taper candle set down in the sugar. Very pretty! And that one doesn’t require the candle holder.

At Christmas you can purchase small ornaments and place them in the jar instead of the potpourri. Any small figurine would do–in the spring you could use little bunnies.

Maybe fill a jar with marbles or layers of colored sand. Even pennies! Use your imagination. These candles make great gifts and are also fun to make for yourself. If you get tired of one just empty it out and start again!

Snazzy Jars: Glorious Gift Ideas

Article by:

Originally published at Suite 101. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For scrapbooking, card making, gift-giving ideas, and more family memory-making activities, visit

Gifts for Quilters

I’m a quilter and trust me, I’d love any of these gifts under my tree! You can wrap your quilter’s present in the quilting gift wrap on the upper left.

Quilters’ Delights Gift Wrap

Olfa Gerber Daisies Rotary Cutter-45mm

101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts

Gridded Rotary Mat With Handle

Fat Quarter Quilts

That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons From a Parallel Universe

Microwave Cozies

What IS a microwave cozie? A cozie is a filled cloth bag that you can heat in the microwave and use to keep you warm and cozy! They are excellent for heating sore muscles, acting as bed warmers at night, and keeping your toes warm while you read a good book on the couch. They make fantastic and inexpensive gifts! I’ve seen them selling at fairs for $15 each but they can be made for about $1 per bag if you use inexpensive fabric.


You can use any 100% cotton fabric that has NO METAL THREADS! Do NOT use any metallic fabrics. Yes, it’s important enough to repeat! These need to go in the microwave and you know how microwaves and metal are. The same applies to polyesters and any other fabrics. 100% cotton only.

More tips about the fabric you choose: If you are actually going to buy fabric, go for the least expensive cottons you can get. I hit the big box store for their $1 and $2 per yard stuff (apologies to my hometown quilt shop) when I’m making them for gifts. If you have a fabric stash, don’t use your $12.99/yard batiks unless you really want to. Personally, I save my good stuff for my quilts. Use what you have! If you have an old flannel shirt with worn elbows, then use that! Old flannel sheets, the legs off a pair of old flannel pajama bottoms? Use your imagination.


I use what is called recleaned corn. I’ve also heard it called denatured corn (go to the feed shop and tell them what you’re doing and they’ll smirk but be happy to help you). Basically, it’s corn that has been dried so much that it won’t pop in the microwave. Normal corn will! 50 pounds cost me about $10.50. Trust me it will make LOTS of bags! The bags do come smaller, but cost almost as much, so even if you make fifty bags and end up feeding some to the local squirrels, it’s still cheaper. I have friends who have also used uncooked rice with great success. I don’t know about cost, but if you live in the city, rice might be more easily obtained than cow corn.


You’ll need to have two squares of fabric the same size. I like mine to be at least 9” finished (so cut 9 ½” to give yourself a seam allowance) if you can make a bit bigger, then great, but I don’t do smaller. Simply place the wrong sides of the fabric together and sew about a ½” in, all around and leave at least a 2” opening to turn your bag right side out and so you can fill your bag. Fill your bag so that there is room inside for the filler to able to move around (like if you want to mold it over a sore knee). An overfilled bag doesn’t feel good. Once it’s filled to your satisfaction, sew up the opening! NOTE: I would NOT recommend using fabric glues or tapes when making these. They have to go into the microwave and I honestly don’t know if those would do well once they heat up.

How long to microwave? The fillers can burn (both the skin if too hot and itself), so opt for less time versus more and microwaves vary as far as power so I’d recommend starting with a minute but NEVER heating for more than 3 minutes. ENJOY!!!

Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys and the publisher of, an online resource for frugality, budgeting and all things related to helping everyone stretch those hard-earned dollars.

This article can be used in your website with my bio intact with an active link back to Frugal-Families.  Thank you.

How to make a tin can luminary

Tin can luminaries are a fun, easy craft project for all ages. They are great for any holiday and only limited by your imagination! You can transfer any simple shape onto a tin can to create a beautiful candle holder for any occasion.

I chose to make luminaries for Christmas this year. You can choose any simple design to transfer onto your tin can. I used a favorite clip art program on my computer to look for easy Christmas designs to print out. I chose a Christmas tree, a snowman, and a pair of gingerbread men.

Here’s what you need to get started:

– Empty tin cans (washed and labels removed)
– Design to transfer onto can
– Hammer
– Large nail
– Tape
– Dish towel

It is easiest to punch the holes in your tin can if you freeze some water in it first. Fill the can with water, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top for the ice to expand. Place in freezer until frozen. Your can may bulge a little at the bottom while in the freezer, but after you remove the ice you can use the hammer to flatten out the bottom of the can.

You might want to freeze a couple more cans then you think you’ll need in case you make a mistake and have to start over again.
After the ice has frozen, take the tin can from the freezer and tape your design to the can. I used packing tape, but you can also use duct tape. The tape won’t stick to the cold can, but you can wrap the tape all the way around the can so it will stick to the paper.

If you don’t have a design on paper, you can also draw a design on the can freehand with a permanent marker. You can also just punch the design freehand without drawing it first.

Lay the can on a folded dish towel so the towel will catch the ice chips that try to escape. It will also hold the can in place. Using the hammer and nail, tap holes around the border of your design, trying to punch holes evenly and not too close together. You want a simple design so that when you see only the holes in the can you will be able to tell what it is!

After punching the holes, remove the paper and tape and admire your design. It is really so easy! If you plan to hang your luminary, also punch two holes at the top of the can. You can make a handle out of wire (from a craft store) or a wire coat hanger.

Place the tin can under running warm water to melt the ice. Dry the can with a towel and place a votive candle in the bottom. You will need a long lighter or match to light the candle.

To further decorate your tin can luminary, you can spray paint the can any color you wish. Be creative!

This is a great family project. Just make sure kids have adult supervision while using the hammer and nails. Have fun!

Photos of project: luminary photos Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What’s for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at

Scrapbooking on a Budget

Memories are priceless, but the cost of preserving them can be high. Here are nine tips for making the most of your scrapbooking budget.

1.Be on the lookout for scrapbooking supplies everywhere you go. I once made the cutest shabby chic card with the corrugated cardboard liner in a light bulb box. Another example: you can buy 100 brass brads for less than a dollar at the local discount store and then customize them to match your layout with acrylic paint and/or sandpaper. Or look in the clearance bin for ribbon, fiber, and fabric remnants – or bouquets of silk flowers, which you can take apart and attach to your cards and layouts with brads, eyelets, bottlecaps, or button. You’ll find all kinds of treasures at office supply, hardware, and dollar stores, as well as flea markets and garage sales.

2. Keep your supplies organized. When your papers and embellishments are logically arranged and easy to find, you’ll always know what you have, which means you’ll buy fewer duplicates. And you don’t need expensive racks for storing your paper. The large 14″ Ziploc bags are perfect for storing 12×12 paper. You can even hang the labeled Ziploc bags from skirt hangers to maximize your space. A few inexpensive baskets or plastic containers can hold your adhesives, pens and trimmers. And a common tacklebox is great for small embellishments. Or use resealable Ziploc bags to organize brads, eyelets and other small embellishments by type or color and store in a shoebox.

3. Here’s a little known secret. You can join a scrapbooking direct sales company, simply to get the discount on your own supplies. Of course, you’ll need to make sure the monthly minimums are low enough that you’ll be able to meet them with your purchases alone. Here is one such company with monthly minimums of just $25 wholesale per month. Details are here:

4. Use your scanner to create a unique patterned paper, perfect for your layout. Scan items of clothing, for example, that match the clothing in your photographs. Print the paper and use as part of your background or as a tag or other embellishment.

5. Do a google search for “free fonts” and “free scrapbooking.” You’ll find thousands of free templates, fonts, and other free resources for scrapbookers.

6. Check your local paper for 50% off coupons at large discount crafting stores. Save these coupons for your larger purchases. Subscribe to’s email newsletter at the store’s website: http// This store frequently offers special discount codes to newsletter subscribers. But keep in mind, when you are shopping the sale aisle, a good deal is not a good deal if you never use the product. Buy only those things that you love – and know you’ll use.

7. When shopping for tools, keep quality and versatility in mind. Investing in quality tools will ultimately save you money, because you won’t need to replace them very often. You’ll also want to look for trimmers and cutters that allow you to replace only the blade – and not the entire cutting system. The Coluzzle, by Provocraft, is one of the most versatile cutting systems available. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can cut a huge variety of shapes and alphabets, as well as envelopes and tags – all with very inexpensive templates.

8. Save and organize your scraps. It’s amazing when a small scrap is perfectly suited for a card of scrapbook. And you can always use the backside of white-core cardstock or patterned paper when you need white. Or give your scraps to your children. My kids are constantly making friendship cards out of my scraps. They each have a basket on the family scraptable, and at the end of a project, I divvy up all my scraps in the three little baskets. They love the new art supplies, and I love to share my love of scrapbooking – and my time spent scrapbooking – with them.

9. Network with other scrapbookers for more low-cost ideas. Arrange a supplies swap with your scrapbooking friends. And read through the scrapbooking magazines for more money-saving ideas. In the last few issues of Scrapbooks, Etc. and Memory Makers, for example, I’ve read (and then used) the following ideas: (1) Take photos of interesting signs and cut out the letters for fun, eclectic alphabets. And (2) make your own stamps from your favorite font or images with a computer printout and some foam board. You can subscribe to these magazines at significant discounts online. I’ve compiled the best deals on the industry-leaders here: – magazines or see if you can check out current issues from your local library. Scrapbooking magazines often feature sweepstakes, drawings, and layout contests, in which you can win free supplies, as well.

You can also save on scrapbooking idea books and techniques books by shopping online. often has these books at an even greater discount than, and their shipping is usually much less, too.

About the Author: Susie Cortright is the founder of – and Momscape’s Scrapbooking Playground - – devoted to helping visitors record and preserve their cherished memories. Susie also trains and supports new scrapbooking instructors with a new and rapidly- growing direct sales scrapbooking company. Find out how to join her team here: